[2321] Las Malas Noticias Vuelan

My apologies on the atrocious formatting. Like I said, first time here.

No problem :) Just be sure to double space.

Now, I appreciate your critique - it's been thorough and overall quite useful - but there are some parts that I disagree with. This is just my opinion as an unpublished amateur.

This is long for an opening line, and has a number of problems. First, you would be better served by breaking this in to two separate sentences.

There are multiple clauses in the opening line and things could benefit from a little reordering, but breaking this kind of information down into separate sentences is like trying to draw a curve, stopping half way through, then resuming the curve two hours later. Things just get disjointed. Sure my prose often gets confused, but simplification isn't the answer - I don't think.

Also, the fact that you mention the shopping centre by name leads me to believe that Ben is familiar with the location, and that it has significance later in the story.

If he's entering the shopping centre, Ben would probably read the great big sign hanging from the entrance :) Specific details like these don't always need significance; they're just better than a vaguer alternative.

Too much telling here. Let the audience perceive Nathan through Ben's eyes. Brown sweater bit was unnecessary.

You can't really show this stuff, and if you did it would be a waste of words. Also, clothing isn't vital to the story, no, but scene setting is. We need description to immerse the reader in our story. The alternative is a white void of vagueness.

The vending machine, sausage rolls, and coke don't do anything for your story; cut them.

Yeah... I kinda agree with you here. The issues stem from me wanting to write novels, not short stories, and all the irrelevant scene-setting details which feel a waste of time in shorter fiction. Good point.

As Nathan is the only other named character at this point, your audience will assume he is addressing Nathan.

Also good point. I'll change that.

The dialogue tag should also be asked, rather than said.

Not always. Hemmingway always used said to avoid the jarring transitions from one dialogue tag to another. It's personal preference, I suppose.

More telling here. Let the audience experience the memories flooding back with Ben. Maybe describe the emotions that are attached them.

Good point.

Second, all day is a little too much hyperbole

Yeah... kinda. Homeless people have little else to do all day but eat. It should be hyperbolic, but isn't.

Small gripe here, but switching 'woman and boy' with 'mother and son' would create a more emotional connection for the audience.

I think it would have the opposite effect. It'd be jarring. We're going from a conversation about the dream to his family that just happens to be passing by. Big ideas like these need to be introduced slowly, I'd say..

Describe the emotions Ben sees in Nathan's face as the information sinks in, surprise, sympathy, embarrassment, etc.

One of the most powerful tools in fiction, I'd say, is subtlty. The fact that you can list everything that happens next means these things don't need to be said. It's implied, and through forcing the reader to work out what must happen next we engage them in the narrative.

There they were:< Tense change.

Pretty sure that's still past tense :)

Well, shit. Ben would be waking up in traction, not a prison cell.

Good point. I'll change that too.

There was a bed, hard like a bench, on which he sat wiping his eyes.< Awful sentence.


So, yeah... this was a high-effort critique. I'm not trying to be a prick by responding to the ideas, just opening up a discussion. If someone gets proven wrong, someone becomes a better writer.

Thanks again. Happy writing!

/r/DestructiveReaders Thread Parent