Author Topic: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words  (Read 2342 times)

Offline zzz

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Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:34:06 AM »
I'm looking for any feedback you want to give. There's no dialogue on purpose, I wanted to try a short story that had no dialogue and see if I could still make it compelling.

**********************************

I'd been stupid, distracted for a moment by a flash of beauty in our dead world. The sun had sparkled through the frozen strands of the lone cobweb interwoven among the chain link fence. We hadnít seen anything alive in months and it was a surprising reminder that not everything was dead. Hope had blossomed in my heart, it seemed like a sign from God that just maybe we could survive.

Thatís when it happened. Caught up in staring at the cobweb I hadnít seen or heard the Infected drag itself out of the nearby bush. Too desiccated and shredded by the last Infected to find it for a meal, I couldnít even tell if the thing used to be a man or a woman and truthfully it didnít matter. It was the first time in months I had even looked at one of Them as anything more than a mindless predator. Its throat had been ripped out and its face chewed off so the usual announcement of one of them hadnít happened. No hungry moan or growl as it caught sight of its next meal. The rest of the group had already moved far enough away that my shout of surprise and pain as it sunk its rotted teeth into my ankle didnít alert anyone. Too bad I hadnít come across a pair of boots; they might have stopped its teeth from finding my skin. Having been reminded of what it used to be I spared a brief thought and prayer for the person it had been then with a quick strike of my ax I put the miserable thing to peace at last. Something I should have someone do for me. I felt desperate and despaired. Maybe thereís a chance though, itís more of a scrape than a bite. The wound burns but maybe just maybe if I wait long enough I wonít turn. It wonít happen to me.

I catch up with the group and Amy slings an arm across my shoulders. The only person I knew from the old world, Amy and I had grown up together. Best friends all the way through school then through college. We had kids at the same time, lived right next to each other. At the thought of my kids I feel the world tilt a little, the bedroom door shaking as they battered themselves against it. I shove the thought back inside its box and shake my head. Canít think about it. I smile weakly and without speaking we move on. We almost never speak anymore - you never know when an Infected will be near. They might be dead but their lack of consciousness seemed to sharpen other primal skills.

All I can think of is the bite on my ankle. I start to open my mouth, to let the words tumble out. To tell Amy to kill me before I turn; before I get a chance to hurt anyone else. Fear closes my throat and my skin feels like itís blazing hot. For a second I think Iím already turning but I force myself to take a few breaths and the white spots in front of my eyes fade. I take another deep breath.  I canít tell anyone. I donít want to die. The cobweb was supposed to be a symbol, a sign that everything would be ok. I clung to that hope.

Mid-morning we approached a building, looked like an abandoned store. The windows had been boarded up by someone hoping to hide but the broken bits splashed with blood and the smashed open door told us everything we need to know. If there was anyone in there they wonít be alive but they will welcome us with grasping hands and gnashing teeth. We drew back and had a quick whispered conversation. Finally everyone agreed, we needed food and had to risk it. Listless and hot I only paid half attention but with everyoneís attention on the building and the possibility of more than just scraps for tonightís dinner no one even glanced at me. Internally I waged a war. I knew I should tell someone, I can feel rage build up inside me. I wish fervently that itís not infection, but I was lying to myself. I was turning and soon Iíd be a danger to my friends. The last people I loved. But I canít, thereís still time. I havenít turned yet; tears fill my eyes as I look around Iím still scared to die.

With hand signals we move into position. By now everyone moves into place without any hesitation. Assembling in a type of formation loosely resembling some police entry team someone had seen in a movie back from the old world we move forward quickly entered and took position. Our breath sounded harsh and loud in the absolute silence inside the store. Nothing rushes us and everyone relaxes. Systematically we split up, still cautious but for once it went right. I took it as a sign that the group would survive. I closed my eyes and came to grips with the fact that I just wouldnít be one of the survivors.

Amy starts boxing up the cans that line the shelves and I take position as guard. A sob catches in my throat as I realize this is the last time Iíll be there to guard her back. As soon as sheís done I have to tell her. She has to take care of me. We always take care of each other. I look around the store. I wanted to call to one of the other group members to come over and help Amy to finish faster and to be there when I told her what needed to be done. Everyone was at the back of the store and I could tell by the waving arms and excited voices they had found something precious.  A spasm hits me and a fierce hunger twists my stomach. I hit the ground and everything around me slowly darkens as my body tries to rip itself apart. In her concern for me Amy doesnít see the obvious signs of whatís happened to me or maybe she had just trusted me too much to be honest if that unthinkable act had finally occurred so she rushes to me and I try to tell her to get away but I canít get my lips to work anymore, no words come out. Faintly I hear people rushing and yelling at Amy.

