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Old 07-09-2018, 04:40 AM   #1
beerlovr88
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All thoughts are welcome

Greetings friends,

I felt it was unfair of me to criticize other people's stories without providing them the opportunity to reciprocate. As such, I hope you'll accept my formal invitation to share whatever thoughts you might have about my humble story.

And so without further ado I proudly present: The Female Price of Male pleasure

P.S. I feel like I should extend a personal word of caution to female readers. After all, the main story revolves around a male-exclusive fantasy, meaning that I'd be very much surprised if any female anywhere were physically capable of deriving anything remotely worthwhile from the read.

Best regards,

~BL
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerlovr88 View Post
Greetings friends,

I felt it was unfair of me to criticize other people's stories without providing them the opportunity to reciprocate. As such, I hope you'll accept my formal invitation to share whatever thoughts you might have about my humble story.

And so without further ado I proudly present: The Female Price of Male pleasure

P.S. I feel like I should extend a personal word of caution to female readers. After all, the main story revolves around a male-exclusive fantasy, meaning that I'd be very much surprised if any female anywhere were physically capable of deriving anything remotely worthwhile from the read.

Best regards,

~BL
I am attempting to read it but you may not like what I have to say. You start out with a premise about depression and anxiety and state it as though it is fact. I believe you are off base there but then I only got to Psych 101. I do know people who suffer from one or the other. Or both.

Then there is what I believe to be overuse of the colon and semi colon. My first novel had to be redone because my spell checker seemed to love advising me to put semi colons. I have since learned to use them sparingly. Makes for choppy reading, I feel.

Next there are the unusual name spellings. Maybe you aren't in the US but here, Tracey is usually spelled as Tracy. And I have never seen Marshall spelled as Marshal, not for a person's name. Minor details I suppose because these days there are a lot of unusual spellings but it does stop my eye every time I see those names.

And then this!

---

"I hope you can forgive me," he told her. "For any discomfort I could ever hope to cause you would surely just be a manifestation of the intense and everlasting jealousy that I'd naturally feel towards anyone who got to appreciate a view such as this on a regular basis."

---

What in the heck is that second sentence? Dude! My head is spinning. It looks like tortured prose and I haven't a clue what it even means!

And then this!

---

"It was clear that she didn't understand what he was getting atg and so he elaborated. "I dress well, I'm polite, I'm well-spoken, I'm gainfully employed and educated... and yet regardless, here I still am today, universally decried as undesirable by all women everywhere and forced to pay for my affections like a lowborn ruffian possessing the most unruly of all possible characters."

---

Note the letter "g" in the word"at". And what planet is this guy from? Nobody talks like that! Or... Is this the comedy genre?

Well... At least Tracey is as confused by it all as I am. So now that makes two of us!

What is lengthy hair? And how can it appear more untidy than it really is?

Then more tortured and rambling prose.

Ah... Chapter 2! I shall attempt that!

How exactly does one stomach a grimace?

I'm sorry. I had to give up. The story seems to be written in such a clinical fashion. I was actually quite horny before I began reading. And now I'm not. So there's that.

Hopefully someone else will come along and give you a better review. Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea!
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerlovr88 View Post

P.S. I feel like I should extend a personal word of caution to female readers. After all, the main story revolves around a male-exclusive fantasy, meaning that I'd be very much surprised if any female anywhere were physically capable of deriving anything remotely worthwhile from the read.

Best regards,

~BL
Despite your warning, I did make an attempt to read your story. Before I got to the end of the first paragraph, my left eye began fluttering. I was able to continue to read, with some difficulty, until the middle of the third paragraph, at which time my right eye rolled completely back in my head.

I decided to take a break. After a few minutes my eyes returned to normal and I attempted to continue. But almost immediately, my entire head began to spin around in circles.

At that point, I had to accept the veracity of your warning. I was not physically capable of deriving anything worthwhile from the read. I will have to settle for reading the reviews of the male readers. Perhaps, with diligence and great forbearance, one of them might report that there was something about it that was worthwhile.
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post

Hopefully someone else will come along and give you a better review. Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea!


I actually got as far as "Either way she could still feel her heart pounding rapidly as her demons tormented her with wave after wave of all worst possible outcomes" and got stuck trying to figure out how multiple outcomes could all be the worst.
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MelissaBaby View Post
Despite your warning, I did make an attempt to read your story. Before I got to the end of the first paragraph, my left eye began fluttering. I was able to continue to read, with some difficulty, until the middle of the third paragraph, at which time my right eye rolled completely back in my head.

I decided to take a break. After a few minutes my eyes returned to normal and I attempted to continue. But almost immediately, my entire head began to spin around in circles.

