Welcome to the bold second episode of #Pyro! The rules are short and easy: your job is to read this story and critique it! Please remember our purpose is to HELP the writer, so (1) focus your comments on the story, not the writer; (2) try to address story elements specifically (WHAT works/doesn’t work, and WHY/HOW); (3) be honest but kind (imagine someone is giving you this feedback). Ad hominem or mean-spirited comments will be deleted. And now, here’s a story for your reading & critiquing pleasure, with many thanks to the writer who courageously volunteered it.
A Boy is His Dog
Written by One of You 🙂
“You two fight like cats and dogs.”
It was the last thing Momma said before the accident. As she left the room, Sissy threw a baseball at my head. So obviously, the whole mess was her fault.
Naturally, I ducked. You can’t blame me for that, anyone else would have done the same.
The ball ruptured a plasma line in the wall behind my head. The explosion killed our bodies, so suddenly our consciousness only existed on our computer. You see, we had downloaded a freeware version of a backup utility and had it syncing with our brains in real time. So as soon as we blinked off in our bodies, we blinked on in the old laptop.
If Momma understood such things, she could have cloned us and restored our consciousness. Momma didn’t understand. If we had registered the software and paid $1.99 each, the computer would have emailed her instructions. Only we never paid, so the message wasn’t sent.
We were stuck in the computer, still fighting. She would threaten to delete me. I would threaten to reprogram her as a spider. She recolored my hair to shades of pink and purple. I changed her favorite food to candied mealworms.
Repairmen came to fix the hole in the wall. We watched from the built in camera. Suddenly we realized he was about to turn off our computer. Without a better option, my mind was zapped into Sparky, our springer spaniel. Sissy had nowhere to go except a little toy robot.
She hated it, probably because it didn’t contain enough RAM to hold her entire consciousness. I tormented her about it every chance I got. She retaliated by spilling bleach over me, so I bit off one of her mechanical arms.
Eventually the robot’s batteries began to get old. I waited to see what she would do, but she didn’t do anything. As power decreased her consciousness got weaker. Eventually I felt more pity than annoyance, so I booted the old laptop. It was tough considering I had to use paws, but I pulled her back up to the computer.
First thing she did was start calling me names. And with all that computational power, I wondered what she would do to me now.
Just then Whiskers walked into the room. Before she could figure out what I was about to do, I zapped her into the cat. Then I peed on the computer to make sure she would never be able to return and terrorize me with her superior power.
I guess Momma was right. And a little prophetic.
QUESTIONS you may wish to address:
- Does the first line catch your interest?
- How is pacing — does the story move smoothly from beginning to end?
- Does the dialogue sound realistic/natural? (If not, which lines?)
- Are the characters developed effectively within the confines of this piece? Are they realistic? Sympathetic/resonant?
- Is point-of-view clear and consistent? Is the voice unique, interesting, compelling?
- Is the story mostly free of grammatical/punctuation errors?
- Is the plot clear and believable? Are there any plot holes that need to be addressed?
- Does the story follow the rules of its genre? If not, were the rules broken well?
- Is language used well: does the story rely on cliches and too-common devices, or does the story contain striking imagery, colorful and vibrant descriptions, powerful metaphors?
- Does the last line effectively conclude the story?