Hello Fractalline Swimmer I came across your portfolio in read a newbie. You have the start of something that could be quite good in my opinion, but this is no my genre. The story is creative and the writing is descriptive and you have some good dialog.
You need to reformat the story to attract readers, it looks like a wall of words now. Readers immediately pull away. Get some white space between those paragraphs and one paragraph for each time someone new is speaking dialog. These cosmetic changes will help.
Put a strong hook of intrigue in early to help draw the reader in. Best of luck, WDC can be a great place to develop writing skills. We are all still learning.
This is a wonderful short story. You took a simple and real-world experience and turned it into an epic little battle. I think writing dialog for children is particularly difficult and I thought their dialog was a little too correct. But it did not take away from the story and it is a minor point. I was curious to see how it paid off for them. Nicely done.
Hello Pennywise I came across this interesting tale while searching for recent short stories and ended up on your portfolio. There are several things that are unusual about the format of this story, that make it challenging to write. It's all narration without dialog and no real character interaction, it's also written like a short series of journal entries. That is difficult to pull off, but I think you did a good job. You keep the pace moving with a sense of dread or intrigue. Is the journal writer spiraling into madness or a victim of a strange infestation of sorts, or a bit of both? I just saw something on my kitchen counter as a matter of fact, I will be right back and give your some suggestions . . .
Hello Futrboy Came across this story in the short story newsletter. Hard to pull off a monologue story. I thought this might drag on until I hit your little twist as to what was going on. You timed it about right and your character was spot on for a persistent bill collector. One who had become a bit frustrated with people not responding to his queries. It was a clever story and well done, especially for a monologue.
Happy New Year BlackAdder. I came across this as a recently revised short story. I like the plot and the twists coming toward the end were not expected. You told the story through the dialog and gave good descriptions of the characters. An unusual story, I never liked the idea of pineapple on pizza. There were some cleanup comments for your consideration.
Months of his life had been spent getting to this door. This sounds like he traveled a long distance. How about something like: It had taken months of preparation to be standing at this door.
Some of the tags were a bit off, in my opinion:
Cutter glanced at Baker, who answered smoothly. Hard to follow who is talking with two character references.
Edgar felt his eyes widen. Edgar's eyes widened with mock surprise. He knows what they have planned, right he knows about the conspiracy so he wouldn't be surprised, would he?
His smile was as greasy as his hair. I didn't get the imagery of a greasy smile.
My opinions for what they are worth. I think it was a clever and well-told story, I liked it.
Recipient of reviews cover the spectrum, some only want affirmation, some think that grammar and punctuation are not important. They are important and should be part of the review and comment process. The only time I would say different, is if an author specifically requested feedback on other aspects and the only comments a reviewer provided was grammar and punctuation. If a story is fundamentally flawed, the characters are flat then that would seem like the first priority of a review. I have seen your reviews, you cover a range of points. The gate keeper comment just sound like some thin skinned writers.
Hello Gray Valentine Congratulations on the award for this fun and fast paced story. The fantastic cast of characters starting with Peter the plant make this a wonderful story. The descriptions of Paul and Luis as Shelley are creative and colorful. You create the atmosphere of the chaos that can accompany a journey and set Shelly up for what might be as well deserved holiday. Well done, Happy Holidays.
Hello R.S. Cooper Found this in recently revised short stories, I have never actually read the original. This is certainly well written, standing on its own. The imagery of the narration before the dialog and action starts paints a clear picture of the place and the circumstances of the old woman. You drop a few useful clues for what will happen later, but you do not tip your hand. I will not ruin it for other readers. Nice climax, a classic of its own. I have no suggestions for improving this little gem.
Hello Serena Blade Saw the title under recently revised short stories. A perfect Christmas message for any writer. I have always believed that perseverance is the most important trait of any writer. I like how you kept this short, with a supportive character for your author Mel. The dialog was genuine for a brother and sister and it moved the story toward a conclusion. I thought some of the tagging was not necessary with only two characters, but a minor point. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Dr Gonzo Came across this looking for recently revised short stories. The introduction was intriguing so I gave it a read. I like the plot line, some unknown virus possibly of extraterrestrial origins. You do a good job of mostly telling the story through the dialog as opposed to narration. The tagging of the dialog is clear, so we know which characters are speaking. I have a suggestion that I think might help, the transitions for scene to scene are a bit choppy. Making it difficult to follow the plot line, the most signficant example is:
“It’s in Utah, John. We have men ready to take the facility, armed and prepared to die for the cause.”
