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Dan J. Fiore's picture


By Dan J. Fiore in Arrest Us

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Kay's running out of time. With a cooler in her hand, she has to get to 433 Coal Street, Apartment 3C. Fast. Because good hearts don't last forever, and the police are on their way.


W.a. Warner's picture
W.a. Warner June 4, 2014 - 4:07pm

I really, really enjoyed this story. Well written with tight prose. Sparing fragmented sentences add a pulpy noirish element. Lots of action with visceral details kept me reading. Cool concept. Well done!

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 5, 2014 - 5:43am

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I really appreciate it. Thanks again for the read.

TheKyleBTM's picture
TheKyleBTM June 4, 2014 - 4:36pm

I loved the story, pushing oneself to the edges of humanity and beyond for someone else, a broken hearted hero (no pun intended) trying to get through the hard reality of not just her actions, but the unreciprocated love of another, and the use of the world as a form of bitter, petty revenge.  dark, funny and caring all at the same time.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 5, 2014 - 5:44am

Thank you very much for reading and for the positive feedback. I'm thrilled that you liked it!

Nick Kolakowski's picture
Nick Kolakowski from New York City is reading A Sportman's Notebook, by Ivan Turgenev June 4, 2014 - 5:40pm

Great pacing -- this story really moves, and you bounce really nicely within her stream of consciousness from the body on the floor to the approaching sirens to her sweat, etc. Kicker of an ending, too. One very small piece of feedback: at one point, you say the heart stopped minutes before, but the story's roaring so fast it seems like only a bunch of seconds (maybe a minute at most) have passed since he, well, passed. (Also, hearts in their first post-mortem seconds don't necessarily go still -- they sometimes do this wriggly, disjointed thing as the chambers misfire.) 

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 5, 2014 - 5:45am

Ah, good points, good points. Thanks for the heads up and thanks especially for reading. I'm very glad you enjoyed it. 

Robert VanCleave's picture
Robert VanCleave from The Land of Ice And Snow is reading "Sex Lives of Siamese Twins" by Irving Welsh June 4, 2014 - 9:43pm

Great read.  Shifted gears each time you felt like you knew where it was going.  It never stopped or yielded.  The extreme emotion was great, right when you thought the violence couldn't be outdone it is outdone by humanity.  I guess my only disappointment was expecting some extreme action to spawn out of it, the ending was excellent, but seemed nonchalant given the unstable emotion preceeding it. 

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 5, 2014 - 5:48am

Thank you very much for reading, Robert. Apologies for the disappointment in the downshift toward the end, but I'm glad you liked it and I really appreciate the feedback. 

stevezip's picture
stevezip from New Jersey is reading Thuglit June 5, 2014 - 8:35am

Well done, sir. Great pace. Solid, swift character development. Clear innuendo to the larger back-story without forcing it. Overall a great read.

One small item at the very end - she hot wired the car, where'd she get the keys?


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 5, 2014 - 8:59am

Arrrrgh. Good catch. Thanks for reading! I'll have to fix that little hiccup there...

Geert Mostrey's picture
Geert Mostrey from Belgium is reading Gone Girl June 6, 2014 - 10:36am

Hi Dan,

I thouroughly enjoyed reading your piece. It's well written, maintains the voice throughout the entire piece and is a delightful mix of showing and telling. The pace is perfect for the setting, just fast enough to have our adrenaline going together with hers. You also manage to make us feel sympathy for what is basically quite a hidious crime. That is no small feat.

You also give just enough detail to let us understand the setting, without overdoing it.

Would enjoy reading more of your stuff !

Feel free to comment on my piece if you feel like it.



Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 9, 2014 - 3:38pm

Thanks for the feedback, Geert! Very happy to hear you enjoyed it. Feel free to check out my site for more of my work. Not a lot out there at this point, but I'm hoping to remedy that as soon as I can.  

I just downloaded your piece and will be digging into it tonight. 

