Topic: Need your opinion

I submitted my Scarecrow story to a site that posts horror fiction. The Lady that runs the site first complaint was it was flash fiction and she only took short stories of 1600 words or more. She made some very helpful suggestions on where to add to it. One of the changes is she wanted details of the encounter with the scarecrow. I wanted to leave it to the reader’s imagination but she felt that was a copout. I made changes (a few times) and she was kind enough to read a couple of revisions.

Today she said it wasn’t right for her site, which is fine. But what bothers me is it came down to two things I didn’t change.

1st She felt the main character (the young man) was unbelievable and to make him believable I had to add a teen angst angle. Her suggestion: the teen doesn’t like the mom’s boyfriend and he argues with her about it all the way to the farm.

I wanted the teen to be mature for his age the kind that had an irresponsible parent and had to compensate. A young man looking for a role model in his grandfather and a grandfather patriarch who isn’t the type to show love but it’s understood. not a stereotype and at least a little depth.

She also wanted the teen to fight and escape with some kind of reconciliation with the mom at the end. To me, I want horror that’s disturbing and scary. Changing it in the way she wanted would have made it an adventure story.

What do you think should I have made the revisions mentioned above?

Last edited by swollenguy (2010-10-20 12:23:28)

Re: Need your opinion

The revised version is a far stronger story, richer in detail and generally better written. The further revisions she wanted you to make would have turned it into a run of the mill teen horror story.  Fine if you want to write an episode of Goosebumps but not if you want real horror.
You were right to stick to your guns and it's her loss not yours.

Re: Need your opinion

As you already know, I loved the original short story ( would have made an EXCELLENT story for an old horror comic)  but the few changes you made have turned it into a really well written short story that could very well earn a place in a horror anthology .   You should not have made any more changes that she requested. It would have made it into a teeny boper story that was NOT horror.

Re: Need your opinion

Thanks MOH and Capt.

You both captured what I was thinking; “Goosebumps/ Tinny bopper” horror was the vibe I was getting too. 

Good story or not it helps me to know I did the right thing with it.

Re: Need your opinion

Got an email this morn an E-zine called "Dissections: The Journal of Contemporary Horror" they want my story for their next edition.

It will be a couple of months before it comes out but I will post a link here when it does.

This is really great news to me so I wanted to share.

Last edited by swollenguy (2010-10-20 13:00:27)

Re: Need your opinion

Nice one, well done.

Re: Need your opinion

You obviously had the characters well thought out, never let someone else sway your decisions. Especially when they are trying to make your vision "mainstream". You absolutely made the right decision and I can't wait to read your story!

Re: Need your opinion

Considering her complaint about the encounter with the scarecrow I'd have to assume shes never read LoveCraft.
He left a lot to the readers imagination and is one of the greatest writers of all time.

Re: Need your opinion

Well, not having read your story I don't have an informed opinion on if it was better before or after revisions.  But if an experienced writer offers you suggestions, take them.  At least, the ones that help.  She may have given you a specific about the boy having some amount of angst and recommending some kind of discussion during the car ride, but in a broader sense she was basically telling you the character was flat.  He didn't jump off the page, which is what a protagonist (and main antagonist) need to do else you lose them to plot.  And when you surrender character to plot, your characters are nothing more than lifeless pawns.

Your characters should dictate -- advertently or inadvertently -- the course of your story.  You present an opposition/threat, and let you characters do what they would do in a given situation.  Maybe they'll run away and hide; maybe they'll stand frozen in fear; maybe they'll be aggressive and tackle the threat head on; maybe it'll take them some time to figure out exactly what to do, then will formulate a plan to deal with it.  You know -- that kind of thing.

My two cents, take them for what you will -- though keep in mind I'm a published writer and a purchased screenwriter, so -- yeah, I kind of know what I'm talking about. wink

Last edited by LoudLon (2010-10-20 21:18:58)

Re: Need your opinion

I'm the kind of guy where you should have to change anything for anyone.  If one person doesn't like what you have to offer, someone else will.  Who knows, one day, that person may live to regret that decision.

