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Old 01-24-2013, 09:37 AM   #1
SecondCircle
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New story recently posted. I guess you could say it's part of my ongoing experiment to see if erotic horror works.

http://www.literotica.com/s/snowed-in-21

It's received mixed reviews, which is to be expected. Let me know what you think. Be warned it's a bit long and I've been accurately told it's "out there." It involves mild incest, but shouldn't be too much for the average reader.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #2
Oblivius
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Grammar - There were some needless spelling errors and incorrect grammar in your story. Spell check and proofread.

Paragraphs - I would recommend you to split up your paragraphs in smaller chunks. Huge walls of text are tiring to read, because you must concentrate so hard to not lose your place. If you donít the story will feel longer (tiring) then it actually is.

I personally got the urge to skip some paragraphs because it was so long. It is great that you manage to write such a huge amount, but with some formatting you can use it to your best advantage.

Slang - I would recommend you to lessen the slang in your dialogs. like "gonna" and "gotta", unless it is *specifically* used to give characters some personality. In your case everyone uses slang, even the father.

Horror vs Excitement - I actually enjoyed the horror in this story. The biggest critique I have is that the erotic and the horror parts of the story are too separate. They are unrelated. Jamie saw a ghost and moments later she was having wild sex with her step brother. My suspension of disbelief snapped at that point.

The horror characteristic of horror stories, in this case the monster, must in some form have a *central* role to play in the erotic nature of the story. If the fear was present throughout the sex, it would have helped the story.

Conclusion - Well, this is my feedback on your story. Overall a decent story. Fix these little niggles then Iím positive your stories will improve.

Last edited by Oblivius : 01-24-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Thanks, Oblivious, your feedback was very valid and helpful.

I did have concerns that the story was too long for Lit readers. I tend to forget and write longer stories because they are the ones I personally prefer, but I agree that perhaps it should have been shortened, if not broken up into smaller parts.

Slang is a bit tricky in literature, and I did "sorta" use it too much. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "going to" or "want to" when I'm just casually talking, so though it was probably excessive, I figured it would be accurate seeing as how that's the way we young people actually talk.

You were right about the split of horror and excitement, and it was something I thought about while writing. Usually I combine the two in erotic horror, but deviated this time.

Thanks again for your feedback. Every bit helps me get better.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #4
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I did have concerns that the story was too long for Lit readers. I tend to forget and write longer stories because they are the ones I personally prefer, but I agree that perhaps it should have been shortened, if not broken up into smaller parts.
I was not referring to the story itself, rather the paragraphs *themselves* are too long. The story will *feel* long if the paragraphs are huge blocks of text. You will be surprised how much easier it is to read stories whose paragraphs are broken down into smaller parts.

Edit: On the point of long stories: You can break a story up in smaller chunks and release it as chapters. But then each chapter's story must be complete so the story does not end abruptly. People want to break up their stories so readers can read through each section in one sitting. In my opinion 5 lit pages is short enough and isn't long according to lit standards. I've read through your story in less then an hour.

Last edited by Oblivius : 01-24-2013 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Added thought on long stories
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Oblivius View Post
I was not referring to the story itself, rather the paragraphs *themselves* are too long. The story will *feel* long if the paragraphs are huge blocks of text. You will be surprised how much easier it is to read stories whose paragraphs are broken down into smaller parts.

Edit: On the point of long stories: You can break a story up in smaller chunks and release it as chapters. But then each chapter's story must be complete so the story does not end abruptly. People want to break up their stories so readers can read through each section in one sitting. In my opinion 5 lit pages is short enough and isn't long according to lit standards. I've read through your story in less then an hour.
Point taken. It's something I need to work on.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:47 PM   #6
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Slang is a bit tricky in literature, and I did "sorta" use it too much. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "going to" or "want to" when I'm just casually talking, so though it was probably excessive, I figured it would be accurate seeing as how that's the way we young people actually talk.
One problem with using slang is that once a character has used a slang word, it would be going out of character to have them reverting to proper English as some point. The best way to get around this often is to just give them a couple of slang words to use, enough to flavor their dialogue.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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I'm reading this and I find the writing is fine but some things the characters do don't quite make sense to me.

