• A Scene for a Story by Patrick Van Mil


    As the train shuddered to a stop Katie realized that it was almost full. Passengers looked out from almost every window of the long row of cars. She hoped that whomever […]

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  • Chapter Two by Linda Sansalone


    Chapter Two

    After bringing Nathan and his dog home, Jessie put a warm blanket around Nathan, and made him a hot cup of tea, and she put out water for Magnum.  They had sunk […]

  • Chapter One by Linda Sansalone


    Nathan and the Skeletal Building

    “Hello,” Jessie answered her cell phone. She looked at the caller name and was surprised to see Nathan’s name.  She hadn’t spoken with him in a […]

    • Hi Linda,
      This is a good beginning to a mystery story. Strong development of a relationship between Jessie and Nathan. An interesting back story in Nathan’s family.

      In regards to the lesson, I have some confusion. So, this is supposed to be a scene with a goal, a conflict, and a disaster or setback. I’m not clear on them in your story. Perhaps because I’m unsure whose story this is. It’s told from Jessie’s POV but the real problem is Nathan’s discovery of the bones. The inciting incident is the phone call, which brings the two old friends together again after many years. So, I see the conflict as the discovery of the bones and an implication that Nathan could be a suspect. We don’t really know why. The finger prints on the bones idea doesn’t sound realistic to me. The bones would be old. Not sure if fingerprints would even show up on dirt covered bones. (something to research!) But, perhaps the mystery of Nathan’s suspension from the force might give a clue. So, the setback/disaster is to solve the crime, but there’s no character driven goal here, unless you change the POV to Nathan. You could do this, and be close to his thoughts, still bring in Jessie to help him. Kind of like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. If you want to keep a strong female lead, perhaps make both characters women.

      Anyway, just a lot of thoughts. You know your story and where it’s going. Thanks for sharing!



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  • An Invitation by Maria Kinnersley

    Ann arrived at the holo-room thirty minutes before it was due to start. Even after ten years as World President, she still found these meetings difficult. The figures she saw […]

    • Linda replied 1 week ago

      Maria, I enjoyed reading your story. I confess that generally I’m not a fan of science fiction. Having said that I did like watching the “X-files”. However, I think you did a good job writing a science fiction story. I liked the ending—the food was so impressive to the alien. I think using more dialogue to carry your story would help to show rather than tell in the first half of your story. In the latter half, I feel you did a good job with dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

      • Hi Linda,
        Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for your comments. I tend to agree with your comment concerning the first half and will be revising the first half of the story before the 16th December. I did wonder whether the twist at the end was a bit weak, so I am doubly glad you enjoyed it.

    • The very serious start to the story definitely made the end a fun surprise! I would recommend in your next draft focusing less on telling and more on showing. You have some really interesting backstory–maybe go through this exposition as her memories of them, and through conversation in the meeting? This way, you can still express the history without necessarily relying on telling. Very creative and I can’t wait to see the final draft!

      • Hi Lauren,
        Thank you for taking the trouble to read this and for your comments. It is appreciated. Another person has commented about using more dialogue and I can see that would give it a bit more of an edge. I shall enjoy the editing. The only problem is keeping to the word count:-).

    • Hi Maria, sci-fi is not my choice of genre but your story is presented in a manner that even a layman could grasp and in doing so you kept me engaged to the end. Well done.

      You had me thinking that the Xylops planet being destroyed by the Kronna was actually caused by the Corona virus). Likewise when Ann returned to earth and was praised for being the one who had urged the action to stop the Keronna (Coronna) …..i like the way that thought crept into my wormhole.

      I got a little confused about the thoughts in Ann’s head when she speaks of Rob’s wife wanting to return to earth also but then we never hear anything more about the wife. Can this be cleaned up a bit? I do like Rob though….good one.

      I love the holo-meeting and the images of the characters that show up.

      I’m a little on the fence as to whether your chocolate ending fits in. It is humourous but it’s the first sign of the story being humourous….can you give us a dash of humour earlier so we are not so surprised by your ending?

