MISC: Super Stomach Girl #4 - You Knew the Job was Dangerous When You Took It

Jerry jnshaw at earthlink.net
Wed May 10 12:01:14 PDT 2006


I'm sorry I didn't get back to you earlier.

Thanks for the review

"Tom Russell" <milos_parker at yahoo.com> wrote:

>Spoilers below.
>The first thing I want to say to Jerry Shaw is, welcome.  It's been a
>long time since we've had some new blood here on RACC, and it's
>refreshing indeed.  I hope you stick around for a while-- it's one of
>the best places on the net.
>I'm curious as to how you found us: are you a long-time lurker?  Did a
>friend bring it to your attention?  Was it Wonderful Wil Alambre's
>Amazing RACC at Wil's Ego page?  The LNH Wikipedia article?  Do tell.

Actually, I was looking for a review of my writing by other writers, a
critique of it so I can see the flaws I've been making.

This series is straight (well, sort of "straight") out of comic books. I
looked up Comics in my Newsgroup list and looked at the FAQs and Charters of a
few of the Groups. I found that this one was best for getting a solid review
of my writing style, looking to improve it.

>The second thing I want to say, having read through Super Stomach Girl
># 1-4 is this:
>This is the weirdest, kinkiest, and just plain most off-beat story I've
>seen on RACC in a long, long time.  In fact, touching on that
>much-maligned second adjective, it's probably the most, period.  And
>that's not a bad thing.

Thank you (I think). I've always wanted to be "the most" something. I knew
when I started the series it would be off-the-wall (in fact, just after I
posted it, I E-mailed the Moderator to see if it was too much for this Group).

>The funny thing about fetishes, boys and girls, is that what works for
>one person doesn't work for another, and often that's enough to turn
>one off not only sexually but also to turn one off from a story
>The film CRASH (Cronenberg's, not the shrill Oscar-winner for the best
>picture) depicts people who are turned on by fatal and near-fatal
>automobile crashes and injuries resulting therefrom.  Well, I can tell
>you straight up here, that's not my thing.  In fact, I don't think
>that's anybody's thing, which was part of the point: the film was about
>the power of fetish as an abstract and obsessive force.  If he had
>zeroed in on a fetish that people could realistically have, then a
>portion of the audience who didn't have that fetish would be excluded.
>This way, everyone is excluded and everyone is distant.  It's an
>admirable aim, but it didn't work for me, and that might have as much
>to do with the type of fetish on display.
>Now, I'm not saying that SUPER STOMACH GIRL would be better suited to
>one of the sex stories newsgroups.  It's not a porno story.  But, come
>on, let's face it: it's about a fetish.

I had looked into posting it in one of those Groups, to get writing style
feedback. But as you said, it didn't seem to fit in any of them. On the other
hand, if you have any suggestions about where this type of story is more apt
to fit in, I'd welcome them. I'm always looking for reviews and especially
critiques of my stories from a writing perspective.

>Obstentiably, it's about Roz (Super Stomach Girl) who, when empowered,
>has an invulnerable stomach and can deliver super punches (but only to
>the belly).  But Roz only becomes empowered after sustaining massive
>and painful damage to her stomach (upon which is helpfully emblazoned a
>target).  And it just so happens that her voyeuristic friend Kara loves
>to see women with flat, hard tummies; and the one thing that especially
>makes her mouth water is to *punch* those tummies, hard.  The thing she
>fantasizes, longs for, and obsesses about, the thing that brings her
>incredible panty-dampening knee-clanging joy is to punch Roz's stomach
>over and over again, as hard as she can.  And this is basically what
>the story is about.  A fetish for seeing women punched and pummelled
>and otherwise punished right above the naval.
>Now, I'm not saying that this is Jerry Shaw's particular fetish.  I
>make no assumptions about the author and I want to be clear about that:
>I'm not knocking anyone, or singling anyone out as weird.  I am merely
>extolling the virtues of this delightfully off-beat piece of work.
>It's not Jerry Shaw's fetish-- it's Kara's.  And while the fetish is
>weird enough to make the story interesting, Shaw doesn't single Kara
>out as being weird herself.  And there's a couple different ways that
>he does this.
>First, during the stomach-beatings that result in Roz's death and
>resurrection, and the discovery of her powers in the first place, Roz
>describes her stomach beatings in excrutiating, obsessive detail: the
>kind of language with which Kara might describe it.  By doing this,
>Shaw sets the tone of this strange little world he's created.  Since
>Roz describes her own belly and its torment, it gives Kara a fellow
>fetishist, if only by accident.
>Now, the first three issues are in first person, told from Roz's point
>of view.  In the third issue, with a couple of parenthetical
>statements, Shaw gradually shifts the POV to third person, and
>basically to Kara's point of view, indirectly.  This helps to prevent
>Kara from being singled out in the viewer's mind.
>While it's true that Roz is happy to find someone willing to punch her
>in the stomach, if the story continued from her point of view, it's
>more likely that she would comment on how strange Kara's fetish is.
>That would make Kara the loony.  The weirdo.  It would write her off
>and she would cease to be an interesting character.

As with all things, no one ever knows exactly what another person thinks. In
this case, I don't think Roz will ever realize the depths to which Kara is
into this. Probably, Roz will continue to think of this as just a training
session with a good friend. I believe that Kara's deep obsession with this
fetish will be kept a secret from Roz. While Roz knows she's into it, she'll
never realize exactly how much.

