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Outline for s short story. Criticism?
POV: First Person
Setting: Summer (Mid August), home at the edge of a cul-de-sac, New York. Full moon, stark light. 2 A.M.
Note: MC=Main Character (31 years old)
>Story opens in bedroom.
>>Walls painted a neutral color, lighting dark and hazy. Air conditioner is heard humming and the room is unnaturally chill. A clock ticks from somewhere in the living room, down the hall. The MC’s wife breaths deeply. Beyond the walls of the house, the wind rustles the tress and jingles wind chimes, cars can be heard driving in the distance, the streetlights hum, the frogs croak and the bugs creak and scuttle. The room smells faintly like fresh paint, cleaners, scented candles, clean linen. Sheets are white and skewed. A rectangle of moon light hangs on the wall opposite the dresser, just above the dresser.
>Story begins with MC, wide awake, staring at the rectangle of light, unable to sleep.
>MC physically exhausted but mentally wide awake. All the sounds and scents of his room keep him up.
>MC and wife lay together in bed, both nude. Wife is asleep, MC is awake, all the sounds and sensations rousing his senses, the rectangle of light present even when his eyes are closed.
>MC considers the fact that he has to be up for work in a few hours, and after work how he has to finish painting the baby's room as he promised his wife he would do.
>MC meditates on the fact that he and his wife, still without child, had begun trying to conceive in the winter. The full array of emotion had been stirred within him when he and his wife began to consciously try for a child: excitement, hope, joy, love, doubt, fear, and even dread and isolation (insofar as he has no one he trusts enough to actually display these feelings to).
>MC begins to recount how he and his wife met in college (2nd year) and began dating at the beginning of the 3rd. Admits that he cheated on her a beautiful, wild girl at a party thrown during his last semester. His wife had never found out, and he never intends to tell her. After that single night, he has never again been with another woman.
>Though he is basically ashamed of what he did, a small part of him covets the memory, viewing it almost like a tiny, silent protest against not his wife (who he insists didn't deserve to be cheated on), but against the banal, quiet life that he, half-unwittingly, committed himself to.
>In college, he got his Bachelors in Business Administration after floating around in community college for 2 1/2 years getting his Liberal Arts degree because he did not, and still doesn't, know what he wants to do with his life. The MC admits that he never really wanted to go to college, though his parents forced him to go directly after high school. He didn't really want to end up working for a bank (which is what he does now) but he did because he didn't know what else to get a job in. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to marry directly after college, but his wife and his parents pushed him to propose. Now he's being "forced" to help conceive the final shackle to married, suburban life: a child.
>MC gets out of bed, sneaks out of the room, goes into the closet for his winter parka and fishes in the inside pocket for the thick leather glove that hides his cigarettes (which he told his wife he throw out).
>He slips onto the deck, is promptly smacked in the face with the balmy summer heat and the noises outside, lights the cigarette, and then he begins to survey the view as seen from his back porch. For the first time, he wonders where the girl he had sex with that night is now, what sort of life she's leading, how much different that life probably was to the one that he found with his wife. There are copious street lamps scattered among the row of extinguished houses. He sees cars driving in the distance and wonders where it is they could be going at this time of night. Wildly, he begins to think about getting in his car and wander off until he finds her. And then he thinks about the fact the he needs to go to work later and then he needs to finish painting the room. He sees the full moon hanging low on the horizon, as though it's about to sink away and give in to the dawn.
>He puts out his cigarette and opens the door to go back inside. He is greeted by the low hum of the air conditioner, the ticking of the clock and the smell of fresh paint. Idly, he wonders if his wife will smell the cigarettes
Literature is how those plot points are written out. Plot points are not subject to literary criticism.
Well, it's too boring to be plot driven, so I'm guessing your going for slice of life.
Slice of life works depend entirely on the execution, so a plan doesn't tell us much. That said, I can see some issues.
The most important question is why would we, the readers, want to read about some loser who cheated on his wife? Even in a slice of life story, you need a compelling hook that keeps us reading on; a mystery that the reader wants to see resolved. The manga Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, for instance, has a tremendously slow pace, but the reader can easily tolerate the banal chapters about coffee drinking because we've also been shown some really weird shit. We stay because we want to find out what the deal is. Alfred Hitchcock put it best (I paraphrase): "two old women talking in a cafe is boring, but if we are shown a ticking time bomb under their table, we pay a lot more attention to their chat." It doesn't have to be anything as drastic as that, but it does have to be something we care about to keep us invested.