Been reworking and reworking this opening line, tell me what you think One fine morning in the month of May an elegant young horsewoman might have been riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flowery avenues of the Bois de Boulogne.
David was a stay at home father; a defective man in the eyes of his inherited society. Though his wife loved him, there was always the fear. The fear that she viewed him the way society viewed him and the way he viewed himself most of the time. Although this self-deprecating vision he had of himself was merely a reflection of the societal perspective held against men, the depression he felt was no illusion. What he felt was very real and no matter how much his wife seemingly loved him, he could not shake the feeling that his mere existence was a heavy weight on her. Every loving glance at him, he felt, was strained and exhausted. But he did not make these inward impressions known to his family. He knew if these emotions were to rise to the surface it would do nothing to exterminate this mentality and would instead push the only people in his life away from him. So by quietly navigating these darkened halls in the low hours of the day, he fought to keep his family close. After climbing back to bed and settling into the covers, David quickly made the decision to stay up the rest of the night. He decided it wouldn’t make much sense to sleep through the remaining hours of black considering he had no need for the energy it would provide.
I excluded the previous paragraph in case you wonder why it sounds so out of context. Basically a dad gets out of bed in the middle of the night and has to avoid his kids toys in order to get a glass of water. There is some shit in the previous paragraph that is very rough. I don't usually write like this, it's just this particular part of the story that has this style of narration. Should I have less tell and more show?
>>7607415 Since I am reposting from the other thread I will try my best at critique first
>>7607428 As other anons have said this isn't bad at all but if I was you I'd try my best not to use the term "society" so much. Also the "darkened halls" bit came off a bit cheesy in my opinion, maybe find a better way to portray the effects of his depression on the relationship between him and his wife. Also "making the decision" to stay up the rest of the night doesn't really make sense to me, I have symptoms very similar to your character and when I stay up all night it's never a 'decision', though if you are writing based on yourself I can understand, just maybe clarify a bit how it is a decision. You've got potential though
>>7607527 I really like this, I'd recommend keeping it as a stand alone verse, although I am no poetry expert so take this how you will. I'd also suggest not placing mildew after "labour's dew".
Here's mine: ""He loved the aesthetic of a dried out tea bag. Often he made tea knowing it wouldn't be consumed just to feel that wonderful welder's hand roughness which develops on the fabric after the bag dries. The few remaining companions constantly jeer at his purchase of the cheap stuff. With as smug a smirk as any recent entrant to adulthood can muster, they repeatedly scolded with, "Whole leaf in an infuser is so much better. Cheaper in the long run, too!" Every time he just shook his head. So what if they thought he was naive? They didn't understand and he didn't need them to. An obsession such as this is necessarily solitary, this much was understood."
>>7607578 Darkened halls wasn't referring to his depression lol that would be cheesy yes. They're literally dark as in it's night time. That's a good point about making a "decision" to stay up the rest of the night though. I'll work to reword that part. I edited the society stuff out of it for the most part. David was a stay at home father and although his wife loved him, there was always the fear. The fear that she viewed him the way his inherited society viewed him and the way he viewed himself. This self-deprecation he had was completely unfounded considering his wife never showed any outward distaste for him, however, this did not rid the depression he felt from it. No matter how much his wife seemingly loved him, he could not shake the feeling that his mere existence was a heavy weight on her. Every loving glance at him by her and their son, he felt, was strained and exhausted. But he did not make these inward impressions known to his family. He knew if these emotions were to rise to the surface it would do nothing to exterminate this mentality and would instead push the only people in his life away from him. So by quietly navigating these blackened halls in the low hours of the day he fought to keep his family close to him.
>>7607578 I'd break up your sentences a little more, like that first one could use a comma after "consumed", and watch your tenses ("jeer", "can" in "can muster" seem to be the wrong tenses) But it's interesting subject matter, and I'd read more of it.
I posted some of this last thread, but the only reply I got was "don't write about Japan", so let's try again.
It's part of the opening chapter of a novel I'm working on about the twilight years of a communist Japan formed after World War Two.
>>7607578 I like your prose and I like the comparison of a dried tea bag to a welder's hand. I would change "The few remaining companions constantly jeer at his purchase of the cheap stuff." to something else though. Shorten it up a bit. Otherwise good stuff.
For the love of god /lit/, help me. I actually finished a short story for myself, and I like it, but I also can't figure out how to fix this. I was told by friends I need to enter this into a writers contest at my University. I feel like it could do well but IT NEEDS to be better. It's been killing me. I keep shooting myself down and then trying again, this has weighed on me for a bit.
What do you guys think? Opinions, thoughts, critiques? Please be constructive.
This is my second round of editing for myself.
You guys will have to forgive me. My brain is fucking shot right now. If my sentences are dull or even mean sounding I'm not being spiteful.