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Wheel of Time June 6, 2014 - 2:15pm


Great story. Not much to say that hasn't already been said in other comments. I was drawn in and stayed in the story from begining to end. I like the odd pairing of the "nice white girl" with the messy business of harvesting organs. There's a good contrast there. Good plot, interesting topic, good character, nicely executed.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 9, 2014 - 3:39pm

Thank you very much for the kind words, Joe. Super excited you liked it. I really appreciate that you took the time to read it. 

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 7, 2014 - 2:52pm

Excellent work. As noted in Joe's comment, everything has already been said that needs to be said, so good job..

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 9, 2014 - 3:40pm

Thanks, Grant! I appreciate the read and the kind words. Really glad you enjoyed it.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 9, 2014 - 6:58pm

I really love this story. Perfect pacing, great voice and characters. The dialogue is really solid too. The plot is a great.  Lot of heart in this one too. 

I could probably go on bragging about this one for a while, but we are all here to help each other so I’ll point out parts that confused me or were unclear. Who’s the dead body and how’d she know he’d be there? She’s been doing this for a while, so I gather she gets a phone call and a location when an organ buyer puts a hit on a good doner? Part of the confusion is she saw who she thought was the shooter, a Mexican or Latino, and so was the victim and she assumed it was an inter gang relation thing. It threw me off. I get that she’s just the pick up man. She goes in and gets the goods but how does she know when and where and who are the victims? If my speculations are right then you did a great job. But it was bugging me all the way until the end.

Also, how does she know this heart is going to be match? Someone told her it would, but it doesn’t say who. I assume it’s the same person who tells her where to go. Why are they doing her a favor by getting Maya’s pops a heart? Just because she’s good for business so they are repaying her hard work?

And lastly, what was her plan to do with it? Is she actually an MET or medic or licensed carrier? I don’t know what the people are called who transport organs. Is she one of them? Or is it that she’s just delusional enough to believe she could walk in and hand over a heart and they’d put it in no questions asked? She doesn’t come across as naïve at all, other than having a shady profession she seems pretty put together and fast on her feet. I can’t believe she doesn’t have a plan. As a reader I kind of need to know what it is or I have a hard time believing it.

I've attached a document with a couple minor suggestions as well. Hope it helps. 

So enough griping, this is actually one of the favorites I’ve read yet and I think it’s pretty close to being publishable. Maybe all my questions were answered but in two reads I still felt a bit confused. Take what you will of my advice and leave the rest. Excellent job and Good Luck.


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 9, 2014 - 8:24pm


A million times, thank you. Can't say enough how much I appreciate how much time and attention to detail you spent on my story. And I'm really, really stoked you liked the story. 

Regarding your questions, I will say that the assumptions you've made are (for the most part) on the money. There's a lot of details I just didn't feel fit into the story without bogging the pace down (plus, I tend to like stuff that forces you to infer more than it informs). As such, maybe the story's a little unclear on some things, so apologies for that. However, you've certainly made me key in on a few things that could really use some tightening up. I'll be sure to go back in and use your comments as a reference point for what needs some work. So, again, thank you. Your comments in the attachment are all also completely dead-on, so I'll have to remedy those as well. 

One more time, thanks!


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 18, 2014 - 7:04pm

Hey Dan, 

Yeah I'm totally cool with inference and for the most part it worked great. As you said my assumptions were right so no problem there. I'm all about not having alot of exposition to bog things down. It was just at times those questions were distracting me from moving forward thinking about why and how it was all going down. So consider a little nugget here or there. I've read all the other comments now and agree with most of what's being said. 

Oh, I loved the scene in the hospital too. Thought it was the perfect tone and pace to wrap it all together. Once again, Great job. 


guf's picture
guf June 9, 2014 - 9:02pm

Hi Dan,

Wow, the visceral detail in this actually made me feel queasy. "Porterhouse steak lungs," ugh, really well done. It's fast paced and very compelling with vivid characters. I was hooked by the end of the first section. I love that she's done this before, has a network of contacts that feed her information, etc. Really cool idea.

