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  1. #1
    Senior Member Kyle Anderson's Avatar
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    "A Quiet Man" first few pages...

    Alright, I thought I could stay away from writing for a bit turns out, I can't! So, here is a new project I'm working on and is not related to the novel in the "Second novel is under way!" thread.

    ONE.

    Daylight is violent to my darkened eyes and even the fluorescent bulbs at work draw out any existing energy. I’d give anything just to go back to bed, but this is the only job I’ve found in my six month search and I had to move into the basement of a woman’s house because I couldn’t pay rent on my studio apartment. I avoid her at all costs, because as truth would have it, she smells everything she comes in contact with like a bloodhound. Her olfactory fixation ranges from the wafting of food into her nostrils to the downright bizarre sniffing of her shoes before she puts them on. I’ve actually witnessed that one.

    “Marlboro 72 menthol please.” A voice disrupted my daydreaming and even though I was looking directly at the customer, I couldn’t hear her. The short, chubby ginger-haired woman had broken my train of thought and it took me a good twelve seconds to process her request for cancer. I knew this line of work didn’t exactly fit me like a glove, which is probably why I didn’t give a damn about write ups or time card discrepancies. I spend the hours of my shift thinking about what could’ve been and the lives that have weaved in and out of my existence on this earth.

    My work uniform is teetering on “too tight” and my brown hair is too thin to style. I’m a middle-aged man with a liver that has seen better days and I wear thick-bottomed shoes to add inches to my five foot two frame. Rain clouds hinder the start of everyday and even on my days off, those clouds aren’t far behind me. I couldn’t chase away these clouds with a 10,000-candle power spotlight and their fixture roots from a messy divorce and a lost custody battle. I lost my bride and daughter at the same time I lost my previous job and it’s been nothing but booze and minimum wage since.

    “David, these items need to be shelved before you leave tonight and make sure the store looks good, we might be having a visit from corporate soon.” My boss, who was a good ten years younger than me, always talked to me as if I were the only person on duty. Most of his orders traveled into my inner ear, bounced off the cash register, and winded up somewhere in I Don’t Give A **** land. I nodded my head as if I were eager to tackle the list he had just blabbed.

    I somehow managed to score the next couple days off, which only meant one thing: cheap vodka and cigars. It also meant that photo albums that contained my old life in a series of still shots would haunt me. The top of my dusty oak dresser was covered in leather bound books full of photos. It’s amazing how only one picture can send you into a cave where faint laughter and warmth surround you only for a second until you hit the cold concrete wall of reality. That second of warmth was brought on by my daughters smile and the campy Holiday backdrop of our family portrait last Christmas. I was overcome with joy as I kept turning the pages, so much that I needed to sit on my bed. I didn’t even care that the glass of vodka was leaving a ring on my nightstand. The only thing that could make me cry was the past, and once I closed the book and looked at my reflection in the vanity, I knew the past would never release me.

    Day two of my freedom was spent visiting my mother in the nursing home. I was the only child who still visited her. My brother moved to the east coast and married a nice man, hence his absence from seeing my mother as their relationship wasn’t the best and both of my sisters moved south to open a business. I was bound to this small town in Missouri as the divorce dried up any savings I had and child support took half of my bi-weekly income.

    “David Shaw in to see Judith Shaw.” I found it absurd that I still had to identify myself seeing as I visited weekly. The carpet of the elevator floor had been stained even more than last week and the gold handrails were more smudged up. It hurt me that I couldn’t afford a better place for my ailing mother, and I knew my brother would refuse to cough up any money for a more suitable place. I loved him but his dramatics were annoying and made him look selfish. My sisters were barely breaking even with their scrap booking business and asking them for help seemed out of the question.



  2. #2
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    I like the voice, really. I like the character and the situation he's in. Those are two HUGE pluses.

    But... it's loose, flabby actually. The story seems to bounce from once instance to another with no interior direction or design. The fact that you've got maybe three manuscript pages here without a hint of sustaining conflict or a clue as to where this is headed bears that out. But... I do like that voice and the character. Don't know if this intended to grow into a short story or a novel, but either way, put some effort into establishing a story structure--beginning, middle, end--sort of like a steering current to help you shape it. Lots of promise here. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kyle Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    I like the voice, really. I like the character and the situation he's in. Those are two HUGE pluses.

