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ArlaneEnalra's picture

A Thousand Cuts

By ArlaneEnalra in Scare Us

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Description

A young couple buys their first home and discovers they have a few unwanted guests.

 

Note:Drat! Some people where mentioning having issues downloading the story.  I guess docx is not the best format to choose.  So, I've reuploaded it as a PDF file.  Have fun!  

Another Note:  Thanks to all who gave me feed back from the earlier draft.  I've reworked the story and hopefully alleviated at least some of the issues.  Give it another shot and see what you think!

And yet another Note: Make that version 2.1  Yay!

And one more:  Found a few more things that I thought were fixed  which weren't.  ARGH!

Comments

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 7, 2012 - 7:56am

Aww, I want to read this, but it won't download. So don't feel paranoid about not having any readers. They're very likely having the same problem I am.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 9:00am

Any better?  I'm assuming the issue was with the file type I uploaded . . . .

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 7, 2012 - 9:10am

Much better, thanks. I liked this story a lot, really liked how and where it ended, really liked the narrative voice and how well you write. About the bugs . . . A lot of this going around lately. Have you read "Itch"? I wrote about bugs in mine too, but not in the same way. I guess fear of bugs is really primal.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 9:14am

Not yet.  I'll look Itch and your's up :)  Thanks for the review!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 10:19am

Drat!  Commented on the wrong story and now I can't delete this comment.

Chad Stroup's picture
Chad Stroup from San Diego is reading Primal Screamer by Nick Blinko July 7, 2012 - 12:00pm

Unfortunately, there are a few things in this story that don't sit well with me.

Firstly, the ending. (SPOILER ALERT for those who may read comments before the story itself). I have trouble believing and connecting with a story told from a first person perspective in which the narrator dies at the end. It completely devalues the entire story. Also, though there are moments of good tension throughout, I think the narrator's reactions to the deaths of his wife and daughter are lacking. This could and should be filled with such emotional turmoil, but it's missing something I can't quite put my finger on. You could get away with this in the third person, but coming from his voice I would expect more. I might suggest trying to rewrite this story from the perspective of an omniscient narrator if you want to keep the ending the way it is and not have to worry about the inner turmoil of the main protagonist (though I would still highly suggest it).

Also, I didn't notice any real mention of your hometown as required in the prompt. You mentioned the next town over, but I don't recall ever knowing what the main town was (forgive me if I just completely missed that, though).

I hope this doesn't come off as a full-fledged attack. There is potential here. As I said, there are some moments of tension that work well and a somewhat believable creature (though I kind of want more in regards to the insects). However, even an otherwise perfect story will fall flat for me if it ends in such a way. Sorry...

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 10:10pm

To tell you the truth, I usually write from a Third Person - Semi Omniscient POV.  Writing in the first person was a bit of an experiment for me  You are right though, I didn't explicitly mention the town I'm from in the story though it would be easy enough to find.  There is only one town within that distance form Refugio.

I'm a little uncertain with reworking the story too much, in this venue, since I've already posted it. Thank you for the insight though!

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 7, 2012 - 4:42pm

I think the real issue for me wasn't the story, but the way it was told. Most importantly, because I felt like I was being told what happened, not experiencing it myself. There are deaths that occur, but I don't really feel like I experienced them. I just heard about them. A child died and it didn't really bother me much. I want to feel like it was my child that died. I don't think there was a single line of dialogue, even at times when it was said that someone said something. I want to be inside the character's head and be a part of her bug-driven descent into insanity.

I think the idea is more than capable of doing it. If you go back and show rather than tell, I think the story will be much stronger.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 10:28pm

It looks like I might be trageting the wrong goal here.  I was avoiding digging into the actual processes of the deaths themselves and attempting to make reveal something about them in the aftermaths.  As to dialog, that was something else I was explicitly avoiding in this story.

I may have to play with this storyline/concept some more.  As I said, there were some things in here that were definitely experimental.  Things to think about . . .

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 13, 2012 - 11:22am

Is that any better?

Andrew Kelly's picture
Andrew Kelly from Florida is reading Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton July 7, 2012 - 4:58pm

I get what Chad is saying about the PoV and ending. It bothers me, too, but not enough to dislike the entire story. Another area in which I took issue was the dynamic when moving between his wife and child. Why so much effort on his child when she'd clearly had more prior, and worse, reactions to the bugs, and thus more likely to be dead, especially since the mother was? I'm not saying it's wrong, or a parent wouldn't react this way, it just felt weird to me. Apart from these and some punctuation/missed word issues, I felt the story was well-written. I enjoyed reading it, as it kept my attention throughout.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. July 7, 2012 - 10:04pm

Drat, I thought I got all the missed word issue!  Ah well, I guess that means another run through ;)

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson August 2, 2012 - 9:46am

I don't have so much of a problem with the ending and first person narration because I figure narrators can speak from the grave. 

The problem I had was kind of a silly one but it bothered me the rest of the story. The cat dies first, is found covered in flea dirt, and its body taken to the vet. The vet neglects to note the flea dirt, even though cause of death is consistent with a severe case of fleas (or flea-like monsters).   

I was left wondering if the fleas were some sort of curse since the family wasn't related to the previous owner. Would the fleas have attacked his daughters? How did his wife die? How did he die? 

 
ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. August 2, 2012 - 10:31am

I'm going to have to think about how to handle the vet thing.  It will likely require some reworking in the middle there.  Samson passing due to something that looked like fleas and then their sudden assertion latter that the house is infested with fleas will need some rethinking. . .

hmm.