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DaJoHi's picture

Unlawful Designs

By DaJoHi in Arrest Us

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Maggie is an attractive flight attendant. She loves flying around the world, but her finances and her life are in shambles. Her co-worker, Lauren, rescues her from the dark hole by welcoming into a criminal scheme. Lauren becomes her best friend. Maggie's life seems to be on track until an easy opportunity goes wrong. Maggie must come up with a plan or she will lose everything. 

Revised story.


Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 12, 2014 - 7:06am

Nice idea, a bit heavy on the exposition though, and the prose felt a bit blocky. Good characterisation, and if this was expanded with the same story taking double the word count it would probably read much better. I want to know more about the card fraud, that is worth a short story alone!

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) June 12, 2014 - 1:13pm

Thank you for reading and the comments.

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Wheel of Time June 12, 2014 - 4:24pm

The plot of this story is interesting and I think the mild-mannered single female in a dangerous situation has some draw to it. However, most of your text came off as long paragraphs of stage directions. I think more dialogue, more discription, and more internal emotions could help your writing a lot. Here's an example: 

"The threats she heard the men telling Lauren confirmed her belief they were not police officers."

It would be a lot more exciting to actually hear what these threats were. That puts us in the scene and gives us the fear the Maggie would feel in this situation. Instead, we just know a thing happened. Make sense?

At any rate. Keep writing and don't get discouraged. Good luck!

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) June 13, 2014 - 7:37am

Thank you for your review. 

Hooper Triplett's picture
Hooper Triplett from Tucson, AZ is reading Fever Pitch June 14, 2014 - 5:23pm

Hate to echo the previous reviewers, but the language is difficult to engage with.  Needs more showing, and less telling, us what's happening.

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) June 20, 2014 - 9:47am

Thank you for the comments. I am currently revising the piece.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 24, 2014 - 1:44am

This doesn’t deserve to be sitting on 0%. It has its issues, but there is more than enough here to work off to get an improved story. Thumbs up from me for that.

There is a lot here that is intriguing. I like your protagonist, and feel that you do a good job of ramping up the tension through her. The story moved at a decent pace, and kept me reading quite happily to the end. I want to know more about her relationship, and how Lauren saved Maggie. I also want to know how they are in so much debt. Flight attendants are paid a decent wage, so this suggests to me that they may be into something else… drugs or gambling perhaps? I don’t think we need a huge amount of information here, just a few more dropped hints throughout. If Maggie is debt free, why does she think death is preferable to losing her extra pay through Lauren?

You hit the right beats as you go along, but you have a tendency towards the passive. Action sequences should have more dynamism and snap to them. You have one major set piece here, and it is dealt with in the most cursory of ways, over in the blink of an eye. You spend more time on the red herring of the sports fans than you do on the rescue of her friend. The ending gets more time, and all that happens is that a bike gets trashed. There is no suggestion in the lead up that the police are involved, and I can’t believe that they would only have one person following them in the cab, and that they could get away without even realising the danger.

My suggestion would be to decide on what you want to be at the heart of your story, and build around that. If it is Maggie taking control, and stepping up to the plate to rescue Lauren, than let this be the major part. Really hone the part where she is in the bar waiting. Every glance at her should be loaded. Let her imagination run wild on what might be going on in room 710. Everything should be leading up to that moment where she slips into the room. You already mention them playing roles, and this should be more of a role than simply pointing a fake gun and then running. At this stage the stakes should be established and high. This is threat to life stuff, so build on that.

I really would consider cutting everything after they have escaped. The story ends there, and adding in the cops adds nothing if you haven’t already built their presence in. We need to be rooting for Maggie and Lauren, so end it with them safely out, not on a bike accident that barely involves them.

There’s work to be done here, but I think what you have is a solid starting point. Keep going with it!

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 24, 2014 - 6:01am

I am going to have to agree with Adam's review above almost point for point.  There is a solid base to the story, so don't despair.  You do bring up the past and their problems without revealing specifically what got them to that point.  Knowing their situation or the troubled environment they come from would help a lot in getting the reader to invest in your characters.

