#1
Heyy, I started this on a napkin today on break when I ran out of cigarettes and courage to ask for one.

Tell me what you think.


EDITED

Louise.

There is a whiskey fragrant napkin boldly stained "Louise", seven digits and a slash, in the left hand of the prettiest little bar fly in a small town pub, the number isn't hers, and her name isn't Louise. Her right hand is holding a payphone and her upper lip eloquently kisses the alcohol flavored speaker as she talks to the cab service in broken drunken fragments. She hangs up the phone, then hugs a drunk and slips that hope(that she hopes will be forgotten) into his jacket pocket, and promises she'll answer, if he promises to take the taxi. The clock reads ten minutes to close.

Her name is Laura, she smells like smoke covered up with french perfume, and gin. Natural beautiful brunette curls on her head are tied up something fancy and sprayed down stiff; multiple aerosal cans did the job, you could guess by the year.
Her drink of choice is gin 'n tonic with a half of a lime and she doesn't let anybody buy her one. She smokes extra long skinny cigarettes with big white filters. She doens't inhale a single drag, addicted to glamour, not nicotine.

Half of a cigarette is stubbed out in an over-flowing ahstray, when the clock hands tell the bar: four more hours of drinking. Laura's night is going as it does every friday, men with wedding bands speaking something-sweets, and "Lemme buy you a drink, pretty lady.", she always says "no thank you", of course. Un-married men would make passes as well, but you can suppose it didn't make too much of a difference as to whether she'd flirt back. She hadn't so much as looked at another man since her own marriage had ended. Her husband had committed suicide with the baribituates they'd given him for his back, after it broke on a construction site. His hefty life insurance policy would be enough to support her for twenty something years. Since she didn't have to work, she spent most of her time sitting on a bar-stool.

Three hours get lost in time when a man she doesn't recognize steps in wearing a soaking beater partially covered with an unzipped pleather-jacket. It's not very often she sees someone new, the town is very small and the people who come to drink are mostly circulating townies. She doesn't take too much notice to him, as he takes a seat on the opposite end of the bar, empties a wad of dollar bills, orders five shots of bourbon, and then again. Ten minutes pass and he stumbles over to the pool table where two large men are shooting for ten dollars a game. As he can barely stand, he says in a drunken slur, "I bet you this cross 'round my neck that I can take all these balls off the table with one movement." The cross was fake silver and the men were just about to start a new game, double or nothing, so they just ignored him. The intoxicated stranger was quite evidently annoyed by the fact that his offer was ignored, as he said, "Hello? Did you hear me? Are you ****ing idiots?", and he pounded his fist on the table, making the eight ball slide into the corner pocket. Their eyes glared as they threw their sticks to the ground and pounded their feet till they cornered him, putting their faces so close to his he could feel their huge bare arms press against his tiny unworked chest, and smell their stale beer breath.

Laura looks over and sees that the men are about to beat the stranger to a pulp, and she walks over to see what she can do to stop that from happening. She speaks to the men with a gentle tone, "John, Dave, he's really drunk. Can't you just leave him alone, for me? Besides, the bars closing soon, you know how Jimmy gets when he talks to the police at this hour. I'll take your mind off this guy, just get back to your game and I'll buy you a couple beers." "Don't worry about the drinks, we'll leave him alone. Just make sure the little shit stays out of our goddamn business."

That was all she needed, she grabbed the mans hand, walking him to the bar. She told him to sit down while she called him a cab. He argued, "I'm fine to drive, and I don't need any woman taking care of me. I wanna fight those mother ****ers. But, I'll take your number first, so I can give ya a call from jail. Whatdya say?" Laura sighed and touched his shoulder, "I will give you my number, if, and only IF, you leave them alone and take the cab that I am going to call." He put his hand on the stubble of his chin, and looked as if in deep thought, and said, "I suppose I could, your about the sweetest thing I ever seen." And then she did, and then he left with an ink stained napkin in his jacket pocket. "Bye, Louise", he said.

