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Thread: Untitled Short Story

  1. #1
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
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    5,016

    Untitled Short Story

    Morning light attacks through a tear in the curtains.

    "...the ****?"

    Time to wake up.

    "Oh."

    Tuesday. Anything but Tuesday. At least Mondays you can hate. People will know what you mean. Tuesdays just are.

    To its credit, this Tuesday will be different from the last. Because today, he's going on a date.

    "Going" is actually a lie. She's coming over, they always do. Speaking of going, he never really does. The way he stays put without any help would probably be impossible outside the internet age.

    He opens a cupboard, only to find an empty jar of instant coffee. He was bound to run out, he knew he would, it's just he pushed it off his mind. "Why call it instant, anyway? You're still expected to make it..." he asks himself, pretending to relay the question to whoever decided on the name.

    Sitting on the couch with a cup of hot water, he switches on the TV and skims through his favorited channels. All subscription, mostly porn, and mostly not showing anything at this hour. He stops at BBC America.

    "The Surrey Slaughterman' as dubbed by media still unidentified, says police. Latest victim attributed to the same killer is Crystal Mgawi, discovered by a neighbour who chooses to remain anonymous. Her death seems a repeat of previous 'Slaughterman' crimes, from the lack of an eyewitness to the accurate adherence to slaughterhouse procedure..."

    "What a sick ****!" he thinks while lazily toying with the curls of his blond, medium-length hair.


    Doorbell. He's dozed off at some point. It is midday, his pyjamas are damp and an empty cup lies at his feet. She's at the door. "Coming!" he yells while changing into a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt. "Just like chess!" he notes, reminding himself of an impeccable fashion sense and a perceivably sharp wit.

    "Hi you...you!"

    She was beautiful. And never heard from again.


    ----------------------------


    So I wrote this today. Would like to see some feedback, I guess, especially if you're Gebohq. Also, it's not interactive...
    Last edited by Krokodile; 05-10-2010 at 07:11 PM.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  2. #2
    I read your story. I liked it, but then it just ended without so much as even getting much into any sort of rising conflict. If the last sentence was supposed to indicate some form of climax, I didn't catch on it.

    Any type of feedback you're looking for in particular? If so, I can expand further on my comments.

    Keep at it!

  3. #3
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
    Posts
    5,016
    To be honest, I could have gone on but I got out of bed to finish that when it became apparent that I was not to fix my broken sleep cycle, so I rushed myself to wrap it up even though I did intend a bit of abruptness to begin with. The last sentence simply indicates that the protagonist, too, is a killer. I hoped it would not have been so abrupt as to deter the reader, but it was and I appreciate your honesty as much as I do your competence.

    I'm perhaps looking for some scrutiny of its technical aspects. It was something I tried to pay attention to: avoid excess and being unneededly indirect. I guess I could summarize what I'm trying to reach by saying that the less words and the less complexity with which I can say something without it losing the sort of weight and effect (and ideally adding to the effectiveness by presenting it up front) that I think it can have, the better. The opening sentence, on the other hand, didn't originally work for me because I formed it in a way that didn't really make sense: it was "Morning light crept through a tear in the curtains." and the problem with that is that light, once it finds an opening, does not creep in.

    In addition to all of that I tried to be somewhat authentic. For instance I found out that the British would say "slaughterman" instead of "butcher" so I went with that, but I'm sure there's some factual error that I didn't catch in that bit anyway.
    Last edited by Krokodile; 05-11-2010 at 12:09 AM.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  4. #4
    BAD SPAM BAD.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 05-11-2010 at 12:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
    Posts
    5,016
    ...

    wow.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  6. #6
    Technical breakdown it is!

    Morning light attacks through a tear in the curtains.
    The metaphor feels slightly forced. I can see where you're going with it, though, so it ain't a lost cause.

    "...the ****?"

    Time to wake up.

    "Oh."
    Nice narrative style, but it might be a bit distracting and/or inconsistent with the work.

    "Going" is actually a lie. She's coming over, they always do. Speaking of going, he never really does. The way he stays put without any help would probably be impossible outside the internet age.
    The quotes confused me for a moment when I first read this. Italics might work better in this case, I'm not sure. The third sentence was also slightly confusing, but again, nothing too serious.

    He opens a cupboard, only to find an empty jar of instant coffee. He was bound to run out, he knew he would, it's just that he pushed it off his mind. "Why call it instant, anyway? You're still expected to make it..." he asks himself, pretending to relay the question to whoever decided on the name.

    Sitting on the couch with a cup of hot water, he switches on the TV and skims through his favorited channels. All subscription, mostly porn, and mostly not showing anything at this hour. He stops at BBC America.

    "The Surrey Slaughterman' as dubbed by media still remains unidentified, says police. The latest victim attributed to the same this killer is Crystal Mgawi, discovered by a neighbour who chooses to remain anonymous. Her death seems a repeat of previous 'Slaughterman' crimes, from the lack of an eyewitness to the accurate adherence to slaughterhouse procedure..."
    Suggested fixes in red. The rest is technically fine, I think. You'll probably get better technical feedback from others.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories
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  7. #7
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
    Posts
    5,016
    Thanks, Gebohq! Some counter-thoughts:

    I went with "favorited" because I wanted to make the distinction that these are channels which he has added to favorites, at least my digibox has that feature.

    As for the newscast bit, I intentionally left out those words to make it come off as "headline talk" at the beginning of them covering the story, if you catch my drift. You're probably right to correct those as I don't actually know whether they would ever talk like that on an English TV news broadcast.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  8. #8
    Hello.

