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FoxyLenz's picture

The Tupperware Party

By FoxyLenz in Scare Us

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Description

It's The Lakeview Homeowner's Association's Annual Tupperware party in the dying suburban Long Island town of Smithtown. 

Comments

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 4, 2012 - 7:50pm

Very well done Foxy!  I love the fact that we get two disturbing scenarios in one story, two completely different settings that are disgusting for two totally separate reasons.  

You describe the club in the first half so vividly, I can feel disgusted being there without actually being there.  Seriously, excellent job putting the reader in the club.  And then a complete 180 degree turn to the second half, which I was not expecting at all.

I always feel that the seemingly "perfect" people in the community are the ones to watch out for, so your story already won points with me as soon as I saw it developing.  And the fact that it was written so well, so descriptively, just made it all the better.

The only thing I would say is that there are a handful of minor errors here and there, the type of errors that distract for a second while the reader fills in the missing words or punctuation.  But that can be easily fixed.

Fix the little stuff, and this is an awesome story!

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is July 4, 2012 - 9:44pm

Great job! Other than a few missed words or a few dropped comma, I thought this was very strong both in the strength of your voice and the confidence of how you told the story. I felt the blandness the narrator suffered through and when the 'twist' happened, her apathy was all the more chilling. 

Blair's picture
Blair from Southern California is reading Needful Things July 5, 2012 - 6:25am

Hey Foxy - This is probably my favorite story so far. I've attached my notes. There's a few things I'd like you to consider...

Thinking about it from the top down - this story is great. There is one moment where you do something so unreal that it breaks the trance, and it's not when you summon a monster -- it's when you say that Beth just moved into a foreclosed home and nobody noticed. In a middle class neighborhood, the bank would be like, "Hey wait a minute!"

Also, I feel you could do more work setting up the ritual and it's purpose before we get down to the actual act. Sure, you don't want to ruin the surprise, but you can foreshadow that *something* is going to happen. You do a tiny bit, but when it actually comes time for the event, you info-dump exactly what you're doing and why, because otherwise we'd have no clue.

As you'll see in my notes, I'm not a big fan of long passages that explain things.

So, story-wise, I think this would be stronger if you explained less. You could show a bit more, hint around at things, and leave some things just hanging out there, for us to wonder about.

Stylistically, your prose is beautiful. I bet when you were a kid, family members bought you all sorts of stationary because you could write the shit out of some stories. I adore your voice. I want to take it out back and get it pregnant.

But...

You sum shit up *all the time,* I noticed a pattern where you'll go through a whole paragraph of sweet details, and then cap it off with something like, "And that's why I liked my shoes," which basically serves to put a bow on everything you were just getting at.

That's pretty much all I have to say. Loved your story. Loved your voice. I think it'd be better if you cut down on your tendency to dump information and explain things.

Actually - the horror bit could stand to be stretched out. There's this long setup and then about a page of nasty bits.

If you're in the mood for being traumatized, pick up a copy of Jack Ketchum's "The Girl NExt Door." - That guy is a master of not-looking-away during the gnarly bits. There's this scene he sets up like so: Little crippled girl is going to get her ass whipped 20 times by psycho step-mom.

I read it, thinking, "Okay so he'll say 'her ass was whooped twenty times'"

Nope.

Ketchum went beat-by-beat, all twenty times, describing the whole nightmare, until I curled up into a little ball, sick to my stomach.

...

You've got seven dudes.

Hurt all seven dudes.

Notes attached.

FoxyLenz's picture
FoxyLenz from Shangri -L.I is reading Mists of Avalon July 11, 2012 - 11:43am

Thanks for your comments! I do tend to over explain things, trust issues with the reader. I am currently working on expanding the nasty parts. This was a first draft written during a very boring 4th of July.  

I will say, working for an attorney for a brief period of time you'd be surprised how long people can stay in property that doesn't belong to them, for years. Also on Long Island, you can live next to someone for twenty years and not say more than two words to each other.  We're kinda dicks like that. 

Blair's picture
Blair from Southern California is reading Needful Things July 11, 2012 - 12:40pm

Yeah one of the other commenters pointed out that I was off-base on the squatting thing. I acquiesce. I look forward to your revisions, Miss.

adam_bowman's picture
adam_bowman from England is reading Love in the Time of Cholera July 5, 2012 - 11:22am

Nice story. "You've got seven dudes. Hurt all seven dudes" - definitely agree with this comment. I think you could probably get to the action a bit sooner and focus more on the ritual. The description of Vice Principal (Super Intendent in my head) Chalmers was really good but a lot of the other men weren't even mentioned, it would be cool to flesh out at least a couple more. Otherwise, there are some commas that need to be moved around, but this is a really cool story.

notgump's picture
notgump from Florida is reading Everything I can about writing July 10, 2012 - 6:56pm

I love this.  Now, though, I am afraid to enter a story myself! You have a gift for twisty observations, and it really moves the story.

