Mollie


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Post November 28, 2013, 04:32:24 PM

Mollie

My user name is Storyguy, but I am Dennis Wild the author of the short story Mollie. As a published nonfiction writer this is my first foray into fiction -- horror fiction here. I opened the topic hoping for feedback, positive and negative, from the site's readers. Thanks.
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Post November 28, 2013, 07:12:55 PM

Re: Mollie

May I offer you our welcome to the circle at Aphelion, Dennis? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a beverage, and enjoy the show.
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Post November 28, 2013, 09:26:24 PM

Re: Mollie

Dennis,
Welcome! Hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant.

I read the story, but couldn't figure out quite what to say about it for a while.

I think you've done a fair job with the scientific end of the subject matter, and octopodes are fascinating critters, certainly. However, the overall tone of it seemed rather distant, perhaps clinical, for the most part; I wasn't too moved by it. Maybe the length is too much, and/or the pacing too slow and even.

Brodsky's character seems -- well, uncharacteristic, for someone in his position; I can't figure out a reason for his attitudes toward Mollie (though the reason for her attitude toward him is abundantly clear). We don't get to see how he feels or acts toward the other creatures in his care, though, so it's harder to know if it's just her.

I think the basic idea is a good one, but the story needs some work.
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Post November 28, 2013, 10:10:27 PM

Re: Mollie

Lester Curtis wrote:I think you've done a fair job with the scientific end of the subject matter, and octopodes are fascinating critters, certainly. However, the overall tone of it seemed rather distant, perhaps clinical, for the most part; I wasn't too moved by it. Maybe the length is too much, and/or the pacing too slow and even.

That's interesting. I certainly do not want to discount your view of it. You've shown yourself to be far too good of a critic for that.

However, I really have to disagree. Perhaps it just shows we all have different tastes, but this was my favorite story of the bunch this month.

I thought Mollie's plight and character were compelling, and her actions very human, which is what drew me to her. Russ watching, on the surface, would logically seem to distance him from the play of the plot, but I viewed him more as her voice. As I saw him, her actions only became "human" by him experiencing the "play" in front of him. His "dialog" spoke to us for her. To me, he was absolutely integral to it all.

Brodsky may have been a bit one dimensional, I'll grant that, but in my mind his tormenting actions and his subsequent murder were secondary to Russ discovering Mollie's humanity. Honestly, where Russ thought the touch on the cheek was saying goodbye (which would be a very human thing indeed), I saw instead as her checking to make sure he was ok. He was sleeping and could have looked dead to her--her only friend. Perhaps there could have been a double meaning to the gesture, but for me it really cemented her humanity.

Of course, in my current job, I fully understand a trapped feeling and knowing that there are people who irritate my environment, making it hard to get by... That could also have been a factor, I suppose.

Nate
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Post November 29, 2013, 03:53:41 PM

Re: Mollie

Thanks for the welcome and I hope everyone had a fine holiday.

The feedback on my story has been very interesting. The real magic in writing is that virtually every reader comes away with a slightly different view of the story. It's nice to hear these views.

Lester Curtis made a reasonable point about Brodsky's character. In writing him I tried to show how Mollie's territorial behavior in the common tank had made his life miserable, and driven him to an obsession with Mollie -- causing him to evolve into a focused, one-dimensional personality. It may not have come across as well as I had planned, but that was my goal.

And as to Nate's thoughtful comment on Mollie touching Russ' cheek, I tried to convey the idea of Mollie's loneliness and her need to connect with another living being. It was what I thought would make Mollie unique.

Again, thanks for the comments. They can help make writers and their writing better.
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Post November 29, 2013, 09:23:47 PM

Re: Mollie

storyguy wrote:And as to Nate's thoughtful comment on Mollie touching Russ' cheek, I tried to convey the idea of Mollie's loneliness and her need to connect with another living being. It was what I thought would make Mollie unique.

Nate was right about that, and you did a nice job with it -- very effective.
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Post December 01, 2013, 08:39:03 PM

Re: Mollie

Lester Curtis wrote:Brodsky's character seems -- well, uncharacteristic, for someone in his position; I can't figure out a reason for his attitudes toward Mollie (though the reason for her attitude toward him is abundantly clear).


If your're thinking of what I think you're thinking of then I beg to differ.

Anyhow here's my take on the matter:
That mollusc is a killer - just ask the diver. That is the reason it has been removed from the show tank. It has been described as uncommonly aggressive fot Is kind; and it's hardly likely that moving it into the isolation tank will have made it more docile. So the good doctor might well have bocome a target of that agression just by being available.
That way the doctor's - admittedly dirty - fighting back would be a consequence, not the reason of the mollusc's agrressiveness.

That also might give you at least partly a reason for his attidude.
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Post December 04, 2013, 12:01:38 AM

Re: Mollie

I liked it. The ending was quite satisfying and well foreshadowed.

Not sure what Colin was there for, but it helped build suspense.

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/shorts/2013/11/Mollie.html
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Post December 05, 2013, 04:20:24 PM

Re: Mollie

storyguy wrote:My user name is Storyguy, but I am Dennis Wild the author of the short story Mollie. As a published nonfiction writer this is my first foray into fiction -- horror fiction here. I opened the topic hoping for feedback, positive and negative, from the site's readers. Thanks.


"Give us some bibliography!" : )
Hallo! Welcome, etc!

So anyway I'll go after this angle:

"You're a non-fiction writer writing about a non-fiction writer" ... could *you* write that piece on Mollie? If so, then you get the special new storytelling angle of figuring out why you can write it and the character can't.

I can half-write it. As of this fragment ...
"Anyway, Russ thought it was time for a break. He decided to take the next day off from Mollie, from the center, and certainly from Brodsky; a time to sketch out in his mind what he wanted to say in print.

He worked at it all day, and the next. It didn't go well. It wasn't writer's block. Russ only needed an angle on the story, without which the article would read more like a dissertation, flat and boring. The piece had to have a beginning, middle, and an end, and he clearly wasn't there yet. To get there, wherever "there" was, he had to spend more time with Mollie. "

... I'd borrow a Celine Dion song, and come up with:

----------

Octopus Whispers in the Morning by ____________

Where does her heart beat now? Does it echo through the night?

"Her" ... is Mollie, an aging octopus in an aquarium at a marine studies facility (etc). She's fourteen feet long, but her estimated lifespan is about a quarter of that, and she's over three years old already. So her time is running out.

I've been seeing her in her tank for some time now. And I'm here to tell you that she's no mindless predator of the sea! There's ... something there. But it might take me a follow-up story to put words to what that "something" is.

Before my little feature piece gets too baroque, of course Mollie is "just an octopus". But I am learning that within those confines, there's subtlety we have not properly known..."

------------

So there you go!

Cheers,

--Tao

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Post December 09, 2013, 01:23:02 PM

Re: Mollie

kailhofer wrote:Brodsky may have been a bit one dimensional,

but in this story that does serve a purpose. Contrasting an anthropomised mollusc againt that cardboard cutout character makes the mollusc seem the more human.

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