Author Topic: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction  (Read 205 times)

Offline landmersm

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Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« on: December 19, 2018, 10:30:10 PM »
This is around Chapter 6, I believe.  1500 words, give or take. Shouldn't be anything NSFW in it. Just an afternoon in a record store. (I hope I spaced it out correctly. Copy & paste seems to remove everything!)

Behind the register, in some businesses, is a messy area. Uptown Records is no exception, and Edison seemed intent on keeping it that way. No matter how many times I straightened up, he would go behind me and drop off an item or two until the space was in disarray again. Music magazines, used albums, new albums, posters, regular newspapers, music scene magazines, flyers, a cup of soup from somewhere, and a hat. (His organizational skills weren’t the best in the world, and he tended to get distracted easily and set things down only to quickly forget about them soon after.) I cleaned up the best I could while arguing with him about influential artists. It was a favorite pastime of his as he would take a contradictory choice to my own with a certain amount of glee, if for no other reason than he could spend time discussing his passion. He could talk for hours about music and musicians, dredging up tidbits of information known to only a select few. How he came to be one of those select few would always remain a mystery to me, but his knowledge of music and the history of its artists was impressive, so arguing with him required that I have my wits about me. He would nearly bounce with glee when I admitted that I had never heard a particular story about a musician or band, and I would file away the information he disclosed in order to use it against him later, catch him in a slip up. That blunder has yet to appear. He may have forgotten that he left the keys to the shop in the front door that morning, but he would always remember the story about Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the pool at the Holiday Day Inn.

“You have to look at the entire body of his work.” He was pulling his little cart full of music around the store, stocking records and arguing as he went.

“Lou Reed was in Velvet Underground, for Christ’s sake!” I said. “‘Sweet Jane’. ‘Sweet Jane’!”

“Hello?” Edison said. He turned around to look at me and shook a used Sex Pistols album in my direction. “Hello! Ziggy Stardust? You forget about that particular stroke of genius?”

“What are you two fighting about?” Daphne asked.

I was startled by Daphne’s voice and turned to see that she and Madeline had entered the store without alerting either Edison or myself.

“Oh!” Edison said. He turned to look at the two of them, surprised at their sudden appearance as well. He gave them a big smile. “Hello, girls!”

“We didn’t hear you come in,” I said.

Daphne leaned against one of the bins. M turned her face away from me, maybe a little embarrassed. She fingered a stack of records, skimming the titles instead of acknowledging my look.

“I’m trying to teach my young underling about music,” Edison said.

“We were debating who’s more influential,” I said. “Lou Reed or David Bowie.”

M looked up quickly and took my side of the argument. “Lou Reed, because of Velvet Underground.”

I smiled. “See?”

“Bahh!” Edison said and returned to stocking.

“Did you forget, Ed?” Daphne asked.

“Probably,” I answered instead.

“Forget what?” he said.

Daphne sighed but was not shocked. She looked to me. “We’re going to see the Pink Floyd laser show in Atlanta tonight at the Fox. He’s supposed to be leaving early so we can eat first. Obviously he’s forgotten.”

“Oh, yeah!” he said.

“Pink Floyd laser show, huh?” I said. “At the Fox? Nice! If you kids need a ride home, give us a call.”

“We’ll be fine,” Daphne said with a knowing wink. “But thanks. I might need your help getting this sweet old man outside, though.”

“Huh?” Edison said. He had returned once again to his stocking duty.

“Go,” I said to him. “I’ll finish this.”

“Thank you,” Daphne said.

After she and Edison had left for their haze-filled evening, I looked to Madeline . She was no longer browsing the merchandise, but she still seemed uncomfortable in my presence.
 
“Hey,” I said.

“Hey.” She kept casting her eyes to the floor.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I . . . I’m sorry for last night.”

“Sorry for what?” I took over Edison’s cart.

“I acted . . .” A little shrug of her shoulders. “. . . stupid.”

“What was stupid about it?” I said. “You had a moment and needed a friend. Happens to the best of us.”

She met my gaze firmly and resolutely then. “Yeah. I guess it does.”

I smiled. “Come here. Help me put these up.”

“Okay,” she said. A slight bounce appeared in her step as she moved towards me and then stopped, her shoulder bumping against mine. She grabbed a couple of records and began searching for their correct spot.

“You know what would be cool?” I said. We had stocked a few and were almost done.

“What?”

“Like, if you had a painting or some piece of art you’d like to hang up,” I said. “Something you’d done, ya know? I bet I could convince Ed to hang it up in here. He’s kinda sweet on you, I think.”

