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warrenpawlowski's picture

A Conversation on a Thursday, with Beer

By warrenpawlowski in Arrest Us

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Two men dicussing comics, among other things, on a Thursday, over beer.


Hooper Triplett's picture
Hooper Triplett from Tucson, AZ is reading Fever Pitch June 30, 2014 - 7:23pm

The voices rang true and it sounded very much like a couple guys hanging out. Well written, but was hoping for more action; some cause and effect. I didn't dislike the story, but the litmus test for me is whether I want to know more about these guys or their plans and I don't.

Tom Lydon's picture
Tom Lydon from Britain July 1, 2014 - 9:12am

I enjoyed this. The dialogue felt very natural for the most part, and the premise came together very nicely. I really liked the escalating and increasingly outlandish ideas - but I felt like they never quite took off as they had potential to. Maybe because Bennett is a pretty relentless straight man, it sometimes felt like Khai's flights of fancy were dragged back down sooner than they could have been.

The writing was for the most part excellent - like I said, the dialogue really works (as it has to in this format). The one thing that did bug me was the huge variety of synonyms for "said", along with a lot of adverbs surrounding the dialogue. I think most of the speech is strong enough to convey a lot of this on its own, with just a "says", or even no verb at all.

My only other niggle was the barman. While he clearly has his own character and thoughts, I was never quite clear what was going on with him. This was compounded by a few dangling participles around these bits - I was often not quite sure if Khai/Bennett were doing something or the barman. But that should be pretty easy to fix.

RhysWare's picture
RhysWare from Worcester, England is reading The Warriors July 1, 2014 - 2:08pm

I see this story as, mostly, a Marmite one: you either really enjoy it or do not.

I really enjoyed it.

The dialogue is fantastic. It's very realistic and it flows perfectly, so great job on that. The lack of action or any real conflict is what's going to deter some readers, but I see it as a fun story.
In terms of the conversations held, I've had many that are similar, being a comic buff myself. I think I would have liked to have seen them attempt some form of amateur and pathetic attempt of burglary and have it botch up on them, that, I think, would have drawn in the more action-oriented readers. But regardless, I see you wanted this as a piece that focused on dialogue and dialogue alone, and it's great for that. The point of it isn't the crime, but the discussing of it between two friends.

It's a good little piece, and I'd like to see more from you, as dialogue-driven tales are amongst my favourite. I wouldn't mind you messaging me with any others you have.

Good luck with it.

warrenpawlowski's picture
warrenpawlowski from Connecticut is reading The Dark Tower series July 1, 2014 - 7:05pm

Thanks for all the feedback! Since they extended the deadline slightly, and because I can, I added a bit to the end and tightened a few points. It doesn't exactly add a sudden sense of Michael Bay-ness, but I believe it certainly strengthens the closing.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 8, 2014 - 6:31am

Hi Warren,

I really like this - good bar dialog, a "what if" crime rather than an actual one, nicely put together.

Because it's so dialog heavy, you have a tough job setting the scene. The first paragraph is wordy, describing the market, and maybe break it up - maybe Khai knows the market Bennett is talking about. That way, you can get away with a little more of the description - or just slim it down, we don't need to know it's sinking into the mud...

The way you end it, is a better closer IF Bennett had enough money for the comic, but spent it on something else. As it is, he never did have enough, did he? Not when he was a kid.

Also, minor rephrase of the barman's last comment - "if you do it" might work better?

All in all, good fun and a good read.



Jay Parekh's picture
Jay Parekh is reading Fight Club July 10, 2014 - 8:45am

Hey Warren,

This was a fantastic read. It felt like I was watching a Tarantino film.

You have a way with dialog that's very natural and the tiny mannerisms of each character that you add here and there make the story very visual. You also did a good job of not adding too much detail, and letting the reader fill in the blanks. For me Bennet was clean cut with black hair, Khai had a 5 o'clock shadow, shaggy hair and chubby, and the bartender was a thin bald dude. I don't know how this imagery materialised in my mind, because I am pretty sure you didnt write that in there. But I guess, its the personalities of these ppl that you fleshed out so well that they became real people to me. Pretty awesome!

Where you lose some points is that the story is anticlimatic. Theres no payoff. So, you overall have a good time reading it, but in the end there is no resolution, hell there isnt even an attempt at one. You get to know these 2 characters like you just met them at a bar and had a drink with them. Unfortunately they stay acquaintances, you dont really get to see what makes them tick, what kind of people they are, what they've lost, and far they are actually willing to go to get why they want (in terms of actions). There was zero conflict. Its all just talk, and talk is cheap. 

You need to put your characters in a bad situation - Have the bartender rip them off! have the girl in the red pants pick pocket them! Have the bouncers rough them up and throw them out because they cant pay! 

Basically do something with the characters you've worked so hard to build!!

That being said, I really did enjoy your story and it was a pleasure to read. Thumbs up!


PS. I'd like to see what you think of my story - Que sera sera. Please leave me a comment, thumbs up or down, either way I'd just like to know why.



Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 11, 2014 - 12:55pm

Hey Warren,

Everything's pretty hit the points I would. I really enjoyed the dialogue, and a comic book geek, I liked quite a bit of this.

The thing is that it feels to me very much like a scene. About midway through, I kinda got exactly what was happening- Khai proposes a plan, Bennet shoots it down, and you really don't stay from that. The end with the bartender is nice, but since all they're doing is imagining, I was left with a feeling of "what was the point?"

It's a really good character study, and you clearly have writing chops, this just feels pretty underdeveloped for a story. The ending still fell flat for me, because it's just repeating what was said in the beginning.

It's hard to give you any advice right now because this feels like the beginning, and there's tons of different ways you can take this if you want to develop the characters and story more. Thanks for sharing.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 12, 2014 - 6:00am

I like this. It’s a nice, fun, dialogue driven piece which is a bit different in tone to the majority of the stories in the contest. Concentrating on the discussion of the crime is a valid way to go, even if we get the feeling that these guys will never actually attempt it.

True, there’s no conflict to be resolved by the end, but I don’t think this one needs that anyway. Perhaps you could have them getting more and more excited as they thought about pulling this off, only to come to their senses by the end. As it is Bennet does negate the plans quite quickly. I did like the little touch of the barman adding his thoughts too.

Solid thumbs up from me.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 15, 2014 - 2:23am

Nice. The opening didn't grab me, plus there was a dreaded adverb, but half a page in this came together and it really worked well. Like it.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 30, 2014 - 6:59pm

I like that you did a "what-if" crime story. It's great to see different stuff. The story is really light and I read through quickly. The conversation is natural and really feels like the casual daydreams of two friends just shooting the shit. The only thing I'm left wondering is, why didn't the bartender ever try his "perfect plan" and why aren't the guys curious?

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations August 26, 2014 - 8:53am

Comics are big business :

Superman sells for £3.2million!