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Maddy of Railhead

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Old 09-03-2012, 05:19 AM
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Default Maddy of Railhead


I drove up and pulled into the cafe at the edge of town. Old but not retro, it appeared to be popular. There was only one free both on the front side by a window.I sat down,and a bottled blonde makeup crusted watiress sauntered over. "What'll ya have?", she croaked. I hadn't really had a chance to look at the menu, but I ordered a BLT,fries and coffee assuming that this was standard in all cafes. She nodded, yanked the menu from me and bellowed to the back. She had hardly left when a young woman grabbed the edge of the table and spun into the seat. She had frizzy blonde hair that looked like hay with a dark underside like many blondes do. She had on dirty old jeans and a tattered flanell shirt. she wore workman's boots that were a good bit too big. "Maddy" she said and stuck out a dirty hand to shake. I shook it, and she settled back.The waitress came back with my coffee and an ice water and Maddy said "Pancakes!" The waitress hesitated, looked at me, then bellowed again and went away. Maddy looked at me "Be right back," and she lurched up and darted to the back. I saw 'Restrooms' above the doorway where she had gone.

Then, I began to hear grunts. At first, the cafe conversation died down a bit. But then I heard Maddy's name repeated from several tables and everyone returned to their meals and conversations. The grunting became loud finally winding up with loud sigh of relief. Maddy shot back out, but the waitress caught her "Wash your hands girl!" Maddy darted back towards the restrooms but was back at my table in no time. The cook was fast because just then, the waitress returned with my BLT and Maddy's pancakes. Maddy smeared tons of butter on each pancake individually and lathered the whole pile with maple syrup. Then she began to tear into the pancakes with great vigor. She held the fork in her fist and gave no quarter until the pancakes were gone. Then, she grabbed my water and slammed it back in under 5 seconds. Then, she patiently waited for me to finish my diner and pay the bill before grabbing my hand and leading me outside.

She guided me to an old junkyard on the other side of the small town of Railhead. I pulled into the tall broken anchor fence and parked next to the central building still surrounded by junk cars though most seemed empty of engines and most of the mechanicals. As soon as I got out she grabbed me by the hand again and took me into the bottom part of the building. Everywhere was decorated with hood ornaments and hubcaps. Sometimes they were arranged on the wall to look like people or animals or in one case a Church steeple. Eventually, we arrived in what must be her part of the building. There were more decorations an old chest of drawers and a queen size matress laying directly on the floor. She quickly slipped off all of her clothes and stood in front of me. She looked like young men look before testosterone takes affect in late teens. She was slender and muscular and only slightly curved. There were obvious differences though. Almost before I knew it, she had me undressed and down on the bed.

She was on top going for broke before I knew what was happening. I'd never heard so much moaning and groaining from a woman before. She got fast and urgent and cried out. Then she slow motion collapsed onto my chest breathing heavy, but completely releaxed. She felt so light. And her frizzy hair was a constant aggravation to my face. She was brown all over and smooth as silk except for her hands that were rough like a workin' man's hands. Her feet were tough too. I'm guessing there was a lot of bare body bare footed Maddy around this junkyard. I saw a cigar box of money on the chest of drawers and some hand written orders. I think there was just enough junk left to keep a girl with very few needs going. She dozed a bit then rolled off of me only to move back over and fall asleep in the crook of my arm with one leg and one arm across me. From the ceiling, she had suspended mobiles made from more shiny things from the cars. In the fading light, I saw that she had an old ceramic pitcher full of wild flowers in one of the two windows on this level. I watched the red golden colors of the sunset through her flowers until I fell asleep.

In the morning, she was gone. I opened my pickup truck and found a bundle of the most spectacular wild flowers on my seat. I moved the flowers over and drove to the town's only motel to check in. After I had moved everything up to the room, I used one of the hotel's ice holders as a water container for my beautiful flowers. I fired up my laptop and left an email for my new employer that I had arrived in town and intended to be in for work on Monday. I went downstairs and ate in the hotel's restaurant for lunch and diner, but I saw no sign of Maddy. Eventually, I went back up to my room and watched some TV before drifting off to sleep.