As suddenly as it started everything stops. Nothing hurts anymore. A fierce hunger consumes me and I look at the thing in front of me. It smells so good and itís so close, I grab its shirt and lunging sink my teeth into its throat. Warmth and goodness flood my mouth as I rip and tear into the soft skin desperate to stop the hunger.
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Offline Dawn

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 03:39:07 AM »
I'm looking for any feedback you want to give. There's no dialogue on purpose, I wanted to try a short story that had no dialogue and see if I could still make it compelling.

**********************************

I'd been stupid, distracted for a moment by a flash of beauty in our dead world.Okay you know how we feel about the opening line The sun had sparkledI would change the word sparkled, I think you could come up with something better and too alitertive through the frozen strands of the lone cobweb interwoven among the chain link fence (all a bit over written for me). We hadnít seen anything alive in months and it was a surprising reminder that not everything was dead. Hope had blossomed in my heart, it seemed like a sign from God that just maybe we could survive.  (I like how you used the cobweb to show life, good imagery)
Thatís when it happened. Caught up in staring at the cobweb I hadnít seen or heard the Infected drag(not sure if you need to expand here one what a drag is) itself out of the nearby bush. Too desiccated and shredded by the last Infected to find it for a meal, I couldnít even tell if the thing used to be a man or a woman and truthfully it didnít matter. It was the first time in months I had even looked at one of Them( maybe change to them) as anything more than a mindless predator. Its throat had been ripped out and its face chewed off so the usual announcement of one of them hadnít happened. No hungry moan or growl as it caught sight of its next meal. The rest of the group had already moved far enough away that my shout of surprise and pain as it sunk its rotted teeth into my ankle didnít alert anyone. Too bad I hadnít come across a pair of boots; they might have stopped its teeth from finding my skin. (don't think you need the bit about boots, unless your going to bring it more into the story about why you couldnt have them)Having been reminded of what it used to be I spared a brief thought and prayer for the person it had been then with a quick strike of my ax I put the miserable thing to peace at last. Something I should have someone do for me. I felt desperate and despaired (eeek aliterative). Maybe thereís a chance though, itís more of a scrape than a bite. The wound burns but maybe just maybe(too many b's going on here) if I wait long enough I wonít turn. It wonít happen to me.

I catch up with the group and Amy slings an arm across my shoulders. The only person I knew from the old world, Amy and I had grown up together. Best friends all the way through school then through college. We had kids at the same time, lived right next to each other. At the thought of my kids I feel the world tilt a little, the bedroom door shaking as they battered themselves against it. I shove the thought back inside its box and shake my head. Canít think about it. I smile weakly and without speaking we move on. We almost never speak anymore - you never know when an Infected will be near. They might be dead but their lack of consciousness seemed to sharpen other primal skills.

All I can think of is the bite on my ankle. I start to open my mouth, to let the words tumble out. To tell Amy to kill me before I turn; before I get a chance to hurt anyone else. Fear closes my throat and my skin feels like itís blazing hot. For a second I think Iím already turning but I force myself to take a few breaths and the white spots in front of my eyes fade. I take another deep breath.  I canít tell anyone. I donít want to die. The cobweb was supposed to be a symbol, a sign that everything would be ok. I clung to that hope. (I like this and now get the boots relevance so ignore previous comment)
Mid-morning we approached a building, looked like an abandoned store. The windows had been boarded up by someone hoping to hide but the broken bits splashed with blood (okay again thing of different words rather than b words, you like them dont you?)and the smashed open door told us everything we need to know. If there was anyone in there they wonít be alive but they will welcome us with grasping hands and gnashing teeth. We drew back and had a quick whispered conversation. Finally everyone agreed, we needed food and had to risk it. Listless and hot I only paid half attention but with everyoneís attention on the building and the possibility of more than just scraps for tonightís dinner no one even glanced at me. Internally I waged a war. I knew I should tell someone, I can feel rage build up inside me. I wish fervently that itís not infection, but I was lying to myself. I was turning and soon Iíd be a danger to my friends. The last people I loved. But I canít, thereís still time. I havenít turned yet; tears fill my eyes as I look around Iím still scared to die. Okay loved this until the red part, I think you can work this part better
With hand signals we move into position. By now everyone moves into place without any hesitation. Assembling in a type of formation loosely resembling some police entry team someone had seen in a movie back from the old world (can be summed up better)we move forward quickly (needs a comma) entered and took position. Our breath sounded harsh and loud in the absolute silence inside the store. Nothing rushes us and everyone relaxes. Systematically we split up, still cautious but for once it went right (have you done this before?). I took it as a sign that the group would survive. I closed my eyes and came to grips with the fact that I just wouldnít be one of the survivors. (Like this)

