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Read this story!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Ok, for Writer's Craft I had to write a short story, and since Writing will probably be my lifetime craft, I'd like as much feedback as possible. Here ya go!

    The Mug
    Writer’s Craft
    Scott Zoltok

    The air was dank, rotten with garbage and feces. I was late. The sun beat down not 20 feet away, and yet I was trapped in a hall of darkness. It happened just past the CN Tower. Two guys, one with a bandana, the other with an afro, both with blood in their eyes. A block away, they got me. Ushered me into the alley with such force, such authority and yet with the grace as to be discernable to only the acute eye. I was but a mere minnow, plucked from a sea of fish without warning. They were experts at their craft.

    “Scream and your dead”

    That’s all the convincing I needed. Guns, knives or fists, any way they chose would mean my demise. I wasn’t about to push my luck. What luck? Well, I’m still alive, which I always appreciate. They’ve yet to hurt me, which is nice. And they didn’t try to grab my briefcase and run, which keeps my wrist intact. But before I can continue my insight, they throw me at a dumpster. Hmmm, it seems as though I must’ve missed a question, I think. And with this, the pain sets in.


    “Shut up, just shut up” says Afro.

    I cut my groans short, and there is silence in this nightmare. Bandana promptly takes charge.

    “Empty the pockets.”

    I am happy to oblige, wishing no quarrel with these fine men. I yield a wallet, 2 pens, a cell phone, a set of keys and a pocketknife. Bandana turns his attention to my belongings, scouring the wallet for cash, I assume. During this interlude Afro notices my briefcase, and how I refuse to let it out of my grasp. His curiosity is piqued.

    “What’s in the case?”

    “Nothing. Papers.”

    “Well, papers ain’t nothing. What kind of papers?”

    The sweat beads on my brow and the butterflies take to the air. My worst fears are being realized. Rob me, beat me, leave me for dead, just don’t take the case. As the silence perpetuates, the chain dangles from my wrist. I can’t answer the question, and this gets me a prompt kick in the testicles. The fear is replaced with pain, which is aided by incredible torment of the nth degree. He backs up, grinning at his own sadism, and asks again.

    “So what’s in the case?”

    It hurts too much for me to moan, let alone answer. He must realize this, since he backs up and draws himself a cigarette. Lights it, pauses, and then decides to offer me one. Is this repentance? Has he discovered the error of his ways? Obviously not, since he takes the pack and tosses it into the dumpster. He nearly doubles over with laughter; he is clearly astounded by his own brilliant wit. Afro has noticed the commotion, and joins his comrade. They ask, with a new sense of urgency, that forbidden question.

    “What the **** is in the case?!”

    But before they can press the issue, the distant sound of approaching sirens spooks them. They face each other, silently agree, and dash off with my wallet. Too often have I dreaded the long arm of the law, but its cry of warning has proven crucial in my well-being, at least right now. I’m left huddled over, next to a dumpster, with a few bruises and a possible inability to have children. But there’s no time for self-pity; I’m very late. I start to get up, bang my head on the dumpster’s overhang, and fall down again. Is this adding insult to injury, or is it adding injury to injury? Anyways, take 2 goes better, with me managing to make it up to my feet without inflicting further pain. I cannot stand up straight, and must keep one hand on my groin and the other on my head, but I am able to stagger out into the street. Thank god I don’t have far to go.

    I reach the pub and fall inside, much to the alert of everyone around me. Tripping over myself, I see Bryan at the bar and navigate my way to the adjacent stool, ordering a shot of whiskey, straight. While easing my buttocks into place he’s noticed my current condition, and makes an insightful observation.

    “Jesus Frank, you look like ****. What happened?”

    “Oh, nothing much, tripped on a sewer.” The truth is too embarrassing.

    This gives him a good chuckle, and I find myself wanting to punch his face in. But that would be bad for business.

    “As long as you’ve got that case, I’m happy.” He says, as I set it on the counter. “Did you see the commotion outside?”

    In my pain-induced haze I must’ve missed it, whatever it was. By now the bartender has brought me my drink, and I down it with gusto. My silence is Bryan's green light, but I take some of his nachos before he begins.

    “Well, from what I could see from here it looked like some guy got smoked by a cop! John Q Law had his sirens on, racing to get a cat down from a tree no doubt, and this guy came sprinting out of the alley out back. Cops are good drivers; you got to be pretty stupid to get hit by one. Some stoner gangster, you know the type.”

    I say nothing. All of a sudden, the nachos taste much better.


    Hope you liked it!
  2. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Not bad at all.
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I liked the story and you wanted feedback on it.

    I assume passed was meant to be past. NEVER trust those spellcheckers!

    You used nth where IMHO it would be better to substitute with another word or phrase.

    Overuse of the comma but good use of the semicolon. :)

    I noticed a few commas before the word "and" where the comma didn't belong.

    No need to say a shot of whiskey, straight. A shot of whiskey is straight everywhere I've went.

    Keep it up!

  4. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I like the story and the ending. I also like how descriptive it is, not in the sense of an adjectival frequency, but in the sense of every action and though being narrated.
    However, there is something about the sentence stucture you use that makes it read more like a comic book than a short story.
  5. Nice; I liked it.

    Is the narrator supposed to have a formal way of talking? Sometimes it's good to be a tad informal, but you probably already know that.

    As always, be careful with punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. Close proofreading is an underused tool by younger writers.

