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September 23, 2023, 01:35:59 pm

Author Topic: Desperate plea for creative feedback!  (Read 1575 times)

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taylorlucy

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Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« on: October 14, 2017, 09:45:01 pm »
0
Hi everyone!

I know I'm one of many asking this, and I don't have enough posts to get feedback by a moderator or anything and the thread is locked now regardless, but if some kind soul could spare 5-10 minutes to give me any last minute feedback possible I will be forever in your debt and will be very very thankful. English is my best subject and I'm very confident with my essays but creative writing is such a struggle for me! I'm coming first at my school but my stories never get the marks that my modules/other AOS sections do.

Thanks so much in advance!

Spoiler
I don't know how much help writing any of this down will be, but I have to try something. I know no one will read this anyway, and at this point anything is worth a shot, right?

It's been 6 months since my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer of the bone marrow, destined to metastasise and spread into his blood and his brain. That's a fact, plain and simple. It doesn't hurt so much when I say it as if it's science and not something we're trying to find a miracle to cure. But the truth is every day is a fight in a game we're destined to lose.

The diagnosis came just before Christmas. We were at my father's funeral: I remember my husband telling his brothers about his recent chest pain. I was caught up moving my grieving mother to a nursing home I didn't think much of what he said. Days later he was in hospital. We'd been putting up our Christmas tree together when he collapsed; a task I finished in tears, alone, as doctors worked to figure out what was wrong with him.

What was hardest to grasp was how sick he would be during treatment. I had booked experiences hot-air balloon rides; flights to revisit our honeymoon destination not realising that some days the greatest victory would be simply to get out of bed or take our dog for a walk. 

And now it is winter. My husband gets cold so easily. Cold, and unhappy. Unhappy that he is in a body where he cannot live out his life to its greatest extent. I don't blame him. He's dying: of course he's miserable. But god, we are all so unhappy on the days when we confront the fact that the best of our lives together is almost over.

Spring comes soon. My daughters and I want to take him on a road trip to revisit places we went to on holidays when they were younger. We want to fill every place we can with memories together. To have his life cut short is unfair; it is cruel. But it is all the more reason for us to spend his last days loving this life, rather than resenting it, because I truly love him more than life itself. I pray for no miracle; only to make him happy until he takes final breath.
_________________________________

I'm writing down my feelings because I cannot speak them - my ability to enunciate my thoughts grows weaker by the day but I must share  how I feel while I still can. I know soon I will have left this world and will be in less pain, and I hope sometime after this my wife will find it. If you are reading this please pass it on to her.

It's August of 2012. Of course it's 2012 - I won't live until 2013. When you're reading this, you'll know what happened afterwards. I got sicker, lost my speech, lost my dignity, lost my laughter and spark, and eventually my own body killed me. You'll have been to my funeral by now no doubt. I know that makes me sound ambivalent, as if I couldn't care less. But the fact is that it soon will all be over for me, and all I can do before then is reflect on the joy and love my lifetime brought to me with you, my darling wife.

Cancer broke my heart. It took my heart and shattered it into a thousand pieces that hurt a lot more than the disease itself ever could. But it only broke my heart because it broke yours. I watched you get up and fight every day and go to every length of the earth for me, and I saw you shattering. Each day got a step closer to you realising it was the end: my last Thursday night dinner at the golf club with our friends before I was too sick to go; the last time I drove a car; the last time we went to the movies together. Each last pained you more and more. My last breath would have been the worst, I know.

As much as I am apologising, the purpose of this letter isn't to lament on all that we've lost. More so, it's to remember us, and to tell you that if I ever realised how much I loved you it was over this past year. I rediscovered what I loved about you, which perhaps had been lost in day to day life - we have been so busy with our kids, our jobs - that I know many times I would not have shown you the love I felt, and the love you deserved, simply because that's how life is it's chaos, and if you're lucky, you'll come home from the chaos to sleep beside the person you love every night.

Only through the loss of it do I truly understand the purpose of life - to love and to love and to love until your heart gives out. I will always love you: simply from heaven now, rather than on this Earth. I will see you in our next life; a better one. I will be forever yours,

Your loving husband.
_________________________________

The doctors gave him 12 months to live, but he only made it through 9 of them. It has been 5 years since he passed, but their love will exist in the afterlife for them to discover anew.

