Short Story Sample (Not Complete)

Use this forum to post short stories that you have written. This is for getting comments and constructive feedback. This is for original, creative works. You must post the actual text, no links.
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JordanKSmith
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Short Story Sample (Not Complete)

Post by JordanKSmith » 24 Dec 2018, 14:38

Hey Everybody,
I haven't written a story before, so I am hoping to get a little feedback on the style of this sample. Does all the description weigh it down? There is also something about the verb tense that is bothering me, but I'm not sure what it is. The last sentence should probably be removed or altered...Okay, I'm going to stop knocking this before I talk myself out of posting it.

How would you alter it?

Quick warning - This sets up a gory scene

Blood leaked from her ruptured gums and pooled with the saliva beneath her tongue. The memory of her 5-star meal was washed away by its copper flavor. Its accompanying smell, on any other day, might be ignored. Today, it was cloaked in the guise of the Grim Reaper and spoke of her death.

Her flesh was white, and it had all but expired. The ghoulish figure that remained walked to an unsteady beat. Her right ankle had swollen to twice its natural size, and a nebula of dark greens and purples had overtaken its bruised surface. None of that really mattered though. It was her punctured lung that had her worried. Her warm life-giving fluid was coalescing at the pit of the organ where a single bullet had burrowed its way into her body.

She held a small bundle of cloth in the nook of her left arm and pressed it into her chest. A child wailed within its woolen walls. Her other arm was raised, and her hand maintained a tentative grasp upon the silver handle of an M1611 pistol. The smoking barrel was pointed towards a man that had collapsed onto his haunches, gasping for air.

His face looked contorted like a Picasso painting, and his features bordered on the aboriginal. A pair of eyes peered from the shadows of their deeply set sockets with the predatory gaze of a hyena. Though soaked from the rain, his face looked dry, and his lips resembled the flesh of a withered up grapefruit. If listening closely, one might even hear the squeaky movements of his unlubricated eyeballs.
If it looks bad, you've zoomed in too far.

Unconditional love is impossible until you can look at yourself without judgment.
(9 of 175 Books by 12/1/19)

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Flandere
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Post by Flandere » 24 Dec 2018, 15:34

It gives a decent bit of description but maybe you should add some thoughts in to it. Like, what waste woman thinking as she realized her life was slipping and things like that.

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JordanKSmith
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Post by JordanKSmith » 25 Dec 2018, 00:27

You are totally right! Thank you! :)

I think I was unconsciously avoiding that. I've never been confident in my ability to write the thoughts of characters in a way that feels natural. At this point, it is a pretty significant weak point.
If it looks bad, you've zoomed in too far.

Unconditional love is impossible until you can look at yourself without judgment.
(9 of 175 Books by 12/1/19)

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Louanne Piccolo
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Post by Louanne Piccolo » 28 Dec 2018, 12:08

Hi Jordan,
Your last sentence - that you were thinking of scrapping - actually made me belly laugh. Ok, it's probably not the effect you were looking for and it's not really right for this type of writing but it is a great sentence! If you scrap it, then use it somewhere else, don't scrap it forever. I loved it.

Now, on to your questions:
The writing is lovely. But yes, it is too descriptive. It may be good for a writing exercise but not for a story or book because it just requires too much effort to read and is too confusing. That's just my opinion obviously, but I would tire of a book that needed too much concentration from me to simply follow the storyline.
I think that all of your descriptions are good but you may want to use just two or three in a short story, not in every sentence. Let the reader use his imagination, don't spoon-feed him/her.

Let's look at your first paragraph - you could say:
"Blood leaked from her gums and pooled under her tongue, washing away the taste of her 5-star meal with its copper flavour."
It reads easier and is clearer to understand.

As an exercise, why don't you try "writing down" to make it sound more conversational. And then add a line of dialogue at the end as a cliffhanger. Something like, "I won't let you take the baby."
Just a suggestion!
It's likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read - Lemony Snicket

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JordanKSmith
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Post by JordanKSmith » 28 Dec 2018, 13:39

Thank you, Louanne! That is very helpful. :)

I'm actually going through a book right now that perfectly demonstrates your point. On my notes for an upcoming review, I wrote that the book descriptions are creative, but I had to read them multiple times to digest them. The writing should be clear, and the descriptions shouldn't drag on to the point of halting the imagery like a Matrix fight scene.

I'll incorporate the exercise into my writing regimen. It's a good one!

Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed response. It means a lot, and it really is useful to me...I'll make sure to save the sentence. I'm glad that it made you laugh. That makes me happy. :)
If it looks bad, you've zoomed in too far.

Unconditional love is impossible until you can look at yourself without judgment.
(9 of 175 Books by 12/1/19)

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Louanne Piccolo
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Post by Louanne Piccolo » 05 Jan 2019, 12:05

Yes, save it! You never know when it could come in handy.
You should rewrite the piece and then come back and post it again.
It's likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read - Lemony Snicket

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