    Below are my opinions only - please feel more than free to disregard at will anything that you don't agree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krokodile View Post
    Morning light attacks through a tear in the curtains. attacks who?

    "...the ****?"

    Time to wake up.

    "Oh." Not sure this inner monologue was necessary.

    Tuesday. Anything but Tuesday. At least Mondays you can hate. People will know what you mean. Tuesdays just are.Hey, I like this!

    To its credit, this Tuesday will be different from the last. Because today, he's going on a date.Not sure about the jump to future tense in the first sentence - IMO it's better to try and stick to one tense as much as possible.

    "Going" is actually a lie. [color=orange]Who's POV is this from? Who's the narrator telling the story? So far it reads like 3rd person omniscient that sometimes lapses into 3rd person limited - I'd recommend sticking with one or the other[/spoiler] She's coming over, they always do. At "they always do", I was starting to guess that the MC's a serial killer. Speaking of going, he never really does. The way he stays put without any help would probably be impossible outside the internet age.I had to read twice before getting what you mean. Suggest rephrasing "The way he stays put."

    He opens a cupboard, only to find an empty jar of instant coffee. He was bound to run out, he knew he would, it's just he pushed it off his mind. "Why call it instant, anyway? You're still expected to make it..." he asks himself, pretending to relay the question to whoever decided on the name.

    At this point, nothing had yet happened. A guy woke up, and is waiting for his date in his flat... And that's about it.

    Sitting on the couch with a cup of hot water, he switches on the TV and skims through his favorited channels. All subscription, mostly porn, and mostly not showing anything at this hour. At what hour? I had so far assumed it was about 7 or 8 AM (since you've mentioned it's morning previous), with the MC having woken up from sun rays shining on his face... He stops at BBC America.

    "The Surrey Slaughterman' as dubbed by media still unidentified, says police. Latest victim attributed to the same killer is Crystal Mgawi, discovered by a neighbour who chooses chose (should be past tense, this all ready happened to remain anonymous. "A neighbor who choose to be anonymous" sounds a little bit strange. Did she have that many neighbors? If the person who's discovered the corpse chose to stay anonymous, why would the police say that he's actually her neighbor? Why mention this at all? Her death seems a repeat of previous 'Slaughterman' crimes, from the lack of an eyewitness to the accurate adherence to slaughterhouse procedure..." What's slaughterhouse procedure?

    "What a sick ****!" he thinks while lazily toying with the curls of his blond, medium-length hair. Is his hair important to the story? If this is 3rd person limited, then he would never care to remember that he, in fact, has "blond, medium-length hair," and if it's 3rd person omniscient, I think that it can be relayed earlier in the story. I would use something like, "He wondered if his new date would appreciate the effort he's put into taking care of his hair.


    Doorbell. He's dozed off at some point. It is midday, his pyjamas are damp and an empty cup lies at his feet. She's at the door. "Coming!" he yells while changing into a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt. He either changes really fast, or yells really slowly... "Just like chess!" he notes, reminding himself of an impeccable fashion sense and a perceivably sharp wit. He thinks black jeans and a white shirt are great fashion items? Is he being ironical while having an inner dialog with... himself?

    "Hi you...you!"

    She was beautiful. And never heard from again. IMO, last line could've been stronger. I guess my biggest problem with it is, again, a jump-in-time. If we all ready know that she'll be killed (because the narrator tells us), that means that the story's isn't just in present tense.


    ----------------------------


    So I wrote this today. Would like to see some feedback, I guess, especially if you're Gebohq. Also, it's not interactive...
    I'd recommend the following:

    1) Choose a POV and a tense stick to it. I would personally recommend 3rd person limited / past tense.
    2) Delete everything that doesn't push the story forward.
    3) Work on the opening and ending. Read the first and the last lines of published stories.

    And lastly, if you were writing about a person who's mentally disturbed, by all means, do convey to the reader how disturbed that individual is. Disturbing fiction can, no, SHOULD be exciting fiction (although not to everyone's taste, obviously).

    Here's a site that I can't recommend highly enough for those interested in writing horror / disturbing stories:

    http://pseudopod.org/

    It's a free podcast of horror stories (of very high quality standards, both author and production wise). Not for those who are easily disturbed. And I do very much mean that (there had been at least 1 story there that I had to stop listening to, although it was very technically well-written).

    Its parent site is escapepod.org, a podcast that specializes in SF stories. Amongst other things, they've published (or rather, produced) Hugo nominee stories there, so if you want to read some beyond-fantastic-great stories for practice reasons, I recommend you check those too.

    http://escapepod.org/category/hugo-awards/
    Last edited by Koobie; 05-20-2010 at 03:47 PM.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
    the one and only

  9. #9
    Some great tips on writing from Robert J Sawyer:

    http://www.sfwriter.com/owindex.htm
    formerly [D6]Koobie
    the one and only

  10. #10
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
    Posts
    5,016
    Thanks Koobie, all of that seems really helpful. I'll delve into it all at some point before trying to write anything else.
    Looks like we're not going down after all, so nevermind.

  11. #11
    First, as a disclaimer - I'm by no means an expert in the field, and do not personally feel very qualified to offer any sort of advise...

    BUT!

    Having said the above, I believe that it's probably practice that counts the most. So don't think too much into it - just write as much as you can (even if what you will produce will be complete rubbish, as is usually the case with me). Then try to polish it. Post it for reviews and crits. Try to polish it again. Then write something else. Repeat process. Submit something for publication. Repeat.

    Everything else you'll pick up on the way. So don't let me (or anyone in the world) discourage you.
    Last edited by Koobie; 05-20-2010 at 04:09 PM.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
    the one and only

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