This is topic The Driver and the Hitchhiker in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Here's an odd story about a driver and a hitchhiker that meet, and they are both serial killers. I got the idea from my mom, when she told me never to accept rides from strangers because I don't know who I'm getting in the car with. Well, I thought about it from the driver's POV as well. Couldn't they think the same thing? Couldn't I, the hitchhiker, equally be a serial killer just as much as that driver might possibly be? Well, I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what the outcome would be of TWO men, a driver and a hitchhiker, meeting, both being serial killers that are completely opposite, and they befriend each other only to trick each other, and in the end get what they want (which I haven't even really figured out myself yet, but I'll figure out more as I go along).

Anyway, here's a very rough sketch or draft of the beginning. I started this a few weeks ago, but stopped it, and since it's been awhile since I worked on it, I had to just kind of start from scratch again, using most of what I have for an outline of my new version.

I just wrote this kind of fast, so it might be kind of rough, but let me know what you think and of course what I can do to make it better. x]



TAKE 3 (NEWEST Version 3/22/12)

Lloyd walked the shoulder of the road, the traffic zooming by him underneath a sunny, blue, bird-filled sky. Houses were abandoned. No bitches for him to slaughter. That was too bad. He’d really looked forward to another quickie—“get in, get out, get rid of the bitch,” was what he lived by. Maybe a treat would find him, instead of him finding the treat. Why the hell not? That usually was how it happened. And his treats should be pretty and tasty—and should meet his needs. He lived by another simple rule: “Ain’t no bitch gon’ get close when they go screamin”. Not much, but hey, he "ain’t" no Shakespeare.
The countryside slaughters gave him the thrills he needed to get through the day—a stab here, a stab there, everywhere a stab, stab. And it was all thanks to his trusty hunting knife—his pal, his friend… hell, his mothuh ****in’ drinkin’ buddy.


I know this might be a quick change, but I just decided to give my last version's opening a shot. This version was actually written before the one below it, but no one had read it. So I'm going to just, well, give it a shot anyway and see if I was closer the first time around.

(Older Version)

Lloyd walked the shoulder of the road, the traffic zooming by him underneath a sunny, blue, bird-filled sky. No one stayed at houses he passed, most of which were abandoned. He didn’t care, not from one blue **** to the other. He had a mission. Something he had to do. And it required another man, or another woman, or another child who was old enough to drive a car. He needed to be picked up by a stranger that shared no attachments with him.
And what better location then the country side? He would like to get to know the person picking him up, would like to share life stories, but no, never again. He'd learned his lesson. Last time, he almost got caught when he was stabbing Rainy in the back with a hunting knife. And she'd screamed. And made noise. Can you believe it? She wanted him dead. Why? It was only an act of love.



I would never forget the two men that killed each other for the same sick twisted purpose, in the same twisted way. I’d been watching from the house a mile away when the Chevy Impala came crashing into the barn, and I don’t remember much, but I’ll never forget the two names I heard being tossed around weaved in with the slanderous words I hate even remembering: Frank and Lloyd.
Frank and Lloyd, I never knew them myself, but I’d heard about them on the radio, the two sickest twisted serial killers ever to walk the face of the earth. Even sicker and more twisted than Jack the Ripper, or John Wayne Gacy, doing unspeakable things to his victims that I’d rather not go into at the moment.
Frank and Lloyd were the type of guys you just knew were bad news.

[ March 22, 2012, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: C@R3Y ]
Posted by axeminister (Member # 8991) on :
Hi C@r3y,

First thing I noticed is the names Frank and Lloyd made me immediately think of Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect. Not sure if you want that connection, or if anyone else would notice, but I thought I'd mention that.

Next is, while not uncommon for a story to start with - I remember the time - I think for a short story, if that's what this turns out to be, you should start with the action.

What I mean by action, in this case, is "live action."

This 13 is all tell and back story, so it's hard for me to get into it. The MC is watching, (from a mile away?) right? I'd suggest he's in the house next to the barn, he's up at 2am getting a drink or something, or he can't sleep, (giving us some character trait to latch on to, making the MC stand out) and he sees the car crash into his barn, Back to the Future style.