At that point, I had to accept the veracity of your warning. I was not physically capable of deriving anything worthwhile from the read. I will have to settle for reading the reviews of the male readers. Perhaps, with diligence and great forbearance, one of them might report that there was something about it that was worthwhile.
Is there some medication we can take for this? I think I need some. I want my libido back.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MelissaBaby View Post
I actually got as far as "Either way she could still feel her heart pounding rapidly as her demons tormented her with wave after wave of all worst possible outcomes" and got stuck trying to figure out how multiple outcomes could all be the worst.
Hehehe. I did a lot of skimming.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MelissaBaby View Post
I will have to settle for reading the reviews of the male readers. Perhaps, with diligence and great forbearance, one of them might report that there was something about it that was worthwhile.
Sorry, you'll have to wait for another male reader. I tried, I really did, but I too foundered on the dialogue. Who talks like that? Nobody in my world. I managed somehow to get to the end of the first page, but I have no idea what was really happening. I think I was being lectured on the human condition, but that's just a guess.

The writing might have been grammatically "correct" - but it's turgid and impenetrable, there's no flow, no rhythm to it. Truly, I've read contracts with more life. Sorry, Beer88, this was not remotely erotic - regardless of your chosen tense.

I don't score stories I don't finish, so I've not impacted anything other than your view count.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:06 AM   #8
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I found the story rather turgid and lifeless. Jumping around a bit to see whether it got better - it sometimes happens - I didn't notice a change. I didn't vote or offer a comment because I was unwilling to finish it, though not all readers will be as kind, I suspect.

There are a number of errors but they are not particularly disturbing. They seem to have been the result of carelessness rather than lack of knowledge. That is a little surprising given you have offered the story up as a sacrificial lamb to those whose stories you have criticized.

Your use of semi-colons, at least in the early going, is excessive. You would improve the flow of your story by starting a new sentence in several places where you used a semi-colon.

In terms of story, you hide too many mysteries for too long, I think, which makes it hard to get into the story. The others who direct your heroine are either her personal demons or her procurers. The latter seems more likely to me the way the story is presented but you do specifically identify her demons as directing her reactions at one point. Her first time starts out as a simple seduction but soon turns into a gang rape or equivalent. I don't know if you specified that or the reason for it. Perhaps you did, but I prefer a more linear development. That doesn't make you wrong or me right, but I don't think I'm a particularly atypical reader.

The fact that your writing is less entertaining than that of others does not, of course, necessarily reflect on your critical faculties. Most of us have difficulty applying our critical faculties to our own work. We invest too much of ourselves in our writing to be properly objective about it.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:20 PM   #9
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This is a format I used to use a lot more for feedback when I had more time, and I figured this was a good time to dust it off.

-I’m just one person. My opinion should only ever count for that much.
-No matter what, keep writing.
-Don’t take this advice as a blueprint or basis for fixing TFPOMP. Use this to fix the next one.

There are two important factors in being an author of fiction; the writing itself and the storytelling. We’ll start with the writing, by which I mean the technical nuts and bolts of word construction.

Clearly, you can write. Your sentences are technically sound. They’re not run-ons, but they’re also not well balanced. Take this for example:

Quote:
Though maybe she had that all backwards; perhaps the build up to every new encounter would only serve to intensify with time -- for the longer that nothing bad ever happened to her, the greater the chances were that something finally would.
That semicolon should be a period. That double-hyphen is not an acceptable way to break apart a sentence for any reason. You might have been trying for an em dash (ALT-0151), but the clauses on both sides are perfectly capable of being independent and there is no reason to keep them together. Realistically, this should be two or three sentences. We’re not rationing periods, and there is no prize for the highest word:sentence ratio.

This is 41 words. 41 words in a single sentence is a lot, and this is just an example I picked at random. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t even the longest sentence in this chapter, let alone this page. The following is from Google for “Average Sentence Length”:

Quote:
Generally, a sentence is more than 10 words but less than 20 words in length. Now, if you are looking for the actual length (in centimetres), a sentence that uses 10 words, each of which is long, then it may be longer than a sentence of 20 short words.
If I were going to hazard a guess, I would say that your sentence construction is an unconscious manifestation of insecurity. You feel like nobody appreciates how smart you are, so you build these Rube Goldberg sentences, that aren’t inherently wrong, almost like you’re daring others to say something about them. You don’t need to do that and the story isn’t improved by it. Readability definitely takes a hit from this.

I’ve certainly been guilty of some very ungainly grammatical acrobatics in my time. Most writers have. Moving past this and finding a better flow is part of the process of developing your ‘narrative voice’.

