Here's the first thirteen lines to a horror story I'm writing about the monster under the bed and just how disturbing it can be. Please let me know if this is an intriguing opening and why you think so. Would you like to read more? What questions does it raise in your imagination? You all know, stuff like that. Thanks a lot, people. The Turtle Goddess
The light of a Strawberry Moon shone through trees and faltered over a young girl. She plodded with her long, dark hair hung over her face, slouched around and into thorny bushes. Her steps were sluggish and ragged.
“Tacee, pretty, tasty, Tacy. How I love to taste my Tacy.”
It was a Hunter’s Moon in late October. She had been asleep: lying on her stomach, her feet overhanging the end of the bed, her right arm crooked above her head, and her left arm dangled over the side. A keenly vivid pain, like a hornet’s angry sting, jolted her awake. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she squealed in shock and agony.
Okay, before others comment on the "dream" thing, when you read the entire piece, you know she's not dreaming. Everything really happened (at least in storyland it did.) Also, I can't figure out how to format in Word so that it translates here. That also helps get across that she isn't dreaming, but rather remembering something that's been going on for nine months now. Like an unwanted pregnancy, she's seriously thinking of abortion.
I hope this helps clear up some of the readers' concerns.
TG, it may be that once the whole piece is read we'll know Tacy isn't dreaming. But you can't expect a reader to read on if they are confused right from the beginning.
Are these two separate scenes? Because why is there a Strawberry Moon and later a Hunter's Moon? (Why are these capitalized? Any significance?) And if we hadn't read your introductory comments, would we know that small bit of unattributed dialogue comes from a monster? No, we wouldn't. Clarity. I mean, the dialogue is sinister and nicely done in a creepy way, but how are we to know that Tacy isn't saying it to herself? Anyway, I'm unsure what you mean by formatting Word and translating it here... What are you aiming to do?
I loved the dialogue. Otherwise I agree with the rest. Make it all clearer. Readers aren't in your head, we tend to be slow people who've had a hard day's work and aren't up to thinking much. I'd explain clearly that she's remembering or whatever. Starting with her walking in a scary place sounds a lot like what OSC means by a "woman crying driving through the snow". It tries to be a hook: tension, right at the beginning, but fails because we don't care enough about the MC to well... care. Have her do something in the first paragraph before you flash back. She isn't just walking around, running away to an unknown destination. She has a reason to be walking at night, and I need to know it. Is she making a decision? Tell me. Is she planing to get back at the monster? Tell me. That will give her innitiative. Passive victims are boring.
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Maybe I'm a little slow, but I did not put together that the little girl was Tacy. No where in this opening do you actually name the girl--it's always little girl or she. I assumed the little girl was doing the talking. I'd keep reading regardless.
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I agree on the moon issue. two different moons? it could be a different planet with more than one moon.
i dont have an issue with the flow. there is only so much you can make clear in 13 lines. you have to leave some of it open otherwise i find it'll get dull and i'll lose too much interest with the dragging detail.
this leaves a lot open for the reader to want to know what goes on. granted, like someone said earlier, without that little bit at the begining we wouldnt know it is a monster. at the same time, i argue the point, how many books do you read without reading the back cover for the summary?