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The Apology - a short drabble

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Old 08-01-2013, 10:12 PM
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Default The Apology - a short drabble


Critiques welcome. This isn't my normal sort of writing, but the idea hit and wouldn't leave me alone.

<first draft redacted>


Twenty years. That's how long it's been. Since I lost Her. The only good thing in my life, and I threw it away. With my drinking. With my suspicions.

Memories flood. Her standing there, as beautiful as an angel. Her skin, soft and smooth. Her hair against my cheek. Her scent in my nostrils. Her voice haunting my dreams. Her eyes dancing like moonlight.

Her laugh. So infectious. So constant. So unrestrained. Until that night.

Twenty years ago. The night my life ended. I drove Her away. She walked through the door, late from work, and I exploded. I was jealous. After all, She was the most beautiful thing, the most precious, on earth. And me? Nothing. A dumb jock who took one too many blows to the head boxing in school. Could barely hold down the maintenance job I had. But She loved me. Me! With my neanderthal looks and less than brilliant mind.

I lost Her that night. Drove Her away. Because of the drink. Because of the jealousy. I said things. Things I regretted even as I screamed them. Too late.

She only touched me twice that night. Once as She stormed past to pack Her bags, and again as She left. The memory of that touch still burns inside.

My friends, while I had them, told me to move on. My parents said to get over it. As if I could move on. As if I could get over losing the only thing that mattered.

I turned to the bottle, more than I already was. I turned to drugs. Meth, speed, crank. I tried them all. I even tried out a few girls who charged by the hour.

The bottle and drugs? Couldn't make me forget. The rentals? I couldn't perform. Every touch, kiss, caress reminded me of Her.

I feel something on my face. Touching it, I find tears. Tears! Same as the ones that filled Her eyes that night. Eyes once filled with love, now filled with pain. A heart shattered beyond repair.

I've tried. At least three times a year, every year since... I go to Her. I try to apologize. On Her birthday. On the day we met. On the day we were married. I go to Her and try to make it right. But that look in Her eyes tells me it's too late. So cold. So lonely. So angry.

I try to tell Her I know who was at fault. I try to say I know I was wrong! I try. I try. But She won't hear me. She shakes Her head coldly. She knows who was at fault. She knows what I have to do.

So do I. That's why I'm here. Under the tree where we met.

More memories. Screeching tires. Slamming metal. Fire. Screams. Running. Her broken, lifeless body. She didn't see the car coming up the road. She backed right into it.

The tree. Where we met. Where She's buried. Where I pray we'll meet again.

I lay down. I pull the trigger. A single explosion and the deed is done. Is penance finally paid?

I look around. My lifeless body lay on the ground. Blood from the head seeping into Her grave.

There She is. Under the tree. Smiling! She's laughing! She holds out Her arms, and I run to Her. Do ghosts cry? I am.

The final apology has been accepted. We are together again. At last.

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Last edited by Synch; 08-03-2013 at 04:01 PM.. Reason: Second draft posted
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:42 AM
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I like it. I think you did pretty well with the "What a Twist!" at the end there. Usually I can see something like that coming, but I didn't really this time. (Her being dead, I mean.)

Also, I have a plan.
I felt this line was a little unnecessary. The minute I read it I knew the end was going to be a suicide. I have a feeling it would read better if you left it out and just continued on in the next paragraph with the memories.

I think this is the kind of story that is 'okay' short like this, but would benefit from being a little longer. In this short span of time we don't get much info about the characters. Not enough to feel anything for them, anyways. And when I don't feel for the characters, it doesn't bother me much when they make horrible decisions or get hurt. I finished the story and felt like... "Eh." And I'm not trying to be an jerk about it, because I enjoyed your writing style very much. I enjoyed not seeing any grammar issues or sentence's that sounded awkward. I just felt like I needed more of a story to really get emotional and into it.

Monologues are great. I guess I just like to see an equal amount of the character taking action. Even if its just the action of falling out of bed and squishing his balls when he hits the floor For me it makes it feel more like it could be real.

