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Bruin Fisher

To Robby with Love

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It is a good story, but my only objection is that the other character (Robby) has no reaction when our narrator mentions the name of his ex-lover, "David."

I know it's a a cliche in an "is-he-or-isn't-he" story to have the moment where the other character says, "what? David? You mean you're... gay?"

but I think doing nothing with it at all is avoiding the problem. I think there's a way to do it that avoids the cliche but is still realistic.

That having been said: it's a very realistic, nice story with well-drawn characters. I like Rick personally very much, and I think he's a talented writer, and is very much an asset to this site.

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It is a good story, but my only objection is that the other character (Robby) has no reaction when our narrator mentions the name of his ex-lover, "David."

I know it's a a cliche in an "is-he-or-isn't-he" story to have the moment where the other character says, "what? David? You mean you're... gay?"

but I think doing nothing with it at all is avoiding the problem. I think there's a way to do it that avoids the cliche but is still realistic.

That having been said: it's a very realistic, nice story with well-drawn characters. I like Rick personally very much, and I think he's a talented writer, and is very much an asset to this site.

My reaction was that Robbie had figured out that Rick was gay, and that the person Rick had been (and still was) in love with was a guy. Thus the lack of the cliche reaction.

Colin :bunny:

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Pecman's got a point - I was waiting for 'that' moment in the story and it never came. But like Colin I concluded that Robby must have worked out that Rick was gay (using the new, enhanced GaydarPlus? no doubt) and that was why he'd invited him onto the boat for the weekend. The question remains about Robby's girlfriend. We know he's not in love with her so it's presumably a typical closeted gay's smokescreen affair. We can only hope he sees the folly of it before walking up the aisle with the poor girl.

So the basic issue here seems to be: to what extent should an author plug all holes in his storyline? Is it okay to leave things unsaid, aspects that the reader will have to work out for himself or even imagine for himself? Most classic literature seems to end with all the plotlines tied neatly, but there are exceptions (can't think of any but I'm sure there are some). Personally I hate a story that ends too abruptly, I want to be sure all the characters I've grown to care about are going to be okay. (If I don't care about the characters, I guess I wouldn't have read to the end...)

What do you guys think?

Bruin

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My feeling is that of course an author can leave things unsaid, but the more he does that, the more unsatisfying the story becomes.

It seems to me that the more literary a story is, the more allusions in has, the more it diverges from plot into what sometimes becomes intellectual masturbation, the more trouble I have staying involved in it. If these diversions are done in a way that the writing sparkles, amuses and bemuses, there is less reason to be put off, but not many writers are able to achieve that end.

I think it's personal with the reader, and depends on what he's looking for in a story. He decides what he likes and doesn't. He then learns which authors provide what he's seeking, and which don't. There isn't any right or wrong to it, just personal taste. My taste is pretty basic. I'm much happier reading a story that doesn't take too many twists and turns from the main road as it moves to its destination. I like tightly written stories that work their ways towards their ends, and when they get there, stories that make me feel very satisfied that I've learned what I needed to know to enjoy the story fully. Some of that I may have figured out for myself. Generally speaking,if one or more of the major plot points in a tale is left to the reader's conjecture, or it feels like the author has just skipped over it with no recognition tht it's even important to the story, I won't enjoy the story as much as I could have had he dotted the i's, crossed the t's and filled in the blanks.

C

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I'm not particularly astute at picking up 'between the lines' messages, but I think maybe the

I found Robby looking into my eyes as his hand reached for mine. He wasn?t self-conscious or apologetic. I?d told him of my pain and he wanted to comfort me. Our fingers intertwined
indicates his reaction: acceptance and moving their 'relationship' to a new and probably more open level.

Frankly, my whole life seems to be a series of, "Huh? What happened?" situations. It can be rather exciting, if you don't get upset. :bunny:

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So the basic issue here seems to be: to what extent should an author plug all holes in his storyline?

I think that's a very good question, and I think the best answer is, "it depends."

I think you can leave some things dangling, but others you've just got to address head-on, or risk confusing the reader. In the case of this story, I was so surprised, I thought, "jesus, I better go back and re-read this, because I never saw a single moment where the (alleged) straight friend realized his friend was gay. I must've blinked and missed it."

If the moment isn't there, one sentence can fix it. But to ignore it seems disingenuous.

I do think there are economical ways to write where you don't have to actually come out and say something, and you can let the reader figure things out -- to a point. As an aside: on the (very entertaining) climactic episode of the Terminator TV show a few weeks ago, they had an episode where an evil humanoid robot killed a dozen armed FBI agents. I thought, "man, how are they gonna show that on a TV show! It'll cost a fortune and be incredible violent!"

What happened was, they cut to the bottom of an apartment's swimming pool, and you saw all the bodies of the dead men hitting the water surface, one at a time, until the pool was almost filled with dead bodies. I thought it was brilliant, showed no bullet hits or limbs being ripped off, but you still got a great idea of the carnage.

Very economical, but a cheat that worked. Writing can be done like that, too.

The "is he or isn't he" question can be a terrible cliche in many stories, and I think it's good to avoid it up to a point. I think some of the best gay fiction I've ever read avoided the moment, either by having the other character say, "look, I'm sorry, but I can never love you the way you love me," and just let them know that way. I think it can be done simply and with great subtlty, or you can have the lead character tormented for weeks and months: "what if X finds out I'm gay? What if they're gay? What if somebody finds out?"

It's such a pivotal question in any gay person's early life, it can't help but have a traumatizing effect. Some people get over it very early on; some never do. It's a tough choice for any writer to make as to how his characters deal with it, but it's still a choice, and I don't pretend there's any one right way to go with it.

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