Hanging tree inn (adult fiction)


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Thread: Hanging tree inn (adult fiction)

  1. #1

    Hanging tree inn (adult fiction)

    Hi this is my first attempt at posting my work. This story is going into a booklet for the local library and I am also publishing it on to my web pages, so I need it to be tight.
    I have weaknesses with punctuation and tenses, so grammarians 'Please help!'

    Thanks in advance, Trilby

    The Hanging Tree Inn

    They had been laughing and joking as they crammed their backpacks for the holiday, their enthusiasm and bravado had sent a chill of foreboding throughout my body.

    ‘A haunted room what nonsense!’ Joe had laughed.
    ‘Just think, 7 o’clock tomorrow morning we will be handed £100 each.’ said Mark.
    ‘£100 for staying overnight in a, so called haunted room and because we are allowed to stay there together it will be easy money… I’d have doubts about staying there on my own though.’ said Brad.
    ‘The problem with you Brad, is your over active imagination. We need the money, struggling students and all that, so tonight you will have to take control of that imagination of yours.’ said Joe.

    ‘I will… I can… honest. Of course I know there are no such things as ghosts, spirits or poltergeists.’
    I knew different.
    On arrival at ‘The Hanging Tree Inn’ we were met by the landlord Mr Jackson, he led the way up to the haunted room. The building had been modernized with the usual mod cons: central heating, hot and cold running water, flush toilets and double glazing, but the haunted room had none of those things. The room was antiquated, it was heated by a log fire and flickering candles provided the only means of lighting; it felt as if we had travelled through a portal and entered yesteryear.
    ‘This is the haunted room,’ Mr Jackson said ‘as you can see the room is still as it was on the night of 10th January1872, the night when the hangman Elijah Kirkpatrick was brutally murdered here… in this very room, by a lynch mob of vengeful ruffians.

    Edit - I've cut this down to just the beginning of the story - thanks again.
    Last edited by Trilby; January 10th, 2013 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2
    ‘The problem with you Brad, is your over active imagination. We need the money, struggling students and all that, so tonight you will have to take control of that imagination of yours.’
    This feels as though you are trying to do too much all at once in the same place; Brad has a problem, his imagination is over active, they are skint, they are students, he is going to have to take control, that is five items, I would take the 'skint' and the 'students' out and inserted them elsewhere. Most people can handle up to three items at a time comfortably, My approach would be to take the 'easy money' out of the previous line of dialogue and create another line with all the financial aspects.

    with the usual mod cons
    This is a bit of a 'nothing' phrase, especially when you list them afterwards, how about "modernized: central heating, hot and cold running water, flush toilets and double glazing had been installed, but not in the haunted room, that had none of those things.

    "Throughout my body (rather than 'through me') and "Vengeful Ruffians" are phrases of a type that will please some readers and annoy others, they are probably appropriate in this context, but are worth consideration.

    A good beginning that could go in almost any direction, but certainly gives the promise of going somewhere, a hook without giving the whole game away, good way to start.
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  3. #3
    Thanks for the comments Olly, valid points;I will edit it with them in mind.

  4. #4
    I enjoyed it, I like haunted stories!

  5. #5
    They had been laughing and joking as they crammed their backpacks for the holiday, their enthusiasm and bravado had sent a chill of foreboding throughout my body.(Who are they? Four, five?)(Whose body?)

    ‘A haunted room what nonsense!’ Joe had laughed.
    ‘Just think, 7 o’clock tomorrow morning we will be handed £100 each.’ said Mark.
    ‘£100 for staying overnight in a, so called haunted room and because we are allowed to stay there together it will be easy money… I’d have doubts about staying there on my own though.’ said Brad.
    ‘The problem with you Brad, is your over active imagination. We need the money, struggling students and all that, so tonight you will have to take control of that imagination of yours.’ said Joe.

    ‘I will… I can… honest. Of course I know there are no such things as ghosts, spirits or poltergeists.’

    I knew different.

    On arrival at ‘The Hanging Tree Inn’ we were met by the landlord Mr Jackson, he led the way up to the haunted room. (How about a contrast between the foreboding exterior and the modernised interior?) The building had been modernized with the usual mod cons: central heating, hot and cold running water, flush toilets and double glazing, but the haunted room had none of those things. The room was antiquated, it was heated by a log fire and flickering candles provided the only means of lighting; it felt as if we had travelled through a portal and entered yesteryear.
    ‘This is the haunted room,’ Mr Jackson said ‘as you can see the room is still as it was on the night of 10th January1872, the night when the hangman Elijah Kirkpatrick was brutally murdered here… in this very room, by a lynch mob of vengeful ruffians.
    I like the guide-book phraseology. I'm not big on spooky stuff, it has a tendency to be all gore and no character. The, old and reliable, lightning storm is a good way to add some atmosphere.

