WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


You promised me.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-06-2008, 11:28 PM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default You promised me.


“You promised me! You promised me!” Greg heard Felicity sob inconsolably while trying to stifle her cries. Even with her slurred speech, the words pierced his ears like a sharp needle.

Greg’s fingers shook as he clutched the carton the courier had delivered two weeks ago. He stood in the hallway and glanced towards the north facing corner of the living room which was now Felicity’s room or more accurately, her sick bay. Felicity could not walk and it became too straining for him to carry her up and down the stairs.

The district nurse arranged for the loan of a hospital bed, and together, they tried to make the corner as merry as possible. Sometimes during the day, Greg would work just outside the bay window, putting in new flowering plants in the boxes in the hope to cheer Felicity up. In winter, there was not much he could do to brighten the place; he was a patient gardener, not a miracle worker.

Twenty months ago, the once physically active Felicity came home from her daily jog dragging her left leg. Her chest muscles were tightening and she could not understand why. Shocked by her pale complexion, Greg was ready to call the ambulance when she collapsed and hit the floor with a thud.

The thirty minutes ride in the ambulance seemed forever. The doctor told Greg that the prognosis was no good. Felicity has MND or Motor Neuron Disease.

“Excuse me! Isn’t MND a disease that strikes men?” Greg asked.

“Yes, there are more male than female patients.” The doctor replied.

“Isn’t Felicity too young to have MND?” Greg asked again, unwilling to believe the doctor.

“I am afraid that MND affects younger patients too.”

“Is it terminal?”

“Yes,”

“How long has she got?”

“I cannot tell. It could be two years.”


Felicity came home, her sickness progressed faster than other patients. She had to take leave off her job as the local policeman. Soon she lost the use of her legs, and Greg got her a wheel chair. Though depression was not a symptom of MND, Felicity became broody and refused to go out or see any visitors.

Greg’s thoughts came back to the parcel he was holding. He was getting cold sweat and his heart beat fast. Shortly after Felicity found out that she had MND, she searched all she could from the internet. She saw how shriveled up a man Stephen Hawking had become. A far cry from the handsome scientist he was before he was struck down with MND. She didn’t want to look like him though she knew her looks were already wasted.

Felicity hated it when she had to depend on Greg to change her tampons. She hated it when she had to wear adult diapers. She knew that Greg didn’t mind, but she hated it. She didn’t want to drink or eat thinking she would pee or shit less.

Finally, Felicity went to a website which showed her how to kill herself. She ordered for a euthanasia kit and made Greg promise that he would administer the drug to her.

Felicity pleaded, “Let me have some dignity, please.”

Greg reluctantly agreed, “Yes.”

Every day, she asked, “Has the parcel arrived yet?”

“No dear,” Greg replied.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-07-2008, 08:49 AM
mathmission's Avatar
mathmission (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 70
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via AIM to mathmission Send a message via MSN to mathmission Send a message via Yahoo to mathmission
Default

My first thought about this piece is that it’s too short (this coming from someone who loves short fiction!) I felt like things were happening too quickly here. We moved from the discovery of the disease, to the prognosis, to her acceptance and desire for death all too quickly, so much so that I felt I wasn’t overly connected to the characters. I did enjoy the actions of the “caretaker” Greg, and how he’s holding on to what he knows will be the end of the MC. But for me to really grasp the burden that he has on his shoulders, I need to see why the relationship is strong. Maybe I’m off bounds here, but for me, I need to experience more from them to feel the strife that Greg is shouldering. Just my thoughts.
__________________
"For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known." Leonardo DaVinci
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-07-2008, 12:50 PM
HoiLei's Avatar
HoiLei (Offline)
Draw, o coward!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: "In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina..."
Posts: 4,797
Thanks: 183
Thanks 484
Default

Hi puresnow! You have a great story idea here, with lots of tension and drama. Also, your grammar is quite good, and your writing is easy to read. However, like mathmission, I felt like we had a whirlwind tour of backstory and not enough about their relationship. Let me give you some specific examples, and I'm sure you have the skills to improve on this!

