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Jonathan Riley's picture

Fallen Star

By Jonathan Riley in Scare Us

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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.


Jake succumbs to temptation and peer pressure on a hot summer night. Will he and his friends escape the consequences that ensue thereafter?


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 29, 2012 - 7:34pm

This is my first attempt at horror and the first prose i've written in years. I primarily write contempary poetry. I welcome any and all constructive criticism. Good or Bad. Don't be afraid to tear it apart. I'd love you alls help to improve my story.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia is reading The Iron Council, by China Mieville July 29, 2012 - 7:35pm

I liked this story a lot, and I liked it more as it unfolded. The beginning seemed a bit clunky as you slowed it down to introduce each character. I think you needed to cook all those details into the action. But when the story really got rolling, I had a great time reading it. You grabbed me with " booger-sized pieces of Bob" and didn't let go. Truth to tell, though, any story with Jerry Lawler in it is going to thrill me! Wow! I think some people fulfill the contest rules about setting these things in our home towns more faithfully than others, and with that one detail, you sure made a believer out of me.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 29, 2012 - 7:40pm

Thank you Jane for your kind words. I've read hatch but haven't had time to comment yet. I just found out about this contest last friday so i've been writing my story all week. And now there are so many good subbmisions. I just want to read them all. lol

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading The Warehouse by Rob Hart July 30, 2012 - 6:10pm


Once the action started I occasionally tripped over your descriptions, which felt lengthy. I can see the poetry here, now that I've read your comment above. Some spelling/grammar issues to fix (my personal favorite being "Coker spaniels" on page 8).

You're 58 words over by my Pages count but that could easily be taken from the opening, which felt just a tad long. 

I like your ending a lot, yours seems to be one of the few stories where the protagonist gets away at the end, but physically scarred. The way the breath counts balance against the numbers of the rising temperature is a nice touch, too. Swimming didn't make him cool, but it saved his life.

The monster is a good one. I read the title and thought "ooh! I like falling stars!". Nice rude awakening there (though what was I thinking, this is horror). 

Great story! Hopefully some nice person will do an LBL to help polish it a bit, but you have my vote. 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 30, 2012 - 6:42pm

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Thank you for the kind words too. I really do appreciate it. My word document counted 3,997 lol and that is after i cut 1,000 words. oops. But i am thinking of taking Jane's advice and adding the charachter descriptions to dialouge in the woods and in the action and cutting most of the exposition. Not sure if i can cut and resubmit by the deadline it is 8:30 here.

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading The Warehouse by Rob Hart July 30, 2012 - 7:06pm

After I commented, I read Jane's comment and agreed completely on the character descriptions. Probably something you can weave into their arrival at the park, and cut out some things that aren't necessary (like the nickname the pro skaters give Will, or the last sentence about being ready to go to the Chill Spot). 

David Ireland's picture
David Ireland from London is reading Confessions of an English Opium-Eater August 1, 2012 - 3:54am

This really sucked me in - much more than many of the other stories I've read over the last few days.

There was something Stephen King-like in the gang of kids and the otherworldly monster. Which I mean as a compliment.

The thing I liked the most though, was your writing style. I could tell in your prose that you have a history of writing poetry. The imagery and allusions that you employed were really excellent.

I'd actually like you see you take your style and apply it to a more 'sophisticated' subject matter (than a small town horror story). I mean that only as a positive - in that I think your poetic style could be used really powerfully with a poetic theme.

Great work - I look forward to reading more from you.


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 1, 2012 - 4:32pm

Thank you for reading and commenting David. I'm really glad you liked it. Yeah i'm definately going to keep writing how i'm used to and i will for sure explore many subject matter(I kind of have a happen of writing on contraversial issues lol). I have two short storries i'm going to start soon. But one of them i am gonna experiment with a new writing style for me. I love to challenge myself and improve as a writer.

