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Long Story Short · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Cold air swept in as George entered the vehicle. The car started and they began moving forward.

The car's noisy yet silent atmosphere began to settle. George's dad didn't like it.

“George, what’s the matter?”

“I feel tired is all.” He turned from his father, hiding.

“You didn’t seem tired when you got up this morning.”

“Well, I--”

“George.” His father cut him off. “I know when you’re bullshitting me. What’s up?”

“I may have, maybe, done something horrible.”

“Something like cheating on that test?”

George’s head shot around. “You knew?”

The car stopped at the red light. His dad lost himself in a sigh. “Lucky guess.”

“So, what, you think you’re going to get away with cheating on a test like that? This isn’t a high school exam, you know. This is going to determine your college, your entire future.”

“The smartest girl in the school sat right next to me. Her paper was right there! She was basically giving me the answers. How could I not?”

“Is she aware of this?”

George thought about her for a while. “Don’t think so, no.”


“Do you not know how this will go out? First, they’re going to find that you two have the same incorrect answers and compare your work. It’ll be blatantly obvious that you cheated.”

“I’m not that dumb, Dad. I did my own work just to verify hers.”

“You’re not dumb? You’ve already admitted to cheating.”

“I’m dumb? Dad, I did what I had to do, I--”

“What you had to do? At best you’re going to be found out and have your test nullified. At worst, you’re going to jail. My advice, come clean. I don’t think you know what you’ve done since how young you are, but let me --”

A car’s horn stung from behind into both of their ears. The light’s illuminating green aura welcomed them to move further.

The car was silent. George stared out the window as his father continued to drive.

Minutes passed between the both of them.

“George, look, I’m sorry for yelling.”

“Dad, I get it, you’re frustrated. We’re better off just leaving it be.”

“I’m serious.” His father’s sharp tone cut into George. He turned away from the window to view the man before him.

“Look, when I was your age, I did a lot of stupid shit too. Cheating? Nah, but still. I was more of a prankster.”

“Dad, what does this have to do with me?”

“It does. Listen.”

His father continued. “When I got to my daily routine during high school, I hated it. I got up, went to school, messed with a bunch of kids whom I personally had no relationship with, went home and did nothing else. I had no one to talk to, no one to share my experiences with. I was alone.”

“If you hated it, why continue?”

“I started because I thought I could ease my loneliness. It didn’t work though. It made me more numb to it instead. However, I hadn’t realized that until high school was over. Four years of my life wasted on God knows what.”

His father turned to George. “So what’s your story? Why did you cheat on that test? Scared?”

“Sort of…”

“Think about it.”

George did. “I guess I kept thinking that this was my defining moment. That if I failed there I wouldn’t be accepted.”

“You know, fear is a pretty strong emotion. Not knowing what the future entails can really do a number on your imagination if you don’t know how to control it. That’s what caused my situation in the first place. I was afraid.”

“How did you stop being afraid?”

“I guess I just matured. Everyone’s different in gaining confidence. I realized that my imagination was just that, my imagination. I was able to focus on what was in front of me once I realized that.”

His father paused, then continued. “So you have two options. One is that you can come clean and admit that you cheated, having your test nullified, or two, you can live your life knowing that you got to a place where you don’t belong and that you will never truly amount to everyone around you.”

George pondered about it. “Would you feel bad if I chose to keep it to myself?”

“Why that choice?”

“I guess I should just accept what I get and focus on what’s in front of me while ignoring my imagination, right?”

His dad sighed. “You’re right.”
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#1 ·
Aw, man. You had a great momentum going, and I was looking forward to seeing the resolution. You're right at the word limit, so I guess you ran out of wordcount or time to edit. Either way, we're left with an unsatisfying ending, the whole conflict is essentially brushed away and we're left with no ultimate answer other than "don't sweat it!"
#2 ·
Sorry I don’t really get it? The end is pretty much underwhelming. The hook is weak too. Skip the description, begin with “What’s wrong with you, Georges” and briefly describe the car

“What's wrong with you Georges?” said his father as he put the shift stick into second.

