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View Full Version : Working Title : Distopia on the Plains (violence and 700 + words)



Quester
July 2nd, 2013, 02:32 AM
Thank you for considering my work. Constructive criticism is appreciated, so thank you in advance


Chapter 1

It takes just a moment, to lose everything. We were on the porch enjoying the breeze with the
soothing sound of wheat rustling in the wind. Brushed corduroy, moving in waves, as far as the eye
could see. They came from the south side of the house with knives, and the uniformed one with a gun
opened fire. My Jennie screamed, and then with a sickening thud, darkness.


With almost a blinding pain within my head, I turned over and vomited. In the dark, I pushed myself
into a sitting position on the deck. I could see the vague form of my Jennie, and she didn't move. An
animal sound escaped me, as I came to her side. Her beautiful eyes were wide open, and I grabbed her.
She gave no resistance to me, and never would again.


I rocked her, back and forth for hours, until the sky lightened in the east. I finally laid her down, softly
on the deck, and tried to rise. Nausea swept over me, as I went through the open door of the house.
My hand went to the light switch from muscle memory alone, because the electricity hadn't worked in a
week. I turned and then stumbled to the floor from debris I hadn't expected. The room had been ransacked,
and was unrecognizable. The house was silent. I stepped over our piled possessions to the bathroom and
saw a face I hardly recognized, with caked blood over the right side of my head and the dead eyes of a stranger.
Laughter...

My head snapped to the sound, and I almost passed out, except for the anger that kept me aware. I
left the bathroom as silently as I could, and crossed to my office. I dropped to my knees, brushing my
discarded leather bound books aside, and pulling my space rug over, revealing a biometric safe mounted
in the floor,. I quickly placed my finger tips into the grooves, to unlock the safe. Again, no electricity.
In my pocket, I grasped for my keys and fumbled for the right one. Heavy footsteps echoed down the
hallway, growing louder. The lock clicked open, and my hand grasped for the gun, and I turned and aimed
toward the doorway as the blue uniformed man with a badge suddenly appeared, holding my hunting rifle.


I said nothing when I killed him. It was like a dream, with the gun bucking in my hand, and the sound
of my rifle bouncing on the ground. I heard shrieks outside, yelling an unfamiliar name. I calmly reached
into the open safe and grabbed three more magazines for my glock, and came to my feet.


It was like a dream sequence, as I passed by the dead murderer, I blew his skull apart, with another shot.
Down the hallway I went, as many footsteps approached me at a run. I shot my weapon in the group at
the doorway, as fast as my finger could pull the trigger. Three more down, one crying for mercy. I looked
into his eyes, ejecting the empty magi to the floor, and loading the new magazine ..."Please...don't, don't!"
His voice soon stopped.


I turned and strode out the front door. The cooking site Jenny and I had erected a few weeks before
was occupied by strangers. Embers glowing red, surrounded by empty bottles and our wedding china discarded
as nothing. It was a scene frozen in time for a second. Two standing, one seated, and another two in
sleeping bags. I raised the gun in a three point stance and started shooting, and that's all I remember. I
woke to the sounds of birds chirping, and blue skies, and the wheat.



Somehow, I got them all. Although, one of them shot me again in the side. The fact that he and the
others were dead, and the empty magazines, say I won the fight, whatever that means. Amid the death and
peace, I heard an ever increasing sound of hooves pounding the ground towards me. My neighbor Peanut Hinkle
came to a stop, and ran to my side. I tried to speak words, but nothing came. I was crying for Jennie in my
mind, and then nothing.

Folcro
July 2nd, 2013, 03:01 AM
You're a very good writer and you know what to aim for. Here's a few things I think can help you reach your target.

"It takes just a moment, to lose everything." Get rid of "just," makes the line more effective. And get rid of "to lose everything." We'll know what you mean shortly.

"With almost a blinding pain within my head." Why "almost"? Why hold back?

"and pulling my space rug over" given the action involved in this scene, a faster prose might be in order. No room for "and." Just "pulled my space rug over..." ACTION WRITING IS NO TIME TO SHOW THAT YOU ARE A GOOD WRITER. Which you obviously are. But the point here is to make me forget you, not love you. I'll love you later. It's a weird relationship we have with our readers.

"I turned and then stumbled to the floor from debris I hadn't expected." I understand why you used it, but "then" only burdens the flow of the sentence.