>In fact, this shift to third-person/Kara's indirect POV is an excellent
>choice for another reason: Kara is a much more interesting character,
>and, even if she's not the title character, it really becomes her
>story.  And that's as it should be: after all, it is her fetish on
>display. :-)

The shift to third person was an afterthought. I had originally written this
issue (and most of the previous one) in the first person, from Roz's point of
view. I also wanted to tell parts of it from Kara's point of view, so I
switched to hers at appropriate points. After getting more than half done with
it, I re-read it, and decided I should be using the third person. So I went
back and revised it that way. So overall, I'm not too satisfied with these
issues, as I know I would have done a better job if I had started out in the
third person at the beginning.

In the future, I'll be consistent throughout each issue, either first person
singular or third person, with only a couple minor excursions into the other
person, as needed.

>I don't share Kara's fetish.  It's a little extreme for my tastes.  But
>I understand Kara, I understand her fascination, and I accept her for
>who she is.  Basically, Jerry Shaw and SUPER STOMACH GIRL (at least so
>far) has managed to do what David Cronenberg and CRASH failed to do.
>At least, as far as this reader is concerned.
>As I read a story, especially when I'm enjoying it and getting immersed
>into its world, the nit-pick/story doctor in me gradually fades away,
>and things that would stand out like sore thumbs before are hardly
>noticed if at all.  Since Jerry did an excellent job of engaging me as
>a reader once Kara had entered the picture, my only substantial
>stylistic complaints are with the pre-Kara issues.
>In the first issue, early on, there's a metaphor that doesn't really
>work for me: "like a TV channel going off the air from a direct nuclear
>strike."  And the reason why is that it failed to engage my own
>every-day experience.  I've had the television click off abruptly
>(power outages) and I've had sudden static and technical difficulties,
>but I've never experienced a channel going off the air from a direct
>nuclear strike.  I can't quite get a handle on it.

I'll need to remember this point in the future. I tend to use similes and
metaphors as needed. I'll have to look at them and see if they are something
that the average reader would be familiar with, and make sure they are (though
I may need to use some unfamiliar ones that get explained later on).

>Also, the beatings Roz sustains in the beginning, while it certainly
>help set up the stomach-punching centric world the story takes place
>in, were a bit gory for my tastes.  And, I know, it was supposed to be.
> You can't fault a thing for being what it is, but you can say that you
>didn't care for it.
>I think the impact was lessened somewhat by the fact that it was a
>flashback (and, indeed, flashbacks *always* lessen impact and
>immediacy); we knew that Roz had already come back to life, so the gore
>isn't _quite_ as troublesome.  Had we not known that she would
>survive-- had it, for example, happened in chronological order and in
>third perosn-- I probably wouldn't have read any further and I wouldn't
>have met the wonderful and enchanting Kara.

That was my thinking too. I wrote it in the order you read. Because of that,
when it came to the flashback scene, I could go a little over the edge on her
"death." I thought the reader would accept the violence of it for that reason.
And it did make the reasons for the Alien to have given her the powers she had

Kara was not the original focus of the story. She was just going to be a
sidekick (in fact, the third issue was going to be titled just that). She was
going to be an Oracle-type character, advising but never participating. But as
I started writing for her, her whole character evolved, and her deep-seated
fetish came out all by itself. Kara's  true nature was hidden to me, that is
until I started to write her sections. Then she just took over.

>One other thing, which is certainly going to sound weird coming from
>the guy who writes HAIKU GORILLA-- slow down!  Posting four issues in a
>single night is going to turn a lot of people off.  If you're going to
>be posting fairly frequently, I would strongly suggest either, (a), a
>weekly or bi-weekly schedule, or, (b), post it in the same thread, as I
>do with HAIKU GORILLA and as Arthur's doing with the UNFINISHED
>SENTENCE-VERSE.  Otherwise, posting several a day, you'll be knocking a
>_lot_ of different titles off the Wil's Ego page, rendering a
>disservice to your fellow RACC authors.

I wrote those first four issues between mid February and the end of March.
I've been slowly working on more issues since then, when I have the time. It
took me this last month to find this Group, after looking in others. I wanted
to have other writers give me a solid critique on what I'd written so far. So
I posted all the issues I had up until that time.

I hope to post an issue a month, assuming I have that much spare time after
the overtime I'm putting in at work. That four-issue post was a one-time deal.
But I'm not writing all the issues sequentially, as one may peak my interest
and I need to get it started, at least before I lose it. And for these, there
may be prequels that are needed as set-up for it. So there may be some cases
where I have two issues done at the same time. But I'll try to space their
posting out. It will also allow me to do more revisions, to correct mistakes
and to change the wording a little here or there, especially to add details
that will lead into other, future stories. 

>And, once again, I cordially welcome you to our ranks. :-)

Thank you again, Tom. I've been writing for about 6 years now, mostly obscure
stuff, in a pen name (we won't go into that now). Since I'm 59, I started
late. I just picked up a pen/keyboard and started. I'm having fun writing,
trying to create a character and situation that is interesting and (well, up
until now), believable.

I tend to over-use parenthetical expressions and commas. The first comes from
my being a software engineer for over 35 years. The second, because I prefer
to use commas to break my sentences where I want the reader to pause, as if it
were a dialog and he was emphasizing the point.

I have no idea where Kara's character will go from here. I have a few stories
of her on her own, ones that Roz will never hear about.

Roz will, of course, meet more villains.

I have over sixty issue scenarios, a paragraph or so each. Each will be a
complete story in itself, though they will, of course, depend on the
characterizations created previously. In future issues, the villains and
situations will take on more of a comedic bend. Basically, I see this series
as a parody of the Superhero comics.

I usually don't plan out an issue, other than having a general idea what it is
about. So, as with Kara, I don't really know where this series will go.

I'm always willing to accept criticism on my writing style, especially if you
can point out what I'm doing wrong and how it should be done (or how you would
do it). That's what I'm here for, to improve my writing.

Thanks again,


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