11 thoughts on “JOURNAL # 15

  1. Kait: I thought the story was really good, and the descriptions were so thorough and in depth. They really added to the story and helped create the sense that we were really there with the character. As the story progressed, I was so curious as to what had happened to Beatrice, and why she hated the dark/ walking home so much. When it hit the flashback scene, it all made sense. I was a little confused as to what pieces were in the past, and what were in the present though, so I think a little more clarification on that could be useful. I also felt like I was waiting for the action to start. It begins with so much good description, but it felt a little bogged down. Maybe adding some dialogue throughout the description or adding a little bit of the action sooner could help break up the description. All in all, it was really good and I was really intrigued!
    Delaney: I absolutely loved the voice of this story! I feel like the middle of nowhere voice is barely used in fiction, and it works so well for this story! I also think that the little flashbacks with the daughter, or the dad, really added to the story and helped show the character developments. The part that confused me though was towards the end when he was talking about factory workers in his stomach, as I wasn’t really sure of what was happening. I also was super curious about what was going on with his family, so I think adding a little more on that could be really good. All the little pieces of this story really helped to make it whole! I’m also really curious to know more about his life and how he ended up out in the middle of nowhere and helping Herb. Adding some more of that too, could help explain his daughter’s letter about “Who he is”.
    Sinead: This story was a real rollercoaster that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was so good though, and I really loved how the girl had all these old demons she needed to confront, and how that house really shook her. I think the way it started too, with the weird heat really set up a good platform for the reader to know something was going to go wrong. I also liked how the woman kept telling her husband something was happening, but he wouldn’t believe her, which set them up for a scene of everything going wrong. The thing that confused me at first though, was the P.O.V. switches. I didn’t realize they were two different characters at first, so I was wondering why it switched from she/ her to I. I think adding a little bit of clarification as to who is who/ which is which would be really helpful and help the reader understand what’s going on a little better.
    Adam: I really liked this story and think everything worked really well together. The character is really relatable, and the first half of the description with his daily morning routine really makes him seem like anyone else. The subtle add ins of his dark past also really add a nice quality of mystery to the story, making you wonder what happened to him. The flashbacks/ dreams that show what happened fit where they were placed, and give a good insight into what actually happened. I think adding a little more on what happened with his son/ wife could add a new element into the story and create another connection with the reader. Some dialogue in the beginning description could also help break it up, but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary.

  2. KAIT.
    I like how suspenseful this story is starting to be and I’m excited to see where you may take this with future revision. I really loved some of your descriptions like the shadows of the trees as well as the difficult things to see being burned into her retinas. That really paints a specific picture for the reader to see what the character is feeling. However, I mentioned a few parts where you could be a little bit more descriptive by showing rather than telling. Like using more senses like smell to flesh out the setting. There isn’t much detail at that part and having the character imagine a sunny day is confusing. Maybe make explicit what the setting is like at the present moment for the character and maybe explain what setting the character would be more relaxed. Speaking of that, your flashbacks seem to really overlap with the main story. What I mean by this is that at times, I couldn’t really tell when you were flashing back. Especially at the part with the two men. Was it a flashback or was the incident happening again? I’d make this more clear. One final little suggestion is to look at where you could break up some sentences. I noticed a bunch of run-ons.

    DELANEY.
    First off, I wanna compliment you on choosing a specific voice for your character. It really made me connect with them more closely because I could imagine what kind of person would speak this way; very conversational. Some of your descriptive words were cleaver, like how the horrible smell that was there in the warmer months was frozen in the winter. Nice! However, I’d maybe think about how a calm river without anything in its actual sounds versus one that’s the opposite like you mentioned on the first page. Describe, don’t tell. Later on, on page 5, you say that the narrator sitting down made Herb feel more comfortable. Maybe show that character tenser before so there is an actual measurable shift in his behavior now that he’s seated. That way the claim is backed up. I like how you tried to use an analogy for the way his insides felt, however, it was really confusing to me; especially in the beginning. I wasn’t quite sure what you were going for there. Did he use to work there? Other than that, I’m excited to see where this develops. I’d like to know more about his past.

