Tuesday, 8 May 2012

100 words week 41


This prompt was used for the children's 100 words and I remember the creativity and originality they showed.
I am trying to use these challenges to "find my voice" or style. I have tried to do something a little different this week- not sure if it is "different" or not. I am never short of something to say (!) but want my writing to flow and excite the reader.


Here is this week's effort; please let me know what you think. Read the rest at http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=143276&type=basic
As always, I have written mine before looking at the others... that is what I am now going to do ...


Mysterious disappearances...

Deep in the bowels of the long abandoned, once magnificent, manor where I sought shelter, I soon realised that I was not alone.
 
As my eyes gradually adjusted I saw his rag clad body- his twisted gnarled hands working frenziedly in the shadows.  Lightning caused him to shuffle back revealing his secret. I clasped my hands over my mouth.

 Carpeting the ground all around him were dozens of broken skeletons, their tiny bones picked clean - at their centre a monstrous ball of bones.

He looked proudly at his creation.

The mystery of the missing pets had at last been solved.




I am not entirely happy with the last sentence; not sure whether to include it or not. I wanted his creation to have been made from missing pets and felt without some nod to that, there would be too many unanswered questions. I had thought of beginning with "After fruitless inquiries and interviews, I was no closer to solving the mysterious disappearances of beloved pets."
Hmmm, perhaps I will come back to this later. Please let me know your thoughts.

34 comments:

  1. ooh another dark poster :P love the he looked proudly at his creation- chill went down my spine!

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed it. To try to get an atmosphere in so few words is a real challenge.

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  2. This is really good, I think the sentence at the end works well and concludes that missing part for the reader. Equally I do also think it would have worked well at the beginning too. Great job!

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    1. Thankyou...I think I tried to fit a bit much in, but am pleased that you enjoyed it.

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  3. I'd rather have it at the end … Maybe just twist it a bit: And I suddenly new, where they had gone to – my missing pets.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :O)

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  4. An original take on the prompt Anna, enjoyed it. I think the last line might be a bit 'expositional'. Perhaps you could have indicated she was searching for her cat or dog when she entered the manor (...my search for Fido had taken me deep into the bowels of the manor) and then you could end with something like (I realised Fido, along with many other... would not be coming home.) Just my take on it, though it's fine as it is and very spooky. Good one.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments; I like your suggestion for the clue in the start. It's something I need to work on- not giving everything away, and not being so cryptic that no one gets it!!

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  5. That was goulish .... your writing was very evocative. Poor pets. Also agree with Lynsey S.

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  6. A brilliant dark piece. I had toyed with darkness but felt my writing needed to stay lighter for a bit.

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    1. Thanks Alison.
      Not entirely sure I got the "chill" factor...always room for improvement...

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  7. I like the last line helped round it off. :)

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment :O)

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  8. Don't change the start - the first sentence sets the mood for the piece perfectly. Love all the description in the second paragraph - you can tell that something's not right from the words you chose.

    Perhaps you could add some clues about the missing pets without having to use the words. Not sure what - maybe something about discarded dog collars.

    You should be really proud of this one though.

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    1. Thank you. The more I write and read, the more there is to think about. Showed my youngest sis some of my writing . She made some interesting comments...most thought-provoking being it didn't seem like 'me'... Not sure if that's a good thing or not!?

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    2. Did she mean style or content? One is good to change to try out different ones to see what you are best at, and the other is pretty much dictated by the prompts we get each week.

      I know you've been looking for your voice recently so would be interesting to ask her which pieces she thought were most 'you' - those could be the ones written in your voice.

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  9. I like this story, and I really like how we get a picture of the atmosphere and this man in our minds. You're descriptions worked wonderfully for me here.

    My first thoughts are that the last sentence landed too heavily. It absolutely 'tells' rather than shows. Your instincts are serving you well. In a story so short, I like that we don't know anything about missing pets before the end. At the moment, I can think of two ways you could go with that last sentence: Perhaps an action or a statement he could make that gives the reader a clue to what he's done. Something like, "Found Fluffy and Fifi, have you? Only bones now. Only bones."

