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Punk Designer

I Ran

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Punk Designer    137
Hello there, I wondered if you could try to help me with this bit of text, It's a short story, I don't want to add to much to it as I wish to keep it as short as possible, I do have certain problems with it though and I wonder if you can help me with any or even all of these slight problems to turn this bit of text into a fantastic short story. Criticism I have received for it; "Although the story offers a nice sense of dread and suspense, the overall tale was just too generic for us. The characters, including the creature, are one dimensional. They do not possess enough depth to draw us into the tale." "This seemed like part of a longer piece. Why would the child not ask his father what the creature was earlier? What happens to the character? His father? The village?" "Some of the prose is ungainly and overdone, and there isn't really an ending here." "This feels like the opening of something larger. The conflict has been introduced, but the resolution is missing and none of the reader's questions have been answered yet." So from that I have established that though there is no real problem with the writing expect for the prose being "ungainly and overdone" but I have to find an ending here maybe or answer a few questions that the reader has whilst still keeping the word count under 1,000 words. Oh and improve the characters to give them more depth. I am working on this, but I was wondering what input you guys could add. I Ran (Word count: 674. v.2) It was howling at the clouded moon when we first laid eyes upon it. It was not the howl of a beast, in spite of its monstrous appearance, but the howl of an intelligent being in pain. My father grabbed me by the shoulder, his firm hands propelling me backwards into the midnight shadows. I bent to the ground so to become less visible, and my father followed suit. As we looked on the beast seemed never to sense our watchful gaze. After one final, drawn out howl, its voice quietened and deepened into a subdued growling which was just as fearsome, and it started to scratch at the ground. At the same moment the clouds over the moon parted, and a shaft of silver light revealed the monster in its full glory. Its skin was a deep red and its beady eyes shone like gold coins. The clearing was raised so I couldn’t see where its legs were to tell how tall it was. But it was bigger than my father. My father was a big man, a muscular lumberjack. But its arms made his seem like they belonged to a small child. They were thicker than my head. Suddenly the monster stopped clawing the ground, and sniffed the air. The wind blew cold right through me, like a blade through lard, and I knew our smells had flooded its senses. My heart began to whip up a storm in my chest. My breathing was uncontrolled and the night’s wind chilled my sweat drenched body as the beast looked into my eyes. For what felt like an age, we didn’t move. Nothing seemed to move. The wind stopped blowing, the moon stopped glowing, the leaves on the trees stopped rustling, and even the beast which was once so frantic was now still. Then my father broke the spell, began to pull me away. Branches snapped and leaves flew everywhere. We turned to make haste, but the beast was sure of our company and was walking towards the trees we now sprinted through. A howl was let out and an arrow shot through the growth and struck the pine to my left. The beast was armed. In minutes we had reached the village and were fleeing for the safety of our home. My father slammed the door behind us and began to drag pieces of furniture in front of it. We watched through the cracks in the wood as the beast emerged from the trees and then stopped, bow drawn and arrow at the ready. It looked around the sleeping village for us. Then it slunk back into the forest. I watched that spot for hours. I could still see its outline. It was waiting, but for what? A thunderous crash woke me, and my eyes opened to see the dawn sun shinning through the cracks. Somehow I had fallen asleep in spite of the monster’s lurking presence. I ran to check on the monster; to see if it was still waiting there, but instantly wished I hadn’t. For I saw it, standing there and staring back at me through the crack. It began to howl and hit the door with an axe. I cried out, I cried for my father but he never came. The beast tore its way into my home and bore down on me with its axe held high. The next moment the beast was flung through the doorway. My father stood there, axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes. Through the doorway, past the splintered wreckage of the door, I saw what had made the thunderous crash that woke me. More of the beasts, flooding through our village, my home. “What are they? Father! What are they?” I screamed as terror flowed through me freely. He turned to the village and raised his axe again as he spat, “Trolls, son.” With that I ran, the screams and the howls beating at my back as I hurled myself through the back door and into the forest. I ran. Thanks.