Early on Sunday, there was a loud knock at the door. I opened the door, and there was Maddy in a ratty floral dress. She said "We have to go!" I beg her to let me get dressed. When she decided to stay and wait. She got comfortable on my bed, but then, she jumped and ran to look at the flowers. "You kept them!" "Of course, I kept them" I returned. She was all smiles. When I was dressed she grabbed my hand and we ran down the street to the local United Methodist Church. We didn't go in of course. She directed me to small enclosure that was near the front of the Church. It was used for storing the lawn equipment. We crowded into a small space all the way in the back. I saw that there were two seats made of carefully placed wheat hay. I sat down and waited. Soon the choir began to sing the Doxology. And Maddy sang out. I guess no one could hear us. I was shamed into singing as well. Her face was rapt as she sang. She was on the note, but I wouldn't say she had a good voice. But there was tons of feeling. She sang with every song, and listened intently to every word spoken. She produced a small Bible from her dress pocket. But the way she handled it made me think that it was for looking at not for reading. The next time the pastor said "Turn in your Bibles to The Book of Job", I gently took the Bible from her hands, turned to the Boof of Job and began to read aloud the passage for her. I started to read the book like you would a children's story with lot's of inflection and feeling. She was looking at me almost slack jawed. And then, she began to cry. I finished reading, and she took back the Bible and put it away. Then, she took my hands and began to stroke them lovingly crying all the while. She walked me back to the door of the motel but didn't go in. She kissed me tenderly and brushed the hair out of my eyes. Then, she turned and walked away.

The winter was hard in Railhead, Nebraska. I did my contract computer programming for a local meat packing company that wanted to expand and needed some custom work done. I saw Maddy every Sunday and sometimes on Saturday. Lately, she'd been strangely distant. Sometimes she cried when we were intimate. But she didn't want to talk about it. I had gathered that town was not beligerent towards her. They tolerated her odd behavior but never let her become a true member of their society. At best, she was an outlier. Many of her 'friends' were passers through. Women clutched their men close when Maddy was around. I really don't think that she had had much to do with anyone in town though. Most of her junk buisness was from surrounding towns. And most people didn't give her the time of day. I also got the feeling that she was running low on good junk and that times were getting hard. She would take nothing from me but the odd pancake treat from the diner.

Tonight was Saturday night, and something special was going to happen. Apparently, Maddy lived in the lower part of the junk building in the warm months and moved up to a higher area in the winter. Today was her "Shifting" day, and I was invited over for a special diner. She told me to "dress nice" which meant that I was supposed to wear under garments. It was an unncessary request for me, but rather, one she needed to remember herself. I drove up and saw the upstairs was lit. There was no electricity so it was all Coleman lanterns and candles.

I walked up the stairs and heard scurrying around. Then, I was in her winter abode. A large room with more furnishings and a pot belly stove that was clearly working because the typically cold and draughty junk building was warm. There was more than one room. This was some kind of ante room with a couch by the stove and some hand sewing laid down in an old chair. Maddy ran in breathless dressed in a very pretty white dress. Simple, with lines that followed her slender body, and shoes! White leather shoes were on Maddy's feet! Flats with no heel, but very fetching. I was taken back. She grabbed my hand and led me into the room. There were candles everywhere. And in the middle was an aluminum card table covered with a white cloth with one big candle. In the middle, two plates were set out. I moved towards the table. Maddy pulled back the chair to help me sit and snugged me up to the table when I was fully seated. She disappeared and came back out with a tureen of something hot. It turned out to be a beef stew. She took two large pieces of texas toast from a basket on the table, put them on my plate and poured the stew onto the toast. Then, she ran back into another room and returned with a spotless silver, cigarette receptical like the old movie theaters might use in the lobby, those ones that would be filled with sand. Only this one was filled with ice. There was also a bottle of Cold Duck in the ice. She carefully removed the bottle and poured me a drink in a plastic champagne glass and did the same for herself. Then, she sat down opposite me and raised her glass. I raised mine, and she 'clinked' it and said "To us", and drank the entire glassful in one gulp. I sipped mine and waited to see what would happen next.

