Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
JWerner

Reading Excuses—9/14/20—JWerner—The Unnamed—4830 words—V, G

5 posts in this topic

Here the thread. 

Warning in case you didn't see it in my follow-up email: this story contains a suicide. 

Mostly looking for thoughts on story's language and atmosphere. The lack of characterization and world-building was intentional.

 

Edited by JWerner
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really liked this story. Though it was a little hard at the beginning to get into, I got more immersed as I went on. By the end, I was fully hooked. 

As far as atmosphere and mood, it was very ponderous and melancholy, and in some cases frightening. In some parts, the series of 'vignettes' of their journey reminded me of Moby Dick, though much less verbose. You claim that there is a lack of characterization, but I actually thought you did that quite well through what interactions we saw between the characters. Generally I liked the language, though there were a few cases where it was difficult to read. 

pg.1 "He sat her down..." there's a few sentences in these first paragraphs that seem a bit run-on to me. Just a little confusing to read. 

pg. 2 "When he asked her..." I just liked this sentence 

pg. 3 "Nature's agonizing call..." :blink: agonizing? Does he have a kidney stone?

pg. 3 "He knew the sky was always this gray was because..." I think it works better without the second 'was'.

pg. 6 "they saw the abyss..." I assume that's a tornado? I really like the vague description, actually

pg. 9 "...scattered herself..." I actually like this description of the suicide, doesn't go into too much detail. 

Pg. 10 "she needed to" Nice

pg. 13 "entropy bristling..." Nice

pg. 15 "a steel plate..." that's terrifying. I love it. 

pg. 16 "they piloted..." took me a second to realize that "they" were the ghosts and the "meat" was O. 

Overall I Really liked it! If i had any other questions, I'd say I'm curious about the ghosts, and what the monster is. 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really liked this story! The wild weird theme was very cool and despite you saying the characterization was lacking, I think it was well done. The language could probably be tightened up just a little. It gets a western vibe is some parts, but not others. I think you could lean into it more since it fits with the theme and add a bit more dialect.

Two nitpicks for me:

1) I'd have liked a little more through-line to the vignettes. I got lost in the middle as to what they were actually doing, so a few more references to "this is a journey" and what the destination was might help.

2) The end was disjointed for me, just because it was hard to understand what happened. I think the progression of events is fine, just need some better blocking in the last couple pages.

I think this could definitely end up in a magazine somewhere. Are you planning on submitting it anywhere?

 

Notes while reading:
pg 1: traveler people--I'm interested.

pg 1: "he would tell her more stories for another night"
--delete "for"

pg 2: cool magic.

pg 4/5: The ghost bit is interesting, but I don't know what it adds yet. Her story is told in a sort of rushed manner like all the information needs to be on the page quickly. (edit after finishing: this is one of the longer vignettes, but I don't think it adds much. It could be shortened in favor of more emphasis at the end, or another brief vignette, if wordcount is an issue.)

pgs 6-7: This part seems to be sort of slice of life/traveling. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm also waiting to get to the main plot. (edit after finishing: This is where a couple reminders would be helpful)

pg 16: unclear on where the knives came from with the girl at the gate. I think the old man got possessed and then tried to kill the girl? I'm not sure what happened to the creature that was following them either. Did it kill the old man, or did something else happen?

pg 17: Nice message of hope for the end. It could be a little more definite, but overall, I really enjoyed this story!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall

I love the atmosphere of the story and I think it's really well written. I don't understand what happened at the end, however, so I'm left with a sense of huh? Everyone died? Is the kid a dragon? I think I might need a clearer tie up at the end, or at least what happened to S.

 

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

1) I'd have liked a little more through-line to the vignettes. I got lost in the middle as to what they were actually doing, so a few more references to "this is a journey" and what the destination was might help.

2) The end was disjointed for me, just because it was hard to understand what happened. I think the progression of events is fine, just need some better blocking in the last couple pages.

These were exactly my issues as well.

As I go

- pg 2: For herself, everything else had been her lover’s.<-- I don't understand this line

- why can't the guy take the kid down to get a bath? Why does D have to do it? The boot kicking makes me not like him

- pg 7: there's really great atmosphere through here

- pg 8: Licking heat. Ringing shriek. Cordite stink. <-- love the rhyme here!

- pg 10: I'm getting really antsy for a plot thread. The 'want to see dragons' here on this page is good but I think a solid hook much earlier would help. it feels like we are just wandering but I don't know WHY we are wandering

- pg 15: I'm really confused now as to where they are and what is happening

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you all liked it!

9 hours ago, Mandamon said:

1) I'd have liked a little more through-line to the vignettes. I got lost in the middle as to what they were actually doing, so a few more references to "this is a journey" and what the destination was might help.

2) The end was disjointed for me, just because it was hard to understand what happened. I think the progression of events is fine, just need some better blocking in the last couple pages.

1) That's fair. 

2) Also fair. 

9 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 4/5: The ghost bit is interesting, but I don't know what it adds yet. Her story is told in a sort of rushed manner like all the information needs to be on the page quickly. (edit after finishing: this is one of the longer vignettes, but I don't think it adds much. It could be shortened in favor of more emphasis at the end, or another brief vignette, if wordcount is an issue.)

(But...but how else will I show off my middling knowledge of the American Civil War?!) I'll consider condensing it. 

9 hours ago, Mandamon said:

unclear on where the knives came from with the girl at the gate. I think the old man got possessed and then tried to kill the girl? I'm not sure what happened to the creature that was following them either. Did it kill the old man, or did something else happen?

They weren't actually knives, I failed to make clear that it was the monster's fingers were coming through the gate to try and get S. The ghosts possessed O and killed the creature. 

6 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 10: I'm getting really antsy for a plot thread. The 'want to see dragons' here on this page is good but I think a solid hook much earlier would help. it feels like we are just wandering but I don't know WHY we are wandering

I'm going to be annoying and claim that that was intentional. But I'll definitely give the hook another look-over when I go back to the story. 

6 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 15: I'm really confused now as to where they are and what is happening

Well, OBVIOUSLY—I'm going to need to go back and fix the ending up a tad so it's not confusing. 

Thanks for the feedback everyone, I will take it all into consideration and see if I can maybe make some additions/edits for next week. Especially the ending, since that appears to be the largest point of criticism thus far. Yes, I'd like to submit this to a magazine. I was planning on submitting to Dream Foundry's contest, but their website is currently kaput, so who knows what's going on there. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.