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  1. #1
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Feedback, criticism please :)

    Okay, this is a short story I wrote for my english class. Any thoughts on how to improve it would be much appreciated.




    Alone.

    She sits alone. She is content to be alone, alone with her thoughts. She sits alone, dreaming of the life that she doesn’t have, of parents that care. But she is alone. She sits alone on the wall, looking at the other children, who look straight through her. Their eyes register no emotion. She would prefer to be bullied than to be ignored.

    In maths she works hard. She finishes all her work before everyone else as usual. She gives it to the teacher. He barely conceals a sigh, and hands her another sheet. She finishes that too. He tells her to check the answers. She says she already has. He doesn’t even bother to reply, just goes on hammering away at his keyboard. In a futile attempt to win his attention, she raises her hand hopefully. This time he doesn’t conceal the sigh. He looks at her through bored eyes. ‘I’ll get to you in a minute’ he says impatiently. He never does get to her. The bell rings, signalling the end of school. She gathers her belongings and goes to walk out. A few things are thrown at her. She trudges away from school with the usual feeling of helplessness. She walks alone.

    She gets home and hears her parents bickering to eachother. And suddenly she feels the ice cold, iron grip of despair, like a shard of ice sliding through her numb brain.

    She feels the despair in her blood, pounding through her veins, coursing through every ventricle in her body. It seizes control of her unconscious, crushing her until she finally gives way and embraces her despair.

    Like a machine she walks, systematically searching her bag until her trembling fingers close on the small metal blade. She retrieves it slowly, raising it above her head like a gruesome battle trophy. She is perspiring heavily, taking quick, shallow breaths. She feels dizzy and slightly nauseous, thinking about what she is about to do.

    Her hands shaking wildly, her heart clutched with fear, she readies herself. She brings the knife up. Her eyes bulge madly in their sockets. A drip of sweat falls into her glaring pupil. A wretched sob catches in her throat. And then she does it. She plunges the knife deep into her arm, cries out in agony as blood spurts from the wound she has inflicted on herself. She drags the knife down, through her flesh towards her wrists. The edges of her vision begin to turn pale white, she sways on the spot, and is overcome by a powerful impulse to vomit. But she hits the floor before she gets the chance to retch. No one will look through her again.

    Alex Richardson

  2. #2
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Well, not my cup of tea. I think most young people write about this kind of thing because they think it lends some sort of power and deep emotion and meaning to what they write, but it doesn't. Death and pain is the rule in this life. It's common. You want to write something with impact? Write something life affirming. It's much more interesting and challenging than this tripe. Perhaps write about her deciding to kill herself that same day after school, but she's saved by the simple friendship of a new girl in class.

    But if your heart's set on death, I think you could make it much more believable. She's not popular, her teacher's a dud, and her parents bicker...is that likely to produce thoughts of suicide? Not to my mind. It takes one heckuva bloated and twisted ego to commit suicide over these dinky little slights that are common to us all. So either her life needs to get a whole lot worse, or you need to show that she's insane or clinically depressed. Is there a word limit on this assignment? Because you need a lot more character development.

    You might want to look up the word "ventricle". It is a chamber in the heart, and I think a human has only two, though there might be some in the brain. Not sure. Also, the girl raises the knife "above her head like a gruesome battle trophy", then in the very next paragraph "she brings the knife up". The knife is already up, so what...she stands on her tip toes? Also, this strikes me as an odd way of doing it. Most would not stab, but cut...but even if she does stab through her arm, she'll hardly be able to "drag the knife" through her flesh. Try doing that with a steak sometime and see how successful you are.

    Well, it needs a lot of work to my mind, but it'll probably earn you an A or a B in today's schools. I vote that you write something else more uplifting.

  3. #3
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Oooh, destructive criticism. Ouch. I understand where your coming from though. The problem is, being a teenager it's hard for me to write positively and 'life-affirming', and still have it coem off well without sounding cheesy.

    The point about the suicide... she didn't actually kill herself. But now you've mentioned this i don't think i conveyed that at all well. Anyway, moving on to the flimsy reasons for it all. What I tried to get across here was she actually has a very messed up life, and that one particularly lousy day manages to make her lose control. Perhaps the implication wasn't clear. I don't know.

    There wasn't a word limit, but it had to be less than two sides of A4, so all the emphasis was on structure as opposed to charachterisation.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it, and for the comments.

  4. #4
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Oooh, destructive criticism. Ouch. I understand where your coming from though. The problem is, being a teenager it's hard for me to write positively and 'life-affirming', and still have it come off well without sounding cheesy.

    The point about the suicide... she didn't actually kill herself. But now you've mentioned this i don't think i conveyed that at all well. Anyway, moving on to the flimsy reasons for it all. What I tried to get across here was she actually has a very messed up life, and that one particularly lousy day manages to make her lose control. Perhaps the implication wasn't clear. I don't know.

    There wasn't a word limit, but it had to be less than two sides of A4, so all the emphasis was on structure as opposed to charachterisation.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it, and for the comments.

  5. #5
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    I found it a very powerful piece. I thought it was relatively well-written and you used a risky topic - good for you.

    In any event, I picked up on just a couple of things:

    She sits alone on the wall,

    Nobody can sit ON a wall. Do you mean BY the wall?

    ‘I’ll get to you in a minute’ he says impatiently.

    Should have full quotes “ there. Single is incorrect.

    Signalling misspelled – “signaling”

    And suddenly she feels the ice cold, iron grip of despair, like a shard of ice sliding through her numb brain.

    I think you should get rid of the first “ice,” as you repeat it shortly thereafter and you want to avoid duplication so close to each other.

    Good luck to you,

    C

  6. #6
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Excellent point about the repetition of ice, i feel stupid now. lol.

    The wall thing... the idea is it's a wall separate to the building. Maybe fencing off a garden or something. I would have felt silly saying 'brick fence'.

    The spelling and grammar mistakes... curse me for inaccurate proof reading, and curse my spell checker for being old.


    Thankyou very much for the encouragement, and sparing time to read.

  7. #7
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Oh, I see now. Maybe you can reword it something like:

    She sits atop the dividing wall, legs dangling a few inches from the ground, and watches the other children who look her way - who look right through her.

    C

  8. #8
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Will do.

  9. #9
    Ira Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    Most of what John Oberon said, and I would add that you should reign in your use of adverbs. Wildly, madly, heavily, etc...Adverbs tend to suck the descriptiveness out of your writing.

    Ex.

    Alex ran up the stairs happily

    is alot less powerful then

    Alex bounded up the stairs, a huge grin on his face.

    The piece is definitely a bit gloomy, but hey, that's life sometimes.

    Keep going, and keep posting your stuff.

  10. #10
    Alex Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Feedback, criticism please :)

    You may have a point about the liberal use of adverbs.

    Can anyone advise me on positive writing? Negative omes much more naturally, i'm not sure how to progress out of it.

    Thanks for reading, Ira.

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