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I wrote this short story not long ago, and it has not received as many comments/critiques as I would like, so, I decided to post it in this forum, in hopes that my wishes will be fulfilled. All critiques are welcome, and I appreciate the time that you take to read it, and reply.

Many thanks.

A Halloween Tale

In a small town called Devil’s Creek, two friends, Amy and Luke, were walking home from school, discussing what their plans for Halloween would be later that night.

Amy was a rather outgoing girl, the epitome of an extrovert. She had several friends, had a cheery personality, and almost always seemed to brighten the very air around her. It was no surprise to anyone that her outward appearance matched that of her spirit. With her sky-blue eyes, golden, wavy locks, and slightly tanned skin that seemed to make her shine in the autumn sunlight, she walked next to Luke, who, by almost every aspect, was an unlikely partner to the sunny maiden.

Luke was the exact contradiction to Amy, the epitome of an introvert. He was a loner, save for his unlikely friendship with Amy, and his personality was very vague, him being reluctant to speak to others. His looks were also rather odd. From his dark, gold, wild mane, to his skin’s sickly pallor, which seemed to give him an ethereal glow during the twilight hours, his appearance did not help his lacking in social life. His most prominent feature was that he towered over most people, which made him cast a long, domineering shadow. This odd, quiet giant made an even odder companion to the friend that walked beside him.

The young Amy asked Luke whether he would go out that night. He slowly shook his head in reply, not so much as to utter a single sound. The ever accommodating Amy, not wanting to let her childhood friend to be lonely, offered to come over to spend time with him. He, again, moved his head, this time nodding in agreement, without letting out a single syllable. Amy smiled, and continued walking with her tall companion.

As they came to the place where they would part ways, the pair stopped. Amy said her temporary goodbyes, and Luke muttered something, which seemed to resemble a short farewell. Amy ran up to her door, and looked back, watching as Luke approached his residence. She observed his long, domineering, pitch-black shadow, which appeared to melt and shift in form, as he walked up to the sixth house, on the sixth street, in the sixth county, which was rightly numbered House Six-Hundred and Sixty-Six. Luke slowly opened the door, looking back at Amy, who had a feeling of surprise, believing that Luke, who usually wore a plain look on his face, had a smile on his lips, as he closed the doors to his home.

Later that day, as the sun fell to make way for the sanguine moon, Amy walked over to House Six-Hundred and Sixty Six, wearing a white, frilly, angel costume. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by the face of a pale, tall giant. She smiled, and quickly came in. The house was quiet, due to Luke’s solitary life. She followed him to the living room, and sat down opposite him. He looked at her, only, this time, he wore a crooked smile. Amy was slightly disturbed by this look, and justly made an attempt to get up, but was quickly foiled by Luke, who grabbed her arm with an iron grip. He looked at her, and spoke in a deep, solemn voice, “I’ve made the Deal, and so shall you, Amy. Look into my eyes!”

Amy tried to turn away, but Luke locked her face to face his, with that iron grip of his. She looked into his eyes, and found only fire, and agony, and the eternal malice of an evil so great, that she could barely comprehend it. The gaze of the once silent friend was now that of a wild and malignant devil, piercing into her very soul, violating her to the core. And just as quickly as he had grabbed hold of her, Luke let her go, and she ran to her house, her tattered wings frantically flapping, as she escaped into her room. She spent the remainder of the that night rocking back and forth, back and forth, looking down at her shadow, which was now as dark as Luke’s. All Amy, the once pure maiden, could think about was that quiet devil’s house, and his maniacal laughter, the scene being forever burned into her memory, and seared into her once bright and cheerful spirit. The Deal had been struck.
Hello!

Before I start, I was wondering if you had already tried posting in the Original Story/Prose sub-forum for critique. This sub-forum doesn't get much traffic, so the Story sub-forum may be give you a little better luck if you hadn't tries that already.

This idea has a lot of potential, but I think the execution needs a bit of work. It was all telling for starters, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I think it'd have a much better lead up if you showed their personalities instead of just telling us how they acted.

It also got a little repetitive in places at the end. And you spent a lot of time on details like the descriptions while not expanding on things that could have been more interesting like how they interact with each other or why the house was 'rightly numbered' 666 before we know what the ending was. I get the reference to the devil and everything, but I think you tried to give it a bit too much attention.

This is all my opinion of course. It's your story and you could leave it exactly how it is, if you like.

