A lot of folks check in here each day, read what we have to say, some leave comments (thanks, we really do appreciate them), while others email their thoughts. All who stop by here have been unfailingly gracious, many have linked this blog and/or various posts.
One thing worries me, though: I’ve read the completed manuscripts of each of my writers’ group members, I’m certain of their abilities, but none of you know if I can write well. Yes, you’ve read my posts – none of which have been properly edited. Some of you may have Googled me and found a few of my op-eds available there. But fiction is something else altogether.
So today, I’m going to serve myself up for you to critique. This is a Writers' Group blog, after all. It’s a small excerpt from my manuscript, there are space constraints. The set-up is my protag , an undertaker, has arrived to remove a body. As you know, when giving feedback it’s almost more important to describe what doesn’t work than what does. Have at it, rip it apart. Go on, I’m strong. I can take it:
From the hearse, I remove two pairs of gloves, one small, the other large, along with the gurney, body bag, and my case. Walking back to the triple-decker, I see a middle-aged woman on the deck of her third floor apartment, her hair in curlers, her squat body encased in a bulky robe. Her mouth filled with clothespins. She’s hanging underthings from a makeshift line strung between her doorframe and the single dying oak in her postage-stamp yard. She sees me watching her and freezes, big white underpants billowing in her left hand. She yanks the pins from her mouth, spits twice off of the deck, and then crosses herself. When the breeze picks up, the oak’s forgotten leaves swirl around its trunk, and the woman turns her attention back to the laundry.
Steve-o keeps his back to me as I struggle up the stairs. His teeth nimbly work over his cuticles, reminding me of a man I once saw eating chicken wings; the way he splayed the tip from the drum, snapping them apart and then gnawing each bone until it gleamed white. This time Steve-o doesn’t hold the door for me.
Actually, I'm not feeling terribly strong right now, a little vulnerable if truth be told, so try not to be too harsh. Okay?
Tuesday, June 05, 2007