Critique Group – Writer’s Dilemma

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Writer’s Dilemma – by Drake

Eraser shreddings and pencil shavings littered the desk. Dust hid in the crevices between towers of books and pen holders. And yet… a single page sat in the center of it all. A single white page. A single white, blank page.

It’s master, however, was halfway across town. That lonely, unblemished centerpiece would rue the day it puzzled that writer, creator of worlds. Just… not today. Instead he was too lost in studying people, attempting to find a new character. He figured maybe finding somebody interesting could spark his creative gears.

The woman behind the counter was intriguing in her own way. She kept fidgeting and biting her nails. Why was she so nervous? Her first day, perhaps? Or… Or was she being followed? And was now just trying to lay low in a small city coffee shop?

Drake grinned to himself. He twirled the pencil in his fingers, before jotting down his ideas in his personal notepad. Now for the difficult part… Twisting the truth around him to create something new… Was she a spy? No, quite nervous for that. A criminal? She didn’t have the right face. Wrongly accused? And new to being on the lam?

The writer wrote his idea down quickly before he forgot. He rose to his feet, the metal chair scraping against the tiled floor. Retrieving his coat, he shoved his pad and pencil into his pockets. His fingers danced through his hair, before a cap contained the brown tufts of uncombed hair. The door jangled open, then closed, coffee in hand. Sprinkles pitter pattered against the earthen toned cap. A deep breath of fresh air. A sip of coffee.

He needed more time to think, to contemplate, so, he would take the long way home. Through the neighborhood, pass the pizza shop, pass the park…

Drake sighed. A lot of good it was doing too… Reality seemed to have a hold of him. A rising and falling crescendo of seriousness, squeezing around his mind, suffocating the creativity and imagination that was absolutely integral to his passion.

Maybe he should visit someone. Take his mind off his work. Stephen was always great for that. He took a step into the street. The long drawl of a horn shook him from his thoughts. Only thing was, it was too late.

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3 replies

  1. Nicely done! I can very well see this situation, being a writer. Although, I might work a little on avoiding typos and punctuation flaws, such as ‘It’s master…’, and so on. Other than that, I think more able writers can probably cover this, as I have too much to be done and too little time right now to say much else (not that I wouldn’t love to keep critiquing, just no time). I have a lot to read, a lot to write, and so will take my leave of you with the hopefully encouraging words: Write On!

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  2. Drake,

    Since I am a writer, I found this to be something I can relate to. I enjoyed many of the details and felt a connection.

    Since the action takes place “across town,” I am wondering why you began with a sheet of paper on a desk. I understand the symbolism, but having one paragraph from this perspective and making it a character that would have rue felt jarring for me. I saw no purpose. It felt more like a gimmick than a hook.

    I became far more interested when your main character tried to create a story with the woman at the counter. The progression of thought as he studied her features felt real.

    “The writer wrote his idea down quickly before he forgot.”

    Since this is Drake’s POV, I wondered why you switched to “the writer” when referring to him. Is that a name that he takes for himself? It seemed odd to me.

    Also, did he forget the idea? The way you wrote it indicates that he did.

    “Retrieving his coat, he shoved his pad and pencil into his pockets.”

    The way you wrote this indicates that he retrieved his coat and shoved the pad and pencil away at the same time. It’s more likely that he stowed his items before retrieving the coat.

    “His fingers danced through his hair, before a cap contained the brown tufts of uncombed hair.”

    I didn’t understand this sentence. You wrote this as if one event happened (the fingers danced) and then another happened (a cap contained). Does that mean that the cap did not contain the hair when the fingers did the dancing? If so, then did the fingers stop dancing when the cap covered the hair? Did Drake put the cap on at that point? If so, why not just say so? As it stands, the events are confusing.

    “The door jangled open, then closed, coffee in hand.”

    This sounds like the door had the coffee in its hand.

    “Sprinkles pitter pattered against the earthen toned cap.”

    What cap? The cap Drake was wearing? If so, I don’t think Drake would see the cap. It wouldn’t be in his line of sight so that he would mention sprinkles hitting it.

    A deep breath of fresh air. A sip of coffee.

    These are narrative fragments. You have no verbs. What about the breath of fresh air? What did it do? What happened with the sip of coffee? You don’t complete the action. Whenever I see narrative fragments, I put a book down, and I don’t pick it up again.

    “Through the neighborhood, pass the pizza shop, pass the park…”

    This is another narrative fragment. If you would have put a comma instead of a period after “home” and used a lower-case “t” then it would have been fine.

    “squeezing around his mind”

    The word “around” bothered me. Maybe delete that word.

    “Only thing was, it was too late.”

    I didn’t understand this sentence. Was the horn too late? Does that mean the vehicle hit him? If so, why didn’t you say so? If the answer is that he died, therefore the death wasn’t reported to readers, then how could the other parts of the story been told?

    Overall, you did a good job with keeping my interest. I think most readers have no problem with narrative fragments, so take my criticism for what it’s worth – one man’s opinion. Someday I might write an essay on why I think they are so terrible, but now is not the time. 🙂

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  3. This is really cool and I “hate” where you stopped with the car horn (I don’t hate it. It’s just a great cliff hanger). Did he get hit by a semi? Did the car horn remind him of his friend possibly being in a car accident?

    I really related to the conspiracy about the woman in the coffee shop, but maybe, to build his conspiracy thinking, you could start her out thinking of an everyday reason to be nervous then escalate to a more far-fetched, fiction reason for her nervousness.

    Keep up the great work. Would love to see this on a shelf.

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