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Old 08-30-2013, 02:46 AM   #1
Jamesabels
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Flash Fiction: Present, Past and Future.

Hey guys, put some writing up before, not comics stuff but I might adapt it soon. Fresh writer so all crits welcomed!

Present, Future and Past. (477 Words)

A middle-aged woman is sorting through a stack of papers, smiling at a younger man sitting on the other side of her desk.

“Why do you do it?”

The man looks annoyed.

“Do what?”

“Crime.”

“I don’t.”

“Innocent until proven guilty?”

“I drive. If the police want to follow me, that’s their problem. ”

“Fair enough.”

“How does it make you feel.”

“In control.”

The woman quickly starts to jot something down.

“I see.”

He rolls his eyes.

“That’s not why I do it.”

She starts to erase.

“Explain.”

He shifts in his seat, sticking his right hand in his pocket.

“Have you ever wanted something?”

“I mean really wanted something?”

She looks confused.

“Of course.”

“Everything I have ever wanted has always been just out of reach.”

“You might tell me I’m trying to catch it.”

“Are you? ”

“I’m trying to pass it.”

“And when you look into your future, you are in front of it?”

“No.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“I don’t look.”

“Everyone looks.”

“Not everyone sees anything.”

“You must see something.”

He pauses for a moment, looking around the room.

“Two roads.”

The woman looks down at her clipboard waiting for him to elaborate. He does not.

“Where do these two roads lead?”

“Nowhere. We covered that.”

“I assume by nowhere, you mean death?”

“Death is an option.”

“And the other?”

He shifts in his seat again.

“I don’t like to think about it.”

“It’s worse?”

“The only other outcome is becoming something I don’t want to become.”

“I see. ”

His pocket moves slightly as he grips his car keys, waiting for someone to break the silence, as she writes what seems like a novel.

“So, Why are you here today?”

“The State.”

“No, still alive.”

“I’m on a different road.”

She focuses her full attention to him.

“I thought there were only two roads?”

“They converge, but when is the question. At what point do I reach the intersection?”

He sinks in his seat, staring blankly past her.

“You fear this day, don’t you? ”

“No.”

“What do you fear?”

“How fast I will be going.”

She hesitates for a second, still trying to follow his logic.

“This is the only future you envision?”

“There is another, but it’s an illusion. A sane reaction to postpone the collision one more day. Reoccurring mercilessly in a compulsive loop.”

An arrogant smirk forms across his face.

“Some might call it hope.”

She is clearly unimpressed.

“Even illusions look like something.”

“It’s a future where I’m not behind the wheel anymore. Where I can make an honest living, that’s worth the effort.”

“Where I can wake up before 4pm, with someone beside me, and my first thought isn’t wishing I could kill God with my bare hands.”

She crosses out her previous notes.

“You still miss her, don’t you?”

He closes his eyes, admitting defeat.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:13 AM   #2
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A few things.

Generally, this entire board is for comic book creators. The Writer Showcase is generally for comic book writing. People looking to hone their skills.

That being said, this is not a comic book script. This isn't even a good short story. I didn't read it all, because I didn't have to. Barely a sketch of a setting, no idea about how either character looks, and because there's no "he said, she said," it becomes extremely difficult to tell who's saying what, and it happens almost immediately.

Pick up a novel. Any novel. Read it. Read it critically. Take it apart, and understand why the writer does what they do. Then, imitate it. Understand writing first, before trying to break the rules.

Hope that helps.

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Old 08-30-2013, 05:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
A few things.

Generally, this entire board is for comic book creators. The Writer Showcase is generally for comic book writing. People looking to hone their skills.
Yeah, but with the Writer's Workshop gone, prose is going to have to go here now.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Buckyrig View Post
Yeah, but with the Writer's Workshop gone, prose is going to have to go here now.
Le sigh...
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:07 AM   #5
Duane Korslund
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maybe a separate section for prose....to prevent aneurysms
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:25 AM   #6
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Don't mind Steve, he comes off as a pompous Jerk but that just the way he writes. He does have some points though to his comments. Mostly that you should learn the comic book format. There are several great book out there for it. Thing is there is no real standard, only suggestions. I would go to Dark Horse and look up their writing submission. Their is a great downloadable example.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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maybe a separate section for prose....to prevent aneurysms
Ed just axed it as part of the streamline due to insufficient activity.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Ed just axed it as part of the streamline due to insufficient activity.
I can see why....I've been here a few years and dont recall seeing it....bummer....
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whdvorak View Post
Don't mind Steve, he comes off as a pompous Jerk but that just the way he writes. He does have some points though to his comments. Mostly that you should learn the comic book format. There are several great book out there for it. Thing is there is no real standard, only suggestions. I would go to Dark Horse and look up their writing submission. Their is a great downloadable example.
Hey! I worked very hard for my pompous jerkiness! A lot of work and sacrifice went into perfecting it!

