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Wonder Woman's picture

Meddling Kids

By Wonder Woman in Scare Us

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Description

High school can be hell, but nothing compares to the sinster scheme that one student finds herself involved in. 

Comments

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 22, 2012 - 8:47pm

I like this story.  I really like the tie-in with the title, the opening paragraph, and the closing lines of dialogue.  It's kind of daring, because it could have come off flat or cheesy, but it works with the theme of the story. I like where the story goes, with it being a completely believable and realistic portrayal of a high-school day-in-the-life, and then the horror coming in a predictable, but still fitting, climax.  Also, spelling and grammar and punctuation seemed pretty tight, with maybe 1 or 2 little things, so nice work there.

I think my only criticism is that the monster, and the horror of the story, doesn't come along until the 8th page of 10 for the setting, the 9th page for the monster.  I would love to see more of the description of the creepy basement, the fear/anxiety of the kids, and the horror that awaits the victims.  I do like the build up, and do not need the monster to appear on page 1, but i think maybe if you could get the kids to the basement by page 6 or so, it could build the tension a little more.

The characters, while mostly described within dialogue, are distinct enough, the librarian is creepy enough, and the slowly building tension is strong enough, so just hit us a little harder with the showing of the final scene.  I like that we don't see the monster much, but we know what it's doing.  I'm fine with not knowing what it looks like at all.  But expand that last scene and I think you've got something great here.

Shannon McLoud's picture
Shannon McLoud July 23, 2012 - 12:28am

This was great!  It wasn't predictable, the dialogue was believable!  So good!  When's your next story?

Brad's picture
Brad from Australia is reading Speculative Fiction Quarterlies July 23, 2012 - 10:08am

I enjoyed your story.

I'm assuming you're a YA-ish kind of writer? Because this reminded me of the kind of horor books I used to read like Fear Street - I think that's why it was fun.

Your writing is really smooth and easy to follow.

 

Some suggestions for improvements:

I would say it is a bit predictable. You foreshadow that detention = deathtrap right at the start and we're kind of on a railway track the whole way there. Is there any kind of twists/red herrings/suprirses you can throw in?

The characters are a bit two dimensional. Eliza and Chris are Jerks but we don't really see their motivation. Rory comes along quite late in the story purely to be a love interest. (He could have been in the opening scene maybe, when the MC gets flustered? Just for a line, "I hope Rory didn't see that?") The teacher is creepy, again no real motivation. I know it's only 4000 words but I think there's scope to flesh out some of these characters.

One thing that stood out about your descriptions is that there's only two senses. I think this story would be great if you described how the basement smelled, the warmth of the splashed lunch tray, the odour of the library etc.

 

Those are just minor things though, overall I think you told the story you wanted to tell effectively. The pacing was tension building at the right speed. The dialogue/mannerisms of the characters really believable.

Wendy Erickson Blackburn's picture
Wendy Erickson ... July 23, 2012 - 10:48am

I thought it was very cute! :) I like that you included a lot of your own life into it. I think I may have an idea who Rory is. :)

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts July 23, 2012 - 1:09pm

Thanks for checking out my story! I admit that I had some of the same issues that you've mentioned (getting the kids in the basement faster, description of the basement, etc.). Honestly, I went well over the 4,000 word count and had to go back several times and trim things out. 

This is my first attempt at horror, and while I don't usually write horror or YA, I do think it has the  feel of the kind of books you mentioned. (I still have my copies of Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark and Tales For the Midnight Hour that I adored as a kid, so I enjoyed writing this). Since the story had to take place in our hometown, the first thing horror related that came to me was high school. Many of the things that happen in this story really did happen to me or my friends in high school. (For instance, I did take a trip into the basement to skip gym class once and it was rather creepy! That eerie red glow of the exit light is not fiction, friends!) 

Thanks again for reading and for the commentary. It's greatly appreciated!

Jill Prosser Wagner's picture
Jill Prosser Wagner July 25, 2012 - 8:22am

Well done! I agree with others that knowing a little more about the background between Eliza and Ivy would be nice. Also, I'm a sucker for some horror story romance, so I'd like to see more of Rory. Overall, it read easily and was entertaining.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 30, 2012 - 10:52am

I liked your stroy. I think you did a good job tying together the everyday "real" horrors of an unpopular girl in high-school w/ the supernatual aspect below in the basement. It might be a good idea if you can make high-school itself a little more scary.

I loved the Scooby Doo references and how it all ties together with the title.

Love "Yeast Beast!" Maybe you can play on that more. Eliza is beautiful and popular to everyone else but is Beastly in Ivy's eyes. I know you do this already, but i'd like her to feel scarier.

Thank you for sharing.

 

--Jonathan--

La Emme Nikita's picture
Class Facilitator
La Emme Nikita from Los Angeles is reading Ishmael August 2, 2012 - 2:39pm

When I first saw your title, I thought "Scooby Doo", and there it is in the first paragraph. Love! (Incidentally in seventh grade we had to rewrite a classic work and put our own spin on it, so I rewrote Terminator 2 in comic form with a Scooby Doo ending. It's my crowning achievement). 

There is a lot of lead up but it's entertaining. I love that you talk about microfiche. The whole thing feels like a twisted episode of Buffy. Really fun!

 
Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep August 4, 2012 - 11:40pm

Great job, and I enjoyed it!

I think your main character is relatable and fleshed out. It's the sort of person you want to just give a hug to and make all the bad things go away.

Going along with what sean of the dead said, I think the concept of the monster might could be introduced earlier. It sure seems like this isn't the first time the librarian has led students to their deaths. There's probably some way to work a clue/evidence in there early on--something that the presence of the monster explains later on. The strange stains on the floor in the basement...

One other thing to take a look at. I love the ending, but they just experienced 4 murders, and the reactions are a little on the light side. My first thought was to move the "It's like a Scooby Doo episode gone bad." comment to Rory because if somebody's gonna be flippant, maybe it shouldn't be Ivy. But looking at the beginning, Ivy's the one with the Scooby Doo comments, so they way you have it is more symmetrical.

If you want to up the horror a little more, increase their reactions. If you're satisfied with the level, then let it stand, 'cause really, there's nothing wrong with that ending.

Keep up the awesome writing.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading House of Leaves August 6, 2012 - 5:19pm

Good story.  I concur with Emma's Buffy analogy; it felt to me as you've never trusted Giles in that series and that this was the seamier side of him that Buffy never saw.

I enjoyed, and the writing is solid throughout.

TigersMS's picture
TigersMS from Australia is reading House of Leaves August 13, 2012 - 7:42pm

Ah Scooby references abound. Awesome. Liked how you bookended the story with them. Apart from that its a really solid story and one that could well be expanded on if a word limit didn't apply. When I was reading it I couldn't help but hear Daria's (from the cartoon series) voice as the narrator, and as such imagined the whole thing being animated. Great work!

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts August 13, 2012 - 9:50pm

Thanks for all the commentary. My jaw dropped seeing the Buffy comparisons since that was one of my favorite shows (as is Scooby!) I had well over 4000 words and really had to scale back. I would love to have expanded more, especially on the basement scenes, but I felt good submitting as is. (I did save a copy of my unedited version as well...it'll be fun to revisit at some point). 

Thanks again for reading and commenting. I can't tell you how fantastic and exciting it is to hear the suggestions and feedback! ^_^