He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

The Blog

  • 8 Ways to Write a Dream Sequence image of tag icon

    It’s easy to hate dream sequences in a novel. I mean, how many bad dreams sequences have you read? I’ve read a ton, and that’s why for so long I was resistant to teach other writers how to use dreams, and refused to use them in my fiction. But after continuing to see dreams in […]

    November 9, 2021

    Read More
  • How to Write a Non-Chronological Plot image of tag icon

    Stories are chronological. One event happens after another. However, this does not mean that stories have to be told chronologically. Related posts: 9 Genius Methods for Writing a Great Scene (Plus a Bonus Idea) 8 Tips for Writing a Novel

    October 18, 2021

    Read More
  • 13 Strategies to Create Character Names image of tag icon

    Most people have trouble coming up with cool character names, which is why some kids end up with names like Vagena (true story) or Gaylord (Gaylord Focker is truly the worst name ever). But for fiction writers it’s harder because you have to come up with a dozen or so character names for every single […]

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • 65 Long Sentences in Literature image of tag icon

    Here are 65 examples of long sentences ranging from the relatively brief 96 words to one of the longest sentences at 2,156 words. Almost all of the really long sentences are under 1,000 words. The six longest sentences (1,000+ words) are mostly a curiosity, just to see what is possible. Related posts: 9 Ways to Write Brilliant Short […]

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • 44 Publishers Looking for Short Story Collections image of tag icon

    This is a list of publishers seeking short story collections, and it’s the most comprehensive list on the internet. I’ve read short story collections from most of the publishers on this list and altogether they are publishing some of the best short fiction on the planet. Related posts: 30 Children’s Book Publishers Eager for Your […]

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • The Mammoth Stockpile of Creative Writing Prompts image of tag icon

    With these 10 lists of creative writing prompts, there is no way you are going to stare at a blank computer screen today. Need a story generator? Got you covered. 50+ photo prompts? Also got it. If you want the first line of a story, choose from the 100+ lines to get you started. Related posts: 50 […]

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • 43 Great Sentences That Will Blow You Away image of tag icon

    I love good sentences. I really do. The best sentences are ones that show off brilliance without being show-offy. They pulse with the vitality of language and they aren’t any longer than they need to be. Related posts: 9 Ways to Write Brilliant Short Sentences 16 Ways to Write Sentences that Dazzle

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • Top 24 Websites for Flash Fiction image of tag icon

    It doesn’t matter what you call it — flash fiction, sudden fiction, micro fiction, short-short — stories under 1000 words offer a quick zing of literary delight. But have you ever wondered whether anyone actually read your flash fiction piece you published online? This list gives you a good idea of how many eyeballs it reached by ranking the […]

    August 18, 2021

    Read More
  • Writing Prompts Based on Songs (Part 2) image of tag icon

    This is the second part of a two-part series of Creative Writing Prompts. Visit part one. 16. St. Vincent: “Save Me From What I Want” Related posts: 50 Fantastic Creative Writing Exercises Creative Writing Prompts for Young Adult (YA) Fiction

    August 18, 2021

    Read More