    But... it's loose, flabby actually. The story seems to bounce from once instance to another with no interior direction or design. The fact that you've got maybe three manuscript pages here without a hint of sustaining conflict or a clue as to where this is headed bears that out. But... I do like that voice and the character. Don't know if this intended to grow into a short story or a novel, but either way, put some effort into establishing a story structure--beginning, middle, end--sort of like a steering current to help you shape it. Lots of promise here. Thanks for posting.
    Well, thank you first of all! Yes, this is only a little taste and I have to see which direction it goes in terms of a short story or novel. The character, David, is at an obvious crossroads in life and his mother has Alzheimer's. He lost his great job and is kind of just floating through life (hence the loose-ness you feel at the beginning) and is waiting for the next thing to snap him out of his slump. That is all I have for now, but the story will develop as I write.

    I also plan on flash-backing to when David had his own family and times weren't so tough.

  4. #4
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    I somehow managed to score the next couple days off, which only meant one thing: cheap vodka and cigars.

    That's two things.

    I avoid her at all costs, because as truth would have it, she smells everything she comes in contact with like a bloodhound.

    Why do you need "as truth would have it." What does that add to the line? Nothing.

    The carpet of the elevator floor had been stained even more than last week and the gold handrails were more smudged up.

    Poorly constructed sentence. And so what? Every line has to add something to the story. This isn't adding anything. It's just chatter.

    Rain clouds hinder the start of everyday and even on my days off, those clouds aren’t far behind me. I couldn’t chase away these clouds with a 10,000-candle power spotlight and their fixture roots from a messy divorce and a lost custody battle. I lost my bride and daughter at the same time I lost my previous job and it’s been nothing but booze and minimum wage since.

    Can you see how this rambles on? That's some jump from the clouds to the candle to "fixture roots" to a divorce to minimum wage.

    You're talking too much. The whole thing needs a good chop. There's a lot of telling, not much showing.
    Last edited by leslee; 12-05-2011 at 07:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kyle Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leslee View Post
    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    I somehow managed to score the next couple days off, which only meant one thing: cheap vodka and cigars.

    That's two things.

    I avoid her at all costs, because as truth would have it, she smells everything she comes in contact with like a bloodhound.

    Why do you need "as truth would have it." What does that add to the line? Nothing.

    The carpet of the elevator floor had been stained even more than last week and the gold handrails were more smudged up.

    Poorly constructed sentence. And so what? Every line has to add something to the story. This isn't adding anything. It's just chatter.

    Rain clouds hinder the start of everyday and even on my days off, those clouds aren’t far behind me. I couldn’t chase away these clouds with a 10,000-candle power spotlight and their fixture roots from a messy divorce and a lost custody battle. I lost my bride and daughter at the same time I lost my previous job and it’s been nothing but booze and minimum wage since.

    Can you see how this rambles on? That's some jump from the clouds to the candle to "fixture roots" to a divorce to minimum wage.

    You're talking too much. The whole thing needs a good chop. There's a lot of telling, not much showing.
    I took some things into consideration. Thank you!

  6. #6
    Robin Teeter
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    Too many words, with little to no substantiation or importance, is boring to me. You haven't shown me David is suffering from an emotional overload.

    ---
    "David! Shelve these before you leave tonight. Corporate's comin' tomorrow. If things are shabby, our asses are history!" I listened to his drill and slammed the cash register drawer shut. This asshole doesn't give a crap about me or my problems. I've lost my wife, my kid, and now I'm stuck working with this idiot. Good thing Jim Beam is my friend; I can't wait to finish off a fifth after work.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leslee View Post
    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    The carpet of the elevator floor had been stained even more than last week and the gold handrails were more smudged up.

    Poorly constructed sentence. And so what? Every line has to add something to the story. This isn't adding anything. It's just chatter.

    .
    I liked this line. It conjures up an image of a dreary, neglected nursing home, with dirt piling up on top of last week's dirt...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kyle Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    I liked this line. It conjures up an image of a dreary, neglected nursing home, with dirt piling up on top of last week's dirt...
    Which is why I'm keeping it


    Thank you!

  9. #9
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    At least clean it up.

  10. #10
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    (And thank you, Jayce.)

    In my opinion, the line is completely predictable and poorly phrased. But, Kyle, if you're happy with it, keep it. It's your book.
    Last edited by leslee; 12-06-2011 at 04:27 PM.

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