Hey! It looks like you're new here. You might want to check out the introduction.

#10707 · 5
· on Elevator · >>TitaniumDragon >>Monokeras
There's some lovely tidbits of life in some of these descriptions.

A young man in a collared shirt and clip-on tie

Screw the collared shirt. I don't care about his collared shirt. Tell me more about this clip on tie. I want to hear about the guileless idiot who thinks he's getting an internship at a law firm while wearing a clip on tie.

New shoes, but tinged with mud underneath.

Everything in this paragraph is fine but bland until this line. He's got mud on his new shoes. That's much more interesting to me than brushed hair and generic slacks. What sort of mud has this pencil pushing freak been dumpster diving in? He's trying to look professional, but the whole damn world rained on him to show Kaufman & Kaufman the truth, and the truth is he's a mud stained shoe begging for elevator holds. Tell me about it.

looking like a schoolkid--if not by his youth, then by his optimism

Bitter. Cynical. Ageist. I love it.

“When I first went into C.S., I had big dreams. I wanted to build the next Google, or Facebook, or even Zynga. But then I quickly realized just how little impact I had--babysit this database, write that login page, monitor our product for whatever’s making our cloud stuff so expensive to keep running. It just wasn’t for me.”

“So you decided to go into patent law.”

“It’s a growing industry, and I figured arguments here would have more impact than how a button looks on devices of different sizes. And the technical details are still intact--that’s what makes it different from, say, bird law, doesn’t it?”

All right. Cool. But who cares? This is pretty good fodder for an interview, but the reader isn't in a position to hire him onto anything other than a good story. This matters. I'm certain this matters, but I can't tell a lick why. This dude's hocking his whole life. Sell me on it. Am I supposed to be rooting for him? Do I like him? I don't know.

“I’m Miranda Kaufmann, partner here at Kaufmann & Kaufmann.” Now I’m smiling. “And a bit of advice: you may want to look just a little more into who leads a firm before the interview lest you run into them. Good luck.” We walk through the door to the office, and Josh is led to a conference room somewhere.

Eh, I don't know. A twist like this would make sort of a funny story to tell at the next family reunion, but you've only got seven hundred fifty words to change my life, and this isn't doing it. All in all, this story feels lukewarm and I don't know what it wants from me. Does it want me to laugh? Maybe a couple explosions next time. Maybe cut the wire and let the elevator drop down the shaft. Maybe Kaufman is his long lost mother and Kaufman is his great granddaughter time traveling from outer space.
#10713 · 3
· on Second Shot Pending
When General Sam Ridgemont rose from the dead for the second time in his existence, his first thought was that he must be getting old.

I love this as an opening line, but I think it's making a promise that the rest of the story doesn't keep. It's quick, catchy, clear. A lot of the rest of this is sort of meandering and vague. Where'd the punchiness of this first line wander off to and let's get it on a leash.

Leaping into action, General Ridgemont rolled over and made to stand up, barely catching himself as he plummeted off a gurney. He pulled himself to his feet, swaying dangerously but still mobile. The world flashed white as motion-activated lights turned on.

A wrecked operating room came into focus, the exit on the Farr wall. Picking his way across biomat containers (scattered and emptied of all biological material), biological hazard containers (overflowing with emptied blood bags), and some sort of wiring (were the doctors really so busy with war trauma victims that they couldn't tidy after themselves?), he staggered into the hallway.

Rereading the story, I still don't know quite where we are here or why. Sam takes on in the chest, doctors haul him over to a nearby ER. Then doctors give up on him and march Clone Sam out? Leaving Other Clone Sam bleeding but very much alive and capable of rocking and rolling? And completely abandon the ER? And the ER is floating in some vague word space with a view of the Very Important I swear Launch? And the assassin is here too? Wiggity what and wiggity what the hell are you talking about?

"I'm getting tired of killing you," his assassin said.

Aahh! There it is again! Everything that made that first line great suddenly somersaults back onto the page with this line. Punch me in the face a few more times, man. I can take it. I've been around the block a few times.

"I'm right here."

Goddammit, you sure are. Screw the frown. Give him a scowl. Give him a war cry. General Bloody Nose Rocket Ship is right damn here, Death, come and take him if you've got any balls. Death's standing between you and soup for supper. Get upset about it.

He blinked, then looked down at himself. No, his uniform was still there—albeit bloodstained and devoid of accoutrements—but it was unmistakably him boarding the shuttle.

