Coffin Varnish by Charles EJ Moulton


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Post October 15, 2014, 06:31:20 PM

Coffin Varnish by Charles EJ Moulton

This felt like a segment of a bigger story. The multiple tropes had me swirling a bit- time travel and werewolves and warlocks and the old west? That is pretty busy in terms of theme. It was well written and likable. The over abundance of these tried and true story elements made this seem like the script of a B horror movie. I don't have a problem with B horror movies, I love them. If that is what you were going for then Huzzah! It brought to mind a SyFy network made for TV movie. Commercially viable, good for entertaining the masses, but by no means high art. I love pulp fiction and this is pulp fiction. If you continue to write it I will probably continue to read it.
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Post October 28, 2014, 02:25:37 PM

Re: Coffin Varnish by Charles EJ Moulton

First impression: this story is packed with mutilated metaphors, right from the start. Example:

The fabric of time seemed to slow down indefinitely and as her heartbeat accelerated, the dust sailed to the ground in an almost immobile fashion. The breath of time exhaled its microbes in microscopic fashion

Fabric can go fast or slow down? Time not only breathes, but breathes microbes? And, when I read the word 'sail,' I think of something moving very quickly, not 'almost immobile.'

A pocket-watch referred to as a 'stone.'

Okay, the writer is displaying a damn-the-details-and-fling-it-at-the-page attitude. It's ballsy, and results in some colorful and surprising phrases. Maybe not logically correct, but definitely not cliched, and that much is good.

Details do matter, though, and sloppiness with those is a different thing from creating mashup metaphors. In the fight scene, you've got:
Sylvia thrusted her left knee into the man's back and threw up his chin.
(Oh, and that should be "thrust," not "thrusted." And "yanked up his chin" would probably be better.)

Okay, he's face-down ... but wait--
Sylvia straddled the man . . . She groaned, thrust her pelvis onto his crotch
What?? If he's still face-down, his crotch is against the floor.

And this confusion continues. BTW, I thought this was going to end in sex.

High points:
"Randolph," Sylvia screamed, her rugged voice shooting out into the empty saloon. "I'm hungry." A sarcastic chuckle bubbled up from her belly and hit her lips. "Give me your heart, you little bastard!"
Loved that.

And 'coffin varnish' as a term for rotgut liquor. Very nice.

The ending disappointed me, because of the extra character who appeared without warning, though perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. Still, he seemed out of place.

I'll give the writer a pass and say this is a first draft. The inconsistencies in the action need fixed, and maybe give an advance hint about that added character at the end, but the rest of it, crazy and reckless as it is, has it's own consistency. It's shrill and schlocky, but a lot of fun.
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