I agree that things need to be tightened up, especially punctuation and some usage issues; maybe get a qualified friend to read it just for those things.

I do not agree that squatting in a foreclosure is unreal.  Happens all the time, as I am sure you already know.  Three years seems to me to be pushing it, but not beyond possibilty.

You got it.  Wish I had it.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. July 5, 2012 - 12:50pm

Great story.  You do an excellent job of balancing the various aspects of the story – the sex, the decorations, the horror. You also have a sense of magical realism when you go from a description of skulls and straight into talk about the decor of the basement.  It makes me think that talking about the room fixtures is strange instead of thinking the skull pile is strange.

You have a repeated problem of finishing a line of dialogue with a period even if a speech tag follows.  I've marked (and corrected) it in the LbL. 

Everything about this story is good.  It could use a little more 'on the body' and a little closer focus on the characters (for example, I didn't know what the narrator was wearing during the ceremony until she mentioned her panties – which makes me think they changed into different clothing for the ritual – if so, mention that part).

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne July 5, 2012 - 1:04pm

Everything was pretty strong in the first half, and I felt like your writing got a bit sloppy halfway or maybe two-thirds through. Noticed punctuation errors and some odd stuff in the dialogue.

Great idea, though, and defnitely a fun read. My big issue is that I wasn't at all horrified. It was more darkly funny to me than horrific or gruesome or sad. Which may well have been what you were going for, and if so, well done.

Ultimately I really wanted to like this more than I did. I feel like you've got all the elements in place, but the end just didn't end up being the surprise I wanted it to be, and it dragged in spots where I just wanted to see what was going to happen. Even still, I felt like I got the idea a bit too early, so I'm thinking maybe a more frightening or shocking entry to the actual horror part might help?

But yeah, this is a solid piece, and I've no doubt you'll get it exactly where you want it. Hope some of my comments were helpful.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia is reading The Iron Council, by China Mieville July 5, 2012 - 3:45pm

I thought this was wonderful. At first I thought I had missed something and had somehow skipped into a totally different story, but soon I was snickering and getting the point. Unlike some here, I don't really know much about horror (exhibit A: my own entry), so I didn't feel the need for more gore, etc. But I loved the character and I loved the twist. I'm a reader who HATES a cheap twist, but I really admire a well-set-up one, and you certainly brought it off. I agree that commas etc. need work, but you can certainly get to that later on.

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. July 5, 2012 - 5:47pm

GREAT last line.  Perfection in a single sentence.

Naomi Mesbur's picture
Naomi Mesbur from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is reading Burn Baby Burn Baby by Kevin T. Craig July 6, 2012 - 5:32pm

I loved that I had to keep going back and saying, "Wait, what?" Great story-my comments are the same as most of the others re: punctuation, grammar, etc. Your voice is very strong.

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading The Warehouse by Rob Hart August 2, 2012 - 10:21am

Great story! I'd like to know a little bit more how the narrator got so down on her luck, though, and why didn't she leave- did she have to take her mom's place? 

You got me with the twist! I was thinking "boy, this is lame, she's going to be the monster", and then... boom. I would like to know more about the curse, though.

I like the detail about living in the foreclosed house; I heard an NPR story a while back about this sort of phenomenon, and the banks often know and look the other way becasue at least someone's there taking care of the place. 

Well written with great descriptions that make Long Island seem like a sesspool. 

 
Joseph Nassise's picture
Joseph Nassise from Phoenix is reading Too many books to list October 9, 2012 - 2:26pm

Foxylenz - first, apologies for taking so long to get to your story.  I've been on deadline and just came up for air after finishing the project.

I must admit that I've got mixed feelings over this particular piece.  High points were your ability to set the stage with descriptive passages (you did a nice job on the club, less so on the setting of the second half of the story) and your consistency with the narrator's voice.  Low points were a real lack of tension within the story and the grammar issues that popped up several times, particularly in the later portions.

In general, a horror story is designed to evoke the emotion of fear or dread.  Unfortunately, this piece was severely lacking in that.  The matter-of-factness of the narrator actually works against you in this regard as there is no build-up to the ritual at the end, no horror evoked from the sacrifice itself.  In other words, while the writing was solid, the story itself did not work for me because it did not generate the emotionally moving experience that I expect. 

As another reviewer noted, a bit of foreshadowing would help this.  I would also consider the action in the story and see if there is some way to heighten the tention/stakes as the story moved along to bring about that emotional impact.