Tragedy Crisis High by Justinkangabang Excerpts from my book that I'm making.I'll refer to this formy
I'll put something up as soon as I get out of the library and to my computer at home (I've been studying for about 3 hours now in this hellhole)
- 09 April 2012 - 08:14 PM
These are the stories of three high schools that each faces a crisis that ends in a tragedy. Three students, through years and years of suffering, obsession, and pain will cause ripples within the communities that will be horrified to see the reality of the situation. Some young souls will act and take a stand, yet all their efforts will be futile. Three stories, different perspectives, each unique, all will end in tragedy. These may or may not be based on true stories, just know that the person you sit next to in class, or the kid that lives next door, or the girl you have a crush on could disappear from your life in the blink of an eye. Listen to the cries of those who mourn for their losses. It happens every day, yet we don’t even realize it. These stories can get graphic and has some profanity, but that’s reality for you. You should keep that in mind. Now, we can get to our first tragedy…
The Usual Spot
Few minutes after the incident…
Clinton Hills High School
“Wait! I-I need to get through! Let me go! I need to go see him, he can’t be dead!” That’s what I was shouting out at the security guard who was holding me back with his burly arms. I couldn’t tell with his sunglasses on whether he was distressed or annoyed. I had tears in my eyes, I wanted to run back into the quad area, but those huge security guards wouldn’t let me all because of him. It was all because he decided to press the ‘power off button,’ all because he wanted to fold so early in the game. That selfish bastard…
Three weeks before the incident…
The Usual Spot
“Hah! Full House, bitches whoo!”
“Dude not so loud! Jeez! You’re going to wake the neighbors!”
“Yeah, yeah just give me the dough! Pay up, Curtis and Bryan! Tax collector Johnny is in the house!”
We reluctantly gave our chips to Johnny. I bet you he rigged the friggin’ deck so he could give us a run for our money or in this case our life savings. It was our usual hour for playing Texas Hold ‘em at our usual spot. It was a little space hidden in a back alley next to a huge apartment complex we discovered when we were little kids. We totally tricked it out over the years, and made it into the coolest hangout ever! Sofas, bean bag chairs, dart board, used coffee table, a nice soft rug, an old but trusty radiator for those cold days, even a mini-fridge. It was sweet. My first childhood friend Johnny is pretty muscular, has auburn hair, hazel eyes, and works out a lot at the gym, straight B student, tough and someone you don’t want to mess with. I'm Bryan by the way, and me... I'm not much just your average sofmore in high school. Then, there’s Curtis. He’s a quiet guy, don’t know too much about him, fidgets a lot, smiles once in a while at a knee-slapper joke, blonde, blue eyes, distant, etc. He always seems to have a certain sadness in his eyes even if we're laughing our butts off and having a good ol' time. It wasn't until later I found out about the kind of condition he was in. He was clinically depressed and on top of that he had leukemia. Talk about misery no wonder he never laughs! How I got this information? Well, it was about a week ago when he opened up to me.
One week ago
On some street
Curtis and I were walking down a street to the usual spot. Curtis hadn't talked all day, he would at least wave once in a while, but today something was bothering him. I decided to break the awkward silence and asked him,
"Sooo how was school?" Wow did I sound like my mom. Curtis slowly looked at me and started looking back down at the floor again as he walked. He just completely ignored the question. I couldn't say anything to that so I just shut my lips and kept walking. Curtis kept biting his fingernail, it looked like he had something to say but he just couldn't say it. Maybe he was just too afraid to say it. Then, he suddenly stopped. "Whoa, dude what's wrong?" Curtis just stared at me with his fingernail clenched in between his teeth. He studied me a moment and took out his finger and said to me,
"C-can I ask you a question?"
"S-sure you can!" I was mind blown! He totally talked with me! He actually like said a whole sentence! Why would I be excited for this? I don't know, but I sure as heck was excited.
"Well...How come...Why...Am I a friend to you?" I had like a twenty second brain-fart just then. I didn't expect that.
"Yeah. Of course you are...Why did you think I didn't consider you a friend?"
"I-I just wanted to be s-sure if I could tell you a big secret." Curtis has a secret?! Say what?!
"O-ok shoot, promise I won't tell anyone." Then he broke the news to me. I was devastated.
- 10 April 2012 - 03:34 AM
Next, I can't really answer that question about publishing for you, but you have... a bit of cleaning up to do if you want this published, in my opinion.
I did the grammar correcting thing for Blue once, but that was kind of because she needed it. You on the other hand--you're not on a time crunch, so I'm going to leave most of the proofreading to you. But know that your story is riddled with grammatical errors. It starts in the first sentence. "Three high schools that each faces"--it should be "each face" because "high schools"--a plural noun--is the subject. Actually, don't take my word for that, I can't seem to recall if each means that the verb should shift to singular, which would mean that "faces" is right.
