Proust’s Playlist, draft bit the Second, for Sunday Snippets


Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero (Photo credit: LJ42)

Hi, Everyone, Here’s another *draft* piece – much closer to 250 words this time! Thank you so much for your comments last week.I look forward to this week’s round.

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Please visit the sites of other Sunday Snippets collaborators:

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/

http://www.mandyevebarnett.com

http://womanbitesdog.wordpress.com/

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com

http://writerscrash.blogspot.com

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com

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Mal walked upstairs. Kicking off her shoes, she scuffled through the pile of clothes on her floor. Underneath yesterday’s socks and last week’s cardigan was her favorite pair of jeans. Worn through and faded, they hung loosely off her hips, bagging like sweatpants. They were soft like sweats, too, at the perfect state of wear for denim: in a week or two, they will probably fall apart, but just now, they are snug and loose in all the right places. Buttoning them, Mal thought about their origin. They had been left at a friend’s house the morning after a party. No one knew whose pants they were – and, frankly, no one wanted to ask too many questions about how it was that someone left their pants at a party – but they were soft and relatively clean, so no one spent too much time trying to find the owner. A gift to the party gods, the jeans were then passed from Mal’s friend to Mal after Mal rescued her from a different unmemorable night. Mal figured they were just payment for services rendered, and kept them. She rather liked their ambiguous loyalty and viewed them not so much as her jeans, but as jeans that had stopped by for a visit. Mal wasn’t interested in things that she could own. The house wasn’t hers, not really. She was just taking care of it until it passed along to the next owner. The jeans were similar – not hers, but with her for now. Her truck was Timmy’s, and for all she knew, might be his again someday. The only thing Mal was particular about was her guitar. That was hers, hers and no one else’s.

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About Shannon Blue Christensen

Storyteller. Author. Editor. Literary Critic. Director. Teacher. Knitter. nascent Musician. Student. Operations and Quality. Marketing. Historian. Lear's Fool. View all posts by Shannon Blue Christensen

20 responses to “Proust’s Playlist, draft bit the Second, for Sunday Snippets

  • Richard Leonard

    Hi Shannon, I really liked this. I should point out I didn’t get round to reading your 250 sentences from last week so I’m reading this as a stand-alone. I realise it’s a draft but it reads as a really good draft. I always feel I need to insert the disclaimer that I have relatively few writing/editing qualifications so I don’t really know what I’m doing here.
    Having said that, I did feel that in the first sentence, “walked” was a little bland. I didn’t pick up Mal’s mood from that sentence or those following.

    I have since quickly skimmed last week’s, looking for a prelude to this scene and wondering if it followed on immediately and it could, so I guess it does. But it could equally be a new scene. Not sure.
    But I liked the description of the history of the jeans. The summing up of what she owns and doesn’t own was very neat.
    Good stuff. 🙂

  • Jenny

    Alot of history about the jeans 😛 Good story

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    Travelling pants. Interesting. Might you consider breaking this piece up into (smaller) paragraphs? I have one weakness which makes my eyes glaze over when I see all text and little white space.

    I am, however, curious about what else she may be taking care of…or if something will happen to the one thing that is hers.

    • Shannon Blue Christensen

      I’m curious, too. 🙂
      I think I know where this story is going, but I’m not really sure.

      Yes, white space is an issue. Somehow, sometimes formatting doesn’t work out correctly – especially depending on which device I’m using to upload or write stuff. You are right.

  • Jennifer M Eaton

    Mal walked upstairs.
    IF YOU COULD MAKE THAT A LITTLE MORE ACTIVE IT WOULD SOUND BETTER.
    Kicking off her shoes, she scuffled through the pile of clothes on her floor. Underneath yesterday’s socks and last week’s cardigan was
    DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE “TELL” TRAP OF THE WORD “WAS”. 90% OF THE TIME YOU CAN REMOVE IT. HERE YOU CAN REMOVE ID BY REPLACING IT WITH “SHE FOUND”
    her favorite pair of jeans. Worn through and faded, they hung loosely off her hips, bagging like sweatpants. They were soft like sweats, too, at the perfect state of wear for denim: in a week or two, they will probably fall apart, but just now, they are snug and loose in all the right places.
    WOW. IS THE NATURE OF THE JEANS IMPORTANT TO THE STORY? IS NOT, THAT’S A WHOLE LOT OF WORDS USED TO DESCRIBE OLD JEANS.
    Buttoning them, Mal thought about their origin. They had been left at a friend’s house the morning after a party. No one knew whose pants they were – and, frankly, no one wanted to ask too many questions about how it was that someone left their pants at a party – but they were soft and relatively clean, so no one spent too much time trying to find the owner. A gift to the party gods, the jeans were then passed from Mal’s friend to Mal after Mal rescued her from a different unmemorable night. Mal figured they were just payment for services rendered, and kept them. She rather liked their ambiguous loyalty and viewed them not so much as her jeans, but as jeans that had stopped by for a visit.
    HMMMM. UNLESS WE FIND OUT THAT THESE JEANS ARE POSESSED AND THE PREVIOUS OWNER STARTS TAKING OVER HER MIND OR SOMETHING… THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE JEANS. I’LL MAKE NO JUDGEMENTS UNTIL LATER, BUT RIGHT NOW, I THINK IT IS WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE JEANS, WHICH COULD BE A PROBLEM IF THE READER DOES NOT THINK THAT THEY ARE SIGNIFICANT IN SOME WAY.

