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  1. #1
    Julian Ruberte

    What would you suggest?

    The idea for this story came to me as I talked with family members about ghostly experiences we each had encountered. Sometimes we do that, particularly at night. We just speak about things which creeps us out, things that happened that can only be described as weird. Like the voice my sister heard singing while she was in the bathroom, things like that.

    Anyway, I am stuck. I don't know if I should keep writing the story. If I should expand it to something bigger than a short story or keep it as a short story as originally planned. I don't even know if this is one of those stories I can maybe later publish or one of those that are meant to stay hidden, locked up inside a drawer somewhere.

    So I would like to ask the opinion of those of you who I respect. And yes I am sucking up a little, it helps a bit sometimes.

    What would you suggest? Should I keep writing the story? Should I say forget it and leave it to writer's block hell? Any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.


    Ghosts are like echoes. They are the continuation of something which has ended. And if you stay quiet enough, you can hear the whispers of those who are dead but not yet gone.


    Inside a house, a mother stands at the kitchen. She stares out the window above the sink, at the tree where her child once played. Hanging from a branch there is a single swing, moving with the morning breeze.

    The woman stands unmoving. She holds a handkerchief between her hands, twisting the cotton material until her fingers begin to bleed. She doesn’t notice her cuts. All her attention, her feelings, her grief work to create one single thought: Why?


    “Are you sure you’re okay?”

    “Ugh, if someone else asks me that I’m gonna lose it.”

    “Kate, we’re just trying to look out for you. What happened to you was…”

    “God, would you stop worrying?” Kate replies, a groan escaping her lips. You’d think I was the only woman to ever lose a husband. “I’m fine. I appreciate everyone trying to look out for me but I don’t need your help. I just need to be left alone ok?”


    “No. That’s the only reason why I answered your call. Tell the rest of them, I just want to be on my own.”

    “Do you really think that’s the answer? You know Jeff wouldn’t want you to…”

    “Jeff is gone Mandy,” Kate says. “Whatever he wanted once doesn’t matter anymore.” Before her friend can say anything more, Kate hangs up. She bites back a sob and throws the phone away, taking little pleasure in seeing it crash against her bedroom wall.

    What did they know? How could they possibly understand how she felt? Her family, her friends, all of them were clueless. Her pain was hers to bear alone.

    “Alone,” Kate whispers, turning to look at the picture of her wedding day, looking at Jeff, the face she was forced to look at now only through picture frames and albums. “That’s how you left me baby. That’s how I’m gonna stay.”


    He’s gone, Ricky thinks as he stands in front of the hospital bed. He stares down at the body of his father. The once breathing figure now lays still, no breath coming from him. Ricky places his right hand atop his father’s brow and nearly withdraws it at how cold it feels.

    His eyes filling with tears, Ricky lowers down to lay one last kiss upon his father. He pulls away and whispers: “Don’t worry Pop. I’ll take care of everything for you.”

    Pulling up again, he wipes the tears away. Now he must be the man of the house. His mourning must be put on hold. His mother will need to be looked after, the house cleaned, the arrangements made. He needed to focus. That’s what his father expected of him.

    “Don’t worry Pop,” he repeats. “You can count on me.” He stares for one last time at his father’s face, at the unmoving body, the closed eyes. At least now you’ll be free of all your problems, he thinks. And now they’ll pass on to me.


    Why couldn’t it have been me? The woman wonders as her husband tends to her hands. He needn’t bother; she is completely drained of emotion. Numb is too small a word, she muses. It can’t begin to fathom just how empty I’ve been left.

    When she was told the news, she screamed. Like any woman who has lost a son, she felt all the warmth, all the feeling sap from her body. The most awful words any mother can hear. Your child is dead. Four words – one adjective, one verb, one noun, one possessive pronoun – and they carried more force than even a wrecking ball.

    Why him? Why not me? Why, why, why?


    Do our dear ones ever really leave us? Is there nothing after death? Ghosts are spoken of almost every day. Different people, different cultures search for ways to explain the afterlife. All of them after the same thing, an answer to the unknown, a way to light the darkness which threatens to overcome us. The darkness we must eventually travel into.


    In a dark stretch of road somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a sudden breeze stirs up. It blows the dead leaves in the ground. It lifts dirt into the air, making small swirling shapes with it. Lightning flashes in the leaden skies. The boom of thunder quickly follows.

    The road is illuminated by a blinding light. Three figures appear from the dazzling luminescence. The three males walk down the street side by side. One of them is no older than nine, another is in his late twenties and the third looks to be no older than fifty. All three stand in the middle of the lonely highway, at the crossroads ahead of them.

    The boy looks to the left, the lights of a sleepy town beckoning. The man looks in the opposite direction of the boy, down the road to the right. And the older man looks straight ahead towards the distant city. All three go on their way, their plans laid out for them, their purpose clear. Before the night is done, each one will whisper their secrets to their visit.


    One last thing. Thanks.

  2. #2
    the cat came back

    Re: What would you suggest?

    Okay, what's the story?

    That determines whether it is a short story, novella, novel...it determines the scope.

    Is it worth writing or not? That depends on you. How do you feel about it? And again, what is the story? Are you interested in telling it?

    And why do you care what we think? Why suck up to us to get permission to tell your story?

    Internalize! It's your story. Take ownership of it, all of it, including the "whether to write it or not".

    Answer that question -- internally -- and if the answer is yes, post a little for us to see, if you want some feedback on technique and so on.

    But you're the storyteller.



  3. #3
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: What would you suggest?

    So I guess those of us you don't respect should just shut the heck up.

  4. #4
    Julian Ruberte

    Re: Thanks

    Cat, thank you for the advice. You're definitely right. After analyzing the story or really the idea i had, I realized I had no story. Isn't that sad? LOL Anyway, I wanted to thank you because you made realize that with just the first question. Again, thanks.

    Two things though dude. One, I neither need nor was I asking for your permission. The sucking up thing was a joke. Two, I did post what I've written so far but I guess since I ramble so much you missed it or it was so bad what I wrote, it was beyond critiquing. Cue another LOL.

    But thank you for taking the time to read through my ramblings. And thank you even more for what you posted.

    Oh and Rogue, the people who go into the category of those I respect is quite large. If you are among the writers who take the time to read through the posts and then take more time to offer advice, then you have my respect. That was who I meant when saying those who I respect. And I don't mean just to me, I mean to any writer who comes here asking for help.

  5. #5
    the cat came back

    Re: Thanks

    Cat, thank you for the advice. You're definitely right. After analyzing the story or really the idea i had, I realized I had no story. Isn't that sad?

    Not really. You're just in a different part of the process than you thought you were. What you have is an area of interest and some ideas. Stories have grown out of less. Do some brainstorming.

    Two things though dude. One, I neither need nor was I asking for your permission. The sucking up thing was a joke.

    I was responding in kind.

    Two, I did post what I've written so far but I guess since I ramble so much you missed it or it was so bad what I wrote, it was beyond critiquing.

    I sensed a lack of story, and restricted my comments to that area. That needs to come first.


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