Here’s a Lil’ Something I Wrote For Creative Writing Class

Hello, everyone! Today I will be sharing a short story I just wrote the other night for class. It had to be two and a half pages long, no more, no less, which was kind of difficult to make it fit perfectly into that amount of space, mostly because of pacing issues. This is also a very dialogue heavy story because I wanted it to be more about the interaction between the two characters than anything else.

If you’ll remember a couple weeks ago I posted about what I imagine Death to look like, and how he’s a character in one of my stories. Well, this is not that specific story but I decided to use the same Death character in this piece because I love him.

Anyways, here’s the story, I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you have any questions about Death or anything, I love talking about him! And as always, have a great day!

24 thoughts on “Here’s a Lil’ Something I Wrote For Creative Writing Class

  1. I love that he’s in Vans :) I liked this little glimpse at death and definitely would read about the adventures of Death and Mitra.

  2. I enjoyed it as well, Athena. I found the story gripping. It held my attention all the way through. You’re courageous to post some of your writing. Good for you!

  3. Considering taking up the family business? I’m in favor!

    I liked this very much, and would definitely read more. Just in these few pages, your characters each start to establish distinct voices. I’m not often a fan of present tense, but it feels very natural here — I personally think it’s better suited to a short form like this than longer work. My only suggestion would be to keep in mind that with adjectives, less is often more, but that’s a point that’s both trivial and subjective.

    Well done! I look forward to reading more of your work.

  4. I like what you wrote. At first I was worried the style would be teenager-sounding (as your posts here often are), but that fear turned out to be unfounded.

    Still, (ObDisclaimer) I am spoiled forever by the Death of Discworld for all other Deaths. If there should be an afterlife and a psychopomp, I hope that being will be one who invites me to WALK ACROSS THE DESERT OF BLACK SAND.

  5. The imagery with cliff and waves and later the long drop of the pebble captured me immediately. It felt to me much like “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.

    Unlike Williams above, it never occurred to me that this Death might be male. Starting with Mitra’s unworried surprise (would a young woman meeting an older man on a dark night react that way?) I automatically visualized Mitra’s description of Death as a “goth girl” rather than “goth boy”, though I suppose there are goth boys. Too much NCIS, I suppose. Perhaps it’s to be left to the reader, like one protagonist in Sarah Caudwell’s mysteries.

    Well done, you!

  6. This is really nice, capturing a mood of despair and then walking it back. Interesting that Death is happy not to happen. Sweet. You infer emotions without actually stating them. I think that’s called art.

  7. The character interactions are good. I feel like I can see them talking to one another. It has a good balance of dialogue and physical description.

    Choosing Death as the POV character is challenging. The idea of Death as a personification is going to have to play around with what happens after you die remaining a secret. On the other hand, the reader usually is allowed special insight into the POV character thoughts. So that creates a challenge to the writer. I think its good if a writer can write the POV character so that the reader can settle “into” the character. Identify with them. But Death is on some level is a Mystery, so there will always be some disconnect between the reader and the POV character Death. Creating a challenge to write a story that can reveal the innermost thoughts of a god like being of unimaginable power.

    If the story had been written from the POV of the girl, then the reader would likely be more apt to settle into that character, and then that choice naturally helps you maintain the “Mystery” around Death.

    Having a hard limit to the story definitely constrains what you can do with developing the scene, the characters, and the main arc. The main arc seems to be whether the girl will or will not commit suicide. I first thought the arc was whether Death would be able to talk her out of it, but he presents himself more as a neutral, at least on the surface. Maybe he has intentions he isnt telling her, but if he thinks those intentions, having him as the POV would tend to have those internal thoughts revealed to the reader even if he doesnt reveal them to the girl.

