Replica-Image


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  1. #1

    Replica-Image

    This yarn was inspired by the film Mirrors.

    I've been working on my show-don't-tell technique, and it's been, well, difficult, but here goes...

    Cheers,


    ====

    Philip awoke and engaged in the same ritualistic behavior he had been performing since he was 12 years old. He stood in front of his bathroom mirror and touched his fingers to the surface and said, "Hello, 'Mirror-Me'!" Being an atheist had never come to the forefront of his mind but since today was his 30th birthday, he meditated on the impact of an atheism-consciousness on his daily mirror ritual. "What if 'Mirror-Me' is not an atheist?" he asked himself. Feeling the urge to get to work early that Monday morning, he hurried to his car.

    Philip's maid Sandra let herself in at about noon and started cleaning his modest Chicago apartment. She worked through the house (as she usually did every first Monday of the month) and saved his bathroom (the most laborious chore after all) to the end. Sandra picked up her mop and cleaning-supplies and wandered into Philip's bathroom and started doing her work. Her mop fell from her hand momentarily, so she lurched over to pick it up; attempting to lean over to catch her breath and rest her arm on the bathroom-mirror, Sandra saw a replica-image of Philip --- touching the mirror! "It was obviously an hallucination," Sandra muttered as she finished her work and let herself out.

    Philip unlocked his door and came in; it was about 6 p.m., and he noticed Sandra had done her monthly Monday housecleaning very well. He crashed down on his couch with a bottle of Corona and turned on his TV and started watching the comics-adaptation series Gotham. Philip felt a strange shiver go down his spine as the new villain, the Scarecrow, was introduced on the show. He wondered what kind of a bizarre comic book writer would invent a ghoul like Scarecrow. Happy to be drunk, he started humming and reminded himself to go to the bathroom. Philip was about to enter when he heard the automatic playback feature of his new answering machine go off. It was Sandra.

    "Philip, please, please, please! Do not go into the bathroom. I was cleaning your apartment today (as usual), and I dropped my mop, and when I picked it up and tried to lean my arm on your mirror to catch my breath, I saw a replica-image of you --- it was touching the mirror with 'its' hand! I didn't know what to do, and I reasoned it was some goofy hallucination, but I couldn't get the nagging feeling out of my head that the replica-image I saw in your bathroom-mirror was some kind of a 'spectre.' I urge you to ask an exorcist for some professional assistance before you go into that bathroom. I just won't feel secure until I know you've listened to this message! God bless."

    ====


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  2. #2
    Hi Abishai,

    First off, I like the idea. I'm a sucker for anything creepy and this sounds positively demonic.

    You mention show-don't-tell. I actually try not to talk about that for the simple reason it is getting kind of old-hat and some pieces actually do all right with a reasonable amount of tell, just as some pieces show and still are bleh. My problem with your piece is that there's some really good opportunities for diving into the detail. Consider "Her mop fell from her hand momentarily, so she lurched over to pick it up; attempting to lean over to catch her breath and rest her arm on the bathroom-mirror, Sandra saw a replica-image of Philip --- touching the mirror! "It was obviously an hallucination," Sandra muttered as she finished her work and let herself out." <--- This, I want to know more about this. I want to know how Sandra felt and her reactions. I severely doubt if she saw something like that her only reaction would be "It was obviously a hallucination."

    Where is the terror here? We do not encounter it until the voicemail recording. What happened in between? How did she go from being so nonchalant to borderline hysterical? This is the stuff your reader wants to know. Your reader is less interested in the set up. This story is short but a sizeable chunk is all background and I'm not even sure how his atheism has anything to do with the fact he has something terrible hiding in his mirror. Certainly I don't care about it. If it's relevant you need to make it clear why.

    Anyway, again I like the concept and could be a good story. You've effectively written a synopsis here. Read some more short fiction (check out Richard Matheson who wrote many Twilight Zone episodes - I think you'll like his stories) and start over on this one. I want a lot of dialogue, actions, inner-thoughts, descriptions of how things look, feel and smell so vivid it brings me into the bathroom.



