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Old 08-10-2017, 04:35 PM View Post #1 (Link) Mochacinos & murder
miss_smiley (Offline)
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I figured it was probably about time I posted something up again. Behold! I'm not sure if I'm going to expand this out or not, but we'll see what happens. Enjoy!

Fair warning - there's a bit of foul language in here.

...................................................

It must have been around 2pm that he caught my eye. His hat was drawn low over his eyes, his collar turned up high against the non-existent gusts of Starbucks. Ok, then, I thought to myself, wondering where exactly he was dressed for. It was nearing summer and while the heat was not yet oppressive, surely he must have been drowning in sweat under that heavy coat. It looked like the kind of thing you’d break out for the middle of winter.

Around a quarter to 5, we began to pack up, ready for closing. I nudged my workmate. “Hey, Sal. Is he yours?”

Sal gave him a cursory glance and then, a double-take. “How is he not dying in that coat?”

“I dunno. Is he yours, then?”

“No way. My folks are nutty, but not that nutty.” She shot him another look. “Is he… is he carrying something under that?”

A cold feeling hit me. “What, like a… like a weapon?”

“Jesus. I hope not. Didn’t he come in around lunch?”

“I don’t know! Jesus Christ! I had my eye on the coffee! I think I noticed him around 2?”

“Ok. Ok. Ok. We just… we can do this. We just make sure that one of us is always close to the panic button. We can alternate!”

“Are you kidding me? What if he takes one of us hostage?”

“Ah, shit. You’re right. Uh…” Sal tried to look around surreptitiously, as the man stirred a little.

“You got your phone?” I murmured.

“Oh! Yeah! Good idea. Just keep the police dialled?”

I nodded. I already had my hand curled around my phone, tucked secretly into my apron. Admittedly, it wasn’t the police I had keyed in, but this guy would do the job regardless. “I’ll take the front. You do behind the counter, ok?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Just keep your phone ready in case I shout, ok?”

“Shit! Ok.”

I edged out, the collar of my shirt brushing against the raised hairs on the back of my neck, broom in hand, spray bottle and cloth hanging off my belt. It was better that I go out front. It wasn’t like this guy could kill me, exactly – just cause a mess and maybe force me to have to start again. I didn’t want to start again. Starting again was all kinds of awful.

The man didn’t stir. The gentle swish of the broom felt as ponderous as the grind of a heavy door in the silence. Each spray of the disinfectant could have been the spitting and hissing of a cat. You could almost feel time unspooling.

I bit my lip nervously. He was… he was too still. Like a snake, lying in wait. I finished wiping the last table and, in a wash of relief, headed back to the relative safety of the counter, slipping my hand into my apron to delete the number. He wouldn’t appreciate a needless call.

“You ain’t gonna wipe this one down?”

My stomach dropped. I knew that voice. Oh, God, no.

Sal must have been in the back room. So much for that phone call, I thought. I pushed the call button on my phone.

“What do you want?” I asked, querulously. My voice quivers like a child in a rainstorm.

At last, he looked up. The hunter smiled. “Oh, I think you know.”

My breath is quick and shallow. I can’t get enough air. “Why?”

“You’d be amazed at what they sell for.”

“Go fuck yourself.” I meant it to sound bad-ass, but I can barely get the words out.

He chuckled breathily. “Once pay-day comes, believe me – I might just do that. I could fuckin’ kiss myself. You know how long I’ve been looking for you?”

I shook my head. Oh, please, God. Please let him get here soon.

His grin was mostly snarl. “Five goddamn years. Five fuckin’ years.” He knocked back the last of a coffee. “I gotta admit – you make pretty good coffee. Better that I expected from a Starbucks.”

“Thanks…?”

“Oh, my pleasure.” He slowly unfolded himself from the chair. “My absolute pleasure.”

Jesus H. Christ. He’s a giant. I can feel the sob starting at the back of my throat. Please, please, please let him be here already.

He loomed above me, too close. “How much do you think an elf's heart goes for on the market?” he asked, his voice soft and dangerous. "Go on. Guess."
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Old 08-11-2017, 03:31 AM View Post #2 (Link)
SerialLove (Offline)
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Originally Posted by miss_smiley View Post

It must have been around 2pm that he caught my eye. I would use the word 'when' here instead of 'that.' His hat was drawn low over his eyes,<-replace comma with 'and' his collar [was] turned up high against the non-existent gusts of Starbucks. Ok, then,<-I would remove the first comma I thought to myself, wondering where exactly he was dressed for. I would change the 'where' to 'what' because I find that it doesn't make much sense otherwise. It was nearing summer and while the heat was not yet oppressive, surely he must have been drowning in sweat under that heavy coat. It looked like the kind of thing you’d break out for the middle of winter. Ok, not a bad start. The character you're describing here has some nice potential to be very interesting so good job with that.