I mean, if what Zaid said is true, and you banged against the word limit, then you could easily have redacted all the sentences that do not relate to the dialogue and left the bare bones for the rest; after all, we don’t need to know the car stopped at a red light. That brings nothing to the story.

Contrarily to what the father pretends in the fic, I don’t see how both experiences are relevant one to the other. Nowhere is it said that the boy craves after college because he feels lonely or such. That makes the dialogue pretty pointless. Add to the mix that the conflict is not really solved at the end, so we are purposefully left hanging without an answer, that doesn’t make me like this story too much. I came out of it with a “so what now?”, which is not really a good way to end a story…
#3 · 4
Mono and Zaid raise good points, but I admit I got completely hung up on a 'technical' issue in this story. In several instances you have the same character continue talking but place their dialogue on a new line without providing a reason to do so, e.g:

“Lucky guess.”

“So, what, you think you’re going to get away with cheating on a test like that?

This pulled me out of the story because I had to reread it to understand what's happening. I expect the next line of dialogue to be from George because it's written without dialogue tags as an exchange, but it's actually his father continuing to talk. This is what happens in the other instances too. In this example at least you just need the extra words that explain he paused before continuing (I assume that's what you meant) so as not to confuse me, but I couldn't figure out a reason for the line-split for the other instances.

By the way, the following is notably contradictory.
The car's noisy yet silent atmosphere began to settle.

Overall, I think this needs cleaning up and another few editing runs. I think cutting down the existing conversation dialogue to create more room for more conflict would also be of benefit, because at present George's dad says George is right at the end simply because we've run out of room. But there's more to this argument, even if it's just tension manifesting as frustrated, disagreeable silence.
#4 · 1
Careful about splitting dialogue. Especially in just alternating dialogue beats, either make sure you keep the character beats even (a/b/a/b) or make sure you very clearly delineate that a character is getting an additional paragraph to themselves. It is really important for clarity.

Honestly, this conversation feels very... level? You have a line about George's dad apologizing for yelling and I'm stuck going "when was he yelling?" Punctuation, character action, and dialogue tags are all critical for conveying the mood. What I mostly get out of this scene, as presented, is two pretty calm guys chatting with each other, which kinda robs the the scene of a lot of emotional weight. With simple scenes like this, you either need to really deliver on the emotional punches or it needs to be exceedingly clever.

I think what you're going for here is the emotional end, so yeah, bring in the emotion. You don't need yelling and screaming and exclamation points everywhere and everything, but I think you do need more. Like I've been in places equatable to this (either cheated on a test and felt guilty or had my parents super disappointed in me), but this just really doesn't end up resonating with me. Which of course can just be a personal thing, but worth noting.

Really, this story hinges on the question of what George is going to do, yet we are so pulled back from him. Get us right there in his head. Let us agonize with him over this confrontation, over the tough choice, and over the ultimate failure to do the right thing. You've got the groundwork, now spruce it up!
#5 ·
I think I like what this story’s trying to do more than what it actually does. A father confronting his son over cheating on a test and reflecting on his own mistakes is a pretty good story subject, but this story didn’t really use the subject matter in an interesting way. It’s more or less a call and response story, with the father and son talking back to each other in a manner that feels too simplistic to fit the realism the story's going for. There are complex emotions going through the both of them (fear, regret, uncertainty), yet at points they seem almost nonchalant about the events of the story. Like Gamer’s Honor, this feels like a first draft submission that didn’t have much polish applied to it.

A story with a good starting point, but one that needs a few more details and characters fleshed out before it can really shine.
#6 ·
Well, I do quite like this story. However, the ending is very underwhelming. Ignoring all the technical issues, we got this amazing premise, wonderful lessons, and then "Eh, we'll see how it goes." I saw it said you hit the word cap. I understand that. But if you ever work on this again, and I sincerely hope you do, that is what I think you should focus on.

Tier: Almost there.