Author Topic: Moon and the Star  (Read 1300 times)

Offline swimmer1948

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Moon and the Star
« on: January 03, 2013, 07:46:54 AM »
Every day that summer he hurried home on the Rock Island to get to the summer workout at Ridge Park.  He had a job that summer at his uncle’s ice cream factory.  

Only $1.20 an hour – pretty good compared to the $1.00 per hour he got his first summer after grade school.  

He used to call Moon’s name out at night, as he listened.  “Trees swayin in the summer breeze, showin off their silver leaves as we walk by.” Yes, all good things must end some day, as end they did.

Moon had just finished 8th grade and was entering Mother McCauley High School next September.  He was going into 3rd year of high at Leo.  

He had a couple records, but wasn’t good enough to swim for Ridge.  They had some national champions on their team, including one Olympian and several future all-Americans.

Joe only wanted to do his personal best.  Moon was a breast stroker; he was a distance man.  

The lockers were in rows across from each other, boys on one side and girls on the other side, facing each side of the pool.

Everyone showered together in their suits.  Moon was just starting to blossom. He could see every detail – tiny breasts with nipples straining against her Speedo.

She was no Annie Gonya, girlfriend of the Olympian.  She couldn’t butterfly like little Jackie Bergland, but she, like everyone, could do all the strokes.

Joe could do an individual medley but freestyle was his forte.  He would go on to win several – many awards – but none that summer.

Their free and medley relays were their best events, always placing or winning.  The Leo team could always capture firsts in Catholic league tournaments.  They won most of their dual meets but never better than 3rd at city.

He was proud of his physique but he knew he could not compare with most of the regulars.

He hurried so he could see Moon and chat in the showers before and after workout.  He later realized that Moon and the girls were flirting.  That word was not in his vocabulary.

Finally, at the end of the summer, he decided maybe he would go on a date.

His cousin Val carefully coached him on what to say.  He hid in the closet while he called her.

“May I speak to Cathy?”  “This is Cathy.”  “If you’re not busy Saturday, would you like go bowling?”

Cathy said ok.  “What time can I pick you up?”  He walked over to her house in Beverly Hills, wearing his Robert Hall chinos and a faux top with a little alligator on it.

The Rice guys could afford Levis.  They wore madras shirts and penny loafers.  He wore white tennis shoes and white sox.

Brother Mullins asked everyone to stand up so he could see the shoes everyone was wearing.  Black shoes with white socks.  Leo guys didn’t follow fashion because they didn’t know what it was.

Moon was at the door.  The stepped onto 101st street together.  He was too nervous to attempt to hold hands.

They talked about swimming and school next year.  He bragged about himself – knowing nothing better to say.

Moon won the first two games.  He won the last – she let him win, he thought later.

They walked back, mostly downhill.  Thank God none of the other Leo guys, or God forbid Rice guys saw them.

He walked her almost to her door.

That fall he asked her to the Leo Dinner Dance.  He was shocked when she accepted.

They went to the Martinique afterwards.  He could only slow dance and twist.  Moon pointed out “Fred and Ginger” dancing around the floor.  He had no idea what she was talking about.

His rival from Rice took Moon to their dinner dance.  Unforgiveable. He would not call her again.

Several summers and a million years later he saw her at Soldier Field, sitting with the McCauley girls.  Leo was playing someone.  She walked over and stood by an exit.

He glanced up at her.  The next moment she was gone.

He never saw her again.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 10:54:17 AM by Alice, a Country Gal »

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Moon and the Star
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 11:48:25 AM »
Joe, this seems to be a recounting of incidents or moments over the span of a few years in a young man's life. There is nothing to hold the interest of a reader. You tell us what he did or in a few cases, noticed, but nothing about what he felt, nothing to show us what he is like and therefore, you don't allow us to feel a connection to your MC (main character).

For instance:

 
Quote
Everyone showered together in their suits.  Moon was just starting to blossom. He could see every detail – tiny breasts with nipples straining against her Speedo.

If he noticed Moon's physical development, surely he felt something about it either emotionally or physically - give us a clue at least. Did he get a strange feeling in his belly and not understand why? Did looking at Moon cause a flush to infuse his face?

