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G R Fobister's picture

Moisturizer

By G R Fobister in Scare Us

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Description

A Polish girl in an unfamiliar country is plunged into a nightmare when she and her brother witness the return of someone to whom they thought they'd said goodbye. Forever.

Comments

G R Fobister's picture
G R Fobister July 11, 2012 - 2:01am

I may want to revise this, so comments and suggestions will be more than welcome.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 11, 2012 - 4:45am

This is a wonderful story in every way but one-- the hugely distracting dialect, I almost had to give a thumbs down because of it, but the story is otherwise so good that it's an enthusiastic thumbs up. The dialect is kind of cute, because we really hear this young girl's voice. But it calls so much attention to itself that it drives us readers (ok, let me not speak for them, but THIS reader for sure) totally bonkers. I think with dialect, all you really need is a light, light touch, just to suggest what someone sounds like. You don't have to replicate every single charming little error and odd expression. You lay it on 'way too thick. Ack, I don't want to give you the impression I didn't like your story, because I certainly did. It's ingenious, it's scary, it's exotic-- it's good. Hard to know exactly how good, though, because that dialect is so very distracting.

P. S. I just finished re-reading Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The same criticism has been made of her novel. When Huston wrote that novel, though, two things were going on: 1. It was more accepted to write thick dialect; this was seen as colorful and charming, although ironically many in the African-American community disapproved of the book because they feared it played into white readers' stereotypes of black people derived from minstrel shows, Tom-shows, and the like. BUT 2. At the time she was writing it, Hurston was collecting folklore of the rural Black south under the tutelage of father of anthropology Franz Boas at Columbia, and she had a vested interest, professionally, in studying and replicating rural southern Black dialect. Anyway, that novel is an acknowledged masterpiece in spite of the distracting dialect. Just saying.

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson July 12, 2012 - 10:22am

I agree with Jane regarding the dialect. I did read the whole story and enjoyed it, but felt that the heavy dialect kept pulling me out of the story as I struggled to comprehend. I also noted a few inconsistencies with the broken English: for example she struggles with English words like "whimper" but says the body flopped "like an epileptic". Would this young girl from a small village in Poland know about epileptics? Only a problem in that this is first person (having just completed a manuscript in first person, I know how tough it is!).

The good is that I like the transition from ominous/spooky to gore, and I like the idea of the "monster", whatever it is. The fact that it is familiar to the girl makes it that much more horrifying. I'm curious about how the sister died back in Poland; is that something that could be elaborated on?

In the fifth paragraph she mentions "Bartusz"- is she actually referring to Bartek?

 
Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 12, 2012 - 11:25am

My problem with the dialect, and the main different between this and "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is that if it isn't her primary language, why is she telling the story in English? I would be much more comfortable with smooth English narration, and maybe broken English when it is actually English they are speaking in dialogue. She would be more likely tellign the story, or thinking it, in Polish.

Even then, you wouldn't write it in Polish.  It would be written in English and we would understand, sort of like when you read a Crime and Punishment, you are okay with it being translated to English. You don't expect it to be written in a Russian dialect.

The story itself is pretty good. I like it. I would love to see it without any of the dialect stuff.

G R Fobister's picture
G R Fobister July 21, 2012 - 4:23am

Thanks everyone, for your comments. Anja is a character from the novel I'm working on, and while her voice works very well there, I knew in my heart of hearts (yes I have more than one heart) that it simply wasn't working here. In fact, I don't know why I submitted it; I betrayed my usual high standards.

So, it's currently undergoing a radical rewrite and I'll be sure to tug on your coattails for your opinion when it's done. I'll also make sure to check out and rate your submissions.

Thanks again, people, you've been a great help.

 

G.