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10/21/2015 c1 16Encore19
This was interesting and well done!

So Opening: I got a little confused by who was speaking - I thought this was in third person and Alex was the main character but it seems that's not the case? I like the tension that grows through the opening and builds throughout the story with your repetitive use of 'second, third, etc murderer in town history'.

So Ending: Very creepy - we find out the speaker was the devil it seems and it brings understanding to the malevolent calculation of the narrator. The wording/delivery was done well and the story is eerie, an appropriate ending in my opinion.

Characters: I love the attention to backstory you give each of the characters, it really gives us an understanding and insight into their personalities and struggles. I also liked how you were able to get the readers to sympathize over these characters from their crazed attacks, they were really brought over the edge.

Pace: All throughout we see a tension constantly building as you start by mentioning the town's third killer and get closer to the first as the event that started it all seems to unravel everything else. By the end of the story you show how their homely town will be reduced to a smoldering ruin as the chaos infecting the town sets in, it's an appropriate climax for the snowballing pace.
10/17/2015 c1 82Solemn Coyote
Congrats on the Review Game win. Per the Review Game format, I will be using their odd, stilted structure to provide feedback.

Break the first para at "at my advice". It feels like to separate thoughts. Otherwise, it does an excellent job of grabbing the reader by getting him invested in all the disparate details you're providing.

Good stinger of an ending. The slow burn on the narrator's reveal is a nice payoff, even in a piece so short, and brings in a whole implied mythology that tangles up in southern gothic and Catholicism.

The "I just snapped" is a solid detail, since it's already loaded with enough cultural baggage that it pops to mind a host of similar scenarios. In fact, the strongest selling point for this story is its (devil aside) plausibility. It doesn't feel impossible. Rather, it feels inevitable. That's great stuff for horror.

Alex's characterization is a little bit muddled at the beginning, which slightly diminishes the ending, but it's a tough challenge to bring clarity and depth to both her and the narrator in the scant wordcount the contest lets you use. She definitely takes on more dimension at the end.

Overall, this is strong and quick. A good punch-and-run. Not sure I've got anything more to say.
6/29/2015 c1 deadaccount2019
[Writing] The voice is well executed, staying consistent throughout. I love the almost conversational tone of the writing. It doesn't quite hook at the very start, but by the end of the first paragraph I couldn't look away. It feels like reading a camp-fire story.

[Character] My first thought was that it was God with a contemporary voice, because the narrator talks about controlling things and according to scripture, humans don't actually have free will. As the story goes on though, it becomes more and more obvious that the narrator is something else, such as the devil or chaos. It borders on cliche, which made it difficult to appreciate the narrator.

[Ending] The ending feels really bland. "The devil made me do it," is a pretty common excuse devouts give to explain 'snapping', so following Alex's background up with this line is more annoying than anything. Had she been a passive or even a non-believer, the line would have been loaded with cruel irony that would have made it easier to get on board with the narrator's final anticipation.

[Plot] I like how you executed the plot progression through reverse future tense (hopefully that makes sense?) One could argue that the exposition takes the mystery out of the story, but reversing the order of the murders allows the reader to focus more on the why and how, rather than the what, which makes the plot all the more exciting.
6/25/2015 c1 63yanz
I loved the opening of this piece with the introduction of each of the three murderers one after the other, and just enough of their background to hook you in. Going from the third murderer to the first murderer was a nice touch that allows the reader to compare the three as well and gives you the sense of counting down to an inevitable doom.

In terms of characters, I liked the idea of using the devil as the main storyteller. I think I've read stories where this has been done before and I suspected that was what you were doing third paragraph in, but I wasn't sure until the end mention of "holy ground". This is one of the best characterizations of the devil I've read, though. I thought the tone suited it remarkably well, you didn't make it too crass or stereotyped, and there's a cocky touch to it that I love. I also liked the details you gave to each of the three murderers and the first victim and made them all uniquely different.

I thought the pace of the piece was pretty well done; you didn't drag it on for too long but you gave enough detail to paint an understandable picture. For a story that actually describes quite a lot of action in terms of plot, I think you made it work in such limited words by putting half of it in the future tense, and the second half sort of parallels the first that wraps the whole piece up very neatly and balances out the pace of it.

I really enjoyed the story overall and thought it suited the prompt very well. I didn't realize how perfect the use of the devil was to the prompt until I reread it again and saw the line "now church is entertainment"! It's made me reread the prompt again entirely as if from the point of view of the "devil", I would never have thought of looking at it that way and you made me see it differently, which good writers can always do.

And, finally, congrats on winning this month's WCC! Well deserved. :)
6/16/2015 c1 4lookingwest
Congrats on winning June's WCC! :D

I really enjoyed the ending of this piece - I actually wasn't sure where this was going, so that was a nice reveal at the end with the first line that makes the story feel completely whole. I also liked the bit of world building in the ending about the Devil not liking being on holy ground - I suppose that's not really world building, but mythology building, heh. Still, it was a nice touch to foreshadow the last paragraph, for sure.

The plot of the story doesn't feel that original to me, or the voice, really - maybe just because I've been watching X-files really the heavy the past few days and I feel like this could fit in or has already, haha, but I thought the characters themselves that the Devil does focus on were well done and presented as well - traditional almost stereotypical characters. There's parody of course, with some of these - even Alex Thomas too. I liked the playfulness with some of these characters in their backgrounds - but then how dark everything is, because there's that too - especially when each paragraph ends in how they'll kill - or in what order.

I liked the opening to get the readers attention, especially how it starts on Alex and the story ends on Alex. The writing in the opening paragraph threw me off just a little due to the short choppy sentences - but I feel that gets a little looser by the end voice-wise. Interestingly enough, I could see the first paragraph almost mimicking Alex's thoughts themselves, and then by the end we do get a sense of a more individual voice (the Devil) instead of an immersion in the other characters, which was cool.

In terms of handling the prompt, I think you encompassed everything in a neat way - as in tidy, heh. I can clearly see how the prompt influenced this piece via the church and Prozac references, even, and knowing who the prompt came from - I'm sure the parody factor would be something Matt would appreciate, haha. Overall, well done with this WCC and congratulations again - I always look forward to your short stories! :)
6/10/2015 c1 13alltheeagles
RG EF review

The overall effect for me after reading this piece was mild amusement rather than fear, so if you intended this as horror per se, I'd not say that it was a resounding success. However, as a parody of a horror story, it works fine - actually the parody element could be played up even more, given that the narrator is supposed to be the devil and so that puts things squarely in the supernatural realm. For that matter, the narrator's voice is very human actually. He could just be a psychopath who's bored with living in a small town, or goes from town to town wreaking havoc. You paint with very broad strokes in terms of setting and physical descriptions, but that isn't a fatal flaw - probably could be played up for the parody effect though.

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