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1) Can you still smoke in US bars? 2) I found the switch of age descriptors between 36 for Gary and late thirties for Monica an odd choice, minor though.
Other than that this is very well written and built well and I loved the ending,,, the only thing that didn't quite gel for me, or rather work work as effectively as the rest, was what pushed him into his revelation and change of heart...
Very nice! I love your short choppy sentences with no verbs! Typo on page 7 - 'It's my wife. She WANTS to know--' The ending is sooo sweet. However, couple things seem to be quite unrelated to the story - Monica in the bar, and the policeman! Perhaps Monica mentioning that she doesn't see her son makes Gary realise how lucky he is that he CAN be with his child? If that's the case, than I would make it more obvious, e.g. Monica talking how she misses cuddling and kissing her little boy and Gary saying he couldn't imagine what it would be like if he couldn't cuddle and kiss his son...?
I know hold old he is. p.1 asphault on p. 7 typo Marcela mentioned the other one on the same page.
I'll launch right in. I enjoyed it. Nicely written, could picture everything, I was intrigued and you had my attention.
Here are the buts:
While I like the character of Monica I don't see that she adds enough - I wanted more drama. I wanted a real catalyst worthy of making Gary have second thoughts, or at least get to the point he does at the end of the story, and I didn't feel you delivered on that. Gary meets a woman, she idly tells him she and her son have differences - clearly about her lifestyle - drugs/men etc.
Then Gary has that drink. I was really hoping he wouldn't, so you got me there! But a close call with the cops, but quite obviously he's not had enough to be over the limit, and we know this. Even if he hasn't touched a drop in years, it's unlikely.
I understand you don't want to go the stereotypical route but at the moment Gary's wake-up call, like I said, is just not dramatic enough. Perhaps if he comes across an accident - perhaps he's involved in that accident but not at fault and not hurt, but other kids in the other car are... Or perhaps he's just a bystander but rocked by what he sees/hears.
Just seems like you took a softly-softly approach and I'm not convinced any of that would have made much of a dent on Gary's mindset. It's a 'short' I get that, but I think with such an important subject matter, and actually because it is a 'short', you need to ramp it up.
A few little asides which I don't mind at all because they were nicely done and didn't intrude too much. Some nicely done images as well - the gravel kicking back as the cruiser takes off - that's all done really nicely and effectively.
I'd delete the 'infected' aside though, that threw me a bit and makes Monica sound like a zombie imh.
'You wanna get shot was a nice line too, and timely, I might add.
Finally, I think you should make Charlie quite a bit older - perhaps eleven or twelve. I think at age six sexuality is more fluid (absolutely no pun intended btw) both parents would be a bit more circumspect, a bit more unsure i.e., whether she/he might grow out of it. Kids of that younger age - gender doesn't make a difference really to what they play with, how they dress etc.
All just my opinion, but because this is such important subject matter I think you could do more with it.
Technically, no. You cannot smoke in US bars, however when it's late, only a couple people left? Sure. I used to bartend in a local watering hole back when. It happens.
The revelation is a weird one, probably why I sat on finishing this for several months. I decided to show my protag experiencing the underside of things -- Monica's heroin tracks, to try and get him to realize the connection with the suicide in Colorado mentioned earlier. How things can go astray and spiral out of control if not taken care of.
Cons: The story itself/the theme and the message, especially delivered by parents. I can't stand this shit anymore, sorry, I guess it's on me, not you. I just don't see a need to tell this general story anymore. It's not natural. It's a real rare scenario as well. This emotion over this theme is fabricated/fueled by sensationalism.
I think this is a failure as parents on so many levels. You have a child/affirm the sex of the child. If child thinks he is the opposite sex he/she needs help. There should be professional help available, is there not?
I mean, doesn't a child see what this does to at least one parent?
Now, your story has the father behaving as I would expect a parent to. The mother gives up after 6 years? Why? There's usually a reason. Did she really want the opposite sex child from the get-go? And it only took 6 years for her to accept this? Does she just want to put pink bows in this kids hair?