***

When talking about Storytelling, I like to break a story into three different tiers. Strategic, Tactical, and Hand-to-Hand.

Strategic
World Building
Because this is presented as a real world story, there’s not a lot to the world building. That being said, you definitely set this up to be a psychological piece, so we can view it in that framework. The story is very focused on motivations and the experiences that get us there. Therefore, it’s glaring that your ideas about what constitutes depression and anxiety are so flawed. Depression is much worse than being unenthusiastically angry, and Anxiety doesn’t care if you know anything about the cause of it. Both will kill the afflicted if left to their own devices.

Character Progression
This is the area that I think was the most flawed. The John is a bland stand-in who adds nothing to the story. The Egotistical Rapist likewise adds no consequences or value. If you removed all scenes with these characters, you would be left with the same story. That is inefficient storytelling. All scenes should serve at least one purpose, if not more.

Marshal, our protagonist, is an Incel who has resorted to hyperlogical assessments of the world. He carries out lengthy psychological revenge on a woman he tried to approach once, and this is the real fantasy of the story. It’s almost like a Loving Wives story where the lying, cheating wife is left by her cold husband.

To make sure we know The Incel is the real victim here, Marshal is also afflicted with hepnorithia donitydis. For those of you playing the home game, this is not a real condition. It’s Hemophilia, and I don’t know why you felt like you had to make up something worse than Hemophilia because Hemophilia is already incredibly life threatening. I don’t know why you had to make up the Penitt scale when there are other perfectly real scales for clotting factor (INR and APTT). In any case, Marshal is a gracious victim because he lies about the source of his bruising by racistly accusing a black man in a “durag” [sic].

Let’s assume, for a moment, that Marshal’s condition is real. If a hemophiliac went to the ER with a massive bruise, even one that's life threatening, the police would not get involved. Hemophiliacs get injured easily, and they wouldn’t be pushed to explain who caused them injuries. Any ER doctor or nurse worth their salt would be able to tell that someone with his condition could bruise themselves that badly by accident. This leaves us with two possible conclusions 1) You haven’t written this condition consistently, or 2) Marshal is lying to Tracey about having been questioned by the police to make her (and by extension, the reader) feel even more guilt for her treatment of him.

This feels like that fantasy scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie comes home blind, and his parents are completely torn up by the revelation that the source of his blindness is soap poisoning.

(Or he was joking and I missed it, but it didn't feel like he was joking or is the kind of character who makes jokes at all)

Tracey, our POV, is depressed and anxious, but those dangerous conditions do not stop her from opening the door when her clients come. Later, when she remembers who Marshal is, she goes through what might be an Incel’s wet dream by crying and begging his forgiveness… and then she punches him? Like... what? Then, our depressed, anxiety-stricken Call Girl tracks The Incel down with a personal ad, gets catty with another woman about why (Bechdel Test failed, in case anyone was wondering), and inexplicably rapes Marshal, threatens him, and… tries to improve his quality of life for what little time he has remaining?

Tracey is a stupid woman who makes stupid life decisions. She’s too stupid to remember the name of Marshal’s condition four paragraphs after he states it (although, in her defense, it’s just Latin salad masquerading as a real condition). She’s too stupid to make something of herself, and it takes an Incel who won’t touch her to make her change her ways.

The Plot
The plot was hard for me to follow. Tracey is a depressed, anxious call girl who sees a variety of clients. Each of her three shown clients is a caricature; The Incel, The Egotistical Rapist, and The John. The only character she sees more than once is The Incel, a character whom she has a past with. Over the course of the story, The Incel gets back at the whore who rejected him, and up to that point, the story almost works.

Except that it then continues to have the Call Girl track down The Incel, rape him, and take over his life? I think? The character motivations don’t make a ton of sense, and since those motivations are the driving action of the plot then the plot is also derailed.

As I mentioned earlier, I feel like the real fantasy here is the revenge. Despite the fact that there are multiple instances of coitus, they take a back seat to the way Marshal shows Tracey his pain. If you removed all of the coitus, I think the story would be stronger.

Except that, in my opinion, your inclusion of the coitus was entirely purposeful because it relegates Tracey to the role of sex worker, a career choice that gets very little respect from others. By showing her in these situations, I feel like you were trying to whittle away at her humanity, setting her up as the flawed madonna, so that when Marshal hits her with the truth bomb she is completely blown away.

That kind of works, but your focus on the revenge fantasy came at the cost of writing coitus that was entirely bereft of physical, spiritual, or emotional joy for all parties involved. One of your stylistic choices undermined another, and it’s hard for me to say which one was more important. Were you more interested in making readers get off or in making readers feel bad for you?