But what I would do is:

- Lengthen the story and provide more lead up to the end. Instead of telling, I'd show a conversation between Luke and Amy to show their personalities while adding tension and maybe more foreshadowing of Luke's dark intentions.
- I would pick a pov, either Amy's or Luke's, to show the conversation scene. And then use Luke's pov at the end.
- Try to make the descriptions more meaningful than just descriptions. This is a bit tricky to explain, but I usually don't put in descriptions unless they have more meaning that just describing the characters or objects. I like the angel costume bit, but I feel like Amy and Luke's descriptions would work better in a place where it directly reflects their personalities rather than just at the beginning of the story. Like in the midst of the conversation. Or maybe even save Amy's description for when she arrives at Luke's house dressed as an angel to enhance the picture of innocence she seems to be representing.
-A lot of information in the beginning felt like a info dump. I'd spread it out a bit more and get rid of anything that isn't relevant to what's happening now.

Again, you don't have to do any of this. It's just what I would do; my personal preference.

All in all, it wasn't bad at all. You're better than many others I've seen in the forums. I really like the idea you're going for. Was this a short or part of a longer work? Cause I am kind of curious about what the deal actually was, even though I realize that it's the concept that might be the important thing here. Just how I am, I'm afraid. lol

Keep it up, and good luck with your writing. wink
Kairi Nightingale
Hello!

Before I start, I was wondering if you had already tried posting in the Original Story/Prose sub-forum for critique. This sub-forum doesn't get much traffic, so the Story sub-forum may be give you a little better luck if you hadn't tries that already.

This idea has a lot of potential, but I think the execution needs a bit of work. It was all telling for starters, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I think it'd have a much better lead up if you showed their personalities instead of just telling us how they acted.

It also got a little repetitive in places at the end. And you spent a lot of time on details like the descriptions while not expanding on things that could have been more interesting like how they interact with each other or why the house was 'rightly numbered' 666 before we know what the ending was. I get the reference to the devil and everything, but I think you tried to give it a bit too much attention.

This is all my opinion of course. It's your story and you could leave it exactly how it is, if you like.

But what I would do is:

- Lengthen the story and provide more lead up to the end. Instead of telling, I'd show a conversation between Luke and Amy to show their personalities while adding tension and maybe more foreshadowing of Luke's dark intentions.
- I would pick a pov, either Amy's or Luke's, to show the conversation scene. And then use Luke's pov at the end.
- Try to make the descriptions more meaningful than just descriptions. This is a bit tricky to explain, but I usually don't put in descriptions unless they have more meaning that just describing the characters or objects. I like the angel costume bit, but I feel like Amy and Luke's descriptions would work better in a place where it directly reflects their personalities rather than just at the beginning of the story. Like in the midst of the conversation. Or maybe even save Amy's description for when she arrives at Luke's house dressed as an angel to enhance the picture of innocence she seems to be representing.
-A lot of information in the beginning felt like a info dump. I'd spread it out a bit more and get rid of anything that isn't relevant to what's happening now.

Again, you don't have to do any of this. It's just what I would do; my personal preference.

All in all, it wasn't bad at all. You're better than many others I've seen in the forums. I really like the idea you're going for. Was this a short or part of a longer work? Cause I am kind of curious about what the deal actually was, even though I realize that it's the concept that might be the important thing here. Just how I am, I'm afraid. lol

Keep it up, and good luck with your writing. wink
Thanks for the advice. To clear up the mystery, it was a short story that I wrote for my high school English class a couple of weeks ago. I decided to write a horror-themed story, but I wanted it to be more symbolic than graphic. I know I could have fleshed out the story a bit more, like with the mentioning of 666. I actually wrote this the night before it was due, so I guess that's why it's a bit lacking in detail around certain areas. The real message is what actually happened to the girl, where I tried a Victorian approach to describing a certain action on the part of the guy, which I'll let you figure out cat_smile . Overall, it needs work, I admit, and I hope to modify it a bit in the future, which will most likely be after I finish the novel I want to write. Thanks, again, for taking the time to critique this, I really do appreciate it. cat_biggrin
Hello,
This is a good effort but I think you can redraft, edit some things, cut out some words/phrases which duplicate an idea, experiment with 'what if' ideas and see what the story's potential is.
My suggestions are DELETE and [add]

A Halloween Tale [play with other title ideas]

In a small town called Devil’s Creek, two friends, Amy and Luke, were walking home from school, discussing what their plans for Halloween would be later that night.

Amy was a rather outgoing girl, the epitome of an extrovert. She had several friends, had a cheery personality, and almost always seemed to brighten the very air around her. It was no surprise to anyone that her outward appearance matched that of her spirit. With her sky-blue eyes, golden, wavy locks, and slightly tanned skin that seemed to make her shine in the autumn sunlight, she walked next to Luke, who, by almost every aspect, was an unlikely partner to the sunny maiden.

