Be careful with your point of view
Tell me, in what other Substack are you gonna find gems such as: Unpack the piss for more tension and can you put us inside Jacob's body?
Good, weird story -- I liked the meth references. Added to the atmosphere a bit. And I was feeling rather proud of myself for also thinking of The Lottery as I read this.
Chuck - terminology question. You've mentioned to avoid abstract measurements of time or distance, and I like that advice a lot. But the word 'abstract' throws me off. Wouldn't 10 minutes or 6'5" tall be concrete measurements, and descriptive measurements (three songs, had to duck under the doorframe) be abstract? I'm not arguing (I know better than that), but the terminology confused me a bit. You've probably explained this many times before I got here.
Does anyone who hasn't shared yet feel pressure building the more Gloves Off critiques they read? I have the burden of all this knowledge. But when I do submit, (and I will), it'll be better.
Hey Chuck, got a question about Gloves Off. If I send you the first 1000 words of a 3000 word story, would that still be eligible?
In a writing reference book, Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver, he said the less you care, the better you write. Usually when I'm writing comments and questions and other silly shit on your Substack, I feel totally free. Each post feels like finding a random 20 dollar bill in your pants every time you do laundry.
But when I get to the page to do my "real" writing, my brain switches to serious mode. Gotta get the lines just right and it feels like I'm constantly walking a tightrope while constipated. How can I transfer how I feel here, fun and free, to my actual writing? Do you know of any ways to make me care less?
Thank you for sharing "Man Today" with us. What a horrible story!! (I mean this as a compliment. Hehe.) Really though, the plot is so tragic, and I can really see this story amping up even more if you consider using some of Chuck's suggestions about hiding the mission by using the birthday euphemisms at the beginning of the story.
And the way you present the birthday`--like you had in there, "...he woke up with lit candles in his face." The "in his face" part reads as he's not excited about his birthday. So if I didn't know up front the reason he was not excited, it would create even more tension in your story; my curiosity about why this eleven-year-old was not looking forward to his birthday would keep me reading.
I also like how you bring up that Jacob had been playing with a remote control car the night before. It's a good way to show how he's still a kid, no matter how many birthday candles are on his cake.
Nice work, Cody. Looking forward to your revisions!!!
Chuck, a question about head-hopping and minimalism. I know it can be tricky to pull off, but say you wanted to tell a story from three different characters' points of views. And to do this, you give each character his/her own section so it is clear whose head/POV we are in (Is this technically head-hopping or is it something different?) Is this structure--the three different POVs clearly separated for example--a no-no for minimalism, period? Or is it just the head-hopping within sections (POVs jumping from one paragraph to the next or one line to the next) that is not allowed in minimalism?
Hey Chuck, mind settling something for me? I had a class today and the lecturer was talking about the post-modern and brought up ‘Fight Club’ (the film) as an example -- the part in which Edward Norton/The Narrator scrunches up his fist before he hits himself. He said that this is Tyler taking control, or at the very least, it’s ambiguous. I disagree and as I believe it’s not Tyler, but instead, its the Narrator psyching himself up for what he’s about to do. If the fist scrunching up was Tyler, would this not be a pretty big wtf moment for The Narrator? Would he not be like, “why the hell is my hand acting of its own accord?”. Could you clear this up?
Ah man, the juxtaposition between boy and man is great; so much peer pressure throughout. I like the notes to tie the beginning and end with smoke though - the life being the light. Another excellent story. Damn.
Chuck what you are doing here is amazing. I’m sure you been blown a thousand times, but this is helping people grow. It’s very cool
Chuck, I've noticed that you censor your profanity. Is there a reason for that? You are a gentlemen in the streets but a freak on the sheets (of notebook paper).
Thanks for sharing Cody!
The image of an eleven year old kid shooting a piss drenched man is going to stick with me for at least the rest of the week. Great scene.
I agree that hiding the fact that Jacob has to kill someone today until the end would greatly increase the tension. It would lead the reader from a world they think Jacob lives in into the world he actually lives in. This, I think, would better emphasize this great dichotomy you show between innocence and the loss of it. You’d be bringing the reader into the world instead of dropping them right in it.
Thank you so much, Chuck. If I were half as great a writer as you I’d Maybe be able to express properly the Honor I feel. Not only did you take the time to read my story, but you gave Amazing feedback. Truly appreciate it. And Thank you to everyone else who read my story, I appreciate all of you.