• Maruschka and Mustang are now friends 3 days, 20 hours ago

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  • Elaine Dodge and Victor are now friends 1 week ago

  • ‘Her’ by Julie Fearn-Howerska


    Ida stepped out into the sweltering mid-day sun, arms bursting with parcels.

    Bill leaned against the store front; a fedora shaded his face. ‘We’re not visiting the President hon […]

    • I enjoyed reading your story. It flows well, and the dialogue works well. Although, I’m a bit confused who “Norma Jean” is at the ending. Is it the girl they see being bullied in the playground of the orphanage? I get the sense that Ida wants to help her, and maybe would be fine with adopting her. I also get the sense that perhaps Ida either went through an abortion when very young herself, when she recalls being in a sour, grubby room and I guess her boyfriend outside waiting for her. I feel sympathy for Ida. Her previous boyfriend and now husband, Bill, aren’t sympathetic or kind like her. I feel that life for her has always been difficult. Good story, but I’m thinking it may help if you’re more clear with the above mentioned details. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much for your critique, Linda. Norma Jean became someone very famous but maybe this is generational knowledge, and lost therefore. I will see what others say, should they read it, before I make a change. Thank you so much for you feedback. Best wishes, Julie 🙂

    • Your story is very compelling. I do know who Norma Jean likely is, but I don’t know of her childhood. Even so, I agree there’s a bit of a disconnect between Jeannie and Norm Jean and the child in the playground, if I’m piecing it together correctly. I also found the reference to Jimmy and the grubby hotel room a bit puzzling. Are they the names on the file for the child that Bill and Ida want to adopt? I think this section would benefit from a bit more clarity to carry the reader through the thoughts of the characters. It’s easily done, I expect. Ida is a very sympathetic character, in both scenes, and Bill is distanced and unlikeable. I hope that’s what you were aiming for with these characters. The mousey haired girl is an intriguing character. I look forward to reading your final draft!

    • I really like your writing style!
      I agree that the characters are very likeable. Also, that tightening up the bits about the identity of Norma Jean/girl looking into car/girl on playground/Jimmy would enhance this even more.
      a couple specific suggestions:
      –First semi colon should be a comma, second could be a period in this sentence: “Ida glanced over at Bill; whose arm was draped across the passenger headrest; his fingers absently stroked the tan leather.”
      –I would expect Ida to say “Well, happy birthday! or something similar, here: ‘Really. Okay, well I suppose we should introduce ourselves. I’m Ida and this is Bill.’

    • Thank you Linda, Christy and Becky,
      All of your comments are very valuable to me. I will clear up the confusion about Jeanie’s identity. Critique is so so valuable, it’s so easy to lose yourself in your fictional world, that appears to you to make perfect sense given you know the backstory! A creative writing tutor once told our group, ‘if your reader is confused it’s not becuase they don’t ‘get your story’ its becuase you’ve created confusion.’ I agree with this wholeheartedly. Many thanks for taking the time to read and comment positively. I look forward to re-drafting. Best wishes, Julie 🙂

    • I loved the surprise of who our young orphan is at the end! You create the 1930s world well, and I liked how you created a couple that isn’t quite on the same page, but will make it work. Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to seeing your final draft!

    • Hi Julie, for some reason my effort to comment on your story wouldn’t deposit on the deadline for writers site o i hope this finds it way to you via email…..cheers, Glen Benison

      I really think your story has potential but i feel you need to tie just a few ends together.

      I really like the setting you’ve created of the 1930s. I love all the smoking imagery….smoke rings, flicking his butt; jamming one between his lips, the smoke curling….all really good stuff.

      Bill’s aggressiveness comes across clearly….we don’t really like him but that’s okay because we are drawn to Ida’s sweetness…..and it makes us wonder what kind of father he will be but that too is good for the reader to contemplate.

