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The College Search

by batjoke

"Beer before liquor, never sicker."

Hunting boots, yellowed jeans, Patagonia, ironic facial hair. Cigarette in hand. I look up; he's standing over me, as some combination of frat star and Klan member. It's difficult to believe the boy is enrolled in a school, but not really---the Patagonia is certainly validating. Thanks, idiot.

I'm sure if I tell him I'm seventeen, that grimy hand would stay off of my lower back. But I'd rather not be ostracized. Shot glass in hand, this problem child (literal child) will live in lie for a night, making like a tree and staying the fuck in here. Veritas Aequitas.

It's because I'm a sensitive artist who likes to people watch. Andmy existence is only authenticated by action and reaction in a world of interesting and complex human beings. And someday, the art history degree I'llbegin here next year will do wonders behind the Starbucks counter.

Or not. I see idiots, and I wish I were more cynical.

Why am I here?

Celeste sits in the corner, shitting all over this party with her veganorexic mood swings. Today, I took her shopping. We ate lettuce and hummus. Now, we sitin an apartment full of people she only calls when she needs something, drinking and watching WWE and Family Fued.

Why am I here?

"We asked one hundred people what they thought was the number one place children get nervous to visit...what do you think, Loretta?"

The elderly black woman on thetelevision answers, "swimming."

Cheap laugh, gulp. Throat burns, room spins. My glass clangs when I set it on the coffee table.

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158 Reviews

Points: 1935
Reviews: 158

Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:21 pm
Veeren wrote a review...

Heyo Batjoke! Welcome to YWS! :D
I'm here to point out every small mistake I can find and tell you to fix it.
So let's begin.

Spoiler! :
Hunting boots, yellowed jeans, Patagonia, ironic facial hair.

You can't just list things like that and call it a sentence. Put a semi-colon afterwards so it doesn't look so lonely. (And how exactly can facial hair be ironic?)

Spoiler! :
boy is enrolledin a school,

You forgot to hit your spacebar after typing 'enrolled'.

Spoiler! :
HisPatagonia is certainly validating.

And after 'his'.

Spoiler! :
I'm seventeen

That should be 'I was seventeen'. Don't ask me why, it's grammars fault.

Spoiler! :
making like a tree and staying the fuck in here.

I honestly don't understand what this means.

Spoiler! :
likes to people watch.

You mean to 'watch people'.

Spoiler! :
andI wish I

There's that spacebar again.

In fact, your spacebar seems to evade you after a period quite a few times:

Spoiler! :
speeches.Icame to

best friend.Imust have

points.I took

Spoiler! :
children get nervous to go to

I get what you're trying to say, and it probably is grammatically correct, it's just confusing to read. I'd suggest re-wording it.

Spoiler! :
elderlyblackwoman answers, "swimming."

Spaces. And 'swimming' should be capitalized.

And I really did not understand that last sentence at all.
Overall, you're definitely a good writer. Your main problem was with the spaces, and your sentence structure. You wrote everything in a way that was bit hard to understand and that made it a bit confusing.
I'd suggest looking everything over to see what you can change on your own.
Keep up the good work. :D

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662 Reviews

Points: 52441
Reviews: 662

Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:21 pm
dogs wrote a review...

Hello Batjoke, Dogs here with your review today. Firstly I think this is a good topic with a lot of potential in it. Being in the college search myself I can relate to some of this. Although I'mnot sure what is the actual point you really achieve in writing this? I mean to sum it up all I'm reading is: An artist watches people... stupid people get into college... party.
Which really isn't particularly enticing of a topic in my opinion. There is so much incredible potential for this topic that I was expecting and didn't see. I think you should dive into more information about the "college search" other then "stupid people go to college."

Ok, now into your writing, I was incredibly confused by the third sentence: "I looked up at the cigarette reeking paradox..." Ok, so while this sounds like a really cool line, it actually makes no coherent sense when you look back at it. A paradox is: a statement or proposition that, despite it's sound, leads to a conclusion that seems logical or senseless. If you plug that definition into your sentence it makes absolutely no sense.

is "enrolledin"

correction: enrolled in. You have a large amount of those accidental merging of two words together in your writing. It makes it very difficult to read and looks a little sloppy. To fix these problems in the future you should copy and paste your writing into word and then check for spelling errors.

You also reveal almost nothing about your main character. You don't even tell your audience if it's a boy or a girl. In some cases not revealing names can be effective in writing. In The Road for example, but in this case it is not adding anything to your piece and leaves the reader hanging.

Ok, so before you said the guy hanging on your shoulder is "enrolled in school... but not really," insinuating that the boy is a senior in highschool but accepted into college. And then you say your friend is in college, it seems to not make a whole lot of sense. You have really good thoughts in this piece but everything seems so jumbled that your not getting your great points across to the reader.

Ok and what the heck is with the question? "What they thought was the number one place children get nervous to go to..." That seems so out of the blue I was wondering where the heck did that even come from. And what?! Why is there an Elderly Black Woman at a college party... I havn't had a grand experience in college parties but I can assure you from what I have experienced... there are never any elderly lady anywhere to be seen within blocks of that party.

And then when I read the ending I'm left with nothing more enlightening when I read the beginning. You need to sit down and figure out what the point your trying to make is, or the story your trying to tell, or the emotion we're suppose to feel. Then re write this piece and coherently get your point across. This is a good start but needs a few touch ups and this could be a great piece. Give me a PM if you want me to review anything else. Keep up the good work!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032

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245 Reviews

Points: 22884
Reviews: 245

Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:23 am
sargsauce wrote a review...