  3. #3
    I don't think I can add much to VonBradstein's coments and advice since I totally agree with everything he said but I will try to offer some observations and suggestions that may be useful to you.
    A first draft is, as you know, a matter of getting the words of your tale out from your mind and onto that intimidating blank piece of paper before you. Just let your words gush out like a newly drilled oilwell before it is capped off. Just as the oil is later transferred to a refinery to be ... um ... refined, so it is with the second draft of what you have written.
    It's all too easy to fall into the trap of being immediately and unecessarily critical of the words you've just written and to stop writing more words in order to re-write what you've just written so that it more closely parallels what you wanted to say, but in doing this you stop, or at best, greatly impede the first easy flowing gush of transferring your mental picture, through the use of words, onto paper. I could very well be totally wrong, and quite often am, but the work that you have posted looks as if you have tried to refine it before you have enough of a story to refine. If you choose to write paragrah by paragraph or chapter by chapter and to refine them before writing further then that is fine, there is no correct or written-in-concrete way that one has to write and if you find that that system works for you, even if just initially, then have at it as they say. You may change your writing methods later as you gain more experience but that's later, so do what works for you now. It's the only place you can be - in the now.
    It might might help your writing methodology if you were to consider outlining your key points first and then go on to consider how you might prioritize and expand upon them so that they truly and fully describe what you see in your mind.
    A few ideas / points / possibilities to consider. Disregard them if you feel them to be worthless - they are jus my observations and I am not you or your writing voice.
    1. Philip unlocked his door and came in; it was about 6 p.m (Philip returnd to his apartment at about 6 P.M. after another exhausting day at the ( ) (fill in the blank)
    2. He sees that Sandra has done her Monday housecleaning very well. (Priority of this observation?) If you want to include it here you could say something like - He smiled, noting how his meagre and always messy accommodation now sparkled with a welcoming freshness and order that only a woman could have given to it.
    3. He crashed down on his couch with a bottle of Corona . . . (Philip picked up a Corona from the refrigerator and settled down on the sofa. After a couple of welcome gulps he reached for the TV's remote, turned on his TV, and started watching the comics-adaptation series Gotham that he greatly enjoyed.
    4 . . . . and turned on his TV and started watching the comics-adaptation series Gotham.
    5. Philip felt a strange shiver go down his spine as the new villain, the Scarecrow, was introduced on the show. (As he watched he felt . . . )
    6. He wondered what kind of a bizarre comic book writer would invent a ghoul like Scarecrow.
    7. Happy to be drunk . . . ((Why is he happy to be drunk? And so quickly? Philip either can't hold his liquor (shades of Dr. Emmett Brown who passes out after taking a single alcoholic drink in the movie Back To The Future III) or perhaps he came home half-cut?))
    8. . . . he started humming and reminded himself to go to the bathroom. (Has the television program finished? Did he watch it until the end? Is the chill that ran down his spine earlier still ther and is the character still in his mind, or has he somehow completely forgotten about the entire issue - humming as he goes off to the bathroom? Short term memory problems and a weak bladder too
    9. Philip was about to enter when he heard the automatic playback feature of his new answering machine go off. It was Sandra. (Just re-think and re-word this - something like - he was just about to leave the room when he heard Sandra's voice on his answering machine.)




    Hope this is of some use to you but in the end it is your own opinion that counts. All the best !!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Abishai100 View Post
    This yarn was inspired by the film Mirrors.

    I've been working on my show-don't-tell technique, and it's been, well, difficult, but here goes...

    Cheers,


    ====

    Philip awoke and engaged in the same ritualistic behavior he had been performing since he was 12 (years old-not needed). He stood in front of his bathroom mirror his fingers probing its surface (and touched his fingers to the surface and said), "Hello, 'Mirror-Me'!" (Being an atheist had never come to the forefront of his mind but since) Today was his 30th birthday, he meditated on the impact of an atheism-consciousness on his daily mirror ritual. "What if 'Mirror-Me' is not an atheist?" he asked himself. Feeling the urge to get to work early that Monday morning, he hurried to his car. I like what your saying but be careful, you mingle internal thoughts with naration, which abruptly changes the POV.

    Philip's maid Sandra (let herself in at) arrived about noon (and started cleaning-passive voice) to cleanhis modest Chicago apartment. She worked through the house (as she usually did every first Monday of the month-is this important to the story?) and saved his bathroom (the most laborious chore after all) to the end. Sandra picked up her mop and cleaning-supplies and wandered into Philip's bathroom and started doing her work. Her mop fell from her hand momentarily, so she lurched over to pick it up; attempting to lean over to catch her breath and rest her arm on the bathroom-mirror, Sandra saw a replica-image of Philip --- touching the mirror! "It was obviously an hallucination," Sandra muttered as she finished her work and let herself out This is a good line/scene. Show it! How does she react, she passes it off as an hallucination, fine but why?

    Philip unlocked his door and came in; it was about 6 p.m., (and he noticed Sandra had done her monthly Monday housecleaning very well-is this important?). He crashed (down-not needed) on his couch with a bottle of Corona, turned on his TV, and started watching the comics-adaptation series Gotham. Philip felt a strange shiver go down his spine as the new villain, the Scarecrow, was introduced on the show. He wondered what kind of a bizarre comic book writer would invent a ghoul like Scarecrow. Happy to be drunk, he started humming and reminded himself to go to the bathroom. Philip was about to enter when he heard the automatic playback feature of his new answering machine go off. It was Sandra.

    "Philip, please, please, please! Do not go into the bathroom. I was cleaning your apartment today (as usual), and I dropped my mop, and when I picked it up and tried to lean my arm on your mirror to catch my breath, I saw a replica-image of you --- it was touching the mirror with 'its' hand! I didn't know what to do, and I reasoned it was some goofy hallucination, but I couldn't get the nagging feeling out of my head that the replica-image I saw in your bathroom-mirror was some kind of a 'spectre.' I urge you to ask an exorcist for some professional assistance before you go into that bathroom. I just won't feel secure until I know you've listened to this message! God bless!

    This is a nice opening. IMHO you have some words that aren't needed. The message can be shortened but you do have an intriguing opening with a nice hook. Please do continue with this story.
    ====


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    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

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    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

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