I'll use red for corrections and blue for comments:
Originally Posted by puresnow View Post
“You promised me! You promised me!” Greg heard Felicity sob inconsolably while trying to stifle her cries. (How is she trying to stifle her cries? Does she have her hands over her mouth? How can he hear if she's stifling them?) Even with her slurred speech, the words pierced his ears like a sharp needle. (Good image)

Greg’s fingers shook as he clutched the carton the courier had delivered two weeks ago. He stood in the hallway and glanced towards the north facing corner of the living room which was now Felicity’s room or more accurately, her and sick bay. Felicity could not walk and it had became too straining (difficult/strenuous?) for him to carry her up and down the stairs.

The district nurse had arranged for the loan of a hospital bed, and together, they tried to make the corner as merry as possible. Sometimes during the day, Greg would work just outside the bay window, putting in new flowering plants in the boxes in the hope to of cheering Felicity up. In winter, there was not much he could do to brighten the place; he was a patient gardener, not a miracle worker. (Is it winter now? Has she been sick long enough to see the changing of the seasons?)

FLASHBACK

Twenty months ago, the once physically active Felicity had came home from her daily jog dragging her left leg. Her chest muscles were tightening and she could not understand why. Shocked by her pale complexion, Greg was ready to call the ambulance when she collapsed and hit the floor with a thud.

The thirty minutes ride in the ambulance seemed forever. The doctor told Greg that the prognosis was no good. Felicity has MND or Motor Neuron Disease.

“Excuse me! Isn’t MND a disease that strikes men?” Greg asked. (How does he know his? It's not common knowledge.)

“Yes, there are more male than female patients.” The doctor replied.

“Isn’t Felicity too young to have MND?” Greg asked again, unwilling to believe the doctor. (Instead of telling us he's unwilling to believe, show it! Have him stutter, or unconsciously shake his head while talking, or just say "she's too young!".)

“I am afraid that MND affects younger patients too.”

“Is it terminal?” (To me, this is the all important question. Do you need the other questions?)

“Yes(Period, not comma. Would the doctor be blunt, or might he hem and haw, say "I'm afaid so," or try to emphasize how long she might last before dying?)

“How long has she got?”

“I cannot tell. It could be two years.”


Felicity came home; (semicolon) her sickness progressed faster than other patients. She had to take leave off (sounds temporary. How 'bout simply "leave"?) her job as the local policeman. Soon she lost the use of her legs, and Greg got her a wheel chair. Though depression was not a symptom of MND, Felicity became broody and refused to go out or see any visitors. (Again, show it! How does she brood? This would be a great opportunity to show their relationship.)

END FLASHBACK

Greg’s thoughts came back to the parcel he was holding. He was getting cold sweat and his heart beat fast. Shortly after Felicity found out that she had MND, she searched all she could from the internet. She saw how shriveled up a man Stephen Hawking had become. (How sad that she saw his shriveled frame and not the brilliant work he continued to do. ) A far cry from the handsome scientist he was before he was struck down with MND. She didn’t want to look like him though she knew her looks were already wasted.

Felicity hated it when she had to depend on Greg to change her tampons. She hated it when she had to wear adult diapers. She knew that Greg didn’t mind, but she hated it. She didn’t want to drink or eat thinking she would pee or shit less. (This paragraph could go above, where you say she gets depressed and broody. I said "show it"! Well, here you're showing it! Put it in place.)

Finally, Felicity went to a website which showed her how to kill herself. She ordered for a euthanasia kit and made Greg promise that he would administer the drug to her. (Is that possible? In the US at least, I'd think the federal government would crack down on that. Euthanasia is illegal, using the post office to commit a felony, etc.)

Felicity pleaded, “Let me have some dignity, please.”

Greg reluctantly agreed, “Yes.” (Again, every time they talk you have a chance to show the relationship. Do they avoid eye-contact? Make eye contact? Does she clutch the bedspread? Does he smoth her hair?)

Every day, she asked, “Has the parcel arrived yet?”

“No dear,” Greg replied would reply. (Since it's everyday, you can't use simple past.)
I used purple to suggest a flashback. Here's why:

English has two forms of past tense, simple past and past participle (or past perfect). Simple past means "before now", and past participle means before something else in the past. Example:

go, went, had gone
"I had gone to the doctor that morning, but I went to the hospital as soon as I felt the chest pains." (The doctor visit came first, then the hospital. Both are "before now".)

In any story that's written in past tense, things that are even more past get past participle. The problem is that all those "hads" get annoying to read or write. Sometimes you can just use one "had" for each paragraph, but it's hard to keep track of. So a flashback is a good way to be able to use simple past throughout. To mark a flashback, either make it italicized, or hit enter twice to separate it from the rest.

