#1
Short semi-fictional story about an adventure I went on with a girl the other day, it appears in my book, so I guess this could be considered another book excerpt.

Enjoy, leave a link and I'll get to yours.

Ch. 87 - Lilly Ann's Fence

There's a long fence, and a cute girl, here's how they connect.

Every few days though, this girl will come out of her house, and sit on her deck and smoke a cigarette. I see her when I walk my puppy in the morning, and she always gives me this passing glance. A total lack of acknowledgement, yet she stares right at me. I can see her eyes; they're sea foam, hazy blue. It looks like she's blind. I know she isn't because I had to talk to her one day. Her name is Lilly Ann. She's got this raspy, old voice, but she can't be older than twenty five. She is probably German, or Dutch, gorgeous blonde hair. I remember the first time I saw it; it's just this pale yellow and natural white gold. The time I had to talk to her was when my puppy ran over to her yard, and she was there to pick it up for me, she was fine with it. She said to me with a smirk you'd only find on a city girl, a girl who knows who she is, but doesn't know where she belongs.

"Is this your dog?"
"Yeah, he's a bastard."
"Nah, he's just a puppy."


She scratched his head, and got him even more stirred up than he already was.

"You know I live next just next door and we've never really met."
"Yeah I know, I've seen you a few times in the morning walking your dog."
"Well, officially, I'm Matt."
"Officially, I'm Lilly Ann, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Same here, but I have to cut this short and get him back inside."
"Of course, I will talk to you later, Matt."
"You too, Lilly Ann."


I waved and walked back inside my house. I thought about the conversation and her all day. I doubt she did the same.

Lilly Ann came by and said hi one morning when I took the dog out. She talked to me about my life, and why I decided to move to Kentucky.

"I moved here, to...I dunno, get away from Ohio and all the trouble it's caused me."
"Trouble like how?"
"Like, every time I'm there, I just feel the need to start a relationship you know? And here, it's so secluded, and just, there's nothing here, and it's in that I find peace."


She shook her head, and told me that she felt the same, and told me a little about herself.

"I live there with my dad, he's a nice guy, and I'm sure he missed me when I lived with my mom."
"Yeah, same here, I live my mom, and one of the reasons I moved was because my dad has some liver thing, it's just, it's very stressful to live with him, when he's so sick."
"Man..."


There was an awkward beat of silence, my mistake, I was too personal, too quickly. She knew how to handle it though.

"You know, I've been trying to find work down here. I just love it. It's gorgeous. The mountains and the hills in the evening are just, to die for."
"Yeah I know what you mean."
"It wasn't any different in New York, instead of mountains, we had skyscrapers, and instead of hills we had vacant lots and parks, but out here it's quieter."
"Oh yeah, it's a lot more comfortable I'd say. I like to jog and I never got to when I lived in Ohio, I have more time to do what I like."
"That's funny, I never see you jog."


I looked down in a kind of, boyish embarrassment because the truth is I've jogged maybe ten times since moving here. I asked her about the fence to change the topic.

"So who built this fence?"
"I don't know, I never really thought about it."
"You know it goes on past that hill over there."


I pointed about three hundred yards away to a hill that violently slopes downward.

"I had no idea. You wanna see where it goes. It'll be a fun morning thing, and I haven't been on an adventure since coming here."
"Yeah, sure."


I gave a smile that was endearing, but I tried to be seductively charming. I think I failed. I put the dog upstairs and put on my Jacket. It's chilly here in the mountains, especially in the morning and night. We traced the fence line until we came to the hill. She rolled down the side of it, she didn't even think about it, and once I saw her I didn't either. I wanted to barf at the bottom, but knowing that throwing up would make me less attractive, I swallowed it. Eventually we came to a deep chasm where the fence stopped on one side, and continued on the other. She was determined now to see where the fence went and we carefully hopped over the rip on the hillside. We walked some more, following the fence as it became darker and more mold grew on the sides. Slowly we came to where the fence stopped and we stood and looked over the ridge. Everything ended then, and I felt her hand grab mine, she told me, "Everything will be fine." I trusted her, and she led me on.
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Last edited by Something_Vague at Oct 9, 2007,
#2
I don't really have time for a detailed crit right now, but I read it and I thought it was beautiful.
I might get back to this later.
#5
There's a few grammatical things that I assumed were intentional (like, the very first sentence where you use "me and my neighbor's") but I'll point them out later, in a full crit if you'd like. You calling the dog "puppy" incessantly also bothered me. I don't know why... it felt border-line childish?

