I spent a lot of time hoping she would get away from him. But writers are extremely magnetic, one poem was all it took and she was his again. His ...

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the title is brilliant and by god, is the content heartbreaking - however, i think you should really extend this into a full short story rather than a piece of flash fiction. while you use your brevity well and manage to get a fair amount of detail into such a little space, i feel like you would have much more room to leave an impact on your audience if it was lengthened and re-examined.

grammatically, there are a few weird spots (extra comma in "but writers are extremely magnetic, one poem was all it took and she was his again," the tense change in "that she just can’t take being with him anymore" when it would fit much better as 'couldn't', the fragment of a last sentence in "And got tired of waiting for her to get away."), but overall, i feel like your writing was pretty solid. the only thing i didn't like was "re-up," but i'm not entirely sure that it's an issue of diction rather than a piece of regional vocabulary that i'm unfamiliar with. 

i really do hope you extend this into a longer piece, it has the potential to be really gut-wrenching and charming at the same time and that's always a combination that i enjoy.


  The noise of my own knuckles rapping against the door shook me out of my daze. I had the sudden urge to dive into the shrubbery that bordered the ...

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well this was absolutely lovely to read. it was a fresh take on a tired subject that made it light-hearted and mysterious where it could have been ill-fashioned and obvious. well done.

you don't really give any concrete description of your characters here, and while that normally bothers me in a piece, i think it worked out beautifully here. it's an incredibly common situation, to have been cheated on, find out about it, and seek solace in a friend (irrelevant of whatever their previous relation might have been), but because these characters give the feeling of being real while maintaining a nondescript appearance, your readers can easily slip into their shoes and walk around your paragraphs and sit for a cigarette at your fictional setting without a second thought. it takes quite a bit of talent to make someone unknown and yet so universally understood, and i think you did a very exceptional job of that. whats more, is that the dialogue here feels real and doesn't feel forced in the slightest way. that seems to be an issue that most people have a common concern over, and yet yours was excellently executed.

the only thing i would change is tiny and simple a matter of preference. i think the word 'middle' seems awkward in "her arms wrapped tightly around her middle," so much so that it took me a moment of re-reading to get past it. other than that, this is an absolutely stellar piece. i hope you build upon it, i would very much like to see how the rest of this unfolds.


All things return home,    ashes to ashes,        foam to foam.Apples become apple seeds,    in the shadow of trees,        buried beneath swaying reeds.The ...

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this might be my second favorite thing that you've ever written. fucking phenomenal. there were a couple of instances that i found myself wanting one more syllable in a couple of the lines so the rhythm would match the one in my head, but i imagine that's just preferential. in any case, wonderful.

They didn’t know why sitting in a car under the cover of darkness and wasting gas on the same old roads of their hometown was so pivotal to them. It ...

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i wish there was something more specific to this - the ambiguity of the characters could help in the sense that it allows others to put themselves into their shoes and be able to relate on a more universal level, but i feel like it also has the potential to hurt the piece because there are very few humanistic elements that draw people in and make them want to care about your characters. as it is now, it's generic bordering on cliche. just give your audience something to identify with and they'll stay with you, i promise.

you have a lot of beautifully written lines in here ("the honesty spilling like water from their mouths," "something they craved in the simplicity of pavement beneath them."), and the only grammatical error that i noticed was the fragment at the end ("Showed them...". however, i do think the piece as a whole would be much more powerful if you had chosen to put "no one’s going to hold your hand. These days won’t last for ever. Grow up. Grow up. Grow up." in italics, as if the earth is actually speaking to these people, as if they can hear the hums beneath their feet.

overall, it was a nice piece, but i know with a few edits, you could really make this something special.


did it scare you, how familiar she felthow you could swear that the scent of her hair was your earliest memory,and how the weight of her head on your chestshould ...

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well, this is just shy of perfect. the only thing i would have maybe done differently was changed the comma after "should have been wrong," to a hyphen to give it another beat to sink in before "but it wasn’t" but that's more just preferential than anything else.

i was hooked from the first line to the last, and it really painted the most beautiful images to me. a universal understanding of a love that we feel so strongly and cannot possibly understand will allow people to identify with this piece, but your masterful phrasing will allow people to be immersed into it.

fucking brilliant job.


