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Carson - Short Story

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Old 02-13-2011, 02:44 PM
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Icon1 Carson - Short Story


We often portray our main character as the protagonist, even making their faults humble ones. Carson is the antithesis to the "perfect" main character. These short stories I write are exercises for myself. This one is intended to develop a character who is not likable but completely familiar to us all. Please tell me if you find Carson to be insolent, rude and utterly average and what can be done to give him a more visceral existence. Thank you for reading!

---

Carson traced his finger along the peeling advertisement taped to the counter with his left hand, his chin resting in his right. He checked his watch for the third time in ten minutes and cursed quietly. The door chimed, calling his attention to the front of the pharmacy as an elderly woman carrying a brown paper bag walked in. She walked with surprising quickness to have such an awkward gait, her body angled forward and to the right making each step with her left foot somewhat of a balancing act. He recognized her but never cared to remember any customers name and so his greeting was generic. She talked about her grandson, her dead husband, the robins nest in the backyard and finally the bag clutched in her hand. Carson recoiled when she unrolled the top, instantly loathing the smell of its contents. Making sure to give her the most efficient service, he asked her to wait there while he went and got a fiber supplement.

Carson sprayed the air one more time with air freshener before convincing himself that he didn’t need to look at his watch again and should, instead, find something to do to pass the time. The door chimed and Carson looked up a little more enthusiastically, happy to forget the time for a moment. A young woman walked in and kept her head down as she walked to the left of the store, looking up only once to see if anyone had noticed her and quickly pulling her hair over her eye when she saw Carson. He thought about asking her if she needed any assistance just to see the color in her cheeks rise but the door opened again and he watched as an equally abashed young man went to her side. They whispered back and forth for several minutes before attempting to look casual as they approached the register. Carson smirked as he rung up their purchase, thanked them for their business and wished them a “good time.”

Maybe he could straighten the shelves, Caroline went on maternity leave a week ago and she was usually the only person who cared. He couldn’t believe she chose to name her daughter Maybel and laughed aloud to the memory of mooing when she’d told him. He pulled some boxes to the edge of the shelf, picked up a row of deodorant that had fallen over, checked the expiration date on the cartons of milk in the refrigerator and went back to his station - still bored. He thought about playing a game on his phone but that would have meant seeing the time and he was resolute to not check it. He picked up a newspaper and began looking through the help wanted section, paying particular attention to an ad requiring a pharmacist with five years of experience. He picked up the desk phone and called the number to enquire about the job, his blood turning cold when he heard the phone in his managers office begin to ring. He quickly hung up and began biting his nails.

The door chimed again and a woman stuck her head in the door and said “I’m sorry, I was just wondering if you had the time?” Carson opened his phone, slammed it shut and grumbled “It’s 8:30, ma’am.”

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Old 02-13-2011, 03:05 PM
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I found this piece really funny.

Especially the part with the teens buying condoms.

He doesn't seem to be as big of an asshole as you made him out to be.

Perhaps some snarky comments if that's the way you want to go with him.

Keep Writing.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:22 PM
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Thank you, MickTheebs. I have a hard time with dialogue, it always sounds contrived. Would you be so kind as to give me some examples that would fit? I appreciate your critique!
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by inzombniac View Post

Carson traced his finger along the peeling advertisement taped to the counter with his left hand, his chin resting in his right.
The index finger of Carsons left hand traced along the peeling advertisement taped and retaped to the counter top. His chin resting in his right palm.


His chin resting in his right palm, Carsons left hand index finger traced around the edges of a peeling advertisement that was taped and retaped to the counter top.

In your rendering, inzombniac, I wondered if the hand was taped to the counter also. Or if his hand taped the advertisement.

Yes, I should be able to dedeuce that such is not the case with the clues of
'chin resting in right'. Here, I must assume 'right' refers to a hand.
That assumption should help me know that his left hand can't possibly be taped to the counter while the finger of it is tracing.

Aww, maybe I'm going down a useless, for you, path of composition clarity.
This ain't even the type of crit you asked for.


Please accept my apoligies.

Nick
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
The index finger of Carsons left hand traced along the peeling advertisement taped and retaped to the counter top. His chin resting in his right palm.


His chin resting in his right palm, Carsons left hand index finger traced around the edges of a peeling advertisement that was taped and retaped to the counter top.

In your rendering, inzombniac, I wondered if the hand was taped to the counter also. Or if his hand taped the advertisement.

Yes, I should be able to dedeuce that such is not the case with the clues of
'chin resting in right'. Here, I must assume 'right' refers to a hand.
That assumption should help me know that his left hand can't possibly be taped to the counter while the finger of it is tracing.

Aww, maybe I'm going down a useless, for you, path of composition clarity.
This ain't even the type of crit you asked for.


Please accept my apoligies.

Nick

Rereading the opening, I can see how that might need to be reworded.

Carson traced his finger along the peeling advertisement taped to the counter with his left hand, his chin resting in his right.

"Carson rested his chin in his right hand while his left idly peeled the advertisement taped to the counter."

Is this any more concise?



Never apologize, a constructive critique is always welcome! I appreciate every bit of opinion, wisdom and wit! Thank you, Nick!
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:19 PM
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Your first rendering was concise compared to the two I typed.

This is clearer than your initial opening.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:23 AM
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I would say this character seemed generally bored, but otherwise relatively normal. To add a certain...rebelliousness or snark to the character you don't necessarily need dialogue (though I think it'll help break this story up).

For example, you might add another tidbit about the advertisement he's peeling. "Carson rested his chin in his right hand while his left picked at the counter-top. The thought of his manager having to re-tape the advertisement there at the end of the day made him grin pettily."

That's a really long sentence that I'd just end up shortening somehow, but I'll leave the specifics to you.
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