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Hey Lizzy, you’ve got a nice beginning of a story there. Same as Chuck, for me the Big Voice at the beginning, it probably takes more space then it should. Maybe you could break it out throughout the rest of the chapter? The tweaks Chuck suggested will make it shine.

I think a good piece of writing is like architecture. We see a high building, a quick glimpse, we shrug. Ignoring all the work and balancing and design that went into it. Then we see the tower of Pisa and all there snapping selfies at its 4-degree lean. The beauty of writing is hiding the effort. The rest is all extra tilted degrees the reader notices.

Keep up the good work. The story has got really good potential.

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Thanks for sharing Lizzy.

Chuck has identified some things in your work that I do often, and I find it so much easier to understand the issue seeing it spelled in someone else’s writing.

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Chuck, a question, if I may.

I've been reading Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son recently, and noticed that he doesn't submerge the I, but also that it doesn't seem to harm his writing or the way I perceive it as the reader at all.

Would you say there is a time and a place for submerging the I, and if so, when is it actually acceptable not to submerge it in your writing?

It's something I've become very aware of in everything I read and write recently.

Thanks in advance.

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I will keep going over the 1st half...

and do the same with the 2nd half.

the set up of patterns and all of it.


how can I view my own responses / comments to posts? Do I have to just keep track? I feel like I still need to think about all these things. I am a bad consumer. And there is thoughtful content sharing here. And most of is is by writers.;)

It is a new world this substack.



I am told I get no low vision accommodations because I finally got 20/20 vision with glasses @ 54 y.o. although it is still slightly double vision. so this may still be a matter of still feeling around in the dark and light. ;)

ty for sharing so much... everyone!

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Strong notes on this, Chuck. The Gloves Off series is my personal favorite on the stack. Offers a lot to chew on for anyone writing today.

Lizzy, thanks for putting your story on the operating table. Blood donation is a great scene to set a story in. Visceral and existential. I imagine the share is a little intimidating, but a real gift to us out here. <3

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Hi Lizzy! Thank you for sharing your story.

You had me at "Janet is my blood taker today." If this were my story, that would be my opening line. I like how you call out the costume jewelry the phlebotomist is wearing, and the comparison to bottle caps.

My mom worked for a lab, so when I was 17, she made me work summers as a phlebotomist. So in college, when I was scraping for cash, I had no problem visiting the plasma banks. I still, twenty years later, have a big pockmark in the crease of my left arm (the good side). I think a physical detail like that would be good up where Janet is noticing Tom's donated before.

I like the detail of how Tom "felt [him]self getting light again." His blood is draining into vials though, so I wonder if he is in fact donating blood. I guess they do draw a few into vials before they fill the bag? If you are donating plasma, then you have that cold saline running back into you. Still gives me chills thinking about it. But if you went the plasma route, you might play up the coldness of that saline with the "rehearsed lowering into the dirt" you mentioned earlier.

You've got my curiosity! Can't wait to see where you take this.

Nice work, thanks for sharing. Chuck, thanks for the excellent notes.

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