For instance, Jamie dresses to tease Chris, but why? It seems cruel on one level, but also just doesn't make sense. She doesn't seem to have a crush on him the way he does on her, so it doesn't appear she's out to seduce him. Plus, you've gone to great lengths to establish how absolutely freezing it is outside, so why wouldn't she dress warmer in the house? Honestly, I don't like her -- she talks about how she has toyed with him, and that doesn't make her very likable (if you wanted her to be).

And when she sees the door open the first time at the end of the hall, why does she suddenly rush to horrific thoughts? At this point, the reader doesn't know about the murder or Jamie's affinity for horror movies. Why can't the door just be open? What brings it to her attention?

Why wouldn't she comb her hair out after her shower? Sorry, small point, but nearly every woman I know would comb their hair out. Not necessarily for appearances, but b/c if you don't, you'll end up with a tangled mess later when it's dry. And Jamie has gone to other trouble with her appearance, so why wouldn't she do this?

Why does Chris not put on a shirt when he goes to bed? It's freezing out, blizzarding, their power is out and with it the heat, and Chris says at least once that it will only get colder -- and he makes no effort to adjust to this?

The horror aspect seems to come on too quickly. For example, despite the fact that this house has a violent history, it doesn't seem like much has happened to spook Jamie or Chris except for the occasional -- and easily explained -- creaking door, etc. Yet Jamie sees "leave" on the bathroom mirror and knows immediately it means she/they must leave the house? Couldn't it mean "Leave the bathroom"? Or "help me leave"? Or "I want to leave"?

I guess I was looking for a little more history of the horror. All we have is that a guy is in jail for -- pretty recently -- murdering his wife, and he blames it on an animal, or something else, something not human. But that's it. There's no sense that Jamie ever read much more on it, or that it got under her skin too much, or anything else. So it seems kind of ... easy (?) ... when she's dragged away.

One thing that adds to horror is the sense that it's focused on one person, or a couple of people. That no matter what they do, or how rational an explanation exists, something is out to get them. One movie that did this really well was "Paranomal Activity," for example -- the entity in the house wasn't just in the house. It had been following the girl nearly her whole life.

So I guess I missed that sense of why Jamie was chosen; and if she was, why wasn't more done earlier, after she moved into the house? She was there for three or four years before going to college, right? Or is it only b/c she slept with Chris? Or does the sex have anything to do with it at all; was it just that the entity decided to grab her then, and would have done even if she'd been reading a book?

If I've misinterpreted or missed anything, please let me know. I did think the story was well-written, and the sex scene was good. But the horror just didn't grab me the way it should have, I think.

Other things just bugged me, but probably wouldn't bother others.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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PennLady, by no means have you "misinterpreted" anything. It's my job as a writer to guide you toward conclusions, so the way you interpreted the story is my fault alone. Perhaps there should have been a little more detail to the story, maybe to explain a few things, but ultimately it was my choice not to.

If you didn't like Jamie that's absolutely fine. You weren't meant to. Yes she's a bit of a snob, and a tease. Her personality I stole from an actual friend of mine who acts this way. I wouldn't think less of you for hating her PennLady. I certainly do. But Chris is infatuated with her. Besides, she's still human, right? As for brushing her hair, I suppose she could have done that in the bathroom, but I think you've really just exposed the fact that I am a male writer, and that I have very short hair. ; )

The truth? Even I don't know the back story behind this creature, nor do I know why it chose Jamie first and chose her at the time that it did. Now I did try to implicate that this "creature" was a bit hungry for something in the mouth or groin. Could it have a sense that drives it to feed on people and animals during or after intercourse? Why the hell would it do this? It obviously prefers females... but why? Perhaps it needs human seed to mix with its own inside of a female womb to reproduce? What the hell does it want? Truth is, maybe I know, as the writer, more about this creature than the readers, but I chose not to tell. I told the story from Chris and Jamie's POV, though, and they certainly would have no idea. Though I failed to convey this, sometimes there is no explanation given to us when terror strikes. Sometimes this adds to our fear. The more we understand something, the less we fear it. For example, I know what Dagon looks like, but past that, all I have is the narrator's assumptions about what it really is. I was trying to give hints about what this strange thing could do, while keeping its origin or purpose a mystery in hopes that the reader wouldn't grow familiar and comfortable with it. Sorry, I realize it must have just seemed confusing.

