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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 335 Response

Plot Problems in “Smile”

by Carmen Ruggero

One of the questions in Challenge 335 is whether Tom Underhill’s “Smile” is a study in self-pity. I would say yes.

And, answering the next Challenge question, I would add that the story would have a better chance of survival if the photographer’s “chorus” were omitted. Now that's the simple fix.

I believe that the author took on a very ambitious project, but it doesn’t come together:

The story goes full circle and ends with the opening paragraph: Tammy is waiting for a ride home. But has it really gone full circle or simply not moved at all? Sometimes a piece of writing raises valid questions, but I believe that what we have here is a notion of a plot that fails to come together.

Copyright © 2009 by Carmen Ruggero

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