• Hi Paul,
    Fast pace reading with lots of characters but still can follow very well.
    It was also easy reading except for the paragraph where he explains about the funeral expenses. I had to have a second read there.
    I used to live on a farm so can identify with things that need to be done.
    Loved your story.

  • I was thinking of that opening statement but was not sure how to do it, so thanks for that.

    My editorial eye needs loads of practise still. The 2500 was my longest story so far so that was a bit overwhelming for me but I am just loving all this.

    Thanks for your input.
    Stay safe.

  • Hi Athina,
    I always enjoy a story with a happy ending. Soppy me. You portrayed well that there is a soul mate for everyone when you are open to the opportunities.
    It read well except for one paragraph when Carla met the family in the living room. I had to read it twice to understand. I would maybe have cut back on detail – this is where I t…[Read more]

  • It is not enough for us to restrain from doing evil unless we shall also do good.

    Jamey’s mother was a great advocate of truth and good and often quoted St Jerome’s famous saying when she thought an untruth was […]

    • Hi Estelle
      Well done on keeping the reader guessing from start to finish. Your use of vague language indicated that their plan could go either way – harmful or harmless, but not once was I absolutely certain. There is one part where you slip into the present tense. I’m not sure if this was intentional. if it was, maybe consider blocking out the paragraph in some way, maybe with some asterisks or something. Overall, this story is so charming and I’m glad I came over to read it.

      P.S. Your picture is what drew me here. “Only Fools and Horses” is one of the dad’s favourite shows, so I was interested to see how you would translate the image. It was fun to picture these guys in something different

    • I enjoyed your story, Estelle! You did a good job keeping up the suspense of what exactly the friends were planning to do. The bit about Moses having planned the same before and not succeeding was a little sad, but it was just the right fit in your story.

      I have a suggestion about how to write a character’s inner thoughts. It would be good to put those within quotation marks as we do with spoken dialogue. Or you could put those words in italics to show that they are being thought and not spoken aloud.

      I came to your story from your Facebook post, and I’m glad I did πŸ™‚ Thank you, Estelle, for this story! Best wishes for the ones to come!

    • That was a great story, Estelle, I wondered what was going on throughout. Well done for keeping me guessing until the end, I’ve never been able to do this. Thank you for sharing and keep well.

    • Omg that was great. You really had me going until the end. Well played. I would be put the initial quotes in quotation marks and give it another read through with an editorial eye. But the story itself completely held my attention!

    • I was thinking of that opening statement but was not sure how to do it, so thanks for that.

      My editorial eye needs loads of practise still. The 2500 was my longest story so far so that was a bit overwhelming for me but I am just loving all this.

      Thanks for your input.
      Stay safe.

  • I really liked the twist to your story. Also liked that it turned suddenly but could still stay with the plot.
    Same comments as the above on tenses but really enjoyed.

  • Hi Paul,
    I really appreciate that you have read both my entries so far.
    Be assured, I am taking note of your comments.
    I am learning with every prompt.

  • Thank you for taking the time to read.
    I will be taking note of what you say.
    I love that here we can get constructive statements.

  • Thanks will work on your advice. Much appreciated.

  • Lovely – cheeky – light – Good work.
    I agree it was a little wordy but then again that could have added to the anticipation of what the outcome could have been.
    I enjoyed it.

  • This was Chapter 1

    “This was too easy. Did Robert understand this coalition I was suggesting!” Lacy pondered.

    She looked at her handsome Robert. There he was with the right answer at the right time. Suave and […]

    • Hi Estelle

      This is a very readable story in itself. One of creativity, determination and problem-solving. I liked it a lot! I’m a bit puzzled about ‘This was Chapter One” though.

      One teeny tiny thing that might have slipped through is

      Lacy new exactly

      and I’m not sure about the dialogue punctuation in – it confused me a little

      β€œThis was too easy. Did Robert understand this coalition I was suggesting!” Lacy pondered.

      Nice piece.


