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Blood and Water

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Old 06-19-2008, 09:46 AM
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Icon1 Blood and Water - 1287 words


Hello. I'm relatively new here, but I thought I would post my first lot of the novel I am working on, it's not the whole chapter because it's too long but here it is.

The state in which the story takes place is named 'Morrigan' and the three cities that are mentioned in the story are 'Garvel', 'Harloch' and 'Grendel'.

Please DO NOT correct spelling, I am very aware of all the spelling mistakes but do not have time to fix them at the moment. Please DO correct style and so forth and if possible, tell me what you enjoy about it.. if you do enjoy it.

Thank you...

Blood and Water,
Stephen T.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
<Chapter One>

#1

Secrets and words are what drive people, or so John Howard thought much later on. He had returned to his childhood hometown of Garvel, Morrigan, on the afternoon of May 14th, 2008. After having been gone for twenty years, everything was familiar but after he had discovered a startling truth about why and how he left his home that fateful night everything began going wrong, and he felt himself sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
It was there that he found the loophole and escaped to fresh air, it was there where he knew what he had to do.

#2

Howard had gotten out of the hospital that morning and had got discharged as quickly as possible, minor concussions and a few broken bones but all in all he felt good and ready to take on his next best-selling novel, one he was sure would shake his readers. Now as he rode through the streets of Garvel with his bags packed, he was returning home to the house where he grew up in under the guidance of his mother, Ann, who was now living in the Garvel Senior Home and under the strict leadership of his father who ran away many years ago. The house was nearer, and the car pulled up into the driveway.

John pulled the key out of the ignition and put the keys in his pocket and hurried over to the sliding wooden gate, leaving his car which was just repaired by the panelbeaters while he was in hospital. Claire had gotten the car back for him the previous day and began packing his bags for his return to his old home. The gate was heavy and he heaved it along the iron bar it rolled on, slowly. The iron rolling bar was rusted and so John had to put in a little extra effort to get the thing open enough to allow his old-beat car through.

He got back in the car and put the key in he ignition, the fact that it was a beat up old car was evident in how much trouble it took to get the damned thing started.

Come on you hunk of crap. Come on!

A hustle and a bustle later, the car had started and John pulled into the driveway. Before him were the old garages that he remembered well, his dad and he had built them on when he was fifteen. That was twenty two years ago, and he now knew what it was truly like to have abandoned a place and then not even know why, the accident had done that to him but just made things a little blurry. His memory would return, the doctors guaranteed him that but they had told him earlier that day that now and then sharp skull-splitting pains would occur and that it was completely normal. Since he had been discharged from the hospital he had two of those skull-splitting pains and oh, how much they hurt. It was like getting whacked at the back of your head with a sledge-hammer.

A sledge-hammer for goodness sake, that was the first time John ever felt pain that intense. Not even the acciddent felt that bad, and surprisingly he was shocked to know that the accident brought no pain at the time, just shock itself, and only after when he was lying in hospital for two weeks had he experienced pain but nothing was close to the skull-splitting pains the doctor called 'minor attacks'.

The car stopped three metres into the yard and John stepped out of the car, he saw in what condition the front yard was and to his surprise he saw that the thing was covered completely, even some of the pavement, in thick tall grass and John figured when he was done getting settled in he would go for a safari drive in his own front yard. He was worried about the condition of the rest of the house, spiders and dust never were really welcoming props in a house when you returned after many years.

But for John he knew it wasn't merely many years but many years in which much had changed. Many of those things were going from a skinny little boy to a strong well-built man and becoming a bestselling novelist too. He knew he had come along way, back when he was young and naive he had written many novels but as far as he could remember he was busy with one when he abandoned his family and went to make his living in Harloch, which was on the other side of Morrigan, right next to Grendel. That novel he abandoned had been one he tried to recreate many times but unfortunately was unable to capture it right and give it the justice it deserved.

He walked alongside the house, feeling the white paint under his fingertips while stepping over mushrooms through the thick grass and knew that if ever white had a feeling that triggered inside of a person, or more specifically him, it was that of sadness and regret. It was what he felt returning to him as he returned to the house he once lived in, the house in which his mother had to struggle after both he and his father ran away. That was what bothered him for many years, he ran away because his father had abandoned him that very same day and he felt so ashamed once he left that he couldn't go back and look his mother in the eye, of course he got his mother moved to Garvel Senior Home three years after that and he paid for it, he never saw her since that night and if he could help it he was sure he never would. Seeing his own mother would bring back those memories of his father abandoning him and that alone was too much to take all over again.

He got over to the wooden door that led to the den and felt the latch on top of it, slightly heated by the sun filtering through the windows and onto the latch itself. He opened it and stepped inside, his senses attacked by the murky air and the smell of a wine cellar left abandoned for years. Just like the house. It was abandoned and forgotten and unfortunately for John Howard he saw no way to actually live in the house, perhaps just staying in it to finish his novel was good enough for him. He had written all his novels in his office at home in Harloch and for him he found it much easier to write a novel there but it was in Harloch where he was in the car accident but that was not his reason for coming home was it? No, not at all.

Howard returned home for one reason, to write his novel and mend his broken relationship with his mother. Goodness knew they didn't speak much, or rather not at all. The deal between them was that he pays for her to stay in the Garvel Senior Home and that was that. There was no real communication between them and they both preferred it that way, But recently John had changed his mind, his mother was too important and after Claire lost her mother he saw what it would be like to lose a mother so he started getting ready to return to Garvel and mend things with his mother as well as write a novel just for her. That was why he returned to Garvel and that was why he found himself standing in the den of his old house, trying to remember all the good memories.

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Thank you and offer any and all advice please, ignore my spelling. My style and prose, writing style and so forth is what I have become paranoid about.

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Last edited by DarkPrince; 06-19-2008 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:37 PM
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Hello. I'm relatively new here, but I thought I would post my first lot of the novel I am working on, it's not the whole chapter because it's too long but here it is.

<Chapter One>
#1
Secrets and words are what drive people, or so John Howard thought much later on (much later on from what?). He had returned to his childhood hometown of Garvel, Morrigan, on the afternoon of May 14th, 2008. After having been gone for twenty years, everything was familiar, but after he had discovered a startling truth about why and how he left his home that fateful night, everything began going wrong, and he felt himself sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
It was there that he found the loophole and escaped to fresh air; it was there where he knew what he had to do.

