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Birth Discussion
By Jim Steele
Great descriptive language.
Short and to the point and freaky as all get out...great job. I hope more stuff of yours gets posted.
Kirby wants more feedback? OK. I'll try and keep it constructive.

This story reads like it was written by a teenager still in love with the idea of writing trangressive images. When i was a lot younger I watched horror movies behind my parents' backs. I marvelled in the swearing and the sex and the horrible and disgusting acts of murder and torture. The films were so rebellious and adult than the crap my parents would let me watch, and i was adult and rebellious for watching them. Every film should have an exploding head in it, i thought, or it will suck.
This is how the story reads - like somone still in the first flush of excitement about being able to conjure up nasty things themselves just like in those movies they saw or books they read. That's fair enough, for we have all been young here, but it's still immature and masturbatorial writing and there is no acknowledgement of it's ridiculousness in the text. In fact it seems to actually want the reader to take it seriously towards the end, by attempting pathos of some form.

And it also fails as a story, having no plot, precious little characterisation and no coherent theme that it could see between the drippings. There is nothing in the text but the trangression and without context trangression becomes nothing more than flinging shit at a wall. It reads like nothing more than the indulgent wallowings of a teenager still in love with blood.

This man may become a good writer but, from this story, he is not one now.

In the interests of full disclosure, i have sent in a couple of stories and had them rejected, and seeing this sort of stuff get published gets my hackles up. The past couple of months have seen several very entertaining stories put up, making Chudstories a very welcome addition to the site. This is not one of those stories.

Originally Posted by iandonnell

Great descriptive language.

And to echo what Andrew said, nothing but.
I think Andrew's criticism it tainted a bit by malice. Constructive criticism wouldn't include the phrases: "written by a teenager" or "masturbatorial."
Malice? No. Though it is obvious from my post that I find the story to be extremely bad. I also admitted that this story being chosen did annoy me as I feel strongly that my submissions were better.

'Masturbatorial' speaks to the seemingly gloating tone of the story. It is a list of atrocities with very little else - certianly no context nor comment upon them - which suggests the writer is doing it purely to enjoy those atrocities. That is very self-indulgant. The pejorative associations of the word 'masturbatorial' speak to the mean spirited-ness of the text.

'Written by a teenager' speaks to the immaturity of the writing. I expressed the reasons why I felt that in my post.

I felt I was open in my approach to the post, that I wasn't hiding anything, and that it was constructive in that I explained why I felt the story to be lacking. A genuinely angry response would have been shorter and less pleasant.
Calling someone's work self-indulgent and suggesting the writing is only flung shit at a wall --- that's not constuctive criticism. It shows no empathy to the writer or his task and gives no insight into writing or how to make the piece better. You can call what you wrote a "review" but certainly not criticism.
I've read plenty of DVD and movie reviews on this site that give absolutely zero insight on how the film could have been made better.
I need to be notified every time Dickson posts, because his stuff is just getting better and better. You really never know what you're talking about. A review and constructive criticism are pretty hugely different things.

Originally Posted by devincf

I need to be notified every time Dickson posts

You do a good job finding them on your own, sunshine.

I was referring to this: "You can call what you wrote a "review" but certainly not criticism." No mention of the word "constructive" in their.

But rail on, if it makes you whole.

And Andrew's post was far more in-depth than just calling the author names and calling the story crap.
We're very close to just arguing semantics here. So let's avoid links to and say that what I wrote was a negative review. No, I do not know how to make the story better. Anyone else have any ideas?
As far as this whole issue goes, you prefaced your comment with saying you'd try to keep it constructive. It wasn't the least bit constructive. I'm pretty sure we can all look "constructive" up in the dictionary and see that there's really no problem with semantics when it comes to that word.

So let's move on and let other people respond without this interference.
As another writer recently rejected (full disclosure), I'd like to hear Kirby's positive review/criticism of this story, and others that have been posted.

What about "Birth" made you feel it worthy of publication? In as much depth and detail as you can, please. I'm very curious what the standards are, here.
We have submission guidelines like most publications. We don't provide standards --- also like most publications. Writing is a pretty subjective thing. Quality can be discovered or it can be ignored. Shit, I've read stories in no-name lit mags that are ten times better than what gets published in the New Yorker. When Fitzgerald tried to publish Gatsby, people thought it sucked. Ever read the early reviews of that book? Not pretty. Faulkner --- Nobel Prize winner --- papered his walls with all the rejections he received. The story of Confederacy of Dunces is also a pretty famous one. What am saying is that if I choose one story but don't choose another --- it's hard to quantify why. I have readers and they like certain things. As an editor I like certain things. My readers' quality or my quality may differ than yours --- I'm sure it does. This is life in publications.
This was a pretty solid piece... not so much a story as a fucked-up inner monologue. Who knows who or what is having the monologue- but it kept me reading nonetheless, if only to find out more... the writing, while not technically great in itself, is very very committed, and not only do I appreciate that... it swept me along, kept me reading. It was interesting- I never felt I had a grasp on it, yet it activated my imagination in a big way.

I'd say you should work on spending more time exploring your ideas... while it was a succinct piece, I think it could've easily been five times longer. You've definitely got quite a bit going on in your head, and while it's not going to everybody's cup of tea, you'll get an audience purely on your own heated visceral extrapolations. You kind of read like uber-Clive Barker gene-spliced with Thomas Pynchon. And that's very cool.
Was it a fully developed story? No. I think it could be a good intro to a much longer piece. I was disappointed that it stopped where it did.

As a reader (I didn't read this one) I may have sent it back with the comment to flesh it out more, but since this could be an intro to a novel length story making it "complete" wouldn't be possible for the format of the site.

It was very visceral to me (as opposed to masturbatory, I would use that term more in regards to one of S. King's latest novelstrosities than something like this) and I enjoyed it for what it was.
To contribute a bit more: I am in the camp of being fond of this piece, and after re-reading it I think it does stand as a story, and not just an interior monologue or untethered nightmare. The first line, "A disease is a process, not a thing" starts the arc of description of the disease that Johnny Cancer is/represents/whatever. So the end, the tracing back of the process' origins, is still following that arc.

The criticism I offer is that the arc seems truncated; I agree with the folks that say this could be longer.

It's certainly not a full exploration of the topic at hand, but it's not aimless.
Like Poe filtered through Fangoria.
I loved this story.

It reminded me of what a red-headed kid born by some trailer trash whore would feel like coming into this world knowing that he never had a chance.

Short and sweet and quite entertaining.

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