>>7607635 >>7607635 I really do like it. It's smooth in descriptions and a very nice read. It sounds a lot like others I've read on here. Same sounding...prose, if you will. A stream of consciousness with some time to step outside and into third person. I'm not saying anything BAD about it, It's easy to read, it's just kinda samey.
>>7607622 The opening dialog confused me a little. I get that her parent's are also kinda outsiders, but It's a complicated walk through of where they're from and all that. It seems almost pointless. I get it though, that you're trying to highlight their heritage to show they can understand Puppy. Puppy seems really cool, and as far as you're writing goes I think it's actually befitting for a story about an aloof artsy film girl. It's not sad or dark or try hard like a lot of writing. It's more inquisitive and self-aware, in a good sorta way.
Limpwristed prose and you really should attempt to write an original story, instead of something prompted from a /lit/ thread. Edward Hopper paintings are nice on their own, building something from them is as typical of forum writing as possible.
>>7607415 A cold and dark winter. Moments of light seen as mere sparks in night. It is as if the Winter around here naturally pushes you into depression. Outside is white and gray. Happiness feels like a distant past. Nothing matters.
>>7607864 Not going to follow that exact criteria because it would be impossible. Favorites at the moment: Winesburg, Ohio, The Sound and the Fury, JR Least favorite books I've read recently: The Skating Rink, Brazil, Timequake What exactly are you going to do with this information? You're in a critique thread, you should be able to be critiqued without wanting to see the credentials of the people who are critiquing you.
There's this bit in this short story that I can't quite seem to get right. Context: It's like a guy talking to his girlfriend, I want him to sound self-obsessed/self-pitying. He's complaining about not having a life of his own outside of the relationship.
I can feel her warm breath on my chest. The flat is cold. ‘I’m just afraid. Like, surely it’s… unhealthy. Or, not unhealthy, that’s the wrong word. I don’t know. I mean, it feels good to be able to just exist and nothing else. Like, it’s just that life seems unfair and hard and when I’m with you it’s like I don’t have to deal with that anymore, I don’t have to try to understand or to engage with things that I don’t want to. I can just, you know, exist. I can just exist without worrying. But I don’t want to just exist. I’m not saying I need anyone else, but I don’t want to look back and realise that I didn’t have a life of my own. I mean, we both know how hard stuff is for me anyway. I can't help being this way.’ My heart is beating very fast.
The years here end and start cold. Your rocket captain hair-do was on end, pricked up like me. Bet he thought I kissed a boy. He comes home from war a king you say Honey, wipe your feet. Your money, Your place to stay, while makeup smears my dumb face.
The mirror cannot speak my form So now I go to brave the storm Through frozen air and gray abyss Find answers in the nothingness Answers for my drowning mind Pelted by torrents of time Limping towards whatever lies In bright divides of stormy skies
For light is filmed by foggy screen Of turgid gas and windy screams But cold cannot dissolve resolve That question which my mind revolves It must be solved - and now, at last! The zenith of the mountain pass! Yet right before we past the cast The turgid sails and aching mast The splintered spine and pain amassed Of sails commanding last avast Threw me out with conquest's casque Lest I be crushed in mast's collapse
Some brave the storm by binding hands Some silence it in marching bands Some stand by nations to stand tall American all play Football
When sunlight was to me most near Fate dragged me down to black nadir But descending into deadly sea My eyes allowed my soul to see For the glass of mirror does neglect What ocean surface does reflect I saw myself - my answer, after all! The answer to "am I a ball?"
This is anti-art. Its clichés are intentional; I wanted to take the stylistic and thematic staples of poetry and caricaturize them to retardation, reducing art's search for meaning to "am I a ball" (a question we will never know.)
This analysis is also a parody of its medium. This addendum is a parody of my own pretentiousness. This one is too. At least I can assert without irony that I genuinely hate myself.
The first two paragraphs of a short story I am working on:
"It's strange to think that this is how we die, among roses never known to our motherland's desert shores, in rags woven from American fabric. This field will drink our blood and fertilize its soil with cells meant for sand, not dirt. How long until we are found? Will we be found? In that ominous notion called the "grand scheme", it makes no difference. For an immigrant, legal or otherwise, noble death can only be achieved on a battlefield. In spite of the violence which has transpired here, this is most certaintly no such glorious resting place.
We arrived surrounded by a howl shared only by a mother hound discovering the corpse of her pup. A deadly contagion encouraged by fright couldn't be quelled and it infected every pilgrim on our damned vessel. Nobody died of course, and most even grew in character from this anxious dance. In the after shocks of its passing, we even allowed the most arrogant laughter to wash the disease from our flesh. I know now that we should have taken it for the bad omen it most certainly was. Only in this farce of a retrospective can I see that we should have stepped into the void which engulfed our ship -indeed still engulfs it- right then."
