the weblog of Alan Knox

My Short Story: Running Late

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in blog links, discipleship, personal | 2 comments

My Short Story: Running Late

Last week, I told you that my friend Dan had published an excerpt from an upcoming novel. The excerpt was called “Physician, Heal Thyself!

I also told you that Dan is an avid fan of the zombie genre. While talking with him, I was encouraged to begin writing fiction again. As I told you a few weeks ago, I once wrote fiction, but I had gotten out of the habit. (See my post “Have you ever written fiction?“)

Well, I’ve now published a short story on Dan’s site called “Running Late.” Yes, it’s a short story that include zombies, but I think you’ll find that it has very little blood and gore. In fact, the zombies simply form the background to the story.

Plus, believe it or not, my short story does tie into the church and following Christ. (Sometimes it’s easier to see the “message” when portrayed in a fantasy world instead of our own world.)

I’d love to get your feedback, both on the story itself and on the message that I’m trying to get across. You can leave comments here or at “Running Late.”


2 Comments

  1. 5-17-2011

    A fine creepy story. Didn’t know you had creepy in you!

    I could see the scenes in the story, your descriptions were strong. I really liked the variation in sentence lengths–it wasn’t boring or sing-songish. The phrasing was powerful and made me feel what the character felt about the need to be careful with the danger present (“…and, of course, they were all latched. They were always latched. But, it only took one unlatched window…” “He slowed as he approached, making a wide arc around the intersection. The cars and trucks, and especially the trailer of the truck formed too many shadows and corners.”). These made me feel the imminence of danger.

    If it could be improved, maybe something in the overall pace could have been more gripping. I read it to the end partly because you wrote it, not completely because I got carried away and wanted to see if he made it safely (though I did want to see what happened and I was drawn in). Maybe it was the leaning towards a passive voice (I think I counted “was” 39 times) and the occasional telling rather than showing (“Stopping at the heavy metal door, he looked back to see that the creatures had turned to pursue him, but were far enough away that they could not reach him before he went inside.”).

    These are small tweaks, but they might make it stronger.

    This one is just personal preference: I found the character a little cold, even mechanical, making him less sympathetic. He lost his parents and sort of “oh well” His recent date turned into a monster, and just “bam.” A young lady is trapped by a pack of monsters and “she should have known better.” He was himself a bit too zombie-like emotionally for me. He had no fear, no compassion, no inner struggle.

  2. 5-17-2011

    Art,

    Thanks for the feedback! I sincerely appreciate and I will definitely consider your improvements for the next story.

    By the way… you pegged the character in your last paragraph. You’re not supposed to feel sympathy for him. Instead, hopefully, you noticed some contrast between who he was and what he was doing (what he was “running late” for).

    -Alan

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