A dramatization of one of my favorite stories from Plebe Summer
Really good, Latham! Love that haunting finish. This also reminds me of Tobias Wolff's awesome story, "The Other Miller," in his collection THE NIGHT IN QUESTION.
Since I know you're looking for things to aim for, I'll recommend Ben Percy's craft book "Thrill Me." It's mostly about fiction writing, but I use the concepts for teaching memoir. Percy writes about how to create more peaks and valleys for "modulation." You tell a story and have some thoughts about it, tell a story and have some thoughts about it. In that case, there could be a few moments where you take a beat to tell us about Miller, so he's less flat as a character. You're doing that kind of thing at the beginning, filling in the back story. Think about flipping that sequence a bit, so we get the problem first (the cake being pulled away, Mr. C calling Miller out), then little pieces of the back story as valleys between those action peaks. Could be interesting to see your own character develop throughout the essay in that way, too, with some big-picture reflections alongside the desperate self immersed in Plebe Summer -- the naive self before your training, the view from outside the military now, whether you've internalized Mr. C and that ship/shipmate/self value system, etc. What do you think?
Oh man, I'm so bummed about the cake. My immediate sensation was to feel bad for Miller. Though I think putting myself in his shoes I would have done the same thing probably. This felt like Navy "Lord of the Flies" for a bit. Great stuff!
I'd read this book, dude. Great stuff.
Wowzers. Lots to unpack here. Fear and invincibility and vulnerability all at once. Good one Latham!
Woah! I could smell that cake, especially the sweet icing. The abuse is so disturbing. Isn't there any other way to train young plebes? Great writing.
Gripping story Latham! Loved every word of it, had me on the edge of my seat. I want many more!
Woah. This was extremely vivid and I could picture all the scenes so clearly. I'm already impatiently waiting for more of these stories.
Evocative. Your writing just keeps getting better