    It's not a bad story - I could follow it well, and after reading it I have some curiosity about what's in the case, and why it's so important, which is good. Perhaps, though, there's a little too much action - I dunno. Most of my pieces are longer (my current work is about 15,000+ so far), and my fanfics tend to be fluffy pieces of crap to suit the soppy masses, so I'd take my advice with a pinch of salt.
  6. I liked it; I'm your average reader. Easy to follow with good language skils and humour (eg; Dan Brown - whether you like his writing is a different thing). I want to read more, find out about this briefcase. Plot twist is excellent.

    As said above, check yer proofreader carefully. Grammer wise I'm a dufus. :)

  7. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Thanks everyone! Good to know it kept you interested and you wanted to find out more about this case. That was my goal, to hint at something much larger than just some guy getting mugged.

    Dcat, yes passed was supposed to be past. Doh! Thanks, and I knew I wasn't going to stick with nth, It just fit for the time being. Part of Writer's Craft is doing at least 10 revisions before it's hand-in-able, so it's not quite done. I don't order whiskey (I'm 17) so I wasn't sure if I needed to differentiate between straight and on the rocks. I suppose I don't. And yes, I do need to work on cutting down my comma use. I just recently finished eliminating the run-on sentences I used to use, which helped a lot, but I suppose I should get rid of those commas too. :)

    Sonorous, your comment about it having a comic-book like feel to it is interesting. I haven't read many myself, would you care to elaborate?

    Steph, it's supposed to be 1000 words (ish). There's only too much action if it's hard to follow, I think. I considered throwing in some character descriptions to slow down the pace, but thought they would be out of place. Perhaps I'll revisit that thought. As for the formality or lack thereof of te narrator, it really depends. Did you find the lack of formality helped, or hurt? Because it's a short story formality is second to connecting with the character, so let me know if the formality aided/hampered this. 15000+ words? Is that for high school or University? If it's high school then I feel sorry for you. :smug:

    And you are all correct about the grammar, or lack thereof. But I was tired and wanted to go to bed, so there. :spit: ;)

    Keep it coming!

    Edit: One last point is that at the end of the story, where he says the nachos suddenly taste much better, the idea is that he's tasting the irony. Did anyone think that this was the case? The other goal for our writing is to let the reader figure some things out for themselves which is why I made it subtle, I'm just wondering if it's too subtle. If so I can change it. :)
  8. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    Good one!

    One quibble - after the testicles have been kicked, the kicker would have been grinning at his own sadism, not masochism. If the kickee had enjoyed the pain from the kick, that would be masochism.
  9. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Well, it's mostly in the very first paragraph, and a little in the next few and then it kind of fades off. What I think I mean is that the blunt, straightforward kind of sentence stucture used often in the early part of the story makes it read kind of choppy like it's a "frame by frame" story or something of that sort.
  10. +1!
  11. Herman


    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    Nice story - I'll offer one insightful nitpick.

    May want to change:

    "...and has some insightful advice."

    to something like:

    "...and offers an insightful observation."

    ...since he really didn't offer any advice.
  12. Herman


    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    One more nit:

    "...sprinting out of the nearby alley"

    The term "nearby" to describe a specific alley doesn't sound (to me) like something someone would say when relating an event such as the one Bryan is describing to Frank.

    something like this might work:

    "...sprinting out of the alley behind O'Malley's"


    "...sprinting out of that alley over there", nodding towards the window and the alley from which I'd just crawled.
  13. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Lazylion, thanks for catching that. I knew both were pain/pleasure related, I just got confused as to which referred to whom.

    Sonorous, I think I see what you're saying, and I don't think it's a bad thing. I found that setting the scene is much easier when using short, comic-book like writing.

    Herman, I like your suggestions, and have edited accordingly.

    Brilliant! This is all very helpful, thanks everyone! :)
  14. Well, I think it's a great story. Spelling and grammar aside, I see two kinds of writing style. One is a very good descriptive style, that I can't really pin down. The other reads like a bad detective novel, the kind that start "The sun rose like a drop of blood on a blotter." While that can be a nice ironic inclusion, it came up a bit more than I like.

    Still, that's a great story. Oh, another point. I hate loose ends. Could you give us a hint as to what's in the case? Maybe not an exact description, but some hint. Money? Business papers? Drugs? Body parts?

    Rock on
  15. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    interesting comment about the corny detective novel sense...I suppose now I need to read some corny detective novels! And can I tell you about the case? NO! Hahaha! :D That's the fun part, you got to do some of the work. It's up to your imagination (the case can be whatever you want it to be). :)
  16. I hate that.

    Rock on
  17. No, no, that's fair enough, and you're right. Keep it as is. I've read too many fluffy fanfics lately and it's warped my brain. Action action action!

    I was referring to structures like this one:
    IMO... it's like you've typed in the same words over and over and then replaced them with thesaurus words. You could have easily said "I see Bryan at the bar and make my way through the crowds to reach him" or something similar. "Navigate my way" sounds like something Dr Spock would say.

    Maybe it is Dr Spock... !
    Actually, it's a personal project :smug: If you're interested, you can check it out here.

    Yes, I am a masochist. :p
  18. WHAT'S IN THE CASE?!?!?!?!?

    Really, really good porn? :confused: :p :D :bag:
  19. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    hmmm...well, those weren't thesaurus words, and I didn't think those were too complex or out of place. Just try reading it LOUDLY and SLOWLY. ;) But perhaps it is too formal, idunno. I'll sleep on it. :)
  20. Remember, Scott, that's only someone's opinion. If you like it, keep it. Don't change anything because I said so; I'm not an authority on How To Write Gooder.

    ETA: case in point: "that's it's" doesn't make sense, no matter how slow you say it. :rollno:

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