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Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

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.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

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.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

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!

The Rift Between Us

one month ago
constructive criticism: its ok, but I think you should do something else.

TLDR: the idea is pretty alright but basically everything about it needs to change before it becomes really enjoyable as your goal states

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

TL;DR Ford's a faggot

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

Everyone knows that, but it doesn't automatically make him wrong.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago
complexicity

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

Elaborate?

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

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.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago

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.

The Rift Between Us

one month ago
My suggestions:
  • Use present tense in the introduction and switch to past tense while exploring the protagonist's memories and what if scenarios.
  • Cut the redundancy of telling the reader about how the protagonist is going to die and use that word count to give him a personality.
  • Smooth out the time skips or set the introduction in the few hours or so before his inevitable corrosion.
  • TLDR: Ford is right.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago
    • Good suggestion! I'll be sure to do that.
    • I wanted to keep the man somewhat underdeveloped, since the main focus of the story is his relationship with his daughter.
    • Yeah, I was thinking they might be a bit rough around the edges.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago
    It would be fine if he was a character we'd only see once, but you're telling the story through him. That's the problem. If the reader doesn't care about the protagonist, they won't care about his relationships with other characters.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    Yeah, that's fair. What do you suggest I do, then?

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago
    Depends on his personality. If he's a coward, have him cry, beg for his life, rat out other prisoners, stuff like that. If he's the type that has nothing left to lose, have him fight against the guards, tell the guards that they're monsters, give the guards a reason to beat and drag him away. Think about what kind of person he is and how someone like that might react in that kind of situation, knowing he's going to die. The reader doesn't have to like him, but they do have to feel something toward him whether it's hate, disgust, sadness, whatever.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    I'll keep that in mind when I'm writing in this guy's personality. Thanks!

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago
    I will just add to what everyone else has said that the first paragraphs feel unnecessary and detract from the tension. If the soldiers (or police?) are with the character on a platform right before they push him into the vat, write that out, don't just distantly summarize it as "various slurs and insults".

    Establishing the immediacy of the situation puts more weight on everything that follows. There'd be a lot of sensory things going on here too that would strengthen this, it's not just "oh a vat of acid". The fumes would be overpowering, eyes and lungs would be burning, the soldiers words would be muffled by their protective gear.

    And "jostled" is past tense by the way.

    There's nothing wrong with the concept, the actual writing just feels like it needs some tightening up to get the impact you're going for.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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.

     

     

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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.)

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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.

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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:

    • Each time you play the game (assuming you never go back) you only get to make 5 choices, each a different thought.
    • For each choice, you have two options. The point of the game is to try again when the five seconds are over and gradually find out more about the man and his relationship with Francesca (the daughter). For instance, the first choice you have you can pick that he thinks of their good memories together, where you'll find out about his wife's death and how he stepped up to the plate to protect her. However, if you choose the other option (thinking about how bad a father he was) you'll learn that the girl was an accident and he wanted his wife to have an abortion. It's all about the individual thoughts he has as you progress in the game. When he dies, I assume they'll want him to die happy, right?
    • It is intentionally meant to be replayed.

    I personally think it's a good idea, though unconventional (I may be very wrong).

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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...

    The Rift Between Us

    one month ago

    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.