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shatteredsmooth

ShatteredSmooth - 11/19/18 -- Life Minus Me Part 3 -- 4652 words (L)

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This is the third part of Life Minus Me. This isn't quite the end, but it's close to it. This section is just B. There was a short M chapter between the two B chapters, but I just cut it, thinking it wasn't worth reading as short as it was. 
 
You have all given me a lot to think about with the last two installments and I will be happy with whatever feedback you think of for this one.
 
Thank you!
Edited by shatteredsmooth
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I had a bit of trouble getting into this section, but I think that's more on WRS than on any fault of the writing. There is a bit of a disconnect between the end of the last section and the jump to this one, so if there's a break in reading, it would be easy to get confused.

I think my main concern is that this is the real meat of the character arc for the book and it's basically just a crib from the movie. B goes through the same realization Jimmy Stewart's character does, so it seems like the impact is lessened because we already live this this story as a part of our culture.

I'm also not sure what else needs to be said after this section. It reads as the end of the story to me. B wraps it up pretty well at the end, and as a reader, I'm convinced they won't be any danger to themself, at least for now.

 

Notes while reading.

pg 1: "This place looked exactly like Mary’s Eats did before it got renovated"
--But then you say B. is in Mary's Eats. Why is this a surprise?

pg 1: "Was this some kind of nightmare?"
--I am similarly confused.

pg 2: "That ruled out time travel."
--yeah, I have no idea what's going on. Probably half due to WRS, since it's been a few weeks and I don't remember the end of the last chapter.
--edit: ah, you give a recap next sentence. Good. But I'm still not sure what's going on.

pg 2: “That store closed a decade ago."
--oh yeah, now I remember. We're doing the "It's a wonderful life" thing with VR. Back on board.

pg 3: "If I drank all the tea"
--I think this sentence reads correctly.

pg 4: interesting test of whether it's a dream...

pg 4: "the town forest"
--is this a thing?
"Instead of selling the land to the town, my grandfather kept it"
--Ah. Was this explained before?

pg 6: also forgetting who J. is. Is she one of the neighbors?

pg 8: "My death date was three days after my birthdate."
--So this is pretty much an exact rip-off of the movie? Would B. Recognize the pattern?

The rest of it reads well. I assume M and M unhooked B from whatever they did to them between the two chapters.
This is not the end? Because it comes to a pretty definite conclusion.

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4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I'm also not sure what else needs to be said after this section.

Interesting. The last section is all M, wrapping up her story line, but it kind of feels like it's actually a different story, so I was wondering whether or not to bother. 

 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I think my main concern is that this is the real meat of the character arc for the book and it's basically just a crib from the movie. B goes through the same realization Jimmy Stewart's character does, so it seems like the impact is lessened because we already live this this story as a part of our culture.

Between this and similar sentiments echoed on other chapters, I might really work on distancing this from that now that I got the "retelling" idea out of my system. Maybe it was a crutch I needed for a first draft, but in revision, I'll try to do something better. :-)

Thanks for the comments and the quick turn around! 

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Overall, I agree with a lot of what @Mandamon said, and I think most of what I would say otherwise on this section has been said on the previous sections. I feel like it hews a bit too closely to the movie, so much so that I recognize it even though I've never actually watched the film, and that does lessen the impact for me.  
 
 
As I go:
 
Was this originally coffee and changed? I've never heard of tea being asked for "black," or served  with cream and sugar in the States -- I thought that terminology was mostly for coffee...
 
Okay, the depth of detail on the pee part of the diner scene squicked me out a little.
 
"GoJoe convince" -- convenience? 
 
Like the other sections I'm picking up artifacts from the present-to-past switch, along with other grammar and typographical errors. I think @Robinski mentioned this in a previous section, but for compound adjectives and especially when using the modern vernacular of adding -chull as an intensifier to adjectives, it's extremely important to hyphenate them for clarity.  Here are a couple of links discussing how and when to hyphenate compound adjectives: 
 
 
 
I like all the dogs and the dog info, but I feel like I could use some more description of them a little more often. It might be WRS, but I kept having a hard time keeping all the names straight and remembering their relative sizes and breeds.
 

Re your grammar questions in the text, here are a couple of links about the future conditional, which I think is what you're looking for:

https://www.englishpage.com/conditional/futureconditional.html

https://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/advanced-level-future-unreal-conditional

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Thoughts As I Go:

-It seems kind of cliché that B doesn’t recall the previous five minutes where M explicitly said that they’re about to do the alternate universe thing. I mean, sure there’s a list of reasonable explanations, but none are mentioned.

-The ‘everything is now terrible’ is written well, but more on that later.

-Seeing massive ‘For want of a nail’.

-Saying ‘no one can change time’ when M just pretended she could is kind of weird.

-Do we know how the scam account payback worked? I mean, did M meat-puppet them, or hacked them for a funds transfer, or what?

-Ending is kind of deus ex machina.