Out piles the two men.

Heck, maybe they tried to kill each other, realized what was up, laughed it off, had some drinks, and drove around until they crashed. (How deadpan scary would it be if they, with humor, related theis introduction to the MC?)

Now maybe you can do a little back talking. Saying the MC'd regret the day he let them in his house, then go back to the story, they walk across the lawn, or whatever, but this way we have forward moving action/story.

Incidentally, I choose 2am because "nothing good ever happens after midnight".

My father-in-law was up a few nights back around 2:30. He saw headlights out the window. Someone got out, beat the hell out of his mailbox with a bat, screamed into the night, and drove off. He said he didn't sleep the rest of the night. I don't blame him. That's creepy stuff.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Already put a somewhat new version up.

Thanks for the comments, Axe. I decided to go back to my last version because I realized I was probably closer with that one. But I guess I shall see. =]
Posted by axeminister (Member # 8991) on :
You're stuck with me now...

This one definitely "feels" better than the other one.

Consider the following suggestions, which I happen to be working on myself, so I think I see them more easily now than in the past.

Sentence one: Good. Told from Lloyd's POV.
Sentence two: Told from Author POV
Sentence three: Back to Lloyd's POV.
Next few: Back to Author POV

If you can stay in the Homunculus theory of mind, putting us in the driver's seat, you're gold. (Thanks to Nick T for that one.)

Put me in Lloyd's shoes, no matter how filthy, and make me see and feel what he sees and feels. I think this is why James Patterson is so popular.

One particular nit that stood out:
"He had a mission. Something he had to do."

Have you seen the TV show, Dexter? He's *compelled* to do what he does. I'm thinking Lloyd is too. Along with putting me in his shoes, make me feel his compulsion. (not saying in 13, but just in general.) What you've written feels more like a "tell" than a "show".

Hope this helps.

Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Thanks Axe! Helpful information and thoughts.

Third version is up. It's more in Lloyd's POV now, although it is pretty "filthy" as you put it. But hey, the story is leaning more toward this way since we're talking about two serial killers here. x]

Let me know what you think, and if I am getting closer. x]
Posted by axeminister (Member # 8991) on :
I was hoping someone else would chime in.

Come on all you someone else's...

3rd is my favorite. Closest POV. Very gritty. Not a likable guy, for sure.

You use the word bitch four times. May want to taker easy on that one. [Smile]

Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Two points for consideration.

One, this sentence is static voice (not passive voice, static voice because it is emotionally static): "Lloyd walked the shoulder of the road, the traffic zooming by him underneath a sunny, blue, bird-filled sky."

Noun-verb syntax: "Lloyd walked" signals little emotional significance, not much else emotional in the following object clause. However, emotional attitude artfully pours on following that first sentence. Consider what the "real" subject of the first sentence is and what the purpose of it is. To establish setting and the persons in the setting so readers are transported into and anchored in the secondary setting of the narrative. Okay enough as is, but disconnected from the interior voice of the remainder, though the transition sentences step from the external to the internal artfully.

To open the story and close in and stay in Lloyd's perspective, try opening with what he perceives without the narrator mediation of him walking the roadside. Show his movement without reciting it in summary.

For example: /Traffic zoomed by Lloyd underneath a sunny, blue, bird-filled sky./ If the traffic is the "real" subject. Add a touch of foreshadowing by incorporating Lloyd's predatory feeling about the zooming traffic, the sunny, blue, bird-filled sky. Like he's a hunter on the savanna seeking meat. The birds could be scavengers circling over a kill, for example. Sunny and blue sky is emotionally static. Is it a pretty sky? An ominous sky? It is if the birds are vultures hovering above a kill. What kind of emotionally-charged sunny sky is it? What emotional color of blue? For that matter, what kind of traffic? Semis and passenger cars jockeying for position or sparse then jammed together then sparse again. Show Lloyd's emotional attitude toward the traffic, the sky, and the birds.

Two: Lloyd is between kills. Also static. Show him on the prowl screening prey rather than pending between prey-stalking actions. That would dynamically close artfully into Lloyd's immediate perspective.

