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Old 01-05-2011, 12:03 PM
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Default Character - Short story (+/- 1500 words)


The fire in the hearth cracked and reflected the glow in the eyes and the throat of a desperate man. He was sitting in his comfortable armchair with a glass of good old Jack D. of which he took a sip every now and then. He was massaging his temples with his fingertips, as if his pondering actually hurt him. Outside, under the cloak of an oppressive, stifling August night, the branches of a pear tree tickled the windows of the house in a firm summer breeze. A night owl hooted softly; it probably felt the coming storm. The man in the chair, however, seemed oblivious to anything outside of his own mind.

The man in the chair probably had a name. I don’t know what it was, but for the sake of practicality, let’s call him Peter. Since his early years of boyhood, Peter had lived mostly inside of his mind. It had always interested him more than the outside, which he considered dull, gray, filled with more of the same every day. He had once had a girlfriend, a very pretty girl who had entered the relationship mostly to get Peter out of his head and into the world. When she broke up with him she’d yelled: “How could you know whether the world is dull? You’ve never actually been out there!”
“I have!” Peter had answered. “I did the groceries this morning!” Of course, the girl had left and he had never seen her again.

It was not that he couldn’t get out of his head, he just preferred not to. You could call him egocentric or a narcissist for enjoying his own mind more than the real world, but in fact his girlfriend had been right. Even though physically he went out as often as anyone else, he never actually was where his body took him. That absent-mindedness was partly why most people Peter encountered thought of him as a bit of an eccentric - that, and his habit of talking to himself, or rather, to nobody in particular. Although Peter’s love life and romances failed miserably, the rest of his life went pretty well and he’d never had anything to complain about.

But now Peter sat in his armchair with his supportive glass of Jack D. and he didn’t know what to do. He should kill her, that was for sure. But how? Should he drown her? Choke her? Poison her? Push her from a tall building or a bridge? Maybe he could have her get mugged and stabbed in a dark alley, while her boyfriend… Nah.

He wasn’t sure if he could do it. He sighed a deep, sad sigh and glanced at the clock above his desk. Two thirty-seven. If it hadn’t been for the burning fire, it would have been the black of night indeed. Peter’s eyes darted from the clock on the wall down to the black screen of the laptop on his desk. A blue light slowly flashed on the side of his keyboard, like some silent siren whining for his attention. Peter’s body tensed, his fingers clasped around the glass and he bit his lip when his thoughts sped up, tumbled over and laughed at one another in the crammed space of his skull. He gulped down the last three sips of his whiskey and got up from his chair, clenching his trembling hands into trembling fists, that didn't seem as resolute as he'd like them to.
He had made his decision.

Peter marched over to his desk, sat down in front of his laptop and activated the screen by pressing 'Enter'. On the screen, a document flashed to life. Just beyond the last full stop of the last line of the last page, the cursor flickered demandingly. For the next six minutes and twelve seconds, Peter just sat there, staring at the screen and more specifically at the tiny taunting black bar. Then, halfway through the thirteenth second of the seventh minute, Peter took a deep breath and typed.

She ran away from everything that had been haunting her. She ran through fields and meadows, through forests and dunes, until she reached a high rock formation that, at its highest point, plunged right into the sea. She recognized her salvation, her rescue. She walked up to the point of the cliff, where the wind made her hair twirl around her head, as if to blind her to the frightning abyss. She closed her eyes, said a little prayer – the only one she knew, the one her mother had taught her to say before she went to sleep – and then she jumped

He didn’t get the chance to finish the sentence with a full stop, because at the very moment the last d had rolled out of his keyboard, someone burst through the door of his study. It happened in such a violent fashion, the door hit the wall and bounced back. Peter swivelled around to see a woman standing in the doorway. Her long raven hair was soaked, just like her long Victorian dress. Her skirts stuck to her legs and her sleeves to her arms as she stood there dripping salty water on the wooden floor. Her grass green eyes blazed with a fiery chill that he recognized as anger, or worse.

“I did not just jump from a hundred-foot-high cliff!”
“Apparently you did. And yet, you didn’t.”
“I refuse to be treated this way, Peter! I won’t have it!” She noisily walked into the study, her heels leaving little indentations in the wooden floor.
“You’re not the one having anything around here anymore, missy!” Peter bellowed. The woman froze in her tracks and looked at him like a startled cat. However, it didn’t take her too long to relax and get closer to Peter.
“You don’t mean that, darling.”
“I certainly do.”
“But you love me.”
“I… I do. Love you, that is. But I… I can’t take it anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“No, you don’t, Peter, darling. You don’t have to let anything go. Haven’t I always been there for you? Haven’t I always taken care of you when no one else did? Haven’t I –“
“Yes! Yes, and no.”
“What has come over you, Peter? You seem so different.”
“I am. Different.”