Shawn I.'s picture
Shawn I. from New York is reading Important Things That Don't Matter August 1, 2012 - 8:57am

I really enjoyed this. Excellent imagery. Seems we do in fact suffer from the same heavy handed beginnings. But your story definitely breaks out of it much quicker than mine. I think you're rush to complete this by the deadline comes through a little. A few things I'd point out:

- Repetitive terms. Page 2, "he attracted the attractive girls". I think a word like lured or intrigued instead of attracted adds variety and fits with your characterization of Joe. On page 7, you've got abs and abdomen in the same sentence. Maybe switch abs to six-pack which I again think is appropriate for Joe's character. On the same page you've got the word meat twice in the same sentence. "Flesh and meat" followed by "pig meat". I think pork works just as well. Lastly, on page 10 you have flames twice in the same sentence.

- On page 2 in the paragraph that starts "Alonside of the Greenbelt" I think you seem to lose the narrator a few sentences in. You don't include him in the list of boys hanging out in the park and then you use "their own" instead of "our own". There were other instances where the style sort of changed from 1st to 3rd where the narrator seems to describe the thoughts and feelings of his friends as well as the creature.

- With your creature, towards the end you refer to it often as he. It was a little confusing at points with all of the other characters also being male. I know I struggled with finding a variety of terms in my story, using monster, creature, beast and it in what seemed like a rotation. I was little surprised by this though considering your deft imagery elsewhere. I think I'd rather see things like fiery globe, flaming sphere, and burning orb repeated (somewhat contradicting my first point!).

- Twice in your dialogue the characters exclaim what has happened to them. On page 4 when Goat burns his finger with the joint and again on 9 when he breaks his collarbone. Maybe this is a stylistic preference thing but I think something like, '"Fuck!" Goat screamed out in agony clutching his broken collarbone.' flows a little better.

Hope this helps and doesn't seem hyper-critical. Look forward to reading a tightened up version of this and maybe some other work.


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 1, 2012 - 5:17pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and give a very constructive reveiw Shawn. It means more to me than you can know.

Lol i cut 1000 words already and most of it was expostition.

I think you made some great points. The repetition in two of those were intintional. It is kind of my style. I did the ab thing like a "trigger word" what he saw the abdomen Triggered the thought of Joe talking about his abs. I think i can fix that up by putting abs in quotations to show that it's what joe would say. I might change abdomen to torso. I'll have to read it outloud and see how it sounds. You weren't the first to mention the attractive thing so i will probably spruce that up too. It is so helpful to know how an audience interperts things.

You make a great point about Goat. I love your collarbone line. I might use it or atleast a variation of it if you don't mind.  The burn thing was supposed to be a little comedic to the charachters to lighten the mood right before i unload all the action. If that didn't work then i definately need to rework that scene.

"Their" as opposed to "our" was supposed to give my charachter the sense that he had been left out. They go there alot without him as they have kind of grown apart. i had to cut so much. i think i will find away to define their relationship with one another better. Thanks agian Shawn.


Ian's picture
Ian from Texas is reading Low Down Death Right Easy by J. David Osborne August 1, 2012 - 11:11am

"I'd never witnessed a rape, but I'd watched a lot of television." There's a lot of good writing here, but I think that's the line that grabbed me. You've created a great monster and described it vividly. I loved everything about the pool scene. I especially loved the breath count and tying it to the rising temperature. That gave the scene not just a build in tension but a very real rhythm. I also thought that you did a great job with your period references. I thought they really worked.

And I completely agree that this competition has resulted in dead folks stacked to the ceiling so it was refreshing to see a protoganist make it out of the story, albeit not entirely whole. Your closing lines are also really, really well done.

I'll second some of the criticism above with regard to the beginning of the story. The only thing I would add is that the dialogue felt unnatural and jarring in just a few places, e.g., the first lines from Bike Cop Bob. Dialogue is a tricky thing and you handle it very well in most places.

I still very much enjoyed reading your story and you get a definite thumbs up from me.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 1, 2012 - 5:51pm

Thank you so much for the reveiw Ian. Your story is next on my list to read. Then Jess's I also promised someone else a better critique so i need to work on that soon. This contest really has me working nonstop. And I love it. Thank you everyone for sharing your writing and taking the time to read mine and give most helpful feedback.



Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce August 1, 2012 - 5:11pm

Hi Jonathan,

Interesting story! I really liked your depiction of the group of teenage boys. I think it described the laste 90s perfectly, at least, what my 90s were! I've got a couple of Rancid songs on my iTunes, 90s throwbacks, and boy do I question my taste in that era...