But hey, that's just my lousy opinion I did enjoy the read, and I'll be reading more of your things when I can because I like the way you write Keep it up!
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Lyndia View Post
I felt this line was a little unnecessary.
You're right. I went ahead and got rid of it, since on a re-read this morning I noticed all kinds of reasons to get rid of it- not least being what you said about the "twist" being suddenly predictable, as well as the fact that it kind of brought the narrative to a crashing halt. lol

Thanks for everything you said. The suggestions and the fact that you liked this one. lol
I'll think about editing it, making it longer and giving a bit more character background, action, etc. Honestly, though? I'm not convinced I want to on this one. Partly, yes, because it's a drabble. But also because I intended this to be an almost completely internal monologue, which I think did slightly come across, as he prepared to do what he felt he had to do. There wasn't a lot of room for development or expansion, although now that I said that...I can actually see where I can expand it into a short story. An amazingly depressing short story...but still a short story. lol

So yeah, I'll think about it and see what i can come up with.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:57 AM
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You're welcome

And only go for the change up if you feel the need... if you don't really want to do it, it will show through in your writing. I can get the inner monologue bit. It's kind of like reliving your best (or worst) memories that stick with you, before dying. It's legitimate. Most of what I said is just a personal preference... most likely lots of people will see it in a different way than I did Far be it for me to mess around with different peoples artistic flair... I just like to give my opinion so that people may possibly see something in a different light than before; then they can decide which they like/prefer for themselves... um, if that makes any sense whatsoever hah.

Anyways, cheers!
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:01 AM
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It's not that I don't want to. It's that I originally didn't see where it was possible, but now I do. lol Even while I was typing, the short story sort of took off in front of me. Maybe not a long short story, but I can see following this poor, angry, drunken idiot around for a little bit as his life slowly unravels.

Will I actually do that story? No clue. I'll think about it, maybe sketch down some ideas, and see what happens.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:04 AM
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On the whole, i liked this Synch. But there were things that i wasn't quite so keen on. As has already been mentioned, the suicide was fairly predictable, and there were quite a few descriptive cliches along the way. Hair like silk, eyes as green as emeralds, skin as pale as moonlight etc.
Also, shooting himself (i'm guessing in the head) then taking a few moments to look around. The idea of his brains decorating the tree behind him while he's having a quick scan around at the scenery just doesn't sit right lol

Overall though, I liked it.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:49 AM
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Also, shooting himself (i'm guessing in the head) then taking a few moments to look around. The idea of his brains decorating the tree behind him while he's having a quick scan around at the scenery just doesn't sit right lol
No, it didn't with me either honestly. But it never said where he shot himself, so I just imagined it was in the chest, maybe near his heart. Then he'd have at least a few minutes before passing out or dying right? Especially if he missed. I don't really know, I would have to look it up to know for certain anything about these medical thingamajigs.

(He would have a higher chance of missing if he was drunk or high too, which the narrative suggested he'd at least dabbled with both, although it didn't seem as though he were incredibly inebriated at the present time. Just a thought.)
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:57 AM
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The ending feels a bit rushed to me. I have to agree about the issue with a gun as a weapon of suicide. The thing about a gun is that it's sudden, there's an explosion, a moment of pain and then oblivion...unless you miss. I think that a knife would be more appropriate or even pills. Something that would give the narrator time to ponder.

Also it is very linear for a story that reflects on the past...if that makes sense. You've foreshadowed the main event but I think that you could maybe have the narrator return to a point before things went wrong in his dying moments. That would make for a longer story but a more complete one at the same time.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Lyndia View Post
No, it didn't with me either honestly.
Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
On the whole, i liked this Synch. But there were things that i wasn't quite so keen on. As has already been mentioned, the suicide was fairly predictable...
Also, shooting himself (i'm guessing in the head) then taking a few moments to look around....just doesn't sit right lol
Sorry, I should have made it clearer in the narrative. He did shoot himself in the head. But his ghost/soul/spirit/essence/whatever-you-want-to-call-it started separating as he died- I thought the fact that he could see her standing nearby was enough of a hint, but I'll see what edits I can make to clarify that.