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LessBread    1415
I think it's a great start but it needs more polish.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
After one final, drawn out howl, its voice quietened and deepened into a subdued growling which was just as fearsome, and it started to scratch at the ground.


What is the difference between "quietened" and "quieted"?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
At the same moment the clouds over the moon parted, and a shaft of silver light revealed the monster in its full glory.


Glory?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Its skin was a deep red and its beady eyes shone like gold coins.


Gold?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
The clearing was raised so I couldn’t see where its legs were to tell how tall it was. But it was bigger than my father. My father was a big man, a muscular lumberjack. But its arms made his seem like they belonged to a small child. They were thicker than my head.


What's a lumberjack? I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK. I sleep all night and I work all day... (I know what a lumberjack is but that's no longer an everyday occupation). If you want to endow him with additional skills consider calling him a forester or better still attribute his build to years spent chopping trees in the forest with an axe. And be careful not to mix up the description of the beast with the description of the father - it's and his are not strong differentiators.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Suddenly the monster stopped clawing the ground, and sniffed the air. The wind blew cold right through me, like a blade through lard, and I knew our smells had flooded its senses. My heart began to whip up a storm in my chest. My breathing was uncontrolled and the night’s wind chilled my sweat drenched body as the beast looked into my eyes.


Blade through lard? That suggests the cliche "hot knife through butter" which confuses the thought sequence - blew cold, cut hot, flood sense, heart whip storm. Keep the "temperature" of the metaphors consistent. And the "density" too - gas, solid, liquid, flesh, solid... If you're seeking to convey cold, avoid suggestions of heat, including transitions from solids to liquids, seek freezing not melting.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
For what felt like an age, we didn’t move. Nothing seemed to move. The wind stopped blowing, the moon stopped glowing, the leaves on the trees stopped rustling, and even the beast which was once so frantic was now still.


What does an age feel like? How did the moon stop glowing? Was it obscured? If so by what? How did that obstacle move if everything stopped moving? Wouldn't the leaves stop rustling once the wind stopped blowing?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
The beast was armed.


Then it wasn't really a beast was it? It was a Hun!!! [1], [2]

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
In minutes we had reached the village and were fleeing for the safety of our home.


Was the village empty? Where were the other villagers? Why was no alarm raised?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
I cried out, I cried for my father but he never came.


Never?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
The next moment the beast was flung through the doorway.


It took me a couple reads to grasp that the father had thrown the beast. If the beasts are as superbad as described, it shouldn't be easy for an ordinary lumberjack to throw one like that.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
My father stood there, axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes.


Not never. How big was the house that the father was absent? Was he searching for his axe? Why would he have to search for a tool that ought to be ready to hand for a lumberjack?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
More of the beasts, flooding through our village, my home.


Why "more of the beasts" and not just "more beasts"?

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
He turned to the village and raised his axe again as he spat, “Trolls, son.”


Why didn't he tell you what they were when you first encountered them?

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Ghostknight    166
Reread your story again and slowly. You have some interesting ideas but refine your words and chose words that are smaller and more discriptive from what you want to tell or say or show. Let the reader imagine that he or she is in the story your telling.

Go through the process of acting out the story. I am pretty sure you have. If not redo the scenes and write the ideas and suggestions that come to mind for the parts that need to be changed.


[qoute]
With that I ran, the screams and the howls beating at my back as I hurled myself through the back door and into the forest. I ran.

Question: Why did the child run? Did the father ask his child to run so he can try to take care of the troll situation? Did the father get killed making the child run for his life into the woods?



Another thing was there a back door for the child to take off into the woods or did the beast enter the house and the child ran under the beasts legs and take off to the forest? Or did the father break one of the side glass windows and put his child out the window for him to run?

For example:
Looking back from time to time as the child ran; he looked back seeing his father still standing at the door way. Then suddenly one last glance back at the house from the moonlit night. The beast lunges at the human with a howl. With a wide swing of the axe and a charged yell from the father, the beasts' bloody head flung across the room hitting the left wall. The beast's lifeless body fell to the wooden floor with a heavy thud.

