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Randy

by ErikaHale


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Author's note: this was a writing exercise for a creativity workshop. Words were dictated and we had to incorporate them into the story as we wrote it, so some may feel a little forced. All feedback is very much welcome!

There was no greater difficulty for Randy than loving himself. It was something he'd struggled with all throughout his life and he continued to struggle with. This personal conflict seemed to him both monumental and trivial at the same time. One day he couldn't take it anymore. He decided to face the danger head on and try to run away from himself. He left his house with no luggage to weigh him down and he ran and ran and ran. But alas, his deliberate attempt to escape himself was futile. He was always, somehow, still there. Still himself. Randy was surprised upon realizing that running would not work, so he decided to stop and do the opposite. He decided to consolidate his feelings and confront himself. Facing the mirror formed by the still waters of a lake, Randy looked at his reflection and yelled: why are you this way? Why do you lack all intuition, kindness and intelligence? Why are you such a limping, disgusting, blubbering, pathetic sack of shit? Why? I hate you so much!" he screamed at his reflection, "why are you so goddamn lame?" His reflection smirked and whispered, "to you."

Randy was flabbergasted. At that moment he realized that he was only all those things to himself. And therefore, he could change, because his opinion of himself could change. Randy was filled with immense happiness, and walked back home smiling. All was well.


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Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:22 pm
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PlainandSimple wrote a review...



Hello! Here to review your work!

I love that is is a short story, which actually made me want to read it more. How it started off was amazing because everyone can relate to at one point not loving themselves and it really drags everyone in. This story works with many people, with so many situations. You really did great with that.

People struggle every day with not loving themselves. People don't like the shape of their body, or face, or hair type. It is such a problem because everyone is amazing in every way just people don't believe that. I don't understand, I mean everyone is different why can't people just focus on that. The difference is amazing it is so cool that we all like different things, enjoy different things, and are just plain old different.

Something in your short story that really got me was this-

"Randy looked at his reflection and yelled: why are you this way? Why do you lack all intuition, kindness, and intelligence? Why are you such a limping, disgusting, blubbering, pathetic sack of shit? Why? I hate you so much!" he screamed at his reflection, "why are you so goddamn lame?" His reflection smirked and whispered, "to you.""

It had so much emotion, so much anger and pain in it. It's sad but so true. Great job! I will be reading more of your work! Please keep writing!

_ From your friend,
@PlainandSimple




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Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:27 pm
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Len_withapen says...



I loved the structure of the story. Concise, short and easy to read. Keep it up 😊!




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Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:26 pm
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HMC says...



I love the first paragraph of your story. You did a great job of describing the feeling of self hate and depression. Everyone struggles with these feelings throughout his or her life. You did a great job of explaining the difficulty of self confrontation. I also loved how you portrayed Randy's trying to escape his feelings of self hate as a real attempt to run away from himself. This action helps readers relate to randy. The last paragraph is also great as it shows how people can bring most of one's negativity on oneself.

You were clearly trying to go with a more comedic representation of how someone can learn to love oneself, however I still found a deeper and darker meaning through your writing style. The comedic aspect of your story still worked and maybe this was a requirement for your writing exercise, however I think a realistic, more complicated path to self love, like maybe a deep conversation with Randy's reflection would have worked better in the short story.




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Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:26 pm
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HMC wrote a review...



I love the first paragraph of your story. You did a great job of describing the feeling of self hate and depression. Everyone struggles with these feelings throughout his or her life. You did a great job of explaining the difficulty of self confrontation. I also loved how you portrayed Randy's trying to escape his feelings of self hate as a real attempt to run away from himself. This action helps readers relate to randy. The last paragraph is also great as it shows how people can bring most of one's negativity on oneself.

You were clearly trying to go with a more comedic representation of how someone can learn to love oneself, however I still found a deeper and darker meaning through your writing style. The comedic aspect of your story still worked and maybe this was a requirement for your writing exercise, however I think a realistic, more complicated path to self love, like maybe a deep conversation with Randy's reflection would have worked better in the short story.




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Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:32 pm
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L1CK says...



A very simple, sweet story about a man who hates himself. I really liked the way it was written. Simple with a big meaning behind the words. It's very well done and loved it. Defiantly keep up this kind of work!




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Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:25 am
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Tawsif wrote a review...



This is a sweet little story. Almost reads like a children's story. Did you intend it to be a children's story by the way?

Could you write a broader version of this story? Because while reading it, I felt that this was a really cool concept. That one can change easily when one changes one's perspective of oneself. You can write this story in a broader setting, bring out more happenings, explain why the MC is so frustrated with himself. These things can make your story more interesting.

I liked your story. I want to see more of you.




ErikaHale says...


Thank you so much for your review! I get the opinion of wanting a broader story with more details but I'm scared that if I expand on the character of Randy he'll become less relatable. I feel like because the reasons why he hates himself aren't specific, you can add your own fears and identify with the character better. However, I will be swallowing my fears and making a revised version, so look out for that!



Tawsif says...


Will do%uD83D%uDE01



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Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:35 am
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MeherazulAzim16 wrote a review...



