This is topic Jeremy Romero's story in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Lord of Sane Misfits (Member # 9954) on :
“…Another body has been found buried, yes, buried, by the Jameson River last night. Officials refuse to disclose the corpse’s identity, but witnesses claim the face was, once again, mutilated beyond recognition. Further investigation…”
Static, then silence. Jeremy lifted his finger off the power button on the television remote and sat back with a massive sigh, rocking in his chair. A single salty drop trickled down his cheek. Not tears, but sweat. There had been a sort of gruesomely fascinating series of murders in the area – at least, they had been fascinating until Jeremy’s father had gone to work yesterday and never come back. The corpse onscreen had displayed the infamous trademark of the enigmatic killer – a face curiously mangled by crisscrossing gashes.

THis is the start of the short story I've been writing. I haven't gotten too far into it yet, so I won't be able to send much to interested parties, but please tell me your opinion! [Smile]
Posted by ars (Member # 9945) on :
I was instantly pulled in and could hear the voice of a news report on a television screen. Very good way of giving readers a picture of what was going on without telling.
The last sentence doesn't quite fit with the previous sentence. Does the corpse on screen bare any resemblance to his father? Or should this start a new paragraph and make the reader wait to find out?
Posted by Lord of Sane Misfits (Member # 9954) on :
Ah... it got cut off by the "13 lines" rule... But it works out in the next sentence.
Posted by Devnal (Member # 6724) on :
just my 2 cents;

I found the new broadcast a bit unbelievable, and it pulled me out of the story. It might be the difference in mannerisms between US and Canadian news anchors (local ones at least), but it seems a bit too sensationalized.

for example:

“…Another body has been found buried, yes, buried, by the Jameson River..." The "yes, buried" part seems a strange place to put emphasis, as I don't think its so unbelievable that a body would be buried.

Also - again maybe a difference in the two countries, but a corpse would never be shown on the news in Canada, definitely not a picture of a mangeled corpse's face. The closest it comes is maybe a body covered with a sheet.
Posted by angel011 (Member # 9765) on :
The body was buried, and yet the witnesses say the face was mutilated? Did the witnesses dig out the corpse? Or did the police let people stare at the corpse they dug out? Or was the body only part buried so the face stuck out? Or...?

It's interesting enough that I'd keep reading - and I'd want to know in which country the news were so sensationalized and the mutilated face shown on television (I've seen and heard worse than that on television, but they wouldn't put it like that in every country, so I'm curious as to where is this happening).
Posted by Lord of Sane Misfits (Member # 9954) on :
Thanks guys!! I'll fix the whole corpse part. Appreciate the feedback!! [Smile]
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
I was going to say about the same thing but it looks like you have it covered.

I always mention the need to cut down on longer sentences especially in the opening and in action scenes. I seem to be the only one who has been told that long sentences can distract a reader. That is in the narrative, dialogue is different. People talk in compound sentences.

Oh, what type of story is it? That can make a difference too in the opening and what readers expect.
Posted by Lord of Sane Misfits (Member # 9954) on :
Hmm. I'm not sure. It's mystery, with fantasy elements in it. Maybe it's a mystasy. [Smile]
And yeah, the sentence length is aways something I have a problem with. I'll keep that in mind!!
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
That's fine, makes it interesting.
Posted by Crystal Stevens (Member # 8006) on :
I agree with everyone else about the newscaster. Even in the States, newscasters don't waste words and stick to the facts from what I've seen on TV and heard on radio.

Just a couple of small nits that might be just me:

"rocking his chair" gave me pause. It almost sounds out of place at this point. At first I thought it was a rocking chair. But it doesn't have to be. And since you brought up the chair, I think I'd identify it more. Is it a rocker, a kitchen chair, or what? I'm usually not one for a lot of description, but it just sounds like something more is needed since you mentioned the chair, and a single adjective would probably do the trick.

"grusomely fascinating" is a bit over the top for me. I actually think you could leave "grusomely" out, but saying "fascinating" twice in the same sentence is a bit much. I think I would've wrote that sentence like this, and please understand this is just a suggestion. If your sentence works for you, that's fine:

There had been a fascinating series of murders in the area – at least, they had been until Jeremy's father...

I think you imply "grusomely" with your description of the corpse, if you get my meaning.

The rest of it reads just fine. Good luck with this one.

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