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Aaron King's picture

West Village Corner Store Bistro

By Aaron King in Arrest Us

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Some dopes make poor plans with no real information. People die, lose their jobs, go to jail. Someone makes a video game. No one ends up better off. Everyone has animal characteristics.


Matt A.'s picture
Matt A. June 15, 2014 - 7:59am

Aaron, you've got some tight prose that's very readible. I whipped through the story in no time.

The problem I had is that this is a long flashback/reminisce with no tension. On the first page or so, we start with Chuck Beagle. But on about the second, we meet Katherine, the journalist and editor, and a few other secondary characters, with Chuck Beagle relegate to the background. It was hard not to skim TOO much and find some action or drama. The biggest tension point was the hit on the reporter, and Chuck is a minor character there as well. There should be a series of events that provide mounting tension to the reader, which in a crime story, usually equates to us wondering if the main character is going to escape some danger. The problem here is we aready know he escapes because it opens with him as a cashier and we're told right off that we're going to find out how he got there.

Aaron King's picture
Aaron King June 24, 2014 - 12:49pm

Thanks for reading! I agree that there's very little tension--there's a lot of good tense prose out there, and that's never really been my strength, so I tried to go for something else.

jorjon21's picture
jorjon21 from Wisconsin is reading Shotgun Lovesongs June 15, 2014 - 8:51am

I agree. Tight story. Excellent prose. 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 20, 2014 - 7:28am

I like this, but it would be nice to maybe bring the narrator into the story a little more. Why are they telling us this? What's their angle? The piece feels like an opinionated newspaper column or magazine report, which is fitting considering the subject matter. Nicely done, all in all.

Aaron King's picture
Aaron King June 24, 2014 - 12:51pm

Thanks! The narrator's present as a character in the story, but since he's writing about Chuck, he didn't want to do too much self-insertion. Maybe he still has some learning to do as a newsman.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 24, 2014 - 1:20pm

Perhaps! I like the little opinionated comments in the story and just hoped for more. Anyway, you got a thumbs up from me.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 30, 2014 - 8:01am

I like to see someone attempting something a little different, and while this isn’t wholly successful, I certainly give you props for trying something out of the box.

I think Doug has nailed my main issue with the story. This is devoid of tension, and the reason for that is that this is a story that is told rather than shown. The narration bothered me at first, because it is not passive, observational narration. I’ve seen your reply to a comment, so I’m guessing its Bill narrating, unless Paul is doing so from beyond the grave. If you are going with that, give more of a nod to the identity by the end. It should be clear as to their identity without actually spelling it out.

We don’t get into the head of anyone in the story, so it’s hard to care about anyone involved. This is passive reading, and it would be nice to be drawn in a little more. Personally I’d like to identify with someone. Anyone. There are some good potential characters here. It would be good to use one of them as a protagonist.

I wasn’t clear on Rachel as a character. You build her as this tough gangster type, yet her actions following her rise to power are at odds with this description. If you are trying to avoid her being a stereotype, then you’ve certainly succeeded, especially with her taking back the guy who put her behind bars, even if it is just to give him a crappy job. I think you need a bit more detail on the trial though. There is little in the way of evidence to convict her, and the “shit-ton” of other charges feels like convenience. Given all the police have is Chuck’s word that she ordered the hit, it doesn’t feel as if there is enough there to get him the plea bargain and have him walk free.

There are some good, strong ideas at work here. I think you can turn this into a very good story, with some interesting characters to follow. It’s not there yet, but neither is it a million miles away. I do think you need to bite the bullet and try some tense prose. You have a wonderful flow to your writing, and a great voice, I think if you add a little more close characterisation and some tension, this would sing.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday July 11, 2014 - 10:53am

I really enjoyed this piece.  It read fast, wasn't too heavy and had a cool vibe to it.  Somewhere along the way it started to get a Guy Ritchie feel to it, but with a few less characters.  I do agree with some of the other readers that there wasn't a lot of tension, but I didn't feel it needed it for what you were trying to accomplish.  Good luck.

Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck July 21, 2014 - 6:21pm

Not much I can say that others haven't.  Good, tight prose, an enjoyable read but no real tension or risk going on.  I feel like this could be a part of something bigger.

I wasn't sure who the narrator was, but I saw your comment in response to another review, regarding a newsman.  I'm not sure if that's to insinuate that Alexopoulos is alive, but that would be cool.  (I assume it's not Bill, since he would be talking about himself with not much favor, although that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't him, either.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the writing, and you got a thumbs up from me.