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Tmar78's picture

The Statement (4100 words, 2nd draft)

By Tmar78 in Scare Us

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Teacher in an elementary school in Reykjavik, Iceland, discovers a strange kind of jelly fish while on a field trip with his biology students. Even stranger events follow that force the teacher to make some drastic decisions.

I'm new here and english isn't my first language, so all help and critique will be appriciated.


bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. July 3, 2012 - 11:55am

It isn't until the end that the title really makes sense, especially because the listener (the cop or whoever) is addressed a few times toward the beginning, but not soon enough to establish that the speaker is giving a confession. 

I like the style of that kind of story.  It's done extremely well in “The Usual Suspects” and in Clevenger's book “The Contortionist’s Handbook”.  Here, it loses a little of the punch because we don't see him actually confessing, but that's just a minor nitpick.

I went through and did a LbL as much as possible and pointed toward the Palahnuik essays that I think will help you the most.  I feel like all of them would be helpful (for everyone, actually), but the ones about 'on the body' sensations, “head/heart authority”, and “thought verbs” would make a lot o f different in this story (essays 1, 3, and 6).

Tmar78's picture
Tmar78 July 3, 2012 - 12:04pm

Wow! This is great! Many thanks, Howie :)

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. July 3, 2012 - 12:07pm

That's how we roll in the workshop.  

Johann Thorsson's picture
Johann Thorsson from Reykjavik, Iceland is reading Echo Lake July 3, 2012 - 4:18pm

The story flows fine, but the way it is set up (many long, dense paragraphs) makes reading it feel slow. I think breaking it up with more dialogue would help.

I also think you should vary the descriptions a little, many of them are good, but then the students look feverish again and again, and Petur's hair is said to be red more often than is perhaps entirely necessary.

I would like to see Tommi talk to someone who is infected, to increase the sense of paranoia and isolation that otherwise plays out well in the story.

Attached is my nitpicking, but mostly I want shorter paragraphs for ease-of-reading (yes it matters) and some dialogue.

Tmar78's picture
Tmar78 July 4, 2012 - 1:23am

Thanks, mate! I appriciate it.

The work on 2nd draft is in full swing and I hope that it will turn out to be alot better :)

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 6, 2012 - 7:44am

Yes, there are some problems with English (missing articles, wrong verb forms, "childs" instead of " children," unidiomatic expressions, etc.) but the only thing you can really do about these is to write a lot of English and read a lot of English. Think of Joseph Conrad, a masterful writer in English who apparently didn't even start learning English until he was 21! I really like the narrative voice here, the way the main character addresses "us." That really pulled me into the story. I also love all the details from marine biology, which gives the whole thing an air of authenticity.

Tmar78's picture
Tmar78 July 6, 2012 - 7:56am


I guess I will get someone to proofread the story when I've finished. I usually write in icelandic so this is a bit of challenge :)