    SINEAD.
    Honestly, I had a hard time at first looking for suggestions to help you improve your story. I really like how you switch your perspective between two sides of the same situation. The ones with the woman in the house were a little repetitive though. Also, are they all within one night? Or different nights? However, I liked how on page 2, you shifted the mood swiftly from tense to calm and relaxed. At the part where Jay is warning her to not go into the room with the couple, I feel like there should be more urgency in his manner. He seems like he’s just telling her to not comment on what he’d stolen. That would allude more to what would happen next. After that, the woman wakes. Is there a sound that wakes her up? That might disorient the reader more to match the feeling of the woman more. Along with explaining Jay’s expressions, you say he’s enjoying the fuck up. What does his face look like? Finger to his lips smirking? Or is he scared too? I’m unsure about the red couch thing at the end. Did she trip over it or were they trying to take it? I’d make the significance of talking about that object more clearly. I’m super excited to read more. Hopefully, the rest talks more about the backstory of the characters?

    ADAM.
    I love how the personality of your narrator is really apparent and shows throughout the story. How he’s depressed and scared because of his past, but also frustrated with his same old lonely routine. Also love the concept as a whole. I sense some serious character development in the future of this story. The fact that you revealed the incident with his son in a flashback was very effective. I’d love to know more about the relationship between Sammy and the main character. It must be deeper than you let on since he went straight into his house the night of the whale beaching. Maybe frame the development of this relationship in a flashback? Right now he just seems like a nosey neighbor that doesn’t have much significance in the story. Is he the only person the narrator really has? On page 7, you mention that he keeps picturing his son, but what does he see specifically? I feel like if you send the reader back into parts of this scene, it will be more jarring and real.

  3. Sinead- I read part of Sinead’s story when we exchanged parts of our drafts for the previous class. She was able to explain to me that the point of view alternates between third person for one narrator and first person for the other narrator. I feel like this particular set up worked very well for the story, given that the first person point of view was told from the narrator who had a deep connection to the house the story took place in, while the third person point of view narrator didn’t have the same history with the location and was more concerned with observing the house as it stood now, rather than remember it by the part like the other narrator. I am curious as to whether the ending that the draft has now will be the final ending. As it currently stands, I still have a lot of questions about the story. I want to know more about how else the two narrators are related, asides from just having both lived in the same house. What kind of theme appears between the two of them and how does it carry through the rest of the story, the most important piece of which is a flashback into one of the narrator’s pasts?

    Adam- I really like the ending to this story. It came to a proper place to let the reader see the main character’s growth and imagine them going forward into the rest of their lives. While I really like the descriptions of the town and where the main character lives, I think the story really needs more integrated paragraph breaks. At times it becomes very difficult to read and I find myself getting lost without the breaks to signify a change in location or narration. If you try rearranging the structure of the sentences and use less commas, the story could flow easier and let you find better places to make paragraph breaks.

    Delaney- I really like the writing style of this story. It reminds me of the vernacular of Huckleberry Finn and works well for the lifestyle that the main character is living. I have a lot of questions for this story that I really want to be answered at some point during its run. I want to know more about Herb, Mercy, and how the main character came to this point. I felt like the ending was left off a bit jagged due to having so many unanswered questions, and I feel like it could work very well if I just knew more about the characters. Overall, I really like the writing style and think that the story flows together fantastically between internal monologue and flashbacks, I just need more answers about who these characters are.

    Kaitlyn- I think this story’s strongest boon is how realistically the flashback and panic attack are written. The narration really allows the reader to see the main character’s progression into anxiety spirals and takes us all the way through their panic. I think that showing this story to someone can really help them understand what having a flashback is like with it being presented as an example for mental health. My only real problem with the story is that the kidnappers are written too stereotypically for me to take seriously. I have watched a lot of crime documentaries and very rarely do kidnapping cases proceed in this way with such sleazy strangers. If I would advise anything, it would be to rework the kidnapping scene to something more realistic. Other than that, I really like the writing style and the flow of the story and I think the whole arc works very well for its length.