Tactical
Flow of scenes/chapters
I don’t really understand the choice to have some chapters breaking this up. The story wasn’t really long enough to need break markers. You could have just had scenes with scene breaks and achieved the same overall flow.

By and large, the individual scenes all worked well. I think that some of the characters added nothing, and that some of the scenes could stand to be removed entirely, but they all had a nice kind of internal arc to them that was satisfying.

Flow of Plot within scenes
If we remove the scenes with The Egotistical Rapist and The John, then the unfolding of Marshal’s psychological revenge, as it takes place over multiple scenes, is well done. It moves in pieces, with each scene (remaining) serving to take a few more steps forward toward the goal while also breaking Tracey down a little bit at a time. You have a good feel for how these things should unfold.

Hand-to-Hand
Flow of Dialog
As mentioned before, there are some really complex sentences here, and it’s in the dialog that we can see some interesting patterns. The Narrator speaks in long, winding word streams as does Marshal. Tracey, The Egotistical Rapist, and The John, when they say anything at all, speak in short, simple sentences. Lori also, by and large, speaks in short sentences.

The Incel’s dialog most closely matches the narrator, which is why I earlier called him the protagonist and Tracey the POV. Not only is the story really about Marshal and his revenge, but the narrative voice most closely matches the characters voice. I would be interested to know how much of that was done on purpose.

Miscellania
I saw a couple things that didn’t have a place in the earlier discussions, so I thought I’d handle them at the end.

Head Hopping
It is jarring to start a scene following Character A, to then be treated by Character B’s internal thoughts, and then end up back in Character A’s head. It feels like you don’t trust the reader to understand how clever you are, so you have to tell us by sharing all the thoughts that occur to each of your characters instead of allowing there to be tension. Embrace “Show Don’t Tell” at every level, and it will improve your storytelling.

Flashbacks
Tracey’s lengthy flashbacks were sprinkled into scenes with Marshal, and not clearly defined. In one case, Tracey was in a daydream within a flashback, and when she was ‘brought back to reality’, it wasn’t the actual current timeline of the scene with Marshal but instead the current timeline of the flashback. It was like Inception without the interesting implications of free will.

Flashbacks are a powerful tool, but they can make literary narrative very messy and difficult to follow. Movies and TV shows use a lot of visual cues that make keeping track of timelines easy, and stories do not have that luxury. In this case, these flashbacks didn’t seem to serve a purpose except to put Tracey in a compromising and vulnerable position. There are other, more elegant ways you could have achieved that without these awkward escapes into the past.

The Problem with Lori
I will admit that I have never tried to track someone down using a personal ad in a newspaper. That being said, the interactions between Lori and Tracey seemed forced to the point of silliness. There’s animosity and hostility between characters who have no reason to exhibit either toward each other.

By the time we get to Chapter 8, the reader has a pretty good idea of who Marshal is. He’s distant, broken, dying, and bitter about that last one. He may be objective about his outlook when questioned directly, but it wasn’t until after he received his death sentence from his doctor that he went looking for the woman who broke his heart with the express purpose of making her feel his pain. The proof is in the pudding.

The point I’m trying to make is that you have already painted a grim picture of Marshal thus far, so the inclusion of a heinous, back-biting Lori to emphasize how toxic The Incel is seems incredibly redundant. It’s also frustrating to see that the only female characters in your story are the sex worker and the bitter, jealous ex-girlfriend. Frustrating, but not surprising.

The Title
When I started reading this story, I thought this was going to turn into a psychological evaluation of sex workers and the toll that their job can take on them, much like ChloeTzang’s excellent Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, but it really isn’t about that. In hindsight, I don’t understand how this story fits that title at all. If you reversed it, to be The Male Price of Female Pleasure, that might be a little more accurate.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:36 PM   #10
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In hindsight, my point about the Bechdel test is probably unfair. There are no interactions between male characters at all, so it technically fails a reverse Bechdel test too, and that kind of renders both points moot.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:58 PM   #11
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"If depression is merely anger without enthusiasm ..." So I googled this phrase, and it appears it's somewhat known (although it wasn't to me), but it's not clear whether it's meant to convey some actual psychological insight or is only a comic one liner. In either case whatever you were trying to achieve by using it as the opening phrase of the story was completely lost on me.

I agree with some of the other commenters that many of your sentences are convoluted and difficult to parse. One technique that is sometimes helpful in editing is to cut and paste a section of text into Google Translate and have the program speak it back to you. Sometimes you can spot typos, syntax errors, inharmonies, and bombast more readily this way than by proofreading.

