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Twistedsage's picture

Small Change

By Twistedsage 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.


Children playing at games reserved for grown ups.  


Damon Lytton's picture
Damon Lytton from Augusta, Kansas is reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow July 10, 2014 - 6:26am

Hi Jesse,

Not a bad story you got here. Nothing seems extraneous and it flows reasonably well. If there's one thing I'd change it would be using Brit's screentime to help flesh out Malone's character. I just don't feel a lot of chemistry between the MC and Malone and, since that's the main story, I would like to.

It's a thumbs up from me.



EC Crouse's picture
EC Crouse from Seattle is reading the deep dark secrets of the interwebs July 10, 2014 - 10:41pm

Hi, Jesse:  

I really liked the premise of your story and it generally works really well.  The flow is pretty good, but I felt the transitions were a bit jerky/abrupt.  I like your characters - they work off of each other really well, the dialogue is very natural, and they read as very believable kids of the age I think you intended (Brent and Malone 13-15ish and Brit probably 9 or 10?).  That said, I would have liked a bit more development of Brent's revenge/protection complex.  I get that he has one - the events made that clear - but he reads as going about things a bit casually, almost blase.  A bit more depth of emotion would help.  There are a few facts that I'm not sure are needed, e.g., the fact that Brit is adopted, but they don't really hurt anything either.  The flow of events is also natural and the progression makes sense.  I think that punching up the tension a bit would help.  Also, there were a few things in the scene where Brent and Malone are robbing the wishing well that I had to read twice.  Nothing a little editing couldn't fix.  For example, I think that it would help to have a little of Brent's thought process about the girl and connecting the dots to Malone's lunch.  I may just be tired, but I did a double-take.  Strong ending.  Finally, there were a few descriptors that threw me a little.  For example, when we first meet Kyle, you describe his eyes as jade-like.  I liked that very much.  But it was early enough in the story that when you describe his eye popping out in the last scene as a piece of jade popping out, I had to think for a second before I realized you were talking about his eye.

I definitely like the story enough for a thumbs up, but I think it needs a good editing session to get ready for publication.  I look forward to seeing the rewrite in the Workshop!


Casey Hicks's picture
Casey Hicks from Brooklyn, NY is reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman July 11, 2014 - 4:58pm

I think you had a good grasp of childhood energy and dialogue. I could see why the characters would be driven to steal in order to deal with a bully. However, I felt like the "crime" was going to be the theft (which took a while to get to) right until the twist, which seemed like a harsh departure in tone. I think you could trim a lot of what happens in the first half of the story because it bogs things down a bit.

Also, it would help to have a beta reader or to run a quick proofread. I was distracted by a lot of tiny typos. Asking a friend, or just walking away and revisiting this later, could tidy that up easily.

I think you have a good start here. Maybe add more sinister undertones, cut a little fat, and you'll be good to go.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 17, 2014 - 8:28am

Interesting premise, and a well written story overall. There's a few spelling/grammar mistakes (feild, bag's, etc.) but nothing that wouldn't be picked up with a quick proofread and revision. The story works, the characters are good, the dialogue mostly feels natural. Nice work.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 18, 2014 - 4:39am

This has a nice flow to it, interesting characters, and is fairly believable for a tale with this kind of ending.

I do think that Brent could do with a little more development. His actions at the end come out of the blue. It’s clear that he is protective of both his sister and friend, but not why he goes to these lengths to help out Malone. His revelation that Malone has been feeding up Suzi also seem to come from nowhere. She’s looking fat, so he must have been spending his lunch money on here? I’d like to know more about what drives him to attack Kyle at the end (incidentally, you have Kyle attacking Kyle with the bat – “Liar!” Kyle jumped off the bleacher with his bat raised high above his head. “You lied!”).

You throw in a fair few red herrings, which is interesting. Bringing in To-Tone and Willies at the beginning makes it seem like they will play a part further on. Having To-Tone appear as they are robbing the wishing well also hints towards something else. That means that having this end with a simple attack on a bully is a little disappointing. There is no resolution to the bananas up the tailpipe incident either. There are strands here that just go nowhere.

I do like the story, though I think it could have been something more. You really could explore some of those loose threads, and see where they lead. Best of luck with the contest.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 29, 2014 - 7:15pm

I liked your characters. The relationship between Brent and Britt is especially well done. Overall this was a good read. There were some grammatical errors that another skim through should take care of.

The beginning of this story definitely felt strong to me and I think it was because of the development of the main characters. I like the idea of them stealing the coins from the well. Maybe the threat of being caught could be more of a problem when To-tone shows up.