Yep. Grandma takes credit for my two youngest children. If you compare the pregnancy calendar with Grandparent weekends, she just may be right!
Thanks guys, I immensely appreciate all of your kind words.
I'll post a snippet from my current project. I encourage any and all comments/criticism, no matter how brusque.
This is the introductory segment of a short story.
The rain splattered and beat at the window as he sat on his bed and stared out into the dark, vacuous world. It had turned from a small drizzle earlier in the day to an all-out thunderstorm by dinner time. The storm had been barraging the window by his bed for a few hours now; he had watched every second of it in rapt attention. The way the dark clouds rolled across the even darker sky, the way that the world was so briefly illuminated by the intermittent flashes of lightning (yet in that brief moment, he felt as if he was able to survey the entire landscape), the way that the rain ran down his window pane almost like a waterfall - it was all so beautiful.
He imagined himself standing outside, basking in the glorious storm. He stared out the window, his eyes wide, imagining himself calmly standing with arms outstretched amongst the maelstrom as the wind swept over his face, through his hair, and between his fingers. In this chaos, in this glorious darkness, he found solace.
A banging sound in the distance shook him from his reverie. This wasn't the deep roar of thunder; the source of the noise was too close to be thunder. He knew this noise though, he had heard it often. It was the resonating thud of flesh flying with great force and being met by a wall. It was the sound of tractus interruptus, or in other words, his inebriated father was once again pushing around his mother. It seemed, based on the subsequent shatter, that this time he had thrown her into an end-table holding a lamp. The lamp breaking only seemed to further anger the man, and the effect was three-fold: his yelling grew louder; the dull sounds of flesh colliding against flesh grew louder; and the screams coming from his spousal punching bag, not entirely surprisingly, grew quieter and quieter until they eventually died out.
This sort of activity had, over the years, become the status quo. Both parents found alcohol to be easier to deal with than life, much less a child. This parental detachment had forced him to realize at an early age that if he didn't fend for himself he would most assuredly die. His father, after returning home from a day at the abattoir and drinking his peace, would take to either his mother or himself. What was always interesting though is the degree by which the beatings would vary. Some nights the "disciple" (as his father was fond of putting it) would just consist of a backhand or two, but other nights the man would not be satiated until his prey stopped moving. Perhaps the passive nights were a sign that he was in a good mood?
After staring at the door through the corner of his eyes for a while, he became satisfied that his father wasn't interested in a second round and returned his gaze to the darkness outside. The storm seemed to have ended with much the same futile dejection as his poor mother. The post-storm world beyond the glass seemed so serene, and albeit slightly damp, no worse for the wear. Looking deep within himself for a moment, he wished he could weather storms with such finesse.
I really like the images you're presenting and the way you present them...there's no limit to how much something can be edited, but this looks like a very good start of a rough draft.
One thing intrigues me though. Are you intending the narrator to be discussing such a disturbing and violent topic in a very matter-of-fact way? I think it's a fresh way of depicting the hopelessness of the situation, but if you're intending to horrify the reader, I'm not quite sure it worked out that way. I'd like to know where you're trying to go with your narrator's personality so I can get an idea of how best to work with what you have so far.
As for the earlier comments regarding qualification: I'm a college student going into Psychology and Anthropology. I have no previous body of work other than school essays written for grading and a few small projects that have little meaning to me. I was randomly inspired to start authoring a very complex series with my friend, and that's why I'm here today. I don't know if I'm going to succeed, and I can't call myself an expert in anything in particular, but some of my favorite authors came from similar backgrounds as both you and I.
On a somewhat related note too, I'd love to talk to authors in the same situation and co-edit. I'm in desperate need of extremely critical editors, and I'm already very impressed with the gold mine of wonderful people I've found here. Not sure if you can PM on here, but let me know if you're interested in talking
Sorry for the novel, didn't intend to write so much ^_^" Keep up the good work!
"If degrees in creative writing -- or any type of English course, actually -- were necessary for success, most of the successful writers I know would never have made it."