[ March 27, 2012, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by rcmann (Member # 9757) on :
Quasi-technical question. Have you done much medical/psych research into psychotic homicidal tendencies? Is/are your villain(s) true to life?

The one labeled (older), the middle one, seems more likely to lure me into reading. The first one rather repelled me, actually. The third one didn't give me any reason to get interested. However the middle one offered at least a mildly intriguing glimpse into the guy's head, and made me wonder who, what and why.

Full disclosure, I don't enjoy reading stories where violent murder is the centerpiece. Doesn't matter whether it's the murder itself, or an examination of the murderer's motives. Just doesn't appeal to me. Now a murder mystery, where the detective gradually works out what happened, might be fascinating.
Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Interesting, Rcmann. Honestly, I've never really written a story quite like this before, where serial killers are involved, and that be a central base. However, I wanted to see how two killers, who have no idea who each other are, would react upon meeting the other (even if it has been done, I personally wanted to see how MY killers would react, because I find writing much more fun when I myself don't even expect what's going to happen in the end. It might be reckless, but by the time I reach the end I know what I should do, at least to some degree, in order for the story to really spark).

Also, usually my stories are supernatural based, with horror, love, tragedy, some dark fantasy too... This story, at first, was NOT supposed to have any supernatural elements in it, but as I reached the end, I just could not stray away from my supernatural nature. With that said, I was steered in a whole new direction with this story, which means that all three of these openings may or may not be my opening any longer as I have pretty much changed the entire story, BECAUSE of my ending.

It gets pretty weird as I get to the end, very weird actually... so, I shall post another opening of this story very soon, after I work on some revisions for this other story I am working on.

Thanks, all of you, Extrinsic and Axe and RCmann, for your in-put on my thirteen lines. I have some good ideas now of how I should get started better.

Devon Carey
Posted by Crystal Stevens (Member # 8006) on :
From what I've seen on TV and movies about seriel killers is there is usually a very tragic or shocking incident in the killer's life that turned him on the path he's on. There's a reason for why he kills instead of just for the "H" of it. I'm not saying it couldn't be that way, but it just doesn't ring true or grab my interest. I need something more than having fun killing women to draw me into this story.

"bird-filled sky" gives me pause. What was going on? Some massive bird migration? And what would something like that have to do with your story? Or does it? If not, I'd leave it out.

Personally, I think you might have a good story idea, but this opening needs a whole lot more thought if you're going to pull this off. And I would definitely do some research on seriel killers before writing a story of this type. But, from the sound of things, you might not be writing this story but something else entirely. And the only crit we can give is on what you've given us.
Posted by babygears81 (Member # 9745) on :
Just a quick note. As a woman I was extremely turned off by the word bitch. I know he's a serial killer and supposed to be repulsive and all that, but I would have been too repulsed to continue reading. Maybe try a softer word with an equally prejorative meaning like broad or dame? It sounds like you've moved on, but I thought I'd chime in anyway.
Posted by babygears81 (Member # 9745) on :
Posted by angel011 (Member # 9765) on :
If it's killing women he enjoys, maybe calling them "treats", not "bitches" at all? I don't know if it would work for the character, but it might do a nice job of showing how he dehumanizes his victims.
Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Nice catch, angel. You have a point, and I'm sorry Babygears81 if I offended you. My story seems to be taking a new direction, Crystal, as you have already noticed.

We will see what new beginning I come up with. =]

Usually it takes me a first or second rewrite of my story to really figure out what will make it.

Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
I deleted your duplicate, but you can do it by clicking on the edit icon (it looks like a pencil and paper) at the top of the post you want to delete or edit.

That will take you to a page that has a little box for deleting (just click on the box) or a textarea for editing the post.

When you've either marked the post for deletion or edited the post, just click on the "edit post" button (if I remember what it's called correctly), and the software will take you back to the new page.
Posted by babygears81 (Member # 9745) on :
No worries C@R3Y. You would probably have to try to offend me and I wasn't offended at all. I was just too put off to continue reading, but didn't take it personally. I mentioned it because I figured if I felt that way, other women might too and you wouldn't want to alienate such a large portion of your potential audience. [Smile]

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