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The Muse - David Rothman

 
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Harry
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 2505
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:45 am    Post subject: The Muse - David Rothman Reply with quote

You've come a long way in your writing, Dave. You're getting a recognizable voice, and if you haven't already, it might be a good time for you to submit things like this to other sites or newsgroups that are hot and heavy on feedback.

I have reservations about this piece, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. No two people will handle the same theme the same way. A statement like this: >>Do you know Hemmingway?<< (One 'M' in Hemingway, by the way) it puts the piece back into the fifties, and the rest of it doesn't read that way. Your muse is very open and seems to be at home among men, and when she says things like >>"Oh, I can tell you are a writer. You say things so well."<< I'm inclined to doubt her value as a muse.

Finally, you seem to enjoy dropping names, ie; "Starbuck's House Blend" "Trek 7300 FX Bicycle" "Virginia Slims" "Chanel 5". I'll bet you'll find none of these items were around in Hemingway's day, and are they really necessary to know?

I like the ending, the fading away with a vague promise for regeneration again in two weeks. I like the inconclusiveness of it and the failure of this chance meeting to pull the writer out of his block. You've handled his frustration and anger extremely well.
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dkneip
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
Posts: 253
Location: California

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: the muse.. Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the story. I like where it goes. Stephen is a good character, so far, because he doesn't just sit at home putzing around trying to free himself from his madness. He goes out and something happens and in a way, he makes it happen. The contrary would be quite boring and cliche in my estimation.

Your dialogue is good, I'm intrigued by the female and how she uses her mystic to mystify Stephen and avoid answering most of his questions. I thought that was clever because the questions he asks are also things I would be interested in knowing. The set up for that is real sharp.

A few things I wanted to mention that may sound knitpicky, Dave, but to me, the small things can make or break a story and I want your story to MAKE it!!

Originally, I questioned the "Dorcher Clinic". Never heard of it, but the more I thought about it, I make up words and stick them in my stories all the time and expect people to accept them. I'd still like to know if Stephen is at the end of his rope as a writer and if this clinic is his final resort - that he's exhausted every other avenue to break from his inability to write. I know that's not what the story is about, but I was just curious about his motivation with that.

Some people say writers block is a ticket to procrastinate. I never believed that was the case with Stephen and that's a reflection on you as a writer, as that issue is handled smoothly.

I'm not a coffee drinker, so I shouldn't comment on how much coffee your character seems to drink that morning. I also don't smoke, so I likewise shouldn't comment on someone who has cigarettes but no lighter. It's still believable, I think, but it jumped out at me as
"interesting" nonetheless. If my focus on the storyline is interrupted by little things like this, I get nervous.

You use Art really well - he was never too obtrusive and remained a background character the entire time, and I like him because of that.

I think this story has the markings of a really good and interesting beginning to something I want to read more of. And if your ending creates a longing in the reader's mind, then you definitely have a talent.

Sincerely,

Daniel
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DaveR
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Joined: 14 Jan 2004
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry and Daniel, thank you both so much for your extensive feedback on my little story, which by the way was inspired by a short discussion with you, Harry, a few days ago on the Discussion Forum.

Writing is still a learning process and there is much to learn from your comments. It's good to know that many of the things I was trying to do with the characters, plot, and dialogue came through. And I'm happy that you pointed out how I missed the mark on other things.

When I wrote that Hemingway line, I didn't realize it would set the time period of the piece, but now I see how it does. Perhaps I should have said: "I heard Hemingway lost his before he committed suicide back in the sixties."

Harry, I did drop too many names for such a short piece. I read somewhere that it's better to be specific. Instead of saying he held a cigarette, say he held a Marlborough. But I went overboard, and it does sound ridiculous.

Daniel, you're right, the Dorcher Clinic is a made up name. I didn't mean to imply that Stephen was at the end of his rope as a writer. He was going through a very rough, dry phase and thought he needed professional help. It turns out all he needed was to get away from the computer and absorb life, which he did, and he was inspired by a mysterious woman in a chance meeting.

I may have gone too heavy on the coffee, but I did need to make him alert after the sleepness night, and there had to be a set-up for the discussion with Rachel. Oh, Rachel may have had a lighter and acted as if she didn't.
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Harry
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always felt it was better to describe rather than put a title to it. 'a long cigarette, slightly bent in the middle', 'the subtle scent of carnations', rather than Chanel 5. It tells the reader more and it brings the character to life.

Above all, take all feedback with a grain of salt, it may not be good for you, the best of it can lead you astray. All writers in time, develop a sense of right and wrong and their own gut tells them what to do.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry wrote:
I've always felt it was better to describe rather than put a title to it. 'a long cigarette, slightly bent in the middle', 'the subtle scent of carnations', rather than Chanel 5. It tells the reader more and it brings the character to life.

Above all, take all feedback with a grain of salt, it may not be good for you, the best of it can lead you astray. All writers in time, develop a sense of right and wrong and their own gut tells them what to do.


Thank you Harry. I take your feedback with more than a grain of salt. After all how many people will know what the scent of Chanel 5 is. Who besides me even knows what a Treck 7300FX looks like. Many people will actually smell the scent of carnations when they read the phrase you've written. I can see the long cigarette, slightly bent in the middle.
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