As with archaeologists at a dig site, I've been unearthing ever deeper layers of past buried in my computer. This came to light this morning. These are tidbits from critiques of fellow students' stories in a graduate fiction workshop. I would like to preface this by saying I'm very sorry to everyone involved.
1. I guess I’m confused about where the emphasis in this piece is.
2. There is a tone of self-doubt in the narrator’s voice that, I think, hinders our full engagement.
3. You need to re-write the story, giving explicit details and descriptions from the get-go about your main characters.
4. More importantly, though it’s clear that the author intends the misogyny ironically, we still have to read five pages of tits and titty-fucking.
5. In all honesty, I could barely get through this story.
6. You’ve got an original view and voice. To your credit, this story has a beginning, middle, and end, and overall you’ve done a better job of managing the diction this time around. There are definitely fewer instances (“condemnatory,” “forced to dine,” “salutations,” etc.) of unnecessarily archaic or overly-elaborate language, though I am sometimes resistant to the logic of an image, simile, or reference. One such example is “I would weep like a fetus” (pg. 2). Or how Tiffany’s “protruding ass” (pg. 1) would “scrape up against water coolers and small street urchins.” I want to like these sentences; I almost do; but they don’t quite mean anything, or mean something I know is not true (fetuses don’t weep, and her ass isn’t brushing up against small beggar children).
I was listening until page 5, but after that it was a struggle to read on. My main question is, What kind of creatures are these people? Their motivations are opaque at best, their characters thinly developed, and the setting mostly absent. All that I have a clear picture about is the blowjob, and that’s all I don’t want to have a clear picture of.
7. She’s unwilling to watch television while doing her homework but ready at the drop of a hat to dump an old man in a hayloft?
8. I have to say that I did feel somewhat used by this piece.
9. You have material here for provocative work, but to be provocative, I think we need more attention to significant detail, greater specificity, and less sentimentality.
10. Here’s just one sentence that really bugged me: “He took graceful steps in our small kitchen, seasoning poultry meticulously as an earnest artist would apply brush strokes to his canvas” (pg.13). How about “He was even graceful cooking chicken in a small kitchen”?
11. Also, honestly, there are so many spelling and punctuation errors in here that it’s really hard to read.
12. I was a little disappointed by the ending, though.