The day at the warehouse was coming to a conclusion. Eames, Duke and Yusuf already left. Arthur was stacking up his files and Ariadne had already put her supplies away. He was going to drive her home when he was ready. As Ariadne waited, her cellphone sang 3OH!3 indicating that her sister Mirra was calling. Her eyebrows rose in confusion at why Mirra was calling her at this time.
"Bad news sis." Mirra sounded upset but she wasn't crying.
"It's our father..."
"Is he back?"
"Then what's the problem?"
"Ariadne... he's dead." The Architects eyes extended as Mirra explained everything. "He got out of rehab but then started drinking again. He died from alcohol poisoning."
"No..." Ariadne gasped.
"I know you don't like him but he's our dad."
"Like him? I lost complete respect for him a long time ago and so have you."
"But still, Jenaya and I are going to his funeral."
"I'm not flying ten hours away for a funeral." Ariadne sneered. "You can forget it." Arthur peered over curiously to see a giant frown on his co-workers face.
"I'm not saying you have to. It's just the right thing for me to tell you."
Ariadne nodded. "Well I'm glad you told me. I'll talk to you later." After hanging up the phone, she took the gold bishop out of her pocket and placed it on the floor. At first, she was too afraid to tip it. Half of her wanted to see it fall like her fathers sobriety and the other half wanted the bishop to stand tall. Nervously, she flicked it. Clink. It hit the ground and started rolling in circular paths.
"Is everything ok?" Arthur asked. Ariadne looked up, putting her bishop on the table.
"Yeah, everythings fine." she said forcing a smile.
"I heard you mention a funeral."
"Oh..." Words struggled to come out of her mouth. "It's my dad... he's dead."
"Don't be." she sneered. "I feel nothing." He could sense she was lying. He was a Point Man after all. Arthur knew exactly when she was being honest and when she was fibbing. She was breathing deeply as if she was having an asthma attack. "Just take me home."
Arthur put his hands on her shoulders. "Don't hold it in. Let it go." The sobs whacked out like a finale of fireworks. Her hands covered her eyes the way a scared child would. Arthur held her close to him, lacing one arm around her waist and the other on the back of her head, rocking her gently. "I lost my father too, a long time ago. I was devastated." She looked up at him, wiping off another tear.
"I shouldn't be so upset." she told him. "He was never a father to me. He would hit me and beat me and call me names. I once told him to stop drinking and he pushed me down the stairs! I hit my head at the end!" Arthur was speechless as this girl in front of him was growing overemotional. "I liked him better when he was sober! After mom died in 9/11 he started drinking and would hurt me and my sisters! He would call me a whore in front of Mirra and Jenaya and he had the nerve to slap me in the jaw right after moms funeral and he told me it was all my fault that she was gone!"
"It's not your fault." said Arthur sincerely.
"And I should be happy that the asshole finally died but I'm not!" she yelled. "I wanted him to recover so we could be a family again and he never did! He died a drunk which just pisses me off!" Ariadne broke out of his embrace to cry in her own space.
Shit, he thought. Arthur never imagined her in this state. Out of his pocket came the red die. He rolled it on the floor to realize they were in reality. Arthur put the die net to the bishop on the table and went over to Ariadne who was curled up in a ball. "Let me take you home." he said. She looked up, her eyes red and puffy.
"I'm sorry I snapped... I just..."
"It's fine." said Arthur. "I understand."
She hugged him and continued to weep. Arthur ran his finger through her hair in an attempt to comfort her. Moments later, she was fast asleep. Arthur lifted her up in his arms and carried her over to the couch. He took the sheet at the edge and pulled it over her. There will be no leaving the warehouse tonight, he thought. Arthur was tired himself so he lay on one of the lawn chairs. The last thing he saw before closing his eyes were the Dice and Bishop standing as if they were made for each other.
Finally, another contest entry. At least it's fair now.
I'm going to be as constructive as I can with this, but I don't really have anything positive to say; just a bunch of mistakes I noticed that you should watch out for next time.
One of the biggest issues I see with this story is that you haven't really captured either character's voice. What I mean by that is that every character has a specific way of communicating that is unique to them. If I can hear them talking when I read the dialogue, then you've done your job well enough that I can be drawn into the illusion without having to force myself.