Re: Need your opinion

Congrats swollen.

Now, let me offer my sincerest thoughts.

Any time you expose your ideas to a public site (like the one you mentioned here), Anyone can take it and run with it. If you don't care, fine.

But, if you plan to make a valid effort to do something with it, i.e.: screenplay, etc. then keep it to yourself and don't give it away to some website or some contest. It's an age old ploy to acquire peoples thoughts and ideas.

Of Course they wanted you to make changes...Their changes; which means once they acquire what they want, from you, the person doing all the work, it "becomes" theirs; or at least in their mind it does.

Forgive me for sounding defensive, mean, negative or anything of the sort, but it would kill me to see someone take advantage of a fellow horror lover in order to benefit for themselves.


...and that's My two sense.

Re: Need your opinion

Thanks Chain, Hell, Lon, and garden. your input is appreciated and helpful. I can’t get better without feedback and help from people with experience. The lady was helpful too we just had a difference of opinion and my story wasn’t right for her site.

Cap really summed up what was on the tip of my tongue when I posted this but was at a loss, which is she wanted to turn it into a Goosebumps episode. I wanted to write a simple but unsettling story about a person that meets an unstoppable force and their demise. No sense of hope or struggle just a vibe of helplessness and dread and I think that’s what I ended up with.

I don’t know if anyone saw my post above but a UK E-zine sent me an email today their putting it in their next issue. So someone did like it the way I liked it and I am a happy camper.

Re: Need your opinion

aceofspades70 wrote:

Congrats swollen.

Now, let me offer my sincerest thoughts.

Any time you expose your ideas to a public site (like the one you mentioned here), Anyone can take it and run with it. If you don't care, fine.

But, if you plan to make a valid effort to do something with it, i.e.: screenplay, etc. then keep it to yourself and don't give it away to some website or some contest. It's an age old ploy to acquire peoples thoughts and ideas.

Of Course they wanted you to make changes...Their changes; which means once they acquire what they want, from you, the person doing all the work, it "becomes" theirs; or at least in their mind it does.

Forgive me for sounding defensive, mean, negative or anything of the sort, but it would kill me to see someone take advantage of a fellow horror lover in order to benefit for themselves.


...and that's My two sense.


Thanks Ace, I know what you mean. After going on a lot of fiction sites and e-zines it seems like there’s a lot of talent out there stuck in an abyss. I originally put it out there because it was just simple story and I craved feedback so I could improve. When she wanted me to make changes that made me question if I was even getting my basic point across it f’ed with my head. I am not writing to make any cash just hope someone reads it and likes it, its addictive when that happens.

Last edited by swollenguy (2010-10-20 22:58:02)

Re: Need your opinion

I've had my work printed both physically and digitally multiple times throughout the years.  Luckily, I am yet to have any of the problems Ace is mentioning with people stealing my ideas.  It's something to be cautious of, but I don't think it would be that big of a problem.  People are cool and understanding more often then not.  However, I do think Acey has been screwed over before so just having documentation here on this site and all, will pad your argument if ever needed.

Re: Need your opinion

Story theft isn't near as frequent as folks tend to think.  Lawsuits are a pretty effective deterrent; it's easier and cheaper to buy the idea outright than to steal it and risk having to pay back every penny you sunk into it and all the profit you made from it back to the original writer. 

Still, can't be too safe; register it with the Library of Congress or Writers Guild and you're golden.

Re: Need your opinion

Here’s my attempt at making vampires scary again. It’s late and I just posted it so I am sure it needs some editing. What do you think?
http://theswollencorpse.blogspot.com/20 … -door.html

Re: Need your opinion

another one that i liked swellie, again i could see it in my mind as i read it, as you should the best stories, and your writings always do that for me. nice sense of tragedy at the end with his family. you are pretty good my friend.

Re: Need your opinion

Here’s a depressing story for ya:
  http://theswollencorpse.blogspot.com/20 … art-1.html