Tracey was a somewhat sympathetic character, although I'm not quite sure what it is she finds at the end. Marshal was too many standard deviations out to hold much realistic interest for me. I didn't really understand the whole Lori business. He'd affected dozens of different women to such an extent? And they all read and responded to the same ad from Tracey? So is Marshal Tracey's savior? Her nemesis? Is she his savior? His nemesis? I guess the whole situation just didn't have much emotional resonance with the real world that I'm familiar with.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:03 PM   #12
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Generally, a sentence is more than 10 words but less than 20 words in length. Now, if you are looking for the actual length (in centimetres), a sentence that uses 10 words, each of which is long, then it may be longer than a sentence of 20 short words.
I think the expectation that sentences should be between 10 and 20 words is too restrictive. I was taught that for ease of reading in technical writing, sentences should average about 17 words. Longer sentences seem to be common in fiction.

Out of curiousity, I extracted three paragraphs from my current story and ran it through the "style" utility. It graded out as being readable (Flesch score of 93.7 out of 100) with reading levels all at or below sixth grade.

That three paragraph stretch (which was chosen for no particular reason) had a long sentence of 44 words and an average sentence length of 19.6 words.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:12 PM   #13
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Out of curiousity, I extracted three paragraphs from my current story and ran it through the "style" utility. It graded out as being readable (Flesch score of 93.7 out of 100) with reading levels all at or below sixth grade.
I repeated that exercise with three paragraphs I plucked out of the first chapter of the OP's story. They were mostly dialogue.

The Flesch index came out to 74.5 out of 100 and the reading levels from several measures ranged from year 6 to 11.

The average sentence length was 22.6 words and the longest sentence was 48 words. The utiliity identified the majority of the sentences as being in passive voice.

I think that's all just a quantified way of saying that the story was hard to read.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:05 PM   #14
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I'm still busy reviewing a story for someone else. I take short breaks to change my pace, but reading lengthy stories isn't the sort of break I need.

However, and that said, after skimming over what everyone else has said, and if I was a suspicious person, and considering that this story was posted today (and considering I don't know your previous work to gauge by), I'd hazard a guess that this was a parody work; an attempt to lampoon what other writers have done.

A derisive attempt to get others to agree with what you have been saying all along.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWulf View Post
I'm still busy reviewing a story for someone else. I take short breaks to change my pace, but reading lengthy stories isn't the sort of break I need.

However, and that said, after skimming over what everyone else has said, and if I was a suspicious person, and considering that this story was posted today (and considering I don't know your previous work to gauge by), I'd hazard a guess that this was a parody work; an attempt to lampoon what other writers have done, and you have commented on in the past.

An attempt to get others to agree with what you have been saying all along.
Ahhh... So perhaps my comment about comedy might npt have been off base!
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:40 PM   #16
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I read the first page. It is competently written, except for the issues I identify below. I am not sure what kind of man or woman would enjoy this story, but I found it a little bit uninteresting. It is fine to produce an unlikeable character, but they need to be interesting about it, and this guy is just a little bit dull. I hope you find an audience for the story.

Here are a few editorial comments — some are stylistic opinions, and others are technical advice. Take what works.

I don’t object to the opening because it is falsely essentialist (which it is), as it is fine for your narrative voice to be mistaken; I do object to the fact that it is a chewy and uninspiring start to a story: it isn’t intuitive or attractive enough as a thought to lure the reader in.

You overuse ellipses. “Not that she gave it much thought... because after all, life was far better when she didn't think too much and simply complied with their wishes.” Here, a comma would be more effective. There is virtually never a good reason to try to indicate a pause in thought in this way. In speech, they may be used sparingly.

The section break is stylistically bad. Replace the thirty-odd hyphens with a handful, or the old standard three asterisks, and you have the same effect.

The disclaimer about women being unlikely to enjoy the piece seems like a preemptive piece of self-defence. If you write well about a topic, anybody can enjoy it. Some of my favourite stories are from POVs and on topics far removed from my own identity or tastes. Write well and have faith in your writing and put the disclaimers away unless they are merely informative: “be aware that this story is about X and contains themes of Y.”

You do not have to always put commas after introductory clauses/phrases that start sentences — some short clauses are fine without — but you do have to be consistent in your habits in this regard, and you are not. For example, “Either way she could still feel her heart pounding” omits the comma, but “Again, he interrupted her” employs it. Just be consistent.

Compound adjectives require a hyphen, e.g. “third party interest” should be “third-party interest.” Similarly, “point blank refused” should be “point-blank.”

The use of “and so” here should be revised: “he also didn't want to frighten her any more than he had to and so he made sure there was plenty of space between them.” That’s two coordinating conjunctions, when either one of them would do the job on its own, provided it was preceded by a comma, of course, as you do elsewhere in your piece. You use “and so” needlessly elsewhere in this piece too.