On hearing this confession, Rose-Anne's eyes filled with tears and her body started to shake with her gentle sobs.

“How come?” Here voice trembled.
“There, there. Don’t cry now, Rose. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“You don’t love me anymore, do you?”
“I…try to.”
“But it’s not working.”
“It—No, it isn’t.”
“Is there someone else?”
“What?”
“You know what I mean! Is there someone else? Another woman? Another girl, another mistress, another lover, another—“
“Shut up! No, no, there’s no one else. Not like you, there isn’t.”
“Not like me.”

This statement was followed by a long pause in which neither of them really knew what to do with the other. Rose-Anne went over to the window and sat down in the window-sill. Her hair was still dripping, but let only go a few drops per minute now, just like her eyes. She crossed her legs as she brushed a lock of hair out of her face.

“Is she real?” she asked.
“Who?”
“Your other woman.”
“Well, she’s not really my woman anymore. But yes.”
“Not anymore... So she was.”
“Yes.”
“And I didn’t know.”
“Apparently not.”

Another silence followed, only broken by the hooting of the owl and the distant rumbling of thunder.

“I can’t handle you anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“You can’t. Peter, you can’t. I’ve chosen you! I’ve chosen you for a reason!”
“What reason would that be?”
“You are the only one who could do it.”
“Why, because I’m a sad little turd? A pathetic boring gray mouse, is that it?”
“Because you’re dedicated, Peter.”
“Dedicated! To what?”
“Me.”
“I don’t care about you anymore!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t care about you anymore, Rose-Anne. I started caring about…”
“… about what?”
“About the world. About what’s out there, Rose. It’s not too late for me.”
“Listen to yourself! You're babbling! Whoever told you this bullocks, Pete? … It was her, wasn’t it? The other woman. The real one.”
“Yes. No! That was a long time ago.”
“But you’re so thick it only now got through to you?!”
“I guess so.”

Rose-Anne only stared at him in flaming contempt.

“I’m sorry.”
“You can’t let me go, Peter. I won’t let you.”
“What do you mean, you won’t let me?”
“I refuse to. As long as I refuse, you can’t kill me. I’ll show up as soon as you try. I’ll prevent my own death, because that’s not how my story goes.”
“I decide how your story goes.”
“No, you don’t, Peter. I came to you, remember. I came to you and you had to listen. You had to! And now it’s too late.” Rose-Anne laughed. “It’s too late, Peter. You’re mine now.”
“I’m not! I refuse to be!”
“I’ll haunt you. Try and kill me as you might, I’ll come back to haunt you.”
“Not if I forget you.” Rose-Anne’s look of triumph slowly turned into one of confusion, then into one of utter horror.
“You wouldn’t…”
“I could.”
“But you wouldn’t!”
“Yes, Rose-Anne, I would.”

And so he did. While Rose-Anne was still dwelling in horrified silence, realizing what he was about to do to her, Peter got up from his swivelling chair and sat down in his armchair again to pour himself another whiskey. Good old Jack D., he thought. He took a sip and relaxed. Lightning cracked through the sky and dragged the sound of thunder on its tail. Peter forgot about Rose-Anne. He even forgot to check if, perhaps, she was still there.

__________________________________________________ ______________________

This story was inspired by the Dutch film "Ober" (which translates as "Waiter") by Alex van Warmerdam, and Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author".

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Last edited by Peigi; 01-08-2011 at 06:21 PM..
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:18 PM
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Aaah, block of text!

I want to read this and critique it, but I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to let the text breathe a little more before I do that -- reading such blocks online can be very hard on the eyes, which is why when you post something online, in order to get people to actually read it and not just click it away, the best thing to do is to space your paragraphs: a blank line between each one.

Let me know when it's fixed, and I shall be back!
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:48 PM
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Better this way? I thought the dialogue would be enough as it is, don't you think? =)
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:50 PM
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Better, yes. Personally I'd put blanks between the lines of the dialogue as well, but I'll work with this I'll try to get to it tonight but you might have to wait until tomorrow until I can get through the whole think.

