Oh, There They Are! (99 words)

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M. R. Kessell

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Hey everybody, just want to get involved and post this super short thing to start. I'd like to hear your feedback. I think I can handle it. I originally posted this on my blog, it was only seen by a handful of people. They may have been bots.



Going uptown, the F train was packed. I stood with my back pinned to the doors, studying people’s footwear. A baby wailed. Some teenaged girls chittered like squirrels. A garlicky dude was bouncing around and barking into his cell phone.

Across the way, an older man faced outward, his nose pressed to the glass, grocery bags swaying at his sides. As we hurtled through the darkness, his nasal voice cried out:

“Oh, there they are”—everyone else on the train got quiet—“those teenage, mutant, ninja-turtles. Workin’ on the tracks.”

I smiled as we rode on in silence.
 

yesandno

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Oh, There They Are! (99 words)

Hey everybody, just want to get involved and post this super short thing to start. I'd like to hear your feedback. I think I can handle it. I originally posted this on my blog, it was only seen by a handful of people. They may have been bots.



Going uptown, the F train was packed. I stood with my back pinned to the doors, studying people’s footwear. A baby wailed. Some teenaged girls chittered like squirrels. A garlicky dude was bouncing around and barking into his cell phone.

The scene setting works well.

Across the way, an older man faced outward, his nose pressed to the glass, grocery bags swaying at his sides. As we hurtled through the darkness, his nasal voice cried out:

Nitpicky comment: For some reason, the nasal voice crying out bothered me a little. I think in something this short it's important to make every sentence as strong as it can be. He was obviously pretty loud if it got everyone else to shut up. Maybe something more powerful?

“Oh, there they are”—everyone else on the train got quiet—“those teenage, mutant, ninja-turtles. Workin’ on the tracks.”

This doesn't sound as crazy as it probably should. I don't know how you feel about swearing in your writing, but I would add "F*@kin' " in front of "teenage," just to give it a little more oomph. Or something similar.


I smiled as we rode on in silence.

This sentence could be more powerful or else a little longer and more descriptive to be more balanced. Just a couple of examples: "I smiled into my shoulder as we rode on in silence." or "I smiled as we rode on in observant silence." Insert your own. I just think you really need to make it a stronger ending, with just a little more happening.

I really like the scene you've set up, and think it could be a really nice piece. I get the urge to record this kind of event: I've written a very short flash inspired by the same kind of thing myself. Sometimes those things just hit you. I just think it could use a little tweaking to make it more evocative. Sorry for the nitpicking, I just think it has a lot of potential and requires so little really to really make it so much stronger.
 

M. R. Kessell

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Yesandno, thanks so much for taking the time!!! You’ve given me a lot to think about. It’s very helpful to get a fresh perspective.
I’ve told this story a bunch of times, it’s inspired by actual events and the dialogue is verbatim(sorry there’s no effing or jeffing.) It’s one of my favorites. It’s been tough trying to get it down on paper though, some things haven’t translated well. For instance, trying to describe his particular New York accent beyond “nasal” still has me scratching my head. I need to think about it some more. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
 

Hedwig

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Hey, M. R.,

You did a great job with the setting, but I think there needs to be a takeaway, or else there really isn't much of a story. How did this impact you? What can be learned? What does it demonstrate?
You don't have to do a lot of explaining. Just a hint would do. An introductory sentence, a closing conclusion.
 

M. R. Kessell

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Hey Hedwig! Thanks for the input, I hear what you’re saying. I need to go back and tweak things a little bit.
 

WreckingGirl

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I liked it but your use of punctuation and sentence structure confused me a bit? It may just be me though, I wasn't seeing complete, full sentences.
 

M. R. Kessell

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Thanks everybody for the comments! I've been thinking this over for a while and trying to make it as clear and strong as possible. It ended up getting a little longer. Let me know what you think!



Going uptown, the F train was packed. I stood with my back pinned to the doors, studying people’s footwear. A baby wailed. Some teenaged girls chittered like squirrels. A garlicky dude was bouncing around and barking into his cell phone. I squirmed, fidgeted, and frowned, unable to reach for my earplugs.

Across the way, an older man faced outward, his nose pressed to the glass, grocery bags swaying at his sides. As we hurtled through the darkness, his right arm shot out, slamming the crinkly bag of canned goods into the door. He pointed outside the car as his shrill New York tone cut through the din:

“Oh, there they are”—everyone else on the train froze—“those teenage, mutant, ninja-turtles. Workin’ on the tracks.”

The crowd around me began to disperse, eyeing the old man, wary of any more sudden moves. He never pulled himself away from his lookout. I stretched out and smiled as we headed for the next stop in silence.
 

Raven2Delta

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What would you think about changing the tense of the entire story?
Make it first person present tense maybe?

'Going uptown the F train was packed' to 'Going uptown the F train is packed'

Bring us there with you, right now, instead of telling us what happened, let's live it together.

Honestly, I like the first version of the story better. Which I am sure is frustrating feedback after you've worked so hard to make edits and change it.

'I smile as we ride on in silence' was a nice ending for me :)

Just some thoughts. In any case it's a neat little story and I like it.
 

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