Author Topic: Promise Kept [504 words] draft  (Read 2154 times)

Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2018, 02:01:24 PM »
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.


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.

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.

Thank you Tak....for giving so much attention to my writing. I appreciate all the suggestions .        jt

Offline Kim Evans

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2018, 11:05:44 PM »
Welcome JT

Offline landmersm

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2018, 01:54:25 PM »
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.

You used the word body three times here. Little things like that make me stop reading. I don't mean that in a nasty way - like stopping completely - but when i see mistakes like that I end up stopping after the sentence before continuing.  It breaks the immersion, at least to me.

Something else I noticed was your use of dialogue tags. Using phrases like snapped, hollered, or other such phrases are typically frowned upon. It's okay to break it up every now and then, but the human brain will glance over the words "said" and "ask" when reading. We know what it happening by what the sentence itself is saying. Let the sentence tell you that the person is yelling, that he/she is crying out. Here's a link that can explain it better.  https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/keep-it-simple-keys-to-realistic-dialogue-part-ii

Quote
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.

You could say the same thing without the dialogue tag. Maybe: "Opening the suitcase, expecting to see the wedding dress, all color drained from Liza's face. She screamed aloud. "What did he do?"   And so on.

I liked the idea, and you certainly started your story with action. An abusive partner choking someone is an eye opener.  I am certainly not a professional, so my advice is only the opinion of one guy.


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Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2018, 02:03:07 PM »
Thank you, landersm. I really appreciate your suggestions....    jt

Offline Il Penseroso

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2018, 03:08:37 PM »
This could be the start of a good story, but it would need a lot of TLC - or blood, sweat and tears, whichever you prefer - first.

A few things that stood out at me:

Your MC. You spell her name both as Liza and Lisa. Choose one spelling and use that consistently throughout the story.

Your verbs. I think you may have been using some artistic license there. Setting should be sitting (you did that a couple of times) and hollowing certainly should have been hollering. Raising should be rising. There might be more.

The cats. Just get them out of there. Cats don't like scenes and would have been long gone by the time Robert trips over them.

Now for the strangling bit. Having been both on the giving and receiving end of some strangulation quite a few times, what you wrote didn't ring true to me. I cannot imagine your MC having been capable of any speech. Not even a whisper. Not if Robert did even a half decent job strangling her. If you want us to believe Liza was damn near dying, the only sound she could have made would have been a hoarse, constricted little cough. Or a wheezing sound perhaps. She might have had those thoughts, though.

Now there's the hard bit. I haven't seen anything we haven't already read or seen a hundred times before. You need to come up with something fresh or your reader will put your story aside.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 03:17:51 PM by Il Penseroso »

Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2018, 03:27:45 PM »
Thank you, Penseroso.  I appreciate your feedback. and suggestions.   jt

Offline rachelleclimbeck

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2019, 09:06:17 PM »
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.

To me the dress is the physical representation of the honeymoon phase of an abusive relationship. So for it to be out of its box would be very upsetting indeed.
As a survivor myself I found this a good read. I'm no expert so I can't give too much effective advice, other than to say that yes, I would be interested in a book that started out with this content. I would continue reading. Hope you keep writing :)

Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2019, 10:08:55 PM »
Thank you Rachelle. It's nice when someone says good things about my story.
But, landmersm,  Hillwalker, Il Penseroso, Tak, Kim, Gyppo.... They were all correct in their evaluation of my story.... It needs a lot of work.  I appreciate  all who have taken the time to  share their opinion.   Jan

Offline rachelleclimbeck

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2019, 10:11:14 PM »
I'm just no expert so all I have to give is encouragement and DON'T GIVE UP! :) refine, refine, refine.

Offline EliTaffJr

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2019, 07:58:46 PM »
Hi Jan,

I had a great time reading your post. I am new to the forum, and it was the first piece of prose I am giving feedback on, so I hope that it is of some value to you. I think that the choking is a very intriguing way to open the story. It forces us to immediately get into your character’s perspective to feel the sensations that she is feeling, in the moment. There are some cliched phrases that might be more interesting if you can find a slightly different way of wording them, but I think that overall what you’ve written is an engaging start to a story. How long do you plan on making the finished work? That may be a factor in how long you want this opening to be. Full length novel? Go to town with the description of the choking and the immediacy of what the character is experiencing. If you’re only writing a 20k novella, though, maybe being more selective about the descriptors can help streamline the prose into what is surely the interesting inciting incident: what’s in that suitcase!
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Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2019, 08:33:19 PM »
I'm just no expert so all I have to give is encouragement and DON'T GIVE UP! :) refine, refine, refine.

Rachelle, I really appreciate  the positive encouragement. Positive always counteracts the negative. Thank you.    Jan

Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2019, 03:36:10 PM »
Hi Jan,

I had a great time reading your post. I am new to the forum, and it was the first piece of prose I am giving feedback on, so I hope that it is of some value to you. I think that the choking is a very intriguing way to open the story. It forces us to immediately get into your character’s perspective to feel the sensations that she is feeling, in the moment. There are some cliched phrases that might be more interesting if you can find a slightly different way of wording them, but I think that overall what you’ve written is an engaging start to a story. How long do you plan on making the finished work? That may be a factor in how long you want this opening to be. Full length novel? Go to town with the description of the choking and the immediacy of what the character is experiencing. If you’re only writing a 20k novella, though, maybe being more selective about the descriptors can help streamline the prose into what is surely the interesting inciting incident: what’s in that suitcase!

Thank you Eli. Actually, the wife is strangled again. This time she is left in a coma. If it's meant that I finish the story- I have no doubt it will be a good story......Part is fiction and part is based on a true story.

Jan
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 05:05:54 PM by heartsongjt »