Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 43

Thread: Short Story Workshop

  1. #1
    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Big Sky Country

    Short Story Workshop

    A lot of people on this forum seem interested in writing stories. That's great. Creating and sharing stories is a deeply human activity. So I figure it's a good idea to make a designated space for that, and also for helping each other improve. In order for this to work, I suggest very strongly that there be a couple guidelines (or etiquette) to ensure equal feedback.

    1) For every story you share, you must reciprocate with a response to every other story shared, up to three.

    2) Feedback on stories is at least 300 words, and includes two positive and two critical (yet constructive) remarks. Consider it part of the writing/ learning process.

    I understand INTP, whatever, don't do well with rules. Fair enough, don't follow them. I at least think it's important to put them out there. Also, all genres are welcome. Non-Fiction too. If you think of amends, by all means make the suggestion. It's not my thread it's yours.

    Would anyone like to go first?


    Advice on providing thoughtful critiques.

    Basic Storytelling Elements, in a fun format.

    Pixar's 22 rules for phenomenal storytelling
    Last edited by Makers; 02-23-2014 at 07:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Great thread idea!

    Another idea that might be fun/inspiring is to suggest certain "challenges" or "exercises" of the form, "write something that does this, and has that (etc)" and put them out there to the creative types.

    And I'd say things smaller than short stories could be submitted for review, as well. Like scenes, or dialog passages, etc. Anything that's enough to engender a substantial response/critique? Get the ball rolling for those who don't want to share or produce whole short stories (and to reduce the tl;dr potential of posts)?

    Finally, I hate to link to the other place, but there was a great thread there (way back) which seemed to have a similar premise, and has some great results:

    Anticipating someone might one day start such a thread here, I've already added a few things to the forum software which might facilitate such a thing.

  3. #3
    Tsundoku LordLatch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    Great thread idea!

    Another idea that might be fun/inspiring is to suggest certain "challenges" or "exercises" of the form, "write something that does this, and has that (etc)" and put them out there to the creative types.

    And I'd say things smaller than short stories could be submitted for review, as well. Like scenes, or dialog passages, etc. Anything that's enough to engender a substantial response/critique? Get the ball rolling for those who don't want to share or produce whole short stories (and to reduce the tl;dr potential of posts)?

    Finally, I hate to link to the other place, but there was a great thread there (way back) which seemed to have a similar premise, and has some great results:

    Anticipating someone might one day start such a thread here, I've already added a few things to the forum software which might facilitate such a thing.

    This is a horrible story as it has no discernible plot and I can't bring myself to care about the main character I can't even identify(It's just like The Phantom Menace!). Also there should be some form of conflict to create the impetus of action.

    On the bright side, I'm glad you wrote it in English as this is the language of the forum. Your sentence structure is readable.

    Although I don't believe your story merits 300 words, I do think you have the tools to make a better story and I encourage you to do so.
    That's my poop stirrin' stick- Don't touch it! You don't know which end is the handle..

  4. #4
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I'll go. I just wrote this just now on seeing this thread, sorry about the length.


    Stay with me shed said. True love doesnt happen every day. Oh sweet Lily, how almost perfect you are in almost every way, and saving me the trouble of working up the courage to propose. How thoughtful, Id like to keep that part. But you dont know that true love can happen every day, even every hour if you know where to find it. I stayed the night. Im not insensitive or without immediate gratification issues. Later, I imagined her waking up and finding me not there and pouting briefly. But all of the Lilys Id known were resilient and not overly dramatic. Id tried ever so hard to keep those two qualities high while tracking hers through the eighth dimension.

    I always go home, home being where I started, home being the reality instance where Lily and I met in junior high before Id moved away and lost track of her for years and years. My apartment never changed except the clothes in the laundry basket going up and up until Id take a break and go to the laundry room on the first floor and then it would be empty when I returned next. The refrigerator was empty, unplugged and open. Id learned to eat elsewhere because eating had become such an important part of the process, step two actually. Showering, I thought of my trajectory through the eighth dimension over the last few months, where Id been and where I should go next to meet a slightly better Lily than the one Id spent the night with. I thought of last night Lily, what I liked and wanted to keep, and what I didnt like so much.

