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Aaron Penrose

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Everything posted by Aaron Penrose

  1. Uh, guys, I'm smack dab in the middle of Memphis, and I can tell you this isn't real. I'm shocked at the responses to the article. Tennessee may be the sociopolitical asshole of the whole country, but we're not that bad.
  2. This was so sweet. I love how you resolved everything. Truly a great story.
  3. Alright, guys. My last thread here garnered me all sorts of sage advice I have since incorporated into my writing, so now I'm back to pester you all with more questions! After weeks of letting this insane imbroglio of ideas steep, I think I'm finally ready to put pen to paper (or, more appropriately, fingers to keys) and start writing. But I'm concerned because my two prior attempts at novel-writing failed miserably. I lost interest. I started feeling like it wasn't going anywhere, I was expressing my ideas poorly, and the whole thing was trash. In the short story format, I can have a single good idea, expend a few thousands words expressing that idea, and then fine-tune it and be done. But the prospect of writing a whole novel is so daunting to me. I have no idea what to fill up 200+ pages with. The most I've ever generated in a single sitting is about 20 pages. I know basically what I want to say, whom I want to write about, and the things I'm going to have them do/say to express my ideas, but I just don't know if it's enough for a whole book. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the technicalities. So tell me, GA. When you get that fire lit under your ass to write a book, how do you go about it? Do you plan it? Or is all truly great art composed on mere whim? Furthermore, how do you decide how to divvy things into chapters? Do you think it's best to write the entire novel, have it edited, and then post it chapter-by-chapter on scheduled release dates, or should you post every chapter immediately after writing and editing? How do you pick your narrative mode? I enjoy first and third person equally, but I can't decide which to use. Do you like to narrate the whole time from a single perspective or change between chapters? Tell me, gypsies! Tell me your secrets!
  4. Aaron Penrose


