Author Topic: Endee, NM 510 words  (Read 4963 times)

Offline Laura H

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Endee, NM 510 words
« on: April 11, 2011, 04:37:28 PM »


Please see my revision in reply #14 and thanks in advance for any suggestions




Hi MWC.  I have a good 30+  stories I have started over the years and I need 'thin the herd' and figure out which have potential. I am submitting the first chapter of Endee (until I come up with a better title) for critique in hopes that there will be some consensus to either pursue or delete, and all suggestions are welcome as I find them educational. I wrote this while on a road trip on old Route 66 in the Western US.  I was inspired by what looked like the ruins of a town and an exit ramp to nowhere.
 I like to think I am thick skinned, so let's assume I am.  

Endee


   I might have chosen differently if it weren’t for Endee.  If I’d gone to a more rigorous school or lived in a thriving city I may have been better prepared.  They say wherever you go, there you are.  Mostly, I blame my predicament on geography.  

     The exit ramp to Endee, New Mexico at mile marker 369 stops dead at Old Dexter road.  Straight ahead is endless, flat scrap land, and to either side Old Dexter snakes on farther than you can see by rifle sight.  Whichever way you turn you’re just going to find a whole lot of dusty nothing.  

      If you should head south, though, you’ll drive past a good 2 miles of barbed wire fencing before you come to an old barn with a fading paint and the ramshackle house just beyond.   It’s all falling apart, just like Dad’s plans For the Cardosi Family Ranch.  I suppose we all let him down, Mom, me, and the rocky, dry dirt crunching under our feet.  

 
     Its 45 minutes to Tuscamari, or one hour across the Texas line to Amarillo, and in between is nothing but flat plains.  If Columbus had grown up in Endee, he never would have thought that this world could be round.  I sit up here sometimes, right at the top of the Endee ramp.  It’s the highest point in the county and from my spot behind a stand of snakeweed bushes I can watch all the people speeding by down below.    There is an endless whine of cars and semis whipping by, and I wonder where they’re all going.  Can there be that many places to go?

    The most exciting thing that ever happened in Endee was last summer when a hailstorm killed every one of old Pascal’s cows and two of his best dogs.  Most everyone in Endee showed up to watch as he dug a big trench with a machine he borrowed from the Middle Texas Machine Co.   The men all shouted directions as he pushed all the bodies in and backfilled with dirt.  Afterwards we had a picnic, and Dad joked that we should make it an annual event and call it the Great Endee Grave Dig.   Mama blushed and said that was morbid.

      Pascal used the insurance money to buy a satellite dish and now we hardly see him anymore.  He invited Dad over to watch a Dallas Cowboys game once, but I don’t think either of them had a good time.  For a good time you need a talker and a listener, but neither Randall Cardosi or Pascal Pesce are good for more than a half dozen words in one sitting.  I’m not even sure that Pascal speaks proper English.  

 
     I’ll tell you this - it was a shocker when Pascal up and married a 25 year old girl from up north two months later.  Rachel was her name, and she was a big girl with a gravelly smoker’s voice.  We found out later that Pascal had gotten an internet hook-up with his satellite package and he had met Rachel online.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 02:12:52 PM by comeonpowerball »
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Lin

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 04:58:55 PM »
Well I have to say when I read this I felt totally at peace with the words therein. I wanted to read more of it.  Plenty of descriptions to keep me interested.  In a way you were telling me the story and yet at the same time you were showing it - How did you do that ?  LOL  I liked the intro very much.  Very engaging. Perhaps some tweaking of the editing where words are repeated within a short space.  But a very interesting read.

Lin x


Offline Aliyah

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2011, 05:03:50 PM »
I would have to agree with Orangutansaver. Not my usual read but very interesting, and it pulled me into it very easily.

Offline junel

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2011, 05:13:00 PM »
Hello comeon,

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with Aliyah and Orangutansaver.

There's an awful lot of telling, not the best way to begin your novel, and it feels like I'm being given a geography lesson. Am I supposed to draw a map in my head? Most readers are likely to skim over it.

Then, when I think the storys about to start, you give me backstory.  ??? So where's the story?

It begins well, like a movie in fact, but for me, disintegrates pretty quick after.

Junel.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 05:15:20 PM by junel »

Offline Laura H

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2011, 06:01:25 PM »
Thanks for taking the time, guys. 
I see your point, Junel.  I tend to ramble - it's how people in my region speak and it's even how I think.  Looks like I need to reign it in.
Also, I now see that when I emailed myself the story this morning for posting I accidentally cut off the last couple of paragraphs.  Ah well, I'll leave it as is. 
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2011, 06:12:46 PM »
A nice, easy tell, relaxed and unrushed. I'm between the two camps of responses so far. I like your voice but I still feel that Endee could enter/open with a bang . . . as much of a bang as Endee can manage.