You had some great, gruesome scenes in there that you described wonderfully. I like my horror in your face and visceral! And I really liked the end. I swim every day and used to compete in school, so it felt realistic to me.

I think my main suggestion would be working on a description of the beast/monster of your creation. While it is great for your reader to conjure up what they would personally find scary in a creature coming from the sky, I wanted a fuller description of the beast, and as soon as they saw it attack Bob the security bike guy. 

I've attached comments for you I made in the body of your word doc.



Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 1, 2012 - 5:48pm

Thank you so much for the kind words Jess. Thanks even more for the attachement. I can really use alot of your input to fine tune my story. I realize that my multiple names for the monster and going from it to he has been confusing many readers. I'm gonna pick a couple images and or names and try to be consistent throughout. I can't even begin to tell you how much attachment is going to help me. THank you dearly, Jess.



Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch August 2, 2012 - 10:29pm

Jonathan, I really loved this story! First, it's refreshing to see younger characters than most stories have, and secondly it's very well written. From other people I've seen switching from poetry to prose, I have to conclude it helps to have an eye for poetry when you write fiction, because you're careful and economical with your sentences. The dialogue is great too. Also, what an original monster you've created, and I love the ending too. Chilling remarks from the character... 

The beginning may be a bit too expository for a while, but it wouldn't take too much trimming or changing. The story is great anyway.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 3, 2012 - 6:56pm

Thak you very much for reading and reviewing my story Liana. Thank you also for the kind words.

I'm definatly reworkng the beginning and trying to ease the charachter introductions into the story rahter than listing them off like bullet point at the start lol.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 3, 2012 - 2:36pm

Hi Jonathan,

Enjoyed the story.  Very frenetic and the pace held up all the way through.

A couple of suggestions - as the story was first person perspective I felt a little jarred when you described the last things that Will saw and thought.  Not really an insight I'd have thought your protagonist would be able to make and it drew me out of the story a little.

Additionally, I think some of the dialogue could be polished a little to expand on the very distinct characters that you described in the opening.

I very much liked a lot of you use of metaphor, which were very original and visual (the hotdog escaping it's bun and rolling was a particular favourity) and the use of pop culture references gave additional insight into Jake's character beyond the story itself.

A quick aside comment on the destruction of the town and how they all fled - made me think of the old musical version of War of the Worlds (the one narrated by Richard Burton) with Horsell Common and the heat ray, which is definitely (for me anyway) a nice nostalgic moment.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 3, 2012 - 7:07pm

After i decided to write a frenetic story in first person i knew it would be a real challenge. I knew my audience would have trouble beleiving so i tried to keep jake as close to the action as i could without getting him killed, but close enough to hear, see, taste, (to some degree feel) what the other's are. I did have Jake say what Will's last memory was so that doesn't work lol. It was Jake's last memory of Will so i will change the wording to make that work. Very helpful tip. And also, I do think Jake knew too much what Will was feeling so i might have to throw in an "i imagine it felt like..." or something clever to make it work.

And i definatly need to rework a portion of the dialouge. In earlier drafts i made changes but didn't rework the dialouge enough to fit with the new draft. Not that it was great before lol. 

I can't say it enough, all of this feedback has been so helpful.  Thank you so much for your time and oppinions Scott.

Sancho LeStache's picture
Sancho LeStache from El Paso is reading Hunger August 4, 2012 - 10:46am

Really cool! I could definitely tell that you write poetry in a few parts of the story. The beginning in particular read a lot like a poem to me. I think you could make your descriptions of burning bodies a little more gruesome, because roast beef sounds a little too tame for something so terrible. The other line I think you could maybe fix up was the "a tongue of flame shot out from between the fangs of flame" one. Maybe something to the effect of "a tongue of flame erupted from its craggy maw", you know, to sort of switch up the wording and make the description more vivid and less repetetive. Loved the monster and the goriness of it. Awesome story.

