Author Topic: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321  (Read 1513 times)

Offline MyDayWasSwell

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Hey! So this is the beginning to something I think could be pretty good or I hope could be. I would love honest and good feedback on the first little bit of it.
Thank you!

The rain pitter-pattered along the dusty carpet; it’s true that this carpet was not what it once was. The gold threads had diminished to mustard yellow; the edges were no longer crisp and had frayed especially in this one spot near the corner where its owners had tripped countless times, always having the intention to move it over just an inch or two, but never actually doing it. The threads had taken on a crusty texture that came from years of muddy boots and shuffling feet. The white that weaved itself into magnificent spirals and intricate dances around the boarder had once resembled the wedding dress she wore; it now mirrored the dirty gray of seagull feathers. The deep red had long since given off the same vivacity as it had when first purchased. However, this is all excusable, for the carpet had seen a lot and lived a very long life, with very good people. These people were named Phoebe and Curtis and they changed the world.

I was very young when I first met them. I had been trailing behind my father as we trekked through the heavily matted forest searching for game other than squirrel. It must have been among the first times he took me with him. The majesty of the forest and its hazy light held my curiosity tightly in its grasp and I soon lost track of my father. My father was a burly man, with a thick beard and tired eyes that looked as though someone had placed the forest within them. He was big, one of the biggest men I ever laid eyes on but he moved with grace and skill. He was one of the gentlest people I had ever met and he loved his family dearly. I didn’t know much about him until I met them. My father was quiet, he always had been. Sometimes he went months without saying a word, but his presence was more than enough for me. When I think about it now, knowing all that I know, there was never a man more deserving of a few decades of quiet.
________________________________________________________

This next one is something that has been floating around my head for a while and I really love it only I have no clue where it is going and I'm pretty sure the third "chapter" is crap but I really need feedback on it so I'm including it anyways. I feel like it makes the story feel like a pre-teen fantasy novel. Thank you!

CHAPTER ONE
There was an idea in her head that she was going to find out the world’s name. The notion came from a quote she had found, it had long been lost in the dusty pages of a broken-spined book by Robert Penn Warren; “I longed to know the world’s name.” In seven words, there was a story – a story of adventure and a beautiful collapse and something about that glorious demise captivated her. She always liked the idea of a sad ending.
   
Rose was breath taking. Where ever she walked everyone became aware of her presence, her footsteps were silent, almost as if she were gliding. She was unreal. Always off in a world of her own, one that no one knew about, one that she liked to keep secret. Even in the middle of conversation you could see threads and wires sewing elaborate, delicate, fragile thoughts behind her eyes. You could see that she was ready, ready to jump, ready to fall – to where or to what was a mystery, even to me.
   
It was autumn, her favorite season. We walked along side each other, me unable to look anywhere but her – her far away, looking at the birds. It was always hard for me to keep my eyes off of her, mainly because I was never quite convinced that she was real. Her skin was milky and reminded me of the moon and the wind had tousled her hair about her shoulders. Everything about her was stunning, but her lips, her lips were my favorite part of her. They were the color of the flowers that a bride would carry down the aisle and they always looked well kissed. For me, the best times were when they were indented with small engravings from her teeth as a result of a long night or day of her wires and threads weaving even more intricately than usual. Her lips were like that while we were walking and I was looking at her and she was looking at the birds.
   
“I want to fly.” Rose said her pale grey eyes transfixed on the flock of wings strewn across the sky. “I want to never feel the weight of the ground beneath my feet.” She always said things like that. They always scared me, I didn’t really know why. “I want to fly and I want to be free and I want to feel.” She suddenly smiled, letting out her laugh that always reminded me of honeydew and the smell of maple syrup. “What an idea.” She said quietly. She had stopped walking now, she was looking past the birds, past the guard rail, past the purple and red leaves of the trees lying below. She looked up at me. Not past me, no wires and threads in her head – for the first time she was here. Then as suddenly as she was here, she was gone and the last thing I heard was her laugh that reminded me of honeydew and maple syrup.
   
Rose was unreal. She was breathtaking. And she was gone. She had the idea in her head that she was going to find out the worlds name. For me, that name was Rose.
They never found the body.
   
I don’t know what happened, I don’t know why she chose that moment, I don’t know if she thought she could survive the drop, maybe she thought that her answers were down there on the frost bitten trees. I don’t know if she thought it through, if she really understood what would happen when she jumped. I don’t know how I never realized just how far away she really was from the rest of us; I don’t know how I let it happen.
   
My first reaction was not surprise, nor fear, nor sadness. I was angry. The only thing I felt was a deep swell in the pit of my stomach and my fingernails pricking blood from my palms. Then I screamed, people later told me that when I screamed it didn’t sound human, but oh boy did I feel human in that moment. I felt every single crushing thing that makes up a human and I couldn’t stand. I fell to the ground so hard and so quickly the skin stretched across my knees broke, rocks nestled themselves through my jeans and into me. I didn’t notice when my tears started, and I didn’t notice when my anger paled into sadness. I preferred the anger. The anger had been blinding it had seared through me, making every nerve stand on end and I was numb to everything but the scorching of my insides.

