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  #11  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:35 AM
AJay2000 AJay2000 is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

There are a couple of definites in life - two of them are: 1. If you want to be a good singer, you listen to as much music in the genre as you are trying to perform in, and 2. If you want to be a good writer, you read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on.

If you want to be a good short story writer, I suggest reading everying written by Anton Chekhov and Alice Munro. They are the two ABSOLUTE gold standards in short story writing over the last 100 years or so.

I don't think I'm letting anything out of the bag here. They both highlight the three most important aspects of short story writing: Character, Character, and Character. I went to a reading by Pam Houston, a writer/teaching in the University of California collegiate system, and I asked her what the key to writing short stories was, and she told me to go read John Updike and see how he wrote his characters.

Needless to say, I will be writing my own short story for this competition, and I rely still too much on plot and metaphor. There is only so much you can do with 3000 words or so, so one of these days I may actually realize how to write really good characters.

Good luck to all, and I can't wait to read all the entries.

- Jay
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:34 AM
katyseagull katyseagull is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]

As for the cat itself, I would like to hear from a few more people before revealing my interpretation, as the cat is meant to be an important symbol and I was worried I did not convey it properly (or that the cat was a flawed premise to begin with). However, food for thought: is this cat normal and how does Jerold react to the cat? What does he do afterward and where does he eventually end up? Assume I didn't [censored] up the ending and the reader is left with the impression that the cat serves the priest.

[/ QUOTE ]


I need to go back and reread your story. I read it late last night and don't remember the entire sequence. However, I remember walking away from it feeling very creeped out. It gave me the shudders. I was thinking what's going on here? Did I misread something? (exhausted you know) I was like...is Zutroy saying that the devil is in cahoots with God? Is he saying that religion and God are in fact real, but God has been tricked by the devil? Tell me he is not saying that! Maybe it's just my imagination that placed the devil in this story and Zutroy meant nothing of the sort. GAH. lol, I think I need to read these stories when I am fresh and can focus.

I will read it today at lunch and report back with my 2nd interpretation. [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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  #13  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:55 AM
ValarMorghulis ValarMorghulis is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]

Like I said earlier any pointers on a good structure are welcome with open arms.

[/ QUOTE ]

I would say the core of most stories are:
character+problem----->resolution
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  #14  
Old 11-30-2007, 11:22 AM
Kimbell175113 Kimbell175113 is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]


If you want to be a good short story writer, I suggest reading everying written by Anton Chekhov and Alice Munro. They are the two ABSOLUTE gold standards in short story writing over the last 100 years or so.

[/ QUOTE ]
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-st...ndexframe.html

This site has a lot of stories available online for free. In addition to the two mentioned in the quote, I'd recommend James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield.

edit: okay, I checked and Joyce and Munro aren't available on that site, due to copyright or whatever, but you've still got a ton of material to look through there and elsewhere on the internets
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  #15  
Old 11-30-2007, 01:58 PM
Taso Taso is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]

As for the cat itself, I would like to hear from a few more people before revealing my interpretation, as the cat is meant to be an important symbol and I was worried I did not convey it properly (or that the cat was a flawed premise to begin with). However, food for thought: is this cat normal and how does Jerold react to the cat? What does he do afterward and where does he eventually end up? Assume I didn't [censored] up the ending and the reader is left with the impression that the cat serves the priest.

[/ QUOTE ]


I need to go back and reread your story. I read it late last night and don't remember the entire sequence. However, I remember walking away from it feeling very creeped out. It gave me the shudders. I was thinking what's going on here? Did I misread something? (exhausted you know) I was like...is Zutroy saying that the devil is in cahoots with God? Is he saying that religion and God are in fact real, but God has been tricked by the devil? Tell me he is not saying that! Maybe it's just my imagination that placed the devil in this story and Zutroy meant nothing of the sort. GAH. lol, I think I need to read these stories when I am fresh and can focus.

I will read it today at lunch and report back with my 2nd interpretation. [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

I have no idea if it was intended to be interpreted the way I do, but I think the story can be taken different ways, depending on your views on religion.

I took the priest to be evil, the Devil possibly, and he had just succeeded in convincing another person from believing in the truth; that science is more important than God, to believing that God is the most important. It may seem like a backwards thing for the devil to do, but if you consider one of the worst evils is to keep "man" ignorant, it's very fitting for the Devil.

