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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Dead Dog

   
Author Topic: Dead Dog
zerostone
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Okay, here's a new story:

Fact is, only one person ever treated Everett like a human being, and she was dead now, sort of.
Thatís not to say Lyla had paid him much respect when she was alive, but it was _way_ better than how the townsfolk did him. The residents of Zanesville had bamboozled and conned Everett for decades; so when the government scientists did some tests and told him he could make some easy money, heíd told them to go take a flying leap.
Still, it _is_ true that everyone---even Everett himself---agreed that whenever he got riled, all sorts of weird crap happened to him.
_Quantum Anomaly_, thatís what the scientists called it.
_Divine Punishment_, thatís what Lyla said it was.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 24, 2009).]


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tchernabyelo
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"how the townsfolk did him" almost made me stop reading (I read these openings with my would-be editorial hat on; and as an editor, that phrase would have been almost enough to put it aside).

I'm not sure if the "sort of" death of Lyla is supposed to be the hook or not. It's a good one but it gets a little bit lost in something close to infodump after that.

The voice works, though, and despite the apparently resolute white small-town America feel, I would read on.


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Devnal
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Fact is, only one person ever treated Everett like a human being, and she was dead now, sort of.("Fact is" is bringing me into the story mid thought or mid conversation/narrative. It is unnecessary; You would have a good affect starting after the comma. "and she was dead now, sort of." I would drop the "sort of" or expand, I feel a bit cheated not knowing what "sort of" is.)
Thatís not to say Lyla had paid him much respect when she was alive, but it was _way_ better than how the townsfolk did him.(There was a bit of a disconnect for me between Lyla and the woman from the first sentence. Took me a second to clue in. Not sure if its the wording, or if im just dunce. The second part of the sentence "but it was way better..." does NOT work for me. it seems forced, I think a rewrite of it would be good to smooth it out.The idea is good, just the wording needs work) The residents of Zanesville had bamboozled and conned Everett for decades;(I don't know anything about Everett-at least not enough about him- to know how they bamboozled and conned him. Is he rich? they have done it for decades? I need a bit more info on this to understand what it means) so when the government scientists did some tests and told him he could make some easy money, heíd told them to go take a flying leap.
Still, it _is_ true that everyone---even Everett himself(delete "himself". it's not needed)---agreed that whenever he got riled, all sorts of weird crap happened to him.(as I reaad through the rest I felt that "to him" could be deleted too, since others are affected by what happens to him, I think just leaving it at "weird crap happened would be stronger wording)
_Quantum Anomaly_, thatís what the scientists called it.
_Divine Punishment_, thatís what Lyla said it was.( I really liked the diverse conclusion you show here from 2 perspectives; the scientific "logical" side, and the old-school, faith based answer.Well done!)
Lyla needn't (needn't seems forced again when looking at the writing thus far. I would go with "Lyle did not need to" or something along those lines.)have pointed out examples, but last Tuesday she'd done it anyhow:(this whole last sentence about Lyla seems unnecessary. You do not elaborate on what she points out, but jump to another example, I feel like you are using it as a segway to the next sentence, but it reads like a thought left halfway formed)
_...And what about the parade? When you worked yourself into a lather and chased Poochie under the Miss Persimmon float, and that caused a six-float pile-up. (lol - float pileups are funny...)


I agree with tchernabyelo, the voice is good - but I felt some words were out of ordinary for the flow (as I noted above). I can't say I am overly hooked. Everette had only one friend, who is dead now (kind of) and weird things happen to him - which are somewhat ambiguous at this point. I think my problem is I don't feel any real story here. Nothing is happening. Everette isn't in danger that I know of. For all I know he just has a bit of an interesting history and could otherwise live the rest of his natural life to the end as mundane as anyone else.

Let us know whats going to happen to some degree so I want to read on.

[This message has been edited by Devnal (edited September 24, 2009).]