Thanks for posting this! I hope my comments are some help. Feel free to post revisions if you make them!
HoiLei
__________________
"I just saved 100% on my car insurance by switching to walking!"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-07-2008, 05:51 PM
Rozaline's Avatar
Rozaline (Offline)
I Am My Own Master
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 89
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

I have to agree with mathmission, this could be a bit longer. Give more time to really get to know Greg & Felicity and a little more depth to the diagnosis. This way you can really empathize with Felicity's fall into depression leading up to her desire to commit suicide. There is so much emotion that can be brought out into this story.

You have great bones here! Good story.
__________________
Rozaline
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-07-2008, 08:41 PM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default Thanks

Thanks Mathmission, Hoilei and Rozaline for your critique. Thanks especially to Hoilei for her time. I am glad you like the gist of the story.

This post was rather short, I should have mentioned that it was the introduction to what I have in mind. I haven't written and posted for a while. I thought I will jump start with a short post than have a writer's block and never write at all.

I shall use your advice and put meat on the bone and hopefully come up with a better short story. (This will have to wait because I have a family and a full time job.)

Puresnow
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-07-2008, 09:52 PM
HoiLei's Avatar
HoiLei (Offline)
Draw, o coward!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: "In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina..."
Posts: 4,797
Thanks: 183
Thanks 484
Default

You're welcome, puresnow! Sometimes someone else's feedback is just what's needed to banish writer's block.
__________________
"I just saved 100% on my car insurance by switching to walking!"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-12-2008, 10:56 PM
ashlockusmc's Avatar
ashlockusmc (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Pawhuska, OK
Posts: 72
Thanks: 8
Thanks 2
Default

I feel that the characters in "You Promised Me" were a bit one dimensional. I liked the flow of the story and the transition during the flashback, but I agree with Mathmission about being quick and too short. HoiLei covers accurately the corrections and suggestions. I like the whole concept of the story. This reminds me a little bit of the book "May I Cross Your Golden River" about a character having a terminal disease and their experience.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-13-2008, 10:30 PM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Icon7 Thanks,

Thanks Ashlockusmc,

I am thinking in my mind how to edit my story with all your input.

I haven't read the book, "May I Cross Your Golden River". I surfed for it this morning, and will try to get it from the library.

The main theme is similar because I was one of those mums who had to say goodbye to her child. It's been twenty years, and I still haven't found the strength to write about myself.

Puresnow
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-14-2008, 12:24 AM
ashlockusmc's Avatar
ashlockusmc (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Pawhuska, OK
Posts: 72
Thanks: 8
Thanks 2
Default Puresnow

I'm sure you'll find the strength someday to tell your story. It may be the healing / closure you need. I don't pretend know any of this for fact. I'm just suggesting a few things. It also may be something you need to write just for yourself. A clearing of your mind, so that you can move on to other things. These are questions only you can answer. I'm sorry you had to go through the experience of losing a child.
I hope you like the book "May I Cross Your Golden River". I read it long time ago, and I remember that it won a few awards.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-22-2008, 08:48 PM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

“You promised me! You promised me!” Greg heard Felicity sob inconsolably while unsuccessfully trying to stifle her cries with her shaky hands. Even with her slurred speech, the words pierced his ears like a sharp needle.

Greg’s fingers shook as he clutched the carton the courier had delivered eight weeks ago. He stood in the hallway and glanced towards the north facing corner of the living room which was now Felicity’s room and sick bay. Felicity could not walk and it had become too strenuous for him to carry her up and down the stairs to sleep in their bedroom.

The district health nurse had arranged for the loan of a hospital bed, and together, they tried to make the corner as merry as possible. Sometimes during the day, Greg would work just outside the bay window, putting in new flowering plants in the boxes in the hope of cheering Felicity up. In winter, there was not much he could do to brighten the place; he was a patient gardener, not a miracle worker. Felicity has been sick for so long that she would see the bleak winter twice.

*******

Twenty months ago, Felicity was once a physically active police woman . Twenty months ago, Felicity came home from her daily jog dragging her left leg. Her chest muscles were tightening and she could not understand why. Shocked by her pale complexion, Greg was ready to call the ambulance when she collapsed and hit the floor with a thud.

