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  1. #1
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    critique first 5 pages of novel?

    Part I
    “You love me,” Maddy said.
    "No I don't."
    "You love me."
    "Love when expressed gets halved."
    "So you love me."
    "No I don’t."
    "Yes you do."
    “Maybe,” Jaime said, looking down onto the ground, eyebrows pinched into a cartoonish straight line.
    “You love me.” Maddy said again.
    “Why the **** would you want to know,” Jaime said. 80’s music spilled out of the frat-house, onto the parking lot, which at this time of night look a black lagoon in some Southeast Asian ****hole, naked natives dancing somewhere in the thicket beyond. Jaime had seen this in a movie she had seen on television.
    “I hate my life, I really do.”
    “I know you do. Well it’s not returned; I wouldn’t want you to get caught up in all this lesbian hocus pocus.”
    Jaime looked up at Maddy and laughed. The words whore's poker occurred to her. Jaime was good of nature. She all of a sudden wanted to make out with Maddy and grope her.
    “Let’s talk in one of these cars.” She tried one door. It was locked. She grabbed Maddy by the collar and pulled her to another car. It too was locked; the alarm went off. When Jaime looked up again Maddy had slipped away from her jacket and had disappeared. Occasionally, Maddy ditched Jaime like this. Jaime ran away from the alarm and once safely out of distance, looked around for her, Maddy (Her Maddy), but she was gone, again. Jaime left for her dorm and bed. She lied face down, nose in Maddy's jacket, titillating her own olfactory bulbs until she fell asleep, exhausted from too-much-pleasure.
    __
    Maddy smelled like the Lot 7 forest she emerged out of, so Jaime imagined: earthy and warm, like a mudcake, or a newly baked brick.
    __
    The afternoon after Maddy left her to perform unnatural and bizarre acts on her grandfather’s Coast Guard jacket, Maddy came over with a handle of gin. “She didn’t always stay, but she always came back”, Jaime told Maddy in that third person and past tense. Jaime did not notice the sneer that her mouth curled up into. Jaime never noticed much. Jaime wrapped her arms around Maddy and peered into her full length mirror with her eyes peeking out from above her shoulder. Maddy looked over.
    “What are those marks on your face?”
    “What marks?”
    “Come on, what are they?”
    “Marks of Cain. From the fingernails of some dark god. It means that I’ve done something wrong and need to be punished. I don’t know exactly what it is that I’ve done wrong, thus why I’m confused all the time.”
    “I’m so sorry.”
    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “I love you too; I love you because you need someone to love you.”
    “Ok, great.”
    “Is that just a big turn off? I can take it back”
    “Love is a coarse word. I don’t know what it means. It means too many things. It’s a throwaway word. Garbage, trash, refuse - word.”
    But then she knew exactly what it meant: a dream she might have had in the womb, or maybe as a small child, or maybe earlier in evolution, as a trilobite.
    Jaime continued, "Actually, it’s an embarrassing word. I prefer not to use it. What, exactly, is redeeming about being so vulnerable. I want to turn myself into a mailbox, or a baked brick. Nothing bothers. Nothing to bother."
    __
    Take off your watch before you take off that skin-tight scuba gear. Stop being so upset all the time.
    __
    The next Friday was another late night with Maddy, on Saturday Jaime slept all afternoon and woke up at night. Maddy called. They are out at The Drunk Bengali – come by, damnit. And don’t meditate or anything before you do. Jaime asked who they were. Maddy said they were the Ville-folk, residents of The Ville, a settlement of houses in the woods a mile away from the wealthy small town that was Moosemore, which is to say they were Jaime’s old neighbors, plus Gary, who had just gotten out of jail for unpaid parking tickets. Maddy and Jaime had heard through the grapevine that he had been in jail before that, at least once. The first time, he had stolen a car somewhere and been caught in Utah, some time ago – the time line confused both Jaime and Maddy, because after all he was only one year older than Jaime and two older than Maddy, so where would he have found the time to do all this time in prison.
    Gary bought whiskey shots for everyone. Jaime declined. She decided after the last long night that she would turn a new leaf, as it were. She would stop drinking so much; she would do her work. She wouldn’t poison herself, as much, anymore.
    “What the hell took you so long,” Maddy said, “I told you not to meditate before coming here.” Jaime had taken two hours to wake up, check her email, and get dressed. It took her 10 minutes to do those things, and an hour and 50 minutes to sit at her computer, with headphones on her head, making hardly a move, listening to music, from the 80’s (repetitive, intergalactic sounds – nothing delicate to tip toe around). Only afterward did she felt alright about getting up and going out.
    “I couldn’t help it.”
    “I’m already enlightened; you’re in a remedial class.”
    “Some people are farther along the path than others.”
    “Hey come here – I’ve been leading that guy on all night,” she said pointing to Gary. Maddy was a very promiscuous woman. But then again, so was Jaime. Whenever Jaime thought of that thing, her mind-brain complex would send out no uncertain signals: think about something else or it would refuse to think about anything at all.
    “Go for it,” Jaime said.
    Maddy drank some of her beer and slammed the glass down on the table, causing the table to wobble and her drink to spill.
    “Poor drunk Maddy.” Jaime had read the DSM. Sociopaths often act bizarrely and give people the contemptods when they are drunk. Jaime’s contemptods gave her warm fellow feelings in her belly.
    “Yea, no one likes me when I’m drunk.”
    “Everyone likes sober Maddy, only Maddy doesn’t like sober Maddy. Maddy gets drunk makes a big mess. Maddy gets drunk and cuts off half her hair,” Jaime stroked the shaved side of Maddy’s head. Everyone noticed. Maddy froze up, which everyone also noticed.
    “Hey, you, I got some money for you,” Maddy said to Gary
    “It’s been burning a hole in her pocket.” Maddy had been looking for some time to buy weed from someone, but the Jaime-Maddy duo had very few friends and acquaintances, so it had been much tougher than it should have been on this college campus. Gary’s release from Jail solved Maddy’s problems however, because he earned his keep in this world by selling pot. Gary had a shopping bag full of it with him. He measured out an eighth of an ounce with a plastic cigarette case wrapper.
    Mike was talking to an unseen party on the phone, head cocked to the side, his mouth open, eyes rolled to the back of his head. Lindsey was high as a kite and making eyes at Mike. Roger was trying to pour himself another beer without Bob the owner seeing. Moosemore students were industrious-sorts. Ville-folk were all out of sorts in an extreme way. Jaime had rejected both ways of life and moved on, as she sought to reject everything she had and move on, to make sure that she had nothing, which is as she wanted it at any given time. She was aware of an undertow, though – a chink in her plans – when she looked at Maddy.
    “I think we’re going to call it a night,” Lindsey said, “and head back to the ‘Ville. Want to come along?”
    “Not really,” Jaime said. She did not want to waste any more of her time. She had already wasted all of it. She didn’t want Maddy to leave either.
    Maddy stood still.
    “I’ve been leading that guy on all night.”
    “How are you going to get back?”
    “I’ll stay over”
    “Don’t you ever want to stay in, ever?”
    “Sometimes, not now.”
    Gary was hitting himself over the head with an empty box of cigarettes.
    “You sure you want to go with him?”
    “Coming?” the neighbor said.
    Maddy stood still for a second.
    “Wait up, I’m coming”
    “All right, fine. bye,” Jaime turned went into The Drunk Bengali without looking back at her. A bald-headed man bought her drinks, with whom she made distracted conversation. Jaime walked back to the college-run house alone and watched a movie, lying on a fake sofa in the fake living room, watching its television, which spun with more force the more intently she tried to focus and make sense of the program, which she tried to do for purely moral reasons. She wasn’t really very interested.