    Falling in love with me again at first sight was the first trait. I had to meet a hundred Lilys before I found that one. Next came gradual improvements in beauty, little tweaks really. My ideal Lily was now an airbrushed version of the original. Is that shallow? I suppose it is, but why not, all other things being equal. Skill in bed came next, and here I must admit my own game improved greatly in the fifty or so instances of Lily I met. Unfortunately, that brought out some annoying habits such as slurping food and mouth breathing. These had to be weeded out with a long line of Lilys lest they kill true love in the happily ever after. Now my long search for the perfect Lily was almost over. I was working on clever and witty, smart you might say. You see, I was smart, so she needed to be smart too. In fact I was brilliant, lets be honest. Who else could master travel in the eighth dimension and systematically find their ideal mate among the infinite realities?

    I could picture the perfect Lily now. Just like the one last night, except a little harder edge on her intellect, a little more practical. I thought about space time and got my mind around it to take me to that reality as I got dressed. Ten oclock, time to go.

    First I buy a dozen yellow roses and wait for her there in the crowd in the square, the place shes been the last fifteen trips. Right on time we bump into each other, exchange smiles, make small talk. Its a script by now but you do have to improvise as you go. Shes a little different each time. As we head arm in arm to lunch at her favorite sidewalk caf she smells the roses and I see that something in her eyes that tells me shes mine. And I feel it too! This Lily is the one!

    The next morning when Lily awakes Im there, deliriously happy, floating through a dream of my own creation, reveling in sweet love. Lets get married today. Lily says. And I agree. We hurry to the court house and exchange vows. We stop off at the bank and our financial life becomes one, wills, bank accounts, life insurance. She wants everything to be perfect. Lets head home and pack for our honeymoon. Lily says, kissing me. I nod and follow her down the stairs to the subway. The platform is crowded, the train is coming and she moves forward to be first aboard. I trip on something, tumble, hit hard ground, the crowd on the platform above begins to shout. I look up at Lily, my perfect wife Lily. and see something besides love in her eyes. I shout WHY? She mouths the words distinctly. You Snore.

  5. #5
    just dont think about it mhc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    ok ill have a crack at this. i like writing but would say that i am far from good at it. i struggle to read also, in my mind i hear myself reading the words but they don't really mesh into anything, so I'm having a hard time critiquing star jots. i liked it, but more the style? i also like the ideas presented, someone looking for his perfect image of something but struggling to find it? sorry this isn't 300 words! ok here is my story, i wrote it a few months ago on holidays near the beach. it is the first thing i have written in over 20 years, even in school i struggled with creative writing!

    Spoiler: Story

    I decided to brave the cold wind and head outside for a walk, yet i had no clear destination in mind about where i should go. As i walked along the hard gravel road, I approached an intersection, to the left of me was a path a soft grass headed off in the direction of the ocean, and to the right, was more of the same gravel road which i had already traversed. the decision to head in the direction of the lush grass was not hard, and even though the alluring scent of the not to distant ocean, with the sounds of its waves lapping relentlessly at the beach in the distance, was indeed pleasing, it was the fact that my eyes had grown tired of the loose stones which laden the gravel road currently under my feet. Or at least that is what i tried to convince myself of.

    as i followed along the path, which divided the lawn in the direction of the ocean, i decided to entertain the idea i had of feeling the sea salt misted lawn under my feet.i walked some more until i could see the ocean, however the beach was still not visible. i walked a little further still, to the edge of the grass, and i noticed that where the lawn finished, laid another path, which seemed to curl around out of site, and into the sunset. i could still hear the waves pounding at the shore line to what seemed to be the rhythm of the wind, the same rhythm which seemed destined to have me seek the warm refuge of shelter from the wind along the path which was laid before me. i thought about heading back, and at that moment the cold persuasive nature of the wind seemed to disappear, instead replaced by the sweet salty smell of the ocean. at once i noticed this, and i became aware of the fact that, not only had that scent surrounded me for longer than i was aware, but that i could also feel the ocean mist on my face, and taste it on my lips.