Why/how does the father come around and agree/give-up on the kid after only one night going out to the bar? I didn't see anything happen or stimulate a realization to affirm this change. He meets a bar whore/drug addict for a few minutes. She throws herself at him (not believable BTW) then gets pulled over and let go, and this is what makes him come around? Did I miss something?
Again, good job with the writing.
"A light glows from inside. Two cars in the driveway. Cricket chirps interrupted by the clink of dishes from the
INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS"
In the above, I didn't care how the action looks as it transitions to the next slug. Not sure if it's a real issue, but I think it looks funny/incomplete. At least use a "--" or "..." IMO.
['You wanna get shot was a nice line too, and timely, I might add.]
I think "Hey, hey -- hands where I can see them." then have the officer cover his gun with his hand like he's gonna draw it, works well too.
Man, I wish just once I'd read a story like this where the kid comes back to being the sex he was intended to be. That would be different story for a change. Why does everyone else have to change/move against their beliefs these days?
Hey Steven I liked this story quite a bit. Gary is immediately relatable and the conflict is timely. You didnít take a simple route like Gary reverting to his addiction and losing everything because of his stubbornness or an immediate turn around in his feelings toward his child. It made everything more realistic. I liked how you showed Gary breaking his willpower but then seeing the places his addiction could take him if he went down that road. Well done, Logan
I chose an indirect route for Gary to come to his revelation about his son. I didn't want to go the cuddly route but rather show Gary at his weakest, after having had it out with his wife, then Monica -- someone who could be a mirror image of Gary had he chosen to let himself go, or let the situation with his son spiral out of control. The traffic stop offers hope ... Forgiveness. Even in the end Gary admits to not being totally on board with everything still. But he's willing to trying its for the better of someone he loves so much.
I think that, yes, I might have missed a mark considering Gary's turnaround -- even though it wasn't a complete turnaround. That was sort of the point. I was hoping Monica's track marks would have been jarring enough to give pause. It got him thinking, for sure. I think I was going for a really awkward moment there, much like Tom Cruise's moment in Eyes Wide Shut where he discovers the girl he almost slept with was HIV positive.
You said I took a softly-softly approach, but I don't think I did really. I think going the route of showing an accident with some disturbing images would have been a little too stereotypical. You know me. I like to bury meanings. So much so that even the reader doesn't quite get it! Haha. Not sure if I get them all the time either. How very Lynchian of me.
And lastly, I do certainly agree that the Charlie should be older. Will fix that. However, I disagree that six year olds -- even 2 year olds -- seem to go with more gender neutral toys. My boy is six and he's all about guys stuff. My two year old boy is all about trucks and cars. My two year old daughter? You guessed it -- dolls!
I do certainly agree that the Charlie should be older. Will fix that. However, I disagree that six year olds -- even 2 year olds -- seem to go with more gender neutral toys. My boy is six and he's all about guys stuff. My two year old boy is all about trucks and cars. My two year old daughter? You guessed it -- dolls! Steve
You know what Steve, you're right. I stand corrected. Hubby reminded me of a doco we watched on gender differences, nature/nurture, conditioning etc. where little girls were given trucks to play with and the boys were given dolls. The girls painted and decorated the trucks, and guess what the boys did? Yep, they ripped the dolls heads off. Seems it is innate. I think I was mixing things up a bit with something I read about gender preferences with colour.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Whether or not Gary's turnaround was believable or not is up to any given reader, I guess. I suppose I was trying to show the seedy underbelly of this situation -- the struggle in Gary's mind if he chose fighting against the will of who his son truly is inside. Could have been handled better probably. But that's what came out and I tried my best to make it work.
Thanks for the compliments on the writing.