The ending is a nice pay-off. Totally aesthetic choice, but I wish it were more of a punchline: a little shorter and hiding the reveal that it was all for nothing until the very, very end. Also, I would have enjoyed a section detailing her trip to the hospital, trying to get there as fast as possible without getting caught; so many simple things can go wrong in traffic and the pressure is on. As soon as she jumped in the car, I was on board for more excitement.

Great work!

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 12, 2014 - 3:16pm

Thanks, Guf! I really appreciate the time and comments. I actually did have a scene in there originally with a bit of the drive to the hospital but I felt like I needed to cut it. Maybe I just didn't utilize the space correctly, so I'll have to look at adding it back in. Also, I've been looking at trying to tighten up the ending without losing the brutal emotion of the breakup. Definitely a work in progress those last two pages, so I really do thank you for your suggestions. 

guf's picture
guf June 14, 2014 - 8:02am

Regarding the breakup, I really liked this emotional beat. It's the hero's entire motivation.

There's some rich tension there to explore, in that when the hero arrives, her lover is trying to let her down gently because everything is "solved" without the hero, while the hero thinks she has the ace of a transplant to save her lover's father. I like the idea that the lover is saying, "Sweety, we have to talk," and the hero is two steps behind, thinking, "What are you talking about, I saved your father's LIFE, because I LOVE you." Then the reveal, and she's gutted.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 11, 2014 - 2:34am

I really enjoyed this story, and it is certainly one of my favourites so far. The pace in particular is spot on, at least up until she drives off with the heart. 

I did feel that you could cut out the hospital scene. The story feels complete to me when she’s driving off, but of course that means you wouldn’t hit the required word count. I don’t mind the drop in action at all, and it feels right after that frenetic start that if you are continuing with the story, you have to change the pace, and let the reader take a breath.

The weak point for me is the interaction between Kay and Maya. There should be a lot of heart and emotion here, given what she’s done for Maya and her father. It doesn’t feel that much of a blow to Kay that they’ve possibly got a solution making her actions meaningless in the long run. I get the impression Kay’s been an organ harvester before, but clearly this is the first time she’s helped a victim on their way. That should be pivotal here. I just don’t get the impression that she is affected by this.

You have the action done perfectly. You just need to boost the emotion of that hospital section. Give us more of the relationship. The first 2,500 are perfect; certainly the best I’ve read in the contest this year. Give it more heart, and this will all be perfect.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 12, 2014 - 3:19pm

Adam, thank you so much for your time and suggestions. I'm really glad you enjoyed the story. I've been worried for a while that the Kay/Maya stuff isn't strong enough, so I'm actually glad you've comfirmed those fears. I'll have to go back in and try to deep those emotions and strengthen the interaction of that last scene. I really do want the fact that she's never actually killed anyone before to be a huge hit, so thanks for challenging me to boost that more. I really appreciate it!

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb June 12, 2014 - 3:30am

Hi Dan,

As with the last story in the workshop that I looked at, I'm impressed. This one's a definite thumbs up.

After I'd read it twice and written my LBL, I did sneak a look at JR's review because I couldn't help myself - there are two reviewers on Litreactor with whom I always feel like I hit the same wavelength and JR's one of them. What's curious is that we've said similar things, but I feel like I'm arguing for keeping the answers some of the questions JR asked either obscured or unanswered. What really worked for me in this story was the amount of interpreting that I could do, especially on the second read. Anything that actually makes me want to read it more than once and not just do so for reviewing purposes is good for a start. When I started puzzling out the pieces for myself, I realised it was because there are certain un-answered questions. I don't think you have any holes in this, you just have questions, and there are a couple of places where I think an answer might be better. (More on that in the LBL.)

