Taking a deep breath...
Would anyone (someone...please?) read through this extract and tell me if it has any creative merit or not!! Crikey writing can be a lonely old business!
“Don't look at me that way Alice .”
. Unable to meet my gaze, he turns away and pokes at the dying fire. Behind me I sense Clarissa leave the room, ushering the child out. I feel her fury. She warned me not to do this, told me to let it be.
I know he has suffered. I know about the nightmares. She confided in me, swore me to secrecy, in an attempt to make me reconsider.
But I don't care.
My grief is over powering and try as I might it is impossible to keep it in check. It has propelled me through the streets and brought me to their door. I am set on a course I can not change.
Every nerve in my body is jangling , sweat pooling at the base of my spine, I wait. The pain is raw once more.I can feel it in my chest, heavy and alive, reawakened by my furious resolve.
Ernest continues to prod at the coals. The embers spark and as they do my anger grows, spirals out of control, consuming my final threads of patience.
With silent hot and angry tears slipping down my cheeks I lunge forward. Grabbing his face, pulling his reluctant head to face me, I snarled. “Tell me damn you. Tell me I need to know!”
I feel his jaw tense, he is struggling to contain himself. The years slip away and suddenly we are children again, fighting in the yard or on the wharf. He wants to strike me, I know he does. Just like he did back then, win the fight with force and silence me.
He struggles against me, jerking his head, but I hold firm, my nails pressing the flesh on his sunken cheeks.
“I need to know..what it was like… Why …how…”
He roars, twisting, flinging his head away, kicking the chair from under him and knocking me to the floor. The poker falls from his hand, skidding across the hearth, striking the fender, the sound of iron on brass ringing out across the stone floor.
“Hell!” He screams. He is bending over me now, his face crimson and contorted with rage. “Nothing but bloody hell. And that's the truth. “
He spits the words, hissing into the fire and my face. I scramble upwards, forcing him back. More, I need more.
“Why hell? Define hell.”
I am determined now. Thinking I have broken him I push on.
“Don’t stop now. Don't hide behind those words! Tell me!”
I have backed him into a corner now, truly into a corner. With his back against the wall he stares, not at me but beyond. Over my shoulder, his face set, drained of colour. Then, without warning he falls, crumples quite literally in a heap at my feet. The noise he makes is unbearable. Animal screams echo around the small room. His hands over his head, he is rocking, sobbing, screaming. He turns from me and begins to scrape at the walls with his hands. Sweat on his skin highlights the scratches I left when I held him firm.
I recall, terrified. I did this.
Within seconds I am swept away by Clarissa. She descends on her husband who is now curled like an infant sobbing loudly. She swoops on him, enfolding him, rocking him, whispering soft promises and gentle kisses.
I reach out, but before I touch either of them she slaps my hand away. Her eyes are hard.
“Enough. Go now!”
Paralysed, shocked by the devastation I have caused, I splutter,
“I never meant…Please… I just needed... I’ve suffered too.”
Without letting go of her husband, she replies, her voice strangled inside a cold laugh.
“You ? Suffered? You mean that man you kept dangling for months and years. Suffered ? Just …just go…you…”
Shocked drained and I flee. Past the scared faces of my nephews I stumble out into Wharf Street, into the cool autumn air.
Is that what they think? That I treated him badly, that I have no right to feel this pain. That my suffering is less than theirs?
And obviously this thread title should be 'Opinions!!' I can spell honestly?!?
We'll I'm no creative writing expert OP,but it left me wanting more. And I am a pretty fussy reader BTW.
Thank you Janey. Trying to write about my Great Great Aunt Alice who lost her fiancé in WWI - she never married.
Your comment has made me do a little happy dance!
Anyone else? Or should I hide the notebooks now?!
It's a really interesting idea for a story, and there's lots of potential. It would be good if you could work on extending and developing your phrasing - there are a lot of very short sentences, and that amount of punctuation interjecting in the narrative can be a bit jarring.
Hi RMC. I agree with the previous posters, this has lots of potential. I think it's overwritten in places and you need to pare it down.
It's impossible to keep in check...I'm on a course I cannot change-repetition of similar sentiment so leave one out.
with silent, hot and angry tears, try leaving out one or two of the adjectives.
'Reluctant head', leave reluctant out.
Crumples quite literally in a heap-leave out 'quite literally'
Try Less tell, more show.
E.g, shocked and drained, I flee. You have already shown the state she is in by the mechanics of the scene, you can add this by describing something she does e.g shoulders droop, withdraws a few steps (not good examples, just using these to illustrate the point) and then say that she flees.
This is nothing that a good edit won't fix-not a lot wrong with it otherwise. I would certainly carry on as this is def showing promise. 👏🏼👏🏼
It's wordy, inelegant and uncomfortably 'faux period'. To be constructive I would say this excerpt could be half the length, and the present tense doesn't appear to serve any purpose and is making your dialogue clumsy, and “I need to know..what it was like*… *Why …*how*…” is weak.
Try using the past tense, at least as an exercise until you can get this material into shape. HTH you.
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