Taming The Lion – Public

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Hey everyone. This is a short story that I wrote the other day. I’m just looking for feedback on how well my writing style comes across. Are there things that I do that you like? Don’t like? Just need to improve on? Anything you can tell me would be helpful. Word count: 400

She stared at the knife in her hand as if she expected it to tell her what to do next. When it didn’t, she continued what she was doing. Once, then twice, more, her arm shot forward. The knife found the lion’s belly each time. Her laughter broke the silence, alerting those around to her presence.

A bird, a friend of the lion perhaps, next felt her wrath. The lion roared, but it was very weakly. Three times, in quick succession, the knife came down on the bird. It fell to the ground. Seeing that it was no longer moving, she turned her attention back to the lion.

With one foot, she stepped on its head. It shifted under her foot, almost causing her to fall. This angered her. She shouted at it and kicked it hard in the mouth. The lion could do nothing but take it. Before long, the knife hit the beast another five times.

From off to the side, she heard someone talking. She ran to the closest place that offered cover. The voice got closer. Looking from behind her concealment, she saw that the voice belonged to a giant. It was easily three times as tall as she was. A smile crossed her face.

She ran out from her hiding spot and jumped at him. Even though he caught her easily, he still fell to the ground with her. Her squealing laughter almost drowned out the giant saying, “Oh no. You got me!”

“Da,” she cried, dropping the knife.

“You tackled Daddy,” he giggled along with her. When he was greeted by a string of unintelligible baby talk, he continued. “What are you doing in here? Playing with your toys?”

She pointed at the lion and bird. Another line of babble spilled out of her mouth. He wondered if she was trying to explain why she was attacking them with a plastic knife from her tea set. Of course, she also could have been saying nothing at all.

For a second, it hurt him that he would never find out. Then, she smiled at him and all thought of hurt left him. He picked her up and started spinning her around, soaking in the beautiful sound of her laughter.

Before you ask, yes, this is something that happened between me and my daughter. I just told it in my writing style. Hopefully, you enjoyed it. Please let me know what you think.

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19 responses to “Taming The Lion – Public

  1. There were a couple of things about the phrasing I personally found clunky, but phrasing is always stylistic!
    “The lion roared, but it was very weakly.” and “The lion could do nothing but take it” were the two sentences that struck me as a little off.
    Saying that, I really enjoyed the twist at the end, and I didn’t see that coming.
    You’ve brought quite an unusual perspective to what most people would see as a mundane situation.

  2. I loved it… I really thought we were in some horrible arena with some kind of life and death game going on. The mood change was so quick it was almost startling. Then the ending made you wonder if there was something else horribly wrong going on. Well done.

  3. I liked it — I thought it was very well-written. You conveyed the daughter’s and the dad’s thoughts really well, and the transition was very smooth.

    I can’t decide whether this is a fun story about a girl who has a rich fantasy life or a scary story about a dad who doesn’t realize his daughter is going to grow up to be a serial killer. She seems pretty evil at the beginning — the lion is helpless (and friendly enough to have a bird as a friend), and the bird is harmless. So you might want to consider giving her a different rationale for fighting the lion or adding something a little ominous to the end, depending on which way you want the story to go.

    • It’s a fun story about a girl playing with her toys. To her it was nothing more ominous than banging two of her toys together. As she has not even hit two years old yet, I don’t think she has world domination plans…..I hope.

  4. I loved the transition as well — it turned the story from “horrifying woman slaying exotic animals” to “endearing story of a little girl’s imagination” in a matter of words. Although I wonder why a toddler would be so violent? I realize it’s hard to find a good motivation for why a child would be stabbing her stuffed animals with a plastic knife, but it seemed kind of jarring.

    It was told wonderfully. 🙂

    • Well, “stab” was creative license on my part. It was less her stabbing and more her hitting it with the knife as if you were hitting a nail with a hammer. She has boy cousins that she hangs out with that she sees do it, so she does it too.

      Poor Mufasa and Zazu never saw it coming…

  5. It took me a second read through to see what you were doing with the story, and perhaps the issue people were having with the story. It looks like you made very specific word choices to make sure that their was an element of reality in the imaginary, ie the knife never stabs or cut, it only hits. I like the sneakiness of it, though it might be too sneaky. As you can see from the comments above, it made it hard to tell if the girl was playful or crazy, and I don’t think that is what the story is about (thought it could be if you wanted it to). Personally I’d like to see it played out more through her minds eye; the scene, the back story, etc. Although a completely alternate version could be from the father secretly watching her and imagining what she’s imagining.

    Nice story and concept, I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to.

    • The idea was to tell what happened, just leaving one thing out: the fact that they were toys. That way, it looked like one thing was going on when it was something completely different.

      Although, looking at it now, I can see what everyone’s talking about. The way I have it written, it does kind of look like the little girl is crazy. I’ll have to think about it a while. I may expand it a little bit and make a few changes.

  6. I agree with Greg and Laura.
    You had me on the edge of my chair. Why is a bloodthirsty female killing the animals? I found the beginning pretty vicious especially once I read the end. This is an interesting story and I like the twist, but, maybe this needs more development. In the beginning she sounded mature in her actions, enough so that she ‘might’ have the makings of a real killer in contrast with the real ending. He babbling explains her age but I wonder a child this age is using even a plastic knife in this manner. I feel something is missing but I can’t put my finger on it.
    Perhaps, there will be more? 🙂

  7. It’s funny how we bring the history of an author with us to his new works…. The knife, the giant, the carnage – none of it seemed out of place because it all fit with what I’ve come to expect from you.
    The one comment I had was back to a part you’ve already said you were going to revisit – If the Lion had the strength to roar in outrage over the death of his friend, the bird, then even if it only had the strength to roar weakly, it would still have the strength to try and defend itself. It was then that I knew something wasn’t as it seemed – because an animal like a lion would fight until it had nothing left, right?
    I also really liked Grayson’s suggestions to tackle the whole scene from the father imagining what his little girl is thinking while she plays with her stuffed animals.
    Good stuff, as always! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    • Actually, the lion roared weakly, but only because the batteries were dying…

      Grayson’s suggestion is certainly looking like the way to go with it. I’m still going to try a few other things as well.

  8. Reblogged this on The Matticus Kingdom and commented:

    Have you heard of Diamonds or Dust?
    We are a small group of writers that have come together to offer feedback, guidance, reviews, edits, etc… to each other to help us continue on the journey towards becoming better writers. Our most recent submission has been opened up for public viewing so the general blogosphere can get an idea of what we are all about. Go check it out! And if it seems like something you are interested in, then submit your info to join in the fun!

  9. I’m always late to the game. Sorry about that. I liked the story, but I have nothing to really add that hasn’t all ready been said. I too found it strange that a 2 year old would be playing with knives, even if it was plastic. The first part really did make me think some wild woman was killing animals. Then when I read it was just a little girl it sent shivers down me because it was so bloodthirsty. Like I said, nothing much new that anyone hasn’t all ready said.

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