The cause being the ultimate sacrifice...the pure hatred of our species. Seeing human beings as the problem, and their mission as the cure...to cleanse the Earth of the human disease.
The connection between this scene, the previous scene and the following scene is not clear. I am not even sure the role that John plays in the story. This is just a matter of some transition sentences to make it clear how the scenes tie together in the overall plot.
Hello Magnolia came across this short story in the recently revised short story list. This is a very interesting and different sort of Holiday story. It has a bit of a dark side to it, but a very effective and different version of Saint Nicklaus of sorts. Hard to write an interesting story, with no dialog even one this short. It is nicely done with vivid imagery and the emotion comes across as she returns to the hut.
A suggestion on the end:
You wrote: A man dressed in winter festival robes with a wreath on his head stared at her from atop a white stallion that was almost invisible again the snow. The Scottish Chieftain. The clan that had taken her father’s life.
Minor note: Should that be against the snow
Comment: How could she see this detail through a dense forest?
Comment: Do you need to say Scottish Clan? You said it was Scotland.
One suggested version:
She saw a white stallion just arriving atop a rocky knoll above the treetops. A man in winter festival clothes and a wreath on his head turned to look back. He gave the slightest nod of his head before he continued on out of sight. The chieftain of the clan who had taken her father's life.
Hello secretwoman4u I gave this a read as a recently revised short story. The format through me off from the get-go, with the colons. I thought well maybe this was a script. I don't read for write scripts, as a short story it was hard to follow. I read it several times, working to get past the colons, my problem. The dialog moved quickly with some nice banter, it made for a clever exchange between Colby and Leslie. The character of Deloris and here role in the dialog was a distraction to me. I am guessing maybe this was not really as short story but maybe an exercise in dialog, in that regard it was a good effort.
I came across your portal and found this short story from this past Halloween. A pleasant and realistic tale of monsters in the night, especially for children. The pace was good and you kept the story moving along, keeping open the questions of whether something supernatural was at play or something less ominous. I will not disclose the storyline so others can enjoy this well-written story.
Hello found this on Please Review. The first chapter of a novel is so important to lure the reader in for more. The opening is effective, a sense of intrigue and drama with a storm brewing. The imagery of the scene is generally effective. You carry through with dialog between Erik, Lucille and his father to lay the foundation of your story. Some editorial cleanup will help in a few places, where I thought it was a bit awkward or not clear. Some examples, your writing in bold:
An unexpected clap of thunder made several people jump in fright. Is thunder ever expected?
"I thought you'd be inside," A girl whispered in his ear. From this sentence and the next few it seems like Lucille is not a close friend. But further into the Chapter they are holding hands and she is trying to console him. Seems like he would know here voice, his relationship with her should stay consistent.
Erik said to Lucille who was standing now with her head bowed to the floor. Isn't she outside? Should be ground I think.
A close read through again and you can catch these cleanup items.
My only other comment is the transition in the scene when most of the people leave, its hard to follow where the five people are. How did Erik and Lucille end up holding hands. Did the chapel have a large covered porch, where they were all at before they moved inside.
The piano playing seemed a bit awkward, there is a reference to him pounding hard on the keys but then a reference to sweet music. Is he sad or angry, the mood of his playing should match.
It seems to be to be a good start to a dark mystery. Best of luck.
I came to this story from the newsfeed. Schnujo suggested checking out your port. A story like this is rare, a well-told story with imagery in the scenes, authentic dialog, and a deep and sincere message. This is masterful writing and the message is wonderful.
Came across this in the Mystery Newsletter. Great plot, very creative with the messages taking a turn toward the dark side. Effectively told through the dialog between the two main characters. The dialog was genuine and crisp. I found the ending a bit abrupt, possibly a subtle foundation earlier in the story. But still a good story.
I really like this tribute to service, distant ancestral links with bonds of military service connecting them nearly a century later. If you were ever to consider editing, I would suggest you might consider taking out some of the extensive details. It became a bit distracting, the detail is overwhelming. If you want to preserve it, possibly in footnotes following the story to give it an easier flow. Nicely done.
The fantastically clever story within the three hundred words. It's very difficult to pull off. The dialog is crisp and you work in some characterization of the charming shopkeeper. One small suggestion that does not affect your word count. Combine and resequence the very beginning, I think it flows better.
Shelby tugged at her brother’s coat and pointed towards the shop at the corner. "What we need is right there!"