On each of the days that Georg woke up, he had to deal with the mischievings of previous-day-Georg. It could get quite absurd at times. Once Georg got out of bed and noticed that his arm was broken, another time he got up to find that all of his clothes were burned in a pyre, not to mention that one time when his face was completely shaven. It was a look he did not care for.
This relationship continued for quite some time until one day Georg woke up several meters below the earth and as it turned out previous-day-Georg had passed away.
Hunger was something the Huntsman knew well, as did all Children of Winter. He knew it, but did not welcome its incessant gnawing on the body and mind. The void in his gut conjured a wrath that boiled his blood, coerced his limbs to tread through feet of fresh snow at an impossible pace. He'd lost his prey's tracks after the Sun receded from its azure throne, but its scent lingered in the air like the pungent smoke of a pyre unseen and clung to his nostrils, inciting an unconscious snarl of the upper lip as his stomach responded with a savage growl. The ghostly luminescence from an aurora above reflected off the sheen of the white sea surrounding him, sparing enough light to surrender any movement his honed eyes could catch. Ahead of him, a cluster of pines sprouted from the Earth, silent guardians standing their forlorn vigil in a world bereft of bounty. Stagnant, frigid air nibbled his flesh as he approached them, anticipation sharpening his senses to a keen edge. Through the soft thuds of his own footfalls, his ears picked up another sound: shrill cries of pain. They were faint, but distinct in this dead land. He came to an abrupt stop, sweeping the branches with an unerring gaze as his gloved hand grasped the ornate handle of his flintlock. Ripples of a fresh scent greeted him, metallic and enticing: Blood. The prey was wounded. A primal surge of adrenaline coursed through his veins and he made for the trees in a frenzied sprint. Premonitions of meat filled his mind and reddened his vision. He would not bed with hunger again, not tonight.
She peeled her ass cheeks apart while staring into a mirror. The great mass of cellulite churned in her pale hands. As she gazed into her gaping asshole it seemed as if she were staring into the very eye of God. The poop encrusted hole appeared so mysterious to her, and she imagined it to be a portal to another dimension. "Elizabeth it's time for judo training!" Jackson cried from the other room while fumbling over his whiskey. "Ok" Elizabeth replied. she duct taped a triple strength maxi pad on and pulled a pair of adult diapers up to her waist.
Several miles down the road a group of gorillas congregated in the local zoo. Benjamin the gorilla was different from the other gorillas. you see, Benjamin was a communist. Benjamin would often mash his own shit between his fingers. "God is dead" he would exclaim as doo doo residue gathered beneath his fingernails. The other gorillas thought Benjamin was a poop stain on their otherwise perfect gorilla utopia. News of Benjamin's intellectual tirades deeply angered the Orangutans who were at the top of the social pyramid. Benjamin was pummeled with rocks daily. He suffered multiple concussions, and had severe brain damage, but somehow managed to carry on.
It was customary in ape society to mindlessly repeat hollow slogans such as 'Capitalist utopia!' very loudly during debates. "PROGRESS! PROGRESS! PROGRESS!" a male orangutan shouted at Benjamin just inches from his face. Benjamin gazed into the orangutans eyes with a look of disturbed bewilderment as diarrhea streamed down his leg. 'Progress' Benjamin thought, and he was suddenly caught up in a flashback.
Meanwhile at the gym Elizabeth was delivering swift judo kicks to the back of Jackson's head. Each successive kick felt like a bucket full of rocks smashing against a wall. Luckily, Jackson's skull was as thick as a goat skull. Her feet flickered back and forth like a flame dancing on a candlestick. The kicks picked up pace. Jackson felt himself begin to relent to the hailstorm of pain. Her blows were as swift and precise as the stroke of a paintbrush across a canvas. Jackson fell to his knees and collapsed.
"Well I guess it's time to go to the zoo. Don't be a poor sport." Elizabeth proudly stated. "Ok thats fine. You really know how to move those hips!" Jackson replied as blood gushed out of his nose. "Yeah let's gooooo!" She roared.
"You say this is a progressive society Benjamin, but you fail to define the ultimate aspiration of such progress. Progressing towards what? You keep going on and on about progress. Until you define the premise and goal of this progress you are doing little more then spouting verbal diarrhea." Charlie the chimp remarked. "Furthermore it strikes me that your notion of progress is as vague to me as it is to yourself." The wily chimp continued. Benjamin reeled in near disbelief. It was in that moment, as Benjamin's ideology was throughly dissected before his very eyes that he came to the cold realisation that he didn't know what he meant by progress. He would just repeat it over and over again like a mantra. The platitudes he espoused lacked definition and seemed to be imbued with an almost lullaby like quality. The consecutive repetition of this lullaby of slogans brought ease to Benjamin's tormented heart. It was in this moment that Benjamin knew in the depth of his soul that he was destined to lead the communist revolution.
