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diddlydawg7
Georgia Fan
Member of 1st ever SECRant Elite 8
Member since Oct 2017
14131 posts

Rate my short horror story
This is my first try at this sort of thing. So be nice, but be honest. I don't really care if it sucks because I have no interest in being an author but personally I thought I did ok.

ETA: Please excuse the cliche opening sentence. That exact phrase was required.

It was a dark and stormy night. The lively sounds of the village died down as the rain fell and the villagers retired for the night. The village and its people may have been considered a bit odd to an outsider. There was a nightly custom in this village. As the villagers left the tavern and went into their cottages, they made sure to douse their welcome mat with a cup of vinegar. Nobody knows why they do this, not even the villagers. Their mothers and fathers always told them to douse the mat with vinegar and to not leave the cottage until the sun came up. When they asked why, the adults told them that their mothers and fathers had said the same.

As the villagers were settling in for the night, a weary traveler arrived in the town on horseback. The traveler was not familiar with the village. He hitched his horse and stumbled into the tavern to find it was empty. There was no one to buy a room from, so the traveler checked behind the desk. He grabbed the key to cottage #13 and grabbed an ale from the bar and left a few coins on the desk for them in the morning. As he crossed the street looking for cottage #13, the traveler was deep in thought, wondering why there were no people around or carriages on the road. He found all this very curious but tried to not let his mind wander. After all, he’d only be here for one night, and he was just passing through. The traveler fit the rusty key into the door of the cottage and walked through the door. As he entered, he noticed a bucket of water right by the door frame. The traveler spread his coat across the bed and stripped off his only set of clothes. He grabbed a towel and the bucket of water and headed for the bathtub in the corner of the room. He wet the towel and was about to apply it to his hair when his nose caught a whiff and he realized the substance in the bucket was actually vinegar. Bewildered, he got out of the tub and decided to go to sleep before the night got any stranger. As he was falling asleep, he thought about how odd it was that there were no windows in the small cottage. “Oh well, at least I can sleep in.” he thought as he closed his eyes.

The next morning, a young girl named Mary opened up the tavern. She was fifteen years old and had been essentially running the tavern since her boss, Mr. Bell, had gone to France for business. She immediately noticed the coins on the desk. She checked behind the desk and found the key to cottage #13 was missing. She knew it had to be Mr. Adams. For the last several months, Henry Adams had been sneaking around with other women behind his wife’s back and had been using the cottage’s owned by the tavern. Irritated, Mary walked across the street and knocked on the door to the cottage multiple times. There was no response. Even more exasperated, Mary pulled a master key from her pocket and slowly opened the door. She screamed. There was blood stained all over the walls, floor and bed. All that was left of the weary traveler was an entire skeleton of bones on the bed. The police were called in and of course, they could not identify the man. None of the villagers were missing. The only clue they found in the cottage was a tiny trail of yellow slime on the rug. To this day, the villagers still didn’t know why they pour vinegar on their mats, but every single one made sure to use a full bucket that following night.
This post was edited on 10/27 at 9:57 pm


Kentucker
Kentucky Fan
Cincinnati, KY
Member since Apr 2013
16158 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
You should watch the DUST short scifi videos on Youtube. This reminds me of one of them, especially the ending. Just leaves the reader hanging.


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Harry Rex Vonner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2013
14480 posts

re: Rate my short horror story


thatguy45
Kentucky Fan
Your alter's mom's basement
Member since Sep 2017
15335 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
Reads more like an outline of a story, little less like a complete short story. Feels rushed and also some description is lacking, what the tavern looks like, inside of the cottage etc.
It's a decent basis for a short story but needs some work. No worse than some of the stuff authors used to turn out to magazines for a quick buck. Defined my fits if this is supposed to be for you to connect writing with old folk tales

And tbf writing for school handcuffs you in some ways (cliche line being just one such example). Ive had to do it myself. I wrote a pretty bad horror story in elementary school about a skunk ape breaking into someone's house and getting lysteria from a burrito. We had to include an assigned disease in a horror story and I had gotten some book about big foots from the school library cause I needed points for the AR requirements. I crapped that one out pretty quick


thatguy45
Kentucky Fan
Your alter's mom's basement
Member since Sep 2017
15335 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
That's when you ride them down on your big wheel and don't look back