    I enjoyed this snippet,
    thanks for sharing.
    Bazz
    Last edited by bazz cargo; January 21st, 2013 at 10:08 PM. Reason: Ooops.

  6. #6
    Geez, that great uncle of mine, Elijah sure did get a rough deal from that mob... Just kidding

    I'd really like to read this when it's done. I think Stephen King said, every writer takes a crack at the haunted inn story. And so they should. I think the fact that this type of story has been done so many times allows the author to put their own twist on it. There is a perfect opportunity to invite the reader into familiar territory and then pull the rug out from under them by using their expectations against them. I think of these types of stories like a Chili cook off; they're all basically the same dish but we still want to taste each chef's personal recipe.

    I haven't noticed any punctuation or grammar issues but then I have issues in that department myself. There are two things I would like to point out. I believe the story could benefit from attention in these areas...

    It seems like the story is switching narrative styles. I think this can be done from chapter to chapter, but making that switch in mid prose can be confusing. The narrator gets a feeling of foreboding because his mates don't seem to take this seriously. Unless the narrator has yet to be introduced (which could be a problem of it's own because you imply the narrator is present while the friends are talking) I assume Brad is the narrator. If Brad is indeed the narrator, the first sentence of the story is written in the first person, but then changes to third person. Like I said if Brad is not the narrator, there is still an issue because the narrator should have been introduced if they are present when the group is talking.

    The only other issue I would point out has to do with Joe's comment about "struggling students", it sounds like the way an author would describe characters, rather than a person describing themselves. I think you could convey your point just as well by having Joe reference what exactly they are struggling with: rent, loans or tuition, bills, etc... Not only would it be a bit more realistic but it would also give you a chance to tell a bit more about the characters, flesh them out and make them easier to relate to. After all, everyone has bills and can relate to what it's like to be trying to get by.

    I love a good ghost story and this one definitely feels like it has those classic elements. Thanks fo sharing with us and please post the rest!

    J

  7. #7
    Thank you for your comments- spiderrider

    Hi Bazz - I like your idea about a contrast between the outside and inside of the building - need to do some thinking on that. The booklet for the local library is well on its way and out of my hands now so to late too edit there, but I still have my story to work on.

    Hi James - (Your great uncle Elijah did not get a rough deal from the mob - he got his just deserts, he had a horrid job, the trouble was he enjoyed it, he was a legalized serial killer! Sorry!) Thanks for taking the time to comment on this piece - I have already taken Olly B's advice and removed the bit about struggling students - I agree with both of you. As to the narrator, 'there is a method in my madness' - Brad is not the narrator (he's just there to make the numbers up)

    Thanks again guys - you've been helpful.
    Last edited by Trilby; January 22nd, 2013 at 08:12 AM.

  8. #8
    Here is the whole story...

