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For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

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Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Mikes Morning Run

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Deifan68




Number of posts : 5
Registration date : 2008-12-18

PostSubject: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 10:23 am

Here is a short story I wrote a few days ago. It is my first attempt at writing any kind of story. I just wonder what you folks think of it. Feel free to let me know.

Mikes Morning Run

Mike opens his eyes and realizes the sun is up. He stretches and looks at the clock. But to his surprise the clock isn't working. He checks and sees that it's plugged in. He figures he'll see why it's not working later. He gets up and looks at his bed confusingly. It is made up. He figures he was very tired last night and just fell on the bed exhausted and didn't get under the covers.

He walks by the mirror and realizes that he is already dressed in his running clothes. He doesn't remember getting dressed. He decides not to dwell on it. He goes downstairs to get some food but feels he isn't hungry or thirsty at the time. He'll get both when he returns from his run.

Mike goes out of his apartment and goes to the first floor. He goes outside and looks around. He notices people walking around with jackets on. But he doesn't feel cold. He notices the traffic is more than usual. He tries to think if it's a holiday or something. Nothing comes to mind.

He decides it's time to do his morning run. He crosses the street and goes to the park. As he is running he keeps hearing the sirens in the distance. As he runs he notices all the people having a good time in the park. Kids are playing on the swings and slide. Adults throwing frisbees and footballs. Old men playing chess on the tables. Dogs chasing and catching the frisbees.

He runs to the back of the park and into the woods behind it. He runs this route every other day. He knows the trails very well. He's been running it for years. He notices that it is unusually quiet today except for the sirens he keeps hearing. It was kinda unusual for this small town. As he runs he sees a deer right by the trail. As he runs by he notices that all the deer does is watch him go by but doesn't run. Mike finds this rather odd but keeps going.

Mike exits the woods and turns right to finish his run that ends at his apartment building. As he's going he notices a bunch of cop cars and medicals vehicles on the side of the road. There is a large crowd gathered across the street and a woman crying hard. He sees a car with it windshield busted. He figures someone hit a deer or had some kind of wreck.

As he gets closer, he decides he wants to get a better view. He starts cutting through the people there. As he gets closer, he notices a person on a stretcher. But he also sees that there is not any other vehicles that has been wrecked. He realizes that the car hit a jogger. Finally he is standing right beside the person on the stretcher. He looks down and gasps. He realizes that the person there is him.
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HYdraMStar


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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 4:15 pm

Honestly, it's a little predictable and flat. Mike doesn't really seem to be phased by anything, even though everything is odd about this morning. I kept waiting for him to react or start getting anxious, but he never did until the very end and his whole reaction to seeing himself dead you summed up in five word sentence.

Also, I know you were trying to tie the deer in the park in with the car crash, but it doesn't really work. Deers are a rare enough thing even in large parks, but one running around in the street outside an apartment building is a youtube sort of moment. So, it's rather unnatural for him to assume the car must have hit a deer. I'd go with a dog or even another jogger, maybe someone he normally sees when he's out for his own morning run. That would also give you an opening to build up some panic in him or at least some sort of negative emotion.

Good luck, it really isn't that bad of a start. The plot and storyline are good, just focus on adding some emotional depth.
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Deifan68




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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 4:37 pm

Actually you're not exactly right about the deer. He is in the wooded area near a dirt path. It was nowhere near the street or the cars. I have heard many different things about animals seeing or not seeing ghosts. I had this deer seeing him but being unafraid of him. In all truth, a deer doesn't run from seeing a person, they react to sounds around them. I'm glad you noticed how I played the deer in it, I wondered if anyone would. And I did mention that Mike found it odd that the deer did that.

Thank you for the comments. I was wondering I needed to add more emotion. I had some but as you said, not quite enough. I'll work on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 5:50 pm

This is the line I was talking about with the deer tie in that doesn't work; "He figures someone hit a deer or had some kind of wreck."