I thought this was pretty damn good though, and it's nice to read something like this from you again. The descriptions were gorgeous, as usual, but at the end I couldn't help but feel like it was missing that 'something' to place it above good writing (and thus, become great writing). It seemed to lack direction, and purpose, and maybe just a general theme. I don't know... it was good for what it was, but I can't help but feel that you can do way better.
#6
Actually this was one of the few things I've written with a specific theme and metaphor before actually writing. When I get some more critiques I'll go in-depth on the theme and why it ends like it does.

Thank you though, the puppy thing is a bit annoying, but...he is a tiny new born dog, there for a puppy.

Also, the beginning grammatical injustice, was made on purpose, as that is how I would say it, yeah it's not grammatically correct but, mine and my neighbor's...sounds too posh for what I was writing.
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Last edited by Something_Vague at Oct 6, 2007,
#7
There's this old fence in me and my neighbor’s front lawn, next to the pond, and [The use of “and” here is redundant since you haven’t actually said anything about the fence yet.] it runs until the horizon swallows it. I've always wanted to follow it, the cracked wood and the broken barriers separating each log from the next. [“It” becomes odd when you don’t relate it directly to the rest of the sentence, such as “…follow it, (on its) cracked wood and…”] It's a wonderful little fence. I don't know why it's there, it’s not like it’s keeping anything out. I think that the girl next door knows why it is here. If anything, you know, it’s just an annoyance, when my puppy escapes and runs under the fence I have to hop it to get to him. I could easily tear it down and just open the borders so to say. [Again, a nice point I think you could have expanded on. In general, this opening seems a bit half assed, to be honest. You tried to cramp a lot of information into the last few lines, as if to set up the rest of the story and just kind of didn’t put much into it, in my opinion. In general, story-wise, the rest of the piece is pretty solid, which is why I wish the opening was stronger.]

Every few days though, this girl will come out of her house, and sit on her deck and smoke a cigarette. [Very random, “this girl” sounds odd as you have mentioned it before. Should be maybe “the girl next door”?] I see her when I walk my puppy in the morning, and she always gives me this passing glance. A total lack of acknowledgement, yet she stares right at me. [Nice touch here, this writing certainly is what separates this from the opening.] I can see her eyes; they're sea foam, hazy blue. [Being picky, but – perhaps hazy, sea-foam blue instead?] It looks like she's blind. I know she isn't because I had to talk to her one day. Her name is Lilly Ann. She's got this raspy, old voice, but she can't be older than twenty five. She is probably German, or Dutch, gorgeous blonde hair. I remember the first time I saw it; it's just this pale yellow and natural white gold. The time I had to talk to her was when my dog ran over to her yard, [Since you’ve already mentioned this in the opening, you should regard it as “one of those times”…] and she was there to pick it up for me, she was fine with it. She said to me with a smirk you'd only find on a city girl, a girl who knows who she is, but doesn't know where she belongs. [Yeah, alright. I like this.]
"Is this your dog?"
"Yeah, he's a bastard."
"Nah, he's just a puppy."

She scratched his head, and got him even more stirred up than he already was.
"You know I live next just next door and we've never really met."
"Yeah I know, I've seen you a few times in the morning walking your dog."
"Well, officially, I'm Matt."
"Officially, I'm Lilly Ann, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Same here, but I have to cut this short and get him back inside."
"Of course, I will talk to you later, Matt."
"You too, Lilly Ann."
[All you’re dialogues were good for me, so I won’t pick on them. I didn’t mind the repetition of details at all. I actually thought it was a nice twist (Her name is Lilly Ann / “I’m Lily Ann", etc.)]

