Writingforums

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!

The Storm (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

egpenny

Senior Member
This is a bit of flash fiction written from a prompt of; flat tire, picture frame, crepe paper flowers. I'm fighting comma faults and run-on sentences. Please, any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The Storm


“It’s raining, It’s pouring, da-de-da, bumped his head, da-de-dum, something, something, in the morning.” That nursery rhyme was driving me crazy.

The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water from the glass. The storm was torrential, and the rain easily overpowered the wipers feeble efforts. The road was empty, in front and behind the car. I was alone in my small, wet universe. Only the glow of the centerline in the headlights kept me on the road. Now, this silly rhyme was on my mind, taking my concentration away from driving.

I don’t know what possessed me to drive up here in the middle of the night. I could have stayed in my cozy, dry home until morning. I remembered then, the pushy offer of unwanted company from a cousin. This trip was personal; I needed to do this alone.

A quick glance showed me the box was still on the passenger seat. I’d thought it had slid off when I’d driven around that last sharp curve. I saw the picture frame and the faded, dusty-pink, crepe paper flower roses were still there, convicting me with their presence. That old familiar twinge of guilt settled heavily on my shoulders.

The flowers brought back the memory of good times when my sister and I had spent a week making garlands of the roses when we were teenagers. I couldn’t remember what we made them for, some event lost in history.

I wasn’t aware any of the flowers had survived from so long ago. Not until I’d found my sister’s trunk last week, hidden, shoved under the attic eaves. The flowers were in it, along with the faded picture in its tarnished frame, and the note, yellowed with age. The note said that if she was dead, I was to take the picture and the roses and lay them at her grave. I wished I’d never found that thing, never let my careless fingers lift that latch, never lifted that lid. Sister, sister, what were you thinking? What did you know when you wrote that note?

“The old man is snoring. Hah, raining, pouring, snoring, that’s another line,” I muttered as the verse came to me.

Everyone said to ignore the note, it couldn’t mean anything, as old as it was.

My sister died over twenty years ago. All that time the trunk had been in the attic, like an evil landmine, waiting to explode and push me back into the pit of guilt.

Thump-thump, the wipers kept time to some unknown music while my mind wandered. My sister, there’d been just the two of us, no other siblings. Vicky was the lively one, the lovely one, outgoing, and everyone’s friend. I was the quiet brother, bookish and introspective. I’m sure my parents thought it should have been me; I should have been driving that night. I should have endured the flat tire, I should have run off the road into that tree. And, yes, it should have been me. Pretty Vicky agreed to run an errand for me; one I thought couldn’t possibly wait for the next day. My heart hurt at the memory.

“He went to bed and bumped his head.” Yes, that was it, but there was something about the morning. “Bumped his head,” I repeated. My breath caught in a sob as my mind replayed the scenes for me. Vicky, her skull cracked, the month long coma, and me, pulling the plug to let her die.

The sign for the cemetery was just ahead. I slowed to a crawl, turning onto the gravel road and began the approach to my sister’s final resting place. The cemetery was dismal on a bright day. In the dark of the storm, it was spooky. I parked as close to her grave a possible and turned off the engine. It would be daylight soon, and then I’d see this thing through, even if the storm still raged. I needed this to be over. I needed to sink back into my life of guilt and apathy.

I dozed and woke with a start. It was dawn and the last line of the nursery rhyme came fresh to my mind.

It’s raining, it’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And wouldn’t get up in the morning.

Tears streaked down my cheeks, as I pulled the picture out of the frame and picked up the small bundle of crepe paper roses. The storm had passed and all that was left was wet grass and patches of muddy dirt. The picture was of Vicky and her boyfriend. He was tall and handsome. He had died before Vickie, in an Arab land, far from home.

I leaned the picture against the headstone and wound the roses around both. The picture seemed to glow in the morning light. It was surrounded by the diamond-like glitter of rain drops that clung to the grass.

A shaft of sunshine hit my face and I turned my head to avoid its brightness. I stared, blinked my eyes, and stared again. A short distance from me my sister and her young man were dancing together. Vibrant pink roses twined around them and Vicky looked at me, laughing with joy.