    with the doubtful bitterness of the cold wind gone, again, it was easy to take that next step, and walk off the grass, along the path and around the sweeping bend and head off into what seemed like the sunset. as i took the first step around the curved path, my attention was drawn into the intricately woven relationship of the green foliage and pale pinks and purple hues of the flowers which seemed to engulf the path from each side. the canopy of the trees seemed to reduce the idea of a sea side walk with the raw power of the ocean, which was only within arms reach of the path, into a journey only able to be understood momentarily, down a tunnel of limitless boundaries and confusions. in awe of the powerlessness of the situation, i took solace in being able to find my ground in the awareness of the subtle yet complicated nature of a single flower, a single flower which had managed to grab onto me in the midst of my uncertainty and portray a sense of alluring doubt into my mind. as strange as this sounds, clutching onto that doubt seemed all that was containing my sense of sanity amongst the limitless confusion and that which it reduced me to. the more attention i gave to the awareness of this flower, the more my attention was pulled into a calming sense of doubt. my body struggled with my mind, of this doubt, how can it be cause for my sanity my mind said, all the while my body was simply resolved to the trust it had found in the relationship of doubtfull understanding.

    again, i was seemingly pulled along a path in which i had no control, to take yet another step forward, struggling with my own mind, further dividing the already defined seam of swelling imaginative confusions between my mind and body. suddenly i started to feel overwhelmed, i realised i had arrived at a path which lead down through the sand and onto the beach, yet with the doubt which my body, and now also my mind clung to, i was unsure if i had indeed made my own way here, or if i was always here and i had imagined the path. as i stood powerless, i realised that while the confusions in my mind grew stronger as my mind attempted to convince itself it was in control, the waves also grew stronger. again i seemed to have no choice but to console to the fact my mind was confused and not able to be in control. i headed for the one thing that i had realised i was aware of this whole time, journey or no journey, path or no path, the ocean.

    the waves seemed overcome with power of timeless, tireless relentlessness from the wind, slapping at the beach one after another. i could still taste the salty wind on my lips, but once again i was aware of the harsh, unrivalled power of it. the soft sand beneath my feet, seemed to seamlessly change to the hard, water soaked sand which resisted my attempts to leave footprints, as i confided more and more in the seemingly now irresistible pull of the ocean. i became consumed in myself as i realised that it was by my own will that i was not able to resist the seductive nature of the waves, their sound, their smell, their taste and least not their demand for submissiveness, that i convinced my mind to trust that flower and its doubt.

    Even with the all the raw power of the waves, somehow, even after appearing to disperse all their energy onto the hard compacted sand of the salty moist beach, they still managed to glide seamlessly up and over the sand, stretching and inching out a little bit further each time, before gently rolling back into the ocean, or the source of their excitement, portraying the illusion of one continuous pulsating pool of rhythmic swelling and contraction, leaving only a glittering display of salty ocean foam, right at the furtherest point reached by the most daring and enduring of waves.

    with the acute awareness of the silky, salty ocean foam glittering in the deep orange light of the fading sunset, once again i remembered the conflict between my own mind and body, and of the journey that led me to this point, and again the doubt. with the awareness of my confusions once again swelling to the point of uncontrolled rhythmic ideas, ideas which seemed to seductivley yet deceptively entertain their own idea of rhythmically, forcefully yet gently, parting the seam between my mind and body, my focus was now deeply entertained on the idea of trying desperately to resist the alluring fascination of the idea of having made opened the seam between my mind and body, or body and reality. my own understanding of my position on the beach, seemed to gently slip away, replaced simply with a rhythm, a rhythm gently placed into and over me at the same time by the ocean itself. the unequalled power which i had perceived in the ocean before seemed to have disappeared, leaving my body pulsating in tune with the same rhythm of the now calm content ocean. tho as calm as this newly perceived ocean seemed, its waves still continued to stretch back and forth over the sands, leaving its display of glittering salty earth bound pieces of ocean right at the furtherest stretch of beach that it could manage to consume.

