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Ghosts, Chapter 1 /P

by Incandescence


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Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:10 pm
Christianne_015 wrote a review...



I'm with Griffinkeeper. It was mostly a wall of dialogue.

I've heard people say--and I agree with them--that a story should be made up more of descriptions, than dialogue. If you can understand what's going on without the dialogue, get rid of it.

I understand there's no descriptions in your story as soon as you added dialogue, but still.

They also said something like description--describing things that happen, the feelings of the characters, etc.--is better than dialogue, because it brings the reader into the story; makes them feel like they're actually in the story. Why put dialogue if you can tell what's happening with feelings? Actions?

And just to be honest, I couldn't bring myself to read the whole wall of dialogue. No offense.




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Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:53 am
Chevy wrote a review...



I bet Jake is you. And as always, that distracts me...I can't help but me perceptive.
I've never heard of Pre Chapters and Post Chapters. I would have to say, though...that's what I enjoyed the most. Particularily the Post Chapter.
This was also awesome: "There is something else in the room. There is something else in the room and it is a boy. There is something else in the room and it is a boy who does not have the pieces of his life arranged correctly."
The dialogue was lengthy, but I was able to understand it.




Okay, now there you have it.




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Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:06 pm
Incandescence says...



Thanks you two!

Shriek -- I'm glad you liked it.

Griff -- I know what you mean about the lack of description in the beginning, but there's a reason. This was a story I wrote for a Creative Fiction course I took over the Winter Break. Without the next few chapters posted (I'm debating whether I should), the stilted conversation seems repetitive, dull, lifeless without a purpose. But perhaps all there is in this world is dialogue...




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Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:35 am
Griffinkeeper wrote a review...



I think that you need to add much more in the way of descriptions, so as to bring your story to life.

Pre-Chapter 1

There’s a jigsaw puzzle. There’s a jigsaw puzzle and the pieces nearby don’t fit. Will it remain forever unsolved? Will the holes in its fabric remain there, slightly tattered and left so raw, unique, that it forces the puzzle – unsolved as it is – to have a meaning? Or will its empty spaces void its meaning entirely? Whichever the case, it is left there, on a shoddy wooden coffee table in the middle of a white room.

There is something else in the room. There is something else in the room and it is a boy. There is something else in the room and it is a boy who does not have the pieces of his life arranged correctly. Will he remain unsolved, as well? Will the gaps in his life remain there, uneven and jagged as it were, to collapse the foundation of his existence? Or will they force his hand – make him understand that the rips in his life are there for a reason? Whichever the case, he is there, on a lime green couch, in front of a shoddy wooden coffee table in a white room.


I found this really difficult to follow. First of all, you kept repeating yourself.
There’s a jigsaw puzzle. There’s a jigsaw puzzle and the pieces nearby don’t fit.


Repetitive material may sound good, but it doesn't read well. I'd suggest getting rid of the first sentence. That way, your writing becomes a little more direct and concise. I had difficulty in grasping the significance of the pre-chapter in relation to the Chapter.

Chapter 1


“Hello?”

“Jake?”

“Yeah. Megan?”

“Yeah. Did you just get out of bed? How are you?”

“I’m fine. And no, I’ve been awake since six. And you? How’s Barnard treating you?”

“Oh, you know. The dining hall doesn’t have food for vegans, so I always have to go off-campus. Haha. Good times, huh?”

“Hah, yes, very good times, indeed.”

“So…you have to tell me: how’s Harvard? Is it what you thought it was going to be?”

“You know how I roll: I like everyone until they open their mouths. The same applies here.”

“Overrated?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Barnard’s the same way. For the first week, I half-way expected to see you in my doorway.”

“For the first week I – Megan? What’s that?”

“It’s my roommate, she just got up. Drinking party. You know how it goes.”

“Oh yeah. She sounds like she’s trying to imitate a dying cow?”

“She’s singing.”

“Really?”

“Truly.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah.” A door closes in the background. “She’s in the choir.”

“No shit?”

“Yup, it’s true.”

“I wouldn’t doubt you.”

“You did.”

“I did?”

“You said, ‘no shit?’.”

“Oh, well…haha, I guess I did.”

“A semester and 800 miles away and we can still talk like we’ve seen each other every day. Is there something wrong with that?”

“No, there’s something wring with people who can’t do that.”

“Hah.”

“Yeah, so…”

“Hey, Jake? Yeah, I’ve gotta go. My roommate just vomited all over the place.”

“All right, have fun. Lay-tor.”

“Mhm. Bye kid.”

Jake hung the phone up and looked out his window. The sun glared down from its perch.

“Goddammit.”


This section just about killed me. It was a wall of dialogue.

Don't get me wrong, dialogue is good. When it is the only substance though, I begin to die for want of detail. The thing that seperates a story from a historic acount is that it describes the actions and reactions of a character. This is more of a historic acount. It describes only what is said, not what is done. Just a little bit of effort would make this story so much better. This is the beginning:

“Hello?”


With a little bit of detail though, the sentence can be enhanced greatly.

The phone rang in Jake's room. His hand felt for the phone and on the third ring he picked it up. "Hello?" he said groggily.


Not only does it tell us that the dialogue is on the phone (a detail you didn't mention in the beginning) but that the protagonist is just waking up.

It was ten in the morning and he still wasn’t dressed. Class was in an hour. That is, SSCC: some shitty calculus course. The lawn would surely be peppered with arrogant pinheads who couldn’t wrap their mind around an integral if they had to, but could speak the language like they knew it inside and out. Of course, Jake thought, that’s the real gem of higher education: all self-display and no self. There’s a lot less to it than meets the eye.

On his way out that morning, he duly noted the unfinished puzzle.


Finally, you begin describing stuff but it is too little too late. Even then though, you are only writing the thoughts, you could add much more in the way of action. Something about him looking for clothes is all the action you need. Nothing complex at all, just simple actions. These go a long way to making a story sparkle.


Post-Chapter 1


Loneliness can only be known
when you have truly fallen, grappling
for your last breath,
only to have it taken away (again)
by the one you love.


This poem shows more life than the rest of the story combined because it combines action, detail, and significance. I suggest you keep this.




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Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:02 am
Shriek wrote a review...



This is the best I've seen from you yet, Brad. I liked it very much.
The pre-chapter was powerful--it said a lot about the character and life, in general. Or at least I could relate...
The dialogue within the actual chapter was well written. Quick and sharp, never dragged.
I think the verse seemed like an appropriate way to end it, though I don't know why.

I have one suggestion:
I disliked the change of tense from the pre-chapter into the actual chapter. The shift kind of knocked me off guard. Since you’ve got so many different elements going into this stylistically, it might be easier on the reader to keep at least the tense consistent.

Anyhow, nice work. I really liked the versatility of this; it seemed like you were reading three separate pieces that all connected in one way or another. Really good.





Some people file their [tax] returns inside of a dead fish.
— John Oliver