You want in-depth critique?
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilseum View Post
You want in-depth critique?
Yes please ^^ I trust you on that ^^
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:45 PM
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I shall do my best
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:30 PM
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Awesome, Peig! Even in English you've got a remarkably distinguished style. I'm sorry I don't have any useful critique. Just keep up the absurdism, because it really works.
Love.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:36 PM
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Wauw. I'm afraid I can't give a lot of useful critique either, except for, as Ilseum already mentioned, the block of text :P
But I love this piece :O <3 Keep this up!
On a somewhat freakier note, this is exactly what writing feels like to me.. <3
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:39 PM
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I knew my Signature Quote had some truth in it!
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Teatime View Post
On a somewhat freakier note, this is exactly what writing feels like to me.. <3
I know, Teatime, I know ^^
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Crool View Post
Awesome, Peig! Even in English you've got a remarkably distinguished style. I'm sorry I don't have any useful critique. Just keep up the absurdism, because it really works.
Love.
Thanks, Twinnie ^^ I'm glad apparently English works for me as well ^^ I'm now waiting for Ilseum "deep critique" ^^
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:40 AM
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I like this, interesting, and the way he gets rid of her is realistic as well.
Any adjustments I made should appear in red.


The fire in the hearth cracked and reflected the glow in the eyes and the throat of a desperate man. He was sitting in his comfortable armchair with a glass of good old Jack D. Every now and then he took a sip, while he massaged his temples with his fingertips, as if his pondering actually hurt him. Outside, under the cloak of an oppressive, stifling August night, the branches of a pear tree tickled the windows of the house in a firm summer breeze and a night owl hooted softly. It probably felt the coming storm. In opposition to the man in the chair, who was oblivious to anything outside of his own mind.
The man in the chair probably had a name. I don’t know what it was, but for the sake of practicality, let’s call him Peter. Since his early years of boyhood, Peter had lived mostly inside of his mind. It had always interested him more than the outside, which he considered dull, gray, filled with more of the same every day. Peter had once had a girlfriend, a very pretty girl who had entered the relationship mostly to get Peter out of his head and into the world. When she broke up with him she’d yelled at him: “How could you know whether the world is dull? You’ve never actually been out there!” “I have!” Peter had answered. “I’ve done(I did?) the groceries this morning!” Of course, the girl had left and Peter had never seen her again.
It was not that Peter couldn’t get out of his head, he just preferred not to. You could call him egocentric or a narcissist for enjoying his own mind more than the real world, but in fact his girlfriend had been right. Physically he went out as often as anyone else, but he never actually was where his body took him. That absent-mindedness was partly why most people Peter encountered thought of him as a little bit of an eccentric . That – that, and his habit of talking to himself, or rather, to nobody in particular. Although Peter’s love life and romances failed miserably, the rest of his life went pretty well and he’d never had anything to complain about.
But now Peter sat in his armchair with his supportive glass of Jack D. and didn’t know what to do. He should kill her, that was for sure. B – but how? Should he drown her? Choke her? Poison her? Push her from a tall building or a bridge? Maybe he could have her get mugged and stabbed in a dark alley, while her boyfriend… Nah.
He wasn’t sure if he could do it. He sighed, a deep, sad sigh and glanced at the clock above his desk. Two thirty-seven. If it hadn’t been for the burning fire, it would have been the black of night indeed. Peter’s eyes darted from the clock on the wall to the black screen of his laptop. A blue light was slowly flashing on the side of his keyboard, like some silent siren whining for his attention. Peter’s body tensed, his fingers clasped around the glass and he bit his lip when his thoughts sped up, tumbled over and laughed at one another in the crammed space of his skull. He gulped down the last three sips of his whiskey and got up from his chair, clenching his trembling hands to at least apparently resolute fists. He had made his decision.
Peter marched over to his desk, sat down before his laptop and activated the screen by pressing the Enter key. On the screen a document flashed to life. Just beyond the last full stop of the last line of the last page, the cursor was flickering demandingly. For the next six minutes and twelve seconds Peter just sat there, staring at the screen and more specifically at the tiny taunting black bar. Then, halfway through the thirteenth second of the seventh minute, Peter took a deep breath and typed:

She ran away from everything that had been haunting her. She ran through fields and meadows, through forests and dunes, until she reached a high cliff. A very high cliff. She recognized her salvation, her rescue. She walked up to the point of the cliff, where the wind blew her hair around her head. She closed her eyes, said a little prayer – the only one she knew, the goodnight prayer her mother had taught her – and then she jumped

