Young Writers Society

Home » Read / Write » Short Stories » General Fiction Short Stories

How the Dog Saw it



Random avatar


Gender: None specified
Points: 1176
Reviews: 56
Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:29 pm
thunder_dude7 says...



This is for a contest, but don't go rushing to it. I want to know something:

How understandable is the situation?

It has to do with the contest. Just hold tight. I was given a prompt, and it's a pretty darn lousy one, at that, and I decided to challenge myself. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE THREAD, DO NOT GO AND CHECK IT.

Alright. I'll give you the prompt after the story. Here it is:

How the Dog Saw it

It was a perfectly peaceful day in the life of a dog when I decided to go through the formal living room towards the kitchen. Books, vases…everything was being thrown around, voices booming. As I hurried though, a book came hurling at me. I dodged, and my, they're lucky I got out of the way. It would have hit me square in the face. It would have said right on my headstone: Dainimo. Killed by Oliver Twist.

I hurried to the other room as the frenzy continued. What a horrible life I've lived since this had begun. These things kept popping up. It’s like humans couldn’t do anything without this happening. I may only be able to understand a few words they say, but what I did know was that these voices were the same as those that they used when I pooped indoors or broke something. Humans never pooped in the middle of the living room, though.

They were both breaking things, but...the day before this started, something strange happened. A few years ago, a little while after I came here, there were two voices: One that had come to the pet shop to get me, and one other. The two spoke quite romatically, and they always made me go downstairs or something when they were very romantic. The second voice had left, eventually replaced by a new one, which played a similar role.

Now, the old voice came back. It had been just like before, though there wasn't any romance. Now, everything was just friendly. Nothing more.

Now the new voice was screaming. Humans get way too suspicious and jealous about these things.

There was also a change in the morning routine. Before this, the daily routine of work and chores had, every so often, occurred much later than usual. Since this strange situation started up, time to wake up had occurred consistently at the same time. There also weren’t any noises coming from the bedroom. Weird.

I looked back over. How hypocritical. I’m yanked away from my friends, yet humans are allowed to yell at each other.

I couldn't put up with this. I walked over to the stairs and hurried down. The basement was quieter.

***

Alright! It was lousy, wasn't it? Now, think: What situation is happening between the humans?

If you critique, include the answer to that question. As in, what do you think NOW. Before reading the real answer. I want to make what's happening clear.

Anyway, here's the prompt:

.
..
...
....
.....
......
.......
........
.........
..........
...........
............
...........
..........
.........
........
.......
......
.....
....
...
..
.

Prompt: Describe an argument between a man and his wife regarding a friendship with a former girlfriend. Do not mention the girlfriend, the wife, the man, or the argument.

Worst. Prompt. Ever.

I hope this turned out alright.

Critiques welecomed!
Last edited by thunder_dude7 on Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:31 pm, edited 9 times in total.
  





User avatar
890 Reviews

Supporter


Gender: Female
Points: 33
Reviews: 890
Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:11 pm
PenguinAttack says...



The answer to your question was clear to me. This might be because I already knew of the prompt and recognised what you were doing.

I realise that the prompt is vague, and therefore what you're writing needs to be vague, but this feels disjointed to me. I could tell you were avoiding anything too clear, too specific to the fight itself and what it was about. I think maybe you'd want to put this in first person, or at least make it a little less formal. The speech is tough, with no give in it. It feels as though the narrator isn't a dog, but an omniscient speaker, just watching the dog, but I don't think this is what you were going for.

You can do better, though, I think. Try letting some more description through with feelings and tension as well as the base actions. I'd like some colour mentioned and something about perhaps how the animal feels about it all. Right now I'm detached from your narrator. I don't care about him. Regardless of what the story is really about, I still need to feel for it, I'm not doing that yet.

I know the prompt was hard. It's clearly a difficult challenge and I commend you for doing what you've done with it. It's certainly not bad in the least. But I think you can do better.

Maybe think on the above a little, and tell me if you change this, I'd love to see it.

*Hearts* Le Penguin.
I like you as an enemy, but I love you as a friend.
  





User avatar
197 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 1355
Reviews: 197
Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:48 pm
olivia1987uk says...



Writing can stem from anything, no matter how bad you think the prompt is!

But anyway, I like the idea...I bet most people would think of writing it from the point of view of a child and the dog is pretty unique. Loving his name too....

I do however think the piece is lacking in description and atmosphere and having read some of your other stuff you can do so much better...I won't spend my time critiquing it to within an inch of its life when I KNOW you're going to either scrap this or completely alter it!
Olivia
xxx
If you wake up in the morning and all you can think of is writing, then you're a writer...
  





User avatar
798 Reviews



Gender: Male
Points: 6517
Reviews: 798
Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:22 am
Jiggity says...



Colour, Penguin? Dogs are colour blind. I thought this was okay - since its only meant to describe an event without describing it, I don't think comments about whether you engage with the protagonist are relevant.

Infact I think its ridiculous to even suggest it.

I think you did a good job with a difficult prompt
  





User avatar
890 Reviews

Supporter


Gender: Female
Points: 33
Reviews: 890
Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:44 am
PenguinAttack says...



Jiggity wrote:Colour, Penguin? Dogs are colour blind. t


Honest to Betsy. I didn't even realise. xD I retract that one request. The rest stands. ^^

*Hearts* Le Penguin.
I like you as an enemy, but I love you as a friend.
  





Random avatar


Gender: None specified
Points: 1176
Reviews: 56
Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:14 am
thunder_dude7 says...