Hi Erika,

Jumping to the talking points:

I think I understand what this story is trying to say/moral of the story: the only way past your problems is through them and not around. Also that what we think of ourselves may not be what we truly are, and even if we are just that, then it's okay too as there is always room for improvement. It's a positive message.

My next remark might be awfully subjective, so take it with a bucket of salt—

therefore, he could change, because his opinion of himself could change


Positive message, yes, but I find this conclusion less than satisfying. Maybe I was expecting the story to lead up to acceptance. Or maybe it IS Randy's way of being in peace with himself — it's just not so in-the-face. I am what I am but I can be better. Yet I suspect a dark undertone. If only Randy thinks the worst of himself, then it is logical to assume all his friends and family think he is a decent person. That means he can go on this journey of self-betterment and once he's through, none will be the wiser that he had been so shitty beforehand (at least, so he was from his perspective).

It raises a question of identity: does Randy really become a better person by changing his perception of himself or does how others perceive us dictate whether we are good or bad? If the latter is true then his struggle and his path to self-discovery, self-betterment has been in vain.

Onto some technical stuff—

This personal conflict seemed to him both monumental and trivial at the same time.


It was mentioned in the author's note that some words had to be incorporated mandatorily. This may be one of the instances where the words felt out of place, at least to me.

He decided to face the danger head on and try to run away from himself.


'To face the danger' and 'try to run away from himself' seem contradictory. You're not facing the danger if you are running away. Then again, it may be Randy's perception of things: he left his house (his family) which presumably, he finds to be linked with the self that he hates. So, leaving—in that context, it's an active, maybe even a brave step—becomes his way of facing the danger.

But the problem's still there since later on, he has this epiphany that the self just cannot be escaped and that he must 'confront himself.' This can't be a meaningful development if he has already done it before.

Randy looked at his reflection and yelled: why are you this way? Why do you lack all intuition, kindness and intelligence? Why are you such a limping, disgusting, blubbering, pathetic sack of shit? Why? I hate you so much!" he screamed at his reflection


There seems to be a redundancy of dialogue tags (I understand you probably had a time limit to work with, it's not an error that cannot be fixed). You can get rid of the "Randy looked at his reflection and yelled" part. 'Why' should be capitalized in 'why are you so goddamn lame?' since it's a new sentence. Also, since 'his reflection' has been personified and can be regarded as its own character, "His reflection smirked..." should probably start in a new paragraph but I understand what effect you were going for with "to you." A new paragraph probably adds an extra lapse and takes away from that effect.

(https://www.novel-writing-help.com/dialogue-tags.html — here's an article I found to be helpful in regards to the use of dialogue tags.)

Overall, it's good for what it is. I can (maybe unfortunately) relate to Randy's contempt for himself. The epiphany that came from his reflection (I like the use of his literal reflection on the lake as a parallel to Randy's inner-self, as he reflects, introspects) was profound. The story raises a specific question/problem (Randy and how he feels about himself) and answers it/solves it, in its own way.

And that's the review. Hope it helps.

Excelsior!

~MAS




ErikaHale says...


Wow, this was an incredibly insightful review! Thank you so much! And yeah, I'll definitely look into fixing those dialogue tags. I love the way that you analyzed the story, and the questions you raise are exactly what I wanted the reader to ponder! So that's great! Thank you so much for your review, you're making me feel like an accomplished writer ;)





Glad it helped :D



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Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:47 am
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tgham99 wrote a review...



I like that this story is definitely very clear, and we get a good sense of who Randy is and what his main conflict is. I tend to enjoy short stories more when they avoid abstraction and any potential for open interpretation, so I wanted to say good job for writing a story that doesn't leave any real questions unanswered or anything like that.

As for the story itself, I do think that the ending is super abrupt. I'm not sure if you were given a specific word count or length restriction, but if not, this story could definitely benefit from being lengthened. I'd love to see more about Randy as a person after that second paragraph -- what happens now that he's had this moment of self realization? Will his life change as a result of this transformation?

In terms of structure, I would definitely consider breaking up the first paragraph into shorter lines just for the sake of keeping everything concise. I would especially suggest this for when you introduce the lines of dialogue in which Randy is yelling at himself -- adding some quotation marks would really help set this part of the story aside and overall increase the intensity of his break. Just a suggestion :)

Randy himself is an interesting character as a whole, which is why I wish we got to see more of him towards the end in regards to how he's changed! How does he respond to his shift away from self-deprecation towards being filled with "immense happiness?" The shift is just very abrupt and could have benefited a lot more from more of a transition; the way it's written now is very reminiscent of novels that end in the whole "then he woke up -- it was all a dream" thing.

Hope this review was helpful and write on! <3




ErikaHale says...


Thank you so much for your review! I wanted to leave the end open, sort of as a way to let the reader decide what they should do with that realization. However, I guess it makes sense to have a smoother transition since he's dealt with that problem for so long. I'll look into it as I write a revised version!




Don't gobblefunk around with words.
— Roald Dahl