    The Hanging Tree Inn

    The three students had been laughing and joking as they crammed their backpacks for the holiday, their enthusiasm and bravado had sent a chill of foreboding through my body.
    ‘A haunted room what nonsense!’ Joe had laughed.
    ‘Just think, 7 o’clock tomorrow morning we will be handed £100 each.’ said Mark.
    ‘£100 for staying overnight in a, so called, haunted room and because we are allowed to stay there together it will be easy money… I’d have doubts about staying there on my own though.’ said Brad.
    ‘The problem with you Brad is that over active imagination of yours; tonight, try to keep it in check.’ said Joe.
    ‘I will… I can… honest. Of course I know there are no such things as ghosts, spirits or poltergeists.’
    I knew different.
    On arrival at ‘The Hanging Tree Inn’ we were met by the landlord Mr Jackson, he led the way up to the haunted room. The two hundred years old building had been modernized with the usual mod cons: central heating, hot and cold running water, flush toilets and double glazing, but the haunted room had none of those things. The room was antiquated, it was heated by a log fire and flickering candles provided the only means of lighting; it felt as if we had travelled through an invisible portal and entered yesteryear.
    ‘This is the haunted room,’ Mr Jackson said ‘as you can see the room is still as it was on the night of 10th January1872, the night when the hangman Elijah Kirkpatrick was brutally murdered here… in this very room, by an angry lynch mob. I’ll turn over the corner of this rug and show you the stains of blood that had drained out of Elijah's dying body; the dark unmistakable stains are still visible here on the wooden floor boards. Elijah was the lover of the landlady Betty Smyth. Betty was so heartbroken by Elijah’s untimely and brutal demise, she had the room locked and left as it was, as a shrine to Elijah’s memory. Over here by the window there is a perfect view of the hanging tree; it is said that this view is the reason why Elijah loved this room so much.’
    I was sat on the broad, stone window sill looking out. In the sunset the barren tree was silhouetted against a claret coloured sky. There were no spirit people near the tree but there was a residual energy from a former time. I sensed a heartfelt sadness emitting from the tree; the unwitting participant in this past haphazard form of justice.
    Mr Jackson continued ‘The long black cloak hanging from a bent nail in the back of the door belonged to Elijah Kirkpatrick and here in the bottom draw of the dresser is his hangman’s rope.’
    Mr Jackson then opened the bottom draw. The top of the draw had been sealed off with a sheet of toughened glass. Beneath the glass there was a coiled rope with the noose of the rope strategically placed on the top of its coils.
    ‘I’ll leave you to settle in; remember all of you have to remain in this room until 7AM in the morning to qualify for the £100 each. I’m sorry that there are no on-suite facilities in this room. But, in authentic nineteen century style there is a ceramic ewer of water and a washbasin on the marble washstand over here in this corner and for your convenience there are gosunders under the bed, one for each of you.’
    ‘Excuse me!’ said Brad ‘But, what is a gosunder?’
    ‘Go’sunder the bed,’ answered the landlord.
    ‘I can’t believe I fell for that one,’ laughed Brad.
    Once the landlord had left the room out came the bottles of vodka and Red Bull. I’m teetotal; so after a couple of hours had past, I was the only one in the room with my wits still about me. The others had laughed and drank and belittled any mention of the room being haunted. Other than to add another log to the fire, they had paid no heed to the sudden drop in temperature. They were oblivious to the fact that he had entered the room and in spirit form he was wearing the same cloak as the one hanging on the bent nail behind the door. As he looked at the others, he had grinned and rubbed his hands at their ignorance. Then he turned and focused his attention on me; he grimaced as he stared directly into my eyes, he was well aware of the fact that I was able see him; we understood each other, we were on different plane from the others in the room… another dimension one that crossed the normal barriers of time and space. In order to taunt me; he pointed to the bottom draw and then he went through the motions of opening the draw and taking the rope out. The cold-blooded malevolent intent of this evil entity chilled the very heart of my being. He, having sensed that I was closest to Mark, with the phantom rope in his hands he went and stood behind Mark and placed the noose over Mark’s head. With my hair standing on end I leaped up into the air and gave out an almighty screech, startling my unsuspecting companions; once they had recovered from the initial shock they fell about laughing.
    ‘What is it Josh? You’re freaking us out.’
    I watched in horror as this despicable spectre slowly and meticulously proceeded to tighten the noose inch by inch, closer and closer around Marks neck. I wanted to shout out to warn them; to scream and tell them to run away from this unholy place. I opened my mouth and tried to speak, but the only sound I could utter was… ‘Miaow!’
    Last edited by Trilby; January 22nd, 2013 at 08:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Congratulations, you blind-sided me perfectly.

  10. #10
    Member dolphinlee's Avatar
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    I really liked this piece. Loved the ending. I didn’t see it coming. This is a good read.

    You asked for help and I have taken you at your word.

    Okay, there is a lot of colour in this piece. Panic not dear lady! There is very little that needs to be changed.

    Red is for punctuation. I have changed some commas for full stops. I have removed some semi colons, which to be honest are best avoided if at all possible.

    Blue is for suggestions. Bear in mind when you go through this that what I suggest may b etotally wrong for your piece.


    The three students had been laughing andjoking as they crammed their backpacks for the holiday. Their enthusiasm and bravado had sent a chillof foreboding through my body.
    ‘A haunted room
    ,what nonsense!’ Joe had laughed.
    ‘Just think, 7 o’clock tomorrow morning
    we will (we’ll) be handed £100 each.’ said Mark.

    ‘£100 for staying overnight in a, so called, haunted room and because
    we are (we’re) allowed to stay theretogether it will be easy money… I’d have doubts about staying there on my ownthough.’ said Brad.

    ‘The problem with you Brad is that over active imagination of
    yours. Tonight, try to keep it in check.’ said Joe. I would reverse the last sentence.
    ‘I will… I can… honest. Of course I knowthere are no such things as ghosts, spirits or poltergeists.’
    I knew different.


    The I knew different is strange because the this is the first time you have used I. Maybe you could change the sentences in green to something like. I heard him say, ‘I will. I can……………poltergeists.’ He was wrong. I knew different. Something like this


    On arrival at ‘The Hanging Tree Inn’
    (1) we were met by the landlord Mr Jackson. He led the way up to the haunted (2) room. The two hundred years old buildinghad been modernized with the usual mod cons (3) : central heating, hot and cold runningwater, flush toilets and double glazing, but the haunted room had none of thosethings. The room was antiquated. It was heated by a log fire and flickering candles providedthe only means of lighting. It felt as if we had travelled through an invisible portaland entered yesteryear.

