Jean shorts

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I don't know how often I'll post these (very rarely), but I wrote a thing and would like feedback of the non-soul crushing variety, if you please.
Oct 1, 2016 10:52 PM
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Oct 1, 2016 10:53 PM
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Oh my god, the question marks.

EDIT: Ok, had to create a blog real quick. There you go.
Oct 1, 2016 10:54 PM
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I don't get it.
Oct 1, 2016 11:34 PM
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Superficially, it reads like a Haruki Murakami short story. He has absolutely mastered the art of casual, conversational tales of skewed reality.

But unfortunately, this reads like it's aping that kind of tone while completely keeping any substance utterly obscure. I have no idea what this is supposed to be about, and when you run into something like that with the more opaque stories of Murakami or (similarly) Kelly Link, there is still some kind of emotional or psychological hook that sticks with you and resonates in some kind of ineffable way. I got nothing like that from this. It just kind of sits there on the page--flat, thin, unresonant.

It's very verdant! That's about all I got.
Oct 2, 2016 12:23 AM
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How about these ones?
Oct 2, 2016 12:24 AM
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Jean, was this a dream that you had?
Oct 2, 2016 12:30 AM
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I think it's about how accepting your situation, in this case working an office job, is like letting your imagination die. Killing his younger selves by using something that he got at work is a metaphor for growing up, I guess, and killing future versions of himself that could have been other things is a metaphor for a person giving up on becoming someone more interesting/successful.

If that's right, I guess my issue is that the whole green woman thing is almost so bizarre that it obscures the message. Like it's so weird that it detracts from a point that could be more straightforward.
Oct 2, 2016 12:54 AM
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ZubenJean, was this a dream that you had?

No. There is sort of a point in there, but it may be too deeply buried.
Oct 2, 2016 12:55 AM
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NimChimpskySuperficially, it reads like a Haruki Murakami short story. He has absolutely mastered the art of casual, conversational tales of skewed reality.

But unfortunately, this reads like it's aping that kind of tone while completely keeping any substance utterly obscure. I have no idea what this is supposed to be about, and when you run into something like that with the more opaque stories of Murakami or (similarly) Kelly Link, there is still some kind of emotional or psychological hook that sticks with you and resonates in some kind of ineffable way. I got nothing like that from this. It just kind of sits there on the page--flat, thin, unresonant.

It's very verdant! That's about all I got.

That's interesting. I haven't read any Murakami or Kelly Link, or hardly any non-Asimov short stories, really, so I was just kind of winging it. I am reading some George Saunders right now, however, and I'm very jealous of how much spark and imagination he puts into his character sketches. I kind of feel like he writes how I want to write, but I guess good luck with that one, self.
Oct 2, 2016 1:06 AM
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DefaultI think it's about how accepting your situation, in this case working an office job, is like letting your imagination die. Killing his younger selves by using something that he got at work is a metaphor for growing up, I guess, and killing future versions of himself that could have been other things is a metaphor for a person giving up on becoming someone more interesting/successful.

If that's right, I guess my issue is that the whole green woman thing is almost so bizarre that it obscures the message. Like it's so weird that it detracts from a point that could be more straightforward.

Yeah, that's basically what I was going for.
Oct 2, 2016 1:10 AM
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Jean
DefaultI think it's about how accepting your situation, in this case working an office job, is like letting your imagination die. Killing his younger selves by using something that he got at work is a metaphor for growing up, I guess, and killing future versions of himself that could have been other things is a metaphor for a person giving up on becoming someone more interesting/successful.

If that's right, I guess my issue is that the whole green woman thing is almost so bizarre that it obscures the message. Like it's so weird that it detracts from a point that could be more straightforward.

Yeah, that's basically what I was going for.

