2011, Massachusetts. Interview of Michael Walters:
I always loved inventing things. I had created many interesting machines before but this one was different. This one went too far. It all started back in 1988 when I went through a divorce with my wife and i was living alone in my hutning cabin. I had a small rotting shed, out the back, where i made objects. My friends would consider me weird so when they were on nights out i would be at home welding some rusty metal to some wheels.
One night i was in my shed studying a camera. Now, it would be an antique and very valuble but back then, it would be a top of the range, new camera. I place it down on the table and go to the cabin. I went up to bed and that was that. I slept.
The next morning, I went down to my shed but the door was ajar and there was a slight shuffling noise coming from inside. I rushed into my cabin to grab my gun but when i got back, the shed was empty. I put my gun leaning at the side of the door, tutting as i thought i was going mad. I looked to my desk and the camera was sitting there exactly where i had placed it the night before. I started to tinker with it and then i realised. I swore up and down that there was not any film in it last night but there had to be. There was film in it now. Then it hit me. Whatever was in the shed when i woke up put film in the camera. But why?
A few hours later i decided what to do with it. I started to put some screws in the corner of the camera onto some metal pipes i lifted from the waterworks (which is where i work). It was very tall. I had to go on a step ladder to finish the top of it.
Interviewer: Do you usually take things from people Michael?
Michael: No, Sir, I just saw them and... Anyways, i put the camera and pipes together to make a sort of..... sort of......Body. It was going to be a statue or an ornament for my shed so i wouldn't get lonely but there was something very off about it. It looked alive from the second i build it. Not in a good way but almost terrifying. I left it standing in the corner and went inside, trying to forget the image.
I awoke that night to a blinding flash through my window that lit up the room like if a flare had been sent up inside of my room. It hurt to open my eyes. Until, the pain went and the room went dark as i slowely opened me eyes. There was a deafaning bang three times on my window. On the third bang the glass smashed and i saw what was behind it. The camera was leaning to my window making these odd noises. The sort of noises a camera would make when it was zooming in and out. It was looking at me until it pushed back from the cabin.
I stayed in a squatting position for several hours because i was paralyzed with fear. I couldn't move. All i could hear was the door being kicked down by the police. My only neighbour had called them for a noise complaint and after seeing something tall run into the woods they decided to see if i was ok while some other officers followed after it.
They found me sobbing to myself in the corner of my room. There was glass everywhere and as i was carried away. But wait. I saw something glissening in the light of the police cars outside. I intentionally fell off the officer's shoulder and pointed to it. They picked it up and it was a picture of me in my room sleeping. That must have been taken before the glass smashed but who took it? It hit me like a brick. I threw up and finally, after a warm cocoa at the station i explained what had happened that night.
The officers thought i was mad. They investigated it and found evidence to back my story. They never heard back from the officers who tried to follow my invention but they did find pictures in the woods. Pictures of all the officers dead in a pool of blood. They never found the bodys. I never felt safe after that so they put me in a psychiatric hospital to try and get me to recover but i know what i saw.
Michael Walters died in september 2011 of unkown causes. The last person to see him alive was one of the officers who carried him out of his cabin. He was muttering something in his cell. They were: "Flash, Flash, redrum."
The FBI named it XXP. It is still has an unkown location but hikers and police rescue squads found photos of missing people in that same woods.
- Everyone in this story is fictional and da fbi had nothin to do with it. enjoy :) -
There are a lot of places in this story that would benefit from punctuation, especially commas.
I've noticed a few typos: "alone in my hutning cabin", "I" is not capitalized in most places, "glissening", "unkown", etc. Additionally, even though "da fbi had nothin" appears in the post-scrip, it still needs proper spelling.
I suggest proof reading and putting it through a spell checker next time. I suggest Grammarly as well, because there are a few minor instances where poor wording and grammar slightly undoes this story.
Ellipsis is three periods and a space, not a whole bunch of random periods.
Now for the plot issues.
There are also a few tense swaps: "One night i was in my shed" turns into "I place it down on the table and go to the cabin.". If something takes place in the past, it must be told in past tense.
Exposing underdeveloped film would potentially damage the film.
It also kind of raises the question as to why the main character is being interviewed, and by who. While interviews can be a good framing device, they have to have a reason behind them, otherwise they seem pointless.
Interview aside, why did this happen to the main character? It seems kind of confusing as to why some random person would have this happen to them, which while a lot of "random" stuff happens to people in real life, it's confusing in a story.
The main character must have super sensitive eyes and ears, because flashes weren't terribly bright to the human eye from a distance, and the zoom, obviously, wouldn't be very loud.
This story is very disjointed, leaves more questions than it answers (and not in a good fear-the-unknown sort of way), and feels like it is missing a lot of bits and pieces here and there. You need to explain to the readers what is going on and fill them in on every important detail. There is so much missing here that it is hard to decipher what is going on.
The biggest question is what is this creature and how did it come to life? From our prospective, because of the lack of detail, he made what was, to us, just a statue that magically came to life one day and became a robotic Frankenstein monster.
"I never felt safe after that so they put me in a psychiatric hospital." Ok, no! That's just asinine and unrealistic. It feels like this is wedged in because mental hospitals are scary. They're not going to institutionalize a guy just for not feeling safe, they would probably put him in some relocation program. Simply not feeling safe is not a reason to ruin a person's life with an involuntary stay in a psych ward. Was it somehow actually affecting his mental health? This is why filling in the blanks are important. Don't assume your readers are just going to know where you're going with everything.