    i started to wonder, was it the ocean that wanted me consumed in its rhythmic oceanic rocking momentum, or had my mind been desperately earning to have this rhythm gently eased into itself. as my mind struggled to comprehend that which it had just concluded, i realised the reality of both ideas. if the ocean had lured me to its rhythm, than why, or if i accepted the idea of my mind longing for this rhythm made perceivable by the slender, gliding motion of the waves stretching out to consume as much beach sand as it could, than again, why?
    The waves where now gently caressing the tips of my sand covered toes each time they moved themselves back and forth from the ocean. desperately seeking to regain some sort of control, sanity or just less confusion within my mind, i moved forward slowly down the beach a little more, cautiously fixing my attention on the ocean and its waves, trying not to elaborate on the idea of the ocean lulling me into itself.

    i noticed that the more effort i spent into not trying to let my mind confuse itself, the harder it became to not be confused. my mind was spinning out of control and i started to find myself desperately trying to cling onto reality, and just when i found myself at the tipping point of not being able to ascertain reality from non reality, once again, my mind was saved from itself by the sensation of the silky movement of the ocean gently expanding itself up and over my feet. as the oceans outward stretch slowly started to contract and ease back over my feet and back into itself, i observed that my feet had gently started to ease into the hard, water soaked beach sand. the continuous rhythm of the ocean ensured that silky caressing motion of waves gliding over my feet continued relentlessly, not only protecting me from my mind, but also gently easy me even further into what seemed the object of the oceans desire, the beach.

    in order to help reassure the idea in my mind that the ocean is not capable of such desires, as the waves continued to slowly glide over my now beach consumed feet, i cautiously stretched my arm out in order to clasp some of the oceans salty wet rhythm. the waves continued unaffected by my attempts to clarify them, so slowly i withdrew my hand and carefully pressed some of the rhythm to my tongue. it was saltier than i expected, but with the salty sensation a sense of strange delight helped satisfy my minds attempts to rationalise the moment, and to distract me from the possibility that the ocean was intent on consuming me into itself, beach first.

    i accepted the fact that i was now in tune with the rhythm of the ocean, and in accepting that fact, i was able to find the strength within myself to start to try and ease my own rhythm into the ocean, beach first. i started to shift my focus from the waves which were still engulfing my feet, to exerting energy into some simple rhythmic movements, and so i slowly started moving my feet in and out of the sand in such a manner so as to turn that patch of beach sand which had consumed my feet, into an emulsion of wet, salty momentum. the waves seemed to start to move themselves in and out from the ocean faster and faster and stretch out to consume more and more of the beach the more i moved my feet about in the sand. my mind refused to accept the relationship between my movements and oceans, and then unexpectedly, the power of the waves had grown to the extent of managing to pull me down from my standing position, and onto my hands and knees, and i found myself with my face just centre metres from the watery grip of the ocean

    the wind howled over me as if making some sort of statement, but as for what sort of statement i was unsure. with the last shimmer of sunlight stretching out over the entire sea salted misted beach, i was able to momentarily catch a glimpse of my own reflected image on top of the water. but no sooner had i noticed the reflection of myself, the cooperative nature of the wind and ocean had managed to hide it from me just as quickly i had noticed it. with my feet left feeling exposed to the cold touch of the howling wind on the edge of the ocean, the parts of me that had been pulled into the ocean, still with waves contracting around them, were now experiencing the watery warmth of the ocean provided by its, up until this point unnoticed, protective, nurturing personality.

    i concluded the ocean wanted me to endure its rhythm, but was not willing to allow me to actively move my body in tune to it, let alone impart my own rhythm. however, it seemed to protect and chastise me at the same time, implying that any wrong doing originated from me, and any consequences from those wrong doings where then my own fault. the stark contrast of feeling the winds cold breath on my toes, and the oceans warmth gently gliding over the rest of my body, helped to reassure the idea of the nurturing side of the ocean in my mind.
    my body craved to be reassured fully by the warm caress of the gentle movements of the ocean, free from the raw power of its waves. i thought about how i should go about manoeuvring my body into the best position to shield it from the harsh wind. i did not know wether to stand and fully endure the harshness of the wind, or risk upsetting the balance of the sand and waves again and crawl.