#2
Howard had gotten out of the hospital that morning and had got (got twice in the one sentence is a bit much. You could say: "The hospital discharged Howard that morning." The first rule of writing: omit needless words.) discharged as quickly as possible. He had minor concussions and a few broken bones, but all in all (this is one of those cliches that publishers hate. It's a meaningless phrase that doesn't help you.)he felt good and ready (this reads like Howard felt good and ready to taken on his next best-selling novel. I think what you're trying to say is: "he felt good and was ready to take...") to take on his next best-selling novel, one he was sure would shake his readers. Now, as he rode through the streets of Garvel with his bags packed, he was returning home to the house where he grew up in under the guidance of his mother, Ann, who was now living in the Garvel Senior Home and under the strict leadership of his father who ran away many years ago. The house was nearer, and the car (what car? He was riding into town) pulled up into the driveway.

John (who's John? Oh, I see, his name is John Howard. You should try to avoid calling him by his last name in one paragraph, and calling him by his first in another. You can interchange, though - Tom Clancy is a perfect example - but it can be confusing when the reader doesn't know the character well.) pulled the key out of the ignition and put the keys (no need to say this again. "Them" will do.) in his pocket and hurried over to the sliding wooden gate, leaving his car which was just repaired by the panelbeaters while he was in hospital (I don't see this having any relevance. In fact, it disturbs your flow.). Claire had gotten the car back for him the previous day and began packing his bags for his return to his old home. The gate was heavy and he heaved it along the iron bar. It rolled on, slowly. The iron rolling bar was rusted and so John had to put in a little extra effort to get the thing open enough to allow his old-beat (no need for the hyphen. Put a comma instead.) car through.

He got back in the car and put the key in the ignition. The fact that it was a beat up old car was evident in how much trouble it took to get the damned thing started.

Come on, you hunk of crap. Come on!

A hustle and a bustle later, the car had (change of tense. Omit.) started and John pulled into the driveway. Before him were the old garages that he remembered well (use an en-dash here. - ) his dad and he had built them on (omit) when he was fifteen. That was twenty-two years ago, and he now knew what it was truly like to have abandoned a place and then not even know why. The accident had done that to him but just made things a little blurry. His memory would return, the doctors guaranteed him that, but they had told him earlier that day that now and then sharp skull-splitting pains would occur and that it was completely normal (This sentence is very long - 33 words - and awkward. Try this: "The doctors guaranteed him that his memory would return, but warned that he would occasionally experience acute - a doctor would never say "skull-splitting" - migraines". That's 18 words. So I've said the same as you in almost half as many words. Brevity is a writer's best friend.) Since he had been discharged from the hospital, he had two of those skull-splitting pains, and oh, how much they hurt. It was like getting whacked at the back of your head with a sledge-hammer.

A sledge-hammer, for goodness sake. That was the first time John ever felt pain that intense. Not even the acciddent felt that bad, and surprisingly, he was shocked to learn that the accident (it) had brought no pain at the time, just shock itself, and only after when he was lying in hospital for two weeks had he experienced pain. Still, nothing was close to the skull-splitting pains the doctor called 'minor attacks'.

The car stopped three metres into the yard and John stepped out of the car (omit). He saw in what condition the front yard was, and to his surprise he saw that the thing was covered completely, even some of the pavement, in thick tall grass and (omit. New sentence: John) John figured when he was done getting settled in he would go for a safari drive in his own front yard. He was worried about the condition of the rest of the house - spiders and dust never were really (this is almost a tongue-twister. You don't need "really" in the sense it's being used here. If you want to use it, word it "were never really" instead) welcoming props in a house when you returned after many years.

But, for John, he knew it wasn't merely many years but many years in which much had changed. Many of those things were (changes involved) going from a skinny little boy to a strong, well-built man and becoming a bestselling novelist too. He knew he had come along way. Back when he was young and naive he had written many novels, but as far as he could remember, he was busy with one when he abandoned his family and went to make his living in Harloch, which was on the other side of Morrigan, right next to Grendel. That novel he abandoned had been one he tried to recreate many times, but unfortunately was unable to capture it right and give it the justice it deserved.

He walked alongside the house, feeling the white paint under his fingertips while stepping over mushrooms through the thick grass. He knew that if ever white had a feeling that triggered inside of (omit) a person, or more specifically him, it was that of sadness and regret. It was what he felt returning to him as he returned to the house he once lived in; the house in which his mother had to struggle after both he and his father ran away. That was what bothered him for many years. He ran away because his father had abandoned him that very same day, and he felt so ashamed once he left that he couldn't go back and look his mother in the eye. Of course, he got his mother moved (moved his mother) to Garvel Senior Home three years after that and paid for it. He never saw her since that night and, if he could help it, he was sure he never would. Seeing his own mother would bring back those memories of his father abandoning him, and that alone was too much to take all over again.

He got over to the (approached the) wooden door that led to the den and felt the latch on top of it, slightly heated by the sun filtering through the windows and onto the latch itself. He opened it and stepped inside, his senses attacked by the murky air and the smell of a wine cellar left abandoned for years. Just like the house. It was abandoned and forgotten, and, unfortunately for John Howard, he saw no way to actually live in the house. Perhaps just staying in it to finish his novel was good enough for him. He had written all his novels in his office at home in Harloch, and for him he (omit) found it much easier to write a novel there.It was in Harloch where he was in the car accident but that was not his reason for coming home was it? (Again, very long and awkward: "The accident happened in Harlock, but that wasn't his reason for returning home, was it?" It's slightly less confusing now.) No, not at all.

Howard returned home for one reason: to write his novel and mend his broken relationship with his mother. Goodness knew they didn't speak much, or rather not at all. The deal between them was that he pays (tense change. "Paid") for her to stay in the Garvel Senior Home and that was that. There was no real communication between them and they both preferred it that way. Recently, John had changed his mind - his mother was too important, and after Claire lost her mother, he saw what it would be like to lose a mother so he started getting ready to return to Garvel and mend things, as well as write a novel just for her. That was why he returned to Garvel and that was why he found himself standing in the den of his old house, trying to remember all the good memories. (He'd returned to Garvel for this reason, and although he found himself standing in the den of his old house, he tried to remember the good memories instead.)