The scene in the park is fine. It works.
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Deifan68




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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 9:44 pm

I see what you mean. Thanks for pointing that out. I seem to have been looking right past that sentence. Thank you.
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Urs


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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 18th 2008, 10:49 pm

I will say, for a first attempt, this is very good.

I would take this and revise it to make Mike more "Alive" before we realize that he is dead.
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PostSubject: Reply   December 19th 2008, 12:16 am

First, Deifan68, HELLO!!!

Second, sorry that it took so long to respond.

Third, I could be rather mean about this one. However, the others did a good job of covering the basics.

1) Describe the people and the scenery. You need to paint the images in the mind of your readers.

2) Build a flow in your narrative. Instead of simply listing facts or events, work to tell the story.

3) Connect the message to your reader. Yes, I read it, but I did not care whether the person was alive or dead.

Okay, keep writing. A little toss-out is good. Now, how about developing your talent.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Deifan68




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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 19th 2008, 12:04 pm

I'm wondering if this is better or does it really not change anything?

Mike opens his eyes to the rising sun in his eyes. He stretches he looks at the clock, but to his surprise the clock isn't working so he looks to see if it's plugged in. He sees it is but decides he'll see what the deal is later. He gets up to make his bed only to see it is already made. Most likely he was very tired last night, just fell on the bed exhausted and didn't get under the covers he tells himself.

He walks by the mirror and realizes that he is already dressed in his running clothes, but doesn't remember getting dressed. "Am I a sleepwalker?" he asks himself in the mirror then chuckles. He decides not to dwell on it. He goes downstairs to get some food like he normally does but he isn't feeling hungry at the time. He'll get some when he returns from his run he thinks to himself.

Mike exits his apartment and goes to the first floor of the building. He walks outside to look around and notices people walking around with jackets on, yet it doesn't feel cold to him. He observes that the traffic is more than usual. He tries to think if it's a holiday or something but nothing comes to mind.

He decides it's time to do his morning run so he crosses the street and enters the park. As he begins to run, he keeps hearing the sirens in the distance. He notices that all the people having a good time. He looks around to see the kids are playing on the swings and slide, adults throwing frisbees and footballs, old men playing chess on the tables, and a few dogs chasing frisbees.

He runs to the back of the park and into the woods behind it, a route he takes every other day. He knows the trails very well since he's been running them for years. He notices that it is unusually quiet today except for the sirens he keeps hearing which is kinda unusual for this small town.

While he is running, he sees a deer right by the trail. As he goes by, he notices that all the deer does is watch him but doesn't run. Mike finds this to be rather odd behavior for a deer but keeps going.

Mike exits the woods and turns to finish his run that ends back at his apartment building. Up ahead he notices a bunch of cop cars and medical vehicles on the side of the road. There is a large crowd has gathered and a woman crying hard. He sees a car with it windshield busted so he decides to investigate. He wonders if the crying woman might be the driver?

As he gets closer, he wants to get a better view so he starts cutting through the people there. As he nears, he notices a person on a stretcher, but he also sees that there is not any other vehicles involved. He realizes that the car hit a person. Before he knows it, he is standing right beside the stretcher. He looks down and gasps as he realizes that the person on it is him.

Suddenly his morning starts to flash back to him. Many questions come to mind as he stands there. Why had he slept on his blankets instead of under them? Why was his bed not messed up like he had slept on it? Why doesn't he remember opening his apartment door? Or his apartment building door? Or riding the elevator down? Why was he not hungry, thirsty, or cold? Why is he not breathing hard after running 5 miles? Now it is beginning to make sense to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 19th 2008, 5:26 pm

Deifan68 wrote:
I'm wondering if this is better or does it really not change anything?
Yes, this is more of a narrative style. The next step is to work in some emotion and mood into your writing. Glad to see you working at improving. Keep it up.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Deifan68




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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 20th 2008, 2:25 pm

Could any of you show me an example of how to add emotion to it? I'm still learning.
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TerishD


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PostSubject: Reply   December 20th 2008, 3:35 pm

Deifan68 wrote:
Could any of you show me an example of how to add emotion to it? I'm still learning.
You cannot really show. Each of us connects to different things in different ways. The first step is to read your own stuff and learn what is missing, then how to put it in. As you work, you read what others have done and learn to recognize what they did, then how to use those skills for yourself. Don't think it is easy. Writing takes skill, and developing skills takes work. Thus - KEEP WORKING!

