Post by DreamingoftheMist on Jun 19, 2023 1:03:41 GMT -6
It makes me think of the introductory scene to an episode of Criminal Minds. With that in mind, if it's going to start without an obvious problem, the character's actions and internal dialog need to slowly imply what's coming until the "oh my god" moment. As a thriller, instead of psychological horror or a mystery or crime genre, the clock needs to be introduced. What's going to happen, when and what does she have to do to stop it?
This definitely piques my interest: What horror happened last year? Who is it that's (presumably) stalking her? How did they get in the house and drop a box in the middle of the garage without her knowing? Does her pulse quicken at the sight of the box because it reminds her of what's happened before?
Very clean and well-written with no SPAG issues that I saw!
I'm not sure I quite like the opening sentence as a lead-in, but I do like: The horror of last year is behind me, or so my therapist says. As a hook, I'd lead with this or something similar to immediately draw the reader in. I think the mention of the Taylor Swift song is okay, but might be better served elsewhere to show her listening to music as she's unpacking and breaking down, what she thinks, is her final box.
Something in the corner moves. Being a new house, and having a box sitting in the center of the garage (unobstructed?), I envisioned the garage being completely empty except for the box. Is there a reason she didn't see anything (or anyone) else in the garage?
I like what you have so far and would certainly read more, though my suggestions are a) lead with a different opening line, and b) slow the beginnings down a bit to create that build-up leading up to her finding the box in the garage.
I’m totally drawn in by this opening. I wanted to keep reading, so I hope you finished it so we can read the rest after the contest. What a creepy situation, one that steps from surreal to real-life horror. The possibilities for the story’s direction are tantalizing. Will this develop into a situation of domestic abuse or will it be a speculative horror situation. Brings to mind George RR Martin’s “The Pear-Shaped Man.” That story has haunted me for a decade or more. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must. Anyway… There’s a lot of good stuff packed into this small space: good flow, concrete imagery, building tension. The only thing that seemed out of place or premature was the “terror” at seeing another box: “Swallowing my terror, I shuffle toward it. So plain. So unthreatening. I must've forgotten about it, that's all.” Confusion would be a bit more believable at this early point. “What was that doing there? How could I have missed it,” etc. But please, please, I gotta know what happens.
Post by ScintillaMyntan on Jun 23, 2023 20:52:27 GMT -6
This one is effective at being creepy.
A banker’s box sits in the middle of the cement floor. Swallowing my terror, I shuffle toward it. So plain. So unthreatening. I must've forgotten about it, that's all.
These lines are especially good at being ominous. The first sentence's isolation as its own paragraph makes me feel that fearful twist in the protagonist's stomach. The second of the lines sounds so much like someone desperately telling themself that it's nothing to be afraid of, which makes it even scarier than if they told us why it should be feared.
The "coy smile" is also such a well-chosen detail. It's off-putting because not only does it suggest the protagonist is flirting with the stalker, that they want him, but it depicts the protagonist as being more naive than they are. It's like the stalker is mocking them, pretending that they don't know how dangerous he is.
I also like that the portrait is so much smaller than the box it's in. That also makes it creepier somehow, like the character has to look a lot closer to know what it's a picture of, making it an even more jarring surprise. And it makes the stalker seem more insane. The sense of dread is so good in this story.
I think the lyric that starts the piece doesn't fit. It's a good idea to use the music to hint that something is off without being direct, and it's more original and subtle than the usual "I had a sense that something was wrong," but "blue" isn't quite the right feeling. The character is tentatively happy that they got work done and started a new phase of life while trying to squash down their fear of what happened last year. We should be more uneasy than sad.
I did feel a connection between the lyric and the blue paint; the character is feeling blue, and is creepily portrayed in blue, oh no. Except they aren't feeling blue, so it doesn't really work.
And yeah, technically the box wasn't left on the doorstep—
A classic fear of being stalked is built by this entry. Something ominous happened in the past as implied by “last box is finally unpacked” and “horror of last year is behind me” and “so my therapist says”. A single box in the garage started it all over again.
Action dramatically slows as the texts gives details to finally opening the lid off the box. Does this imply the prior issues involved a box as well?
The hook ‘em technique of drama is developed skillfully in the last sentences.
I would read more to see if the POV can escape the stalker. This entry used hook ‘em technique in excellent ways. Well done.