__________________________________________________ ______

Hi, Stephen. Firstly, I hope this critique helps. Okay, I'm going to be honest with you here. I didn't like it. Aside from the errors, the story never really drew me in. I felt nothing for your main character. Nothing really happened, apart from a few flashbacks. There is nothing here that would make me want to read on. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I'm being truthful in order to help you. You have the bones of a good story, but you need something to happen to keep readers interested.

You also use too many words. Look over your work and trim the fat, so to speak. If you really wanted, you could almost halve this piece of work by removing needless words.

Keep going. Writing is one of those things that you get better at with practice. Keep your chin up, accept all critiques, and strive to make your work better the next time. I am reminded of an old adage: The greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Good luck.

SD.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you and offer any and all advice please, ignore my spelling. My style and prose, writing style and so forth is what I have become paranoid about.

Last edited by Daedalus; 06-19-2008 at 03:58 PM..
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:21 PM
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Just to let you know I've read this but its late and will offer a better review tomorrow. But on a short. So far I liked it.


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Old 06-20-2008, 03:28 AM
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Ok Greg House has covered the main and to be fair I would have posted something similar.

So that said.
Your story makes a good entrance on the start and keeps that spark of interest as I read it through. I liked the depth you've put into the story and the characterisation was well developed I thought. Though I think you need to work a little on character speach as in slang. Everyone speaks in different words And I think you need to potray that deviding line.

I liked ther atmosphere and found myself reaching the end before I'd realised it. So with that note I'd have to say its a well written starter. I'll certainly read more should you post.



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Old 06-20-2008, 03:52 AM
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I Agree with Greg House: Too many words. One of my favourite teachers of all time said that you could easily take down the amount of words by crossing off every other word with pencil and seeing if you can do without any of them. Does it still make sense if you take out certain words? Could you put ellipses(?), commas, or semi-colons instead of actual words? Then, once you have done all you can with those words, erase the pencil marks, except for the words that you are taking out, and do the other half, every other word, until you have removed all the gunk in between. This makes sentences run smoother, and keeps your audience interested, instead of going on and on in a sentence or paragraph about absolutely nothing, just like I just have :-p.

I do think there is something hiding in there, you just need to find a way to draw it out and remove all the barriers that prevent it.

Hope this helps a little.
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Old 06-20-2008, 03:53 AM
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Thanks Greg House, the advice helped and I saw that I did make a rather lot of mistakes and the plot doesn't start this early but at the end of Chapter One, all this is basically a prologue to the events to follow.

Perhaps the second half, if requested, will draw you in with what happens.

Thanks for the help and if you want to read the next part of the first chapter just ask because I admit that this part doesn't have much going on. From Chapter One's end everything goes directly up in terms of conflict and tension.

Thanks Pink Floydian21, I did use a lot of words yeah, advice helped alot you all!
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:26 AM
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Thanks Greg House, the advice helped and I saw that I did make a rather lot of mistakes and the plot doesn't start this early but at the end of Chapter One, all this is basically a prologue to the events to follow.

Perhaps the second half, if requested, will draw you in with what happens.
I am happy to see, Stephen, that you took SD's stirling critique in stride. That is the first step in truely improving your techniques. Even the most objective and well meaning critique can be hard to take sometimes, and I am happy to see that you are taking his suggestions seriously.

I have something to say, however, in regards to style. Please, do not think that just because it is a prologue that it gives you license to ramble on.

Your first line, whether a part of a prolgue or the first chapter, has to hook your readers. There are so many other stories out there. Why should we read yours? I really think that you, as a storyteller, are capable of making this more engaging.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:29 AM
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Thanx, I will keep that in mind.

I am posting the second half of the first chapter here:

Blood and Water,
Stephen T.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He walked over to the bar where his father sat all the time, drinking the whole time, and sat behind it. He remembered seeing his father in the seat many times and sipping his beer slowly but surely, as soon as the one was done he opened another and it went on like that for years, non-stop. Simply put, his father was an alcaholic.

John figured one beer wouldn't turn him into his father, so he opened the fridge and pulled himself out a cold one and was surprised to find that it was very warm, nearly on fire and in simple terms he didn't care. Beer was beer when you returned home after twenty years. He opened it and heard no let out of gas and found it strange until he remembered that the damn thing was old and moldy, twenty year old beer was nothing like a vintage champaigne. They were nothing alike.

Sipping the beer and frowning, the strange look on his face said it all. The beer was shit, and shit beer was worthless. He figured he would leave the beer and the den, where his father sat year after year, and go on to better things like the kitchen and then the living room and then his bedroom where he would most likely find some things that would trigger old memories. Hopefully good ones.

He walked slowly over to the kitchen door, and pulled it open and got a surprise as he forgot that the door was springloaded to close itself and John nearly whacked himself in the face. Not a very smart move, but still. It was years since he opened the door. He walked into the kitchen and saw a thick layer of dust on the counters and even a few cobwebs here and there but controlled, not exaggerated like in the movies where the whole house was covered in a huge spider-web. Nope, the spiderwebs were small and tiny and could hardly be seen but John saw them and realised that the house was last taken care of many, many years ago. Strange how that kept coming to mind, and the fact that it was all because he ran away kept coming to mind.

It never left, it was there the whole time. Everlooming over the house and himself.

There was no time to remember trivial little things, he walked over to the living room, first walking through the dining room and felt himself choking on dust and grimy air. He figured he really would choke and most likely suffocate if he didn't open any windows soon so he went around the living room and opened the large windows and was relieved at how easily his lungs could now work, not under the pressure of the dust ad grimy air anymore. Those few minutes tasted horrible and he knew that his mother was probably never planning to return to the house, maybe just waiting for John to sell it and never come home.

But he had a surprise in store for her, oh yes indeed, he was back in the flesh and going to get busy writing a book for his mother but first had to get settled in and make the house his own again, and not something similar to a bunch of old clothes you packed away for years and take it out only to spend hours remembering some special occasions on which you were those clothes. He had to make the house his home again, but without Claire it could be hard. She was his wife and they had been together for nine years last month and he missed her, oh he did miss her terribly.

