This is topic Untitled Jersey Devil Story-Horror-WIP in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Merlion-Emrys (Member # 7912) on :
Just started on this a few minutes ago. It's a story I'm a little unsure about so I'm just going to see where it goes. It's modern-setting supernatural horror, so there isn't a lot going on right away, but I've tried to inject a small foreshadowing into the opening. Thoughts on the opening are appreciated, offers to read when finished deeply loved.

Gary breathed in the dry air and relished the quiet and calm of the Barrens. He stood in the center of Ong’s Hat-if the ghost town, consisting of a single hut could have a center. He wondered, like he always did when he came here, if that hut was all that it’d ever been, or if there had been a real village like the stories said.
Hitching up his pack, he started off down the Batona trail. He walked briskly, enjoying the physical movement and exertion, like he always did. It helped him to relax, took his mind off of stress and worries. God knew he’d had more than his share of those lately. An image flashed through his mind: a baby with rubies of blood for eyes, a gaping hole of a mouth, and skin like diamond-shaped armor plates.
Posted by C@R3Y (Member # 9669) on :
Send it when finished.
Posted by History (Member # 9213) on :
Hi, M-E.

I had trouble with this opening. May I suggest some pruning? I know we're not suppose to suggest edits here, but what do you think of omitting "breathed in the dry air" in sentence one to emphasize "the quiet and calm of the Barrens"? This concise sentence sets up an anticipation that something to come will disturb this--like the quiet upon entering that old delapidated mansion in horror tales; and strengthens the parallel to your MC who only on the surface is "quiet and calm" and that terror lies beneath. [Smile]

Line two is a little confusing since "a single hut" does not a "town" make, thus it does not make sense to call attention to being "in the center".

Lines three and five repeat "like he always did." I'd suggest eliminating both.

Lines six and seven mention generalized "stress and worries", almost a cliche. Find a specific personal stress/conflict (job, girfriend, sick parent, etc) that you can tie into the story or, by its end, have the MC overcome from the external conflict/trauma of his experience.

Line eight: I've never liked "an image flashed through his mind". Perhaps have him see the red berries of the Coral Berry Greenbrier [Smilax walteri], a shrub found in the Pine Barrens[] and have him shudder and recall the dream or vision of "blood rubies for eyes" [there are such things as blood rubies, btw:].

Dr. Bob
Posted by Merlion-Emrys (Member # 7912) on :
There isn't anything that says we're not supposed to suggest edits. I think there is a thing about not posting re-worked versions of someone's 13 lines, but I personally don't care about that either for my part.

I think I agree about removing the breathing part.

I'll do something about the repetition.

I'm not sure I want to try and tackle getting more specific with the stress and worries just yet...but I'll have to mull on that one, and the image-trigger.
I'm definitely trying to find my way with this one and I appreciate your suggests, Dr. Bob-sama.
Posted by Osiris (Member # 9196) on :
You know I'm always happy to read and provide feedback, Mr. Finger Waggler, especially since I attended college in NJ. [Smile]
Posted by Merlion-Emrys (Member # 7912) on :
Have you been to the Barrens?
Posted by Osiris (Member # 9196) on :
Nope, I was in North Jersey, at Rutgers. If you have any burning questions though, I could ask some of my old college friends.

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