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  1. #1
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    Excerpt I: A Place for Dying

    Feliz Piez, a nom de plume, sat on a balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea. He used an alias not only in his writings, which were many and varied and, as yet, unpublished, but in real life as well. He had decided on a life nom de plume because he was not happy with who he had become. In fact, he loathed and detested himself so much that he had been planning his death for some time.
    This person, who he was and no longer wished to be and who shall remain nameless, had seriously damaged those unfortunate enough to have established a relationship with him. Now he had to die. In order to do this he accepted the assistance of Milagro, a wise man or a charlatan, we do not know yet and may never know.
    The following is one of the first conversations Feliz recorded with Milagro.
    Milagro asked Feliz. "In one thought, tell me what you really want from life."
    Feliz thought for a moment, but only a brief moment. It was as if he had rehearsed the answer to this question all of his life.
    "What I want Milagro, is a front porch to sit on in the evening."
    Milagro waited. He knew the rest of the answer would be forthcoming. There was a long silence then Feliz continued.
    "...and a special woman next to me. I would bore her to tears of laughter with the metaphorical anecdotes of my day. She would put her arm around my shoulders, kiss me on the cheek and say, sometimes without words, 'you are my big, strong, handsome man.’"
    Then he paused, took a deep breath, sighed in his exhale and said,
    "And in return, I would die for her.”
    Milagro leaned back and closed his eyes. "What is her name?" He said,
    There was a long period of thoughtful silence. Then Feliz said softly, reverently.
    ”Her name is yesterday.”
    There was, following this, another period of silence, but this was the silence of the eternal. This was the silence that sits so heavy on a conversation that nothing can be said, nor should be. There is, in fact, a deep fear of speaking. The thoughts that run through our minds during this silence are the thoughts of deep loss, deep regret, the frailty of this body we live in and the impending last days of our lives.
    But eventually something is said and it must be the right thing. Not morally, but respectfully, giving all honor to this silence. Milagro, with the innate ability to always say the right thing at the right time, spoke.
    “In your desire to kill yourself Feliz, you are looking to find a new place to live, to settle, that will be far removed from who and what you were?” He said.
    Still fearful of the silence, Feliz could only nod in affirmation.
    “Perhaps, my intimate friend,” said Milagro, “instead of finding a new place to live, you should be seeking a place to die.”
    “But I am not ready to die Milagro,” said Feliz. Then he was struck by the contradiction in that simple response and the overarching theme of why he had taken up with Milagro in the first place, to kill himself. He felt a need to explain the contradiction and began to speak.
    “What I mean Milagro is that…”
    Milagro interrupted.
    “I know what you mean. I understand the contradiction that statement presents for you.”
    He continued, “A place to die is not a place of death, it is a place of final living. A place with your front porch.”
    “I would love to find this place,” said Feliz.
    “Then stop looking,” said Milagro, then he stood, walked to a tree nearby, sat down, crossed his arms, put his head on his chest and fell asleep.
    Feliz followed him, picked a spot near him, sat and closed his eyes, waiting for Milagro to speak in his sleep as he often did. While he waited, he drifted off and had a dream. In the dream was a front porch and a woman sitting in a chair. As he approached, she stood quickly, smiled broadly, held her arms out and embraced him. Then she whispered softly in his ear.
    “Welcome home my big, strong, handsome man.”
    When Feliz awoke Milagro was sitting at the table. He had ordered tacos and beer. Feliz brushed himself off and sat across from Milagro.
    They ate heartily and when they had finished Milagro reached over and took Feliz’ hand. It was a strangely intimate gesture that made Feliz uncomfortable.
    Milagro spoke softly.
    "Her name was yesterday and you will never see her again. This is not a metaphor or a puzzle, enigma or a conundrum. It is a Master Truth. Time cannot be turned back,”*he said.
    Feliz sighed deeply, he had hoped that, in this process*of dying to himself, Milagro would help him recover this mistake, undo it, and bring yesterday back, somehow.
    Milagro did not respond to the sighs of Feliz. Often we do that, someone sighs and we ask “What's wrong?" But that was not Milagro. He believed a sigh was the heart expressing a desire and he was not concerned with the desires of Feliz Piez. He was only concerned with helping him experience his life and dying.
    He waited until Feliz ceased his heartfelt emotional entreaties then said.
    "I have seen one man bring his yesterday into his today.”
    Feliz sat up straight and leaned forward with great interest. With excitement in his voice he said,
    "How can I do that? Who is this man? Can I meet him?”
    “No,” said Milagro. “In bringing his yesterday into his today, he died.”
    Feliz sat back and slumped in his chair, sighing heavily over and over again in deep despair.
    "That is sad and unfortunate for me,” said Feliz.
    "Perhaps not," said Milagro and then with a wry smile he said, ”The day he had his yesterday was worth all of his days combined, and it was the happiest day of my life.”