I never intended the suicide to be the unexpected twist. Given how depressed he was through the entire narrative, suicide was only to be expected. I intended her death to be the twist, as well as the fact that she had kept haunting him. (Something I need to clarify in edits. lol)

He did use both drugs and booze as an attempt to escape his reality. Since they didn't do that for him, he wouldn't have bothered with them again. (At least, in my mind. I kind of deliberately left that bit open for people to interpret the way they want- I love having the type of story/ending that is open to personal interpretation by the reader.)
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by hoverfrog View Post
Also it is very linear for a story that reflects on the past...if that makes sense. You've foreshadowed the main event but I think that you could maybe have the narrator return to a point before things went wrong in his dying moments. That would make for a longer story but a more complete one at the same time.
Interesting thought. I actually considered it, but decided against it. For the purpose of this narrative, the loss of the woman was the defining moment in the narrator's life- nothing else existed for the narrator but her death and the long years after.

Would doing that have made for a more complete story? Possibly. But, I'm not sure I really wanted that in this case. The sense of incompleteness is actually part of what I was going for- because the mental processes of a suicidal person are always incomplete.

Thanks for the review though. I'll think about doing what you mention with any future edits, but I also wanted you to see where I was coming from. I'm really not trying to refuse constructive criticism.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Synch View Post
Sorry, I should have made it clearer in the narrative. He did shoot himself in the head. But his ghost/soul/spirit/essence/whatever-you-want-to-call-it started separating as he died- I thought the fact that he could see her standing nearby was enough of a hint, but I'll see what edits I can make to clarify that.

I never intended the suicide to be the unexpected twist. Given how depressed he was through the entire narrative, suicide was only to be expected. I intended her death to be the twist, as well as the fact that she had kept haunting him. (Something I need to clarify in edits. lol)

He did use both drugs and booze as an attempt to escape his reality. Since they didn't do that for him, he wouldn't have bothered with them again. (At least, in my mind. I kind of deliberately left that bit open for people to interpret the way they want- I love having the type of story/ending that is open to personal interpretation by the reader.)
Yep, now you say it I get it. It doesn't come across in the story though, i'm afraid. Howver, as you say, nothing a good edit cant put right.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:28 PM
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I see that now. The incompleteness makes sense but if you want to make that a feature then you should stress it. Short sentences. Abrupt stops. Broken thoughts. Hints rather than statements.
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:47 PM
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Fair point. I'm working on something else at this precise moment, but I definitely want to edit this, tighten it up some, and see where it goes from there.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:18 PM
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Urgh... My main struggle in the edits and rewrite is to weave in hints of her visiting him throughout without losing the primary surprise that she died that night. I'll get it, I'm sure, but...grr. lol
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:24 PM
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All right, second draft is posted. Critiques and opinions, again, welcomed.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:28 PM
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I much prefer this. A minor correction for "crank" is required. It should be "crack" unless there's a new drug that I don't know about. As I started reading I was a bit put off by the capitalisation of Her and She because it seems to be an attempt to make the woman some sort of divine figure but then I thought that it makes sense to do that from the narrator's point of view. I also like the fact that neither character has a name. If you add a name in future drafts I'd suggest only adding the man's name and leaving her intentionally mysterious, maybe even describing her less so that the reader has to fill in what the woman looks like from his or her own imagination. That way she's idealised even more.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:45 AM
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This story is good and it's well written. Your main character is interesting, but I think, it was very dark.

I didn't see much wrong with this to be honest. The shorter sentenes are well done, made it tense for me.

I like the twist, with him killing himself. I didn't see that one coming, unlike the other posters.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:40 AM
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I think I like this edit a lot better as well, great job The short punchy sentences really enhanced its style, and you pulled them off very well. Caught a few "she's" that weren't capitalized.

so gentle when I kissed them, but so hard when she was angry.

Where she's buried.

There she is. Under the tree.
I have nothing negative to say about the caps itself, I think it works well to convey how the narrator views her. Just noticed that the above wasn't, so I thought I might as well point it out.

Good rewrite! Cheers.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:56 AM
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That is exactly why I made the decision to capitalize the She and Her. It's small thing, but I thought it worked well.

There definitely won't be names ever, since I think that wouldn't work in this story, although I will consider cutting back on the descriptions of her. It's a good thought, and I'll definitely play around with it some.

Thanks for the read and thoughts.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:57 AM
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Thanks for reading.