After opening the windows and sitting down on the couch beside the large red lamp he nearly passed out and pulled himself back into the world of the living, and after wished he hadn't when he felt a terrible pain in his head, it was another one of those skull-splitting pains and he screamed in utter agony. That scream clenched his soul and twisted it into something alien and unfamiliar, if he had not remembered the good times with Claire and even his first love, Lily Smith, he surely would have given in and let the Grim Reaper take his soul that was so wrenched and deformed in the duration of that scream and would have been glad about it too. He had never died so he didn't know how hell felt but a good idea told him what he was feeling was close, very close.

Howard's pain had subsided after a while and he felt himself weak and tired, he knew what he had to do and th task seemed impossible. It was small although the pain made him lazier than he had ever been, it was the third minor attack that day and the worst so far. His only fear was that they would continue getting worse, and if that was true John Howard knew that he would most likely die within a few days.

He estimated about four. Maximum.

John picked his tired old body up from the couch and knew it was alot to do, but he had to. He walked over to the hallway where he walked to his room at the end of the hallway, on the right. He passed two bedrooms and two bathrooms, one his older brother's bedroom and one his parents' bedroom and a bathroom for his parents and the children. He probably guessed that his mother had slept in his brother's bedroom after he and his father ran away. Must have been sad, eldest son commits suicide and a year later her husband and her youngest son run away one after the other. He felt really sorry that he had ran away, but the simple excuse that he had went to buy milk was dismissed after a week. Or so he thought, he couldn't remember much from before the accident about that night. Strangely enough, everything else was crystal clear. He walked into his bedroom and switched on the light, only then noticing how late it had actually gotten.

Howard saw Lily Smith's backpack still laying on his bed from earlier that afternoon he ran away. That was the only thing not clear to him, he had ran away and abandoned Lily even though at the time he loved her with all his heart and a piece of him still did to that day. That was the part he most regretted, leaving Lily even after promising to be with her and still getting engaged to her. They were supposed to get married but John took a different path and married another well-known novelist like himself, Claire Cortez, and found himself a little angry when she decided to keep her maiden name and not take his last name. That was many years ago but not as many years as he had abandoned the house for.

Yes indeed. John went and sat down on his bed and took the bag and held it in his arms, it was all he had left of Lily and he didn't even know if she still lived in Garvel. When they were kids she always delighted herself with a dream of moving to Grendel and becoming a famous painter, and her paintings were good. That was a fact no art critic could deny. He had a few times tried to contact her in Grendel but couldn't find her and when he looked in the Garvel section saw that she wasn't registered at all.

That was two years ago that he tried and he hadn't tried to reach her since but holding her bag in his arms and smelling her perfume that still scented it, he knew deep within that he loved her still. He would have been ashamed to admit it if Claire was standing behind him but it was true, and he was sure he would rather have been married to Lily than Claire. That too wasn't a very pleasant thought since he did love Claire with most of his heart, Lily still inevitably owned a small piece of it. She always would and Claire knew that.

Putting the bag back on his bed and standing up, he walked over to the cupboard and opened it. He saw his diary nestled neatly between two pairs of jeans that were neatly folded. It looked like it wanted to be read but just wanted to tease him first.

I can play at that game too.

He left his room and went to the kitchen and picked up the phone that hung beside the spring-loaded door that nearly gave him a shiner earlier on. The dialing tone was still there and he was glad to know that the phone company had not cancelled their line after all those years. Very glad, Howard dialed the number for a pizza restaurant known as Garvel Pizzas. Sure, it wasn't a catchy name but it was run by an old stiff so it was to be expected. It rang once, No answer. He dialed again and it rang twice. John looked over at the clock beside the fridge and saw it was only seven, they closed at eleven. No answer. He dialed the number again and it rang for a third time.

Somebody had answered. A nerd by the sound of his voice. 'Hello Garvel Pizza'
'Hello, uhm, I would like to order two large pizzas please' said John.
The nerd took a long sniff and then, with a voice slightly deeper and irritated said, 'Alright. Your address please sir?'
John cleared his throat twice, once to make sure he could and the other one for real. He knew the nerd probably heard some of the rumours going around Garvel about what happened in the house and the nerd would most likely ask some questions, nevertheless John told him, '17 Misery Lane.'
'The Howard house? Are you John Howard?' asked the nerd, with a mucus filled nose. He sniffed long and hard again.
'Uhm, yes, why?' asked John scratching his head in his state of nervousness.

The nerd sounded slightly excited and told him through a mucus filled nose about the rumours and asked if they were true, the nerd introduced himself as Terrance 'Teddy' Johnson who was a young boy that John and Lily had babysat many years ago. John denied them all then finished his order and put the phone down, after saying goodbye to Teddy. He remembered eating pizza with Lily many years ago. It was the night before he left. They had been eating pizza while John's father took John's mother to the airport for a business trip. They had waited for the pizza but he didn't know if they ever came but he did, oh yes indeed, and Lily knew it.

Howard took a deep breath and relaxed before going to his bedroom and playing that game with his diary. The sky was pitch black outside. Cold. John walked over to his bedroom and to his cupboard and opened it.

'Hello there little one'

He pulled it out gently from between the two pairs of jeans and noticed that he was wearing jeans of the same color. Faded blue. He opened the diary and read through it, it was labeled 1988 on the red spine. He read through it fleetingly and it told of good times with Lily Smith, his former fiancee and first love. Suddenly he saw that one page was numbered 81 and then next page 91 but as he read the first line of the ninety-first page he was shook with terror. It coursed through his veins like venom and he fell back onto the bed.

The diary read the words he never forgot after that, the words he wished he never read:

"And it was over. I had killed my father and my mother should never have to know. It would kill her"

Howard collapsed-

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There it is, it gets better but I won't post anymore and I will revise everything once the novel is done and I have taken all critique to mind and will utilize it the best I can.
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Old 06-26-2008, 04:53 AM
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If you see errors, please correct me. ^
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Old 06-26-2008, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by stephen t. View Post

He walked over to the bar where his father sat all the time, drinking the whole time, [repetition; it may not be the exact same phrase but it's damned close] and sat behind it. He remembered seeing his father in the seat many times [redundant; you just said his father sat at the bar all the time] and sipping his beer slowly but surely, As soon as the one was done he opened another and it went on like that for years, non-stop. [redundant again; you are repeating yourself to no purpose] Simply put, his father was an alcaholic. [alcoholic; a spellchecker would have picked this up; then again, this entire paragraph only tells us one real thing: the father drank a lot. It shouldn't take 64 words to say that what you manage perfectly in that last sentence.]

