In which there is nothing to do with Werewolf

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Joey
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In which there is nothing to do with Werewolf

Post by Joey » 01 Jul 2006 10:02 am

Yep. Shock and horror. Anyway, I'm looking for critique on the weird little thing I wrote last weekend during a blackout. I was inspired so I just went with the flow and started something. And I'd like it to be mercilessly torn apart so I can get better. My ego doesn't like it, but it'll just have to suck it up and be a man.

It doesn't have a title. So without futher ado...
She giggled.

“What are you giggling for? I can’t see a bloody thing.”

Another giggle. “Of course you can’t, stupid. What did you expect?”

She was annoying as hell. “You’d think they’d at least give us some light down here.”

“It’s a dungeon. That would defeat the purpose.”

“Why would that defeat the purpose?” I shouted, feeling my hand along the wall to explore. The experience showed that it was a small dungeon. Small and slimy. I automatically moved to wipe my hand on my shirt, only to remember that it was gone. The thought pissed me off, it had been my favorite shirt.

“...and the dark also adds to the spooky atmosphere of being thrown into the dungeon,” she was saying. She was obnoxiously hard to ignore.

I figured it would be a good time to interrupt her. “This is your first time being thrown in a dungeon, isn’t it?”

She sounded dejected about being interrupted. Good. “Sure, but that makes it all the more exciting!” the girl blurted. If only she knew how ridiculous she sounded.

I felt my way around the small slimy room again to the bench I had discovered on my first trip around. I sat on something soft and squishy. “What the hell? When did you get there?”

“Get where?”

The soft, squishy thing struggled and oofed a few more times before I realized I had sat on someone else in the dungeon. “Who the hell are you?” I yelled, springing off it.

“That’s a good question,” a male voice replied.

I decided he was annoying too. “Where did you come from? I didn’t run into you when I first looked around!”

The girl giggled again. The guy gave a small laugh too and said, “Looking won’t do you much good down here, you can’t see anything. But perhaps you just weren’t looking hard enough.” Oh yeah, he was really annoying.

“I felt around the entire room and you weren’t here before!” I yelled. He pissed me of nearly as much as losing my shirt.

There was a tone of smugness to his reply that further ticked me off. “Yes I was,” he said. “Hey who is this guy anyway?”

She giggled yet again. Damn her and her accursed giggling! “Just some stupid guy who got himself caught with me. I don’t think he did it on purpose.”

“I think you’re right, he sounds rather clueless. Either way, it shouldn’t interfere with our plans.”

“Yeah, shouldn’t be a problem.”

“You two know each other? You can’t have gotten yourselves caught on purpose! What the hell is this plan?”

The two of them burst out laughing at the same time. It was doubly irritating. I yelled at them some more, but they refused to answer me. And they kept on laughing. Eventually I gave up and settled on the floor. It was slimy too.

After a time, silence descended upon the dungeon. “So will you at least tell me the plan for escape?” I asked gruffly. I was trying to sound gruff.

“Escape?”

Another freaking giggle. “Who said anything about escape?”
And that's all she wrote. So far. Tell me what you think, have at, and all that good stuff. Don't worry about my ego, it'll recover eventually.

Why yes, I am abusing my power via stickying this. Muwahaha.

Figment
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Post by Figment » 26 Oct 2006 07:28 am

Sorry to sound unenthusiastic; I have not slept in three days and it is seriously impairing my abilities to feel any emotion at all. But I wanted to comment now because I may not come back to NC for a while, in which time I would probably forget.

I want to read more, for sure. That is pretty much one of the most important aspects of any piece of writing for me: whether or not it is sufficiently well-written and interesting enough for me to continue, or want to continue. I wouldn't bother to comment at all if it didn't meet my base standards of quality. It does. I like it.

Now that that's out of the way, some jumbled comments.

The narrator's piquedness amuses me -- he or she certainly has a distinct character that emerges even in such a short piece. I like that. It can be a difficult thing to attain even in longer pieces, and it's great that you established it so early. Unfortunately, one of the only problems I have with the piece probably can't be changed much; it would violate the narrator's set personality.

This problem is terseness, and repetition of descriptive words. I am a glutton for tactile and sensual descriptions: I crave sentences describing the quality of the dark (is it complete, or is there enough light that the slightest of forms might emerge?), the taste of the air (since temperature and smell would give me clues as to the nature of the dungeon), the exact nature of the slime (I think there are probably different types). I love this sort of stuff, and so want it in whatever I read or write. But like I said, it doesn't really fit into the character's way of perceiving the world. You could elaborate a little in spots, I think, even by just using a few variations of words or sprinkling a bit more adjectives in. Appositives are magic. Hemingway, master of the sort of pared-down writing that drives me a little bit crazy with description-hunger, used them all the time.

Another, slighter thing along the same lines is the tags and verbs on the dialogue -- which, by the way, is v good, quite natural and unstilted. You know, the blurts and shouts. These things are good in moderation, but "said" is nearly invisible. Since the primary senses of this part of the story are hearing and touch it would be nice to have a tiny bit more description of the tones, especially with still-slightly-ambiguous verbs like "shout" or "blurt," which could convey different emotions. I think you could add a tiny bit more and still preserve the narrator's character. Never underestimate the fabulousness of "said!" I appreciate it more and more as I turn into a doddering old writer.

These things are minor and are, as you have probably already surmised, pretty subjective, dependent on my own particular tastes in books. And certainly related to the fact that I have been reading some extremely descriptive authors for the past few months. Am not suggesting that you change the style, especially since it's intertwined with the sense of the narrator's individuality. The fact that I want more details is good; it's a symptom of sparked curiousity.

A few grammar things that I noticed in my clouded state.
The thought pissed me off, it had been my favorite shirt.
Semi-colon, not comma. I can't explain why right now because my brain is not working. It just is.
I felt my way around the small slimy room again to the bench I had discovered on my first trip around. I sat on something soft and squishy. “What the hell? When did you get there?”

“Get where?”

The soft, squishy thing struggled and oofed a few more times before I realized I had sat on someone else in the dungeon. “Who the hell are you?” I yelled, springing off it.
This part confuses me a little. It'd be good to mention the bench in the paragraph of the dungeon explanation; I had a "Huh bench?" moment when I read that. The "get where" part seems misplaced in the timing. Is the narrator talking to what he assumes to be an inanimate piece of furniture?

"a few more times" -- doesn't work because you don't mention the first struggles. Again another "did I miss the first mention?" moment.
Looking won’t do you much good down here, you can’t see anything.
Another semi-colon, or some gramatical linking word. Or seperation into two sentences. The ideas aren't related enough for the weak comma to hold.
There was a tone of smugness to his reply that further ticked me off. “Yes I was,” he said.


Again ordering. Seems like the description of tone should come after the said, since how does narrator know the tone before the utterance?
I asked gruffly. I was trying to sound gruff.
I really like this -- says a lot about narrator's character -- but the repetition of "gruff" makes me nervous.

That's all! Hope you can find something of use in this.

-figment

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