To The Bone

1 chapter / 873 words

Approximately 4 minutes to read

Description:

*Winner of the Winter Writing Contest*
A girl wakes up, soon to learn that ice is radiating from her brain and that she's slowly turning to ice. For the most recent contest.
~Eve:)

Genres: Writing, Fantasy, Short Story

Tags: ice cold freezing hand brain pain scared girl casey alone alienated hospital ice in veins freeze winterwriting

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over 2 years ago Morgan Allen said:

The use of the word staccato was beautiful. Towards the beginning you were describing your mind to be completely blank. Not sure if the word completely in that sentence is the best choice, but it may. The last line made my soul happy. All in all, great job. Much Love and Happy Writing! From the bed of Morgan K. Allen

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almost 3 years ago Amelia Markey said:

I was impressed the first time I read this, but...it definitely made for a bit of a jumpy read. Things just seemed to be a little too disconnected. First we have the character wake up, realize she can't move, and start on-and-off sleeping; then there's a two-day gap. We find out she's in the hospital, but there's no indication of whether or not she knows what happened in between.

Don't misunderstand - it's perfectly fine to have jumps like that to leave some things open for speculation (don't want to give the whole plot away all at once!); but I need to know at the very least what the *character* knows. It's important to know where her head is at, since I want to feel as if *I* were the one waking up instead of her. So how should I be feeling? Disoriented? Tired? Frustrated? Right now I don't know how to feel since I don't know what she's seen and not seen, or done and not done in that gap. [Edit: Just realized that you mentioned her memory loss when she wakes up in the afternoon, but I strongly feel that it belongs in the second paragraph. Otherwise the reader doesn't have enough information to follow the story.]

Of course, this doesn't mean you should spend another few paragraphs going in-depth about what happened before your gap (what would be the purpose of a gap, then?); just mention it briefly as she's waking up - somewhere along the lines of "What was this...a hospital? How had I gotten here?" or "I couldn't seem to keep the last few days straight in my head." That will be more than enough to give me an idea of what the character already knows or doesn't know.

Another place you have a little disconnection is when your character becomes outraged in the afternoon. First, what set her off? There has to be something in there to provoke her. Maybe it's implied by the fact that she's in the hospital and doesn't want to be there, or else the ice is somehow driving her to rage; but that's only me guessing. I have nothing in the preceding paragraphs to support that. Once again, just a small insight into the character's feelings works wonders for my connection to her (otherwise I feel a little awkward, watching a character freak out for no reason): "Who put me in here? And - my arm! What had they done to me?" or something like "Without warning, a hot geyser of anger that had been building up inside me for some time released itself. By now my skin was so cold that it almost felt hot, adding fuel to my unexpected rage." Or whatever reason you had - you know your character's mind better than I do. Also, I didn't get why she was pounding on the door, only to move over to the desk a moment later. Was the door locked? Just remember to think through the details - your pacing is good and desperate, but if I don't know why your character is doing certain things, I'm going to get left behind.

When I read through this story a second time it made a little more sense, but be aware of this kind of thing in the future - just because you, the author, know where your story's headed doesn't mean the reader does; and it doesn't mean that you can take as many detours as you like and hope that they can keep up (especially with a unique concept like this). Admittedly, "author's bias" is hard to avoid. Just keep finding people to review your stories on Figment, like you're doing; and even try getting some live feedback from your friends or family (especially family - they're not afraid of being too harsh :D).

One last thing: there are a few awkward phrasings you might want to clean up. From what I can tell of this piece, you're an inventive writer and like saying things in an unconventional way. Nothing wrong with that - I do the same thing, and will readily admit that I usually get carried away and say things in an unnecessarily complicated way, just to sound like I'm working the language. It doesn't always turn out very well, of course; and I might end up with phrases that don't make for smooth reading or just sound dumb. A few things you might want to clean up are: "...a hand reaching up to caress my singed eye socket" ( Icouldn't tell that it was her hand at first - maybe try "I cried out, reaching up to..."); "A startled gasp escaped me" (giving the action to "gasp" makes for a bit of an awkward read - it slowed me down while I tried to figure out the sentence, even though it was so short. Try something like "Startled, I gave an involuntary gasp and jerked my hand back..."); "christalline" (should be crystalline - just a small spelling error); "the coiling cool" (I understand the appeal of alliteration, but the awkward combination of syllables made me stumble both times I read the piece. Maybe choose a different c-adjective? Or none at all; it isn't even necessary since you've characterized the cold so much in that paragraph already); "bear-hugging" (The affection of a bear hug is definitely not the connotation you want here. Why not keep it consistent with the rest of the paragraph and choose a cold or death-related idiom?); "flakes" (I just wasn't sure what you meant by that - were they snowflakes? If so, using the full version might be better since you didn't mention that it was snowing before).

To sum up, make sure to turn a critical eye to your pieces. As an authors, you'll always be at a disadvantage, since reading what you've written over and over gets you used to the cadence of it and it can be hard to see anything wrong. Try reading it again in the eyes of a someone who's never seen it before - then you might be able to pick out a few things such as missing details or awkward phrasings.

Above all, keep writing! I enjoyed this; it was thoughtfully written and you show quite a lot of promise.

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