Constructive Criticism from Jack Torrance’s MFA Workshop

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“I found Jack to be a very strong and magnetic character. His transformation into a dull boy was really convincing and powerful for me.”

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“I like how the writer uses repetition to tell the story as opposed to…you know…using a story to tell the story. That’s refreshing.”

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“Of course it has a plot: All work. No Play. Jack is a dull boy. Look, I’ll Freytag it dude.”

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“Preston, I think your proposal of cutting the novel by ninety-nine pages and just making it a one-sentence flash piece is hugely prescriptive. That’s clearly not the writer’s vision.”

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“I usually don’t like experimental novels but this one really hooked me. But I also just really enjoy varieties of patterns.”

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“My favorite thing about this piece is how original it is. I actually dropped my copy and the staple fell out, so I just sort of slapped the pages back together and I couldn’t really tell a difference. I don’t even know what that means, but how the writer accomplished that effect blows my mind.”

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“Is dull really the right word though? What if you used ‘bromidic’ instead?”

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“Obviously it’s an anti-novel. Its refusal to adhere to our narrative expectations is exactly what makes it a masterpiece. I mean, it’s clearly unreadable and I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually read past the first page…but I think that’s what makes it so brave.”

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“Most of all I just really admire the writer’s discipline. I mean, that’s a shitload of typing. Tedious typing too. Like, who even uses typewriters anymore?”

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“I love the way it plays with form and white space. I think we need more novels that care about how words on the page look as opposed to what they read. Because meaning can be really overrated.”

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“I’m just gonna throw this out there: what the fuck is wrong with you people?”

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