I find it hard to criticise a lot of this to be honest, so I'll do the backup thing I sometimes do and disagree with another reviewer to give you an alternative view, and NOT for the sake of it, I genuinely do see things differently. Adam Jenkins talks about a lack of emotion in the hospital scene and suggests perhaps cutting it. On this occasion, I disagree with him because the very thing I liked was having that scene there as a calmer, less emotional wind-down after the main action seen in the first 2/3 of the story. Having the gas pedal on the floor is something I don't like even in suspense stories, and your hospital scene creates a mesaure of balance in this one. Plus, I think Kay's emotions are running pretty high when she gets to lines like 'You've gotta be fucking kidding me.' By not having an emotional clash in that hospital scene, you leave it open for a potential one in the future between the two of them, which I think is a nice open ending. The ending in general I liked, although I've suggested a couple of other alternative things she might do with that heart instead of taking it home with her. Just food for thought.

LBL attached. Hope this helps. -C.


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 12, 2014 - 3:30pm


Wow, man. Thanks so much for reading. Not only am I thrilled that you liked the story, but I'm blown away by the attention to detail you put into your comments. The LBL is especially insightful and brilliant, so many times over, thank you. To answer your question in the LBL: yes, The Fair was my story in the workshop you also read. I'm really glad you're in the "obscured" camp with me. I love stories that make you connect the dots yourself and that's really what I'm trying to do here. I'm excited that you think I didn't go too far with it, aside from the few things mentioned in your LBL. Also, I have to say how much it means to me that you felt the hospital scene was honest and emotional. I really wanted the relationship and the circumstances between Kay and Maya to ring true, so I can't tell how enough how glad I am you said that. I was really worried it might fall flat or seem somehow forced. dry, or just generally unrealistic. Again and again, thank you. 

Matt A.'s picture
Matt A. June 13, 2014 - 5:34am

Dan, been looking forward to more of your work since "The Fair."

This one is brilliant. The pacing in the apartment was beautiful and the emotional impact at the end was a home run.

I gave this a thumbs up a few days ago, but have been delayed in my feedback. Not sure how much I can offer, but here's a few things that may or may not be of use to you:

There’s an ATM across the street on Norwood so I have to take an alleyway

--I wasn't quite tracking why this caused her to take an alternate route. To avoid anyone standing in line who might see her face?

You descriptions of the body parts as things like cardboard and porterhouse steaks--awesome. Very cringeworthy imagining her cutting through them.

I’m just here to harvest.

--I wonder if the story would be even more suspenseful if you don't mention this. Let us figure it out. It's already apparent, kind of, but to come right out and say it seems to dispel a little tension. Kind of like how once you know what the monster is, you lose interest. Not that she's a monster, but same concept.

The fact that she finished killing the guy is priceless--she's going through all this stuff for Maya. Stuff she'll probably never tell her and that the narrator would probably never have done otherwise.

and it reminds me of him.
He’s a law student and does CrossFit and drives a Lexus and that’s all she bothers telling me about him because she knows I don’t even want to know that much. Him and his rich daddy. His daddy’s connections in high places.

--I get why you do this, so that its not a surprise or convenient plot twist later. The placement just seems off. I figure when someones in the heat of the moment they're not thinking about anything except the exact mission at hand. Maybe it would feel better placed at the end of this section at the apartments, when she has more time to think? It just felt like it stifled a little momentum here where it is.

Like starting a lawn mower.


The hospital scene seems like it's gotten mixed opinions. I think it's good as is. Tension doesn't always have to be from adrenaline pumping action. Different textures of drama make for a good story. Here, the tension at the hospital is of a different sort. Not action-packed, but drama just the same. There was emotional impact as well for me. Her she is having gone through some horrible, illegal acts for someone she loves, all for nothing. And she can't even tell her what she did. Ah, the things we go through for love. Awesome.

Hope this helped. Good luck!


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 9:53am


Thanks so much for your comments and taking the time to read my story. I really appreciate it. Regarding the ATM question, most ATMs now have cameras. I wasn't sure if I should state that in there or not, but you convinced me I was being too vague and I added a quick bit of clarity. I'm going to have to spend some time with your other comments and mull over how exactly to tweak what needs tweaked, but I definitely appreciate your insight and know for sure it'll help the story get to a better place. Again, thanks.