"Michael Walters died in september 2011 of unkown causes. " this is a major POV swap that we're not even warned about. Because we have no indication or transition, we are left to assume the main character is saying this.
Also, I would like to point out that the main character saying "redrum" is clearly ripped off of The Shining. Try to be original with your work.
"- Everyone in this story is fictional and da fbi had nothin to do with it. enjoy :) - " this epilogue is actually pointless and slightly distracting. This is Creepypasta, so we already know it is fictional.
Aside from what Ned pointed out I just want to ask what specifically works about the camera creature, besides the incredibly vague way its described to come alive. Is it the fact its sentient? A camera? The fact it takes photos of its victims? Because lots of stories basically do that, and its not those individual elements that are inherently scary. Its about the vulnerability, the physical form of the creature and how it torments the creator (since you're aiming at a Promethian angle sort of).
From the inventor angle, the out of place Redrum drop, the "XXP" designation to the (not) interview format, it feels like you cobbles together a lot of elements you felt were cool but didnt really know what to focus on. You should consider what type of audience you're aimed at, how you want that initial concept to come across (inventor creates camera-headed homunculous?).
Okay. Then if you're not taking your own writing seriously, why should anyone else? It's unfair to ask someone to invest their time and effort into critiquing a story you don't care about. That's essentially asking them to do all the work.
“I always loved inventing things. I had created many interesting machines before but this one was different. This one went too far. It all started back in 1988 when I went through a divorce with my wife and i was living alone in my hutning cabin. I had a small rotting shed, out the back, where i made objects. My friends would consider me weird so when they were on nights out i would be at home welding some rusty metal to some wheels.”
Is this first paragraph part of the interview? I noticed that below you have interviewer and Michael labeled, so this is confusing. You’re not Cormac McCarthy, use quotation marks. Hunting is misspelled. Capitalize proper nouns (I, Michael, I’m.) There’s more here, but I’m not going to be dissecting this story as thoroughly as I normally would, far too many errors to do that.
“One night i was in my shed studying a camera. Now, it would be an antique and very valuble but back then, it would be a top of the range, new camera. I place it down on the table and go to the cabin. I went up to bed and that was that. I slept.”
What kind of camera is it? The sentences after that first one all need to be fixed. They’re all wonky, the flow is off, it awkward, and they’re hard to read. Not saying the language you’re using is hard, just the way you’ve written them is hard. For example “I place it down on the table and go to the cabin.” You could use: “I placed it on the table and returned to the cabin.” It’s a lot cleaner and flows smoother. Look for things that you can cut words from, and make sure you actually have proper grammar.
“- Everyone in this story is fictional and da fbi had nothin to do with it. Enjoy :) -” Get rid of this.
Okay, I stopped copy and pasting paragraphs pretty quick for this one. There’s far too many problems and it would be good practice to edit this story, although I doubt it will ever be good to publish. Some things I’d recommend, don’t have this as an interview, you’re not a strong enough writer to even attempt something like that. Dialogue can be hard, and that’s not where you need to be. You can also give more information from either first person or third person that’s not confined to a retelling of the story.
The concept was weak. Why does he have the same powers as the Puppetmaster movies? Bring things he built to life isn’t very common, and that should have something explained. I’m sure that you’re thinking you gave the camera enough to make it known that it’s the camera that’s doing it, but you didn’t. Just because he heard shuffling, doesn’t mean that’s enough to make use believe that the camera is able to control things. Second, what does this creation look like? You didn’t really give it a good description, at least not a memorable one. That’s your monster, make it be scary.
The interviewer only makes one comment throughout the entire story, why would you have it be in the form of an interview? The police shipping him off to the funny farm doesn’t make much sense either, because that’s normally saved for people who are going to harm themselves or others.
This is really weak, and maybe you can make something that could skim by. It’s going to take more work than it took to write the story though. Changing the format of the interview shouldn’t be hard, it’s just a few lines that need to be cut, but have him interact with people. Show how he is in normal times, so we don’t think that he is just insane from the start. You even mention that people think he’s weird, so that could be because he’s crazy. Make it so that we know he isn’t and what he saw really happened.
A Polariod deposits film right after the picture was taken, and it whines like crazy when it does. That would be a top of the line camera for 1988, at least one that the public would like to have. They’re a bulky black box that can flip open to reveal the flash bulb, where the film comes out, and the lens. In fact, they still make those cameras, but they’re used more for novelty and for taking crime scene photos.
Have your protagonist go into the woods, to try and prove he isn’t crazy. Leave a trail of pictures, each one more graphic. Don’t just kill people by having them in a pool of blood, your monster is a camera, take action shots. Make it scarier, and make us fear for the safety of the protagonist.
The concept isn’t horrible, but the execution was. Sharpen your writing skills. Do the editing, and it’ll never just be a once over. The story I’ve been working on is now over 60k words, and I’ve gone over it at least six times. And I still keep finding things that are wrong with it. Don’t story editing until you feel it’s as good as you can make it, and you’ll find that your writing and stories are so much better for it. If you expect others to do the editing for you, you’ll never become a better writer. And read more. Not just on the wiki, actual books. They are where you can really learn how to write better. Sure, there are some bad ones, but there are a lot more good ones, especially if you get books that have been traditionally published. Self published works can be hit or miss, some people hire an editor, but most don’t and it shows.
You posted it on the Writer's Workshop forum. That's what this forum is for. If you don't want your work critiqued, don't waste people's time by posting it on a forum that exists solely for the purpose.