Through out the village the rest of the trolls heard the thud. Curious they slowly closed in to the house from where the thud came from. The father's face and upper body was covered with blood and the glare of the lit fireplace glissened from the right side of the father's body. In unison two trolls tried to enter the house. Another troll came from the broken glass window. After the trolls finally entered the house more beasts followed leaving no room for the father to leave except to kill or be killed. With that I ran as far as I can. Who knows where my running will take me.

Just an example. You can use this version any way you want for your story ending. This ending can and will allow you to keep the story from ending quickly and have some how the father and son to reunite sometime down the road if you choose to do so.

Hope this works out for you.
Will help out with more details, ideas or suggestions if you need it.
Contact me through PM if you want. Be glad to help out a fellow writer.

Ghost knight


In the end sentence, try to refrain yourself by using action words twice.

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Punk Designer    137
You have all been most helpful and most kind, I will be sure to be using this forum more often to get help with my stories.

I will begin work on V3 and post it here when I am finished.

Less Bread, Thanks for going through it with a fine tooth comb, makes it nice and simple to understand my mistakes.

Pete Michaud, I understand what you mean and I will try to do that in my future works but I'm afraid to change it to much apart from simple corrections. I have tried to rewrite the story only to have lost the positives and don't wish this to happen again.

Ghost Knight, thanks to you for helping me out with your suggestions and those questions you asked as a reader, I will take them on board and re-write it.

Thanks all.

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Punk Designer    137
Not to sure about the ending. Had to give a reason for the story being told. I don't know, guess I could think of anything inspiring to say. All comments followed.

V3.

It was howling at the clouded moon when we first laid eyes upon it. It was not the howl of a beast, in spite of its monstrous appearance, but the howl of an intelligent being in pain. My father grabbed me by the shoulder, his firm hands propelling me backwards into the midnight shadows. I bent to the ground so to become less visible, and my father followed suit. As we looked on the beast seemed never to sense our watchful gaze.

After one final, drawn out howl, its voice quieted and deepened into a subdued growling which was just as fearsome, and it started to scratch at the ground. At the same moment the clouds over the moon parted, and a shaft of silver light revealed the monster in all its horror. Its skin was a deep red and its beady eyes shone like gold coins. The clearing was raised so I couldn’t see where its legs were to tell how tall it was. But it was bigger than my father and he was a big man, a forester by trade. The beast’s arms made my father’s seem like they belonged to a small child; they were thicker than my head.

Suddenly the monster stopped clawing the ground, and sniffed the air. The wind blew cold right through me and I knew our smells had flooded its senses. My heart was a storm in my chest. My breathing was uncontrolled and the night chilled my sweat drenched body as the beast looked right into my eyes.

For what felt like forever, we didn’t move. Nothing seemed to move. The wind stopped blowing, there was no noise, not even from my heart or my head and even the beast which was once so frantic was now still. Then my father broke the spell, began to pull me away. Branches snapped and leaves flew everywhere as things began to move again. We turned to make haste, but the beast was sure of our company and was walking towards the trees as we started to sprint. A howl was let out and an arrow shot through the growth and struck the pine to my left. The beast was armed, then it was no beast at all but something far worst.

In minutes we had reached the village and were fleeing for the safety of our home. My father slammed the door behind us and began to drag pieces of furniture in front of it. I watched through the cracks in the wood as the beast emerged from the trees and then stopped, bow drawn and arrow at the ready. It looked around the sleeping village for us. Then it slunk back into the forest. I watched that spot for hours. I could still see its outline. It was waiting, but for what? I asked my farther but he was too busy to talk, he told me to stay here and shout if I saw anything, he would go alert the others. So I watched through the crack.