Just my opinion, the message of this story is wonderful. Nicley done.
I was searching for detective stories recently revised and came across this. Now that I finished it, I realize it's not a story. Maybe a part of a longer piece or an exercise in writing dialog. I will focus on the dialog, it's a period piece in 1920 and dialog with a maid. It's difficult to write that kind of improper English for Gladys, I think you did a good job with that bit. My only suggestion was the tagging at the very beginning, it was difficult to follow. Not knowing who you were following. Best of luck.
Found your story in Read a Newbie, a classic haunted building story. It works well written in a narrative style without dialog, as Volkov creeps through the old store. You give a vivid description of the building which is key to setting the tone of the story. The pace moves along and peaks as he is frightened by a sound from the old door. If you are visiting this piece again to do some editing, take a look at some of your sentences for wordiness. For example, As if in pain from not being opened for so long, the door screeched and screamed and made him sure the hinges were going to fall off right there and then. He cringed as the door hinges screeched in pain from disuse. As just a suggestion. Your closing paragraph could be a bit more dramatic, hard to imagine him forgetting he was alone. Consider this for example.
He paused at the door for a last look around. A voice whispered in his left ear. "Please stay a bit longer." It was the old store owner, long dead. Volkov ran through the door, turning back to look when he got to the street. Was it his imagination? The door was squealing as it went shut, was it the wind?
I came across this curious tale in Read a Newbie, the introduction was intriguing. This is a very creative and interesting storyline for a science fiction or fantasy story. Well-written dialog, and you are showing us and not telling. A good job of building a sense of intrigue as to what is going on with the new career after interviewing with Mr. Green. It is a great start, no suggestions or recommendations for improvement. I will try and parachute in to read some more, to see where you are taking this.
Oh my.....a beautiful story on so many levels. It was in a WDC newsletter, I am so glad I came across this jewel. First, it is such a beautifully narrative tale, with fantastic imagery. The message for the Holiday season or any season for that matter is wonderful, the power of compassion for someone suffering. The pace is wonderful and to close with a short poem, simply wonderful.
I have never reviewed a poem on this wonderful portal. i also promised a confession about poetry weeks ago. My confession is I was a state finalist for poetry in elementary school. My parents were shocked and thought I had copied it for somewhere. The only other poems I wrote were in college, to attractive young ladies. My motives may not have been pure. Breaking my poem review ban, this is a well crafted poem. With the additional constraint of the hidden message quite impressive.
I like the premise of this story, a story of a baby whose parents are Mary and Joseph in a modern setting. I also like the positive message of people offering to help others in need, it's a good theme for a Christmas story. I suggest you take another look at your tagging of characters to dialog. I got lost a few times. For example, take a look at the very beginning of the story. Your writing in bold.
“May I help you? Who are you visiting?” Legend had it that the snowbound YMCA on December 5th was an original. The fact that the legend included a visit by Santa to Mary and her child started in the neighborhood pub from the mouth of the local drunk was surprising in how it spread so fast as accepted fact.
“I’m not sure.” The place needed a lot of care. A couple of recent cheap attempts at fixing it were crumbling into ruin almost as fast as they’d been built. Local history buffs claimed it was the location of the first one opening in 1850.
The reader does not know who is talking to who and the way the scene description is blended in makes it difficult to sort out. Separate out those descriptions of the place and the backstory into separate paragraphs, and give a separate paragarph for each persons dialog.
Maybe something like this:
“May I help you? Who are you visiting?” The elderly woman studied the face of the man dressed like Santa who had just come through the door of the YMCA."
Joseph shook off the cold. "I am not sure."
Legend had it that the snowbound YMCA on December 5th was an original. The fact that the legend included a visit by Santa to Mary and her child started in the neighborhood pub from the mouth of the local drunk was surprising in how it spread so fast as accepted fact. The place needed a lot of care. A couple of recent cheap attempts at fixing it were crumbling into ruin almost as fast as they’d been built. Local history buffs claimed it was the location of the first one opening in 1850.
If you tag the dialog more closely to your characters I think your thoughtful story will be easier to follow. Best of luck.
This is a most unusual short story, I take it to be about a trip to the supermarket in winter. Not exactly an exciting plot and not the kind of story that I would write, I do not have the skill to write something like this. The exquisite imagery of this artfully written piece quickly drew me in. The beautifully crafted language turns a simple and what might be boring topic into an evocative journey using all the senses to describe the trip. Very well done, not what I would normally read, but this is a fine piece of work. No suggestions from me.