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jlowes's picture

The Troubles of the World

By jlowes in Arrest Us

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A broken family deals with the aftermath of the sudden, unexplained death of their patriarch. They all share a motive, but who was brave enough to finally act?


jorjon21's picture
jorjon21 from Wisconsin is reading Shotgun Lovesongs June 24, 2014 - 6:56pm

Good story. I liked the flow. One question- you mention Joe is the youngest son, but you never bring his older brothers into the story. Why?

jlowes's picture
jlowes June 25, 2014 - 3:15pm

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read my story! I just read yours and posted a review/LBL. Good luck!

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch June 25, 2014 - 9:59am

Really dug this. I think you have a great hold on the voices and thoughts of the characters. For the most part, the story flows really well. 

Honestly, I would consider dropping or reworking the first three pages. I'm not sure the omnipresent POV you have in those first three pages works for me. It feels too detached, and that, in addition to the somewhat cliche-drunk comes home and beats his wife and son- beginning was making me lose interest. 

The writing was what made me keep on reading, and like I said, once you get past those three pages and you pull in tighter with the character, it is a great piece. 

One question- Either way, he knows, as he slips the empty can of rat poison into his jacket and limps down the stairs to the kitchen for two slices of cake for his baby sister's birthday.

I think the 'he knows' is referring to the fact that Landyn knows where Joe got the can from, but I had to read the line a couple of times to geth that. 

jlowes's picture
jlowes June 25, 2014 - 3:16pm

Hey Hector,

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Ya I struggled with the ending a bit--I might have to rework it again. I'll take another stab at it in a day or two once it's settled.

I'll read your story later tonight and post my thoughts.

Thanks again!

Joshido's picture
Joshido from Northwestern America is reading Rant June 25, 2014 - 11:10am

Great language! I enjoyed the story quite a lot. As to the previous critique, I think you could evoke a greater sense of mystery by omitting the begriming. There is plenty of evidence through Joe and Landyn's dialog that points Ray to be an abusive person. It's just a thought, either way this is one of the better stories I have read.


Anywho, If you got the time I could use more activity surrounding my story I just put up.


jlowes's picture
jlowes June 25, 2014 - 3:17pm

Hey Joshido,

Thanks for reading! I'll consider your point--I'm going to give the story a few days to breathe before I tackle another draft.

I'll head over later tonight and read your story, post my thoughts.

Thanks again!

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 26, 2014 - 4:01am

This was very well-written, and each character had their own unique voice. Unfortunately I found the characters to also all be stereotypical archetypes (drunk abusive father/loving wife who stands by her man/boy who stands up to the father/innocent little girl) and as a result I felt that none of them jumped off the page into more than two dimensions. Everything that happened I expected; the girl was too innocent, the boy the red herring, the wife too doting. I wish you'd started like this then gone off on a completely different tangent as the story as is feels rather paint-by-numbers, as well-written and engaging as it is. You have great skill in prose, maybe next time challenge the reader with something they wouldn't expect.

jlowes's picture
jlowes June 26, 2014 - 7:33am

Thanks for the comments. However, having grown up in an environment unfortunately a little too similar to the one portrayed, I can tell you that "stereotypical archetypes" are in fact quite real - there is always more truth in a stereotype (especially one that develops into an archetype) than we would like to admit.

Cheers for reading.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 7, 2014 - 2:12am

There is some good stuff in here. I can understand why Seb is talking about stereotypical/archetypal characters, but the issue with that lies in the first three pages. The dialogue in that opening section steers slightly towards cliché. Just to be straight, I’m not saying it is cliché just that it steers slightly towards it. You could remove that opening section and the problem disappears. Showing the attack itself isn’t necessary to the story, because the aftermath hangs so heavy over the story after that. It is oppressive, and that’s how it should be.

My only other slight negative is the change in the mother. We don’t see what she sees when she goes out having noticed the truck is still there. Presumably she’s seen Ray outside, but there is no attempt to rouse him that we can see, or check he’s still alive, and she doesn’t try and convince Landyn to help her get her inside. Instead she goes and bakes a cake, and slaps Landyn when he talks of leaving. Then as soon as he’s revealed to be dead, she apologises. These contradictions are hard to reconcile, and I can’t help but wish we’d been able to spend a little more time with her, and dig into them a little more.

The reveal is clever. Until that point I’d presumed he’d frozen to death outside, given you mention frost-hard ground. It’s a neat little misdirect. I’m not sure I can quite reconcile Joe as the one who finally does for dear daddy. She seems too innocent. I guess we only really see her through Landyn’s eyes, so we only see her how he sees her. I’d have liked just a hint that she might have more to her than the sweet and innocent little girl playing with dolls.

Overall though, good story. It covers well-trodden ground, but it’s engagingly written, flowed well, and I enjoyed t.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday July 31, 2014 - 4:52am

That was a great read.  Brutal at first, but oddly tender in ways.  There isn't much to pick at, though I agree with Adam that it would have been nice to see what the mother sees when she goes out to the truck.  Other than that, each character had a distinct voice, the reveal was excellent, and it was a pleasure to read.  Thanks for sharing and good luck.