I guess my only suggestion then, as I don't know anything about writing and can't offer anything beyond my reaction, is that you should try to write in such a way that someone who isn't familiar with your taste can figure it out. I've seen you post about your job in the past and it obviously ties into your appreciation for anime and stories that are about enabling people to follow through on what they want. I'm not sure that would have come across if I didn't know that about you.
Oct 2, 2016 1:14 AM
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Default
Jean
DefaultI think it's about how accepting your situation, in this case working an office job, is like letting your imagination die. Killing his younger selves by using something that he got at work is a metaphor for growing up, I guess, and killing future versions of himself that could have been other things is a metaphor for a person giving up on becoming someone more interesting/successful.

If that's right, I guess my issue is that the whole green woman thing is almost so bizarre that it obscures the message. Like it's so weird that it detracts from a point that could be more straightforward.

Yeah, that's basically what I was going for.

I guess my only suggestion then, as I don't know anything about writing and can't offer anything beyond my reaction, is that you should try to write in such a way that someone who isn't familiar with your taste can figure it out. I've seen you post about your job in the past and it obviously ties into your appreciation for anime and stories that are about enabling people to follow through on what they want. I'm not sure that would have come across if I didn't know that about you.

Fair enough, thanks for reading.
Oct 2, 2016 1:15 AM
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I guess I can try to elaborate a little bit. Zuben recommended the Southern Reach books at one point. I liked them a lot even though I'm not sure I fully appreciated them. Those are also really weird. Tremendously weird even. But all the weirdness ties into what I thought the books were ultimately about, so the weird stuff has an impact and actually helps me remember what I think the story is commenting on.

If the green woman tied into Martin's library job, then I missed it. She just feels out of place, and even though being out of place and supernatural is sort of the point, simply being alien to a 9-5 setting might not be enough to drive your point home. I do think it's better than anything I could write.
Oct 2, 2016 1:30 AM
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DefaultI guess I can try to elaborate a little bit. Zuben recommended the Southern Reach books at one point. I liked them a lot even though I'm not sure I fully appreciated them. Those are also really weird. Tremendously weird even. But all the weirdness ties into what I thought the books were ultimately about, so the weird stuff has an impact and actually helps me remember what I think the story is commenting on.

If the green woman tied into Martin's library job, then I missed it. She just feels out of place, and even though being out of place and supernatural is sort of the point, simply being alien to a 9-5 setting might not be enough to drive your point home. I do think it's better than anything I could write.

Re: the Southern Reach trilogy, I definitely want to read those books at some point.

The Green Woman was the image that I spun the story out of, but I think you're right that she doesn't connect directly to the central theme. I might not have been consciously making this point while writing it, but I think she symbolizes Martin's perspective on women in his life in that she's the highlight of his existence and she's just something for him to use, with no discernible will or personality of her own. She's a brief respite from the intense isolation of his daily existence, but it's all take and no give. It could be that that's just a totally different story unsuccessfully trying to coexist in the ecosystem of this one, though. *shrug*
Oct 2, 2016 1:52 AM
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There's a green woman in "The Cage," the original Star Trek pilot.
Oct 2, 2016 1:55 AM
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Infinitus CorsairThere's a green woman in "The Cage," the original Star Trek pilot.

I didn't read the story, btw.
Oct 2, 2016 1:55 AM
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Infinitus Corsair
Infinitus CorsairThere's a green woman in "The Cage," the original Star Trek pilot.

I didn't read the story, btw.

:|
Oct 2, 2016 1:57 AM
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Jean, read the following two books: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, by Haruki Murakami, and Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link. That might be the most helpful feedback I can offer.

I can honestly say, though there are some wonky shifts in tense and some awkward phrasings, you seem to have the raw elements of at least not-terrible prose. Your best bet is to read widely and keep experimenting.
Oct 2, 2016 3:20 AM
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It goes without saying that you've been reading very narrowly, if the reading thread is any indication, and you've been reading authors not known for the quality of their prose, but rather for giganticism and world-building. That's the opposite of what you should be consuming if stories like this are something you're interested in doing well.
Oct 2, 2016 3:22 AM
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