Sunday, August 27, 2006

When it thunders, my earth shakes, and so begins...

...another night of abject darkness, where I may be lost without light; without electric I can't communicate and so my world will be a void until the storm passes. I hear the storm approaching, and make preparations for an evening of solace. This is the first thunder storm we've encountered in a bit, so maybe the hot spell is over? I can't wait until it cools again so I can wear my sweater and cover up at night with a quilt.

Dead Cricket Disposal Expert Needed!

I admit I killed him. I watched him crawl off and die. I won’t lie to you, I actually enjoyed it. But now I feel guilty. I didn’t when he first appeared at the entrance to my bedroom. I didn’t when I rushed outside and grabbed a can of bug spray. I didn’t as he wiggled, crawled on his back legs helplessly about the carpet, and flopped over on his back in a final death throe.

I watched in awe. Black flag death reigns supreme. I watched the last moments of Mr. Cricket as he lay on the bathroom tile, withering in pain from the chemicals I had introduced to him. I paused a moment to think. “Who is going to pick him up and dispose of the body?”

I was at a loss. I hadn’t thought about that part of my murder plan. I was easily excited by the demise of a chirped invader, but alas! What to do with the remains? How can I, me of such gentle nature and befriend of nature, dispose of my murdered pest?

The day passed in silence as I pondered and wondered what to do about my little problem in the bathroom. I scooted past it (I say it because I don’t know his name) several times during my regular routines. But I couldn’t help and stare at the lifeless corpse that stood between me and the toilet. I was perplexed, distraught, and nearly grabbed a cloth to cover up my murderous act. But I couldn’t face him, or it, as I was too ashamed to acknowledge my crime.

I hadn’t thought of it, him, as such until later in the day. I needed refreshment after a grueling schedule. I needed time to relax and think of something pleasant. The mood of my afternoon became merry and I thought of a song to hymn while making a refreshing drink.

A noise? A chirp?

I listened and then I heard it again. My glass shattered on the floor. I had not forgotten my victim, but had not thought to hear him begin the banter of harmony that chilled my bones. I paled behind a ghostly thought. “Do crickets become ghosts if wronged in this life?”

I didn’t know the answer and really didn’t want to know if it was true. I only knew one thing and that was somebody had to get rid of the cricket or I would never get any rest.

There would be no sleep tonight until I found someone to dispose of my victim. But who? Who could I count on to keep my secret? I paced back and forth pondering my options. Should I call the police? Should I ask the animal control people to pick up the remains of my brief foray into murder? Who? Who can I trust?

The door to my apartment opens, as I suspected it would when my son returned from his scheduled afternoon adventures. I took him aside and explain the situation, careful to omit my glee while the cricket twitched in agony, while describing the events as best as I could recall under the circumstances. He listened, shook his head and politely replied “But dad, it’s just a cricket. Why can’t you do it yourself?”

He didn’t understand. How could I expect him to know of my guilt? How was he supposed to understand the torment I felt by enjoying the murder and death of a living creature? What could I say to explain my repulsion by the excitement I experienced for those few minutes while my victim clung to life, and expelled his last breath on this earth?

I begged him because of my weakened state of mind. I explained to him how I had not felt well since it happened. I was vague to the manner of my murder, but I think he understood somehow because he did what I could not. He packaged the cricket into a paper tissue and disposed of him just like an expert. I was in the kitchen, waiting patiently, and hoping he could forgive me.

The dead went quietly into my toilet without fanfare or family to bid him a safe journey. So I had imagined, and so had I hoped, until the chirp returned. I clearly heard the unmistaken rubbing of angry wings together while I lay in bed. I knew somehow that my crime would not go unpunished. I had thought no less than my own death at the hand of someone who would spray me with chemicals. I fancied the idea about in my head. The tick-tock in anguish became too much for me and I was exhausted from my schedule to remain awake.

But sleep was not so easy as I heard what I believe to be the chirp of another cricket. Or maybe it wasn’t?

