The Inexplicable Boredom
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    1 in 213896052 don't suck Shuckle213896052's Avatar
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    Default The Inexplicable Boredom




    Steve had tried, he really had. But even he had to concede that he’d be spending his time better outside than in.

    Because the summer holidays, the most anticipated event in a twelve year-old’s annum, were in a league of mind-numbingness comparable to that of hospital waiting rooms. Or fishing.

    Yet, counter-intuitively, the latter was precisely what he proposed to do. Having taken his father’s advice to take a shot at the time-honoured sport, he had gathered up the necessary implements, and would catch a fish under his father’s supervision. That was, at least, the plan.

    Steve’s house was currently a quick five-minute walk to the nearby Lake Acuity, though during the snowy half of the year, it could take up to fifteen. It was just a shame you couldn’t go skiing in the summer break.

    But he was willing to give it a shot, if only because it would take the rest of the evening to arrive there, set up the deckchairs and whatnot, stay awake with an Old Rod in hand for half an hour, pack the commodities away, and return home.

    The August air was brisk and fresh: contrary to popular belief, staying in cold climes all your life does not make them seem warm. But at around 10 degrees Celsius, the warmest time of the year, Steve was satisfied with the walk: it really felt like he was achieving something, if only he could think what.

    Throughout the journey, Steve’s father stayed silent, which suited Steve perfectly well: his father wasn’t a big talker, and, though that couldn’t be used to describe Steve himself, he certainly found any conversation alone with his father awkward, in a sense. It felt tense; as if his father would at any moment say something embarrassing, about girlfriends, or showering habits.

    So it was a nice, calm, peaceful, serene, serendipitous walk. These words, Steve found, just popped up in his head: language has a quirky habit of making words sound right. There was no way to describe this sort of thing: it just worked out that way.

    When Steve reached Lake Acuity, he wasn’t necessarily looking forward to fishing: merely that he was in a sufficiently acceptant frame of mind to do it. And he set out the deckchairs; and his father gave him some pointers on spearing the Wurmple larva; and the two sat down, and both started fishing.

    Steve waited, excited at first; then, gradually, bored. But slowly he realised one of the main purposes of fishing: to slow down the pace of the day, of life.

    Steve’s last few weeks had been certainly uneventful, but he slowly realised that he had worried himself over trying to spend them productively. This, there was no doubt, was no more productive than the other days, but at least he realised that. He wasn’t going to achieve anything, no matter how hard he tried - so he may as well stop trying.

    Steve, realising that he had realised this, fought against the notion of becoming old and wise before his time: because this was the sort of thing that only… who? Who accepts this? Accepting these things blindly was almost as bad as not accepting them.

    Steve glanced at his father, then blushed, then regretted both, then wondered why he had regretted them. His father, after all, was not pry to his thoughts. If Steve was becoming wise, then, heck, who needed to know?

    This fishing, Steve decided, was doing weird things to his mind.

    So Steve stopped looking introspectively (another of those ‘right’ sounding words), and looked around him.

    At first, he couldn’t really hear anything - then he realised that that was simply because he already heard it. Not that there was much to hear: a breeze that not only felt cold but sounded it, a couple of Kricketot chirping, a few splashes further out in the lake.

    And scents - again, he had smelt them all along. The sharp tang of cold air, the fresh scent of evergreen trees, and that indescribable ‘lakey’ smell. It was they that apparently smelt of nothing.

    The sunset had never much appealed to Steve, if only because it got colder and darker at that point; without a doubt, it was a turn for the worse after the stunning, blinding, HD visuals of life dimmed down. But it was a nice vista while it lasted. Steve made a mental note to come painting at the lake later in the holidays. Or maybe sketching, as it was easier to redo, and--

    He was quite literally yanked out of his trance. He had a bite. He actually had a bite. He had practically forgotten that he was fishing, but now he had a bite, so…

    Steve pulled; was pulled back; pulled a little harder; the resistance continued; and with one final yank, sent a Magikarp flying out of the lake.
    Last edited by Shuckle213896052; 10th September 2011 at 06:17 AM.
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  2. #2
    Vampire Grader sorocoroto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Inexplicable Boredom

    claimed cause only other stories are mine :)

    "A vampire with a soul? Oh my God ... how lame is that?" - Buffy Summers [S6x08]

  3. #3
    Vampire Grader sorocoroto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Inexplicable Boredom

    Intro
    My first impressions of the story on a whole.

    When you open up your story, I was surprised because my name is Steve. And I am trying to not be bored; that is why I’m grading so much. Lol, but seriously, your story delved into an interesting way to convey the idea of being bored. However, as I read, I kept feeling odd due to some of your sentence structure and abundance of colons and semi-colons, some of which were used incorrectly.

    And then I saw that it was a Magikarp story right at the end, and I face-palmed, because this story seemed like it was going to go much deeper than it did.


    Plot/Reality
    What stuck out in my mind as I was reading as unusual.

    The plot was fine, just kind of depressing. Here Steve is fishing with his dad, and it seems like they don’t have a good relationship. The father doesn’t even react to his son getting a bite.

