"Running with Guilt" by Maggie Stancu

Discuss the May 2015 book of the month, Holding Fire.
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"Running with Guilt" by Maggie Stancu

Post by Scott » 01 May 2015, 14:30

Please use this topic to discuss the first story in Holding Fire, "Running with Guilt" by Maggie Stancu.

What do you think of this story? What do you like most about it?

I think this is a very good, exciting story. I would have loved more backstory, but I suppose being a little the dark about the fictional past and fictional future is part of reading a short story. :lol:

What do you think?

I have also been following Maggie Stancu since reading the story. She seems not only talented but driven, so I am excited to see where her creativity takes her.
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by sahmoun2778 » 01 May 2015, 15:07

I just finished the story, and I loved it. I was completely fascinated from the first word. This young lady really knows what she's doing. Her main character was compelling and complicated. I found it fascinating that at first, immediately after the deed, she seemed to be ok with what she had done, but as each day passed she began to crumble under the weight of it. Paul had me totally creeped out, the way he kept popping up. I also thought the date and time format of the story really added to the drama, and the ending was totally unexpected. I hope Maggie's English teacher gives her an A+ because that's what this story deserves.

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Post by bookowlie » 03 May 2015, 01:52

I loved this short story. The captions with the date and time really added a layer of tension. The main character seemed totally cold and without any conscience, and I won't say anymore. The ending blew me away and I actually went back and re-read the story to get a better sense of everything after I knew the ending.
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Post by memory » 06 May 2015, 11:15

I thought this was a well written short story but I would have liked more back story on how the main character got to where she was and how she met up with Paul.

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Post by ashley_claire » 07 May 2015, 13:36

I also would have liked more backstory but I realize that's not really the nature of short stories. I thought this was a great story and I can't believe how young the author is. She's definitely someone to watch for.

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Post by Michelle-lit » 09 May 2015, 14:44

Definitely well written, especially for someone entering her first contest. I thought organizing the story by date and time was genius and gave it a crime like feel. Everything in her story seemed to have a purpose and pointed to the character's deterioration. Even the bar scenes and male interests fit in well to the main story, and didn't feel as if they were just thrown in as space fillers. I liked pages 13-14 where we can see the guilt slowly tearing away at Vic's mental state.

What started as a possible cliche story about a woman killing her ex-boyfriend turned out to be so much more. I was also surprised by the ending and cannot wait to see what she comes up with in the future.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 09 May 2015, 16:05

I can totally imagine that if I killed someone, it would eat at me in much the same way. And the author's a senior in high school? Awesome! Great insight.

The dates were wrong--there is no Sunday May 13th this year. Tomorrow's Sunday May 10th. (However, I probably wouldn't have even noticed if we weren't right there on the calendar now!)

Tiny issue aside, I loved the twist at the ending. (No spoilers.) It made sense to me, intuitively, and it seemed to offer a certain amount of moral insight (I can't say more without spoilers). Keep up the great writing!!

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Post by eyeslashes » 10 May 2015, 09:15

First things first: I did not, not even for a single second, suspect the ending. I was completely blind sided and amazed, because I basically thought: good writing, real simple and clean and mediocre plot. Nothing speciaaa-- The plot twist hit me like a baseball at breakneck speed and smashed my nose.

It was great.

And the disconnect until she finally really understood what she'd just done was also nicely done.

Summed up, for a short story it seriously packed a punch. More than some 500 pages novels I have read.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 10 May 2015, 09:56

I saw the surprise ending coming, but I think it was because the author did such a compelling, good job of describing the mindset of the narrator: how would you react if you'd done the unthinkable?

I didn't mind the lack of a backstory, because I saw this story as being strong on a thematic level, which doesn't require specifics.

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Post by eyeslashes » 10 May 2015, 10:10

I honestly did not see it coming, but I agree that the author did really well regarding the protagonist's mindset and actions after the crime. It is certainly plausible and well thought out.

You have a point with the backstory; this kind of story doesn't need one. Actually, adding a backstory could have easily dimnished the feeling of mystery and tension by providing too much information too soon and make a good tale an awkward read.

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Post by Being Maggie » 10 May 2015, 14:14

Hey all! I'm Maggie, the author of the story, and your responses are actually so amazing!! You guys are so sweet! Thank you so much, firstly, for reading my story. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And thank you for sharing your opinions! They are so uplifting!! <3

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 10 May 2015, 16:25

You're welcome! Please keep writing!!

:-)

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Post by Beth Davids » 11 May 2015, 19:50

I applaud the talent of the young author. However I find the story tragic and depressing with no hope. I suppose if people like to read depressing stories, it's a success. I can't say I really enjoyed it, but I think the understanding of moral decline is remarkable. I too was surprised by the ending although it made absolute sense with the thought process of the young woman.

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Post by kio » 13 May 2015, 15:40

I loved how complex and flawed the main character was. She's not only the protagonist, but an antagonist as well. Her guilt almost reminds of the guilt you see in Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. I love the play on the name Vic. A "vic"tim turned killer :) I had a little hard time following the timeline, but is was very well done.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 13 May 2015, 17:50

kio wrote:I loved how complex and flawed the main character was. She's not only the protagonist, but an antagonist as well. Her guilt almost reminds of the guilt you see in Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. I love the play on the name Vic. A "vic"tim turned killer :) I had a little hard time following the timeline, but is was very well done.
:text-goodpost:

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