Welcome to another cheeky 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.
Written by One of You 🙂
Note: The writer also wants to know if this is worth expanding, or if it’s too much like what’s already out there.
He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance. Even at the speed of light, it would take years for the signals to reach us.
In time, he would be forgotten by the people of Earth. Life would move on without him. Generations would pass and he would be among the stars, poised on the threshold of oblivion, dreaming of sunlit beaches.
It was bold experiment. Who would willingly go Out There, just to follow a ripple in space-time, to be borne away, who knows where. What shore would this bottle wash up on? That’s what we talked about as we walked along the beach, looking out to sea. It was easier to make up stories than to say goodbye.
I said I’d be waiting for him, whenever he came back. Fifty years is not so long, I said. They are increasing life expectancy every day. I will be a spry centenarian. I will be here in 500 years.
One day, there was a signal, and the ship washed up, like a bottle.
Now I hold him, smooth as beach glass. His eyes are full of the things he’s seen, his mouth is full of stories.
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?