This is topic The Horsemen of Route 116 - Horror - 4,000 words in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by XD3V0NX on :
I re did the first few lines of Road Kill, and I came up with a better title instead, "The Horsemen of Route 116". The title goes with the story better as well. The first scene is really not that long. It's not far after the first thirteen lines that I actually start the next part. But anyway, let me know what you all think. Thanks.

And let me know if you would like taking a look at it.

I probably SHOULD add, before someone makes note of this. Why is he going down Route 116 if it's haunted by the devil? Well, I actually have that a couple lines down from that last line. I know some would question that.

I sat behind the wheel of my black 1966 Mustang. Out the side window, Dawn stared at me like he knew something bad was going to happen. “Once again,” Dawn said, scratching his thick beard, “do ya promise you won’t take Route 116?”
“You’ve got my word,” I said, smiling.
“You know I’d go with you if I could, but today’s me an’ my girlfriend’s one year anniversary, man.”
I nodded. “I really will call if somethin’ happens, so don’t worry about me.”
“You better,” he said, watching as I backed out of the driveway.
I knew why he acted like this.
Route 116, Dawn said, was haunted by the devil.

[This message has been edited by XD3V0NX (edited September 27, 2010).]

Posted by Jennywinnie (Member # 8510) on :
That is a great opener! I would totally take a look at it.
Posted by XD3V0NX on :
Thank you, Jenny. I sent you it. It's in your inbox. =]
Posted by skadder (Member # 6757) on :
Dawn is a girl's name, isn't it?
Posted by XD3V0NX on :
It is, but Taylor can be a girls name and a boy's name. The same goes with A LOT of names. Speaking of, here is a good example: in the book Firestarter by Stephen King, the girls name is Chris (even though I'm sure that's short for Christie or something, I can't remember for sure). Chris is 100% boys name. I know some people who are guys and they have girls names. The same goes for girls having guys name. Plus, I didn't mention this in the thirteen lines, maybe I should have, but Dawn is actually short for Donovan. If I had a friend named Donovan, I'd probably call him Dawn.

Posted by jayazman (Member # 2818) on :
I understand the confusion of the name. Dawn in considered the spelling for a woman, while Don is usually the spelling for a man. If my name was Donovan, I might get upset if you spelled it Dawn, instead of using the first three letters of my name, Don (which is also easier since there are fewer letters in Don than Dawn).

This opening works for me. By emphasizing not to go down the route, I know that somehow that is exactly what's going to happen,so it sets up several options for potential conflict.

I'll read it as long as you don't need it returned for at least a week.

Posted by XD3V0NX on :
I see your point. However, I would probably be all right if my name was spelled Dawn. To me, that sounds pretty awesome, the way that is spelled, but that is just me. Although, my name is not Donovan, so what would i know.


Posted by XD3V0NX on :
And all right, Jazaymen. I will send you it and no i do not need it in a week. Just get to it when you can. Thanks. I will send you it when I get access to a computer. i am using my phone on hatrack right now.
Posted by Corky (Member # 2714) on :
The thing is, why are you deliberately (or obstinately?) confusing your readers by insisting on spelling a name of a male character in the way that is usually indicative of a female character?

Remember OSC's question 3: huh? (From "faith, hope, and clarity")

Posted by MrsBrown (Member # 5195) on :
I'll add one more voice to the Dawn confusion: I definitely think it is a girl's name, and what's more a girlie name, while I wouldn't think that of Don at all.

When I first read it, I thought you were personifying the Dawn, as in looking out the window at the dawning sun.

Posted by XD3V0NX on :
I see all your points. All right. I'll change it to Don, then, or maybe another name all on its own.
Posted by Twiggy (Member # 9209) on :
I think I would find it even smoother without a couple of the 'he said' bits.

Also, you slip into telling on the last two lines. Dawn/Don could tell us it's haunted by the devil in the dialogue.

Otherwise, I really liked it.

Posted by XD3V0NX on :
Thanks, Twiggy. Well, I would change it now, but unfortunately I already sent it to Dark Discoveries magazine about an hour ago, before I got onto Hatrack. I really really want to have my short story published in that magazine. It's a really great one to get into I found out. x]
Posted by James Creviston (Member # 9282) on :
Wow, what a catchy beginning. I have to say that the flow of the banter grabbed my attention. I too thought you were referring to dawn as in the dawn of day.

The twist of it being a man shocked me for a second but I actually think I liked that difference. It is something I would read for sure.

James Creviston


Posted by Osiris (Member # 9196) on :
I like this, and would read it. Happy to give a critique as I'm in between drafts right now on my own work.

Here are my thoughts:

-I second, third, and fourth, the comments about Dawn. Go with Don, looks like you did, so that is all I'll say on it.


I sat behind the wheel of my black 1966 Mustang.

I like the detail of the mustang. I don't like the use of 'sat.' It's a weak verb. Hard to come up with a stronger verb for someone sitting in a car. But maybe you can use something that characterizes the narrator a bit more. Maybe he is hunkering in the chair because he expects something bad to happen. But he sounds like that isn't his style. He sounds more rebellious and reckless to me. Maybe something like:
"I draped my arm over the door of my black 1966 Mustang."
That'd give a kind of casual air to him.

Also, at the end "I knew why he acted like this" is very telly, not showy, and sort of bland. Maybe show us the stimulus on his face (some expression of trepidation), and actually have Don say it's haunted by the devil.

Posted by philocinemas (Member # 8108) on :
How about:
I revved the engine of my black 1966 Mustang.

I agree with what was said about the last two lines.

However: The devil is typically referred to as "possessing" things, not "haunting". Try this:

...he said, watching as I backed out of the driveway, "that's the devil's road!"

Posted by XD3V0NX on :
Thank you, James. I'm glad you liked it. And I changed his name to "Don", rather, so I no longer have that problem.

Osiris, I like the way you put that, and I think I will consider it. I got a response back from this one magazine, Psedopod, and gave me a really helpful critique. The crit caused me to actually re do the beginning, to a part before this beginning. I will send my new version to you. Out of curiosity, any idea when you might have my crit done? No rush, really, just curious.

Philocinemas, I like your use of having Don tell him that in That way.

[This message has been edited by XD3V0NX (edited October 11, 2010).]

Posted by Osiris (Member # 9196) on :
Hey XD,

I'm in the middle of a crit right now, should be done with that one in a day or so. I can probably have yours done this week as well. You have MS Office?

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