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Thread: first time writing a short story.

  1. #1
    About to lose his freedom
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    first time writing a short story.

    OK this is the first short story i have ever written (and actually finished) so its probably chock full of errors. this is also the first time i have ever really posted anything in this area of the forums.

    i guess i am looking for any helpful criticism, or advice on anything from writing style to technical "correctness?" and even grammar or punctuation.

    anyhoo here is the story.

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    The Night Bells
    --------------

    "But mom!" Jimmy whined in a nasaly tone, "I'm not even tired." He stood in the hallway, feet planted stubbornly in place. "cant i stay up just a little longer?" His mother gave an exasperated sigh.

    "Jimmy, it's already well past your bedtime." The young boy opened his mouth to protest, but his mother cut him off stating deliberately, "You need, to go, to bed." Jimmy huffed defiantly then finally trumped down the creaky hallway to his room. His mother followed him patiently to his bed to tuck him in.

    With an overly dramatic flare, jimmy tossed himself down onto his bed. His mother leaned down and kissed him on the forehead saying "now go to sleep." As his mother turned to walk through the door Jimmy put up one last stand.

    "Mom, i'm not going to be able to sleep."

    "Well you had better fall asleep soon, or the Night Lady might find you." His mother answered as she closed the door.

    "MOMMM!" Jimmy called after her, his voice desperately insisting that he was too old to believe in spooks. This time the only reply was the click of the door as it latched shut, leaving Jimmy alone in the darkness. The young boy flopped down on his pillow and listened to his mothers footsteps fade down the hallway. "Yeah right mom!" Jimmy muttered after he had regained some semblance of courage, "Night Lady my butt!" He closed his eyes and fell instantly to sleep...

    Bells. Jimmy awoke with a start. He could have sworn he had heard the soft jingle of tiny bells. He squinted his sleep heavy eyes and strained to read the garish red numbers of his alarm clock. He had only been asleep for a few minutes. Jimmy lay back down and was just closing his eyes when he heard it again, bells. He sat straight up and peered around his dark room.

    Jimmy gasped in surprise as his eyes stopped on his now wide open bedroom window. his first instinct was to spring out of bed and, quick as a flash, snap his window shut tight. he was about to do just that when he stopped short. In the darkness, in the corner of his room something moved. Terrified, Jimmy pulled his covers up to his chin. His eyes focused on a shadow, a dark patch next to his dresser that had not been there before. Suddenly the shadow moved towards him and just before he screamed Jimmy heard it again, the now terrifying sound of bells in the night.
    Welcome to the douchebag club. We'd give you some cookies, but some douche ate all of them. -Rob

  2. #2
    I'll take a stab at it!

    Technically, your piece seems more or less fine. I'd suggest in the future, though, to do your best to avoid adverbs where you can.

    Story-wise, I feel it's incomplete, or just lacking in general. The majority of your story sets up a kid and their mother, who don't seem to have much special/engaging going for them, and then what the kid 'isn't afraid of' ends up being apparently true. But why are you telling this story? What do I care about the kid or the mother or the mysterious monster? What's the point (thematically and literally) of the monster being there? What happens afterwards?

    Keep at it, Darth Alran!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories
    http://forums.theplothole.net

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gebohq View Post
    I'll take a stab at it!

    Technically, your piece seems more or less fine. I'd suggest in the future, though, to do your best to avoid adverbs where you can.

    Story-wise, I feel it's incomplete, or just lacking in general. The majority of your story sets up a kid and their mother, who don't seem to have much special/engaging going for them, and then what the kid 'isn't afraid of' ends up being apparently true. But why are you telling this story? What do I care about the kid or the mother or the mysterious monster? What's the point (thematically and literally) of the monster being there? What happens afterwards?

    Keep at it, Darth Alran!

    It's a work of flash fiction, and it is common with flash fiction to omit a lot of what you find lacking in this story. If it's well-written, the reader more or less fills in the blanks.
    I'm just a little boy.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Flirbnic View Post
    It's a work of flash fiction, and it is common with flash fiction to omit a lot of what you find lacking in this story. If it's well-written, the reader more or less fills in the blanks.
    If that's what he was actually aiming for, I still think it needs work. It doesn't seem like the sort of story where I CARE to really want to fill in the blanks. I suppose it's possible I'm just not a fan of flash-fiction either, but I doubt that, as I rather like endings that do this sort of thing, for instance.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories
    http://forums.theplothole.net

  5. #5
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    Well, here's a bunch of flash fiction, if you'd like to see something written by an experienced writer for comparison.
    I'm just a little boy.