Luke was the exact contradiction to Amy, the epitome of an introvert. He was a loner, save for his unlikely friendship with Amy, and his personality was very vague, him being reluctant to speak to others. His looks were also rather odd. From his dark, gold, wild mane, to his skin’s sickly pallor, which seemed to give him an ethereal glow during the twilight hours, his appearance did not help his lacking in social life. His most prominent feature was that he towered over most people, which made him cast a long, domineering shadow. This odd, quiet giant made an even odder companion to the friend that walked beside him.

The young Amy asked Luke whether he would go out that night. He slowly shook his head in reply, not so much as to utter a single sound. The ever accommodating Amy, not wanting to let her childhood friend to be lonely, offered to come over to spend time with him. He, again, moved his head, this time nodding in agreement, without letting out a single syllable. Amy smiled, and continued walking with her tall companion.

As they came to the place where they would part ways, the pair stopped. Amy said her temporary goodbyes, and Luke muttered something, which seemed to resemble a short farewell. Amy ran up to her door, and looked back, watching as Luke approached his residence. She observed his long, domineering, pitch-black shadow, which appeared to melt and shift in form, as he walked up to the sixth house, on the sixth street, in the sixth county, which was rightly numbered House Six-Hundred and Sixty-Six. Luke slowly opened the door, looking back at Amy, who had a feeling of surprise, believing that Luke, who usually wore a plain look on his face, had a smile on his lips, as he closed the doors to his home.

Later that day, as the sun fell to make way for the sanguine moon, Amy walked over to [Luke's]House Six-Hundred and Sixty Six, wearing a white, frilly, angel costume. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by [his pale face]the face of a pale, tall giant. She smiled, and quickly [entered] came in. The house was quiet, due to Luke’s solitary life. She followed him to the living room, and sat down opposite him. He looked at her, only, this time, he wore a crooked smile. Amy was slightly disturbed by this look, and justly made an attempt to get up, but was quickly foiled by Luke, who grabbed her arm with an iron grip. He looked at her, and spoke in a deep, solemn voice, “I’ve made the Deal, and so shall you, Amy. Look into my eyes!”
Amy tried to turn away, but Luke locked her [gaze] face to face his, with that iron grip of his. She looked into his eyes, and found only fire, and agony, and the eternal malice of an evil so great, that she could barely comprehend it. The gaze of the once silent friend was now that of a wild and malignant devil, piercing into her very soul, violating her to the core. And just as quickly as he had grabbed hold of her, Luke let her go, and she ran [ home] to her house, her tattered wings frantically flapping, as she escaped into her room. She spent the remainder of the that night rocking back and forth, back and forth, looking down at her shadow, which was now as dark as Luke’s. All Amy, the once pure maiden, could think about was that quiet devil’s house, and his maniacal laughter, the scene being forever burned into her memory, and seared into her once bright and cheerful spirit. The Deal had been struck."

Another little technique is to use longer sentences when you are building up a picture and short, sharp sentences when there is the height of tension. for example: 'He made his way to the hills that day, just as the sun was becoming a thin sliver of light. Soon, he was at the doorway to the old cottage. With a sudden push, he opened the door. She screamed and fell back. He grabbed her throat. Squeezed.'

When writing as the narrator, it is important to 'show, not tell', to describe a mood by painting with words, which have more emotion and passion than just mere reportage. Leave out the obvious cliches, always a 'no-no', unless it's dialogue. The reference to the 666 was predictable! Much more 'cool' without it! Play with the story, (my suggestion was to imply the characters were adults anyway; why was Luke living alone, yet young? ) Try other perspectives or 'voices', for example, Amy's, or First Person ('I'), or even Second Person ('you'), but don't overdo the mention of 'you'.

Keep on writing. It does get easier. Try Morning Pages, as recommended by writer Julia Cameron in 'The Right To Write'
ForLaughter's avatar

Witty Connoisseur

As a tip on writing horror stories, it's usually best to be as vague as possible about the characters physical description and not to give them names. Actually, with any type of writing you want to avoid the police sketch version of description. It's especially that way with scary stories though, because giving only a vague description of the character, such as only saying the gender, makes the character a blank, which is what you want in scary stories.
For example, instead of using names you could say, "there was a girl who knew a boy. They had been friends since childhood. They weren't very much alike though. They could even be called opposites. As she was bright like the sun, he was dark like shadows. He didn't talk much either."
That would be sufficient information with which to introduce the characters. If you give them names, the reader expects character growth. If you give out too much information on the characters, make them too much of people, it becomes a sob story instead.

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