  4. Sinead
    Loved this story idea! Took me a second but I love how you have to separate stories sort of converging on each other in a dramatic moment, although obviously more focused on the “I” narrator. I really liked the way you described the memories of the first person narrator as well as the house description as some sort of living noisy creature. I thought you had a couple awkward transitions like on the first page from the red clock to describing the house. You did mention the house in the previous sentence so maybe it’s fine; just came off odd to me. I did get a little confused as to Jay’s character. Obviously they’ve both done this before as you said, but why did Jay seem suddenly okay with murder? Why this house if she seems so haunted by it? Did Jay push her into it? Overall I really like what you got going on though!

    Adam
    I really liked the initial feel you have for this story, the just-another-day vibe to start us off. The descriptions seem pretty in-depth, although there are times you could potentially do more showing? I love how the narrator is tormented by the dreams of his son’s death and is changed by that singular moment of looking into the whale’s eyes and seeing his son in them. I think there were a couple confusing choices made, like the narrator scrolling through Facebook, getting a cold chill at Sammy’s arrival, or the time transition from Sammy arriving to going after the whale. I’m getting the impression the narrator doesn’t say the son’s name because it’ll invoke that memory and that pain will come flooding back? I would question whether Sammy is a stout friend of the narrator or someone who helped him out one time, because the narrator clearly knows his character well and didn’t flip at him for breaking in at three in the morning. But I do like what you have and I’m interested to see where this goes!

    Delaney
    Some very interesting stuff you got going on! The characters, Herb and Wheatie are oddballs, that’s for sure but I think you do a good job with the consistent language choice and descriptions. I loved the plastic factory as a way of Wheatie feeling the high, super unique in my opinion. There were a couple awkward moments where you added details but it came off choppy maybe, like about the Atlantic or Wheatie using the word underdeveloped. The family drama with Mercy was great, although you mention the letter at the beginning and then it just sort becomes a back-pocket issue till you bring it in again. Although when the moment does come, it hits hard. Love the story and I hope there’s more to follow!

    Kaitlyn
    A lot of great things going on in your story, very emotional and intense! Many great descriptions, too! I like how you’re easily able to build the character of Beatrice for us throughout without simply telling us. Some food for thought might be how the walk seemed negative at first with the frigid cold but then there were birds singing and then suddenly things weren’t so good again. Perhaps there was a time gap I missed or Beatrice’s perceptions changed? I know they did at a certain point. The transition from the setting sun to Beatrice’s soccer memory seemed quite jarring, although I think I saw what you were going for? Her walks from practice would be under a setting sun, so that reminded her of the memory? There was another moment when you mentioned the incident was 14 years ago, but then the next paragraph she seems to be a young girl again. Not sure if which is the case. The breaking of the silence seemed dramatic in a good way but then nothing came off it, until later when another comes. Is there something about that screeching car I’m missing? Although let me say I really liked how Beatrice running home as both a past and present character was very powerful and an amazing move on your part. Story is super interesting so far and can’t wait to see where it goes!

  5. Kait-
    Overall, I really enjoyed your story. As a reader, I found myself becoming emotionally invested in Beatrice’s trauma. I really enjoyed the way that you broke down the story into a series of flashbacks, slowly unfolding the events of the past that shed light on the present struggles and emotions. I think your transitions into the flashbacks were very successful especially towards the end. They were blunt in a way, but they connected so well into the present events that the present sort of dissolves into the past, and leaves the reader thinking “oh, we’re in a flashback now.” Very powerful story overall.

    Delaney-
    While I found your story very interesting and compelling, I found the ending much more engaging than the beginning. I think that this is mostly because of the complex plastic factory metaphor that you assembled, especially when it is played in conjunction with the letter from the daughter. The way that the letter was broken up and paired with smaller bites of the “plastic factory workers” builds a very dynamic character. I was a little disappointed by the way the protagonists abusive father was brought up in the beginning and then never really brought back in the end in any significant way. It would be interesting to see what tying that back would do for the narrative.

