Category Archives: Bog Girl, The

The Bog Girl: Read on June 15, 2016

All I could think of was Tom Petty’s famous video where he dances with a dead Kim Basinger to his song “Last Dance With Mary Jane”. Also, Weekend At Bernie’s.

This story is really uneven. On the one hand it’s (maybe?) about how we fall in love with the idea of a person but then as we get to know them discover either we love them more or they horrify us and we dump them. On the other it’s comical and not very serious. And I’m not even sure what the story is really trying to tell us about anything.

I found the humor too detached and that didn’t jive well with other parts of the story that are really well written and (seemingly) headed somewhere interesting. But like the Bog Girl herself the story is impossible to really understand and in the end we have to toss it back into the bog.

There are also some editing choices that are poorly thought out. I’m guessing the New Yorker doesn’t suggest changes to a story but this could have benefited from some editing (rearranging sections and dropping unnecessary words) and someone should have challenged the author more to make a stronger point. What exactly are we supposed to take away from this tale? Just being strange is not enough to make it worthwhile.

I do feel that there is the possibility of a great story in here, I just don’t think the story is there yet – it’s sort of like Tim Burton’s later work that didn’t seem to have a strong theme. The characters are not very well fleshed out except for the mother but we don’t get enough of her to really know her.

Maybe if the author had given us a better narrator – maybe the mother? – then we would have a stronger story, something about a mother’s fear of another woman taking her son away. To me that seems to be the solution here if I were adapting this to a screenplay.

I did like this story, however, despite it’s weaknesses. There is some very good imagery and I feel as if a stronger story were floating somewhere just below the surface of another bog.

60% done with The Bog Girl

If we swapped the firs twoparagraphs, then gave no dialogue (inner or extrenal) to Cillian and only showed him holding her and Then had written “Cell fell in love” (drop the rapidly, it’s unnecessary) we would have established this character better.

They’re watching TV together? HA! Love the strangeness of that. “He’s 15, she’s 2000”.

40% done with The Bog Girl

I could do without some of the “humor”, this feels like too serious of a story to ruin with off-the-cuff language.

We haven’t established Cillian as a character yet to make this protective image of him and his judgment of the people around him believable yet. I feel like we’re going too fast. It’s jarring

20% done with The Bog Girl

Switching the paragraphs would make the joke about Cillian’s proximity to the job site better because then we’d already have been given the far-flung locale first (“not really on the circuit”).

Start big then get closer to the characters

Why are young men always written as having some weird sex fantasy – it’s cliche. Boys need to be written better.

10% done with The Bog Girl

“While operating heavy machinery” that line feels awkward. Couldn’t you just say the name of the machine: “While operating a backhoe …”?

Ah, this second paragraph really should be the first paragraph. That would tie in better with Cillian’s “celery green eyes” as an image working outward (I mean start with the natural image then give that image to the character through his eyes).