Matt A.'s picture
Matt A. June 15, 2014 - 10:14am

Gotcha, makes sense now.

As for your mulling, I was hardpressed to find anything in this story, so throw away whatever doesn't work for you.

Good luck.

Ry Eph's picture
Ry Eph from SLC is reading Toxicity June 13, 2014 - 4:35pm

Not sure what I can add to the discussion after reading all this great feedback, so I just wanted to say, "Kick ass story, brotha". I hope it was as enjoyable to write as it was to read. 


Thanks for posting your work for us to read. 

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 9:54am

Thanks Ry, I appreciate the read and positive feedback. Glad you enjoyed!

Richard Lake's picture
Richard Lake from Las Vegas is reading all the books. all of 'em June 14, 2014 - 3:26pm

That was fantastic. One of those stories where I kept reading faster and faster to get to the end, but then was sad that I'd gotten there so quickly. I had no idea where this was going, and the ending was a really nice surprise. Great work. 

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 9:55am

Thanks a lot, Richard! I'm really glad you liked it and I appreciate the time you took read it. Cheers.

Hooper Triplett's picture
Hooper Triplett from Tucson, AZ is reading Fever Pitch June 14, 2014 - 6:49pm

Great stuff.  Can tell immediately what's happening, where, who is involved.  So good to see.

Reads fast and taunt - just like the storyline.  Again, nice to see the urgency in the story represented in the storytelling.

I'm a sucker for a good turn of phrase, and your work had a bunch - my favorites are "bulges in their throats and skirts" and "Like I’m starting a lawnmower, I yank."

Two quibbles - one very minor (Xanax is inconsistently spelled in your story).  The other is a repeated focus on character race/ethnicity.  I kept waiting to see what difference it made that one character was Latino, the other Black, the other white - it didn't matter.  With the exception of the main character (being white in the neighbor avoids suspicion), it wasn't relevant.

By a longshot, the best I've read so far.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 10:02am

I appreciate the read and great feedback! Thanks for spotting my misspelling and thanks especially for pointing out the race redundancy. Totally on point. While the Latino comments were meant more to show the wide range of "hits" she gets info on (including even inner-gang violence like in this case), I don't really have much of a defense for the rest of the mentions beyond wanting to convey a sense of minority diversity in this particular neighborhood. Weak excuse though, I know. So I'll definitely have to go in and take a more critical look at how I'm using race as a character description throughout. Thanks again!

Natso's picture
Natso from Mongolia is reading Moby Dick June 14, 2014 - 11:21pm

This is the first I am reviewing and it's a great story and great writing. Seems like people already pointed out many things, and there are really few things I can contribute here.

Before finishing the story, I had a feeling that Cigarello would blackmail Kay, what with the blood print on her face and all. So I was a bit disappointed when he just asked to look after the Lexus. My question is, in the ending, did you imply that Kay is leaving the car for Cigarello so that he could steal it?

Also, I learned a new spelling for mannequin. Thanks!


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 10:06am

Thanks so much, Natso! I can definitely see how that might be an expectation regarding Cigarillo. I think what I was trying to go for was kind of an Honor Among Thieves thing with not only Cigarillo living up to his end of the deal but also Kay sort of using this small bit of vengeance as a way of paying him back for helping her. And, yeah, mannequin, manikin. I don't know. I think what I used is the non-standard spelling and I have no idea why I went with that instead. I might go back in and change it because now it does look pretty odd to me too. So thanks especially for pointing that out. I appreciate your time and insight! Cheers.