Post by Sundrinker on Jun 26, 2023 18:38:59 GMT -6
I'm not sure what to say except that overall I find it quite good. This reads clearly and flows really well. It sets the tension well and makes me ask "what happens next?"
Personally, I feel the only thing I'd improve on is the moment the character spots the lone box. I feel the transition is a bit too quick from being afraid to acting. The sense of dread could be expanded upon.
Post by OnBardicWings on Jun 28, 2023 15:15:24 GMT -6
This really effectively communicates the point of creepiness due to the inability to escape some dark past, and defines what the narrator is trying to escape from just vaguely enough to make you really wonder what you'd find if things went on for more than 200 words.
I do kind of wonder if the pop song intro line could be a little extraneous and if those words could be used to further elaborate on how the narrator is feeling at seeing the latest portrait of themselves, but that's really picking a nit. Overall this is really nicely written.
Okay, this was creepy and then some. Personally, the "hook" captured me with the line that began: "Six months and the last box..." rather than the lyrics to a song. To say I'd want to know more is definitely an understatement. So, this all happened previously as well as this time? More than once maybe? The feeling of being watched is unsettling to say the least and so was this little "stalker story."
Post by whaleworkforfood on Jun 30, 2023 0:02:33 GMT -6
A creepy opener. The heebie-jeebies factor is through the roof. First, the stalker(?) is up-to-date on the MC's whereabouts. It also probably means the stalker didn't go away, but were biding their time for a year?
Then, there's the portrait. The fact that the portrait is still wet, and the fact that the stalker has seen the MC enough to be able to paint an accurate portrait of her ...
My only nitpick is that I think a better start to the piece might be:
Six months and the last box is finally unpacked ...
I'd shift the line about the Taylor Swift song further down in the story. I'm curious if the song has any particular significance to the plot. Is it her favourite song? Or perhaps the stalker might send her the album the song is on, implying that they were watching her all along?
An entry that's definitely got me intrigued, and wishing I had the rest of the story to read.
pelwrath: My break and dinner at work will be busy with first read throughs.
Aug 21, 2023 11:27:43 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: I'm so bummed! I was trying to get an entry in, but inspiration didn't hit until the last minute, and I just wasn't satisfied
Aug 21, 2023 14:17:28 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: So instead I will read all the amazing entries and wish y'all luck
Aug 21, 2023 14:17:40 GMT -6
FoxxGlove: First look at all the Photograph entries makes for an amazing read. Gonna have a tough time voting, that's for sure.
Aug 22, 2023 11:03:09 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: New Rolling Weekly just dropped! Check it out and enter HERE
Aug 27, 2023 10:55:35 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: Whew, back from vacay, and I'm exhausted. No rest for the weary, though. I've got a lot of critting to catch up on.
Aug 29, 2023 11:51:39 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: And a new Weekly! Yay!
Aug 29, 2023 11:51:49 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: Ooo! A great prompt word too! aaaaaOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Aug 29, 2023 11:52:46 GMT -6
pelwrath: Don’t know if there are any members from Florida but please be safe as that hurricane bears down on you.
Aug 29, 2023 19:07:14 GMT -6
pelwrath: I like that prompt as well.
Aug 29, 2023 19:07:35 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: ONE MORE DAY TO ENTER THIS WEEK'S ROLLING WEEKLY.
Sept 1, 2023 11:45:54 GMT -6
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Sept 1, 2023 17:09:08 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: New 100 Weekly just dropped! Come submit your entry HERE
Sept 3, 2023 21:04:17 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: Apologies for the delay. Holiday weekend has my head on upside down
Sept 3, 2023 21:04:40 GMT -6
pelwrath: My mind has finally settled on what stories/books I want to start writing. A werewolf story with witches, warlocks, and other along with Sundowners 3.
Sept 4, 2023 9:56:37 GMT -6
pelwrath: I’ll pat myself on the back. I posted a link to a recent review of my first book in the boasting thread in the Accepted thread.
Sept 6, 2023 7:28:20 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: 6 HOURS LEFT TO VOTE
Sept 9, 2023 14:59:10 GMT -6
pelwrath: An FYI but ball parking my score, looks like 4th place for me. No surprise there and I do hope Raveneye does consider her entry in the W,P, and S even if she was the host.
Sept 10, 2023 1:18:59 GMT -6