Jamie doesn't know what leave means. She just knows that it's written in some strange substance on the mirror and that she just saw a woman in the bathroom. Chris sleeps with a shirt off because I do too, even when it's freezing, but I should have done like you said and put some clothes on him to show that it's friggin cold. Jamie jumps to horrible conclusions because she stated that she used to always hear strange sounds, and paired with the story she read about, it freaks her out a bit. I should have overshadowed this a lot more.

Again, your feedback was very valid and extremely helpful. It is my job as a writer to portray things the right way so that it leads you to draw the conclusions I want you to draw. Didn't quite hit the mark I see, but with time and good advice like yours, maybe I'll get there. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:29 AM   #9
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PennLady, by no means have you "misinterpreted" anything. It's my job as a writer to guide you toward conclusions, so the way you interpreted the story is my fault alone. Perhaps there should have been a little more detail to the story, maybe to explain a few things, but ultimately it was my choice not to.
I'm glad I didn't miss anything. I know sometimes I miss a sentence, or misread a word. *whew*

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If you didn't like Jamie that's absolutely fine. You weren't meant to. Yes she's a bit of a snob, and a tease. Her personality I stole from an actual friend of mine who acts this way. I wouldn't think less of you for hating her PennLady. I certainly do. But Chris is infatuated with her. Besides, she's still human, right? As for brushing her hair, I suppose she could have done that in the bathroom, but I think you've really just exposed the fact that I am a male writer, and that I have very short hair. ; )
It's fine if you don't want Jamie to be likable -- but then why should we care what happens to her? Just being human isn't enough, because when people behave badly, we (often) want them to get their comeuppance. Jamie gets hers and I can't say it bothered me overmuch. If Chris had been taken, it would have had more impact.

I suppose, thinking on it now, that another problem with Jamie as the victim is, well, it's rather cliche. I don't think you meant it this way, exactly, but it can be read as oh, the tease/slut (although Jamie didn't seem to be promiscuous) got what was coming.

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The truth? Even I don't know the back story behind this creature, nor do I know why it chose Jamie first and chose her at the time that it did. Now I did try to implicate that this "creature" was a bit hungry for something in the mouth or groin. Could it have a sense that drives it to feed on people and animals during or after intercourse? Why the hell would it do this? It obviously prefers females... but why?
I'm all for a writer holding back some details, b/c I don't think the reader needs every detail. I do think it may help a writer to have some details for their own use to inform the story, even if they don't get related. However, I think it's a little lazy to say that you don't know anything about this critter either. It leaves the story a little empty, and for me less scary than it could be. IMO, if you're going to have an entity that will just go after anyone in a location, then you need a history of unrelated people disappearing (for example).

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I was trying to give hints about what this strange thing could do, while keeping its origin or purpose a mystery in hopes that the reader wouldn't grow familiar and comfortable with it. Sorry, I realize it must have just seemed confusing.
But the lack of purpose makes it a rather generic entity, something like a slasher. And less scary.

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Jamie doesn't know what leave means. She just knows that it's written in some strange substance on the mirror and that she just saw a woman in the bathroom.
But in the story, you wrote:

Quote:
Leave. There was no way to misinterpret the meaning of this lone word. Someone had been in the bathroom. Someone wanted us out of the house.
So Jamie does know, or thinks she does.

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Originally Posted by SecondCircle View Post
Jamie jumps to horrible conclusions because she stated that she used to always hear strange sounds, and paired with the story she read about, it freaks her out a bit. I should have overshadowed this a lot more.
I'd think that's key to a lot of horror, the build up and the overshadowing. I mentioned "Paranormal Activity" before, and not because I think it's great, but b/c I've seen it recently and thought it did many things well. One of those things was that there was a history of the scare -- the female lead had had experiences all her life. It was centered on her, not the location. Research turned up a woman or two in the past with similar experiences. That built up the suspense to some degree.

But in your story, all we know is that Jamie, at some point, looked up the previous owner's story and then pretty much let it go. There was apparently no history of violence in the house prior to the previous owners; if there was, you (as the author) didn't tell us. If we (the reader) don't know, then it doesn't affect us.