She served herself up some stew and ate as heartily as ever. I joined her. It was truly delicious. I had never had anything to eat in her ''house' but fresh apples or oranges. After we had eaten, she refilled our glasses and just looked into hers as if unsure about what to do next. "What is it Maddy?", I asked. She looked at me with eyes full of tears and set her glass down. "All my life I've lived apart. I've lived apart because I don't know about nothing, I can't do nothing, I am nothing. I'm nothing but me. And all my life, nothing but me's been good enough. But I've been bigger lately. I feed Sheila the old girl dog that comes around this junkyard. I wait for the bus and walk little Billy home who gets beat up for being too small. And I love a man who's lost in a town called Railhead and not just because he loves me. I love him because he loves everyone if they let him, and I was just lucky to be one of everyone he loved."

The she got out of her chair and came and stood beside me. She kneeled and pulled a ring out of her pocket. It was made from some kind of steel piece from a small lawnmower engine. But it was narrow and had a beautiful quartz stone set in a homemade setting that was carefully soldered to the ring. She slipped the ring on my left hand. "Would you marry me Michael Dunne?", she quivered. I was stunned. I never expected this. But there she was with her hair washed and brushed in a beautiful white dress tears running down her cheeks. "It would be an honor I heard myself say", with a hoarse choking voice. She quietly stood and took my hand. And still crying said "I thank you very kindly for accepting me," then, she laughed thank God. Never had such an honest thing been done for me or such an honest thing been said to me. She took me by the hand, we put on our jackets and went to Church that we had never entered. And there was her favorite pastor and the diner waitress waiting at the front. Before we moved towards them, she looked at me. "I was so hoping you'd say yes. I hope you don't mind." I didn't mind.


Last edited by KBR; 09-03-2012 at 08:54 PM..
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:57 PM
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Punctuation near quote-marks are off. Indentation shows lack of purposed outline in continuity. Story is alive with real life stuff. <---Wow
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:17 AM
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I drove up and pulled into[So you drove your car right through the front and into the cafe?] the cafe at the edge of town. Old but not retro, it appeared to be popular.[This is implied by the fact that there's only one booth free. Full house, it must be popular, right?] There was only one free both[booth] on the front side[frontside] by a window.[space missing]I sat down,[space missing]and a bottled blondecomma] makeup[hyphenate make-up crusted watiress sauntered over. "What'll ya have?", she croaked.[New para to set off the speech by the waitress and there's a switch from her back to him. And why not have him answer her, instead of telling us what he ordered. Show us by writing it out in dialogue.] I hadn't really had a chance to look at the menu, but I ordered a BLT,fries and coffee assuming that this was standard in all cafes. She nodded, yanked the menu from me and bellowed to the back.[Same here, you could show her attitude by actively having her yell at the cook. Plus it give you the opportunity to set more scene.] She had hardly left when a young woman grabbed the edge of the table and spun into the seat. She had[Not only do you repeat "had" here, but we know whose hair it ism no need to point out it's the girl's. frizzy blonde hair that looked like hay with a dark underside like many blondes do. She had on dirty old jeans and a tattered flanell shirt. she wore workman's boots that were a good bit too big. [Basically this whole list of her could be knitted to the first sentence with a colon and rids you of all the sentences starting with "She". Then she speaks. Speech by another character automatically starts a new paragraph, unless it's related speech, but that might be a little too complicated to start with. So new para for every single person's speech. "Maddy" she said and stuck out a dirty hand to shake. I shook it, and she settled back.[space missing]The waitress came back with my coffee and an ice water and Maddy said[comma] "Pancakes!" The waitress hesitated, looked at me, then bellowed again[show us, by writing out just what she bellows. It will lengthen your piece but it will improve from it too.] and went away. [where? Home? Show us that she doesn't leave, but goes to another customer, of picks up fallen napkins, muttering an oath, or something to establish her foul temper even more, because she doesn't eem to be little miss sunshine.]Maddy looked at me[period and a new para for Maddy's speech.] "Be right back[period, lose the "and" and capitalise "She"]," and she lurched up and darted to the back[Instead of having your mc "see" something, (a thing best to avoid "See, hear, feel" It takes the reader out off the head of the character and places a filter between us and the story/action) let her enter the restrooms.. I saw 'Restrooms' above the doorway where she had gone.

