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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Crushing Creatures (expressionist humorous fantasy flash fiction...really)

   
Author Topic: Crushing Creatures (expressionist humorous fantasy flash fiction...really)
Yufae
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I consistently suck at determining what constitutes thirteen lines, but here it is anyway. Does it flow? Does it hook? Can you suggest a better title?

I saw their eyes this morning, peeping out from the place where the carpet meets the wall, so I know they’re waiting for me.

I come home from work, hug my stay-at-home Sirius and my daughter, who shows me her new light-up tennis shoes and does a dance on the kitchen tiles. The couch calls to me from the living room, and I obey, kicking my shoes off and lying down, just for a few minutes.

While I lie there, a number of things I shouldn’t worry about scamper out of the notebook full of bills and bank statements, slog out of my husband’s and my neatly-made bed, tip-toe out of every corner of my little girl’s room, and run pell-mell to the living room.


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annepin
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It's definitely piqued my interest, but I'm not quite sure I understand what's going on. Are the things in the carpet and the things that come out of the bills the same sort of entity or phenomenon? Also, while I get a sense of tension from the first line, the last paragraph has hardly any emotion at all--I'm left a little confused, then, as to whether these things are innocuous or not. I'm also not sure whether I'm supposed to take the last line literally or not.
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C L Lynn
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Again, I love your prose. To me, the flow is beautiful, like reading satin. As for the title, I *might* be able to suggest something, probably not as good a title as you can come up with, if I were able to look over the whole piece? The working title you've chosen does make me ask where you're going with this piece, if that helps. I assume it's going to be as dark and sad as "Silverware."

Just my curiosity, what do you read for inspiration and lessons in prose?


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honu
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beautiful prose/// the tension you create from the creatures? hiding under the carpet gets lost in the prose to me though//now is sirius satellite radio? sorry I live in an area where Ive heard of it but don't get it but think that's what you are referring to///I am more conflict oriented so like to see tension escalate from the hook-point instead of stall///a little tease is ok, but it's like your motor cut out in mid-flight and there's no real problem because your airplane is really a glider after all....
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Nick T
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Hi,

As per Anne's comment, I'd be looking for a lot more clarity in the last sentence. It's unnecessary ambiguity in what is happening and that pulls me out from the writing.

If this is flash, you really don't have a lot of time to get the story moving and introduce the reader to the basics of what's happening. I think Honu is right in that you might have drained the tension from your story by starting a bit early and losing focus on what your hook is. Somewhere or other in the last few days, Kathleen has offered some great advice of starting the story where the main protag makes a decision; maybe that will help? Is there another starting point for the story?

I love my prose stylists, but it's a very fine line between beauty and ambiguity...to my taste, the ambiguity is hiding the beauty. There's hints of the unusual in the beginning, but you move away from it.

As always, my ill-considered opinion.

Regards,

Nick


[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited January 06, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited January 06, 2009).]


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Gan
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I will agree with the others here, and say that the last line is a bit difficult to grasp. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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honu
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I keep coming back and rereading your story because it's so beautifully written. I backed away a bit and reread your title and the part about being expressionist. I think I have a tendency to take what I read literally unless told to do otherwise. If you had titled your story "My Day" I might have been able to look at the story and all the creatures (including) the carpet beasties as worries needing to be crushed and swept under the carpet more. All the unresolved conflicts that happen within a domestic situation can definately become creatures that need to be swept under the rug so to speak or dealt with according to ones coping abilities at the time. I think you have a rare gift of expression and I love to read your writing.

[This message has been edited by honu (edited January 07, 2009).]


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Yufae
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Thanks so much everyone for your enthusiasm and excellent advice!

There are some good tips on prose writing in Stephen King's On Writing, but I read Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories, John Irving's novels, and Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl for prose inspiration. They're the best. And I like listening to audiobooks. There's something about hearing the flow of great writing that really gets it in your head.

I've also found bad books very useful. Sometimes when I read something with a great plot but horrible writing, I'll rewrite particularly bad sentences in my head until they sound right. It's a great writing exercise.

[This message has been edited by Yufae (edited January 09, 2009).]


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C L Lynn
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Yufae, you wrote "Sometimes when I read something with a great plot but horrible writing, I'll rewrite particularly bad sentences in my head until they sound right. It's a great writing exercise." I grew up watching George Lucas's "Willow" at least once a week (one of those wonderful childhood obsessions), so when the sequel came out in a series of three novels, I was so excited. Then I read them. Chris Claremont, who wrote them for Lucas, is an atrocious writer and damn near ruined the experience for me. Every sentence has the "to be" verb, among other things. While I was reading I found myself replacing these verbs with a dozen others that would've worked better. I'm still afraid to use the "to be" verb. If I had extra time on my hands, I'd rewrite the entire series to suit myself. An excellent writing exercise, if impractical.

Jhumpa Lahiri's stories, huh? I'll have to check them out.


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ArachneWeave
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That's awesome.

That IS the whole?
(What flash is seems to vary...but if there's more I'd like to read it!)

If this is the complete story: I'm not well-read in flash, but if there was just a bit more of a hint of her making a decision, it would seem to be a story to me. For example, even reversing the last sentence so that what the creatures are doing comes first, and that she's remaining lying down second, would maybe make that more of an *ending*.

As for titles, I like to help people brainstorm, but am usually unhelpful in giving complete ones.

Themes you could probably draw on are:
housekeeping
working mom
to-do's

Things left inexplicit you may want to involve (in the title) are if she has a gift for seeing things others don't, whether Sirius left it for her to do...
Obviously you can't to all this or probably any of it in a title, but then again, who knows?

Good luck with it!


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