A thunderous crash woke me, and my eyes opened to see the dawn sun shining through the cracks. Somehow I had fallen asleep in spite of the monster’s lurking presence. I ran to check on the monster; to see if it was still waiting there, but instantly wished I hadn’t. For I saw it, standing there and staring back at me through the crack. It began to howl and hit the door with an axe. I cried out, I cried for my father but I couldn’t see him. The beast tore its way into my home and bore down on me with its axe held high.

The next moment the beast was flung back through the doorway. My father knelt in front of me, his axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes. It had taken a lot to deny the beast it’s kill and my father had to catch his breath. Through the doorway, past the splintered wreckage of the door, I saw what had made the thunderous crash that woke me. More beasts, flooding through our village, my home.

“What are they? Father! What are they?” I screamed as terror flowed through me freely. Suddenly it became so important to put a name to my fear.

He turned to the village and raised his axe again as he spat, “Trolls, son.” He lifted himself up and walked towards the door to join the fight. He stopped suddenly, turned in a low arc to face me and told me that I should go, just run and save myself. He looked sad and from that I could tell that this would be the last time I ever saw my father.

With that I ran. The screams and the howls beating at my back as I hurled myself through the room and out the back door in the kitchen and onwards to the forest behind. I ran. I have never been back to that peaceful little village, I would rather believe it to be the way I remembered it, before the attack. So now you know, what a coward I am and why I want to join His Majesties’ Army.

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LessBread    1415
Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
The beast was armed, then it was no beast at all but something far worst.


This sentence is awkward. It's two sentences slapped together. And worst should be worse. Worst is the inverse of best.

The beast was armed! This was something far worse than a beast.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
So now you know, what a coward I am and why I want to join His Majesties’ Army.


Events in the story explain why he would want to join the army, but the coward part doesn't make sense to me. Is he a coward because he fell asleep on watch? because he ran? He ran because he was told to run. He fell asleep on watch because he was young. The coward part seems to come from nowhere.

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diemseven    100
You have a good start. I liked reading it. You could tighten up in a lot of places. I took the liberty of a short critique about the beginning of your material. Pick up a copy of "The Elements of style" by Strunk & White. It will teach you to tighten up your writing. Also get "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King. He actually recommends Strunk & White in "On Writing". Those two books helped me to get stronger as a writer.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
It was howling at the clouded moon when we first laid eyes upon it. It was not the howl of a beast, in spite of its monstrous appearance, but the howl of an intelligent being in pain.


You start and end your first sentence with "it", and begin the second sentence with "It".

Try:

It was howling at the clouded moon the first time I ever saw one, and it wasn't the howl of a beast, but the painful toll of something intelligent.

Omit "in spite of its monstrous appearance". Irrelevant. Let the reader put it together. "Painful toll" or something like that so you don't use how(ling) three times. And since you are dealing with a troll, maybe try something besides "howling at the moon", because I was thinking it was a werewolf THE WHOLE TIME until the end. I like the troll idea and the way that your protagonist learns about the troll from his father.

Quote:

My father grabbed me by the shoulder, his firm hands propelling me backwards into the midnight shadows. I bent to the ground so to become less visible, and my father followed suit. As we looked on the beast seemed never to sense our watchful gaze.


My father grabbed me by the shoulder and pushed me into the shadows. I bent to the ground to become less visible. He knelt beside me and we watched the beast mourn.

His firm hands are irrelevant. Omit. You are concentrating on the creature in the woods.

Midnight must be assumed since the beast is howling at the moon. Omit.

Omit "so" in "so to become".

It doesn't matter right then whether the beast notices your other characters.

Too much focus on the staging of the characters. Get them there, and continue, blending action and attention on the source of tension.

In a scary scenario, you need to clip along rather fast. Think of being scared. The adrenaline. Short breaths, the blur of scenery while running. Something at your heels, hot breath, red eyes, teeth like a row of nails. Move. Fast. Sentence fragments can be your friend.

Try using only one adjective every paragraph and one adverb every 100 words.

