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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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short story begining... - August 9th 2017, 08:15 PM

okay so i've always enjoyed creative writing but since going to high school I feel like I haven't had much time to invest in that. NOW, however, I want to jump back into it and maybe try to be more regular and serious about it.

This is a possible begining for a short story I'm wanting to write. I won't tell you now what it's about or the idea behind it, because I'd really like you to read it just as any clueless, normal reader would so that I can get some good criticism. I've somewhat figured out what the story might consist of, but the only 100% definite thing I have is a theme. What I've written so far will probably be edited again and maybe replaced by a different passage, so this is just a trial of sorts. What I've written so far doesn't make much sense so as a reader you're not supposed to know what's really going on, so all I'd really like to know is if these first few paragraphs grab your attention, if they keep you intrigued, and what general mood they convey...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The dirt road stretches out into a vast yellow horizon, and a static wind hums. Planets hang from the sky like Christmas balls and can be spotted clearly even while the sun is heaving heat at its fullest. Sap oozes out of skeleton trees like honey, and once it pools onto the ground, the orange dust clings to it like a newborn on its mother's teet and forms polished, granular marbles which detach and float in droplets. There is an iced-over pool through which I see people. I see us stumbling through a moonlit forest on a warm summer night.


You pushed aside armfuls of branches and shrubs, I ran after you breathlessly into the night, limbs buzzing. You marched for what felt like hours, until I dared wonder if I should maybe ask you to stop or slow down, my knees scraped with thistles and heather and rocks, caked with dirt. When we got to the top, the forest line receded and gave way to a clearing on a cliff-edge overlooking the distant city lights. Up there, you couldn't hear the sounds of chatter or music from the party behind us, you couldn't hear the rush of traffic below; only the rustling of the trees and sounds made by ourselves were audible to us, and even then, they seemed suspended; your words existed only in gentle thuds which disappeared just as soon as they had been formed. All I could think about was that it looked like we were bathed in milk. “There”, you whispered.
We lay side by side in the dried grass and watched clouds move like jellyfish across the pale night sky, catching the occasional glimpse of a shimmering star. “it kinda looks like it would if you were looking at whales in the ocean,” you said. “you ever seen whales?” I asked; “No. Just in movies.”


My palms are pressed against the surface of the pool. I lie down with my cheek against the burning ice and try to listen. All that I get are vague vibrations, remnants of movements gently knocking against the ice like dice. I look up and see whales descending from the sky, humpback whales, beluga whales, blue whales, sperm whales, grey whales, orca whales; they cascade from Saturn to Mars then soar into my atmosphere bellies swollen, fins carving, teeth vaccuming rogue seeds; they crash graciously into the arid terrain, dust billowing, ribs crushed; they moan, lamenting their fate, gums caked with sand.

I think about how strange it is that I wander here day and night while you sit in China, Mexico, or the Moon.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There you go! as I said, I'd love some feedback, whether it be telling me the mood/feeling this conveys to you or a specific part of a sentence I could alter to make it sound more fluid and eloquent...


Thanks!!


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Re: short story begining... - August 9th 2017, 08:51 PM

Your piece is very interesting and vividly described, which I love in any writing. I do find it a bit confusing to read though, as you use a lot of mixed and contradictory metaphors. For example, "skeletons" and "dust" followed by "newborn". A contradiction between death and life. Unless that is your intention?

Now, something else that seems contradictory: you describe a burning hot scene. I can feel the heat, the dryness of your world, which resonates with me especially because I live in a country where we have very hot, dry summers. Your description there is excellent. But then you talk about a frozen pool? How does that harmonize with the heat?

Last thing, maybe try varying your sentence structure a bit. As it is, most of your sentences are very long. While I can see this is to make room for your beautiful description, consider shorter sentences. It's punchier. It makes your writing easier to read. Long sentences tire a reader. E.g.
"I look up. I see whales descending from the sky. Humpback whales. Beluga whales. Blue whales. Sperm whales. Grey whales. Orca whales. They cascade from Saturn to Mars then soar into my atmosphere."

I would really love to know what your theme is. It would help me to make sense of the mixed metaphors that you use. Your piece has the potential to become amazing, and I'm very keen to see where this goes.
   
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Re: short story begining... - August 10th 2017, 02:07 AM

I think this dragged me in due to the descriptive language you used. I'd be really curious to see where things go.