When the anger subsided I had no protection and I was on fire again, but it was different, I was aware of every little thing around me. A snail was crouched underneath the guard rail trudging towards shelter; the wind had picked up and pressed the remnants of her perfume against my nose, the sky was painting itself lilac and those birds, those damn birds, were one by one leaving my line of vision, their squawks deafening me to where I could only hear a dull roar, a soft hum. It took them a long time to drop away from my eyes, a lot longer than it had taken her.  
   
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 11:35:02 PM by Alice, a Country Gal »

Offline Laura H

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! 1318 words
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 10:52:36 PM »
Hi, Myday.

Your post was way over the allowable word count so I cut the 2nd chapter for later posting.

Please go introduce yourself on the welcome board and read the guidelines so you know whats what. 

Post your intro here - http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?board=1.0

And read the guild lines for the review board here -

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=24729.0

Thanks and welcome,

Laura H
Moderator
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Wolfe

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2013, 04:33:28 AM »
Please remember you asked for honest feedback. Good is subjective.

1. You open with weather.
2. You open with not one, not two, but three semicolons.
3. You open with layers of description that do nothing.

These are all classic missteps that will land your offering in the rejection pile.

I got as far as 'pitter-pattered' before I rolled my eyes, and starting scanning ahead to see how many other missteps you had. I stopped reading after the second semicolon. And I stopped period after the first paragraph. The entire opening is nothing but telling, and it reads like a prologue. Another misstep not doing you any favors.

Welcome to The Circle.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 03:37:22 AM by Wolfe »

Offline bri h

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 06:01:55 AM »
Hello My Day. Welcome to the Circle.
In your first work, lose the first para. It only describes a worn tatty carpet. Start at the second para and lose all the 'tells.' You gloss over the fact that your Da was a big feller. Show us how big and moody he was, it reads better.

In the second story(yes I read that far down). Lose it all. Because to me(JMHO) your story-telling intrigue shows in the very last para. There's a lot of good writing there. Keep going though, don't be discouraged. We aren't your family or close friends. We'll tell you what your story 'says' to us. And we tell the truth, not 'just what you want to hear.' B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

hillwalker3000

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2013, 07:46:48 AM »
Welcome:

I'm not sure what the first 355-word extract is supposed to be. You spend an entire paragraph describing a carpet - then you switch to describing your father. I don't see the link - and I'm wondering why we need to know all this detailed stuff anyway. Your father didn't say much - so?

To be fair, there are some nice touches buried inside this piece:

The white that weaved itself into magnificent spirals and intricate dances around the boarder border had once resembled the wedding dress she wore. (; it) It now mirrored the dirty gray of seagull feathers.

has potential but you explore the image no further. It's borderline purple prose - window-dressing for an empty store.

Similarly

My father was a burly man, with a thick beard and tired eyes that looked as though someone had placed the forest within them.

is quite original - but the endless list that follows is just that. A list.


As for 'Chapter One' - the opening paragraph is pretentious and is hardly going to grab the reader's attention. I think you're trying to appear profound, but you don't quite pull it off.

Rose was breath-taking.
100% telling. If you don't show us how breath-taking she was why should we take your word for it?

Where ever Wherever she walked everyone became aware of her presence, her footsteps were silent, almost as if she were gliding. She was unreal.
Again 100% tell - with nothing to demonstrate how people became aware of her presence (presumably they opened their eyes and there she was) or to show how she was 'unreal'.

It's as if you're trying to write 'like a serious writer' - but most of it comes across as self-conscious and over-written.

Rose jumped and her body was never found - that's the story. I'm afraid the narrator's tedious internalised navel-gazing doesn't make for a rewarding read.

H3K

Offline Clarius

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 05:07:28 AM »
First piece. First paragraph. A long rambling description of a carpet and then a throwaway comment about two people changing the world? Second paragraph. A brief comment about having once met these two characters followed by a long rambling description of the protagonist's father?

Second piece. More rambling description and extremely purple prose. The Rose character is so annoyingly ethereal that I wanted to push her over the edge myself. There's a whole chapters worth of story tellingly crammed into a couple of paragraphs. None of this makes any sense to me and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline wanderer

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 06:41:24 AM »
The poster hasn't even introduced himself and figure another "drive by poster."  :(

Offline bri h

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 10:31:46 AM »
"Bugger!" and "Oh Damn!" Not forgetting "Blast!" Well at least anyone looking in may derive some extra knowledge from the tips and crits freely given. So not all a complete waste. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline bobby801

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Re: Two stories to be reviewed, both short! Word Count (now) 1,321
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2013, 05:18:57 PM »
The opening line about the rain 'pitter pattering' reminded me of  the hilarious  Alan Partridge sketch a few years back when he was taking part in a spoof literary interview about his new autobiography. The whole sketch was based on how awful a writer he was, although he, in classic Partridge fashion,  thought he was a literary genius. When it came him delivering his first reading from the book, he started off by describing the 'pitter patter, pitter patter', of the rain on the windscreen of his parents car. I think that says it all about the opening sentence of this piece. Still, I admire the  self-confidence you seem to have  in your ability.

PS : To American contributors, Alan Partridge is a gruesome comic chararcter created by a Brit comedian, Steve Coogan.

Bobby 801