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for Show, Don't Tell

12/23/2010 c1 Father Christmas
I really enjoyed the short little blurb about this guy's life, and I feel that you explained the mechanics of the world very well. It isn't overbearing, but it's still easy to visualize what everything is doing. Nice work.

That said, I think I would've liked a little bit more. What about the family he's staying with? Can't he stay with his own? Is there something else about the city that makes him uneasy? And where is he going that he'll have to see it again tomorrow? Just a few thoughts.

Happy holidays!

-SS
12/19/2010 c2 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
"There was no order, no pattern, just joy, and jubilant rule breaking from all. Things were hurled unceremoniously across the room, phones and cameras made their way through the crowd, taking pictures of everything, and anything..."

-Liked this. :) It has a nice light sense of humor to it and definitely got across the joy/fun you wanted.

"... even the teacher was a part of this, stealthily cooking in the corner."

-However, I don't know what this means.

"After what must have been an age, the bell rang, shouts and footfalls overpower teachers' commands. Doors are thrown off their hinges, doorways crowd with students, hallways became walls as the mass of overexcited teenagers block all pathways and exits."

-I liked the crazy emotions in this part. It reminded me of all my last-day-of-school moments, haha. Good times. :)

Spelling/Grammar:

I didn't really notice much. No typos, but there were a few sentences that verged on run-on. For instance: "Everyone was busy, rushing here and there, planning, preparing and organising various events, and the year to come; another year together, enjoying and despising one another's company." I think it works but it's a little awkward, particularly with the bit after the semicolon. Otherwise, this was a clean draft and easy to read.

Opening:

I think you could go a little stronger on the opening paragraph. It doesn't feel like there's much of a hook to it all. There's plenty of great emotional content in the piece but I don't feel it as much from the opening because it's not very specific. I almost think you could get away with omitting the first paragraph altogether and just tossing the reader right into the action. That's just my personal preference, though. Since the title of the collection is Show, Don't Tell, it seems like this tactic would be a better fit anyway.

Characters:

There's not much as far as distinct characters in this. I get that there're two student viewpoints being shown, but the reactions of the students who will return overshadow the reactions of the people who are leaving. That was strange to me since it seems like the leaving students are intended to be the focus of the story. Adding in just a little more contrast of emotions would help me see the two better.

Enjoyment:

I thought this was really sweet and poignant in parts. The writing has a nice, light take on the joy of the moment and it hooked me in, reminding me what it's like to be out of school for the summer. I could relate to that and that made it all the better.
7/14/2010 c3 11lovewithoutyourheartbeat
I actually found this one quite funny. The ending anyway.

You really seem to like messing around with paranoid characters. Very suspenseful, the beginning kind of had me fearing for the young woman's life.

"Shoelaces: the bane of my existense"

Found that quite enjoyable:)

-Morgan from the review game

PS: It's been a plessure.
7/14/2010 c2 lovewithoutyourheartbeat
Nice word usage in this one! I can totally relate to the two characters-I cannot stand school.

I really liked the second to last paragraph because it just gave me a really strong feeling (What that feeling is, I don't know) but I really adored this one line above all "For some, this day would mark the beginning of a new adventure, this would be the final goodbye."

I feel sorry for the Aussie's! I'm american and school ended late may and is starting back up in exactly a month.
7/14/2010 c1 lovewithoutyourheartbeat
Whoaa very nicely done:) So many details!

I got this amazing (well maybe not *amazing*) feeling of paronia and I instantly was so intrested in the main character-curious to know what he had done to make everyone fear him.

I also felt a lot of cluster, like the entire city was too close for comfort.

Awesome:)

-Morgan from The Review Game
4/27/2010 c1 6notveryalice
- Opening

You jump right in with this piece, and it works very well: you don't have much room to say what you have to say in such a short space but you do it beautifully. Everything is concise and crisp, but it is described in rich language that brings a vivid picture to the eye.

- Ending

I would change the structure of the very last sentence, as I am not ever a big fan of sentences with dangling clauses at the beginning. English always sounds better when the verb is at the front of the sentence. Perhaps something like, "He was glad to have escaped despite knowing that..." but not as boring.

- Scene

You were careful to make the reader feel the protagonist's claustrophobia; when the doors open, the reader can almost *feel* a breath of fresh air.

- Characters

I am very impressed by your characterisation of both the protagonist and the subway passengers. They are not villains, and neither is he. He is uncomfortable, but does not blame them. They seem nervous without wishing to be so.

- Relationships

I wasn't in New York right after 9/11 (which is what I assume you refer to), but I can clearly imagine that the interactions between white citizens and those of Middle Eastern descent would be much like this.

- Writing

Your writing is clear and elegant. You have no extra fat to trim here.

- Spelling/Grammar

1. "[...]the man moved his right hand from where it was resting on his lap, up to his throat to loosen his necktie."

I would change this to:

"[...]the man moved his right hand from where it was resting on his lap up to his throat, to loosen his necktie."

2. "[...]in such a still, confined space' he reassured himself. Though he knew this was a lie."

I would change this to:

"[...]in such a still, confined space,' he reassured himself, though he knew this was a lie."

3. "This was not the first time this had happened; eyes following his hands [...]"

I would change this to:

"This was not the first time this had happened: eyes following his hands [...]"

(Semicolons require independent clauses on both sides; colons are demonstrative, and are the punctuation equivalent of an "e.g.")

4."his every moved monitored"

This should be:

"his every movement monitored"

- Enjoyment

It took me a bit to puzzle out what was going on (and I hope I got it right). This is always something I appreciate in fiction, so I enjoyed the piece very much.

- Plot

I do have one major worry about the "plot", as it were: if I *am* interpreting the piece correctly, then the idea that the protagonist is "a lone figure against a sea of white" bothers me. New York has always been a very multicultural city. Granted, those of Middle Eastern descent might have felt isolated and alone after the attacks... Perhaps make it more clear that this is just the way he perceives things? I'm not sure how to do it, but at the moment it sounds as though the story is written with the idea that New York is overwhelmingly white, and this is simply untrue.

- Pace

You have a lovely smooth pace throughout the piece. It slows down a bit during exposition. I think it has to do with what I mention below.

- Other

"The media fed society all this garbage, teaching them to be wary, covering up that which would give them a bad name." I would tone down this sentence a little bit, for two reasons:

1) It sounds a little preachy, which I think detracts from the subtle opinion that comes through in the rest of the piece.

2) Could put people of different political opinions on their guard, which detracts from their enjoyment of the piece, and ultimately may add to their ill opinion of sentiments in opposition with their own.

I hope I've been helpful. Best wishes!

-Web-
4/27/2010 c1 6Kirei.Kappukeki
You captured this whole scene very well! The uncomfortable social awkwardness of the people around him is very striking in this piece. I love that you said so much in such few words (as it's something I like to do myself. None of your words seem to be necessary, but the first sentence feels a bit clunky with the commas. Maybe dashes would feel a little cleaner? I had to re-read the first sentence a few times before "getting it"

I really like it though, and it wasn't too overly descriptive xD It was almost on the borer of being cheesy had you added anymore in-depth description of the scene ^_^ great job!

~Sara from RG
4/26/2010 c1 4lookingwest
I'd suggest italicizing that inner thought in the first paragraph to make it stand out more, just a suggestion though. I really like the first opening paragraph because the reader doesn't only get a sense of setting but also a sense of character, and I find that uncommon with the genre of flash fiction, so that was really cool. The inner thought was a nice detailed touch!

And again, you manage to expand the flash to an even greater height with mentioning the media and outward pressures from society. I like that you stay character focused again, because i think it's very unique, and you have a very easy way of relating information, very smooth writing style!

Oh, your last paragraph reminded me of Ezra Pounds "In a Station at The Metro" big time, XD, very cool commentary I can see here on society and everything in a very short amount of time. Overall, I enjoyed that it revolved around not heavy description, but getting to know this one passenger of the train-hell, you could probably do a whole series of little flash fictions about the different people on the train and at the metro-but this worked really well. Fun read!
10/23/2009 c1 14improvisationallychallenged
Lola, I think you're going to have to change your penname... NoImagination just doesn't suit anymore :P

I really liked this. It's very to the point, and is very evocative in creating a scene - the first sentence made me think of a cramped, busy tube carriage, stuffed with horrible, smelly, sweating people. It's also pretty subtle - you make a comment about not wanting to offend people through use of social stereotype...well, the specifics of whatever you think you did went straight over my head - but I'm pretty sure I get the overall message.

If I had to nitpick anything, it would be "In an attempt to maximise his oxygen intake." The style of words here don't quite fit with everything else. While the sentence before (and after) pull you right into the scene, the feels far too clinical and detatched, and hauled me straight back out again.

Of course, that's just my opinion.

Kudos for getting this scene so spot on in only ten minutes. :)

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