Bill Soldan's picture
Bill Soldan from Youngstown, OH is reading Clive Barker's Books of Blood August 6, 2012 - 6:57pm

First I'd like to say that I liked the characters (though they could probably be developed more through their actions and dialogue instead of the descriptions on the first page...maybe stick to a couple physical details and let the rest come out through action) and I loved all the references to pop culture.  I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.  I also like that you don't waste very much time and get right into the action.  The descriptions of the deaths were superb, very vivid.

My main suggestion would be to dial back the use of similie.  Your details and comparisons are great, but there are times when you hit us with similie after similie after similie.  While I admire anyone who can come up with such a steady flow of comparisons, I think this story would benefit if you picked some of your favorites and made them straight-up metaphors.  Then maybe spinkle a few similies throughout and just nix some of the others.  That way the story itself will stay in the foreground and not get muddled by so many references and comparisons.  (Note: the one about the joint burning out like a firefly committing suicide is awesome...I'd keep that).

The use of the pool (and the foreshadowing by having the narrator be a swimmer) was a nice touch, too.  Also, there was quite a bit of authority in this story, which I always appreciate.  All in all, I really enjoyed this piece.  Keep up the good work, brother.

TigersMS's picture
TigersMS from Australia is reading House of Leaves August 7, 2012 - 7:47pm

Pretty good story. I like your juxtapositon (i think that is the right word, maybe its not) of the pool being the island in an ocean of flames. Good quality writing though. The introduction of the characters at the beginning whilst needed was probably a touch longer than it had to be. Never the less - fantastic work. Oh and you snuck in an anti drugs message too!

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 7, 2012 - 10:40pm

Nice catch. Definitely a cautionary tell. Kid's don't do drugs or a star will come out of the sky n kill you.

memtigers's picture
memtigers August 9, 2012 - 1:34pm

That was a great read. I thouroghly enjoyed the story line and the way your character tied back to the swimming pool. Once I got passed the character profiles I was hooked, that being my only complaint. The way you described the monster and the scenes leading up to his death, really made me feel like I was watching this take place. Great work and look forward to reading more.



Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep August 10, 2012 - 11:10am

Thanks for writing this story! Though there could be others, this is the first creature I've read about in this challenge that was made out of fire. Ever since Backdraft (where fire is truly a monster), I've had a minor phobia, so you tapped into that quite easily.

The interplay between the characters really drew me in. As people above have noticed as well, your poetry skills come into play, serving you well, giving the dialogue and the prose a best that was fairly consistent throughout.

I have to admit that I got a little lost trying to figure out where the characters were once the monster came. I think this sort of thing becomes important so that the reader understands exactly how close the danger is to a character at any given point.

You might consider commenting on how being stoned affects the kids as they are suddenly having to deal with a fire creature. You got them stoned, now let's see how they handled themselves under stress. Horror stories often punish people for "bad behavior." At the very least, it should effect their perception and their reaction times.

Your ending is good, and it made this reader happy that your hero survived. Since you do have that little coda, you might consider commenting on possible theories for what the monster was, what other people thought it was, etc. Ultimately, these probably don't matter, but since your hero survived, he's still alive to offer us readers something to consider.

For me, it was a great story, and you got my thumbs up.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 10, 2012 - 5:02pm

Thank you for reading and reveiwing. Itt's really helpful. I would like to add more about Jake's first experience with smoking pot. I was kind of writing it with the thought that all of the adreniline was sobering but i should probably mention that. I also kind of thought that Will falling off his skateboard (which he was awsome at) was an indicator that the effects of the weed was somewhat hindering but i guess it didn't quite come off right. You have a lot of great suggestions that i can use in my next draft. Thanks again.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 12, 2012 - 10:08am

Most of this has already been stated by the previous reviewers, but there's nothing wrong with extra compliments, right?

Yes, it is fairly obvious that you have a background in poetry, and I think those skills are put to use perfectly in this story.  There is great description here, both in the feel of the night itself and in the characters.  And so many great lines; the joint like a lightning bug commiting suicide; eyes dripping like sour milk from the carton; Goat fled toward civility and Will fled toward serenity.  I could keep going...And I personally love the line about attracting the attractive girls.  I know it's kind of bending some rules, but I think it works perfect here.