The thirty minutes ride in the ambulance seemed forever. The paramedics rushed her to the A & E and the duty doctor and nurses attended to her straight away. She underwent lots of tests to find out what was wrong with Felicity. Then they admitted her for further observation.

The Specialist doctor told Greg that Felicity has MND or Motor Neuron Disease and the prognosis was no good. He gave Greg a lot of information about MND and a lot of printed notes. Greg tried to digest as much of the medical notes as he could.

“Excuse me! Isn’t MND a disease that strikes men?” Greg asked after reading from the notes.

“Yes, there are more male than female patients.” The doctor replied.

“Isn’t Felicity too young to have MND?” Greg asked in disbelief and unconsciously shaking his head while talking.

“I am afraid that MND affects younger patients too.”

“Is it terminal?” Greg whispered hoping to get a negative reply.

“Yes, I'm afraid so but she might have quite some time,"

“How long has she got?”

“I cannot tell. It could be two years. Meanwhile we try our best to keep her as comfortable as we can.”

Felicity came home; her sickness progressed faster than other patients. She applied for sick leave in the hope that her sickness was just temporary and she would return to work once she was well.

Soon Felicity the use of her legs, and Greg got her a wheel chair. Though depression was not a symptom of MND, Felicity became broody and moody and went through periods of not talking to Greg or the nurse. She refused to go out or see any visitors.

When it came to the stage that Felicity was betting worst, Greg took time off to give Felicity palliative care rather than depend on the district health nurse. Greg thought that her moods might improve with him at home. It didn't, Felicity had mood swings and she wasn't the bubbly girl he had married twenty years ago.

Felicity hated it when she had to depend on Greg to change her tampons. She hated it when she had to wear adult diapers. She knew that Greg didn’t mind, but she hated it. She didn’t want to drink or eat thinking she would pee or shit less. Greg was unfazed, he continued to brush her hair and teeth with tenderness that the nurse couldn't give her.


*******

Greg’s thoughts came back to the parcel he was holding. He was getting cold sweat and his heart beat fast. Shortly after Felicity found out that she had MND, she searched all she could from the internet. She saw how shriveled up a man Stephen Hawking had become. She could not see beyond his sorry physical state and see the brilliant work he continued to do. To her, he was a far cry from the handsome scientist he was before he was struck down with MND. She didn’t want to look like him though she knew her looks were already wasted.

Felicity pleaded, “Let me have some dignity, please.”

Without looking at Felicity, Greg reluctantly agreed, “Yes.”

Felicity implored, “Look into my eyes and promise me that you won’t let me die like a dog.”

Greg felt compelled to look at Felicity, “I promise you, sweet heart.”

Every day, she asked, “Has the parcel arrived yet?”

“No dear,” Greg would reply.

What Felicity had done was secretly go to a website which showed her how to kill herself. She ordered for a euthanasia kit and made Greg promise that he would administer the drug to her.

Greg was in a great dilemma. He loved Felicity and wanted her alive as long as possible. He had a hundred and one questions. Was he being selfish? Was he so blinded that he denied that the quality of her life had diminished. Had it deteriorated to such an extent as to her own words: a dog’s life. Had Felicity the right to a peaceful death with dignity? Was he keeping her alive for himself? Was he prepared to go to prison? …………………..

Greg fought hard to keep his tears from bursting through the dam. He had already him told that big boys don't cry. He had not cried since he was eight years old, and that was permissible according to his mum because a dog had bitten him in the park. He wiped his tears with his shirt sleeve and buried his face in his hands while inhaling deeply.

Finally he stood up, glanced toward's Felicity who was staring out of the wiindow. He whispered," Sorry, sweet heart. I can't do it." He quietly tuck the euthanasia kit back into his closet.

**********

Recently Washington State passed an assisted death initiative, making it the second state in USA to approve some sort of medically supported suicide. Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act in 1997.

Last edited by puresnow; 11-11-2008 at 12:29 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-22-2008, 09:13 PM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

Hi all,

I have ended my story with Gerg not wanting to carry out the euthanisia. I am half minded whether to finish the story here or to continue with him doing it and going to jail. Shall appreciate your feedback.

Hi HoiLei,

I have editted my story using a lot of your recommendations.