      • Hi Glen,
        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You make some good points. It is good to have the chance to edit this before 16th December. I can see ways now that the story can be improved and appreciate you taking the time to read this.

    • Hi, Maria,

      I enjoyed the well-written prose and the set-up. But, I kept waiting for something more to happen. I know that 1200 words doesn’t allow for too much set up, but maybe you can find a way to shorten the beginning and give us some more action.

      I think you have a good handle on the sci-fi genre, though. It is something I can’t write – but I love to read it,


      • Hi Patty,
        I appreciate you taking the time to read this story and I do think the point you have made is valid. Having read it a few times since I uploaded it, I too feel it needs a bit more oomph! at the start. I will definitely be rewriting the beginning. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

    • Hi Maria — What a fun premise! I love all the details you give us about the future. After reading through the comments I wondered if you might accomplish some of the suggestions by Having Maria recount her experiences as part of a campaign speech. Just a thought. I also thought the ending didn’t carry the weight of the meeting, although it was humorous. Maybe you could add in something a little more serious and the have chocolate be the punch line, such as In our travels, we’ve noticed you planet has an abundance of **, that we could trade for technology. Oh and your food …

      Of course feel free to ignore these comments if they don’t fit with your story vision. They’re just thoughts.

      • Hi Christy,
        Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on how it could be improved. There are some good ideas that I hadn’t thought of. I have been very fortunate so far to have had other like yourself offer their suggestions. It was always my intention to edit my story as I wasn’t 100% happy with it. I shall be putting your ideas into the mix. Thank you again.

  • Scrabbling by Glen Benison


    She was so new in town that when she walked into the bar, the scent of a new perfume turned all the men’s heads towards the door. Several of the men felt their hearts p […]

    • Good story! I liked how you used the scrabble game to carry the story forward. I also liked the surprise ending. I was a little confused with the thick perfume scent veiling her “secret”. How does the thick scent of perfume veil her secret? What secret, other than she is the bank’s loan officer. Otherwise I really like how you used the game and the back and forth with Jaxxson to show how she’s a strong woman and doesn’t put up with anything she doesn’t like. Overall, I enjoyed reading your story.

    • Hi, Glen,

      This was a wonderful story. Your dialogue and the use of the Scrabble game made it unique and interesting. When she ‘sat at the table,’ I thought for sure we were going to have a high stakes game of poker.

      The men and their attitudes and actions befit older gentlemen, and I wasn’t quite sure that I really read that, or if I inserted it with my intuition. You may want to explore ‘fleshing out’ the men at the table a bit more.

      Your MC carries her secret well – but I wonder if there might be more information about how one of these men (or all of them) could use a loan right now.

      Thank you for sharing,


    • Hi Glen,
      I liked the use of the prompt. I’m also a fan of Scrabble games, so you drew me in on that one. I was even checking the points were right at one point and had to stop myself:-). I did note that there was some missing punctuation, which you might like to pick up when you go through this piece again. Like Linda, I did wonder what her secret was. I also felt that the fact that she was the bank’s loan officer didn’t really chime with the rest of the story, other than the inference that they were poor.
      Overall though, I liked the story and enjoyed the banter throughout the game. Thanks for an enjoyable read.

    • Hi Glen, I laughed out loud at this story. It’s highly inventive and funny. I’ve never played scrabble (:() but could follow the story nevertheless. There’s a little repitition of the pronoun she at the beginning but despite that the story takes off straight away. I thought the guys were on the mature side. As with the other comments, the ending jars with the rest of the story as it doesnt really fit. I can see you wanted a surprise but try something emerging from their interactions as we haven’t actually been told that the men might need bank loans. Its a really fun read. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glen, I might be doing you a dis-service – did you mean that as she would always win and they would always lose that they would need future bank loans? Sorry for being dim-witted.

    • Well done with a fun use of the prompt. Your dialog reads very smoothly. If your so inclined, I think a bit of back story would enhance you piece: How does she know the men play scrabble (she must as she comes prepared), how is it that the men need loans? I enjoyed your tale and look forward to the final story.

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