    i was saved from the conflicting confusions of my own mind yet again when the ocean gently swelled beneath me, forcing its waves further back up the beach, and then subtly contracting as it caressingly clutched on to me in a way that i could not resist, and pulled me out and deeper into its warm, all encompassing protective movements. with my mind now reassured, it was able to think about what it had endured, free from any discomforts experienced by the cold wind onto my body. i was able to fully open and stretch out the muscles in my legs so that my toes where just in reach of the floor of the ocean, and my mind found pleasure in the idea of remembering the sensation of moving to its own rhythm and movement within the wet sand, while my body was feeling content and consumed in the warmth provided by the ocean, knowing that it was safe from the relentlessly lapping of the beach by the waves. with my mind and body both now satisfied and content, i was able to experience the pleasurable contentment of the oceans rhythm. gently it moved my body to and fro, while i observed the clarity in my mind. with my mind i thought about all the conflicts, and unwillingness that i had brought forth from within myself, the times when i had resisted, all the while the ocean had sought to protect and shelter my body, in order ease the conflicts and doubt within my mind.

    even tho my body had been sheltered by being consumed in the ocean, my head had been left exposed above the silky, shimmering ripples of the ocean, and the distract full nature of the cold wind became apparent as the cold head sitting just above the warm ocean, with ripples lapping at its face, sought to remind me of my displacement, or seek to take away from me the pleasurable contentment i was experiencing, and remind me of the man that had now been left floating neck deep out in the water. the way i saw the situation, i had two choices. i could continue to let myself be overwhelmed by the feelings of pleasure and contentment, or i could find myself floating in the water with the now cold, distracting wind. rather than letting the reality of the situation and its two choices confuse me, my mind seemed calm and clear. i thought about waiting to see if the ocean would decide for me again, saving me from the notion of being in control of my own actions.

    i reflected back upon my journey, and i realised that the ocean had been very persuasive at opening the seam to that place between my mind and body. by using its rhythmic movements, it was deliberately making known to me the origins and location of my imagination, and making open the outer edges of reality and fantasy contained within that inner space normally guarded by that outer seam.
    with each ripple that i felt against my face, it was as if the ocean was filling my imaginative space with more and more imagination. my mind groaned and my body become overwhelmed with an awareness of an ache that seemed to have always been present but never acknowledged. i tried to contain my mind as it groaned some more while the ocean relentlessly tried to expand it more and more to a seemingly unreachable point of expansion. the longing which my mind had sheltered me from by distracting me from that unsatisfiable ache contained in my body became apparent above all else. my body was either singing to the tune of the ocean, or finding its own inner rhythm within the ocean.

    I started to realise why my mind guarded me from this eternal aching and why my body guarded my mind from its own imagination, and that only i contained the desire to overcome both with the knowledge of myself. the imaginative pool that had been created by the ocean relentlessly filling my most sacred and hidden dwelling, started to expand and contract in on itself. the memory of the glistening salty ocean foam that i had observed on the sands of the beach came into my mind, and the rhythm of the waves seemed to subdue and disappear, whether by being consumed by itself, or simply because it had been made known to me i am not sure. however, that which came to replace it was a strong surge of pulsating irregular contractions, which seemed to work together to expel me from the body of water which i had come to know as the ocean. before i had been totally withdrawn and ejected onto the beach, my gaze was caught by the watery textured ripples of the ocean. in those textures all manners of form and colour became visible to me, mixed with thoughts, ideas and infinite periods of time spanning an infinite length of time. suddenly i sensed that i was becoming the water, and i was overcome with fear. fear of not knowing who i was.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Big Sky Country

    I can see you're playing off an interesting idea that has alot of potential. Although I think you need to use more scene, reveal the background through dialogue, and set the character in motion. There is alot of summary. I want to see how things unfold, not hear about it. Same with developing character traits, etc. It's important to show the defining moments that make the character who he or she is, because that's how, as a reader, I will come to relate. Otherwise, complicated love is a great theme to work off of— even though the setting is sci-fi, the grounding is real world. I like that. Your voice is clear and distinctive. The writing style, sophisticated, practiced, and absent of jagged edges, which made it an overall pleasing read. Thank you.
    Last edited by Makers; 02-20-2014 at 07:12 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Good you are writing again and having fun while you are at it. The theme of the story is complex and quite interesting. I understand it to be "the ocean had been very persuasive at opening the seam to that place between my mind and body" and "realise why my mind guarded me from this eternal aching and why my body guarded my mind from its own imagination". Also, your writing uses most or all of the senses, sight sound smell touch taste, and is very descriptive. It comes off as a dream sequence.

