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macdoujl's picture

The Maples, The Lake, and The Beast

By macdoujl in Scare Us

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A retreat to the lake for a week of camping, fishing, drinking, and relaxing takes a turn for the worse as five friends struggle to evade one of Cape Breton Island's most ancient and horrific inhabitants.


Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 27, 2012 - 6:39pm

I think you could work on this story further and turn it into something horrifying, but right now, you've got too much telling and not enough showing. I struggle with this one, too. For example, even in a detail as small as helping us understand a character's tone of voice, let the verbs do the work instead of the adjectives and adverbs. Example: "asked Berry, nervously." You don't need that adverb, because in the very next sentence, his friend taunts him with being scared. Try to integrate descriptions of physical surroundings into plot and characterization rather than putting them into stand-alone paragraphs, as in the nicely vivid description of lake and night sounds as the narrator lay (not "lied") awake. Try to integrate that into the story more, especially since I think ( not certain, though, but maybe I'm just dense) that this description foreshadows your monster. Finally,  watch out for word choice ("weary" instead of "wary") and botched grammar (misplaced or dangling modifiers, such as "Thinking of the getaway, sleep didn't come easy"-- literally, you're saying sleep is thinking of that getaway). These can distract your reader or even come across as unintentionally funny. 

I had trouble with the plot at the end, too, although again, maybe I'm just thick-headed. Are the maples the monsters? I'm not sure about that, but if they are, it's really important to make that clear--as well as make clear why they should turn so violent.

Selaine Henriksen's picture
Selaine Henriksen July 30, 2012 - 5:37pm

Investing more time in the character developement would help the mourning of their loss in the final two paragraphs. I was confused by the reference to maples. Because it's also in the title I thought they would feature somehow.  Were they the monsters?

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 1, 2012 - 12:26pm

The setting had good potential, but I didn't think you fleshed it out quite enough.  Additionally, I felt that your enthusiasm for the story was obvious, but it kind of gets in the way of the development of the characters and the unfolding of the plot, as it kind of speeds along at a hundred miles an hour, without taking time to give the details that would help engage the reader.  The speed also makes the characters a little confusing.  A bit more character development, or maybe fewer characters, would help with being able to distinguish between them.

However, this said there's nothing in here that a careful rewrite couldn't draw out and give shape to the story and give a distinctive voice to your narrator.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. August 3, 2012 - 8:12pm

I just couldn't get into the characters.  They reminded me too much of the of some rather trite themes in horror movies and really didn't have that much development past the initial introduction.  Actually including the sequence where the narrator smashes Charlie's head, with what was going through his mind, might have lent something to the story that was truely horrorifying.  As it is, you have five guys, getting drunk at a lack, being attacked by something that really nasty and I really don't feel anything about it.

That's a problem.

Still, you could probably do something with it if you work on the characters a little more.  You have another 1500 words or so there that could be used to add some life.  Give it a shot!