Review & Critique
Okay, so this really is a strange little number, which left me a little dazed and confused.
Let me see if I got it right... Kid is pissed at living in an orphanage and would rather die, though he finds this spell online to conjure Santa into a cadaver by carrying out a black magic conjuration. Then when Santa arrives, we learn he needs the kid's soul to create if own Christmas magic. Though unable to take the soul 'cause the kid is immortal and soulless, so he asks the kid to join, and help, him. Where the next morning there are more presents under the tree as Santa isn't a nasty daemon, who eats kids souls?
Now the strange thing is, with all the weirdness of this tale and the immense holes in it, I really enjoyed it - though I did think the happy ending was going a little bit too far, though. It brought a smile to my face and kept me reading along.
For a Lovecraftian tale though, it needed to be more descriptive, creepier, and darker. You started off in the right way, but I think you lost it at the immortal section. Loved the idea of finding the spell and ritual online.
Kept to the Challenge – 7/10
As I stated above it needed to be more "Lovecraftian" and a tab bit more gore to take it from "Visceral" to "Splatterpunk" Style
Kept to the Rules – 10/10
Originality – 9/10
Though most of the things have been done a few times before, your strange mix of them makes this very fresh and abstract.
Grammar – 8/10
Here are the few things I spotted in read through...
The first three sentences in your third paragraph all begin with the same word - "He". The rule of thumb about starting consecutive sentences is that you should try to every sentence in a different way. If you cannot, then only start no more than two with the same word. This is easy to rectify with quick and easy rewrites... He then went over to his laptop and scrolled down to the instructions ...this could easily become... Going over to the laptop, he scrolled down to the instructions
Medical professionals even had a name for it. The name wasn't important, only it's location ...because you make the statement about the gland having a medical name, the following sentence becomes passive as you say it isn't important. There are two ways around this. The first is to combine the two sentences and miss out the "unimportant" part... Medical professionals even had a name for it, though only it's location was important to him ...better yet, as Lovecraft would do, name it... Medical professionals called in the pineal gland. ...as this is more succinct and to the point.
drill through the forehead of the body ...I would suggest changing body to skull as the connotations are better and the sentence is more realistic and truthful.
The five parts of the human body lay on the circle ...consider changing on to in for the same reason as above.
Then John saw something that scared even him ...I would suggest removing even because you haven't shown he's fearless, plus it keeps the line more succinct and a little bit more powerful.
The severed body parts the lay on the circle began to waiver ...I know what your trying to say here but I would recommend a few changes... The severed body parts laying in the circle began to twitch and move ...the wasn't required and in your sentence made it awkward; I also changed the in for the same reason as above; and changed waiver for better descriptive narrative of the moving body parts - hopefully adding to the creepiness.
he noticed the eyes were pearl-white, having no eyeballs. ...how can the eyes be pearl-white if he has none? Do you mean the eye sockets were pearl-white? Or that the eyes had no pupils and cornea?
It opened its mouth and a voice came out of it though the mouth never made any movements to produce it and remained still instead ...this is a very passive and awkward sentence, which is also overly long. Even if the comma had been placed before the though wouldn't have helped much. It could do with a more descriptive rewrite, such as... the mouth opened issuing forth a terrifying voice. However, neither it's lips, jaw, or vocal chords worked to produce the dreadful noise.
The deep growling voice laughed and said in a disembodied voice ...this would read better if you moved disembodied to earlier in the sentence... The disembodied voice laughed, then growled deeply, "Merry
so that my reindeers and can feast ...you have a missing word here... so that my reindeer's and I can feast
leaving behind only a faint scar ...I would suggest removing only from the sentence as it's passive and not required.
Dialogue – 8/10
For the most part your conversations were realistic and sounded and felt true, though there were a couple of sections which I felt let the story down... the main one being You are like a doughnut with a big whole in the middle as that, for me didn't sound right in context with Santa's other speech.
"Come with you?" ...should be... "Go with you?
Characters – 6/10
Because your Santa is so different it would've been nice to have more a characterisation here - though you do get a certain disdainful feeling towards him and he comes off as brash and boorish. The main character of the kid is the one that needs the most work. You need to get your reader to relate to them, whether through things they do, what they say, or think, and through their emotions and feelings. I would think the orphan would feel alone and as though the world is against them sometimes, if not most of the time, though this doesn't really come through. This would be one way, because at one point in time, your readers would've gone through those feelings and emotions too - this would make them feel as though they were part of the story.
Pace and Flow – 8/10
Though there were a couple of minor issues where the conversation slowed me down the story flowed well and read at a steady pace throughout. Though if you wanted to make it scarier I would suggest slowing it down a little.
Feeling / Emotion – 4/10
This is the section which paid the price for the story being so short and having so much content - there was so much happening in just 1305 words that the Emotion side took a knock. As I mentioned in the Characters section I believe that by adding feelings and emotions to your characters your reader will relate and emphasise with them. This in return will make your story stronger. Also this is a Horror Story and even though you started fine, with the ritual and the body parts and got a little darker with the Santa /daemon issue you lost the horror elements when you introduced the "Immortal" section, which is a shame as this could've been a much harder hitting story.
Please remember any opinions which are given, are given in the spirit of helpfulness - If you do not agree with my opinions then please feel free to ignore them - after all this is YOUR story (be true to it and yourself)
Also please note, The Review is done mainly as Judgment and Marking for the Absolute Horror Writers Monthly Contest - The Rating however, is solely for the story.
Thank you for taking part in the contest - hope to read more from you soon.
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"Absolute Horror Flash Fiction Contest" by Pennywise
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