  2. #2
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    So here's the thing.

    I'm a huge e.e. cummings fan. I like reading modern, unusual writing every now and again, and I would certainly take a chance on a novel written like yours - IF - and it's a big if - it's perfectly polished and grabs me immediately.

    This isn't perfectly polished, and to be honest I don't know how much we can help, because it's very much your own style. I guess I can say that I feel like it needs to be tighter. I feel like you need to cut words all over the place, everywhere they're non-essential. Rambling is one thing, rambling and ODD is another. If you're going to be ODD you'd better be tight.

    You need the intro to be punchier. Put us somewhere else, these two girls talking about nothing is not a good enough intro. Look at the first line of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - "Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.”

    That's a great first line! He can go and start talking about whatever he likes, and writing in a style many people had NEVER seen before, and it's ok. We have to keep reading after that line. He's also extrememly tight with his words, there's very little fat in any of his sentences. Compare that sort of line to your intro:

    “You love me,” Maddy said.
    "No I don't."
    "You love me."

    It's so "you hang up - no, you hang up..." I'm not pulled in. If you're going to write off-the-wall prose, back it up with some off-the-wall content - right off the bat, then drop us into following these girls. Give us something to show us that the extra effort required to read your different writing style is worth it.

  3. #3
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    Man, oh, man.

    This needs work, to put it nicely.

    Any sentence with "she lied face down" is just painful. Why did you use "lied"?????

    Forget about your query for now. Don't need one yet.

    Sorry. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    Should I post the bunny pic again?
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  5. #5
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    Yes. It's like the shoe. It fits. Ha ha ha ha.

  6. #6
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    How 'bout some pancakes instead, Keith? I used to love them suckers...piled high, with Wisconsin-made butter and maple syrup slathered between each one.

    *_*

  7. #7
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    Oh, now you're posting your work for critique?

    I thought you didn't want to hobnob with the lowbrows.
    Last edited by leslee; 08-10-2011 at 05:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Paragraph breaks help, m'kay?

  9. #9
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    contemptods?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    Luvs me some pancakes, Kitts. Or French toast. I may have to swing by Cracker Barrel on the way to work tomorrow!
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

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