Thanks,

Puresnow
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-22-2008, 11:06 PM
SW's Avatar
SW (Offline)
Samuel Johnson, obviously!
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 6,460
Thanks: 25
Thanks 160
Default

Try

**
or
***
or something similar for your flashbacks.

And whenever you have dialogue starting a new line, you need to have a comma...

eg;
Incorrect:
"I went to the store today." Jonas said.
Correct:
"I went to the store today," Jonas said.
But for others, it doesn't have to be, as long as you have a comma before the dialogue.

Incorrect:
Jonas said. "I went to the store today."
Incorrect:
Jonas said "I went to the store today."
Correct:
Jonas said, "I went to the store today."
Should help!
__________________
Retired in a journey elsewhere.
---
In a desperate search for integrity, I fall short of morality.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:52 AM
Starrbright1982 (Offline)
I Am My Own Master
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Shreveport,LA
Posts: 80
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

The only thing I could see a problem was "Twenty months ago, the once physically active Felicity came home from her daily jog dragging her left leg." it didn't flow to great and i had to read it twice to understand what was going on, maybe give it more flow. Maybe say something like "Twenty months ago, as felicity came home from her daily jog, she started to drag her left leg, feeling rather tired." not the best example. By all means I am not an expert critique type person but hopefully that helps, if that one part had more flow the beginning will be a bit stronger.(just my opinion) once again hope that helped, i do like the theme and it's nicely written from what i can see.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-23-2008, 09:35 AM
HoiLei's Avatar
HoiLei (Offline)
Draw, o coward!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: "In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina..."
Posts: 4,797
Thanks: 183
Thanks 484
Default

Nice rewrite, puresnow! I think it flows much better and makes it clear what Greg's dilemma is. Drop the FLASHBACK and END FLASHBACK bits and just let the flashback happen. As SW said, you can use stars or just empty space to set it off.

Starrbright is onto something with the sentence "twenty months ago". It's the "had been" that throws it off. Twenty months ago she was.

Thanks for posting your revisions!
HoiLei
__________________
"I just saved 100% on my car insurance by switching to walking!"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-25-2008, 04:30 PM
august_squall's Avatar
august_squall (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

I love this concept, absolutely love it! This has such great potential.

Just an idea, but what do you think of keeping the audience in suspense about the parcel until the very end? For example:

Cut out this revealing paragraph:
"Finally, Felicity went to a website which showed her how to kill herself. She ordered for a euthanasia kit and made Greg promise that he would administer the drug to her."

Then the last paragraph, keep the parts that don't unveil the secret, just yet:

"Greg was in a great dilemma. He loved Felicity and wanted her alive as long as possible. He had a hundred and one questions. Was he being selfish? Was he so blinded that he denied that the quality of her life had diminished. Had it deteriorated to such an extent as to her own words: a dog’s life."

And finish with something like:

"Greg buried his face in his hands, inhaled deeply, and stood up. With a glance towards Felicity's bedroom, he quietly tucked the euthanasia kit back into his closet."

Again, just an idea (I hate "meddling!") but if you like it, go for it! Either way, it's a good story. Keep it up!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-11-2008, 12:34 AM
puresnow (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 283
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

Thank you August_squall, Hoilei and Starrbright,

I have finally edited my story bearing in mind all your suggestions. Sorry it took so long. I actually have an idea that Greg couldn't bear seeing Felicity suffer so much, and he used the kit. To make the story short, he had to go to prison. Perhaps this will be a part 2.

Puresnow
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-11-2008, 08:31 AM
Bebe90's Avatar
Bebe90 (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 124
Thanks: 2
Thanks 5
Default

Great idea's! But you could make this so much longer, and jam packed.

This could become something beautiful lol
__________________
If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-12-2008, 01:07 AM
Castiel's Avatar
Castiel (Offline)
Resident Vampire
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: In Limbo
Posts: 2,384
Thanks: 23
Thanks 38
Send a message via AIM to Castiel Send a message via MSN to Castiel Send a message via Yahoo to Castiel Send a message via Skype™ to Castiel
Default

I love this! I love the idea and everything else about it. HoiLei and august_squall make great points, so I won't get into it that much, but this is so good. Work on it, you are doing great.
__________________
"I'd die if I wasn't already dead." --Jessica (True Blood)
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Unification Book One, Chapter One-- Words, About 2600 PinkFloydian21 Fiction 2 06-25-2008 01:25 PM
Kiss me Goodbye - Chapter One RogueWriter Fiction 3 05-01-2008 12:05 PM
The Dream Sabbat Fiction 3 06-14-2007 03:39 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:01 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.