    Adam-
    In general, I found this story very engaging. That being said, once I had the information about both the son and the whale, I was able to predict that the protagonist would overcome his fear of getting on the boat to save the whale like he couldn’t save his son. I think the story might be more dynamic if you were to throw a wrench in the readers expectations on where the story is supposed to go. That being said, where the story is now isn’t bad, in the same way that predictability isn’t bad. If you do decide to leave the ending plot as it is, I personally would not go into the details of saving the whale, as dropping it at him putting one foot on the boat is powerful in itself.

    Sinead-
    I really enjoyed the story and all of your perspective switches. As a reader, I thought it was confusing at first, and wondered if it was jumping between past and present with the switches, but in the moment where you realize that is not the case at all, it really hits home. Your characters desires were very clear, and that made the story easy to follow, but it was very unpredictable at the same time, which really enhanced the experience of reading it.

  6. Kaitlyn: “I Wish it Never Happened”
    This story has an incredible weight to it. It artfully illustrates a traumatic scene regarding an attempted kidnapping and explores the implications of post-traumatic stress. I really like how you reveal aspects of Beatrice’s life and experiences little by little rather than explaining up front that she had been kidnapped as a child. You have a lot of very articulate and creative descriptive sentences that put the reader into the middle of the action. There were a couple of places where I would have liked to have known approximately what age Beatrice is in the present day; I think it’s really incredible how you are able to melt from the present day into the flashback, but I think it would be clearer if there was more of a distinction between older Beatrice and younger Beatrice. Another thing to think about is the position of the narrator. How close is the third person point of view? Is it close enough to Beatrice to be able to express thoughts the same way she would? For example, during the flashback, the men in the car “must have been in their late 40s.” How might a young child describe them? Bringing your narrator closer to Beatrice could really help to get her personality across as well as to make a clearer distinction between young and old Beatrice. I like where this is going! Great job!

    Delaney: “Small Bodies”
    The first and foremost thing I have to say about your story is this is some incredible voicing! I like the use of dialect and that it doesn’t get in the way. It really helps to characterize Wheatie. There is also a lot of easy, vivid description that puts me in the story. I can hear the stream, feel the cold of the ocean water, etc. The transitions between flashbacks and the present are also smooth. I think it’s interesting the way Wheatie describes the plastic factory in his body when he gets high. I think your story could use a touch more connection to Mercy. The first scenes are important in developing Wheatie’s character, showing us his background with an abusive father and the situation he is in at present, but I wonder if we need a little more of Mercy or at least something that might further imply his regret of not having a relationship with her. I also underlined a portion of the scene with Gex, more for my own personal thought processing. What is the significance of Gex and the fact that he eats crickets alive? That’s a cool thing to explore. Keep going with this story!

    Sinead: Draft 1
    Your story creatively employs a switching point of view between a couple who has just moved into this old house and the burglars, one of whom used to live in the same house. I really like the way these two flopping viewpoints slowly converge until the two worlds come together face to face. I also think you executed the girl’s flashback very well, integrating it smoothly amidst the action of the present moment. I think it would be interesting to dive deeper into the lives of the sleeping couple. How does their view of their new house differ from the girl’s perspective? Why is the sleeping man so much less worried about the sounds occurring? Is there a special connection made when the sleeping woman sees the other girl through the doorway? The dichotomy between the two couples would be really interesting to explore. What about the male robber? Is there something that can be said about him or his relationship with the girl? I can’t wait to see where this goes!

    Adam: Short Story #1
    I really enjoyed the incredibly touching message your story conveys. You’ve included a lot of vivid detail that work to establish the setting as well as give voice to the main character. We are able to get a good read on his mood through the way your sentences are worded. I especially liked how you foreshadowed the man’s past and only revealed it through his reoccurring dream. It created a bigger impact when he was confronted with saving the whale. The detail with the whale having the same look in its eye as his son was nothing short of heart-wrenching. Going forward, I think that including more interaction between the man and his customers/fishermen toward the beginning of the story would create a larger impact and reveal much more about his character. I would also like to see a more detailed description of Sammy, though perhaps by showing us what he is like through his actions. This way, the final scene reveals Sammy’s importance to the main character more deeply, thus making us understand the real painful internal battle the man is having between helping his friend and avoiding his past. Lastly, what if you toyed with the idea of keeping the ending a little more ambiguous? What if we don’t exactly know explicitly whether he stepped onto the boat or not, but it’s somehow strongly implied? However you choose to go about it in the future, this is shaping up to be a really impactful story!