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Wolfe_boy
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quote:
Fact is, only one person ever treated Everett like a human being, and she was dead now, sort of.(1)
Thatís not to say Lyla had paid him much respect when she was alive, but it was _way_ better than how the townsfolk did him.(2) The residents of Zanesville had bamboozled and conned Everett for decades; so when the government scientists did some tests and told him he could make some easy money, heíd told them to go take a flying leap.(3)
Still, it _is_ true that everyone---even Everett himself---agreed that whenever he got riled, all sorts of weird crap happened to him.(4)
_Quantum Anomaly_, thatís what the scientists called it.
_Divine Punishment_, thatís what Lyla said it was.
Lyla needn't have pointed out examples, but last Tuesday she'd done it anyhow:
_...And what about the parade? When you worked yourself into a lather and chased Poochie under the Miss Persimmon float, and that caused a six-float pile-up.(5)

0. I think you're over 13 lines.
1. We are being dropped in sort of suddenly, but I like this line best of every other thing written. Massage it until it works.
2. Yeah, that's sum bad wordin oer thar.
3. Too much scene-setting/info dumping/explaining for my tastes. Work it in more naturally. Not everything needs to fit in the first 13.
4. I let it slide in the sentence prior, but really, lose all of the underscores and punctuate in good ol' fashioned Strunk & White style please. This counts for the whole piece. Also, I realize you want us to read the story in the same way you hear it in your head, but over-use of italics (which is what I'm grasping you're trying to indicate when you use _these_ damn things) quickly gets tiresome.
5. Okay, fine you want to use italics. In the previous two uses as a stand-in for quotation marks, it works because the thought being captured is short - one or two words. A full ong drawn out fully coherent thought should be handled differently, in my opinion.

As a fellow writer, I see the potential for a story underneath the grime, but there's a lot of grime. As an editor, I use my powers to rapidly transform it into the mystical origami boulder form before dropping it into the receptacle of heavenly origami boulder recycling.


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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:
Fact is, only [one person<--IMHO: Lyla ever treated Everett like a human being, and she was dead now, sort of. [At this point, I'm hoping the narrator is actually part of the story. If not, cut:Fact is]
Thatís not to say Lyla [had paid him much<--cut] respected him [when she was alive<--Cut], but it was [_way_ better<--IMHO, more] than [how<--IMHO: he got from] the townsfolk [did him<--Cut. This economizes the "telling" setup--which could better illustrated by showing the townsfolk shun him.]. [The residents of<--Cut. Unnecessary. Zanesville had bamboozled [and conned<--Redundant. Bamboozled is another way of saying Conned.] Everett for decades; so when the government scientists did some tests and told him he could make some easy money, heíd told them to go take a flying leap.<--[This is a bit info-dump-ish. What does this have to do with Lyla? Starting with Lyla (and her being dead) makes us expect something from it. Not the switch to the government.]
[Still, it _is_ true that everyone---even Everett himself---agreed that<--Cut. unecessary. Whenever [he<-->Everett got riled, all sorts of weird crap happened [to him<--Cut.]. [This, IMHO, is the sentence you should begin with. It's a hook, and it gives us a character who'll be interesting to follow.]
_Quantum Anomaly_, thatís what the scientists called it.
_Divine Punishment_, thatís what Lyla said it was.

In my opinion, you can start the story near the end, and show us--through Everett's eyes--why Lyla was important, and that the townsfolk shun him. It does make him a sympathetic character, and the last few sentences would make me trudge on, but if it was smoother and to the point, I'd be 20 pages in before I knew it.

Consider this:
When Everett got riled, all sorts of crap happened. Crap that Lyla--God rest her soul--called [i]Divine Punishment, and G-men Scientists called a [/i]Quantum Anomaly. To Everett, it was the secret which confined him to Zanesville. Even long after his only companion had fallen subject to the enigmatic recalcitrance of his power.

This is the point where you should maybe dig into the "sort of" aspect of Lyla being dead.

Hey, Jayson. Nice to see you around!

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 25, 2009).]


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zerostone
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Thanks everyone,

I've been working OT the last couple days, haven't had a chance to see your feedback.

Best to all!


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