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 21st 2008, 12:09 am

Deifan68 wrote:
Could any of you show me an example of how to add emotion to it? I'm still learning.

Like TerishD expressed, it's a hard thing to nail down.

I'd suggest that for right now to maybe think about how you'd react, how you'd feel, what you'd say if it were you in your character's position. Of course eventually you'll have to learn to be empathetic and think/feel as your characters do, even if they're nothing like you at all, but it's not a bad place to start.
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Urs


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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 21st 2008, 11:39 am

It is one of those artsy things when you look at it.

Like someone trying to teach you how to take a "Dynamic Picture"

I could try to explain it, but it would take far more then a few post on a forum.

I would suggest taking a course or reading a book on the subject, like any other skill you want to learn, go, study, do.
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deathbypen


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PostSubject: Re: Mikes Morning Run   December 22nd 2008, 8:15 pm

Hello Deifan,

I'd like to start by saying how impressed I am with your writing considering this is your first story. It's easy to get discouraged when you're first starting out, but I want you to know that you're starting out fairly strong. Style and grammar will come with time and practice, but you already have a good sense of timing.

You story opens up but doesn't drag, nor does it jump into the action too soon. I enjoy the steady pace.

Now, onto the critique. I'm not going to go line-by-line, but rather focus on a couple of tips that may help you to strengthen your writing voice.

Tip 1: Show, don't tell. I'm sure you've heard this rule before but you may not understand how to apply it. In short, it applies to EVERYTHING. A lot of your sentences begin with "He Fill In The Blank." He runs, sees, gets, walks, smiles, realizes, runs, notices, goes, asks...etc. That's telling because that's what you'd tell a friend about someone else. "He said this, and he did that." You don't want to tell the audience, you want to show them.

"Mike opens his eyes to the rising sun in his eyes (Is he outside? How bright is the sun?). He stretches he looks at the clock, but to his surprise the clock isn't working so he looks to see if it's plugged in ("looking" is implied. You don't need to say he looks. Try something like "Stretching, he checks the time but realizes that despite being plugged in the clock isn't working") . He sees it is but decides he'll see what the deal is later (Once again, "see" is telling so you don't need to state it. Keep it simple "He decides that he'll figure it out later."). He gets (What is gets? Did he sit up? Stand up? Maybe he's still groggy so he slouched up, or maybe he's an early bird and he popped up. Get specific)up to make his bed only to see it is already made (Stay away from the "see". "Surprisingly awake, he stands up and inspects his already made bed and figures he was so tired last night that he didn't bother getting under the covers.") Most likely he was very tired last night, just fell on the bed exhausted and didn't get under the covers he tells himself."




Tip 2: You can help make your story more "real" by making experiences relatable. Let's simply take your first sentence. "Mike opens his eyes to the rising sun in his eyes." Ask yourself, how can I make someone feel that? How can I make them relate to him? Well, everyone squints when sun is in their eyes. "Mike opens his eyes, but quickly squints and turns his head into his pillow away from the rising sun." Depending on mood, maybe the sun is an enemy or a friend. "Mike opens his eyes welcoming the sun's warmth on his cheeks." Maybe the act of opening them is important because of the amount of time they have been closed. "Mike, having stared at the back of his eyelids for the last half an hour, finally opened them. The sun created little colorful circles in his vision." Not saying you have to do this with every sentence, but don't be afraid to go all out.

I hope these tips help you out. Like I said, you're off to a wonderful start. There is no secret to writing, only practice so continue what your doing.

~New York Bum
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