• Gosh – is this some kind of memoir? It’s very deep and full of emotion.
    I enjoyed this story however (apologies for saying that if it is some kind of memoir).
    The descriptions of the tsunami are excellent and the following imagery in the MCs mind are cleverly written so that the reader isn’t certain if she is dreaming/hallucinating or not.
    Just…[Read more]

  • Thank you. this story was in response to a challenge set by James Hancock (I was blank – couldn’t think of a story so he said to go for something I don’t normally write, something not dark and with no nasty twists – so here it is!)
    The increase in dog thefts has been on the news here a lot and as a dog lover/owner myself, I am also a bit twitchy…[Read more]

  • Puppy Love by del richards
    ‘It’s happened!’ Sara calls to me from the entrance to the park.
    ‘What’s happened?’ I call back while hanging on to Connor’s lead. Irish Setters get very excited when they see some […]

    • I could really relate to your story as I have a much loved dog of my own. It’s true that walking the dog has become such a luxury in these lockdown days, and I could emphasize with the protag’s fear of her dog being stolen. It’s amazing how when something is brought to our attention, we start to suspect everyone. I was glad the stranger turned out to be okay and the story had a happy ending.

      • Thank you. this story was in response to a challenge set by James Hancock (I was blank – couldn’t think of a story so he said to go for something I don’t normally write, something not dark and with no nasty twists – so here it is!)
        The increase in dog thefts has been on the news here a lot and as a dog lover/owner myself, I am also a bit twitchy about it! So, my romantic story grew from that. Thanks again for reading and responding!

    • Yes! Great! I thought it was going to go dark. Forced in against your best intentions. But you held on strong and delivered a proper magazine style story (your words). And a good one. A couple of sentences could use a glance and a few things reworded just to be extra clever, but all in all a really ‘nice’ story. Now polish it and contact those magazines. I want 20% of all money earned. Well done.

  • Thank you for your kind comments.
    The ‘again’ was deliberate and in my mind was a ‘hook’ to make the first line work better. I’m not sure how else to have conveyed it (and stay within the very tight word count margins!!) but I will give it some thought and possible cut down some words elsewhere (the memory of the dog perhaps – that could be…[Read more]

  • Thank you for reading and your kind, encouraging comments. This story wanted to be much longer so there was some frantic chopping before I submitted it! Thanks again.

  • Thank you for reading and your kind comments. I added the ‘hail’ (aka bird seed) as it seemed too coincidental to have any other reason for the birds ‘escaping’ and giving the MC a reason to want to be free. Real hailstones would have been too ‘way off ‘ I thought… A bit too much cutting down went on here! Story wanted to go big! Thanks again.

  • No words from me, Ben. this was epic. Whether it relates to beef cattle or to prisoners of war, the imagery is frightening.
    You owned this prompt. I’m just lost for words. A masterpiece.

  • What a poignant tale this is. And sadly, not as uncommon as we would hope.
    I’m not sure how old the baby is but I think it would be helpful to know. I sort of imagined him to be very young and I worried about the cold weather getting to him (silly me!).
    This is sad tale but also a tale of hope as the reader can see Adam aiming for a better life…[Read more]

  • Gosh, I’m almost speechless (a very rare thing for me!!). What lovely praise!
    As I have said to others, this story wanted to ‘go big’ so it was a struggle to cut it down. However, I don’t think it wanted to go big enough to become a novel!
    I wrote a story called ‘The Perfect Wife’ in a collection of novellas I published about 5 years ago…[Read more]

  • Thank you for reading and for your helpful comments. Yes, you are right – I can fiddle with this now that there is no word count to contend with! This was one of two stories I wrote for this prompt – the other one being ‘neater’ but not as ‘deep’ but I was kicking myself at the way this wanted to ‘grow’! Many thanks again.

  • I think I’ve read 8 stories so far and this is definitely my favourite! I just mopped it up.
    The combination of two ‘different but alike each other’ characters was a superb mix and I was reading this with respect (and quite a bit of envy actually”! Darn you!)
    One thing I wasn’t certain about was the demise of Miss Esther. Had she died before…[Read more]

  • Such a tragic story and not the ending I expected. The astronaut image sort of fooled me into thinking the son had either been abducted by aliens or run away to pursue another career path altogether.
    I think a small reference to the argument could have been mentioned earlier = something like ‘He was on familiar territory now, bargaining with…[Read more]

  • Thank you. the MC is suffering what is known as Stockholm Syndrome where they form an irrational attachment to their captors.
    Sorry about the dog being hit – that was a memory of 10 years before (i think I put that in) and she compares the hand gestures, soothing voice she has used with the policewoman’s body language and deduces that it will…[Read more]

  • This is so sweet and left a lump in my throat.
    I wonder if you deliberately used the formal way of talking because the story is for those learning to enjoy reading? If not, then I think I would change that and have phrases like ‘ I’ll’ rather than ‘I will’ etc as that is more natural in conversation. However, I can see that sticking to your…[Read more]

  • Yes that beginning sounds more impactful….
    I don’t have a problem with cutting to the word count but what starts as a short story, threatens to go into 10k territory!! Apparently my conversations are the same!!!
    I tend to mull things in my mind in the run up to deadline and hav ethe story mapped out there. Once I touch he keyboard, it all…[Read more]

  • Another interesting take on the prompt. And a fab title!
    ‘OK’ Ray said quietly. She didn’t push it…. should this have been Ray speaking ?
    If so , then maybe put the next sentence (she didn’t push it..) on the next line rather than following on from Ray’s words…
    In many ways, this was a humorous piece too – despite serious issues being…[Read more]

  • What an interesting take on the prompt! I really enjoyed it despite being a little confused at times. I read the other comments and I tend to agree with Kim. This story is like picking up a book that opens at a random page and you are suddenly in the middle of a great story but you don’t know how it started or how it ends. So, there’s your…[Read more]

  • This is lovely, and, sadly, an accurate reflection of some people’s prejudices.
    I learned something in that two ceremonies can take place in such circumstances (although now I think of it, I may have attended a wedding in the UK where a ‘formal ‘ registry office wedding had taken place 2 days before but that was not a mixed culture couple).
    a…[Read more]

  • Thank you for your kind words and observations. Why, oh, why do I struggle with word counts??? My idea sounds OK in my head but the story sort of ‘grows’. I hope the ending was clear in that the woman deliberately threw bird food at the basement window in order to change the victim’s mind. Not a very dramatic ending but the only one I could come…[Read more]

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