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Messages - Rika84

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Story Critique / See?
« on: 01:53 PM, 01/14/18 »
You know that feeling of being watched, right? I think everyone does. Or, at least, I hope everyone does. I've gotten conflicting opinions from "professionals" about whether the kinds of thoughts I have are "normal". I say, "Everyone has these thoughts, right?" The answer sends the brain-train chugging down the tracks. But back to the feeling of being watched. It's a feeling I've had most of my life. Hindsight being 20/20, it should have been one of the first red flags to sprout from my curly red head screaming, "help, I'm scared of everything!"

When I was 5, my parents tried to take me to a restaurant in the next town. I couldn't tell you what it was called; Captain's Table? Fisherman's Table? Every time we drove past the place I screwed my eyes shut to avoid the dead, pale, ever-watchful gaze of that massive cardboard mariner in the fading yellow rain gear. I screamed and sobbed and dug my shoes into the gravel as Mom dragged me towards that watcher's lair.

"You're going in," she insisted.

"She's going back," said Dad with my sister in his arms, bringing the miraculous news that the restaurant was too full to bother.

But that's not super weird, you know? Kids get scared of big dumb billboards and stuff. I could tell you about, like, 4 more right now. The fat owly troll at the winery, that cloudy-eyed salmon of the Coho motel ad coming into town and his properly-pupiled counterpart on Highway 42… Big scary cartoony kid stuff, watching, seeing me. I know better now, of course, but I'm trying to show you. You know what it's like.

Those signs were really there, and some of them are still there, but as I got older there were a lot of things that weren't there. And I knew they weren't there, nobody had to tell me that. But I could see them, and they could see me, and I could see them seeing me, and it would freeze me to the spot. Or send me in a breathless power-walk back to my room with my hands to my face like a horse's blinders. It depended on where and when, but you know how that goes.

At night I would get up to use the bathroom. No issues on the way there. But opening the door to leave, I'd always see it, without fail, my made-up lobster-monster. It's 6 feet tall and pale peachy pink with a bulbous head, bent, face in my face, with its big bug-eyes and impossible grin. And every time, I put up the blinders and zipped down the hall, through the kitchen, down the stairs, and back into bed. Silly, right? I got used to it though. Didn't you?

The one I never got used to was being 9 or 10 or 11, alone in my room, radio pumping the hits of the 80's and 90's at a moderate volume, and I wanted to dance so bad. I wanted to run around and flail my arms and shut my eyes and rock. But I could feel them watching. Those 3 "popular" girls from our small class of 18. Short, blonde Danielle, her brunette "bff" Andrea, and wide-faced Marissa, or at least my brain's projection of them. Always just out of sight out the western window, smiling, laughing, and judging more than the real girls ever would. (They were always nice to me, really.)

So through every favorite song, my butt was planted to the bed, feet rooted to the floor, my eyes were fixed on the swirling cotton candy pink of the south wall, letting the music happen. Even I will admit that's pretty ridiculous, but I'm a grown woman now. I've learned to "dance like no one is watching."

But, like, I get it. These feelings are just a part of me. When I have them now, they're small and like old friends checking up on me. I'm telling you, I've got this down, all figured out.

So that's how I know this is the real deal. Yes, I'm sure. And it's not just me. He's watching you too. See? Here, there he is, Tuesday, two tables away from you at the food court in front of the Qdoba. And here, up the slope from that basement window that looks into your office. You wouldn't see anyone from that angle. And look, the look on your back door is busted or something, you can see it right there. It opens so easily, you need to get that fixed. I'm telling you all this because you're my friend, and I don't want to see you get hurt.

Don't worry too much. I'm watching out for you, I promise. Still, be careful, okay?

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: The Finish Line.
« on: 09:12 PM, 12/ 8/17 »
The real cake is the friends you made along the way.

o-o What in the world could it be? hm. Good on him to clean it up, anyway.
This one has me convinced that for the project going forward, somebody needs to write a story of the police who had to go through the units. What would they even make of this?

Quick typo: "I hadn’t touch a soccer ball", should be "touched".
Also at the end... "Neither Alice nor Jeremy played soccer ball", shouldn't it just be "soccer", and not "soccer ball"? Or did you mean to say "with the soccer ball"?

Ah, going to seek a great perhaps. But I thought that quote was about dying?

Hey, at what point did the narrator find their phone? It was lost and then by the end they have it again. Just a little thing.
Also, what were they drinking at the bar and grill? That's a good place to sneak in some extra juicy details. What did they drink? What did they eat?

I really love the overall feel of this story. REALLY love it. It's like the emotion is the story more than the plot. If I put on my critical glasses, I'm not really sure what's going on. The camping, the jars, burning the stuff... But like, the emotions work so well that I almost don't need to read too far into it.
They're just all these little looks into what life had been for this family, and what it isn't anymore. Good job!

Before I started reading, I was like "Hey, I'm gonna read this one aloud! See how it goes." And then your first sentence is a bit... long. XD haha.
You use a lot of commas where there should be periods. There are also two, three or four ideas in a sentence which could each be contained in their own.
I would suggest reading it out loud to yourself. See what feels natural and what doesn't.

Who is Lenny? What is their relationship to the narrator? Why does it fall to the narrator to clean out the unit?
And also, who was Lenny's brother, and what was his relationship to the narrator?
Did the narrator know this brother at all? Did they have an opinion about him that was shattered by this discovery in the unit?

I just feel like it might need little more backstory to make the discovery in the unit more significant to the reader.

