Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Svet(The light)-Russian based short story- (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Hello everyone,i am glad to be able to share my newborn story with you.This story should be read in a russian accent if possible.

The cold sidewalk was so empty,first time that I felt...something real.Booze used to drive my life,my way of thinking.Now i'm moving alone,along the road,bit I bear the markings of my past life,the tattoos.Russia,home...reminds me of death,pain and alcohol.Dva stars on my shoulders,two my knees too.Tattooed on the chest I have a red rose,imprisoned in barbed wire...my neck betrays me,tatooed on it was a luk,a bow tie.Forced it was put there,meaning that I am a traitor to my code,to my Vor.On my upper back,at the bottom of my neck I have five small skulls,for every brat I lost,one of them even to my father.
At sixteen,people used to say about me that bad blood boils inside me.I finally snapped my father's neck,got ten years in russian prison,where I earned my stars.My father used to get drunk and beat my mother to death,until I got very angry and was able to take my revenge.Some nights,I stil remember Russia,the blood...the darkness.
The mouth still knows,my brain commands...in Russian,but I am resisting.I loved it back then,being one of them,to live between thieves and murderers.I started killing them when she was taken from me,and then I ran.Someone will come,and will try to kill me...someone will.

Please leave your opinion on my short narration,as it will evolve into what I hope will be a nice story.Thank you for reading.
Last edited:

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
Unfortunately, only you, who already know the story and the characters, know how to read it to best effect. For you, intent drives the emotion in your voice, the changes in tempo and intensity. It determines the storyteller's expression and gestures. Bot how much of that makes it to the page? None. Our medium reproduces neither your vocal performance nor the visual. Have your computer read it aloud and you'll hear it.


Senior Member
So now you're telling me that you do not have enough imagination power to read the text with a russian voice,that you easily imagine,create,however you call it.You just...if you can't even recreate a russian accent,if you don't have that kind of imagination that a writer needs..man that's on you.I appreciate you reading my story and giving your opinion,thank you.


Senior Member
You criticize Jay Greenstein for not understanding your story, for not having the imagination and the ability to re-create a Russian accent. That is a bogus response on your part.You really should listen to him.

And from all the Russian lit I've read, from Pushkin to Ulitskaya, I have never had to fake an accent.

On a more trivial note, I would begin your novel with the second paragraph.

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
So now you're telling me that you do not have enough imagination power to read the text with a russian voice,
It's not the accent. It's that what you provided is a storyteller's script without the stage directions on how to read it. Were it dialog you could tell the reader how the character speaks a line. Or, you could make the reader know the character's state of mind so they would know how to read it. But in this, the narrator can't tell the reader how they would read the line. And the reader can't guess because they won't know what it's going to say till after it's read, and it's too late.

But forgetting that, the "story" is a transcription of someone we know nothing about talking about things for which we have no context. That can't work. Story happens, it's not talked about, so there's no story here, just a talking head we can't see talking about things unknown in an unemotional voice.

Look at the text:
The cold sidewalk was so empty,first time that I felt...something real
The cold sidewalk? Since you mention the temperature it must matter, but what does sidewalk temperature have to do with feeling "real?" And when in this character's life did he or she begin feeling "real?" Are they ten or ninety? No way to tell. Hell, I've felt real for almost eight years now. And I don't know anyone who isn't, so what does it mean? No way to tell.
Booze used to drive my life,my way of thinking.
and that relates to sidewalk temperature...how?
Now i'm moving alone,along the road,bit I bear the markings of my past life,the tattoos.
Along the road? A minute ago the character was walking on the sidewalk.

You're saying things. And perhaps they're meaningful to you. But you have context and the reader doesn't, because you give them none. Yes, you have intent, but that dribbles from the words at the keyboard.

The short version: I would suggest you do a little digging into the tricks of the trade and specialized knowledge of the fiction writing profession. We learn none of it in our schooldays, and it is necessary, because, as Mark Twain observed, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And we leave our schooldays with a whole lot of "just ain't so."


Senior Member
Dude,those are metaphors..the cold sidewalk is not actually a sidewalk,it is how the russian feels about his life.Moving along,meaning that he is alone,but he still feels the hard times that he lived in Russia.What's so hard to understand...The man tells us thathe was a mobster and he regrets.It is so easy and i really do not understand why you don't understand.
This guy is talking to himself,and we are there to listen.If you didn't understand,he was talking about his feelings and depression and...anyway,I understand your point and you are right,i should dig deeper in some tricks of the trade.I really appreciate that someone cares this much and wants to help me become better,thank you.