Many times, the "ands" can also be replaced with periods, making the sentences shorter, and I see the scene like flashes of lightning. As an exorcise, try reading this story aloud to yourself without any ands. Sometimes, it will feel like spelling Mississipi with one I, but try it. You may surprise yourself with an undiscovered style preference.

"I said nothing when I killed him." I wasn't expecting you to.

"It was like a dream sequence." Don't go there.

"The fact that he and the others were dead, and the empty magazines, say I won the fight, whatever that means." You don't have to explain all this. And I'm not sure what "whatever that means" means. I would cut the sentence.

"ever increasing sound of hooves" Why "ever"?

All-in-all, it's terrific writing. The piece needs work, but you've shown you have talent. A writer like you needs to practice using as few words as possible--- every word must have absolute justification for its being there. Many red flags to work through. I would also recommend shorter sentences, especially for the high action.

Any questions, further advice, hit me up and let me know. I'm always happy to aid potential.

Quester
July 2nd, 2013, 05:05 AM
You're a very good writer and you know what to aim for. Here's a few things I think can help you reach your target.

"It takes just a moment, to lose everything." Get rid of "just," makes the line more effective. And get rid of "to lose everything." We'll know what you mean shortly.

"With almost a blinding pain within my head." Why "almost"? Why hold back?

"and pulling my space rug over" given the action involved in this scene, a faster prose might be in order. No room for "and." Just "pulled my space rug over..." ACTION WRITING IS NO TIME TO SHOW THAT YOU ARE A GOOD WRITER. Which you obviously are. But the point here is to make me forget you, not love you. I'll love you later. It's a weird relationship we have with our readers.

"I turned and then stumbled to the floor from debris I hadn't expected." I understand why you used it, but "then" only burdens the flow of the sentence.

Many times, the "ands" can also be replaced with periods, making the sentences shorter, and I see the scene like flashes of lightning. As an exorcise, try reading this story aloud to yourself without any ands. Sometimes, it will feel like spelling Mississipi with one I, but try it. You may surprise yourself with an undiscovered style preference.

"I said nothing when I killed him." I wasn't expecting you to.

"It was like a dream sequence." Don't go there.

"The fact that he and the others were dead, and the empty magazines, say I won the fight, whatever that means." You don't have to explain all this. And I'm not sure what "whatever that means" means. I would cut the sentence.

"ever increasing sound of hooves" Why "ever"?

All-in-all, it's terrific writing. The piece needs work, but you've shown you have talent. A writer like you needs to practice using as few words as possible--- every word must have absolute justification for its being there. Many red flags to work through. I would also recommend shorter sentences, especially for the high action.

Any questions, further advice, hit me up and let me know. I'm always happy to aid potential.

Thanks, Folcro. I am smiling now, because you have quoted me and didn't know it! My wife is a writer as well, and I tell her the same thing, that I look at every sentence (every word, for that matter), justifying it's existence in the story. I normally hone and polish every sentence, cutting unnecessary verbiage when ever possible. So thank you, for the mirror. I will tighten the first chapter, considering your critique, which was on target. I am on chapter 6 now, and 8500 words down the road from this chapter, so the self editing process is getting hard!:pirate:

Quester
July 2nd, 2013, 10:55 PM
You're a very good writer and you know what to aim for. Here's a few things I think can help you reach your target.

"It takes just a moment, to lose everything." Get rid of "just," makes the line more effective. And get rid of "to lose everything." We'll know what you mean shortly.

"With almost a blinding pain within my head." Why "almost"? Why hold back?

"and pulling my space rug over" given the action involved in this scene, a faster prose might be in order. No room for "and." Just "pulled my space rug over..." ACTION WRITING IS NO TIME TO SHOW THAT YOU ARE A GOOD WRITER. Which you obviously are. But the point here is to make me forget you, not love you. I'll love you later. It's a weird relationship we have with our readers.

"I turned and then stumbled to the floor from debris I hadn't expected." I understand why you used it, but "then" only burdens the flow of the sentence.

Many times, the "ands" can also be replaced with periods, making the sentences shorter, and I see the scene like flashes of lightning. As an exorcise, try reading this story aloud to yourself without any ands. Sometimes, it will feel like spelling Mississipi with one I, but try it. You may surprise yourself with an undiscovered style preference.

"I said nothing when I killed him." I wasn't expecting you to.

"It was like a dream sequence." Don't go there.