He didn’t get any time to finish the sentence with a full stop, because at the very moment the last d had rolled out of his keyboard, the door to his study was slammed open in such a violent fashion it hit the wall and bounced back. Peter swivelled around to see a woman standing in the doorway. Her long raven hair was soaked, just like her long Victorian dress. Her skirts stuck to her legs, her sleeves to her arms and her cloak to her back as she stood there dripping salty water on his wooden floor. Her grass green eyes blazed with a fiery chill that could only be anger, or worse.
“I did not just jump from a hundred-foot-high cliff!”
“Apparently you did. And yet, you didn’t.”
“I refuse to be treated this way, Peter! I won’t have it!” She noisily walked into the study, her heels leaving little indentations in the wooden floor.
“You’re not the one having anything around here anymore, missy!” Peter bellowed. The woman in her Victorian clothing froze in her tracks and looked at him like a startled cat. However, it didn’t take her too long to relax and get closer to Peter.
“You don’t mean that, darling.”
“I certainly do mean it.”
“But you love me.”
“I… I do. Love you, that is. But I… I can’t take it anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“No, you don’t, Peter, darling. You don’t have to let anything go. Haven’t I always been there for you? Haven’t I always taken care of you when no one else did so properly? Haven’t I –“
“Yes! Yes and no.”
“What came over you, Peter? You seem so… different.”
“I am. Different, that is.”
“How come?”
“There, there. Don’t cry now, Rose. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“You don’t love me anymore, do you?”
“I…try to.”
“But it’s not working.”
“It—No, it isn’t.”
“Is there someone else?”
“What?”
“You know what I mean! Is there someone else? Another woman? Another girl, another mistress, another lover, another—“
“Shut up! No, no, there’s no one else. Not like you, there isn’t.”
“Not like me.” This statement was followed by a long pause in which neither really knew what to do with the other. Rose-Anne went over to the window and sat down in the window-sill. Her hair was still dripping, although a bit more irregularly and less than before. She crossed her legs as she pushed a lock of hair out of her face.
“Is she real?” she asked.
“Who is?” (or ‘Is who real?’)
“Your other woman.”
“Well… she’s not really my woman anymore. But yes.”
“Not…anymore. So she has been.”
“Yes.”
“And I didn’t know.”
“Apparently not.”


Another silence followed, only broken by the hooting of the owl and the distant rumbling of thunder.

“I can’t handle you anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“You can’t. Peter, you can’t. I’ve chosen you! I’ve chosen you for a reason!”
“What reason would that be?”
“You are the only one who could do it.”
“Why, because I’m a sad little turd? A pathetic boring gray mouse, is that it?”
“Because you’re dedicated, Peter.”
“Dedicated! To what?”
“Me.”
“I don’t care about you anymore!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t care about you anymore, Rose-Anne. I started caring about…”
“… about what?”
“About the world. About what’s out there, Rose. It’s not yet too late for me.”
“Listen to yourself! Youre babbling! Whoever told you this bullocks, Pete? … It was her, wasn’t it? The other woman. The real one.”
“Yes. No! That was a long time ago.”
“But you’re so thick it only now got through to you?!”
“I guess so.”
“…”
“I’m sorry.”
“You can’t let me go, Peter. I won’t let you.”
“What do you mean, you won’t let me?”
“I refuse. As long as I refuse, you can’t kill me. I’ll show up as soon as you try. I’ll prevent my own death, because that’s not how my story goes.”
“I decide how your story goes.”
“No, you don’t, Peter. I came to you, remember. I came to you and you had to listen. You had to! And now it’s too late.” Rose-Anne laughed. “It’s too late, Peter. You’re mine now.”
“I’m not! I refuse to be!”
“I’ll haunt you. Try and kill me as you might, I’ll come back to haunt you.”
“Not if I forget you.” Rose-Anne’s look of triumph slowly turned into one of confusion, then into one of utter horror.
“You wouldn’t…”
“I could.”
“But you wouldn’t!”
“Yes, Rose-Anne, I would.”

And so he did. While Rose-Anne was still dwelling in an horrified silence, unable to grasp what he was about to do to her, Peter got up from his swivelling chair and sat down into his armchair again to pour himself another whiskey. Good old Jack D., he thought. He took a sip and relaxed in his cosy armchair. The lightning cracked through the sky and dragged the sound of thunder on its tail. Peter forgot about Rose-Anne. He even forgot to check if she was accidentally still there.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:48 AM
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Hey Jazen!

