Jump to content

20150302 Rdpulfer The Privacy Fence (L/s)


Recommended Posts

Here is my first short story submission. Please let me know if anything else is missing in the subject line. Minor content warning - this story includes very little language and suggestive themes, but I thought I would mention it nonetheless.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, I enjoyed this a lot.  I wasn't really sure where it was going for the first few paragraphs, but after that I was hooked.  Some notes:


Pg 1: the crop duster/drone reminds me of Interstellar.  Not necessarily bad--I can see that being something that becomes an everyday thing.
Marlene has a good personality.  The repetition of facts about the wedding present usually wouldn't work, but I think it does here, with her thoughts.
Re: small talk.  That's exactly how I feel.  Now I like Marlene even more.
pg 5: Arnold as a retired politician.  I suppose this is how people felt with Ronald Reagan.  Also now I feel old.
Good use of cell drones.  It's equally scary and plausible.
pg 7: "Marlene knew what to do when she had a question: she went straight to the Internet."
--This sentence doesn't work as well.  Of course she goes to the internet.  That's what people do today, much less in the future.
...And then I read the rest of it all the way through...
Very nice.  The solution was promised at the beginning and given at the end.  Your characters are very vivid, even for this short a story.
There's almost a horror feel to the middle section, and I really wasn't sure whether it would end happily or badly until I got to it.  I think that might change the tone slightly through the story, but it was well written enough that I didn't really notice.
Looking forward to more works from you!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the read, Mandamon! I actually haven't seen Interstellar yet, but so I guess I'll take it as a compliment that me and Jonathan Nolan thought of the same thing :)


Also thanks for noting that awkward sentence.


I'll give the tone another reading. I wanted to make the stakes high for Marlene, but if its inconsistent or clashing with the rest of the story, maybe it needs to be change.


Thanks again for the critique! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, always nice to read a new author's material.


- I would say traffic "ground" to a halt.


- LOL, I like the line about Arnie being a classic move monster, and the drone as wedding present. One thing struck me though. It's called Arnie, but he was the good guy in Predator, where as he was the movie monster in Terminator - seemed to be a bit of mixed reference.


- Impressions after the first section: I feel that I can see your comic book influence emerging. Marlene's every response seems to be a wise crack or witticism, she's worse than Johnny Storm! I like the wise cracks, they're good, but I felt towards the end that she only seemed to have one level of response.


- "Slightly bigger than the farmhouse she had spent most of her life in." or "...in which she had spent most of her life." strictly speaking.


- Joe's reaction to the fact that someone he doesn't know might knock on their door struck me a little odd. I guess maybe it doesn't happen on a farm? Welcome to the big city!


- I love the line about Joe being thin and wiry from talking - hilarious.


(Lunch break over - I'll need to finish up later , sorry for the break in comments.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comments: continued.


- The spiky frisson in their conversation with the neighbours is excellent. I think it adds another dimension to the story and shows an understanding that all fiction, regardless of genre, is about the characters.


- I like your comic asides, possibly because I tend towards that style myself. I like to think I appreciate a good one-liner when I see it.


- You have a real tendency to repeat the character's name which is tripping me up on a regular basis. In the section "Joe left for work...", 2nd paragraph, you use "Marlene" three times in the first two lines. For me, once you've established that it's Marlene, you can pretty much use 'she' until the reference someone else, or at least for a couple of paragraphs before the need to use her name again.


- Nice 'reveal' with the multiple drones. That impact for me quite nicely. Surprising yet inevitable. The temperature and security thing isn't all that radical, as iPhones can do that now, as i understand it, but it's still a good concept. The Scottish Government (I'm from Glasgow) has caused a furore in the press after suggesting that school children could be tracked to monitor that they are where they should be. Quite a big issue here at the moment.


- I'm not sure that the reminder is lonely, is it?


- Referring back to my point about the use of 'Marlene' there's a point here at which you could do with one (I think). "She did her best to ignore the whirl-click..." comes right after you refer to Tracy, so making that a ;Marlene' would confirm to the reader whose perspective we're in.


- I like your turn of phrase in describing characters. The thumbnail sketch of Nat Green is very effective, I think, and the description of his laugh was great.


- I don't know what TMZ is.


- "...wife in a bathing suite..."


- There seems to be some POV confusion when Nat is leaving the house. I though we were in Marlene's POV, but she questions the cost, whereas the narrative says 'It was worth it." That seems to be Joe's thought (as it contradicts Marlene's). The rest of the section sounds like Joe too. For me that was a jump in POV.


- "...tracing the small of her back..."


- Nice use of "face the cameras".


- "...the house across the seat street."


- Interesting at the end you anthropomorphise he drone (his engine) - I thought that was unnecessary - I don't remember you doing that anywhere else.


I enjoyed the story. I thought the characters were well drawn, convincing, and the idea was good, although I found that I predicted the ending quite early on. There was really no other reason for Arnie to be in the story. One issue I did have was that Joe and Marlene (and Nat too) had quite a similar tone about them. They all seemed to be partial to a wisecrack, and come back with a one-liner in many situations.


Good though, still enjoyed it and looking forward to reading more of your stuff. I felt that your style was ease to read and carried me through the story quite comfortably.


Thanks for submitting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks robinski! I really appreciate all the feedback! This is extremely helpful.


- I called the drone "Arnie" since it's a Predator drone. I know it's not an exact metaphor, and I'll take your suggestion about the anthropomorphism of the drone into consideration.


- I also appreciate you calling me on switching POV. This is supposed to be from Marlene's point of view, so any POV switch is a big no-no.


- TMZ is a celebrity gossip website. 


- I'll also look at differentiating between the characters in terms of tone and personality.


Thanks again for reading my story - I really appreciate the feedback. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at your comments, I thought Marlene and Joe's personalities were differentiated. I felt that Joe was more tense about things concerned about what people thought, but maybe less bullish than Marlene in his reactions to people. My comment was more aimed at the tone of their dialogue, as you noted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...