    So I'd say, keeping in mind the feeling you are trying to evoke (dream, erotic etc) and the theme you are trying to make (mind body divide), edit and sculpt it to bring those elements out and prune out words that don't drive vision. Personally, I'd be sparing of the word seemed, but for a dream sequence it might be right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post

    I can see you're playing off an interesting idea that has alot of potential. Although I think you need to use more scene, reveal the background through dialogue, and set the character in motion. There is alot of summary. I want to see how things unfold, not hear about it. Same with developing character traits, etc. It's important to show the defining moments that make the character who he or she is, because that's how, as a reader, I will come to relate. Otherwise, complicated love is a great theme to work off of— even though the setting is sci-fi, the grounding is real world. I like that. Your voice is clear and distinctive. The writing style, sophisticated, practiced, and absent of jagged edges, which made it an overall pleasing read. Thank you.
    Thanks for the feedback, very helpful. It would benefit a lot from more scene, dialogue and character development.

  8. #8
    Utisz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Starjots View Post
    I enjoyed the story and loved the premise ... it's thought provoking! The writing flows well and there is something relatable/interesting in the perfectionistic greed of the character.

    The main questions I have are about the start and the end. Without the context of what's to come, it starts a bit sappy ... in retrospect I can see that it's not, but on first reading I didn't really appreciate the ambiguities in the protagonist's mind that you had placed there. I'd have appreciated more of a dilemma/conflict-arch for the protagonist, like "will the next Lily be better or worse?". Some details like the dozen yellow roses also detract somehow ... make the characters less relatable ... something less obvious (with more edge?) could better hint at the insight that the protagonist has gotten in previous experiences as well as the type of characters involved. Same thing with respect to talking about honeymoons and getting married on the first day ... it's a little jarring.

    The end was not what I expected as well; I'm not sure whether I like it or not, which is praise in itself. One thing that doesn't gel well is why she would marry him and then tell him sombrely about the snoring problem. Also my first impression was that the end sort of cheapens the premise a bit. But with a little more time I kind of like it more ... the banality of imperfection or something, or how his own imperfection taints the perfection he has found.

    All in all, .

  9. #9
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    San Francisco, New California Republic
    Okay here's the opening scene.

    * * *

    "Know what, man?"


    "FUCK gentrification."

    "You said it, brother."

    Harley took a long sip of his 40 ounce bottle of Olde English and pondered the philosophical ramifications of what his next-door neighbor Chris had told him. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and waited for Chris to continue.

    "These guys are riding to work in their fucking climate-controlled wi-fi enabled vans, and you know what?" Harley opened his mouth to respond but Chris continued. It had been a rhetorical question.

    "Our tax dollars paid for that shit!"

    "That's outrageous!:


    "What are we gonna do about it?"

    "I'll tell you what we're gonna do about it." said Chris then paused to spark his bowl and take a long inhale. He held his breath in a dramatic posture then exhaled a huge cloud of smoke like an extremely stoned dragon.

    "We're gonna fuck their shit up."

    "How we gonna do that?"

    "We're gonna, you know, like turn their own tools against them and shit, man. I know this guy -- hey man, you know Connie?"

    "Yeah, I know Connie."

    "You fucked her?"

    "No, man."

    "Oh, well ... one time I fucked her."

    They high-fived.

    "Awesome, bro! But go on with your story."

    "Oh yeah. Well, I know this guy and I think he's dating Connie or he wants to date her or something like that but his name is Phil."


    "Yeah, so Phil ... like ... Phil knows this guy who makes these chips that can fuck with those remote Internet-guided vans those fuckers have. We're gonna sneak into their parking lot and wire those puppies up, man."

    "Where we gonna drive them?"

    "I don't know, man."

    "The fuck? You can't be telling me this shit and not know where you're gonna send the goddamn vans, dude! That's like, that's like the entire fucking denouement of your story!"

    "The what?"

    "That's like the entire point of your story. It's like the money-shot of your scene. The denouement."

