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Nathan Keniston's picture

The Door at the End of the Hallway

By Nathan Keniston in Scare Us

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As a child, Lisa Sorensen was afraid of everything until her therapist helped her literally lock her fears away. Now that Lisa is an adult, the evil that she worked so hard to free herself of is running free once again, creating chaos in her life.


Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 30, 2012 - 1:10pm

I thought this story started well, but after a while, it seemed too contrived. I'm giving it a thumbs-up, though, because you write well and I think you have a great idea you can play with further. The thing is--her psychological state is a lot more terrifying than the standard horror-movie stuff that happens when the fears get out of the room. I think you should concentrate on what REALLY happens to people when they've suppressed and locked away their fears, and then suddenly that doesn't work any more. Feel free to ignore everything I've said, though, because I don't read much horror and don't know all that much about the genre.

One small thing: when you characterize the psychologist as not seeming to have aged, I thought you were about to make her into the evil manipulator figure who causes the whole thing. I don't think that would have worked very well, but I do think that by characterizing her in this way, you've kind of dropped a red herring on us.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 30, 2012 - 1:12pm

sorry, I inadvertently posted this twice because there was a lot of lag after I pushed the little POST button. This space used to have an exact copy of the above message in it. Wish I knew how to delete a post totally. Sorry!

Regina Peacecraft's picture
Regina Peacecraft from the Philippines is reading Android Karenina August 6, 2012 - 5:27am

The creature wasn't properly built - first there are metal-tipped tentacles that carve a face on its victim's stomach, then there's a halloween-mask-like face that possesses Lisa. Also, what triggered the release of Lisa's locked fears?, and why does Lisa have control over "The Carver" (i.e. it stops its killings whenshe locks her fears) when it's a physically-existing serial killer known and feared amongst the locality. Justify things better to make the story more plausible

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 6, 2012 - 1:47pm

I very much liked the initial premise - the locked door hypnotherapy was a great idea.  However, I think that the execution and style needs work.  There's quite a bit of clunky sentence structure and I'm not sure that the present-tense narrative worked all the way through; it felt at times as if the tense was an uncomfortable way to write for you and was probably not worth the effort you put in to keep it going.  There's a debate already raging on the Community boards about the use of adverbs, and although they have their place, I thought that "penetratingly" was a rather jarring example.  A few rewrites, sounding out each of the sentences to get a feel for the atmosphere you're trying to create probably wouldn't go amiss, and at the moment the final unfolding moments after the door opens don't quite flow, but could be very unnerving if honed a little.

That said, you show great imagination and you have a central premise that you certainly shouldn't let go of, as there's an excellent story in here, but it just needs you to take some time to shape it.

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. August 9, 2012 - 9:26am


I like this idea a lot, and I feel like there are some really strong moments in it.  Like this:

There are brown streaks on it that look like
mud. The door is also missing a doorknob. In fact, it does not even have a hole where one should or could be.

I like how you pulled that together.

But whatch your verb tense, and your dialog. Verb tenses skipped from past to present, which was jarring and pulled me out of the story. And the dialog doesn't always feel natural. "What, do you have nothing more to say to me?" was something that stood out...or it was something like that. It just wasn't how people really talk to each other.

But overall I like the premise, and I like the end, with the voices.  :) Nice.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 14, 2012 - 5:26pm

I had a hard time with this one.  There was something about it that made it feel like someone was telling me a story, as opposed to reading a story, if that makes any sense?

I agree with Leah_Beth, the dialogue is rough.  Felt very unnatural.

I think there is possibility here, as any kind of horror relating to the way the brain works can be frightening.  But right now, it didn't feel like it flowed very well.  I think it was too disjointed.  When Rex dies, I thought maybe Lisa had some kind of mental powers that enable her to "see" things.  Or maybe that she had something to do with the Carver.  But then the Carver becomes a sidenote to the story.  

Work more with why she was so afraid when she was younger, and what has recently made her snap.  I think that's the best idea here, and maybe if that's done, it doesn't feel as disjointed?

This is certainly not horrible by any means, I think it's just a little lost and could just as easily get itself worked out with some re-writes.

Nathan Keniston's picture
Nathan Keniston from Mexico, Missouri is reading Devil's Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman August 14, 2012 - 5:46pm

Thanks for all the comments guys! It's been super helpful.

A few responses:

Regina: The tentacle monster and the face monster are actually two different monsters Lisa is afraid of.

sean of the dead: You make a lot of valid points, and all of your suggestions are actually things I plan on inserting into the full length version of this story. I realize some things don't flow very well, but it was tough to condense all of the ideas I have for this story into less than 4,000 words.