So the logic goes like this: the protagonist realized life was meaningless, decided to kill herself—but at the last moment her mom calls to tell her that the dog died (it "accidentally" hung itself on a tree), and after that the protagonist decides to postpone her death because she wants to find out whether animals commit suicide or not. (OK, it doesn't make much sense. It's supposed to be dark comedy.)

Here's the opening (minus the irrelevant text):

2014 was the year I became obsessed with animal suicide. I guess you can say it became my reason to live—the sun in my sky, the very air I breathed. I talked about it all the time: at home, at school, at parties, even at family reunions. So I wasn't surprised when people decided to keep a distance from me. I didn't blame them, though. No one wants to picture a hanging cat while enjoying a meal.

So how did this animal suicide thing start? Ironically, it began with my own death wish. But why? I had good health, friends and family who cared about me, plus I had just been admitted into college. Well, basically, I stopped finding meaning in things. Not spiritually or philosophically; things simply ceased to make sense. I'd be riding the subway or walking down the street and ask myself: What's the meaning of all this? You wake up, go to work, eat, poop, crawl back to bed—and that's it. Yes, some will remember you after you die, but those people will die, too. And even if you become famous and make yourself a place in history, all traces of that will disappear once we blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons, or if the universe undergoes a gigantic cosmic explosion. Why bother, then?

After much thought, I decided that the most logical thing to do was to end with my life.

(More monologue, then the protagonist's mom calls)

"Oh, almost forgot to tell you," Mom said, "Choco is dead."

"What? Dead?" Choco was our Chihuahua. He'd been in the family since I can remember. But to tell the truth, I had never liked him. Maybe because he bit me when I was little. I'd just come back home from school and was shaking off my shoes when Choco, probably thinking I wanted to kick him, buried his fangs in my leg. The incident was engraved deeply in my mind. I've been scared of dogs ever since.

Mom told me she found him hanging on the fallen pine beside his doghouse. I imagined him with his chain wrapped around his neck, his tiny body hovering a few centimeters above the ground. His eyes bloodshot, almost popping out, his tongue hanging on one side like a death worm.

(The following scene occurs after the call ends)

As soon as we hung up, I glanced around the room, feeling strange. I felt as if a wave had swept over me, and I was now underwater, with no idea which was up and which was down.

Had Choco really committed suicide?

But that led to the question of whether animals had suicidal tendencies—whether they possessed that level of consciousness. The thought lingered in my mind for a moment, like a tiny gray cloud. Finally, I went back to my computer and typed in animal suicide.

To my surprise, several results popped up: a duck drowned itself after the death of its companion, a school of dolphins stranded themselves for no apparent reason, a deer threw itself from a cliff escape from hunting dogs. And the list went on and on. By the time I was done, I had read nearly thirty articles. I sank back on my chair, and wondered what had crossed through their minds right before their death. But most important, had they really committed suicide? That's when the thought hit me: I had to find out. I had to solve this mystery. Maybe by doing so I'd understand my own state of mind, my almost-death, and who knew, maybe I would find the meaning of life.

Does the conclusion connect with the protagonist's initial statement?

So how did this animal suicide thing start? Ironically, it began with my own death wish.

I also tried to write it like this:

So how did this animal suicide thing start? Ironically, it began the night I decided to die.

But this produces another logic problem: How implies a reason. Night implies time (when?).

Hope the question is clear. It was a bit difficult to write.

But anyway, is there a coherence problem? If so, how can I fix it? Or simplify the whole text?

1 Answer 1


Had to look up the meaning of coherence to answer this question and this answer is based on the result I got:

  1. The quality or state of cohering, especially a logical, orderly, and aesthetically consistent relationship of parts.

So, with that in mind: First off I must say that this sounds like an amazing story, I'd love to read it when it is done. It sounds quite similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time but more emotional and interesting. (I also thought that Curious Incident was an amazing book.)

Secondly, to answer your question: There seems no coherence problem. The only fault I can find with this is not how the character reacts to the dog's death. (Which is justified in the text.) It is the manner of which the mother says it,

"Oh, almost forgot to tell you," Mom said, "Choco is dead."

But it creates a spark of interest in the protagonist, he/she doesn't just say: "Oh well my dog's dead and he may have committed suicide so I might as well just postpone my death and investigate this then kill myself." There's a good purpose to this. The story keeps itself going and there is a purpose for everything. It is also not obvious that the dog has killed itself as a dog hanging from a tree is not a rare occurrence which is great for the story's purposes.

Sounds awesome! Will I be able to find it somewhere when it becomes complete?

  • Thanks for the feedback! Yes, I'll publish it as a Kindle. I'll post the link in this site's chat room when I'm done (and if I don't starve to death by then).
    – wyc
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 3:32

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