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Thread: The Grudge (390 Words)

  1. #1

    The Grudge (390 Words)

    This is an allusory short-story about a woman pensive about telekinesis and paranoia.


    ====

    Shelbye watched in horror as she observed her own telekinetic powers (out-of-control) shuffling the papers on her office desk in her Manhattan apartment. It was a brisk but bright and sunny day in September, and Shelbye considered the possibility that she was simply hallucinating the ordeal and ran her fingers through her hair ("Me of all people --- fantasizing about being a telepath!") and quickly concluded that a draft of wind moved the papers. She found her comforting comic book of Ms. Marvel (a superheroine who reminded her of strength and honor) and told herself to quiet her own mind. Shelbye stopped working (for the day) and started watching TV (there was a nice episode of Alice playing on TV Land).

    Shelbye listened carefully to the waitress in the diner (on Alice) talk about the 'general downpouring of malicious mischief in a world beset by the pride of men' and considered why her business-world male peers were so darn cutthroat. "I've worked for that toy-company now for five years and haven't met a single man who isn't thinking about profits in favor of a child's delight at the reception of one of our company's toys!" Shelbye continued watching TV and shuffling through her favorite Ms. Marvel comic book when she came across a dialogue-line in the comic that startled her, "Beware, Ms. Marvel, for the world of men makes for all kinds of evil and a focused brand of 'terrifying grudge'."

    Shelbye always liked the word 'grudge,' since it captured her curiosity about conveying emotions without seeming conversationally obtuse or oblivious. She remembered her submitted comic book story for a Ms. Marvel fan-edition which presented the word 'grudge' at least twenty times (since the superheroine was tackling a ruthless mad scientist who sought revenge against a society he blamed for his deformed handicap). Shelbye suddenly realized that the word 'grudge' reminded her of the reality of paranoia and pain and considered (for a moment) that the Devil had planted in her a feeling of 'psychic immortality' and made her believe she possessed telekinetic powers (enough for her to feel like she could tackle any kind of 'human grudge' and uplift her toy-company 'beset by the pride of men'!). Just then, Shelbye heard a knock on her door...she hesitated greatly --- "I don't think I should open my door tonight."

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  2. #2
    I'm not familiar with "allusory" - I assume it means alluding to something? But I'm not sure what that means in this context...

    The story itself?

    The brackets didn't work for me.

    Three big paragraphs didn't work for me. It felt like you were cramming things in, giving a summary instead of letting me really experience the story.

    And, honestly, I'm not sure it really made sense. She's maybe telekinetic, then she watches some TV (is the dialogue really from Alice? It doesn't sound like the Alice I remember...) and muses a bit, and then... she doesn't answer the door. If there's a deeper theme, I didn't get it, and I'm usually a reasonably good reader...
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  3. #3
    I also failed to see a deeper theme, you started things, like the telekenisis, the profit motivated men and the knock on the door, and then took them nowhere as far as I could see, maybe I am missing something.

    The writing itself is not bad at all, a couple of minor points:-
    "Shelbye watched in horror as she observed her own telekinetic powers ..."
    There are two bits of tautology there, look,
    "Shelbye watched in horror as her telekinetic powers..."

    "cutthroat", I think this should be hyphenated, cut-throat

    "... haven't met a single man who isn't thinking about profits in favor of a child's delight at the reception of one of our company's toys!"
    This seems awkward, I see where you are at, but the word 'favor' doesn't quite fit, and 'reception' is a ten cent word for 'getting' which has another meaning. I know it seems stupid, but I half expected 'a child's delight at the reception desk in the foyer.'

    All the paragraphs start 'Shelbye...', and there are a fair few sentences starting 'Shelbye stopped ...', 'Shelbye listened...', 'Shelbye considered...' etc. You might want to consider that, but like I say, pretty minor points.
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  4. #4
    When I read about telekinesis I got excited. Then the focus shifted to TV and the comic, then it left me on a cliff-hanger with the knock on the door...

    This needs to be longer. You didn't explain if this was a WIP or if it was finished as it is. I'll assume this is the finished product.

    Other than being longer, I personally don't like it when things change from one thing to another without proper explanation. So she just chose to ignore her possible telekinetic powers, concluded it was something else, then the attention goes to another topic and so on as I said above.

    I know I can seem ignorant with this post, but really. Reading this from a third person perspective I don't feel I get a lot to work with as a reader. Short stories I've read before were much more detailed and quite a bit longer.

    Hope I gave you something to think about. If not, take this in good faith

  5. #5
    Agree with the brackets - I'm not sure which voice is saying these, the character? For instance, the first one (out-of-control) how does the character now that her new-found telekinesis powers are out of control? Rather, it's the writer him or herself telling what's happening. The old adage of show don't tell now starts to rear its small and ugly head. I would like to see it described, what's happening, how is it happening? Is paper flying around? Is there static electricity crackling? Are Shelby's eyes wide in surprise?

  6. #6
    I get the feeling you have tried to cram to many pov's in 3 bits...interesting storyline...
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  7. #7
    It makes me wonder if she's a danger to herself and others. She mentions Ms. Marvel as a role model but I get the feeling Shelby would have a hard time living up to such an expectation. I

    s she afraid to open the door because she might inflict harm. Is this a super-villain in the making?

  8. #8
    Reminds me of an m night shamalan film...

  9. #9
    i feel like you are trying to cram a large book into a pamphlet. like, you have a lot of ideas but not going to the steps to develop them yet.

    like the others, i'm not a fan of the brackets.

  10. #10
    At the risk of sounding like an echo... the brackets don't work. You've basically used them as ways to fit extra info into your sentences without restructuring them.

    I think putting everything else aside, the most important thing you need to remember is clarity of plot. All other errors are minor in comparison. A reader needs to be able to understand the idea behind the story, if not where you're going with it, and in this case your paragraphs almost seem to be separate stories.

    Takes guts to post a story though so good on ya. Keep working.

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