Around a quarter to 5, we began to pack up, ready for closing. I nudged my workmate. “Hey, Sal. Is he yours?”

Sal gave him a cursory glance and then, a double-take. “How is he not dying in that coat?”

“I dunno. Is he yours, then?”

“No way. My folks are nutty, but not that nutty.” She shot him another look. “Is he… is he carrying something under that?” I would slightly rewrite this so it looks like; "[...]nutty," she shot him another look, "is [...]"

A cold feeling hit me. “What, like a… like a weapon?” Personally I'm not the biggest fan of using ellipsis to show some kind of a pause/stutter. While it looks fine, maybe you could think about using a hyphen instead.

“Jesus. I hope not. I would combine these first two sentences. Didn’t he come in around lunch?”

“I don’t know! Jesus Christ! I had my eye on the coffee! I think I noticed him around 2?” Ok, grammatically this sentence is fine, my one problem with this line is all the exclamation marks. I like them, and I think that if you were going to use one here and there it'd be fine, but I'm not particularly inclined to say that having three of them in a row is a good thing. As well, this isn't the kind of sentence I feel like they'd be yelling, more like frantically whispering. The exclamation marks just feel slightly out of place to me, but if you want to keep them, then feel free to do so.

“Ok. Ok. Ok. We just… we can do this. We just make sure that one of us is always close to the panic button. We can alternate!” Again, not the kind of sentence I think would need an exclamation mark. I mean, think about it this way, if you were in this situation, you wouldn't want the person to know everything you were thinking and/or planning, so why would you yell it?

“Are you kidding me? What if he takes one of us hostage?”

“Ah, shit. You’re right. Uh…” Sal tried to look around surreptitiously, as the man stirred a little.

“You got your phone?” I murmured.

“Oh! Yeah! Good idea. Just keep the police dialled?” Only one 'l' in 'dialed'

I nodded. I already had my hand curled around my phone, tucked secretly into my apron. Admittedly,<-I'm pretty sure you could do without this comma. it wasn’t the police I had keyed in, but this guy would do the job regardless. “I’ll take the front. You do behind the counter, ok?” Mm, I would change 'do' to 'stay.'

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Just keep your phone ready in case I shout, ok?”

“Shit! Ok.” Why with the sudden use of the word 'shit.' I don't see how it's necessary here -in fact, it just feels a little off for me.

I edged out, Out of where? The bathroom? A booth? the collar of my shirt brushing against the raised hairs on the back of my neck, broom in hand, spray bottle and cloth hanging off my belt. It was better that I go out front. It wasn’t like this guy could kill me, exactly – just cause a mess and maybe force me to have to start again. I didn’t want to start again. Starting again was all kinds of awful. I'm a little confused by 'starting again.' Do you mean cleaning -cause that's what I'm assuming you mean.

The man didn’t stir. The gentle swish of the broom felt as ponderous as the grind of a heavy door in the silence. Each spray of the disinfectant could have been the spitting and hissing of a cat. You could almost feel time unspooling.

I bit my lip nervously. He was… he was too still. Like a snake, lying in wait. I finished wiping the last table and, in a wash of relief, headed back to the relative safety of the counter, slipping my hand into my apron to delete the number. He wouldn’t appreciate a needless call.

“You ain’t gonna wipe this one down?”

My stomach dropped. I knew that voice. Oh, God, no.

Sal must have been in the back room. So much for that phone call, I thought. I pushed the call button on my phone. I thought she (I'm assuming it's a girl) has already deleted the number? Maybe I missed something but I think the transition in this little chunk could be a bit smoother.

“What do you want?” I asked, querulously. My voice quivers like a child in a rainstorm. I don't see how it's important for your readers to know that your character's voice "quivers like a child in a rainstorm." It just kind of feels like filler info.

At last, he looked up. The hunter smiled. I would combine these two sentences so they read; "At last, he looked up, smiling." “Oh, I think you know.”

My breath is quick and shallow. I can’t get enough air. “Why?”

“You’d be amazed at what they sell for.” What are they selling? Bears? Beets? Battlestar Galactica? Come on, I want to know. Well, I'm going to assume you want the ambiguity here, but I don't necessarily like it. I think it would better if you actually said what it is they're selling, or made some inclination. Or not, your choice.

“Go fuck yourself.” I meant it to sound bad-ass, but I can [could] barely get the words out.

He chuckled breathily. “Once pay-day comes, believe me – I might just do that. I don't think the hyphen is appropriate here. I could fuckin’ kiss myself. You know how long I’ve been looking for you?”

I shook my head. Oh, please, God. Please let him get here soon.

His grin was mostly [a] snarl. “Five goddamn years. Five fuckin’ years.” He knocked back the last of a [his] coffee. “I gotta admit – you make pretty good coffee. Again, I don't think the hyphen is appropriate here. Better that [then] I expected from a Starbucks.”

