From our Book of Writing Backwards: Excerpt from the Bene Gesserit Manual in Dune. (In silver ink, hard to read.)
allancarreon: Good work and properly weird, although we wonder why you would portray a haven of books as…that place, and the practice of writing as a form of torment. Conflicted! Horror stories are all about atmosphere, even if the location seems ordinary.
“Behind him, a doppelganger of the man had appeared and was now following Annie closely…” could be made creepier. Don’t say “doppelganger”, describe it. “Suddenly there were two of him, and one was shadowing Annie…”
You are not eligible for the prize as you are the Keymaster of the Social Media Propaganda Ministry.
Helvatica123: Great concept, execution not bad, though this is more a concept paper than an actual story. Grammar and usage need a little work, but nothing the spelling and grammar checking function on Word can’t fix. We like the way you casually let the readers know what the books are made of without hitting us over the head with the information. The nonchalant tone adds to the horror when it sinks in. Keep on writing, we want to see more.
Momelia: Thank you for that tale of real-life horror. Apparently if you ask people to write stories set in libraries, they come up with visions of hell. This is more a diary entry than a story, but you clearly enjoyed writing it, and the bit about the bacon getting Facebook likes could be developed. In fact you could expand this into a story about a character who can’t move until her Facebook friends have affirmed her decision with 200 likes. We’d like to read that.
Check out the short stories of Saki, you’d love him. Sweet and nasty. “Children are given us to discourage our better emotions.”
lois: We have not read The Book Thief but we gather this is inspired by that. Good effort, and we like its ambitious scale. The execution needs work: you explain everything at least thrice and you overdo the dramatic description. However your plot is interesting, and with continued practice you will learn to “hear” yourself. The ability to self-edit comes with time.
joyeah: There’s a fascinating Twilight Zone-ish story in here, but you have buried it under a lot of adjectives and overwrought descriptive passages. It’s a mess. It might be useful to do an outline for this, with short profiles of the characters, and rewrite it. Try writing it in chronological order first, then when you’ve worked out your plot, you can do your structural experiment.
aspiringwriter29: Listen to yourself. “The potentially perpetual grim looming over the spectacle I have for a visage is now all but perpetual.” All that verbal writhing, just to say “The grimace is fixed on my face.” This piece is overwritten, the prose so purple it is overripe eggplant. You’re trying to write in a high, formal style before you have even figured out how to write a clear sentence. Since you’re writing about angels and demons, why not read the Old Testament, esp. Genesis and Exodus, King James Version? The sentences are short, unadorned yet powerful. None of this lurid stuff.
The winner of The Universe is a Library LitWit Challenge is Helvatica123. Congratulations! Post your full name and email address in Comments (It won’t be published) and the elves will tell you how to claim your prize.