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AnthonyDailey13's picture


By AnthonyDailey13 in Arrest Us

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It's Halloween and something is going wrong in a peaceful neighborhood...


Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch June 30, 2014 - 8:33am

Hey Anthony,

I couldn't really get into this story. I think your writing shows promise, and there's a couple good lines and an overall creepy vibe to this that I find appealing, but at the same time, it seems a bit too scattershot to really make an impact. After finishing the story, I really didn't know anything about Victor, and wasn't sure what I was supposed to take away from this.

One of the things that's a little bit weird about the story is how even though we're in First Person (except for a brief moment -'Natalie continued to nod, while secretly wishing she was elsewhere'), but it feels like third person. Part of this is because Victor is so passive. He has few lines and actions, where Millie and Natalie have the bulk of it in the beginning of the story. Things pick up once they leave the party, but still not enough-what is he feeling at the party? What are his thoughts and emotions upon finding his house broken into? Maybe you purposely made VIctor a blank canvas, but I'm not sure I understand why, if so.

I feel like the structure of the story could use some work. I'm in the mindset that opening paragraphs should immediately hook the reader and give a glimpse of the upcoming story, and I didn't think yours fully succeeded.

My fiancé, Natalie Collins, convinced me to go to this Halloween party. Don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween more than anyone I know. It’s just we ended up going to what Milly calls an Autumn Festival.
I knew we were in trouble, when I noticed that the only thing standing outside of her yard was a stuffed straw man sitting on a hay bail.
There was a plastic crow on his shoulder. The poorly painted color of his beak reminded me of cheddar cheese. One of his plastic eyes fell off and landed on the grass.

Instead of telling us that Natalie ( I would drop the Collins part, as generally people don't think of their fiance in first and last name) convinced Victor to go to the party, why don't you show us this? Also, all that I posted above feels like it could be one paragraph. Right now the separate paragraphs cause a stop and go rhythm to reading that wasn't natural.

I'm not sure I got what the point of the party was. My suggestion would be to get rid of that and start with Victor and Natalie getting ready for the party. Here you can have more dialogue and show us more of their personalities, and this can then lead into them looking out the window and seeing the people dressed up as foxes.

I did like that part. It called to mind the movie The Strangers, but I thought that you added your own spin to them with their creepy call backs. I'd really like to see you develop them more, as you definitely have the room for it.

I would also like to have more tension put into this story. Maybe have them see the foxes outside as well as hear them inside the house? Right now, there's really no stakes to the whole thing.

This is just one reader's opinion, so I hope you find something useful from it.

AnthonyDailey13's picture
AnthonyDailey13 from Arkansas is reading A stack of books that I always restock. June 30, 2014 - 10:13am

Thanks for the advise, but I've never seen The Strangers

Alec Cizak's picture
Alec Cizak June 30, 2014 - 8:28pm


There's some good stuff here.  At several points you take time to paint a good picture of what's going on.  I agree with the previous comments about POV.  I think at some point your narrator tells us he's unaware of someone looking at him.  Well, how can he be aware of something he's unaware of?  I think the story does go all over the place when the real action of interest involves the people in the masks and the damage they're doing in the neighborhood.  Right now, this story looks like a good rough draft.

Mojopin12's picture
Mojopin12 from SA is reading Wheel of Time Book 7 June 30, 2014 - 8:41pm

Hey Anthony.

I really liked the teens with the fox masks - they were creepy. I would've like to have witnessed their violence though, instead of just being shown the aftermath. I agree with what the other poster said about Victor, he was a little too passive, especially for getting his home broken into. I think if he reacts stronger, that moment could be a point where the conflict escalates between him and the teens if you choose to add to the story. Just some thoughts.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 2, 2014 - 10:48am

As a vignette, this could be great. If instead you wanted it to be a tense, escalating story, that could work really well too. The problem is you've kind of combined the two, and it doesn't really work. There's no purpose to the party if you want to ramp up the tension, and they only appear to be there for five minutes. There are also several misplaced commas, and a few grammar/spelling mistakes, which I found distracting, for example:

​“Yes they are,” Natalie said. “I love this song.”
​“You know children are our future,” Milly said.

Were those lines supposed to be the other way round?

I tried not to make a sing, but she had hit me with her ring finger.

There's a couple of others too, but they're an easy fix.

By the time we arrived home, I had set out a fake bootleg of Game of Thrones

How did your narrator set out a DVD before he arrived home? Was it in the car with him?

There are a few other occasions of sentences that could do with a revision, like...

​Natalie kicked open the partially opened door.

Drop 'partially opened' and this sentence will flow naturally.

There's a bit of work to do, but there's also potential, and the foxes thing is a great idea. Rework, rewrite, adapt, evolve.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 10, 2014 - 5:49am

There’s a nice central idea at play here, though the execution could do with a little work. The story is very passive, so there is no tension, and no sense of who the characters are either. The party at the beginning has no connective tissue with the events that happen afterwards. You could do with building on the characters in particular, because as it stands, they are generic.

There are some sense issues as well. First off, why are the police there? They turn up just after the teens leave, but there is no call out to them. Unless they are psychic, presumably they would be following the teens, but they don’t continue the chase. Instead they stop and take note of what the teens have done. Also, the “free play” doesn’t last very long, yet one of them manages to trash the downstairs (with a crochet stick), and does so without making any noise. Then the teens, having avoided the police, come to the very same neighbourhood to do the same thing, all without the protagonists lifting a finger.

I’d consider breaking this down to the bare bones, and deciding what kind of tale you want to tell. As it is, for me it doesn’t work as a story. Say for instance you take the home invasion side of it, that is your central scene. Someone is in their home, so it should have plenty of tension. We need a reason to care about the protagonists, so you need to give them decent characterisation. Make them real to us, and relatable. The easiest thing to do is create a three act structure that can loosely be broken down into – set up the conflict, explore the conflict, resolve the conflict.

Your well off on word count (3-5,000), so you had plenty of room to properly explore this one. You’ve had a good idea, but you just need to keep developing it and building on it until you have something that truly shines. Don’t be disheartened at the down votes, and keep plugging away.

AnthonyDailey13's picture
AnthonyDailey13 from Arkansas is reading A stack of books that I always restock. May 6, 2015 - 12:38pm

Thank you very much. I've been revising the story on a more critical level and realized I rushed this idea in the beginning.