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H R Wade's picture

In Season

By H R Wade in Arrest Us

How It Rates

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Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.

Description

A domestic life is cast in an unkown light. A mother and her friend discuss a certain event that has changed their family. 

Comments

H R Wade's picture
H R Wade from United States is reading The newspaper at the moment June 19, 2014 - 8:08am

~4300 words

Geert Mostrey's picture
Geert Mostrey from Belgium is reading Gone Girl June 19, 2014 - 11:48pm

Hi H R,

Let me start out by saying there are some lovely elements in your story. The love of the mother for her son, the way both try to cope with he events... It has a warm, loving undertone.

If overall the story didn't work for me it's mainly for the following reasons :

From the setting I believe we are in a poorer neighborhood, probably predominantly black. The two women are still pretty young. Their dialogue however didn't reflect that. At times it felt more like two old ladies having a cup of tea together.

Also the story lacked tension. Clearly if the boy's father had just committed a murder there should be a lot of it hanging in the air. But it didn't come over that way.

And finally, I think you would need to reread in order to get out typo's and some sentences that had words missing and as such didn't make any sense (e.g.But soon later, Joy too falls asleep. ).

All of this of course is very subjective so feel free to toss it in the bin :-)

I do believe you have potentially a good story here, but it needs some reworking.

jorjon21's picture
jorjon21 from Wisconsin is reading Shotgun Lovesongs June 21, 2014 - 9:40am

Not really what I was expecting, but I like how you started the story with the conversation between the two women.  I think that was a good way to explain the murder that had torn the family apart.  I felt like I was reading something by Kent Haruf rather than a mystery or noir story, and that is in no way a bad thing.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia June 23, 2014 - 3:41pm

Very nicely done.  The characters are well drawn and I assume you are aware that you have a good ear for dialogue as that is clearly heart of this story - the dialogue flows well, is believable but has a depth and gravity that gives the story real weight.

That last line, by the way, is a killer.

I agree with Geert's point above that I don't think the location of the story is quite clear enough.  I think I know where it is set, but I have nothing in your text to go by, and I think to clarify that would give further clarity to your characters motives.

Minor quibbles though in what was otherwise an excellent story.

Many thanks,

Scott

H R Wade's picture
H R Wade from United States is reading The newspaper at the moment June 25, 2014 - 7:40am

Thanks for the review, Scott.

I spend a lot of time on dialogue in my stories (acting it out, re-writing, etc.), so I'm glad that work came accross well enough.

The location was supposed to be a bit vague (an American summer in an American city kind of thing), but perhaps I was too vague. I think you're right: a few lines here or there to ground the location would have made the story better to imagine. I will use that critique when I revise (again).

Thanks for taking the time, 

    --HR

 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 24, 2014 - 5:38am

I liked this, very delicate and nicely written. There were a few typos and a few tense slips, but overall very nice. The only bit I didn't like was the 'then they talked about this' section before she realised the time. It felt like you could drop it and no one would notice. Anyway, nice one.

H R Wade's picture
H R Wade from United States is reading The newspaper at the moment June 25, 2014 - 7:42am

Typos are my worst enemy.

Thanks for the kind words and thank you for reading my story. I appreciate the critque, really.

    --HR

 

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch June 28, 2014 - 12:39pm

Hey HR,

I really loved the dialogue in this one. You clearly have an ear for it, and I commend you for it. Especially liked this part:

“No, no, Joy. He’s a boy, that’s what they do. They get something in their head and they don’t quit ‘till it’s out. My little Henry’s just the same. You remember? I told him young once that there were little monsters in the walls making all the lights and the T.V. work and whatnot. Came home to a million craters in my house like it was made of moon. Fred nearly murdered the boy. As far as I’m concerned, he’s about as not broken as you can git.”

I think though that there might have been a bit too much focus on the dialogue. THere's so much of it right now that it caused me to start tuning out, and as others have already pointed out, there's not much tension in the story. To me, it also created a divide between the scenes of the the women talking and of the kid. Obviously there should be a difference, but here it almost feels like they are separate stories. The divide isn't help by how away we seem to be witnessing the boy--to the point that when we're in his scene, Joy is referenced simply as Joy-not mom.

l'll be honest- this is a tough one regarding thumbs up/thumps down. The writing is strong, and the dialogue is great, but I just didn't think there was much substance. Even when removed from what I expect out of a crime story, it still left me a bit cold, in that I was left wondering "so what?"

I think maybe a tighter focus on the mom and son, where they talk to each other, rather than the mom talking about her son would help. You can create more tension there, as the gardening is obviously a point of contention for the mom, but we never really see it rear it's head when the son and mom are together.

I hope this helps and doesn't come out sounding overly critical.

H R Wade's picture
H R Wade from United States is reading The newspaper at the moment July 3, 2014 - 7:24am

Thanks for the review and critique, Hector.

I think I'm in accord on your assement about having the mother and son converse a bit--after thinkng about it, I agree that it would help to connect the reader to the characters and their motives for being, more than a narration would (or did as it were).

Now, as far as the 'substance' goes (the plot or the general feeling of 'what's happening'), I guess I should clarify some: I meant to write it as a slice of their life in the wake of this event that, more-or-less, upended their lives. This has the intended, if maybe too subtle to the point of 'boring', effect of a hovering camera, an eye 'above it all', maybe like looking at a painting of street lamp, where one sees a lamp, another sees their estranged father or somesuch personal detail, and perhaps another sees it as simply shapes.

As a crime specifice, genre driven story--I think your reservations are on point. It *kinda* works as one, but may be suited better for a re-write and to be labeled outside the genre.

In any case, I appreciate your time and words. 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 3, 2014 - 5:47am

I have to echo previous comments by saying there is a lot of very strong writing in here. The voice was consistent, it flowed well, and the characters were great. You capture a moment of time very well, and it feels like a very realistic portrayal.

The one thing I have to say is that this is not a story as such. The structure is not as you’d expect, and so by the end there is nothing to be resolved. Nothing changes across the narrative, so the effect is one of voyeurism. We are peering into these people’s lives briefly and then pulling back. We can feel for their hardship, but nothing more. We don’t get into their heads, we don’t see how the world bends and shapes them and vice versa.

A lot of this is personal preference. I do like the stories I read to have a beginning, middle and end, while this feels like a snapshot of time. There is no real conflict, so there is no tension to be found here. It’s a nice read, but I can understand where Hector is coming from when he says that it left him with a feeling of, ‘so what?’ That comes from the lack of build, and the lack of a climax.

I think it has its issues, but it is so well written that it is impossible for me to give anything other than a thumbs up here.

H R Wade's picture
H R Wade from United States is reading The newspaper at the moment July 3, 2014 - 10:39am

Thank you for taking the time Adam.

 

Most of the concerns on conflict, or slow to no tension, etc., are valid, if not totally correct. I think the limitation on 5k words forced me to cut off a bit of depth and 'reel in' the story a bit--not to 'blame' the contest; it's completely my own fault, but I think it may be better suited for another revision, adding more context and prose, and overall fleshing it out.

 

Though as far as it being a snapshot and, as you said, a certain 'voyeurism', that's spot on too--that was my intent from the get-go and I understand how that can off-put many readers. It doesn't make for a particularily enthralling experience, insofar as plot and tension, and for a genre such as crime drama, maybe this is better suited for a re-write all together.

 

I appreciate your critque and kind words. Thanks!