Your opinion is your opinion and I won't try and sway you one way or the other. My experience is this: I know where you're coming from. I do. I used to feel that way a few years ago. I was so sick and tired of hearing about transgender children thinking they were the other sex, bringing up court cases to allow them to use school restrooms of the opposite sex and what not. I was really tired of it. I always felt it was on the parents, that they were somehow enabling their children to act this way. I just figured they were bad parents. I figured they were nuts and doing their children a disservice by feeding into this so called gender role reversal.
Then I started digging deeper. I read a story where a child, barely in their teens I think, had committed suicide because of the whole transgender issue. I started to form my own opinions. And being a father, I started to come up with different conclusions.
A little research will show you that transgender people have one of the highest suicide attempt rates in the country -- 41%, some estimates at almost 50%, compared to "normal" people at 4.6%. And in both cases the reasons were very similar, dealing with feelings of rejection by parents, bullying, cutting themselves. The list goes on.
I don't think much is known as to, internally, what makes a young boy think he's a girl, and vice versa. This counseling you speak of, and I can only conclude it is some form of "conversion therapy," is out there, usually sponsored by church groups and the like. Today it may be much different, however, prior to 1990 and going back to the sixties, there are very bad stories of what used to exist and the methods used. Ice pick lobotomies, as well as some real Clockwork Orange type stuff. It's sick. I'm sure it's changed now. Hopefully.
Most recently, a church group beat to death a teen boy as a way of intervening because he wanted to leave the church. Among the culprits, the child's own mother and father. Now, this wasn't a gay/transgender issue, but I think the mind set is very similar as to how some organizations and people just take things way too far based on their own beliefs of how things should be. It's violent, it's cruel, and you look at these people and you know they're just plain crazy. But I digress.
In my own opinion, I believe it possible for a child to be born "hard-wired" a girl, but with all the parts of a boy. Much the same as a child born with six toes on each foot, or some other kind of deformity. What I'm trying to say is that things don't always go as planned, and I feel it to be completely plausible that this could happen.
I think what it comes down to, as a parent, is a choice: Hold on to beliefs that transgender is a choice? I find it hard to accept that a child as young as three could even make a choice like that unless it wasn't already placed there. Pre-determined. In the genes, so to speak.
I'll do whatever necessary to protect my children. And if that means my son thinks he's a girl, I won't like it. That being said, I would much rather have a healthy girl than a dead son.
I get and respect what you are saying and all of its emotion involved. I really do feel some of the same things and I agree that those feelings are real.
But, we live in a real world and unless you are there to "mommy" your kids all their life (which some people do) they need to be ready for a very cruel world. A boy is a boy. A girl is a girl. They are not "hard wired," matter of fact transgenderism is "un wiring" what is natural using "science".
But, I feel what you mean. I just don't think this puts us all in a better place.
BTW, I already see on govt forms underneath sex check boxes: M__ F__ T__
Steven - a solidly written script. You have demonstrated real craftsmanship, IMO.
I, like some other readers. did not find the meeting with the heroin girl at the bar sufficient to get your protag's mind spinning in a different direction. I know you already do - so enough said I guess.
Smooth, quick read as always. Snappy title to carry the idea.
Subtle use of scenes to illustrate; though I think you could dial back the cause of Garyís frustration at the outset. How about giving us a little mystery to work with? We could know itís something to do with the kid, but make us work for exactly what.
Overall Iím not sure what it was that pushed Gary to his sudden change of heart. The conversation with Monica feels a little tenuous. Seems like Garyís issue comes from shame -- driven by a religious belief that itís unnatural. Feels like somethingís missing for him to really make that leap to reconcile his beliefs with his sonís choices.
I did like that he acknowledges heís only starting to try and come to an understanding of his kidís choices -- the temptation could of been to end on the whole hog and Hallmark approach.
Thanks for the feedback. Your comments make sense in the respect that the entire bar scene has more to do with Gary's own addiction rather than his feelings towards his son. Good pick up on that. I'll use that to greater effect if this goes to a rewrite.
That makes the whole scene of him pulled over by the cop more important because it might be then and there he makes a decision on his son. In which case info with Libby's advice. Thanks.