Show us. Show us what he felt by his reactions.

Perhaps the link below can explain it to your better and quicker than I can. Please click on it and read.

http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice/showvstell.php
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Moon and the Star
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 12:15:58 PM »
I had to keep reading back to work out who was who -- you need to introduce the players in this scene more clearly IMO.

Every day that summer he hurried home on the Rock Island to get to the summer workout at Ridge Park.  He had a job that summer at his uncle’s ice cream factory.  

Only $1.20 an hour – pretty good compared to the $1.00 per hour he got his first summer after grade school.  

He used to call Moon’s name out at night, as he listened.  “Trees swayin in the summer breeze, showin off their silver leaves as we walk by.” Yes, all good things must end some day, as end they did.

Maybe cull a few of the 'summer' mentions?

Moon had just finished 8th grade and was entering Mother McCauley High School next September.  He was going into 3rd year of high at Leo. [I don't understand the skip from 8th grade to third year? Has he been promoted? Fast-tracked? I'm from the UK. Apart from misunderstanding, these sentences are pure tell and don't engage the reader with any of the excitement/apprehension/anticipation of Moon at ths new move. (This confusion is because at this point I tought Moon was a boy and the mc) Re-word with out relying on 'was' constructed phrasing.] 

He had a couple records, but wasn’t good enough to swim for Ridge.  They had some national champions on their team, including one Olympian and several future all-Americans. [Again - telling -- why not show some of his ambition/envy?]

Joe only wanted to do his personal best.  Moon was a breaststroker [compound word otherwise he sounds like a perv]; he was a distance man. [Show us this -- telling becomes like a report after a while if that's all there is for the reader.] 
The lockers were in rows across from each other, boys on one side and girls on the other side, facing each side of the pool. [This description could be punchier -- involve Joe in his surroundings . . . up to now I had thought Moon was the mc -- my fault, but still . . . and I though Moon was a boy up to here. Maybe include ]

Everyone showered together in their suits.  Moon was just starting to blossom. He could see every detail – tiny breasts with nipples straining against her Speedo.

She was no Annie Gonya, girlfriend of the Olympian.  She couldn’t butterfly like little Jackie Bergland, but she, like everyone, could do all the strokes.

Joe could do an individual medley but freestyle was his forte.  He would go on to win several – many awards – but none that summer. [ why have we jumped to the future? It takes the reader out of the immediate scene.]

Their free and medley relays were their best events, always placing or winning.  The Leo team could always capture firsts in Catholic league tournaments.  They won most of their dual meets but never better than 3rd at city.

He was proud of his physique but he knew he could not compare with most of the regulars.

He hurried so he could see Moon and chat in the showers before and after workout.  He later realized that Moon and the girls were flirting.  That word was not in his vocabulary.

Finally, at the end of the summer, he decided maybe he would go on a date.

His cousin Val carefully coached him on what to say.  He hid in the closet while he called her.

“May I speak to Cathy?”  

new line for new speaker “This is Cathy.”  

new line for new/change of speaker “If you’re not busy Saturday, would you like go bowling?”

Cathy said ok.  “What time can I pick you up?”  

new paragraph and scene break because of the length of time that has passed since the conversation arranging the meeting.He walked over to her house in Beverly Hills, wearing his Robert Hall chinos and a faux top with a little alligator on it. [this is still about fashion -- keep in the same paragraph] The Rice guys could afford Levis. They wore madras shirts and penny loafers.  He wore white tennis shoes and white sox.

Brother Mullins asked everyone to stand up so he could see the shoes everyone was wearing.  Black shoes with white socks.  Leo guys didn’t follow fashion because they didn’t know what it was. [this snippet doesn't make sense -- is he suddenly in Brother Mullins' presence? You need to connect it better to ensure a smooth flow]

Moon was at the door. They stepped onto 101st Street together.  He was too nervous to attempt to hold hands. [could show this better]

They talked about swimming and school next year.  He bragged about himself – knowing nothing better to say. [perhaps dialogue here would show his awkwardness and the topic of conversation?]

