Author Topic: A Couple Scenes  (Read 226 times)

Offline KungFuCacti

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A Couple Scenes
« on: June 27, 2018, 05:39:56 AM »
These couple scenes I've written were inspired from a dream I had, so I'm not really looking for feedback on the overall plot of the story or if it could turn into something longer. Instead, I would just like feedback on the writing and overall readability of it all. Thanks.


The mansion is one you might imagine to be the home of a wealthy plantation owner. It is pristinely white and set on the edge of a primeval forest. Sunlight pours through as he enters. All the furnishings you would expect are there: chandleries, a spiral staircase, very large portraits of stern-looking people. He passes through the foyer and ascends up the grand staircase.

This room, like all the others, is large. It is also sparse. However, there is one stand-out feature: a wall made entirely of glass. The amount of light it lets in is almost overbearing. It takes his eyes a few moments to adjust as he approaches.

The view of the countryside is remarkable. Green overflows out of every corner of his vision.  There is both a beauty and a wildness to the mass of vegetation tangled and spread out before him. The trees are packed tightly together, but only a few have what you might call impressive height. He can see the beginnings of a creek winding its way into a gorge several miles off. Not before ten minutes have passed does he think to appreciate how clean the glass is.

Footsteps echoing behind him cause a slight jolt, and he turns to see four antebellum-clad people approaching him. They either shake his hand or give him a slight hug. There is something somber in their faces as they ask him to take a seat. The heavily freckled woman in the yellow dress points out a green upholstered ottoman. He sits down, and they tell him that his son is dead.   

He doesn’t say anything. His body begins to feel heavier than it actually is. He looks out past them to an indefinable spot before standing up and walking back to the window. He listens for the birds as he begins to cry. The footsteps echo out behind him.

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Somewhere deep and off in that tangled wilderness is a tavern. Quaint, but a tavern nonetheless. With such dim lighting, it’s hard to make out anyone’s face. Most are keeping to themselves, a common trait while the sun is still up. However, there is one table with a conversation; one that appears to have a touch of bluster to it.

“So now you’re going to climb the mountain.”

“Why not?”

“Well, it’s not so much why not as it is why.”

“Oh, come on, can’t you tell? He wants to see if it’s true. See if he really is hold up in a cave up there.”

“Oh my god, is that it? It is, isn’t it?”

“So what if it is?”

They laughed. Everyone appeared to be in good spirits. Even the fellow they were teasing about climbing the mountain wasn’t taking it poorly.

“You really think you’re going to find God up there?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then where’s this coming from?”

He wrapped both hands around the glass bottle, sort of wringing it, messing up the label. He avoided eye contact for a few moments, staring into the bottle at the few remaining sips.

“I don’t know. I just kinda want to know, you know?”

“Yeah sure, and I want to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but I’m not going to climb a fucking mountain to figure it out.  It’s just a dumbole story. Do you even know how to rock climb?”

He didn’t respond, and soon the topic was dropped. The group enjoyed each other’s company for another twenty minutes or so before departing off into the oppressing afternoon light. But the man with the mountain-climbing aspiration had not been dissuaded. The truth that he had felt too silly to reveal was that the task had come to him in a vision. It had all revolved around this rabbit. It was an unexceptional rabbit with light brown fur, a fluffy, round little body, and big, expressionless eyes.

The rabbit had climbed the mountain and made it to that cave near the top where the legend says that God lives. As it approached the cave’s entrance, it was impossible to tell how it felt about any of it, but it made the man having the vision apprehensive.

As the rabbit drew closer, the darkness of the cave began to take over. Soon, the vision was nothing but black until two eyes flashed open and the man awoke in a cold sweat. It had bothered him all week. He wanted to chalk it up to a bad dream and move on, but, for some reason, he couldn’t. It all kept coming back to him, those ridiculous Scooby-Doo eyes in particular. So he had decided to bring the idea up casually around his friends, and, well, we saw how that went.

But even now it called out to him.