 

Overall: I kind of feel bad for saying this, but (and remember this is just my personal opinion) I kind of think this is the wrong ending to this kind of a story. I mean, it works well, but it kind of defies my expectations for it. M spends too much early story explanation how mental illnesses do not get solved in real life the same magical way they do in movies and how the movie version wouldn’t work at all. Then M pretty much does the same thing. Sure, it gets window-dressed to make it look better, and it works as a nice inspirational story.

I guess what I expected was perhaps the world-reset turning out to be equal to the real word, or just slightly less as good, perhaps with some things working our better. Then M would have more or less the same conversation, and it would end on a more neutral note. This could just be because I prefer my fairy tales dark, though. (Neal Shusterman’s Dark Fusion series is a favorite of mine, if you’re familiar with it.)

In other words, I do think this was written well, but I just expected something a bit different.

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2 hours ago, aeromancer said:

kind of feel bad for saying this, but (and remember this is just my personal opinion) I kind of think this is the wrong ending to this kind of a story. I mean, it works well, but it kind of defies my expectations for it. M spends too much early story explanation how mental illnesses do not get solved in real life the same magical way they do in movies and how the movie version wouldn’t work at all.

Don't feel bad. You're probably right. I wasn't sure if this worked or not as B's end, and I'm not as attached to it now as I was a few months ago. 

I'm completely open to changing it, even rewriting or scrapping this alternate world thing, especially since it also seemed to fall flat and be too close to the film for @Mandamon and @industrialistDragon. If I get three readers who agree it doesn't work or falls flat, then there is definitely something that needs changing...or a complete overhaul. The reaction I got from everyone isn't how I want readers to feel at the end. 

 

This weekend I did a lot of work on the other two sections based on those comments: cutting some areas, expanding others, reorganizing, distancing it from the film, and trying to do a better job grounding it in the rules of larger world it is set in and more clearly establishing the ones that are relevant to this story. Attempting to focus it more.  Hopefully as I continue, I can make a better ending. 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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4 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Re your grammar questions in the text, here are a couple of links about the future conditional, which I think is what you're looking for:

https://www.englishpage.com/conditional/futureconditional.html

https://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/advanced-level-future-unreal-conditional

Thanks for these and the other links!

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And here I go, falling behind again. I have no excuses. Ugh.

Overall

I agree with @Mandamon that this skews too close to the movie. It takes the suspension out, and as @aeromancer noted, when something skews that close to a well-known world, you expect a different ending, something to shake things up. This seemed to fall flat on stakes and delivery, I think mostly because people are so aware of how the story is going to go. 

Going to try to get to your other piece today or tomorrow so there isn't such a big reading gap!

As I go

- I do love the pee thing. It's very realistic

- the summary recap on page six takes a lot of the magic from the scene. It's fun to experience the weirdness as the MC sees it, but it doesn't work for me at all when it's just 'this is what happened.' 

- pg 9: because I have seen It's a Wonderful Life, it's hard not to skim the information here. I know where it is going and I want to get to the 'good' bits, and that makes me less invested in the main story overall

- the recap at the end of pg 12 - 13 is unnecessary. We just read this.

 

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On 11/27/2018 at 1:57 PM, kais said:

I agree with @Mandamon that this skews too close to the movie. It takes the suspension out, and as @aeromancer noted, when something skews that close to a well-known world, you expect a different ending, something to shake things up. This seemed to fall flat on stakes and delivery, I think mostly because people are so aware of how the story is going to go. 

 

So, I haven't gotten this far yet in the revision, but I was thinking of maybe having Mel get to the bridge after Baily goes off of it and then pulling Baily out of the car. 

Or Baily drives to drive the car off of the bridge, but just crashes into the rail, gets out, jumps, and then Mel goes in after them.

I'm not picturing it as a very big bridge. 

In the end, Baily lives and gets help, but it comes at a greater cost to Mel. 

Does that sound like a really bad idea? Or something that might work? 

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17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

In the end, Baily lives and gets help, but it comes at a greater cost to Mel. 

I don't know if changing the bridge scene would do much because it's the greater world skewing so close that is the issue, for me. Costing Mel is helpful, but I'd almost like to see the world not be able to revert, and our suicidal protag have to reinsert into a world that doesn't know them, and learn lessons that way. I think that would be very interesting. A 'no backsies' approach.

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3 hours ago, kais said:

I don't know if changing the bridge scene would do much because it's the greater world skewing so close that is the issue, for me. Costing Mel is helpful, but I'd almost like to see the world not be able to revert, and our suicidal protag have to reinsert into a world that doesn't know them, and learn lessons that way. I think that would be very interesting. A 'no backsies' approach.

That is a really really cool idea, but won't work within the world M belongs to. I think I just need to ax anything remotely related to it's a wonderful life or take M out completely. And in that case, the jumping off the bridge would be the inciting incident.

Maybe without doing something like a "no backsies" approach, in order for M to actually "succeed" Baily should never even go to the bridge at all...

Thank you for the input. 

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