"The fact that he and the others were dead, and the empty magazines, say I won the fight, whatever that means." You don't have to explain all this. And I'm not sure what "whatever that means" means. I would cut the sentence.

"ever increasing sound of hooves" Why "ever"?

All-in-all, it's terrific writing. The piece needs work, but you've shown you have talent. A writer like you needs to practice using as few words as possible--- every word must have absolute justification for its being there. Many red flags to work through. I would also recommend shorter sentences, especially for the high action.

Any questions, further advice, hit me up and let me know. I'm always happy to aid potential.



I have re-edited the above chapter. I think it's much better, how about you?


Chapter 1
It takes a moment to lose everything.

We were on the porch enjoying the breeze with the soothing sound of wheat rustling in the wind.
Brushed corduroy, moving in waves, as far as the eye could see. They came from the south side of
the house with knives, and the uniformed one with a gun, opened fire. My Jennie screamed, and then
with a sickening thud, darkness.

With a blinding pain in my head, I turned over and vomited. In the dark, I pushed myself into a
sitting position on the deck. I could see the vague form of my Jennie, and she didn't move. An animal
sound escaped me, as I came to her side. Her beautiful eyes were open when I grabbed her. She
gave no resistance to me, and never would again.

I rocked her, back and forth for hours, until the sky lightened in the east. I laid her softly to the
deck, and tried to rise. Nausea swept over me, as I went through the open door of the house. My
hand went to the light switch from muscle memory , because I knew the electricity hadn't worked in
a week. I stumbled over unexpected objects on the floor. The room had been ransacked, and was
unrecognizable. The house was silent. I stepped over cluttered possessions to the bathroom and
saw a face I hardly recognized. Caked blood covered the right side of my head and my eyes were
that of a stranger. Laughter...

My head snapped to the sound . I almost passed out, except for the anger that kept me aware.
I left the bathroom as silently as I could, and crossed to my office. I dropped to my knees, pulling
my rug aside, revealing a biometric safe, mounted in the floor,. I quickly placed my finger tips into
the grooves, to unlock the safe. Again, no electricity. In my pocket, I grasped for keys and fumbled
for the right one. Heavy footsteps echoed down the hallway, growing louder. The lock clicked open,
and my hand grasped for the gun. I turned and aimed as the man with a badge suddenly appeared,
holding my hunting rifle.

I didn't hesitate when I killed him. The gun bucked in my hand, accompanying the sound of the
rifle bouncing on the floor. I heard shrieks outside, yelling an unfamiliar name. I reached into the
safe and grabbed three magazines for my glock, and came to my feet.

I passed by the dead murderer and blew his skull apart with another shot. Down the hallway
I went, as footsteps fast approached me . I shot my weapon into the group at the doorway,
as fast as my finger could pull the trigger. Three more down, one crying for mercy. I looked into
his eyes, ejecting the empty magazine and loaded another ..."Please...don't, don't!" His voice
stopped.

I turned and strode out the front door. The cooking site Jenny and I had erected days earlier
was occupied by strangers. Embers glowing red, surrounded by empty bottles and our discarded
wedding china . I saw them in a frozen second. Two standing, one seated, and another two in
sleeping bags. I raised the gun in a three point stance and started shooting, and that's all I
remember. I woke to the sounds of birds chirping, blue skies, and the wheat.

Somehow, I got them all. Although, one of them shot me for a second time in the exchange.
Amid the death and peace, I heard an increasing sound of hooves pounding the ground. My
neighbor Peanut Hinkle came to a stop, and ran to my side. I tried to speak, but nothing came.
I was crying for Jennie in my mind, and then nothing.

lightzonlycast
July 3rd, 2013, 12:08 AM
Why not open with the line "In a single moment you can lose everything." The line itself seems kind of cliche and easy, but at least you'll force your reader to want to know what it is that you lost or have you describe the moment.

I like the possessive "my Jennie" the first time, as it is very impactful there. However in the 3rd paragraph I don't think you need to use it again.

4th paragraph: exchange the "because I knew the electricity hadn't worked" with something like "even though I knew". Do this and then get rid of the whole "muscle memory" description, it will make the sentence shorter and sweeter. Also maybe you can use the "laughter" thing as it's own paragraph, and maybe tell us where the laughter is coming from, because the way it is written it seems like he is laughing at himself as he stares at himself in the mirror, which could be the case but if that is so, tell us.