    Or forget the pets altogether and just let your protagonist's fear of the sight drive the ending. (Because of the word count.)

    The other thing that struck me is that if the mansion was open so the protaganist could duck in from the storm, wouldn't townsfolk have noticed and wanted to keep out dangerous types who might linger there, or the children or teenagers who surely would have been in and out of there getting into mischief? (This is something I only noticed when I read it again.)

    The main point is that I loved your use of language here. I think your writing voice is wonderful. The rest is all about plot.

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    1. Thanks so much for leaving such a full and interesting comment. Your points made a lot of sense.
      You hit the nail on the head- it is all about the plot; and that's the real trick!

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    2. About writing in general, it's only maybe 50% about the plot. The more I write, the more I know how much it's about the editing. Once I found my rhythm with the leaving in, the taking out, and the scaling down, editing became more second nature - like reading becomes after we learn to do it. Editing is vital no matter what kind of writer you are. (Except for the Kerouac types, I guess.)

      And you are a real writer! There's much to learn, but you're a writer now because you care about it. (I read your response to Ventahl. :) )

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  10. This is just a quick, *suggested* rework, Anna, based on others comments as well. It might not be what they would have written and they could well disagree. You can take or leave what you wan but I have tried to use your words as much as I can.....

    It was raining harder now and I sought shelter in the abandoned manor. I soon realised I was not the only one.

    As my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I spied a rag clad body, the hands, gnarled and twisted, working frenziedly in the shadows. He shuffled back and lightning revealed his morbid secret. I stiffled a scream.

    A monstrous ball of bones had been patiently constructed from the remains of tiny animals, their broken skeletons carpeting the ground like litter. He looked proud of his creation.

    The missing pets of Bleaktown were a mystery no longer and my search for Scamp was tragically over.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to do this; I feel rather humbled by the fact that you have spend time thinking about this.
      To be honest I don't spend a lot of time editing my pieces-which is something a *real* or published writer does do...
      I love the way you reworked it; doesn't quite sound like me (funny that!) but shows how clever editing, reordering and word changes can make a huge difference to the feel of the piece. :O)

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  11. Very dark and poor pets. I really enjoyed this piece. x

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    1. Thank you Susan. It's hard to be dark in a concise way!

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  12. I have had a play with the original piece and made a few changes. Have not added anything in about the pets; thought I would leave that air of mystery!


    As the rain took hold, I sought shelter in the remains of the dilapidated manor house. Rattles from deep within alerted me to the fact that I was not alone.
    My eyes adjusted to the gloom to reveal a rag-clad figure: his hands, twisted and gnarled, worked frenziedly on something hidden by his filthy, hunched body.
    A bolt of lightning caused him to shuffle back. His morbid obsession was revealed. I clasped my hands over my mouth stifling my scream.
    A hideous ball of bones - created from the picked-clean bones of countless tiny animals; the unused ones carpeting the ground.
    He gazed proudly at his handiwork.

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  13. I do feel ending the story at "creation" would make it stronger.
    After "I realised I was not alone." the person might wonder if they had found the missing pets, or might call for their own? Then adding "animal" before "skeletons" would do the trick.

    Either way a great twist to the prompt.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I enjoyed this challenge :-)

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  14. Anna, I enjoyed both the original and the re-worked story. It's a real challenge to 'show' and not 'tell'! The piece gains strength by excluding the last line about the pets - the 'tiny' bones already providing hints. Alternatively, your protagonist could've been holding and twisting a worn dog collar (or similar) through their hands to highlight the pet slant and her concern. Very good work and a great idea to ask for constructive feedback, I think I'll start doing that too.

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment. It's been so useful and informative having so many interesting and constructive responses.

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  15. I saw his rag clad body- his twisted gnarled hands working frenziedly in the shadows.

    I think that bit works. It is strong and evocative. Maybe put a full stop rather than a dash between body and his twisted.

    You want to show, not tell. Make the reader work.

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