View Full Version : arcata- arrival (Violence) 200 words

June 14th, 2013, 02:05 PM
“That’s Samoa, the island.”


“Ya. Not very original, I know. It’s got a colorful history. The story is that there used to be a tribe of Indians there, and then a bunch of lumberjacks got drunk one night and decided it was time to get rid of them, so they went over there with clubs. The Indians were pacifists so it was a real slaughter.”

“And I thought baby seals was bad.”

‘Yep—pretty messed up.”

“Are they still taking trees?”

“No. The biggest industry around here is pot. Fishing is way down lately and I guess sod farming is somewhere on the list.”

“’Sod farming’?”

“Once you get out of town it’s really red-neck. If it weren’t for the college and the university this place would be just hicks. That’s my place over there. That guy right there, that’s ‘John Mono-dread’.”

“That’s some dread he’s got there. Is he homeless?”

“I don’t know. I tried to talk to him once but it didn’t work. I think he might be schizophrenic or something. I always see him around. My friends all call him that. It’s a small town so you see the same faces all the time.”

June 14th, 2013, 05:53 PM
I think this is an interesting piece especially since it is done solely through dialogue. I don't know who is talking, such as their gender though I get the feeling their age is on the younger end considering the homeless man part of the conversation. I am also gleaning that the one is a person who grew up there while another is a visitor though I do not know their relationship; stranger, distance family, someone who recently moved in, etc. In someways I even get a small idea about the surroundings, such as when the one speaker "points" to their house and homeless man. Am I also right in assuming the homeless person has dreadlocks?

I am wondering a bit though if you really do want to leave the piece as just dialogue? Was that the goal of your piece, to get as much information as possible out without stepping outside of dialogue? If that is so, a piece of me wonders if the person can see the island (where the lumberjacks took trees)? The speaker seems to be "pointing" to it in the beginning. If it is close enough, can the other speaker "see" a lose of trees or not? He asks if they still take trees but would he be able to see anything that would inform him? I only point it out because you seem to try to get a lot of info out through dialogue (to give the reader an image without really describing) and this might be a way to give us more "imagery" without giving us imagery, if that makes sense? For example, "I can tell that they are still at" or "They don't seem to be taking any trees" could replace his question of "Are they still taking trees?" This could give us an impression of the closeness of the island, as well as whether or not it is bare or lush.

Anyway, I hope that any of this helps and I really enjoyed your piece. I felt like I really had to read and pay attention (and re-read) so that I could get everything out of it. Those kinds of pieces can be fun when they are done well.

June 16th, 2013, 01:37 AM
Hey Meego. This a snippet of a much longer piece. Yes, one is a resident, the other, a visiting friend. I think I was experimenting with 'setting'. Not so much the physical descriptions as a general 'feel' for attitudes of the town and the area. I realize it's way too short to get too much out of but I thought I'd float it out there just to get reactions. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your idea about showing the island by changing the dialogue is excellent.

Chef Ramsy
June 16th, 2013, 10:11 PM
Hi Kevin,
I understand that this was from a larger piece so some of these points may not be valid in the context of the original.
Like Meego, I re-read this several times like I would a poem because I thought it was a piece standing on its own. I liked, but was very confused by, the way the characters jumped from topic to topic very quickly. If that's what you're going for fine, but with the sod farming bit in particular, there was no elaboration, which was slightly confusing.
However even before you said that you were trying to evoke a "feel" for the setting, I picked it up from the excerpt. So great job!

June 16th, 2013, 10:28 PM
Ahh, I see now. I didn't realize that it was part of a bigger picture. I'd love to see the rest of it sometime. I definitely felt as if the speakers were either walking and talking and we heard them as the one speaker showed off the town, or the town is really just that small that they could stand in a centralized point and see a lot of different aspects of the town.

I like the casual feel of the conversation. If I was right in guessing that they are a part of a younger generation (25ish or younger), then it really does feel like a conversation I would overhear or be a part of. However, I am not sure if I would necessarily assume the red-neck aspect of the town based on their style of language in the conversation. Although, then that could also mean that the person speaking considers themselves separate from that aspect (and better than?). If that is the case, I am guessing that there is a divide in the "class" of the town?

Overall, I am very intrigued and would love to read more of what you have when you are ready to share it. :D