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Author Topic: Scarechild, 700 words

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Here's a flash piece I just finished. Looking for readers.

Gene walked up the front steps of the old shack at the end of his street. The porch creaked and he knocked on the door. He couldn’t decide which was louder.
A face lined with age peered through the screen door.
“Um, I’m Gene Stamp from down the street. Mister…”
The old face waited a moment, then seemed to realize Gene was asking for his name. “Jones. My name is Lambert Jones.” His voice sounded like it scraped against the splintering doorframe before reaching Gene’s ears. “What can I do for yer, Mister Stamp?”
“It seems my son’s dog ran off into your corn field, and-”
“Did he follow it?” Mister Jones leaned his head forward, his eyes wide.

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Member # 8191

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I like it.

I wouldn't mind reading for you either, but since I'm new you would have to let me know what you expected of me and what I should be looking for.


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I liked it, the only thing that bugged me was the sentence "He couldn't decide which was louder." I dunno why, it just seems unright.
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C L Lynn
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I must agree with Devnal. "He couldn't decide which was louder" flashed a flag at me, though I can't pin down why either. What's the significance of the observation? Was the scene pin-drop quiet before? Does Stamp not want to disturb the creepy house, but must? There's got to be a more effective way to create the mood you're after.

Concerning mood, I get a creepy feeling from the creaky shack and the raspy old voice, but Lambert's question - "What can I do for yer...?" - undermines this mood. The wording is too friendly and solicitous for what you've established already. Unless I'm reading the character totally wrong.

However, the last two lines hooked me, and I'll read the rest if you like.

[This message has been edited by C L Lynn (edited September 10, 2008).]

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I agree with the other posters about the 'louder' line. If you want to emphasize the sound of the porch, maybe say something like, "The creaking of the porch almost drowned out his knock on the door." Or something.

The last two lines are indeed a great hook.

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I see what you mean about that line. I think why it's "unright" is at least partly because I've already set the POV in Gene. Therefore I shouldn't have included a phrase like "he couldn't decide." Anything I write is obviously coming from him. It's also a little casual for the tone I'm going for. Good catch.

[This message has been edited by TheOnceandFutureMe (edited September 11, 2008).]

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Nick T
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I'll concur with the "louder" part. One very small thing that tripped me up the first time was the image describing how the old man's voice got caught on the doorframe. For some reason I didn't like it the first time, but I did the second. It might have just been a bad time to read it or maybe the rhythm needs a slight change. It works, but I got pulled out for some reason.

I'd go over the page. Can I say a shaky "yes" to reading? I've got a few to do over the weekend, but I should be able to slot it in with a bit of luck.


[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited September 12, 2008).]

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Toby Western
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Be happy to look this one over, Ben. Heck, at 700 words, I'll look it over twice. Send it along.
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I'll give it a read. Send it on over.


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