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Tanuki Racoon

Hate: An Amazing Story

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http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/...ate/hate-1.html

This story is simply amazing. I'll skip the nitpicking because the most important think in a story is Does It Deliver? And this thing packs a powerful punch so far. I never write an author of a serial novel until the third chapter* but I'm making an exception and writing the author now.

Go read it and then suggest to his Royal Dudeness to bring it over.

* mostly because half of them never make it that far. I like consistency...

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Ouch. I really had trouble making it through the first chapter because the malaise is so all-encompassing. I wasn't quite sure if I sympathized for the narrator, or was appalled that the narrator was so saturated. In my opinion, those feelings are usually more subtle than blatant. That's what makes the problem so truly threatening.

The translation of the story is imperfect, but that's easily fixed.

Please note, this is my opinion of the story's atmosphere only; not the author nor his ability to write or structure a story.

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A?e. J'?tais r?alment troubl? en escalant le premier chapitre car la malaise est si toute-encompassante. Je n'?tais pas bien certain si je sympathisais pour le narrateur, ou j'appallais que le narrateur ?tais si saturi. Sur mon opinion, ces sentiments sont, ordinairement, plus subtils que criants. C'est cela que ce fait le probl?me si vraiment mena?ant.

La traduction de la conte est imparfait, mais c'est resolv? facilement.

Notez bien, SVP, c'est mon opinion de l'ambience du conte seulement; ne pas de l'auteur ni son abilit? d'?crire ou structuriser une histoire.

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...However...

Reading chapter 2, I notice a grain of truth, and maybe a glimpse of myself, in the painful and heightened emotional dramatization that Lucas is going through, or perhaps aiding and abetting in putting himself through also.

Sometimes, I think I know nothing about anything.

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...Cependant...

En lisant le 2e chapitre, je note une graine de verit?, et peut-?tre un coup d'oeil de moi-m?me, au peine et dramatization ?motionelle mise en haut qu'exprime Lucas, ou peut-on dire qu'il aide et complice en se passer aussi.

Qqf, je pense que je ne sais rien de rien.

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I agree with Blue's first comment above. I think this is too much a "oh, woe is me!" kind of story, wallowing in self-pity. I fell like slapping the kid and saying, "shit, man! Stand up for yourself! Don't let 'em get you down." Hell, I'd tell him to take some self-defense lessons and stop getting beaten up, and maybe change schools if people are harrassing him.

I also find it unbelievable that after five years, his childhood friend finally comes to his senses and approaches him with an apology. I might believe five or six months, but not five years.

And I also had a problem with the writer's difficulty with English (I assume he's French Canadian, and I sympathize with the difficulties of dealing with a foreign language). There's some clumsy sentence structure and odd usage here and there that I think could've been fixed by careful editing and a few rewrites.

All that having been said, I think there's a core of a good idea in the story, but I don't care for its approach. I think there's a way to do a story like this where the narrator doesn't have to be so much of a victim and has a little more self-respect, maybe even find a few friends. Hell, I would've preferred it if the guy had run away a couple of times or at least found some way to knock some sense into his parents to accept him. What's presented in the story is too simplistic and convenient for me (example: what school would allow a locker to be painted pink for FIVE YEARS?) Life is a lot more complicated than this, and I think good fiction has to reflect that.

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Well, I've had a night to sleep on it, and I have a few points to add.

Yes, he's French Canadian, in Qu?bec. A smoother translation would quickly take care of the little faux pas in the English phrasing. Those are easily done. What comes across as puzzling in English would flow naturally in French. The differences are merely idiomatic, in native or bilingual usage.

The story has three problems, as I see it. They are solvable, and I think the story would be stronger and still very similar, after a revision. As Pecman says, the core story ideas are fine.

First is a problem that, so far, has troubled my own attempts at gay fiction. Drama doesn't always need to be too strong in order to have impact. A seemingly tiny event can be significant. There are quiet, calm, and subtle moments in life too.

Second is a related issue. Even a sensitive, peaceful boy like Lucas is going to react in different ways. He'll be angry; he'll fight back with words, if not with his fists. He'll be clever and determined. He'll find things he's good at, ways to set aside the isolation. He'll be stubborn or sullen once in a while. He'll find a way to stand on his own. He can't feel that awful every second. Yes, he will have times he does feel bad, but not constantly; it's not maintainable. He'd even have friends, although he may not think of them as close friends. -- I think most of us have done at least some of that.