She laughed, her cheeks turning a cute shade of pink. “No. I wouldn’t want anything up in here. I don’t . . . have anything worthy.”

“I, being the art critic here at Uptown Records, will be the judge of that.”

“Is that so? I didn’t know Uptown Records had an art critic.”

“Oh, yeah!” I said. “I wear many hats, you know. Critic. Music historian. Entertainment. Plumber. Business mogul.”

“Business mogul?” she asked, one eyebrow upturned.

“Business mogul,” I said. “I ordered some t-shirts. Bands and summer tours, stuff like that. Edison fussed a little, but I told him that a shop at University sold them and happened to be my main source of clothing while there.”

M giggled.

“I’m thinking of hanging them from the rafters and putting the price tags on the bottom. I ordered twenty-five. It’s all he’d let me get at first. If they sell well, we’ll get more.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” M said. “I may get one, if I see anything I like.” She ended the last with a sly grin.

“Also, I am currently trying to convince the proprietor of Uptown along with the benefactor at your illustrious Pickles to purchase the little spot in between our two stores.”

“The old barber shop?”

“Yeah! Think about it: a little coffee shop. Couches, recliners, good tunes, and coffee.”

She ruminated over the idea for a moment or two. “Hmmm. Not bad, honestly.”

“Now, that would be a place to hang your paintings!”

“You’ve never seen anything I’ve . . . painted, drawn, scribbled, or whatever,” M said. “Anything.”

“Okay. So, show me.”

“I don’t really have anything.” She walked to a bin across the store and stocked the last two records of her pile.

“Then how do you know you paint?” I re-stocked my last record.

“It’s not that,” she said. She walked back to stop in front of the cart, playfully placing her sneaker against the wheel. “I mean, I haven’t really painted in a while. I just haven’t been inspired, I guess.”

“You should remedy that situation,” I said. I lightly bumped her shoe with the wheel and then moved around her to take the cart back to the stock room. She followed me and waited as I turned off the lights in the office and closed the doors.

“What about you?” she asked.

“What about me what?” I locked Edison’s office door.

“Do you write?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Been pretty sporadic for a while, but I have some stuff.”

“You want people to . . . just read it?”

“I mean, I can’t really see where hanging pages full of scribbles on a wall would be very exciting-”

“You know what I mean.”

I lead her back to the store proper and motioned for her to take the stool behind the counter. I found a couple of old milk crates that had been used to hold records not ready for the public – used, returns, and new arrivals – but were now empty and stacked them to sit next to M. She was a foot or so higher than me.

“I have a story or two that might be . . . ready,” I said. “More or less.”

“Tell me a story,” she said. She propped her feet up on the little metal rung in the middle of the four legs of the stool. Her hands clasped her knees.

“What?”

“Tell me a story!” she said. “Gimme the quick and dirty of it.” She nearly bounced on the seat when she spoke.

“Seriously?”

“Yes!”

I thought for a moment. What in the world was I going to tell her?

“Come on,” she said.

“Hold on,” I said. “I have to get it ready in my mind. The quick and dirty part of it, that is.”

She rolled her eyes.

After a few moments, I was ready. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll tell you the story about Vaughn and Ali.”
My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

@ http://a.co/d/hP980yk  (Amazon link)

Offline heartsongjt

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Re: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2018, 03:49:25 PM »
It was a good read. I'm sure there will be others reading it. I would think most are caught up in the holiday spirit....     

I  found the first paragraph a little like two tied together.
This is around Chapter 6, I believe.  1500 words, give or take. Shouldn't be anything NSFW in it. Just an afternoon in a record store. (I hope I spaced it out correctly. Copy & paste seems to remove everything!)

Behind the register, in some businesses, is a messy area. Uptown Records is no exception, and Edison seemed intent on keeping it that way. No matter how many times I straightened up, he would go behind me and drop off an item or two until the space was in disarray again. Music magazines, used albums, new albums, posters, regular newspapers, music scene magazines, flyers, a cup of soup from somewhere, and a hat. (His organizational skills weren’t the best in the world, and he tended to get distracted easily and set things down only to quickly forget about them soon after.) I cleaned up the best I could while arguing with him about influential artists. It was a favorite pastime of his as he would take a contradictory choice to my own with a certain amount of glee, if for no other reason than he could spend time discussing his passion. He could talk for hours about music and musicians, dredging up tidbits of information known to only a select few. How he came to be one of those select few would always remain a mystery to me, but his knowledge of music and the history of its artists was impressive, so arguing with him required that I have my wits about me. He would nearly bounce with glee when I admitted that I had never heard a particular story about a musician or band, and I would file away the information he disclosed in order to use it against him later, catch him in a slip up. That blunder has yet to appear. He may have forgotten that he left the keys to the shop in the front door that morning, but he would always remember the story about Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the pool at the Holiday Day Inn.





