View Full Version : "The Rat"

Philip Smith
February 16th, 2012, 07:34 PM
Lawrence Kolb had been in charge of the Institute for Alternative Thinking since he himself started it over thirty years ago. It’s main focus was to look outside the box of normal everyday thinking. Kolb originally from East Germany, defected to Canada back in 1974.

While in Germany he headed up an organization that was looking into a series of unusual killings along the Berlin Wall. The victims had been murdered, literally torn apart and in some cases partially eaten. Of course the East blamed the West, but Kolb knew that there was more to it then simple random killings. He approached his superiors and told him his theory that the killings were the work of an animal. To prove his point he introduced photos and film of the victims. He pointed out what looked like claw and bite marks as well as partially eaten organs. His superiors naturally told him he was working to hard and need a rest. That alone told Kolb he was on to something. At no time had the Communist run organization ever cared about it’s employees. One day while sitting with colleagues at a local pub Kolb told his co-workers his thoughts on the killings. Most laughed and told him he was crazy. Except one, Franz Martz who said it could be possible for an unknown creature or even a human that could be responsible. When the evening broke up Martz decided to walk his friend home.

“Lawrence you must forget what was said tonight.” Martz said grabbing hold of his friends arm.

“I have known you many years Franz there is something you are not telling me, no.” Kolb said looking back at Martz.

“Please, Lawrence promise me you will not pursue this in any other direction but a normal homicide.”

“What is it Franz, what are you not telling me.”

Looking around Martz continued “Not here, tomorrow after work meet me at the Zoo near the primate exhibit.” without another word Franz Martz walked off leaving Kolb even more intrigued then ever before.

The minute Lawrence Kolb arrived at work the next day he knew something was wrong. He noticed that East Germany’s notorious secret police Stasi had set up interview tables in the cafeteria. His co-workers looked like frighten cattle awaiting slaughter. This was why he hated his own country. He noticed his boss point towards him while talking with one of the Stasi Police officers.

“Lawrence, have you heard the news about Herr Martz.” a fellow worker asked.

“What has happened Sasha.” Kolb asked, but knowing what had happened. My god what is going on. What is all this about he thought.

“Herr Martz was killed last night on his way home.” she said. Nodding towards the police she continued.

“They said it was a gang of hoodlums trying to rob him, poor Franz.” Kolb glanced toward the police and noticed that they too were starring at him. He also noticed that one now was on his way over towards him.
Fear gripped Kolb as a tall, blond haired man who appeared to be no more that 40 years of age moved toward him.

“You are Lawrence Kolb?” it was not a question, but a demand. He hated the Stasi and their arrogant way.

“My name is Abel Eberhart. I am with the Ministry for State Security. I have some questions I’m going to be asking you. Come this way.” not a request, but again a demand.

February 20th, 2012, 07:56 AM
So far it seems you have a very solid concept and idea of what is happenign here, as well as an interesting setting.

I'm not sure if this is the introduction or not however as it seems to propell me straight into 'facts'.

Lawrence Kolb had been in charge of the Institute for Alternative Thinking since he himself started it over thirty years ago. It’s main focus was to look outside the box of normal everyday thinking. Kolb originally from East Germany, defected to Canada back in 1974.

There is nothing persoal here to get attached to, or relate to. Was he a loner? Was he a family man?

Additionally the co-worker is brought in and has important information to the driving of what I assume the main narrative is. Before we even can ponder the relationship between the two, the coworker is dead. there just seems to be much more to be told here.

Do they have a special friendship? It obvious they placed themselves in danger by speaking to Kolb. If this was developed before the murder then it would have a greater impact on the reader and could work as a hook to drive the intrigue as the story escalates.

I feel you have the bones of a solid story here, however they need to be fleshed out and given more 'vitality'. The characters currently lack motivation and personality.

I hope that helps some.


-The Vagabond

St. Genji
February 20th, 2012, 10:36 AM
Much in keeping with Vagabond, I believe you have a very solid beginning to what hints at an intriguing "Quest" story.

I do feel also that it could use some fleshing out to make it even stronger. It feels like this opening excerpt could be extended to a number of pages, and the scope of the narrative be brought in even closer to our main character.

Even with the focus being a bit detached, I still feel a sense of tension when he arrives at his office the morning after the murder. It is vaguely palpable, but I think it could be much more engaging if we knew of the instant sheen of sweat that forms in his palms, or the urge to either sock the arrogant Stasi in the jaw, or run like hell.