And Jamie's pre-college experiences didn't seem to amount to much. After all, Chris lived in the house several years as well, but apparently never sensed or heard anything, and didn't know that Jamie did. It might have helped if Jamie had not wanted to come home; if her previous experiences had in fact driven her to get as far from the house as she could.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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I read it, mostly enjoyed, and am a dilettante when it comes to the intricacies of the written word. But just a few things that didn't work for me...

The timing of different events probably should have been shifted around a bit. Maybe switch the sex to before Jamie is warned by the ghost wife. That part really stretched my "suspension of disbelief". Haa haa any stepsister that is bold enough to seduce her stepbrother AFTER she has an apparition tell her to leave the house would have banged him in high school years ago!
I don't see any girl go from having an apparition appear to jumping into the sack minutes later.

It might work better if she was cleaning up in the bathroom after the deed was done and then saw the ghost. Especially if they had lived there for YEARS, presumably more than a few nights alone, and had never seen anything that overt before. The act of taboo sex being the trigger. Which is, really, very cliche.

The critter was another one that just made me go "WTF" and lost me entirely. So this thing has been living in the attic for atleast a decade, and...and what? Paranormal is one thing, ghosts warning of something out of The Thing that apparently only feeds once a decade is another.


For the record I didn't think the story was too long, or mind the slang. And I have known more than a few girls that liked to tease similiar to Jamie. Not because they had a goal or plan, but just because they liked the reaction of the tease itself. I found her character very believable. Up until the "oh I saw a ghost write "Leave" in ectoplasm on a mirror...think I'll go stroke my bro's cock now"......

Was a decent story, thanks for writing it.

Last edited by Porkwarrior : 01-25-2013 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
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Hmm. You make very valid points all around. Everything you've suggested would help the story in one way or another.

But really, I think that different things scare you and I. I also think that we are turned on by different things, and relate to different people. And there's nothing wrong with any of this.

From a guy's point of view (and mind you not every guy), even though Jamie is a bit of a cunt or a tease, she's the kind of girl many guys would lust after regardless. I don't like her, but I can definitely relate to Chris's view of her. Reading from her POV gives you a little insight on how she's toyed with him, and this sort of thing, believe it or not, makes her dirty and sexual to some pervs (like me). My editor (not on this site) didn't like her character, but said that her personality was a contrast to Chris, and that even if she is a bitch in a way, she's realistic, or "human." She said that while some may live her or detest her, she's going to remind you of someone you know in life. Sorry it didn't have the same effect on you, but even if I saw my most hated enemy dragged away into the dark by... something ..
I would feel for them. And I'd kinda be freaked. Because you don't just see loved ones or assholes dragged away by unseen "somethings." But I do see your point. Less people get drawn into stories with characters they don't like or relate to.

The creature? The history of the horror? Leave? Look knowing what I know if I was Jamie, if I just saw a chick in the bathroom, a strange creepy woman, and then found the word leave on the mirror? I'd think just the way she did. Hell I'd be shitting myself if I saw the word on the mirror written in blood or goo or hell even mud. I like the paranormal movies, and I realize that every beast or demon or ghost has his backstory, but honestly how much do you need? If someone told me that stuff happened in my house before I moved in, every bump, scrape, and drop of a pin would freak me out. It was stated that Chris had always heard sounds in the house, and he and Jamie related that to one another. He's obviously the shy, loner, skittish type, (or maybe I didn't paint him well enough) so of course he'd be the type to jump at every sound and flash of movement. Jamie knows this, and when she gets a little spooked herself, that snobby bitch side of her decides to use the source of her fear on Chris and tell him the story. <sigh> Pretty girls. Why do you tease us so?

The history of the horrors is what puzzles me. The story about the man and the wife would have been plenty for me to know if that was my house. Jaw missing? Groin split open? You see a ghost that looks the same way? Then later some strange terror is eating your jawless sister's bloody crotch for god knows why in the kitchen floor? Perhaps it was too little. You could be right that I should have given answers to the who what where when how of it all, and especially why. Perhaps it is lazy of me as a writer not to know this creature, or its true motives. I merely wanted to put myself in the character's shoes for this story. It kinda freaks me out more NOT to know what the hell that thing is, or what it wants. I may have done a poor job at delivering this emotion. We as humans, as readers, are intelligent beings. We want to know and understand the world around us. We ask the questions why and how, on just about every subject. Sometimes, in your case, the knowledge of what this strange creature is and who it targets and why is more terrifying. Sometimes it's quite opposite. Sometimes there is no explanation, no internet website with all of the answers, no hidden dusty book in the library filled with mythical creature lore.