Inspired by Jayarrarr's novel excerpts, I decided I'll throw a couple of my own up... This is #2 of three

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there are a lot of rhetorical mistakes throughout, like disagreeing tenses ("and now for his remaining days...it took jim"), an unreliable narrator ("breaking ribs for sure..." makes it sound too colloquial, like a fellow classmate instead of an omnipresent third-person narrator), improper semi-colon usage ("he first punch landed with such surgical precision; it took Nick right off his feet and he landed with quite an unnerving dull thud near the front door of the high school" - you could actually just remove the word 'such' and it would work much better, but then ", placing one on his chin and the other still gripping a fistful of hair; he ground the right side of his face into the floor, scraping layers of flesh off his cheek" also has an improper usage of such) and sentence structure that is difficult to follow, let alone hold any kind of flow. however, i really think that the biggest issue with this piece is that, as a reader, it left me confused. it begins like a typical tale of high school hey-did-you-hear-what-happened-last-night and while it deals with a very serious underlying issue, it's hard for that to come through because of the way it is being told. you switch from the view of what seems like a fellow classmate to a detached third-person point of view, which also makes it difficult to be able to keep up with everything at once.

another thing i noticed is that you have the same problem i did when i was younger - you're very wordy, and can string together lovely phrases very easily, but you don't ever really know when to stop. at a certain point, this becomes excessive and ends up hurting the piece rather than helping it. you and i can't be john steinbeck and write about the patterns on tree bark for thirteen pages at a time. what we can do, however, is make compelling and beautifully crafted sentences with enough depth that will make people want to remember them forever. just remember to take it down a notch. read your work aloud to yourself and see if it doesn't sound like too much. that's always the best rule of thumb for me. if you have to take multiple breaths to get through one sentence or find yourself tripping over it too much, it's probably better to keep it simple and edit that one down.

while the content is certainly gratifying, this seems like just a rough draft. i really hope you make some edits to this, because i feel like the story you're trying to tell could be a very stomach-churning, heart-wrenching one that keeps people hooked and gets them invested in your characters. we should want to cheer at nick and throw our fists in the air when he beats the bejesus out of the guy who just date raped his friend. we should feel empathy for carmen and understand her struggle to even refer to her terrible experience as rape. i believe that with a little elbow grease and a lot of hard work then you can convey these things, and do it well.


the temple of Athena is falling apart & I am too.

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so i'm not crazy experienced in poetry and i probably can't review the finer parts of this, but let me just say - hot damn, those last two lines were absolutely flawless. the description of the poem is great, as well - i almost wish that were included in the piece.


lean into me like the way you lean into a strong stormface down and eyes closedhave faith in where you’re goingand take purposeful stepslean into meeven as everything is telling you ...

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the only think i think i would change about this piece is the punctuation (or lack thereof). i've written and read and performed poetry so the seemingly subtle nuiances like commas and hyphens and periods can really speak volumes and help the comprehension of your piece soar. however, the same could also be said to the significance of the lack of punctuation, but i suppose it's all preferential.

the second "lean on me" begins an image that i imagine is supposed to emulate a storm or some sort of natural disaster, but at first glance it read like abuse to me. i understand that part of the beauty in poetry is in its length, but i feel like you would add a lot more to this by elaborating it into more to clarify, unless that was what you were going for.

this is a finely written piece - i'm just not entirely sure what it's trying to achieve.


revision

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i just want to start out by saying that "salty unknown" is one of the greatest visuals i've had all day. also, the line "I get tongue tied and pressed for time" is just so fresh and fucking catchy that i feel like i heard it on the radio because it's going to be stuck in my head for a while. overall, i thought this was a really lovely stream-of-consciousness type of piece. it's hard to critique this because it is so cerebral and intuitive, but it helps that it really doesn't beg for much critiquing at all. very well done.


I know that this is just a temporary place. a waystation on the path that this life has taken me. I am just so tired of the sights of the ...

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quick note - the second sentence isn't capitalized. i don't know if it's supposed to be a new sentence or if that period should be a comma, but either way, there's that. same thing in the last sentence of the second paragraph, too with "either."

in any case, this read very much like a journal entry to me. it feels deeply personal and while i really enjoy that in writing, i know you could improve upon this piece and make it astounding. i feel like the best thing i can do is to tell you that you would do yourself a world of good by taking a step back and looking at this with an objective lens. it's got great potential to be something wonderful and hard-hitting, but right now it's a little stagnant. it doesn't give the reader a chance to sympathize because it's so short. it feels like it's an excerpt.

that last line, though. fucking perfection, i tell you. you've got an opportunity to do something really beautiful here, and i can't wait to see how it ends up.