John figured one beer wouldn't turn him into his father, so he opened the fridge and pulled himself out a cold one and was surprised to find that it was very warm, nearly on fire and in simple terms he didn't care. [This is a run-on sentence that needs to be broken down for a start. Second problem is that the beer was so warm it was nearly on fire - but came out of the refrigerator? Unless it had previously been on a flame, and just put in the refrigerator - this is a physical impossibility. Errors like this make me want to stop reading immediately because they tell me one of two things. Either the author is out of his depth, or he doesn't care. I doubt either is the impression you are hoping to make.] Beer was beer when you returned home after twenty years. {What is that supposed to mean?] He opened it and heard no let out of gas [surely you can find a better way to phrase that.] and found it strange until he remembered that the damn thing was old and moldy, twenty year old beer was nothing like a vintage champaigne. They were nothing alike. [Another implausible bit. Beer in the can does not go mouldy. It might go flat, if there is a small puncture, but then the contents would probably leak or evaporate as well. If the can is intact, however, there is no reason for the contents to spoil because all mass-produced beer has chemical additives as a preservative.]

Sipping the beer and frowning, the strange look on his face said it all. [So far, you have done nothing but tell us what is happening, but you ought to be showing us. You may not be able to create dialogue with one character in the scene, but could use internal thoughts - written in italics - to let us know what he is thinking. For example, you could have written: John grimaced. [italics]This beer tastes like shit, and shit beer is worthless.[italics] The beer was shit, and shit beer was worthless. He figured he would leave the beer and the den, where his father sat year after year, [You're repeating from the first paragraph here.] and go on to better things like the kitchen and then the living room and then his bedroom where he would most likely find some things that would trigger old memories. Hopefully good ones.

And there I stopped because, to be frank, this is deadly dull. This may be a continuation of your chapter, but just because you got past the opening paragraph, you haven't got a llicense to bore the reader. If your first paragraph, sentence even, has to hook the reader, what follows has to maintain his interest.

I realise that I am commenting on this part when I may not have commented on the first half of the chapter, but I don't think this unfair. In a bookshop, if I am attracted by a title, a cover, or a blurb, I might open a book to a random page, read a bit, and then decide whether or not to purchase. If I opened your book and read this passage, I would have no qualms in returning it to the shelf.

This is very harsh, but it isn't enough to have an idea, or even to convey that idea to paper. You have to convey your idea with style. Much of what authors write has been said before, but it gets published and read because it has wit, humour, charm, some essence that makes the reader feel as though he is coming upon an idea for the first time; or seeing a familiar idea from a totally new perspective.

You know your idea inside out, your characters and settings, but we don't. It's your job as an author to make your characters and settings come alive for us so that we want to know what will happen next.

Unlike you, I am not a great fan of Stephen King, but he does have an ability to create easily accessible characters. They come alive on the page with a few strokes of his pen so that, almost immediately, the reader feels as though he knows them very well. Try looking at some of King's books again to see how he does it, and then see what tips you can pick up. Then re-read your own piece and try to improve it, using what you've learnt.

Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:19 PM
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Thanx.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:52 PM
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This has potential. You should elaborate on the accident a little, I think that would be a good hook. Other than small errors, I found it pretty interesting.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:17 PM
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Thank you, what some people don't get is that everything I say comes in later in the novel as very important, I tend to use everything I said to an advantage, whether it seems irrelevant at the time or not.

EVERYTHING I say has a purpose.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:43 AM
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Hi Steven.

I've read your writing, here, and the comments. They may seem harsh, but the opinions offered are valid. When I finish writing something, I go back and remove as many words as I can. I'm not suggesting you strip your writing to the bone as I do, but I believe some prudent editing is in order.

Print what you've got, get out the red pencil, and start crossing out words. You should end up with half of what you've got now. My opinion, of course.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:46 AM
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Icon5 Chapter Two.. is this any good? Sorry!

So I know this thread was kind of inactive for a long time, I finished the novel at 89,000 words and I think it turned out perfectly.

I still don't know if my story is any good though, I know it has potential but I think if I cut all the words that seem uninteresting or delve a little off it will be stripped to about 50,000 words or less and I can't have that. So I am starting a new project and putting this novel in a trunk.

Just need Chapter Two to be read and I need to know if it is interesting, offer critique if you like, it would be interesting to see what I did wrong.

Thanks in advance, hope I get replies and reviews quickly.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:50 AM
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Icon1 Chapter Two..

<Chapter Two>

#1

-onto the bed.

#2

He laid there and tried to stay strong but had no idea how to do just that. If what he read was true, and he saw no way it couldn't be, then he had killed his own father in cold blood. Yes, he did. With a fourth skull-splitting pain he remembered it in the finest of detail, standing above his father's lifeless body and fleeing the garage. The new garages where his father worked day after day on a single car he seemed to make his life in his last few weeks he lived. John knew then that his father never ran away but had died and that was why he ran away, to flee the murder. It was all so clear yet something puzzled him insanely.

Why couldn't he remember it? He wrote it in his diary so he should have known it too. How come he was never arrested, had his mother kept quiet for him?
Those were questions only the Howard Diary could answer but without the ten pages he seemed to find that he would have to accept the fact that he was never going to know exactly what happened. The wages of sin are death, but not on the sinner's hands but on the victim's. Upset and furious, darting out of his room he rushed to the kitchen and destroyed everything he passed on his way. Ripping down pictures on the walls and knocking over the large dead pot-plant that stood beside the kitchen door frame. Grabbing it and hurdling it towards the ground, he felt good. The pain in his head was surging, electrifying and terrifying. It was there, the adrenaline coursed through his veins and he knew Satan was sitting on his shoulder laughing at him but he couldn't care less.