Sometimes, the house is just dark, and you know someone was murdered there, but that's all. Would it take much more? When our minds can't answer why or how, it creates answers. In the case of a dark house where a murder occurred, our imagination conjures up ghosts tapping on walls and pushing doors. It imagines slinking and slithering creatures hiding in the attic. It's the reason I made such minuscule sounds and occurrences mean so much to Jamie and Chris. Because in the warm comfort of your living room, nothing seems quite as scary as they really would be. But in the house where one woman was gruesomely murdered? By either her husband or his fantasy cave animal? I would be a bit freaked. It wouldn't take a string of women's murders, one would make me queasy enough. Perhaps I should have mentioned more about the fear they felt and why, but I didn't wanna drive it into the ground. The creature's lack of purpose wasn't actually a lack of purpose, but a reason to leave you wondering why it does what it does.

As I said, the wounds themselves allow readers to make their own assumptions, for it's obviously it's signature when killing. But even if I told you that it mixes its own seed with a human male's inside of Jamie's womb to reproduce, would it really matter? It has a calling card, so there must be some depth there, some sort of answers. But perhaps not knowing the real reason it does what it does is a bit unsettling, certainly to a human mind. At the end of the day, when learning about the murder, seeing the ghost, realizing his fantasy (and thus letting down his guard), and finding his sister's torn body in the dark kitchen, you have to ask yourself... if you were in Chris's shoes, would you care why? If you were there with him in that house, would you need the creature's every attribute and motive for it to freak you out? Even in paranormal activities... do you have to be clued in to a ghost's motives to be terrified by what it's doing? The very activity itself is frightening enough, that doors are slamming, dogs are growling, and little dinosaur feet are turning up in the baby powder.

But they do explain the motives, right? This is where the audience gets the cheat sheet. You usually know more than the characters in the movie, so in a sense yes it does make it creepier because you know that ghost wants that little boy, and no matter how much you scream at them, they won't hear you. You know the grudge creature is in that house. You saw the first movie. The teenage girls didn't, and they don't know better, so you're scared for them.

I have taken that from the audience with this story. You are Chris. You are snobby Jamie. The info they have is all they have.

... have I rambled this much? Sorry. By no means am I refuting your opinions PennLady. I'm just wanting to explain myself and what I attempted to do. Your advice is very helpful though, and it will stay with me in my future efforts. Sorry I couldn't deliver the story as well as I wanted. Hope it doesn't turn you away from my other work. I enjoy your feedback, and having discussions with you. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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I read it, mostly enjoyed, and am a dilettante when it comes to the intricacies of the written word. But just a few things that didn't work for me...

The timing of different events probably should have been shifted around a bit. Maybe switch the sex to before Jamie is warned by the ghost wife. That part really stretched my "suspension of disbelief". Haa haa any stepsister that is bold enough to seduce her stepbrother AFTER she has an apparition tell her to leave the house would have banged him in high school years ago!
I don't see any girl go from having an apparition appear to jumping into the sack minutes later.

It might work better if she was cleaning up in the bathroom after the deed was done and then saw the ghost. Especially if they had lived there for YEARS, presumably more than a few nights alone, and had never seen anything that overt before. The act of taboo sex being the trigger. Which is, really, very cliche.

The critter was another one that just made me go "WTF" and lost me entirely. So this thing has been living in the attic for atleast a decade, and...and what? Paranormal is one thing, ghosts warning of something out of The Thing that apparently only feeds once a decade is another.


For the record I didn't think the story was too long, or mind the slang. And I have known more than a few girls that liked to tease similiar to Jamie. Not because they had a goal or plan, but just because they liked the reaction of the tease itself. I found her character very believable. Up until the "oh I saw a ghost write "Leave" in ectoplasm on a mirror...think I'll go stroke my bro's cock now"......

