JED's Dog Days of Summer
Link of Original Story: Dog Days of Summer - JED
Well, I tried something different this time. Several somethings different, actually. I knew fairly quickly that I didn't want to write anything that was a play on words, nothing about real dogs, or anything like that. Sooo that left me with trying to encapsulate some of the actual feeling of the "dog days of summer." Seeing as how I was writing this DURING the dog days my inspiration was right at hand. And the idea to use a conversation between JP and myself came to me pretty quickly. I also thought it might be a good chance for me to do some cathartic writing. I'm really nervous about being a postdoc (what if I suck, what if it sucks, what if nothing interesting happens, what if they figure out I'm an idiot, etc, etc). So I figured what the hell, go for ultra-realistic. I also wanted to do something different as far as writing style. I'd been thinking about some sort of film noir kinda thing, but that really wouldn't work with this pitch. So I settled on having it be almost entirely dialog. For the record, that is not easy to do. You have to establish characters with at least somewhat separable identities and maintain an image in the reader's mind without ever actually describing the scene. It is not something at which I excel (especially given that I don't like writing dialog at all). So I cheated a little and let myself put in one line of description at the end of each section. I don't actually like this story very much, but that doesn't mean that I think it's bad. It doesn't suck, it's just, not my taste. I think the dialog itself came out better than I hoped, fairly real, and not too stereotyped. As JP pointed out, neither of the characters is too extreme, they seem fairly similar, though at different stages of life. I like that. I'm not sure the story has much resolution, but I hope that I threw in enough random imagery that a reader might see something smarter than what I intended ("Ah, the crab is like that guy, and the heron is like the other guy, see? And the stick is like this metaphorical representation of existential angst, dig?"). Anyway, I hope it's not so personal that it becomes meaningless to anyone other than he and I; I tried to keep the characters fairly nondescript on purpose. JP had two excellent points: 1) don't put apostrophes after "summers" and "Sundays" (I could have punched myself in the mouth for that one, stupid, stupid, stupid) and 2) The last descriptive wandered perilously close to narrative voice. This story shouldn't have a narrator, so the descriptives should be written without verbal inflection – otherwise they sound too 3 rd persony. I cheated a little and fixed it with his suggestion (a comma and an and). Oh well, shoot me.
JP says thusly: