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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Mean Street - Horror - 1,000 words

   
Author Topic: Mean Street - Horror - 1,000 words
C@R3Y
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This title might not be the title I use when I send it out. It might change.

Comments and feedback would be most appreciated. If you want to take a look at it for me, give me a shout. We can trade crits if you want. =]

Thanks!

_________________________________________________________________
At night, Jimmy jogged the streets, the cool misty breeze brushing against his sweaty skin. He ran passed one house with Halloween decorations dangling over the porch; manikins of ghouls, demons, and zombies standing in front yards, their capes and robes flapping wildly in the whistling winds.
One prop intrigued Jimmy most. The hood hid the creatures face; only its teeth showed. Then a strong gust of wind blew the hood back over the bald head, revealing a black crusty face with sharp teeth and white eyes with onyx pupils.
Jim felt a cold chill rise in his spine as he ran a little faster. So paranoid sometimes.
"Silly Jimmy," his sister says to him sometimes, usually before bedtime, and after she gives him a kiss goodnight.

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annepin
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Hi there, I'm getting some conflicting info from this post. I'm a bit confused as to how old Jimmy is. At first, I guess I assumed he was early 20s, maybe late high school. But the last line made me think he was very young, maybe 9 or 10.

In my opinion, the opening would be a lot stronger if you more strongly grounded us in a specific time and place. The first line seems kind of like you're describing a genetic night for Jimmy.

At night, Jimmy jogged the streets, the cool misty breeze brushing against his sweaty skin. He ran passed ["past"? or "he passed"] one house with Halloween decorations dangling over the porch; manikins of ghouls, demons, and zombies standing in front yards [wait, many yards? I thought we were just talking about one specific house], their capes and robes flapping wildly in the whistling winds [wait, I thought we had cool misty breeze, not whistling winds].
One prop intrigued Jimmy most [I found this statement to be somewhat flat--doesn't evoke a lot of fear or suspense]. The hood hid the creatures ["creature's"?]face; only its teeth showed. Then a strong gust of wind [we've already got a cool misty breeze, whistling winds, and now a strong gust wind--repetition takes the impact out for me] blew the hood back over the bald head, revealing a black crusty face with sharp teeth [we've already got the teeth in our mind's eye--deleting this would leave space for more description] and white eyes with onyx pupils. [I found this confusing because I thought he'd already passed by the house in the second sentence. How, then, can he see all this unfold?]
Jim felt a cold chill rise in his spine as he ran a little faster. So paranoid sometimes.
"Silly Jimmy," his sister says to him sometimes [repetition of "sometimes" caught my eye], usually before bedtime, and after she gives him a kiss goodnight.

Hope this help. Take what works and leave the rest.

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C@R3Y
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Thanks. It does help me out. I will fix the problems right up, soon as I get some more comments to see what others think. x]
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Architectus
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The opening of a short story should put us right into the plot. We should get sort of an idea of what is happening or going to happen. Mystery revealed, for example, or at least hinted at, but your opening doesn't do that.

Instead we get the view of Halloween props and a kid running.

Your title says it is only a 1000 word story, so what I said applies even more.

What is your story about? What's the plot? Knowing this could help me give you advice on how to start the story. If you want that is.

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C@R3Y
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Thanks for the helpful comments. I'm not used to writing stories this short.
I wrote this story after I went for a little run at night, a little bit before Halloween. I was just observing the different things people did on their lawns, and saw one strange life-like manikin, looked all-too real. It was just a little practice small piece I did here.
Kid goes for a jog, creatures pour out of houses, mysterious stranger saves him and takes him to a safe place. In the end, after the girl saves him, she turns out to be the queen of the dead on this night. That's what they are pretty much. They are the deceased rising up. Just a little story. Don't know if it'll get anywhere. I have plenty of other stories I spent much more time on, but if I could make this one better, then great. But yea. There's an idea of what it is about, if that helps any.

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Merlion-Emrys
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I have to disagree that the opening of a short story must put us right into the plot. Sometimes the beginning is just that...the beginning. This is especially so in horror...horror stories very, very often start out quite "normal" without necessarily revealing whatever it is that's present or going on.

That being said I do think this could benefit from a little more focus and clarity. In the second paragraph especially...we go from him looking at various things in front of very different houses, to a focus on a particular article at a particular house. Maybe have him slow down or stop first? Or, if its an out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye as he passes by sort of thing, say so. Also, perhaps something indicating why he is particularly interested in that particular thing, or what about it it is that interests him. As it is, you say it intrigues him, then go on to describe it, but never indicate why it interests him particularly.

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C@R3Y
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Ah, thank you. That definitely clears a few things up. x] I will do something along those lines in my rewrite.
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