I really need readers, but comments on the thirteen work as well.
The story over all is 2840 words.
The Boy Who Dreamed:
John stood in his room that had a few scattered toys on the ground and posters of knights and dragons on his wall. His eyes stared at his door that led to the hallway and ultimately to where the yells were coming from. The yells echoed louder and louder and in his mind the yells fed the shadows till only darkness existed. A darkness his eyes strained to see through, but not a sliver of light could be seen. His hands reached out for guidance, only to feel hard wet rock along a wall. Sounds of scraping ripped into his ears. He sat down trembling, and pulled his knees to his chest as tears rolled down his face. End, please end, take me away he prayed. Time slowed as a light shined through the darkness till it highlighted the
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited July 28, 2007).]
I'd be glad to read this weekend. Send it on!
this is what I saw in the 13: John stood in his room (READS A LITTLE AWKWARD, MAYBE A DIFFERENT TRANSITIVE: ROOM, WHERE A FEW . . . DECORATED HIS WALL) that had a few scattered toys on the ground and posters of knights and dragons on his wall. His eyes stared at his door that led to the hallway and ultimately to where the yells were coming from (DESCRIBE THAT CHANGE? HE STARED AT HIS BEDROOM DOOR, BUT HIS EYES WERE DRAWN TO THE HALLWAY AND THEN TO THE PLACE THE YELLING CAME FROM?). The yells echoed louder and louder and in his mind the yells (WORD YELLS THREE TIMES IN THREE CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES - OF COURSE, I JUST USED THE WORD THREE TWICE IN ONE SENTENCE :d))fed the shadows till only darkness existed(I LIKED THIS!). A darkness his eyes strained to see through, but not a sliver of light could be seen. His hands reached out for guidance, only to feel hard wet rock along a wall. Sounds of scraping ripped into his ears. He sat down trembling, and pulled his knees to his chest as tears rolled down his face. End, please end, take me away he prayed. Time slowed as a light shined through the darkness till it highlighted the sillouhette of a lady, her body slim and tall, with long hair that trailed behind her like water. “Where do you go inside that head of yours?” A voice spoke. The light faded to the touch of a cold hand and his mom knelt before him.
I like it very much. its intriguing - is the boy psychotic, caught between two realities, or just very imaginative? I'm looking forward to reading more. In the very last bit, I would say that if the mom is a likable character, maybe cool instead of cold? And someone who does more inner dialog than i do might have a suggestion for how to set off his prayerful thoughts so it stands out from the narrative.
This passage is tense and gripping = but to me it does not convey the potential it has to be much more gripping and tense. I think the sentences could be shorter - the writing must be terse. Cut out every word not necessary. Careful with the word selection - you use "yell" several times, but yell is a pretty tame word in this passage. Maybe scream or howls - or something like that.
"...only to feel hard wet rock along a wall." We know the rock is hard, so "hard" can be deleted. "...along a wall." also seems superfluous and also a bit awkward as it jars us from this other reality. Also why not a bit of detail. "Wet rock" is tame, why not something like "He put out his hand, probed the dark and felt the cold thickness of slime that covered rocks he could not see." Or something like that.
"...sliver of light..." cliche.
"Souncs of scraping ripped into his ears." From where? This does not imply anything and I have nothing to "connect" it to, I only know something is scraping. Is it dangerous? Should I be frightened? Since I can't even imagine what it might be, and a scraping sound does not come across as particularly threatening, it comes across as a neutral detail emotionally.
"Time slowed as..." Did time really slow or is that just how he felt? I'm guessing that is how he felt...but it would be better to "show" us this.
Be aware also that a kid in his room, and something in the closet/under the bed/in the hall has been done to death. Several movies and stories went through my mind as I read this. Not that it can't be done again, just that it would have to have a great twist to it.
[This message has been edited by nitewriter (edited July 28, 2007).]
I'm picturing a boy recoiling from the violence of an argument between adults - all that yelling coming from another room down the hall. That can drive a youngster's mind into withdrawal or into a fantasy.
Some words appear not to fit, which might be his imagination.
'toys on the ground' - if they're inside his room, are they on the floor? Even if he has a dirt floor, it's a floor when it's indoors - unless his imagination has gone outside.
'hard [comma] wet rock along a wall' - if the house is built up enough for a hallway, rather than being a cave, I don't expect a rock wall. This is a big clue to the use of his imagination.
The 'sound of scraping' doesn't connect to anything. That's a question I'd expect to read about soon after the first 13.
The body language and crying are still reacting to the present, which seems to contradict the withdrawal implied before.
I'd expect a child to recognize his mother by her silhouette at an almost instinctive level. Since he's your POV character, I think he should be telling who she is at the first sight, before she speaks. Likewise, he'd know her voice as Mom's voice, not just a voice, even before he sees her face when she kneels.
You describe her hand as 'cold.' That's chilling and reinforces the violence of the second sentence. How did her voice sound? Soft? Soothing? Scolding? Warm? Detached? The tone of her voice can add to the chilling characterization, if that's what you're after, or it could undo the cold hand.