Anyway, the OP knew that this wasn't in a comics format. They said so in the first line.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for the crits, not ignoring this, just re-writing in script format and fleshing it out a bit more. Not sure how big it will get, the idea was really just to practice a scene.

Sorry about the dialogue. I read some prose stuff, but usually really sparse crime novels, so that's what I was going for, though this has more back and forth than those tend to. I was going to do he said and she said, but it just seemed really repetitive to me, but maybe not?

I will return soonish (flatting deadlines) with a finished script.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:20 AM   #11
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Okay.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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Prose written in a sparse manner uses the right word combination to get the writer's message across.
It's not something easily pulled off if you've not written in that manner for a long time, sharpening it, like Andrew Vachss.

Not using "she said" can be effective, if those having the dialogue are distinctive enough in their individual voices to tell them apart.

Ex.

"Wha-huh?"

"What, what? You know what I said."

"Nah, I didn't get what you said, so.."

"No. Do not try to ignore the fact of what I just said by getting me to say it again. You heard the first time."

"C'mon, do you want me to say I wasn't listenin'? Is that what you wanna hear me say, huh?"

"You can say whatever you want to say. I'm so done with this conversation and you. Later."

"Wha? W-wait a minute, let me...aw c'mon. Please wait!"

(I haven't written prose in a long time so bare with me. It's just for the idea of what I said. )

The distinction I was making between the speakers was one of possible gender and level of education. The casual usage of language over the more semi-correct use of language with lingo.

Which can you tell is female or male? Just an idea. I could be F.O.S. I used to be a writer and an editor some time ago.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:16 AM   #13
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Steven,

I think your criticism is harsh and inaccurate. A story doesn't need dialog tags, especially one that is a dialog between two parties. I'm not saying there aren't a couple points in James' story that the reader gets lost. For me this happens when he follows dialog from one of the parties with another line from the same party. These either need to be quoted properly or pulled together into one line.

If the dialog is done well, you should be able to follow from top to bottom either by the back and forth or the pronouns and descriptors by the speaker.

It needs work, focus in parts, but by the end, I understood the discussion and the underlying elements of the story. Not great, and with a little work it would satisfy as an adequate piece of flash fiction.

I publish stories regularly by Kieran Shea, the name is not important, though I can recommend his upcoming novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY, who rarely uses dialog tags, and in fact rarely any description other than the dialog. Some beautiful work.

http://shotgunhoney.net/author/kieran-shea

My point, good fiction doesn't have constraints to form or style, as long as the story is clearly and well.

Do you read Charlie Huston or Cormac McCarthy. Rules are meant for breaking.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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Need dialogue tags? No, they aren't needed. However, I think that they definitely could have been used here to great effect. You got lost, Ron. That means the writer didn't do their job. You're not supposed to get lost.

Rules are meant for breaking, sure, but you have to understand the rules first. Knowing the rules, understanding them, and making a conscious decision to break them are things that writers do. There is a difference between writers and storytellers. From my experience, there are a lot of storytellers out there who want to be writers.

I applaud the storytellers. I just want them to put in a little more work if they want to be writers. It's much more difficult than it seems, even though we all write as a means of communication.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:38 PM   #15
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I acknowledged that James didn't write the dialog properly. My issue was how your responded to his post. It reeked of annoyance, and not because he failed at writing a two person interchange, but because he posted a piece of flash fiction in the Writer Showcase. A piece of prose, not comic script.

James may need to study more, he may need to (re)learn the basics, he may need to read more, but he doesn't need your half-attempt at a critical response colored with personal irritation.
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