And for catching those. I'll have those fixed in a minute.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:42 PM
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This is the first time I've read one of your stories.

I liked the dark edge! Until the line -

More memories. Screeching tires. Slamming metal. Fire. Screams. Running. Her broken, lifeless body. She didn't see the car coming up the road. She backed right into it.

- I didn't realise she had been dead twenty years. I thought he'd just pushed her away after hurting her too much or something less interesting. But after reading that line as well as the next one, it was like a eureka moment when everything you had written clicked into the story.
(That's a sign of a properly great writer in my opinion, where they draw the dots but then give you the pen to join them).

After that line I was expecting the suicide and so I liked the way you ended it and connected them again, although I too feel the ending is a bit rushed. The short punchy sentences kept the tempo but occasional longer ones with more detail can help. If I had one critical thing to say about this piece it would be that, but that really is being fastidious :P

Well written.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:58 PM
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Thanks. I honestly didn't want too much detail. I may put in a little bit of detail about what he's seeing around him. But I don't think so. This story is supposed to be all about the memory that has defined him for twenty years.
And i deliberately wrote it so that people would think she was alive. The suicide was never intended to be the surprise. The fact that she was dead and haunting him was always intended as the twist. Good to know I pulled that one off. lol
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Synch View Post
Critiques welcome. This isn't my normal sort of writing, but the idea hit and wouldn't leave me alone.

<first draft redacted>


Twenty years. That's how long it's been. Since I lost Her. Capitalization of her...are we in the Bible? Just kidding. Deep. The only good thing in my life, and I threw it away. With my drinking. With my suspicions. Robert Smith mode initiated, eh?

Memories flood. Her standing there, as beautiful as an angel. Her skin, soft and smooth. Her hair against my cheek. Her scent in my nostrils. Her voice haunting my dreams. Her eyes dancing like moonlight. These short choppy sentences seem better suited for a poem than a story. I guess this was written stream of conscious style?

Her laugh. So infectious. So constant. So unrestrained. Until that night.

Twenty years ago. The night my life ended. I drove Her away. She walked through the door, late from work, and I exploded. I was jealous. After all, She was the most beautiful thing, the most precious, on earth. And me? Nothing. A dumb jock who took one too many blows to the head boxing in school. Could barely hold down the maintenance job I had. But She loved me. Me! With my neanderthal looks and less than brilliant mind. Autobiographical? Because if it isn't, why are you messing with my emotions?!

I lost Her that night. Drove Her away. Because of the drink. Because of the jealousy. I said things. Things I regretted even as I screamed them. Too late.

She only touched me twice that night. Once as She stormed past to pack Her bags, and again as She left. The memory of that touch still burns inside.

My friends, while I had them, told me to move on. My parents said to get over it. As if I could move on. As if I could get over losing the only thing that mattered.

I turned to the bottle, more than I already was. I turned to drugs. Meth, speed, crank. I tried them all. I even tried out a few girls who charged by the hour. Jeez la weez, your MC is being way too tough on himself. What's that they say about "other fish in the sea"?

The bottle and drugs? Couldn't make me forget. The rentals? I couldn't perform. Every touch, kiss, caress reminded me of Her.

I feel something on my face. Touching it, I find tears. Tears! Same as the ones that filled Her eyes that night. Eyes once filled with love, now filled with pain. A heart shattered beyond repair.

I've tried. At least three times a year, every year since... I go to Her. I try to apologize. On Her birthday. On the day we met. On the day we were married. I go to Her and try to make it right. But that look in Her eyes tells me it's too late. So cold. So lonely. So angry.

I try to tell Her I know who was at fault. I try to say I know I was wrong! I try. I try. But She won't hear me. She shakes Her head coldly. She knows who was at fault. She knows what I have to do.

So do I. That's why I'm here. Under the tree where we met.

More memories. Screeching tires. Slamming metal. Fire. Screams. Running. Her broken, lifeless body. She didn't see the car coming up the road. She backed right into it.

The tree. Where we met. Where She's buried. Where I pray we'll meet again.

I lay down. I pull the trigger. A single explosion and the deed is done. Is penance finally paid?

I look around. My lifeless body lay on the ground. Blood from the head seeping into Her grave.