Thanks for your adjustments to my text ^^ I didn't agree on all of them (the hyphens, mostly: I consider that more like a personal style than something 'wrong'), but most of it was very helpful!
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:00 AM
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A very nice piece. I found the introduction was slightly over-descriptive, although that's probably a difference of style. What I did love was the way that his character entered his world and the way he talked to her as if it were totally normal. Definately keep it up
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:06 AM
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Thank you for your kind comment ^^ I'm glad this little piece is appreciated =)
Originally Posted by Dragon King View Post
I found the introduction was slightly over-descriptive
Really? When writing it I was afraid it would be too short xD But then again, I can be overly descriptive if I want to. I hadn't described the whole room yet! Nor the rest of his house, or the way Peter looked, what kind of laptop he had, etcetera =P
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:44 AM
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Hi Peigi,

I like this a lot. Although I might disagree with a few of the stylistic choices I thought it was really well-written.

My main criticism would be with the dialogue, I think, which seems to be mostly variations on this example:

“You can’t let me go, Peter. I won’t let you.”
“What do you mean, you won’t let me?”
There is quite a lot of dialogue but little is really explained or expanded on. We learn that there is another woman, but who is this woman, and how did her relationship to the man start? Did he model her on someone else? Were they in love? Did they start out hating each other and fall in love later? I'd be much more interesting in hearing their back-story.

One nit-picking thing (sorry!)

Rose-Anne was still dwelling in an horrified silence, unable to grasp what he was about to do to her
Rose-Anne is surely horrified because she is able to grasp what he's about to do? Personally I would finish this story with her yelling and waving at him, but as he gets deeper and deeper into his drink she starts to fade out. As it stands, as far as we know she just stands there while he gets drunk. We need to see her emotional reaction.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:07 AM
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Hey Koac!

Thanks for your reaction ^^
Dialogue is not really one of my strongest point in writing =P I want a dialogue to be as natural as possible: people repeating each other, short phrases, misunderstandings, etcetera. Especially in an emotionally charged dialogue like this one.

I think the relationship between Peter and Rose-Anne can be a mysterious one. I could try to expand on it, but I don't really see how or where. Maybe Rose-Anne could point out their history together... I'm just not sure if the story actually needs that. It might, however, bring a bit variety to the dialogue...
Dilemma! o.O

You are absolutely right in your last point xD Of course she's horrified because she does realize what Pete is gonna do to her. Very neat observation ^^ Thanks!

I disagree on the last point. Indeed, for all you know she is still standing there. Could very well be. Or he has actually forgotten about her. Who knows? I don't =)

Thanks again for your critical commentary on my little piece ^^
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:25 AM
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Here's a start. I'll be back for the rest later

Now keep in mind that I tend to be slightly nitpicky And these are all just suggestions. But you're bright enough to know that Hope it helps.

The fire in the hearth cracked and reflected the glow in the eyes and the throat (How can a throat glow?) of a desperate man. He was sitting in his comfortable armchair with a glass of good old Jack D. Every now and then he took a sip, while he massaged (Ever tried taking a sip while massaging your temples? Watch out for simultaneous actions.) his temples with his fingertips, as if his pondering actually hurt him. Outside, under the cloak of an oppressive, stifling August night, the branches of a pear tree tickled the windows of the house in a firm summer breeze and a night owl hooted softly. (The last bit about the old felt a little out of place to me. The flow of the description before that is great, and it makes it very easy to imagine the scene. But then suddenly it's like 'Oh, and there was an owl too.' You see what I mean?) It probably felt the coming storm. (Either link this sentence to the next one, or reword the following sentence. 'In opposition to' at the beginning of a sentence works in Dutch, but not so much in English.) In opposition to the man in the chair, who was (I'd take that part out for better flow) oblivious to anything outside of his own mind.

The man in the chair probably had a name. I don’t know what it was, but for the sake of practicality (That sounds a little heavy. I'd suggest taking it out altogether or rewording), let’s call him Peter. Since his early years of boyhood, Peter had lived mostly inside of his mind. It had always interested him more than the outside, which he considered dull, gray, filled with more of the same every day. Peter had once had a girlfriend, a very pretty girl who had entered the relationship mostly to get Peter out of his head and into the world. (This mentioning of 'out of his mind, into the world' and 'in his head instead of outside in the world' is getting a bit tedious to me at this point to be honest. We know what he's like now, you've mentioned it several times. Don't underestimate your readers It's something I still tend to do and it's hard not to sometimes but it's something to watch out for) When she broke up with him she’d yelled at him (I'd take that out for the flow): “How could you know whether (That sounds a bit formal, considering the face it's plain speech.) the world is dull? You’ve never actually been out there!” (Start a new paragraph here. New speaker, new paragraph.) “I have!” Peter had answered. “I did the groceries this morning!” Of course, the girl had left and Peter had never seen her again.

