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#18619 · 4
· on Hit and Run · >>Oblomov >>Cassius
Excellent mystery set up, good creeping dread behind the scenes. Lovely ambiguous ending. Did he really wake up again, or did the man pull a gun? So it's a town of people being haunted by their past mistakes. The driver is haunted by the apparition of a man running on the road because he'd previously killed a jogger. Ed is haunted by an apparition of a runaway he'd shot and killed in cold blood.

It's rare for a mystery to be executed so well, to reveal just enough to let readers figure it out for themselves without revealing so much to be disappointing. Great work.

When you come back to this story for revisions, I'd focus on what characters are actually doing. Because they're not doing much. A lot of sitting around. I don't have specific suggestions for what they should be doing, but I'm certain this could be a stronger story if the detective were more actively involved in the case.
#18530 · 3
· on No Sun Sought, No Saex Stone Scarred · >>Icenrose
Has a sort of fable quality to it. I was engaged, but the abrupt ending caught me off guard. Conclusion is very unsatisfying. I'd agree with >>Paracompact that the story never ties all its lose ends together. The fish intestines seem irrelevant, the sleep potion seems irrelevant, the destroyed statue seems irrelevant. Scenes with the spooky ghost are consistently good, though.

I'd call the writing technically proficient. Simple, straight forward, easy to read.
#18531 · 2
· on The Pain Network · >>Cassius >>Miller Minus
Excellent voice work. A good journey, lots of twists and turns. There's lots to like here.

This story weirdly feels both too long and also like we didn't really dig deeply enough into any of these characters. We rush right by Derek and the doctor. If you want this to be a short story, I think you'd have to make major cuts to have room to really zero in on and flesh out the other scenes. I could also see this piece being a candidate for a lot of expansion.

The one thing I'm really iffy on is the frame. It's creative. It's different. But it also feels a little childish, while also limiting what you can do with the story. I love the journey, the need to write an undergrad essay is pretty trivial. A journey this intriguing deserves an equally intriguing call to adventure. Any college student is going to write dozens of essays. Maybe something a little more unique and specific to this character?
#18621 · 2
· on Beyond Good and Evil · >>Miller Minus
This starts off very well, but quickly gets out of hand, loses focus. The premise is intriguing, the hook is good. I'm interested in reading about a monster begging to be mutilated by strangers, but I'm a lot less interested in reading about tea time, and the meandering wars, and the long-winded moralizing.

I think this may be a case of start again and refocus. A full discussion of the definition of evil is a bit too much for a short story. If good and evil are what you want to portray, don't just spend time having your characters discuss the concepts, show us good and evil, descriptively, succinctly, and specifically.
#18529 · 1
· on A Clowder of Cats · >>georg
This is frontloaded with a lot of exposition that grinds the story's pace to a halt. It does end up being very cute, but not much really happens. A lot of sitting around. Consider giving your characters somewhere to go or a particular task to complete, to move the plot along.
#18920 · 1
· on Journey to the Waru Wolf of Arukadiland
>>Haze
I'm not sure why there has to be a particular message? I'm also not sure there's much irony?

This is a decent adventure into the unknown wilderness story told here in a very tight word limit, and some excellent voice work. The author has nailed the prissy yet independent noblewoman voice. The motivation is the journey, the chasing of supernatural and fantastical rumors. Not sure why that would need to be explained.

There is some interesting moral grey territory. Want to root for the character because she's being looked down on for her sex, but don't want to root for her because she doesn't mind slavery. But this aspect of the fic is a little underdeveloped. It's tied with some religious talk, seeking God's beauty, ignores the ugliness of sin that is slavery. But still, underdeveloped.

Some good writing here, and good use of the word limit, but the moralizing does feel unfocused.
#6230 ·
· on Homemade
I'll agree with the others that this is a cool premise, but not a story (though I'm not sure it absolutely needs to be a story, sometimes a clever idea is enough). If you wanted to make it into a story, you could try starting with characters. Who is the poet? What he is he writing, and who is he writing it for? What does he want and what does he fear?

I also think you really need to show us a sonnet. A lot of build up here for no reveal.
#6231 ·
· on Sorrow's Council · >>Cold in Gardez
I agree with everyone else. Really fantastic imagery. My only question is--what is this character getting out of having the spider around? If we're calling this an allegory for addiction, what is addictive about the spider's presence? He's letting it ruin his life. Okay, but why?
#6234 ·
· on Sorrow's Council · >>Cold in Gardez >>Not_A_Hat
>>Cold in Gardez
Grief makes more sense, or maybe simple depression, but it's open enough that it could be a lot of things. I hit on addiction for the 'Nothing good came from associating with spiders' line, which fits something addictive like gambling/alcohol better than grief. But I was more using addiction as an example.

I'm just not getting any feel for this character as is, or what they feel about any of this, if anything. A better question might be--what's the relationship between the character and the spider? What is the character's perception of the spider? Do they choose to keep the spider, or do they just not make a choice to try and get rid of it? Do they feel any sort of attraction or sympathy towards the spider, or do they just not care? Apathy can be just as interesting as terror.

Maybe it's a better story for how open to interpretation it is now, or maybe it would be a stronger story if it had some characterization. Just something to think about.
#18611 ·
· on 8 PM ( Rain )
I think if it's obvious to me as a reader that the dog's the one doing the talking, it should be obvious to the character. A lot of words and a lot of time are dedicated to the narrator not realizing the obvious, and it's frustrating to read. I'd suggest just cutting all reference to an "owner." The narrator never has any good reason for thinking there is an owner, and all the reason to think a dog-like beast is speaking to them.

Otherwise, I'm very intrigued, but not satisfied. That final conversation happens so quickly, and the dog gives in so easily. I'd be really interested in reading a revised version of this in which we get to hang out in that discussion longer.