The vision faded and a cold wetness seeped through my clothes. I didn’t remember sitting down on the rain-soaked ground, but there I was. There I stayed, staring at the spot where I’d witnessed—whatever it was. As the sun rose, a warm feeling of peace came over me. The guilt I’d carried for so long lifted off my shoulders; and I took in a deep breath, letting it out in a slow sigh.

This old man would get up in the morning, I thought, as I rose to my feet. Maybe I’d get up to a happier life, too.

“Good-bye Vicky. Love you, sis,” I said and turned to leave.
 

Plasticweld

Senior Member
I wish I could tell you I spotted something that would help you with the grammar or punctuation, that you mentioned in your intro. The honest answer is that this is a good story written well in my opinion, it flowed well and at no time did I get lost and have to re-read or stumble in the middle of a sentence for a lack of a coma. I am not the guy to ask for this kind of help but I can tell you as an expert, story teller, Great Story!
 

Trygve

Senior Member
Nicely done, really. I saw no run-on sentences.

in the second line, I think it should be in front of and behind the car. If you take out the "and behind" part, it makes the need for "of" more obvious.

I suppose you could argue that this sentence could use a semicolon or be written as two separate sentences : I should have endured the flat tire, I should have run off the road into that tree. The "I" to begin each clause was absolutely necessary in the context, and it's sort of list-y, so I think it's a fine place to break a minor rule when the two are more closely related than a semicolon might suggest.

I think it would be better to omit the comma here: Tears streaked down my cheeks, as I pulled the picture out of the frame and picked up the small bundle of crepe paper roses.
The "as" makes the second clause dependent on the first and takes away the need for a comma.

Your sentences varied nicely, and I loved the way you wove the rhyme through the story. Also, the setting and weather really augmented the tone. Well done, in my humble opinion.
 

egpenny

Senior Member
Plasticweld - Thanks for the kind words. That must mean I'm getting better at spotting things.

Trygve - Thank you for the comments. I'll do some editing on the original.

I appreciate both of you!
 

dvspec

Senior Member
I really enjoyed the story, it is well done and since you posted it for help, I thought I would throw in my two cents. The prompts sounds familiar, where did it come from?

I have done a line edit, but it is really well written and I didn't find much to point out.

On my first read rain paragraph bothered me a little.


The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water from the glass. The storm was torrential, and the rain easily overpowered the wipers feeble efforts. I would cut from the glass and rework the sentences to read "The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water from the torrential storm. The rain easily over. . . "

The road was empty, in front <Agree with whoever said it needs an "of" and behind the car <consider changing this to 'me'. I was alone in my small, wet universe. <Like that line. Only the glow of the centerline <one word or two? in the headlights kept me on the road. Now, this silly rhyme was on my mind, taking my concentration away from driving.

This trip was personal; I needed to do this alone. <first use of a ; that I have seen and approved of on this site.

Pretty Vicky <I like that> agreed to run an errand for me; one I thought couldn’t possibly wait for the next day. <There is the second.

I’m sure my parents thought it should have been me; <Don't approve of that one. Needs to be a . so that the next sentence matches with the next two. I should have been driving that night. I should have endured the flat tire, <.> I should have run off the road into that tree. <Sounds like a mantra.

like an evil landmine, waiting to explode and push me back into the pit of guilt. <you don't need an evil landmine, just a landmine.

I’m sure my parents thought it should have been me; I should have been driving that night. <and that is three. I may have to change my view of these.


I wished I’d never found that thing, never let my careless fingers lift that latch <didn't like the use of careless.

I saw the picture frame and the faded, dusty-pink, crepe paper flower roses were still there, convicting me with their presence. <Loose the "I saw" you don't need it. I picked up on this because I do it a lot myself

Tears streaked down my cheeks, as I pulled the picture out of the frame and picked up the small bundle of crepe paper roses. <Why is he removing the picture from the frame? I would have left it in there and it will blow away when he places it.

The picture was of Vicky and her boyfriend. He was tall and handsome. He had died before Vickie, in an Arab land, far from home. <I'd make this one sentence. It's choppy this way.

diamond-like glitter of rain drops that clung to the grass. <lose that and make it clinging.

I stared, blinked my eyes, <don't think you need that , .> and stared again. A short distance from me <,> my sister and her young man were dancing together.

