This short story is 12 pages long and I know that it has some errors in it. Don't worry, I've gone back and changed some of the errors but unfortunately I turned in the paper to my English Teacher while it was more erroneous. I apologize for the errors, but please feel free to read this. You can find my story at the bottom where the attachments are.
I'd also appreciate any feedback whether you liked it or hated it or anything about the structure that is completely wrong. (Please note that I'm an amateur because this is my first short story I've ever written.)
Thanks for reading! :)
A little background - Just to let ya'll know, this story has nothing to do with sex or romance, but just happens to deal with someone who is gay. Much of this story is influenced by my personal experiences but HIGHLY exaggerated. The main character, Sora, is based off of how I perceive myself as being feminine. I wish I had the looks as I gave him but unfortunately, I look like a regular guy. The story is just a representation of the mental and emotional pain I feel that seems unending while hoping that, in the end, it's a well worth it.
I'll probably read this over the weekend if I get the chance. Do you just want general impressions?
Just tell me whatever you want about it. ^.^
I did get a chance to read over the weekend. The underlying story is good, and your writing is fine, but the story itself is not cohesive. It's as if you laid some very nice ingredients in front of me, but stopped there instead of mixing them together and baking them into a cake -- a finished product.
The character Robin is a good example of this. He's important to the plot, but rather than working him into the narrative, he steps in, delivers his lines and his motives in a very direct manner, and then exits. Details like "he admitted things he was otherwise afraid to admit" and "he uncomfortably asked hoping that nobody else heard what he said" are good because it gives us a bit of what the character is feeling and how Robin is significant to him without just stating it plainly. By contrast, when Robin states, "I just recorded everything you said because then that would allow me to get in on the fun of messing with your head and also to be accepted in Jefferson's group" it's a little unnatural. People don't generally blurt things out like that. These are things we learn through context clues. These are things which hurt us not because we know for certain they are true, but because we fear they are true.
For instance, you (as Sora) are really meeting Robin right now. You've let down your guard and finally think you have an ally. You're relieved, but after the fact, also second guessing. Happy, but maybe a bit concerned. The next day you see him hanging out with Jefferson, being all chummy, and the look they give you as you walk by just freezes you down to the core. Every sign points to the idea that Robin betrayed you, but that moment where your fears come to the surface and you really don't know is agonizing. Then Jefferson makes an offhand comment -- a reference to something only Robin should know- and all the pieces fall into place. Robin doesn't need to confess anything. If he respects you so little as to set you up, he probably wouldn't respect you enough to tell you a truth which makes him look bad; most people don't see themselves as being bad.
What I'm saying here is that you've told us literally what transpired, but this story has your personal experiences (exaggerated or not) and feelings in it, and as a reader who hasn't lived your perspective, you need to give me some of that feeling so I can step into Sora's shoes. Consider what details you put into the story and how they are significant to the character and the story.
Something like the blue nail polish, for instance, is more than just part of the character's look. When he looks at it, he may have some conflicted emotions. Sora may see himself as he should be, with well cared-for nails in an attractive hue. Maybe the colour reflects his mood (maybe not). When he thinks of his nails, he may also see in his mind his father's disapproving glares and concerns his son is too effeminate. Sora may see his peers faces when they don't understand his style, and reject him over something he happens to like about himself. You can bring up that conflict just with nails alone, and it comes from Sora's perspective -- Sora's personal feelings.
When his dad greets him in the morning, he says a lot of things very plainly which as a reader are difficult to understand. Is 'emo son' disdain, or just a father kidding around affectionately? Is it an insult or passive aggressive? How does Sora take it?
"Mornin', emo son," his dad called to him from the garage. To an outsider, it may have seemed like an innocent enough greeting. Perhaps they would hear mild fatherly affection affection in his voice. Sora knew better. He heard the countless times his father told him to man-up over the years. He heard his father's disappointment in Sora's lack of interest in sports, lack of a girlfriend, lack of chest hair, lack of the brutish overflow of testosterone surging through other boys his age. He heard his father's harsh criticisms to his mother on how she was letting her eighteen-year-old son dress like a sissy. He heard his father's disappointment in himself for not making his son the man he thought he should be -- disappointment overshadowed only by the blame he placed in Sora for failing to live up to his expectations. None of that was said in words today, yet Sora heard it all the same in the faint strained expression in his father's eyes and in the frustration he vented into his innocent tool box. As much as it hurt when his father said those things aloud, it hurt even more when he didn't, as if he was giving up on even trying anymore.
I'm not saying your should write that. It's too long and it would sound way better in your style from your perspective. I'm just trying to give an example of things you can reveal about background and emotion instead of getting them all out there by having a character literally say those things.
So, maybe that sounds critical, but it's not because I dislike the story; I just think it has deeper potential. Take that with a grain of salt.
Thanks for reading my story and the constructive criticism. :)
I felt exactly the same way when you said " It's as if you laid some very nice ingredients in front of me, but stopped there instead of mixing them together and baking them into a cake -- a finished product." I feel like I spent way too much time trying to explain what was going on through actual dialogue. I guess it isn't bad for my very first short story but I think there was a lot of potential that didn't quite make it in there.