Benjamin suddenly jolted out of his flashback as the orangutan grew even more discontent with the gorilla's silence. Old benny knew it was now or never. He delivered several judo kicks to the orangutans throat and fled to the most isolated part of the zoo he could find. Gorillas were seen as the lowest caste in ape society. An assualt on an orangutan was a death sentence for any ape, let alone a lowly Gorilla. The Orangutans were responsible for the Capitalist uprising of 2056.
>>7611397 As Elizabeth pulled into the parking lot Benjamin was already organizing the ape revolution. each of his speeches were filled with a fiery passion. The gorilla's hung on Benjamin's every word. "LETS FUCK THEM UP!!!" He screamed. The apes erupted in a series of of fanatical screeches as they began to charge the orangutan stronghold. Elizabeth peered at the sight puzzled by the mayhem. This feeling of confusion soon transformed into rage as she came to the realization that these apes were pinko scum. "OH HELL NAW!!!" She exclaimed while vaulting over the wall of the exhibit. She delivered several hearty judo kicks to the back of Benjamin's neck. Of course the apes were no match for her mighty womanhood. Benjamin was crying like a little bitch. THE END
>>7611486 You write very similar to Lovecraft. Take that as compliment or insult, it was just my discernment.
Here's an excerpt from something I'm writing. I'm ready for the jibes.
The vessel flew throughout the black. L set next to the girl while Mexico paced back and forth on the minute viaduct. The girl told L all the names of the cosmic entities before them and Mexico would occasionally interrupt when she had gotten one wrong.
-Why are you pacing so? asked L. -I’m anxious. ‘Tis what I do when anxious. said Mexico.
The beds in which they slept were strait and uncomfortable. The girl referred to them as ‘medical’.
How I’d love to live in a world that isn’t dictated by dollars and alarm clocks, the routines of the day to day ─ the routines which come to define who I am, but are nothing but tedious ─ to live in a world wherein I’ve time to think: to sit down and be careless of the deadlines and tasks on the calendar, to be able to appreciate the glory of the earth; the sacred beauty of the atmosphere before me ─ gallant yet gentle hills, dusky orange of autumn rolling forever, a magpie’s song and calmly flowing river, filling my lungs inhaling nature’s purity; god is in the air, a celestial holy salmon sky above me, heaven angelically beckoning my name; restoring my soul ─ of course, my endearing heart soon turns to ashes in my mouth as I second-naturedly remind myself of the incessantly tormenting past dwelling in my skull, the involuntary, ceaseless stream of consciousness now pains me: being raised in the hellishly confining city vibrates a deep discomforting depression within me; the way I envision the untimely death of a perfect love might, I’m reminded this is my first and last try at life and that my youth is eternally gone, therein lies the hideous thought: there was supposed to be something else
>>7611571 yeah i admit its a bit purply. the thing with this is that its neither a short story or a sample of text; more of a trial run of the themes and concepts squeezed into a succinct 3 page package. I wanted to see if those themes and concepts would work, and if i could do action well as i think its both the most challenging to do well and most boring to read if its bad. action is only a very small part of the story i want to write. Given that though, what else could you say about it?
while i am aware of his works and 'cosmic horror' (dealing with humanity's complete insignificance to the larger universe) is a theme of what i want to write, i have actually never read any of his stories
If you can't see the unnecessary and frivolous use of description in the sentence beginning 'the ghostly luminescence...' then it's time to put it away for a while. There's no shame in it, it happens to everyone. Just put some distance between yourself and it. Come back to it later and cut mercilessly, your work will thank you for it.
>>7611683 Your writing is not lovecraftian. I don't know where he got that idea. Lovecraft is coldly emotional, his stories are all about the mind and dreaming.
Your story is an infodump.
Start with that great third paragraph
>>I’ve got an exoskeleton of my own. I’m full of wires and every orifice is full of tubes -- I’m more hoses than man. My suit keeps me alive. It filters my air. It keeps me hydrated and pumps my stomach and gives the proper does of painkiller with mechanical precision. It feeds me. It breaths for me. It shits me. I’ve been told that simply wearing it increases my odds of survival by a factor of twenty seven point five times. But there’s another part of my brain; the lizard, reptilian, ancient part of my brain, that’s getting in the way, telling me ‘run!’ It’s fighting back. And it’s winnin
This is the opening segment to a short story that I'm currently writing.
I just want to know if my thoughts are being conveyed clearly through what I'm writing. The main themes of this short story is the deceptive appearances of nature, and how humans tend to romanticize things that are inherently primal and instinctful by nature in order to justify their reasons for doing so. It's supposed to be about the similarities between nature and war, if that makes any sense. I've only been seriously writing stories for the past two weeks, and some advice would help.
