Sorry, damn it. I've been typing away and forgot to announce Study Hall. Well, I'm here, and it ends in fourteen minutes.

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Thanks for sharing Desiree.

I thought the recipe bit (Diffuse, blame it on circumstance, create separation, appreciate, and comfort) was a great comic device. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before. If I have I guess it didn’t stand out to me as much as yours did. Awesome job!

Chuck, thanks for the advice on object permanence. From now on, while writing, I’ll probably be constantly asking myself: “Okay, how long does the dog have to live now?”

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Oh wow, you CAN do strikethroughs on Substack. And you're even using it on things that could be cut. Nice!

You genius you.

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The idea of giving your character the last word which kills tension...fascinates me. Might be guilty of that without even knowing. And with a lot of your concepts, I think I have a vague idea of what you mean but I don't think I can articulate it.

I'm guessing that giving your character the last words sorta feels like that perfect comeback in a segment of tennis match dialogue. And it often seems like it sums things up with a neat bow. Am I close to getting it?

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When you say "unless your character loves something or saves something, we won't love her."

Are you referring to the save-the-cat moment? How characters need a save-the-cat type moment early on to be endearing to the reader.

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Hi Desiree!

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

I like your narrator’s voice. Got me right away with some relatable thoughts (i.e.) I would love to “marathon-sleep till Tuesday.” Ha! I

Other lovable bits:

-“the sound of her acrylic nails jackhammering away on the ol’ QWERTY”

-“…is here for a limited time only, like a selection from the goddamn Disney vault.”

-“[Brenda]…always looks moisturized…”

All these hospital happenings. Very interesting subject matter. I know this is part of something bigger. I’m quite intrigued and would read more.

Chuck—love the little bit of striking lines to show what we can afford to cut in a story. The explanation of how going past a certain point with a narrators thoughts losing the tension, this stuff is really useful for me. As are all explanations of how to keep tension in a story.

Love how you are showing how to take the concept/paragraph and edit it with things like “submerging the I” which can have a big (positive) effect on the delivery. Same content, more powerful delivery. And the reminders about not filtering and avoiding pejorative language. So much to learn from in this piece, Desiree!

Other MVI (Most valuable information):

-“In Minimalism, once an object is introduced it must be morphed and kept present throughout the scene and story.”

-“An action always works better than a line of dialog”

Hammer it in for us, Chuck!!

Finally, Desiree, I am Very curious about this puppy as well…Chuck raises a good point about when you make a promise to the reader...

Nice work, and thank you again for sharing!!

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Just got my two books, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel and Make Something Up. When I opened the brown Amazon mailer, Make Something Up was in a clear plastic baggie. So it looked extra special. But I took it out and replaced it with Amy's book.

How do you feel about this move?

Offended...or honored?


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These Gloves Off bits are so good.

The scene itself was really interesting. Having been in a fair few hospitals, I really understood the feeling of little cloistered moments, the nod nod nod of addicts not being addicted, and I love how self-knowing the narrator is.

Excellent stuff, I really enjoyed it.

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Chuck, I can't tell you how much it means to me that my favorite author—the reason I even wanted to write a novel in the first place—not only read my work, but also offered such insightful and actionable feedback (which I can't wait to address!). Attributions have been so challenging for me and the suggestions you shared really helped me get a handle on how to bake those in. I can't wait to pepper in more Fido with the haunted eyes, Mr. Jones, and wig stuff. (Keeping those horses present!) Also eager to curb the judgments and submerge allllll of the "I's" peppered throughout the other chapters too. Eternally grateful and even more excited to drive up from LA to check out Study Hall in July!

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I'm sorry, but I can't hold onto this until morning, even though it's like 3:15 AM. Just got done reading Knock-Knock and I'm like...going slightly insane over here. Think I need psychiatric help because I forgot how masterful you've crafted this. How you weave previous elements into new parts and you repeat. It's..kinda like magic. Like the Polack gun blast joke with the POW. And the part about the Mickey Finn. And the violin part. Then you even combine the polack blast with the custard pie in the face bit!

You're like a DJ.

You burned the language with "prostrate cancer" and "multiple-cation" and "Emily Dickerson."

And it ends on a dental, "Radio not..."

Dude...I wanna learn how to do this so freakin bad.

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This is an excellent feedback. And the format is also great. It ties for me what I read in "Consider This" with case studies and lessons like this for my own practice.

My addition to the book chapter: I didn't even notice the puppy, the thing that stuck in my mind was janitor's breakfast. I think you did well with picking up on odd sensory details the same way like when you are hangoverm. But as Chuck said, if you could make them repeat, it would add more tension, but I think it could also add intensity to the headache and the overall drowsy state. Kind of mimicking the beat of the language to the inner state of the character.

Thanks for sharing

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