Then, I began to hear[just let grunts sound through the place, more active and no filter.] grunts.
It is a very nice piece, but as you can see by the amount of colour in the short piece I had time for to crit, you need to work on it a bit.
If you want me to go in dept on the whole piece, you'll have to wait a while, because I am kind of busy. But I didn't want you to have to wait too long so this is it for now.
Hope it helps you and don't be discouraged, most of it is things you can easily change.

If any of my remarks are in any way unclear or confusing, let me know and I'll try to be of better help.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:45 AM
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KBR, despite the errors in grammar and construction, I found this to be quite a touching story. I got the impression that Maddy is some kind of Peter Pan of the junkyard, rather innocent and childlike in many respects. The narrator, Michael Dunne seemed a little passive and neutral and I had no insights into his character.

It reads like an early draft, where job number one is to get your ideas down in writing and then tidy it up later. You did that.

This story shows great promise. Well done.

Keep on writing
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:43 AM
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I was reading this with tears running down my stupid face, I think it's beautiful.
Metry Road is right, Maddy seems so child like. I like the way you didn't tell too much about the narrator, it makes the reader wonder what he is going to do.

I hadn't really had a chance to look at the menu, but I ordered a BLT,fries and coffee assuming that this was standard in all cafes.
Check your spacing.
I don't know what a BLT is, but I suppose it's not important?

The grunting became loud finally winding up with a loud sigh of relief. Maddy shot back out, but the waitress caught her "Wash your hands, girl!"
Just suggestions, but it's your story.


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Old 09-15-2012, 07:07 AM
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Thanks Everyone! I get what you're saying about the need to see more action hear less from the narrator. I need to get MS Word on my computer. I always write in notepad which does nothing to help you our with grammar, spacing, etc.

Thanks luckyme for looking in on this piece. I think I know what it needs.

Maddy is childlike. She's supposed to be. Its what makes her an outsider in her own town.

thanks for the critiques.

Kirk
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:03 PM
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a bottled blonde makeup crusted watiress sauntered over
'Waitress'.

"What'll ya have?", she croaked
Doesn't need comma after question mark.

dirty old jeans and a tattered flanell shirt.
'Flannel shirt'.

she wore workman's boots that were a good bit too big. "Maddy" she said and stuck out a dirty hand to shake.
New line for quoted speech.

back in under 5 seconds
You would normally write a single-figure number in words, viz. 'Five'.

a queen size matress
'Mattress'. Having checked, it doesn't seem to be one of those words with a different US/UK spelling.

her hands that were rough like a workin' man's hands
Seems odd to say 'workin'' not 'working' if you're not quoting speech and trying to replicate its sound.

I saw a cigar box of money on the chest of drawers and some hand written orders. I think there was just enough junk left to keep a girl with very few needs going. She dozed a bit then rolled off of me only to move back over and fall asleep in the crook of my arm with one leg and one arm across me.
I think a new paragraph would sound better with the sentence, 'She dozed a bit...'

She directed me to small enclosure that was near the front of the Church.
'...to a small enclosure...'

But the way she handled it made me think that it was for looking at not for reading. The next time the pastor said "Turn in your Bibles to The Book of Job", I gently took the Bible from her hands
Could do with a new paragraph from 'The next time the pastor...'

turned to the Boof of Job
'Book of Job'.

Most of her junk buisness
'Business'.

This was some kind of ante room
'Anteroom'. One word.

me up to the table when I was fully seated. She disappeared and came back out with a tureen of something hot.
Could do with new paragraph at 'She disappeared', I think.

She took two large pieces of texas toast from a basket on the table
If Texas Toast is a brand name, both words should be capitalised, as I've done.

spotless silver, cigarette receptical
'Receptacle'.

she 'clinked' it
I don't think you need quotation marks around 'clinked'.

Sh
e looked at me with eyes full of tears and set her glass down. "All my life I've lived apart. I've lived apart because I don't know about nothing
Could do with new line for start of speech.

The she got out of her chair and came
'Then she got out...'

I thought this was quite vividly written, with some quirky and fun details, as well as some poignancy without sentimentality.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:56 AM
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Beautiful Kirk, really. It was so sweet and simple (not written but simple and lovely characters) and then it still had such a lovely ending! Some SpaG, but most of this you'll catch with a print out and re-read. Made just a couple of comments . . .

