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steveburchard's picture

Trouser Snake

By steveburchard in Scare Us

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A night at the club gone terribly wrong.


Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste, The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read July 28, 2012 - 10:51pm

"Trouser Snake." Wow. 

My kind of story.

     “You ready to die, you monster cock mother fucker?”

Yeah that line alone deserves a thumbs one. Well done.

Don’t have much else to say. Story meets the requirements, scares, entertains.

I loved this.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 1, 2012 - 2:51pm

There's no denying the hundred-mile-an-hour pace of your story and the topic is going to divide people right down the love/hate line - I don't think you're going to get many people who are apathetic about this one.

I did think that there is room for a rewrite and a bit of tightening up of some of the parts.  I think you misused the word 'leery' and that kind of breaks the tension at a key point when she's trying to escape (or maybe I'm just used to using the word in a different way).  A bit more character development would have lifted this more as well and I wasn't sure that the change of character perspective halfway down page two quite worked.

That said, this was pretty well written, with definite confidence.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks August 4, 2012 - 12:26am

Phrases like "making his ears dance" and "wit set in" broke the mood for me, and I also had a hard time visualizing just how it was that this one shackled woman could break the neck of one man and emasculate another one, especially a fine physical specimen of a man with the chiseled abs or pecs or whatever. I just had a hard time believing anything that happened in the story.

Christa Faust's picture
Christa Faust from New York is reading The Brat, by Gil Brewer September 10, 2012 - 11:44am


I had a lot of problems with this story. My biggest issue was the awkward, often confusing language use. Like Jane, I found myself tripped up and pulled out of the narrative by phrases like “intended highly to rectify” or “skin-tight shirt he deceivingly wore to cover it.” (his stomach)

There's also this weird, often jarring view of human bodies, as if they are being described by an alien, such as the ‘dancing ears’ or the hyper-detailed descriptions of his perfect, and her no-so-perfect nose.

In keeping with this alien sense of human anatomy, the descriptions of sex and desire, particularly with relation to the character of Cassie, were often baffling. The idea of a woman’s clitoris being “wet with readiness” is anatomically incorrect (it is the vagina that lubricates, not the clitoris) and “Her stomach growled with strong sexual desire” is just plain odd.

I was also distracted by the wandering POV. If you want to alternate between POVs, it needs to be done in a way that is clear and seems planned. In this story, it just floats back and forth at random. I’d suggest that you consider rewriting this story in a more structured way, with one section from his POV and then a clear visual break, followed by a section from her POV and back again. Or, you may want to consider eliminating his POV completely and just focusing on her.

In a story that revolves around sex and desire, you have to get the sex right or nothing else matters. You need to put the readers in the main character’s skin and make us feel what she is feeling. More importantly, you have to make us care about her and empathize with her or else whatever happens to her is ultimately meaningless.

When you're asking a reader to believe something wildly unrealistic (a man with a snake penis) you need shore up the big lie with a foundation of truth. That truth is in the realistic and relatable characters that surround the supernatural event or creature in the story.

Memorable crime fiction isn’t about the heist or the murder, it’s about the way the people involved either come apart or rise to the occasion. Horror should be the same way. It’s not about the monster or the gory action, it’s about the people who encounter it and the way that encounter changes or ultimately destroys them. This story is about the monster. You need to make it about Cassie.

I suggest that you enlist the help of a female friend to make the character of Cassie feel more authentic. Talk to her about what she finds sexy, how she feels when she is first attracted to someone and really listen to her feedback.

Then, once you feel like you have more of a handle on the character, go back through the story and omit unnecessary words. Clean up the confusing language and simplify your sentences. Pay particular attention to adverb usage and cut most if not all of them. Cut all those long, convoluted physical descriptions and concentrate more on describing what the character is feeling.

Good luck and keep writing!

- Christa Faust