Moon won the first two games.  He won the last – she let him win, he thought later. [show them bowling and the result, have him fill in the Xs for the number of strikes she scored, him missing out on a spare or something -- and don't tell us future stuff]

They walked back, mostly downhill.  Thank God none of the other Leo guys, or God forbid, Rice guys, saw them.

He walked her almost to her door.

That fall he asked her to the Leo Dinner Dance.  He was shocked when she accepted. [opportunity to show some emotion/reaction here]

They went to the Martinique afterwards.  He could only slow dance and twist.  Moon pointed out “Fred and Ginger” dancing around the floor.  He had no idea what she was talking about.

His rival from Rice took Moon to their dinner dance.  Unforgiveable. He would not call her again. [need to expand on why he was disappointed and hurt --- is this a 'first love'? Show the immaturity and lack of understanding/confusion/annoyance/anger]

Several summers and a million years later he saw her at Soldier Field, sitting with the McCauley girls.  Leo was playing someone. ???  She walked over and stood by an exit.

He glanced up at her.  The next moment she was gone.

He never saw her again.
[Sudden wrap up that falls flat -- need a scene break to jump to this moment in time and something to pull on his heartstrings -- did he want an apology? Had he learned to dance better? Did he want to brag about his swimming awards? How old was he when this encounter happened . . . ?]

hillwalker3000

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Re: Moon and the Star
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 12:26:22 PM »
Apologies if I've repeated some of 510's remarks as I was busy doing this when she posted hers.

This is slightly better than your previous piece but it's still rather disjointed and dare I say flimsy?

The way you format this makes it look more like a list than it really is. The first two paragraphs, for instance, would read better as a single paragraph (though having the word 'summer' crop up 4 times in 3 sentences needs looking at).

If Joe is the hero you need to introduce his name as soon as possible in the story. Otherwise it's too easy to lose him in the crowd. When his name appeared again in paragraph 10 I thought it was yet another character passing through the story never to be seen again. There are far too many names and obscure references in this short piece for the average reader to familiarize themselves with. It left me feeling excluded because I have no idea what 'the Leo team' meant or 'Catholic league tournaments' - and having read this to the end I'm still no wiser and realise that it doesn't matter anyway.

That's the problem with writing anything based on a personal memory (which I assume this is). You're so close to the story that you don't know what bits to leave out. You seem intent on telling us everything. As a result, everything takes on the same weight so ultimately none of the events stand out.

You also skim over the more relevant parts.

He later realized that Moon and the girls were flirting.  That word was not in his vocabulary.

This is the only part of the entire story that left me wanting to know more. The rest was just an account of some stranger who once took out a girl on a date. Lightweight and of little consequence to anyone other than the writer.

If you want readers to engage with a story they have to have something in common with the narrator or main character. They have to care what's happening to him. That doesn't mean we have to be on the same swimming team, but Joe has to display some human trait or emotion or behaviour that connects with the reader. To me Joe is just another random stranger in a newspaper report. It's your job as a writer to bring him to life on the page, but you don't.

You also need to sort out your dialogue punctuation:

“May I speak to Cathy?”
“This is Cathy.”
“If you’re not busy Saturday, would you like go bowling?”


Imagine it's a script for a movie. Three separate dialogues (two spoken by the same person but separated by another spoken by someone else) - so three separate paragraphs.

As for the way the story unfolds, it got muddled towards the end rather like your previous piece. Not sure if that's because you're in a hurry to complete it or because you realised it was a bit short so you decided to paste in some extra bits. Whichever reason, this bit left me scratching my head:

Brother Mullins asked everyone to stand up so he could see the shoes everyone was wearing.  Black shoes with white socks.  Leo guys didn’t follow fashion because they didn’t know what it was.

How on earth does this fit into the story? One minute he's walking to Moon's house and the next he's having a footwear inspection.

Moon won the first two games.  He won the last – she let him win, he thought later.

Games? What games? - Oh, bowling. I'd forgotten because you've added so much irrelevant filler between their phone call and the date. See how easy it is for the reader to lose the thread of the plot when you keep going off in different directions?

It's better, but you need to consider how you structure your plots. And try to find a story that might leave the reader feeling as if they've discovered something new through your characters' experiences.

H3K