3 thoughts on “JOEY TO: Civil Disobedience

  1. “Danny hopped into a black bumper car while Johanna hopped into a blue one.”

    Duplicate word “hopped” how about something like “Johanna chose blue.) Saves you 3 words. Plus using the word “one” isn’t very creative.

    “Both drivers skimmed the signs on the surrounding walls. In large red letters:: “In large red letters” isn’t necessary – saves 4 more words.

    “Danny and Johanna exchanged glances, then sped to opposite ends of the floor, faced each other and…” What was their motive? Just to break the rules? Or being immature kids? Not much of a plot or very emotional.

    I could better understand if Danny had it in for Johanna and wished her harm, maybe for cheating on him.

    the ” …” ending is a cop-out. Why should the reader have to imagine what was going to happen?

    I know it’s only 50 words, but give a reader some satisfaction with the story.

    Jeff Switt

  2. I agree with Jeff on the first point repetition should generally be avoided in English and rewording is the way to go. (I won’t go into when it might be acceptable here)

    On the second point it is neither here nor there. “In large red letters” is not necessary, but for emphasis it is perfectly fine to signal to the reader what is to come (I concede it is only 50 words though). Saved words can be used elsewhere if there is somewhere else to put them.
    The motive might be unclear for Jeff, but for me it is right there and implied. They are riding dodgem cars after all. This isn’t to say you have to be immature (as a suggested motive) to ride them, but we certainly give ourselves a licence to ride them as we did when we were kids for old times’ sake and it’s still fun to bump into others in relative safety, as we can’t do this in real cars. Does it really matter if they were adults or kids? Would it add or subtract from the story to know this in 50 words? In any case, they showed immature behavior by breaking the rules.

    On the forth point I have to disagree with Jeff. I can’t see how a fun park would be anyone’s first choice for revenge (unless in a horror movie) – too many witnesses. Even if it was the venue for revenge, a head on in a dodgem car would jolt them both equally as the victim would see the other one coming and be prepared. Being jolted (prepared or not) is hardly retribution for someone cheating as Jeff suggested as a possible reason.

    With the last point
    “the ” …” ending is a cop-out. Why should the reader have to imagine what was going to happen?”
    Why should or shouldn’t the reader have to imagine anything at all? I thought this was part of the reader interacting with the text e.g. ‘the book was better than the movie, because I imagined it differently when I read the book’. We imagine lots of things when we read. In mystery stories it’s almost mandatory to do so as we try to work out who did what to whom before the end (twists are often used in this genre).

    When the ending is so obvious in this case to spell it out would be nothing less than insulting to the reader unless it was an unexpected one. ‘They skimmed the signs, they exchanged glances, they sped to opposite ends of the floor and they faced each other.’ What else were they going to do, play tiddlywinks? In the movie ‘Thelma and Louise’ we can easily imagine what is going to happen after their car goes off the cliff. We don’t need to see their mangled bodies on the valley floor, but had they survived well then…….. Imagining the ending didn’t tax me in the least. The ending, if one was written, would have been redundant. By having an implied ending it did save words. The text and context was enough.

    Unfortunately Joey, when people vote for a story they may also be influenced by what others have written. It’s good that people comment, but the comments, if critical of someone’s work, should be both constructive as well as logical.

    With criticism don’t just take mine or Jeff’s comments for how it should be, find a voice that resonates with you and helps you to become a better writer.

  3. Two good essays, and both very much appreciated!

    I hope everyone’s able to take this type of discussion positively and use it to improve our writing. Thanks for being willing to share your work and your opinions.

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