From my serial short story blog. I can send a link to the finished story or email the whole thing. I don't know how long it will run. It's only at 2,111 words now, only two chapters posted. I love Lovecraft's stories, but have never tried writing something like him before. This was my first time.
The gaslight flickered, sparked quietly. There was only the one light on this street, placing a veil of shadow over the cobblestones. The moon hid behind the clouds tonight, thunder clouds that threatened rain before too long. A man stood under the light, panting, gasping for air. His hat lay on the ground not too far away. Both hands were on his knees; he tried not to look at the vomit between his feet. Sweat dripped from his balding head. He took the whistle, dangling from a chain around his neck, and blew it again for as long as he could. Footsteps were coming towards him, fast, running. He heard shouts and stopped blowing the whistle. Three constables ran to him, waving lanterns over their heads. They reached the man bent over at the lamp post, gasping for breath themselves.
I would cut 'sparked quietly', and shorten the sentences in the middle paragraph. You don't have to change the words much just make it read faster. Otherwise not bad. I think this can work.
I've noticed in my short stories that I write cinematic scenes without introducing the main character like this because thats how some movies start. But I do agree with the other forum posts that we should have a MC to care about in the first 13.
If your going to write about ghastly horrors from beyond time and space; it will be all the more horrible if we are sympathetic to the MC. I remember a few Lovecraft stories where the consequences are shown first. "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" is told from the sanitarium.
Ok...so is it a multi part short story, a novella, a novel or what?
This is the area for feedback on short stories. I was going to offer to read it but I don't want to commit to anything super long right now...I was acting under the assumption it was a single short story.
To my knowledge, Cthulhu and his friends are all in public domain. Brian Lumley has a series in which I believe some of Lovecraft's original creatures appear and I've seen the name Cthulhu and others used in published works...I'm almost totally positive they are in public domain.
Edited to add: There was also a small indepedent movie titled "Cthulhu" recently and an even smaller adaptation of "The Call of Cthulhu" which as far as I know have had no issues.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited November 28, 2009).]
There is some debate. Lovecraft was good friends with Robert E. Howard, and some of Howard's works are free of copyright, since no living family member copyrighted them by due time. If you're interested, read more here.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited November 28, 2009).]
Certain titles of Cthulhu are already registered, but the character and other characters, creatures and locations created by Lovecraft are (as far as I can tell) in the public domain. He was very free with his creations, in fact encouraged others to write in the same universe. That is the basis of the Cthulhu Mythos or Lovecraft Mythos.
I donít post here just to promote my blog. I donít earn money through it. Iíve never had my stories critiqued, and I feel like that would help me out greatly.
Even if I say a story is complete, I will most likely revise it, so nothing is completely done. Some stories Iíve posted as complete have been revised a few times. Also, people write blogs and then get them published all the time. In the end, if I lose a few stories, then thatís fine. Itíll suck, but this whole thing is a new experience for me. Iíll chalk it up to a writing exercise, or as someone else put it, honing my skills.
I am intrigued to find out what happened to your main character. I think you have a decent hook to make me keep reading. The thing that threw me off the most though was your title. It is very similar to one used by Vernor Vinge Called A Deepness in the Sky. For some reason your title reminded me of something I have seen before. Perhaps you should consider a different one. Just a thought.
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I haven't read Vernor Vinge, but what I read about him is pretty different from what I've got. Deep Ones is a reference to Lovecraft creatures.
This is another reason why I don't like the idea of "the first 13". The main character hasn't even been introduced yet. He shows up in the next "chapter" of the story. I say chapter, but each is only 1 1/2 pages longs.