Critique thread. I don't see one hanging around.

Critique and get critiques.

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Story of a NEET. You might find it funny, especially if you've read pic related


Will hang around and critique anyone who critiques

Pretty decent prose but why would you want to rewrite Conspiracy in a contemporary England? It's good enough that I'll read the whole of "One" but I'm not going to return or recommend it to anyone.

I kick a can. It flies across the street and hits a parked car’s side. I stride down the street with hurried steps.

Anger is still in me. It swells up, fills up my mind, and flows out. I feel hot streams of anger reaching up to my head. As if anger were fuel, my strides quicken.

In front of the toy store, I hesitate. Withered ivy vines climb across the sign board that read, "Trom’s Toys." It’s a miserable store on the first floor of an old brick building flanked by brick buildings. I can’t make out the interior behind the dirty floor-to-ceiling glass.

I take deep breaths. Cold air fills my chest. Wind hits my face. My heartbeat calms down. I step forward.

I check my reflection in the glass. A pale boy with a grim look on his face looks back at me. I take a deep breath. Cold air sends shivers across my body. I close my eyes. I force a smile on my face. I open my eyes. There is still a hint of sadness on my face. I manipulate my facial muscles until all signs of my inner turmoil disappear from my face. I push open the door and walk in.

Smell of cheap perfume assails my nostrils. It is reminiscent of barbie dolls. The store is shabby and gaudy. Fake gravel covers the concrete floor. All three walls hide behind tall shelves. The shelves are filled with dolls, robots, and all kinds of toys.

“Hi. Can I help you?”

I turn and see a short-haired man with brown skin. He has a thick mustache. He is looking at me suspiciously. I infuse my voice with fake joy.

“Yes. I need some balloons.”

“How many?”

“Uh, about Eighty?”

The man disappears under the counter. I hear metallic clinkings.

“Mixed colors?” He asks.


The man emerges with a keychain. He unlocks the steel door behind him and disappears into it. He comes back with balloon bags in his hand. He puts them on the counter and enter numbers in his cash machine.

“Fifteen dollars.”

“Uh.” I murmur.

The man looks at me and adds. “You need something else?”

“Yes. I need something to…” My voice trails off.


“Yeah. Kinda.”

The man’s eyebrows draw together.

“I need helium.” I say.

“Helium, for the balloons.” The man says.

I nod.

The man stays silent. The look on his face slowly changes from confusion to suspicion. Or at least I think so. I meet the man’s gaze, trying to hide my emotions, as if any emotion is left in me.

“You mean helium tanks.” The man says.


“I have them. How many do you need?”

“I need two.”

The man does the calculation, counting his fingers and mouthing silent numbers. “Yeah. Two should be enough.”


The man disappears once again behind the steel door. He comes back with two helium tank boxes on top of one another. He asks. “Do you want them delivered?” Kids printed on their surface smile at me.

“No. I can take them myself.”

“Then that should be, one-thirty.”

I hand him two hundred-dollar bills.

Thanks. It's less to do with the book and more to do with this idea of a working class postgraduate with little talent or prospects, but high pretensions. CoN is really just a blueprint for his vague, self-righteous ideology. Any tips on how to improve?

Prose gets he job done, though I'd cut out phrases like "I infuse my voice with fake joy". I understand the emotional quality of the character is supposed to intrigue me - and it does - but you might want to tone it down. Otherwise fine. I think I'd need to read more to give any better critique. The prose is fine but I feel like I would be more interested in the plot.

Oops I mean confederacy. As in, of dunces. There are some minor mistakes here and there in the writing but it's not all that important (misspelling of kowtow, missing possessive apostrophes, etc). Some of the humour's quite good, the cuckolding thing just seems arbitrary and included because it's a popular phrase (even if it makes sense that Robert would use it for that reason), I like the way the characters are written too but I maintain my central criticism, that you shouldn't rewrite Confederacy, do something else.

Ah, you've seen through me. I was reading confederacy at the time.

see I think you should have these characters be less central. Introduce a straight-man, have him do... something, just make him the main character on his own central narrative and have Robert sort of bumbling around in the background, inadvertently making things worse.

The prose carries me. I liked the apt use of humor when the man was clutching the sofa. I like the idea and the directions, but as it is a one-off short story, I think you might profit from "concentrating" the story a bit, as in orange juice.

Thanks. This is really just the first chapter of what I hoped would be a larger work when I started it a couple of years ago. I actually wrote chapters 2 and 3, but then University got in the way. I'm hoping to pick it back up again with some changes.

