This is topic Red Wolf Moon (Supernatural Suspense, 7300 words) in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by philipmcclelland (Member # 8494) on :
Hi, I'm interested in feedback on the first 13 lines and/or the whole short story. Here is the beginning. Thanks, Philip.

Tommy was constantly aware of the red gaslight blinking on the dashboard. He had been speeding down the 15 in his Honda Civic going through Nevada on his way to San Diego. The air conditioner was barely spewing out lukewarm air. The radio announcer out of Henderson, Nevada crackled through the speaker that they hadn’t seen this hot of a scorcher in April since ’89 when the mercury boiled at 106 degrees.
This isn’t good, Tommy thought. There hasn’t been a single gas station for almost three hours. Well, that wasn’t true. The only gas station on the road he did pass looked like it had been built during the discovery of fossil fuel. The dilapidated sign outside the gas station said simply GAS in crooked letters and $9.36 unleaded. Tommy kept driving.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 22, 2009).]

Posted by Bent Tree (Member # 7777) on :
Tommy was constantly aware of the red gaslight blinking on the dashboard. He had been speeding down the 15 in his Honda Civic going through Nevada on his way to San Diego.

Overall this piece seemed a might wordy. This line for example could be rewritten:

'Damn. Tommy eyed the gaslight on the dash of his Civic. San Diego was 35 miles ahead and he hadn't seen a station in thirty minutes.'

There didn't seem to much of a hook besides the neon sign which in a way feels cliche. I would consider reworking this a bit to avoid that cliche as it is the first and sometimes only thing a slush reader sees before casting a verdict.


Posted by Dogmatic (Member # 8425) on :
I'd have to agree with Bent Tree. Some of your choice of words seems to halt the sentences. For example constantly, barely, even Tommy thought might sound better as thought Tommy.

I would only call it a Gas Station once, then station after that since you use the word GAS in the same sentence. You tell us twice that you're in Nevada.

I didn't find any hook to it that kept my interest but I would keep working on it. Let us know if you post a rewrite.

Thanks for sharing!


Posted by Kitti (Member # 7277) on :
Random question: are gas stations really that few and far between on such a major highway? I've never driven it, so I haven't a clue. In 3 hours, I would assume he's gone something like 180 miles and my poor car only gets about 200 miles on a tank. I would think on a highway, they'd have a few more gas stations, esp. given how many people (like me!) drive old clunkers.

Best case scenario in a Civic is you've got what... 12-13 gallon tank and maybe somewhere in the 20-30 mpg range?

Also, if there were more gas stations but he'd gone past them, I'd probably get more/faster insight into your character, since he'd be reacting or thinking about why he had waited so long to gas up.

But if I'm totally wrong and 15 really just doesn't have that many gas stations, remind me never to take that route! :-)

[This message has been edited by Kitti (edited February 21, 2009).]

Posted by philipmcclelland (Member # 8494) on :
Thank you for your feedback. I'm actually happy about where the story goes, but I've found that the front of my story doesn't bring you into the action fast enough. I'm going to take it back to the drawing board.

And yeah, last time I was on the 15 was about 5 years ago and the gas stations were that far apart. You wouldn't have thought it was like that but it was.

Thanks for your thoughts. Phil

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