View Full Version : The Hangover Part 4 (language)

December 4th, 2016, 09:51 PM
The young woman screamed at the lifeless form sprawled on the floor. She knelt, then began shaking the older woman. The woman lifted her creased face off the floor, made more wrinkled by the wool carpet it had rested on. A small bit of spittle dripped from the corner of the older woman's mouth. She coughed roughly as she tried to speak.

"Well, thank God you're alive," the younger woman commented without a hint of sympathy, "I was afraid I'd have to call Podesta and set-up a cleaning crew..."

"Wha- What?"

"You're alive. That's the important thing. It'd have been a real bitch if you had died."

"Goo... Good to see you too, Chelsea." The old woman stammered. "You think maybe you could help your mother up to the sofa? If it's not too much to ask?"

Chelsea huffed, and coarsely flung her mother on the nearby linen couch.
"I just had a manicure. If I need a touch-up, so help me..."

"You'll what?!" The older woman spat back.

Chelsea smirked and immediately dialed her phone. After a few seconds, she spoke.
"Yeah, dad. She's fine. What? I can barely hear you! Can you move away from the music? For Christ's sake, your wife could have been dead, and you're still partying? Grow up! And stop laughing!"

She slammed the phone into her purse, and glared at the woman on the sofa. Chelsea kicked at an empty gin bottle by her foot.
"How many, mom?"

"Gallons or bottles?" She replied hoarsely, "Do I buy them in gallons? I forget."

"You forget a lot, recently." Chelsea began pacing the room, absently kicking empty gin bottles with her Walter Steiger pumps. "You almost forgot your meeting with the Yemeni finance minister last week..."

"But didn't."

"...and, you have an appointment to give a speech at Goldman Sachs in two hours!"

"I'll make it. I'm tougher than you'll ever be, girl."

"You're a fucking mess!" Chelsea screamed, "Look at you!"

Chelsea briskly lifted the old woman to the mirror across the room,
"Christ! What are you up to? One Sixty?"

"You're just weak," the old woman croaked, "It's your dad's fault. Took it to easy on you. Being our only kid..."

The two women stood in front of the mirror. The older woman, bleary-eyed regarded herself. She then turned to her daughter, who was gasping.

"M-Mom? What is that on your arm?!"

The women studied the image in the mirror. The older woman's shoulder had fresh ink applied to it. The pricked skin was swollen, but it fully and legibly read "Fuck Trump."
The women's gaze migrated down to the shoulder in front of the mirror.

Chelsea's jaw dropped, and she was speechless for a few seconds.
"You gave yourself a home-made prison tattoo?"

"I tried to get Marina to help. I told her that I knew a lot of her people spent time in jail and all..."


Chelsea let go of her mother, who rocked wobbly before regaining her balance. Chelsea paced the floor for a few seconds. She pivoted toward her mother and threw her hands on her hips.
"For God's sake, how drunk were you last night?"

"Well," Hillary went to straighten her pants out, until she realized she wasn't wearing any, "I just had a few drinks, while watching CNN. Then I had a few more watching MSNBC. Then I turned on FOX. It was a little fuzzy after that."

"I bet."

"I remember singing 'My Way' a few dozen times. I still have that copy signed by Nancy Sinatra. I tried to get Marina to sing along, she wouldn't for some reason. Claimed she had some clothes to fold. I think I made a call or two as well. That's probably not important right now."

Chelsea took a deep breath. She shook her head, stepped toward Hillary and gave her a perfunctory hug.
"Now, what you're going to do is get your hungover Arkansas trailer-trash ass into the shower while I try to find something for you to wear. You hear me, mom?"

Hillary nodded and started shuffling to the bathroom.

"You're not missing any teeth, are you mom?"

She gave no indication of hearing, as by this time Hillary was sobbing into her hands.

Chelsea shrugged, then began looking around the apartment.
"Marina? Hey, if you're still here, I could use some help. You know Miss Hillary was only joking about you getting deported, right?


Olly Buckle
December 12th, 2016, 10:03 PM
The young woman screamed at the lifeless form sprawled on the floor. She knelt, then began shaking the older woman. The woman lifted her creased face off the floor, made more wrinkled by the wool carpet it had rested on.
So which woman lifted? The younger woman screamed at the older one, shook her, and then lifted her creased face of the carpet? I don't think that is what you mean, but you could. Then there is the matter of the floor, why was it resting on the carpet, and how come it had wrinkled it. Put things together that go together, a remark like that should refer to the last thing mentioned.

Jay Greenstein
December 26th, 2016, 05:53 AM
Look at this, not from your viewpoint, but that of a reader:
The young woman screamed at the lifeless form sprawled on the floor. She knelt, then began shaking the older woman.I'm assuming that in the previous chapter this was set up, and we know who she is and what put the other woman on the floor (if not the problem is more serious).

1. Since the shout of "mom," comes in its own paragraph there is no hard connection between the dialog and the mention of the dead body. Since both are the same subject they go in the same paragraph.

2. Why call her the generic, "young woman?" Has she no name? Who wants to read about someone called, "She?"

3. "The older woman?" Isn't their relationship clear, based on what she said? Isn't it obvious that since the woman is her mother she'll be older? Why tell the reader what they already know? Let implication woprk for you, Why not say she's shaking her mother?
The woman lifted her creased face off the floor, made more wrinkled by the wool carpet it had rested on.The woman's dead. You said she is. And here, it seems as if the daughter is lifting her head (though it could be the mom, so you should make it more clear who's doing the lifting—especially given that one of the two has been presented as dead. And, though you visualize the scene, we can't see her. So why waste words, and slow the read with such irrelevant visual detail? as temporary wrinkles?

And who's observing this. It can't be you, you're neither on the scene or in the story? Someone should, because story takes place in the protagonist's viewpoint, and you seem to have no protagonist.
She coughed roughly as she tried to speak.You have to be kidding. In the same paragraph you used the word, "Lifeless." And now she's speaking? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Okay, maybe I'm being harsh, but there's no story here. Instead, a narrator whose voice we cannot hear is talking about people, as if the reader can mentally see the scene the author does. But they can't. And on the page we cannot tell a story as we would aloud because the reader cannot hear your voice and has not a clue of how you want it read. To them, the narrator's words are inflected only as the punctuation and the words suggest to that reader. Have your computer read it aloud and you'll hear the problem.

Fiction on the page is unlike storytelling, unlike screen and stage writing, and unlike the style of writing we all learn in school. Our medium dictates that because of the major differences between it and those other methods. And unless we're aware of the differences, and the constraints they place on us, we're in the position of using writing skills that are inappropriate to our medium.

It's not a matter of good or bad writing, it's that the tools you own only work in a medium that supports them. It's not all that hard to learn to write for the printed word, but it is necessary.

Not good news, certainly, but given that you've been working hard, and have apparently completed at least four chapters, I'd say it would be worth the effort. You don't have to use those techniques, of course. But unless you're aware of why they exist, and what they do, can you get your story under control? You can't, after all, fix what you don't see as a problem.

So my personal suggestion, which you are free to ignore, of course, is to dig into the tricks of the trade. It would be time well spent. And in the local library's fiction writing section you'll find lots of information, from writing professionals.

So keep writing, of course, but at the same time, put some time aside to find out what works—and of more importance, what doesn't.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.