“50th” should be “fiftieth”; likewise “when she was 18” should be “eighteen.”

“My goodness, he thought to himself.” You can only think to yourself; economy suggests, “he thought.”

“Second guess” should be “second-guess”; likewise “high fived” should be “high-fived.”

In the second section, you move to Marshal’s perspective, and we are privy to his thoughts. But in that same section you write, “She wasn't sure if she understood him and so she just smiled and nodded.” This gives us direct insight into her thoughts too. This is called head-hopping, and is generally considered a weak style.

“what he was getting atg and” = typo?

“forced to pay for my affections” — isn’t he forced to pay for others’ affections, not his own?

“Personally I think you're quite handso…" — if this is an interruption rather than a pause, then you want, “Personally I think you're quite handso—”

If you interrupt someone and demand something, that is in itself rude, therefore this adverb is redundant: “he rudely demanded.”

What does “bowed and helped himself out” mean? “Let himself out”? “Showed himself out”?

“He was by far the most boring person she had ever met.” This is true, but I also think it might be a bit of a problem for the story itself. His inner monologue is not very interesting. I think you could easily cut a third of it out and still convey exactly the same impression of your main characters to us. I recommend doing that.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:06 PM   #17
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I have always understood that you have to grab the reader and interest them in your story in the first few paragraphs or at least provide them with enough interest to continue for a little while. But in all honesty Beerlvr88 if I had randomly come across your story I’d have been gone in 60 seconds. If it wasn’t for the statement “a sex worker is forced to relive an unpleasant past” I wouldn’t have known. I think that you should have made that clear early in the story rather than about 2,000 words in. I was trying to work out if she was a prostitute, a sex therapist or a physiotherapist. I got down to the paragraph about him lifting her effortlessly onto the bed which seemed to give the answer. That’s when I gave up.

You have a good command of the English language, and I’m pretty sure you are in the UK, but you are very verbose in your writing. Perhaps you are trying, subconsciously, to impress with your effusiveness and loquacity? Bloody hell! I’m sure you can’t be as blathering in your normal speech.

I got as bored writing that as you and everyone else must have been reading it. The KISS method of writing is a good one to use. Keep It Simple Stupid!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
Next there are the unusual name spellings. Maybe you aren't in the US but here, Tracey is usually spelled as Tracy. And I have never seen Marshall spelled as Marshal, not for a person's name. Minor details I suppose because these days there are a lot of unusual spellings but it does stop my eye every time I see those names.!
The English spelling is Tracey which indicates to me that Beerlvr88 is English. I’m English as I deliberately intimated by using “Bloody Hell.” Also “blathering” is Scottish.

I think that being critical of the spelling of names is a bit over the top no matter who does the criticising and whatever country they reside. The yardstick question is: do you understand what the person is saying or what the author has written? If you do then don’t comment. Leslie in England would be a man but not in America. Aluminium is the third most abundant element on this planet. Aluminum doesn’t exist. Two of the worst abominations in the English language are “gotten” and “snuck.” The words are “got” and “sneaked.” “Two time” instead of “double” or “three time” instead of “triple.” I’m waiting for an American sports commentator, talking about “track and field” instead of “athletics”, to talk about the “three time jump” instead of the “triple jump.”

All the above is deliberatively argumentative. Although I must admit that it’s slightly coloured by something that happened in this section earlier this year. A very innocuous comment was made about American readers not being prepared to accept anything that wasn’t American. Someone who is a fairly regular contributor, and I think is generally regarded as aggressive in their approach, responded that this is an American site and if you don’t like it then you can “lump it.” Except he didn’t say “lump it” because that’s a rather mild British phrase.

Another bugbear of mine is something that Jada59 has indirectly raised. The lack of knowledge about people because all the answers on their biography are “no answer.” When you are asked for location, for example, you aren’t expected to put 1628 Sundown Circle, Sacramento just America. How do you know that Kwai Chang Caine has difficulty with spelling because he’s Chinese when he could very well be American when he hasn’t put down in which country he lives?

I’ve read stories written by highly regarded writers on this site, some of whom have contributed to this bulletin board, that have contained spelling errors etc. But as long as they are minor and don’t affect your enjoyment of the story is it worth bringing up?

Getting back to Beerlvr88. I think he could improve his writing if he made a point of reading the work of some of the many very good writers on this site.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:52 PM   #18
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I'm a guy. Just a sec, I'll confirm. Yep, penis intact.

I didn't get much pleasure out of this. I read more than Melissa, but I will admit that I didn't finish.

I'm also a rookie around here. So take this with however many grains of salt you wish.