I drove up and pulled into the cafe at the edge of town. Old but not retro, it appeared How come popular? - you could do some show here with description. to be popular. There was only one free both on the front side by a window.I sat down,and a bottled blonde makeup crusted watiress sauntered over. "What'll ya have?", she croaked. I hadn't really had a chance to look at the menu, but I ordered a BLT,fries and coffee assuming that this was standard in all cafes. She nodded, yanked the menu from me and bellowed to the back. She had hardly left when a young woman grabbed the edge of the table and spun into the seat. She had frizzy blonde hair that looked like hay with a dark underside like many blondes do. She had on dirty old jeans and a tattered flanell shirt. she wore workman's boots that were a good bit too big. "Maddy" she said and stuck out a dirty hand to shake. I shook it, and she settled back.The waitress came back with my coffee and an ice water and Maddy said "Pancakes!" The waitress hesitated, looked at me, then bellowed again and went away. Maddy looked at me "Be right back," and she lurched up and darted to the back. I saw 'Restrooms' above the doorway where she had gone.

Maybe have a play with this, as I thought she was a hooker first time round. Then, I began to hear grunts. At first, the cafe conversation died down a bit. But then I heard Maddy's name repeated from several tables and everyone returned to their meals and conversations. The grunting became loud finally winding up with loud sigh of relief. Maddy shot back out, but the waitress caught her "Wash your hands girl!" Maddy darted back towards the restrooms but was back at my table in no time. Cute! The cook was fast because just then, the waitress returned with my BLT and Maddy's pancakes. Maddy smeared tons of butter on each pancake individually and lathered the whole pile with maple syrup. Then she began to tear tore into the pancakes with great vigor. She held the fork in her fist and gave no quarter until the pancakes were gone. Then, she grabbed my water and slammed it back in under 5 seconds. Then, (Choose something to avoid rep of then. Maybe "once done" - you could also show this with her sat back, arms spread behind her head as she watches). she patiently waited for me to finish my dinner and pay the bill before grabbing my hand and leading me outside.

Everywhere More descriptive - long narrow walls, wide ones? was decorated with hood ornaments and hubcaps. Sometimes they were arranged on the wall to look like people or animals or in one case a Church steeple. Eventually, we arrived in what must be her part of the building.


In the morning, she was gone. I opened my pickup truck and found a bundle of the most spectacular wild flowers on my seat. So sweet! I moved the flowers over and drove to the town's only motel to check in.

She said "We have to go!" I begged her to let me get dressed. When she decided to stay and wait. comma lower S She got comfortable on my bed, but then, she jumped up and ran to look at the flowers. "You kept them!" "Of course, I kept them" I returned.

"Turn in your Bibles to The Book of Job", I gently took the Bible from her hands, turned to the Boof of Job and began to read aloud the passage for her.

I walked up the stairs and heard scurrying around Scurrying makes me think of rats. She disappeared and came back out with a tureen of something How do you know it's hot, is it steaming? - show. hot. It turned out to be a beef stew. You could add some smell to emphasise.

"It would be an honorclose quotation here I heard myself say", with a hoarse choking voice.

Such a lovely ending! Really enjoyed it. Thank Kirk.
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:03 PM
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KBR,
Nice story here. I guess from responses that it's debatable whether you might explore deeper into the narrator.
I think you get a good feel for Maddy of course but I'd have to vote yes on expanding Michael. Obviously his response shows that he's not put off by Maddy's quirks but it might be nice to see what he really makes of her. Just a thought.

This was a good read overall and look forward to your next.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KBR View Post
I drove up and pulled into the cafe at the edge of town. Old but not retro, it appeared to be popular. There was only one free both on the front side by a window.I sat down,and a bottled blonde makeup crusted watiress sauntered over. "What'll ya have?", she croaked. I hadn't really had a chance to look at the menu, but I ordered a BLT,fries and coffee assuming that this was standard in all cafes. She nodded, yanked the menu from me and bellowed to the back. She had hardly left when a young woman grabbed the edge of the table and spun into the seat. She had frizzy blonde hair that looked like hay with a dark underside like many blondes do. She had on dirty old jeans and a tattered flanell shirt. she wore workman's boots that were a good bit too big. "Maddy" she said and stuck out a dirty hand to shake. I shook it, and she settled back.The waitress came back with my coffee and an ice water and Maddy said "Pancakes!" The waitress hesitated, looked at me, then bellowed again and went away. Maddy looked at me "Be right back," and she lurched up and darted to the back. I saw 'Restrooms' above the doorway where she had gone.
that's a good way to explain to the reader where she went. Good narration.