Maybe bring the paragraph about the hailstorm to the top and I'd lose or seriously cut back on current P3 - add its essential components elsewhere. This would also set up your story with the place as the main character and other players/people having fleeting roles in its drama. Of course that means tweaking the current 1,2,3 to suit then. Then you could return in relaxed style with 'Anyway, Pascal used the  . . .'

JMO :) :) :)

Offline Wendil

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 06:18:48 PM »
This setting works well, but not without a plot: I am guessing here that the 'predicament' is being stuck in Endee?

Is the 'predicament' something else?

A stranger arrives...
Pascal unearths something with his dig...

I get the feeling that the setting and the characters are vivid, but if you can't see where this particular story is going I would pursue one of the others.

Offline herron

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 06:26:17 PM »
I rather like it. It needs a tweak or two, and it needs just a touch of dialogue somewhere, perhaps ...

Afterwards we had a picnic.

"We should make it an annual event," Dad joked, "and call it the Great Endee Grave Dig."  

"That was morbid," Mama blushed.


It reads rather like the early parts of some of the Hemingway shorts I've been re-reading lately, long on description (but there's nothing wrong with that), but with a nice, easy flow that builds to the dialogue and the 'show.'

I like it. IMHO this one is a keeper that needs to be developed. ;)

« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 06:28:11 PM by herron »
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Silt

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 06:42:52 PM »
deleted
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 09:14:20 AM by Silt »

Offline Laura H

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 07:18:13 PM »
Hey, I appreciate all the suggestions and comments! Sio, I really like the idea of bumping Pascal's paragraph to the beginning - I will play with that and some of the other ideas.
The plot - *smacks forehead*- I forgot to stir in the plot!  Actually, this is intended to be the story of a teenage girl trying to break out of the confines of her small world.  There is a love/lust interest and an accidental crime, but I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes delve too deeply into my characters letting the thread of the main storyline fray until it is altogether lost.
I don't think I'm ready to hit the delete button on this one yet. I'm going to walk away from it at least until the weekend then re-read it taking all the feedback into consideration.
Thank you, writers!
 ;D
 
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline Wetferret

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 07:55:05 PM »
I like your writing style. Very fun read. I wish I could criticize something, but your oldschool style works very well.

Offline Andre Farant

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 11:32:24 PM »
I got the feeling from your last post that you’d gotten all you needed, but I thought I’d give my bit, if you don’t mind.

You do have a very easy, story-telling-like style, but, like Junel, I grew a little tired of the geography lesson by the second paragraph, wondering when the story would actually begin. In three paragraphs, though well written, all I got was that Endee was a small town stuck between nowhere and somewhere better. Maybe just move that down or include it in dialogue a little later.
 
My favourite part was definitely your description of the hailstorm and resulting "grave digging." Sio's right: start with that and, personally, I'd suggest making it a scene. You can easily use that comfortable, down-home narration to introduce the scene ("I remember the night of the hailstorm...") and give us a look at those pelting hailstones. The images inherent in such a scene just beg to be shown. It could work to introduce your MC as well as her family and even a few other townfolk.
 
Oh, and I love that Pascal bought himself a satellite dish with the insurance money; an item that would be immediately decimated by a hailstorm. That's just tempting fate.
 
One last bit: Not sure beginning a story with the words "The most exciting thing that ever happened ... was..." is a great idea. Though I thought the hailstorm was fun and wanted to know (be shown) more, some readers might not, would figure, "Well, if that's the most excitement this place and book has got to offer, thanks but no thanks," and they're gone. With something like that, the difference between a promise and a threat is entirely in the eye of the beholder (or reader).

And I get wanting to get some distance and think about it a while but, to be honest, I think you should keep at this one.
 
Just some thoughts.
 
Thanks for sharing.
 
Andre

Offline Socom

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2011, 11:56:21 PM »
Hello, comeonpowerball.

IMO = In My Opinion

Suggested changes are in bold, any text with strikethrough should be omitted (IMO), and my comments are in masculine purple italics

============

 I might have chosen differently if it weren’t for Endee (Hmm...it could just be me, but I'm not fond of this opening. The problem is that you're opening with an effect rather than a cause...which can be done...but in this case it sounds fragmentary. I keep thinking...did something get cut off after the copy & paste?).  If I’d gone to a more rigorous school or lived in a thriving city I may have been better prepared.   They say wherever you go, there you are. (quotation marks for a quote?)  Mostly, I blame my predicament on geography. (interesting closing to the first paragraph...I like it)

     The exit ramp to Endee, New Mexico at mile marker 369 stops dead at Old Dexter road.  Straight ahead is endless, flat scrap land, and to either side Old Dexter snakes on farther than you can see by rifle sight. (hmm...First, I think you overdid the adjectives for "land": 1) endless 2) flat 3) scrap. Second, I'm not crazy about "by rifle sight" it just feels odd and interrupts the flow. However, "farther than you can see" isn't the best way to end the sentence either. It may read better as a separate sentence, such as "...scrap land. To either side, Old Dexter snakes toward oblivion." No Whichever way you turn you’re just going to find a whole lot of dusty nothing. (this is implied by the previous sentence, no need to be repetitive).