5th paragraph: is the line supposed to read "I almost passed out... my anger kept me aware" or is the word supposed to be awake? The final sentence of the paragraph is confusing too, as it sounds like the man with the badge appeared holding your hunting rifle.

6th: Just do away completely with the "I didn't hesitate" and start the paragraph off with the description of the gun bucking. The gun bucking couldn't be accompanied by the sound of the gun bouncing off the floor I don't think, because that would almost seem like before shooting the gun you dropped it and it hit the floor and shot on its own. "Shrieks outside yelled an unfamiliar name" makes the next line quicker. Also, when he goes to the safe the first time it sounds like he only removes one gun, yet at the end of this paragraph he also now has a glock. Maybe mention that he grabbed multiple guns the first time.

7th paragraph: I passed by the dead murderer seems redundant to me and confused me the first time I read it over. The syntax of the next sentence is weird too: "I hear footsteps approach me as I move down the hallway" is the way I would fix this.

I would suggest going through this whole thing again and making the action present tense, changing all of the verbs into "ing"s instead of "eds". This to me makes the whole scene more explosive and gripping. I'm a big fan of present tense action though.

Kehawin
July 3rd, 2013, 12:24 AM
Perhaps I should have said something sooner, but there are some of the suggestions I didn't agree with. Reading this, there are now some places that don't seem to make as much sense as they did. I couldn't figure out how to do strikethrough, so parentheses are where I would take out, brackets where I would put in:


It [only] takes a moment to lose everything.

...They came from the south side of the house with knives[.] (and) the uniformed one with a gun( )opened fire.* My Jennie screamed, and then[,] with a sickening thud, darkness. [*or "knives, but the uniformed one had a gun. He opened fire."]

With a blinding pain in my head, (I) turned over and vomited. (In the dark,) I pushed myself into a ...eyes were open when I grabbed her. She
gave no resistance to me(,)[;] (and) [she] never would again.

I rocked her, back and forth[,] for hours, until the sky lightened in the east. I laid her softly to the
deck, and tried to rise. Nausea swept over me(,)[again] as I went through the open door of the house. My
hand went to the light switch from muscle memory [alone - ]* [I](, because I knew) the electricity hadn't worked in
a week. [*I would exchange muscle memory for "habit" - I think it reads clearer and is more concise and so fits in with the style better.] I stumbled over unexpected objects on the floor(.) [-] The room had been ransacked, and was unrecognizable. The house was silent. I stepped over cluttered possessions* to the bathroom [*cluttered possessions seems a little redundant to me. Clutter works, or a different adjective for possessions such as broken] and ... as the man with a badge suddenly appeared(,)[.] (holding) [He had] my hunting rifle.

I didn't hesitate when I killed him. The gun bucked in my hand, accompanying the sound of the
rifle bouncing on the floor. [How about something like, "His head bounced when my shot killed him, and so did my rifle. I think the whole, "didn't hesitate when I killed him" is overkill. Show that I didn't hesitate, didn't even give it a thought.] ...



I am very interested in this story, I didn't want it to end, I keep imagining all sorts of scenarios that led up to this. That's a good sign :D Well done! Hope my suggestions help.

Quester
July 3rd, 2013, 02:58 AM
Why not open with the line "In a single moment you can lose everything." The line itself seems kind of cliche and easy, but at least you'll force your reader to want to know what it is that you lost or have you describe the moment.

I like the possessive "my Jennie" the first time, as it is very impactful there. However in the 3rd paragraph I don't think you need to use it again.

4th paragraph: exchange the "because I knew the electricity hadn't worked" with something like "even though I knew". Do this and then get rid of the whole "muscle memory" description, it will make the sentence shorter and sweeter. Also maybe you can use the "laughter" thing as it's own paragraph, and maybe tell us where the laughter is coming from, because the way it is written it seems like he is laughing at himself as he stares at himself in the mirror, which could be the case but if that is so, tell us.

5th paragraph: is the line supposed to read "I almost passed out... my anger kept me aware" or is the word supposed to be awake? The final sentence of the paragraph is confusing too, as it sounds like the man with the badge appeared holding your hunting rifle.