One. Five. Ten drinks down, when the mixed nuts are gone with the townies. Just the beauty and the keep remain, as Laura bows her head to muffle the sound of sobs and hide streams of black from her eyes to her cheeks. She always gets emotional when the night comes to an end and no one's looking. And the friday ritual continues, as she leaves the bar and begins the route to the cemetary where he's buried beneath the nicest headstone on the lot. On her way out, she notices the napkin crumpled up on a patch of soaking grass. She puts it in her pocket, and continues on her way.

Her drunken foot steps splash pot holes filled with rain on an alcohol-make shift sidewalk.Traffic is non-existant, at this hour, anyway. The tears haven't stopped yet, she can't stop thinking about him. Before she's able to think about anything else, a rusty pick-up and not a cab, comes as fast as it goes. She's gone. You can imagine the quiet of the street never held such horrific significance. Somewhere in the night a stop-sign's bold letters speaks to the darkest moon you'll ever see.

Meanwhile the drunk speeds out to a motel 3 towns away, and tries his hardest to dream about the nice girl at the bar and imagine what he'd done was just a nightmare. He sleeps. Her eyes can't consider closing.

He still thinks about that night some days, mostly wondering what Louise is doing, and wishing he hadn't lost her number.
Last edited by clichealias at Jan 22, 2007,
#3
Not too bad, i don't know if you could really make that into a song, unless your a rapper. You gotta have a chorus dude. But good work.
#4
This was fairly good, but at times the lines were weak and seemed rushed out, and the ideas often shifted sporadically and made it difficult to follow. At the end I was left feeling like I'd missed something, it felt like I had just read a story with no plot whatsoever, only descriptions of events in a somewhat chronological order.

It was easy to see that this was based on a fictional character, some product of your imagination, rather than based around a real person. The whole thing felt very material.
#5
Quote by clichealias
Heyy, I started this on a napkin today on break when I ran out of cigarettes and courage to ask for one.

Tell me what you think.


I love fiction, so I'm gonna tear it apart, if you don't mind.

Louise.

There is a whiskey fragrant napkin ink stained "Louise" with seven digits and a slash, in the left hand of the prettiest little bar fly in a small town pub;


Good opening sentence. The "ink stained" is an awkward way of saying that "Louise" was written on it. It just doesn't add. And this should all be one sentence, by the way, no semi-colon.

the number isn't hers, and her name isn't Louise. If Louise existed, that would be her number, though.


Second sentence here is unnecessary.

She hangs up on the cab service and hugs a drunk and slips that hope(that she hopes will be forgotten) into his jacket pocket, and promises she'll answer, if he promises to take a taxi.


Ah. See, this is really good. And the song lyric line "(that she hopes will be forgotten)" is nice. That's strong writing. And some decent characterization in that bit too. We start to get a feel for her.

Her name is Laura, she smells like smoke covered up with french perfume, and gin.


Good description.

Natural beautiful curls on her head are tied up something fancy and sprayed down stiff; like a peaceful protest sprayed down with a firehose and handcuffed on the pavement.


Bad description. This metaphor has nothing to do with the story. (At least, I hope it doesn't.) So toss it. Sometimes imagery is nice. Most of the time it's better to say "she's blond" simply.

Her drink of choice is gin and tonic with a half a lime, like her mother drank, before she died of old age at fifty-five.


The bit about her mother is unnecessary where it is. It's a good bit of characterization, seeing where this woman comes from, but it's out of place here in the bar.

And she smoked extra long skinny cigarettes with big white filters, she didn't inhale.


First, you're getting your tenses messed up. The last bit was "her drink of choice IS" now it's "she smokED." It's hard to tell what's past and what's present. Also, the way the sentence is set up we think she didn't inhale the filters. Throw a "but" in after the comma or make "she didn't inhale" its own sentence.

Like a black and white movie in the twenty-first century, she was addicted to image, not nicotine. She stubbed one out and rubbed her eyelashes, heavily coated in mascara. Four hours to close.


Again, the opening imagery is nice but doesn't work. This story has nothing to do with movies, so far as I can tell, so get rid of it. It's better for us readers to be told directly "she doesn't like the cigarettes, just the image of her smoking." We can draw our own conclusions about that.

One. Five. Ten drinks down, when the mixed nuts are gone with the townies.


