• Thanks for the read, it’s easy to change things up a little with the positioning of everyone, while keeping things intimidating. I’ve just seen people do weird things in a moment that don’t always makes sense. That said, I always do prefer having what I write stand up and feel real. Then, I also don’t want Madison to fall into any clichés or be as…[Read more]

  • Great scene, Ben Hunt said it best. I wanted to pull up a chain and join in on the wine and conversation. This made me laugh, “The property is a bit like him, ugly pretty, clunky with lots of potential.” Can’t help but think she really likes Laszlo. This was a good scene, it develops Guy, their relationship and recounts the story with a few extra…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read and comments. I do get a lot of good information from the comments with regards to what people are expecting next – it’s so interesting. I’ll think a little more about her reaction, the guys at the door – weigh up the threat level, or perhaps tweak it in another way. But this was essentially in place to add a little dange…[Read more]

  • You may not have intended it, but I’m suspicious of Cho. Bit too convenient that he’s there, and his ominous words at the end made me go hmm… 😉 The father too, this poor girl – everyone is not looking out for her like they should be. This was a multiple part set of scenes for the 8th scene. I do think if you needed to extend these for a final n…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read, and for pointing out something I was a little concerned about. I can never hide anything. I just made them rather polite, had people in the street, and the delivery coming. A few things to calm the situation down or take away some fear. This is Europe too, but I’ll make a note to some credibility perhaps. Nice idea!

  • I was wonder where this was going, but soon realised we do need a little time to relax and snack. 😉 I find with my own stuff that the pacing feels right to what I’m doing. I’ve always found your story and scenes to be set at the same kind of calm and deliberate pacing. So, when something happens it stands a lot more – like that meeting in the b…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read and detailed feedback. Wish I was this helpful in your scene. You do kind of need to read the previous scene for this to make more sense. It’s a part 2 from last month. But no worries. I’ll make a note on the descriptions, I needed to generate the nicknames, so perhaps I will tweak the timing a little. The repetition was to con…[Read more]

  • I haven’t read anything of yours so far, that start had me wondering if this was a zombie apocalypse story I had somehow missed. Hell of a dream that guy had – nice stuff. In so far as the scene goes, I enjoy your style of writing, it feels almost off the cuff if that makes sense – like casual about how it tells things. I like it. I can’t comment…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read, I am happy that you enjoyed it!

  • Thanks for the read and kind words. That’s a big yes, to the ending – it’s not supposed to tell you how you should feel about anything – just there to make you think – and you covered all the concepts perfectly. I’m glad you saw it like that, I always worry with this kind of thing that some people might not get it. But then I guess it’s not fo…[Read more]

  • Damn, loved this. Such a great idea that your pulled together perfectly. The idea of alien invaders with their futuristic weapons against a much more primitive people, but with a different kind of advantage. Yummy, the stuff of epic tales. This was a great line, “She fought the urge to bolt from the cave, to choose to take her chances on a b…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read and comments. Aliens are always just around the corner when I write stories… But next month it’s demons, they haven’t had a chance in a while now. 😉

  • Thank you for the read and kind words. I thought of the ending before even starting – the challenge was matching them up so everything clicked together well. 🙂

  • This was great, I’m a fan of astrology and all associated things. For a children’s story it’s perfect, however if you’re doing it for kids it needs to have a moral. Perhaps people only come into your life for a short while to warm you up and then when you’re warm enough they leave. I know that’s terrible. 😉 Nothing stood out to me in terms of bad…[Read more]

  • This was a nice slice of life, it felt like a poem in some places. It also had a nice flow to it with plenty little things here and there to set the scene as well as plenty of details about your main character. Nice job with this. No hint as to why the other lady resigned. I was curious. 😉

  • I’m not sure what you were worrying about with submitting this story (referenced from Facebook), it reads smooth, is well crafted, and I thought it was smart. The Narnia references, the motivation of the little girl looking for, then leading to that closet and it being her safe place. She kind of found a Narnia, perhaps not what she was looking f…[Read more]

  • Thanks for the read, you did get it right – it was test disguised as a simulation. 😉 Yes, he is young again, but only in body. His mind is much older now. FYI. This isn’t a new idea in terms of science fiction, just my little spin on the idea.
    I think if I were suddenly young again, I’d work things to my advantage (after getting over the shock…[Read more]

  • When I started reading this I did think, maybe there were too many metaphors in the first paragraph. But I think was only because you mentioned it before your story began – otherwise perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed. I don’t know what to suggest on that question. Other people in this group will have better insights and advice. But I like your style…[Read more]

  • Intimidation tactics by Michael James

    #

    “No ways that’s our food. If I could get pizza delivered that fast, I’d eat it all day, it wouldn’t be pretty.” Tara said.

