Paper Boy - Page 3


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  1. #21
    Heartbreaking.
    The restrained prose is so effective and appropriate to the theme. At first I thought he was going to hide something in the book, but with the last line I understood it was more of a reflection of the way the boy feels.
    I would read a book with this style of writing, definitely.
    Cascadian

  2. #22
    Human Yo Yo - I've only now noticed your post. Thank you very much. Especially appreciated is your statement that you would read a book written in this style. My agent and two publishers hope that many people will feel as you do.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  3. #23
    This is a late comment but I have been searching over the forum for someone who writes like this. It reminds me of Hemingway. And you are a journalist just like he was. Of course.

    I like your writing style. It's simple and unpretentious.

    But with that being said, I think the central image of the story is a bit heavy handed. I get it; the boy hollows out books because he himself is empty. The theme could have been treated with more subtlety. As such the work feels like less of a story and more of an elaborate symbol.

    Otherwise I appreciate your adherence to the iceberg theory and how you show instead of telling.

    I have a read also read some of your other works and am looking forward to reading future stories from you.

    You mentioned that you have two publishers. So I'm guessing you might have so some books out?

  4. #24
    fpak - Thank you so much for your comments. This was originally written fo the LM fiction competition, which has a 650 word limit, but there is yet the need for complete short story construction. There is little room for subtlety in character development. Flash fiction is like a still photograph as opposed to a movie. Consider Hemingway's 'A Clean Well Lighted Place'. Try putting that in 650 words.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by garza View Post
    fpak - Thank you so much for your comments. This was originally written fo the LM fiction competition, which has a 650 word limit, but there is yet the need for complete short story construction. There is little room for subtlety in character development. Flash fiction is like a still photograph as opposed to a movie. Consider Hemingway's 'A Clean Well Lighted Place'. Try putting that in 650 words.
    I get what you're saying.

    That's my favourite short story by the way. And funnily enough, what is brilliant about it is how he's managed to talk about so much with so little. I'm sure there are writers who have attempted novels to try and do the same thing as that story.

  6. #26
    fpak - 'Paper Boy' is my personal favourite of all the flash fiction I've written, and I've written bunches over the years since I started trying to write fiction. The story works the way I wanted it to. Often when I go back and read a fiction story I've written I'm disappointed. Not so with this one.

    The style used here is the style I've used in a sketchbook that should be out next Summer. There are 42 sketches averaging two thousand words each. They are dialogue heavy, as is most of my writing, but hopefully they will work as well as this bit of flash fiction with its minimum amount of dialogue. There is a minimum amount of description and almost no narrative in the sketches. My goal was to have the reader clearly see the characters and the setting with little or no description, and to follow the action without wasting words on narrative.

    I believe that in ten years 80 thousand words will be considered excessive and that 40 thousand words will be the new standard for novels.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by garza View Post
    fpak - 'Paper Boy' is my personal favourite of all the flash fiction I've written, and I've written bunches over the years since I started trying to write fiction. The story works the way I wanted it to. Often when I go back and read a fiction story I've written I'm disappointed. Not so with this one.

    The style used here is the style I've used in a sketchbook that should be out next Summer. There are 42 sketches averaging two thousand words each. They are dialogue heavy, as is most of my writing, but hopefully they will work as well as this bit of flash fiction with its minimum amount of dialogue. There is a minimum amount of description and almost no narrative in the sketches. My goal was to have the reader clearly see the characters and the setting with little or no description, and to follow the action without wasting words on narrative.

    I believe that in ten years 80 thousand words will be considered excessive and that 40 thousand words will be the new standard for novels.
    My short stories are generally very, very short and I have occasionally tread flash fiction territory with 500 to 600 words. I understand what you mean when you say it is a photograph. there really isn't time in a short story.

    To look at it pragmatically, it is surprising how much easier a few hundred more words make it.

    Oh, what are you calling your sketchbook?

    I have been reading a few of your stories including "The Lion sleeps tonight" and I look forward to reading the next work you put up here.
    “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”
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  8. #28
    The sketchbook is called Sketches from the Life of Paul but that may have to be changed. The book tells the story of a young white missionary sent to Belize by his church in Mississippi. He loses his faith but is rescued and converted by a Creole girl named Sandy, short for Sandra. Sandy teaches him all about sex and white rum and he ends up owning a bar. The publisher is afraid people may buy the book thinking they are buying biography of Paul the Apostle.

    I'm originally from Mississippi and I've spent the last 20 years in Belize, so the dialogue was easy to write.

    A limit of 650 words puts a lot of pressure on a writer to pack in everything that's needed. Double that and you don't have so much stress. Go to five thousand words and it's like a big empty playground wit plenty of room to properly develop your characters. On the other hand, there's a lot of pleasure in finding out how much impact a few words can have.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  9. #29
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garza View Post
    A limit of 650 words puts a lot of pressure on a writer to pack in everything that's needed. Double that and you don't have so much stress. Go to five thousand words and it's like a big empty playground wit plenty of room to properly develop your characters. On the other hand, there's a lot of pleasure in finding out how much impact a few words can have.
    Now I knew I had a reason to respect you Garza.

    As I am not a very good short story writer, Yet. I enjoy the challenge to shove a concept into a small space. My entry for the November CO fiction competition is one I thoroughly enjoyed writing. Though I placed fifth out of five it is one of my better scores.

    It is like they state in the intro area of the forums, when critiquing do not use cryptic or short responses. "Wow" or "Eew", how are those helpful to the writer? The same thing when writing a short. The challenge is how well can you draw in and envelop the reader within 650 words.
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  10. #30
    'Paper Boy' is unusual in that more words are used for description and narration than is usual in my writing. I find that the most efficient use of words is in dialogue. That's why some of my flash fiction is pure dialogue with no words wasted on description or narration. Circumstance plus the personality of the boy did not allow for as much dialogue as usual. Still, the story did achieve the effect I was seeking.

    The number and nature of the responses to the story have been a bit of a surprise. All the kind words are much appreciated.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

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