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Author Topic: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?  (Read 1361 times)

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daytime drinking

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would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« on: November 15, 2012, 12:28:50 PM »

i'm writing a short story called The man who would buy a boat.  it's six pages long right now, a few critical (imo) areas i'm struggling with.  the story's about a man who woke up one afternoon in a landfill after dying, meeting god, and being born again.  with clarity now and no money, he sets off to buy a boat.  can he do it??
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poach eggs, not elephants

daytime drinking

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 01:54:09 AM »

well why wouldn't you want to read this?  certainly this is the proper forum for me to whore
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poach eggs, not elephants

Dan

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 01:49:57 PM »

Well, I don't feel like someone who has any ability to give constructive feedback on a short story. That's not to say I'm not interested in reading it.
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luisterpaul

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2017, 03:14:12 PM »

Well, if he can die, meet god, then come back to life, surely he can buy a boat. How much can it cost? Ten dollars?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 04:53:57 PM by luisterpaul »
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Dan

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2017, 04:20:05 PM »

Anyone who can die and come back again has got some fun powers. He can probably sell his story, and use the proceeds for the boat!
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Dizzy

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2017, 12:53:27 AM »

No man with clarity has ever thought "I should buy a boat". Owning a boat is only for those foolhardy types that think it won't happen to me.  It being an infinite number of problem that they have no idea about until after they have taken ownership. I'm cautious even being friends with someone that owns a boat after a few interesting trips with people in the past. 

But if the boat is the antagonist in the story that I would totally believe that. Boats can be real dicks.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2017, 11:13:13 AM »

So did he ever buy the boat?

That was actually good feedback.

IMO, the major sticking point in the premise is that background story is more interesting than the actual story.  Someone died and met God.  That's what people want to know about.  Not buying a boat.  Buying a boat is an inherently non-mysterious and non-interesting task.  You accumulate some money, find a seller, buy a boat.

Whenever someone meets God, the story is about man's relationship with God.  Otherwise, why is God in the story?  He is too powerful a symbol to be reduced to a side character.  The boat then, is merely a McGuffin-esque device to root the story in the real world and give the protagonist something to do while he explores his relationship with God.

So the trick is to figure out why God wants him to buy this boat, or alternatively what about dying/afterlife/God would cause someone to desire a boat?  Maybe this dude doesn't know either.  But that's the riddle that provides the tension, and the search for the answer is the journey.

That's a complicated thing to try to tackle in a short story, so you had your work cut out for you.

When I write short stories they don't have any symbolism or allegories, the story itself is the allegory.  It's the only way I can pack enough into a short space.  Explanations or background or philosophical type stuff take up too much time.  The short story is a single event, followed in real-time, and it's pretty much all action. 

I write them like the short story is actually the conclusion to a longer book.  Then the reader has to write the rest of the story themselves.  Like how did this guy get here?  Was this a happy ending or a sad ending? What would happen if there were a sequel? 

I just try to describe a single snapshot of a life like the reader stumbled upon it in an attic somewhere.  You give them all the details of that single snapshot and those become clues as the reader tries on their own to figure out exactly how that snapshot came to be taken, and how it ended up in this attic.

daytime drinking

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2017, 09:36:15 AM »

thanks for the responses y'all.  the dying, meeting god happens towards the end.  and god came in the form of a burrito wrapper.  the boat scene is immediately after.  i occasionally go back in my mind about this story as i've written a few since.

that's some good advice zk.  it was mostly written unintentionally a in stream of consciousness, if i'm using the term correctly which is how i write.  i haven't tried to advance anything in particular since i finished it.  but yeah, why would god want him to buy a boat?  that's a fun question to ponder

i'm not quite sure how to link the story from my gmail blogger thing 
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Dan

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 10:15:19 AM »

No man with clarity has ever thought "I should buy a boat". Owning a boat is only for those foolhardy types that think it won't happen to me.  It being an infinite number of problem that they have no idea about until after they have taken ownership. I'm cautious even being friends with someone that owns a boat after a few interesting trips with people in the past. 

But if the boat is the antagonist in the story that I would totally believe that. Boats can be real dicks.

Didn't MacGyver or Duncan McCleod (or both) live on a houseboat? Those two both seemed like men of clarity. I think that if they could do it, perhaps it's not entirely out of question.

I do wonder what the logistics of it would be, though. I remember that Derek Bell, the former baseball player for the Pirates and Mets, lived on a boat while living in NYC. He just figured it would be easier than dealing with the NYC housing market.
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daytime drinking

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 11:12:48 AM »

i'm pretty sure bronson arroyo lives on a houseboat
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poach eggs, not elephants

Dizzy

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 11:33:46 AM »

No man with clarity has ever thought "I should buy a boat". Owning a boat is only for those foolhardy types that think it won't happen to me.  It being an infinite number of problem that they have no idea about until after they have taken ownership. I'm cautious even being friends with someone that owns a boat after a few interesting trips with people in the past. 

But if the boat is the antagonist in the story that I would totally believe that. Boats can be real dicks.

Didn't MacGyver or Duncan McCleod (or both) live on a houseboat? Those two both seemed like men of clarity. I think that if they could do it, perhaps it's not entirely out of question.

I do wonder what the logistics of it would be, though. I remember that Derek Bell, the former baseball player for the Pirates and Mets, lived on a boat while living in NYC. He just figured it would be easier than dealing with the NYC housing market.

Well, a house boat, like a working boat, is a different animal. Their primary purpose is to live or work on so any maintenance would be considered normal upkeep on a land house.  And house boats rarely move so you can even have just a barge, like Highlander lived on.  I was commenting on a pleasure boat. 
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Dan

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 01:28:22 PM »

I was teasing anyway. ;-)

Although now I kind of want to see a series where MacGyver and Highlander compare their houseboats and solve problems together.
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euro60

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 02:07:47 PM »

Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice (played by Don Johnson) lived on a house boat. With his pet crocodile, if memory serves me right.

So there you go. Practically another story in the making!
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luisterpaul

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 01:12:11 PM »

My dad started sailing when I was a kid, gradually buying ever larger sailboats until retirement, and his body was no longer up for hauling sails up masts. Most of those years he kept his boat at this one marina on the Chesapeake. Across from the dock store was a houseboat that never left port. The owners would come down now and again for a weekend, but mostly it was home to one of the marina's families of not-quite-feral cats.

I would spend my summer days at the marina doing young boy things: Fishing, reading, getting sunburned. One day I was walking from one place to another (couldn't tell you what those two places were now) when I heard, just on the edge of hearing, a kitten meowing. It sounded distressed, and was coming from the direction of the houseboat. I went over to investigate, the meowing growing louder as I approached. A momma cat was hunched at the edge of the houseboat's deck, peering down into the water, surrounded by her litter of kittens. I peered down into the water, too. There, clinging to a pylon, was her kitten, soaked to the bone, crying out at the top of its tiny lungs. Momma cat watched me, eyes wide, as I lay on the dock and reached down. It being high tide the kitten was just within reach. I had to pry its tiny claws away from the pylon. I scooped it up and placed it on the deck by momma, who immediately started cleaning it. The family wandered off to safer parts of the houseboat, momma cat never leaving the kitten alone.
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Dan

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Re: would anyone care to give some constructive feedback?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 01:16:19 PM »

That's adorable paul!

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