Grammar and spelling is an easy fix, so I'm not going to get into that at all.  I do think it needs to start a little more "in" the action.  But at the same time, I don't want to lose all the detail from the beginning.  What if you started the story with the paragraph just after the first "*" and then add in all the details from the earlier paragraphs as you go?  This starts us off with the kids already partying, about to smoke weed, but still leaves room to show where they are and who they are.  I don't have many complaints here, and even this one is small; either way, it still good.

While I'm all about a horror story ending tragically and full of doom, I'm also ok with the "hero" living but changed in a dramatic way.  I think you did that very nicely here.  He will be scarred from this night for the rest of his life, and it's always on his mind.  

Yeah, this is just really good.  Nice work Mr. Riley!

cristina's picture
cristina from Tucson, Arizona is reading Gingerbread: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi August 14, 2012 - 5:23pm

what a ride! i read the other comments and agree about the inconsistency with pov and tightening up the character introductions. and i think somebody already mentioned it but when everybody splits up after the monster appears, it's difficult to follow just what's happening where. for ex., even though it's a short story, i had to pause to remember just what will was so great at.

but wow it was so vivid and made go EWWWW a few times (in a good way). totally echo another commenter's comparison to stephen king. the pool scene and the ending were super strong. loved the last line!

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 14, 2012 - 5:29pm

Thanks, Cristina. You are super kind. And thank you so much for mentioning about that line. I never thought about it sounding awkward but once i read it in your comment i totally see it now. I think that will be fixed when i mix the charachter discriptions in with the action like so many have suggested. Or I may just have to reword it. Thanks for reading and revewing.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 14, 2012 - 6:10pm

Hi Jonathan,

I'm glad this contest inspired you. I could envision the fire creature, very well done with the descriptive language.

The beginning was a little clunky with the intros, I think you'd be better served to intersperse them throughout the scene at the chill spot.

I had some trouble envisioning each kid's escape plan. I just couldn't picture it. It seemed a little rushed or just off or something.

The pool scene was great. The tension you had building up throughout was solid. I loved how the creature surrounded the pool and shot fire balls. I also loved how he got his one last little lick in by blinding Jake.

Thanks for sharing. See you round the boards.


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 14, 2012 - 6:21pm

Seems like the whereabouts of each charachter has been troubling many readers. I'm not really sure how to describe it better without slowing the pace of the action. I had to cut 1000 words to reach the guidline. The story works better and flows smoother without most of those words but i had a really descriptive exposition about the layout of the greenbelt and town and had to cut all that. I think that would had made the proximity clearer. If you have any suggestion on how to paint a better picture for exactly where they are please help me. Seems to be my readers biggest concern. Well, that and the way i profiled the charachters at the begining. I knew that was a bad idea but i racing the deadline lol.  

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 14, 2012 - 6:47pm

The word cound of the contest definitey makes it challenging. I mean, at this point, it's done and over so if you like your story (and you should) you now have the words to play with to paint a better picture.

I guess for me I just had trouble seeing this kid watching all four people (bob, his 3 friends) die when he's also running away. I know he stopped at the creek bed, but still, I'm having trouble picturing him having a vantage point for people who ran in opposite directions and seeing this all go down. 

I think you have a good creature, some good tension and a great final scene. I didn't read a lot of the other commentary so I could move on to other stories tonight, but seems like you have enough feed back to work on that. I'd have confidence in this one if I were you!

sjwatson's picture
sjwatson from Houston, Texas is reading How It All Began by Penelople Lively August 16, 2012 - 5:34pm

Hi Jonathan!

Overall, I enjoyed and was creeped out by your story. As your many reviewers have said, your descriptive language is so vivid--I'll add that you have many creative ways of describing immolation, each creepier than the last (though as another reviewer said, I have always heard/been told that burning flesh has a horrible smell, like nothing you'd ever want in your kitchen or would associate with food, even liver and onions).

Also like other reviewers, I did get pulled out of the story wondering how the narrator was able to witness his friends' deaths when you clearly wrote they'd scattered in several different directions. Maybe the simple fix is to change that--that the Fallen Thing just takes em each in turn as they scramble in one general area. I appreciate you'd have to change the location to make that plausible and still give the narrator a way to get to the pool.

LOVED the vividness of the pool scene and the logic of it and the rising tension.