Was a decent story, thanks for writing it.
Well said. In fact, this was my least favorite thing about the story, and I agree that it would have worked better the way you said. I guess I was thinking Jamie was in denial about having actually seen something so outrageous, and that she doubted herself once she went to Chris. Definitely didn't write it that way. Lesson learned. : )

As far as the two living in the house for that long and don't get attacked until years later, that's subjective I guess. The two also lived there for a while and never fucked either... coincidence? Who knows. When Chris and Jamie lived with their parents they were what... fifteen? Sixteen? Different things matter at that age that don't amount to shit then. Jamie's attitude could have been different to him then, like she thought he was cute, but also thought he was a loser. Chris probably had the balls of squirrel then. Now it's the college years. They are sorta grown and aren't held back by the same things they thought were important as kids. So their parents aren't around and they seize the opportunity to fuck.

Who knows why the creature waited until now, but you're not asking the wring question as much as seeking the wrong answers by asking them. As I said in the earlier post, who knows what the hell that thing thinks? Was it sleeping that whole time? Does it arise only during certain calendar periods? Surely Jamie and Chris's parents have had sex before and they are fine. Does it want Jamie specifically, and only after intercourse? How do we know what it thinks? In this case, we don't know much about it. We can't predict it. We can't know when it will come forth, or why.

Obviously, this idea didn't land with people, and that's my fault. But hey, I'm learning as I go. Thanks for the input. You guys are very helpful.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #13
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And I accidentally just 1-starred your story because I'm an idiot and I clicked in the wrong place. Sorry about that; at least it'll get removed once they run sweeps.

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New story recently posted. I guess you could say it's part of my ongoing experiment to see if erotic horror works.

http://www.literotica.com/s/snowed-in-21

It's received mixed reviews, which is to be expected. Let me know what you think. Be warned it's a bit long and I've been accurately told it's "out there." It involves mild incest, but shouldn't be too much for the average reader.
One thing that didn't quite work for me: IMHO, in paranormal horror there's usually a reader expectation that the story will invoke a single departure from reality, and the 'natural' consequences of that departure. It's not a universal rule, but breaking it makes it harder to carry a horror story.

Here, you have two departures: the attic-thing that kills people horribly, and the fact that people who are killed horribly might come back as ghosts. I'm guessing the purpose of this was to misdirect readers from the real danger. But I don't think it was entirely effective (we know it's the ghost of a woman who was killed by something else, so we're already waiting to see the thing that killed her) and to me it weakened the story.

First, it meant you didn't get enough time to establish the attic-thing. Doesn't mean you need to tell readers exactly what it is, but I think it would've been more effective for horror purposes if it'd had more of a buildup earlier on, which would also have helped with the issue that Oblivius mentions.

The creature has a "horrible smell"? Characterise that smell, and drop hints of it earlier. The creature preys on animals as well as people? Maybe the family has a cat, who's around at the start but goes missing later. The creature goes quiet for years? Is there something that brings it out of hiding, e.g. cold weather? Or maybe it only attacks animals that are on heat, and the woman it killed really was having sex with her lover at the time?

Second, it meant that at the climax of the story, I was distracted from the action: "wait, so is this just some unknown wild animal? But that doesn't explain how its victim was able to come back as a ghost."

Couple of minor points:

- Spelling mistake in the final sentence ("its long slimy truck came sliding into my throat") that undermines the effect.
- Chris and Jamie seem to be completely reliant on their cellphones as emergency lights. Surely, if you're expecting storms and possible power outages, you'd have candles or a flashlight handy?
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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But really, I think that different things scare you and I. I also think that we are turned on by different things, and relate to different people. And there's nothing wrong with any of this.
This is true and I'm not trying to say you should write the story the way I want it, or anything like that. However, I can say from experience that I have been spooked by stories like this, both in print and in movies, and whatever made those stories work was missing from this one. Again, you don't have to follow those exact patterns, but I wonder if you went a little too far afield.

I never actually questioned Chris' attraction to Jamie. I can understand it -- beautiful girl that he's suddenly in daily contact with, and he's shy or geeky or whatever. Plus, she's a stepsister, but not one he's grown up with. She's his age and aside from a somewhat slight "ick" factor, there's really nothing wrong with them having a relationship, or sex, or both. She is indeed a contrast to Chris, and that's fine. There's nothing even wrong with her being bitchy unless you want her to be liked (not necessarily thought to be hot); bitchy is rarely attractive.