    "The money shot. Hell yeah."

    "So go on, where you gonna send them?"

    "I was thinking maybe send them off the side of the bridge. Or have them like accelerate down the road and ram two of them into each other."

    "Think you could hook that up?"

    "Well, yeah. Off the side of the bridge would be easier, but there's like an artistry to this I don't wanna ignore, yeah?"

    "Yeah, I know what you mean. I respect that kinda attention to detail, you know?"

    "Thank you, neighbor. I gotta go ponder this."

    Harley watched him walk down the sidewalk. He was hoping Chris would keep him in the loop.

    (to be continued)
    Last edited by Osito Polar; 02-21-2014 at 05:43 AM.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  10. #10
    A Transient Configuration Sistamatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Damnit, I used wysiwyg, and it still took away my damned indents. I'm just going to have to put in spaces.

    Night. Stalixo took a deep breath and leapt toward the carpet of stars before his sister, Ixia, could give the command. He’d hated the mountains at first, but the stars were so much brighter here, and he loved feeling close to them even when the harsh light of the sun obscured them.

    Last night had been the first winter solstice in their new home, the tenth winter of his life, and Ixia’s fifteenth. If they still lived with their old tribe, she’d have joined the other fifteenyears in a group hunt…a coming of age ritual, but she was the only one coming of age in this small group. She’d chosen Tarkiso, a sixteenyear, and her little brother, Stalixo, to be her wings for the hunt. Stalixo had never been so excited in his life.

    There were things he missed about the old tribe, but he couldn’t fault his father for leaving. The chieftain of the old tribe had been greedy and put himself before his people and customs. According to the old ways, after their father challenged him and lost, he should have been forced to work his way up the hierarchy again, but the Chieftain, in yet another break from tradition, ordered his wings clipped. Instead the family had fled into the mountains, along with other traditionalists in the tribe. They’d found a near perfect cave—big enough to fly around in, with a stream trickling through, and a thermal vent keeping it warm. The only drawback was that it only had one entrance. They were still working on digging the escape tunnel.

    Stalixo felt the air currents change as his sister, Ixia, and Tarkiso, her betrothed, joined him in the sky, wingtip to wingtip. Theirs would be the first new union since the they’d found their new home. There would be more children, and the new tribe would grow stronger, and years from now, when the tribe was strong, they would look back to this first solstice as the beginning of it all.

    At Ixia’s signal, Stalixo and Tarkiso dropped back, making a V formation with her at the front. They scanned the ground below, looking for signs of prey, but the forest was quiet. Even with the bright light of the full moon, he could see nothing.

    “It’s as if something frightened the whole forest,” Tarkiso said.

    “We should go further, over the rim,” Ixia said.

    “Your father forbids it,” Tarkiso said.

    “But it’s my fifteenthyear hunt,” Ixia whined. “It’s a bad omen if we find nothing. He’ll only know if you tell him.”

    “Fine,” Tarkiso said. “But if anything happens, I’m going to claim you two ran off without me.”

    Stalixo whooped in excitement and turned to his sister, who grinned back at him. She made the signal and the formation turned toward the ridge they weren’t permitted to cross. As they got closer, Stalixo could see things weren’t normal. Trees were missing, with ugly flat stumps left behind. Someone had left behind the rotting carcass of a leopard, uneaten and unskinned. Treeless scars ran through the forest, with parallel lines marking their length. There were holes dug in the side of the mountain, and clearings by the river. The water downstream was filthy and choked with some kind of slime.

    A doe stepped out into one of the clearings and dipped her head to drink. It wasn’t the magnificent buck he’d imagined bringing home for Ixia’s fifteenthyear, but it was better than nothing. She saw it too, and signaled; the three brought out their weapons, gliding silently toward their prey. Ixia folded her wings for the dive, then threw them open to catch her fall just in time to spring onto the startled deer and cut its throat. Stalixo and Tarkiso landed soon after, and the three began the bloody work of skinning the deer and stripping the meat until their packs were full.

    When they finished, Tarkiso noticed a shiny yellow rock in the stream.

    “It’s heavy. I could use it in my slingshot,” he said.

