Author Topic: Promise Kept [504 words] draft  (Read 368 times)

Offline JanTetstone

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Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« on: October 20, 2018, 11:24:28 AM »
Would this make a good start for a story? Any and all comments welcome.    jt


   Liza could feel the darkness closing in all around her, as the sweaty hands around her throat grew tighter and tighter. She tried to scream, but the only sound that exited her mouth was a whine like whisper “Pleease, Robertttt,I can’t bre… ”

Struggling to get free from the hands of the intoxicated man, whose heavy body was now pinning her whole body against the floor, she could feel the life leaving her body.
 
“What did you say !? I can’t hearrr youuu...”

Just as Liza was succumbing to the darkness, there was a knock on the door. Robert releasing his hold on her neck, grabbed her shoulders, lifted the terrified woman to a setting position, and slammed her back down, onto  the hardwood floor.

Liza lay on the floor, unable to move, staring up into the face of the man who had just tried to kill her, with a questioning expression on her face, she asked, “Why?” But just as Robert was raising his fist up into the air, as answer to the question, there was a second knock on the door.
“Robert are you going or not!? We’re late  already!”

Be right out Bro!” Robert hollowed, raising  from his position on the floor. Leaving Liza’s question unanswered, he reached for the  beer can, setting on the coffee table,  downed the last of the beer, and threw the empty can at Liza, barely missing her head..

I’ll be back Liza! And you’d better be here!” Robert snapped,   staggering, nearly tripping over the two sleeping cats, lying just inside the door.

Managing to pull herself up to a setting position, Liza just set there, in the middle of the living room floor, staring at the brightly colored green walls, praying Robert would just leave. She knew she dare not give answer to Robert’s leaving remark, remembering the tightening of his hands around her neck. 

She waited until the roar of the old car faded off into the distance, before using the staircase railing to, slowly, make her way upstairs.

Entering the bedroom that she and Robert shared, she threw herself across the bed, sobbing, uncontrollably. 'If I leave Robert, he'll just find me,' Liza thought to herself, slowly, getting up from the bed, and walking over to the antique dresser that had once belonged to her grandmother, tears started filling both of her eyes, as she stared into the mirror at the red marks on both sides of her neck.

 Turning away from the dresser, she walked over to the closet, opened the door, reached in, and brought out the tattered red suitcase that had been home to her wedding dress, since the day she and Robert were married. 

Sadness filled Lisa, as she laid the suitcase on the bed, and slowly begin unzipping it.

Opening the suitcase, looking inside, expecting to see the wedding dress, all the color drained from Liza’s face.  “What did he do with my dress? “, she cried out, looking down, at what now replaced it in the suitcase.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 11:32:35 AM by JanTetstone »

Offline jkalman

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2018, 12:03:55 PM »
Hey Jan. Why did she want to look at her wedding dress after her maniacal husband had tried to kill her? 

In terms of writing, this is a nice little article about participle phrases (-ing verbs). You have a few mistakes with this grammatical structure. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/participle-phrases/

Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2018, 01:19:54 PM »
Hey Jan. Why did she want to look at her wedding dress after her maniacal husband had tried to kill her? 

In terms of writing, this is a nice little article about participle phrases (-ing verbs). You have a few mistakes with this grammatical structure. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/participle-phrases/

JK, your question  is of great help to me. 
Thank you  for  the link, and  for taking the time to read and comment.                  jt

Offline jkalman

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2018, 08:10:05 PM »
Quote from: JanTetstone
JK, your question  is of great help to me. 
Thank you  for  the link, and  for taking the time to read and comment.                  jt

You're more than welcome :)

Offline Inky

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2018, 09:11:59 PM »
Dear JanTetstone,

Thank you for sharing your work. I'm just a beginner on this forum so I hope my comments will be helpful.

Starting with a choking scene is engaging. However, I think you should start with the focus on the hands rather than Liza's sensations, since the hands around the throat gives context to Liza's experiences. Also, some context as to why Robert is intoxicated and her relationship with Robert (I assume partner/lover/spouse at this point) would also raise the stakes.

In addition, I found it a bit incredible that Robert was intoxicated but still managed to respond to environmental cues (e.g., his friend calling him to come out) so readily. I've never been intoxicated though so I wouldn't really know. I suppose it depends how drunk he is?

After that, I love the slowed pace and still atmosphere you create once Robert leaves. Very nice.

Regarding the suitcase scene, I agree with jkalman's point about the strangeness of Liza wanting to look at the wedding dress after Robert just abused her. However, I think a bit of context and description of Liza's internal processes could solve this problem. That is, what is Liza thinking about when she decides to open the suitcase? Is she harking back to happier days with Robert, wondering how he transformed from her prince to an abusive monster? Is she holding onto some (deluded) hope that the kind Robert she knew "is still in there somewhere"? Or perhaps she's reflecting on how she knew the relationship was doomed because they married for reasons other than love (e.g., she fell pregnant with his child, forced marriage, visa-hopping) - I don't know what the story you've made for Liza and Robert's relationship is but I think it's worth integrating into this scene.

