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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Price of a Memory

   
Author Topic: The Price of a Memory
MCameron
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Horror, 2400 words, tentatively titled The Price of a Memory. This is a fairly rough first draft, but it's finished and I would like readers for the whole thing. Also I would love any suggestions for a better title.

----------------
Gerald was clearing the table after dinner when he heard the scratching. He paused, plate in hand, to look at his fiancee Christina. She was standing with her head cocked, trying to locate the source of the sound. "It sounds like it is coming from the front door," he said.

She headed for the door, and he followed. When she opened the door a tabby cat darted in. It looked up at them and uttered a plaintive miaow. "Where did you come from?" Christina asked. The cat only rubbed against her legs.

Gerald stepped out the door and looked around. The street was deserted, even though it was only early evening. He shrugged, and closed thedoor. "There's no one out there," he said.

Christina had disappeared.


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Beth
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Ok, I want to know what happened to Christina.

Her first line of dialog sounds a little stilted; I'd replace "it is" with "its." But no doubt you'll fix that and some other little things on the next draft.

I can read.


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HSO
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Okay, so you've got a hook that is promising. I would read on because of that hook, but I do feel there's some information missing here and there. Although you probably want her to to go away quickly, I believe there should be more dialogue between Gerald and Christina before she disappears (or something -- Gerald didn't even check the house fully before you write she disappears). I also believe the prose could be tightened up substantially. A few tense issues, etc...

For instance:

quote:
She was standing with her head cocked [...]

"She was standing" could just as easily be expressed as "She stood"

There are more things, but I can save them for a crit, if you'd like. Send it on... and beware... Mwahahaha. (kidding.)


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wbriggs
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I'll read.
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D_Allen
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I'll read the whole story.
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benskia
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Hello.
I thought it was nice writing.
Not so sure about the cat 'false alarm' trick though. I'm not sure that I've read it before, but my gowd i've seen it over and over in horror flicks.

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Phanto
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The writing was OK, but what made this fragment attract my attention was the last line. However, that line would only propel me on for another page or so. It is a funny line, and I laugh at it. If you can turn this amusement into horror, good.
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MCameron
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Story sent to those who asked to read. Thanks guys.

benskia, could you clarify what you mean by a cat false alarm trick? I don't watch many horror flicks, and I don't know what you mean. I don't *think* the cat in my story is like that, but it would be good to know for sure.

--Mel


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Beth
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oh, man, Christina doesn't really disappear there! Line 14 tells us she's safely in the kitchen, giving the cat milk. The excerpt is kind of misleading.


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Rocklover
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The action is fine, but there's no MOOD. Horror has to have MOOD. Little stuff like a ticking clock in a silent room or branches scraping a window or a glass that is dropped and shatters, cutting somebody's hand. Just a few little disturbing details that put the reader on edge and raise the hairs on the back of your neck a bit.
And frankly, why should I care whether the girl disappears? At this point I know nothing about her. You have given NO description. Is she a child? A teenager? An adult? A girlfriend?
For all I know, she could be a witch.

If nothing else, have a cold gust of wind blow the door open, for Pete's sake. Something, anything! Make my stomach tingle!
If you don't do this, you ain't got horror.
Good luck,
Judith

[This message has been edited by Rocklover (edited March 28, 2005).]


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MCameron
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Beth: sorry, that's just how it ended up. I plan to add more details to the beginning, so this shouldn't be an issue in the final draft.

Rocklover: you're right. My husband pointed out the same thing. I think I've got some good ideas to make the beginning more creepy.

Thanks for the comments.

--Mel


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benskia
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Hiya.
Just to clarify what i meant a little.
There's umpteen films in which somebody here's a strange noise -stratching, movement - whatever and the suspense builds. The character then opens a door and a cat runs in, or jumps off the cupboard or something & takes down the suspense. Then you'll be lulled into a false sense of security and something really jumpy happens not too many seconds after. Normally the real killer/monster appears and does his business.

Hope this helps. By the sounds of your last response to me, it sounds as though the cat is going to be a main part in this story though, so you could have double bluffed me and it IS the cat after all!!

I'll read it all though when done. You do have me intrigued now.


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MCameron
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benskia, thanks for the clarification. Now that I understand what you were saying, I realize that I've seen movies with that plot device. Yeah, it is pretty overdone. I don't generally watch horror movies because most of them are not at all scary. I probably should though, just to get an idea of some of the expectations people have when they see that something is in the horror genre. That way I can avoid or twist the cliches.

Thanks for offering to read. I've sent it over.

--Mel


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benskia
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Cool. I'll get back to you with comments as soon as i've read it.
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Wenderella
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I thought the beginning was interesting enough to make me continue.
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SkorPiun
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The title is quite interesting I think, got me interested at least.

I would not mind reading the whole story if you would like to send it to me.


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Wenderella
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Can you e-mail me the story, I'd like to know what happens and i can give you some feed back :0)
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MCameron
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SkorPiun and Wenderella, thanks for volunteering to read. I'm fairly deep into the revision process right now, so I can send you the revised version in about a week or so, if you're still interested.

--Mel


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Wenderella
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Sure! :0)
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SkorPiun
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Not a problem, I look forward to it.
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MCameron
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Well, I've finished the first round of revisions. (WooHoo!) I didn't expect it to go so quickly. I think the story is pretty much in the form I want,and all that remains is tightening up the writing, and perhaps making things a bit clearer.

HSO: you'll be glad to hear that I completely changed the ending.

Wenderella and SkorPiun: I've sent it over.

Now to go eat a piece of cake in celebration .


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