As promised last week, we’re posting our responses to November’s writing prompt, with comments. The rules are short — note something positive, and make sure suggestions for improvement are constructive. Simply put, don’t be mean.
So here’s Olivia’s response, and my (Meghan’s) comments below. Remember, these are first drafts written in 15 minutes or so, not polished submission-ready material (although I was super impressed with Olivia’s).
Grace froze when she heard the knock on the door. One arm was outstretched, her hand grasping the hairy-barked pine log she had been feeding into the dark mouth of the fireplace. She was glad she hadn’t lit the fire yet. She propped herself up on the other elbow.
The knock came again, harsher this time. Impatient. It knew she was inside.
Both of her arms were starting to shake. She ease the wood onto the sooty stone hearth, silently, then dragged herself across the floor. Her thick skirts picked up twigs, beetle carcasses and small clumps of mud, leaving a clean-swept trail behind her.
Another knock. Not even waiting to listen.
As she moved, she searched the sparse room again, pointlessly scanning the dusty surfaces for a girl-sized crevice. Even the kitchen had only shelves, no cupboards.
The metal latch clicked but did not give itself up. And so the cheap door began rattling in its frame, asking for entry at first, then demanding it. Fierce.
She pulled herself up onto the austere wooden chair behind the door, arranging herself into her most natural position. This always took time, otherwise something about her angles were wrong. Gave her away immediately.
But she didn’t have time. Her leg dangled awkwardly as the door gave way. A panting bearded man swept in, blue moonlight and frost swinging in on his cape.
And the comments:
- I loved the tone — it’s so creepy from start to finish
- The ending! It is a surprise, but a logical one. The signs are there, but I loved how they were only clear in retrospect. The whole piece moves quickly and is full of tension.
- The only thing I noted for revision is the way the intruder’s actions are given to the door, the door latch. I do like how it masks all details about the intruder, but it is a bit distracting.
- The language itself works really well — beetle carcasses, hairy-barked pine log, and my favorite, blue moonlight and frost swinging in on his cape. Just lovely.
Did you write something for this prompt you’d like to share? Email us, or leave it in the comments!