A Conversation for The Sins of the Father?

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Post 1

Positive Feedback

The story above was written in five weekly instalments (the five chapters) for my creative writing class. Each week we had a new task: create a character who's normal but memorable; start a story in which your character does something terrible; include some dialogue, etc.

The people in my class liked it, so I'm sharing it here. However, they were a bit reticent about criticising it (it can be difficult, face to face), and I hope that it will be easier for people to give me an honest, even blunt, opinion on its stylistic weaknesses in this more anonymous atmosphere. So please, fire away...


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Post 2


Well done, very good. I don't have much to say but here goes. I though the mother died very quickly. Obviously it will take a while for her to bleed to death, yet it occurs in a couple of words.
When his father first sees Judy's address, I had a flash of "Oh no!". This is good, making me worry about the characters. However, should you make the butcher boy so sympathetic. After all you are suggesting he is just like his somewhat disturbed dad.

Anyway, I enjoyed it, keep up the good work.

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Post 3


I think it's a superb story.
I've got one critisism though; when his father reads the note, it's all too obvious that he's planning to kill Judy, to repay his son. Perhaps you shouldn't include the scene of him finding the note, but have the reason why he's attacking Judy crop up at the end, when he discovers that it's his father. It would then be more of a surprise.

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Post 4


Let me start by saying that I liked this story a lot, Positive. The basic idea is very strong, the plot twists and the changes in point of view make it even twistier.

But you asked for criticisms, so here are a few technical points for you to think about. smiley - smiley

To start with, thereÕs a typing error: YouÕve got Ôwork might get back to his mumÕ where you meant to write ÔwordÕ.

Having got that off my chest, the worst thing about your story is the slow start, all that exposition. One thing you could try is moving forward in time and kicking off in the thick of the action. For instance, you could start with your protagonist in the bath, cleaning the gore from under his fingernails, explaining that heÕs a butcher. Then you could move on to the Brylcreem, explaining that heÕs getting ready to meet a woman and despairing of ever looking decent, covering the stuff about him being too old to live at home, filling in the background as he hurries down the stairs and starts off along the pavement.

Your paragraphs are long (except where thereÕs direct speech). And theyÕre all the same length. You get better Ôpage colourÕ if you vary the length of your paragraphs, something thatÕs particularly helpful in an environment like h2g2 where people are reading off a screen.

I agree with Peregrin that you signalled your punch when the father finds the phone number AND says itÕs the girl who gave his son such a hard time. You could open up the possibilities of danger with a lot less detail, leaving it up to the reader to work things out.

Finally not a criticism but a suggestion: perhaps there could be more of an implication at the end that the violence may not have ended: that if your protagonist gets into another lather over something or other he might strike out at his new wife or her babies. Or perhaps you could say that he doesnÕt like his in-laws, leaving your reader to wonder whether theyÕre going to be next.

Sorry it's taken so long to respond, and I hope this is the kind of crit you were looking for. smiley - smiley

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Post 5

Positive Feedback

Thanks, Eeyore, for the helpful comments. That was exactly the sort of response I was hoping for.

I'll defend myself slightly against the "slow start" comment by reiterating that it was a series of exercises - for each of the first three "Chapters" there was a specific task to be achieved, so they aren't naturally parts of the story: it was only in the last two weeks we were told to let go and just write (though of course the last week's task was to END the story - not always easy!), so it wasn't planned and it isn't a logical unit. I certainly don't disagree with any of the structural comments.

Your other remarks are very interesting - I know I tend to long paragraphs, but I hadn't ever thought about the "visual texture" they convey. It's also interesting to think about the difference that will have on a screen rather than on paper, how much more intimidating it might be. That's something I'll bear in mind.

Today has been a very good day. Another friend - a published author, no less - wrote back with some kind comments (and some that were more helpful than kind) on a story I can't put here because I might well try submitting it to some magazines. It's very encouraging to have people help. Thanks again.

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Post 6


I'd like to feature this story in the Post next week if it's OK with you, Positive Feedback (In case you don't know - the Post is featuring a different H2G2 Fiction story every week). If you agree, there's one thing I ask - that you add a link the H2G2 Fiction on the page. Either top or bottom, text or graphic (I'll put code for the graphic on the h2g2 Fiction page). The Post is published on Monday evening. Hope you agree! smiley - smiley

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Post 7

Positive Feedback

Hi Peregrin,

I'm reluctant to put this story forward: partly because it's not a "real" story, as explained above, but mostly because of the poem I do each week - I don't want to be seen to be taking over! (Having said this, it's Sunday afternoon and I still haven't finished this week's poem yet). If you can find someone else's, I'd prefer it for the moment. Sorry.

Tell you what, I promise that in the next couple of weeks I'll write a better story which you CAN have for the Post. Deal?


PS I was going to link to h2g2 fiction anyway - just hadn't got round to posting it yet! That'll be done today.

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Post 8


OK then, fair enough. Because I hadn't heard from you I've put one of Ming's stories in the Post instead.

Any more stories will be appreciated smiley - smiley

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