'Welcome Satan, enjoying the view? Good, now prepare to be surprised' he said quietly to himself, but in actuality found himself screaming it then smiling a grin so devilish it would have given his own father a run for his money. 'Like me now daddy?' he screamed as he pulled open the fridge and hurdled the sour milk sachets and expired food out onto the ground, throwing the molded cheese against the windows and watching it splat. Jumping on the milk sachets and watching his faded blue jeans get soaked in the maggot-infested sourness of it all. The kitchen was in a mess, utterly in chaos and he felt good about it. It was worth it.

Satan was smiling at him, he could see him, or so he thought, in the mirror that was in the dining room. Peering over his shoulder and tempting him, 'come on Johnnie, come on harder. Bring it all on and let it all out. Nobody's watching you, besides me and your father' and those words that came from Satan surged through him harder and faster. Pumping his blood and increasing the adrenaline to the point of no return, no man's land. He was sure he would have a heart attack if he carried on going but no-matter with that, Satan would help him. If he died it didn't matter, it was eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. He killed so he deserved to be killed.

Killed, of course. Satan was watching him closely, tracking his moves and anticipating his actions and waiting for the rub. He saw it and he grinned from ear to ear, Satan got what he wanted and the angel on Howard's shoulder shook his head and told him exactly what was wrong with it. A battle between heaven and hell, earth and limbo.

Satan, grinning viciously from ear to ear grabbed Howard by the throat and shoved him against the wall of his mind, 'you listen here, Johnnie boy, you killed a man and now you got to pay the price. It's easy, just grab the knife over there and take a nice bath and pray to the gracious God above that he accepts your soul once you kill for the second time you filthy son of a bitch. Just do it and be a man about it, both heaven and hell know you been a chickenshit most of your pathetic life.'

The Angel in his heart, had no voice in the matter and was tied up in sinew, veins and guts inside of him. Satan did that, metaphorically and literally. He got John to do what he had written about many times but never thought he would actually do himself, kill himself. Suicide was a common subject in some areas of civilization and obviously Satan and the angel knew all about it. Although in the feint corridors of his mind that shrieked in terror, he knew exactly who was saying what and why the Angel was put on mute.

'One for me, none for the angel bitch and none for Johnnie the chickenshit' said Satan, crossing his arms, laughing in satisfaction as John pulled the knife from the draw and wandered aimlessly towards the bathroom. 'Go on ahead you chickenshit, rip 'em to shreds and make 'em cry you pathetic son of a bitch you chickenshit, chickensh-'

'Shut up the hell up you damned demon, I'll do it' he heard in the faintness of his mind, through the corridors to his heart the angel got his voice back and shouted out and John knew right then and there that he had lost to himself, Satan was himself, his dark subconscious much like that of anybody else's except his was urging him to take his own life. When he was younger he promised never to do that but now as he knew what he did back then, being pushed to the bathroom from behind he wasn't even sure he was moving his feet as Satan pushed him to the bath and took his hand and made him turn the tap. The warm water flowed out all at once, and John felt Satan still there but he was now doing it all on his own as Satan sat on the toilet seat-lid with his legs crossed, his arms waving in the air over his victory. His subconscious was doing that all on its own without any help from John as he pulled down his zipper and unbuttoned his white shirt and threw it on the ground.

His vision was hazy beneath the tears that he found flowing from his eyes, slowly but surely. This man who was once a child who had nearly no troubles besides his drunk father and depressed mother, stood naked beside the bath and allowed his foot to sink into the warm water that was boiling as he remembered that he had put no cold water in at all. The warm water were like the fires of hell and John thought that Satan, who was sitting on the toilet-seat lid with his white suit and his combed over grey-hair and blue bags under his eyes, was now smiling brightly at his accomplishment. There was no other way out, he knew it as well as anybody else.

His whole body was submerged under the fiery waters of hell and he felt his scar on the side of his head with his hand and made sure it was still there. He didn't know why he thought it wouldn't be but he knew there was more to it than he knew. Someone knew the truth and that somebody knew everything there was to know, he just had to find out who that somebody was and how to find out everything. He remembered the last thing he said to his friends as he left school that day, he was planning to leave them with something interesting for the day and ended up leaving them with something completely suited to his situation: "Maybe one day I'll send you a postcard from hell."

Looking back on that now he knew exactly what his subconscious Satan had planned all along, to kill his own father then go away, return and find the diary then kill himself off. It seemed all to be worked out too finely for him to believe but he knew that there was much he didn't know that Satan probably did. Those things he didn't know where things somebody did know, he just didn't know who.

He allowed his head to rest back on the edge of the bath as he felt his headache subside and leave him behind as it went on to better things, but he knew it would be back eventually. Sooner or later, all things returned no matter what, except those things like dead people. The knife still lied on the edge of the bath and then slipped into the water and John knew he didn't want to sit on it or cut his leg, it would be unnecessary and he only wanted to kill himself and not have pain while doing it even though he knew he deserved all the pain he could ever get.

John picked up the knife on the wrong side and cut his finger halfway through and watched as the slight trickles of blood diluted into the warm water from which the steam rose heavily. Howard pushed his finger instinctively into his mouth and sucked on it to stop it from bleeding and because the air that swept over it burned like a fiery metal rod in his hands. He took the knife by the handle, careful not to make the same mistake, and held it on his forearms with the edge of the stainless-steel blade hovering above his bare skin.

Satan smiled at him, and John had nearly forgotten about the demonic apparition that stood in the room and watched him quietly, hoping for John to do what he so desperately wanted him to do, with a sudden shriek screamed Satan, 'Come on Johnnie! Do it already!' in the loudest voice utterly possible, it was low and evil in the purest sense and John was so overwhelmed by it, that he hardly noticed the angel sitting on his right shoulder whispering in his ear, and he dropped the blade on the bathroom floor and took a deep breath of relief.
Relief, although the pain was still there, was good. He knew what he had to do, it seemed the angel got his way after all and John knew he had to find out what exactly happened with his father that night. The words of the angel still audible in his subconscious:

"Johnnie, you don't really want to kill yourself? You're acting out and you're emotional. It was a huge shock, find out what really happened and maybe you will find a valid reason for what you did, trust me on this one Johnnie. Trust me"

Howard had no choice, the angel had a point, or rather he had a point since the angel and Satan were both himself. Personifications of his subconscious self, in psychological terms. In his terms they were just the angel and Satan, and the most terrifying part of it all was that he actually did see them both and that alone was enough to make him shriek the first time but over time he got used to them and saw them as other people around him and nearly forgot that they were his imagination creating his subconscious around him.

