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Reviewer: Max Griffin 🏳️🌈
As always, these are just one person's opinions. Always remember Only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. I hope you find something here useful , and that you will discard the rest with good cheer.
What I liked best
I enjoyed the way these stories came full circle, connecting the notion of "Lambs" being a mix of right/wrong place right/wrong "Life Altering Moments." They have the "just-so" feel of the best of the genre that might be called "modern folk tales," and remind me of the gentle, wise humor of, for example, David Sedaris.
That said, I'm not sure I have much to offer in terms suggestions. These are surely fiction, and surely have a theme, characters, setting, and the other elements of conventional fiction. Except they are not "conventional fiction," any more than the works of Sedaris. That doesn't mean these aren't good--on the contrary, they are. But I'm more geared to comment on conventional fiction--stories with a strong point-of-view character, one with goals and obstacles, and one where the goals matter, i.e., the stakes are high. In conventional fiction, the goals and obstacles give rise to conflict, and the outcome of the conflict matters because of the stakes--something bad happens if the main character fails to achieve their goals. Here, we know upfront that the outcomes are pre-ordained and the narrator knows them, reducing the tension.
Instead, we have here three slice-of-life vignettes. The narrator--i.e., the omniscient author--is the strongest feature of all three and, being omniscient, ties them together. Conventional fiction eschews the omniscient narrator, but these modern-day folk tales require such a narrator. As I noted above, these feel like modern-day folk tales, serving the modern reader the way the Pied Piper or the Emperor's new clothes served earlier time. They are well-crafted to this kind of prose.
But what they are 2253188are short stories in the sense that Faulkner, or Updike, or even Heinlein wrote short stories. The whole notion of the "fictional dream," the theoretical basis for modern fiction, is absent, and appropriately so. Thus, none of my usual leads for writing a review apply. Indeed, I'm pretty sure I couldn't write this kind of story at all, let alone as successfully as you have.
So, while my reviews generally include both acknowledgement of well-executed elements of craft and suggestions for revision, the craft that I can knowledgeably discuss is not relevant to this particular genre. For this reason, I'm going to have to pass on writing a more detailed review, and just say I enjoyed them.
I only review things I like, and I really liked this story. I'm a professor by day, and find awarding grades the least satisfying part of my job. Since I'm reviewing in part for my own edification, I decided long ago to give a rating of "4" to everything I review, thus avoiding the necessity of "grading" things on WDC. So please don't assign any weight to my "grade" -- but know that I selected this story for review because I liked it and thought I could learn from studying it.
Again, these are just one person's opinions. Only you know what is best for your story! The surest path to success is to keep writing and to be true to your muse!
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