|This review is presented by Jay Stevens from Dream Team reviewers.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.
The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 37 instances of words ending in -ly and you begin the piece with a paragraph that is filled with them. "Pretentiously present but never looming, he casually walked by the rows of desks, caressing his fingers on each one." This was wonderful but would be far better if we could "see" the character being pretentious and if we could "see" his gait being casual would be much better than you telling us that he is pretentious and was walking casually.
I would focus on re-crafting incidences where the action is being described passively. Search through and every time you find a was or were, make a change.
Very often, when we write first drafts (I do this all the time) we can fall into the trap of writing cliches. This is because they are very familiar to us and are comfortable ways for us to express our thoughts. This is precisely why we should be brutal in finding them and crafting them into more creative and fresh expressions. I found the following in your work: at peace, out of place, after all, melt away, on the edge, free hand, all at once, word to the wise, and pressed for time. These can be fine when we are characterizing within dialog to show that a character uses cliches but our narrators should never use them.
I think that it would benefit your story greatly by interspersing your narrative descriptions with dialog and actions. For instance, you start this paragraph very well with "She looked up, shuddering as a gasp escaped her throat." But then you linger on a loving description of the the "young man" with most of the bits being critical characterizations and wonderfully apt when set apart from each other. However, bunched together in 75 straight words, it was jumbled and some lost their effect.
Overall, I found your piece engaging and at time chilling. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.
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"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway
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"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins
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