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Nightstalker3-2
August 20th, 2010, 05:17 AM
Decided on a short story to take a break from my main book about the war. (Check that out too) Thank you for your critiques.


Nightfall brought the storm about. Some called it the storm of the century. It was ferocious, in its wind. Loud in the thunder and vindictive with its’ lighting. The lights in Samuels’ study room went out with another thunder clash. Samuel jumped up to grab a candle from the closet. Walking down the hallway his pictures looked at him. Smiling at him. Even taunting him. Did they have a voice they wished to use to cry out? Did they wish to cry out for all the horrors they witnessed?
Samuel opened the closet next to the dark kitchen. He filtered through boxes and cartons. Some full of nothing but antiques he gathered over the years as an antique dealer. He had many items, many dated back before the civil war. Knives, muskets, pictures, even an old type writer, the one he now used to write his final message. Finding the candles, he lit one with a match and walked to the refrigerator. He learned to like apple juice. Before he met Ann he couldn’t stand the taste. Now, he needed it, he drank a gallon a day. Took one with him on the road to deal antiques. Yet, now, his refrigerator was empty, save a old empty gallon of milk and some bread far past its expiration date. Could what remained of his life get any worse? He did not think so. Plus what remained ,was too short anyway.
He picked the candle up once again and returned to his study room. Walking pass the pictures. The pictures haunted him. Ate at him, even tore him to bits. Yet, he couldn’t get rid of them, couldn’t bare to see them thrown out. He sat down at his desk. Using the light of the insignificant flame he typed again.
Samuel needed to get the story out there. He needed to let people read what he saw., especially, before they came to get him. They were coming he knew, but the question was when. Tonight? Next year? It didn’t matter, he was planning on it happening in the next few minutes that slowly sounded off by the grandfather clock sitting directly to his right. So as he had been doing for the last 23 hours, he typed on the antique type writer. He was very cautious, in fact, so cautious he bolted the typewriter to the desk.

“They couldn’t steal it this way” , he always stated.

Everything he saw he typed down. With every push of each key the truth came out. The truth of what happened over the last months. The horrors and anguish. The screams and the paranoia. He had to get this out. Or else how would anyone know what its like to live scared, looking over your back with every noise. He type rapidly nearing the end.

“The truth will set you free”, he repeated to himself hundreds of times. So many times in fact he didn’t know he was doing it.

A knock at the window shocked him. He jumped out off his seat. His reading glasses falling to the floor, the chair falling back. He ran to the window. Nothing. Silence but the rain beating against the window sill and the light boom of the thunder in the background. He closed the shades. Why hadn’t he done that in the first place?! He should have thought of that. Now they could have been watching his every move.
He picked the chair up and sat back in it. Adjusting his glasses he began typing. Another few paragraphs and all would be finished. Then he could end this. Sure his life would be over, but the world would know what occurred.

Finishing the “TRUTH” as he so called it, he placed it in a folder. Running down the hall, he placed in it the same closet that stored the candles and many other trinkets of old. No one can find it until he was dead. NO ONE.
Running back to the study he began packing his paper work. As fast as possible to avoid another confrontation.

“Before they come, Before they come”, He now repeated. Sweat rolling down his bald forehead. His hands shaking vigorously , his skin pasty white, like he just seen a ghost. Sadly for him he seen worse. In fact a ghost would be a welcomed invite to his house. Especially if it was Ann’s ghost. She would know what to do. After all they got her trapped too. Then the foot steps.

The awful footsteps he heard the last time. Outside his door. He blew the candle out casting complete darkness in his room. He stepped back into the corner, breathing heavily, trying to avoid the urge to scream. Still shaking, out of anger? Or out of fear? He didn’t know, nor did he care. It was all the same at this point. He grabbed the knife he had in his pocket. The one he hid from them. The one he had ready at all times to use if they got to him first.
The door slid open. Two shadows came in and stopped in the doorway. Samuel waited, now squatting in the corner. Maybe they would just go away, and he can run. Yet, this would not happen. The two men walked further into the room, and closed the door. They heard Samuel shift his weight, and stepped closer. Spotting him, they charged......

The power was returned to the ward. Screams were heard throughout the housing. Medical staff ran around putting people back into wherever they were assigned to stay. A man walked in wearing a dark blue suit.

“God damnit! Who was watching him? How did he get a knife inside with him!? Call the sheriff, tell him we have a suicide.”

“Yes sir. Oh Doctor, What shall we do with his wife? She stays down the hall.”

“Ill inform her tomorrow morning. Not that she will know what the hell is going on, her schizophrenia is worse than Samuels is.”

