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Old 02-13-2017, 08:06 PM View Post #1 (Link) The Day the Sun Died
Sky_ (Offline)
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The day the sun died.

It was March 15th 2016.

Of course I remember the date. Wouldn't you? After years of being there, it suddenly left. There was no warning. Just left.

I don't remember much after that, but what I do remember is that goosebumps covered my skin. My breath made me look like a smoker. I did quickly became one after that, helped kill me faster.

People went insane. Glass breaking filled the ears of everyone around me. Sobbing left and right over fallen flowers and hungry sidewalks. Joining in on the wonderful burnings of reds, whites, and blues that soon turned black.

Life wasn't the same without the sun.

No one expected it to leave, it just happened. Everyone thought it was going to last, well at least it wasn't going to die as suddenly as it did. Maybe that's why I'm sick.

When ever my throat gets sore, I find my favorite bottle.

It's an ugly brown and fragile.

The small tubes of death, are my least favorite thing.

I hate them but I need them.

Roses. Those bloody roses. I bought them while running late to meet her. Only for the sidewalk to eat them up. A waste of money.

The place that helps my sore throat, everyone there knows me. Well except me.

They all cheer when I walk in, that could be a song. I think it just to cheer me up. It's been a year, I don't know why they keep trying. It's not going to happen.

-

The door clanked shut behind me. The shouts from inside forever silenced.

My throat no longer sore.

My lips pressed down on the creme colored tube. The other end quickly lit up.

Must be cold.

I look like a smoker.

I am a smoker.

I walked in a straight line. Not perfectly straight, but straight neither less. To much from my favorite bottle can make a man walk in a swaying circle.

The night was lit up.

Not by the stars. They went with the sun.

But by the lights of the surrounding buildings.

I swear, they got brighter when the sun died.

The world has been a lot less colorful after it left.

No more flowers.

The sidewalk ate them all.

Stupid sidewalk.

Running my fingers through my hair, black strands stuck in between the fingers.

The creme tube came to end of its life. I dropped it and crushed it into the sidewalk.

Maybe if I burn the sidewalk enough, it'll leave me alone.

Maybe.

My body was on fire as I hit the ground. I glared at the person across from, ready to kill.

I forgot how close I was.

The girl looked up, and my eyes meet hers, only for a moment.

Bright.

Everything went white, but just for second.

My vision came back, the girl was saying something. I couldn't hear her.

I glanced up to the sky and could help but grin.

It felt weird.

The stars were back. They dotted the dark sky, making it bright again.

On March 15th 2016, the sun died.

But.

On April 6th 2017, it came back.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:47 AM View Post #2 (Link)
MYAnna_M (Offline)
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This was very engaging with room for interpretation and imagination though the symbolism of the sun is a little unclear. There seemed to be some unfinished details such as the sidewalk eating the roses for "her." Is "her" the girl towards the end or someone entirely different? Overall, your literary tools were strong and despite the open ended details, your short story grabbed me from the start. One more thing: are the dates connected to something imporrtant to you? You don't have to answer if it's personal -- just curious.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:22 PM View Post #3 (Link)
Rose (Offline)
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It's been a very long time since I've critiqued anything. So your story is going to be the first one in this whole attempt-to-make-a-comeback-kinda-process. Apologies if I come off as mean in some places. I am generally a nice person, but I get a bit blunt when I critique. ♥

Note: Don't feel overwhelmed by the size of this critique. I don't know how new members are critiquing on the forum nowadays, but this is how we used to do it back in my days. Damn I feel old. I bet there are members from back then still giving critiques so you may already have an idea afterall.

Let's go.

Originally Posted by Sky_ View Post
The day the sun died. Okay, so, I assume that this is the opening sentence and not the title itself. I am one of the people who very much like this kind of way to start a story. A one liner. But, I think since the story is titled the same as the first sentence, it's not that striking. Especially the line that follows it: it was March [etc.] It just throws me off. I would very much prefer if you said: "The sun died today." But as I move on I find that this doesn't suit the time your story takes place in as it is obviously happening later after the incident. But I do strongly recommend you don't use this way of phrasing. It's too bland. Looks more like a title than an opening of a story.

It was March 15th 2016. You know what? I think it would be slightly better in my opinion if you said:

March 15, 2016: The day the sun died.

Instead of "it was march [etc.] But maybe you'll find an even better way to phrase it.


Of course I remember the date. Wouldn't you? After years of being there, it suddenly left. There was no warning. Just left. I find this very bland and serves no purpose, honestly. I think it's pretty obvious you remember, and I think it's too obvious--again--for people NOT to notice that the SUN is freakin' gone.