>>7609431 Simplify your prose dawg. Remember the number one goal of prose is to be invisible, to get out of the readers way. "But, but Nabakov! McCarthy!" Yeah, yeah. They wrote some flowery shit that's for sure, but their genius was they could write that crazy shit and STILL not have it be in your way. Neither of them would write "he attempted to mend the newspaper across the counter" or say that a cup of coffee "whispered with heat." Those lines sure is flowery, you think you fancy doncha. But the problem is I have to think real fucking hard to imagine just what the hell they mean. I have to realize, oh you mean he's flattening the newspaper or oh he means the coffee is still smoking with that shimmer in the air above it. It's clever, but it stops me in my track. The prose is in the way. Nabkov and McCarthy wouldn't do that. Go flip through some of their stuff and see how they describe things. You noticed the floweryness of it, but I bet you didn't notice how clear it is too. You can be flowery only after you know that the reader can picture perfectly in their mind what's going on.
>>7607527 this is good >>7607496 I hope English is your second language >>7607451 I like the way you present the story slowly unpackaging it. Avoid some of the unnecessary gablgook though. It just bogs it down. "Rain is God's blood. The baby shifts. This is meaningless garbage.
>>7607622 Your writing doubts itself so the reader doubts it. Its all and well to ask the reader questions regarding the nature of things but do not second guess yourself. You are god. What you write simply is and that's that. What is the point of reading something that is unsure of its own account of things? Own your perspective. It is the job of the reader to question the truth of your writing.
He walked through the turning cobblestone roads of Treaty on his way to the Temple of Ambassadors, he had an old friend that was given a post guarding the entrance there and never really seemed to get a new one. It was the early hours, and people had just began emerging from their homes as William did. Dogs barked over the tops of fences and birds sang to each other endlessly. It was noise he considered calming, knowing the roar of their kin, the beast-folk, was much less inviting when it was directed at him. The city was safe, though. Safest in all of Warsic, which is why he chose it.
"William, my shift just started. Do you have to bother me this early?" "I like having a head start on things, you know this, Nathan. How are you?" "I'm sick of standing by a door as a career choice, but I've been doing okay for myself." "Thats good to hear, I'm glad to hear that."
"You're here about the money I still owe you, aren't you William?" "Only partly, Nathan. Only in part. I would be entirely if I knew you were good for it, but i have a hunch you're not since I can never seem to run into you when you're not at your post." "Then what else can I help you with?" "Money has become a problem for me too lately. You're frequently in the guard station, are you not?" "I am, you're right. I'm there every other day to check for notices" "Well do you ever check the bounty notice?" "I'm not a bounty hunter, William"
Williams face perked into excitable look of inquisition.
"You are not a bounty hunter either, William."
William leaned backwards and crossed his arms.
"Do I not fit the look of a bounty hunter? I can handle myself out in the forest, and theres never been something I couldn't find, has there?" "I could say a commited woman" "Aye, and a man needs a full purse to get that, doesnt he? And for a full purse, a man needs to work. I saw no harm in seeing if an old friend could give me some guidance in that pursuit." "If you're serious about it, then I'll fill you in. Theres only a few bounties, and they dont pay that well. The highest paying post is 600 Wits." "Thats it? Thats a week of food if I'm not hungry." "I could let you know if a higher paying one comes up in the future" "Please do so, and in the meantime I'll take the entry-level post. Who needs brought in?" "Guard office is looking for a hermit living out in the wild. Overheard that nobody even knew he was out there until recently when they started noticing forest fires coming up. Scout company dug around and found some unregistered person was out there causing it, but never actually saw him." "Then its some crazy old man with a war torch? I think i have good idea of how that will go over. Thank you, Nathan. You're a true friend."
I posted a different excerpt from this piece a few months ago and it got the most replies in the thread, all of them negative. Hoping that the voice wont come across as obscurantist as it was taken to be last time:
Two AM is no normal time to be visiting a store dealing exclusively in energy products, but there they were, their presence marked by the pneumatic hiss of plate glass door, the accompanying inrush of freeway sounds and scents. Both late middle aged or early late-aged, both carrying distinctly dissimilar airs of steadfast resignation in their familiarity of posture vis-à-vis one another, the man and woman, neither noticeably taller than the other, approached me with their faces a veritable moonscape of creases, folds, indents, pockmarks, mole protrusions, and-one for each of them- two pink ellipses, both cut into the left cheek. “Hello, and welcome to NRG,” I said, as I always say, as I had been told, years ago, to say. “Now You’re Drinking For Power.” It was customary for a prospective customer to return my scripted salutation, usually with a nod or half-sighed reply, but on this occasion I was met with two myopic stares. They were standing mere inches from the meticulously cleaned counter that separated us. “Would you like to try one of our newly developed in-house energy bars, available for a Limited Time Only in the color of your choosing?” The woman’s parched lips quivered as though about to be hydrated with the runoff of tears, but instead she said simply, “Oh no no we’ll have none of that, we’re just browsing.” And with that she turned and disappeared into the well-stocked alleyway of aisle one. The man faced me a second longer, and, before following the woman, contorted his face into what I presumed was an apologetic glance. With the couple’s disappearance into that diminutive labyrinth, I was left again to a reassuring silence under which the hum of air conditioner and the sigh of a passing car-accompanied by two diffuse globules of red light through tinted glass- belied rather than challenged the times inherent taciturnity.