Amy starts boxing up the cans that line the shelves and I take position as guard. A sob catches in my throat as I realize this is the last time Iíll be there to guard her back. As soon as sheís done I have to tell her. She has to take care of me. We always take care of each other. I look around the store. I wanted to call to one of the other group members to come over and help Amy to finish faster and to be there when I told her what needed to be done. Everyone was at the back of the store and I could tell by the waving arms and excited voices they had found something precious.  A spasm hits me and a fierce hunger twists my stomach. I hit the ground and everything around me slowly darkens as my body tries to rip itself apart. In her concern for me Amy doesnít see the obvious signs of whatís happened to me or maybe she had just trusted me too much to be honest if that unthinkable act had finally occurred so she rushes to me and I try to tell her to get away but I canít get my lips to work anymore, no words come out. Faintly I hear people rushing and yelling at Amy. (I would tighten this section up)
As suddenly as it started everything stops. Nothing hurts anymore. A fierce hunger consumes me and I look at the thing in front of me. It smells so good and itís so close, I grab its shirt and lunging sink my teeth into its throat. Warmth and goodness flood my mouth as I rip and tear into the soft skin desperate to stop the hunger.

Okay zzz, this has bags of potential. I do think, however, it is missing speech and if that's what it calls for why shy away from it? Google something called the passivator you copy the link to your browser and when you click it, it will show you the ly word and anything, well passive lol. You quite like the word be.
I also found you like to use alliterative words close together, like gnawing and gnashing. Try to find a different word, otherwise they are quite jarring. This is however, is just my opinion.
All in all, I thought this was a great first piece and well done.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 03:46:10 AM by alfiemama »
Time to take it serious and get the job done

hillwalker3000

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 06:27:47 AM »
I quite enjoyed this - although it started to read like a documentary report about half way through. Dialogue would certainly help bring the characters to life and vary the pace because there's only so much you can describe in narrative.

I think the first paragraph would benefit from some trimming:

I'd been stupid, we don't see you being stupid yet so I'm not sure you need to mention it now - though having read further I can see why you started the way you did distracted for a moment by a flash of beauty in our dead world. The sun had sparkled wrong verb for me too - possibly glinted?  through the frozen strands of the lone cobweb interwoven among the chain link fence. much as I like the image, the sentence goes on too long. We hadnít seen anything alive in months and it was a surprising reminder that not everything was dead. Hope had blossomed in my heart clichť alert, it seemed like a sign from God might put some readers off that just maybe we could survive.

So far so good...

Thatís when it happened. Caught up in staring at the cobweb I hadnít seen or heard the Infected drag itself out of the nearby bush. Too desiccated and shredded by the last Infected to find it for a meal, I couldnít even tell if the thing used to be a man or a woman and truthfully it didnít matter.
I didn't understand this part at all 'Too desiccated and shredded by the last Infected to find it for a meal'. Also we have two 'Infected's in close proximity.

'It was the first time in months I had even looked at one of Them as anything more than a mindless predator. Its throat had been ripped out and its face chewed off so the usual announcement of one of them hadnít happened yeugh - a bit of a mess this bit it made no sound as it approached?. No hungry moan or growl as it caught sight of its next meal. The rest of the group had already moved far enough away that my shout of surprise and pain as it sunk its rotted teeth into my ankle didnít alert anyone. too long a sentence - 'my ankle didn't alert anyone' is all I remembered by the time I reached the end of it Too bad I hadnít come across a pair of boots; they might have stopped its teeth from finding ?? my skin. Having been reminded of what it used to be How? I spared a brief thought and prayer for the person it had been you're in danger of repeating 'it used to be'/'it had been' because again you're stretching your sentences out beyond their limit then with a quick strike of my ax I put the miserable thing to peace at last. Something I should have someone do for me. Another awkward sentence I felt desperate and despaired both words mean the same - choose one or the other. Maybe thereís a chance though, itís more of a scrape than a bite. The wound burns but maybe just maybe if I wait long enough I wonít turn. It wonít happen to me.

