Let me talk about a classic. I’ll be up all night finishing up my final projects and I wanted to get something in tonight. I want to discuss the classic short story by Edger Allen Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”.
I’ll be honest, years ago, when I first started reading Poe, I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. Eventually, I kept on reading because well it’s Poe. I think sometimes it just takes a certain age before we start to love his work. For “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe creates the atmosphere right away with his use of punctuation and sentence structure.
For instance, when the speaker says, “for what had I to fear?” the reader also feels a sense of calm as the speaker does. However, the greatest emotion from the short story comes from the empathy for the old man. The second scene where the mad man says, “He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult.” creates the emotion of sympathy for the old man from then on.
For a class form I had to write a 200 word scene with the emphasis on description. Of course I read Poe’s short story before I wrote the following.
But first. Do you have a certain author that is a creative muse for you? Is it too risky to read someone else’s work before you write your own? I can mimick very well, and often become afraid that I’m not really telling my own story. Anyway, here is my answer to that class exercise. Hope you enjoy it.
A gust of wind blew through the open door, carrying with it black soot and the smell of smoke. The sudden emotions caused me to take a step back and trip on the broken wood. The porch was about a block long either way and was now falling in. Matt shouldn’t have come here alone. From my position on the floor, the dark seemed to loom over me. Getting back up I realized how fearful I was, but I had to go in. Breathing heavy, I made my way through the entrance. The dark and moonlight must have been playing tricks on me, because I see shadows moving around the intricate staircase. Almost like they were trying to climb out of the fallen structure. Yelling out a strangled scream I rushed forward to the right towards Grandpa’s study where Matt should be. Moving fast, eyes filled with tears I didn’t see Grandpa’s large oak door, now off its brass hinges on the floor. Tripping, I scream out for Matt terrified that even the carved angels would reach out for me. Somehow Matt’s voice reached me through my terror. In tears I rushed to him, holding tightly and careful of his broken leg.