I haven't written anything serious yet, not even a short story or a poem. I just want to know if I have some potentials as a writer.


I wake up. Purple light of dawn is filling my room. I get out of my bed and raise the blinds. The city outside the window is still shrouded in the remnant of the night. Some lighted windows of the buildings shine in the gloom. I hear the sounds of cars. A distant siren of a police car.

I get into bathroom without turning the lights on. I only see my silhouette in the quasi-darkness. The average height for a 14-year-old boy. Two hands holding the rim of the washbasin. Two arms upright. Head slightly turned downward.

I hear nothing from the direction of my mother's room. I normally refrain from nearing that realm of the apartment, but the lack of human presence comforts me. I carefully approaches the door of her room. I listen in. Nothing. I am a good listener and our apartment has good soundproofing. I hear no breathing. There is no one inside. The bitch is in some dude's place somewhere in the city, as always.

I plop down on the sofa and turn on the television set. Colors and sounds pervade my consciousness. I respond to none. I just love that they kill the quiet in me, the unbearable silence that haunts me.

Is this autobiographical or the story of an autist?
Either way, decent stuff. Keep it up.

In my experience, even when I try to write at a fast pace, there are many redundant stuff that ends up in the first draft. I like to refer to it as "mud", as music producers refer to the build-up of low frequencies in the "first drafts" of songs. It's raison d'être is, to be removed, obliterated. I think you might profit from this tactic as well. Keep up.


I'm French. Excuse my English.

Sounds like a good technique and I think I can identify. "Mud" seems to work like scaffolding. The good work it built up around it and then removed. This first draft of Blood Meridian is a good example. It reads poorly, but all the good elements of the final draft are worked in.

I am an offspring of a racist white loser and a self-hating Asian whore. So I guess it could be autobiographical.

Even better

As someone not one of you two, I do this also. My writing doesn't have a lot of "mud" but it's sort of a clay that needs pushing into the right place. Sculpture feels like a really apt metaphor for it.

Is my English okay? I'm not a native speaker.

I has a kind of stilted, emotionless quality which might belie the fact that it is not your first language - but it's possible you could make that work for you. Like I said, it comes across as almost autistic. Joseph Conrad brought a specifically Polish sensibility to his English prose

Apart from that

> I carefully approaches
should be "I carefully approached"

>"Mud" seems to work like scaffolding. The good work it built up around it and then removed.
Good analogy. It never crossed my mind. Yeah, I tried to write without "mud" once. The resulting draft, while free of redundancies, read very stiff and unnatural. I think we could also refer to the "mud" as "lubricating oil" for machinery. The machinery being the analogy for prose, or the prose in the making.

>"lubricating oil"

Definitely. It's a cure for perfectionism too. If you try to write without Mud then you'll end up in total stasis. Rigid prose, and very little of it.

Thanks. My native language is Korean which is very different from English. I'd like to write in English because it will give me access to more, and better audience.

And I think it should be just "approach" because the prose is in the first-person present tense.

I'd say that your English writing is better than many native speakers in the UK - which unfortunately is a compliment as much as it is a criticism of the UK education system.

On the autobiographical element - I like the intensity, but I would suggest approaching it differently. The character I've written here


is basically an exaggerated parody of myself, or one part of myself.
I'd recommend opening up some distance between you and the character - either with humour or whatever - so that you can write without being too invested. Otherwise you're at risk of writing something painful - an not in the good way.

To be honest, the amount of humor is a bit too much. So the story reads like a farce rather than a novel but I think that's the effect you intended.

It's a personal preference. I lose interest in a story when it loses verisimilitude (the quality of being likely). I don't think there is anyone who would act like that one in real life. We have plenty in TV of course. So it reads like a script for a TV show than a novel.

But yeah my character needs to be independent from me. Even if it's just to protect me.

My biggest fear of being a published writer is that anyone will see my insecurities and all the fucked-up shit in my head through my past writing because even though fiction is fictitious, it contains a great deal of life. As a very self-conscious person, this haunts me. Like, I want to write about how pathetic racists whites husbands and their self-hating Asian wives are, but then people will judge, "he hates himself and his people"

I hope my honest opinions didn't hurt your feelings.

>I hope my honest opinions didn't hurt your feelings.

No, that's fine. I intended it to be farcical. Maybe I do need to inject more realism into it though. I guess its my way of distancing myself from the actions of the character

Maybe it's too farcical, or maybe I'm too depressed. Don't let my opinion change your style. The Infinite Jest is farcical but it succeeded.