She guided me to an old junkyard on the other side of the small town of Railhead. I pulled into the tall broken anchor fence and parked next to the central building still surrounded by junk cars though most seemed empty of engines and most of the mechanicals. As soon as I got out she grabbed me by the hand again and took me into the bottom part of the building. bottom part of the building? the basement? Everywhere was decorated with hood ornaments and hubcaps. Sometimes they were arranged on the wall to look like people or animals or in one case a Church steeple. Eventually, we arrived in what must be her part of the building. There were more decorations an old chest of drawers and a queen size matress laying directly on the floor. She quickly slipped off all of her clothes and stood in front of me. She looked like young men look before testosterone takes affect in late teens. That description freaks me out, man. It's like when someone says a girl has the ass of a ten year old boy? Freaks me out. She was slender and muscular and only slightly curved. There were obvious differences though. Almost before I knew it, she had me undressed and down on the bed.





The winter was hard in Railhead, Nebraska. I did my contract computer programming for a local meat packing company that wanted to expand and needed some custom work done. I saw Maddy every Sunday and sometimes on Saturday. Lately, she'd been strangely distant. Sometimes she cried when we were intimate. But she didn't want to talk about it. I had gathered that the town was not beligerent towards her. They tolerated her odd behavior but never let her become a true member of their society. At best, she was an outlier. interesting word, outlier. Many of her 'friends' were passers through. Women clutched their men close when Maddy was around. I really don't think that she had had much to do with anyone in town though. Most of her junk buisness was from surrounding towns. And most people didn't give her the time of day. I also got the feeling that she was running low on good junk and that times were getting hard. She would take nothing from me but the odd pancake treat from the diner.



.

Man, I would have read this sooner if I knew how good it was.

Great job man.

What an oddly inspiring tale.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:19 AM
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I'm going to vote this piece for Members' Choice.
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KBR (11-08-2012)
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:49 AM
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Nice piece KBR,

People have hit on many of the grammar and style stuff. What I, as well as some others, thought was most important, was that Michael's characterization is as thin as green tea. He is a completely passive blob with no explanation for his behavior.

The story was extremely moving. I really did feel the pathos for Maddy, and I wanted to bash Michael over the head for his enabling behavior but there was nothing to hit.

It's easy to understand Maddy, as much as we need to, from her actions, but you need to define her paramour-of-the-month much better. The only action I saw that gave me any window into his soul (besides his obvious lack of self-respect) was that he kept the wild flowers.

Use dialogue between them to do this as well as more actions from him. There was a potential conversation with the peroxide waitress that you totally ignored. Such oportunities in a short piece can't go to waste. Tell us about Michael, I can't say it enough. Do not do it with his thoughts. Get him doing. You brush over his programmer contracting in corn-country, but there you could have inserted an action that would define his attitude about work. He's a programmer, use your imagination. Is there any reason at all why we shouldn't take him out and shoot him like a man who had watched someone drown and never threw the line that was coiled in his hand.

Personally, when I meet a woman like Maddy, I do my best to help her, if she is reaching out and obviously not on drugs. I don't jump in to bed with a woman who grabs my wrist with her filthy hand. Tell us what is that makes him behave the way he does. Then I would feel much better when I bash him in the head.

Well done thus far,
Please keep working on it.

Jim

One additional thought: When writing in the first person, the biggest problem is often reducing the frequency of the word 'I.' It is very difficult to do at first, but after a while you start teaching yourself some tricks. The narratior does not have to be the subject of every sentence. Sentences that begin with 'I saw...' for example, are easily fixed. Then just take it from there.

Last edited by LaughinJim; 11-08-2012 at 04:59 AM..
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