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Elynae
December 26th, 2010, 02:40 PM
I have attempted to write another short story - less spontaneously than last time.
Feedback is welcomed, especially on how to edit and improve this.

Forgive the stereotypical title. Suggestions of a new one are dearly needed.


Dancing Lesson

Claire loved dancing.
That said, she didn't love it as a form of art. She dreaded the Christmas performance when every eye seemed to rest on her chubby body with contempt. Though she loved her teacher and admired her greatly, the things she said to Claire were usually not friendly.
Nor was she friends with any of the girls in her group. Amelie, who was everything Claire wasn't, considered herself as superior and did her best to ignore her. Anne was nicer when she was alone, but when Amelie was around, she followed her like a puppy.
Madita never said a word and answered questions with averted eyes and an unsure voice, and though Claire thought they could have been friends, they came to lessons, danced, changed and left without a word to each other.
Claire loved dancing because she was away from home and her parents who agreed only on the fact that their daughter was useless – and they did their best to show it. Though she didn't enjoy the lessons too much, they were still ninety minutes of escape every week, time in which she could recover and prepare mentally for the next week – other people's weekends were on Saturday and Sunday, Claire's was on Wednesday afternoon and was painfully short.

Today was one of these days. It had been particularly bad at home – Claire had brought a bad exam home, smashed a teacup on the hard kitchen floor, and her sole presence was usually enough to annoy her parents. When the front door closed behind her and she made her way towards the gym through the snow, she could not help hating them. She had forgiven herself for this years ago.

With reddened ears and frozen toes, she stopped in front of the gym's door and reached out to open it.
It stuck. Claire rattled, pushed, but it remained locked. With disbelief, she looked around for her teacher, a fellow dancer, anyone.
But all she saw was a little note on the side of the door.

“Girls,
my mother is ill and I cannot come to our lesson today. I hope I can be back next time.
Love,
Ms. Tymmet”

Timewasting would have been so much easier than facing the problems of life outside the dancing lesson.

Sync
December 26th, 2010, 03:06 PM
Hello

I will mention just a few things which can be ignored and are just another readers opinion.


Claire loved dancing. That said, she didn't love it as a form of art. She dreaded the Christmas performance when every eye seemed to rest on her chubby body with contempt. Though she loved her teacher and admired her greatly, the things she said to Claire were usually not friendly.

rather 'with contempt' and the uncertainty of 'seemed' you could look/address this from only her pov.

ie

she dreaded the christmas performance when every eye rested on her chubby contemptible body - it draws in her low self-worth better, that she sees herself as contemptible.

the reason I bolded and italicised 'though' is because you do something that I notice I do the same and it is a habit you might want to look into. the use of 'though' as a conditional change... like 'but' here you have a short piece but if you go through it you will see there are 3 instances of 'though' so maybe consider reworking those beginnings and get out of that habitable word phrasing.


Anne was nicer when she was alone, but when Amelie was around, she followed her like a puppy.

I know what you want to say, but i think you should just stick to how Anne is, that you say that she was nicer on her own, sort of implies that when she is with others she is not, without telling and pointing back to Amelie. I say this also because she is the only one you attach another person to for reasoning. so why say more than you have to, keep that description of Anne only on Anne. It is nice that you want to say how she changes, but since you only mention this once and don't expand, there is no point.


Claire loved dancing because she was away from home and her parents who agreed only on the fact that their daughter was useless and they did their best to show it. Though she didn't enjoy the lessons too much, they were still ninety minutes of escape every week, time in which she could recover and prepare mentally for the next week other people's weekends were on Saturday and Sunday, Claire's was on Wednesday afternoon and was painfully short.

all this could be moved up to just after those first two lines, to keep the reasoning together, then the friends then the ending. timeline is very important, going back and forth just adds knots to a fine read.


Today was one of these days. It had been particularly bad at home Claire had brought a bad exam home, smashed a teacup on the hard kitchen floor, and her sole presence was usually enough to annoy her parents. When the front door closed behind her and she made her way towards the gym through the snow, she could not help hating them. She had forgiven herself for this years ago.

its amazing how sometimes repeated words when close together stand out.

the ending sentence to me feels awkward. could be just me.

as always disregard what you disagree with.

as for the title, that should always be yours to write.

thanks for the read, enjoyed the character.

Sync

shadows
December 26th, 2010, 03:31 PM
Hi Elynae

Sad and I felt sympathy for Claire but I kind of wasn't convinced of her love of dancing. To me it seemed to be that the classes were as much of an ordeal as being at home if the teacher was unfriendly and the other girls didn't speak to her and I wondered why school didn't give her that escape from home? Plenty of time to daydream in class or drift off in class (or that's what I did).

You tell the reader that home was bad but don't show the abuse (mental or physical) that would lead to such feelings of hatred. You have an opportunity when she brings home the bad report to show the dialogue.

A few thoughts but they are just my perspective and I'm no expert.


Claire loved dancing.
That said, she didn't love it as a form of art. Sshe dreaded the Christmas performance when every eye seemed to rest rested on her chubby body with contempt. Though she loved her teacher and admired her greatly, the things she said to Claire were usually not friendly.



Nor liking it as an art form rather contradicts a love of dancing.

