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Would Love Some Feedback

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Circle_One, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    So, I've recently been laid off, and have decided to focus on my writing, instead of going back into the corporate job world.

    Yesterday, I wrote a short short story for a competition who's first prize is 300$. I could really use some feedback from my RF lovelies, before I enter it.

    What do y'all think? Keep in mind the contest is for flash fiction: between 250-750 words. That's why it's so short.

    Thanks guys!

    Fireflies


    I remember a lot about the day before they brought me here. They all said I wouldn’t, but I do. I remember perfectly.

    I remember the moving van pulling up across the street. I remember how the pink taffeta curtains that Mother had installed only days before felt against my skin as I drew them back to watch the new family moving in. I even remember the color of the car that pulled into the driveway behind the moving van: dark blue. But mostly, mostly I remember him.

    They said I wouldn’t remember, but still, after all these years I do. I remember how the sun cascaded through the oak trees on the lawn and made his black hair sparkle with highlights of deep red. I remember his smile as he gazed upon his new home, and how his teeth seemed so impossibly straight. I remember how I gasped when he looked up to my window and saw me standing there watching him.

    I remember his eyes. Those beautiful emerald green eyes looking up at me with curiosity and wonder. I remember wanting to capture those eyes in a jar as if they were fireflies that would light the darkness that suffocated me every night. As if those eyes, the little fireflies, could keep me safe.

    I remember staring at him for what seemed like hours until he disappeared and Mother called me downstairs to meet the nice new family from across the street. I certainly remember the way my heart beat hard in my chest as I took the long walk down the staircase to the front door. I remember the phrase ‘dead man walking’ repeating in my brain.

    I remember Mother introducing us, though I don’t remember his name. I was too busy staring into his eyes. I remember her telling me I should bring him upstairs and show him some toys. He was new in town and hadn’t made any friends yet.

    I remember the sound of his voice and how it filled my world with sunshine. I remember how his laugh tinkled in my ears and how his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled.

    I remember the click of my bedroom door as it locked in place behind me.

    I remember asking him if he wanted to play a game, and telling him to sit on my bed. I remember telling him how pretty his eyes were and that he should close them while I retrieved what I needed for our game.

    I remember how my secret drawer sounded as it slid open and how the weight of my empty butterfly catching jar felt in my hands as I placed it on the floor by his feet.

    I remember singing softly to him, a lullaby Mother used to sing for me. I remember knives, swift like the beat of a hummingbird’s wings and screams that drowned out my song. I remember how sticky the blood felt against my hands and the sound of Mother throwing her weight against my bedroom door, screaming for me to unlock it “this instant!”

    I remember hiding my jar and the fireflies therein before I heard the crack of the door jamb as Father kicked it in. I remember more screams, and lots of crying. I remember being shaken and how my face stung when Mother slapped it repeatedly. I remember the sound of sirens.

    I remember police officers with guns and nurses with needles and doctors who said things like “just tell us what happened, Lily.” I remember my silence.

    I remember all the how are you feeling today’s and the would you like your shot now’s and the just be a good girl and take your medication’s

    I remember that I’ve been here at the Asylum that they call a “hospital” for 2937 days and that today is my 16th birthday. I remember that my name is Lily Walker and that 8 years ago I accidentally killed a boy.

    I remember that I didn’t mean to kill him.

    I just wanted his eyes; those beautiful, green protectors of darkness.

    And mostly, mostly I remember where I hid my butterfly jar. No one will ever find it.
     
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  2. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    I fear all your "I remember"s, while a novel device, won't earn you many good marks. I think they'll be regarded as annoying and cutesy, like using pink instead of black ink. I suggest you drop them and use their word count to strengthen your story.

    Good Luck.[​IMG]
     
  3. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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  4. rageoftyrael

    rageoftyrael Veritas

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    I like it. How could you improve it? Hmmm.... it seems to move a bit slowly at the beginning, and then just blitzes from there. I think it might be improved if you shortened up the beginning, to flesh out the ending.
     
    #4 rageoftyrael, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  5. dawny0826

    dawny0826 Mother Heathen

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    I really like it. I recommend developing it in the beginning a bit, as it would be nice to have more information on the boy. At first, I thought that he might actually be a butterfly or firefly and was thinking to myself "do they have teeth?" :)

    The title and the introductory description of the victim is a bit distracting, but I love the darkness of this and LOVE that you chose green eyes and pink taffeta. Little things make a difference with imagery for the reader.

