Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Afterwards checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.
I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to critique and help me prop up my humble scribblings.
My snippets are of short stories. So as not to post the majority of any story here, I have switched to a new one today, which is a tiny bit over 250 words. The working title is The Loner.
* * *
“Hey Jules, you in there?” Hank hollered over the shrieking wind. He pummeled the battered wooden door. Cotton ball snowflakes whipped at him as if in protest of his arrival.
He grasped the doorknob and yanked with all his might. A squall wretched the warped door outwards with a rusty screech knocking him off his feet. Hank hung on with both hands and hurled himself inside like a rocket. The door thwacked shut. Bundled in heavy mitts and sheepskin coat, he listened to the absence of human activity.
Man, it’s freezing in here. Hank pulled his cap lower and frowned. The potbellied stove was cold as death. Various sized pots of frozen water cluttered the floor beneath the long leaking ceiling. Computer paraphernalia was scattered over an old barn door which served as a table.
Do any of them work? He wondered. What looked like a witch’s black caldron sat ready to fall off the table’s edge. Hank leaned over it. Inside was ice-covered matter. What a reek even in this frigid hell-hole! He covered his nose and shuttered.
The shack had fallen down a groan at a time, now tilted about twenty degrees off centre. Seventy-five years earlier it had been a blacksmith’s shop and after that a horse barn—a sorrowful reminder of the past. Homesteaders had long since moved west into Swift Current or farther east to Moose Jaw. Wrathful winds had played havoc on the tarpapered roof, ripped up corners, and let in the rain and snow and sun. Before long, broken windows had allowed whatever critters chose to squat for a while. Old Jules had been one of those critters.
* * *
Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!
February 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm
I like the story. Your descriptions are vivid. My one critique would be “wretched” is not a verb. 😉 xxx
February 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm
Thank you, Red. When you’re right, you’re RIGHT. I believe I should have typed ‘wrenched’. How does this happen? I love your stopping by. Wish I’d had the coffee on sooner. . .(said with an impish grin).
February 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm
Oh, my word. If I had a dime for every time I misspelled something because my mind types faster than my hand, I would take a week off. 😉 Never too late for coffee (she says with a 48 ounce mug @ 1500) xxx
February 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm
I know. That’s MY story and I’m sticking to it.
February 18, 2013 at 3:35 am
Everything needs shelter. And everything dies.
Vivid story Tess!
February 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm
Thanks, Ghia. Hope your tummy is settled.
February 19, 2013 at 1:51 am
A lot more settled than it was yesterday Tess – and still very empty 😉
February 18, 2013 at 9:20 am
Best image: “the shack had fallen down a groan at a time.”
February 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm
Hi, Nancy. The initial word I used was creak. I don’t know why I changed it but I thank you for your kind comment.
February 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm
I like groan.
February 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm
Makes me quite curious to figure out what has happened to Jules, that’s for sure.
February 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm
Thank you, Rebecca. I wonder too.
February 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm
So cold… I’m shivering.
I have minor comments, in the ‘it might not be wrong’ field. So I’ll share them, and you can decide if they need changing or not. 🙂
“Bundled in heavy mitts and sheepskin coat, he listened to the absence of human activity.”
When I read about someone’s clothing like that, I expect a clothing-related action to follow, like shivering. But it would go really well in the next paragraph.
“Do any of them work? He wondered.” might not need the “He wondered” we can already tell he’s thinking.
“Inside was ice-covered matter.” I have a sinking suspicion I know what this is, but the first read-through confused me. Maybe a tiny bit more description? Frozen liquid, slushy solid, lumpy mixture, etc.
“He covered his nose and shuttered.” Do you mean ‘shuddered’?
Love all the description!
February 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Great catch, Caitlin. He felt the room but forgot to comment.
I get confused in the ‘wondered’ / ‘thought’ areas. I prefer not to mention either. I was playing it too safe.
I’ll have another look at the frozen stuff…(phew)
My fingers are way ahead of my brain here. Shuddered is correct.
I appreciate the time you have taken to help. Why are our own eyes not as sharp?
February 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm
Our eyes are sharp, but our brains lie to us. That’s why we need other eyes.
You can always blame auto-correct. 😉
February 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm
It reminds me of situations we hear of in my line of work, where someone goes to live in the bush (my city has a lot of bush-areas within it) and is found dead one day in their humpy.
February 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm
Thanks, Rose. I haven’t heard / known anyone who lived alone or died in the bush, but I’ve been exploring some possibilities.
February 19, 2013 at 5:01 am
Loved the story and your style of relating. What could you do to bring in more passion?
February 20, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Thank you for commenting. Do you wish to laugh or cry?
February 19, 2013 at 7:23 am
Red caught my only comment. I love the story! Do tell more.
February 20, 2013 at 7:07 pm
I don’t plan on posting the whole story online because then I can’t publish but I plan on a wee bit more, but not quite the reveal.
I don’t know what I was thinking, or rather, my fingers might not have been paying attention.
February 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Ooh (or should I say Brrr), you got me in. GREAT imagery and writing! What’s next???
February 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm
More brrrrrr, that’s for sure and then a story but I can’t tell you here. Thanks for dropping in, Pamela.
February 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm
I really enjoyed this piece; you’ve got my attention and you had it right up until the last paragraph.
The description and the sensations and the mystery in this dank, icky room was fabulous and then I felt yanked out of the story by the exposition tacked on at the end.
I don’t know how necessary this section is, but is it possible to drip feed that detail through the rest of the course of the text? That way you can keep us in the moment and maintain the tension that you’ve built.
February 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm
Thank you, Ileandra. I’m glad the beginning got your attention. Hmm. Will have to go back to the drawing board. I figured since this is a short story, I don’t have the the ease in peeling the onion like in a novel. Three thousand words more or less don’t leave much room for squandering any of them. However, I shall go back to the drawing board. Fabulous suggestion, though, and I much appreciate new eyes. Until next time?
February 24, 2013 at 12:44 am
This is wonderfully written. I have no qualms with your style! I found it very descriptive and it flowed quite nicely. Essentially, what I’ve gotten from this readthrough is that Jules is apparently a squatter who is living in this ramshackle little cottage/shop. However, I’m not exactly sure why the MC is seeking him out (though I venture to guess that this becomes apparent in the next few paragraphs). I’m definitely intrigued by that, though, and also I am left wondering a few things about Jules’s circumstances that landed him here. Thanks for sharing!
February 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm
Nice to hear from you Katrina. Yes, this will become apparent, but since this is a short story, I don’t plan to present all of it here (post) due to publishing restrictions later. I’m pleased you are intrigued. The next 250 words won’t quite explain Jules’s situation.
February 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm
Oh, yes I understand the limit on posting too many words – I’ve since switched works too to avoid any issues farther along! Best of luck!
February 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm
Yes, I’m being careful–as if I truly think I need to worry. Tee Hee.