Lazy Writing: We reject most stories in the initial screening process for this reason. Not because the ideas in the stories aren’t wonderful, but because the writing is not as carefully thought out as it could be. This includes overly abstract language, overuse of similes and metaphors, adverbs, incorrect use of
End of night’s work,
I walk the boards,
descend to beach.
Take off my shoes,
stretch my toes,
think of fall.
You don’t know I’m watching you,
watching those hands made rough by bending iron in shops;
watching hands so easily clenched into fists
gently strum the strings of
an out of tune guitar.
You’re twelve and you can’t remember
the last time you slept through the night.
If their raging voices don’t wake you
the tension beneath their smoldering silence will.
Green storm of light
I see when I look out of my cubicle—
it’s 9 am here
in the wake of you.
The theory that my life thus far has been a compilation of bad decisions occurs to me as I am darting down 10th Street, in pursuit of my boyfriend who is not actually my boyfriend but in fact a complete stranger who, like me, takes the 7:19 train into Philadelphia every morning. He looks to be all of nineteen years old and I am twenty-eight and therefore far too old to be trailing this boy through the streets of Chinatown , skulking half a block behind him and wondering if that is his girlfriend he is talking to on his cell phone.
The polluted breeze blowing off the Frankford Creek smelled like melting tar and felt just as hot. I sat with Bill and Rufus at the end of my block under a shadeless, wilted cherry tree. Almond Street was wedged between two chemical plants, an arsenal, and a funeral home, where everybody who lived on the street expected to end up sooner or later. Chemicals in the air ruined the paint jobs of nearly every house and car on the block. Outsiders claimed the air smelled like rotten eggs. I never noticed it except when we came back after driving someplace else.
Jerome bought a jewel-encrusted scepter at the Army-Navy store. It cost eight dollars.
The scepter was in a special bin—actually; just a cardboard box with the lid cut off—located in a dim corner at the rear of the Army-Navy store, near the rack of Big & Tall Camouflage Fashions. The cardboard box had a wooden paint stirrer stapled to it and stapled to the paint stirrer was a hand-written sign: DISCONTINUED DAMAGED ONE OF A KIND.
The raw words of his novel depicted an eloquent, haunting, funny story that started on that fateful day in September that changed all of our lives. “He’s late for work and she misses her flight, but that morning, with the world shattered by grief, they each think the other’s dead and each is secretly delighted. They’re both soon disappointed, of course…”
I’m watching the speedometer climbing
And the curvy gray ribbon of back road
Bound for the pet-packed home and bedtime of
My most precious cargo in the back seat.
His earnest little voice chatters on about