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Author Topic: CARE - short story
Member # 4718

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This was originally to be a 1200 word story for a college writing class. It never made it. I thought i'd drag it out of the closet and finish it. Thanks for any input.

Nothing ever happens the way that I think it might. Not exactly. When someone tells me, "I knew this was going to happen," I know they're lying. What they really mean is, "I was hoping this would happen," or, "I was hoping this wouldn’t happen." But nobody really knows.
I believe that if you are anticipating a situation, maybe even a little apprehensive about it, the probability of accurately guessing the outcome is pretty much zero. The harder I try, the worse it gets. By that logic, I know that if I ever figure out exactly what it is that I haven't thought of, I’ll be able to predict the future. Maybe even enough to turn a small profit. I practice this all the time, but so far, all I ever am is wrong. But not as wrong as I used to be. Because I have

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 20, 2007).]

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Member # 213

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In a way, this opening works, but in a more important way it doesn't work at all.

It works in that it's very believable as the start of a first person narrative. I feel like I'm getting sort of a feel for the character from the preface to the story.

It doesn't work in terms of getting me interested in the story or the character. The story is presented as being an example of a universal law of causal events, in other words, a completely typical story. Meaning boring. The character is the kind of involuted type who tells us a boring story to illustrate something that is not particularly profound, even if it seems true to some people. In other words, boring.

So I have mixed feelings here. The opening is very good technically, but content-wise it's utterly lame. As much as I'm sure the story is well written, I don't care to read it. Of course, college writing classes are infamous for teaching students to write that kind of story and punishing them for writing any other kind. At least this one has technical merit.

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Member # 3432

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I found it a little bit hard to work through at first. I wanted something to _happen_, and although the bit about predicting the future was funny in its way, I felt like I had stopped the car before getting out of the driveway.

I agree with Survivor about the characterization taking place. To the extent that it works, it works because of that.

I found Survivor's other comments interesting, because I totally disagree. Although the story is presented as being an example of a causal chain, it's explicitly _not_ presented as a boring _story_. I got a "truth is stranger than fiction" sort of a feel from it, where the narrator is telling me the truth that's completely logical but very surprising. The narrator faced a bizarre fate.

If you trim a fair amount from the first and second paragraphs, I think you'd be better off; but I would definitely read on.

Are you finishing it now, or have you already finished it? Are you looking for a critique of the first 13, or of the story?

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Member # 2267

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Nothing happens till that tap on the shoulder. A little philosophizing before is OK, but maybe less; and I didn't understand what it was about.
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Member # 4718

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I have about 1300 words and I'm kinda stuck, if anybody wants to look at it...

I usually start with a concept, figure out a beginning, write the story, then rewrite the beginning. Then polish. But I thought this beginning worked.


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Member # 4707

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I am going to post here before reading anyone else's, so excuse me if I repeat.

The first graph I liked very much. I think it works.

The second graph sounded like psychobabble, and hard pressed as I was to understand it on the first goround, all I could think was Huh? this person is babbling. I felt the second needed some forward movement, either in action through dialogue or in a given example of the premise you submit in the first graph; the next logical step in getting on with the story. In short, I'm not a fan of being dragged through a character's psychological ruminations when they tend to beat up the subject, especially in the first person.

If this is a short story you will want to keep it moving quickly.

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Max Masterson
Member # 4799

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I don't want to repeat what the others have said so I'll just say I do agree with the general comment of nothing happening yet.

But I would like to say that I'm left with an expectation of the person talking to discover a way of predicting the future reliably in an attempt to make a profit and this opens up a lot of potential problems. So to me there is an incntive to read on, but the opening could probably do with rewording to make it move faster.

Maybe start with:
'Most people want to be able to predict the future. But when I discovered how to do it I almost wished I hadn't' and then move into action. Then come back to the persons reflection that you have described here.

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Jesse D
Member # 3241

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I really like the beginning. You have me hooked. I'm a sucker for philosophizing by characters at any point in a story, and I'm definitely interested enough in the idea that your character practices predict the future that I would read on.

If you want me to read what you have so far, I'd love to.

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Member # 2733

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Pretty good stuff but it doesn't have any context. Maybe it should not serve as the story's opening?
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