    1) The name of the inn does not need ‘’ marks.
    2) I would write this ‘haunted’ because they are dismissingthe idea that it really is haunted.
    3) On a personal level I hate mod cons and would prefer modernconveniences.


    ‘This is the haunted room,’ Mr Jackson said ‘as you can see the room is stillas it was on the night of 10th January18
    72. Thenight when the hangman Elijah Kirkpatrickwas brutally murdered (here - delete for emphasis?) … in this very room, by an angry lynch mob. I’ll turnover the corner of this rug and show you the stains of blood that (had delete?) drained out ofElijah's dying body; the dark unmistakable stains are still visible here on thewooden floor boards. Elijah was the lover of the landlady Betty Smyth. Bettywas so heartbroken by Elijah’s untimely and brutal demise (, delete the comma and add that)she had the room locked and left as it was,as a shrine to Elijah’s memory. Over here by the window there is a perfect viewof the hanging tree. It issaid that this view is the reason why Elijah loved this room so much.’
    I was sat on the broad, stone window sill looking out. In the sunset the barrentree was silhouetted against a claret coloured sky. There were no spirit peoplenear the tree but there was a residual energy from a former time. I sensed aheartfelt sadness emitting from the tree; the unwitting participant in
    (this past change to the past’s) haphazardform of justice. (not sure about the word emitting)
    Mr Jackson continued
    ,The long black cloak hanging from a bent nailin the back of the door belonged to Elijah Kirkpatrick and here in the bottomdraw of the dresser is his hangman’s rope.’
    Mr Jackson then opened the bottom draw. The top of the draw had been sealed offwith a sheet of toughened glass. Beneath the glass there was a coiled rope withthe noose of the rope strategically placed on the top of its coils.
    Spellingshould be drawer not draw.
    ‘I’ll leave you to settle
    in. Remember all of you have to remain in this room until 7AM in themorning to qualify for the £100 each. I’m sorry that there are no on-suitefacilities in this room. But, in authentic nineteen century style, there is a ceramic ewer of water and a washbasin on themarble washstand over here in this corner and for your convenience there aregosunders under the bed, one for each of you.’ Spelling =guzunder
    ‘Excuse me!’ said Brad ‘But, what is a gosunder?’
    ‘Go’sunder the bed,’ answered the landlord.
    ‘I can’t believe I fell for that one,’ laughed Brad.
    Once the landlord had left the room out came the bottles of vodka and Red Bull.(1) I’m teetotal; so after a couple of hours had past, I was the only one inthe room with my wits still about me. The others had laughed and drank andbelittled any mention of the room being haunted. Other than to add another logto the fire, they had paid no heed to the sudden drop in temperature. (2)


    Should be a new paragraph.
    1) I would change the order of thewords to’ left the room the bottles of vodka and Red bull came out.’
    2) As the drop of temperature isimportant I would reverse this sentence to talk about the drop first.

    They were oblivious to the fact that he hadentered the room (and move ‘and’ to after ‘form’) in spirit form he was wearing the same (maybe change same to identical for emphasis) cloak as the one hanging on the bent nail behind thedoor. As he looked at the others, he had grinned and rubbed his hands at theirignorance. Then he turned and focused his attention on me. He grimaced as he stared directly into my eyes. He was wellaware of the fact that I was able see him. Weunderstood each other, we were on (add a) different plane from the others in theroom… another dimension one that crossed the normal barriers of time and space.(paragraph) In orderto taunt me; he pointed to the bottom draw and then he went through the motionsof opening the draw and taking the rope out. The cold-blooded malevolent intentof this evil entity chilled the very heart of my being. He, having sensed thatI was closest to Mark, with the phantom rope in his hands he went (move ‘went’ to after ‘closest to Mark ) and stood behind Mark.Then he placed the noose over Mark’s head. Withmy hair standing on end I leaped up into the air and gave out an almightyscreech, startling my unsuspecting companions; once they had recovered from theinitial shock they fell about laughing.
    ‘What is it Josh? You’re freaking us out.’
    I watched in horror as this despicable spectre slowly and meticulouslyproceeded to tighten the noose inch by inch, closer and closer around Mark
    s neck. I wanted to shout out to warn them; to scream andtell them to run away from this unholy place. I opened my mouth and tried tospeak, but the only sound I could utter was… ‘Miaow!’

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