Dorothy at confession by Jo Morris

Dorothy at confession by Jo Morris # Dorothy knelt in the dark confessional booth. The heavy oak walls were inches away from her arms; the narrow bench seat had been worn smooth over the years. She took a deep breath, leaned back, and gently blew the air out between her pursed lips. She didn’t want...

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1 month ago

This was such a compelling read, Jo; you pulled me into the story right from the first sentence (straight into the confessional, truth be told (lol)), and hooked me to the very end. I was raised catholic (until the church excommunicated us when my mom decided she didn’t want any more babies), and so I am quite familiar with the rituals of confession. You captured this so very well, the discomfort and unease, the inner dialogue of what to reveal or not to reveal, the mystery and mysticism of the ritual itself.

I did find the ending somewhat dissatisfying, however, as there was too much left for me to piece together; what happened to the kids, has it happened already or is it yet to happen. I love ambiguous endings, this one was just a little too ambiguous.

I will say, your dialogue and the slow reveal of pertinent information is excellent, as is your vivid descriptions and the suspenseful tension you created throughout. Your ability to place the reader inside the setting and inside the mind of the MC is fantastic!

Paul J P Slater
1 month ago

Hi Jo,

You have brought an intriguing character on stage and let them loose, though the ending leave the reader wondering how the story will end.

You could have wrapped up the ending neater by trimming some repeats throughout. Your readers also want to know where the MC’s children are.

I suspect you ran into the word count before completing the story arc. You could trim some repeats and some of the dozen or so adverbs including the 4 instance of “just”. You may find the 1 works best in a challenging word count.

Your MC is the sort of character readers will want more of. Bring her back on stage to wrap up what happened to her 3 children.

Thank you for sharing.
Keep Writing.


1 month ago

Good character development of your MC ,you’ve shown her using some great detail to highlight her agitation. Be mindful of not repeating the palm rubbing, incense etc too much in such a short word count – once is sufficient. In a longer piece you could get away with it,but in a short word count it becomes obvious/repetitative.
My only issue in this short piece : there is very little plot development, however if this is a WIP or part of a larger scene perhaps you should mention it in the comment tag?

You made great use of dialogue to build tension of what becomes an alarming premise: what did she do to her children? Nice hook to pull readers in. But now for the rest of the story to provide a satisfying ending?

del richards
1 month ago

yikes, I loved this! Has she done something to the kids or is she about to? that’s not the question of a confused reader but a VERY engaged one! I thought it was an excellent ending and my goodness, I read this with my heart in my mouth!
I haven’t read any of your stories before but I will have to look you up again if this is typical of your work.
Like I said to another writer, I’m jealous of your ability to maintain dialogue in a story. But you skilfully combine it with other observations – the uncomfortable skirt pulling on her waist, the hardness of the seat, the sounds (swallowing etc) coming from the other side of the screen – all helped to build tension here.
As I am not of that religious belief I have no idea what it is like inside a confessional but you certainly provided me with an excellent mental image.
I know the conclusion isn’t written out for everyone to understand but I think this is part of the excellence of this story. I wonder consider giving this another scrutinising read to check for any repetitions, errors etc (not that I spotted any – I was too engaged in eating up this story) and submit to a competition or magazine that specializes in darker short stories.
Very well done on the prompt, title and just about everything else here.

del richards
1 month ago
Reply to  del richards

‘would consider’ I meant! Duh!

Srivalli Rekha
1 month ago

This is intriguing, Jo. I like how Dorothy shows confusion, irritation, doubt, determination, all the while being evasive and surreal almost. The various aspects of her character came out well, though I admit I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t miss something important in the story. But it did keep me in suspense until the last line, so it was an engaging read. The setting is vivid and strong.