Welcome to the FIFTH (already!?) 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.
Faith, Hope and Charity
Written by One of You 🙂
Walk up the hill and turn left at the sign post. I stopped and looked up – this must be it I thought before reacquainting myself with the note in my hand. I followed its instructions to the letter and climbed the old stone steps until I arrived at the predicted pathway. The grey of urban slowly changed to the green of grass as the path meandered towards a large open space.
The local shopkeeper had given me directions as to where I’d find her. He said she waited here everyday – had done for weeks – spending her time sitting on a bench overlooking the urban sprawl. Everybody knew her by sight but nobody seemed to know her name or even where she lived. I hurried past several walkers and joggers in my journey along the pathway, keeping an eye out for this mysterious woman. Eventually, far off in the distance, I noticed a figure huddled on one of the benches.
As I approached she seemed lost in thought, her fingers toying with something on her lap. But before I could speak she stood and reached out to stroke a passing dog. She wiped away a tear and I forced myself not to approach immediately, not wanting her to find out I was watching – just incase she was the wrong woman. But the decision was taken out of my hands when I was suddenly pulled at speed towards her; my palms blistering on the makeshift lead.
‘Where have you been?’ she cried as the dog leapt up and licked her face at the exact moment two paws landed on her shoulders.
‘She was wandering the streets,’ I said recalling how the dog had followed me home. ‘All I got was s name from her dog tag. What’s yours?’
‘Thank you. Faith – my name’s Faith. Thank you for looking after her,’ she said clipping the leather lead she’d been holding onto the dog’s collar.
‘I always knew Hope wasn’t lost forever.’
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?