    Madison headed for the front door rubbing t […]

    • Hi Michael! Your scene flowed well. I enjoyed the looks and banter between the characters. I’m jumping into your story at this scene, but wasn’t sure about the setting. Was it a weekend away in Paris or the MC’s house? The reader doesn’t get this information until the end (apart from the French phrase).

      I like how you’ve named the unexpected intruders ‘Hoodie’ and ‘Glasses’. I suggest sticking to that. When we first meet them, you refer to ‘The one in the doorway.’ Maybe bring the descriptor up sooner so we can give the character his ‘name’. The paragraph starting, ‘He was wearing a light tan jacket’ describing their attire was long. I think we only need a one-liner describing each characteristic feature you’ve named them from.

      I liked the line, ‘Her phone was in her hand, but she wasn’t sure what she’d do with it if this got any creepier.’ Tara’s character has real life.

      In the paragraph, ‘This felt all wrong to Madison, besides the fact…’ you’ve repeated some reasons for us to be skeptical. Perhaps a simpler ‘How did he know about Fred?’ This was the additional fact the preceding dialogue confronted us with.

      The dialogue that Tara “rattled off … between pizza slices” was confusing, but perhaps you were intentional there.

      Thanks for sharing!

      • Thanks for the read and detailed feedback. Wish I was this helpful in your scene. You do kind of need to read the previous scene for this to make more sense. It’s a part 2 from last month. But no worries. I’ll make a note on the descriptions, I needed to generate the nicknames, so perhaps I will tweak the timing a little. The repetition was to convey a disorganised and overthinking mind (in the situation) – but it’s a good point, and the rattle off bit was intended to be like that. But I do like the areas you’ve highlighted. Each person that reads my stuff brings a lot of good thinking to the party – like having a team of editors. Which is amazingly helpful.

    • Hmmmm this scene does flow nicely, but…I can’t imagine a woman keeping the door open to two men, one nervously watching the street, at night when her instincts are telling her something’s shady here, but maybe Madison has led a sheltered life. I wonder if you can add a beat or two to make her attitude more credible? Maybe a learned politeness that’s stronger than her instincts?

      • Thanks for the read, and for pointing out something I was a little concerned about. I can never hide anything. I just made them rather polite, had people in the street, and the delivery coming. A few things to calm the situation down or take away some fear. This is Europe too, but I’ll make a note to some credibility perhaps. Nice idea!

    • Good development, Michael. I guess these are the two that were following Ethan earlier and must have followed Madison home as well. I wonder how they would know so much about her, so hopefully when she see’s Ethan on Tuesday, he can give us an explanation. Or are they going to show up some more over the weekend if she and Tara decide to venture out?

      I agree with Nina, though, as a woman, I would be way more cautious and nervous about the two guys and their motives. I suppose they’re just checking her out, see if she knows anything, or how she plays into the scheme of things, just as we wonder the same about them.

      Anyway, good way to thicken the plot and ramp up the danger level. I’m loving your story and can’t wait for more!

      • Thanks for the read and comments. I do get a lot of good information from the comments with regards to what people are expecting next – it’s so interesting. I’ll think a little more about her reaction, the guys at the door – weigh up the threat level, or perhaps tweak it in another way. But this was essentially in place to add a little danger before the museum function. Not a full on DEFCON 1. What would be nice is if I knew what the hell I was doing. 😉

        • I know the feeling, Michael! They say “fake it ’till you make it,” and sometimes that’s exactly how I feel! I think you’re doing admirably!

    • Hi Michael – another great scene tho like Nina and the other women I was waiting for Madison to tell the men to wait outside and shut the door as she made the phone call…I wouldn’t have waited on the landing with them, that’s for sure! Ethan has some serious explaining to do!