“Thanks…?” You can do without the ellipsis.

“Oh, my pleasure.” He slowly unfolded himself from the chair. “My absolute pleasure.” I would rewrite this sentence to look like; "[...] pleasure," he slowly unfolded himself from the chair, "my[...]"

Jesus H. Christ. He’s a giant. I can feel the [a] sob starting at the back of my throat. Please, please, please let him be here already.

He loomed above me, too close. “How much do you think an elf's heart goes for on the market?” Sweet, now we know what they were talking about. To back to what I said earlier, I totally think the ambiguity is fine since it's cleared up here. Nice job , it's pretty intriguing. he asked, Pretty sure 'he' can be capitalized since you had a full stop before it. his voice soft and dangerous. "Go on. Guess."
Ok, so for the most part I think you have a pretty good start here. You should also totally continue this, I, would love to see what happened next. One thing though, it may be just me, but I'm pretty sure you had a couple instances of tense changes. I could be wrong, but I think you should go back and check on that. Also, I personally feel like you used ellipsis too often. Finally, I don't really like the use of italics where the word/words aren't a part of a thought. Such as:

[...]but not that nutty[...]


and

How is he not dying in [...]


I just think there are way better ways of emphasizing certain words instead of italicizing them. Especially when you use italics to also express a character's thoughts, it can just get a bit confusing.

Anyway, I think that's all I have. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck and continue writing. Hope I helped some.
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:32 PM View Post #3 (Link)
SKritorre (Offline)
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I agree mostly with SerialLove
Personally I would prefer a little foreshadowing for the ending. I appreciate the ambiguity heightens the tension at the end but perhaps a reference to the protagonists' height or something like that near the beginning might make it a little less 'out of the blue' at the end.
How scared are the characters? If you were in that situation how much would you swear? I'd say the S**t is fine, personally. For me this one swear word helps communicate how scared the character is. If you had them swearing every sentence it wouldn't work.
You say twice that the hunter is noticed at 2...what time is it now? Maybe the second time around you say 2, change it for 'half an hour ago' or whatever time you want. Or perhaps mention a loudly ticking clock that slowly tolls three like a death bell.
I like how the story builds, it slowly pulls the reader in and that's really fun to read.
I knew it was in a coffee shop, but was it busy? Eerily quiet? How about the weather? Hot and sticky or cold and depressingly rainy? Again this is my personal preference but in a thriller style story like this one it helps me to get really into the story.
Like SerialLove I got confused with the phone call, it did sound like the number had been deleted. And I thought the number ready to dial was for the police not Sal?
If you wanted to expand the story more perhaps explore the relationship between the protagonist and Sal...but then again you don't necessarily need it if you want to keep the story short.
The small cast of characters was very easy to keep track of, I liked that. Again, if you're looking to expand maybe mention some of the other customers (if there are any) and their reaction to the strange coat.
With the dialogue you make a few references to what the characters are doing, how about how they're speaking? Are they whispering furtively? Hissing worriedly at each other?

Hope this helps. I really really loved the tension in this.
SK
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:33 PM View Post #4 (Link) Critiques
Miss.Tea (Offline)
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You did a good job. I really liked it. To me it was very vague and i couldn't understand the plot much. I couldn't figure out the back story on the guy. Why did they call the cops so early and what was the guy looking for besides her, like what did he want. But anyways besides that you did a good job
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:26 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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The suspense is really there. But it is low. Maybe because not one of the characters stands out, not even the main character.

Overall, I have the interest in reading the second part (if you write one).
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:16 PM View Post #6 (Link)
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An interesting beginning filled with tension that makes me want to read more. You have a few lines of description in there too that manage to concisely describe what you're saying – "his collar turned up high against the non-existent gusts of Starbucks", for example. The writing is clear but not overly descriptive, and the fear of the character is well presented.

However, I can't help but feel that the pacing is off by a lot. We begin with a guy wearing a too-large coat. I'm intrigued. But then all of a sudden, the characters are calling the police. And then, it turns out she knows the guy? While the content you have in the story is good - I forgot to mention how well the dialogue is handled - it's lacking some important transition and build up to make the actual content shine. Your reader is left confused.

I have a few suggestions for improving the pacing. You can not make the characters call the police at all and just have the protagonist uneasy. You can have the characters worry, but not call the police. You can add in more clues that lead up to the guy feeling off. You can write in the paranoia and the recognition ("he felt kind of familiar" for example) the character feels before she actually talks to the guy. You can insert some background info about the relationship between the man and the protagonist. There's a lot you can do here, you just have to think of the one that most closely matches the tone you're going for while still making sense.

Overall, this feels like a rough draft. I would add in more information and more build up, less sudden paranoia and less drama, and not assume the reader understands the character's fear. This has potential but must be revised.
  
						Last edited by mell; 11-04-2017 at 07:18 PM.
					
					 Reason: Mistakes
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