But there are plenty more issues or... simply "weird" writing that I'm not sure about. The second sentence has "ripples within the communities that will be horrified to see the reality of the situation." Technically "within the communities" is a prepositional phrase--which doesn't interact with the rest of the sentence and supposedly the sentence can function without it... but grammatically you're saying that the /ripples/ will be "horrified to see the reality of the situation."
... So, onto your story itself. There's an automatically weird thing that's introduced by the prologue--I'm going to ignore its rather unorthodox way of presenting--I accept that that's style, and I can't rightly criticize that. But there's something strange--you say "we" as though there's an "I" speaking rather than an omnipotent narrator... yet there is an "I" speaking at the first tragedy, and presumably there are different people who will be present at different tragedies. So that's kind of weird.
You might want to do one of two things--remove all indications of an "I" in the prologue, or change the prologue to some sort of "author's note." Because I get the feeling you, as an author, are trying to speak directly to the audience.
Now then, your storytelling in general is rather... sparse and disjointed. I mean, the "starting at the tragedy" and going forward from there is a pretty nice device (I remember this kind of device used in a movie about Gandhi), but it doesn't seem to have any reason.
But the problem is that your narration doesn't have any clear organization to it. My biggest beef is with the second entry, three weeks before the incident. Why is that entry even there? All it does 1) is introduce the characters by describing them 2) say that Curtis opened up to him. "But I need to do both--"
No you don't--well, not in the way you did. Story should speak for itself. It's okay to provide a brief description, especially since this is almost "diary" style... but don't go into every little meticulous detail about their appearance and personality. Seriously, I think most people don't care completely what a person looks like--definitely not as much as how they act. And if you do right, by what they do and say, it'll be apparent what their personality is. Yeah, I think there are five ways to characterize now that I think about it: 1) Direct description 2) Actions of the character 3) Dialogue of the character 4) Actions of other characters toward that character 5) Dialogue spoken to or about said character by someone else.
As for the "he opened up to me"--you made that apparent in your third entry.
There's something else, but I gotta run in a minute so I don't have time to specifically outline what it is... And I can't quite think of what it is, either.
No, Bryan is not a sophomore or else he would know how to spell "sophomore" instead of saying "sofmore."
Anyway, it's not bad, just, there's work to do.
By the way, one thing I did like is how you said "fold early" and then cut to a game of "Texas Hold 'em." It's a shame that the second day is pretty much superfluous. =/
- 10 April 2012 - 11:40 PM
Thanks for reading anyways! Always appreciate another writers opinion! That post up there probably had a lot of other grammar errors too! Lol
And I am a straight a student just didnt take the time to care about grammar.
- 11 April 2012 - 06:19 PM
No, no, no. That won't do. The only reason you should possibly rush through a story (and I mean a feasible reason) is if you're on a time crunch. As far as I know, you're not (and by time crunch I mean ultimate span of time, not "I had to go but I had to finish"). I can understand how you feel if you were "inspired," because when I first started writing I would often rush through scenes to get to "good parts," but that crippled the quality of the story overall.
I don't care if you "typ lik dis lol" while on the forum--well okay, that's annoying, but I can decipher it. But in a story, proper grammar should be used so that one doesn't have to constantly stop on a word or phrase and figure it out. A story with good grammar should allow a constant flow where one's words can (and this may sound like I'm glorifying the process) more or less just gloss over the words and absorb it all without interruption.
Just remember this: if you shouldn't care to do your story right, why should others care to read it?
And I know that sounds mean, but I'm not trying to say "I don't want to read this." Just remember that you'll lose a big portion of the fandom if you have sub-par grammar. Also, you'll never get it published when there are too many errors.
And just in case, if you're going to say "I'm going to go back and rewrite it later," why not just write it right the first time and ultimately save you time?
... Dammit I said I didn't mean any of this meanly but it all looks mean. ;__;
- 11 April 2012 - 06:52 PM
I would like to second what Lux has said in general, but specifically the part about grammar stands out to me. What Lux has said here is true, but there is a lot more to it, as well. One very important aspect of having correct spelling and grammar, beyond that of the necessary aesthetic affect (this has to do with the artwork side of things, and like Lux said: the flow), is you need to establish you know what you are doing, so you can properly obliterate it all.
If we were to look at the legendary song "My Favorite Things" by John Coltrane, I think we could all take a lesson.