6th: Just do away completely with the "I didn't hesitate" and start the paragraph off with the description of the gun bucking. The gun bucking couldn't be accompanied by the sound of the gun bouncing off the floor I don't think, because that would almost seem like before shooting the gun you dropped it and it hit the floor and shot on its own. "Shrieks outside yelled an unfamiliar name" makes the next line quicker. Also, when he goes to the safe the first time it sounds like he only removes one gun, yet at the end of this paragraph he also now has a glock. Maybe mention that he grabbed multiple guns the first time.

7th paragraph: I passed by the dead murderer seems redundant to me and confused me the first time I read it over. The syntax of the next sentence is weird too: "I hear footsteps approach me as I move down the hallway" is the way I would fix this.

I would suggest going through this whole thing again and making the action present tense, changing all of the verbs into "ing"s instead of "eds". This to me makes the whole scene more explosive and gripping. I'm a big fan of present tense action though.

Thanks you for the consideration you have given my story.Some

comments
* The intruder/former police officer is holding my rifle, because he had stolen it from my (unmentioned) gun cabinet. It was a quick way to imply they had taken ownership of some of my things
* my anger kept me "aware", due to the nausea/dizziness of the original head wound...The anger, overcame the weakness.
* The gun I grabbed in the safe, was the same glock mentioned later. Remember, I grabbed three loaded magazines fitting the same glock, which means a shooting capacity of around 30 rounds
* "I didn't hesitate when I killed him" ...I included this, because normally non-violent people do hesitate, before killing another person. In fact, many soldiers at Gettysburg loaded
their rifles many times, but never fired a shot...Anyway, this was my thought.
I have made some changes that make the chapter better, so thank you!

Quester
July 3rd, 2013, 03:15 AM
Perhaps I should have said something sooner, but there are some of the suggestions I didn't agree with. Reading this, there are now some places that don't seem to make as much sense as they did. I couldn't figure out how to do strikethrough, so parentheses are where I would take out, brackets where I would put in:


It [only] takes a moment to lose everything.

...They came from the south side of the house with knives[.] (and) the uniformed one with a gun( )opened fire.* My Jennie screamed, and then[,] with a sickening thud, darkness. [*or "knives, but the uniformed one had a gun. He opened fire."]

With a blinding pain in my head, (I) turned over and vomited. (In the dark,) I pushed myself into a ...eyes were open when I grabbed her. She
gave no resistance to me(,)[;] (and) [she] never would again.

I rocked her, back and forth[,] for hours, until the sky lightened in the east. I laid her softly to the
deck, and tried to rise. Nausea swept over me(,)[again] as I went through the open door of the house. My
hand went to the light switch from muscle memory [alone - ]* [I](, because I knew) the electricity hadn't worked in
a week. [*I would exchange muscle memory for "habit" - I think it reads clearer and is more concise and so fits in with the style better.] I stumbled over unexpected objects on the floor(.) [-] The room had been ransacked, and was unrecognizable. The house was silent. I stepped over cluttered possessions* to the bathroom [*cluttered possessions seems a little redundant to me. Clutter works, or a different adjective for possessions such as broken] and ... as the man with a badge suddenly appeared(,)[.] (holding) [He had] my hunting rifle.

I didn't hesitate when I killed him. The gun bucked in my hand, accompanying the sound of the
rifle bouncing on the floor. [How about something like, "His head bounced when my shot killed him, and so did my rifle. I think the whole, "didn't hesitate when I killed him" is overkill. Show that I didn't hesitate, didn't even give it a thought.] ...



I am very interested in this story, I didn't want it to end, I keep imagining all sorts of scenarios that led up to this. That's a good sign :D Well done! Hope my suggestions help.

Thanks Kehawin...You made some very good suggestions, and i i have made some changes due to them. Everyone critiquing my story, has made good suggestions. I am unsure how much of
my story I should post, as others would like their work critiqued..Don't want to be a hog.:nevreness:

Bradley
July 4th, 2013, 02:58 AM
Peanut Hinkle is an amazing character name. That part about the wedding china was nice. Great touch.
It could be thinned out a bit. Stuff that's brutal, I mean like, violence wise, I think, should be kept pretty sparse. It works better that way. It's colder.
You got a couple of "felt like a dream" shits in there. Get rid of them.
It's cool, though.
I'll keep reading if there's more about Peanut Hinkle. Peanut Hinkle!!

Quester
July 4th, 2013, 04:36 PM
Yes, I love that character name too! Peanut comes back into the story, after getting to know the two main characters a little better. Peanut is my man, and was destined to not be a major player in the story, however, that might change since I am the author :o)