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constkat's picture

What the blue book says

By constkat in Arrest Us

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My story is about a smart aleck cop who breaks that clcihe of the smart aleck cop.the story basically goes through his day on the job and provides commentary on crime and problems in society. ive also used this story for my graduate school apps which did get me into cuny city college's MFA program in creative writing. i hope its a good read for everyone


Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 3, 2014 - 8:58am

Initally, I didn't know what to think about the story, but I stuck with it and there was an enjoyable pay off in the end.    I do have a few thoughts on it though.

I'm not shy about foul language, rather a huge fan, but I feel it could have been pulled back a bit.  The less it's used the more impact it can have when it is used.  It would also make some of the dialogue and free form thought flow a bit better.  

I noticed the word count is outside the range of the contest, which, isn't a big deal if you just want people to read and discuss, but I feel there is room to trim.  It's obvious that the main character is jaded, but trimming some of his internal commentary would tighten the story up and bring the word count down.

the only other thing that stands out is that during some of the conversation you might want to throw in an occassional tag to ease the reader in keeping track of who is talking.  

You have a good distinct voice that would be even better with a bit of polish.  Best of luck.

jannyadword's picture
jannyadword August 25, 2014 - 4:06am

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Mark Rooney's picture
Mark Rooney from Ireland is reading The Laundry Files June 3, 2014 - 3:34pm

I liked it. On first reading the narrator is a foul mouthed, boorish, iconoclast who has no regard for what he sees as petty rules of the blue book. He hates bureaucracy and the politicking that goes along with it, the jockeying for position as epitomized by Mr White Shirt and his reaction to the narrator’s bringing the son directly to the mother instead of setting up a nice photo op. Proving that in the narrators hard boiled world, no good deed goes unpunished. But he does it anyway, because he’s trying to do some good for the kid and Raj, not shortchanging him, since that’s the person he is, or the person he wants to be. It's like Holden Caulfield grew up and became a cop.

The negatives are very minor. Giving the narrator and Miss Civvie a name would personalize it more. Also spellcheck, civvies, Damn and stink instead of stank. Other than that it was a good read. I look forward to seeing more.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 6, 2014 - 12:56am

In this story the one thing that shines out is your narrator, and the narrative voice you give him. He’s an interesting character, and you do manage to steer him away from cliché. Personally I think you have a great character in need of a great story, and this one doesn’t quite do him justice. There is a lot of potential here, and with some loving care this could be a very good story.

There are some minor issues that have been covered in the other comments. Passing this through spellcheck would help, tagging the dialogue would make it far easier to follow, and giving the characters names would make them more identifiable.

A day in the life is not a bad idea if something more happens. This lacks tension to propel the story along, so it relies purely on the strength of the narrative voice rather than plot. There are strands of plot here, but they are dealt with in a cursory way that lessens their impact. The story needs to be tightened (the word count is way over, but you could easily edit it down). Keep his voice but marry it to plot.

The incident with the kid shows that the narrator is a decent person, but he’s already shown that from his dealings with the likes of Raj. So really it doesn’t add to the character anything that we didn’t already know. There isn’t much in the way of incidental detail either. For instance, how long has the kid been missing? It must be a while given that everybody knows of the reward. Little details like this add to the story, and helps the reader get more of a picture.

The payoff for me is also lacking in impact. He gets busted back to the streets for a month, and then suspended? Given the blue book’s love of good publicity, surely Mr White knows that the narrator could go to the press and say he was suspended for finding the kid? That wouldn’t exactly play well. The sardine metaphor is a tad overworked, and I can’t see how the counsellor has had such a big impact on him in such a few lines of dialogue.

Ultimately this is all just personal opinion, and you can choose to take it or leave it. I just feel that your central character is so strong, and the rest has to be tightened and sharpened to do him justice.

Best of luck with the piece.

Nick Becher's picture
Nick Becher from St. Louis MO is reading Nonzero by Robert Wright June 6, 2014 - 2:00pm

I'd have to agree with Adam about his feedback. This piece could use a lot of work. Looking past the clear lack of proofreading (i.e. spelling errors, punctuation, capitalization, etc.), there is just so much missing. I'm not going to write this like a critic, I'll just give you my honest opinion about it. If you can't hook your audience in the first paragraph, or at least the first page, due to editing issues, weak voice of a character, or lack of detail, then you may want to break down the story to what it really is. Once you've centered your character, you can center the mystery/crime aspect around that character's flaws, strengths, whatever. 

I would strongly recommend an overall plot shift from what is already here. Something that will give the narrator an actual drive to do something interesting. It's too much inside the guy's head, if that makes any sense. As Adam said above, the incident with the kid adds nothing to the narrator's character traits; he doesn't learn or grow or change really at all.

Best of luck with your revisions

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations June 17, 2014 - 3:41pm

I was about to read this, then I spotted the word count. Ermm, no. Contest was "Word count between 3,000-5,000" - this weighs in (and I mean weighs...) at 6.5K. I may read it if it is trimmed, but not until then!

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 18, 2014 - 4:38am

There's a nice idea here, breaking the cliché, but it seemed to be bogged down in unrealistic dialogue and too much swearing. I get that he's foul mouthed and whatnot, and I use a lot of swearing myself usually, but for a purpose. Some of it felt like rambling. Anyway, nice idea and keep working in it. The heart behind the guy is nicely shown.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 27, 2014 - 3:02pm

You have a very strong voice with some funny parts.. I was distracted by some spelling/ grammatical errors. There are parts where your language becomes repetitive. With a polish i think you have a good story here, I'm not sure if it qualifies as a crime piece though.