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Short Stories > I need readers to help me out

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message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Walsh | 15 comments I am an amature writer. this is the first chapter to my horror story. It is a first draft. I will rewrite it with a bit more finess once I am finished the first draft of the novel. I wrote this chapter in a couple of hours so if there are some grammatical issues, please dont think too much of them. Thanks alot I appreciate it


message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 4052 comments I posted this in the comment, too.

This is well written. The only thing I would say is your narrations need to be put in one paragraph, instead of spread out in tiny little paragraphs. Usually, in books, what I see is the bulk descriptive paragraph, then dialogue in the next paragraph, the other dialogue in the next paragraph, etc. That way, when a dialogue happens, you can really see it. I read this at the end of reading a bunch of posts, so I'll have to come back to fine tooth this. Thanks for sharing your writing.

message 3: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 4052 comments Just so you're aware, if people don't respond to this, it's because it's not popping in their notifications. I digested everything to avoid the temptation of popping in whenever I receive an e-mail notification. But I receive e-mail notifications from new topics. I didn't receive any from this. I found this scrolling through the topics at my regular times I usually come in to look at the forums.

message 4: by Guido (new)

Guido Henkel (guidohenkel) | 244 comments Yeah, I barely get notifications these days, even from topics that I am actively involved int. Weird...

Anyway, I'll try to take the time and look over your writing, Kevin, when I have a minute.

message 5: by Guido (new)

Guido Henkel (guidohenkel) | 244 comments It has a nice flow, generally, making a solid impression right away.

However, I had to re-read the first paragraph twice to get it. That's not a good thing. You want to be as concise as you can be. For example in order to make absolutely clear what's happening I would change

"Private Mathews leaned his left elbow on the door of the large machine..."


"Inside, Private Mathews leaned his left elbow on the door of the large machine..."

for example. Now it is clear that the revved engine is not some machine passing by, but that Mathews is actually inside it. Maybe it's just me, but the lack of that one word forced me to re-read the paragraph to grasp its meaning.

There are more instances like this, so I would look it over again and make sure you are saying exactly what it is you want to say.

Also, keep a look-out for repetitions. Many of your sentences begin with "He..." It is one of the things I am working very consciously on, for example, to make sure my sentences don't all have the same structure and beginning, etc. You get a better flow when you play around with your sentences a little.

Lastly I agree with Aloha. It appears almost as if you allocate a paragraph for every sentence. You should group them together better, by train of thought, or by what is going on in the scene.

Other than that, this is a nice piece or writing, I think.

message 6: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) I also have a story posted. Could you guys have a look at it? I'm hoping to see what other people might think.


message 7: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 4052 comments I put this where you originally put it, but just in case with this weird overly large forum not sending notifications here and there.

Amanda, congratulations for finishing a piece! You have a strong skill in writing details, which will come in really handy when you're ready to write a novel. Some suggestions for a short story:

I think in a short story, the rhythm and flow has to be highly condensed. Here is what I mean.

1. You're going to have to push the foreshadowing and the drama to get to your horror event. Since it is basically a foreshadowing scene, the jail cell and interrogation event has to be more concise and more descriptive, using choice, tense words that leads the reader to have a strong curious expectation. Maybe the scene could be depicted more crazily, more chaotic, using certain descriptive words, and rhythm and breaking of sentences. I would look at horror authors who wrote very effective foreshadowing scenes that builds expectations to what happened that lead to the current event.

2. The change of scenery between the present event and the past is nebulous. It took me a while to realize that was a past event I was moving to. You need a stronger transition.

3. The scene in the diner where he's waiting for his brother is overly long. It is not that important compared to the foreshadowing scene and the horror scene to have such a huge presence. It makes it boring. You could condense it down by building a tense psychological profile of him and his family, and a stronger but condense interaction with the diner patrons and environment.

4. The weirdness needs to be raised when meeting with the guy that wants the land. Also, why does he want the land? Does the alien need the land for a special reason. That question needs to be answered for me. All I get is somebody wants the land, somebody manipulated so that the brother's payment was lost, and for what reason? Then it jumped to the alien killing the people. ???? The reasoning isn't clear to me. I would replot the short story with the main plot, then answer any "why?" questions, then build the detailing and action around that. I think the replotting would also help you to see how big of a chunk you're allotting to each scene, and what needs to be put in to move it on to the next event. So you have the main thing of the aliens wanting the land? Or do the aliens just want to kill? Or did they kill because the people wouldn't give up the land? Why? Then you have the foreshadowing part, the build up, and the main horror. How would the foreshadowing, being the important intro., can be built so that the reader has a strong expectation to find out what happened. How can the momentum be carried in the past scene of the meeting at the diner, to the meeting with Mr. Kaufman, to the horror event. Horror, especially, needs to have a special foreshadowing and momentum to create the fear and tension in the reader.

5. The horror scene is good. Maybe rewrite to see how more momentum of horror can be put into it, via choice words, sentence rhythm, etc.

Anyway, that's my 5 cents, Amanda. Congratulations for finishing a piece. It's not easy to write, I know. Otherwise, I'd be a writer.

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