Author Topic: Roomies  (Read 1245 times)

Offline ChelseaBun

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Roomies
« on: January 07, 2017, 10:37:11 AM »
Hi everyone,
This is my very first story, but before I start, I'd like to post the 'blurb' first. I would greatly appreciate some comments about what the reader thinks. I have received some wonderful advice about short story writing and I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me. I am only a teenager who is willing to learn about writing as I find it interesting and pleasing.



About the story:
Hi, I'm Jamie, not to be mistaken, but yes, I am a dude. A twenty-one-year-old college student. I live in a modern house with a magnificent view of the city. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford it as my roommate passed away from cancer last year. I have been looking for a roommate for nearly three months now and I am just about to give up. The people I have interviewed are quite... Well, I can get into detail about that later. As for now, I'm living on my own.


Please note: This is not my final. It is planning.
Regards, Chelsea.

Offline Arkie

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2017, 11:18:14 AM »
Can I offer a suggestion? Since this is a beginning synopsis of your planning plot, you might consider looking at three things very carefully as you outline the plot.
1) Protagonist-he has a name, and we know he's affluent, and possibly a little spoiled. He's had a roommate, but it sounds as if the roommate probably hasn't lived with him very much since he's been suffering with cancer. But he was still paying the rent? As a college student, it might be more natural to assume that the sick student would have been forced to drop out and go back home.
2) Goal-to not move out of his cushy apartment with the great view. He simply cannot give up his affluent lifestyle.
3) Antagonist-none, other than he simply can't find anyone to help him achieve his goal. He's evidently very picky, or something. He's not as desperate as he needs to be since he's turning down applicants.

Some suggestions:
1)Protagonist-what if instead of having his roomie die, you simply had him move out? He could go home because he's sick, or because he can no longer stand living with the protagonist. This puts the protagonist in a bind, and if he caused the separation, he's more invested in fixing his own life.
2)Goal-Why is he so invested in living in this apartment? What is it about the view that is important to him? Is it a social status thing? Can he not live alone? Can he not stand to move? Why is this goal so important to him? It's important to figure this out, because you are going to need to throw all the roadblocks in the way of him ever getting what he wants.
3)Antagonist-This relates to his goal. Whatever he most wants in the world, he should be forced to fight for it. He needs to be desperate to get what he wants, and his antagonist needs to be there to prevent it from happening.

Those are three things you can work on in your planning. Get Jamie all made and ruffled because he wants what he cannot have, because somebody or something is standing right in his way.

Artemis Quark

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2017, 11:40:38 AM »
Hey, ChelseaBun. Your posts have been very sincere and professional. As a first year high school student I applaud your maturity.

Your "blurb" is not really a blurb. It is more like the opening paragraph of the story, written in first person point-of-view (POV). I thought you would want to know the difference. I will attempt to translate your words into a possible blurb. From what you've written, there isn't a very exciting situation facing your main character (MC). He's searching for a new roomie. The reason (death of previous roommate to cancer) could be more interesting. The story might be about the former roomie's discovery that he had cancer, how he dealt with it,  his suffering and, since Jamie is your MC, how the relationship between the two changed/improved/disintegrated (you choose). In other words, a short story about friendship. Or whatever. My point being the story needs to have something to grab reader attention. Not a straightforward search for a new roommate. Although you do hint that the candidate interviews have involved some weird characters and maybe that's what the story is about.

Here's a possible blurb (note the introduction of Jamie with his full name to make him more 'real' to the reader. Also, I use present tense in the blurb to make it more immediate.) The blurb should introduce the MC, briefly describe his situation or challenge he must overcome in the story and set up a compelling story line readers will want to read.

Jamie Collins' first year of college is teaching him more than academics. His roommate dies from cancer, his classwork is failing and he cannot afford the room and board without a new roommate. The candidates for new Roomie are several but each brings more than financial support. The weirdness factor rises to a breaking point when Rob Blukowski arrives for an interview, catapulting Jamie on a dangerous path that might lead to expulsion from school.

Anyway, Chelsea, it's your story. Use or lose my opinionated advice. Just thought I'd give you some ideas to pursue. Good luck.

AQ
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 11:44:06 AM by Artemis Quark »

Offline ChelseaBun

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2017, 12:52:22 PM »
Hi Arkie,
Thank you for your helpful advice. I have made notes and I'm going to use your advice for sure! This has helped me a lot.

Hi AQ,
The advice you and time you have given me is absolutely incredible. Thank you for helping me and thank you for all the motivation. If I can tell you, I was actually planning the story before I posted any of this and I actually used Jamie's last name as 'Collins'. I thought that was rather interesting. I'm going to use your advice and edit my planning. I'm thinking of working on it tonight and posting again tomorrow. I hope for the best. Thank you again.

Best regards,
Chelsea. 

Artemis Quark

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2017, 03:30:02 PM »
Glad you are taking all the advice in a positive way, Chelsea.