MAJOR RE-WRITE!

I decided this would be better in 1st person. How is it now?
  





User avatar
516 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 890
Reviews: 516
Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:52 am
chocoholic says...



I'm here, as you asked.

To answer your question, I thought it was a man and a woman arguing about the man being lazy after hosting a dinner arty. It's weird... I haven't seen The Break-Up for ages, yet that's what pops into my head. Funny, huh?

It’s a good thing that border collies are so fast

I have a real problem with this line. Judging from the rest of his narration, it just doesn't go. Please change it.

I'm having trouble fitting this in with the prompt given (and yes, I know it's hard) It just doesn't seem right to me.

Hope I've helped,
choco.
*Don't expect to see me around much in the next couple of weeks. School has started again, and it'll be a couple of weeks before I've settled in. If you've asked me for a critique, you will get it, but not for a little while. Sorry*
  





Random avatar


Gender: None specified
Points: 1176
Reviews: 56
Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:08 pm
thunder_dude7 says...



Thanks for the critique, it was quite helpful. I edited right away, as I don't know if the judging has begun, and I need to make sure this is all perfect when the judging happens.

Thanks again!
  





User avatar
145 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 1090
Reviews: 145
Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:38 pm
deleted2 says...



Before reading the promt I could tell that the dog witnessed fights between a husband and wife, but didn't realize what you meant with the voice that was only there a few times. I thought it may have been simply a visitor or a friend of one of the spouses who tries to lead the situation to a good end. Couldn't figure out that it was a love triangle, sorry :/

The story itself was good; it was pretty awesome to see the world through the eyes of a dog, haha! And the tombstone inscription was hilarious :wink:

Be careful with sticking to one POV, though. You use "I" most of the time, and then suddenly there's a "he" in there, which doesn't make much sense. The dog is describing this all, so when the dog mentions pooping indoors it should be "I".

I may only be able to understand a few words they say, but what I did know was that these voices were the same as those that they used when he pooped indoor or broke something

Other than that, it was an amusing read. When you describe the voices, though, it becomes rather confusing. It is difficult to figure out what happened, and who was there when.

Regardint the prompt: You did an amazing job with a horridly difficult prompt, I must say. I wouldn't even begin to tackle a prompt like that!

So, if you clarify the voices a bit you'd be very much on track for this contest :)

XxxDo
  





User avatar
66 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 890
Reviews: 66
Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:56 pm
Fellow says...



Hmm... Ready? The review :

Books, vases…everything was being thrown around the room. I was on my way through that room when a book came hurling at me.

You`re lacking the description of the atmosphere before this happening.
Example:
Books, vases…everything was being thrown around the room. The "truly" peaceful day ended in a yell and a broken glass. I was on my way through that room when a book came hurling at me.


Next.
They're lucky I got out of the way. It would have hit me square in the face.

The sentence " It would have hit me square in the face. " gives the reader the idea that the dog dodged the book so I suggest you write something about that.
I dodged the bulky book and turned my head watching at the torn pages.They're lucky I got out of the way. It would have hit me square in the face.


*giggle* Funny to read. The whole thing is well written. You should, maybe, put some more description of the tens atmosphere. And the voice part is kinda confusing.
To answer the question- this was quite clear to me. :) Good luck!

-Akayl
Life is a song. You just need to know how to sing it.

topic35881.html - Need reviews? Click!
  





User avatar
402 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 6517
Reviews: 402
Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:12 pm
Clo says...



Hey Thunder_dude, here I'm flying in to give you a review!

I don't think the prompt was that awful. Somewhat trying! Challenges are fun, no? It's healthy to challenge ourselves occasionally.

It was a perfectly peaceful day in the life of a dog when I decided to go through the formal living room towards the kitchen.

This is kind of a strange opener. I really don't like how you say "in the life of a dog", and then how you switch to "I" immediately afterward. It's not a smooth intro, and it comes off a little awkwardly. Try something more like this (though you have the creative license, love!): "The life of a dog, I find, is perfectly peaceful - or at least I found this until today, when I decided to go through the formal living room towards the kitchen".

It would have said right on my headstone: Dainimo. Killed by Oliver Twist.

Cute! =)

I hurried to the other room as the frenzy continued. What a horrible life I've lived since this had begun.

"Since this had begun"? You imply with the opening sentence
It was a perfectly peaceful day in the life of a dog when I decided to go through the formal living room towards the kitchen

that this is just happening, with the "when I decided to go through" statement. Your setting up of the amount of time this occurs in is somewhat unclear, so you need to add a few more details to your sentences that give us a frame of time for these events.

It had been just like before, though there wasn't any romance

What is a dog's concept of romance? I think this would be very interesting for you to detail!

I looked back over. How hypocritical. I’m yanked away from my friends, yet humans are allowed to yell at each other.

What exactly is he witnessing here? I'm somewhat confused to what he's referencing.

Overall:
Cute! Interesting - but I think you need to add more detail. Right now, all of the details are very fuzzy, and so my image in my head of what's going on is quite fuzzy. If you could give me a more complete perspective from the dog's point of view, then I would feel more satisfied with this story.

Also, dogs are very sensory creatures, aren't they? How about you add more of the five senses - touch, smell, sight... you have quite a bit of hearing, so that's okay.

Anyway, this seems like a skeleton of a story - you need to add more meat to it. Fill it out, beef it up, give some amazing descriptions. And then this will be quite good!

PM me if you have any questions!

~ Clo
How am I not myself?
  








We're all stories in the end.
— 11th Doctor