    Mal wasn’t interested in things that she could own. The house wasn’t hers, not really. She was just taking care of it until it passed along to the next owner. The jeans were similar – not hers, but with her for now. Her truck was Timmy’s, and for all she knew, might be his again someday. The only thing Mal was particular about was her guitar. That was hers, hers and no one else’s.
    HMMMM. TRYING TO THINK OF THE BEST ADVICE HERE. I THINK YOU REALLY NEED TO GET ANOTHER CHARACTER IN HERE FOR SOME CONVERSATION. IN THE LAST 250 WORDS – A WHOLE PAGE OF YOUR READER’S VALUABLE TIME–ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED IS SHE FOUND HER JEANS. THERE IS A LOT OF INNER THOUGHT THAT IS JUST SCOOTING ON THE EDGE OF TELL. IF THIS INFORMATION CAN ALL COME OUT IN CONVERSATION, OR HAVE IT NATURALLY SHOW AS THE STORY DEVELOPS, I THINK IT WOULD BE SHARPER. CAN THIS BE DONE?

  • caitlinstern

    Love the description of the pants! She’s a brave girl to put on something left behind at a party–I certainly wouldn’t! The philosophical nature of “jeans that stopped for a visit” is awesome as well.
    Perhaps if you’re stuck, you could consider who the jeans might visit next? You might not use the scene, but it could help get the words flowing.
    My only problem with the jean’s description (which was wonderfully tactile) was of “snug and loose in all the right places.” The phrase “they hung loosely off her hips, bagging like sweatpants” made me think these were pants that swallowed Mal whole. Not pants that made her butt look good.
    The phrase “the jeans were then passed from Mal’s friend to Mal after Mal rescued her” is correct, but a tad repetitive. Maybe “Mal’s friend passed the jeans on following Mal’s rescue of her…?” Hmm… I rather like the focus on the jeans being passed like a torch, so maybe not. But perhaps you can tweak it in a better way. 🙂
    I’d love to hear more about the one possession that’s hers–her guitar. You know it has to be special to be the one thing she ‘owns.’

    • Shannon Blue Christensen

      I think they do swallow her whole. In fact, I think she uses them to hide in. They most certainly don’t make her bum look good. LOL

      Thanks for the ideas – your suggestion on who the next owner’s might be may be reeally helpful in getting me going again. Thanks.

      Jennifer’s right, there is still a lot of tell and not much action.
      How will I fix that?

      *wanders off to pace and mutter*

      Thanks 🙂

  • journeyofjordannaeast

    Hello there. Beautifully written piece, but like Ms Eaton said, a whole lot of info about a pair of jeans. It’s also only an excerpt, so maybe the jeans are significant? But still pretty well written. Good job.

  • James LandeJames lande

    Okay, now you got many (if not most) of the guyz reading this wondering if they could get into those jeans. Size, what? 42 – no, wait. That’s the answer to a different question.

    Thanks for all the fish!
    James

  • Ileandra Young

    Hi m’dear! Sorry to be so late with the critique for this piece; I’ve been someone battered this week. I hope you’re well!

    ‘…she scuffled through…’ I wasn’t sure about the word ‘scuffled’ in this context. It gives me an image of her fighting with the clothes, which, though probably accurate, might work just as well with a word like ‘waded’ or ‘shoved.’

    ‘…they hung loosely off her hips…’ I think you could possibly save yourself some words by skipping off ‘loosely.’ Saying that they hang off their hips tells us that they’re loose and then you say again that they bag; like sweatpants.

    Watch out for switches in tense, you’ve written ‘they will probably fall apart, but just now, they are snug and loose’ when the rest so far has been in past tense.

    I feel there is an awful lot of detail about these jeans. If they are going to be an important plot point later, then by all means, gives us the detail, but my interest was piqued by the guitar and I’m guess that the instrument is a deal more important and central to Mel than these jeans which may/may not be hers.

    Also, there is one line with three ‘Mal’s all within two words of each other. I understand what you’re trying to do, but so many repetitions of the character’s name is a little cumbersome and it removes us from character a little. Maybe try more pronouns to bring us a little nearer to her?

    Also, I don’t know much about Mal yet. She likes comfy clothes, but that’s about it. Can we possibly get more detail about Mal? Something emotional perhaps that we can latch onto so we can really connect with her?

    • Shannon Blue Christensen

      Thank you for the suggestions! I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.

      I need to give a great deal more thought to this passage. I am also reconsidering exactly how to present the story – I’m thinking about reorganizing events, introducing more characters….

      I’m taking all suggestions! 🙂

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