    Love it!
     
  6. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Rage, I'm not sending it in until tomorrow, so I'm going to have a last day of looks at it and see what I can do :)
     
  7. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    Originally I had called it In Memoriam, but I changed it. I'm great at writing stories, but not so great at titling them. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks! :)
     
  8. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Well-Known Member

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    I agree that "remember" should be removed in several areas, especially since you have so little space to work with already. My advice: use the word three times to introduce pivotal sequences of thought, then drop it. For example:

    "I remember how his laugh tinkled in my ears and how his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled."
    to
    "His laugh tinkled in my ears and his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled.

    Use the freed-up space to add descriptors to details left out. What kind of game did she ask him to play? What did her bed look like, feel like?

    Create a story outline also, if you haven't already. That will better help you to visualize what you want to tell in your story.
     
    #8 TurkeyOnRye, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  9. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    I like the story. Good job. I especially like how you try to establish a rhythm in the mind of the reader.

    One thing, though: the apostrophes in this sentence look wrong to me to the point that I find it distracting from the story:

    If we go by the book, I believe the way to make this grammatically correct would be to use hyphens to make the expressions into nouns:

    I remember all the how-are-you-feeling-todays and the would-you-like-your-shot-nows and the just-be-a-good-girl-and-take-your-medications.

    ... but if you think this looks clunky, maybe a small modification would make it work:

    I remember "how are you feeling today" and "would you like your shot now" and "just be a good girl and take your medication."

    Or I'm sure there would be other ways to make it work. Just remember the cardinal rule: never, ever use an apostrophe to denote a plural. :D

    Hopefully a change there will get rid of the distraction and let the reviewers see the underlying story better.
     
  10. England my lionheart

    England my lionheart Rockerjahili Rebel
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    I like it,i agree about the "remember" part but other than that i thought it was good,my pennyworth
     
  11. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    That sentence was actually the one I was having a big problem with! I just couldn't figure out how to write it without it looking weird no matter what. I think I'm going to go with your first idea. I don't mind the hyphens, but I agree with you that the apostrophes were driving me crazy too.
     
  12. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Oh... speaking of rhythm:

    With a story this short, it almost works more like poetry. Try reading it through - in your head or even aloud - concentrating on the "beat" of the words more than their meaning just to see that it meets the rhythm and pacing you're trying to set up.

    When you do set up that rhythm, deviating from it will be a bit jarring to the reader, which is fine as a literary device, but it's going to emphasize whatever is at that point in the story, so make sure it's placing the emphasis at the point you want emphasized.
     
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  13. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    I don't do outlines. I never do. I've tried, years ago, but they just screw me up in the end, and I never end up following them, they just confuse me, hahaha.

    Keep in mind, this was written in an hour, while I was sitting in the bath. It's not the final draft, it's just the original. I posted it here, so I could get this kind of feedback and give it another once over, before I entered it :D
     
  14. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    That's why I kept all the "I remember"s. I think it makes it more melodic, when reading it, more like poetry, than short fiction.
     
  15. cablescavenger

    cablescavenger Well-Known Member

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    My eyes are grey. You wouldn't like them... gulp!
     
  16. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    Hahahaha! :D

    My son's eyes are grey. They are VERY pretty Mwahahaha
     
  17. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with the hyphenation method. It is a difficult sentence to work with, but I think italicizing would be mots affective.
     
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  18. Circle_One

    Circle_One Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah? italicizing it and leaving the apostrophes, or no?
     
  19. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Well-Known Member

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    I would leave the apostrophes out and try to work the sentence into a structure that doesn't put the quotations into a state of possession. Strictly speaking, you cannot possess someone's quote.
     
  20. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Well-Known Member

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    Oops. Ok, your quotes aren't possessive in the first place... I knew I shouldn't have made that comment while waiting for the bus, lol.

    In any case, yes, leave out the apostrophes since they are only used to denote possession. Perhaps you could write: I remember the things they said to me: "How are you feeling today?...Would you like your shot now?...Just be a good girl and take your medication".
     
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