Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Letter to my English teacher and his response

So I sent off my short story last night. It turned into a monster of a project and I will not be posting it here (for reasons stated below). If anyone is interested I'll be happy to share the polished version at the end of the semester--just email me. Accomplishing months of work (at least the way I write)  in less than two weeks is both heady and frightening. I have no idea if what I sent him was any good or not. 

The title of the story is "Chroma" and it's about an elderly painter named Lily who has moved into a cottage near her daughter-in-law and son who run a resort. We never actually meet Lily herself, but get to know her through her daughter-in-law's eyes beginning the morning that Jenny knocks on the door of Lily's cottage to find her gone. The only clues to her whereabouts are in a box in her bedroom and the paintings she created in the two months before her disappearance. 

Though I've never apologized in so many words to Mr. Stokes for anything, he's a bright fellow and seems to recognize my terrible habit of doing so too often and has called me on it three times now. At forty-six I'm finally beginning to see why I do this--it's a hold over from a childhood with constantly angry, impossible to please parents. I don't think I realized it was that apparent--even in print. 

In any case, I thought you'd appreciate the exchange. 

Mr Stokes,

A disclaimer and and a warning and a few other notes.

1)  I find I need distance from a project in order to truly see its weaknesses and am accustomed to having months in which to put a story to rights. Until then I'm either in love with it or I hate it. I'm wavering on this one. Sometimes it's awful. Sometimes it's the best thing I've ever written. Today I think it is awful, but then I also have a sinus infection, a sick husband, and hate everything except my puppy and she's walking a fine line (I liked that pair of shoes too . . .) 

2) This sucker is windy--just over 10,000 wds. I swear I went into it with a plan, I just didn't expect it to take so many words to get to the end. I know this is going to make work shopping for your purposes difficult. If you need me to, I can attempt to select the strongest excerpt and offer that up instead. 

3) The ending isn't right yet. 

4) On a brighter note, I experimented with indirect characterization in this. I've used this technique before, but not to this degree. 

Okay. Sending it off now.  

Have a nice break.

Mary Paddock

Re: Paddock's Short Story


Stop apologizing! I haven't even read the thing yet :-)

I'm sure it will be fine. Have a good break!

Caleb Stokes


Debby said...

Strongly suggest you stop apologizing and enjoy your break.

Pencil Writer said...

Ditto, Debby's comment dittoing Mr. Stokes comment.

I don't know if I have your email, but I would like to get a copy of your "short, story." :-)

Debby said...

Actually, I would like to read the short story as well, Mary.

Scotty said...

Count me in for a copy too, please, Mary.


Hal Johnson said...

Me too, please.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Will do everyone. I'll drop you an email after it's been put through the gauntlet (editing and critiquing). Thank you very much for asking.