I don't remember much after that, but what I do remember is that goosebumps covered my skin. After the incident you mean? Or just generally after the sun died? It's a bit vague. Because, you see, this can technically mean that you've had a chronic case of goosebumps ever since the sun died. I don't think that's the case, right? Also, "goosebumps covered my skin" is not a very strong image. I mean, it does the job I suppose. But it doesn't carry out much emotion. My breath made me look like a smoker. I did quickly became one after that, helped kill me faster. I get the dystopian, no-purpose-to-live vibe, but the awkward phrasing is just making it very hard to me to connect with the character and/or feel anything for him [her?]. I suppose everyone who was still alive looked like a smoker. "We were all wrapped in rags and heavy clothes, walking with heavy steps and heaving breaths as condensed as smog, but I was one of many to actually have my breath stained with nicotine. I believed it would help kill me faster." Dunno, this was a bit awkward as well, but you know what I mean? More vivid imagery. Less stating. Show don't tell the whole time.

People went insane. See? Again, telling. "People went insane." How? Why? I am reading the story as I critique. So I don't know what's going to happen next at the moment. Though, I am still waiting for a sort of setting development and a bit of info on what's going on. I mean, if I don't know what the impact of the sun's fading is on humanity and on earth in the world you have created, I wouldn't really care or have any sort of emotions for the character(s) now would I? All I know right now is that they are all cold all the time. Sure, okay, fine. Is that the case ALL the time? Or just when they go out of their houses? How did they manage to survive? What's the world like without the sun? How is it functioning? Do they still have heating systems and electricity and what not? Or have they run out of other sources of energy? What about fire? How are they living? Are they living in groups? Or what? I have so many questions. I think if the sun died out in 2016, it honestly wouldn't be AS much of a problem as it would've perhaps before the industrial revolution because now we have a plethora of technologies and just sources to depend on. But here's the thing, are these things functioning normally when it's literally freezing? And how did the sun actually die? By now I assume it is literally and not metaphorically, so I am assuming - again, so far - that this is a sort of a post-apocalyptic story. But, if the sun were to die, we all know it would just explode and basically eliminate our solar system. Therefore I don't think there WOULD actually be life left or a planet left even after this incident. You have a lot to explain without falling into the aspect of telling/listing things like factual sheets. Glass breaking filled the ears of everyone around me. I don't quite get this. Sobbing left and right over fallen flowers and hungry sidewalks. But I suppose if there is still life sustained, and obviously there is since people are still alive and this means that animals are still alive which means plants are supposed to still be alive somewhere. Maybe in greenhouses with heating systems or maybe indoor plantation farms or something. Also, "people sobbing left and right" isn't really great. Joining in on the wonderful burnings of reds, whites, and blues that soon turned black. Hmm. Getting the vibe that the sun dying is a metaphorical statement afterall. Are you talking about the fate of the USA? Confused a bit as to why you chose those particular colors.

Life wasn't the same without the sun. Omit this. It's just a filler. No purpose stating that repeatedly. Again, show us how life changed.

No one expected it to leave, it just happened. Everyone thought it was going to last, well at least it wasn't going to die as suddenly as it did. Maybe that's why I'm sick. Sick, physically? Are you foreshadowing to the sore throat?

When ever my throat gets sore, I find fetch? my favorite bottle. bottle of? I don't suppose you have a favorite bottle that serves as a teddy bear or a blankie.

It's an ugly brown and fragile. It's ugly, brown, and fragile.

The small tubes of death What are these?, are my least favorite thing. Why are they your least favorite?

I hate them but I need them.

Roses. Those bloody roses bloody roses is very cliche. I bought them while running late to meet her. Only for the sidewalk to eat them up. A waste of money. I'm starting to feel like the sidewalk is a sort of a herbivorous monster.

The place that helps my sore throat, everyone there knows me. Which place? The sidewalk? I don't understand the relation between a sore throat and the sidewalk. And why is this sore throat so important that you have mentioned it multiple times? It's distracting from the main story. Well[comma?] except me.

They all cheer when I walk in, that could be a song. I think it is just to cheer me up. It's been a year, I don't know why they keep trying. It's not going to happen. Does the character have throat cancer?

-

The door clanked shut behind me. The shouts from inside forever silenced.

My throat no longer sore.

My lips pressed down on the creme colored tube. The other end quickly lit up.

Must be cold.

I look like a smoker.

I am a smoker.

I walked in a straight line. Not perfectly straight, but straight neither less nonetheless [?]. To Too* much from my favorite bottle can make a man walk in a swaying circle.

The night was lit up.

Not by the stars. They went with the sun.

But by the lights of the surrounding buildings.

I swear, they got brighter when the sun died.

The world has been a lot less colorful after it left.

No more flowers.

The sidewalk ate them all.

Stupid sidewalk. No. Just no. This ruined the tone you were trying to build here.

Running my fingers through my hair, black strands stuck in between the fingers. You could phrase this better in order to avoid the unnecessary repetition of "fingers". Maybe something like: "Black strands come off my scalp as I run my fingers through my hair like fragile flowers plucked in winter."

The creme tube By now, I know that you're talking about a cigarette. But "creme tube" sounds so wrong in my head. Excuse my french, and pardon my dirty mind, but it makes me think of a penis, haha. Though, allow me to just tell you that calling it names other than cigarette has no poetic value here. It's just pointlessly confusing, especially that you have so many confusing symbolism going on and there are no hints to complete the image. The reader is basically just taking wild guesses. came to end of its life. I dropped it and crushed it into the sidewalk.