I don't know if that is how the author intended it, but as an agnostic, that is how I took it. My favorite of the stories submitted so far, in any case.
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  #16  
Old 11-30-2007, 02:07 PM
katyseagull katyseagull is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

Thank you, Taso, I was thinking along similiar lines. and yes it is a very good story. Well told and really gets you thinking. I hope more people read and comment on these.


[ QUOTE ]
I understand the image of the woman, and the character of the priest...but why was the priest subservient to the cat-creature? Is this an affirmation of God or of paganism? I was just a bit confused by the symbolism of the cat-creature, because the other two symbols were so clearly that of Judeo-Christian tradition.

[/ QUOTE ]


Zutroy please tell us what the cat creature symbolizes in your story. It is bugging the heck out of me that I don't know the meaning of this story.

At first I thought that Jerold, a doubter, turns to the church for salvation. Upon forgetting his hat he makes the horrible discovery that the priest is actually a servant of the cat who I had determined was the devil [img]/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] and I figured the angel was dead, having been destroyed by Satan. This interpretation sent shivers down my spine.

On second reading, I am now wondering if the cat is simply a servant of an angry god who has managed to scare Jerold into the church. Can anyone else shed some light?
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2007, 03:10 PM
eviljeff eviljeff is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]
But why the bottles? Was he just trying to create the illusion that he had drunk the beer?

[/ QUOTE ]

right. the bottles help make his suicide look like an accident. think about what the investigator's report will say.
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  #18  
Old 11-30-2007, 03:45 PM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]


If you want to be a good short story writer, I suggest reading everying written by Anton Chekhov and Alice Munro. They are the two ABSOLUTE gold standards in short story writing over the last 100 years or so.

[/ QUOTE ]
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-st...ndexframe.html

This site has a lot of stories available online for free. In addition to the two mentioned in the quote, I'd recommend James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield.

edit: okay, I checked and Joyce and Munro aren't available on that site, due to copyright or whatever, but you've still got a ton of material to look through there and elsewhere on the internets

[/ QUOTE ]

You can't leave Raymond Carver out.

Also, I'd recommend strongly people who may not be credited as being great artists, but who can simply write a very enjoyable story. Too often a writer "settles" for being artistic and somewhere along the way loses the ability to keep momentum and maintain the continuous dream of a story, keeping it sparking and supple and fun. Telling a good story well is, perversely, one of the less esteemed talents of today's storytellers. Story is in large part communication, and parking your story in a narrow though perhaps exalted intellectual or stylistic ghetto with little other appeal ensures that you will in important ways miss your mark as an artist by keeping your talents largely to yourself.

Few writers wouldn't benefit from reading and a thorough study of imaginative and entertaining pure storytellers like Charles Beaumont, Roald Dahl, Richard Matheson, Richard Price, William Goldman, and Ira Levin. A little Homer, Hans Christian Andersen, and The Brothers Grimm wouldn't hurt either. A good storyteller reaching toward art can sometimes get there handily and be timeless regardless, but a poor or middling storyteller, however great his talents elsewhere, is so much a part of his time that he may even vanish during it.
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  #19  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:32 PM
JMP300z JMP300z is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
But why the bottles? Was he just trying to create the illusion that he had drunk the beer?

[/ QUOTE ]

right. the bottles help make his suicide look like an accident. think about what the investigator's report will say.

[/ QUOTE ]

Im kind of confused. Did he chase the ball into a pool and hit his head on the edge?

ALso, sorry for potentially being nitpicky but wont the coroners report show no BAC.

-JP
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  #20  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:18 PM
Zutroy Zutroy is offline
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Default Re: Writing Competition: Discussion Thread

I think there are definitely a few ways to interrupt the story and I really like the one mentioned in Taso post, though I must admit I had a different take, which I will likely outline later (though I will say that the title is fairly important and Everett and the Priest have something in common, despite being largely different.)

Fantasies of Jessica Fazer - This story leads very well and I like the colloquial, realistic sounding dialogue mixed with the well-written narration. The build up is well done and the theme is presented clearly, though not too obviously. Plus, bonus points for "Shee-it" [img]/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img].
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