I waved and walked back inside my house. I thought about the conversation and her all day. I doubt she did the same.

Lilly Ann came by and said hi one morning when I took the dog out. She talked to me about my life, and why I decided to move to Kentucky.
"I moved here, to...I dunno, get away from Ohio and all the trouble it's caused me."
"Trouble like how?"
"Like, every time I'm there, I just feel the need to start a relationship you know? And here, it's so secluded, and just, there's nothing here, and it's in that I find peace."

She shook her head, and told me that she felt the same, and told me a little about herself.
"I live there with my dad, he's a nice guy, and I'm sure he missed me when I lived with my mom."
"Yeah, same here, I live my mom, and one of the reasons I moved was because my dad has some liver thing, it's just, it's very stressful to live with him, when he's so sick."
"Man..."

There was an awkward beat of silence, my mistake, I was too personal, too quickly. She knew how to handle it though.
"You know, I've been trying to find work down here. I just love it. It's gorgeous. The mountains and the hills in the evening are just, to die for."
"Yeah I know what you mean."
"It wasn't any different in New York, instead of mountains, we had skyscrapers, and instead of hills we had vacant lots and parks, but out here it's quieter."
"Oh yeah, it's a lot more comfortable I'd say. I like to jog and I never got to when I lived in Ohio, I have more time to do what I like."
"That's funny, I never see you jog."

I looked down in a kind of, boyish embarrassment because the truth is I've jogged maybe ten times since moving here. I asked her about the fence to change the topic.
"So who built this fence?"
"I don't know, I never really thought about it."
"You know it goes on past that hill over there."

I pointed about three hundred yards away to a hill that violently slopes downward.
"I had no idea. You wanna see where it goes. It'll be a fun morning thing, and I haven't been on an adventure since coming here."
"Yeah, sure."
[Like I said, I really liked the dialogue bit. Very well constructed too.]

I gave a smile that was endearing, but I tried to be seductively charming. I think I failed. I put the dog upstairs and put on my Jacket. It's chilly here in the mountains, especially in the morning and night. We traced the fence line until we came to the hill. She rolled down the side of it, she didn't even think about it, and once I saw her I didn't either. [Not sure what you meant to say with this part, I’m just a little confused.] I wanted to barf at the bottom, but knowing that throwing up would make me less attractive, I swallowed it. Eventually we came to a deep chasm where the fence stopped on one side, and continued on the other. She was determined now to see where the fence went and we carefully hopped over the rip on the hillside. We walked some more, following the fence as it became darker and more mold grew on the sides. Slowly we came to where the fence stopped and we stood and looked over the ridge. Everything ended then, and I felt her hand grab mine, she told me, "Everything will be fine." I trusted her, and she led me on. [Nice ending.]

Basically, it seems like this could be either a lot more, or a lot less. I really liked the idea behind it and in the places you weren’t rushing, I could definitely appreciate your style and everything that goes with it.
If you want to keep the shortened parts, you should work on making it less of a story and more of an anecdote. However, I really liked the dialogue part. It was superb. It was a nice little story, written well and apart from wanting to see more of your style, I really liked it. Seemed very honest.
This is not a pipe
#10
well it's cool to see you back I dont' know how long that's been going on.
anywho


Very first sentence bothered me.
'There's this old fence in me and my neighbor’s front lawn'
reads like "there's this old fence in me." at first and really the whole horizon thing I think I've heard a million times.

"I think that the girl next door knows why it is here. "
I think you have some grammar issues here, and it got a bit clunky for some reason, you might need to change 'here' to 'there' and maybe just make the contraction 'it's'. Something. Might be tense issues, just doesn't sit at all.

I also had an issue with the puppy, as it implies that there is no change in time, and this seems like an on going problem so naturally the puppy should age with the problem.

"so to say.''
'so to speak'*, really that's the only way I've heard that phrase.

'when my dog ran over to her yard'
you should make a decision as to whether this is a puppy or a dog.