2017 HSC: Advanced English / Extension 1 English / Mathematics / Extension 1 Maths / Biology / Visual Arts

ATAR: 93.55

Potatohater

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 11:05:20 pm »
+2
I feel like it's kinda dry and factual. As they always say, show, don't tell, and that is true here. Try and incorperate some imagery that really shows how the characters are feeling, especially at the time of the discoveries. All those techniques you must know so well, try and get them in there. I also think the husband and wife have very simular voice, maybe try and make them different, especially since I didn't realise you'd switched to a letter from the husband. Also maybe give them names and charcterise them so that the audience feels empathy, or any other emotion really, rather than just thinking "ok" and moving on. So I guess basically in a nutshell, try and be more descriptive in order to evoke an emotional response in the audience.
HSC 2017: Advanced English [85] General Maths [92] Biology [96] Geography [92] Drama [86]

2018: Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies at University of Sydney

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jamonwindeyer

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 01:11:48 am »
+2
I do agree with above in that the language feels a tad 'off' to be scribbled emotive ramblings - I love the idea but I also think you need more emotive language! Perhaps have more, smaller sections, each describing an event from that day that you only mention briefly in this version ("walking the dog," "planning trips," etc). Having smaller sections creates pace and emphasises a passage of time, and lets you use imagery to really paint a series of powerful pictures.

I also think you should end on a semi-cliffhanger, have the writer say "They seem like they are getting worse..." and just end it there, or similar. I feel like that would be powerful - Worth a go perhaps ;D

taylorlucy

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 11:03:44 am »
+1
Thank you both so so so much. I've pretty much rewritten my entire story this morning (I know that's a stupid thing to do the day before the HSC) and it now has 5 parts rather than those 2 big ones. It's not the best but it's going to have to do for tomorrow. Again, thank you both - I'm so appreciative of your help.
2017 HSC: Advanced English / Extension 1 English / Mathematics / Extension 1 Maths / Biology / Visual Arts

ATAR: 93.55

elysepopplewell

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 11:06:44 am »
0
That's gutsy and I applaud you! Good luck, let us know how it goes! :)
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taylorlucy

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 11:58:22 am »
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Thank you Elyse!

I won't beg anyone for more help because there's not much more I can do now but commit this reponse to memory, practice it under timed conditions and cross my fingers that the stimulus tomorrow isn't too hard to integrate. I will, however, post my newer story in the case that someone with a lot of time up their sleeve and no better way to spend their Sunday wants to give some final feedback. But again - there are a lot of people that need help right now so I'm not expecting any reply. Thanks all!  :)

Spoiler
It was December: the Jacarandas were in full bloom and the days were warm and sticky, like honey running down your spine. School was almost over for the year and my husband and I, both teachers and with two school-age daughters , were already in 'holiday mode', a term our family has always used to describe the feeling of long warm days in the pool and having nowhere to be. It was relaxing; life was as at its best. 
The diagnosis came just before Christmas. My husband had been unwell, but in that 'holiday mode' my contentment was untouchable, and didn't think twice about it. We'd been putting up our Christmas tree together, dancing to outdated Christmas carols and wrapping each other in tinsel, when he collapsed; unconscious. After we rushed him to hospital he didn't come home for weeks. I finished decorating our Christmas tree in tears, alone. 
Cancer of the bone marrow, destined to metastasise and spread into his blood and his brain. I heard those words an infinite amount of times over the year that followed but I don't know that they ever sunk in. To me, all it meant was: 'your husband will be dead within a year; make every goddamn day count'. 
_________________________________
Anne,
It is June of 2012. Of course it's 2012 - I won't live until 2013. When you're reading this, you'll know what happened afterwards. I got sicker, lost my speech, lost my dignity, lost my laughter, and eventually my own body killed me. You'll have been to my funeral by now, no doubt. 
I can't say that I'm a total expert at writing letters, so bear with me if this is a little patchy, but my aim is for this letter to remain on this earth after I have died, to remind you of me and of what we've shared. By far the best part of this live I've had has been sharing it with you. Whenever you read this, whether it is a day or 30 years after my death, I hope you know can look back and agree with me, that we have been so very lucky to find each other in this lifetime.
I can't say everything I need to at once, but I will be back again with more to say, I'm sure. 
Until then, all my love,
Steven.
_________________________________
 