This is next to nothing but is this voice/style worth pursuing?
He stopped reading when he saw a small red mite migrating across the opposite page. He watched it move aimlessly in little curves as it stopped and started again. He pressed his thumb to the paper and drew it across where the bug was and when he was done there was just a thin red streak across the white paper underlining a paragraph break like some bloody comet. That streak was all together and living not moments ago. He wondered about the insect's thoughts and instincts as simple as they were and he wondered where those thoughts and instincts were then. He thought and realized he was staring right at them in that moment all smeared across the book.
>>7607415 I'm having trouble with this bit of my sci-fi thing, especially the last paragraph.
I was one of the very few children to be born on Earth in the last thirty years, and like the rest of my generation, was taken from my parents at the tender age of zero to a more hospitable planet. I don’t know why, but people seem to think a nuclear wasteland is a bad place to raise a kid. So yes, I was born in a cave, and yes, I was snatched from my parents, but don’t feel any pity for me. If anything, feel pity for my parents. Poor savages wouldn’t have known what was going on, their child being taken by lights in the sky. When Earth went down the shitter all those centuries ago, I don’t think the evac teams expected anyone left behind to survive, but to this day there are people huddled around fires in what was once a civilisation. Not for long though; abducting their children will do that.
I’d like to say I had an average childhood, but unfortunately I was a ‘problem child’, an infant who was scared of the monsters in its nursery. I wasn't one of those kids you’d see on the news, cuddled up with a trunk around its belly and a nutripod in its mouth; I was more the kicking and screaming kind of child, the kind of child the cameras stay far, far away from. Didn't help that I was something of a freak as well. None of the original evacuees had my shocking red hair, and so I was an oddity in the growing human population, a freak to my own kind and the scuttling horrors that stole my toys in the sandpit.
So, mine was a lonely infancy: one of my most vivid early memories was being taught to speak by a Materni-bot and having no one to talk with. I wanted nothing to do with the other ‘kids’, and I wasn’t cute enough for the staff to like me. Mind, the robots were good to me. I don’t know if it was programmed, or if they were ordered to give me special attention, but they always seemed to have a soft spot for me, sneaking me extra sucrose flakes at lunch, and on more than one occasion patching me up after I’d got into a fight with the bigger kids. And fight I did: if you want to understand my impressive track record at high school, you might like to know I identified, punched, kicked headbutted the nuts of eleven different species by the age of six.
>>7615961 Your writing is stilted as fuck, dude. This is compounded by the fact that you're trying to make it sound like the guy's talking to the reader, but keep reverting back to normal narrative. You read a normal (if stilted) piece of text and then get a jarring "if you know what I mean" type comment from the narrator. I'd make it all more narrated, if you get me.
As for the stiltedness itself; your sentences run on. Instead of "I'd like to say I had an average childhood, but unfortunately I was a ‘problem child’, an infant who was scared of the monsters in its nursery," try something like "I'd like to say I had a decent childhood, but I didn't. I was a problem child. Too scared of the monsters in the nursery."
E.g. (bear in mind this is probably not at all be the effect you're looking for; I'm just saying how you can prevent it from alternating so jarringly):
>I'm special. I was born on Earth. Yeah, I know -- one of the only poor bastards squeezed out on that ball of shit in three decades. Obviously I got taken out of there pretty quickly. Earth ain't the best place to raise a kid.
Oh, and you sure as hell like to drop the anvil on our heads. We get it, Earth is meant to suck, the narrator's early life is meant to have been isolated and unhuman and also suck. You can hint at that.
>>7607415 Looking for a decent constructive critique of this, I'm not at all happy with it and can't put my finger on why. I think it needs a lot of fleshing out, I absolutely hate the ham-handed ambiguity I've thrown in there. Any and all advice will be helpful.
