• The tar road snaked down through the valley as the old Peugeot slowly crawled in fourth gear toward the coastal town. The driver, thirty-four years old, had her eyes fixed on the downward slope in front of her, […]

  • For the newlyweds, life on the North Coast of South Africa was exciting.

    Jane was a beautiful Afrikaans brunette and Aleksandr happily exchanged the cold Siberian days for a subtropical life. Their love for […]

    • What a lovely little twist to the tale. It’s a pity that the word count was short-ish because this could have done with some slower unfolding or exploration. I think you had fun writing this one, and I had fun reading it.

    • An intriguing story with some unusual ingredients!
      I do think that the story could have used a bit more showing then telling. For example, this paragraph:
      It was an ordinary Sunday morning when Jane, out of the blue, had an ardent desire to go sailing. Aleksandr, always up for an adventure looked at the weather forecast, and said that he would drive down to the club, sail around, and come and fetch her with the dingy. She hesitated uncomfortably for a moment and said that he can relax at home and that she would do all that for him.”
      Dialogue and body language would have made it more dynamic so that the reader sees and feels for themselves, instead of ‘hearing about it second-hand’, if you know what I mean.
      Good effort overall. Keep going!

  • They say it all started with a virus.

    The Corona Virus we called it. But it’s not true.

    The war started long before the breakout of that virus.

    Others would argue that the blackouts we called ‘ […]

    • Nice use the theme. As the daughter of a WWI & Korean War Marine…I feel the awe….and the fear.

    • Interesting story. Just a word of critique, I found the one sentence paragraphs distracting. It maybe just a formatting issue.

    • HI Adriaan
      Cool war story. I like the fast pace and I like the one sentence paragraphs because I feel it moves the speed of the story very well.
      I want to know what happened to Boris, I’m not sure I understood the ending of your story. The setup, the history, the unapologetic possible racism (even though extreme racism is a problem as in the German soldier)-its all very human and full of realistic contradictions. I enjoyed the memoir style of the story as well.

  • Thanks for reading Deidre!

  • Wow! you really held the emotional grip there. And portrayed the natural relationship between brother and sister so well, I see it all the time.
    Well done with this, I loved it. Innocent yet gripping. A good read!

  • Thank Michael! Just when you think you have a grasp of the English language… Many many thanks for that. I’ve corrected it.

    Glad you liked it!

  • She was busy with something on the ground.

    The little girl, sixteen years old but little for her age, kneeling on the grass next to the burning barn must have seemed like a picture most bizarre.

    The dark clouds […]

    • I like the tension in this story.

      You quickly show that there’s a long history of conflict that’s escalated to the point of no return.

      I would just say that “vindicate” means “clear (someone) of blame or suspicion” and I think you were trying to imply the opposite here in para 22 – I think you could use “implicate” instead.

      Thanks for sharing, it makes me wonder what else she’s prepared to be hired for.

      • Thank Michael! Just when you think you have a grasp of the English language… Many many thanks for that. I’ve corrected it.

        Glad you liked it!

    • This was a story that kept me on my toes till the end, Adrian! I liked the scene you painted of the girl next to the fire, and a running suggestion that there was something supernatural about her. (Or did I read it wrong?)

      One feedback I have is that I would have liked to know the root of the fallout between the father and daughter that led to her putting plans in motion that she knew would kill her father. There are a few places where you can tighten the word count to make space for that 🙂

      Getting Grammar and Flow spot on is hard, especially for non-native English speakers like us. Practice only will help you.

      So, write on! I’d love to read your story next month.

    • Nice job building interest and suspense.

    • Wow, what a grim and gritty piece! This kept my interest all through to the end. The hatred that fueled (pun intended) this story is downright scary. It feels like there’s a huge backstory here that I would love to know. The dialogue was sharp and you did a great job with the balance of dialogue and activity. I really enjoyed this. Well done!

  • Ha ha! I loved this! Seems innocent at first but then with an excellent imagination you turned it into something really thrilling.

    Well done Prakhar, some very good storytelling there. Loved it! Also, a good balance of character and action with the limited word count.

  • Oh it’s a good story! I loved every bit of it, all well balanced with a strong narrative pushing it forward. It was easy reading to, and your writing style is quite easy going. We done, some good entertainment there!

  • Thank you for reading SM! Yes, the character is a bit blunt, and I could have done much better with description and character development and so on but will try to focus on that with the future stories. I am currently busy with two novels, blog posts on trauma and substance abuse and a range of other emotionally burdensome writing, so with the…[Read more]

  • Hi Bob, indeed, especially with such a low word count, the story should have been more concise. I’ll -pay attention to it next time.

    Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂

  • Hi Kim! Thank you so much for reading! Yeah, I buggered it up a bit, perhaps one of those streaks this time of the year but hey, no excuses. I’ll get my behind in the old chair and up my writing a bit.
    Thanks for the advice as well, (very familiar with the hero’s journey,) and I’ll try to heed to it in my future stories.