Try to make your protagonist active. He can run at the end, but have him do something before he runs. Maybe the troll eats his dad, or just shoots him while the boy hides. The troll leaves and the father and son can have a short conversation about trolls. Make the kid HATE trolls. Maybe he should run after the troll. Not away from it. If you write a reactive protagonist, you end up having to untangle all the reasons why things keep happening to your protagonist versus your protagonist making things happen.

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Punk Designer    137
Thank you for your replies.

I hope I am not just making it worse, I know that some times by rewriting my work I lose the sense of the piece. I want to work on a little bit about the chase, something that makes the scene "clip along rather fast" though I'm trying to keep the word count down. It's 829 now. I took out the bit about being a coward, you were right but I felt it needed something a bit more. Hopefully I'm not being to much of a bother asking for help editing.

V4.

It was howling into the wind the first time I ever saw one, and it wasn't the howl of a beast, but the painful cry of something intelligent. My father grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me into the shadows. I bent to the ground to become less visible. He knelt beside me and we watched the beast growl.

After one final, drawn out cry, its voice quieted and deepened into a subdued growling which was just as fearsome, and it started to scratch at the ground. At the same moment the clouds over the moon parted, and a shaft of silver light revealed the monster in all its horror. Its skin was a deep red and its beady eyes shone like gold coins. The clearing was raised so I couldn’t see where its legs were to tell how tall it was. But it was bigger than my father and he was a big man, a forester by trade. The beast’s arms made my father’s seem like they belonged to a small child; they were thicker than my head.

Suddenly the monster stopped clawing the ground, and sniffed the air. The wind blew cold right through me and I knew our smells had flooded its senses. My heart was a storm in my chest. My breathing was uncontrolled and the night chilled my sweat drenched body as the beast looked right into my eyes.

For what felt like forever, we didn’t move. Nothing seemed to move. The wind stopped blowing, there was no noise, not even from my heart or my head and even the beast which was once so frantic was now still. Then my father broke the spell, began to pull me away. Branches snapped and leaves flew as things began to move again. We turned to make haste. The beast was sure of our company. We started to sprint. A shriek was let out and an arrow shot through the growth and struck the pine to my left. The beast was armed! This was something far worse than a beast.

In minutes we had reached the village and were fleeing for the safety of our home. My father slammed the door behind us and began to drag pieces of furniture in front of it. I watched through the cracks in the wood as the beast emerged from the trees and then stopped, bow drawn and arrow at the ready. It looked around the sleeping village for us. Then it slunk back into the forest. I watched that spot for hours. I could still see its outline. It was waiting, but for what? I asked my farther but he was too busy to talk, he told me to stay here and shout if I saw anything, he would go alert the others. So I watched through the crack.

A thunderous crash woke me, and my eyes opened to see the dawn sun shining through the cracks. Somehow I had fallen asleep in spite of the monster’s lurking presence. I ran to check on the monster; to see if it was still waiting there, but instantly wished I hadn’t. For I saw it, standing there and staring back at me through the crack. It began to howl and hit the door with an axe. I cried out, I cried for my father but I couldn’t see him. The beast tore its way into my home and bore down on me with its axe held high.

The next moment the beast was flung back through the doorway. My father knelt in front of me, his axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes. It had taken a lot to deny the beast it’s kill and my father had to catch his breath. Through the doorway, past the splintered wreckage of the door, I saw what had made the thunderous crash that woke me. More beasts, flooding through our village, my home.

“What are they? Father! What are they?” I screamed as terror flowed through me freely. Suddenly it became so important to put a name to my fear.

He turned to the village and raised his axe again as he spat, “Trolls, son.” He lifted himself up and walked towards the door to join the fight. He stopped suddenly, turned in a low arc to face me and told me that I should go, just run and save myself. He looked sad and from that I could tell that this would be the last time I ever saw my father.

With that I ran. The screams and the howls beating at my back as I hurled myself through the room and out the back door in the kitchen and onwards to the forest behind. I ran. I have never been back to that peaceful little village, I would rather believe it to be the way I remembered it, before the attack. So now you know why I want to, why I need to join His Majesties’ Army.