Many newbie members that first post and receive feedback tend to immediately change what they wrote and repost. I did it myself early on. It is better to let the changes percolate a bit, even a day or two but even longer is better. For sure, change the obvious things like typos and grammar but do not change the story so much that it is no longer yours. Unless of course, the critiquer seems to read your mind (Collins, huh. LOL)  ;D

Keep up the enthusiasm and keep writing.

AQ

heidi52

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 08:24:47 AM »
I just want to second how refreshing it is to have a young member join us who is interested in learning and approaches the feedback in such a mature way. Well done.

Many many times we have new writers quit or get defensive the first time they are given a critique that they don't like. Those are the people who will never become writers. You, on the other hand, exhibit all the qualities necessary. Desire to learn, not taking criticism personally, and a vivid imagination. My crystal ball says you will go far.

Welcome to the circle.

Don't stop writing and posting. Look forward to watching your progression.

hillwalker3000

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 11:51:51 AM »
Interesting idea for a story - the process of interviewing potential flatmates and exploring their quirks and bizarre interactions

 I'm not sure who this blurb is aimed at. It reads like a note to yourself - a reminder what the story will be about. That's fine. But if you're trying instead to come up with a proper cover blurb to attract potential readers/buyers it needs work. Where's the oomph factor? What would make me pick up this book rather than any other? And why on Earth would you want to mention how your roommate passed away even before the story begins? Are you looking for the sympathy vote? I hope not.  8)

H3K

Offline Emery

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 02:13:27 PM »
This reads more like a character journal, which is fine, but not meant for general consumption.

Make sure to focus on the plausibility of a story. If the reader is questioning the truth of the basic construct of the story, then you've already lost them.

Like here, Jamie is a young college student. Apparently either from a wealthy enough family or has other means of making money to afford a 'modern' home with a nice view. However, he still needs a roommate to accomplish this. Which mean he's not quite that rich. And this roommate dies of cancer? He might get cancer and drop out or he might get hit by a car, but the suggestion of a cancer death is long and difficult and painful. Not something to leave Jaime scrambling.

And like Arkie has pointed out, you have a nebulous antagonist at this point. What's Jamie's goal? What's keeping him from accomplishing that? Is there someone else with a similar goal that can be at odds with Jaime? That's the key to a well rounded antagonist to me. It isn't someone just as an obstacle, but someone who has a vested interest in keeping the protagonist from obtaining the goal. Oh...and that's just plot arc. For the story to be successful, I believe, it must also contain a character arc, too. Jaime needs to be a different person at the end.

Read up on structure and form. It'll help.
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Offline Clarius

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2017, 03:28:32 PM »
Even with this little you've achieved something important: you've intrigued me enough to want to read more. Is Jamie the poor but bright kid rooming with his rich friend who, now his friend's dead, can't (to borrow from James) 'having seen such riches' 'live with being poor'? What ends will he go to maintain that lifestyle? Already I'm thinking of Ellis' Bateman and Highsmith's Ripley. You've made me want to watch Shallow Grave. Probably not what you have in mind but given the same premise no two writers will approach it the same way. Luck.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 08:39:06 AM by Clarius »
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline ChelseaBun

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2017, 07:12:32 AM »
Hi everyone,

Thank you for taking your time to comment. I must apologise though, it has taken me a while to respond, because school has started and my only free time I get are weekends. Don't worry, I haven't quit. I have been working on my story in which I am willing to post at a later stage.

Thank you for all the positive comments you readers have posted, also, thank you for the honest comments too. I will take your advice and make sure to make a few changes as I am progressing. I am very excited!

Regards, Chelsea.

Offline Arkie

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 09:31:30 AM »
I look forward to reading it! Another thing to keep in mind as you write--first drafts are usually a mess, and look very little like the end product. Because of that, it's tempting to brand first drafts with the Hemingway stamp of disapproval. I find it more useful to think of them as the first carcass found on the way to a story. It's a pile of bones with a little bit of meat hanging on it, and some of it might look good, but a lot of it won't. And some of it might be downright rotten.
That's okay. It's a first draft. And it typically means you are on the trail of a good story. So don't put huge pressures on yourself to create the perfect draft. Tell the story as it is, knowing that the next draft will be better, and the the draft after that will be better, and don't let a frightening first draft scare you off the hunt.

Thanksgiving400

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 09:45:47 AM »
Hi everyone,

Thank you for taking your time to comment. I must apologise though, it has taken me a while to respond, because school has started and my only free time I get are weekends. Don't worry, I haven't quit. I have been working on my story in which I am willing to post at a later stage.

Thank you for all the positive comments you readers have posted, also, thank you for the honest comments too. I will take your advice and make sure to make a few changes as I am progressing. I am very excited!

Regards, Chelsea.

With any luck this writing bug will continue to dig in until it completely consumes you.  You won't be able to focus on anything else and the story will become your obsession.  I'm only partially kidding.  You've been warned!

Offline Griff

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2017, 07:51:37 PM »
The blurb would be more interesting if I knew the quirks of his personality. Is he a jerk? Did he kill his roommate? Both of these would be interesting. As of now it's pretty normal.

Offline Eigenvalue1

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Re: Roomies
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 11:51:11 PM »
Sorry for the lost of your friend.