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The creature? The history of the horror? Leave? Look knowing what I know if I was Jamie, if I just saw a chick in the bathroom, a strange creepy woman, and then found the word leave on the mirror? I'd think just the way she did.
You said in your earlier post that Jamie didn't know what it meant, but in the story she was sure of herself, and that interpretation was certainly believable. But you can't have it both ways -- you can't say in the story that she knew, and in discussion that she didn't. She can second-guess herself in the story, no problem, but she can't be one way in the story and another way outside of it.

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The history of the horrors is what puzzles me. The story about the man and the wife would have been plenty for me to know if that was my house. Jaw missing? Groin split open? You see a ghost that looks the same way?
Perhaps "history" is the wrong word. What I was looking for more was a trail, I guess, something that would give me reason to think that there is that scary undercurrent to everything. We have one guy who apparently had a crappy alibi when his wife was murdered, and people dismissed the story. The murder would creep me out, no doubt, but the rest? Most people would dismiss it, and I gather that Jamie's father did, and perhaps Chris' mother (we don't actually know if she knows), or he wouldn't have bought the house.

I guess I didn't feel enough was left there to make me feel any suspense. Jamie saying she looked stuff up is a perfect opening, and you don't have to go in for motives. Jamie could have found out that something similar happened years before the previous owner owned the house, and the house had stood empty for many years before that guy's purchase. There could be local urban legends about the house, although then Chris would likely have heard them. At any rate, at that point, the reader would know that something was amiss with the house, and start anticipating it.

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Sometimes, the house is just dark, and you know someone was murdered there, but that's all. Would it take much more?
It likely would take more. People die, and unfortunately are killed, in houses all the time. If every time that happened no one wanted to live in that house, we'd have a lot of razed lots and rebuilt houses. Murder does not necessarily conjure up creaking doors for people. And I don't know that one woman being murdered in a house makes a good basis for a haunting, not without knowing more about it.

You certainly have set up a good situation for people to get a little freaked, with the weather and the power. But I don't think there's enough underneath it.

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As I said, the wounds themselves allow readers to make their own assumptions, for it's obviously it's signature when killing. But even if I told you that it mixes its own seed with a human male's inside of Jamie's womb to reproduce, would it really matter?
Well, it might. And people aren't necessarily going to make any assumptions on the basis of those wounds. I mean, the most straightforward explanation, despite the husband's denials, is that he did it -- nothing mystical or supernatural there. And we only have one murder. That doesn't make a pattern or indicate a calling card. It could just show one guy really pissed at his wife for getting sexual with another man.

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I have taken that from the audience with this story. You are Chris. You are snobby Jamie. The info they have is all they have.
That may be, and it may not be enough.

I have to second the poster who mentioned the cell phones as flashlights. It occurred to me but I forgot. A cellphone light doesn't last long -- a minute, maybe? And when you know a storm is coming and you might lose power, wouldn't you have a flashlight or two around in easy reach? I have to say that's kind of on my mind since I dealt with Hurricane Sandy in October. We knew it was coming and found our flashlights, our lighter, candles, etc.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:09 PM   #15
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Thank you for all the feedback PennLady, and everyone else, too. It's been very helpful to me.

You've given me a lot to consider for future writing, and I must say I agree with it all. The reason for my detailed responses was just to give you an idea of what I was attempting to do, and your opinions on the matter have helped me to find new ways to deliver what I want to convey.

Might I add that I found it a bit... shall we say an honor that you chose to read the story. Not many people venture into the erotic horror category, and it was a bit surprising that you in particular gave such a fledgling attempt a good chance. I appreciate it a lot.

If anyone has any additional thoughts or opinions, don't be afraid to drop me a line. I accept all input, even the hateful kind.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:22 PM   #16
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Thank you for all the feedback PennLady, and everyone else, too. It's been very helpful to me.

You've given me a lot to consider for future writing, and I must say I agree with it all. The reason for my detailed responses was just to give you an idea of what I was attempting to do, and your opinions on the matter have helped me to find new ways to deliver what I want to convey.

Might I add that I found it a bit... shall we say an honor that you chose to read the story. Not many people venture into the erotic horror category, and it was a bit surprising that you in particular gave such a fledgling attempt a good chance. I appreciate it a lot.