Senior Member
THE DUDE IN MY STORY HAS A RUSSIAN ACCENT.What is that hard to understand that i just gave a direction that i thought about.Did you actually read my story,because if you didn't you should not comment.I honestly think that We all could live without your comment,please stop commenting in vain felixm.

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
Dude,those are metaphors..the cold sidewalk is not actually a sidewalk,
That's your intent. But release your words into the world and you, your intent, and everything about you becomes irrelevant. It's the reader and what meaning your words suggest to that reader, based on their background and experience suggest. You said sidewalk so that's what it is—no more and no less. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
What's so hard to understand...
Blaming the reader is a waste of time. If they don't get it it's your fault. You're trying to generate a specific effect in the mind of someone who not only doesn't know you, they're probably of a different generation, background, and even gender. They probanly come from a different aea, so their perceptions and word usage differs from yours. So expecting a reader to understand how your Russian man feels about his life because you mention something meaningful to you is unrealistic.
This guy is talking to himself,and we are there to listen.
So someone we know nothing about, in an unknown location, is talking about an unknown time in his life, for unknown reasons. Were you on a bus and I sat down and began talking about my past in overview would you be pleased, or would you edge away? What possible reason is there for a reader to want to know a few facts about someone they don't know, no matter their nationality?

Stories must, before anything else, make sense to the reader. And that means you write fiction as a kind of self-guiding trail that keeps the reader oriented and enjoying the journey. Unfortunately, that's not a skill we were taught in school. So if you enjoy writing fiction, spending a bit of time, and perhaps a few dollars, learning the professional tricks the pros take for granted would be a wise investment. Noting I said has to do with you, your talent and potential, or the story. It has to do with the craft of writing that our medium requires us to know.


Senior Member
Oh, a note please, learn a little about Russian names and customs.. There is no Vlad. There is no Niko for short form of Nikolai. There is Kolya for short Nikolai, but only his closest friends and families would call him that. Otherwise, they would call him Nikolai [father's name]ovich. Such as Nikolai Fyodorovich or Nikolai Vladimirovich or Nikolai Rodionovich.

Vladimir would never be Vlad. He would be one of the following:


If you do not know a person, you call them by their first name and patronymic name. I believe you can call someone by their first name if you know them, but never by their diminutive until they give you permission. So Nikolai's father was Fyodor.

"Hello, what's your name?"
"Nikolai Fyodorovich.."
"Ah, Nikolai Fyodorovich. Did you see the football game?"
"Yes, it was very good."
"You know, my sister Grushka said--"
"Oh, your sister is Agrafena Fyodorovna Roskov, right? I saw a picture of you once! I know her. Go figure! Small world. I used to date her. She told me about you, how you were in prison in Siberia."
"Yes, yes. Well then, call me Kolya!"
"Oh, and I am Vladimir Levich, but I suppose call me Vova!"

It's very important, because otherwise it will be typical American...well...it's important to get it right, and I just wanted to point it out. It's not one of those matters you can overlook for artistic liberty...Russians simply have very strict naming customs. Look over a Russian novel.



Senior Member
So you might write

When I was in prison, there was this real idiot named Golov, which really has a ugly sound to it if you ask me, like something you spit up.

There you used his last name, yes, but you are not addressing him, and you are speaking of him negatively, too.

There was this very wise inmate though, named Lev Ivanovich. He was about eighty, I think. Well, he never drank and he could get things for you. He was a father to me.

"Well, the weather's not too bad this time of year," I said to a bearded man, who looked like a venerable monk or priest. There was this aura about him. I respected him from the moment I saw him.
"What's your name, kid?" the old man asked.
"Vladimir Vladimirovich."
"I'm Lev Ivanovich. I know how to get things."
"Well, Lev Ivanovich, how about vodka?"
"Talk to a guy named Tolstoy. I don't do alcohol. Against my ethics."
"Like the writer?"
"Yep. Really nice guy. Always drunk, but I guess that's good? Look, there's Grushenka. She can get...give you things...too."


Senior Member
I think you need to tone down on the edginess here. It's just excessive and doesn't add anything to the story.

Also, why is this in non-fiction?


Senior Member
I really did not know that much about stories at the time,as this is one of my first works.I posted it in non-fiction because my grandpa told me about a friend of his from his days back in Russia.It is sort of a true story,although it is just an introduction.Hope you understand me better now.


I think if to move from some different cultural setting into another cultural setting - it may need - in additional the texts, also the cultural transfer