  6. #6
    Hi Darth,

    I've actually read this 3 times, sorry for not commenting before. Do excuse me in advance for my natural lack of tact.

    -------

    --------------
    The Night Bells
    --------------

    "But mom!" Jimmy whined in a nasaly tone, "I'm not even tired." He stood in the hallway, feet planted stubbornly in place. "cant i stay up just a little longer?" His mother gave an exasperated sigh.

    "Jimmy, it's already well past your bedtime." The young boy opened his mouth to protest, but his mother cut him off stating deliberately, "You need, to go, to bed." Jimmy huffed defiantly then finally trumped down the creaky hallway to his room. His mother followed him patiently to his bed to tuck him in.

    With an overly dramatic flare, jimmy tossed himself down onto his bed. His mother leaned down and kissed him on the forehead saying "now go to sleep." As his mother turned to walk through the door Jimmy put up one last stand.

    "Mom, i'm not going to be able to sleep."

    "Well you had better fall asleep soon, or the Night Lady might find you." His mother answered as she closed the door.

    "MOMMM!" Jimmy called after her, his voice desperately insisting that he was too old to believe in spooks. This time the only reply was the click of the door as it latched shut, leaving Jimmy alone in the darkness. The young boy flopped down on his pillow and listened to his mothers footsteps fade down the hallway. "Yeah right mom!" Jimmy muttered after he had regained some semblance of courage, "Night Lady my butt!" He closed his eyes and fell instantly to sleep...


    Your story actually starts here.

    Bells. Jimmy awoke with a start. He could have sworn he had heard the soft jingle of tiny bells. He squinted his sleep heavy eyes and strained to read the garish red numbers of his alarm clock. He had only been asleep for a few minutes. Jimmy lay back down and was just closing his eyes when he heard it again, bells. Not sure whether the structure of this sentence really works. He sat straight up and peered around his dark room.

    Jimmy gasped in surprise as his eyes stopped on his now wide open bedroom window. How about "Jimmy gasped. The bedroom window, the very same one he watched his mother lock before she kissed him good night, now stood wide open. He could make out the shadowy silhouettes of trees outside, looking much more sinister than he had ever known them to be." More show.

    His first instinct was to spring out of bed and , quick as a flash, (he didn't really do that, so the "quick as a flash" phrase didn''t work for me) snap his window shut tight. He was about to do just that when he stopped short.

    In the darkness, in the corner of his room something moved. "Something" is a very weak word. Try using something else.TerrifiedAgain, you're telling us that he's terrified. Show it to us. Is he paralyzed? Did he wet the bed?, Jimmy pulled his covers up to his chin. His eyes focused on a shadow, a dark patch next to his dresser that had not been there before. Suddenly Not sure I like the word "Suddenly" the shadow moved towards him and just before he screamed Jimmy heard it again, the now terrifying sound of bells in the night.

    -------

    So... What was it? What did he see? Was he eaten? Why was he eaten? Who ate him? How did the thing that ate him look? How did it smell? Did it smell like a rotting fish that Jimmy once found on the beach? Or of an old swamp? Dit it have fangs? What is the singificance of the bells?

    It seems to me that you were going for a short horror piece, but for that to work, you really would have to, well, horrify me. As much as you can try to "show" the reader what's going on (use all the senses - descriptions of sound, scent, touch) rather than "tell."

    Flirbnic,

    Those are actually all exactly 1 word away from being drabbles.

    From that guy's website, he says "I’m sorry. These are a daily forced exercise, and not all of them are going to be very good."

    Not saying he's a bad writer or anything, it's just that... You know... It's probably not the best example to learn from. I would recommed reading award winning fiction (The Escapepod is running all of this year's Hugo nominees again, check them out).

    Also, Flash Fiction is usually ANYTHING that is shorter than 1,000 words (sometimes it's 500, depends on the magazine).

    If you want to check the available markets, then DUOTROPE DIGEST is an asbolutely invaluable tool:

    http://duotrope.com/

    (hell, I should probably donate them money for being so awesome)

    If you like drabbles, though, check out the drabbles at The Drabblecast here:

    http://www.drabblecast.org

    Those are pretty good.

    For all your FREE horror needs, I recommend Pseudopod. But if you listen to the stories there, realize that you *might* encounter some very disturbing imagery. I know that I certainly did...

    http://pseudopod.org/
    Last edited by Koobie; 06-14-2010 at 07:22 AM.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
    the one and only

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