Emerging like a hero in the mist, John stood up from the bath, hoisting himself up with his forearms that only seconds ago were being threatened by a sharp knife, ready to kill him right there and then. That was all in the past and he knew what he had to do, find out what happened and why in the world he couldn't remember it, he would have remembered something that tragic and not even his recent accident could make him forget that. No possible way in hell.

John Howard stood. Naked and bare, he bent over to pick up his clothes and put them back on but looked up to see that both Satan and the angel were gone. He could swear he saw the words "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an oppertunate time" scrawled in blood on the mirror but blinked again and saw it was all his imagination, or him giving himself a warning from within. It was hard to explain, like the words in his diary that still echoed in his mind, "And it was over. I had killed my father and my mother should never have to know. It would kill her" over and over again.

Howard slipped on his clothes, slowly and in a way that could alert anybody that he was exhausted in the fullest sense. He felt the scar on the side of his head which was healing up nicely beneath the bandage. That was where the pain came from, beneath the bandage and he had come a long way in the past day. From sane person to insane and ready-for-life to suicidal and then to giving-life-a-try-on-a- -trial-basis. Good.

Was it good? Probably not, but who cared what was good or bad when you just found out that you killed your father twenty years ago and lived most of your life not knowing who you really were? Nobody.

His faded blue jeans that were stained with sour maggot-milk and moldy-cheese slipped on nicely, then John was done and walked out of the bathroom and was slightly surprised at how much damage he had done in his fit of rage, knocking over the plants and destroying the kitchen completely. It was insane to think an exhausted person had that much energy, even if he was on adrenaline. That was what it was, wasn't it? Nope, John didn't seem to think so anymore and walked over to the living room to see peer through the windows and see if his pizzas had arrived yet and to his amazement they hadn't yet and joked to himself that after twenty years they still hadn't managed to get their act together and strolled out into the den and tried his best not to trip over the garbage that lied scattered on the kitchen floor.

He heard a doorbell ring and ignored it for a while, watching the stars and listening to the crickets play their song. After a little while the doorbell rang again and he then got up and walked over to the door, watching the seeds of his chaos lay everywhere around him. He got there and answered the door, the cold wood handle was enough to creep him out but he didn't mind at all. Opening the door and watching as one of the most familiar faces he knew came into view, he saw none other but Lily Smith, the one and only.

His first love, Lily Smith, stood at the door and he smiled at her.
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Last edited by DarkPrince; 09-02-2008 at 06:53 AM.. Reason: Spacing..
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:47 AM
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Hi Stephen,

I gave a brief skim over your chapters. I admit that I haven't read through it thoroughly, so I can't really comment on specific content. I can however, offer you a general impression of what I did read.

I see that you're fifteen and you just started writing. That's great. Honestly, I don't think you should subject yourself to critique just yet. It's important, in your formitive years, to just write. Don't worry about quality. Write any old crap. Let your imagination fly-free. Experiment. Write ten manuscripts in a month if you have to. HAVE FUN.

At your age, your imagination should be cultivated, not criticised. Of course, you may be very mature and decide that you WANT to be critiqued at this point and you may want to be published, and that's your own choice. But from personal experience and working with younger writers, I think just getting into the habit of writing is far more important than producing quality writing. At least, while you're still learning.

So overall, after looking over it, I think that you have the potential to be a good writer, but it's not quite there yet. This isn't a bad thing, since you've only started writing five months ago. I've been writing for my entire life it seems, but I only started to write publishable material after a year of steady, hard work.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Good luck, and remember, HAVE FUN.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:46 AM
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Story deleted for being unsuitable for this section and because I am underraged.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:56 AM
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so many posts for a good story
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:02 AM
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Icon9 I accept any flames for this..

Well I have Insomnia because of this story, I can't rewrite the first chapter well enough and can't cut it. The story is a dud..

Here is what I have of a rewrite of the first chapter, I know that my attempts are rather pathetic and that this story is jaded and boring, but this is my last try:

Secrets and words are what drive people - that was what John Howard believed much later on. He returned to his childhood hometown of Garvel, Morrigan, on the afternoon of May 14th, 2008.

After having been gone for twenty years, everything was familiar yet took on a distinctly awkward feeling. After he discovered a vague sort of truth about the night he left the house everything began going wrong and he felt himself sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

It was there that he found the loophole and escaped to fresh air, it was there where he knew what he had to do.

Howard’s 1987 Cadillac Allante was parked in front his old home. Howard was discharged from hospital that morning. He had a few minor concussions and one or two broken bones but he felt good. He was also ready to take on the task of writing his next novel.

“Wish me luck Bob,” he said to himself. Howard glanced once to the backseat of the car where an uncompleted manuscript lied bound.
Howard pulled the keys out of the ignition, threw them down on the seat and hurried over to the sliding front gate. It was heavy and he heaved it along the iron bar with force. The rolling bar was rusted and he had to put in some effort to get it open. He got back in the Cadillac Allante and put the keys back in the ignition.

“Come on, you hunk of crap! COME ON!” grunted Howard.

Eventually it had started and he pulled into the driveway. Before him were the old garages that he didn’t remember too well. A small flash of what seemed to be a memory appeared out of nowhere and went away just as quick as it came. The accident he was in made things blurry, mostly his memory.

Howard lost some of his memory but the doctors guaranteed him that he would get it all back some day. The doctors also warned him that he was going to experience a number of acute pains every now and then but that it was completely normal for somebody who went through an accident like his. They also said those pains would eventually go away as his memory returned. He had already experienced two of those pains since he had been out of the hospital, and they hurt fiercely.

It was the first time Howard ever felt pain that intense.

Not even the acciddent felt so intense. It didn’t hurt at all actually, only when he was in the hospital recovering did he feel pain associated with it, and then came the acute pains.

Howard stepped out of the car. The front yard was covered completely in thick tall grass that was beginning to branch out over the pavement and up the walls of the house. He figured it would be interesting to go through all of that with a lawnmower.