  7. Delaney: This is a short story about a man visiting his homeless friend in the forest and then heading home to read a letter he received from his daughter. This letter is starts by asking about child support, but is more so about the daughter accepting whatever kind of “relationship” her father and the homeless man. The imagery and flashbacks work famously in this piece. I couldn’t stop raving about it. I love the description and way the flashbacks are brought up through small details. I am curious as to why the parents are divorced, is it because of his drug use? I don’t have any large suggestions.

    Sinead: This story is about two thieves breaking into a house that the female used to live in. The story bounces between two visions as well as point of views. I think the first person pov works incredibly well. What happened to the mother? How did the girl escape? What happened the last time the two were out stealing? I would suggest picking one pov. I don’t think the couple who own the house are important characters, so I would suggest sticking with the thief’s story. It seems to be the more interesting one.

    Adam: This story is about a man who works at a local bar, and watching him go through his typical morning before being brought out onto a boat to save a whale. It’s also told through a dream scene that the man’s son died on a boating trip. I think the whale serves as a good conflict/problem for the main character. I question if the weed serves any good device to this story. I can understand it in terms of helping his insomnia and giving more vivid dreams, but I don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary.

  8. Delaney Collins Short story

    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this story, the descriptions of characters and locations were incredibly detailed and really added a lot of life to the story. The Depiction of abuse is heart wrenching and feels real in all the worst ways. The only real criticism I have is to add more detail to the letter and the overall ending was a bit too vague and I found the metaphor hard to understand.

    Adam Races Short story

    This story makes me feel sad but in like a good way, its been a while since I read a story that perfectly captures a feeling of constant melancholy. The main characters backstory is shown not too much or too little and his place in the town and interactions with other characters feels believable and realistic. I also really liked the ending, sad stories with no hope is just misery for the sake of misery but storys with hope always makes the misery “work” for me.

    Sinead Scott Short Story

    This story is more on the small scale as far as settings go, however the house is so thoroughly written that it seems like a character of its own. I really liked the switching perspectives. It really helped to build the tension throughout the story. I also really like the backstory we get for the robber character. I like how it shows that characters who do bad things aren’t just evil and are the sum of their history.

    Kaytlin Butts short story

    Heart wrenching, anxiety inducing, horrific implications and over all really good. This story has the best written anxiety and panic attacks i’ve ever read in any story to date. In addition i like how it discusses how mundane problems, such as having a car in the shop can flip someones whole life over.

  9. Adam:

    I think the idea for this story is really enticing and I want to see how it ends (with the whale and with the main character). I liked how even though he is living in a fishing town, with fishermen as his friends and customers, he himself has trouble going on the water. The flashbacks/nightmare help illuminate this tension which I think is really important. I did think that while reading the flashback part it was slightly confusing as to when it was taking place. One thing I might consider is having it be present tense (as a nightmare/dream would be) and this might make it easier to convey some of what occurred during the incident. This could be done in a number of ways, namely just taking out the parts that say “I remembered…” because it would be actually happening in the moment of the dream, if that makes sense. I also think that having Sammy is really important and adds another layer because he is able to one, have good conversation/dialogue with the protagonist and this enables the reader to be able to get a better idea of who he is as a person, and two, he is obviously essential for the story to progress. I also would definitely build upon how he lost his son; I think if you had a part where he misses him, or emphasizes that he lives alone or something without a family it would add another element of tension/continue building on that aspect of his life. However, I also think you had some great details and description. I like the voice, which is very distinguished and helps the reader get a mental image of this fishing town/ex-fisherman.

