|For short stories, I write as a read, so forgive me if something I ask or point out is something resolved or explained later in the story.
Right off the bat I'm a bit confused by the breaks in the paragraphs, it may be intentional, I'll be looking for a reason as I read, but if it's not I'd highly recommend going through and fixing those.
"...for as long as I can remember." And "It all started..." essentially mean and do the same thing and "It all started..." comes off a little cliche, forced, especially for a dialogue, to me at least. Also, "...as long as I can remember..." is contradictory to "...when I was around ten." as most people have memories before ten, granted, dialogue, people usually aren't going to notice the contradictory nature when talking, but it's there, and it jumbles the paragraph. May I suggest, "Back when I was ten, I finally had..." It flows a bit more from the last sentence, at least in my head, and the "finally" implies she has been a romantic for as long as she could remember and that before ten she just dreamed of finding a love.
The "...continues Rachel." feels out of place, why is her speaking cut off at that point? Did she pause? Was there a hand movement? A change in posture? Typically you're going to want to have a reason for cutting into what a person is saying.
Is she giving a speech? I'm not picturing a lady who's doing some kind of late night talk show interview explaining how she got the concept of some book she wrote lately. That kind of feel because of how, forced, her lines are. They sound premeditated. If that's intentional, ignore this, but if not, you may want to consider changing something about the way you're telling this story. Could phrase it as not speaking, but a forth wall breaking narrator, and giving it that like, beginning of a movie setting up the scene sorta feel, but even then having it in first person would seem strange and even then it seems like some lines would still come off as out of place.
"That's because..." is a good example of what I mean, that sort of strict transition gives off prewritten speechy vibes.
Third paragraph now, I am now 95% certain this is a speech so the criticisms from earlier, no longer stand unless by some unfortunatality it's not a speech. In which case I'd suggest take a step back and considering what you're trying to get across and the best way to do that style wise.
> O h n o honey, baby, he is six years older then you, there are better options.
> O h n o , he's only at *least* sixteen, ji's'a bad
> Jhejejbdjwbd aaahhhhhhh n o, not when you're 12 not *ever* that kid is almost an *adult*
> "I don't even think he knew I existed." **Good.**
The breaths, describe them, let us get an idea of why she's breathing at these parts. Is it a slow controlled breath suggestion she is calming herself? A deep breath as though launching into a more imoactful part of the story? A soft breath as shes cast back into the memories?
This might just be me but "Continues Rachel" sounds weird where it is, I don't know why, so I can't explain it, but it really seems like it should be "Rachel continues"
> Him being 18 doesn't suddenly make the relationship a horrible idea, it was already a horrible idea
As an asexual finding partners who wouldn't pressure you into sex is, I mean, the idea that out of fifty relationships all or even almost all, she couldn't find any who weren't sexually charged? Nothing worth lasting for a while?
W a i t, is she talking to a therapist? Well, actually, I suppose some people do go to counselors with a practiced speech to explain a particularly difficult subject or memory. I dunno.
"... what happened, what did happen..." That's almost the same phrase twice inna row, may I suggest, "Speaking of what happened, do you think you're ready to talk about it now?"
Her next actions seem weird. Saying she suddenly stopped, then means that, for her earlier response, with a pause in it no less, she had continued to pace. Then just stops, *after* having responded and not showing signs of distress, and goes up to him to demand in a vaguely threatening manner that he stop asking. I mean, if you're trying to make her come off as unhinged, which I could totally see why in the context of the story, good job.
I will say, the note from the doctor about her saying the same thing every time does explain the speech like monologue.
On that though, the idea that they spent all of every session except ten minutes just in silence, seems strange. Many doctors are different but my psych would just ask me if I wanted to cut the session short if I didn't engage with any of her questions and didn't give any information because those are just days where Im, just not up to it. But I suppose the man gets paid to be with her for an hour so, it's probably a nice break haha.
Your usage of "continues Rachel" or "Rachel continued" is, very repetitive. You may have done that on purpose but I can't see a reason why, and if not, I'd highly recommend finding a few different transitions and phrases for it.
"Only after..." Was she not breathing before? Or refusing to let herself breath deeply? May I suggest, "Once she..." Instead of "After she..."?
Also why isn't the therapist saying anything about the whole, crush on a 16 year old thing? That's highly concerning behavior, maybe not in the present but if I heard that, I'd definitely dig into her childhood to make sure this, crush, was a one time thing (unlikely considering she was talking about how shes fallen in love so much) and if it wasn't, make sure her crushes weren't on those that much older then her because her getting a crush on the wrong person is all it would take for this "romance" to take a very very dark turn, not only that but how quick and superficial her crushes are, make her a kid that would be very susceptible to grooming.
Okay yeah no this woman is absolutely unhinged, I get the weird speech and actions now.
"Why are you telling me this?" Because he's her counselor and he asked?
So, the therapist is just, letting her take her shirt off because she's going to tell the rest of the story? I mean it's good that she stopped herself but still. I'm highly questioning this therapist.
Her repeating the same thing over and over again, if done intentionally, is good. I just still worry it's not.
Pft, her sighing and then just immediately answering the question gives off the vibe that she wanted him to keep digging and now that he's not she's disappointed. Gives her a sense of narcissism. If intentional, I like.
That was a weird response from the therapist again, he just, immediately dismisses her? Without trying to close down the conversation naturally at all? That's an easy way to make a patient feel like you don't care about them. Is he supposed to be shown to be not good for her? Cause again, if intentional, you're nailing it and it's brilliant.
Oh wait. It's an interrogation. Why would he sit there for so long in silence before she said the same thing every day though, the whole point of being in there would be to interrogate her. If she was unresponsive I'm pretty sure they'd give up after a bit. And why specifically an hour? If she's about to give them what they need why in the world would he cut them off?
Is the scene after the scene break supposed to come off as robotic and off kilter? I'm, really confused as to these things because while, if intentional, they can definitely be used to covay mood and underlying tones but a lot of the, uh, style choices? Not sure if that's the right phrase, but style choices, are things that are also common writing flaws. I really cannot get a grip on it.
Yeah see now the style is obviously intentional. "But something is... always does." Is fantastic for showing the sort of ticking unhingedness to her thoughts. It's a personal favorite technique of mine as I do a lot of stream of consciousness shorts about unhinged people.
I suppose at this point my suggestion is, I dunno, make your intentional style choices feel more intentional? I don't know how your do that. Perhaps exaggerate them? Don't know where that would cross the line though.
To be honest, at this point I'm not sure I'm the kind of person who can provide a good review to you. I have no idea what genre or purpose this story has, I'm completely unfamiliar with the style. I will continue though, as perhaps having the perspective of a reader who doesn't understand this might help in some way. I know it would me, if someone who didn't understand stream of consciousness and background action and progressive disassociation, were to read my work and tell me what they thought of the pieces of it.
Oh gosh, for a second there when she was smiling and talking about how it wasn't wrong I totally thought she was planning to murder him and was getting excited for it.
From here on out I'm moving forward with the assumption that, yes this lady has a few screws loose, and that yes, the places I questioned are in fact intentional.
Her claim on finding her true love, when we know he's not, does also contribute to that feeling of her like, muddied view on things due to her light insanity. She doesn't see the world for what it is, she sees whatever her mind creates, from 18 year old boys being attracted to 12 year olds because she had a crush, and now to her viewing a man who has shown an obvious sign of being a shitty dude as her true love, shows that veil over her eyes. I'm sure he's shown many red flags over the course of their relationship, but she doesn't see them, doesn't see how this love of hers could be wrong, same as her crush on the boy when she was ten.
He says "I understand." But so far their communication has been nonverbal. Him leading with an intentional pressure saying he wants the night to turn to sex, and her pulling away saying she's not interested right now. Usually when people propose something and then get reject nonverbally, it's not spoken of, just ignored. Like reaching out to take someone's hand and them not taking it. You just put your hand back down and move on with the conversation, if feeling a bit awkward for it.
Oh, seems they've already had a conversation about taking their relationship there.
Manipulative fuck is manipulative.
"I think I will..." "...what I am..." The lack of contractions giving the sentences a choppy feel also contributes to the underlying vibe of her mental state.
Tiffany's response seems strange, she starts out sounding accusatory and then turns to complaining, can't tell if she's upset with him or not.
May I suggest "we should just give up" and "move on" instead of "go to" Tiffany would talk normal right? Then again she is planning on some crime presumably so who knows. Maybe everyone here is insane.
✨Money✨ Gotta love the good ol' fashioned "fuck 'em and steal their money"
She's very lost in these thoughts of true love and this idealism of how relationships and sex works. Again, contributes well to painting her disconnect with reality
Who left the door ajar? I presume she did but why would Tiffany come out before hearing the door close, there would still be a chance Rachel could come back, having forgotten keys or something. And upon not hearing the door shut wouldn't Gregory go to see why it's not been closed?
"Before she can announce..." I'd recommend breaking this up a bit more, continue to give that short action and sensation sentences to really give off that feel of absolute denial she would be in because of *course* he wouldnt cheat, that's not how true love works. Something like, "She goes to accounce she's there. A sound from upstairs interrupts her. She goes to check it out." Those simple almost childrens book like feel. Stuff like that through out the slow progression to Gregory's room, each short sentence setting the mood on edge just a little bit more as the reader knows what's going on and already has an underlying sense of suspension and the sentences would add to that. You could even start out with normal sentences and then get progressively shorter to symbolize this growing dissacotiation in her head as she blocks out the reality that would become clearer and clearer the closer she gets.
"Then she... the frame" I'd recommend that as it's own sentence to go along with what I was saying before. Simple sentences, denial.
And then the suspense breaks with her seeing them, so I'd recommend that being it's own line like.
"...frame of his bedroom door. Then she steps into the frame.
She see's he's in bed with another woman.
'I guess you weren't so tired...'"
Gives it that punch.
"So, he isn't..." this quick bounce back and acceptance really nails home that these loves and crushes of hers aren't really love, just idealized fantasies in her head she likes. It ends. She moves on. It wasn't her true love. Wasn't that ideal. And just like that her 'feelings' for him wash away.
"She tries the... it open." These are good, in fact I'd recommend getting rid of the "now" to chop it more.
And on that note may I suggest another stylization you could use the hammer in your point. Make her thoughts use different language/sound then her actions and sensory information. Keep those short, basic sentences, but maybe give her thoughts long run on sentences, give this feeling of just how lost in her head she is, how disconnected from reality. Then you can clip a sentence here or there in her thoughts to make it have a punch.
I wouldn't have her talk. Don't let her enter back into the world, keep her in her head.
How would throwing the wine into a fire get wine everywhere in the room? I assume the bottle breaks on impact but itd be in the fire, some might get around the fire from a splash but I'm not sure it would get everywhere. Maybe have her pour it out in lines over the room before leading it back to the fire, allowing it to catch and follow the lines back?
I'd recommend breaking the last scene off the way you switched around earlier.
So it was an accident? You may want to consider a better way to cast things then as, again, still unsure how the wine would get all over the room much less give it enough fuel to burn everything so quickly. Papers maybe? Those make fire *so mad.*
Wouldn't they know she didn't know she and the cat died from the beginning? From the way she acted and spoke about her story? Perhaps have him just say "after all, she doesn't know..."
How dare you suggest a cat died you heathen >:(
Okay so, overall I don't know how I feel. It still borders between kinda maybe seeming intentional and also kinda maybe seeming unintentional.
If intentional, my highest recommendation is to be more intentional. If you're going to take such a strange style, then own it, commit. Unique stylization can be super cool and fun, I should know, it's like all I do, but you have to pull the reader into that uniqueness, when it's such an elemental part of your story, you have to give it almost more attention then you do the actual story. You're conveying a strange reality, and you don't exactly start off very subtle or hidden about it, so there's not a lot of like, slowly making the reader realize they're in a strange reality. There is a sense of steadily growing stranger reality, but it starts off obviously broken. Most of your strange reality comes, not through what's told, but that broken offset writing, so it's highly highly important. My recommendation is "Intention Combing"
It's something I do with my works since I can't rely on conventional standards or lessons of writing to edit my work. My work is, again, very stylized and I make parts of it intentionally confusing, or intentionally using the wrong words, or repeating phrases, or intentionally running sentences together, or copying sentences in places they shouldn't be, making strange pieces of sentences stand on their own. All things a reviewer could absolutely go through my work and point out as criticism.
So, I can't use standard criticism. Thus, Intention Combing. Go through your piece carefully, taking each sentence at a time, consider what might be strange about it, how it interacts with those around it, what it leads to and what's built it's stand. And then ask yourself, why is this strange? What does this strange do? What does it contribute? What does it say? If it's nothing, it shouldn't be there. If you have to force yourself to come up with a reason that it *could* be good, it shouldn't be there. Now, that being said, your subconscious also writes with you so you may not immediately know why something is the way it is.
But there's a difference between like, realizing you've repeated the word "eyes" five times in a paragraph and then telling yourself it's to give a sense of being watched or make sure the reader knows the eyes are a focus, and realizing you've repeated the word eyes five times in a paragraph and, upon thinking about it, realizing a hyperfixation on the eyes gives your story a climax of panic at being watched on behalf of your main character, to make the reader feel the characters hyper awareness of every eye that watches them, the way it cuts through the characters brain again and again and again.
And even then, upon realizing that reason, you can actually then take that and build on it. So the character is having a moment of panic at being watched, this is their climax, the point where they break, have the sentences start jumbling, rambling, pick words that are spoken quicker so the passage starts speeding up for the reader, make them feel that downward spiral.
I think this could be genuinely a very cool story, and I obviously love a good story from the perspective of an unhinged unreliable narrator. I just wish I could have seen more of that, that I could have started the story off with the immersion into the offset reality, and been able to really dig into the various cracks and dents in the writing and found that underlying story.
If it wasn't intentional, I would highly recommend you take out a fresh doc and consider what style would convey your story best before altering and then being intentional with that style.
The story itself is not the important part here, the important part is the mood and tone and immersion.
The ending, I love a good ending twist that leaves a reader with questions, but this one also seems almost random. There's usually signs and hints that readers don't notice while reading that hit them at the end that creates that really fun "*waitwhat?*" Feeling, that makes you go back and find all those things you missed and are suddenly glaring in your head, that make your questions become ever more agonizing in the need to have then answered because all you have are hint after hint after hint that yields *nothing.* You have a little bit of that in the white uniforms, which is a perfect example of what I mean. Reading the end brought back to mind the quick question I had and then dismissed of "why are their uniforms white" and when it pops up, I know it's connected, I know I missed it, and I only have more questions for it. Adding more of that could really make your ending have that explosion of spikes through the mind of a reader I think you were looking for.
So, I guess my overall overall statement is, I hope you keep exploring things like this. Again, you've got these hints of brilliance and a solid base to launch yourself from, it could be magnificent and it may just be a practice thing, so I hope you continue with these works because I think you could make some solid unexplainably unnerving fiction. And I am *all for* that shit.
I do wonder what you would think of my pieces, this is not some subtle fishing for a review at all, so don't take it that way, but I would like to extend an indentation to read my short "Out." Which is, a lot more uh, glaringly obvious of stylization and mental fuckery then I think you were trying to achieve here by a long shot, but it might help understand some points I've made here, and if you read it and realize that my writing is not at all what you're going for or would want, then you can set my perspective on your story off to the side knowing you don't want to go in the direction I point. Again though, please don't take this as some like, plea for attention, I hate when people do that and would hate for someone to think I was doing that. This is a suggestion in pursuit of helping you and nothing else.
I really do hope you dive more into the corner of writing I exist in though, it's fantastic and I think you'd fit the jagged pieces of it well. And if all of this was unintentional, I really really *really* suggest you try to do stuff like this intentionally, you may find you've got a talent you didn't know of that's been trying to show itself to you.
Hope this, somehow, even though it's an absolute clutterfuck of a mess, helps!