If anyone has any additional thoughts or opinions, don't be afraid to drop me a line. I accept all input, even the hateful kind.
You're welcome. I enjoy discussing stories with people, what worked and what didn't. And EH is a tough category. I submitted one (since taken it down) and likely it should have gone in scifi, but yeah, it didn't get the reaction I was hoping for.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:03 AM   #17
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I'm very glad that, even though I'm merely an amateur, I can still have very professional guided discussions with the likes of you. What probably should have been an argument developed into what it was meant to be; a good learning experience.

Sorry. Writing, though it's just a hobby of mine, is indeed a passion. And it's nice to receive this sort of feedback to help with my development as an author. I look forward to more feedback from you (if I might be so blessed) because honest and constructive feedback is the key, I believe, to better progression as writers.

If only more people shared your dedication and understanding to the craft.

So 100 years from now, when you spot my perfect five on this site (and hopefully in the EH category) you can smile and think, "I remember that weird guy. He wrote the story about that crazy thing in the attic that face raped people, and I helped him out."

But I digress.

Many thanks, from below.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:55 AM   #18
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As to be expected in the EH category, this story has more mixed reviews than any of my previous submissions.

I think the views and opinions of the people on this thread are very accurate and are reflected in a lot of the feedback I've received. Too random, not enough backstory, sex is misplaced, etc. I have a better understanding of what people would like to see from the genre.

On the other hand, there are those that really love the story the way it is. I got an email from someone saying that they wouldn't want me to change anything. This was quite baffling since I'd received mostly similar opinions on the story on what didn't fit.

I'm more prone to agree with a lot of the negative feedback, seeing as how everyone was sort of unanimous. But it does trouble me that some people saw the story the way I tried to portray it. I don't want to alter the things I write if even a tiny percentage of readers enjoy it, but I don't want to keep practicing the wrong sort of content and methods if they don't work for the majority.

Are there any opinions on the matter? I realize that people's idea of a good story will differ, but I want to make sure I'm focusing on the right things and not just writing "subjectively good" material.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:39 AM   #19
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Working backwards, I think nearly all writing (and art, and movies, and music) is "subjectively good." Some will like a work, and some will not. I can't stand "The English Patient," but it won the 1996 Best Picture Oscar. I love Jane Austen, but I'm sure many people find her writing dull.

So, what I'm trying to say is that there will rarely be a unanimous consensus on anything. My advice on your story would be: since so many people have had similar "complaints," it's worth looking into. It doesn't mean they're right, but I figure when several people make the same observation, it's worth examining to see if you agree at all.

That's not to say that the people who agree with you are wrong or that you should ignore their comments. I just think it's worth checking the opposing side first.

I'll use the example again (sorry, but it's about the only one I have personally) of my last long story, "Rhythm and the Blue Line." I had a lot of people disagree about the ending. So I kept those in mind while checking it over. I agree on one point -- I can see where it felt a bit rushed. The other complaints, where they wanted the leads to be engaged/married/etc., simply were wrong. That would not have fit the story. So you have to take these comments with the proverbial grain of salt.

As for satisfying readers, I would be concerned more with satisfying myself that I've told a) a good story and b) the story I wanted to tell. You can write for the audience, certainly, and if that dovetails with what you want to write, then great. On the other hand, you can't please everyone.

It's hard to sort through all the comments and input, but that's something that as with writing, you will get better at with practice.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:58 AM   #20
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Well said.

Looking back, I think it's a little of both. There are some things I believe I would do differently, and some I wouldn't change. I think that's the point though. If we did, as authors pander too much to the crowd, well we wouldn't be us, now would we? But we can get a feel for how we can stimulate their interest a little better, and just simply make a more enjoyable read.

As far as your ending, some people just don't like the way things turn out. But those are the endings I like the most. Because you start making expectations and find that it doesn't pan out that way, and then realize that it rarely actually does.

As a writer of horror, there rarely are happy endings, or the endings we want, so I can sympathize. In your case, it simply didn't fit with the overall story if readers had their way. So actually the ending makes sense when you examine the characters.

Some of the things I wouldn't change were this way. Some changes would have made them better. I know that some events in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series literally pissed me off, but it made for a damn good read.

You can please some of the people all of the time, but never everyone all the time.
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