    Percy, I love this. Let me be the first to say it: damn, what a title! This is easily my favorite title I've seen on GA thus far. It's straightforward and it has a great ring. That said, you're doing a fantastic job characterizing with the scenery and all the climbing terminology. You've got a lot of good stuff going on here. I find Aaron to be quite compelling. I'm interested to see whether his heart is with Seth or with the thrill of the climb. The setting is incredibly vivid and beautifully depicted. I'm intrigued. Can't wait to hear more about these two.
  5. Oh, I'm the meanest of the mean. My boys usually have to go through the wringer before they get to have any fun. This Carver guy is new to me but he is proving to be a fabulous muse. Self-absorbed rich pretty boy turned scarred angsty social pariah? All over it.I love that you were able to sense the silver lining in all this. He definitely needed to see the accident scene himself--not to count his triumphs (too early in his recovery for him to be anything but bitter), but simply to accept it, I think. To understand that he can't go back with any amount of surgery or wishful thinking. Thank you for the thoughtful review and for the compliment.
  6. Didn't abide by all the rules here, but this was such a good prompt. It got me out of a mean bout of writer's block. My take: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/aaron-penrose/aaronswritingprompts/3
  7. “Little brother, I don’t mean to sound insensitive, here, but don’t you think it’s about time for you to, just… get over yourself?” My mouth fell open. Silence lapsed. Andrea sighed loudly into the receiver and I jerked my head away. The static-y noise was amplified tenfold by the new hearing aid. I’d have to speak to my doctor about adjusting it again. “Look, Carver, I’m enjoying these lengthy phone calls—really I am. It’s nice to get to talk to you for once. And I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble adjusting to life with facial scars. But you can only wallow in all this misery for so long. I know you’re anxious to get the plastic surgery so you look more like yourself again, but in the meantime you’re just going to have to keep paying your hospital bills and freakin’ leave the house sometime, man.” “People fucking stare at me, Andrea. It’s awful. Horrible. I—” “Let them stare. I always knew you were vain, but come on, this is excessive. It has been almost a year since the accident. It’s amazing that you were able to make a full recovery… Well, aside from your eye, of course. But you’re walking without a cane, now, and almost all of your hair grew back. Carver, it is a miracle that you aren’t dead. You know that. Just because you don’t look like Ashton Kutcher’s body double anymore doesn’t mean you can’t live your life, which by all means, you should have lost already. So your face is a little scarred. Guess what? I have cellulite. There are other good things about you. Stop dwelling so much on your appearance and try to enjoy this second chance you’ve been given, yeah?” I put my hand over my mouth. Tears pricked at my eyes. I knew she was right—she always was. But still, she couldn’t imagine what it felt like to be surreptitiously ogled by everyone. All the time. Children were the worst because they weren’t ashamed to be caught staring. They just looked right back, as if challenging my right to be there at all, stony-faced and abject. I felt like some kind of mutant. How the hell was I supposed to just get on with my life? What the fuck kind of life could I have looking like this, anyway? One in the sewers? Andrea sighed again, but this time softer. I rubbed dejectedly at my temples, trying to ease away a pounding headache. “I’ll drive down there this weekend, okay? I’ll just have to grade papers the entire time. I’m sorry you’re…” Suddenly pain exploded beneath my fingertips. Andrea sounded far away. The room spun. My knees buckled and I stumbled forward, groping blindly until I found the back of a chair. I mashed the phone against my face, trying to make out what she was saying, but I couldn’t. She was at the other end of a long tunnel, and I was falling, but slowly, as if I was underwater and there was a lead weight on my foot, dragging me further and further down into the blackness. “What?” I blurted, aware that my sister was still speaking, but unable to make out the words. She was hovering above the surface and her voice was a mere garbled humming. Louder, more insistent gibberish. “What?” I mumbled weakly as my vision swirled into swathes of color. I was so confused and my head was killing me. Where was I? I gripped the back of the chair tightly. My sweaty fingers slipped on the wood. “Andrea?” My voice was small and afraid. What was happening to me? I lost my hold on the chair and tumbled forward. I saw the floorboards rush up at me, felt the cell phone slip from my hand, but there was no impact. Just darkness and the indistinct cadence of her voice all around me. “Oh, shut up, you stupid bastard.” I gasped and opened my eyes. Warm sunshine was all over me, heating up the black starchy fabric of my tuxedo. I blinked in confusion, trying to clear my swimming vision. Where the hell was I? Wasn’t I wearing pajamas before? “Carver, hello? I didn’t mean for you to actually shut up, stupid bastard. I thought you might have a smartass comeback.” My hand was back on my cell phone and I could hear Andrea loud and clear, but I knew I was no longer inside my house. Aside from the sunshine, I could smell something funny. Car exhaust? My heart started to race. I remembered that smell. I whipped my head around wildly, but my vision was still unclear. What the fuck was happening? Panic, panic, panic, hysterical. I flailed my free arm. No air. Panic. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe. This couldn’t be happening. I was going to die. I didn’t want to do this again. Andrea. “Andrea, what the fuck is happening to me? I think I’m—” Then the lights came on. It was so surreal. I dropped the phone. It clattered loudly on the pavement. My Jaguar was shrouded in smoke that was pouring from the still-running engine. The back two wheels jutted out from the dense cloud, and they were spinning slowly. Ominously. I couldn’t see myself since the car was in the way, but there was fresh blood on the grass. My blood. The tree I hit was now naught but a splintered stump. I gulped. How was this possible? Did God decide I didn’t deserve my second chance? Did he send me back in time to off me for good? If I rounded the car, would I see myself lying there, shards of windshield embedded in my face? Panic spiked. I reached up to touch my scars, and oh my God, my fingers touched smooth and unmarred flesh. I closed my eyes and flattened my palm, reveling in the sensation. My racing heart began to slow. I raked my nails against my cheek and it stung, but I could feel it. How could it be possible? Flames belched from beneath the hood and I snapped open my eyes. Oh, Christ, the car was about to explode. Fuck, was I on the other side? My eyes widened. What if I could save myself? How much better would I look without the burn scars? I ran full-throttle toward the crumpled black tin can that used to be my Jag. The sight of my blood-streaked hand emerged from the smoke. “NO!” I screamed. I tried to make my legs move faster, but fire was roiling through the cab. No no no no no. It was going to hit the gas tank. I was face-down in a pool of blood and my body was a disjointed mess. Glass was everywhere. My left leg faced the wrong way. My arm was draped casually across my back, separated entirely from my shoulder. Tears spilled down my face. I stooped and tried to grab the unbroken arm, tried to drag myself away from the wreckage, but the strength was gone from my arms. I pulled and pulled, blood pounding in my ears, heard the tired engine die. I screamed in frustration. I wouldn’t budge. The car exploded. I heard the boom, but did not feel the heat. Blackness again. When I came to I was lying on the floor, my cheek pressed to the cool wood. I could feel every insensate ridge of the network of scars. Andrea was chattering loudly, still, but I didn’t reach for the phone. I rolled onto my back and reached again to brush my fingertips over the scars. When I felt the roughness, my heart sank, and I hated God, and I screamed at the ceiling and cried.
  8. Thank you! As far as the police thing goes, I'm almost certain a missing child elicits an almost immediate response from the police, no? Especially if that child's parents were to claim he was unstable and a potential threat. In any case, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you again for the kind words.
  9. Oh. Slightly less confused. Do you mean making a show of it as in surprised to see her? Perhaps "..around the corner and raised his eyebrows when he saw her."
  10. Well, thanks. I'm just, uh, you know, glowing with pride now, lol.In my writing, I've found I have a strong impulse toward capturing the essence of change. Those redefining moments are so rare, and so very essential to our natures. To know I have captured it in writing makes this feel worthwhile. Thank you again--that meant the world.
  11. They weren't failing for lack of trying! I wish I had had a little more time to go back and add more information about his parents, like an overheard conversation, or more inner dialogue, but alas. Thank you for the compliment and for reviewing.
  12. Thank you--that's high praise coming from a great writer like you. You know, I never really stopped to think about how much I loved the Mississippi until I wrote this. It has been outside my window for a very long time, and it's rare that I pause to admire it. Hopefully there will be more to read about him soon!
  13. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  14. I'm confused by the first example. What is it supposed to imply? The scare quotes confuse me. Must know context. I think it would read better without, personally. Or if the writer is trying to say he 'saw' her in the sense that he instantly took in her entire physical appearance, why not just say that instead of trying to denote the idea with scare quotes? If that's the idea, I'd change it to, "...around the corner, and (immediately/just/then) devoured her with his eyes" or some such. Definitely italics for the second example.
  15. Academia has always been a breeze for me. I have an insanely photographic short-term memory that allows me to pretty much memorize walls of text within minutes. I have a 4.0 two years into college, and I have never once studied for a test, or even begun a paper any more than one single day before it was due. My retention is atrocious, obviously, but damn my superpowers come in handy. I put myself through a lot of sleepless nights with my procrastination habits, but so far it hasn't come back to bite me, so whatever. Anyway, yes, I think education is extremely important. I absolutely love college. Although Political Science was unabashedly a cop-out of my hard classes I was taking as a Bio major (still had to take Calculus--ugh), I'm actually glad I chose it, now. I think I'll make a fine lawyer. I may go back for a PhD after I get my JD just because I enjoy school so much. Another thing I want to mention is the alarming number of people who go to college not for an education, but just for the social experience. I read a fascinating book recently called The Closing of the American Mind that blames the decline of intellectualism in America on the failure of universities. They're not grooming students to be intellectuals anymore. They're not asking those important, formative questions that breed intelligent and critical thinking. They're just teaching us to pass the test and get the paper and assimilate mindlessly into the workforce. Highly recommend the book.
  16. Aaron Penrose


    I read this and then read the first two installments right away. I love these two, and I love your depiction of their relationship--very realistic. All three of them are compelling. Even though Mark made mistakes, you show us he isn't all bad, and you do a good job of justifying his flaws. Sometimes our natures are just plain mismatched, and things can't be fixed, now matter how much we love someone. The storm was a good analogy for the end of their relationship. Looking forward to the next one.
  17. Aaron Penrose

    Chapter 1

    Great story! I was hooked from the first line. This is my first time reading your work and you can be certain I will read more. I thought the chase was a good way to simultaneously create intrigue and in-depth characterization. I love the concept that deep down, Miah enjoys being hunted. I think you should stay with his POV to explore the psychological aspects of that predator/prey relationship more; you could take that much further. I also think it's entertaining to learn about the shifters gradually through Miah's eyes, since he's a more tangible (and human) character.
  18. Haha, so glad I reeled you back in. Thank you.
  19. Thank you! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. I've also lived close to the river my entire life, and it never ceases to inspire.
  20. I've "cleared the mod hurdle!" Awwwright

  21. No, thank you for the compliment! I'm happy to please.
  22. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reviewing. I put a lot of work and even more of myself into this, so your kind words mean the world.
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