As far as your voice goes, it sounds 100x better in this paragraph, as I just hated it in the first, this was actually rather good and well suited to the content.

There was a bit of confusion as to who was speaking in some of the dialogue, at least in the 2nd bit.

"start a relationship you know? And here, it's so secluded, and just, there's nothing here"
I'm not sure where this is going, but this bit seems like it'll be rather too obvious. [now that I'm done: yep too obvious]

'I live my mom'
this is in the 4th bit of dialogue, it's in error, and I doesn't seem like one would make this mistake in regular speech.

'Jacket'
capitalization of Jacket?

okay good stuff here other than the stuff I pointed out.
might want to work on your voice in some instances and the way you work you dialogue is interesting, as you add nothing but the dialogue itself.
Jesse Wants To Die Just As Much As You Want Him Dead
Last edited by Knife2aGunFight at Oct 8, 2007,
#11
I can't write that first paragraph well at all, I've re-written maybe four or five times and so far I haven't been content with any of it, I'm just hoping after another re-write of the beginning chapter it'll be at least okay.

But thanks Jesse, and I've never heard so to speak, only so to say.
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#12
It may be a good idea to replace it then, I suppose it must be a colloquialism, and it will alienate some of your readers.
Jesse Wants To Die Just As Much As You Want Him Dead
#13
Not really, it's like how some people say POP and some people say SODA.
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#14
I despise the word pop.
no joke
and i'm not sure that's an entirely working analogy,
but suit yourself.
Jesse Wants To Die Just As Much As You Want Him Dead
#16
Quote by Knife2aGunFight
"I think that the girl next door knows why it is here. "
I think you have some grammar issues here, and it got a bit clunky for some reason, you might need to change 'here' to 'there' and maybe just make the contraction 'it's'. Something. Might be tense issues, just doesn't sit at all.


As Matt's official copy-editor, I'm going to have to ask you to check the registration status on your grammar high-horse. To claim this sentence is clunky would be a fair point, though one I wouldn't agree with. But really, tense issues? You think he might need to contract "it is"? The sentence is grammatically sound and in my opinion semantically fine.
#17
^^I've always said I don't know much about grammar, not sure I spelled that out in this particular crit, but I think most people know that by now. I love it when people correct mine in my own pieces, as I suck at it, but that effing sentence sounds like ass when I read it, and there has to be a reason for it.

SO I blamed it on grammar. Or 'something'
the issue of 'needing'
[need was actually in reference to the 'there'/'here' issue but I digress]
to contract that would be that it sounds better when you do it.
it's my way of saying
'take a look at that clumsy sounding sentence. Here are some suggestions:''.
m k?
Jesse Wants To Die Just As Much As You Want Him Dead
Last edited by Knife2aGunFight at Oct 8, 2007,
#18
I re-wrote the beginning paragraph, it may or may not be more fluid.
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#19
Sounds a bit like you were writing a book report on that one.

My major issues would be
'and it happens to start at my neighbor's house'

the first two sentences both have similar structure.
'Living in..' & 'Having just..'

and the words ludicrously and dumbfounded give the wrong connotations I think.
Jesse Wants To Die Just As Much As You Want Him Dead
Last edited by Knife2aGunFight at Oct 8, 2007,
#23
the dialogue seems really romantic movie. it needs improvement to maybe sound like real. it reminds me of the movie with the boy from the OC when he falls in love with like the mom who has cancer but the daughter also loves him.

the description is alright but it just reminds me of a mash up of palahniuk's pointless overuse of metaphor and salinger's traditional teenage angst.

basically this is fine. but it has no saving grace that puts it apart from any of the other thousands of books written on the topic. i'm not trying to be harsh just realistic since most people on UG just seem to aimlessly blow their loads everytime they see the name Something_Vague.
#24
I actually agree completely, I'm not happy with this piece at all to be honest. I might end up removing it all together.

I don't think the dialogue is romantic movie, because that is basically verbatim the conversation me and said girl had about a month and a half ago.
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