Thursday, 22 April 2010

Positive Critiques of Short Stories

I know it's Thinking Thursday, but I'm too excited to do that. I have been writing for a while, and not been able to get anyone to give me a serious critique of any of my work. I don't know whether I should look on it as something I enjoy but can never do anything with, or whether I have any talent. Most competitions give no feedback unless you win, and those who do offer critiques, charge for it.

But I recently found a competition which offered free critiques for every entry, so I sent two short stories, and the critiques arrived today. I opened the envelope with trembling hands... and they loved them! I was so relieved that I cried. I know it's boasting, but I'm going to share a bit with you.

'All In The Mind' is about an ordinary guy who gets a visit one morning from men who offer to tell him about his real parents, who died when he was five. They take him away, but he is questioned and tortured, with no explanation why. I won't tell you the ending, it would spoil the surprise. The judge said "A familiar theme, more in respect of films than books or stories, but good for all that. The author cleverly avoids any swashbuckling or blockbusting action and opts for a calmer, more believable sequence of events in the affair of Gareth Campbell... the last two lines which will give any reader a frisson of expectation for the future. There is nothing at all wrong with the plot and the dialogue is good and natural."

'Phase Shift' is set in the future, about a doctor called to treat a patient who is out of phase with the current time and place. Again, I won't give too much away. The judge said "A science fiction story... the first and perhaps the only, one of the competition... and welcome. Judging entails manuscript, notebook, reading and making notes. A tribute to this story is that not one note was made. It was consumed start to finish in one uninterrupted swallow... The story is written in the style of Ray Bradbury, but with a flavour all its own...The end is imaginative... Good story."

My ststus update on Facebook says it all: Today my self confidence crawled out of the shadows and stood tall.

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