This is a really good sentence, but it's wasted. The way it sounds, it sounds like the equivolent of a movie montage. However, you haven't given us much in the way of action to show that time needs to pass quickly, or given us any reason to think that once that time passes (via the time slip that authors are allowed) something will happen. It's a sentence floating in time, basically.

Also, what time IS it? Has that drunk left? Is he still there? You can't ignore him completely. And if you're going to say "But Petey, he left when she made him promise to take the cab" I'll say "well my good man, you may think so but we never read a line saying "then the drunk left"."

Just the beauty and the keep remain, as the beauty bows her head to muffle the sound of sobs and hide streams of black from her eyes to her cheeks.


WTF, mate? These, again, are good lines but completely wasted. Is Laura the beauty? Why is she crying? What's going on?

She didn't really have any specific reason to cry except genuine unhappiness and too much gin.


That's a damn good reason to cry and is she even still in the bar? Are we even talking about Louise/Laura whoever she is?

She exited the bar quietly, five minutes before the bar closed, five minutes after the cab left without Louise's number.


I thought there were like, four hours till the bar closed? You said that earlier and never said anything about that changing. Wasn't she crying? No one noticed that? The bartender didn't say anything? Remember, bartenders are extremely good at listening to drunk people. It's practically in the job description.

She knew that much, as she picked up the napkin evidence and put it in her pocket.


Interesting.

Traffic is non-existant on the route to her home, at this hour, anyway.


Again, tense. Here traffic IS. That last bit she pickED. This is VERY important. It's almost impossible for the reader to know what's going on when you change the tense like that.

And her drunken foot steps splashed pot holes filled with rain on an alcohol-make shift sidewalk(the tears didn't stop yet).


Two small grammatical things. First, get rid of the "And" at the beginning of this. Second, get rid of the paranthesis. As a writer I have NEVER found a reason to put them in my prose. If you think you need them, you either a) don't, or b) are being unclear, as is the case here.

This is just sort of muddled and awkward. Again, sometimes its better to tell us straight up what's happening than to be artistic.

And a rusty pick-up(not a cab), went as fast as it came. I imagine the quiet of the street never held such horrific significance.


Who is this "I"? You can't just spring a first person out on us at a time like this. It's incredibly confusing. If this is first person, we need to know in sentence one.

The image of the rusty pickup (again, the paranthetical phrase needs to be deleted) is very nice and with the exception of the surprise narrator, this is a very good little bit. Short and concise but it packs a punch.

I still think about Louise sometimes.


This is completely out of the blue and basically has no relevance to anything.

Alright, a few things. First, as far as the literature I've seen on these boards, this was pretty good. You had some bits that showed some real skill. But, you had some major problems:

1) It's short. Write more. That will help with everything. It's easier to cut crap than add gold. Ten pages of crap might only yield one good sentence, but I guarantee that the next ten pages of crap will be much better. Until you're eventualy writing ten really good pages that you still only use one sentence from. But you get my point.

2) Clarity. You have some definite ability with words. But, you let that get the best of you at times. I mentioned a few times that sentences were wasted. It's not that they need to be taken out, just that they need to be placed and framed by other sentences. Saying "And in that state, Charles Freck drove home." (Phillip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly) doesn't really mean anything to you. However, if you've read the book and the paragraph that proceeds that sentence (and I hope you have or will soon), you'd understand how powerful it is. So depending on how you use them, simple sentences can mean so much.

3) Reality. You've got some great ideas, but they're floating. The fact that this girl doesn't inhale and only smokes cigarettes cause she thinks it looks cool is a cool bit of characterization. However, the rest of the story is so jumbled what with your surprise first person narrator and some of the wierd language and all, that this idea is just lost in the shuffle. The timeline is also attrocious. So if you're going to continue with this (and I hope you do), you need to sit down and just work out the specifics. Where is she sitting at the bar? What time is it? How much time elapses? How far away does she live from the bar? How long has she owned the shoes she's wearing? Obviously, the reader doesn't need to know all that. But you do.

Well, if I said much more I'd start repeating myself. But, I hope that helps and I hope to see more of this.

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#6
Thank you very much for the critiques you guys, especially you petey, that was very helpful. I did rush this, I wanted to get it in before midnight(est) so I can still post two pieces next week.