Maybe if I burn the sidewalk enough, it'll leave me alone. At this point, I am bothered by this sidewalk because I don't know if you mean it literally or the sidewalk refers to a more abstract thing here.

Maybe.

My body was on fire as I hit the ground. I glared at the person standing across from, ready to kill.

I forgot how close I was.

The girl looked up I don't remember there was a girl., and my eyes meet met* hers, only for a moment "second" seems more appropriate here. Just sounds better..

Bright.

Everything went white, but just for second. You can keep second here. Repetition can be good at times. Use "but only for a second"

My vision came back, the girl was saying something. I couldn't hear her.

I glanced up to the sky and could couldn't* help but grin.

It felt weird. You can't just "state" that you felt weird and expect us to automatically know or feel this kind of weirdness particularly.

The stars were back. They dotted the dark sky, making it bright again.

On March 15th 2016, the sun died.

But.

On April 6th 2017, it came back.
Alright. So, I feel like this was more of a prose than an actual short story as there was no real plot to it. I am all for it. I love reading those. But, with that being said, I must be honest. It was too confusing for me so I couldn't enjoy it. I understand that there was a lot of symbolism, but it wasn't explained. By explained, I don't mean that you necessarily have to just literally explain it like it would in footnotes or anything, but I mean just make things clearer through implying what the sun means, the significance of the cigarette, and everything else. The first part is very different from the second part. In the first part I am led to believe a catastrophe has hit earth. You made it seem like a factual thing that really happened rather than a personal story enveloped in metaphors and symbolism.

The only thing I think I understand is that maybe the character has throat cancer because of smoking but he still smoked anyways? What does the sun refer to? The sidewalk? The plants dying? I think the whole winter thing means that he's nearing death? So is the sun's death kind of like loss of hope? Is that a story about overcoming sickness? Particularly cancer? If that's the case, that's touching. But, from an objective point of view--talking structure wise and whatnot--this still has a long way to go. The appearance of the girl is very sudden, and you still have problem with character development. I don't mean this in a way that I want to know the eyecolor and hair color of your character. What I mean by character development is what's on the inside. The state he's really in. Emotions, thoughts, mainly. This could be carried out by how you phrase things. His personal thoughts and reflections on things around him. I couldn't find that here. The text was emotionless for me at many places.

I- Description and Imagery: You have the skeleton now basically. You need the flesh, which is the description and vivid images.

Moving on to imagery, which involves all of the senses. I want to know what it sounds like, what it smells like, what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like. As we all know, sight is the easiest sense to use for description, but the more you appeal to the senses, the better the picture you create, and the more the reader actually understands what you’re on about. Just be creative. Let your imagination run wild. The great thing is, you’ve now got the skeleton of your story. Be creative. And your setting (time and place) definitely needs creativity.

II- Show, Don't Tell: You must SHOW your readers what is happening rather than just stating that “I saw a mutilated face. I was disgusted”. Telling is a much more uninteresting way of presenting things. However, as this does basically come under description, I won’t go on about it much more. Just, don’t state, in that dull, blunt, “in-your-face” kind of way. It’s not good. Be more subtle.

I can appreciate the fact that you tried to keep the whole cigarette thing vague and so you chose different names for it. But it worked against you and came out as confusing and awkward. Sometimes simple is better. More is less at times, yes?

II- Emotions: Again, falls under description, but I thought I’d add it too. There are many places - if not all the places in the story - where I don’t have a clue what your character is feeling. I think I pointed out enough things in the line-by-line critiques. His feelings make us empathize with him. Otherwise, he may as well not exist to us.

Another point I'd like to make is that emotions here are something you should be focusing on because I believe it's what makes him unique. Especially that the kind of piece you are writing is basically like a poem as far as what's crucial. Imagery, emotions, description, and good phrasing are very important here as they are what attract the reader to pieces like this. You don't have a plot to compensate (mind that I am not saying this as a bad thing, just saying that with the lack of plot in this kind of pieces, you have to focus on all the other aspects to enrich it).

III- Tone: As I mentioned above in the line-by-line critique, tone is important. The tone of a literal work is the writer's attitude toward his or her audience and subject. The tone can often be described as a single adjective, such as formal or informal, serious or playful, bitter or ironic. Unfortunately, I didn't feel anything while reading this part of the story. Usually, the writer's tone affects the reader's mood. That didn't work for me here. I felt nothing. I was just reading words on a screen. I wasn't reading the character's thoughts or feelings.


That's what I have to say for now. Let me know if this was helpful. The idea is good. It just needs polishing. I would love to read the edited version of it. Hope it was motivating for you.

If you have any questions, drop me a visitor message or a private message anytime. I'd be more than happy to help.

Good luck!
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:26 PM View Post #4 (Link) My review
Rebekah (Offline)
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Your story definetly made me want to read on. it was hard to look away. The use of short sentences was good, but I think it could have done with some more detail in places. There were parts when I wasn't quite sure what was happening or that could of used a bit more detail to help the piece flow. However, I thought that this story was a good way for me to allow my imagination to take control.
I can't wait to read more of your work Sky_.
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