Third, we readers need to see more of a change in Michael, if we are to believe him. Either there are gradual clues, maybe unnoticed, that he has tried to reconcile with Lucas, and now has renewed interest; or there are a few slight clues leading to a major event that demonstrate this. I think the author is heading toward the latter, I just have trouble thinking that Michael wouldn't have shown some attempt at friendliness before, even if Lucas didn't recognize or accept it.

This story does not suck. I wouldn't bother if someone hadn't asked or I didn't see potential in it. Therefore, please realize these are offered as constructive criticisms for this story or a future one.

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Puis, j'ai dormi un nuit en pensant, et j'ai quelques points pour ajouter.

Oui, il est fran?ais-canadien, ? Qu?bec. Une traduction plus lisse pourrait rapidement amener les petits faux pas en idiome anglais. Ce sont facilement faits. Ce qu'on vient passer comme curieux en anglais flotterait (mot juste?) naturellement en fran?ais. Les diff?rences sont idiomatiques, en utilisation de langue maternelle ou bilingue.

Le conte a trois probl?mes, comme je vois. On les r?soudrions, et je pense que le conte serrait plus fort et m?me tr?s similier, depuis r?vision. Comme dit Pecman, les id?es essentiels du conte sont bien excellents.

Pour premier est le probl?me que, jusqu'a ici, a d?rang? mes tentatives d'?crire la fiction gaie. Le drame n'a pas besoin tout le temps d'?tre trop fort pour avoir d'impacte. Une ?v?nement semblement miniscule peut ?tre significante. Il y a des moments tranquils, calmes, et subtils dans la vie aussi.

Deuxi?me est issue reli?e. Bien qu'un gar?on sensitif et pacifiste comme Lucas r?actera aux modes diff?rents. Il se f?chera; il combattra avec les mots, sinon avec les poings. Il sera intelligent et d?termin?. Il trouvera des choses avec lesquelles il excelle, m?thodes de mettre ? c?t? l'isolation. Il sera obstin? ou maussade qqf. Il trouvera un fa?on de r?sister par seule. Il ne pourrait sentir si mal chaque seconde. Oui, il aura les temps quand il va mal, mais ne pas constament; ce n'est pas supportable. Il aurait bien des amis, bien qu'il ne penserait en eux comme les mieux. -- Je crois que la majorit? de nous l'ont fait au moins qu'un parti de cela.

Troisi?me, nous lecteurs devons voir plus d'un changement ? Michael, si nous lui croirions. Ou il y a des indices graduels, possiblement inaper?us, qu'il essaiait de reconcillier avec Lucas, et maintenant il a l'inter?t rena?tu; ou il y a des indices mineures proc?dants une ?v?nement majeur qui le montrent. Je crois que l'auteur passera au dernier, j'ai difficult? seulement en penser que Michael ne montre pas qq. tentative ? amiti? en avant, encore si Lucas ne l'a reconnu ou l'a accept?.

Ce conte ne suce pas. Je ne m'ennuie pas si qqn ne demandait pas ou si je n'ai pas vu potentiel l?. Donc, s'il vous pla?t de r?aliser que j'offre ces critiques comme constructifs pour ce conte ou un ? l'avenir.

-- Et excusez-moi, SVP, pour n'importe quels erreurs de traduction, il y a trop de temps que j'essaie en fran?ais.

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Second is a related issue. Even a sensitive, peaceful boy like Lucas is going to react in different ways. He'll be angry; he'll fight back with words, if not with his fists. He'll be clever and determined. He'll find things he's good at, ways to set aside the isolation. He'll be stubborn or sullen once in a while. He'll find a way to stand on his own. He can't feel that awful every second.

All excellent points! Yeah, I'd think after five years of having very few friends and being ostracized, the kid would be cynical, angry, and have a very sharp tongue. Maybe to cover up his own security, he's become a distant, insulting kind of guy who pushes away anybody who tries to become his friend.

I like your idea, Blue. Everything you cited adds up to a story I'd really like to read. If you ever choose to write a story like this, let me know and I'll be glad to assist behind-the-scenes and provide some ideas and feedback. Sometimes, even an editor needs editing! :)

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