Majority of this song is played over two chords at a time; and if you don't know the significance, allow me to explain. It is very hard to sound original throughout a song this long. Eventually, things will grow stale. Well, being a jazz wizard, John Coltrane often leaves and returns to diatonic notes -- in other words, he plays whatever the fuck he wants to play. The problem is that when jazz starts getting too crazy, you start getting people who play whatever the fuck they play, as opposed to what they WANT to play.
To resolve this issue, Coltrane often goes back and restates the motif (often the smallest and most repeated section of a song). He will then leave key (start playing like a psychopath), and then promptly come back. To put it simply, he is showing that he knows what he is doing. He is not just getting lucky with some progressions or capitalizing on the controlled chaos of free-form jazz. When he plays the "wrong notes," he knows exactly what he wants it to sound like.
This correlates heavily to writing, because the best writing is the stuff that breaks the rules -- BUT DOES IT RIGHT. No one wants to read "and thened Id loled hard again." Just like how anybody can hit a bunch of fast random notes. And while it is true that music is a little different, as in, if hitting random notes works, it works; that typically won't work for writing. So when you try that with writing, you don't just get some lucky riffs, but you get a steaming pile of shit.
- 11 April 2012 - 08:32 PM
But, I'd just like to build on something he said--yes, being original is good. But, in very few cases can poor grammar actually be used as a literary device. The only occasion I can think of where this was pulled off as helpful was the short story "Flowers for Algernon." To give you an idea, it's a guy who was mentally retarded who wrote down things in a diary--his spelling and grammar was atrocious due to his poor education (or no education at all). Then he was given this medicine that made him extremely smart and suddenly he employed eloquent methods of speaking and bombast... then the medicine wore off and it didn't work again and his last entries were being retarded. The genius of the entire story is that he was aware that while dumb and while smart he was hated by those around him, but when he became dumb again he was still aware of it--the wool over his eyes was pulled off, and though his ephemeral intelligence faded, his opened eyes could never be closed.
See, in that case, grammar and spelling being poor made perfect sense--it enhanced the feeling of seeing it from the perspective of a mentally retarded man. It did break the flow of course, for reading--bad grammar always does, but it was cleverly done and worth the sacrifice.
In the end, though, grammar is a "foundation block." If it is removed or weak enough to break, the entire structure collapses. I hope you can forgive me for using that trite, hackneyed example, but it lends itself well to making the point. It's one of those things that should be normal so you can focus on what really matters (which really depends on the intended audience, but I digress).
- 11 April 2012 - 09:53 PM
- 14 April 2012 - 04:53 AM
- 14 April 2012 - 05:05 AM
Listen, I had just been under the impression that you wanted your story published--because you said that you wanted your story published (magic!). Again, if you had just said "yeah I'm doing this so people will read it, not critique it," then I would have just read it.
I do admit that I might have hit you a bit too hard on the grammar. I should have just stuck with "grammar is bad, alright, let's move on."
Reality check: I'm sorry, but if you really want to make an impact, you'll have to write differently than you do now. I'm not going to offer critique because you don't want it, but if you remain at this skill level (which you seem to want), people will put your book down, or worse, the editor will throw your draft out the window.
Note: I am not saying you are bad. I'm saying you need to improve to accomplish what your goals are.
Have you read of authors Emily Dickinson? Walt Whitman? Watched a play like "Gone with the Wind"? All are American works, and each individual aforementioned could run circles around me, literature-wise. Saying "we live in America" in that context is basically saying "it's okay to be dumb because of where we live."
And that's not okay.
You're suggesting I sugarcoat?
Thank you for wasting my time and yours. Good luck with your story.
This post has been edited by Lux Aeterna: 14 April 2012 - 09:08 AM
- 14 April 2012 - 09:06 AM
I am not a fan of the "have your cake and eat it too" method of posting only for praise. If you want readers, you have to take the good with the bad.
- 14 April 2012 - 10:51 AM
I guess it's a very good thing I don't often visit this section of the forums then.
- 14 April 2012 - 09:57 PM
Praise is always good.
Critique is also always good. It's the only way we improve ourselves.
Criticism, when phrased as insults or as calling out flaws without explaining them or offering suggestions for improvement, is frowned upon. Outright "hating" is of course unacceptable.
Artists should learn to graciously accept the first two, and learn to deal with the last. Taeshi does accept critique; when SuitCase boots people out, critique is not the offense, so if you were thinking about playing the hypocrite card then shove off.
