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tinacrabapple
July 6th, 2013, 01:32 AM
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reverend ben
July 6th, 2013, 02:24 AM
I like the scene, and the events that are related for the statement.
I had a little difficulty reading it though. The story feels exactly the same when the MC is talking, as when the narrator is narrating. Does this character really talk out loud exactly the same way that they think?
Some of the word choices, and phrasing in the "What 'I' told the cop" part feel a little awkward.

tinacrabapple
July 6th, 2013, 02:46 AM
Thanks, that is what I am also struggling with. It's a dialogue but reads like prose. It just may be too hard to finish, not sure if I have the skills to change it.

Outiboros
July 6th, 2013, 10:08 AM
I like the scene, and the events that are related for the statement.
I had a little difficulty reading it though. The story feels exactly the same when the MC is talking, as when the narrator is narrating. Does this character really talk out loud exactly the same way that they think?
Some of the word choices, and phrasing in the "What 'I' told the cop" part feel a little awkward.
That's what struck me as strange, too. I would take out many of the details. For example, "she fell onto the couch and Frank leaned against the wall to keep himself from falling" is not something he'd tell the cop.

Some small things:
I sat at the neighbor’s table
Neighbour.

-and placed my mud covered muck by my wet socked foot.
I'm not sure what's going on here. "My muck"? "socked foot"?

Exhausted, I looked at the officer. “I'm sorry we have to do this now, but I need a statement and we are almost done here.”
Constructed like this, it's the main character that's saying this, not the cop.

The neighbor’s son, Nick, was with his girlfriend.
Neighbour. Also, maybe you could just say "the neighbours' son, Nick, and his girlfriend".

He ran to the end of the car and extended his hand as he look toward the cliff.
Looked.

As she ran to him and took his hand, she looked back at me over her shoulder through her glasses as if to tell me that she was at peace.
This is what I said before. Maybe just say "she gave me the strangest look. Not even exited - just peaceful."

Then I ran towards them with open arms and screamed, “I love humanity!” as they ran and leapt off the cliff.
So, the main character screams "I love humanity"? Why?

The fall colors are at their peak.
Would he be thinking of fall colours after he'd seen two people fall to their deaths?

After the fall, I felt a great force pulling me back as I hysterically ran away towards the driveway.
Same as before: nobody would say 'hysterically'.

I felt heavy as if a great energy source was sucking me back toward the cliff. It was as if the world was imploding into Hell. With all my might, I ran up the driveway toward the neighbor’s house. My boot fell off as I ran, but I kept going in the greatest panic of my life. You see, I had just been a witness of death through suicide. When I got to the neighbor’s house, I pounded on the door. “Let me in!” And I opened the door and fell in on the floor. Jean was in the kitchen and Frank was just coming out of the toilet. I looked up and yelled, “Nick did it! He killed himself with his girlfriend!” Jean ran from the kitchen. Jean yelled back, “My GOD! We knew it! Oh my dear God!” She fell onto the couch and Frank leaned against the wall to keep himself from falling.
Neighbour, neighbour, and the same as before.


Just some things I noticed.

reverend ben
July 6th, 2013, 10:47 AM
The fall colors are at their peak.
Would he be thinking of fall colours after he'd seen two people fall to their deaths?

Maybe. I liked that part. Psychologically, It can be easier to recognize totally normal things when you are the one still living, than trying to deal with the fact that you just witnessed a death.
Also. Where I live in New England, it's like a holiday. Peak Leaf is a time of year, just as much as a color observation. It doesn't just mean the red and the orange are captivatingly bright. It also means that the restaurants are all packed, and there are tourists underfoot everywhere. ,
It doesn't necessarily need said out loud, but it sure is hard not to notice.

Totally lost on the muck though.

Strangedays410
July 11th, 2013, 04:21 PM
Ms. Crabapple, I like this. I agree with a lot that's been said here about the piece though--particularly in what a person is and is not likely to say in a given situation. Some parts of this feel a bit awkward to me in that regard. Having said that, I always have to remind myself that people's brains are so different, a person is liable to say/think absolutely anything...so I won't impose my own sensibilities there. On another note, I always like when you suddenly and casually use lines that jolt me a bit--the two uses of the word toilet, in this case. As always, I find your manner quite interesting.

Some of what I perceive as awkwardness can be easily ironed out. For example, with:

“We found your boot in the mud. How are you holding up?”
Exhausted, I looked at the officer. “I’m sorry we have to do this now, but I need a statement and we are almost done here.”
Then, I inhaled and then blew my nose. I leaned my temple on my clutched fist and looked down at the chocolate cake.

Even just small changes would do it for me, such as:

“We found your boot in the mud. How are you holding up?” Noticing my eyes, she added, “I’m sorry we have to do this now, but I could really use your statement. We're almost done.”
Trembling, I unwound a strip of the paper and blew my nose...and then leaned a temple on my fist and dazed at the neatly-sliced chocolate wedge between us. It was making me sick.

I tried to cop your style a bit--your bluntness, and eye for adding flair to the trivial. Something like that would work for me. There are a thousand ways you could phrase it though.

I'd most like to see changes in the area of dialogue. Again, writing this, I'd try to think of the way people actually say things in life...particularly given the situation. The following:

“It was around 3 o’clock when a car came booming into my back yard. The car spun around skidding to a stop with the windshield facing toward the house. The car doors swung open and two people jumped out. The neighbor’s son, Nick, was with his girlfriend. He had been driving. He ran to the end of the car and extended his hand as he look toward the cliff. “Come on!” He screamed. As she ran to him and took his hand, she looked back at me over her shoulder through her glasses as if to tell me that she was at peace. Then I ran towards them with open arms and screamed, “I love humanity!” as they ran and leapt off the cliff.” I paused and put my hand to my nose and let out another sob.

...sounds a little contrived to me. The first few sentences had me thinking that the witness had prepared and rehearsed a statement beforehand; the delivery struck me that way. Here's my attempt at making it more natural-sounding...at least to my ears:

I tried to remember; it had happened so quickly. "I was in my back yard, and the car...it just came tearing through." I stared at the cake--brown and blurred. “It spun around skidding in the grass, and then stopped...facing the house. And then the doors swung open, and they jumped out--the neighbor's son, Nick, and his girlfriend." I dabbed my eyes again, and thought my chest might split. "He ran to the back of the car, with his...hand out to her--he kept looking at the cliff." I swallowed hard, and focused into the frosting. “Come on!” He screamed. "Come on!" She ran over and took his hand...and then looked back at me, through her glasses. She looked so...peaceful. I ran toward them, screaming...but it was too late."

To me, this feels more in line with the way someone might recount such an event. They're conjuring the story while in shock, and I think it should sound that way. I did some other things there too, to convey the mood; hopefully you can see how that was done.

I think you definitely have the skill to make your stories work. It'll take practice and feedback. I hope you find helpful, the concrete suggestions you've gotten so far. Ask as many questions as you'd like. I'll read and respond to your non-fiction bit later today.