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eelissab's picture

Dead Anyway

By eelissab in Arrest Us

How It Rates

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This is the story of the brutal murder of a young girl from her own persepective. She waits for things to unfold while the cops and the killer reveal themselves.


TheKyleBTM's picture
TheKyleBTM June 8, 2014 - 2:46pm

Very good story, I felt for the girl and though it took me a minute I liked her voice and descriptions of things. some bits could use a little bit of organization such as calling it  'the cat shit barbershop'  then explaing why it is called such a thing a few pages later, i loved the title and description, but i think the explaination would fit better earlier in the story so we're not left wondering why it has that name. other than that it was great, it had emotion and was a very human story.

Devon Taylor's picture
Devon Taylor from Allentown, PA is reading Doctor Sleep June 8, 2014 - 8:38pm

This got a thumbs up from me for sure. The narrator was a really thought out, realistic character. You really found her voice and let it speak. There were a few moments, though, where it was kind of hard to tell if some of the grammatical issues were purely characterization or if they were honest mistakes. I agree with the earlier comment that it could have benefited from a little more organization. I think that would have helped to reduce some of that confusion with the grammar. But the story overall was really honest and believable. This sort of thing happens on the streets every single day, and I think you did a great job of capturing it from the victim's point of view. Well done. Thanks for sharing!

Tyler Day's picture
Tyler Day June 11, 2014 - 3:06pm

I really enjoyed the POV of this narrator.  It wasn't apparent immediately that she would be likeable or interesting by her bold introduction.  Soon, the narrator begins to explain things adeptly, so I think the grammatical structure you took here was fine.  Her description of the stabbing after the first paragraph break - that's what drew me into the story - so perhaps would be a better starting point.  Charita had a well-rounded persona, reminding me of the narrator from "Crime and Punishment."  Also, the events that took place at the crime scene were very realistic and engrossing from the Dessy's perspective.  Overall, it's a great story!

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 14, 2014 - 12:20pm

Interesting story, but a bit too heavy on exposition for me. I think there was too much over-emphasising on non-important things (like "The Simpsons"). The most unique element was the brief mention of doors slamming, suggesting poltergeist activity. That could have been expanded and really changed the dynamic of the story. Also, if the alley stank of cat shit, why did she hang out there? Anyway, you kept me intrigued and the story was fast paced and enjoyable to read.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 16, 2014 - 11:41am

That was a pleasure to read.  It was an interesting concept that just worked.  The narrator had a consistent voice and the brutality of the whole situation came across amazingly light hearted since she just took everything in stride. Thanks for sharing and best of luck.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 18, 2014 - 3:19am

There is a very nice opening here reminiscent of The Lovely Bones. In fact, the entire piece bears some resemblance to that book. Both protagonists are young girls looking forward to their future, both are brutally killed, and both watch the events unfold from the afterlife. As concepts go it’s been done, but not so many times that it has crossed into cliché territory. The issue with taking it this way though, is there are always going to be comparisons to The Lovely Bones given that the book and film were both fairly high profile.

There are things here you do really well. You evoke a real sense of place. I can picture that alleyway, I can smell the cat shit, I can see the Big Gulp liquid mingling with the blood in the dust. Crucially your narrator feels real, or at least real enough to keep our sympathy. The narration is consistent, and that’s not the easiest thing to pull off. I have a slight gripe over the grammatical errors. As Devon said, it’s not clear if that is a result of lack of editing, or to maintain voice. I think it is worth correcting the grammar.

I did find the dialogue to be inconsistent, and one of the weaker elements of your story. Some of it comes across fine, but some of it feels very unnatural. “Don’t you try to be so sweet and so agreeable to me” – Charita is furious enough to commit pre-meditated murder, is this really a line you can imagine her saying? It’s not a line that can be spat with venom. Also the word agreeable is out of place. “I’m not being agreeable. I’m just saying what’s true.  But, I can’t talk here long, I gotta get these cigarettes back to my mom, she’s waiting on me.” This one is unwieldy. Adding ‘But’ where you do is unnatural, and it affects the rhythm. Also, “HOLY SHIT! Did I really just do that?” This is premeditated, is she really surprised?

