Looking at a positive trend in lit DDs.
Probably the biggest demand authors on this site have is for more constructive feedback. And guess what? One of the ways you do end up getting some great advice is when you get a sitewide feature.
Here are a few quotes from great critiques seen in October's DDs, and yes I have chosen sentences that are offering constructive feedback rather than positivity, so don't assume these critics were pointlessly harsh. I've left them anonymous just in case, but if you recognize your words here, please understand they're appreciated!
I'd suggest incorporating more turns of phrase to keep the language fresh.
I feel as though the action around the beginning of the fire could be a little more clear, and perhaps the setting, too.
I think with a little more condensation, you could make a greater impact upon the reader.
I think shorter would work better, because then you're not adding more 'filler', and shorter sentences work to increase intensity.
Anyway, I'm including these because 1) they're good examples of how to suggest a change and 2) because sometimes people forget that there's nothing wrong with critiquing a DD (I haven't seen it in a while, but there have been posts like 'how could you critique this special snowflake' or 'don't listen to that jerk, this is peeeerfect as iiiiis' and they are most amusing when the artist's own comments say they think they could do better).
Guys, I am incredibly picky. If I were going to only feature perfect things, so far you would see two, maybe three pieces from me over the entire year. Perfection is hard and a lot of people who achieve it shoot for publication, which means it isn't even posted here.
There's nothing wrong with you if you think a DD could use work. Nor is there anything wrong with a person if they think something needs work and you think it's good as is.
And now for all the October DDs with less than 30 comments in case you're suddenly feeling the itch to say things. Hint, hint.
Down By The SchoolyardThere is a rather cliched phrase that states that some people live double lives. I have always found that to be an intensely misleading statement and I guess you can call it a bit of a pet peeve of mine. No one leads "double lives", they just lead fucking lives. That those lives are more complex that the singular one-track existence of lesser creatures shouldn't be a matter of duplicity, but of common sense. No one is exactly who they seem to be.
Julio is one of those who they would later say lived a double life, but it is no more true for him than anyone else. The difference in this case is that there are two of him, rather than one.
Tonight is different.
Genevieve pauses, staring as layers of fog encroach forward. The ominous mist slinks onward only to settle against her taunt muscles. Vapor coils along her skin like venom; tangible and prickling.
She allows her lungs timid inhales of February. Every breath sparks artic shockwaves throughout her nervous system Glacial streaks start to sprout within her tissues, ever-so-silent and sickening. She slows, listening to iced-oxygen hardening between blood cells.
The cold feels like boulders in my lungs.
Genevieve feels so unexpectedly heavy in her skin. Wadi
A Dancing GirlA girl stubs busted toes
across cigarette sidewalks
and rippled parking lots,
shatters her music box,
her mother's dying swan,
to dance with vagaries
for the dawn of her city.
She dances violently
for every chaired cripple
and the politically corrected,
handicapped by society.
She weeps in corners
with the coroners who
uncover bodies under bridges,
every vagrant of her city.
She sets fire to roof tops
where falling stars nestle,
runs rusted fire escapes
that lead to dead end allies,
and turns over dumpsters,
raging for a way out.
comfort, crawfish boils, and port vincentand you and me, we got the whole of
Saturday, you and me, we got car grease
streaked straight up to our grins and
let's high five when you triumph over
mom's sneaky nose, her teasing and coy and
i wanna be that kind of wife to a man
like you. i wanna be the kind of woman worth
changing with, sacrificing for, going crazy
over as the years collect in bank rolls of nickels.
i've been called a menagerie of names by
the older, the wiser, the wrinkled; they
call me pretty girl, sweetheart, dollface,
sugarplum as i stir splenda into their
brewed coffees, but they ain't got nothin'
on your horse master hands, the ones that could
JayAcorn wedged between bone feet,
In awkward rhythm of white-tipped
Blue tail, there, he precisely
Brings his point of beak, and again,
Again, piercing down; now,
Meat the color of old mustard shows,
And the big head tilts, the crest
Lays flat, the slick throat shuttles.
His bright eyes dart quickly about.
If he had hands he'd rub his belly.
Your Breath (A Little Bird Told Me)I buried a tiny bird today, in the rocky patch
out back, just beyond the gate,
where weeds grow near the garden and
the shade of a young tree hangs
over the sunken hole
and as I buried that little bird,
who was black with white belly
who had white spots, pokadots
trailing up black back and feathered
wings, I watched the wind gently
move those ruffled feathers,
ever so slightly, like flight without
it is funny, for I thought this is
how your breath must be, cigarette and
coffee smell, as you blow smoke out
with a smile, fragile, like porcelain,
so easily broken, like the little body
now buried in the backyard
Argus ApocraphexOf the many tiny beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead, two fell down, further soaking his already dampened brow. Suspended, he floated upside-down in a padded room, dreaming without consciousness of his body or its position in space.
His mind reeled from slide to slideimages of adolescence pooling together and then streaming into an old time film: The Life and Times of Donald A. Silver. The yellowed silent movie showed a young man smiling and leaning against an old Chevrolet sedan. Cigarettes burnt the corner, and he was dancing with the woman he'd asked to marry him. But in the center of the shot, a blur grew from the in
Wine as red as stained glass
is lifted up & tilted back
touch wood like thunder
having given up grace
thread across wrists & palms
spent vessels returning to the heart
Fingertips suffused with pulse
lift to lightning's loveliness
hindsightAt one time, we followed
the fires of July like fools in love
with heat smothered on our raw anatomy--
but fall has wrought our kindling into cinders,
carried it away on the earth's currents and sighs.
Here we see the girls with pressed skirts and
polished Mary Janes catch drifts of oak leaves,
pale-downed arms reaching for the bleached clouds
of late September,
and when the boys with all their chivalry abandoned
come searching for pig tails and rounded thighs,
we watch the snow eat an old world
from our separate park benches.
Cigarettes lay crumpled on the ground,
dead soldiers from our last war.
But when I open my eyes again,
Anyway, I mostly just wanted to toss a quick shout out in the way of all the people cool enough to drop polite critiques wherever they think one could be used, and also to remind you that if you get an awesome critique you should return the favour.
Till next time, keep calm and critique like a boss.
skin by `Infinite705