    He was turning it over in his hands when a creature wandered into the clearing and froze, staring at them. He resembled a man, but his wings had been removed, and his skin was pale. His ears were tiny, and attached to the side of his hairy, round, pig-pink face. It had tiny feet coated in smooth leather so its talons would be useless, and its fingers were short and clawless. Its eyes locked onto the rock Tarkiso was carrying and it started waving its arms around screaming “MIGOLD!” over and over.

    Tarkiso dropped the rock and took a step back. “What is it?”

    “I think it’s a human,” Ixia said.

    Stalixo’s blood went cold. “Let’s get out of here.”

    They launched into the air and made straight for the peak they called home. When Stalixo looked back, he saw the human staring after them in the moonlight. He hoped the stories about how blind they were turned out to be true. It was hard to imagine how a pale near-blind flightless thing like that could be so dangerous, but the only time he ever saw fear in his father’s eyes was when he spoke of humans. He didn’t need to be reminded to keep his mouth shut. They all knew how much trouble they’d be in if it came out that a human had seen them. They were just glad it hadn’t hurt or killed them.

    Several weeks passed, and life returned to normal. Stalixo’s paranoia calmed, and Tarkiso and Ixia stopped giving him meaningful glances all the time. They had almost forgotten about it when Tarkiso’s father landed in the cave one night saying he’d spotted a war party of humans nearby. If they’d still been with the larger tribe, they would have wiped the humans out and left no trace, but they were too few to manage it. If even one human got away, they’d bring back more, like a swarm of ants. It was decided they would go silent until the party had passed, posting sentries, night and day.

    A few days later, Stalixo woke up choking. Acidic smoke clung to his skin and burned his eyes and throat. He dropped from his perch and found his sister doubled over on the ground, vomiting. He helped her stand and they started to run…but where. There were screams coming from all around him and the gas made him dizzy. All he could make out was the blinding brightness of the sun at the entrance blazing like a beacon through the fog of thick smoke. Panic set in. Out. He wanted out. He ran for it, stumbling as Ixia nearly staggered to the ground again. The smoke was thicker here. It was all he could do to keep his eyes open against the noxious fumes. Emerging into daylight left him blind. He and Ixia clutched each other. She called out for Tarkiso, then went limp. He could smell her blood. More shouts rang out, this time in the strange human tongue. Nets fell around him and something big struck his head. His arms fell to his sides, heavy like lead, and all went dark.

    Stalixo woke in a cage, chained hand and foot, to the bars. He squinted in the sunlight. The migold man stood nearby, speaking with several others. They wore metal pieces on their bodies, so much it would be impossible to fly. They were all the same pale, wingless, ugly, hairy roundface things as migold.

    Stalixo turned to survey his surroundings. There, piled at the entrance to the cave, were the bodies of the people of his tribe. He could see a foot with his sister’s anklet poking out. His father’s distinct form lay atop the pile. Mikash, with her swollen pregnant belly was there. And little Tarsi, Tarkiso’s baby brother, was sprawled out next to her, the little wing sprouts he’d been so proud of sticking up. He tried to count them, to see if anyone else had survived, but the limbs were tangled, and there was so much blood. When he noticed the bodies were missing teeth and claws, a wail formed in his throat. The humans turned to look at him.

    “Why?” he asked, his sobs coming out as growls of rage. He pulled on the bars of his cage, rocking it back and forth. Some of the humans laughed, and one held a sword to his throat, hissing strange words at him. He backed away, finally settling into the middle of his cage, determined not to cry in front of these evil creatures. He sublimated his sorrow into anger, forcing himself to watch as they set fire to the pile of bodies that had been his whole world.

    To Be Continued…

Similar Threads

  1. The Story behind your Avatar
    By Mxx in forum The Pub
    Replies: 75
    Last Post: 03-25-2018, 05:09 PM
  2. Society and Very Short People
    By Ludvik in forum Psychology & Sociology
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 08-19-2017, 11:22 PM
  3. Writing a story, tear it up and tell me why/how it sucks please
    By Dream Eater in forum Projects & Creativity
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-07-2014, 05:20 AM
  4. Short list thread
    By P-O in forum Mafia Contest
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-08-2014, 07:23 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts