|Hello, ~*Arpita*~ , this is Light reviewing “The Girl by the window.” The following is my opinion. You may use this review as you wish.
This flash length story clearly describes two experiences of child abuse of two of its characters. Pain and anger can be felt by the reader.
I did see some points of concern. The largest one seems to be a few point of view shifts. More on that later.
About the rating: I’m not sure what the lowest content rating would be for this story. The major factor with this item is its violence level. I seems to be somewhere near the border between [13+] & [18+]. I question its intro being rated [E], however. You can check with "Content Rating Support" , if you haven’t already done so, and see what they say.
The title seems to work well for me. However, I would capitalize the word “window.”
The first paragraph gets the reader’s interest. So, well done with that.
Plots with two timelines can be tricky to do well. Putting back story in the middle of a story is avoided my most of the better writers. But, done well, and sparingly, it can work. Be sure that the time shifts are clear to the reader. You have indicated that the character is experiencing a flashback, and returns to the original timeline. But, the time shifts seemed a bit clumsy. Inserting scene breaks at the time shifts would make them clearer to the reader. I put asterisks between paragraphs for my scene breaks.
The story arc may be a issue. That is one of the most difficult things about flash fiction. This story has a beginning and a middle; but the ending doesn’t seem to be complete. It didn’t seem to have any kind of resolution.
The standard formula for a story is to introduce the main character, the setting, and to give the main character a goal and conflict to reaching that goal. Have the character attempt to overcome the conflict, only to have another conflict pop up or the first one get worse. In the ending, the main character resolves the conflict. That does not mean that it needs to be a “and they lived happily ever after” ending.
What was resolved? Perhaps, she could overcome her own feelings enough to report the child’s mother. All three of them need help.
None of the characters have names. A name makes it easier for the reader to identify with the character. I would at least give the main character a name.
The main character, the girl in the window, seemed will enough developed, with the exception of not having a name. I feel most readers will feel for her.
The child is described well, as for its experience. Perhaps well enough for its appearance. The reader should feel for this character as well. However, this character does not have a gender. Giving the child a gender would make it a much stronger character.
The child’s mother seemed well enough developed for the central antagonist.
There isn’t a lot of setting in this story. But, it is probably sufficient for a flash story of this type.
Voice & Style:
My main thought here was the points of view (POV) in this story. You started off in limited omnipotent, not from any character’s POV but not all knowing, the narrator. Then you make a shift to your main character’s POV in the third person. As the story continues, sometimes she seems to know things that she would not know from her POV. The narrator seems to butt in.
POV shifts can be another tricky thing in fiction. Changing POV in the same scene isn’t easy to do well. I suggest writing this whole story in her POV, only. And make sure she doesn’t seem to know thing that are not a part of her POV.
It looks like, at least three times, you started a new line in a paragraph (hit the enter key) where it wasn’t needed. You may not want to do that, unless you are going to begin a new paragraph.
You wrote, “Memories-nightmarish ones-which she had kept shut in the deep closet of her heart, were threatening to come up now.”
When setting off a phrase of additional information in the middle of a sentence, don’t use a single hyphen. Use either a double hyphen or an M-dash. ( — ) If you have trouble with M-dashes at WDC, you can ask me how to do that.
“Memories--nightmarish ones--which she had kept shut in the deep closet of her heart, were threatening to come up now.”
Also, when using double hyphens or M-dashes, you need to be consistent about which you use, and about having spaces before and after them, or not at all. But, don’t have a space on one side and not on the other.
“A ruin of memories flashed her long-submerged feelings--- memories that spanned through years of bruised upbringing.”
Did you want run instead of “ruin?” And, I wouldn’t use triple hyphens.
Just earlier, I saw a sentence that needed a comma. “Just then, her shield gave away.”
Here you wrote, “For all she knew, that man and his wife had died for her the day she set her foot outside that house. The house that could not be her home. The house that can never, ever be anybody’s home.”
The phrase, “for her” clashes with how you began the sentence. You may want to strike one or the other. The second and third sentences are fragments. It would be better as all one sentence.
Here, “A figure appeared beside the child. The mother.” This should be one sentence, divided by a comma.
Here is a sentence where I added two words. She looked at the sleeping child for a few seconds.
You could make it clearer what you were writing about when you wrote, “The door creaked open.” Which door opened, and why? My best guess is that it was the child’s mother opening her door. But, would she notice that during an emotional flash back?
This is an emotionally charged story describing experiences of child abuse. I could feel much of what you wrote here. With a little improvement, it should do very well.
I hope this helps.