    Delaney:

    I really liked this story! You had some great details and the voice that came through was so distinguished and really painted a good picture. I also thought the way the flashbacks were done was really effective as they added essential details that are needed for the story to progress. I also liked how you ended with the note from Wheaties’s daughter. I wonder if there would be a way to add this lost family connection in somewhere earlier, or before the flashback with her at least. I think that may help the reader see this as being a significant part; I also think that it might be part of his “desire.” I loved the details of the factory when he’s high and his thoughts about that because they really make the reader not just see, but experience his high too. I did think that if there was some explanation regarding what he is doing, or what he wants, or doesn’t want in life it might help alleviate some confusion surrounding Herb, Herb’s role and the drugs. While I don’t necessarily think you have to spell it out, I do think some of the things that are brought up could use a more direct reason for being emphasized. For example, why is he hanging out and buying glasses for this homeless guy, Herb? Why does he not talk to his daughter/her mother (and more importantly is this the reason that his life is the way it is)? Overall, however, you have really beautiful writing and the characters, even being as bizarre as they are, are so real-like as the reader I can see them as real people.

    Kaitlyn:

    Your writing is filled with beautiful description. I loved some of the ways you were showing and not telling as often this created tension just within the setting and the description. I also think your character is very distinguished and some of the ways you added details about her and who she is, without actually saying “a small girl with brown hair” was effective and an interesting technique. I was slightly confused in some of the parts as to what was a flashback and what was really happening. I think if you were able to make those transitions more obvious, or even just the timeframe itself, it would be a lot clearer. I also think that maybe something more traumatic than escaping those two men could have happened to her-especially if she is this anxious about walking home. It seems to me as though she is literally terrified but since she was only grabbed at, and escaped, the reaction seems too intense (though I don’t mean to say that one can’t have anxiety and that such an event wouldn’t be scary, but it seems like it was more than just that to get her to this psychological state).

  10. Adam Race
    WRT 312
    Peer review journal

    Sinead

    I really liked your ability to change to and from the story lines in this story, and have it still make so much sense and be so seamless and easy to follow along to. The story is really awesome, and I was drawn to seeing how the suspense would be relieved, or not, at the end of the story. While reading, I remembered learning about the different styles of irony that writers can use, specifically dramatic irony, like Shakespeare uses in Romeo and Juliet. I seemed to feel the suspense built up using this sense of dramatic irony, although we do not know what is going to happen for sure, we know something is going to happen. I also thought you’re ability to switch into a flashback and back to present time was really well done, as that is something I often have troubles with in my writing. I think the flashback was very helpful to putting the story together. One thing that didn’t tie together for me was the part about robbing the house not going well the last time. I think your ability to create very realistic and genuine characters for the narration and dialogue was very well done. This is a very well-written story all in all, I am excited to read your final version and see how it is going to end.

    Kaitlyn

    I enjoyed reading this story a lot. I think you did an awesome job with the descriptions of feelings and things the character is experiencing throughout the story. Some pieces in particular I thought you explained really well were lines like “felt like sand paper on my ear drums” and “the trees warped into shadowy hands..”. These paint a really interesting picture in the readers mind without just blindly describing them. Another piece of your writing that I appreciated was your ability to give the reader small hints and insights into the character and her experiences without saying them out right. Things like giving us her hair color, the fact she was old enough to work a desk job, etc. I also liked the continued pattern of her walking throughout the story line, whether it was when she was young after practice or in the present, it tied the storyline together very well for me. One aspect that was a little difficult for me while reading was that it sometimes was difficult for me to distinguish whether things were happening in a flashback or in the present, since she was doing pretty similar things in both scenes. I was left with mainly wondering a few things. Where was the character walking to? What was the cause of the mental illness problems she seems to be struggling with? Was it what happened with the men in the car? Very nice story I am excited to see where you take it from here.

