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Smith
May 7th, 2014, 03:10 AM
I guess my biggest question is if you'd keep reading this?

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Ian shook from head to toe. He told himself to stop. Trying to force your body to do something becomes more impossible as the circumstances become more dire. Such a sad truth when fumbling about in the darkness looking for that damned flashlight, while trying to not make a sound in fear of some… he didn’t even know what to call it, but in constant fear of that thing finding you.

Come on… Come on…! As focused as he was on finding his ticket to safety, few possess the control over their mind to stop it from wandering. So he pondered briefly how light was possibly his ticket to death as much as it was to survival. Then, when the mind encounters an impasse such as this, it thinks back to how it may have avoided it altogether. Distracted, Ian found himself wiping his eyes, even though he couldn’t see regardless, on his hands and knees hopelessly crawling about in the nothing, asking what the fuck got him here in the first place.

Again though he trained his conscience to focus. This was survival. All humans today still have the instinct. How sharpened it is; this is what truly matters. Sure, he’d had his fair share of just scraping by. Finding odd jobs to stay afloat. That’s a different kind of survival. But it - whatever it was - had millions of years to hone hunting, and was built for it. A brain hardwired to kill, muscles quick with reflexes that occur in a fraction of a second. The human body is frail in comparison. Ever since the beginning we’ve relied on our brains to defeat natural selection, not braun. Without technology we are an infant at the mercy of life.

He jumped back, startled, cringing at the rocks he’d scattered. The cold plastic had felt alien to him. He quieted his mind, controlled his breathing and slowed his heart rate, ears perked. Hands like a vice. Nothing. Still his stomach was knotted up. What is unknown is the ultimate fear. It is the reason for fear, for fear spawns from ignorance. Ian knew this. To not be afraid, he’d have to run things over in his head. Consider every available option, calculate each and every potential outcome, then with process of elimination determine the best possible course of action.

Sitting there until he slowly starved to death was out of the question. He didn’t even know if he had the luxury. For all he knew the thing could be well aware of where he was. From the glimpses Ian had caught of it, the ability to see with some sort of thermal vision wasn’t out of the question, being reptilian in nature as it was. Maybe it was just playing a game with its prey, something a human would call ‘savoring the moment’. If the thing couldn’t find him though, lying in the midst of its own lair and only just moments ago having caused a grand disturbance in an excellent display of incompetence, it sure as hell would when he suddenly began waving about a beam of light.

That was the moment he realized this creature had spent its life in the dark. During the clearest day at high noon, the sun could only penetrate the surface of the peat ridden water by mere feet, and down here in the submerged caves you could live your life and die never knowing such a thing as light existed. A high power beam, meant to pierce the veil of murk in the loch, would blind the beast. Where he’d run to after that, he didn’t know. He couldn’t just dive back into the water and try to swim his way out. He didn’t even know how he got there.

Regardless, this was it. Ian breathed out, letting his finger slip, a beam shooting out from him. He found the creature already staring at him, its head almost touching the ceiling as it reared its long neck back and out of the pool of water in the middle of the cavern. It had been playing games, he thought. The flashlight reflected off the water, enough to dimly illuminate the room, as well as a pair of faint green eyes that stared back venomously. Some sound, like a Geiger counter, came from deep within its throat and out between its now bared teeth, draped with cascading water.

It seemed to be grinning at him.

---

Please give me all the constructive criticism you can. What you liked, and what you did not like. Things I can improve upon. It's definitely something different from what I've wrote in the past, and I think it acted as a fair challenge and proving ground exercise for me.

I must say that I was very happy about this piece. Like, I was "feeling it" I guess you could say when I was writing it. Of course I did go back and edit it, but that feeling you get when your first draft just comes out so easily and fluidly... Not necessarily perfect, but I actually got words on the page. For the first time ever. Hopefully as I practice more and keep finding books to read I'll keep getting better. Just as important though is your feedback. :)

escorial
May 7th, 2014, 03:22 AM
you seem to be in the present but then move into what was, what is....bit like two stories in one..one fiction and one non fiction...finding your feet lad..keep writing dude.

Smith
May 7th, 2014, 03:29 AM
you seem to be in the present but then move into what was, what is....bit like two stories in one..one fiction and one non fiction...finding your feet lad..keep writing dude.

Thanks friend, can't tell you how much your consistent, concise criticism means to me. ^_^ The tense in which the story takes place I recently have noticed to be a very big problem for me, and I really am not sure why. Maybe because I don't fully understand it. As fundamentally basic as it is, if you or anybody else could point out a few examples of where I switch tense when I didn't mean to, that would be very helpful. :)

Recon
May 8th, 2014, 02:28 AM
I guess my biggest question is if you'd keep reading this?

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Ian shook from head to toe. He told himself to stop. Trying to force your body to do something becomes more impossible as the circumstances become more dire.