Hello, and welcome to YWS! I've taken a hiatus, so pardon me if this review is rusty.

Overall, what is your piece trying to say? I read angst, and that's about it. Just a general snapshot of one guy and one girl, unrelated to each other, and shallow in execution. Premature in judgment and unmeditated. Like a snapshot, I feel like we're judging these people on superficial qualities. So why not come right out and say what you feel on a profound sense? Otherwise, we're not prone to believe you.

So what if you disagree with the way this guy looks? So what if he said a line so oft repeated in college, when it is, in fact, actually good advice. (Though it's for psychological reasons, and probably doesn't have much to do with science. Drinking beer first numbs your judgment, which then allows you to overdo it on the liquor later). What did he do to deserve the title of "idiot?" It's at this point that I decided I was not on the narrator's side. The narrator is stereotyping, angry, and unrelatable. If you could give us some concrete evidence, then perhaps we'd align with her. (High fives, "broski", keg stands, someone breaking furniture or slap fights or using the word "sick" constantly as a compliment, anything).

And is there a reason you've taken the "make like a tree" phrase and made it mean the complete opposite?

Furthermore, the fact that the narrator goes out of the way to call herself "a sensitive artist" makes the reader disagree with her. It's just kind of self-aggrandizing, that line, and not substantiated by much else.

"Why am I here?"
Why is she there? She doesn't seem to like Celeste at all. She has nothing good to say about her. She makes it sound like Celeste is a parasite. ("I took her shopping." "I contributed to her happiness factor" [by the way, the "happiness factor" line kind of detracts from the "sensitive artist" bit. It's vague and trite sounding])

And proofread your piece. You're asking people to take the time to read and comment on your work, but you don't look over your piece yourself. Spaces are missing and "elderlyblackwoman" sticks out like a sore thumb as an example of this. And why have you gone out of your way to call her an elderlyblackwoman? What did it matter to the narrative or the narrator? It just feels petty, like because she is old and black and a woman, she's got not much else to do but be on Family Feud (E before the U).

And then, one line later, the story is over.

What did you want to tell us? That you're frustrated? The problem hasn't been fleshed out enough for us to understand. That you're better than them? Well, good for you, but you didn't tell us or show us why. That it's all pointless and confused? Well, I guess I got that much from the piece, but not so much from the content but rather the lack thereof.

But your piece does have merits. The voice is clear. I understand the tone and feel of your character and it's consistent and true. These thoughts are all things we have, yes. But because we have these thoughts, we beckon you to flesh it out and fill in the details and let us understand what is unique about your character's situation or viewpoint. I like the overall scenario. It's true and something many if not all of us will encounter and feel. Your wording is good. You tell us what we need to know and use the right words for it. Few or none of the words are out of place, which is actually not an easy feat. The connotations and feelings of your word choice are all proper. It's just that you need to take it the next step and make these words resound with truth and depth and you should let us know that you thought upon your words and their meaning, instead of delivering a sketch of an idea.

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1315 Reviews

Points: 23536
Reviews: 1315

Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:51 am
Hannah wrote a review...

Well. Okay, if you enter the website with this, I am so darn excited to see you stay here and post more things for me to be pleased by.

This is real. This is well written (aside from the formatting errors that are littered throughout. there's an edit button on the side of the page to put in the needed spaces if you haven't already by the time I finish this review), and it is just to my taste. Not everyone does, but I like these slices of life, especially with hollow endings like you pulled off.

What's especially awesome about this piece is that unlike most slices of life, it actually communicates something about a character. There's a conflict and a resolution, and it's subtle, and I love subtlety. That said, there are still some things I would fix if this beautiful thing popped out of my own head:

(literal child)

So not necessary! We know she's 17, and the use of the word "child" in the "problem child" phrase in the first place will help remind us of this.

Icame to see her in college because I think she's unhappy, and she's my best friend.Imust have contributed to her happiness factor at least 50 points.

This part is the only thing in the whole piece that is not given its proper time. "I think she's unhappy"? What does that mean? By what signs did the narrator divine this conclusion, and how could she gather this evidence? If they don't live in the same area any more, what tipped the narrator off? I also think that with a description of that, we don't need the double explanation that she's her best friend. Also, ew! What is with that last sentence. "happiness factor" "50 points"? Like, I appreciate the drawling sarcasm-y tone this girl has going on. I love, if don't support the message behind "veganorexic speeches", but this reveals too much of her high school humor. I want to believe her. I believe her with every other thing she says in here that she is more mature than these dead beats in college (and the result of college on tv), but not here. Please rework it.

Also, just briefly consider your responsibility as a writer. You can open readers' minds and make them change their opinions, and everything you choose to represent is processed. By which I mean to say consider the messages you're sending when you consciously lay out the race and age of the Family Feud participant, 'cause um, do you think she went to college? It would work better with this disillusionment if it were, say, someone who probably could have afforded to go and would have been supported, and still couldn't answer a simple question.

Anyway, PM me if you have questions / comments about this review or anything else about the site. I'm glad to breathe the fresh air you bring with you.

Good luck, and keep writing!

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Points: 300
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Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:43 am
batjoke says...

Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.
— Captain Raymond Holt