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Thread: Leaving Hope

  1. #11
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    I'll agree with the others about too much back story. You need to stop the navel gazing and have him DOING something.



  2. #12
    A.J. Fisk
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    I've known a few, as well. From looking into it they're not all angry. They're not all full of self-pity. Some are just resigned (as the character in the story is). Full to the brim on life and ready to take his exit. However, it is a bit muddled with back story but to have it make sense I didn't see another route.

    Before I cut anything I had a few sentences describing his active working life but it seemed to fall flat. His career was a large motivator in committing suicide. To him, it was redundant and useless; just another way to slowly kill himself. He was so far into it (as I tried to show above) that he wasn't looking for help. He was just too tired, too fed up with it all to try anything new.

    If it approaches cliche and a Hollywood escapade then I'm sorry... but that's just his story. (And for the record, I'm not angry, just trying to hammer this story out because I think it has potential.) I was thinking about a different approach in the rewrite, something more active where it was less tell and more show. I'm just not certain that doing it that way will fix it or cause new problems with the narrative.

    I'll write up a bit of the new approach then post it here. Thanks again for the insights.

    -Adam

  3. #13
    L Bea
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Adam,

    Consider this: rather than re-writing it to show his life and how he got to this point, what is he DOING as he reflects on all of these things that day? Is he just sitting in a chair and this whole narrative is rolling round in his head or is it indeed backstory? Could you have him doing things that day as he thinks it all out so this takes on more dimension and we can "see" the character more?

    I saw a movie years ago with Cissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft. I think it was Goodnight Mother or something like that. Anyway, the whole movie is just dialogue (some of it quite dramatic) between the two of them as Cissy does chores around the house. The reason for what she does at the end of the movie (suicide) is disclosed throughout their dialogue. It was just one continuous scene and just the two of them the entire movie (if I remember right).

    Anyway, it's a concept I thought I'd throw out there to help spark some ideas for you as you try to give this thing more dimension.

    ~Bea

  4. #14
    A.J. Fisk
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Thanks for that insight, Bea. It didn't actually occur to me to show what he was doing throughout (in my head he was back in his chair outside, watching the woods and the lake). I think I'll try that in another version because the back story is important... however, it is missing something and what you proposed might just be it.

    Also, I did start a fresh sample. Just something to get the gears turning towards a more active narration. I'll try both ways in separate versions and see how well they work out.

    Here's the first bit.

    -Adam

    ----------


    Everything was quiet. The house, empty. Susan, my wife, had taken the kids out to some amusement park. To a place where they could let loose all of that pent up energy that they couldnít seem to do here.

    It was so quiet; the need to move, to run after a child that had escaped from the bath, gone. There would be peace, at least for a few more hours. Plenty of time to finish writing this note. Plenty of time to rethink this decision. It could be the end or the beginning.

    Standing there in front of the lifeless fireplace, my eyes half-closed, looking at my favorite picture. My family smiled out at me. Susanís arms were draped around my shoulders, our two children standing in front of us, their smiles so wide. My lips were parted in a crooked grin; my eyes, melancholy.

    I couldnít hold back the inevitable tears. The note in my hand crinkled as my fingers came together in a fist. The day the picture was taken was on my Fatherís birthday. He had been dead for two years at that point. When the picture was taken, it would have been about four years since the last time I talked to him.

  5. #15
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Meh, it's still just him standing around ruminating.

  6. #16
    A.J. Fisk
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Yeah, because that's the story. It's not one about firefights and spooning in the bedroom. It is what it is and it's not for everybody. So, please, unless you have something to add--real, true criticism (positive or otherwise) please keep it to yourself.

    -Adam

  7. #17
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Oh, you're going to be one of THOSE kind of posters. You can go read my short stories here and tell me how many of them have firefights and spooning. Most people don't want to read a story about your guy picking lint from his navel. Deal with it. And yes I've seen this type of story before, though usually it involves someone standing on the edge of a building or something looking down, like that Collective Soul song "The World That I Know"

  8. #18
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Hmmm. I was contemplating reading this when I had time for something that long, but it looks like I'd be getting back argumentation and justifications for saying what my initial impressions are--which is all you get from a reader who buys it off a bookshelf. So, I'll give it a pass.

  9. #19
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    You can read the lyrics to the song I mentioned here:
    <http://www.pandora.com/music/song/collective+soul/world+i+know#lyrics>

  10. #20
    Chuffy Martin
    Guest

    Re: Leaving Hope

    Hey, I thought the first half was really good. I don't normally post but this piece of writing prompted me to make the effort to log in. I found myself really wanting to know what would happen. I did, however, skim through the second half so I think something needs to be changed.

    Stick to your vision. As you say, you are not writing an action adventure.

    Chuffy,

    PS The title is rather bland.

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