Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/User:Necropaxx/Grim Reaper
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I wrote this rewrite of the Grim Reaper article for PLS, but it fared rather poorly (not even an HM, *sniff*), so I would like some help to make it better, especially with the intro and the second picture's caption. Thankings, • • • 20:36, Aug 18
|Humour:||5||I did not laugh very much. See endnotes.|
|Concept:||8||Good topic for an article.|
|Prose and formatting:||7||Good writing but needs to be better: needs to go to the next level.|
|Images:||7||Good first picture; the cartoon one, though, doesn't do anything much for me. The Last Supper is also good, but raises questions.|
|Miscellaneous:||7||I like this and hope it succeeds.|
|Reviewer:||----OEJ 14:29, 5 September 2008 (UTC)|
First, on style:
The article seems vague and unengaging to me. I think my problem is that nearly all the piece is told in summary. This is pretty common, and is of course how many real encyclopedia articles are written. But for fiction, and comedic fiction especially, it doth not pull the reader in. Unbroken summary narrative does not make the reader sit up and lean forward; it does not make tiny explosions of delight in his brain.
- "The Grim Reaper was born in 1935 to Harvey and Ludmilla Reaper, a poor farming family living in eastern Nebraska. Harv and Millie, both possessed of a nasty sense of humor, named their child Sheldon. Needless to say, Sheldon Reaper's childhood was troubled. Shortly after his eighth birthday, both of Sheldon's parents mysteriously died, leaving the child an orphan. Little Sheldon had no friends to speak of; this was mostly because of his downcast attitude, but also because no one lives in eastern Nebraska anyway."
At no point does the preceding paragraph zoom into closeup: it never shows the action, it merely tells about it. This is a good way to skim over supporting narrative -- "fifth business", things that have to be in the story but are not the focus -- but it ain't so good for the meat of the story.
So whataya DO about it?
Well, that's the hard part. What are the really core scenes in Grim Reaper's story? "One day when Sheldon came home from school the little house on the corner was empty. His mother was not in the bathroom obsessively scrubbing the toilet seat, as she usually was. His father was not sprawling in the barcalounger drinking Corn Husker Malt Liquor and watching Wheel of Fortune. "Mommy?" called Sheldon. "Dad?" The words fell dead. No one answered. Sheldon made himself some macaroni and cheese. He sliced a hotdog into it. He whimpered a little. Abandoned! And the milk in the fridge had gone sour."
Give the important scenes some detail.
Another place that is crucial is where Grim gets his first scythe and cuts the giver in half.
- "Perhaps the only happy moment of Grim's early life came when Gomer Wilkins, the mayor and only other resident of Bumpkinville, gave Grim a certified pre-owned harvest scythe for his twentieth birthday. When he unwrapped it, Grim immediately proceeded to slice Mayor Wilkins in half, giving him the dubious distinction of being the first soul ever 'reaped.'"
Why did he do that? He was bored and unhappy, yes, but many bored unhappy people turn to line dancing or particle physics or dog ownership. Very few chop other people up with farm implements. Why did Grim do that? This is a core aspect of his personality.
There should be some thread running through Grim's story, an aspect of his personality that explains why he becomes Death. Otherwise it just seems random, even though we know from the beginning that he's the Grim Reaper.
- "Grim's chance to go to the land of his dreams came when a trucker delivering a shipment of silicone to Hollywood passed through the area where Grim was living at the time. Grim hitchhiked his way to Hollywood. Once there, Grim tried to get work as an actor. However, Grim's face was 'too skeletal' for work on a live-action production."
Again, to beat the same poor mule some more, detail is funnier than abstractions. A "shipment of silicone" is actually a "shipment of silicone tits, size AA through DDD" and we all know it. "The area where Grim was living at the time" is a round-about way of avoiding saying where Grim was living. Which might have been "the Frank W. Leahy memorial dorm" or "the Soy Milk residence hall" or even just "a squalid block of student housing".
But there's a bigger problem: a titty-truck chugging past Corndogger Cooperative Housing is not necessary at all if Grim ends up hitch-hiking. To do that all he has to do is walk to I-80 and stick out his thumb. If you want the titty-truck you have to justify it. "But somehow Grim could not bring himself to start hitching West. Then one day a truck broke down outside Bitternut Student Hall, where he lived. The driver propped up the hood and began doing intricate things with a crescent wrench, a mallet, and a loosely-rolled spliff. Grim watched for awhile, and then asked where the truck was headed..." And so forth, winding up with Grim nestled in the load of silicone breasts with a nipple in his ear. Or whatever.
Now, once he's there you might as well be definite about his failure as an actor. He contacted an agent -- a specific agent. Moe Huckamyth or something. "Yeah, kid, lissen. Lissen. A nice move you got, OK, and you got the height. At least you're not short like that loser Schwartzenegger. But you're skinny. Like a fish! I can see your bones, kid. Leading men, they gotta show muscle, not bones. You buff up, get some meat on you, you come back and we see what we can do."
Anyway. In my opinion this piece needs specific scenes, detailed action. The details themselves will create opportunities for jokes -- slapstick comedy, sex humor, sly satire, funny incidents, and so forth. "Three guys walk into a bar" doesn't have much opportunity to become a joke until it becomes specific and detailed. "Osama bin Laden, a chimpanzee, and President Bush walk into a bar" is fraught with possibility.
So enough of my nattering on and on. All this is just my personal opinion, just the ravings of a borderline lunatic with his brain marinating in a caffeine-rich broth of undiluted espresso. Have fun!
----OEJ 14:29, 5 September 2008 (UTC)