   
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Re: short story begining... - August 10th 2017, 05:57 AM

I agree with Kyburg's critique. Varying sentence structure would make it easier to read, and unless the intention was an over-saturation of similes, it might be a good idea to cut back on them a bit; there are ways to be descriptive without always using similes and metaphors. Also, in general it's a good idea to start a new paragraph when someone new is speaking so that it's easy to follow who's saying what. If you were going for juxtaposition, the inclusion of the icy pool after describing the ambient heat is a good idea, but I'll admit it took me a bit by surprise. As did the last sentence - the descriptions up until that point had seemed almost otherworldly, so it was a bit jarring to suddenly have real places being mentioned.

Critique aside, it's a very engaging and well-written piece, and I'm interested to know what it's about and what happens next. Thanks for sharing, and I hope to read more of it soon, should you choose to share it with us.


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Re: short story begining... - August 12th 2017, 12:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychomachia. View Post
I agree with Kyburg's critique. Varying sentence structure would make it easier to read, and unless the intention was an over-saturation of similes, it might be a good idea to cut back on them a bit; there are ways to be descriptive without always using similes and metaphors. Also, in general it's a good idea to start a new paragraph when someone new is speaking so that it's easy to follow who's saying what. If you were going for juxtaposition, the inclusion of the icy pool after describing the ambient heat is a good idea, but I'll admit it took me a bit by surprise. As did the last sentence - the descriptions up until that point had seemed almost otherworldly, so it was a bit jarring to suddenly have real places being mentioned.


I agree with all of this and I think Chess said it in a way I never could.

That being said, I did still really enjoy this and am interested to see where this goes!

Thank you for sharing!


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Re: short story begining... - August 14th 2017, 10:51 PM

This is so well written! I'm a fan of really vivid descriptions and I think you got that spot on. I love the language you used and the images it created in my head, and I think you should write more so we can read it! I'd be interested to know a bit more about what the story is about because it sounds like it's a really creative idea.


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Re: short story begining... - August 20th 2017, 11:53 AM

Thank you all for your critiques, this is very helpful ! I'll work on this some more today to edit this passage, and once I've made some progress I'll post again


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Re: short story begining... - August 20th 2017, 12:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyburg View Post
Your piece is very interesting and vividly described, which I love in any writing. I do find it a bit confusing to read though, as you use a lot of mixed and contradictory metaphors. For example, "skeletons" and "dust" followed by "newborn". A contradiction between death and life. Unless that is your intention?

Now, something else that seems contradictory: you describe a burning hot scene. I can feel the heat, the dryness of your world, which resonates with me especially because I live in a country where we have very hot, dry summers. Your description there is excellent. But then you talk about a frozen pool? How does that harmonize with the heat?

Last thing, maybe try varying your sentence structure a bit. As it is, most of your sentences are very long. While I can see this is to make room for your beautiful description, consider shorter sentences. It's punchier. It makes your writing easier to read. Long sentences tire a reader. E.g.
"I look up. I see whales descending from the sky. Humpback whales. Beluga whales. Blue whales. Sperm whales. Grey whales. Orca whales. They cascade from Saturn to Mars then soar into my atmosphere."

I would really love to know what your theme is. It would help me to make sense of the mixed metaphors that you use. Your piece has the potential to become amazing, and I'm very keen to see where this goes.

I chose to use contradictory terms to create this uneasy atmosphere, and my idea was to describe this surreal, warped, incoherent world which is meant to represent the narrator's subconsciousness (but I didn't intend for the reader to grasp that in the beginning). I'll go through it again though, and maybe describe it in more detail so that it's clearer that it was done on purpose.

Thank you for pointing out the sentence structure !! Now that I'm reading over it I see what you mean. I'll make it more varied.

The main themes on which the story structure is based is the human experience of loneliness and isolation, and limited perception. So my idea is to tell the story by alternating between these two worlds, one of them being the subconsciousness/beingness of the narrator (which the narrator talks about in the present tense, and which is described as very surreal), and the other being the "real world" (which the narrator talks about in the past tense). So yeah... the overall idea is to explore if two people can really be "connected" since we always have this distinct feeling of separateness and most of the time we are up in our own minds.


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Re: short story begining... - August 20th 2017, 08:35 PM

That sounds fascinating! Those are interesting themes. Please keep us updated. I really want to read the full story!
   
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