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#1 Kori

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:55 AM

I'm a little nervous about posting even this small story, but, as that's no way to live, here it goes!

 

Comments and critiques are welcome, criticism doesn't bother me. I just hope that those who do read it enjoy it!

 

----

 

Chasin' Luck

 

The fishing line sunk into the rippling dark pond, barely glistening against the pale moonlight. A man sat with heavy, tired eyes, watching as the water calmed, listening to the call of nature—the shout of crickets against the, otherwise, silent night.

 

The man sat with a slouch in his shoulders, a literal heaviness taking toll on his back. Wrinkles had erased his youthfulness away; the frown on his face measured his age and wisdom about the hardships he took on in his life. This was a man with nothing more to live for, nothing but the rise of the morning sun, another cup of coffee, and another lousy hard day’s work. The routine was becoming a nightmare, so much that not even the joy of fishing could replenish. He sat huddled, cradling his own body, not at all the stature of a man should be—not the posture of the man he wanted to be.

 

His thirst for something new was left unquenched by what he was supposed to do, what society wanted him to do. This burden kept him awake for days on end; sleep brought nothing to him. His dreams were filled with the day’s chores, left uncolored by the dread of what the morrow would bring. Nothing was beautiful, not even his wife. Perhaps that was the hardest realization, that his marriage had been doomed for many years, and he wasn’t the man for her anymore.

 

He heaved out a sigh as his gaze shifted down to the empty pail beside him. He had sat there for hours with nothing tugging on his hook, yet he still kept recasting his line. Determination wasn’t the reason; his persistence was as low as his self-esteem. It was with hope that he stayed; a small piece of him felt that if he could catch just one fish, maybe his sorrow would start to disappear. His life would have purpose, as silly as the thought was. For something he was never truly good at, that satisfaction, that if he caught just one, would make his frown start to turn into a bit of a smile. He could go home to his wife, make her feel like she did during their honeymoon, and things would start to turn around. But the longer he sat, the less he felt that wish would become a reality, for ever since he arrived at the hole, the waters remained still. The only creatures he could hear were the ones behind him, not the fish he wished to see.

 

He uncurled his body and reached for his pole, slowly reeling it in to try and bait any unsuspecting fish, his hope rising slowly. Maybe he’ll get lucky? He was getting excited at the thought. Things would change, certainly. He would look at every day with a new outlook on life, take his wife out to dinner, laugh at the small things…

 

At the final click, his excitement instantly fell to its lowest point once more. The hook was empty—even the worm was taken away. There were fish in the pond, but he was the unsuspecting victim here. All his time spent praying on hope that his sorrows would vanish, and he was let down again. His frown had deepened, and his eyes closed. Slowly he stood, shamefully wiping away the pieces of grass that clung to his pants. He grasped his pole and pail and stared against the shimmering water before turning his back to it. He had only walked a few steps before he heard a splash. His head turned instantly, and another fish jumped out of the water and fell back in.

 

Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow is another day.


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#2 No-Danico

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:05 PM

You said you wanna be an author, so having people read your work is step three. You're 3/64th the way there!

 

I liked it. But after you mentioned the creatures he heard behind him, I thought I'd end all horror style, with some eldritch abomination ripping his throat out. But no, he'll probably just trudge on home, strangle his shrew of a wife, then end it all after pouring salt around the barrel of a gun to bring on the memory of margaritas.

It gave off a nice sense of melancholy and regret, what his life could have been and what he wishes it was. Suicide probably won't happen, he has too much optimism for that mess. But his wife could use a trip to the local sex toy shop.

 

Heavy eyes already imply he was tired. It could mean a strong gaze, but in context it's redundant. You don't need the commas around otherwise. Try erasing it from the sentience, does it hold the same meaning? And I'm not sure about the dash before it. A comma would have the same effect and wouldn't break the flow.

 

What was the literal heaviness on his shoulders? Was he wearing a rucksack full of rocks? Take caution with the word 'literal.' It's misused far too often in our society. "...for, nothing but the rise of the morning sun, another cup of coffee, and another lousy hard day’s work." I like the repetitiveness of the word another here. Nothing wrong, but I think I'd be more charming if you add another another before 'the morning sun' and drop the the. Also, the and before 'another lousy.'

 

 "...for, nothing but the rise of another morning sun, another cup of coffee, another lousy hard day’s work." It adds a sense of monotony. Plus, I like stylish commas.

 

Keep going, this has potential, and you've got some style. What was the wife doing while he's off fishing? Scotch? The mailman?


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#3 Guest_ElatedOwl_*

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:02 PM

I like it. My opinion is as follows but I've taken no formal literary classes so take it with a grain of salt.

 

I think one of the most important parts of a story is being able to set up mental scenery and for the most part you did it well. In (what I would consider to be) good books there is very little effort on the readers part to set this up, simply by reading it happens; I wouldn't say this piece does that, but it does fill in enough blanks for me to picture it if I'm consciously trying.

 

Some of your punctuation bugs me. When I read I kind of garner a pace and it's irritating when the pace is broken without a good reason. For example,

the shout of crickets against the, otherwise, silent night

the commas before and after otherwise completely break the pace previously set. I'm not entirely familiar with grammar rules but I don't think it needs to be there.

 

The climax could use a little bit. Maybe the depressing undertones before need to be a bit more depressing or maybe the act of it happening needs to be more exciting but it just feels... anti-climatic. I struggle to sympathize/empathize with this character but I would say his problems are largely relatable; maybe more intricate details about this man introduced subtly? e.g.

Nothing was beautiful, not even his wife's amber hair or the rising Georgian sun he used to compare it to.

I'd say it's a fairly intimate detail, we know a little more about the wife and we can assume he spent some time in Georgia and was a bit of a romantic with her previously. It's a mediocre example but I'm sure you get the point and could come up with something 10x better. x:

 

I do like the theme, but the ending seems a little swift; you go from a man who is extremely pessimistic and is kicked when he's down, his reaction of "oh well, tomorrow" seems out of character. What makes him come to that thought - the fact that he has no choice? I'm sure you could play a bit more on the reason.

 

Like I said though, 0 formal literary education so most of this is probably moot.