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for A Matter of Perspective

9/13/2013 c1 deadaccount2019
The dialogue was a bit hit-and-miss. The old woman and teen girl's dialogue felt pretty natural, but the young woman's dialogue felt very forced. The young man's dialogue could also use some breaks. The way it's handled now makes it feel like speed-reading a script and really made it the least interesting part of the story.

In terms of characterization, I felt the old man got the best of it. The problem with this, however, is that throughout the story I kind of kept hoping it would go back to him, which distracted from the rest of the characters and the plot. I'd have to say the only other character who came close to an interesting characterization was the the mother with the two children. The old woman certainly seemed likeable, but it felt more like she was a plot device than an actual character.

Writing has a couple of things. I think something along the lines of "streaks of tears" would sound much more natural than "tear-tracks", which was awkward and a bit jarring to read. There's also an inconsistency in the writing's tense at the beginning. The old man's paragraph starts out as past-tense, but then falls into present with the rest of the piece.

I like mundane settings, and a public bus definitely counts among those settings. The temporary nature of it makes it perfect for vignette-esque stories, and this is no exception. I think a little bit of detail about the ride itself (bumpy? smooth? turns?) would have added a bit more atmosphere to the setting, but as it is works as well. :)

The ending kind of left me scratching my head. I'm not certain if it was meant to indicate that the world is one of dystopic nature, or if it was meant to give it a spiritual aspect. Was the woman a ghost haunting the bus? Was she alive and disconnected from the real world, allowing her to experience a ghost plane? Is it simply a piece of purgatory, caught in a time loop that was disturbed by the old woman's arrival? As a one-shot the end is somewhat unsatisfying, but it would make an excellent opening to a multi-chapter story, given the questions it raises.

Overall, though, I enjoyed reading the story. It was surprisingly light given the dark overtones, and a nice break from heavier works.
9/13/2013 c1 1neuron
Overall, a well-written piece, but imo too short to be as effective as it could be.

- Characters - I thought the different passengers on the bus were all realized very well. We got a sense of distinct characters with different opinions, motivations and backgrounds. The fact you didn't give them names did lend the characters a feeling of being ciphers for segment of society, but all the same I thought their reactions to the woman's search for her daughter were believable. I liked getting inside the head of the various characters, like the man with the newspaper and the mother in the back seat. They all seem very worldweary.

- Relationships - This was good, insofarasmuch as interactions count as relationships. I thought the failed chat up of the woman with more important things on her mind was very convincing. "Hid her problems with newsprint" was a great way of describing how the male character wanted to distance himself from responsibilites and the world around him. I liked the description of the teen relationship too - we've all been there. Personally I'd have liked the chapter padded out a bit, perhaps with more dialogue/interaction between all the characters. It seemed too short, but with so much potential for exploring the anonymity of public transport.

- Writing - The present tense was effective in this case, as a bus journey is very much a short in the moment experince. There is little past to dwell on. Nevertheless, the reader was very much at a distance from events and it often felt like the narrations of a script rather than a story.

- Plot - The reveal at the end was good, it was faintly surprising. I liked how you set up the sense of this being an everyday chronic occurence, The plot was definitely a laudable example of slow revelation. I liked how it took the old woman to actual get things moving - to actual enquire as to what was going on. I could feel she was fighting against a wall of apathy from the bus driver and others.

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