There are some very clunky sentences in this paragraph. You need to break them down to allow the story to flow more smoothly. And I'd leave the reference to someone putting you out of your misery until you examine the wound and explain what it might lead to. Also the last 3 sentences and the next two paragraphs are written in the present tense - don't understand why.

I catch up with the group and Amy slings an arm across my shoulders. The only person I knew from the old world, Amy and I had grown up together. Best friends all the way through school then through college. We had kids at the same time, lived right next to each other. This reads like blatant back-story. You need to introduce the memory of the children much more subtly At the thought of my kids I feel the world tilt a little, the bedroom door shaking as they battered themselves against it. I shove the thought back inside its box and shake my head. Canít think about it. I smile weakly and without speaking we move on. We almost never speak anymore - you never know when an Infected will be near. They might be dead but their lack of consciousness I assume their hearing is highly-tuned so they don't lack 'consciousness' - perhaps they lack the normal signs of life seemed to sharpen other primal skills.

All I can think of is the bite on my ankle. I start to open my mouth, to let the words tumble out. To tell Amy to kill me before I turn; before I get a chance to hurt anyone else. Fear closes my throat and my skin feels like itís blazing hot. For a second I think Iím already turning but I force myself to take a few breaths and the white spots in front of my eyes fade. I take another deep breath.  I canít tell anyone. I donít want to die. The cobweb was supposed to be a symbol, a sign again, don't think you need a choice of two that everything would be ok. I clung to that hope.


Mid-morning we approached a building (,) that looked like an abandoned store. The windows had been boarded up by someone hoping to hide not necessarily but the broken bits splashed with blood and the smashed open door told us everything we need to know. If there was anyone in there they wonít be alive but they will welcome us with grasping hands and gnashing teeth. the inconsistent verb tenses here really clash We drew back and had a quick whispered conversation. Finally everyone agreed, we needed food and had to risk it. Listless and hot I only paid half attention but with everyoneís attention 2 attentions on the building and the possibility of more than just scraps for tonightís dinner no one even glanced at me.
Internally I waged a war. I knew I should tell someone, I can feel rage build up inside me. I wish fervently that itís not infection, but I was lying to myself. I was turning and soon Iíd be a danger to my friends. The last people I loved. But I canít, thereís still time. I havenít turned yet; tears fill my eyes as I look around Iím still scared to die.
Now it's starting to get boring because we already know all this stuff

With hand signals we move into position. By now everyone moves into place more repetition without any hesitation and unnecessary detail. Assembling in a type of formation loosely resembling some police entry team someone had seen in a movie back from the old world this is bad writing I'm afraid we move forward quickly entered and took position for the third time in the paragraph - and again the verb tense changes from move to took!. Our breath sounded harsh and loud in the absolute silence inside the store. Nothing rushes us and everyone relaxes. Systematically we split up, still cautious but for once it went right. I took it as a sign that the group would survive. I closed my eyes and came to grips with the fact that I just wouldnít be one of the survivors.

You can probably see how much work is needed here to make this readable. All that happens is that they go inside the building. Most of what you've writing is filler and it's getting quite garbled.

Amy starts boxing up the cans that line the shelves and I take position as guard. A sob catches in my throat as I realize this is the last time Iíll be there to guard her back. by now I'm wishing you'd hurry up and die. As soon as sheís done I have to tell her. She has to take care of me. We always take care of each other. I look around the store. I wanted to call to one of the other group members to come over and help Amy to finish faster and to be there when I told her what needed to be done. Everyone was at the back of the store and I could tell by the waving arms and excited voices they had found something precious.  A spasm hits me and a fierce hunger twists my stomach. I hit the ground and everything around me slowly darkens as my body tries to rip itself apart. In her concern for me Amy doesnít see the obvious signs of whatís happened to me or maybe she had just trusted me too much to be honest if that unthinkable act had finally occurred so she rushes to me and I try to tell her to get away but I canít get my lips to work anymore, no words come out. Faintly I hear people rushing and yelling at Amy.

Again it takes far too long for anything to happen. It's like one of those old Westerns where the hero sustains a fatal gunshot wound then gives a 15-minute farewell speech.

As suddenly as it started everything stops. Nothing hurts anymore. A fierce hunger consumes me and I look at the thing in front of me. It smells so good and itís so close, I grab its shirt and lunging sink my teeth into its throat. Warmth and goodness flood my mouth as I rip and tear into the soft skin desperate to stop the hunger.