Not much as changed I may add, in fact to not confuse things I will write below what has been changed.

-It was howling into the wind the first time I ever saw one, and it wasn't the howl of a beast, but the painful cry of something intelligent. My father grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me into the shadows. I bent to the ground to become less visible. He knelt beside me and we watched the beast growl.

-A shriek was let out and an arrow shot through the growth and struck the pine to my left. The beast was armed! This was something far worse than a beast.

-So now you know why I want, why I need to join His Majesties’ Army.

Thanks.

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Ghostknight    166
Its much better this time around with from what I can tell are two slight things that you could change and add as well.

Sentence:

Then my father broke the spell, began to pull me away. Branches snapped and leaves flew everywhere. We turned to make haste, but the beast was sure of our company and was walking towards the trees we now sprinted through. A howl was let out and an arrow shot through the growth and struck the pine to my left. The beast was armed.

To This:

My father broke the spell by pulling me away to make haste away from the beast. Sprinting through the trees, branches snapped and leaves flew everywhere. For the beast was sure of our company walking towards the trees we sprinted through. A howl with a deep growl echoed through the forest mountain top. The howl made me want to look back. I tried to sense on how far we were running away from the beast. A low pitch whistle became louder and louder. It was nearly on top of us. My father heard the high pitch noise. Just as it got any closer, we broke the sprint to the left through some more dense trees. From the corner of my right eye I saw the arrow slam into the tree we made a left from.


And the last

My Question is.
Even if the boy wants to join the Majestie's Army. Does he not want to go back some time soon or at least a year later or two to find his father if he is still around. Hopefully the son has some skills. The question is kind of left in a odd balance. We know he wants to join the Army. All find and well, but not find his father?

Keep up the good work.
Chat with ya later.

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landagen    376
It's getting pretty good. I have a couple of suggestions.

Quote:

The beast’s arms made my father’s seem like they belonged to a small child; they were thicker than my head.


Get rid of "they were thicker than my head". It is redundant and hurts the rhythm of the story.

Quote:

The next moment the beast was flung back through the doorway. My father knelt in front of me, his axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes. It had taken a lot to deny the beast it’s kill and my father had to catch his breath. Through the doorway, past the splintered wreckage of the door, I saw what had made the thunderous crash that woke me. More beasts, flooding through our village, my home.


This paragraph does not make sense for several reasons.

1. If your father is very small compared to the troll, how was he flung back by him.
2. Since you skipped describing the actual skirmish between the troll and his father, the reader gets the impression this happened instantly, but at the same time you say that it "took a lot" and that "my father had to catch his breath". Also you made no mention of what happened to the troll. I can't tell if he died, ran away or decided that killing is wrong.
3. You have a tendency to join descriptions together with a comma.

Quote:

My father knelt in front of me, his axe held low, a furious stare in his eyes


This should probably be changed to

My father knelt in front of me with his axe held low and a furious stare in his eyes.

Reread your story because I think you do that other places as well.

Quote:

The beast tore its way into my home and bore down on me with its axe held high.


Change my home to our home. It will have a little more emotional impact.

Quote:

The wind stopped blowing, there was no noise...


You combined 2 sentences with a comma. Use a semicolon instead.

Quote:

not even from my heart or my head and even the beast which was once so frantic was now still.


Not sure how your head makes noise. I know you are trying to say that your head was empty of thought, but the imagery in this case is awkward. Consider changing it.

Change which to who.


Quote:

he beast tore its way into my home and bore down on me with its axe held high.
My father knelt in front of me, his axe held low...


By describing the way they held their axe in similar ways, you almost tie the two together. Consider modifying one of them. Maybe get rid of the description of where his father's axe is. This is not important to the description. If you want to indicate that he has an axe, maybe say something like "My father knelt in front of me, his axe wet with blood,..." or "My father knelt in front of me, his axe wet with fresh use,..."

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