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Suddenly, it was quiet.

She could still hear the bumblebee sound of the aeroplanes, but it was getting quieter.

Maybe they were leaving.

She pushed tentatively at the plank of wood that lay on top of her, and felt it move slightly. She listened. She pushed again, harder this time, and suddenly she was falling again, and tumbling, and stopping. And her arm hurt.

It was her birthday today. It was a special birthday because her birthday was September 7th, and she was seven years old, so she had two sevens this year. She was missing her left shoe. The sun was starting to go down. She should go inside. You shouldn't stay outside when the sun goes down, but there didn't seem to be an inside now because inside was outside. There was the living room sofa, over there. There was a boy next to the sofa, but he wasn't her brother. He was wearing her brother's clothes, but her brother had a real face, and this boy had bricks where his face should be. He wasn't moving.

It was really getting dark now. There were enough fires to see by, though. Where was everyone?

The bumblebees were getting louder.
The afternoon of September 7th, 1940 was the beginning of the London Blitz. During the blitz, London was bombed for 57 straight days and nights. The bombing didn't stop until the following May, a full 8 months later.

I wrote this for the :iconlitplease: prompt "Economy of Words" using the "seeing someone who is most certainly dead" situation.

For :iconthewrittenrevolution: my critique [link]

I think the little girls voice comes through reasonably well, and I am fairly pleased with this piece, but I would dearly love suggestions on how to make it more effective. In particular:

How could I generate more emotional impact?

Is the second third to last paragraph too disjointed? (the one that begins "It was her birthday today.") I was attempting to realistically portray shock, but I'm not sure if I overdid it.
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:iconkitt90:
Kitt90 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
Stark. Gripping. Sickening. Considered. Artful

Thank you
Reply
:iconall-my-darkness:
All-My-Darkness Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011
Appalling perfect
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you, I'm glad you found it effective.
Reply
:iconall-my-darkness:
All-My-Darkness Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011
It was claimful.

AND

Skilful

With creeping

Osmotic emotional discharges.
Reply
:iconpokedotpunk:
pokedotpunk Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is intriguing. I feel chaotic when I read this. Which I think was the point. For emotional impact. I think it is carried a lot in this this one sentence. "and this boy had bricks where his face should be. He wasn't moving." It just kind of hit me.
Paragraph three dose seem a little disjointed but, If I was in that situation that is how I would think. This story feels realist. Beautiful job! I also really like the thing with hearing the bees.
Reply
:iconriparii:
riparii Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
You know, I think this is an excellent example of less is more. It doesn't seem to me like this piece needs slowing or expanding. In my opinion once you start adding dolls and other somewhat blatant symbols for the sake of contrast it's like flashing arrows, 'meaningfulness' alerts that say "feel this now!" Instead the brevity you were forced to consign yourself to allowed subtlety and a creeping horror to inform your work. If you had added dresses and dolls to that masterful austere setting I would have rolled my eyes and wandered off. Instead I was absorbed and touched in a way that doesn't frequently happen here.
I think, and of course it's only my opinion, that once you start adding to this merely for effect you risk slipping into blatant and maudlin.
I think a child or any person in shock would process this experience very much as you describe it, clinging to a familiar but destroyed reality, trying to make the new mesh with the old, with an almost cold objectivity. That is where your emotional impact and contrast spring from.
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Professional Writer
Fair enough. I think if I were to expand it, it would be by way of adding additional scenes rather than messing with this one. A series of tableaux dealing with two or three ( I seem to think in threes: example, counterexample, synthesis)different people in different parts of London at the same time might be interesting.

Given that this piece received a DLD and is far and away my most favorited piece so far I think I'll leave it alone. I am taking note of all advice received for future work though, so keep it coming!

PS. I'm very glad you enjoyed it. :D
Reply
:iconriparii:
riparii Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
That's what I was thinking, that it seems very popular
just as it is so if it ain't broke don't fix it. :)
The tableaux on the other hand sounds intriguing.
Reply
:iconspeedy421:
speedy421 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Student Writer
I love the comparison between bumblebees and aeroplanes. Something else that works really well is the voice, I could see a little girl thinking like this. I would like you to slow down a bit though. Seeing a few more things would, in my opinion, add to the emotional impact. For some reason dolls are the image of choice.

Great work.
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Professional Writer
I think it could do with some expanding and slowing down as well, but it was written for the "economy of words" prompt, thus the hectic pace and brevity. Generally I'm the sort of writer that... well, I was once told that a fantasy novel often clocks in at about 100,000 words and I said, "How the hell am I going to get it that short?" so this prompt was good practice for me.

Thanks for the comments and the suggestion. I agree that dolls make for good imagery in this sort of situation. So would something like a conformation dress or really anything that implies peace and gentleness.
Reply
:iconspeedy421:
speedy421 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Student Writer
I noticed that, so I didn't want to try and push the issue to hard. And you know I hadn't thought of the dress, but that's a really good one too.