There She is. Under the tree. Smiling! She's laughing! She holds out Her arms, and I run to Her. Do ghosts cry? I am. These last two sentences might be this pieces saving grace.

The final apology has been accepted. We are together again. At last.
I don't usually do the whole choppy, post modern thing that you're trying here. Not really my cup of tea, per se. You did have some glimmers of writing genius, though. "Do ghosts cry? I am." for instance was a highlight.

I would just hope that in the future you refrain from being so tough on your character/yourself and use your obvious talent in an actual piece instead of a suicidal diatribe.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:34 AM
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I really liked reading that. I love the way you made the choppy sentences flow. I loved the way you kept to a dark, lonely tune. I loved the descriptiveness. I loved the tempo. I think you could have slowed the ending a little bit, though. It seemed like you were anxious to finish. But it was definitely very well written.
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for reading, and for your comments and notes. Your not the only one who doesn't normally care for this type of thing- as I said, this isn't remotely my normal style. I plan on posting other writings that are more in line with what I generally write. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is the one that came to mind when I decided to write something short. lol

In response to your notes and comments:

1: "Capitalization of her...are we in the Bible? Just kidding. Deep." Seriously, though, I know it's not normal but, considering the state of mind of the narrator of this monologue, it fit. For this character, she was the only thing of importance in his world. Mentally, I believed, this particular character would definitely emphasize her importance in some way like that.

2: "
These short choppy sentences seem better suited for a poem than a story. I guess this was written stream of conscious style" Oddly, no. The original draft, which was largely written that way, contained much more complete sentences, with much more descriptive terminology. It was during the rewrite that I adopted this style. Primarily because they helped solidify the concept of a man who isn't entirely rational- a suicidally depressed man.

3: "
Autobiographical? Because if it isn't, why are you messing with my emotions?! " Messing with your emotions wasn't deliberate, although isn't that the mark of decent writing? lol (Had to get the ego comment in there, you know.) And it's not autobiographical. I do tend to beat myself up over bad decisions and mistakes of varying levels of severity, but not to that degree. As with your comment about my MC being too tough on himself, this has more to do with what I viewed the narrator as. I had a character who had never seen anything go right in his life- and destroyed the one thing that did. He blamed himself for her death- because she never would have been driving upset if he hadn't said the unmentioned things he said to her.


Again, I don't generally write this type of piece. Although I can go dark in pieces I'm writing, it's normally either a prelude or an interlude. This is the first entirely dark piece I've written in recent memory.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Willow Caplan View Post
I think you could have slowed the ending a little bit, though. It seemed like you were anxious to finish.
Thanks for reading and liking it.

I actually played around, during rewrites, with altering the ending to make it longer and more dramatic. Possibly, at some point in the future, I'll take another look at it. But I couldn't find a way to do so that felt right to me. It wasn't intended to have a rushed feel, although I did intend for it to be more rapid than the rest of the piece.
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Old 08-15-2013, 05:51 AM
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I think this is generally quite well written. And I loved it, though there were some really trite inputs here and there. Believe it or not, I was listening to 'Stand by you' while reading this so I guess the music really connected with your words.

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Old 08-16-2013, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by LeWriter View Post
there were some really trite inputs here and there.
Can you give me some instances? I'll see what I can do.

Originally Posted by LeWriter View Post
I was listening to 'Stand by you' while reading this so I guess the music really connected with your words.
lol Actually, I was sort of inspired by a song mentioned in The Hunger Games, called "The Hanging Tree." (When I say "sort of," I mean that the idea of his beloved waiting for him under the tree was all I kept. lol)
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Synch View Post
Can you give me some instances? I'll see what I can do.

'Her standing there, as beautiful as an angel. Her skin, soft and smooth... Her eyes dancing like moonlight.'

Maybe you could try using some less hackneyed phrases, something more original of your own imagination of the characters you're trying to bring out instead of some of those really common ones. Makes a lot of difference.

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Old 08-17-2013, 02:41 PM
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That's actually one of the sets of lines I was unhappy with. lol
I intend to edit those and alter them- it was a quick fix to remove the over-description of the woman. I wanted to leave any descriptions more vague. lol
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