The whole story is the Judgement of Paris, the backstory of the Illiad, reset into a modern high school.
So I had my meeting with professor Hoch today about my story. This was the second story I've written for him, because I wasn't allowed to write anything new until I made the first story stop sucking.
The meeting was supposed to be 15 minutes. I was there for an hour.
Hoch liked the story, liked it a lot. It was funny because he didn't like my original title "a Classic Ultimatum" and at one pointed commented that it was slipping into allegory, but I didn't comment because I was waiting for him to get the joke about the Judgement of Paris and all. Which he didn't, and I had to explain, but then he really liked that.
So I never got my question answered about whether or not the myth is too blatant or not blatant enough.
So on one hand, I LOVE having Hoch read me, because he knows exactly where my problems are and when I'm trying to hide something. I love how he reads the story out loud and laughs in all the right places and tells me when sentences are beautiful. And when they suck. But this time there was no sentence where he stopped and said "that has to go" so I was really proud of myself.
And then on the other hand, after all this is over and I'm feeling really good about this whole experiment, he looks me right in the eye and says "I want you take this whole thing apart and redo it even better, much better, so that it's really damn cool. And stop using so much effing dialouge."
Essentially, his comments boil down to the fact that I'm taking a really old story, a myth, and I'm re-telling it in a modern setting. But that isn't enough, because I'm still telling it in a long and winding, greek, mythological fashion.
To do something really cool, i have to be able to tell it like a modern story, i need to have the story be character-driven instead of plot-driven, I need to narrow down my POV, and I need to get to Alex a lot faster if he's the point of the story.
Now, it's not that I think he's wrong so much. After talking about my sections and POV shifts for a half hour, I really understand what he's getting at, I really really do. And I agree that the story was a bit long and plot-heavy (well, i didn't make the damn plot up), and I even agree that Alex is clearly the focus of my story and I need to make more out of his corruption.
I fucking hate it when teachers are so right. because it means a shitload of work on a story which is miles better than most people's stories in this class.
Listen, I don't think I'm the greatest writer ever or anything, but I'm reading story after story with bad or no plots, flat characters, confused chronologies, and the complete inability to spell or punctuate. It makes me want to WEEP sometimes (like today) how similar the stories are, how people are striving for high drama and barely acheiving melodrama. How I could care less if their characters keel over dead. Quote during one story: "Thank god, if he's dead, at least the end must be near."
So it's really not thrilling sometimes when teachers want all this stuff from me, hard stuff, stuff they don't actually have answers for but they just want to see "better" and "more" without really knowing what they want, and then they turn around and be like "Greg, if I can just get you to use an apostrophe correctly, you get an A."
I know he's right. I KNOW this could something really really beautiful. But goddamn, sometimes i really hate being smart. Sometimes I would really just like for somebody to say "wow, this is really good. I think this is your full potential. good job."