    • Hi Estelle,
      I too was a bit confused with your opening but you did qualify that it was a continuation of the first prompt. Perhaps the reader needs to find that first to understand the story for its fullness.
      The opening sentence β€œThis was too easy. Did Robert understand this coalition I was suggesting!” Lacy pondered. is a thought and I don’t believe there needs to be quotations around it.
      As the story continues, you have made it clear where Lacy stands with her desire to return to work and her husband’s apathy. This makes for an easy read for sure.
      The only other thing I would suggest being careful about it the repetitive use of names. Beth shows up a lot in a short amount of wording. It can be hard but there are ways to change the wording to keep the reader clear on who you are making reference to.
      Welcome to the group!

      • Thank you for taking the time to read.
        I will be taking note of what you say.
        I love that here we can get constructive statements.

    • I liked the spirit you gave Lacy! Your story flowed well, and I could get a good sense of the emotions of all your characters. Although I understood there is a backstory to this episode, it wasn’t too difficult to follow because you mention the important bits in this piece. A little more attention to editing, as the other two reviewers have mentioned, can help polish the story! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • Hi Estelle,

      As has already been said above, this story is very readable as-is, showing what a change in attitude can do for anyone.
      It all starts with a positive mental attitude.

      Here are some thoughts for your consideration:
      I find the opening sentence awkward. Maybe it needs a small tweak.
      If I have guessed its intention correctly … “This was too easy. Did Robert understand the coalition I was suggesting!” I swapped one word.

      Taking this further I would be inclined to swap “was suggesting” for “suggested” as it gives you a word back into your word budget and replaces an “ing” word for an “ed” word.

      I picked up on 7 instances of the name “Robert” with 6 of them at the top of the story. This repetition can be avoided by restructuring your sentences.

      The story slows in places. I then counted the number of instances of “was” and found 24. T
      here are also 40 instances of the pronoun “she”. These counts seems a little high for the word count.
      Perhaps consider sentence restructure to avoid using the same word too often.

      My editor suggests “absent minded” should be “absent-minded”.
      Perhaps “Lacy new exactly…” should be “Lacy knew exactly…”
      Similarly “what ever” should be “whatever” and “new found” should be “newfound”.
      I have no doubt editors vary with this in the same way they vary with their rules about word count.
      There are more of the above throughout the story.

      In my opinion, this story is perfect for first-person deep POV as the reader really wants to know what the MC is thinking. Changing to this perspective means the MC cannot know what any other story character may be thinking. The best the MC can do is provide comment on what they think another character means. The reference to stripper being a perfect opportunity to share your MC’s inner thoughts.

      There are a few adverbs but not many, though I would still be inclined to excise.

      I am not really a fan of stories that follow on simply because each short story should stand on its own, take place in the one physical location and as the story unfolds, move the reader to a different emotional state. It should not have strong connections with a previous event, perhaps a cursory mention but nothing that needs a strong connection.

      You might want to review your dialogue. Some of it may need contraction.
      As an example, look at the last line “Girl – you are hired!”
      Is it possible her bestie may have said, β€œGirl, you’re hired.”

      As I look back over my comments, I want to say they are offered to give you food for thought in the same way I was given the same advice when I joined 12SS. Some of the same writers who have commented on your story gave my early work a serious going over and I benefitted from their wisdom. I hope my comments encourage you, rather than discourage.

      I am left wondering what translation your MC get’s up to, as a separate and independent short story.

      Thank you for sharing. Keep writing.


      • Hi Paul,
        I really appreciate that you have read both my entries so far.
        Be assured, I am taking note of your comments.
        I am learning with every prompt.

  • Thank you. Will work on That.

  • Coming from South Africa, I could see the homeless side and standing in a line for food. It was a good subject to write about.
    One or two paragraphs were a bit long and could be broken up.
    The story showed that you must never give up and be open to opportunities.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Lacy looked much older than what she was. In fact, she felt much older than what she was. What had happened. Eighteen years ago everything to be so drastically different.

    When Robert had asked to marry me all […]

    • This is a great start to something bigger. I loved the character development and the fact that you were doing a pretty good job with it in first person which is not the easiest to write in. I would love to know the outcome of the “coalition” the two of them make and how they are able to build a better life together. It sounds as if they have the ability in the story, so the main character has my curiosty piqued as to how she succeeds in getting everything back to the memories of the beginning and still be moving forward. Great job!