By my count, you could save almost 400 words for something else by starting the story after the break on page 2. The salient details about the characters could come out in their dialog as they smoke--to be honest, the kids kinda jumbled together for me except for the mean one and the Narrator. You do reveal a bit about their characters in terms of what they do--that's the way to go, show who they are, how they relate, by what they say and do, working in other details that reflect character. I didn't think cast list up top was that helpful in achieving those goals.

Cool stuff--thank you for sharing!


Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 16, 2012 - 9:02pm

Yeah i really got to work on the scattering stuff. This wooded area and creek are a real place. I'm going to go down there soon. It's easy for me to see how Jake can see it because i've been there. I have to do a better job of getting my audience there too.  Also, i meant for it to be evident that they all "tried to scatter" but none got far at all before the "fire" got to them. I know i failed there too. Since there is no more word limit and my latest draft cut most of the expo anyway, I should be able to figure that out. Thanks so much for the helpful tips SJ. I can really use this info for my next draft.




Amloki's picture
Amloki from Singapore is reading Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks September 5, 2012 - 7:12am

What you've got here is a good story, and a fantastic way with metaphors. You bring immediacy to your descriptions, and you do horrify-- so I'd say it is a succesful story on those counts.

Now there are a few things that would make the strong story stronger:

1. Decide your Point of View and stick to it: We get thrown out and confused in the story because it starts off as First person, and then moves to close Third person, and Omniscient. I'm attaching a document or two explaining what I mean-- once you decide which one to choose, the rest of the story would come together.

2. Active vs Passive Voices- I've marked the instances in the story, and here's an explanation in the link.

3. Character descriptions-- Instead of being a catalogue, they need to be woven together with the action. This article explains how, especially in the part "When Details Collide: Descriptions in the Driver's Seat".


4. Narrative voices-- each of the characters needs to sound different, and that would only come with an in-depth study of characters-- via a character profile sheet.

I loved the lines that ended the story, but the beginning could start in the middle of action, or with some sort of foreshadowing-- the part about heat works well, and could make a good beginning-- cos it foreshadows the fiery action later.

I have not a detailed line edit, cos the draft will see a lot of changes, and it will be best to do it all in the end, once we have the POV in place.

I hope you don't mind the number of docs I'm attaching, or the links-- I promise they will make my points clear.

Hope this helps, and I look forward to reading a next draft.

Holiday Reinhorn's picture
Holiday Reinhorn from Portland, Oregon by way of: Japan, Guam, The Philippines, New York City and now, Los Angeles is reading Hermine by Maria Beig September 21, 2012 - 10:33am

"Fallen Star"

Reviewed by Holiday Reinhorn

First off, I want to say that "Bike-Cop-Bob" is one of the best character names and personas I've seen in a story in a very long time. !! When he entered, I was transported and frankly, wish I'd created him.  That was hysterical.    I love the world of the "bike" culture of the Greenbelt, too. In future drafts this could be developed further I think, but this first pass really creates lovely opportunity.  What was the past history with these kids in the greenbelt?  Do they often have run ins with Bike-Cop-Bob and his fleet of other cop-dorks?  Does he personally know their parents?

The dialogue between the boys flows well throughout the story and I found the situation true and compelling.  "I've only seen rape on television" is a scary and brilliant line.  In future drafts, I'd love to see more differentiation between the characters, making it very clear whose "story" it is.  As someone mentioned in the comments above, the POV does waver in places and it's important to clarify this as it will impact the emotional affect.

I also liked the idea of the night sky creating the terror and I think much can be explored there in terms of what this might mean to all the boys.  It's a cool, tender age to portray, it's done very well and I look forward to MORE from this writer!    Yours Truly, Bike-Cop-Holiday.  



Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland September 22, 2012 - 9:17am

Thank you kindly, Holiday
I’m so glad you liked Bike-Cop-Bob. His character was the most fun to create and I am kind of sad now that I killed him so quickly. I’ve written a detailed profile on him so hopefully in future drafts I can speckle those details into the story.
My objectives are to eliminate the p.o.v problems and to create greater distinction between the characters (including the monster) for my next draft. Thanks again for the great advice and words of encouragement. Thank you also for making me laugh. Yours Truly, Car-Civilian-Jonathan.