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Done
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here's a chunk of a story that I am having trouble finishing. It is about a friend of mine, Karl, who...well...the excerpt below captures it.

Let me know if it is worth trying to finish. There are about 1,200 words (so far) at the link. I may try to turn this into part of a larger piece. It may not be a stand alone story at all. Or it may be a useless dead end.

http://teamlardbutt.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/the-book-part-i/

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If there is a way to destroy a bicycle-related part or component, Karl will hit upon it and improve it. Chains fracture, wheels wilt, derailleurs explode, shifters become shiftless in his presence. If a bike part can be broken, smashed, shattered, splintered, ruptured, cracked, bent or busted, Karl will make it so. He is entropy’s staunchest ally, royalty among the mechanically maladroit. Karl is to bicycles what Vishnu, the Destroyer of Worlds, is to the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. His native genius for visiting swift and comprehensive ruin upon anything that rolls gracefully upon two slender wheels simply has no peer.

Engineers who design high end racing bikes talk of creating a perfect synergy of man and machine. With Karl, that synergy winds up scaring the hell out of the machine half of that equation to the point where it rolls over and dies of fright. Karl’s lack of mechanical sympathy is so profound and of such a magnitude that it is best treated as a force of nature, a physical law, and possibly the basis for a new religion. How else do you explain the fact that simply being in Karl’s presence can provoke feelings of despair in non-sentient hunks of metal and rubber? Or why it is that bicycles entrusted to his care uniformly decide that it is better to preemptively explode or commit velocide in any one of a hundred different and surprising ways rather than to suffer in Karl’s service? Things are going to get sketchy whenever inert objects start to develop the capacity to think for themselves and, worse yet, are able to discern the fact that their likely lot in life will be nasty, brutish, and short.
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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It's good, but it definitely feels like it needs to go somewhere, quick.
 

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Done
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DrRoebuck said:
It's good, but it definitely feels like it needs to go somewhere, quick.
Yes - it hasn't developed quickly enough - I'm trying to do too much. I could tell this story better in under 1,000 words, all in. It needs to be snappier.
 

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corning my own beef
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I'll bet there's a picture of Karl in the J. Peterman catalog, isn't there?


and he sounds a lot like me, I'm afraid... :(
 

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Frog Whisperer
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I love the way it is written, and what it says. BUT, I'm with the good Doctor, it really doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Do you have an end in mind?....Maybe sketch that in and work backwards a bit ?
 

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your text here
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the first paragraph says the same thing three times.

the second paragrapgh attempts to exapnd on that thought, but slides back to reiterating the first paragraph.

slice the firts paragraph down and transfer the second to the first.

I like the idea of karls kurse being a force of nature; almost religious. like a bizarro dali lama, just being in his presence will impart an altered state. only this shift of consciousness usually involves grease, blood, and the occasional cussing fit.
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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I think Ed hit my feelings on the head. One paragraph would be enough since it seems to repeat the same things. I think it needs to go somewhere, but knowing your writing skills I want to be there for the trip.
 

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Ethical Nihilist
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Hee, hee. Remember when Karl rode over the plastic grocery bag and it tore his derailler off?
 

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Seat's not level
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What we need are some good stories of how he actually destroys the stuff. You've set the table, now give us some meat to chew on.
 

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No hero that's understood
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I think a physical description of Karl may help. I'm having difficulty in my mind trying to picture a lightweight cyclist who rides centuries and has to use high spoke count heavy wheels. I also agree that the description of Karl's prowess in destruction gets a little repetitive and could use a little thinning.

Perhaps Karl could get in good enough shape to ride a fixie in his next century.
 

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Still On Steel
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You need to use shorter, simpler sentences. (I have some expertise in this area: my own natural writing style is not unlike yours, unless I make an effort to reign it in.)

You not only say the same thing in successive sentences, you also say the same things -- or nearly so -- in the same sentence:

"If there is a way to destroy a bicycle-related part or component ..."

"Karl’s lack of mechanical sympathy is so profound and of such a magnitude ..."

"Or why it is that bicycles entrusted to his care uniformly decide that it is better to preemptively explode or commit velocide ..." (The latter here is a clever turn of phrase, but its impact is lessened because it is preceded by the former.)

There are more, but you get the idea. Edit out one or the other of the italicized words and phrases, track down others like it and do likewise, and I'll bet a lot of that snap you seek will appear.

Definitely worth finishing.
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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macalu said:
Hee, hee. Remember when Karl rode over the plastic grocery bag and it tore his derailler off?
That actually happened to me.
 

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Shirtcocker
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Whenever I need an ending for a story and am stuck I just use, "...and the wind cried Mary" or "Jesus wept" and leave it at that. Works for anything.
 

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Seat's not level
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Bocephus Jones II said:
Whenever I need an ending for a story and am stuck I just use, "...and the wind cried Mary" or "Jesus wept" and leave it at that. Works for anything.
I'm going to use that on my next self evaluation at work...
 

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Done
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bocephus Jones II said:
Whenever I need an ending for a story and am stuck I just use, "...and the wind cried Mary" or "Jesus wept" and leave it at that. Works for anything.
"If you want a happy ending, go to a massage parlor."
 

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Ethical Nihilist
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q_and_a said:
I think a physical description of Karl may help. I'm having difficulty in my mind trying to picture a lightweight cyclist who rides centuries and has to use high spoke count heavy wheels. I also agree that the description of Karl's prowess in destruction gets a little repetitive and could use a little thinning.

Perhaps Karl could get in good enough shape to ride a fixie in his next century.
Two hundred pounds and plays the Tuba in the Navy Band. Actually, he's a pretty strong rider. Not awesome on the hills, though.
 
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