I'm with the Doc. From the title, I thought this would be an exploration of the psychology of sex work and the pleasure equation between sexworker and client. I think you started in that direction, and got turned around a bit. Care to take another shot at it? I think you should.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:14 AM   #19
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Move over, Elliot Rodger

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Originally Posted by LWulf View Post
I'm still busy reviewing a story for someone else. I take short breaks to change my pace, but reading lengthy stories isn't the sort of break I need.

However, and that said, after skimming over what everyone else has said, and if I was a suspicious person, and considering that this story was posted today (and considering I don't know your previous work to gauge by), I'd hazard a guess that this was a parody work; an attempt to lampoon what other writers have done.

A derisive attempt to get others to agree with what you have been saying all along.
The joke is that he is going to take these criticisms humbly and without argument because he is the Supreme Gentleman.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:47 AM   #20
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I agree with previous commenters on issues with excessive verbosity (in and out of dialogue), semicolons, fake medical terminology, and the "blame it on a big black guy" bit.

Beyond that, this story suffers from a couple of problems that I often see in stories here about sex workers.

One is that the sex worker becomes some sort of cipher, a vehicle for the author to present their views about sex work/male-female relations/etc. without being fleshed out as a character in their own right. Pretty much everything we get about Stacey is from the standard list of sex-worker tropes.

The other is that they tend not to be credible:

"She couldn't understand why she had to mimic these indicators of excitement, or why they always insisted that she should do everything she could to augment certain physical traits that the clients found so endearing."

"She knew that he would thoroughly enjoy the experience if she tried to push him off her, fought to keep her clothes on or begged him to stop, though she didn't do that often because of the amount of work it took on her part."

"She was about to continue with her usual 'won't you please come in' speech, but then realized who it was. She was very nearly successful with her attempt to forget all about Marshal, and if he hadn't returned she probably would have been."

You're describing somebody who puts the bare minimum into her work. This simply isn't consistent with the idea that she's meeting her clients in a presidential suite. If she's working at that level she's going to know very well who's due to show up at the door, and make the effort to make him feel he's got something worth the thousands of dollars he's probably paying for it.

"His oddities unnerved her, and although she wouldn't want to tell him outright, he made her feel uncomfortable to the point where she didn't want to be with him."

...and if she's working at that level, she almost certainly has the social skills to turn down repeat appointments with somebody who gives off that incel vibe.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:33 PM   #21
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I want to reiterate a point that I made early, so that it doesn't get overlooked.

There is nothing wrong with a revenge fantasy. Some of mine are about bullying, and the things I wish I could say to my bullies. Writing can be a really great catharsis for feelings we otherwise don't have a good venue for. If writing a story about facing down and rising above the girl who did you wrong helps you move past that, then that is awesome.

Keep. Writing.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:15 PM   #22
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My biggest problem is the tone of narration and POV. I believe AMD pointed out that the narration is clearly in Marshal's tone. That doesn't fit with the third person limited POV you've given us, which is largely Tracey's (except for an odd, one-time hop into Marshal's head). But the narration comes across as Marshal's voice to the point that I had to stop periodically and review to make sure you hadn't head-hopped again.

And I have to ask, is this intentional? If so, I'd largely suggest a more omniscient third person narrative voice. You could build dread or suspense that way. As it stands, it just comes off as odd.

I also wondered, more than once, how old the characters were. At the start, Tracey is coaching herself with advice "they" gave her, as though she is new to sex work, yet has the draw and client base to justify booking a presidential suite. Late in the story, she referred to Marshal as middle aged, which would, using the colloquial definition, put her at about 45. Which introduces further questions about her, about the story, and so on. Basically, if she can book a suite like that, she can probably deal with Marshal one way or another. And if they really are middle aged, the timeline and events are thrown into further question, and Marshal is probably far from the skeeziest guy she's had to work with.

The other thing is that, as said by others, your characters are less people than archetypes: the INCEL and the WHORE. Specifically, the wounded INCEL, and the WHORE who simultaneously did and didn't deserve her fate. They don't really feel like characters. If you're writing a stroker, it's not a big deal, but this story is concerned with motivation that causes big decisions. What happened between Tracey's awful experience (which she unfortunately seems to blame on herself) and her working in the presidential suite? What happened between Marshal's rejection and his being successful enough to spend money on a complex revenge? This doesn't need to be said on the page (probably shouldn't, at that). However, if the author has these answers, it can make for a complete, internally consistent story, and can make characters seem so real you would expect them to have birth certificates.