      If you should head south, though, you’ll drive past a good 2 miles of barbed wire fencing before you come to an old barn with a fading paint and the ramshackle house just beyond. (this sentence is a tad on the long side. My suggestion, don't interrupt the flow with "though"...put it at the beginning. "Though, if you should...". So, let's look at ways to reduce the length. First, is "2 miles" crucial to the story? probably not? Woot, we just trimmed 2 words :) If we cut those, then the preceding "a good" is no longer necessary, so we've just knocked out 4 altogether. You get the idea)   It’s all falling apart, just like Dad’s plans For the Cardosi Family Ranch.  I suppose we all let him down, Mom, me, and the rocky, dry dirt crunching under our feet. (Isn't "dry dirt" a bit redundant?)

 
     It's 45 minutes to Tuscamari, or one hour across the Texas line to Amarillo, and in between is nothing but flat plains. (this sentence doesn't add anything new to the story) If Columbus had grown up in Endee, he never would have thought that this world could be round.  I sit up here sometimes, right at the top of the Endee ramp.  It’s the highest point in the county and from my spot behind a stand of snakeweed bushes I can watch all the people speeding by down below. ("speeding by down below" is a tad awkward, consider revising)    There is an endless whine of cars and semis whipping by, and I wonder where they’re all going.  Can there be that many places to go?

    The most exciting thing that ever happened in Endee was last summer when a hailstorm killed every one of old Pascal’s cows and two of his best dogs. (This transition felt a bit odd to me. He was just wondering if there are that many places to go...now he's talking about a hailstorm?) Most everyone in Endee showed up to watch as he dug a big trench with a machine he borrowed from the Middle Texas Machine Co.   The men all shouted directions as he pushed all the bodies in and backfilled with dirt.  Afterwards we had a picnic, and Dad joked that we should make it an annual event and call it the Great Endee Grave Dig.   Mama blushed and said that was morbid. (I feel like we're going off on a tangent :P)

      Pascal used the insurance money to buy a satellite dish and now we hardly see him anymore.  He invited Dad over to watch a Dallas Cowboys game once, but I don’t think either of them had a good time.  For a good time you need a talker and a listener, but neither Randall Cardosi or Pascal Pesce are good for more than a half dozen words in one sitting.  I’m not even sure that Pascal speaks proper English. (how can he not be sure?)

 
     I’ll tell you this - it was a shocker when Pascal up and married a 25 year old girl from up north two months later.  Rachel was her name, and she was a big girl with a gravelly smoker’s voice.  We found out later that Pascal had gotten an internet hook-up with his satellite package and he had met Rachel online.

==============

So the beginning had my interest. I really liked the imagery of the MC sitting atop the ramp. But...then you digressed into strange tangents, hehe, the transitions happened too quickly, IMO
"May God forgive me for the time I've wasted"
----------
"God never panics"
----------
"This too shall pass"

Lin

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 03:22:56 AM »
Now the way I see this is for me an English person reading this - I was fascinated by the geography lesson.  So it goes to show you can't please all of the people all of the time and this has to do with the individual personalties of us all and our personal preferences I think.

Lin x

Offline Laura H

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Re: Endee, NM 510 words
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 02:11:52 PM »
Now at 240 words - I took all the suggestions into consideration and made many changes.  Any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks  :)

  Until this week, the most exciting thing that ever happened in Endee, NM was last summer when a hailstorm killed all of Pascal Pesce’s cows and two of his best dogs.  The whole town showed up to watch Pascal dig a trench with a borrowed machine , and all the men shouted directions as he scooped the bodies in and back filled with dirt.  Afterward we had a picnic. 
“We ought to do this every year - The Great Endee Grave Dig.”  Dad joked. Mama blushed and said that was morbid.  I just tucked in and ate, silently calculating the number of days until the start of my last year of high school.

After Pascal bought a satellite dish with the insurance money, he invited Dad over to watch a Dallas Cowboys game. I don’t think either of them had a good time, because neither Randall Cardosi nor Pascal Pesce are good for more than a half dozen words in one sitting.  Dad came home smelling like Pascal’s place - a mix of cigarettes and bug spray.

“Something is up with Pascal,” he said over dinner that night. 
“Hmm.” Mom said.
 “Honestly, I think that old man has a secret.”

Now, nearly a year later and only two weeks until graduation,  Pascal is missing, the sheriff keeps stopping by to talk to Dad, and I think I’ve found a way to get out of dusty, old Endee. 
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty