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What say you of my writing?

by tom44 on November 25, 2013

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Question by Buzz: What say you of my writing?
The story’s plot is that a single, unemployed, practically speaking homeless woman tries to get her life back from shambles if she wants to earn money, get a house and all that to win back custody over her son who’s now with her ex, obviously the better of the two. It’s supposed to be comedy, since the two of them rival throughout. This is how the story starts, and not minding the empty gaps and plot holes (that will all be explained later in the chapter), how is it? I asked this before as well, and got an answer that she’s despicably unsympathetic and all, but that’s just who she is and something she’ll work on later. What do you think of my way of presenting the scenes, the references, etc?

“What do you mean this is not what you wanted?”
Mr Walter pressed the bridge of his nose, his eyes downcast as he exhaled. “Quinn,” he said, lifting the manuscript off of his table. “How long did you work on this?”
Quinn lowered her head sheepishly, rocking on her heels. “Well, I’ve had the ideas for a long time…”
“How long did you work on the manuscript, and not the ideas?”
Quinn rolled her eyes. “Four days.” Minus three days, but she wasn’t going to tell him that. She suddenly felt that she should have read the articles before handing it to Mr Walter, but she was two days past the deadline already.
Mr Walter raised an eyebrow. “Four days?”
“I think,” replied Quinn. “When was Sunday?”
Quinn’s heart sped up as she realized that she fell into her own trap. “Oh, I meant to ask when Wednesday was…”
“You’re fired,” said Mr Walter, pushing the folder to the front and lifting the telephone that had been ringing since the last minute.
Quinn suddenly felt her pulse drop. “W-what?” she said as Mr Walter put the phone back on the receiver. She needed this job desperately. If she was fired, she’d be out on the streets! Okay, she was already homeless and paid a dollar to live with her tenant’s niece. Without the money, she’d lose even that! She waited till Mr Walter put the phone down before swallowing a lump in her throat, and spoke out. “You can’t fire me…I…”
“You’re right, I can’t. Kyle boy has the measles, so I need you this entire week,” said Mr Walter. “Okay, let’s see. Forty dollars. Get out,” said Mr Walter, scribbling on a paper before handing it to her.
“What?” said Quinn. “They’re seven articles, just like you asked!” exclaimed Quinn.
“Seven articles crappier than my daughter’s diary.”
“You’re already going to hell for theft for paying me seventy!”
“Fifty, then. Out,” said Mr Walter, modifying the doodle on the paper.
“Sixty five,” said Quinn daringly. Mr Walter narrowed his eyes at her, before scribbling again on the paper and handing it to her.
“Out of my face till next week, understand?”
Quinn skipped out of the building of the local small-time magazine, ‘Streetwise’ with her wallet quenched like a tween on the way to spend her pocket-money. The first thing that was on her mind was to buy a new pair of clothes, and good shoes, if the clothes were on sale. The reason she was fired more than four times this month alone was because of her signature apparel – khaki trousers, a salmon tank top under a white button-up shirt, and flip-flops. Those were the best clothes that made it out of a fire her duffel bag caught while she was on a train back from Raleigh the previous month. This Friday she was supposed to visit again, but she needed to find an apartment first. If her ex-husband saw her in that state, she’d die of embarrassment. But before that, she needed clothes. And to hop by a garage sale or a thrift store. And then maybe talk to her bank accountant again, with a counterfeited medical report of measles for not answering her calls.
The big bright red letters ‘UPTO 80% OFF!’ summoned her like mosquitoes on a hot day. Entering the store, she became suddenly conscious of her bright red frizzy hair in a messy bun that the saleswoman wouldn’t tear her eyes off.
“May I help you?” she said, her eyes affixed on Quinn’s hair.
“I’m good,” replied Quinn, politely dismissing her before wandering off. What clothes would make her look like a smart, talented, employed and successful person? Holding up one piece of clothing in front of her after another, she tested colours and textures and patterns before selecting a modest pair of dark brown dress pants and a stylish blazer that had a white top stitched to it. Oh well, it’d save her time. Checking the price tags made the wallet in her back pocket lose weight rapidly. What were these made of, bulletproof fabric? With a scowl, Quinn had to succumb and went to pay for them. She tried ignoring the cashier’s stares as she fished for the right amount of money. With a heavy heart, she handed it over to the cashier in return for a bag of her own ‘smart’ clothes. “Have a good day,” she said before going for the exit.

Tips, suggestions, edits, criticism are welcome (tune down the foul-mouth, though).

Best answer:

Answer by Adam
I think it’s amazing!

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2 thoughts on “What say you of my writing?

  1. Susan says:

    Hey Buzz,
    You have skill in character development. I would, just for a sec, like to comment on the remark you referred to in your intro – someone said Quinn was “despicably unsympathetic.” It may be that the comment could be useful to you after all. Even if your character is not an admirable person, you still have the challenge of finding a way to endear her to your readers. If someone said she was unsympathetic, it may mean that when he finished reading your piece, he didn’t care at all what happened to her, and that is not a good read. That will not keep your readers interested. Okay, that said – I’m sure you realize that there needs to be some work on formatting, but otherwise, I was intrigued. Oh, and this sentence: “buy a new pair of clothes…” I think you meant the shoes; clothes don’t come in pairs. Read your work out loud to yourself and you will discover how the words work. You have found a way to identify the anxiety in a person who has little but needs more in order to improve her life. Quinn knows this and is hoping the steps she takes will help do this, even though they make her frightened. The fear she feels is causing her to be unpleasant, rude and tough. I think you have a good start, Buzz. Keep it up.

  2. Diane says:

    Quinn seems pretty stupid to be unable to quickly calculate the difference between one day and four days. I don’t get how she’s living with her “tenant’s niece”. If she’s homeless, how does she have a tenant? She wrote seven articles for this paper at the agreed rate of $ 10 each? I realize she screwed up and did a bad job but she was only ever going to get $ 10 each? At that rate someone would have to write a hundred articles a week just to get by. I don’t think you researched the occupation of your lead character very well. There are some odd misuses of words here like “quenched” instead of “clenched” and buying “a new pair of clothes” and a general lack of understanding about how the world actually works. Are you saying she has one and only one, set of clothing? This mysterious “tenant’s niece” let’s her live there for a dollar but would kick her out if she couldn’t pay the dollar which is a meaningless amount of money? With sixty dollars to her name she’s going clothes shopping, somehow getting to Raleigh (from I don’t know where) and looking for an apartment? Obviously she has more than that. If she has enough money to get an apartment on the day we meet her, why are we told she’ll be on the street if she can’t pay a dollar? On top of a lot of grammatical errors, there are so many carelessly thought out aspects of just this brief section that it would be seriously maddening to read much more of it.

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