Hey everyone. I'm creating a new story on this site about a man who, in his last 5 seconds of life, wonders if he could've saved his and his daughter's life. The daughter part would be more in the actual story, but here's the introduction.
"Two men in heavy police armor jostled me around, shouting various slurs and insults my way. I have hundreds of cuts and bruises and scrapes on my arms. They did this to me. I feel weak and close to death, but that's because death really is close to me.
They've been talking about executing the prisoners for a long time now. Ever since they stormed my hometown, ever since they ripped my life to shreds, ever since they captured the only family I had left, they've been making remarks about how we were going to die.
'These worthless peons are ruining our country. They deserve to die,' one soldier would remark. 'All that's left is to decide how to kill 'em.'
'We should shoot them, like the Russians. Like, really get in there, y'know?' The other would say.
'No, gas them. It's non-interventional, plus they scream a lot.'
'Well I personally want to get my hands dirty. They deserve it.'
Even when we were in the barracks, working hard labor for months, they talked about it. They apparently tried a lot of different methods. Sometimes, they would call a prisoner down to the administration and we'd never see him again. God knows what they did to them there. I was lucky enough to not be one of those people.
But that could only last so long.
Today, I heard them shout my name while we were working. Trembling, I walked up to the soldiers, who told me that the administration wanted to see me. My knees felt weak and I began shivering. I knew what was going on. When I got to the offices, I saw the labor commander standing near the entrance. He saw me and pointed me out to two guards, who approached with menacing stares.
'Come with us,' One of them said with a stoic expression. My legs couldn't move.
'Did you hear me?' He shouted. 'Get moving!' I slowly began to walk towards them. I followed the two to a building I hade never been in before. The entire time, they didn't say anything.
Eventually I got to a room. I saw a large vat in the room filled with a liquid. Water? I thought. Are the going to drown me? Upon closer inspection, however, I saw something that shook me to my very core.
The vat said 'hydrochloric acid' on the side.
In horror, I turned and tried to run away. If I died today, I would die from a bullet shot, or being beat to death, but I would not slowly be corroded by acid.
The men shouted at me to return, but I kept running. However, I was too slow. They caught up to me and grabbed me by the back of my head. One of them turned me around and slapped me with such force I thought I might die. If only.
Which leads us to right here, right now. I sit at the very top of the platform above the vat as one of the soldiers places his foot on my back, ready to kick my into the pool where I will die. It's a monumental moment, really. The very last moments of my life are upon me. The thoughts I think right now are the last thoughts I'll ever have.
And all that comes to mind is my daughter."
I'm looking for constructive criticism on this because I want to make this story as enjoyable as possible.
First of all, I'd like to say that I like this idea. It's intriguing, and I can't wait to find out how you incorporate "success" endings (if you do so at all).
I'd suggest adding a reason for the cops to hate him, besides being a "peon". Why would someone really hate someone so much that they want not only to kill them, but to kill them in the slowest way possible? Make sure you realize that these cops are people too, and have reasons behind their actions. Maybe they are just bloodthirsty, but then they wouldn't be talking so much about how the peons "deserve this". Maybe they have real issues with poor people. I'd just like more context.
Since I hate sentences beginning with "and" I want to complain about the last sentence (mostly because it gets the same point across without "and" being stuck in there) but I suppose it's fine.
Also, the sentence that starts with "If I died today," bothers me, because "died" is past tense and "today" is present tense.
Thanks! My original plan wasn't to have success endings, but I think the goal of the story would be for the man to be happy before he dies.
That is going to be revealed later in the story, but it's kind of like a racism thing. The town he grew up in is in a big nation that subjugates people like him, which is why he's poor. The government, like in Nazi Germany, gradually oppresses the people more until launching an attack on his city. The point of the story isn't really the man, but his life and his daughter.
I will be fixing those sentences, though.
If you want to keep up with the story, you can find a preview on my userpage. Once again, thanks for the comments!
TL;DR Ford's a faggot
Everyone knows that, but it doesn't automatically make him wrong.
I spotted some typos, which is concerning in a story this short.
"...building I hade never been in."
"...ready to kick my into the pool..."
"tried to run away" implies that the main character was not able to run away, but it says in the next paragraph that he was actually running away.
It might be better if there was more description of the character's surroundings. Would help set the tone.
I do make a lot of typos, sorry, it's kind of just how I am. As for the tried thing, I think if I take that away it might suggest that he actually did get away.
But of course, I'll be taking your feedback into account, especially the "tone setting" part.
Yeah, that's fair. What do you suggest I do, then?
I'll keep that in mind when I'm writing in this guy's personality. Thanks!
Thanks, I'll be sure to take these things into account while right the seconds draft for the introduction! I'm not a great writer, but I do believe that this'll help me improve the story.
I will give you my impressions and hope to not repeat what others have said.
First, I really think you need to rework this whole setup to your story. Presumably this is your first page and intro, but nothing about it grabs or interests me. The premise is fine, but the delivery is not compelling even though this should be a very high stress and high tension situation.
After one of the comments, you mentioned that you kept this POV character vague because the story was supposed to mainly be about the daughter. While I understand the idea, there is nothing wrong with having a well developed supporting character, especially when he is the first POV the reader encounters. Since this is your intro, making that character interesting would compel the reader to want to go further with the story, and would help them get invested at the start.
The vat of acid with the words "Hydrochloric acid" written on the side seemed very comic book in what otherwise looked like a very serious situation. Who writes that on a vat just to throw a body in? I would suggest having the revelation to the POV character that it is acid in the vat to come in a different manner. Perhaps have the guards taunt him by telling him. Or have them throw a puppy, child or something else in to shock and frighten him.
Additionally, being kicked into a vat of HCl would probably not be a much slower death than a bullet. The acid would most likely eat through soft tissue in areas such as mouth or throat fairly quickly with death coming fast. Perhaps make it something the guy should really fear. Like being dipped into it slowly while the acid eats away at extremities. Also, please keep in mind (as Mizal mentioned) that the fumes from this are also extremely dangerous.
Overall, while the idea is ok, the whole intro to your story lacks tension. Adding development to that character helps, since then the reader cares if the guy lives or dies. This is the start of your story, so grabbing attention right away is key. I would suggest really working everything including dialogue and character development to improve this.
Thanks a lot, actually, this really helps. I'm relatively new to choose-your-story writing so all of these comments are certainly going to be useful.
So, to make the story more interesting, I'll be focusing on improving the premise and writing. Once I'm done with my second draft, I'll make a second post and see what you think.
Once again, thank you so much for this reply.
(But I feel I should mention that this isn't a "the character lives or dies" situation, I'm trying to make it very clear that he dies, period.)
I understand, but I think the reader should "care" or have some sort of feeling about it. Perhaps we are sad because he never got to see how his daughter turned out. Perhaps we are glad because he is an idiot or evil. Even if the end is known, I think it would be better if we had some feeling about it.
I know, and when I first had this idea a few months ago I didn't know how I would do that. I decided on this:
I personally think it's a good idea, though unconventional (I may be very wrong).
This sounds like a really short story. There better be a LOT of detail, and tbh from your little blurb above that doesn't seem to be your strong point...
It is going to be a really short story, but of course this isn't the final draft. I have to go back an make a second or third draft for the opening until it works, which this draft doesn't. So the next draft will include more detail.