    And I know you said that the abrupt ending was intentional, but I just felt like there wasn’t a rising action to the climax. He’s bored and describing random things around him until the very end, when he gets a bite.

    Cliffhangers are fine, but as I’ve said to other writers, it just doesn’t seem to appeal to me as a reader when a story is so short. Plus I guess I can argue that it isn’t a cliffhanger, because the whole problem was that he was bored, and now he’s not. But is he? So many questions, next section.


    Details:
    What kind of picture did you paint with your words.

    You were very detailed when describing everything except the characters. This is fine, since the main focus of the story was why Steve was so bored, and what else is a guy like this supposed to do but look around him and contemplate things.

    It works in a story like this. But just note that in future stories at harder difficulties, you’ll have to take your skill in describing the scenery to describing the characters, but I have no doubt that you’ll be great at that.


    Grammar:
    What your high school english teacher would point out.

    I noticed that you use UK spelling, so no spelling errors to my knowledge of the British language. You have a good sense of grammar concepts, like interjecting a thought in the middle of a sentence (i.e. “This was, at least, the plan) and colon usage. However, you tend to try to use punctuation in place of others:

    Colon versus Semi-colon

    Both semi-colons and colons join to ideas together. However, semi-colons are used when the two ideas are related, while colons are used when the second idea explains or illustrates the first.

    These words, Steve found, just popped up in his head: language has a quirky habit of making words sound right.

    There was no way to describe this sort of thing: it just worked out that way.
    The first sentence uses a colon correctly, as it explains why Steve found these words popping in his head. However with the second, “it just worked out that way” doesn’t explain why “there was no way to describe this sort of thing,” but is just another idea related to why language has a quirky habit […]. In the case of the second quote, a semi-colon is more appropriate.

    Semi-colon versus comma

    Semi-colons are used to separate lists when the items themselves have commas in it. However, if the list is simpler than that, use commas.

    Steve pulled; was pulled back; pulled a little harder; the resistance continued; and with one final yank, sent a Magikarp flying out of the lake.
    Here, Steve is the subject of four of the verbs, but then you added “the resistance continued” which changed the flow, making it understandable why you thought semi-colons would work here. However, this is not how they are meant to be used. Instead, commas should be used. Though, you would have to change up “the resistance continued” into something like “continued against the resistance.” That way, there will be a consistency of Steve, verb, verb, verb, etc.


    en dash and em dash
    An en dash is roughly the width of an “n” and used for periods of time or when combining compounds
    And scents - again, he had smelt them all along.
    This does neither. You are trying to use an em dash, which is the width of an “m” (I’ve seen you use -- and believe you’re using that to make an “em” dash) and used to indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought. C/P from a program like Word to the forums can change things like this, so you have to be careful.

    Other Stuff

    Steve, realising that he had realised this, fought against the notion of becoming old and wise before his time: because this was the sort of thing that only… who?
    “Because this was the sort […]” is a dependent clause and cannot stand on its own; therefore, the colon is out of place. When a dependent clause appears after the main one, no punctuation is used, so remove the colon.

    Because the summer holidays, the most anticipated event in a twelve year old’s annum, were in a league of mind-numbingness comparable to that of hospital waiting rooms. Or fishing.
    This isn’t a complete sentence. If you take out the modifiers and look at the bareness of it, it reads, “Because the holidays were in a league,” which isn’t a complete thought. When a sentence starts off with “because” or “since,” you need to have the phrase resolve into something. Because the holidays were in a league of mind-numbingness… then what?


    Steve waited, excited at first; then, gradually, bored.
    What comes after the semi-colon isn’t a new phrase. Steve was excited then bored. Bored is and adjective modifying Steve.


    So Steve stopped looking introspectively (another of those ‘right’ sounding words), and looked around him.
    Because you have parenthesis to separate the phrase from the sentence, you don’t need the comma as it is redundant.


    It was they that apparently smelt of nothing.
    Them


    Length:
    The length of time it felt like to read this story.

    Story was quick and within the CC for an Easiest story. Moving on.


    Personal Feelings:
    Really? I have these?

    So I liked the story overall. I just felt that while I was reading, I was stopped by the many interjected phrases like: “This, there was no doubt, was no more productive […]”. Remember that commas tell the reader to break from reading. So during your story, I felt like I was breaking too often. It is ok to have this once or twice, but not splattered around like you have.

    This sentence could easily be written like this: “There was no doubt that this was no more productive […]” and you see how the sentence just flows without the reader having to stop? I’m saying this in this section because while it is your style choice and correct grammar-wise, it is not pleasing for me to read, and I think that you’d benefit in the future if you dial it down.


    Conclusion:
    One Liner Wrap Ups

    Plot/Reality: Parental issues and boredom.
    Details: I know how cold it is but not what the characters look like.
    Grammar: Don’t confuse ; : and , .
    Length: I don’t even know why I have this line anymore.


    Verdict:

    "A vampire with a soul? Oh my God ... how lame is that?" - Buffy Summers [S6x08]

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