First draft, good or bad use of quotes?

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Anonymous User
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First draft, good or bad use of quotes?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:18 am

The smell of disinfectant fills a cold white room. Beeping from various machines and the swoosh of air brings about an unusual sense of calm. I stare down at what can only be considered a silhouette of the man I admire most in the world. I let my mind wander playfully to the rhythmic sounds of the machines keeping my father alive. Viciously I am dragged from the shelter of my thoughts by howls of pain from the room’s other occupant, a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. It’s at this exact moment when I realized that my life won’t be continuing as planned.

As I sat next to my father I heard a familiar voice on the haphazardly mounted television in the room. I turned and discerned it was a well-known interview with Bruce Lee. His philosophies have had a large influence on my father’s life. Many times in the past my father would share with me philosophical anecdotes from his martial arts idol using his horrible Bruce impression and I would laugh or roll my eyes. But this time it was different. Hearing those words, in that room; they shook me to my core.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” The removal of half of my father’s left lung to rid his body of cancer drastically limited his ability to take care of himself. At the time I was a senior in high school and it was hard for me to come home and see this man I admired greatly writhe in pain for months, occasionally emptying his drainage bags and feeding him mashed foods that should not be enjoyed mashed. It changed me. I took on more responsibilities at home and I matured quickly. Instead of going out on weekends, I maintained the house. When my friends would have parties, I was fixing toilets, lights and floors. I didn’t resent my father for these tasks defaulting to me, instead I was grateful that I could spend time with him and learn from him.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” That summer I was shocked when my family confessed that my father had been laid off, having difficulties finding another job and that they could not make the monthly bill payments. The roof over our heads was in jeopardy. It was a profound feeling not knowing what was going to happen next. Instead of making excuses and not doing anything to better the situation, I decided to be proactive and contribute towards a solution. With my knowledge of computers and some technical help from my father, I opened a phone, internet and video surveillance small business. The business involved a substantial amount of physical labor, labor that my father was unable to do after surgery. With his physical limitations in addition to not being able to find another job, I had to become the breadwinner.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” With all of these changes happening at a pivotal point in my life, I was forced to adapt and make sacrifices. During those first couple of years in college I focused on expanding my business with fairly decent success. I established meaningful and long term contracts with local business owners and larger more substantial contracts with the JCC and Army recruitment offices. I also have employees that count on me to make a living. But my heavy emphasis on working was detrimental to my school grades. I was put on academic probation and transferred to a college closer to home. I ended up graduating closer to a B student, but I would say my experiences in life make my college years more distinguished than that. At the time I was ashamed of myself for essentially failing out of my first college but now I look back on it as one of the best classes I have ever taken, Real World 101.

It’s been seven years since that day in the hospital. I never desired to start a business in telecommunications and surveillance but I did what I had to do. In high school I wanted to become a doctor. Over time I realized the medical field wasn’t for me but I still sought to help people. Now I want to learn how to think like a lawyer. It’s interesting how plans get made, broken and altered as time passes. In my relatively short time on this planet I’ve had to make some big decisions, learned what it means to be relied on and how to adapt to my circumstance. With my business being successful and my father now healthy enough to run it, I’ve received my family’s blessing to go to law school. I’m ready to dedicate all my time to the law but still willing to adapt. “Be water, my friend.”


Any critiques on the general theme or direction of the statement would be greatly appreciated!

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kwais
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: First draft, good or bad use of quotes?

Postby kwais » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:42 am

While I usually don't like heavy quote use I think you use them fine. What I would say is that in the first paragraph, the writing gets in the way of the story. Tons of unnecessary words. Drop all the flowery language and your story will be all that is left. Viciously? No. I discern that it's a Bruce Lee interview? No, it's a Bruce Lee interview. But I like the story and I think you find a nice style in later paragraphs. Oh and the present tense stuff in the first paragraph is well-worn literary gimmick stuff too. Good luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273187
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First draft, good or bad use of quotes?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:37 pm

kwais wrote:While I usually don't like heavy quote use I think you use them fine. What I would say is that in the first paragraph, the writing gets in the way of the story. Tons of unnecessary words. Drop all the flowery language and your story will be all that is left. Viciously? No. I discern that it's a Bruce Lee interview? No, it's a Bruce Lee interview. But I like the story and I think you find a nice style in later paragraphs. Oh and the present tense stuff in the first paragraph is well-worn literary gimmick stuff too. Good luck.


Thanks a lot for the good feedback




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