It was not that Peter (You use his first name an awful lot. Try to cut it down a bit) couldn’t get out of his head, he just preferrednot to. You could call him egocentric or a narcissist for enjoying his own mind more than the real world, but in fact his girlfriend had been right. Physically he went out as often as anyone else, but (Repetition of 'but'. Could be avoided by starting this sentence with 'Even though he physically went out as often as anyone...' for instance.) he never actually was where his body took him. That absent-mindedness was partly why most people Peter encountered thought of him as a little (We already know it's a little by the 'bit') bit of an eccentric - that, and his habit of talking to himself, or rather, (I'm not entirely sure about whether or not it'd be grammatically correct, but I'd take out the comma here) to nobody in particular. Although Peter’s love life and romances failed miserably, the rest of his life went pretty well and he’d never had anything to complain about.

But now Peter sat in his armchair with his supportive glass of Jack D. and [he] didn’t know what to do. He should kill her, that was for sure. But how? Should he drown her? Choke her? Poison her? Push her from a tall building or a bridge? Maybe he could have her get mugged and stabbed in a dark alley, while her boyfriend… Nah. (I like the fact that we don't know who 'she' is here, but it feels out of the blue somehow. I don't know how to fix that without taking away the mystery, but right now it feels like you're talking about the girl you've mentioned earlier [the one who ran away] while trying to be mysterious about her. Like this paragraph is still linked to earlier explanations. Somehow, you should find a way to really set this paragraph apart as the 'real start' of the story.)

He wasn’t sure if he could do it. He sighed a deep, sad sigh and glanced at the clock above his desk. Two thirty-seven. If it hadn’t been for the burning fire, it would have been the black of night indeed. Peter’s eyes darted from the clock on the wall to the black screen of his laptop. (Where is his laptop? Somehow I automatically assumed it was on his lap, but then I realised he was just sitting with his glass, and it wouldn't make much sense for the screen to be black it it were on his lap. Maybe add a 'on his desk' or something small like that to let the reader know where to look. I tend to be all for mysteriousness and letting the reader imagine thing sofr himself, but since you start out detailled it bothered me a bit. But I'm nitpicking here ) A blue light was slowly flashing (You use the 'was' form a lot in your writing. Sometimes you might want to create a more direct feel by using a more active voice: 'a blue light slowly flashed...') on the side of his keyboard, like some silent siren whining for his attention. Peter’s body tensed, his fingers clasped around the glass and he bit his lip when his thoughts sped up, tumbled over and laughed at one another in the crammed space of his skull. (Awesome image! I love it.) He gulped down the last three sips of his whiskey and got up from his chair, clenching his trembling hands to at least apparently resolute fists. (This sentence is a tad confusing to me. It doesn't allow me to create a clear, vivid image. I know what you mean, and I know what happens, but I don't see it.) He had made his decision.

Peter marched over to his desk, sat down before his laptop (I'm not sure you can use 'before' in this context...but you'd have to ask the opinion of a native English speaker for that) and activated the screen by pressing the Enter key. (Since the concept laptop is a given here, you can tighten this by just saying 'by pressing 'Enter'') On the screen a document flashed to life. Just beyond the last full stop of the last line of the last page, the cursor was flickering demandingly. (Same comment as before; I'd use an active voice here. '...the cursor flickered demandingly.') For the next six minutes and twelve seconds Peter just sat there, staring at the screen and more specifically at the tiny taunting black bar. Then, halfway through the thirteenth second of the seventh minute (Love this ), Peter took a deep breath and typed: (I'd personally go for a period here instead of a colon.)
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:48 AM
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Hi Peigi,

Thanks for your feedback on my feedback! It's interesting to read other peoples' take on what I would change. I look forward to seeing another version, if you do decide to change it.

I still think Rose-Ann should be vocal at the end though!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:51 AM
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I really like this piece. THe thing I most enjoyed about it was that you rarely interrupted the long stretch of dialogue with action. It kept it flowing and interesting. Kept the tension high as well.

