This short story is around 1100 words, still polishing up the writing. Here's the first thirteen lines - look forward to comments.
Version One -Tina rounded the curve, slammed on the brakes, and sent the mini-van into a fishtail. Regaining control, she pulled to the edge of the road. She took a deep breath and adjusted the rear-view mirror. If not for the blue duffel bag lined with reflective tape, she'd have run over him.
Brake lights illuminated the night. The stranger approached with a slight limp, favoring his right leg. He squatted at the passenger side door.
Chiseled features, smooth and youthful skin, had her guessing him to be in his late twenties. But, his eyes, black spheres burning into her soul, held an essence of mature wisdom.
“I, ah, didn't hit you, did I?” Her words tumbled over one another.
---- I've did some work on the beginning of this. Love to you your thoughts. Also if anyone would like to read over this before I submit it, please let me know. I'd appreciate the feedback. Thanks.
Version Two - Tina rounded the curve, slammed on the brakes, and sent the mini-van into a fishtail. She pulled to the edge of the road and took deep breaths. If not for the blue duffel bag lined with reflective tape… She shuttered at the consequences.
She adjusted the rear-view mirror. The man limped into the illuminating brake lights and approached the vehicle. She switched on the interior light. He wasn't a man at all, but a boy, probably in his twenties.
Not him. Not now – not after you almost ran him over. “Could I give you a lift?”
“Sure, how far you going?” His voice dripped with a deep, southern drawl.
Referring to him as "the stranger" doesn't quite flow for me...when I hear that, I think someone from outside who has approached a place or a family or a person. Maybe something like the man or the figure or the young man she'd almost run over or something. Also it seems if he squatted beside the door his head wouldn't come to the window.
Not sure about the comma between "but" and "his eyes."
Is this speculative dark fiction? Overall it's pretty nicely done and relatively interesting, though if it is speculative and it can be done in a non disruptive way you might throw in a small hint of that...though in dark/horror type pieces it can be less of an issue.
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The second sentence made my mental narration fumble a little bit. "She regained control and..." or some statement of action might make it a little clear what the chain of events is.
I echo the sentiments on "the stranger." Before the next couple of sentences she doesn't know anything about him, so "the pedestrian" or "the hobo" might be more appropriate (depending on the mental voice of your character).
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(Comments based on updated text) In a book, I might continue with another page or two of the story to decide if I would finish it. I would say the opening intrigued me, but not toally hooked.
We seem to know more about the man, than the MC/Narrator. It seems loosely implied that guilt led her to offer a ride, but the emotion of the seen is a bit muddled to me.
A few notes:
<Tina rounded the curve, slammed on the brakes, and sent the mini-van into a fishtail.>
The action as a series here seems awkward to me, since the third "action" (fishtailing) is really a consequence of the first two (lamming on brakes while rounding a curve).
<She shuttered at the consequences.>
Did you mean shuddered? Windows are shuttered against a storm, people shudder at perceived consequences.
<She adjusted the rear-view mirror. The man limped into the illuminating brake lights and approached the vehicle. She switched on the interior light. He wasn't a man at all, but a boy, probably in his twenties.>
Good use of writing in the white space. We can guess she is much older since she considers a man in his 20s a "boy." However, what happened to the blue bag?
Seems like a few touches could add to the emotion. We see the MC taking deep breaths, but do her hand' shake? Is it difficult to adjust the mirror or hit the interior dome light in the dark with all that adrenaline rushing? She's possibly offering the ride out of guilt, but is ther no internal battle over offering a stranger a ride, at night, in (what we assume is) a rural area?
I'll look at the whole piece if you would like to email it to me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Posts: 61 | Registered: Nov 2011
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Thank you for the comments and suggestions. Woops on the misused word. I've made notes for the corrections you suggest. I'm also sending you a complete copy of the story. (the corrections haven't been made yet)
Thanks for taking the time.
Posts: 34 | Registered: Dec 2011
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