What's specifically wrong wirth the dialogue here is that it's too generic. You could substitute literally any character in here and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference because it's just so cliche and bland. You've strung together a bunch of stock phrases and cheap drama and tried to pawn it off to us as something Ariadne would say. Ariadne tends to speak passionately about things in a way that makes her seem wise beyond her years. Arthur, meanwhile, is normally laconic but quietly supportive when he needs to be. His dialogue here is just as bad, because if the surrounding sentences weren't there I would have no idea who was talking.
If you want to improve at this, try writing nothing but dialogue at the beginning of the scene, then add details where they're absolutely necessary to make sense. If you can't tell who's talking without the narration, then you need to study the way these characters talk a little more.
Also, your exposition is clumsier than a child with an inner ear infection trying to ride a pogo stick. It all comes out in one large infodump, whereas the movie provides a great example of revisiting the same event several times and peeling back the layers to reveal the truth. You don't have to employ exactly the same technique, but definitely spread it out more.
The prose is almost as bad, but only because you use so many cliches. Try and tailor the narrative to fit the subject matter. Where do dreams figure into this? What makes this story unique? How can you phrase sentences so that they sound fresh while communicating the same basic message? Put more thought into the words you write, and don't just copy everything you read. I only accuse you of doing this because I've read this exact same scenario in too many stories to count.
Who is Ariadne's sister? How do they interact together? What are their common interests? Can you tell me anything about her besides her name? It helps to have a backstory in mind when creating OCs, and Ariadne's word-vomit doesn't count. A short description is all that's required to let us know who you're talking about, because that's your job as a writer: to let us know what's going on inside your head and let us read the story as if we had written it ourselves. I can't care about a character if I know next to nothing about them.
Ultimately this story's biggest failing is that you don't really give it anything special that sets it apart. It just barely meets the requirements of the contest, in that it's got Arthur, Ariadne and totems, but you don't do anything worthwhile with any of them. You may disagree and say that Ariadne's daddy issues are the point, but like I already said, this is hardly an original situation to read in fiction. There's no twist; you're just playing the tropes completely straight, and that's why reading this disappointed me.
Sorry if this comes across as harsh. I didn't actually hate the story; you spelled everything correctly (though your grammar could use some serious work), and I didn't want to claw my eyes out like I do with some of the verbal diarrhea I've read over the years. I just see many opportunities for improvement, and I'm bringing them to your attention so that hopefully you will do better next time.
Take a chill pill dude, seriously. I've only seen the movie once, alright? I don't know absolutely everything and I know this isn't perfect. I don't need a lecture. If you don't like this, then too bad. This is only my third story. I know I'm not there yet. Apparently, you hate it that much. That's fine. I still think I'm a much better writer than you think I am.
I never said you weren't a good writer and I explicitly stated that I don't hate the story. I just saw a few mistakes that you might want to look at and try to avoid in the future. My response to you had nothing to do with your writing.
What I am put off by is your attitude. I went into this assuming you were putting forth your best effort, since, you know, it's an entry to a contest where that sort of thing would be in your best interest if you want to win. But apparently you're a self-excusing prima donna who's only interested in having praise heaped on you by people who do drive-by comments on hundreds of stories and probably won't even remember yours in a week.
I've only seen the movie twice, and that was two months ago. But go and read my story and you'll see that I paid attention to all the stuff I pointed out to you. Does that make my story better? Who knows? "Better" is a very subjective term, but I'm just as satisfied with my story as you are with yours.
But that doesn't make it okay to hide behind the "get off my back, I'm new at this" excuse. I am trying to help you. I don't go around criticizing stories because I get a huge jerk-boner by putting down other people's writing. I specifically told you what was wrong and suggested ways that you might go about fixing it. I made it clear that I don't hate your writng and you have a lot of potential. You just really need work on avoiding some of these rookie mistakes.
I've been doing this for a long time, and I'm trying to pass on some advice that I had to learn the hard way. If you don't want to listen, then that's your choice, and I never go into a critique expecting people to submit to my will. I only ask that you take what I say into consideration along with everybody else.
Chances are you'll read some sort of bias into this, so I might as well not even bother. But know that I made my critique out of a desire to see you improve, and your immature response was what set off my temper. Try and at least realize that.
You did. And I called you a prima donna, because that's what I gathered from your response. If the reality is any different, you have yet to prove it.
All I'm saying is that you're never going to grow as a writer unless you learn to handle criticism appropriately. I'm not even asking that you take my advice. Just that you listen and respond maturely. You have failed to do that, so I'm not going to waste my time with you. Goodbye.
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