I like this twist. It's surprising. It's fun. There's some decent lead up. I think more than anything, this story needs clarity. I need some who, when, where, what, and how, and why does it matter again?
#10873 · 3
· on The Picture
You've set yourself up for one hell of sucker punch here. The guy's got a ghost riding shotgun in his back pocket, a bombshell who's absence is apparently ever present. She's your story's Big Bang. Her being gone sets all the rest in motion. And you gave her voice! You gave the dead an undead message, just one, to be delivered to your audience. And then we get

Steven, when things are difficult, look at this photograph to remember this day, the day you made me the happiest girl alive. If you are sad, or hurt, or depressed, remember that I will always be here for you.

I love you, now and forever.

--Hannah


This is your once chance to give 'Hannah' character, personality. Whoever she is, she scrambled this dude's eggs so bad he can't even make a beer run without tripping over her corpse. But all we get are bunch of girlfriend cliches. 'the happiest girl alive' and 'i will always be here for you.' If you're gonna give a ghost anything, give her a flame thrower. Turn the nozzle and light up this guy's pissy attitude and awkward small talk.
#10922 · 2
·
>>horizon
Flash fiction is a well established form of writing these days, maybe even as common as the short story. Many flash fiction contests, which you can find all over the place, have more restrictive word limits than here. A lot of good authors out in the world have done a lot more with a lot less.

If 750 words isn't enough to accomplish what you're trying to do with a piece, it might be worth rethinking what you should be trying to accomplish in those 750 words.
#10734 · 1
· on One Shot, One Heart · >>Monokeras
Oh, huh, I just read another one of these. Well, I'll say the same thing here, stop relying so much on the twist. A story is more than a single subversion of expectation. Cutie Cupid Junior trying to slingshot pot shots of lust around town while still making time for school and a boyfriend is an interesting enough story on its own. Tell it. Why do so many write off authors try so desperately to hide their stories? If you've got a cool idea, slap me upside the head with it, force it down my throat. Don't strap it up in a demure dress and blush and run back upstairs when I tell you I'm interested.
#10738 · 1
· on Hacked Beyond the Arc · >>TrumpetofDoom
A play by play of New England Patriots coming back from a 28-3 deficit and winning in overtime wouldn't be a bad story, but it would be boring.

But tell me about how the whole world wants New England to lose because they're arrogant beast-men who don't care about anything but winning and routinely beat unsuspecting American apple pie loving patriotic teams into the dirt just for the fun of it, and they're dirty cheaters who would gobble cocaine-laced snot rockets if it gave them even the slightest edge, and in they're downtime they go to little kid birthday parties and pop all the balloons and piss on the cake and carry off the moms, and then they come back from a 28-3 deficit and win in overtime. Now that's just good theater.

This is a good enough technical description of the game, but where's the humanity? Does this guy ever sweat? Does he get frustrated? Does he have a dying pet koala at home he promised he would win the game for?
#10874 · 1
· on Theodicy
I felt it shoving me back, I felt the sand clawing at my skin and the sound rattling my bones.


A minor little thing. Write what he felt, not that he felt it. It shoved me back. The sand clawed at my skin.

A thought experiment. What if you cut everything before this line:

I put my hand on the grip of my rapier and unsheathed it, then I said, "I come from the city of Tala, which is no more for the Red Plague wiped it out. I am here to demand justice, and I shall have it."


Honestly, I was sort of bored with this one before here. Dude stumbles around in a sand storm. Climbs a rock. Weather is mean. By no means a necessarily boring concept, but in terms of writing hard not to make monotonous. You can only describe sand in so many ways. But then I got to this line, and then there's conflict! Drama!

Instead of pursuing that drama, you went for a mythic, cyclical, world creation bent, which is very cool, but doesn't ever really get fleshed out. You could take this a lot of different directions, but if you want it to be a story, you're gonna have to go where the theater is. And the only real theatrics in this story come in that one line.
#604 ·
· · >>Waterpear
It took me a long time to find this thread. So how exactly is this working? I'm seeing comments/reviews both here and on individual story pages. Are we copy and pasting, or is there some way to post a comment on both at the same time? Also, is the spread sheet still a thing?
#610 ·
· on Beneath Rosemeadow Manor · >>horizon
Is it some requirement that every single minific has to have some funny twist at the end? Like, seriously, over half my ballot is made up of these types of endings. This one is funnier than most, but what’s the point? Sure, the set up is fine, the punchline is decently silly. But why are we writing so many stories that are nothing but a long set up for a single punchline?
#611 ·
· on Cursed Be He That Moves My Bones · >>TitaniumDragon
This has some really great tension and atmosphere building, but I think I have to disagree with other people about the ending. I don’t like it. I think this would really benefit from the ‘Let your characters suffer’ mantra. Rarity feels too perfect here, and the conflict (which is set up very well) is resolved far too easily. You have a good opportunity here for really digging into these fears, but it’s wasted because you let Rarity resolve things too quickly.