{complete the rest later for publication}

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Live astronauts capture zombie in outer space

NASA has declined an interview from this unreporter but don't deny that their top two astronauts are discussing how to return with the living dead without causing a panic. Rumor has it that the zombie was clinging to the Hubble trying to spy on people.

Originally posted on Absolute Write

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tales from the Crips -- Blood brothers (The Story)

"Got that right brother." -- Tookie the day after his execution.

How do you critique a pregnant woman?

Besides the critique I provided for Sara Lee tonight, I can't recall ever giving a critique to a woman expecting before.

What do you say? "Uh, nice shoes lady."

"Excuse me, but that's my pickle you just grabbed."

"I think chocolate looks good on you. But the mustard is hiding your chin."

I need more practice incase I stumble across a pregnant woman in need of a quickie critique.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Beta Reader Comments (Dead Dreams)

Dead Dreams

I have finished rereading Dead Dreams. I really loved it. Still more than last time. And where I got lost the first time it was OK this time. So you needn’t worry and change any of the contents for the ending. It is very clear. I don’t know why I reacted in this way the first time.

First I’ll tell you where I think your story is very good.

The premise is excellent. Original I can’t say as I am not used to reading horror, maybe it’s been used before, I don’t know. But I liked this intrusion into a bizarre world between life and death. I think it serves as an excellent basis for a story.

The content is excellent. The story has all the ingredients to make it thrilling: the good opposed to the bad; inexplicable murders; chases; the hero’s beloved in danger; the hero in a constant threat for his life; déjà vu situations; a friend who turns out to be a fiend, etc…A love story; although I think that it lacks passion, and I’d definitely add a sex scene at the end of chapter 32 and put together into one all three chapters 31, 32 and 33.

Now what I didn’t like too much.

The paragraphing: when you make a new paragraph at each sentence or quite, I think it breaks the rhythm and the telling doesn’t flow. I’d bring together more sentences to make longer paragraphs, reserving shorter ones to put the stress on an idea or a feeling or something. However I have noticed that a lot of the excerpts which are posted on WN have that same “flaw”, so I wonder whether it is the American way.

Nominal sentences (without a verb) should be used parsimoniously, when you want to insist on something. But I’ve already told you that, and I know that you don’t agree.

Don’t use question marks at the end of statements to give them an interrogative meaning.

For example:

In the middle of chapter 17: “I don’t know what else I can do to help?”
should be: “I don’t know what else I can do to help.”
Or: “I don’t know what else I can do to help. Do you?”

Or again at the beginning of chapter 22: “He didn’t know what the future held for him, but it couldn’t be worse than what he witnessed daily?”
Should be: “…. but it couldn’t be worse than what he witnessed daily.”
Or: “…but it couldn’t be worse than what he witnessed daily, could it?”
I know it is commonly done, but it isn’t correct. There are several occurrences in your book.

Now I’ll make a few comments on some chapters.

Chapter 17: I never knew where the actions took place: kitchen? Bedroom? Bathroom?

Chapter 21: perhaps too many details, which made it hard to follow.

Chapter 30: Jenny doesn’t show enough terror. She looks quite cool when she talks to Jimmy. For example, when she bumps into the desk, she rubs her thigh, as if she had no other concern. She is calm enough to lie to him. I’d make her more terrified. It’s thrilling though.

Chapter 37: wouldn’t Linda rather try to leave the gallery knowing that Jimmy is there, and not go back to the attic? I know she’s got to stay, but I’d make her try to escape and fail. She doesn’t look terrified enough either.

And to finish, there are two things I didn’t understand:

Who is the woman in the photo that Jimmy has lost?
Does the last sentence mean that someone is trying to kill him?

I have already told you that I find the prologue a bit long. I have made a few cuttings. Would you like to see them?

Well, it's just my opinion, and of course it's not gospel truth. But I repeat, I think on the whole it's very good and very enjoyable. I was sorry when I had to stop reading. You put it down because you have to, because you have other urgent things to do, not because you've had enough. So that's what matters, isn't it?

I'll be looking forward to your email. Don't exhaust yourself and get some rest.

Bye for now.