    • I love that you told in first person, I felt more invested in her perspective, which I think Really worked for this piece. Nice work! I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • I was reading along, caught by the voice, recognizing the evolution marriage can take, and forgot about the prompt. Loved how you worked it out, taking the larger political headline and translating it to family life. Kudos. Keep sharing your work!

    • Congratulations on your first story! Your first-person narrative drew me into the story and I was cheering for Lacy once I realized she was the narrator (the very beginning confused me a little, where she is thinking of herself in second person). I am glad the story ended on a hopeful note.

    • Good story. I think it has a solid foundation, and I think that many women of a certain age can identify! it did not go in the direction I thought it would, so I found that good, as well – I like that Robert was positive about the changes.

      The one suggestion I would give is structural. Since it is a story told primarily through recall, I would watch sentence length and punctuation so that it flows better. When I read, it seemed ‘halting’ at times, if that makes sense – it needed something to mix up the series of declaratory sentences hitting one after the other. Just varying the sentence length, or adding some commas in appropriate places, would help with the flow & keep the reader engaged. Especially towards the end – when Lacy makes her change – she needs to be more present in the story. And I agreed with Kathy’s comment above, that the rapid switch from second to first person was a bit jarring.

    • Thank you. Will work on That.

    • Evon replied 2 months ago

      I think if you talk to any 50 year old woman they would wholeheartedly agree with everything you said in this short story. I know I do. I especially like the use of the word “shielded”. I know I did this. My husband and I are both chemists. He was allowed to flourish in his career, while I shielded him from the drudgery of raising two children and running a large household. We are still married, but a coalition? Not necessarily. Nice work. It made me think too much. Look forward to future reads. Evon

    • It’s very exciting to start on this writing journey, isn’t it? This is a very relatable story for women who invested their best years in their families. There is a clear beginning, middle, turning point, and end. I was afraid through this whole thing that she was going to ask her husband to work as a team and then have him confess he had a lover and was leaving. Where I think it might be stronger is in more showing than telling, by which I mean having some action related to where their marriage had gotten them (like a scene where he is undermining her discipline of the twins) and showing the history through conversation and description. Or set the whole story in the context of this dinner with her new style, ready to talk about changing some things. Maybe him commenting on how sexy she looks in her outfit and her commenting on how long its been since she has gone shopping for herself rather than the kids. Her being a little self conscious because she is wearing a completely new shade of lipstick. That sort of thing. I wish you luck in this journey πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing! great start!

    • Hi Estelle,

      Firstly congratulation on retirement. Secondly welcome to 12SS, where it’s safe to share your other side, the one that stares out into space, writes a word then later puts a line through it.

      I like the story. Like the comments above I was bracing for the worst when it turned out alright. A short story should take place in one physical setting but leave the reader in a different emotional state at the end. You achieved this. Well done.

      I picked up on a few things for you to ponder over:
      * “where the were” perhaps should be “where they were”. It’s no biggie.
      * There are over 40 instances of “I”. Spread over a longer submission, this is not a problem. It becomes an irritant to the reader when some are bunched up in close proximity. Try alternative sentence starters, not just pronouns.
      * “one party” could be “one-party” thus putting a word back into your budget. There are a few of these.
      * There is also an extra word in “the the youngest”
      * I picked up on a dozen adverbs and about 8 passive phrases. That’s 20 spots for improvement. Adverbs detract more than they add to a story. They are mainly “ly” variants which can be culled. The passive phrases such as “was driven” and “was made” may slow the reader down. Look for active alternatives.
      I agree with Beth, this has a lot of telling which can be swapped for more showing, but that will come with practice.

      For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t try to fix anything in this story. You are starting out.
      Check out some of the great stories on this site, then go write your next short story while bearing your feedback in mind.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Keep writing


    • I really enjoyed your story, it was neat and honest. The idea of Lacy having a makeover and taking charge again is a really good ‘hook’ to hang the story on.

    • Thank you so much for reading.
      Paul I have gone back and reread and now know exactly what you mean by too many I’s. Thank you.
      Also will work on more showing and less tell.
      Thanks everyone

    • I loved your take on coalition – it is a partnership & that’s what marriage and parenthood isn’t it? You wrote well & I enjoyed your story.

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