|Title of item: Reflections of a Bin Bag Boy
Chapter title/number: Chapter 1: 1st Departure
Setting: I actually found the story lacking in this area. Where is he? What does he see/smell/hear? What did he concentrate on when he wasn't listening?
Character Development: You switch from being 6 yrs old to 7 yrs old without any transition at all. How did he perfect his blank/evil looks? You might try adding a bit about what Barry and Judith said to Pauline as time went on, like them commenting on his icy personality and being sure they could get through, to uncertainty, to fear, etc. That really bothered me, that you kind of announced that they feared you without going into how or why. Sure, throwing tantrums and urinating everywhere are things that could drive a person bonkers, true, but what was the emotion-level in the house? How did they handle it? Yelling? Giving him a "talking-to?" What?
Historical Referencing: This was not addressed. I have no idea what time period this is taking place, other than to assume it's somewhat present-day. 90s perhaps?
Plot: Did it leave you asking the right questions or were you totally lost? At the end, I was so dis-connected with the story that I had to ask myself why I cared about this little boy. I knew that in places I almost connected with the story, but then I would lose it again. For example, the paragraph about his grandmother where he's asking all the questions. They make me see a lost, confused little boy and I feel sorry for him and angry, too. But then, in the next paragraph, where he's talking about a subsequent conversation with Pauline, I found myself sighing and wanting to skip to the end. Actually, if you could inject some dialogue, that would help greatly. Writing in the 1st person is very difficult, and you might feel like you're distorting the story by adding dialogue you don't really remember, but if you treat this as you would if you were writing about a stranger, you might find that the picture becomes a little clearer for your readers.
Grammatical: I noticed a few spelling errors and a couple places where the returns were missed, but they didn't distract from my reading. What did bother me was your use of commas. Commas are used to make the reader pause, to help pace the flow of the story, as if you were telling it to someone rather than writing it down. Try reading your piece out loud to determine if you should put a comma there or separate the sentence into two. Also, "however" is a conjunction word, to join two separate sentences into one by using a semi-colon or a comma. Very rarely can it stand on its own to start a sentence.
General: Try to show more instead of tell about what's going on. The main character is very two-dimensional. It's like a dry lecture instead of a warm face-to-face confession, which is what I thought you were trying to achieve. I had an english teacher tell me once that you should write descriptions as if you're viewing a silent movie and trying to explain it to someone who is blind. If I tried to visualize this piece I would come up with an almost-complete blank.
Personal Opinion: To me, this is a simple recitation of a past experience. It is well written, but fails to connect to the audience. Remember that your reader can't see what's in your mind's eye as you write. Show more than tell and inject some life into this. You're so close to having a tear-jerker here, but your descriptions do more to isolate the reader than to bring him into the story.
Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box" ): 3.5
Good luck with publishing! Write on!