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    Feliz Piez should work on his writing. First "Feliz Piez, a nom de plume, sat on a balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea." is confusing because it makes it sound as if Feliz Piez's entire being is a nom de plume, rather than just his name.

    The dialog formatting is really wonky. Such as:
    Milagro asked Feliz. "In one thought, tell me what you really want from life."
    Should be: Milagro asked Feliz, "In one..."

    And this whole exchange here:
    Milagro leaned back and closed his eyes. "What is her name?" He said,
    There was a long period of thoughtful silence. Then Feliz said softly, reverently.
    ”Her name is yesterday.”
    Milagro leaned back and closed his eyes. He said, "What is her name?"
    There was a long period of thoughtful silence. Then Feliz said softly, reverently, ”Her name is yesterday.”

    Milagro interrupted.
    “I know what you mean.
    Milagro interrupted, “I know what you mean.

    Starting to get it?

    sighed in his exhale
    You can't sigh inwards. You can inhale, which is the opposite of exhale.

    If you choose to repost after making changes, always put an extra space between paragraphs of the post so it doesn't run together like this. Fortunately your example is mostly dialog so it doesn't matter as much.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to read my submission. I will take your input under consideration. Oh, two things. By your response, I made my point with the nom de plume. It is his whole life that he wishes to be an alias and I tried sighing and it ends with an exhale, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. Thanks again. Hopefully, my next submission will have at least one small part that touches you.
    Feliz Piez

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feliz Piez View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to read my submission. I will take your input under consideration. Oh, two things. By your response, I made my point with the nom de plume. It is his whole life that he wishes to be an alias and I tried sighing and it ends with an exhale, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. Thanks again. Hopefully, my next submission will have at least one small part that touches you.
    Feliz Piez
    You said "sighed IN his exhale." Maybe you think that means "sighed during his exhale?" It can all be cut down to "he sighed" or "he exhaled" or "he inhaled."

  5. #5
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    Reads like a report because it's written like one. Problem is, readers want it to read like a novel. You cannot tell the reader how they should read it, as you do in your introduction, because they're the customer. They expect to pick up the story, begin reading, and be entertained, from page one. But in this we are never on the scene. Instead, a narrator, whose voice contains not a trace of emotion, is talking about people we've not been made to care about. Why, for example, would a reader want to know what someone they know nothing about wants from life? Are you dying to know what the other members of this forum want from their life? You might, but only if you first knew enough about them that it matters to you.

    As someone just beginning the story I want to learn, early, what's going on and why it's interesting enough that I want to know more. But learning that someone I know nothing about in an unknown location near the sea, who is of unknown age, with an unknown background, wants a front porch and a woman is not on my list of things I'm dying to know.

