Something That Will Not Let Go (8700 words, Strong Language, Adult Themes, Horror) - Page 2
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Thread: Something That Will Not Let Go (8700 words, Strong Language, Adult Themes, Horror)

  1. #11

    Something That Will Not Let Go (8700 words, Strong Language, Adult Themes, Horror)

    Hi Wrikaly,

    An engaging story and a decent rendition. A lot of times with this level of work I look at whether the execution is equal to the story. While I think you've done well I find the way the story is being told isn't quite hitting me as hard as it should. This is obviously a very disturbing tale and I want the writing to be disturbing. While in parts I think you have definitely achieved (or even over-achieved) I think it could be better in others. The story is simply too long for me to do a piece-by-piece analysis (I would love to, but carpal tunnel won't permit) but I will try to give you some detailed feedback pointing to examples where I can.

    As I mentioned the story is pretty fleshed out and I don't really have a whole lot of criticism on that front. So I'm mainly going to focus on technical aspects.

    The main issue is structure. This may be a personal thing, but I'm not a fan of Prologues on what is technically a short story (though bordering on novelette). Honestly, I'm not even much of a fan on full novels though I think for certain kinds of epic works they have relevance. This is not an epic work and, as it is still in short story territory, the beginning needs to set the pace for the novel. A prologue does not usually do that. This one definitely does not. Its not that I hate the content of your prologue but it almost seems like an opening scene of a movie adaption and does not translate so well to a story. I would either dispense with the whole prologue and start in with the dialogue of Chapter One, or blend it into the full body of the work. I'm also confused by the fact the story opens from the POV of the little girl but cuts straight to Julie.

    Like others have mentioned, I find you (like me!) tend to overwrite. It's funny how much easier it is to see it in another's work than one's own, but I see it in yours. While I enjoy your attention to detail, I sometimes find that attention to be misplaced. Almost pedantic, at times.

    Consider this passage:

    "It was probably an hour or two later when Lester regained consciousness. He opened his eyes and was nearly sick. He lay there looking up into the one single bulb hanging from the ceiling. He was back in his room—"the" room—laying on "the" bed. When he tried to shift to ease the headache, he realized he was cuffed to the bed with the handcuffs he used to use on Junie when she wouldn’t do what he wanted. Even worse, he was sharing the space with the ghost of his friend Blu Wolf, he could feel him flowing through him.
    He tried to talk to his friend but Blu didn’t answer. Instead, he could feel the dead man like a liquid mist flowing in his ears, out his nose, through his stomach. It was like a smell, he couldn’t smell, a touch he couldn’t feel, a sound he couldn’t hear, all enveloping him in swirling eddies."

    This is great as a bombardment of description but it is weak as far as conjuring a sense of terror and contains far too much, for want of a better phrase, bullshit.

    - "One single bulb"? Why 'one single bulb'? What's wrong with just "one bulb" or "single bulb" or, wait for it, "bulb!"

    - We already know he got punched and we probably know what happens to you physically when you wake up from being knocked out, so Lester coming around does not warrant a play-by-play. It feels dragging somehow. This kind of story is right up my alley but I feel my eyes wanting to skip ahead mid-way through such passages.

    - You tell me in that passage he is laying on a bed twice. Why? Is it that important? It's not interesting.

    - You tell me he is cuffed 'with handcuffs'. Why is that detail needed? I assumed it wasn't with scotch tape that was used to cuff him.

    - You say 'the handcuffs he used to use on Junie when she wouldn't do what he wanted'. I can gather that usually handcuffs would only be used in a situation where the person was not doing as wanted so you spelling it out, again, weakens what could be a disturbing little passage.

    - You mention Blu Wolf 'flowing' (?) through him twice in two consecutive sentences. You mention a 'liquid mist', which defies logic. You can have liquid or a mist - not both. I know it's paranormal but even in ghost stories there are no square circles.

    - You then mention this 'mist' going through his nose and mouth - which I like - and then feel the need to over-bake it by talking about how its a smell he could not smell. Again, you can't have a scentless smell. It's just not possible. I think it’s probably intentional as a literary device, a way to imply that the character is experiencing something beyond the normal rules of sensory perception and I do that kind of thing too, but amid other issues it doesn’t hit home that way.

    You mention in the previous post about not wanting to belabor things and I honestly can’t imagine what that would look like because, to me at least, much of it already is. This is essentially a three or four thousand word story. Not 8,000 plus. Reading it honestly feels 20,000 plus because of the bog.