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When the tears had stopped, he left the now sickly mansion and walked out into the wilderness. As he drew within the forest, he began to feel smaller.  The air was humid and heavy and smelled so crisply that it overwhelmed his sinuses. His eyes began to water and itch as he looked around to see if there were any plants he could identify. There weren’t. The grass was overgrown and brushed against his ankles as he walked. He began to fantasize about clearing out a small patch of land and starting a garden. There was something about the idea that appealed to him.

He walked on, with no real sense of where to or why, until one of his steps splashed. The bog he had wandered into was darker than the other parts of the forest. The trees were taller and canopied overhead to block off a decent amount of sunlight. It was still easy to see though, and the air was just as hot and muggy as before, but having shade did provide some relief.

The water at his feet was shallow enough that it didn’t quite cover his shoe.  A small path, about a yard wide, extended out across the bog. The ground on either side of it took a sharp decline, disappearing into unknown depths. He walked along this path for a few hundred yards before the water started to deepen. He kept going as it climbed up his body.

There were no sounds other than the wind rustling through the trees and the sloshing of the water as he waded through it. During his walk, he had found the silence peaceful, but now it had started to worry him. Why hadn’t he heard any animals? In a forest this untapped, surely there had to be creatures teeming within it.

As this thought crossed his mind, he felt something slimy glide around his stomach. The slink across his body startled him and he stood still, not sure what to do about it. As he stood deliberating, with the water's level resting just above his nipples, he felt it again. And then again. And then, something different.

Little whiskers gently brushed against his stomach. He was too scared to reach down with his hand and grab whatever it was getting familiar with him, but he had decided that he could no longer stand still. As he turned around and started to walk back to the shallower portion of the bog, he felt more whiskers contacting his skin. None of it made him particularly squeamish until he felt something latch on.

One after another, the slimy little mouths underneath those whiskers began to apply themselves to his skin and start sucking.
 

Offline Tak

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Re: A Couple Scenes
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 04:44:53 PM »
Here are my thoughts on your writing.

The images are there. The writing is fine.

Fine is okay. But fine won't beat others out of the line for publishing.

I do not know how long you spent on your piece, so I will just give you a few thoughts.

You do not connect the images together well. What this does is makes an active scene - passive. Is this bad? Well it doesn't help. But it is something that can be addressed on your next pass, and then kept in mind when writing further.

Your images don't work for the story as well as they can. This has something to do with their connection, but also it has to do with how you are writing them. You see the images in your mind and type them out believing a reader can get the gist - and they can, but the depth of those images is a shadow of what they can be if properly constructed. I say 'properly' only because; again, this is apparently a rough draft.

The opening scene with the mansion is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Though you describe well, the images jump back and forth, only working for themselves rather than the scene and moving the story forward. Attaching/connecting the images with his/her movements as they proceed, would give it an active feel even though it is a narration mode. Your second sentence shows this. You break the first statement with a full stop after 'owner', but the image is still in motion, and the connection between the first and second sentence is broken(when it shouldn't be).

Another is the first mention of sunlight. It just floats out of nowhere. The second mention of sunlight(with the wall of glass and 'countryside' - why 'countryside' ? it gives indication of a view outside of the whole plantation. Since you are describing the plantation, keep it on the property, give a garden the focus, shaped hedges, what kind of glass? Why does the sunlight pour in as he enters?

So you have an idea, but need to learn how to focus what you want the reader to really see. Make them feel they are walking through at the same time.

Long narrated openings are a hard sale. They have to be perfect as can be.

Not to discourage, the writing is there, it just hasn't yet been refined.


Offline KungFuCacti

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Re: A Couple Scenes
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 10:04:31 AM »
I think one reason it has the disjointed feel is because it was written without any sort of end goal in mind. It's a dream. I was trying to give myself something sort of like a prompt and see if I could do anything with it. I think I agree with that first mention of sunlight seeming out of place, or at least too sudden. Obviously, I was trying too add visuals to the scene there, but it does feel sort of thrust in there. When writing, I tend to prefer sparse description. I was trained in journalism, so I appreciate anything written effectively without wasted words or fluff. It's something I am trying to practice. I think I was more effective with it in the first two sections than the third. I thought the third section was a little boring.

Thanks for reading