    Have a good one!

  • Wow! what a story! you nailed it with an excellent narrative, quite the thriller. Well done and good writing Kim!

  • Goodness me, what a ride! I’m not usually into this genre but force myself to read wide across various genres, and you really did not disappoint. Most excellent storytelling there, well done!

  • My goodness! it sounded like war in that room! Well done, I liked it and it gave me a smile, having all the conflict of interests and power discourses around.
    Perhaps a tiny amount to many descriptive words to my liking, but pay no attention, if it is your style and craft, then it should not be a problem for your intended audience. I was…[Read more]

  • I never thought that being a polyglot would land me in deeper trouble than my fellow soldiers.

    I was under the impression that to speak six languages would be an advantage to me, and that I would be respected and […]

    • Kim replied 4 months ago

      Hi Adriaan

      I had to reread your piece a few times to understand why I wasn’t getting a wow’ sensation – when your topic is one I find infinitely fascinating – that is, that period from 1900 to 1945. In my mind the most exciting in all of man’s history. yes , also the most cruel but considering what was developing, the background to the two wars – it certainly was a turbulent and dangerous and most interesting time.
      so with that backdrop, I expected your story to reflect that – but it doesn’t. Why?
      I think it has to do with your narration – you move from a series of events of ‘I did this, then I did that ‘: a chronological progression of facts – while all the while your MC doesn’t come across as emotionally invested. There is a disconnect with your character. You, as author, don’t allow him to reveal his personality, his vulnerability’s, fears and triumphs which in turn disinvests the reader from the storytelling experience.
      what should’ve helped you was the 1st person POV , which typically, is a more intimate account – but instead I got something that felt stilted, chanted by rote .
      If I may encourage you to rewrite this piece , with greater focus on your characters ‘hero’s journey’ ( I am sure you are familiar with the term) I believe this work will read very differently.

      All the best,

      • Hi Kim! Thank you so much for reading! Yeah, I buggered it up a bit, perhaps one of those streaks this time of the year but hey, no excuses. I’ll get my behind in the old chair and up my writing a bit.
        Thanks for the advice as well, (very familiar with the hero’s journey,) and I’ll try to heed to it in my future stories.

        Have a good one!

    • Bob replied 4 months ago

      Hi Adriaan,

      I agree with the critique above.

      I think this good story could be great with a couple of changes. I would suggest starting the action much later in the narrative stream, perhaps when the MC is already in Russia. This would focus the narrative / action into a more urgent, emotionally impactful landscape.
      I would also spend more time and details on the wolves and the men being attacked. There is enormous drama / conflict there.
      Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next story.

      • Hi Bob, indeed, especially with such a low word count, the story should have been more concise. I’ll -pay attention to it next time.

        Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂

    • Hi Adriaan,
      I’ve been having computer problems and my critique keeps getting erased.
      This is a very interesting memoir-style tale. The voice sounded like the musings of an older man reliving his younger days. There were many dramatic moments that were detailed, but you didn’t let the MC show us any emotion. A suggestion I would make is to play with your timeline a bit. You set up a contrast of an MC who has superb technical communication skills as a polyglot. However, the miraculous communication happens unspoken at the end when the humans come together to fight off the ravenous wolves, but then sadly that moment ends and they go back to killing one another. That is a very emotionally charged story, but you didn’t let the reader feel it. As I looked through your story, I was thinking that if you started the story with the paragraph of “Walking slightly with a limp” you might get the reader to the impact a little sooner. The set up in the beginning about going to Italy etc, is not that contributory to the story that unfolds in Russia. You have the kernel of a really interesting, gripping tale. I hope you get a chance to work with it.

      • Thank you for reading SM! Yes, the character is a bit blunt, and I could have done much better with description and character development and so on but will try to focus on that with the future stories. I am currently busy with two novels, blog posts on trauma and substance abuse and a range of other emotionally burdensome writing, so with the good sense of self-preservation, I’m not going to rewrite this story. It will be one of those that fall into the archives of thousands of hours of writing, but which never made it to the officially published works. But thanks for taking the time to read! 🙂

  • Hi Karin! Many many thanks for reading!
    If I could put it like this, the troubled society in South Africa refers to her own experience she had, rather than the general state of the people and the country. (Perhaps I should have clarified it with a word or two.) I, however, did not want to make this a prominent part of the plot but intended to…[Read more]

  • Hi Kim! Many thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Much appreciated. I knew I didn’t have all the word count for explaining all that, so I started the story with:

    There was no organization. There was no secret agency who, as he put it, could make use of her particular skill set. There was only him…
    But I suppose it can get confusing at…[Read more]

  • Fizza! Thanks for reading and a million thanks for pointing the typo out. I’ve corrected it on my blog.
    Yes, I love Mira, she is inspired by several unsavoury characters from movies but has in recent years developed her own personality.
    Glad you enjoyed it!

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Adriaan Snyman

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active 5 days, 18 hours ago