      Ida’s thoughts about Jimmy and the back room hovel confused me and i had to re-read it again and again to ‘catch on’. Perhaps, when Ida asks “How old is she?” you could make it more clear that she is asking about the young mother and not the baby who is up for adoption….that would connect me more to her back story thoughts of Jimmy. Maybe others caught on faster than me 🙂

      I like that you use Norma Jean (I googled her childhood to learn her story….cool.)

      I do wonder if in the closing you might say Mrs. P puts down the newly-signed adoption file and then reaches for the ‘fat’ file on her desk and closes with ‘poor norma jean….

      Good work on this…

  • My Aristotle was my only constant companion in this world. I rescued him from the raging rapids into which he’d been cast. When his small head surfaced above the roaring current, I leapt unthinking into the f […]

    • I love the beginnng of your story and it had me hooked, desperate to find out the fate of the innocent narrator. The first half is very well written, concise and the reader is pulled along with the high-drama. But, half-way through I felt it lost momentum. There was a little too much repetition of the message that the deal was not struck in a consensual manner. We know this becuase the narrator is dealing with the devil who is far from fair. I know you have said it’s a very rough draft. Well, I wish I could write such polished first drafts. The fate of the narrator due to the deal that can’t be escaped from might be a way to explore and finish your delightful story. I hope you are not offended by my comments becuase Ilove this story so much.

      • Thanks for reading and commenting Julie. You’ve given me something to work through in the next draft as well as a source of word count.

    • Hi, Christy,

      I love this story. The idea that we could fight what we feel is our fate is a common one, if you think about it. According to the Bible and Christian doctrine, when Jesus died on the Christ, He died for ALL of us – and He defeated the devil.

      The Archangel would defend that premise – in my humble opinion.

      Well done,


    • Hi Christy,
      This is a very powerful story and had me gripped from start to finished. I agree with Mustang and her comments that when Jesus died on the cross, he defeated the devil. And you did raise a chill when talking at the end about a face-off between the Archangel Gabriel and the Devil.
      Getting back to the mechanics of your story. I’m wondering whether it would benefit from a little more dialogue. You could, for example, be telling the whole sad story to someone else. The main dialogue from what I can see is in your protagonist’s prayer. It feels to me that there should be more interaction with another human. Of course these are only observations and I’m sure you will improve the story even more. Good luck in this competition.

  • Elaine Dodge and Jane are now friends 1 week, 5 days ago

  • Rendesvouz Too by Martin Haworth


    She killed him at two.

    By six, the plane was pushing back from the terminal. She didn’t drink the proffered glass of supposed champagne. Not that she didn’t drink. The […]

    • Your avenging angel intrigued me, and it’s fitting not to know her name. However, this jars slightly with the story as we are let into her thoughts and motivations throughout. Some pace building to create more tension might make it taughter. I was hooked immediatley and the story pulled me along to its very gratifying conclusion, that is superbly handled. But I wanted a surprise that wasn’t there, even though the final line is shocking… However, its very well written. My nit pick on word choice would be that the chances of her being caught on camera (and identified) ‘were mostly irrelevant’ sounds wrong, maybe ‘ higly unlikely?’. A great, tight, story that was a fun read. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Martin,
      I really enjoyed this story. I didn’t find a lot to ‘nit pick’ about. You had evidently carried out your editing on grammar, spelling etc. I did smile at the phrase ‘his previous attempts to entrance her falling dead into the Aegean’. It took me a couple of reads to ‘get it’, but oh, what a phrase.
      There was a tension running through the story and you kept up the momentum, which made it a satisfying read. Thank you.

  • Julie and Nicole are now friends 2 weeks, 2 days ago

  • A Teacher’s Life by Sharon Hancock


    Trying with all your heart to reach them all

    Earning their trust, enriching their minds

    Acting like parents, achieving new goals

    Caring comforting counselor

    Hoping your […]

    • Hi Sharon, what a lovely poem. You have captured the joys and struggles of being a teacher so eloquently:) It is a tough gig, but it such an important job. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jane. I was a teacher for 37 years and this poem came very easily for me because of that. I still miss it. I appreciate your input.

