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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Jitterbug

   
Author Topic: Jitterbug
monstewer
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This is my first attempt at horror, fairly soft though it is. Looking for the usual, comments on the first 13 or offers to read the whole thing which is 4.5k. Thanks

If it hadnít been for the unnatural silence, David Trehorn might not have heard that first creeping, slithering shuffle against the wall of his apartment. It sounded like the belly of a snake brushing across a corpse. David sunk further under his duvet.
He had lived in the apartment for five days now and every night he had lain awake, barely daring to breathe into that terrible, all-consuming silence which hung like a shroud over his bed.
Before he had moved to the apartment, there had been sounds during the night: a muffled cough heard over the baby monitor, a cat stepping through the pet door, a sleepy murmur as Rachel turned and draped an arm across his chest. But that was before.
Now there was silence. Silence broken only by something cold


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Brant Danay
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This is very suspenseful, and I particularly enjoyed the first two lines.

David sunk further under his duvet

Should sunk be sank? I'm not sure, but the sentence gave me pause. Perhaps someone with more better grammar than me can help out here?

To follow up, would "David sank further beneath his duvet" be better?

Just random questions, possibly unfounded, that popped into my brain. Hopefully somebody can follow up on them a little further.

Keep up the good work. Best regards,

Brant


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Toby Western
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Horror isn't really my thing, but for what it's worth I liked this and would read on.

I do wonder if you aren't coming on a little strong, what with the creeping and slithering and all consuming silences hanging like a shroud... You might want to start softer and leave yourself something to build up to? Too much, too soon and there's the risk of sounding like a parody.

I'd be happy to read, if you'd like to send it on over.

[This message has been edited by Toby Western (edited February 19, 2009).]


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honu
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the suspense is nice...shuffle throws me a little though...first it's snakelike then has feet....now if it's a giant centipede u are right on .....If you google hawaiian centipedes and get a look at them they are scary and bite bad...I got a brown mark on my face that stayed from bite in 1991...very tiny one...
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BoredCrow
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You can go ahead and send it to me, monstewer. I like reading your stories.
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C L Lynn
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Yes, absolutely, I look at it. This is the one for the deadline, right?
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Bent Tree
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I was going to say "beneath" as well.

I am getting all sorts of connotations from the title.

"Slithering and shuffling" seemed a contradiction to me.

yep..."Sank"

In all, this seems a little over written, like a shotgun blast to capture the reader. I would like to see it honed a bit, but I will be glad to look over the whole if you aren't in a hurry. My eyes have been bigger than my eyes lately regarding crits... I am a little behind at the moment.


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Bycin
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I was a little taken out of the story by the line: "It sounded like the belly of a snake brushing across a corpse."

Personally, I have no idea what this sounds like and when I try to imagine it, I have difficulty. Is the corpse recently deceased? Decaying? Dried out? I imagine all would produce a different sound when a snake moved across.

Now, if your MC knows what this sound is, I suppose it is fine. But that then begs the question: "Is your MC familiar with the sound a snakes belly makes when it brushes a corpse?"


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baduizt
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If it hadnít been for the unnatural silence,

[Watch out for words like 'unnatural', 'supernatural' and 'preternatural'. In fact, avoid at all costs if you can. Including 'unholy'.]

David Trehorn might not have heard that first creeping, slithering shuffle

[That's three verbs, two of which contradict the third ('slithering'). Something that shuffles suggests, to me at least, that it has limbs and moves in small, jerky movements, whilst a slithering is a fluid motion.]

It sounded like the belly of a snake brushing across a corpse.

[How would he know what that sounds like? How does a corpse sound, specifically? As opposed to, say, a floor, or a living human body?]

David sunk further under his duvet.

[sank?]

that terrible, all-consuming silence which hung like a shroud over his bed.

[Two cliches here. 'all-consuming silence' and 'like a shroud'.]

It gets better towards the end. Try to pace yourself with the horror elements


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AmieeRock
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Maybe instead of saying that it sounded like the belly of a snake brushing against a corpse, you could say it made him think of, or reminded him of a snake brushing against a corpse. I think the main point of the snake/corpse description is to show that David was in a state of mind where the simplest sounds became macabre, so to put the snake/corpse as a picture inside his head rather than a sound outside it would accomplish your purpose without the reader wondering what a snake brushing against a corpse sounds like.

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