I’ll go through it paragraph by paragraph.
So, right off the bat, I can tell that you have a lot of run-on sentences. As many others have said, there’s a lack of commas, but also a lack of periods. A run-on sentence doesn’t mean you’re missing commas, it might mean that you’re just missing periods as well.
The second thing I noticed was how you’re relying on “telling” more than “showing.” Before I move on, let me explain what the difference is…
Telling is where you’re just giving us information. So in your example, saying, “It was pretty cold out…” is giving us the obvious. Showing, on the other hand, is where you’re using context clues based on the environment, reactions, and actions so we know what is happening. To rewrite your sentence, you can say something like: “I turned my face away from the bitter air that nipped at my skin.” You can continue with extra details like shoving the character’s fists into their pockets, burying their face in a scarf that hung around their neck, how they shivered when the breeze picked up speed. All of these details will tell your reader, “Oh, they’re cold.”
Another way to show in writing is to do it in the moment. So, for example, instead of saying something like, “My friend, Jane, is a huge reader!” you can have a scene where your character tries to interact with Jane who has her nose stuck in a book, and while she’s trying to finish a chapter, your character can look around and see all the books around the room. They could even make an estimate and say, “She probably had over two hundred books.” Like I said, it’s based on the context clues.
While that is the difference between showing and telling, this doesn’t mean you should avoid telling at all costs. You’re going to tell at some point. The trick is to know when you should tell. Faster paced scenes like action and where your character isn’t going to be too invested in the details and environment around them, you might often tell more. This is because if you show during these scenes, it’ll drag on the scene and make it boring. Slower paced scenes, however, such as experiencing something for the first time or being immersed into the details and environment, you will often show more. This is because if you tell during these parts, it will feel like you went too fast and you didn’t develop the scene properly. It’ll make your readers think it’s incomplete.
If I were to give a ratio, you might tell 30-40% of the time while you might show 60-70% of the time.
So, as I have previously said, using more showing for this scene.
“…and I knew something was off I couldn’t see far in front of me I was freezing and had a light jacket on.” There are multiple periods and commas that are needed here:
…It was pretty cold out, and I knew something was off. I couldn’t see very far in front of me. I was freezing and had a light jacket on.
Another thing to mention: try to avoid “very.” It can be a weak word at times, and most of the time, you can use something better in replacement as a more define vocabulary word. For this, I’d just say it’s better to have “…couldn’t see far in front of me.”
It also might be worth mentioning to describe more of the environment. Where is this person? Where are they going? What does it look like? Why was it cold (was it snowing, for example)?
“I couldn’t remember anything I was stranded in a blizzard and was probably going to die. I looked for sources of warmth and couldn’t find anything I was afraid and knew that I was going to freeze.” Again, more missing punctuation marks and whatnot that I’ve already discussed before.
What could she not remember? Again, where is she? What makes her think she was going to die? What do you mean by “sources of warmth”? Why was she afraid?
I couldn’t remember anything. I was stranded in a blizzard, and I was probably going to die. I looked for sources of warmth and couldn’t find anything. I was afraid and knew that I was going to freeze.
Since there’s a repetition of what I’ve said before (lack of showing, lack of punctuation), I’m just going to skip over telling that and place an example of the corrected version in a blockquote (like I have been doing). It’ll appear at the end of my analysis.
The first thing that I realize is that this person isn’t walking in the street… they’re… on a mountain of sort? This is kind of why you need to describe the surroundings so your readers aren’t confused. You have to walk us through a “step-by-step” of what’s going on so we can visualize the story. You might think you’re doing this, but you have to be careful on how you write it because it’s easy to just give vague information. As a writer, you need to understand that your reader can’t see what you’re seeing.
For example, I can instantly visualize a scene where my character is sitting on a leather couch, drinking some hot tea with a fire going in front him, a book in his hand, and being in his cozy cottage in the winter. But if I simply write: “I sat on a chair and read, all warm and snuggled…” my reader is going to form a totally different scene.