Currently shoveling sand, first half-page, plz send help:
Acid climbed up from the base of my neck. At least, it felt like acid, a burning-fizzling-cauterizing sensation that shot out painful tendrils into every nerve ending from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Some small part of me knew that this wouldn't be the final call for me but damn if it didn't feel like it. I was vaguely aware of the fact that I was screaming yet couldn't hear a single sound escape my lips. My lips barely moved. Interesting, but the least of my worries. The straps that held me to the chair chaffed against my wrists, my ankles, my neck. They were formed out of some cheap syntho kevlar. I imagine the chair was, too: like something out of every dental horror nightmare I'd ever had, all hard angles and the gentle reassurance that yes, this probably was going to suck. It all amounted to not feeling very nice but in the grand orchestra of my suffering these restraints were a minor flute section. My moment of lucid observation ended as the acid took on an interesting flavor; when I say flavor, I mean it. Never in my life did I ever expect to taste pain. It was rough and sharp- as though I had bitten into rotten meat and found nails inside. My silent screaming continued and, in my head, rose a couple octaves. “He gonna die?” said the man sitting in front of me through the haze of my pain. “Doesn't look too hot, is all.” “Nah, like I said, trust me. He'll be fine. It's just when you use these modified Pullers it can… well, it can take awhile, [MINOR1]” came the reply from behind me. I could almost hear him wince as he spoke, as if to say And it can hurt like a bitch, too. “You know, it'd be easier if we just killed him.” said [MINOR1] as if he was commenting on the weather. There was no malice in it. Simply a statement of fact born out of an anxious boredom. He scratched his nose and looked behind me. “It would be easier, yes, but I imagine this gentleman here and the one we are pulling the body for would be somewhat displeased.” replied the man behind me. At least I kind of had someone batting on my side. My fingers started twitching in a jerky rhythm. “Does it matter?”
Emily remembered when she moved her first mountain. It was a momentous occasion and as always she received praise for such an amazing feat, and it wasn't a figurative mountain such as accomplishing some half-assed goal like finishing a novel or learning a new skill, but rather she literally moved a whole fucking mountain, a twenty thousand ton beast; a monster of unequaled proportions. It was something nobody had ever even attempted because of the sheer fact of its impossibility. Of course, as she always did when accomplishing such goals, she swore under her breath that if anybody tried applying some kind of corny metaphor for her accomplishment she'd kill the offender in an instant. As a little girl of only 120 years, she proved most everyone wrong as to the limits of her power, something that the populace was not too surprised to hear, after all, she was the most powerful soul in the village: a soul able to manipulate any object around her with the pure power of … well … nobodyknew. It was some kind of power that one of the men in the area dubbed as teleepeenetic, or some such like that, whatever it was Emily couldn't care less. Rather she only cared that she could and that was that. As time went by she learned to carry herself as queen to everyone she laid her eyes on, and it was easy too. She killed anyone who opposed her, she destroyed any statue not made in her image, she shut the mouths of anyone who talked back and then killed them, yadda yadda yadda. It was the usual. One fine gray day a distraught looking soul came looking for her, walking through the gray dirt and rock that made up the entirety of the land, “My majesty … my savior!” “What is it, my underling?” (she coined the term “underling” only around five hours ago) “You're intelligent of course, and the only soul with some sense of what happens in this gray world and –“ “Of course I do, now tell me what is it, I haven't the time,” she was striding down a nearby village to monitor everyone's behavior, as she always did. Panting, struggling to catch up, the soul still followed, “Well, I and the rest of the village was curious about the strange changing of The Sky.” “What about my friend The Sky?” “Well … it's not as gray as it usually is, and now it's beginning to turn into a much darker color. S-surely you've noticed it too, my queen?” “So you need answers?” “The village is a bit distraught and frightened, we just need reassurance that nothing horrible would happen? Youdoknow what is happening, right, my queen?” “I am disgusted to believe you would even think I didn't. I know everything about this world, I am its essence.” “So what is it?” “The sky is very sad, and as a result had grown darker over the past days. It's sad because the villagers haven't been kind to it, or shown it enough respect. and asit seems the sky will grow to be pitch black unless we do something about it.”
John walked the streets of the Newtown suburbs he grew up in. Things changed but still same he shot money twenty-seven ask the piper in 3rd street, New York City he'd tell you about all it all. Household politics, he brought a department store apple pie for the party (out the box, into a foil tray wrapped in plastic,) on deep discount, cheaper than __. Buddhism, big banks and baubles tonight and forever he watched and watched Joanna messaged him he checks wow 13% better save this battery for later!
The house was already condemned to hell. It wasn't the right thing to think. The proper at times like these thoughts for such a monumental occasion. I was sitting on the driveway at the endpoint of my childhood, watching the moving truck drift away. It was headed somewhere that I couldn't follow. Everything I had come to know so regularly was no longer of my concern. The furniture, the dishes, this town. They sold the box that I lived in to a stranger's daughter. I was forced out on the street to live. In the house of the Reverend, I'm the Rat King. I knew inside I should've felt more solemn. Expressed guilt or regret or even care. It wasn't my choice to make. My Grandfather lives in a box upstairs and other children's stories. The difference is my box had two floors, his box held ash. Hell. The curse of that house weighed more to me than leaving. It was a common thought in my town that if you didn't really try to escape, you'd always be stuck there. Go to community college, take a local job, and fade into the veins of America. That would never be enough for me. Nothing usual is.