Finally something interesting happens. Unfortunately it took too long to arrive. You need to look at the pacing of this - and look at ways of taking out all the ephemeral details that keep dragging the story to a standstill.

It's an interesting take on the zombie tale - from the pov of a victim about to be transformed into one of the living dead - but it needs a lot of work before it's ready for submission to a publisher.

H3K

Offline Kmarko

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 01:33:41 PM »
I think there's potential here as well--although I must confess to being a little zombied-out these days. I do agree with the above regarding dialogue, though. Unless this is a writing experiment you really want to follow through with, I would add dialogue.

Really like "I'd been stupid" btw.

Offline zzz

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 09:36:22 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone! Being overly wordy is something I combat all the time and I never even realized how often I use alliterations!

I'm going to start working on it tonight, I'm excited to start making changes for the better.

Quote
by now I'm wishing you'd hurry up and die.
Not something anyone wants to hear about their mc but I will admit it surprised a laugh out of me. I will definitely fix that problem in my editing. I promise lol

Quote
it is missing speech and if that's what it calls for why shy away from it?
I'm debating with myself right now. You're the fourth (well the second and then H3K and kmarko said it too lol) so I'm probably going to try adding some dialogue into it. See how I like it. I'm going to download the passivator and try using it. Thanks!

Quote
although I must confess to being a little zombied-out these days
I was a little worried about that when I found the idea. Zombies are really popular right now and it's seeming like they're everywhere.

Thank you again!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 09:46:21 PM by zzz »
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Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 06:42:55 AM »
I liked it! Although I see no reason to avoid dialogue - would people really not speak to each other in case a zombie heard them?

The main problem I have is with the paragraph below. If your mc had all that time to reflect on what it looked like and how it didn't moan etc., wouldn't he have been able to jump away from it? Especially if it was crawling?

Quote
Too desiccated and shredded by the last Infected to find it for a meal, I couldnít even tell if the thing used to be a man or a woman and truthfully it didnít matter. It was the first time in months I had even looked at one of Them as anything more than a mindless predator. Its throat had been ripped out and its face chewed off so the usual announcement of one of them hadnít happened. No hungry moan or growl as it caught sight of its next meal. The rest of the group had already moved far enough away that my shout of surprise and pain as it sunk its rotted teeth into my ankle didnít alert anyone.

Also watch your use of semi-colons.

'To tell Amy to kill me before I turn; before I get a chance to hurt anyone else.'

This should be a comma, not a semi-colon.

'Maybe thereís a chance though, itís more of a scrape than a bite.'

And this should be a semi-colon, not a comma. Although I'd probably use a dash or a full-stop.
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Offline zzz

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 01:15:52 AM »
awww but semi colons are so pretty ;) lol

Thanks for the feedback! You have a good point about how realistic it would be to not talk, I'm taking that into consideration for when I start making changes.

Originally the story was set up so the part of the story you mention was supposed to be reflection but it didn't work very well. I can see based on what you noticed and others have also it really needs more reworking.
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Offline Annmarie

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2012, 01:41:17 PM »
Hi zzz,

I read it to the end -- a good sign! It's a solid draft -- also good. You know the events, the basic set up, a little about the characters. Now you can dig in and polish.

I don't think you need much dialogue. Whatever you choose, make it crucial to the tale and make it reveal character, especially of Amy, who we don't really know even after reading the whole story.

Watch your verb tenses too. They're all over the place!

Looking forward to a rewrite.  :)
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Offline Ken100

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 03:53:56 PM »
I also read to the end, which is good. The main problem I had with this piece is that you keep slipping from present tense, to past tense. Sometimes in the same sentence! You can easily fix that, though.

The other problem I have is the ending. Really, there are only two ways in which this will end: either your protagonist changes into a zombie and starts eating his friends, or they kill him before he turns and starts doing the damage. If you could find another way of ending it, something completely out of the blue to surprise us, that would be great.

But, on the positive side, I think you have some nice descriptions in there, and I liked how you started a nasty horror story on a tiny detail, with the frozen strands of the spider's cobweb.
Nice. :)
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Offline SandraDauber

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Re: Zombie - Horror, future antho submission (I hope lol) 1,148 words
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 05:18:10 PM »
I really enjoyed this,  I would agree with everyone else.  I would around the middle I am seeing parts that go on for a long time where nothing happens.  But overall it was really good.  once thing I do is try to combine multiple things happening in a few sentences.  Like it I write something and it took a paragraph or too on the rewrite I will see if I can cut the words in half and say the same things.