    Delaney

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I like how from the beginning we are dropped right into some action, with the character walking to some pond through the woods. Another awesome piece of the story is the distinct voice you give to the narrator and how it remains consistent throughout the story and within the pieces of dialogue. Creating unique and believable ‘voices’ for my characters is something I often struggle with, so I found your story very satisfying how consistent it is. That being said, I think there was a couple instances where there were a couple in’ ending words next to each other in a sentence which made reading a little difficult for me. I also really liked your ability to introduce us to the characters, and then later on seamlessly add details that give us more information on the name we were introduced to prior. Like how we learn that Herb is a homeless guy living in the middle of no-where Connecticut. I also really liked the whole plastic factory story line that is going on inside the man who is tripping (I think?). I think it could be more meaningful and make a little more sense if there was some background on the “Bridgeport plastic factory”, like if it were mentioned before in something it may just fit more seamlessly into the story and make more sense why the character is drawn to this hallucination?

  11. Adam: I admired the flow and tone of this piece. It gave me some real Ernest Hemingway vibes in some sections with the journalistic style of writing that appeared. I also felt that where the reader was shown, rather than told, what was happening/who the narrator was/what the community was like, the story gained strength. I think the narrative could be improved overall by emphasizing these sections. I think sometimes we, as writers, fall into the trap of showing over telling because it can be difficult to trust that we’re conveying what you want to/that the reader will understand what you’re saying. Ultimately, I think that it is more meaningful to the reader if you show them less (so they can figure out more) than if you tell them everything (then reading becomes less fun). I think the flashback section could benefit the most from this. As the reader I want the privilege to access the narrator’s vulnerable emotions. During the flashback, I felt as if the narrator was keeping me away from these parts of his emotional spectrum, and I was left wanting a little bit more. By showing instead of telling, the narrator is trusting the reader to interpret who they are and ultimately allowing the reader to, as Wordsworth might say, (S/O to Dr. Frank’s Brit Lit 2 class) see into the lives of people. However, overall, the genuine nature of the narrator’s voice and stream of consciousness kept me interested in what he had to say. I think that because of the establishment of this voice, the story has a strong foundation that will be well-adapted moving forward.

    Sinead: I really appreciated the description and pacing of this piece. Normally, I feel as though description/imagery can slow me down as a reader or act as a distraction from the greater meaning or plot. However, in your piece, I felt as though most of the description was necessary as it truly transported me into the narrator’s brain space. I did feel as though some of the dialogue could be made a little bit more descriptive (not actually, but be changed in a way to insinuate something unique about the characters). I think I’m specifically thinking about the dialogue between the the couple at the beginning, because the dialogue during the flashback was very representative. Additionally, I think the concept of the piece is interesting— it left me with a number of questions, and helped me connect some of my own thoughts about real-world problems (i.e. gentrification). I also feel as though the narrative was genuine and convincing. I believed the protagonist and her representation of her past, and I felt the feelings I believe she felt too. I do feel as though I wanted some more context for the flashback. I was left questioning why she would subject herself to relieving the trauma of her past. I also wanted more information about who she was, and what she wanted (but maybe less of being told that, but rather more access to her internal monologue/her interpretation of it). Overall, this piece kept me the whole way through, and the tension throughout it never truly felt broken (in the best way possible).

    Kait: I was captivated by your ability to slow the narrative down. I also loved the concept of the story— it truly offered a unique perspective on something others might take for granted. This helped develop understanding, empathy, and tension. In some places this pace quickened— I liked this change in pace for the most part, however ins one sections I wanted your original methodical flow back. I also liked your development of Beatrice. However, as a reader, I wanted to know more about her— who did she spend time with? What made her skeptical of the mechanics? And what does she do for work? I think I wanted to be shown things about Beatrice’s life that helped me gain a better concept of who Beatrice was— this would have grown my care for her even more. I would like to note, however, that the description is so on point it develops a lot of the tension for this story . When Beatrice initially gets overwhelmed by the flashback, (the sunset becoming engulfed by the night sky) I was totally captivated. I think that this, paired with a little bit more character development in the form of demonstrative details (because I truly am curious about who Beatrice is) would push this story over the edge. Additionally, I liked the ending. It felt like something I could hold on to for a little while, and showed me how to feel all of the emotions that Beatrice was feeling. Overall, I feel as if this story has a strong narrative backbone, but could be made even stronger with some unique character development.

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