Typo patrol! >3<
"...and only three hours before the got back." They?
"...dwell upon there meanings" Their.
"I had noticed I left the ajar." the... door?
"looked like a man but move like" moved

My favorite things:
I agree with the previous commenter! "Dude." Very nice Halloween slasher experience. Love the victim on the tree. Love the narrator's "just drop everything and run".
I also like how you make it clear that this narrator is pretty broke, he hasn't replaced his phone or his car yet, but still his dad is making him pay for this unit. I get that. Good motivations.

My questions:
What things did the narrator decide to take from the storage unit, in the end? What were "just the interesting things"?
Who showed up with a truck at the end? Is that someone from another unit? It seems odd just mentioning it and nothing really happening.

My suggestions:
There's one line where you refer to the assailant as "it" while the rest of the time you call them a "he". That feels weird... Maybe just stick with "he" and describe his other-than-human qualities without the "it"?
Some of your sentences could be divided into a few shorter ones, while there are some fragments that aren't quite sentences. I know that this just goes with the "conversational" tone, but maybe consider cleaning a few of those up a bit for your reader. Or not! =) It's up to you.

Nice! I feel much more connected with the narrator this time around.
I also like the narrator's conclusion, what he's going to do with the tapes. This is a very angry person, and he's going to use that anger.
Good job!

I don't know, but I promise you we're writing Moo Moo's Murder Mystery regardless. XD

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Location Collaboration
« on: 05:44 PM, 12/ 1/17 »
so. . . would it mess anything up that i broke the back left(closest to unit 132) camera in my story?
You might want to e-mail in about that. It probably depends on when it happened.

Thank you so much for those! I should have caught the first one myself. x_x

The other two are things that probably come from my style of speech. haha. Like, "ran me documents" is supposed to be like "ran documents for me".
hm, and I wasn't so much implying Danielle's efficiency as I was speaking to the fact that she's probably always alone with nothing better to do than learn every detail of the office.

I've changed them. Thanks again!

Ooh. Stabby. I'll see if I can make suggestions in order as I read. Please don't be intimidated by the length of this post. XD

Firstly, something I suggest to a lot of people, try reading your story aloud once and see if anything is weird. If it's not the way you'd say it, it might be a bit confusing to read. It will help you tighten things up a bit.

I'm having a little trouble following the timeline of the story, since it's a bit non-linear from the get-go. Your first paragraph talks about being 4 days prior. Is everything here going on 4 days prior? When does it return to the present?

Technical notes: New paragraph every time a different person speaks. Also, this is picky, but could you maybe put another line break between paragraphs like I'm doing in this post? XD;;; Forums are kinda hard to read...

I like the descriptions of the house and everything in it very much! BUT. You use the word "ornate" a whooole lot. What other words would capture the feel you're going for?

"oh, yeah, I thought that  this would be a more appropriate place to have the rest of this little chat."
Where are they? They're in the storage unit, right? I could use a little more establishment here.

"You don’t get to act like you didn’t do these things."
Ooh boy. So, we're in the middle of the story, at the big reveal, and SUDDENLY there's a sister that was killed. Is there any way to work her in sooner? How much of our narrator can you tell us earlier in the story? We need to know who he is a little, and if his sister is so relevant, he should probably at least think about her or remember her at some earlier point. Otherwise, this twist could have been anything, you know?
It's a good twist! It just needs more set-up.

How is this camera/projector set-up working, exactly?
Is this your narrator watching what happened a few days ago? (That literally just now occurred to me.)

I like the ending. >3< That last line feels really good.

Aaaand that's all I got on a first reading. I look forward to your next draft!

As the author, you do need to manipulate your reader's emotions. =) I would say give a shot and let's see if it turns out "too dramatic" or just right.
You could always scale it back if you like the core of the idea you use.

My brain is like... "What... the fuck...?" in a good way.
Firstly, I like that this story is taking place almost entirely outside of the Fleming Storage/Plaza area. This is an incident, some action-packed thing that is happening, almost entirely independent of the overall project narrative but still within it. Cool. Beans. Cool beans.

I think you could use a little more "normalcy" in the beginning to give the reader some time to settle in before the big ol' drug trip.
Why is the candy there? What is the sister like? Is she the kind of person to have drugged candy or is this something sinister?
What are your narrator's thoughts the next morning? I feel like it ends juuuust a tad too quickly. Again, maybe a little more clear-headedness on either end of the story will ground it better.

Also, I'm sorry...
"I just saw the movie Jeepers Creepers last week and I wanted to keep those eyes."
Unless there's some really good backstory reason, you should probably avoid such a passing reference to other horror media. XD;;
Just saying. It breaks the immersion, you know?

Wait, so was there really a razor blade IN the candy? Or... where did they get the razor blade...? x_X I guess it's not THAT important. Just... huh.

Anyway, it's a really fun read, and I think with a little more grounding it will only get better.

Progeria, ouch. I actually remembered that one without looking it up. It's a difficult condition.
So, here's an idea for you, take it or leave it: What if the storage unit is filled with things Ben and his wife had planned to give to Emily as she grew up, but can't be used because of her condition? Or things they needed to get out of the house to make space for her?
Right now the unit just seems to be filled with random junk, you know? Make the contents really worth the monthly fee to store them there. Give it some emotional weight.

The butterfly thing is surprising, and the Progeria is sad, but it doesn't feel like there's enough of a connected story with history and feeling, especially since the narrator is so "whatever, get it over with" about everything. It's a great place to start though. Find a few more threads to pull it all together!

hehe, everyone got used to the title "Possible Paranoia" and then I went and suggested "Sabotaged Sanity". =P /title change

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