Mike
August 20th, 2010, 05:32 AM
It's extremely sloppy as far as grammar and organization go. The narrative wanders around at the beginning - too many questions asked. I'm not sure what Samuel is doing at the beginning or why I need to know so much about him straight away. Background information is important for any story, but it should be peppered rather than slabbed on.

I think the story could start at "A knock at the window shocked him." Fumbling around in the dark (and i do mean this literally and metaphorically) isn't a solid start to the story, in my opinion.

Tidy it up a bit. I think it could turn into a decent short story. It just needs some transitions...some direction... from paragraph to paragraph. You might want to implement some narration, pull it out to a collaborative omniscient.

Nightstalker3-2
August 20th, 2010, 03:38 PM
Mike thank you greatly. I see I do have work to do when it comes to short stories. As I said I never written one before, and I wanted a break from my main book. Did it at least keep u guessing (although prob too much) But did it shock the reader at the end?

thewordsmith
August 20th, 2010, 05:25 PM
Nightfall brought the storm about. Some called it the storm of the century. It was ferocious, in its wind. Loud in the thunder and vindictive with its’ lighting. The lights in Samuels’ [Samuel's] study room [I][Odd word choice. Suggests not a specific room – the study – but a room where a corner has been relegated to studying.] went out with another thunder clash. Samuel [He] jumped up to grab a candle from the closet. Walking down the hallway[, (PLEASE add the comma, otherwise, it sounds as though the pictures were walking down the hall.)] his pictures looked at him. Smiling at him. Even taunting him. Did they have a voice they wished to use to cry out? Did they wish to cry out for all the horrors they witnessed?
Samuel opened the closet next to the dark kitchen. He filtered through boxes and cartons. Some full of nothing but antiques he gathered over the years as an antique dealer. He had many items, many dated back before the civil war. Knives, muskets, pictures, even an old type[]writer, the one he now [currently ("now used" suggests he is typing even as he scrabbles through the cupboard. Very talented!)] used to write his final message. Finding the candles, he lit one with a match and walked to the refrigerator. He learned to like apple juice. Before he met Ann he couldn’t stand the taste. Now, he needed it, he drank a gallon a day. Took one with him on the road to deal antiques. Yet, now, his refrigerator was empty, save a old empty gallon of milk and some bread far past its expiration date. Could what remained of his life get any worse? He did not think so. Plus what remained [,] was too short anyway.
He picked the candle up once again [This is something of a jarring comment since there was no mention of his having set the candle down and I had, previously, had an image of him carrying the candle as he went about the kitchen] and returned to his study room. Walking pass [past] the pictures. The pictures haunted him. Ate at him, even tore him to bits. Yet, he couldn’t get rid of them, couldn’t bare [bear] to see them thrown out. [This seems to be the crux of the whole story. Why does he hate the pictures and why does he have such an attachment to them? (there is definitely more to the story here!)] He sat down at his desk. Using the light of the insignificant flame he typed again.
Samuel needed to get the story out there. He needed to let people read what he saw., especially, before they came to get him. They were coming he knew, but the question was when. Tonight? Next year? It didn’t matter, he was planning on it happening in the next few minutes that slowly sounded off by the grandfather clock sitting directly to his right. So[,] as he had been doing for the last 23 hours, he typed on the antique type[]writer. He was very cautious, in fact, so cautious he bolted the typewriter to the desk.

“They couldn’t [can't(?)] steal it this way”[], he always stated.

Everything he saw he typed down. With every push of each key[,] the truth came out. The truth of what happened over the last months. The horrors and anguish. The screams and the paranoia. He had to get this out. Or else how would anyone know what its like to live scared, looking over your back with every noise. He type[d] rapidly[,] nearing the end.

“The truth will set you free”, he repeated to himself hundreds of times. So many times in fact he didn’t know he was doing it.

A knock at the window shocked him. He jumped out off his seat[,] [h]is reading glasses falling to the floor, the chair falling [word choice] back. He ran to the window. Nothing. Silence but [Only (?)] the rain beating against the window sill and the light [sort of oxymoronic isn't it? (Perhaps "distant")] boom of the thunder in the background. He closed the shades. Why hadn’t he done that in the first place?! He should have thought of that. Now [T]hey could have been watching his every move.
He picked the chair up and sat back in it. Adjusting his glasses he began typing. Another few paragraphs and all would be finished. Then he could end this. Sure his life would be over, but the world would know what occurred.