I should have edits posted by morning, again, thank you very much guys.
#7
Ha ha. Ah the forum rules. Cool. Take your time and this could be gold.

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#10
I'll try giving you a good full crit, Jakey.

There is a whiskey fragrant napkin boldly stained "Louise", seven digits and a slash, in the left hand of the prettiest little bar fly in a small town pub, the number isn't hers, and her name isn't Louise. Her right hand is holding a payphone and her upper lip eloquently kisses the alcohol flavored speaker as she talks to the cab service in broken drunken fragments. She hangs up the phone, then hugs a drunk and slips that hope(that she hopes will be forgotten) into his jacket pocket, and promises she'll answer, if he promises to take the taxi. The clock reads ten minutes to close.

"So, I'd maybe put a period after'small town pub' and continue with the next two lines being on their own. Seems like too much of a run-on setence the way it is, in my opinion. I really have no complaints about the rest of this, I thought things were described well and lines were executed nearly flawlessly."

Her name is Laura, she smells like smoke covered up with french perfume, and gin. Natural beautiful brunette curls on her head are tied up something fancy and sprayed down stiff; multiple aerosal cans did the job, you could guess by the year.
Her drink of choice is gin 'n tonic with a half of a lime and she doesn't let anybody buy her one. She smokes extra long skinny cigarettes with big white filters. She doens't inhale a single drag, addicted to glamour, not nicotine


"I'd maybe reword the second half of the first sentence, to maybe something like 'she's trying to cover up the smell of smoke and gin with the fragrance of an expensive french perfume' or something, maybe. That's actually all I think should be changed here, the rest is superb, especially the last line. The only thing is you misspelled "doesn't" by accident there."

half of a cigarette is stubbed out in an over-flowing ahstray, when the clock hands tell the bar: four more hours of drinking. Laura's night is going as it does every friday, men with wedding bands speaking something-sweets, and "Lemme buy you a drink, pretty lady.", she always says "no thank you", of course. Un-married men would make passes as well, but you can suppose it didn't make too much of a difference as to whether she'd flirt back. She hadn't so much as looked at another man since her own marriage had ended. Her husband had committed suicide with the baribituates they'd given him for his back, after it broke on a construction site. His hefty life insurance policy would be enough to support her for twenty something years. Since she didn't have to work, she spent most of her time sitting on a bar-stool.

"In the first line "ashtray" was a typo, fix that, yo. I'm not sure if I liked "something-sweets", I'd maybe change it to something more common like "sweet nothings" or something, maybe. I did enjoy the rest of this stanza, though, except for maybe the last two lines. Those don't really seem like they need to be there, everything leading up to it pretty much states those facts already, so it's kind of useless repeating there."

Three hours get lost in time when a man she doesn't recognize steps in wearing a soaking beater partially covered with an unzipped pleather-jacket. It's not very often she sees someone new, the town is very small and the people who come to drink are mostly circulating townies. She doesn't take too much notice to him, as he takes a seat on the opposite end of the bar, empties a wad of dollar bills, orders five shots of bourbon, and then again. Ten minutes pass and he stumbles over to the pool table where two large men are shooting for ten dollars a game. As he can barely stand, he says in a drunken slur, "I bet you this cross 'round my neck that I can take all these balls off the table with one movement." The cross was fake silver and the men were just about to start a new game, double or nothing, so they just ignored him. The intoxicated stranger was quite evidently annoyed by the fact that his offer was ignored, as he said, "Hello? Did you hear me? Are you ****ing idiots?", and he pounded his fist on the table, making the eight ball slide into the corner pocket. Their eyes glared as they threw their sticks to the ground and pounded their feet till they cornered him, putting their faces so close to his he could feel their huge bare arms press against his tiny unworked chest, and smell their stale beer breath.

"Hmm, I can't really complain about this stanza, I like the introduction of a new character and I'm intrigued wondering where the story is going from here. The only thing I'd maybe change would be the second speech from that man. I didn't much care for ""Hello? Did you hear me? Are you ****ing idiots?", I'd maybe change it to something a little more provocative, though his actions afterwards worked very well. I dunno, it's just my opinion."

