Excerpt from Short Story

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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Rukiya Hatcher
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Excerpt from Short Story

Post by Rukiya Hatcher » 11 Jun 2018, 19:14

Hi, everyone,

Looking for some general feedback on this. Does it flow well, is it interesting to read, is the syntax good/coherent stuff like that. I'm an amateur writer, so I know it isn't Shakespeare, I'm just trying to get a sense of what I do well and what I don't do so well. The subject matter is rather dark and it isn't a "story" in the traditional sense. Context: I wrote it about a serious, ongoing depression and how I lived day-to-day during that time. It's called How to Cook Breakfast in Hell, copyright to K. Rukiya Hatcher, TM, registered trademark, or whatever. Thanks in advance for your help.



"To cook breakfast in hell, first you have to wake up there. This will be easy if your life has been violently and irrevocably altered in some way that, for the moment, is impossible to accept. You won’t have to ask permission or fill out a form, you will just wake up there. You’ll know you’re in the right place because your body will be made of lead, poisonous and heavy. Your jaw will be sore from clenching it all night. Swamp mud will be suffocating you, seeping into every capillary, and your heart will spiral tender, thorny vines throughout your entire chest and these will throb and pierce you without ceasing. Your head will be broken and weighed down with the unspeakable knowledge of what has taken place there, like a burned down house, and you will find that you are a ruin instead of a person. Welcome to hell.

At this point, you may begin to cry, if you didn’t already wake up crying. Stare at the ceiling and check for a stinging in your eyes, or tears pooling in your ears. This may be the most challenging stage, building up your immunity to the day. Those brief moments of peaceful ignorance just after your eyes opened are long gone. Now you wake up and every part of you knows what happened. You realize that you’re still somehow alive and probably still will be at the end of the day. Take a moment to process and accept this. Hell has no exits. Even the one some people choose to take is an unknown; a change of consciousness is no guarantee of a change in suffering. Try to get all of the crying out now, unless you’re in a massive city and don’t interact with anyone who might care if they see you sobbing in public. Otherwise, make a note of all available single occupancy bathrooms on your daily route.

Now, push your leaden body up, replace the swamp muck with air (it won’t feel all that different) and flick on your autopilot switch. Try to have a day.

If your autopilot is functioning well, you’ll slip out of a haze to find that you are dressed in some way. Try to notice, or hope someone will tell you, if your shirt is on inside out or if you’re only wearing one sock. Maybe cry again, just to be safe, or finish up crying if you haven’t stopped before you head to the bathroom. Here, you can splash cold water on your face until the swelling around your eyes goes down and the whites are no longer tinged red. If you can’t get your throat to unclench, pack your bag full of cough drops and pretend you have a sore throat so you have an excuse not to speak."

That's about 1/3rd of the text (it's quite short), but I may post the rest if enough people are interested. Thanks for reading, looking forward to your feedback.

-Rukiya

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MsTri
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Post by MsTri » 18 Jul 2018, 19:19

As much as I love writing reviews here, I think I suck at critiquing smaller works and focuses on the minutae, but here goes:

Second-person is proably the hardest to write, and I think that your piece was very well written. The beginning line is the epitome of the "hook", as it drew me in immediately and wouldn't let go. The imagery overall was fantastic, and I could actually feel my jaw being sore from clenching it all night and I could feel my body being leaden. My favorite lines were

Swamp mud will be suffocating you, seeping into every capillary, and your heart will spiral tender, thorny vines throughout your entire chest and these will throb and pierce you without ceasing.
and
Take a moment to process and accept this. Hell has no exits. Even the one some people choose to take is an unknown; a change of consciousness is no guarantee of a change in suffering.


Thanks to your wonderful descriptions, I could completely believe that I was the person in the story, and I'm sad that you had to go through that at some point. I pray that you are better now?

Aside from doing really well at conveying those feelings, I also thought the syntax was perfect, and I didn't notice any grammatical errors.

Keep going!

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khall1395
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Post by khall1395 » 01 Aug 2018, 18:46

I have clinical depression. This piece is quite relatable to me, which is something I value in what I read. My favorite phrase was "hell has no exits." Also, I enjoyed the imagery - I felt like I was truly experiencing what you were experiencing. Quite powerful! I'd love to read more of you work.

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