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) June 24, 2014 - 12:33pm

Thank you, thank you. Another revision is in the works.

Pat McHale's picture
Pat McHale July 2, 2014 - 5:09pm

I enjoyed the work and would enjoy reading more about this story. I found the characters interesting and believe a longer version would allow you to delve into what got them involved in this scheme. Keep writing as there are some good things inside that mind of yours.

pmcguire's picture
pmcguire July 3, 2014 - 12:10pm

Very good story with solid characters. I loved was better than most of the stories on here.  Keep on keeping on.

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 11, 2014 - 5:25am

A lot of the stuff has already been said here. I think you have the bones of a good story here, but it needs a couple of revisions to make it really pop and stand out.

The biggest issue right now is that as others have already said, there's a lot of info dump through out the piece. I think you can either cut the first few pages entirely, or rework them so that we as the readers are more submerssed in this world. Take a look at your story again and look at the way shows on the way- It's a lot of 'block of text, block of text, block of text, one line of dialogue, block of text'. This unfortunately made it hard on me to keep reading.

I found that the story worked best when Laura and Maggie were talking to each other, right before Laura went up the room. The dialogue here felt a bit more natural (though it could still use another pass). We didn't really get to know the villains of the piece, which is a shame cause I thought had good dialogue for them as well.

I also liked the fact they were flight attendant, and the line of illusion of glamour is good- there's something you can use from that, with Lauren being the more confident one that easily pulls off the illusion while Maggie has a harder time with it. That can then be called back with how she handles the two guys at the end.

I'm generally not a fan of when writers keep importaint details away from the reader just so that they can surprise them down the road- so the whole thing with the fake gun didn't really work for me. That said, I can see the appeal, and if you tie it more to Maggie's overall story, it might work better.

One last thing is regarding your sentences. I noticed that a lot of them start off with a noun. Your first paragraph for Example:

Maggie never got used to waking up at 3AM. She learned to cope with lots of coffee and ten or fifteen minute periods of what seemed like temporary narcolepsy, but not this time. Maggie hardly slept and adrenaline was her stimulant. Her stomach wouldn’t tolerate anything but water. Lauren, her boyfriend Colin and Maggie sat at the kitchen table and went over the plan. Colin pulled the package from a kitchen closet. Maggie thought it looked like he had wrapped one of those oversized British gossip magazines in brown paper. He opened Lauren’s roller-board bag and pulled the edge of the cloth lining the bottom, it was the sturdiest part, and tucked the package under the liner. Then he reattached the fine Velcro edge and smoothed it out until it looked like it had fresh from the store.

I only bolded the ones that started with Maggie, but if you include "She, her, and He", it causes your writing to not be as gripping as it could be. Play around with your sentences so that the reader doesn't get bored or fall into repetition.

Hope some of this helps and good luck.

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) July 21, 2014 - 3:45pm

Thank you. I appreciate the comments. My ball of clay is beginning to take shape (I think). 

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 30, 2014 - 3:51pm

I think that you did well with pacing and tone. Here are some of the notes I had. Overall I think I'm echoing some others when  Isay it was a bit of a difficult read for me because of density, but that's not too much of an issue as far as I'm concerned. You bring the smoke bomb out of thin air and relate it to an incident when she was young. You say that it was a painful memory but don't really elaborate there, except that maybe she got reprimanded? I'd like to hear a little more about that.

The part about the costume store doesn't seem to fit in with the flow of your story. I understand you want to keep the gun a secret, but I found myself distracted by the break in tension; trying to imagine this store and a pumpkin. I also wondered if she would have been so willing to leave the hotel even to go across the street, maybe write in a struggle not wanting to leave her in the room.

When the woman sys "Why are you still here?" it came off as less intense a reaction than the situation called for. This lady thinks there's a big fire, she should be freaking out.

The dialogue at the end felt some how unnatural to me like they were summing up their own story.

I think that this piece is actually well written despite the above comments and I'm giving it a thumbs up for being fully thought out; everything coming together in the end


DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) July 30, 2014 - 10:00pm

Thank you for the comments.