      • Oh wow! I can “hear” the nostalgia in the piece, the experience and the investment. Beautiful piece!

    • Such a beautiful ode to teachers. Each and every word holds true, I can relate to it easily being a teacher myself.It is indeed a great loss to have to give up on your passion, chidren are like magnets attracting you through their warmth and innocence, which is rarely found in adults these days.

    • As a teacher myself, this hit a chord with me! I loved the alliteration in “caring comforting counselor” though I’d recommend separating these with a comma. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hello Sharon,
      Your acrostic sums up a teacher’s role very neatly. Well done with it.

  • When motivation’s slow,

    Remind oneself:

    I am a writer!

    Then caution against procrastination…

    Every published author will tell you so!

    Rather a “bad first draft”;

    Soldiering on

    When times prove trying […]

    • Very well done. thanks for sharing.

    • I enjoyed your poem. It is right on for this group. thanks for sharing.

    • Love your line : rusty writing doesnt recover well! – Havent I been there 😏

      Good one!

    • What writers know best–press on. I love the “soldiering on” encouragement. With a heavy sigh and determination, that is how it feels sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Trust the moment–what great advice. I also like rather a bad “first draft,” although I might have dropped the quotation marks and semicolon. Not a fan of semicolons in creative writing. But that could be a personal preference unique to me.

    • Keep writing

    • “Trust the moment – It calls for action;” This is my favorite line. I think we all have thoughts worth writing about but doubt creeps in and procrastination takes over. I agree with the comment above about the semicolon, but not because I dislike semicolons. (I love them to a fault.) I’d use a colon instead to set up the final line as defining the moments as daily occurrences.

      Nicely done. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello Maruschka,
      I like the fact that your acrostic is based on the name of the website of which this challenge is part: Writers Write. And all the great advice which we really know in our heart of hearts but somehow seem to manage to ignore. I try to remember every day that, without that awful rough first draft, we have nothing to edit or to improve on! I have a small suggestion – in the second line, I would say ‘Remind yourself’ – oneself sounds a bit regal to me.

  • Communication is the Key by Peggy Rockey

    Consciously silent, peaceful thoughtfulness
    One with the other, quiet synch
    Momentarily caught in the others emotions
    Memories relating to past experiences
    Uniting the […]

    • This reads as a love poem – beautifully expressed.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet contentment underlying this poem – a cosyness that comes from truly knowing and being confortable with another . Lovely.

      (Could fit the next prompt just as well!)

    • Great job with your acrostic poem, I love how you expressed communication within a relationship within the bounds of this poem.

    • Oh wow. The words are carefully thought out and it can apply to any relationship really. This is art. I love it!

    • Hello Peggy

      I like this line a lot “Yet a hint of mystique of the yet to come”. Even though it’s a departure from the state of utter openness in communication, it’s probably what keeps the conversation going.

      Your understanding of the nuances of human interaction is truly impressive. And the words that carry these meanings are so pretty. Well done dear.

    • As I read, in my mind’s eye, I saw myself sitting with a beloved friend, sharing ideas, listening, pondering one another’s thoughts. You tapped right in to every bit of what communication should be; the ending, allowing for that mystique even when conversation is exhausted, is perfect. Well done, Peggy.

    • Hi Peggy, wow this is a pretty amazing Acrostic. I feel like you have told a short story within, about two people in love and how their relationship develops over time:) The beauty is they continue to grow together rather than apart (as so many do). Well done and thank you for sharing:)

    • Well done, Peggy! You have summarised so well through this poem that Communication is the key for building trust, finding solutions to complex problems and putting the mind at ease once you have expressed what you were holding back. Also, I love the element of thrill of the unknown towards the end. Superb😊👏

    • Wow, this is superb. Loved how you presented the theme.

    • Hello Peggy,
      You managed to sustain the long acrostic right through to the magnificent last line: ‘Yet a hint of mystique of the yet to come’. Well done on this poem.

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Paul J P Slater


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