I like the ending with Charita desperate for her mom to come with her. I do feel like there are a lot of unanswered question in the lead up though. All the interesting stuff is happening out of view. How does the cop with the nice eyes manage to prove it was Charita? What is happening with your narrator’s family? There is a lot of untapped emotion. Those hints towards the haunting are tantalising, and could easily be fleshed out a little. Instead we have the murder, and an understated aftermath leading up to a hasty resolution.

This isn’t far away at all from being a really solid short story. There’s so many ways you can take this. Personally I like the idea of having your narrator be less passive. Don’t tell us about the little things she does to affect Charita, show us. She could be driving her killer crazy, will subtly leading the cop to the clues that will help him catch her. That moves it firmly out of crime, and into the supernatural though. Either way, you are not too far away so keep going with this one.

Chipped Gears's picture
Chipped Gears from New Jersey is reading the charges against them June 23, 2014 - 6:59pm


I think you've got a lot of good feedback here. I liked your story. It has great potential. I think the narrator's voice is pretty authentic for a 17 year old urban teen, but I do think she's a bit non-chalant about her own murder right from the outset:

"Ok, so I’m dead. I didn’t want to die but I guess that’s the way it goes sometime."

It seems there is a great deal more emotion to explore here (confusion, denial, anger) that could really bring more life to the death, so to speak.

Keep at this one.

Best of luck.

eelissab's picture
eelissab from The Motor City is reading Graham's Charlotte July 8, 2014 - 8:54pm

I have to first thank all of you for your helpful and insightful comments! I have only now been able to find them (I'm not used to this the computer I was using would not let me see the comments!) 

The grammer and dialog issues were pretty much all my fault - but I'm still working on it. I have yet to figure out a way to use language without the benefit of inflections of spoken word (most of my stories I speak, I don't write) I am a very comfortable and good storyteller...not necessarily a good writer...but I will keep trying. 

To Adam Jenkins, I've never read the Lovely Bones, though I've heard of it. It is not my genre, nor is this murder stuff, I have been writing historical fiction mostly so this is all new to me. I guess I better get reading!

Thanks again to all of you for your help, I appreciate it and I apologize that it took me so long to get back to you.


Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck July 12, 2014 - 2:05pm

I enjoyed this.  I think the voice was well done for the age of the characters.  Also, I liked the fact that there was no big catch to this story.  Everybody seems to think that in order to be good they have to do more than just tell a story--hook you in, twist you around, etc.--and sometimes, I just want to be told a story.  It was just a character telling about how she died.  Simple, straightforward, nothing fancy, but sold on a solid voice, with engaging characters.  There wasn't much tension to it, though, so I'm not really that emotionally invested in it, as I would have liked to be, but the experience itself was still a fine one.  I would have liked to have seen a more strung out plot to help build that tension, though, because that is the difference for me between a story I enjoyed reading to pass the time and one that will stick out in my mind.  

There was a lot of focus on the confrontation itself, which, while interesting at face value, wasn't as intense because we already knew the outcome.  That isn't to say you shouldn't have let the reader know she was dead, because that was effective, but more conflict between Charita and the police would have been good.  As soon as I started to really be pulled in, it cut away to her losing her mind and then it was over.  There's room to take what you have here and stretch it out for a more in-depth experience.  I'd have liked to have seen more of the investigation and more of Charita's downfall.  So while there was nothing in here that stood out to me as particularly impressive, I didn't find much negative in it either, so I gave it a thumbs up. 

Also, bringing the Simpsons references into it I thought was a nice touch.  It wasn't important to the story, but it served as a sort of trivial center for a teenage girl.  Almost as her one constant from life that she needed.  I also really like the Simpsons

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 28, 2014 - 10:37pm

I like the concept of this story. I found the dialect distracting in some parts it's done effectively, but in other parts it seems like grammatical errors. Your MC seems to act a little young for seventeen; she sort of has the excitable voice of a child still. I'm surprised that the only motivation Charita has is her suspicion and verbally abusive household. The multiple stabbings are disturbing and I can't imagine this character being so messed up to be laughing at the fact.

There's a lot of extra information in this story that I think can be cut. The part about the assistant principal's/cop's eyes could be shorter even though I like that part. The arrest comes out of nowhere and I'd like to see a little more development into Charita's paranoia after the fact. I think you have a really cool idea here that needs a bit of polish.