Kudos again.
Reply
:iconmooyi:
Mooyi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011  Student Writer
This is amazingly well written... Yeah, I'm probably gonna have nightmares. >.< Don't regret reading it tho!!
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011  Professional Writer
Sorry for the nightmares, but glad you liked it. :)
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011  Professional Writer
and 谢谢
Reply
:iconuniquedself:
UniquedSelf Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
ummm...the imagery is very powerful. If you want a bit more of impact, maybe slow the scene down with what her surroundings was. Spend a little more time with the inside being outside description. Possibly portray her shock with an emphasis on her birthday and what she may have been expecting versus what happened. Like, "It was her birthday. It was a special birthday because her birthday was September 7th, and she was seven years old, so she had two sevens this year. She had asked for a chocolate creme cake. Instead, there was mud on her dress...."
And then you could go into the rest of it....

(I hope this helped a bit....if not, I am sorry because I am only trying to help.)
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you for the suggestions. :hug: I really like the idea of contrasting normality with the reality, that idea has bearing on some other things I'm working on as well.

No need to ever apologise for giving asked for advice (or even unasked for advice, in my opinion). People can take advice or leave it as they see fit, and aren't hurt by the offering. If someone is going to ask for suggestions and then throw a hissy fit when they get some... don't waste your time on them. :D

:iconcheerplz:
Reply
:iconuniquedself:
UniquedSelf Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks, I notice when I leave that little warning, people don't feel like they are being attacked, even when they ask for a critique. Whereas when I never left that warning, I was usually sent these hasty messages of telling me that I don't know them and I don't know what I am talking about and etc.

And I am glad the suggestions have helped with some ideas. :D
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011   Writer
Well done, ~Shabboth - a moving portrayal of a horrible time. Congratulations on the DLD. Thank you. :+fav:
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank me? No, thank you!
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011   Writer
lol
You're very welcome!
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) in a news article that can be found here [link] Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
Reply
:iconmaddyjordan:
MaddyJordan Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This was amazing. I loved it.
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you. :dance:
Reply
:iconcjwilde:
CJWilde Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Student Writer
I was first drawn to reading this piece by the phrase, "bumblebee sounds of the aeroplanes" leaping out at me in the preview; this created some powerful imagery and immediately drew me in. I didn't particularly favour the line, "her arm hurt" - it felt a little blunt and disjointed as an end to the paragraph - but the third to last definitely portrayed the shock you were aiming for. The final three sentences hit home emotionally in the way that they should.

As for the last two lines, I thought the "though" in the penultimate seemed a little misplaced, but the final sentence was excellent. It really rounded up the piece and reinstated the emotions of shock and horror. Overall, nice work! :)
Reply
:iconleyghan:
leyghan Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow! I have to echo what punkrocklove & linathanatos said. I was immediately drawn into the scene and the the beginning of the last paragraph is the perfect teaser imo, to the one, two punch that comes soon after. I meant to give a proper critique but I honestly don't see how this could be improved. :clap:
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you very much. I'm happy that you enjoyed it. :D
Reply
:iconmarikob-k:
marikob-k Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the line, "there didn't seem to be an inside now because inside was outside"! You really captured a child's innocence in this piece, in a really great way. I'm not sure how to create more emotional impact- it depends on what direction you want to go in. If you want to pull at the heart strings, you could talk more about the brother and needing him, etc. Or not knowing where here parents are? Or the pain that she's in? Her loneliness of nobody knowing it's her birthday? Any of those things could work. I wouldn't put a huge amount into it, though. I love how short and abrupt this piece is- simple but incredibly effective.
I think the last line could be made to flow a little bit better, like "The bumblebees, they're getting louder." or "Bumbles; they're getting louder."
Great work, this is a wonderfully put together piece!
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Professional Writer
That's the dilemma I was facing. If I go towards the heartstring side of things I undermine the feeling of shock, and I think that has to be the main focus. I was trying to get more emotion out of a character who is in shock (ie. not properly feeling her emotions) and I don't know if that's possible.

I love the suggestion for the last line. Thank you.
Reply
:iconmarikob-k:
marikob-k Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You're so welcome. I totally know what you mean- the shock and the innocence is really what makes this piece what it is!
Reply
:iconpunkrocklove:
punkrocklove Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011
Loved the imagery of this, and the way you used the little girl's viewpoint.


There was a boy next to the sofa, but he wasn't her brother. He was wearing her brother's clothes, but her brother had a real face, and this boy had bricks where his face should be. He wasn't moving. This line was so simple and so powerful. :+fav:
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you, I'm glad it came across so well.
Reply
:iconlinathanatos:
LinaThanatos Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Hobbyist
So deep and so intense, even through the innocent eyes of the girl. Love it :heart:
Reply
:iconshabboth:
Shabboth Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Professional Writer
Thanks! :hug:
Reply
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