    Story happens. But in this, someone external to the scene is talking about what the people in it are talking about. But we don't know why they're there, what led to the remark, and why it matters. I strongly suggest you read this letter that David Mamet wrote to his staff about talking heads, which is what you have here. I would also suggest you do some research into the basics of writing fiction for the printed word. It's not a skill we were taught in our school days.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the read.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I am writing these Excerpts as a healing process for myself, it is my reconstructed healing narrative. I understand completely what you are saying. I have read the top 100 classics at least three times. I am a student of classical literature and the greatest writers from Socrates to Cervantes to Faulkner. What I saw in some of the greatest works of history was a willingness to take a different route, a new paradigm. That is what I am doing. This is not an excuse to write whatever and however I wish, it is a mandate from my own spirit that says this is how I write. These Excerpts are not for mainstream readers. it is not easy reading and will probably never be a great seller in my life time. I am fine with that. I chose to tell the reader to not expect anything from the book for a reason. It is a series of connected short stories. I can tell the reader whateve I wish. "I don't have to live in your world, I have created one of my own." I hope you do not take this as offensive. I sincerely appreciate your input and your thoughts. It is one opinion and I do value it. Thanks again Jay and good luck to you in your writing endeavors. Feliz

  7. #7
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    I am writing these Excerpts as a healing process for myself,
    More power to you. I hope it helps. But only you have context to make it meaningful. Never forget that intent dribbles from your words at the keyboard. When you read, every line points to memories, incidents, images, and more, all residing in your head. And because you begin reading with knowledge of the intent of each line it all makes sense. But for the reader, who begins reading without either context or your intent, every line points to memories, incidents, images, and more, all residing in your head. Not much help for a reader there.
    I have read the top 100 classics at least three times.
    First, you see only the finished product, with the "tool marks" polished away. So reading fiction teaches you damn little about the process of writing. But of more importance, even were that reading to make you capable of writing a story just as good, you wasted your time, because there is no market for a writing style that went out of favor long ago. If you want to sell in today's market you write for today's customers. It's that simple.
    it is a mandate from my own spirit that says this is how I write.
    Unfortunately, your spirit forgot to notify the publishing industry of your brilliance. An oversight, perhaps, but one that's going to hurt your chances, given that you're in competition with people whose spirit told them to take the time to learn what the medium requires of them.

    But you obviously aren't interested in fitting yourself to the market, and the market isn't going to it itself to you, so I'll just wish you success in your literary endeavors.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Jay

    I am working on my skills. I understand I have a long way to go. What I appreciate from you is your objective non-vitriolic critiques. Your presentation is straightforward without the nastiness of other critiques. I have a thick skin, but I also have a sharp mind. If someone is constantly "angry" sounding in their critiques, they lose objectivity and therefore they lessen their reliability and validity as critics. Thank you again for taking the time for this work. "Excerpts" is my "experiment" right or wrong. What I will be doing shortly is submitting writings that are not part of the life of "Feliz Piez." I will take the time now to review your works as contemporary examples of writing that has some sweat and tears in it. Feliz

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feliz Piez View Post
    I am working on my skills. I understand I have a long way to go. What I appreciate from you is your objective non-vitriolic critiques. Your presentation is straightforward without the nastiness of other critiques. I have a thick skin, but I also have a sharp mind. If someone is constantly "angry" sounding in their critiques, they lose objectivity and therefore they lessen their reliability and validity as critics. Thank you again for taking the time for this work. "Excerpts" is my "experiment" right or wrong. What I will be doing shortly is submitting writings that are not part of the life of "Feliz Piez." I will take the time now to review your works as contemporary examples of writing that has some sweat and tears in it. Feliz
    Thick skin? HAHAHAHAHA...Sorry, bub, everything I told you was a fact. Learn how to format dialog. "sighed in his exhale" is an example of using 4 words when 1 will do. You show that to an agent or editor's intern and they hit DELETE and move on. I'm sorry you hate to hear the truth told plainly; if you really had a thick skin it wouldn't bother you so much.

  10. #10
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    Im not bothered. I'm actually humored by your delusion of being a writer who thinks he's the next Mickey Spillane....you're funny. Write something original. I read your little story. Really, you're a writer? I'm sorry you are dealing with integrity vs despair in your life. Up your meds.

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