My best advice is to really get inside Lawrence's head, and show us who he really is -- and detail this chronicle of events as he sees them, rather than how they factually happen.

I think you've done a fine job so far, and would certainly pick this back up as soon as you're written more. My congratulations on crafting an opening with some great potential.


Philip Smith
February 20th, 2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for your input and you made great points that I need to address. Your comments are well received and very important to thew story. Your right I need to flesh out or set some info up for the moment. Thanks again. I need to also get a good writing program with spell and grammar checks. Do they have such things free online to download?

Philip Smith
February 20th, 2012, 03:25 PM
Thanks Genji. Again like Vagabond you both have mentioned things I should have but didn't think of. Both your points are excellent ideas and would only enhance the story, thanks. Your right I could and will expand this little 2 pager into more. Is there any free software for download on the web for writing in regards to spelling and grammar checks. Thankjs

February 20th, 2012, 03:41 PM
Good old Microsoft word is pretty good, although you need to use your own discretion when it comes to creative grammar and words from other languages. I still refer to an old Collins dictionary for spelling sometimes (there is a free online dictionary as well- dictionary.com).

If you are struggling with a specific instance of grammar, you can usually find the rule online as well (try ESL sites, they will often illustrate a single grammar rule in a number of ways to make is easy to understand- I still use my old text book when I'm not sure). Otherwise I'm sure the other members will have some suggestions.

Philip Smith
February 20th, 2012, 04:56 PM
Thanks all great suggestions that my dumb butt didn't think of. And of course reading a lot to see how they do it is a quick and easy way.

February 22nd, 2012, 03:54 PM
It sounds like the kind of thing that I would certainly read when it's completed, but there are a few things I'd like to add.

1) you need to look at your punctuation. It's wrong in places, and confusing in others. Good punctuation; like pauses and concatenation-marks (as per the hyphen in this sentence) can tell the reader how to read a sentence.
2) Some of your grammar is a little odd
3) Give your protagonist an internal problem... a personality that owns an issue that he's struggling with. I presume this guy is the protagonist? At the moment, the catalyst for the story is obvious, but I don't care about the main character. The setting and events are interesting, but I'm not buying the main dude at all at the moment because he lacks depth.

Wicked idea though... reminds me a little of "Dog Soldiers" and I loved that movie!

Philip Smith
February 22nd, 2012, 04:46 PM
I appreciate any and all help. Thanks

February 29th, 2012, 10:09 PM
Once expanded upon I think this idea will be killer. What I wonder is how will this story be told? Will you be flashing back to Germany while having an ongoing story at the Institute for Alternative Thinking? Or is the Institute just to add some depth to this character?

March 10th, 2012, 08:40 PM
Please expand on this. It's very good.

March 11th, 2012, 05:58 AM
This sounds very much like the Lazy Lion by Edith Walker.

March 11th, 2012, 08:02 AM
This is solid idea, like some have said already. You definitely have the skeleton for a story. I advise to either write a full draft and get all your ideas on the paper so you can go back finely polish them, or refine maybe one chapter at a time. Either way, you'll have to get those ideas out from your head and onto your screen. A little bit of the grammar and sentence structure is jarring right now, but that can certainly be fixed. And it's quite well written for a first draft. A little more details of the background, setting, and characters would also be nice. I would suggest keeping notes of all the ideas that may spring from your imagination. When I read this, I want to read a story, but so far it's slightly too thin to indulge.

I hope you expand it into a full novel, or at least a short story. You have my interest, tell me more. I want to know what happens to Kolb, and what the mysterious killings are about. I noticed some said they don't care about the character, and I somewhat agree, but I also feel like I do care about him, just not enough.

In conclusion, this is a solid foundation for an interesting story. Continue working on it, and never give up.

- Isaiah Zakharov

April 1st, 2012, 11:10 AM
A very luring and appealing start to a story. I would definitely continue to read more!

April 11th, 2012, 09:54 PM
I think everything that needs to be said, has been said by the others. So all I have to say is this, it's a great concept of a story. Please, do continue.

April 12th, 2012, 03:54 AM
The biggest problem here is sentence structure. What you have is concrete writing, and a clipped, very well set up mood and concept. All you need to do is set it up to flow easily. Try reading the story out loud to yourself, this helps more than you would think.