      • Thanks for the read, it’s easy to change things up a little with the positioning of everyone, while keeping things intimidating. I’ve just seen people do weird things in a moment that don’t always makes sense. That said, I always do prefer having what I write stand up and feel real. Then, I also don’t want Madison to fall into any clichés or be as people expect. 😉

    • Why did they come to her house? I need to know. I was almost hoping the pizza delivery guy would take off his helmet and then it would be Ethan saving the day. Exciting stuff. I love Tara’s line/awareness about the role of the friend in fiction. Very Bad Boys 1. This is such fun. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • Broken promise by Michael James

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    An old man lays dying in a hospital bed. His wife sits close, the hard metal of the chair digs into her legs, the cushion she brought from home does little to temper its cold […]

    • I definitely was not expecting the aliens. I was gripped from the start, and the ending is the kind that keeps you thinking for days afterwards. Is the wife that he thought he knew even his wife, and not a simulation? Is he doomed to live out another lifetime, never knowing if the people he loves are actually real? How does one cope with suddenly being young again? Is he actually young again? Then in terms of the writing, you’ve successfully fit a whole story into 1000 words- I don’t feel like it’s too abrupt, or like a piece is missing. I genuinely like the old man and his wife. I’d love to see more.

      • Thanks for the read, you did get it right – it was test disguised as a simulation. 😉 Yes, he is young again, but only in body. His mind is much older now. FYI. This isn’t a new idea in terms of science fiction, just my little spin on the idea.
        I think if I were suddenly young again, I’d work things to my advantage (after getting over the shock of it all). Your story is great by the way, just read it now.

    • That was awesome. The ending was marvelous. You have a gift for presenting plot twists in the most unexpected ways, one of the things I love about your writing. Thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you for the read and kind words. I thought of the ending before even starting – the challenge was matching them up so everything clicked together well. 🙂

    • Well done, Michael. Your story starts off rather quietly, but then “bam”, aliens! I was definitely not expecting that – great twist! I also liked that the ending of the story was actually a new beginning for your character, keeping us guessing and interested in what happens next . My favourite line of your whole story, though, has to be, “She listens to him with love in her eyes and a smile on her lips, and no intention of obeying him” – I found that so relatable (and I’m sure my husband would agree!)

      • Thanks for the read and comments. Aliens are always just around the corner when I write stories… But next month it’s demons, they haven’t had a chance in a while now. 😉

    • Hi Michael, I am impressed and inspired by your ability to write a complete short story within the word count. I’m good at writing scenes, bits that could be parts of longer stories, but getting a whole plot into 1000 words is very challenging. This story is great example of rising to that challenge! And along with two great twists, as well. I think its great that the ending is a bit ambiguous, and not everything is explained. I wonder how the man feels about being returned to his life? What the aliens think is a grand failure might feel like wonderful luck to the man, a second chance to live in the prime of his life. Who wouldn’t consider that a great gift? But is it as great as “everlasting life and omnipotence?”

      The one small thing that bothered me was the change of POV right at the beginning from the man to the wife, and then back to him. I felt this was a bit jarring. Though on re-reading, I realize what you meant was that HE was considering that all she thinks of is his pain. It wasn’t really a POV change, but felt like it when I read it the first time. Very well done here! Love your work, as always. –Deb

      • Thanks for the read and kind words. That’s a big yes, to the ending – it’s not supposed to tell you how you should feel about anything – just there to make you think – and you covered all the concepts perfectly. I’m glad you saw it like that, I always worry with this kind of thing that some people might not get it. But then I guess it’s not for those people. The POV, yeah – it’s borderline. 🙂

    • The chance to do it all over again wow! It is a blessing to him not a curse. Nice read.

    • Hi Michael – hmm, loved the beginning although that changing POV thing also tripped me up for a minute. Loved the tenderness between the couple, and his slow departure and withdrawl, then, bam the aliens…But even before that the change of tone when he describes going to the conference I found a little jarring. All in all, as much as I love your writing, I just get turned off as soon as there’s aliens, elves or other supernatural beings, so I didn’t love the end of this. (clearly in the minority!!)

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