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Harry Rex Vonner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2013
14480 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
instead of "Nobody knows why they do this, not even the villagers.", write, "No one in the village knew why this custom came to be."


diddlydawg7
Georgia Fan
Member of 1st ever SECRant Elite 8
Member since Oct 2017
14131 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

Feels rushed and also some description is lacking,


Yeah, I did it 20 minutes, which is the main reason I’m proud of it.


thatguy45
Kentucky Fan
Your alter's mom's basement
Member since Sep 2017
15335 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

instead of "Nobody knows why they do this, not even the villagers.", write, "No one in the village knew why this custom came to be."

Harry is correct. This one of those parts that needs work. Sounds like you're ripping off doctor seuss


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10
thatguy45
Kentucky Fan
Your alter's mom's basement
Member since Sep 2017
15335 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

20 minutes

Ah bringing new meaning to crapping a story out.


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Harry Rex Vonner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2013
14480 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
John Grisham says never use words that most people might struggle even slightly with. In other words, keep the language simple, so it reads with ease.

You did that.


diddlydawg7
Georgia Fan
Member of 1st ever SECRant Elite 8
Member since Oct 2017
14131 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

John Grisham says never use words that most people might struggle even slightly with. In other words, keep the language simple, so it reads with ease.

You did that.



This makes sense.

This is not a normal HRV post


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kywildcatfanone
Kentucky Fan
Wildcat Country!
Member since Oct 2012
74019 posts

re: Rate my short horror story


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15
Trumansfangs
Missouri Fan
Town & Country
Member since Sep 2018
2290 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
I liked it.

Throw an interesting curve in there and say its Apple Cider Vinegar, with " the mother " .


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20
awestruck
Auburn Fan
Member since Jan 2015
6918 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
I'd quickly tag the end, 1-2-3 while still fresh... something like

quote:

There was no response as a now exasperated Mary cracked opened the door. Curiously entering, eyes wide, she left screaming once spying his lone foot in her rusty bucket. Chief Mallory never matched his pickled part. And no one was found missing even a toe. So still to this day, come dark, it's amble vinegar in rusty buckets for every mat in town.



eta: IMO probably too many the's and like said your clincher needs to jump at you more in the end. I'd cal it s good start, congratulate your bravery

and return your appropriate holiday spirit.
This post was edited on 10/29 at 6:30 am


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sodcutterjones
LSU Fan
Member since May 2018
1001 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
It didnt scare me


diddlydawg7
Georgia Fan
Member of 1st ever SECRant Elite 8
Member since Oct 2017
14131 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

It didnt scare me


Maybe because you read it at 9:08 AM


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olddawg26
Georgia Fan
Member since Jan 2013
21369 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
I like it. Nice and spooky for Halloween


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MizzouJim
Missouri Fan
Member since Nov 2013
353 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
Like others have said, it does feel a bit rushed. I think it’s a really good creepy premise, but there wasn’t enough build up. On the technical side, there are POV shifts and tense shifts that need to be cleaned up, and it was lacking a payoff that could have been quite satisfying. Pay attention to senses, like the smells, the colors, the sounds of your environment. Take your time to immerse your reader in time and space so they can luxuriate in it and create the mystery of “why,” and then provide the reader with answers at the end. I think this is definitely a story worth developing. If you do, it could find a home in a magazine or an anthology.

Edit: I’m not trying to be nit picky. I approached my comments to you as a fellow writer who wants to make the story the best he can. I generally have about 15-20 revisions in me until I get to the point that I’ve made my story the best That I can make it. If I’ve gotten to that point, I’m satisfied.
This post was edited on 10/30 at 12:54 pm


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30
MIZ_COU
Missouri Fan
I'm right here
Member since Oct 2013
13771 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
Why is it always a dark and stormy night?

That's as far as I got


diddlydawg7
Georgia Fan
Member of 1st ever SECRant Elite 8
Member since Oct 2017
14131 posts

re: Rate my short horror story
quote:

Why is it always a dark and stormy night?


Apparently you didn’t read the disclaimer AT THE VERY TOP OF THE PAGE


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