Seemed to weakens the anxiety of being stared at. Stronger to say every eye rested on her chubby body (this is her perception)

Maybe - loved and admired her teacher - greatly isn't needed


Anne was nicer when she was alone, but when Amelie was around, she followed her like a puppy.


I got a bit lost in the she and her - who was following who.


Claire loved dancing because she was away from home and her parents who agreed only on the fact that their daughter was useless and they did their best to show it. Though she didn't enjoy the lessons too much, they were still ninety minutes of escape every week, time in which she could recover and prepare mentally for the next week other people's weekends were on Saturday and Sunday, Claire's was on Wednesday afternoon and was painfully short.



You do what I do and use though a lot. Darned hard to excise it from writing. I wasn't sure whether you meant - next week as in next week's dancing class or next week as in days. Maybe - for the rest of the week and delete the bit about weekends.


Today was one of these days. It had been particularly bad at home Claire had brought a bad exam home, smashed a teacup on the hard kitchen floor, and her sole presence was usually enough to annoy her parents. When the front door closed behind her and she made her way towards the gym through the snow, she could not help hating them. She had forgiven herself for this years ago.

In the second and third sentences you repeat bad and home. If possible avoid repetition.

sole doesn't quite work for me. I know what you mean - perhaps - mere appearance.

I would put - made her way through the snow - before towards the gym. It sets the picture more logically in the readers mind.


Timewasting would have been so much easier than facing the problems of life outside the dancing lesson

I wasn't overly fond of the ending, maybe because I do too muchntimewasting/procrastinating rather than do what I should be doing :)

Thing is - this does give her an hour or so to herself to do what she pleases, go where she wants on her own while her parents think she is at dance class. (well that's what I think - turn it to opportunity)

I did want to give Claire a hug at the end.

Thanks for the read.

Elynae
December 26th, 2010, 05:56 PM
Nor liking it as an art form rather contradicts a love of dancing.


That contradiction was intended. Whatever reasons most people participating in such classes - be it dancing, music, drama, whatever - have, it is usually something different than Claire's motivation. Though she would say she loves dancing, this is because she loves the time she can escape her parents - it is rather the lesson than its content.
So, you are right, the wording should be changed - "Claire loved her dancing lessons" or something like that instead of "Claire loved dancing" would be better in my opinion. I will change this, and thanks for pointing this major problem out.



she dreaded the christmas performance when every eye rested on her chubby contemptible body - it draws in her low self-worth better, that she sees herself as contemptible.




Seemed to weakens the anxiety of being stared at. Stronger to say every eye rested on her chubby body (this is her perception)


I'm not writing directly from her point of view, though - true, I am using a selective omniscient point of view and know her thoughts and feelings, but not every eye rests on her with contempt, this is a matter of Claire's self-perception. Thus the "seemed".
(I chose this POV because I wanted to drop in occasional comments like the final sentence, otherwise I would have considered writing directly from Claire's POV (I...) However, I should make use of this more to justify my choice, otherwise it seems out of place.



Maybe - loved and admired her teacher - greatly isn't needed


Seems reasonable - no need to draw the sentence out like I did, thanks.



I got a bit lost in the she and her - who was following who.


I'll reword that.
This is the price I pay for referring to three female characters and their relationships in one sentence, using pronouns.



all this could be moved up to just after those first two lines, to keep the reasoning together, then the friends then the ending. timeline is very important, going back and forth just adds knots to a fine read.


If I don't totally reword this paragraph, I will probably consider this.



You do what I do and use though a lot. Darned hard to excise it from writing. I wasn't sure whether you meant - next week as in next week's dancing class or next week as in days. Maybe - for the rest of the week and delete the bit about weekends.




the reason I bolded and italicised 'though' is because you do something that I notice I do the same and it is a habit you might want to look into. the use of 'though' as a conditional change... like 'but' here you have a short piece but if you go through it you will see there are 3 instances of 'though' so maybe consider reworking those beginnings and get out of that habitable word phrasing.


I will change this. Thanks for pointing it out.




In the second and third sentences you repeat bad and home. If possible avoid repetition.


Again, thanks for pointing out.



sole doesn't quite work for me. I know what you mean - perhaps - mere appearance.


"sole" creeps into my writing the same way as "though", it seems.


I would put - made her way through the snow - before towards the gym. It sets the picture more logically in the readers mind.



Thing is - this does give her an hour or so to herself to do what she pleases, go where she wants on her own while her parents think she is at dance class. (well that's what I think - turn it to opportunity)

[forced excuses]
What if her parents find out?
[/forced excuse]

On a more serious note, I'll have to give Claire's attitude to her dance class a more clear-cut appearance in my writing and remove all contradictions. I'll focus on this when I edit it.

Anyway, thanks, both of you, for your time and constructive critique.
Sorry for submitting this in a rather unfinished state; I'll not fall to the "omg omg I'm finished now get it posted quick" attitude next time.

shadows
December 26th, 2010, 06:08 PM
Hi Elynae

The whole point of sites like this is that they exist to "workshop" your work, which means it isn't expected to be finished but work in progress. I post my work when I get to the point of - if I keep editing I'll edit it to smithereens. So don't be afraid of posting when you feel ready.