It was clearer after I broke it down :

   Behind the register, in some businesses, is a messy area. Uptown Records is no exception, and Edison seemed intent on keeping it that way. No matter how many times I straightened up, he would go behind me and drop off an item or two until the space was in disarray again. Music magazines, used albums, new albums, posters, regular newspapers, music scene magazines, flyers, a cup of soup from somewhere, and a hat. (His organizational skills weren’t the best in the world, and he tended to get distracted easily and set things down only to quickly forget about them soon after.)

   I cleaned up the best I could while arguing with him about influential artists. It was a favorite pastime of his as he would take a contradictory choice to my own with a certain amount of glee, if for no other reason than he could spend time discussing his passion. He could talk for hours about music and musicians, dredging up tidbits of information known to only a select few. How he came to be one of those select few would always remain a mystery to me, but his knowledge of music and the history of its artists was impressive, so arguing with him required that I have my wits about me. He would nearly bounce with glee when I admitted that I had never heard a particular story about a musician or band, and I would file away the information he disclosed in order to use it against him later, catch him in a slip up. That blunder has yet to appear. He may have forgotten that he left the keys to the shop in the front door that morning, but he would always remember the story about Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the pool at the Holiday Day Inn.


I also noted these mistakes in writing contractions:
 Contractions
Wrong     Right 

its            it's
hed          he'd
Im           I'm
youve      you've
Ive          I've
dont        don't
havent    haven't
cant        can't
Ill           I'll
werent    weren't
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=66950.0
Words are Weapons of Demons and Saints

Offline landmersm

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Re: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2018, 07:37:25 AM »
Thanks for your comment.  I see your point about the first paragraph.

Your comment about the contractions, however, is driving me a little nuts.  Did I miss one? I scoured the post, but they all seem correct.  I am on mobile, so maybe that's it.
My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

@ http://a.co/d/hP980yk  (Amazon link)

Offline AspiringAuthor

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Re: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 08:56:18 PM »
I’ll preface this by saying I never reviewed something before. So… here I go:

The dialogue is organic and it flows well between the characters. They feel like genuine people but they’re a bit too…. interchangeable in my opinion apart from the M chick. A bit of variation in their words would make these characters even more interesting. Alternatively, maybe a description or so of expression/gestures etc would help separate them even more.

The only other thing I’d like to bring your attention on is the repetition of words. The word 'glee' comes up twice in one paragraph and the word 'said' is overused. She said, he said, repeated about 30 times through the dialogue.

This is just my personal opinion for there is nothing wrong with your writing. I believe with my suggestions your story will sound better but that is up to you.

Offline landmersm

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Re: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 09:23:36 PM »
Thank you for your comments.

And thanks for catching that extra "glee". It's sometimes hard to find your own mistakes when you've seen it a hundred times.

I really do appreciate your comments about the dialogue, but I'm going to disagree a bit - although I do agree with your interchangeable comment. (It's something I struggle with.)

As far as the too many he said, she said, I'll share this link. https://www.scribophile.com/academy/he-said-she-said-dialog-tags-and-using-them-effectively

I try not to go too many switches between characters without notating who said what, but I've read in several places that dialogue tags should be very simple. Our brains ignore the he said, she said after a while. We gloss over them. (See any Cormac McCarthy novel.) Anything else breaks the flow. I do try to mix it up, mainly by having the comment, and then describing something the speaker is doing.  I guess I need to do it a bit more.


Any-hoo. I hope you don't think I'm ungrateful for your review and comments because I responded back. I'm not. I found it very useful. I just like to discuss things like this. 


Thanks, and best of luck!
My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

@ http://a.co/d/hP980yk  (Amazon link)

Offline AspiringAuthor

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Re: Another part of Uptown Records 1500+ words - Fiction
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 09:49:16 PM »
Ha, whole reason I joined this forum is for discussions/ruthless honesty so we’re gucci. I learned that being a writer you spend a lot of time trapped in your own head and even if someone else doesn't have anything of value to add, a different perspective can help you. We don't do ourselves any favors if we don't discuss things openly and to the point.

Moving on. As I said, it is a matter of personal taste (regarding the 'said' comment) and you're right; many good authors use it excessively. I personally just dislike it.