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Schrander's picture

The Trial of Sparkle Bear

By Schrander in Scare 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.



Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 31, 2012 - 6:19pm

Sorry, I had a lot of trouble following the plot, the whole thing seemed to be related rather than shown dramatically, and the grammar problems and problems with sentence structure were pretty overwhelming.

Andrewch7's picture
Andrewch7 from Philadelphia, NJ July 31, 2012 - 9:13pm

Every part of me wanted to love this story.

The subject matter is clever and could be really great for a dark horror comedy. The presentation, full of legal jargon and written almost like clerical documentation, seemed well done and a great vessel for the aforementioned idea.

But it's just a plain mess. As Jane's review stated, the grammar is pretty bad and the sentence structure makes it hard to follow. There is little to no characterization, even when your story  presents itself with opportunities to break from "legal speak" and give statements from real people that were involved with the plot.

This whole piece seems like a very rough first draft. It's so far from completion, I can't even touch on how it strays from the prompt.

Don't give up though. Revise the idea! Clean it up and I think it could be a really hilarious farce. Keep in mind all the ways you could comment on the legal system, marketing, child actors and sparkling teddy bears. It could have a lot of depth to it!

Brett Caron's picture
Brett Caron from Toronto, Canada is reading The Abolition of Man August 1, 2012 - 12:18am

I have to agree.  I loved the premise, but the execution (no pun intended) needs to be refined. Your mention of quantum theory contrasted with waiting for candy was great. Might be worth exploring further in another story.

I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 1, 2012 - 8:37am

I saw the title. I immediately had to read it. I love the idea. It's funny & great. But like others have said, it's a tough read. It reads more as rambling at times and feels very rushed. Slow down some. Give it some pacing. Interlace back story with court room proceedings and action. Show us more of the bear's past. It's just really hard at times to get a good grasp of what's going on.

I'd love to see a rewrite. Because I love the idea. And I wish I thought of it. 

Thanks for sharing!


Schrander's picture
Schrander from South East Wisconsin is reading The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan August 1, 2012 - 10:15am

Thank you for the suggestions and comments…and especially for reading my story. I am acutely aware of the grammatical train wreck that I submitted; my general mechanics are pretty rusty.  I saw this contest in my Facebook feed and on an impulse decided to submit a story that I had on my flash drive, zero revisions, a few read-throughs, spell checked and uploaded. I hope the punch line was worth sitting through the joke.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. August 2, 2012 - 6:33am

There were some significant word choice issues through out the story.  As with others, the title intrigued me and I had to give it a shot.  Also, I somewhat wanted to what kind of text would get voted into oblivion like this.  It does feel a little like it could be an early draft but there is definitly a premeise that you could do something with in this story.

No matter what the reaction here.  DO SOMETHING WITH THIS STORY!!  Give it a few more rounds of editing and a few more reads.  Make the bear a little cuter and the thing inside it a little darker.  Expand on the testimonies.  Maybe describe some of the commercials more or give a little insight into what the bear is actually selling. (That part confused me the most when I read it through).

Anyhow, give it a shot!

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep August 2, 2012 - 10:18am

Easily one of the most unique concepts I've read for this competition. Excellent title and a great creature. Your use of present tense serves this story well.

As you know, you haven't given this awesome concept a plot to reside in. Revise this into something with a story and we'll all be having nightmares.

I would really like to see you revise this, clean up your visual presentation, and fix the errors. Give us a coherent story, and you're onto something.

ChokingGame's picture
ChokingGame from New York is reading American Psycho August 6, 2012 - 11:13am

I loved this.  It's so ridiculous in the best possible way.  Sparkle Bear creeped me out (I've had a lifelong fear of the Snuggle Bear so you got me on a primal level).  I didn't mind that it was told, more than seen - however, I would recommend throwing in a bit more detailing of certain things (i.e. what Sparkle Bear looks like).  It felt like a trial transcript and that worked very well for the story.  Also, the coldness of the writing didn't draw attention to the humor which made the humor better, so kudos on that.

There were some pretty obvious grammatical issues and a shuffling of the formatting would do wonders for you (you have huge blocks of text that aren't broken up enough so the whole thing feels like a wall of text).  Also, it stops too abrubtly - it feels like it loses focus towards the end.  Like you didn't know where it was going so you went "I think I'll just stop here."  This is one of the few stories where I wish it was about 8 pages longer - I want to see it finished out.  I want to know what happens to Sparkle Bear.  So... keep going.  Figure out where it's going and get there.  This is an excellent start.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 10, 2012 - 9:36pm

This is like "Chucky" meets "Ted" and i'm not so sure that's a good thing. I like the monster. It's always creepy when childeren or child-like things are on a murderous rampage. So for me this was a little creepy. My problem is you gave me a pretty good middle to a decent story. Add a begininng and an end. And this could be really good.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 11, 2012 - 1:02pm

I firmly believe, behind every product mascot and cartoonish, puppet-like character that appears in our prime-time sitcoms, on our cereal boxes, and in our commercials, there are multiple devious and demented stories to be told.  Alf, anyone?

I love the idea of this story so much.  So much!  But I agree with both ChokingGame and J. Riley.  It does feel like it just kind of ends.  And it does feel like the middle of what could be a really funny, disturbing story.

Grammatical issues can be fixed, spelling and formats can be corrected.  But don't leave us hanging with a fragment of something amazing.

I want to see this written out and revised, so please do.  It's an amazing, original idea, and I hope it doesn't continue to collect dust on your flash drive.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 11, 2012 - 1:03pm

p.s. I gave this a thumbs up on the notion that it will turn into what many of us hope it does.  Don't prove me wrong.

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts August 14, 2012 - 6:42am

Very creepy concept, but difficult to follow. I think, as many others have said, that you could have a really scary story here with some edits and additions. Thanks to movies like Poltergiest, I don't trust toys and cute dolls as far as I can throw them. You have a terrifying tale  in the making, complete with catchy title and dark humor. It would be great to read a revision. 

Joseph Nassise's picture
Joseph Nassise from Phoenix is reading Too many books to list August 31, 2012 - 5:49pm

Schrander - This isn't a story; it's a news report.  As others have mentioned before this, there is nothing here but facts listed one after another.  You admit that you couldn't be bothered to even look the story over before submitting, so I'm not going to try and parse through all the problems I see here to provide a detailed critique.

In general, here are my thoughts...

A story is about something happening to someone and how they react to that event.  Find some what to tell the story of the trial through the eyes of one of the participants (perhaps Yamata), allowing us to feel for that individual, and you would be much closer to having a story.  Make us care about that individual and you'll be hitting the nail on the head.

In the process, you need to brush up on basic grammar like sentence structure and spelling, as well as writing skills like point of view, plotting, and dialogue.

Good luck.

-Joe Nassise