As the sun rose, a warm feeling of peace came over me. <lose warm, I attributed it to the sunrise. >

The guilt I’d carried for so long lifted off <I would use 'from'> my shoulders; <Don't approve of that ; > and I took in a deep breath, letting it out in a slow sigh.

“Good-bye Vicky. Love you, sis,” I said and turned to leave. <I prefer the story without this line. I think the good bye has already been said. >

I hope that helps. Good luck.
 

garza

Senior Member
egpenny - It's rare I enjoy something so lacking in dialogue, but this piece carried me along on tension's edge then set me gently down in calm relief. Good job.

dvspec - Your critique provides a nice polish to an already delightful bit of writing. this is how a witing forum is supposed to work.
 

HumanYoYo

Senior Member
dvspec pretty much covered the sentence structure and grammar. Other than those critiques, I thought it was well done. You set up the environment and setting nicely. The nursery rhyme fits well with the character and tone.
 

Apex

Senior Member
egpenny,

There used to be a song, "Comma,comma,comma, come come come," or something like that. Like you I was known as the comma king. If there were two words, I would put a comma between them. I always had a full box of commas near by. I was the joke of any forum I was a member of. My bad comma usage made others feel better than they were. I didn't have the slightest idea where the dame things should be...so I went out and got a book..."Nitty-Gritty Grammar.( ISBN 0-439-69211-3 )

I loved this little easy to read, and understand book. I loved it so much, I glued it to my forehead. Parts of it are still there. This little book will give you everything you will ever need on, grammar, and Punctuation.
Don't tell anybody I still have this book...I want them to think I'm smart. It's a secret...shhhhh.
 

Dr. Garp

Senior Member
I could do without the nursery rhyme. Your character is taking care of a serious matter in his life, I just think his mind would be more somber and quiet.. Or reflective and serious... Which is the tone throughout the rest of the story.. so I don't think taking out the nursery rhyme would bother the flow or structure of it at all if you chose to do so. Other than that, I liked it. Good story.
 

MHarding53

Senior Member
I am going to start my comment here with this observation. Great opening sentence! I have not even read the story yet, and that sentence has me hooked. As writers we are always searching for that one unbroken string of words that will have a profound effect on a reader. You nailed it for me. Now I plan to read the rest.

Do not change a single word. My own tears speak to your ability as a writer.

I wonder if I might have your permission to share this with one other person - full credit given to you of course.

I have read the edits by dvspec and agree with all but one.
"The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water from the torrential storm. The rain easily over. . . "
Windshield wipers were never designed to clear the water from a torrential storm. They are only created to clear water from windshields. I do see what he is talking about though.

Perhaps:

It was a torrential storm. The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water. They were failing. The road was empty.
 
Last edited:

curtis

Senior Member
I like the characterization. The character seems believable:
“The old man is snoring. Hah, raining, pouring, snoring, that’s another line,” I muttered as the verse came to me."

I like the comparison. The metaphor is very good:
"My sister died over twenty years ago. All that time the trunk had been in the attic, like an evil landmine, waiting to explode and push me back into the pit of guilt."


I like the way that the plot unfolds. Nice pacing:
"I’m sure my parents thought it should have been me; I should have been driving that night. I should have endured the flat tire, I should have run off the road into that tree."
 
Last edited:

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Hi,

First thoughts:

The sentences are quite short and there's not a huge amount of variation in their structure. Maybe change (for example):

The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the water from the glass. The storm was torrential, and the rain easily overpowered the wipers feeble efforts. The road was empty, in front and behind the car. I was alone in my small, wet universe. Only the glow of the centerline in the headlights kept me on the road. Now, this silly rhyme was on my mind, taking my concentration away from driving.

to something like:

The windshield wipers were working hard to clear the torrential water from the windscreen, but the storm easily overpowered their feeble efforts. The road was empty both in front and behind the car, and I was alone in my small, wet universe, with only the glow of the centerline in the headlights to keep me on the road; and now, this silly rhyme was on my mind, taking my concentration away from driving.


Didn't see too many comma run ons though, no more than the voice would warrant at any rate.

Hope this helps :)
 

DATo

Senior Member
A very beautiful, and exquisitely delivered short story! The song served as a nice catalyst to tie the story together - I found that to be a particularly creative and effective device.

No criticisms ... nicely done ... and thank you for sharing!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top