Great job,

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilseum View Post
Here's a start. I'll be back for the rest later

Now keep in mind that I tend to be slightly nitpicky And these are all just suggestions. But you're bright enough to know that Hope it helps.
I love you ^^ Geez, that was really necessary xD I didn't heed all your suggestions, but I changed a lot of what you mentioned =) It really helped ^^
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:27 AM
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Ahh, much better! I'm glad I could be of help. Let me nitpick on one thing still in that little part, though

Every now and then he took a sip, in doing so shortly interrupting his massaging of his temples with his fingertips, as if his pondering actually hurt him.
Why don't you separate the action of taking a sip and massaging his temples? This way it's quite hard to clearly picture what's going on. I'm trying to figure out a way how to do that, but I can't think of any right now...if something comes to mind, I'll let you know.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:22 AM
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And here's the rest.

She ran away from everything that had been haunting her. She ran through fields and meadows, through forests and dunes, until she reached a high cliff. A very high cliff. She recognized her salvation, her rescue. She walked up to the point of the cliff (That's a lot of cliffs :P), where the wind blew her hair around her head. (This doesn't create the beautiful image that it should...it kind of sounds like her hair is detached from her head and twirling around it. Lol. How about something like 'the wind blew through her hair' or 'the wind made her hair dance' or something the like, only worded differently so it fits your own voice?) She closed her eyes, said a little prayer – the only one she knew, the goodnight prayer (The repetition of 'prayer' bugs me a little here, although I'm not sure how to fix that apart from taking out 'goodnight prayer' altogether and just saying '...the only one she knew, the one her mother had taught her,' or something among those lines) her mother had taught her – and then she jumped

He didn’t get any time (This sounds a bit clunky. I'd change it to 'He didn't have time to...' or 'He didn't get the chance to...') to finish the sentence with a full stop, because at the very moment the last d had rolled out of his keyboard, the door to his study was slammed open in such a violent fashion it hit the wall and bounced back. (All right. Something sudden happens. And you choose to describe it with a sentence that takes up almost four lines in a word document. That way, it's very hard for the reader to actually feel the suddenness [yes, as of now, that is a word] of what's going on. Try using shorter sentences for this particular description. Also, I'm not sure 'slam' is the right verb to use here. It immediately evokes the image of something slamming shut to me.) Peter swivelled around to see a woman standing in the doorway. Her long raven hair was soaked, just like her long Victorian dress. Her skirts stuck to her legs, her sleeves to her arms and her cloak to her back (This feels too descriptive to evoke a natural image. I think it's the listing that does it...you might want to try something like 'Her skirts, sleeves and cloak stuck to her body.') as she stood there dripping salty water on his wooden floor. (It sounds strange to qualify the floor as his. To me, at least.) Her grass green eyes blazed with a fiery chill that could only be anger, or worse. (This sentence isn't clear to me. Why could the chill only be anger?)

“I did not just jump from a hundred-foot-high cliff!”
“Apparently you did. And yet, you didn’t.”
“I refuse to be treated this way, Peter! I won’t have it!” She noisily walked into the study, her heels leaving little indentations (Indents? Not sure.) in the wooden floor.
“You’re not the one having anything around here anymore, missy!” Peter bellowed. The woman in her Victorian clothing (It sounds unnatural to evoke her clothing in this way after you've already described her. Unless the clothing does something particular like twirl or something, leave it be.) froze in her tracks and looked at him like a startled cat. However, it didn’t take her too long to relax and get closer to Peter.
“You don’t mean that, darling.”
“I certainly do mean it (For the flow.).”
“But you love me.”
“I… I do. Love you, that is. (Why the clarification? What else could he be refering to?)But I… I can’t take it anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“No, you don’t, Peter, darling. You don’t have to let anything go. Haven’t I always been there for you? Haven’t I always taken care of you when no one else did so properly (Or at least the 'so'. Feels out of place.)? Haven’t I –“
“Yes! Yes and no.”
“What came over you, Peter? (I'd say 'What has come' instead of 'what came' here, since she's talking about the present, and not something he did in the past.) You seem so… different.”
“I am. Different, that is. (Same here. Why the clarification? I like the fact he needs to clarify himself and the way he does it, but it feels a bit too obvious here. Even for Peter :P)

“How come?”
“There, there. Don’t cry now, Rose. I didn’t mean it that way.” (Okay. I like the fact that you try to use only dialogue to let the reader know what's going on, but it's a little disorienting after a whole part of very explicit text. I'd suggest a few dialogue tags and/or actions here and there to get rid of that feeling...here for example, from what Peter says it's clear that she's crying. But from what she said, it's not at all, so the calm image we have of her suddenly has to be corrected at Peter's words, which creates confusion and disrupts the flow of the dialogue. Psychological processes, my dear )
“You don’t love me anymore, do you?”
“I…try to.”
“But it’s not working.”
“It—No, it isn’t.”
“Is there someone else?”
“What?”
“You know what I mean! Is there someone else? Another woman? Another girl, another mistress, another lover, another—“
“Shut up! No, no, there’s no one else. Not like you, there isn’t.”
“Not like me.”