K, post/bump for now, I'll start looking at the second half now.. just so this doesn't go over post limit.
#11
Laura looks over and sees that the men are about to beat the stranger to a pulp, and she walks over to see what she can do to stop that from happening. She speaks to the men with a gentle tone, "John, Dave, he's really drunk. Can't you just leave him alone, for me? Besides, the bars closing soon, you know how Jimmy gets when he talks to the police at this hour. I'll take your mind off this guy, just get back to your game and I'll buy you a couple beers." "Don't worry about the drinks, we'll leave him alone. Just make sure the little shit stays out of our goddamn business."

"I'd say 'she speaks with them with a gentle tone' just to avoid the repitition of "men". I'd also maybe add some sort of line or break between what she says and what they say. It looks awkward when it's just a space and another sentence from them, ya know? It wouldn't be too bad if it was broken apart, line on different lines, but since they're running in the same line it's kind of awkward. In my opinion, at least."

That was all she needed, she grabbed the mans hand, walking him to the bar. She told him to sit down while she called him a cab. He argued, "I'm fine to drive, and I don't need any woman taking care of me. I wanna fight those mother ****ers. But, I'll take your number first, so I can give ya a call from jail. Whatdya say?" Laura sighed and touched his shoulder, "I will give you my number, if, and only IF, you leave them alone and take the cab that I am going to call." He put his hand on the stubble of his chin, and looked as if in deep thought, and said, "I suppose I could, your about the sweetest thing I ever seen." And then she did, and then he left with an ink stained napkin in his jacket pocket. "Bye, Louise", he said.

"In the first line you mix up tenses again. It should either be "she grabbed the mans hand and walked him to the bar" or "she grabs the mans hand, walking him to the bar." or something, I think. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong. Other than that I enjoyed how this staza worked out. One other thing is in the line "your about the sweetest thing", it should be 'you're', just a typo."

One. Five. Ten drinks down, when the mixed nuts are gone with the townies. Just the beauty and the keep remain, as Laura bows her head to muffle the sound of sobs and hide streams of black from her eyes to her cheeks. She always gets emotional when the night comes to an end and no one's looking. And the friday ritual continues, as she leaves the bar and begins the route to the cemetary where he's buried beneath the nicest headstone on the lot. On her way out, she notices the napkin crumpled up on a patch of soaking grass. She puts it in her pocket, and continues on her way.

"Hmm, I'm not sure whether I like the first line much or not.. the idea is good, but the wording seems a bit iffy to me compared to the rest of the piece. I dunno, I don't really have any suggestions for it, though. I enjoyed the rest of the stanza, though, I see nothing that needs change really."

Her drunken foot steps splash pot holes filled with rain on an alcohol-make shift sidewalk.Traffic is non-existant, at this hour, anyway. The tears haven't stopped yet, she can't stop thinking about him. Before she's able to think about anything else, a rusty pick-up and not a cab, comes as fast as it goes. She's gone. You can imagine the quiet of the street never held such horrific significance. Somewhere in the night a stop-sign's bold letters speaks to the darkest moon you'll ever see.

"Shouldn't 'make shift' be one word? Maybe not, I always thought it was, but I'm goofy. I didn't much care for "the tears haven't stopped yet", I think a better sentence could really be used there if you thought about it. That's just me, though. So from this I'm thinking it turned into a hit-and-run, eh? That's what I'm seeing."

Meanwhile the drunk speeds out to a motel 3 towns away, and tries his hardest to dream about the nice girl at the bar and imagine what he'd done was just a nightmare. He sleeps. Her eyes can't consider closing.

"I'd maybe change it to "meanwhile that drunk..etc", just to clarify more which drunk you're talking about. Not a big change, really doesn't need to be done, just what I would do. The rest is nice."

He still thinks about that night some days, mostly wondering what Louise is doing, and wishing he hadn't lost her number.

"Hmm, I think this is a great ending. I like how you brought around the lost number from the napkin she found outside, that's what I'm getting from it, I guess. The ending is very brief, and could maybe be added onto a bit, but for the most part I think it works well."

Overall, I enjoyed the piece. I didn't really say much that could help it, but I really liked it. You had some terrific ideas in here that you expressed well after the revisions, so good job.