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pgbthewriter
September 3rd, 2015, 01:06 AM
Something I have been working on for a while.

I almost never get up during the night, for some reason last night I did. I woke up at 2.17AM feeling really thirsty so I headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. This was when I froze. Looking out the window of the spare bedroom, the light in our back shed was on, it should not have been.


I had only been in the shed earlier that day and the light was not on then, I went back to the bedroom and grabbed some clothes, I was not sure why the light was on, all I could think was maybe I had flicked it on during the day by accident. Walking towards the shed I had another thought, what if somebody had broken in and they were still around? The door was securely shut and locked, I opened the door and went inside the shed, everything was where it was meant to be and nothing was missing. I turned off the light and headed back inside the house, something just didn't feel right.


Back in bed my mind was racing at a million miles an hour; I just could not switch it off and the feeling was getting worse, I knew something was not right but I could not put my finger on it. Then it hit me, when I got up I saw the light in the shed because the curtains in the spare bedroom were open, they were closed when I went to bed. I know this as I had to fix the draw cord again as it was twisted. How did they come open? I didn't sleep much after this.


Early this morning I got up and checked all the doors and windows in the house, they were all locked tight. I went back up to the shed; the door was still locked but now the lawn mower had moved; it was on the other side of the shed. This really freaked me out.


Now tonight here I am sitting here in my chair, in the spare room, watching the shed. The light has just come on.




Part 2:
Walking in the cold air of the night towards the shed, I am feeling more than a little on edge, the leaves blown in the wind and with every step my heart pounds faster and faster. As I round the corner near the shed the light inside flicks off and back on, did it? Or was that just my eyes playing tricks on me, scaring me. I edge closer to the window and look inside the shed, which is when I see it, what it is I don’t know. It is small, like a child, it has its back towards me and is sitting on the ground but it appears to be half in the floor, almost like a hole has developed which is just the right size for it to be sitting in.


I stand and watch, unable to move.


I hear a tap tap sound coming from inside the shed.


The seconds pass.


A noise in the bushes behind me makes me turn, when I look back it has gone, and the light is now off. I head towards the shed door, as I put in my key and open the door I feel warmth, like walking past a warm heater and then it is gone. Everything is where it should be in the shed, it all looks okay. I head back towards the house, as I go past the shed window I step on something hard, I pick it up, it is a marble, I drop it and the noise is the same as the tapping sound I was hearing before. I run.


This is too much, I can’t take this, and I am freaking out. Inside the house I lock the door tightly behind me and sit in my chair, rocking and shaking, every little noise puts me on edge. I don’t go back to sleep that night.


The first rays of the morning light and I go to prepare for work, I walk in to my bedroom, on my pillow is a marble. I drop on to the floor, I don’t remember any more.

dither
September 3rd, 2015, 11:11 AM
Wow!

Butterflies in the stomach.

I feel the tension.

TipGrundlefunk
September 3rd, 2015, 12:05 PM
Hello pgbthewriter,

There are some excellent ideas here.

My first point is that there is a awful lot of first person exposition, I did this, I did that, I saw this I saw that, etc. which really holds up the flow of the piece.

Have you ever heard that a good writer should show and not tell? What this means is you shouldn't explain everything to the reader, let the reader see what's happening and work it out for themselves. I'm going to use your opening paragraph to show you what I mean, I hope you don't mind.

You wrote.

'I almost never get up during the night, for some reason last night I did. I woke up at 2.17AM feeling really thirsty so I headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. This was when I froze. Looking out the window of the spare bedroom, the light in our back shed was on, it should not have been.'

Here is the same story but with more showing and less telling.

'Thirst has woke me into the strange small hours. The red numbers at the side of my bed glowed 02.17, I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen this on my alarm clock. I felt the fresh night air on my feet as I slipped out of the cloying warmth. Absent thoughts darted in and out of my head as I made my way across the back-bedroom, it took a few seconds for the pool of light I'd just stepped into to register, something wasn't right. There shouldn't be a pool of light here.'

Forgive my rushed style but it's really just to illustrate how much better a story flows is you show something rather than explain it. I'm not telling the reader 'I rarely get up at 2.17' the reader is left to work that out from the line ' I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen this on my alarm clock'. Later on I'm not telling the reader the shed light was on, I tell the reader I 'stepped into' a pool of light that I then go on to reveal 'shouldn't have been there'.

I hope that makes sense. Golden rule - show, don't tell.

I like the ending, a non-sequitur can be a powerful dramatic device if used carefully. I think it's use here is fitting.

Great work so far, I think there's a little more crafting to do.

Tip

pgbthewriter
September 3rd, 2015, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I have a real issue with "showing, not telling" :( I will polish this up and post an updated version.

EmmaSohan
September 5th, 2015, 02:08 AM
Something I have been working on for a while.

I almost never get up during the night, for some reason last night I did. I woke up at 2.17AM feeling really thirsty so I headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. This was when I froze. Looking out the window of the spare bedroom, the light in our back shed was on, it should not have been.


You have a different grammatical style. I don't know whether to tell you how to fix it or encourage you to keep it. The reality for me is that your story worked well, I was interested and emotionally drawn in. So I am intrigued by the style.

While there are many advantages to showing, I would rather just be told the time. So I prefer your version. But I will point out two things. First, you say you got up during the night and then tell me you got up at 2:17. That's pretty much the same info, and I don't need the first one.

Second, you say you are "heading" to the kitchen and that's "when" you froze. It wasn't in the kitchen that you froze, it was while you were "heading"? That's the kind of thing that earns me a reputation for over-analysis. But . . . The next sentence might be more powerful as "I froze". And that, I think, requires first saying where you were.

"I knew something was not right" can probably be replaced with "Something was not right."

pgbthewriter
September 6th, 2015, 10:57 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I have my own writing style and some / most people don't like it. I only write for my own enjoyment, I have no plans on doing anything more with what I write than share them online and on my blog.

How does this sound?
"I almost never get up during the night, for some reason last night I woke up at 2.17AM"

Guy Faukes
September 7th, 2015, 08:39 AM
To add to the above, I'd establish why it's alarming to have seen the shed light on (when he knows that he turned it off and locked the door behind him) immediately as the reader's mind will start generating explanations that will reduce tension, e.g. it might be a motion sensor light, something the character forgets to turn off, is he living alone or with perhaps with neighbours who fiddle around on his property, things like that.

I enjoyed the second part, kudos.

pgbthewriter
September 7th, 2015, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I will change that part :)