Matt A.'s picture
Matt A. June 15, 2014 - 10:16am

I think your portrayal of Cigarillo was a realistic subversion--worked for me.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 10:25am

Thanks, Doug!

madsmaddox's picture
madsmaddox from Berkshire is reading Fated June 15, 2014 - 7:01am


I flew through your story and its good, you can tell you practice your craft and you should be very happy with the result. You give just enough details alongside dialogue to keep things ticking along and the flow works perfectly right up until just after she's got the heart and drives off. This is where it felt like you stopped typing that night and picked up the next day. It felt like a prologue, this is easily remedied by adding a bit more (not a lot) to the relationship / unrequited love parts of the tale. Take this with a pinch of salt, I'm just one reader and I did enjoy reading.

Just one thing, this is probably going to sound a bit macabre, the harvesting scene, most surgeons would go through the sternum and then use a retractor to hold it open/ apart before removing the heart, so they can see what they're doing. Kay is operating blind with her hands inside him like a meatsack chock full of black market goodies, dumping out the bits she doesnt need to get to the heart. The heart is integral to the story and I understand that she's on the clock, but heart surgery is like disarming a bomb, just something to ponder.

Thumbs up and one of my top 3!

All the best and happy writing.


Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 15, 2014 - 10:12am

Thanks, Mads! Not macabre at all, by the way. I actually wanted to imply that sternum saw and retractor is how she'd normally go about this, but because it was a "gunshot job" she had less time and less space in the one container she had -- the cooler. That's why there's a line like, "There's no room for a saw in there so the scalpel will have to do..." But, admittedly that's a pretty vague hint, so I'll have to take another look at the line to see if I can be a little clearer. As for the change of pace going into the hospital scene, it's definitely a shift I'm still toying with as I know it's been an issue with some other readers. Hopefully I can keep working on it and get it to a place that feels more balanced with what comes before. Thanks again for the feedback and thanks especially for taking the time to read my story! Cheers.

madsmaddox's picture
madsmaddox from Berkshire is reading Fated June 16, 2014 - 1:06am


my bad, you did indeed mention the saw! Sorry I missed that so just ignore the comment lol. I watched MASH the other night so the chest cutting stuck with me. Also I meant epilogue and not prologue.

All the best and happy writing!


Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 16, 2014 - 2:47pm

Very nice. Love it.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 24, 2014 - 12:32pm

Thanks! I appreciate the read.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers June 16, 2014 - 9:07pm

Super tight story here. Only a little confusion on how she knew to be at that location in the beginning, but that's something that can be remedied in a line or two. No need to bust through a whole lot of backstory with so many good things going on. So glad to see a 'harvest' story too, as they can be a little cliche, and a lot of people forget that harvesting is a major crime. Dialogue was well-written and spot-on. Really enjoyed it, keep up the good work, man. 

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 24, 2014 - 12:32pm

Thanks, Bob!

Erik Carl Son's picture
Erik Carl Son from New England is reading Sunset and Sawdust by Joe Lansdale June 17, 2014 - 4:21pm

Great work, man.
I love the short sharp prose. Works reallly well for this format and the necessary urgency of the piece.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 24, 2014 - 12:33pm

Thanks for your time and kind words! I appreciate the read.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones June 18, 2014 - 3:07pm

Hey Dan,

This is one of the best I've read so far. The plot is engaging, pacing is good, and you've got some great lines in there. Good job.

There were only a few things that stood out to me. I didn't read the other comments, so these might have already been stated.

First is when Cigarillo tells her she can't be too careful in the rough neighborhood. She thinks about the snub nose she's hiding. Since she never uses it, I'd cut that line. Without knowing she has a gun, it makes the reader feel that she's vulnerable, thus, adding more tension.

Another thing is using words like feel and think. Instead of saying, I feel sweat trickling down my forehead now, try, Sweat is trickling down my forehead now. Obviously, it's a style and taste issue, but I feel that those things do wonders for prose.

Last is the end sequence with Cigarillo. Did she do the job right by her house? Right when she happened to get home? I'm confused there.

Overall, great job and good luck.

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once June 24, 2014 - 12:34pm

Thanks, Devon. I appreciate your time and insight. Great stuff that I'll definitely have to consider in the rewrite. Thanks again!