There's some great advice that has been given by others in this thread, especially AMD. If some of it seems mean spirited or condescending, I'd like you to consider your own words from another thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by beerlovr88 View Post

Part of the problem though is that after reading so many brilliant authors, I am now perhaps overly critical of the ones who are merely good or mediocre, so it'll be difficult to respond with the 'kindness' that you openly solicit for. Every word, every description, every encounter -- it all comes together to define the experience of your audience. Or in other words, an awkward word here, an ill-phrased sentence there... collectively all these 'little things' add up to create disinterest from an experienced reader. For if the author doesn't care enough about their story to clean it up, then why should the reader?
Read your favorite authors critically, and read your own work critically, too. My fear is that you'll take the criticism, suggestion, and guidance personally, or reject it because you may believe the problem is with the readers, that we are not smart enough to understand, etc.(not necessarily saying you think that, but it's been seen before). You've got some decent technical chops, so don't let them go to waste.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:44 AM   #23
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Thank you very kindly for accepting my invitation. Of all things I was most surprised by your claim here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
"It was clear that she didn't understand what he was getting atg and so he elaborated.
---

Note the letter "g" in the word"at".
Indeed, from my end it's quite the mystery as to how it got there. All I can say is that there might have been a formatting issue because in the original format that the story was written, the G is 100% absent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
You start out with a premise about depression and anxiety and state it as though it is fact.
Hate to be a stickler here but technically all original claims pertaining to anxiety or depression were predicated by "if" statements, which by definition are not exactly factual, at least in my book. Still, if you perceived the claims as factual then that's okay too. No need to apologize or feel sorry about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
Well... At least Tracey is as confused by it all as I am. So now that makes two of us!
Yes, that was kind of the point. Have you ever met a person whom you couldn't understand? The story portrays very polarized and contrasting personalities, one of which you could somewhat relate to because like you, she too had no idea what he was talking about. Still, if it killed the read for you then it killed the read for you, no need to apologize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
What is lengthy hair? And how can it appear more untidy than it really is?
You're right, it was not clear. I was merely trying to present her perception. In her mind she felt that others might have perceived it as being 'untidy', which in fact it wasn't. Perhaps I did a poor job at portraying this in which case your complaint is perfectly valid. Again, if it killed the read for you then it killed the read for you, and perhaps it was foolhardy of me for not giving that wording more consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jada59 View Post
I'm sorry. I had to give up.
No worries. I have to give up on so many reads that I'd be quite the hypocrite if I in any way begrudged you for doing the same.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelissaBaby View Post
Before I got to the end of the first paragraph, my left eye began fluttering.
It's quite amazing that you'd experience such an extremely negative reaction towards two sentences. At worse if I didn't care for two sentences I would merely be bored or otherwise lose interest, so if your left eye was actual fluttering then you're reacting in a way that I never dreamt possible.

Still, if I say so myself my opening paragraph was incredibly ambitious, and if it didn't resonate with you then it didn't resonate with you and you were very much justified to cease with the read shortly thereafter.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:05 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
If some of it seems mean spirited or condescending, I'd like you to consider your own words from another thread:
I can safely say that nothing you've written in any way gave me this impression, and I'm rather baffled that you'd be 'worried' enough about my reaction that you'd literally quote my own feedback that I've given to others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
My fear is that you'll take the criticism, suggestion, and guidance personally, or reject it because you may believe the problem is with the readers, that we are not smart enough to understand, etc.(not necessarily saying you think that, but it's been seen before)
Where is this fear of yours stemming from? I don't 'care' enough about other people's criticisms to try and speculate one way or the other about their motive or how 'smart' they are. If they like it then great and if not then that's fine too. Granted, there were a number of figurative, satirical and comedic elements at play which I wrote because I could appreciate them, but at the same time, perhaps the 'POV hopping' (as you described it) might inhibit even the most 'intelligent' of all possible readers from appreciating these qualities that I was attempting to portray.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
What happened between Marshal's rejection and his being successful enough to spend money on a complex revenge?
You thought there was a 'complex revenge' at play? I honestly never thought about it that way. She was merely a childhood crush, and even if he had to pay money, he'd always enjoy spending time with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
What happened between Tracey's awful experience (which she unfortunately seems to blame on herself) and her working in the presidential suite?
Believe it or not this was actually explained in later chapters. Perhaps it might have been 'better' if I went into the specific details sooner rather than later, but at the same time I don't hate keeping a bit of mystery during the introductory period of the characters. I also thought age was more of a state of mind than an actual number so I purposefully left it ambiguous, and I'll further say that, at the risk of exposing my general naivety, I previously would have thought that 45 was old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
You've got some decent technical chops, so don't let them go to waste.
Yeah, thanks, and on top of this another person even thought my story was 'superb'.

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