The Book of Genesis in a Creative Writing Workshop: Student Feedback

by suededenimfiresale

“First of all, I think you have something here. Keep going!”

“Do you really think “In the beginning” is the actual “beginning” of this? The action is flat and static, until you get to the part with the snake. Start it there, then go back to those seven days of world-building.”

“What’s at stake here for these characters?”

“I’m really intrigued by the cherubim with the flaming swords, and yet, they’re dispensed with in just a few lines. I want more cherubim! 🙂 What would happen if you had the cherubim use those swords on Adam, Eve, and/or the snake? To paraphrase what Chekhov said: If there are cherubim with flaming swords in the first act, those cherubim with flaming swords better be used by the third.”

“This could use some tightening. Does your audience really need to know about all this ‘begating’?”

“This God character feels a bit heavyhanded and hamfisted. Eight chapters in, I felt like screaming, “OK! We get it! He’s the all-knowing and all-powerful.”

“I don’t really identify with these characters. I’ve never created a universe in seven days, so it’s hard for me to care about what’s happening.”

“I feel like I should feel more when Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt. Why salt, anyway? The action in that scene has so much potential to be heightened, exaggerated. Lose the salt pillar, replace it with something bigger, more dramatic, more menacing, like a zombie or vampire.”

“This has a really good flow.”

“Have you ever read the short story “A&P” by John Updike? There are parts of this that really remind me of that.”

“With the ark, I’m getting a sense of the size–although I’m not familiar with cubits–but I want MORE MORE MORE! More sights, more sounds, and–especially since we’re dealing with animals here–more smells. The audience needs to feel like they’re right there in that arc with Noah.”

“If this is set in the beginning of time, how come the narrator and all the characters talk like they’re medieval?”

“With the Cain and Abel fight scene, it’s not enough to tell us about the smoting. SHOW the smoting.”

“Abraham was a total bad-ass, and that’s really coming through.”

“What if Sodom was changed to Chicago, and Gomorrah was changed to Las Vegas? That would be cooler in a more contemporary setting, and then it would be easier for people to relate to.”

“Too much summary.”

“Concubines are sexist and gross.”

“Dude almost kills his son because God asked him to. WTF?”

“Have you attempted any of these stories in first person?”

“More Methusaleh, por favor. :)”

“You really nailed the feast scenes. It reminded me of feasts I went to in high school, only we had beer bongs instead of fatted calves.”

“Good shit.”

“This is pretty fucked up. But that’s cool. I like fucked up.”

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