I actually read on a bit and there are a lot of lazy mistakes that need ironing out, most of the sentences you've written don't feel fluent, as if you're trying to use language you don't fully understand. I'd just drop all the pretense and write in a way that you're comfortable with, it's more important that you set the scene well than prove to the reader that you have a wide vocabulary.
>According to oratory urban legends passed down through an incomprehensible path of aging hippies, older brothers, shivering street-sleepers and neighborhood children, there exist alleyways and corridors between the brownstones and corner delis of this city that appear only under certain conditions to those most likely to explore but least likely believe. The night alleys twist and angle themselves in ratios and directions not sanctioned by the laws of physics or city ordinances, and quite often they follow incomprehensible rules of complex vector geometry. One’s location once they have entered is dependent entirely on their path. Three rights may not make a left, and four may lead to you taking five paces yesterday or three steps lighter. >The most prominent night alley is believed to open briefly at 01:13 am to the right of number 8 Saint Mark’s Place on autumn nights whose day of the month is divisible by 13 or 11. For generations schoolyard children have dared each other to pass through Saint Mark’s Alley, testing pride and courage against rumors of rumors of strange disappearances and the coppery soda smell of electrical discharge
>>7616436 I really have no clue what kind of story this is, but I want to know more about the world. not the story mind you, but the world itself is interesting
A few changes that might be nice; >The daily rag was in his hands all beaten and crunched in suppressed anger. He threw the smoke out onto the ground and smashed the embers with his heel.
Maybe cut this out. If you make him angry too early, it takes away from the wonderful build up to the hopeless crescendo of despair and anger later on in the story.
And also, the scene where he's returning to the cafe. That part goes on a bit too long and it becomes a bit repetitive.
When he's about to go in and beat up the guy, this line takes away from the uncontrolled rage of it; > He sucked in the night, gulped down the starless skies, let every carless street do burnouts in his lungs. The fact that he 'sucked' the air in presents idea of him enforcing control over his body. This detracts from his feelings of powerlessness.
Apart from those two things, I loved it. Definitely publish it in the magazine. The artist is never happy with their work. But you have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes 'good enough' is fine. This isn't your magnum opus, just another shoeprint on your journey.
The trees around me rose high like tendrils, curling at their apex to block out the light and leave the forest floor in the greatest darkness possible. Any sapling dropped into this ground would find it difficult to get sufficient light for growth. This is why trees tend to disperse their seeds far away. The shadow of the parents kept too close will only cause the child's will to grow to slowly die. It will sink down into the ground, decompose and sink lower and lower. Lower than it started out at when it was first touched the virgin soil as a seed. It will join the magma of the earth and be consumed by the fire of hell. The devil will smile at its newfound companion. The most hideous becoming the most esteemed. Virtue reversed. That which fulfills its potential the least, or better yet, inverses its own function into something despicable and vomit-inducing, is what is given the highest praises. Fall, sapling. Fall and become king. King of all that is ugly and dying. King of all that the nightmares that you wish to see again, just to feel the terror in your bones and know that you're alive. That you deserve the suffering. That you become free from yourself in the pain.
The BATTLE OF LONDON (Canada, not the Mars London, of course) was the famous battle here. Due to …..shit. Here comes my goddamned wife again, here to chew me out for NOT PAYING ANY DAMNED ATTENTION TO OUR KIDS I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE LITTLE BUGGERS I'M A FAMOUS NARCOTICS HISTORIAN YOU GODDAMNED WOMAN WON'T YOU LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE HOLY SHIT I PUT UP WITH THIS SHIT EVERYDAY I'M THE ONE WHO DOES ALL THE GODDAMEND WORK AROUND HERE YOU DON'T DO JACK SHIT ALL YOU DO IS BITCH AND MOAN HOLY FUCK I WOULD MUCH RATHER SLIT MY THROAT THAN LISTEN TO YOUR PATHETIC BULLSHIT. I step off my computer for a second to go punish my wife for the third time this month. Perhaps she does have some point: I look into the mirror, and can barely make out myself to be human. Red is the primary color to encompass my eyes, and grease stains my clothing all over. It is probably a necessity to stay away from the computer; maybe clean myself up once in a while. I look around the room: it is a plain white walled box, and only black streaks make up any decorations for the place. A bare mattress is the place where I sleep. Dirty clothes make the floor invisible; books line the walls as well, but not in shelves. They lie in stacks. Although Jessica released me from my work, which I have been focused on for the past 30 hours, I am still quite perturbed: I was on a binge, and like a drug-addict, I only seek to get back in the high.
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