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Merkin

Best Summer Ever! by Cole Parker

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Cole is a master at setting up a story and even better at ending a chapter just when you don't want him to.  I love summer camp stories and this promises to be a good one, with a feisty main character with depths yet to be discovered and needs not yet realized.  Almost as good as going off to camp yourself.

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3 minutes ago, Merkin said:

Almost as good as going off to camp yourself.

Agree completely - and without the 'skeeters, sunburn and camp food! Cole has a masterful touch in bringing his characters to life, and I look forward to meeting the gang at camp and seeing where our hero leads us.

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And what a start. You can picture him right from the beginning. You can feel compassion immediately. 

A bit of happyness at the start of the camp, with a possible friction, all in the first chapters.

Like it very much allready. 

You got me hooked again! 🙂

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Thanks, Oliver.  Everything you mentioned was intentional.  Isn't it great when what you're trying to accomplish actually works?  I don't think that's ever a given for a writer.

C

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You're right Cole.

How cunning your plan may be, when it really works, it is the best feeling you can have as a writer.

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I hate to be the one to say something negative about a story, but reading this is torture. Cole has taken a few very depressing days in the life of a young man and drawn them out into a period of weeks for the readers. So far, it's been a very tough read. I know things will probably get better, and given the title, there will likely be a happy ending, if I make it that far. This story is probably better read in one sitting once fully posted, rather than as serialized short chapters. I know Cole probably meant for us to feel the protagonist's pain. I'll reserve further judgement until things lighten up a bit.

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On 6/23/2018 at 3:54 PM, Altimexis said:

I hate to be the one to say something negative about a story, but reading this is torture. Cole has taken a few very depressing days in the life of a young man and drawn them out into a period of weeks for the readers. So far, it's been a very tough read. I know things will probably get better, and given the title, there will likely be a happy ending, if I make it that far. This story is probably better read in one sitting once fully posted, rather than as serialized short chapters. I know Cole probably meant for us to feel the protagonist's pain. I'll reserve further judgement until things lighten up a bit.

To an extent, I agree. This is one of those occasions when one wishes all the chapters had been published in one go so you could get it over with. I am enjoying the story and appreciate Cole's writing but wish I could get to the end of it and find out how it all works out.

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22 hours ago, Nigel Gordon said:

To an extent, I agree. This is one of those occasions when one wishes all the chapters had been published in one go so you could get it over with. I am enjoying the story and appreciate Cole's writing but wish I could get to the end of it and find out how it all works out.

One way is to stop reading The Best Summer Ever and when the epilogue is finally posted go back and read it in one go.

Personally, I'm enjoying the story a lot. I like Aaron's angst and his dislike for Dylan. I'll bet that things are going to happen between those two!

Colin  :icon_geek:

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Wow, last chapter, that's fast all of a sudden!

That was the first thing I thought when i saw "final" in red print.

After reading it: not to fast, it is just complete, good developments. 

Without giving any spoiler to anybody who read this first before the last chapter: I liked the epilogue. 🙂

Thumbs up, thank you again Cole!

 

Altimexis, you can start reading again. You'll like it. 🙂

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Having now finished reading this tale, I can almost hear a "That's a wrap!" off camera - it was that good. Having spent most of my younger summers at camp I truly felt the "reality" of the scenarios (except that your lake seems closer to the size of Lake Titicaca than the bathtub we had). So thanks for reawakening some wonderful memories along your pathway.

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I really liked writing that one, developing an obviously flawed protagonist that we liked anyway and sympathized with.  It isn't all that easy to write a guy like that, but I wanted to try.  All of us are flawed.  Not all of us redeem ourselves.

Thanks for your kind words, Chris.

C

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I was waiting for that red FINAL text in the updates list. Oh goody. I sat down and read this one through from beginning to end.

 

Excellent story, Cole. I like the flaws in the main character, and how his history colored his perceptions of everything that happened between himself and Dylan, and between himself and so many others.

 

Something I always have a soft spot for in stories like this is catalysts. And Shaun was very much a catalyst. I found myself wondering about his character and history, his story. What allowed him to come up with that speech that motivated Aaron to go and talk to Dylan? Of course, that's not who the story was about, so that's just an aside, but I did like his on and off effect on Aaron as he tried to figure himself out. Very well done!

 

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Thanks, Gee.  That means a lot, coming from you.

You even get a mention in my next story, a short one which should run very soon.

C

 

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Now that it's complete, I can say that it's a great story with excellent character development. It was just a tough read as a serial. Some stories lend themselves well to serialization. This one might have been better posted as a complete novella. I think we all write a bit differently when we know our stories will be posted serially over a period of time. That said, some of the greatest novels of all time were published initially in serial format. In many ways, it's a shame that serial publications lost their popularity when I was still in diapers. Magazines like The Atlantic and Harpers Weekly were a great way to get quality literature to the masses while providing support to up-and-coming authors. But I digress…

Book chapters have always served as a means of switching story lines and providing the reader with convenient stopping points. Of course a lot of us use end-of-chapter cliff-hangers to build suspense, which leads to the term page turner. What I'm getting at is that at AD and on other story sites, there is a strong incentive to post stories serially. Some outstanding stories have been published as complete novels - Alan Dwight's stories, for example - but the attention given to them is much less than that afforded serial stories. Cole's latest story reminds us that some stories are better told as a complete tale - that at times, perhaps most of the time - it's better to write without regard to breaking a story up into serial postings.

A while back we discussed ways to improve the home page to make it more modern and functional. Perhaps it's time to revisit the topic in the Green Room and actually do something about it this time. At the least, complete stories should have equal billing with serial updates, much as is done on the Dabeagle home page.

Great story, Cole. Well worth reading in the end.

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I agree that this is a story better read as a whole, and several people I know desisted until they saw the FINAL banner notifying them the posting was finished.

But it was intentionally written with chapter endings beckoning readers to come back for the next installment each time.  Perhaps the wait was more agonizing this time because everyone liked Aaron and didn't like him sitting in purgatory for a few days till the next posting arrived.  I guess I can take that as a compliment, if a left-handed one.

My next two postings will both be short stories, so Steve's fret will become moot.

C

 

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I was one of the people who held off starting with this story until it was shown as complete.  I was aided in this by being heavily occupied with other things and having a backlog of other stuff to read.  But I did find it much nicer to get through the piece in a single pass (over a couple of days) rather than over many weeks.  

I could not help thinking of Lucius "Luke" Pallfry from "First Year" when reading about Aaron's adventures.  Luke was also 13, was also very smart, and also thrown into a new and unfamiliar situation.  But where Luke shied away from confrontation -- as glaringly depicted in his disastrous introduction to the Banyard School -- Aaron was quick to turn any slight or insult into a confrontation, even when he was ill-equipped to succeed.  Both, in their own respective ways, discovered the flaws in their respective default manners of dealing with the world.  

And both had pivotal moments involving boxing matches where one opponent received an uppercut to the nuts.  

I admit that I was left with a few questions at the end; nothing serious, though.  Micah seemed to fall off the edge of the story, which seemed a bit curious.  Also, we can only guess how Aaron's visit to the camp was funded, or what similarity there might have been to how Dylan's introduction to the camp was funded.  

Anyway, it was a gratifying story with a nice ending that implied good things for the main characters.

R

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