Author Topic: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words  (Read 1973 times)

Offline Maxine

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They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« on: November 30, 2010, 04:28:26 AM »
Hi, this is the opening of a short story. I'd love some feed back, is it worth carrying on with?
Thanks for taking the time to read it.
Maxine

They returned too late.

The three girls crashed giggling and drunk through the front door of their shared home. A dilapidated semi, with dusty carpets and discoloured wall paper clinging desperately to the wall. Home, sort of.

None of them could afford rent, so they were squatting in the place. It had no electric, no water and no gas. Just a roof to keep the rain out. They didn’t care, they all knew it was temporary, a place to stay until they hit the big time. Not fame, none of them were talented singers, dancers or musicians, but they were good con artists. And they had cause to celebrate today.

All of them had just landed jobs at the casino. Not great jobs, cleaning the loos, emptying the bins, collecting glasses, manual dirty work but it got them into the casino where they intended to make their names and their fortunes.

Liz grabbed the candle they kept by the door and lit it. Leading the way she staggered into the tiny, dirty kitchen with the other two close on her heels. Stacked next to the non functioning and grotty sink were their glasses. Ruth thumped a bottle of cheap rose on the counter and indicated she wanted Liz to pour them each a drink.

Helen found a second candle on the table and lit it giving them more light. Then she screamed. Liz spun round to see what the problem was and saw lying on the floor by the back door was a body. Covered in blood, the old man had to be dead; his eyes stared at them in vacant accusation. This was their fault; they had kicked him out of the house, his house he’d claimed. Now he was dead.

Liz ran out of the back door to the outside loo and threw up. She could hear Ruth and Helen screaming and wanted to scream herself, but knew it would not change things. All she could think of was running away. Not phoning the police or telling her two best friends, just running. Then she heard the sirens, the police were here.

Not thinking, Liz ran. The back gate was jammed open and she pelted through it. Away from the dead man and the sirens. Away from her two best friends. Straight into the arms of a waiting police officer…


Wolves civilised man

www.thehardline.wordpress.com
The Station Shorts Anthology
http://books.lulu.com/content/171061

Offline Timbo2

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 05:15:52 AM »
Hi Maxine

I don't get the chance to 'crit' very much, (unfortunately,) but I read your piece and liked it a lot. There is a lot of potential with this story! I was going to suggest a few punctuation changes, but upon reading it again, I like it how it is. If anything, some of the longer sentences could be broken with the odd comma or two, but see what other people think!
It would be nice to see what happens next? Tim

Offline Maxine

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 07:27:58 AM »
Hi Tim, thanks for the feedback. I will post the next part in a day or two. I will also have a look at those longer sentences and revise them.
Maxine
Wolves civilised man

www.thehardline.wordpress.com
The Station Shorts Anthology
http://books.lulu.com/content/171061

Tempered

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 08:16:43 AM »
Hello Maxine,

This could be a flash story or a  lead into something longer, which is great because it gives you, as the writer, lots of options.

I am unsure what you are asking to look for, but if it is 'interest' then yes, I'd like to know more. I didn't really get to see much of their characters' personalities but 400 is not many words to start a story.

there were a few things that caught my eye. They are not bad things, just things that you could tighten for the read.

I'll show yo an example with your writing.

you wrote:

Helen found a second candle on the table and lit it giving them more light. Then she screamed. Liz spun round to see what the problem was and saw lying on the floor by the back door was a body. Covered in blood, the old man had to be dead; his eyes stared at them in vacant accusation. This was their fault; they had kicked him out of the house, his house he’d claimed. Now he was dead.

try to use all your words you write, use them for the characters, use them for the setting, but don't just put them there for no reason. The word 'it' is a strange word, many don't even see 'it' when they write. but a lot of times 'it' is redundant and adds words/fluffs. look at your first sentence. Helen lit the second candle on the table and then screamed.  so that's what is important. not that it gave them more light, all candles do, but also because you detached the 'Then she screamed.'  from the light of the candle and what it revealed. so on its own'  Then she screamed'  isn't as strong of image as 'and then screamed.  (we don't need to say 'she' because the subject hasn't changed, only when Liz spins, does it.

'had to be dead
now he was dead'

try not to repeat things, sometimes they work to enhance, but sometimes just a rewording does the same and lessens the repeat.

a body - they know who it is, so why not simple say who he is and why he's there, and why they know him all in one thought, so the reader attaches all the possible emotions. it ties them all together. ie

Helen lit a second candle and then screamed. Sprawled across their floor was the old man they had beaten.

"He must have crawled back." someone whispered.

It used to be his home. 

***

anyway, I liked the first part more, right up to the girls separation, the writing got a bit loose at the end. Still, I see potential and a great story, could be betrayal of each friend, or them standing together in jail, sisters til the end :)

thanks for the read

Temp

Offline Hugh

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 08:44:29 AM »
Hello Maxine. Perhaps it’s a bit early to talk about the sort of editing that is needed. That will come when you have finished the story and start revising. But I may as well mention one or two things that jumped out at me while I was reading. There are some redundancies and repetitions that will need sorting out.

For instance:

Helen found a second candle on the table and lit it giving them more light.

You’ve shown Helen lighting a candle. Do you need to tell us it gives more light?

Liz spun round to see what the problem was and saw lying on the floor by the back door was a body.

This seems a rather wrong-way-round kind of sentence. I’d suggest … and saw a body lying on the floor by the back door.

Covered in blood, the old man had to be dead; his eyes stared at them in vacant accusation.

A couple of sentences later you say, Now he was dead.

You could get round it by using another word, e.g. The old man was covered in blood; his lifeless eyes stared at them in vacant accusation.

But enough nit picking. To answer your question, is it worth carrying on with? I want to know how it develops, what happens next. So yes, I think it is worth carrying on with.

When you come to the revision, you might consider using dialogue to show the bit about landing jobs at the casino, and that they are con artists, rather than just telling us.

Finally, are there still semi-detached houses that only have outside loos? Or was it because there was no water and she didn’t want to use an inside one?

Look forward to seeing the next part.

Hugh

Offline 510bhan

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 08:51:29 AM »
Hi Maxine - yes, you have set up a story that I would like to read further; same nit/crits as others have already mentioned but nothing drastic. Especially like the suggestion for a dialogue exchange to provide the info on the girls...hearing/listening to characters' conversations always has a way of bringing the reader right into their world. :) :) :)

twisted wheel

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 08:59:05 AM »
hi maxine,

you have created a story that is interesting and hugh has picked up on things that are worth dealing with.

Offline Maxine

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Re: They Returned Too Late aprox 400words
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 09:35:47 AM »
Thank you all for your feed back. Tempered I will look at all of your suggestions to tightened up the threads. Hugh, I will do a lot of editing and bear in mind all of your suggestions. Siobahn yes the idea of using dialogue is one I must use. Thank you Midnight Candle for taking time to read and comment.
Maxine
Wolves civilised man

www.thehardline.wordpress.com
The Station Shorts Anthology
http://books.lulu.com/content/171061