Finishing the “TRUTH” as he so called it, he placed it in a folder. Running down the hall, he placed in it the same closet that stored the candles and many other trinkets of old. No one can [would (?)] find it until he was dead. NO ONE.
Running back to the study he began packing his paper work. As fast as possible to avoid another confrontation.

“Before they come, Before they come”, [h]e now repeated. Sweat rolling down his bald forehead [unless one is severely hirsute, his forehead [I]would be bald!]. His hands shaking vigorously , his skin pasty white, like he ["he'd" – "he had"] just seen a ghost. Sadly for him he ["he'd" – "he had"] seen worse. In fact a ghost would be a welcomed invite to his house. Especially if it was Ann’s ghost. She would know what to do. After all they got her trapped too. Then the foot steps. [Totally disconnected.]

The awful footsteps he heard the last time. Outside his door. He blew the candle out casting complete darkness in his room. He stepped back into the corner, breathing heavily, trying to avoid the urge to scream. Still shaking, out of anger? Or out of fear? He didn’t know, nor did he care. It was all the same at this point. He grabbed the knife he had in his pocket. The one he hid from them. The one he had ready at all times to use if they got to him first.
The door slid open. Two shadows came in and stopped in the doorway. Samuel waited, now squatting in the corner. Maybe they would just go away, and he can [could] run. Yet, this would not happen. The two men walked further into the room, and closed the door. They heard Samuel shift his weight, and stepped closer. Spotting him, they charged......

The power was returned to the ward. Screams were heard throughout the housing. Medical staff ran around putting people back into wherever they were assigned to stay. [Nice twist but "… putting people back into 'wherever they were assigned' …" far too vague] A man walked in wearing a dark blue suit.

“God damnit! Who was watching him? How did he get a knife inside with him!? Call the sheriff, tell him we have a suicide.”

“Yes sir. Oh[,] Doctor, [w]hat shall we do with his wife? She stays down the hall.”

“I[']ll inform her tomorrow morning. Not that she will know what the hell is going on, her schizophrenia is worse than Samuel[']s was.”
__________________________________________________ __________

I wouldn't necessarily say the writing was sloppy but you do, definitely have some issues. I've marked most of the structural problems and made comments on them. You also seem to have a problem with tense-flipping which you will want to watch out for. You also have a few spelling issues, most particularly with possessives. (Possessive "its" has no comma. Possessive of Samuel would be 's - Samuel's, etc.) Also, note the difference between "bare" and "bear". (Bare - as in those of "Naked Ladies" fame, means, just as the name suggests, 'naked'. "Bear", on the other hand, means to tolerate or endure - either that or a quadrupedal beast of lots of very sharp teeth and a menacing growl!)

It was pretty clear that he was dealing with a mental issue but it was made to appear he was in his own home - or at least a home-type environment. And, since supported living facilities would not be the place for a person with even moderate, especially uncontrolled, schizophrenia in an older person, I don't believe Samuel would be in any place where he could go through a cupboard to find candles or root through a refrigerator.

Overall, there may well be a good story there but, I'm guessing this was your first attempt and you have some learning to do before you can begin to understand, much less master, the art of the short story! But don't give up. Just because you didn't nail it on the first try ... Remember, the first time you picked up an M-14 you didn't nail your target either, did you? Everything takes practice - studied practice. If you want to do it, you can.
Good luck.

Nightstalker3-2
August 20th, 2010, 08:17 PM
Thank you all especially WordSmith. Lol For destroying it. It is my first short story.
I find I am better suited to write longer stories/books. As I like to put in all details and such. So when I try a short story I try adding details and end up being left with a soup sandwhich. BTW M-16 lol and an M-4 when I was a Squad leader lol. Anyways Ill stick to writing books and leave the short ones to guys who know how its done.

Nightstalker3-2
August 20th, 2010, 08:20 PM
Also the idea is that Samuel has such a sever case of this, that the cabinets, and candle, and fridge was all in his imagination. The only real thing was the typewriter given to him by the medical ward, hence it being bolted down. Its hard to express that its all fake without giving the meaning of the story.

thewordsmith
August 20th, 2010, 09:44 PM
Also the idea is that Samuel has such a sever case of this, that the cabinets, and candle, and fridge was all in his imagination.

I kind of thought so but it was not clear in the context.

Btw, my comments to my son on your short story were to the effect that, "It's a good premise and it's got a built-in containment. It all happens in less than an hour and it's all in one room. He just needs to work on it a little more, draw it in." Which is to say, it's really not bad, it just needs work. And it could turn out to be a great learning tool, even for your longer work - lerning how to be succinct and write tight.