Also, we need to know what he replaced the dress with. Otherwise, we as readers don't really comprehend why Liza is so shocked.

Thank you
Inky

Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2018, 09:34:50 PM »
Dear JanTetstone,

Thank you for sharing your work. I'm just a beginner on this forum so I hope my comments will be helpful.

Starting with a choking scene is engaging. However, I think you should start with the focus on the hands rather than Liza's sensations, since the hands around the throat gives context to Liza's experiences. Also, some context as to why Robert is intoxicated and her relationship with Robert (I assume partner/lover/spouse at this point) would also raise the stakes.

In addition, I found it a bit incredible that Robert was intoxicated but still managed to respond to environmental cues (e.g., his friend calling him to come out) so readily. I've never been intoxicated though so I wouldn't really know. I suppose it depends how drunk he is?

After that, I love the slowed pace and still atmosphere you create once Robert leaves. Very nice.

Regarding the suitcase scene, I agree with jkalman's point about the strangeness of Liza wanting to look at the wedding dress after Robert just abused her. However, I think a bit of context and description of Liza's internal processes could solve this problem. That is, what is Liza thinking about when she decides to open the suitcase? Is she harking back to happier days with Robert, wondering how he transformed from her prince to an abusive monster? Is she holding onto some (deluded) hope that the kind Robert she knew "is still in there somewhere"? Or perhaps she's reflecting on how she knew the relationship was doomed because they married for reasons other than love (e.g., she fell pregnant with his child, forced marriage, visa-hopping) - I don't know what the story you've made for Liza and Robert's relationship is but I think it's worth integrating into this scene.

Also, we need to know what he replaced the dress with. Otherwise, we as readers don't really comprehend why Liza is so shocked.

Thank you
Inky

Thank you Inky.
You  and jk have given me much to think about.                jt

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2018, 04:07:34 PM »

Quote
Would this make a good start for a story?

Personally I feel it's too predictable to grab many potential readers.
'darkness closing in', 'sweaty hands', 'tighter and tighter' etc. You give us a set of clichés without displaying much in the way of originality.

For some reason you also keep switching the way you identify your characters
- 'the intoxicated man', 'Robert', 'the man who had just tried to kill her'
- 'Liza', 'the terrified woman'
it reads off because I kept expecting to come across a third or fourth person.

There are also several typos that need sorting - too many to point out.

But the biggest prolem is that you're writing about a sensitive issue, domestic abuse, but the way your two stereotypical characters behave does you no favours. There's nothing here we've not seen before in dozens of B movies or TV soaps.

Then we have

Quote
“I’ll be back Liza! And you’d better be here!” Robert snapped,   staggering, nearly tripping over the two sleeping cats, lying just inside the door.

I'm not sure if that's meant to add an element of humour but it had me grinning for all the wrong reasons.

Your closing sentence suggests you have an intriguing plot in mind, but I'd advise you to read as much as you can before taking the ambitious step of trying to write a full-length story.

H3K

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2018, 04:50:39 PM »
Hilly makes many good points.  I also had problems with the two sleeping cats.  Animals tend to be sensitive to atmosphere and they'd probably have slunk away when the strangling started, rather than sleeping through it until he tripped over them.

One other thing which puzzled me, and I've seen the word used this way in some online books .

'Robert hollowed, raising from his position on the floor.'

Hollered, surely.  But as I say I've seen it elsewhere, so is this regional variation?.

People can be hollow-eyed, or you can hollow out a log to make a canoe, but it looks wrong to me in this context.

I attribute a lot of modern errors to voice recognition software, but if this is the case the 'teller' needs to be extra vigilant when reading what it has produced.

=====

With regard to the poster who queried Lisa checking her wedding dress, a female friend who worked at a battered wives' shelter told me many of them hang onto something from the good times before it all went wrong.  Almost as if it were a magical talisman which could put things right.  Whereas a decent dose of anger and a kitchen knife would have been far more effective at getting them out of the house and out of the situation.

Gyppo
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 08:23:30 PM by Gyppo »
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In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2018, 05:06:47 PM »
A couple of other points if I may?  I doubt if Lisa would be aware of his hands being sweaty, all she'd  feel would be the crushing constriction around her throat, or his thumbs pressing into her windpipe if he was a more skilled strangler.  On a skinny female neck the stranglers' thumbs might well overlap and be further around to the sides, whereas on a thicker male neck they fall instinctively on the windpipe.

Robert on the other hand would be well aware of his fingers slipping.