You don’t have to give us everything, but you need to give us enough information to go off of so we can visualize the scene correctly.
So, in this, you need to describe where your character is. Are they walking by a cliff-side? Are they climbing a mountain? And how far did they drop? What damage was done to their appearance and physical body? Go through a list of questions of what could’ve happened. Ask yourself things like: How? What? When? Where? Why? Who?
You want to do this with every scene, even with other things happening. For example, when you had said that your character noticed someone sitting, what do you think your character thought they were sitting at? Living room? Kitchen? Describe “there.” And from just that simple look, what was that character doing—or rather, possibly doing? Could they be staring at a TV? Eating dinner at the kitchen table? Staring out into space? Talking with someone? Listening to music? Writing? Reading? Drawing? WHAT?
I also noticed how you use a lot of “I’s.” I like to call this the “I-Disease.” Now, you can’t get rid of a lot of them because your story is in first person. So a lot of “I’s” is gonna happen. However, instead of doing something like “I did this, I did that…” try to break it up. First, you can try to combine some sentence together. For example: “After knocking at the door with no answer, I looked in the window again.” The trick is to rewrite your sentences. The second way is to give more details of the surroundings and whatnot. For example: “I noticed a nearby cabin with a lantern inside. The small, wooden cabin appeared to have been around for years, possibly decades. There was wood that was chipping away, and the steps to the front porch were in half. I walked closer to the building, now noticing someone sitting by a window, sipping a cup of liquid. Could it be coffee?”
Be slow and approach your descriptions cautiously.
Also, I noticed that you skipped what happened after she “pulled herself up.” For one, what platform did she pull herself up to? And secondly, what happened after she pulled herself up? Did she continue walking? Did she brush off the mud from her clothes and checked herself from scratches or bruises? Had something caught her eye in the distance, like maybe the cabin? <— Actually, what made her notice the cabin?
I walked for a bit before sliding on some ice and rolling down a mountain. I latched onto something before I fell. With my last bit of strength, I pulled myself up. I noticed a nearby cabin with a lantern inside. I walked over to the cabin and noticed someone sitting there. I knocked on the door. There was no answer, so I looked in the window again.
Okay, so… what made her decide it was a good idea to open the door to a stranger’s house? Of course, you can say that, in her defense, she was in a horrible state. You know with freezing and whatnot. But what was her thought process before opening the door? What made her think the person would welcome her into her home by trespassing onto their property?
This is another thing that I’ve noticed in here: you lack the emotions and thoughts from your character. First person is a pain to write because how descriptive it’s needing to be. As a first person writer, you need to pull out the character’s thoughts and feelings and write them accordingly based on the moment. You can have them think of past experiences, question the future, think of the present, and argue with themselves about their decisions. In a basic sense, think of yourself as the character. How would you feel (physically and emotionally) and what would you be thinking if you were in their situation?
The further I went into the paragraph, the more I was kind of confused. Of course, you can answer more of the questions later down the road. But as a first-coming reader, I’m not entirely too sure what’s fully going on here. Like, okay. The dude is dead. But uh, why would they die? And if they were dead, why was the murderer hanging around?
Another thing I want to point out: try to avoid filter words. Filter words are things like, “I heard,” and “I saw,” and “I felt,” and “I smelled.” It can be simple to get rid of them by just removing it. “There was a noise.” “Twigs cracked below my feet.” “A cabin was down the mountain.” So and so forth. However, for your excerpt, I think it’d be better to describe a bit more of this noise. What did it sound like? Was it a footstep? Was it a squeak in the floorboards? Was it breathing?
I opened the door slowly. The person in the room, whom was wearing a heavy coat, hadn’t moved. I tapped on their shoulder. When they didn’t move again, I was afraid. Blood poured out of their neck. A shock went through my body. There was a noise and I turned, a horrifying figure standing there with a bloody mask.