    You didnt mention much in the way of his internal thoughts, so i dont know if thats because his words are completely in sync with his thoughts, so revealing his thoughts would just be redundant. OR if for some reason, after collecting billions of people who die without saying a word to them, he decided for some reason to talk her out of killing herself. But he hides that reason from her, and then you as the author hide those reasons from us the reader. That would make Death an unreliable narrator, which is hard to write. First person is also hard to write. Short word count makes it even harder. So, you definitely had a challenge writing this.

    One plot issue is that the girl seems like she decided to kill herself on a lark. Death, who doesnt say he is specifically trying to talk her out of it, ends up talking her out of it simply by telling her that dying will hurt, whatever is after that doesnt hurt, but the specifics are secret.

    I knew someone in college who was dealing with depression. I did what I could to support them, but looking back now, I can see that they needed professional help. We had many long conversations where I hoped that maybe this time they would see something that would help lift them up. But they continued on a self destructive path, eventually left school, and we lost touch. Death says a few words and she flips to wanting to live. I wish it were that easy to talk someone out of depression and suicide. Its a hard subject and its extremely hard to treat it in a realistic way in such a short word count limit.

    Some mechanical issues:

    “The tide is strong this time of night.”

    Tides are tied to the moon, which is roughly on a 25 hour cycle. Which means high tide today at 1pm means tomorrow its at 2pm and the day after that at 3pm and so on. Tides arent tied to “this time of night”

    Also, tides dont create crashing waves. Winds create waves, in big open waters, they can build and they continue until they crash into land or the wind dies down and they dissapate. Tides can affect waves because as the ocean level goes up and down near shallow coastal areas, it can cause fast currents near shore that can push with or against the waves.

    But waves are basically from wind.

    Also, winds are stronger near an ocean because it doesnt run into trees and other obstructions over the ocean. And being atop a hundred foot cliff on the edge of the ocean means youre going to have evrn more wind.

    Basically, it was likely it was so windy that it would impact their conversation, how they moved, etc. It would be blowing hair all over the place and so on.

    Lastly, at midnight, on a hundred foot cliff, with high winds and ferocious waves, when you drop a rock, you would lose sight of it part way down. You could see the waves cresting if there was a moon, but that would be white tops and spray. The water that doesnt splash would be little more than a black void at night. The rock would dissappear part way down. And because of the waves, you likely wouldnt even see its impact.

    Your physical descriptions of the waves and the dropping of the rock made me imagine a night scene, then day time scene then back to night again.

    The fact that they could see each other so well, including eye color , made me switch back to a day scene.

    I assume the girl picked the spot because it was isolated, no one lived nearby, and it was basically a place she could contemplate jumping off a cliff without people walking by on a sidewalk trying to stop her. You didnt describe any buildings, light poles, or other structures, so i just imagined woods, at midnight, which is dark as pitch.

    How could she see anything at all?

    Basically, the scene i imagined kept flipping from dark woods at midnight, to some vague form of illumination, and dark again, which was a bit distracting.

    Overall, good balance of dialogue and descriptions, good descriptions of the characters interacting. Challenges included choosing a god as your POV character, choosing first person while trying to keep mystery about the narrator, and a strict word limit. Only issues were basically not enough space to properly present the character as legitimately suicidal, and some mechanical stuff about no wind and no light.

    Good job!

  8. Excellent! I thought of the 1934 movie ‘Death Takes A Holiday’. If you ever wanted an alternative title it could be ‘Death Takes The Night Off.’

  9. Athena, you have great talent. I enjoyed reading your story. As an editor, I see a lot of work from newer writers, and yours would stand out in any group. Congratulations!

  10. Very much liked this story. I don’t know about tides, so the tide, ocean, wave references just set the lovely somber mood for me…I think I don’t want it “corrected” if it messes up the mood. Great job!

  11. Very, very good. I have no criticism about the story itself, but the title gives away what’s going on from the start. Might be better to make it a surprise after a few paragraphs.

  12. Reminds me of Piers Anthony’s “On a Pale Horse”. Need to go back and read that one again.
    Thanks for gifting us with your craft.
    Dave

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