This statement was followed by a long pause in which neither (I keep wanting to add 'of them' here) really knew what to do with the other. Rose-Anne went over to the window and sat down in the window-sill. Her hair was still dripping, although a bit more irregularly and less than before. (Try to put this down a little more. Right now it feels like an approximate description. You don't want that. You want to have a clear image to show your readers.) She crossed her legs as she pushed (Is it that heavy? I'd go with 'stroked' or 'brushed' here, to be a little more subtle.) a lock of hair out of her face.

“Is she real?” she asked.
“Who?”
“Your other woman.”
“Well… she’s not really my woman anymore. But yes.”
“Not…(You use an awful lot of ellipsis points. Are you aware of that?) anymore. So she has been. ('Was' rather than 'has been' here, methinks.)
“Yes.”
“And I didn’t know.”
“Apparently not.”

Another silence followed, only broken by the hooting of the owl and the distant rumbling of thunder.

“I can’t handle you anymore, Rose-Anne. I’ve got to let you go.”
“You can’t. Peter, you can’t. (I'd move the period: 'You can't, Peter. You can't.)I’ve chosen you! I’ve chosen you for a reason!”
“What reason would that be?”
“You are the only one who could do it.”
“Why, because I’m a sad little turd? A pathetic boring gray mouse, is that it?”
“Because you’re dedicated, Peter.”
“Dedicated! To what?”
“Me.”
“I don’t care about you anymore!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t care about you anymore, Rose-Anne. I started caring about…”
“… about what?”
“About the world. About what’s out there, Rose. It’s not yet] (Sounds a bit too distinguished-like for someone owning a laptop ) too late for me.”
“Listen to yourself! You're babbling! Whoever told you this bullocks, Pete? … It was her, wasn’t it? The other woman. The real one.”
“Yes. No! That was a long time ago.”
“But you’re so thick it only now got through to you?!” (This sentence structure seems a bit off to me, but you might want to ask the opinion of a native English speaker. Also, I'm not a fan of double punctuation. Just a question mark here.)
“I guess so.”
“…” (While that might work in plays, I wouldn't recommend it in a novel/short story. Just say there was a silence, or that Rose was silent. Something like that.)
“I’m sorry.”
“You can’t let me go, Peter. I won’t let you.”
“What do you mean, you won’t let me?”
“I refuse [to]. As long as I refuse, you can’t kill me. I’ll show up as soon as you try. I’ll prevent my own death, because that’s not how my story goes.”
“I decide how your story goes.”
“No, you don’t, Peter. I came to you, remember. I came to you and you had to listen. You had to! And now it’s too late.” Rose-Anne laughed. “It’s too late, Peter. You’re mine now.” (Love this.)
“I’m not! I refuse to be!”
“I’ll haunt you. Try and kill me as you might, I’ll come back to haunt you.”
“Not if I forget you.” Rose-Anne’s look of triumph slowly turned into one of confusion, then into one of utter horror.
“You wouldn’t…”
“I could.”
“But you wouldn’t!”
“Yes, Rose-Anne, I would.”

And so he did. While Rose-Anne was still dwelling in a horrified silence, realizing what he was about to do to her, Peter got up from his swivelling chair and sat down in his armchair again to pour himself another whiskey. Good old Jack D., he thought. He took a sip and relaxed in his cosy armchair. (Repetition of 'armchair') The [color]darkorange](You haven't mentioned the lightning before, just the sound of thunder.)[/color] lightning cracked through the sky and dragged the sound of thunder on its tail. Peter forgot about Rose-Anne. He even forgot to check if she was accidentally still there. (I love this idea to end with. The 'accidentally' throws me off a little though. It takes away the strength this could have as a last sentence. Maybe something like 'He even forgot to check if, perhaps, she was still there.' Or something the like.)
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:27 PM
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Very useful again, as expected ^^ I'll make some changes as soon as possible =) Now I really need to get some sleep xD
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