I have never strangled a woman except theatrically, where the emphasis is on not accidentally injuring them.  Or as part of teaching them to escape strangleholds.  But I have been on the receiving end of a couple of serious attempts, and some careless acting as well.

Which brings me to my second point.  I think her gasps would be more guttural than whining.

Gyppo
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 05:12:00 PM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2018, 08:58:34 AM »
Personally I feel it's too predictable to grab many potential readers.
'darkness closing in', 'sweaty hands', 'tighter and tighter' etc. You give us a set of clichés without displaying much in the way of originality.

For some reason you also keep switching the way you identify your characters
- 'the intoxicated man', 'Robert', 'the man who had just tried to kill her'
- 'Liza', 'the terrified woman'
it reads off because I kept expecting to come across a third or fourth person.

There are also several typos that need sorting - too many to point out.

But the biggest prolem is that you're writing about a sensitive issue, domestic abuse, but the way your two stereotypical characters behave does you no favours. There's nothing here we've not seen before in dozens of B movies or TV soaps.

Then we have

I'm not sure if that's meant to add an element of humour but it had me grinning for all the wrong reasons.

Your closing sentence suggests you have an intriguing plot in mind, but I'd advise you to read as much as you can before taking the ambitious step of trying to write a full-length story.

H3K

Thank you H3K. I agree. I reckon, I'll just stick to heart writing.       jt

Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2018, 09:02:20 AM »
A couple of other points if I may?  I doubt if Lisa would be aware of his hands being sweaty, all she'd  feel would be the crushing constriction around her throat, or his thumbs pressing into her windpipe if he was a more skilled strangler.  On a skinny female neck the stranglers' thumbs might well overlap and be further around to the sides, whereas on a thicker male neck they fall instinctively on the windpipe.

Robert on the other hand would be well aware of his fingers slipping.

I have never strangled a woman except theatrically, where the emphasis is on not accidentally injuring them.  Or as part of teaching them to escape strangleholds.  But I have been on the receiving end of a couple of serious attempts, and come careless acting as well.

Which brings me to my second point.  I think her gasps would be more guttural than whining.

Gyppo


Thank you Gyppo for your suggestions.....                     jt

Offline Kim Evans

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 10:48:44 PM »
For me it grabbed me from start to the end though it looks like a romance story and I don't read a lot of them so I might not be familiar with predictability of the plot. For the wedding dress, I think if given some good context or back story of why it is important to Liza, it could be a great cliffhanger

Offline Kim Evans

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2018, 10:54:18 PM »
Also I think you misspelled the word sitting

Offline Tak

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2018, 08:03:51 AM »
hello

Just a few things.  But if you have a story in mind, finish it without worrying whether or not it will work. 1st drafts seldom do, so don't judge the final producT on its first steps.


Quote
  Liza could feel the darkness closing in all around her, as the sweaty hands around her throat grew tighter and tighter. She tried to scream, but the only sound that exited her mouth was a whine like whisper “Pleease, Robertttt,I can’t bre… ”

Filtering - filtering is where you sort of put a buffer zone between actual direct feelings the mc or character is experiencing at the time. There are times when filtering is the best way to go, but most times it deadens the moments.   

ie

The darkness closed around Lisa, as sweaty hands tightened their grip around her throat.

*

Now as to the mention of sweaty. I believe also a better adjective could be used that enhances her fear.  Still, I like 'sweaty' used also, but it just needs to be active in her train of thoughts. She could be choking but in the back of her mind she's revolted for some reason about the sweat. It could be built on that Robert's hands were always sweaty, maybe one of the things which bothered her throughout their marriage.

You would need to tie it in better, her state of mind blinking in and out of consciousness, etc, or drifting in unwarranted directions - like remembering a good joke at a moment when laughing is frowned upon. 

The thing is, it requires building up and down with it.

That can be done through editing and drafts -   strong hands works just as well.

Quote
Struggling to get free from the hands of the intoxicated man, whose heavy body was now pinning her whole body against the floor, she could feel the life leaving her body.

Think about works placement and usage when you go through the drafts. After a while it comes natural and you don't have to edit as much.   Think about what you want to show the reader, what the character is experiencing at that time.

his heavy body - good

pinning her whole body - not so much /  pinning her against the floor  - direct contact

she could feel her life leaving her body   - not so much  /   .... feel her life leaving - direct


*

so basically you are over telling the scenes, probably unsure if you had said enough or if the reader gets it.  Trust your readers more. Trust your words more.  And don't sweat a story on the first draft.
 



Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2018, 01:56:32 PM »
For me it grabbed me from start to the end though it looks like a romance story and I don't read a lot of them so I might not be familiar with predictability of the plot. For the wedding dress, I think if given some good context or back story of why it is important to Liza, it could be a great cliffhanger

Thank you Kim for your suggestions. I think a lot of my problem is not putting enough time into thinking about things before I write them.   jt