This is an example of what I think escorial is talking about. You're in a past-tense as-it-comes narration (as though you were telling a story to a group of kids; this is a very common writing style) and then you switch to an aside which almost detracts from the story. It might work if you were telling the story out loud, or if you made it clear that this is what your character is thinking (as opposed to what your narrator is thinking/saying) by using italics or some such. It's not a huge problem, but it can be a little bit distracting and bears the potential to detract from the story. I actually kind of like it, though; with a few tweaks to make it mesh better, I think that this could be a part of your style that you'd want to keep. If I'm wrong, escorial, go ahead and let me know. Other than that, good story. I'd definitely keep reading.


As focused as he was on finding his ticket to safety, few possess the control over their mind to stop it from wandering.
One thing I would say is to avoid doing this. You've got two different tenses in the same sentence here: one past tense, and one present tense aside. This really makes the narrator a tangible presence, almost as though a character were relating the story in dialogue. That's not really a feeling I would say is ideal for the main body of your text. People talk this way, and it makes for decent verbal storytelling, but in a written work I would recommend against it.

David D Bryce
May 8th, 2014, 02:32 AM
"So he pondered briefly how light was possibly his ticket to death as much as it was to survival" Really enjoyed this sentence. You certainly have a knack for this pondering business. Though this ponder while intriguing is anything but brief :P

It needs some sort of dialogue to break it up. This could give the writing a more even flow.

I also think you need a stronger name for the character than Ian. When i here the name Ian it just makes me think of some drunk guy down the pub musing to himself. In other words the name seems mundane in my opinion, and does not grab the reader enough.

Hope this was helpful :)

Smith
May 8th, 2014, 03:25 AM
This is an example of what I think escorial is talking about. You're in a past-tense as-it-comes narration (as though you were telling a story to a group of kids; this is a very common writing style) and then you switch to an aside which almost detracts from the story. It might work if you were telling the story out loud, or if you made it clear that this is what your character is thinking (as opposed to what your narrator is thinking/saying) by using italics or some such. It's not a huge problem, but it can be a little bit distracting and bears the potential to detract from the story. I actually kind of like it, though; with a few tweaks to make it mesh better, I think that this could be a part of your style that you'd want to keep. If I'm wrong, escorial, go ahead and let me know. Other than that, good story. I'd definitely keep reading.


Ah, okay, this is what he was talking about.

Yeah, this characteristic has often shown up in my writing and I've noticed its presence on many occasion. As I was writing this in particular I wondered if there might be a way to make it work without, as you said, it being detrimental. The narrator I plan on actually being a character in the story. This poses as a great challenge for me that I'm not sure if I can pull off, but I'll try.

That being said, what are some ways I might improve upon this? I am thinking I'll re-write a bit to reveal that the narrator actually is indeed a character, and that there is a greater purpose to these asides.


"So he pondered briefly how light was possibly his ticket to death as much as it was to survival" Really enjoyed this sentence. You certainly have a knack for this pondering business. Though this ponder while intriguing is anything but brief :P

It needs some sort of dialogue to break it up. This could give the writing a more even flow.

I also think you need a stronger name for the character than Ian. When i here the name Ian it just makes me think of some drunk guy down the pub musing to himself. In other words the name seems mundane in my opinion, and does not grab the reader enough.

Hope this was helpful :)

True, the pondering is a bit continuous. xD

You two opened my eyes up a bit and I see a new potential in my plans to make the narrator a character. As for Ian, I was thinking of a character that is from the location in the book and thought it appropriate to name him accordingly. I see this perhaps might be too stereotypical, considering it appears you are from and / or live in said place. :p

Maybe I'll keep the name and intentionally mock it. Names are always something I have had difficulty with.

Thanks again both of you for your help and advice.

David D Bryce
May 8th, 2014, 03:32 AM
Sometimes simple names work i feel. Funnily enough my main protagonist in my current endeavour is called Smith. He's a coffee addicted, consummate professional, wannabe cowboy, in the future.

Smith
May 8th, 2014, 03:40 AM
Well, it is good to know now that not everybody in Scotland is named Ian or Mac-something. :P

But yeah, I did notice that when I was just reading a bit of your piece, Police State Manifesto. It's getting late so I can't finish it now, but tomorrow I plan on reading more of it. ^_^

David D Bryce
May 8th, 2014, 03:47 AM
Well, it is good to know now that not everybody in Scotland is named Ian or Mac-something. :P

But yeah, I did notice that when I was just reading a bit of your piece, Police State Manifesto. It's getting late so I can't finish it now, but tomorrow I plan on reading more of it. ^_^

Excellent :)

It's 2557 words the first chapter. Hope you enjoy it.

Smith
May 9th, 2014, 12:04 AM
Excellent :)

It's 2557 words the first chapter. Hope you enjoy it.

We shall see. ^_^