This post has been edited by Dr. Klaus: 14 April 2012 - 10:06 PM
- 14 April 2012 - 10:05 PM
This is a rather ambiguous statement. What one person considers being blunt and direct speech another may consider an insult--it's more or less impossible not to offend someone with what you say unless you never state an opinion or an incendiary fact. Of course, outright saying "you're terrible and you should go kill yourself" is completely inflammatory, but then there's the gray line where it's more like "this is bad and you need work." That's a statement, not an insult, in my eyes, but another person might be like "oh my God you cruel person!" And then there's the last extreme which is "oh, em, gee, you're... not bad, just, I think you might, em, need work..." That's just annoying and detracts from the point.
And "without explaining them"--I agree with that, too a degree, but there are always going to be cases where people believe that one is not explaining their criticism enough and will immediately resort to saying that said person is just trying to hurt their feelings.
Criticism is a dangerous game, but a necessary one. Without it, we're likely to miss many flaws that we cannot see ourselves.
... Anyway, I feel as though I've derailed the topic, so this is the last thing I'll say on the subject.
- 14 April 2012 - 10:29 PM
Did I say to sugarcoat nooo! You were implying that I did if that's the case it truly was a waste of yours and my time cause that just means no one else is gonna give a damn about words on a screen or on paper that are meaningless.
If it was such a waste of time why even post it up why waste another minute of your time clacking away at the keyboard wasting some ATP molecules like it even matters now since it was already wasted for you and me.
Am I the fool who wants his way, who wants everything sugarcoated in his life so he could grow up to be a moron who could be cared less for. Or are you the hypocrite by saying I'm not criticizing I'm critiquing, but it was a fucking waste of my time?
Critiquing and criticizing are on totally opposite spectrums right? Then take out that fucking huge ass log in your eye first before you say there's a speck in mine.
- 15 April 2012 - 07:37 AM
"I like this! I don't like this. I like this! [etc.]" Do you know how annoying and disorganized a review like that is? You're saying it more like I should say a good thing then a bad thing. I always separate the two and try to leave the good for last (hey, I criticize, but I prefer to at least close things on a good note)
I think you're kind of messing up the chronology.
>You post the story.
>I critique it.
>I dish out another round of critique.
>I elaborate on his.
>You say that Meowth and I should "get off your back."
>Then you say that I was basically critiquing the right way.
>[insert jackiechan.jpg here]
I'm saying sugarcoating is a waste of my time you--okay, listen. I didn't say reviewing was a waste of my time, I'm saying if you're asking that I delivered it differently so I didn't hurt your feelings or whatever, then that's a waste of my time because I can't review as effectively if I'm focused on softening the blow (sugarcoating). And to be frank, I don't have much to compliment about unless you want me to say dumb things such as "good job, you formed a sentence!"
Because I figured you wanted critique. You wanted a pat on the head and a gentle punch on the arm (see above paragraph).
Actually, critique and criticism synonyms. Both of them fall under the umbrella definition of "analysis."
That's also all I have to say about this paragraph, because you seem to have degenerated into nonsense defense. But for the record, a "hypocrite" is someone who criticizes another on something they are also guilty of. I'm pretty sure I never said you were criticizing or critiquing or any of that nonsense.
I have some advice: calm down. We gave you advice because you posted your stuff, and you threw a tantrum. But yelling at me in spasmodic bursts isn't going to ease your nerves.
- 15 April 2012 - 02:33 PM
First of all, I have slight problem with your "We're all Americans"-attitude - If you want this to be puplished you'd might consider that other people around the world is going to read this. (I'm from a little unknown country in Europe, and about your age, but I know how to spell "Sophomore")
Then there's a thing; Your story goes "right now" - "three weeks ago" - "one week ago". But the way you wrote it made me wonder, do you mean "one week before the suicide or four weeks before the suicide"? If I'm to be honest, you reveal way too much in the second part - that way you lose the element of surprise.
Besides, you're not really making friends if you're a Sir Swearsalot
But, as I - like Lux - like to end posts on a happy note, this is not absolute rubbish, there's a quite good idea in this, and it's better than some of the short-stories I've read.
This post has been edited by Camille: 15 April 2012 - 05:58 PM
- 15 April 2012 - 05:44 PM
It is true that Lux's first response was nice, and you're follow-up was not completely bad; however, what we attempted to explain to you was the importance of grammar. Yes, you are young, you will make mistakes. My grammar was complete shit for the longest time. It took a lot of practice and A LOT of critique to fix that. It was not some attack against you. Honestly, I wish I would have gotten that same explanation earlier. There is SO much I wish I had been told earlier, but had to figure the slow and difficult way. We're just trying to inform you on how things are.
The fact is, when somebody is lecturing you on something, it might seem pretentious, mean, or incendiary, but that doesn't automatically mean it is the case. We just wanted to help you and were not trying to destroy you.
- 15 April 2012 - 06:19 PM