Howard felt nervous about the inside of the house. He had changed so much over the years, and the house probably did too, and there was nobody to take care of the house in his absence. He hoped it wasn’t creepy inside but a voice at the back of his mind told him it wasn’t.

The years had brought many changes, their lives had moved on. Howard left his family when he was 17 and went to Harloch, and there he lived his own life as a writer away from everybody else. Only one thought of being a writer before running away caught his memory, and it was of him writing a novel. He tried to rewrite it but only got halfway. That half-completed novel was sitting on his backseat.

Howard walked beside the house and felt the white paint as he stepped over mushrooms and thick grass. He knew that if ever white brought up a feeling in him it was of regret. He regretted running away just after his father did and leaving his mother all alone in the house. Howard couldn’t go back home after that. He couldn’t look his mother in the eye and feel proud of what he did. Seeing his own mother would bring back those memories of his father abandoning him and that alone was too much to take all over again. Three years after he left his mother went to the Garvel Senior Home and he paid for her stay.

He turned the corner and continued to the wooden door. He felt the warm latch on top of it and opened the door. Howard stepped into the den, the door behind him shut and he felt his senses flood with filthy air and the drunken smell of beer. It smelled like a mixture of good and bad.
The house was also both good and bad. The house brought comfort but would also bring memories sometime and that would be bad. He would remember just how much he hurt his mother. Howard was trying to make up for what he did. He returned home to write a novel for his mother. She was gaining years and would soon be gone. After seeing his mother-in-law die at a young age from heart problems he began considering a move back to Garvel to patch things up with his mother.

Howard walked over to the bar where his alcaholic father always sat. He figured one beer wouldn’t turn him into his father so he opened the fridge and took one out. He opened it and took a sip. It tasted good for beer that sat in a fridge that hadn’t had power for more than a decade.

He put the beer down on the bar halfway through it and walked over to the kitchen door. He opened it and released the handle. His arms flew out in all directions to stop it from hitting him through the face. He completely forget that it was spring-loaded to close on it’s own. Inside the kitchen there were thick layers of dust on the counters and doorframes.

“It never left, it was here the whole time,” he said for some foreign reason.
Howard walked over through the dining room to the living room. He felt himself choking on filthy air and dust. He went and opened all the windows in the living room and was relieved at how easy he could breathe after that.
He sat down on the couch beside the front door and felt feint for a moment before one of those acute pains struck him. It clenched his mind and twisted it into something hideous. He screamed with pain and dread.

The acute pains were gone after a short while and Howard picked himself up from the couch. He was weak and tired. It was the third acute pain that day and he thought that if they continued like they did he would die in a few days.

“About four, don’t you think?” he asked himself. There was no answer.

Howard walked over to the hallway beside the kitchen and passed two bedrooms on his way to his own. It was dark in his room before he switched on the light and then looked out the window where the sun was setting.
On his bed was a backpack. It belonged to Lily Smith, his old girlfriend from before he ran away. He figured it had lied there since the day he ran away. He sat down on the bed and picked it up. He held it close to him and he smelled the perfume Lily used to wear, cherries.

He sometimes still wondered about Lily and tried to contact her a few times but didn’t get in touch with her. As far as he knew she never tried to contact him either. Howard still loved her. He took the bag and wondered over to the cupboard in the corner of the room.

He opened it and put in Lily’s bag. Then looked beside him at his jeans, all faded blue and stacked on each other. Howard looked at his diary, nestled neatly between two pairs at the bottom of the stack. It looked like the diary was teasing him to read it. He was getting hungry.

“I can play that game too,” said Howard. He left his room and hurried over to the kitchen. He picked up the phone that hung beside the spring-loaded door and dialed the number for Garvel Pizzas, the best place for pizzas in East Morrigan.

The dialing tone was still there after all the years. His mother had probably not disconnected it over the years or anything else for that matter. All the appliances were still connected and working. Perhaps his mother thought he would be back someday.

The phone rang three times before somebody picked up. It sounded like a young man with a cold. 'Hello Garvel Pizza,' said the sick voice.

‘Hey. I would like to order a large pizza please,' said Howard.

The young man took a brief sniff. 'Alright, your address please sir?'

Howard cleared his throat twice, once to make sure he could and the other one for real. He knew the young man might have heard some of the rumors going around town about what happened in the house. The young man might have asked questions too.

‘17 Misery Lane’ he said.

‘The Howard house?’ asked the young man, with a snotty nose. ‘Are you John Howard?’

Howard scratched his head and felt irritated. ‘Yes, why?’

The young man introduced himself as Terrance Johnson, but said that everybody calls him Teddy. He also asked if all the rumors were true, and Howard denied them all. He said the pizzas would be there in an hour. He hung up the phone and began walking back to his room.

Howard took a deep breath and relaxed before going to his bedroom and playing that game with his diary. The sky was pitch black outside. He walked over to his bedroom and to his cupboard and opened it.

'Hello there little one,' he said. There was no answer from the diary.

Howard pulled it out gently from between the two pairs of faded blue jeans. He opened the diary and read through it, it was labeled 1988 on the red spine. It told of good times with Lily Smith, his former love. Suddenly he saw that one page was numbered 81 and then next page 91 but as he read the first line of the 91st page he was shook with terror. The diary read the words he never forgot after that, the words he wished he never read:

"And it was over. I had killed my father and my mother should never have to know. It would kill her…"

Howard collapsed onto the bed and lied there.
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  #21  
Old 09-13-2008, 09:29 AM
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defeatism only leads to defeat.
Dont let flamers (and i despise flamers) get you down. keep at it.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:32 AM
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Thanks Adam, but the thing is that I will keep writing, I love it and will keep at it even if the Satan of good writing says my writing is below his levels.

It's what I love to do, it's just that the story hasn't had much or any good comments.. so what I am basically saying is that another story would be more appropriate for me.. but I first want to see how this rewrite turns out. Thanks though.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:43 AM
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Hey buddy.

See you're still struggling with this, hey?

Have you heard from Bill Thompson yet? It's been nearly two weeks now.

Well, thanks again for allowing me to buy your other story from you Stephen T. Hope you are enjoying your holiday and when you get back you should let me know so that we can get together again.

When you finally get news on anything, let me know.
Good luck.
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