What was perhaps the hardest to grasp was how sick my husband would become during chemotherapy. In my determinedness to make our last year together one to remember, I went into what was, in hindsight, a mildly-psychotic organisational spree. Amongst everything we had planned - picnics, day-cruises, road trips, movie dates, the list goes on what we anticipated most was the trip we had organised to revisit the Maldives; our honeymoon destination. The flights were booked and our passports were ready. The excitement of travel was upon us, but a week before we were due to leave, Steven became the sickest I had seen him. A ghastly, evil kind of sickness that came creeping up from nowhere and debilitated him. He was unable to move and was lapsing in and out of a coma in hospital, and so the call was made to cancel our trip.
Instead, I discovered new sides of my husband: sides that couldn't keep up with my energy; sides that were fully dependent on my care. Some days the greatest victory would be just for him get out of bed or take our dog for a walk, and so we learnt to cherish these moments as they were. Simply walking hand-in-hand across the golf course at sunset is one of my fondest memories of our last year together; a walk I now recreate alone at times when I miss him.
_________________________________
Anne, 
It is August now. I had meant to return to this letter sooner but I have been so caught up between enjoying my healthy days with you, and spending my sicker ones immobile in the hospital, that I haven't had time to write. I know it's important that I get this down on paper now, as I may never come back to it again. 
I am truly sorry we didn't make our trip away; I know we wanted it more than anything. But I need you to know that it did not detract from how extraordinary this time together has been. You must know that if I ever realised how much I loved you, it was over this past year. We have been so busy with our kids, our jobs - that I know many times I would not have shown you the love I felt for you, simply because that's how life is it's chaos, and if you're lucky, you'll come home from the chaos to sleep beside the person you love every night.
I can't thank you enough for our love. I will see you in our next life; a better one.
Forever yours,
Steven.
_________________________________
5 years after his death, Anne discovered Steven's letter. She had no idea until that point that he had written her a final confession of his love, nor does he know that she is still as devoted to him as she was when he was alive. Their love now exists in the next life, for them to discover anew.
2017 HSC: Advanced English / Extension 1 English / Mathematics / Extension 1 Maths / Biology / Visual Arts

ATAR: 93.55

jamonwindeyer

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 01:47:44 pm »
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Thank you Elyse!

I won't beg anyone for more help because there's not much more I can do now but commit this reponse to memory, practice it under timed conditions and cross my fingers that the stimulus tomorrow isn't too hard to integrate. I will, however, post my newer story in the case that someone with a lot of time up their sleeve and no better way to spend their Sunday wants to give some final feedback. But again - there are a lot of people that need help right now so I'm not expecting any reply. Thanks all!  :)

I think your new version works loads better - Be sure to make it clear when you shift to a letter in the exam, put those lines above and below letter sections, slant your writing a bit, etc - Great job. I still think you should remove that small last section, but that's just my preference :)

Great work on improving your Creative - Go work on your other sections! :)

taylorlucy

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2017, 01:58:55 pm »
+4
Ah Jamon thank you so much again! I was a bit unsure about that last bit because it seems a bit cheesy, but I'll see what the stimulus is like tomorrow and decide how I want to end it based on that.

Truly - thank you from the bottom of my heart. ATAR Notes has been the most useful thing to me all year.
2017 HSC: Advanced English / Extension 1 English / Mathematics / Extension 1 Maths / Biology / Visual Arts

ATAR: 93.55

jamonwindeyer

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Re: Desperate plea for creative feedback!
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2017, 02:05:56 pm »
+1
Truly - thank you from the bottom of my heart. ATAR Notes has been the most useful thing to me all year.

You are so welcome - The team is collectively so proud of you all for getting through such a tough year, we're glad to have played even a small role. Really hope you smash all your exams!!! ;D