    I'm sorry to sound harsh but, like I say, a lot of it just feels like waffling. Its a shame because in that three or four thousand words I mentioned lies a really good story but as a willing reader I cannot access it properly. It's almost as though you have some imaginary word count you are trying to hit and are inventing malapropisms, tautologies and needlessly overstating basic points just to hit it. I know that is not the case. I assume you know your word count for a short is already on the longer side and would probably benefit from being shortened. A really easy way to do that while increasing the power of your writing is to go back through and hack away at any BS.

    So that passage? Why not rewrite it like...

    Lester was looking up at the lone bulb that haunted the ceiling. He was laying on a bed, his own bed, and when he tried to shift to ease the lingering headache, he realized he was cuffed. The same pair he used on Junie. Worse than that was the gathering realization that he was sharing the space.

    Blu Wolf was there.

    Yes, it was him. A friend, an old friend...and a dead one. He uttered Blue's name but Blu, if it really was him, didn’t answer back. Instead his presence gradually began to reduce, losing its shape, becoming a mist. A mist that entered Lester's body, a cold steam enveloping in swirling eddies.

    So yeah, I'm picking on this stuff because I know you have the character to take it well and the talent to write in excellence. It's a good story, you have talent for horror, you just need to cut out the baloney, stop throwing in pointless stuff that means nothing, and work on selecting words that add presence and atmosphere.

    Last edited by VonBradstein; October 27th, 2017 at 08:18 AM.

  2. #12
    I really enjoyed this story. This wasn't necessarily in my ballpark of usual genres, but this was really well written, save a few minuscule typos ( mostly a couple of missed quotation marks and some phrases I didn't quite understand but my computer isn't letting me scroll back up to find them so I'm gonna have to revisit that.) The story was really compelling and your writing really drew me in. Some of the dialogue was a little forward, and explained a lot at once, but I think that it fits for the characters and could only stand to be tweaked a bit. I think you did a really good job of portraying the attitudes of children who have been abused by their parents, and the abuser themselves. As a person who went through something similar as a child, I relate a lot to Junie's and Mari's feelings on the matter. The ending was incredibly satisfying, and felt like a really good sort of revenge for the characters and for myself as a reader. And Mari's revelation about her father's body being carried off by coyotes was pretty cool and not exactly something I was expecting.
    All in all definitely a 9/10. There is definitely room for improvement in the pacing, and maybe providing a little bit more of a slow pace to the story, but it's fantastic honestly.

  3. #13
    Member Jagunco's Avatar
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    I got to chapter 11 and I'll keep going.

    Its grim stuff but well done. I agree with the bald statements I've always had a bee in a bonnet about stuff like that, but its a small point.

    My main problem reading any story is that if its written by someone from the US I sometimes have trouble hearing the dialect in my head because i think in UK English, if that makes any sense. I'm getting the hang of it now though.

    Short version: its pretty good, if you want to use dialog to describe stuff you could try making the characters ask leading questions rather and let them just roll out a couple of lines of description

  4. #14

    I am so sorry, I did not get the chance to read way further or even answer you. By now I have read until the end of Chapter 6.
    I think a few more details would help, if you want the reader to imagine your surroundings and characters in a specific way. So, if you want to let the reader decide on appearence or some characteristics (meaning why someone reacted the way he did), then the amount of detail should be as it is now. Otherwise you could give a little hint, without telling the whole reason or description, so it will still depend on the readers imagination but with a clear path. That way if you later decide to write a scene that would match with your imagination of a character but not with your readers imagination, it will not feel off for the reader, because you lead them in a direction from the beginning. But that is like always just my opinion as a reader of many books. I am still learning how to write.

    I hope this was somehow understandable. ^^"

    I will try to read further, but I am afraid this will not be possible until next weekend (with luck thursday)... My work is stacking up and exams are coming soon too :-/ as always everything at once -.-

  5. #15
    So... I finally had the opportunity to finish reading. Sorry, that it took so long.
    The ending let me speechless. It was... unexpected. But it's not that I did not like it, probably not my favorite, but not bad neither. I don't want to spoiler, in case someone reads this before the story.

    Anyway, I still would like a few more details, but not as much as I wanted in the beginning. I still feel like there is more to your characters than I've read already. Other than that, I liked it. Your way of writing is good and easy to read, even thought I had to get used to some accent at first. I think to write in accent or to describe an accent is the writers choice and liking and neither one is better than the other.

    About the thing I mentioned before (in another post) about quickly switching between places in a few sentences: I think it got much better with the story ongoing. In fact, I think you made it very good except for the scene I mentioned as an example. I still think this scene need a little more time, just a few sentenses or so. To make it a little more tangible for the reader.

    Still, all that is just an opinion from a loving reader and beginner as a writer.
    Hopefully this helped.

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