The choreography was off in here because of the way you don’t describe where the character is in the cabin. Like I had mentioned before, you want to go through a procedure of where the characters are located so your reader understands what is going on. Personally, I thought the dead guy was sitting at a table right next to the front door. So when the character went in, they immediately tapped their shoulder and noticed they were dead. But now, this just made me more confused because… she fell out of a window? Where was this window? Was it next to her? Because in my head, I thought the window was small and was completely blocked from the dead guy in front of it…
Map out where the characters are in the story and how the murderer sneaks up on your MC. Then figure out, based on what happens to the MC, where they go. I don’t think a simple slice in the stomach will make them fall out of a window. I thought they’d just fall down or something? I’m not too sure.
This will also be a good time to explain how the slash made her feel. Of course it was painful, but what had it felt like? How much blood was she losing? Was it a huge gap, with organs falling out, or like a good scratch as if a cat sliced your arm open? Or was it like slicing open your skin with a regular knife, but just not breaking any major muscle tissue?
Also, how big and muscular was this guy? I mean, how the heck could he bust through the wall? And why did he anyway? There’s a perfectly good door he could walk through…
The figure breathed heavily. His terrifying blood smile drawn onto the mask made me want to run as far as I could. He walked slowly toward me, slashing open my stomach with a single slice of his machete. I fell out a window and crawled away slowly. I heard the wall bust open and he walked towards me, menacingly.
Okay, so I know I’m repeating myself here, but I mean… where is the cabin? Is it on a cliff-side too?
And I’m pretty sure that if your character “smashed open their head,” they’d be dead instantly. So they probably wouldn’t be thinking about death. Their last thoughts could be death, but that is dependable because… well, I’m not too sure what happens when you die.
However, I also don’t think it would give your character enough time to write about their experiences within the last couple of hours or minutes (?) in a notebook. And even if they did, where had this notebook come from? When had they pulled it out to write? Why did they have a random notebook with them?
There’s just a lot of questions with unclear answers. That’s all I can say about this excerpt, honestly. Questions don’t necessarily mean a bad thing, though, because you can definitely answer them later on in the chapter, scene, or story, but you want to make sure you get a lot of the major answers out first such as the questions I mentioned earlier (how, what, when, where, why, and who). Because, like I said before, your readers can visualize it better that way. They learn what’s happening as they continue through your story, and like a movie, they get to see what’s going on inside their head as it’s happening.
I looked at him, but lost my grip. I slipped off the mountain, smashing my head open. I laid on the ground, thinking about death.
. . .
If you found this notebook, I’m dead.
So, on an overall look, your idea is good, but the way it’s executed needs improvement. The main problem that I see would be, as I’ve said in my previous comments, the lack of emotions and thoughts, the lack of immersive detail, the lack of punctuation and grammar, the lack of showing, and the fact how you rely heavily on the “I-Disease.”
These are all things you can, of course, improve on. But I wouldn’t say they’re a part of your writing style. I think your writing style is trying to be quick on the descriptions for a “better effect” and also using smaller paragraphs (and potential sentences when they’re not run-on sentences) as a way to create suspense. If this is how you would describe your writing style, then I think there isn’t much wrong with it. You just need to be careful on when you can be quick on descriptions because if you’re too quick during a slow scene (such as your beginning—you should’ve been slower since you want to immerse the reader into the environment and lifestyle your character was in), it can backfire and make it look like you rushed into it. Which is something you obviously don’t want.
In a nutshell, I advise to read published stories (particularly similar to your own, but it doesn’t have to be—as long as it’s within the same genre at least) so you can analyze how those stories are written. You can learn a lot from published writers by just reading their books: their descriptions, their vocabulary, their sentence and paragraph structure, and so on.
You can also do a few experimental prompts where you think of something that happened with yourself and write it down as a short story. For example, if you recently experienced an embarrassing moment, you can write a short essay about how that went. Where were you? What had happened? How did you feel? Who was there with you? What had the room or area look like? How did you get embarrassed? When had it happened? Answer these questions in a chronologically order (from before the moment happened to after it happened), and then write it as if you were trying to write a scene for it in a story.