Improving our 75 Word Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Parson

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@JS Wiig .... I liked your story a lot. If memory serves, I even short listed it, or at the very least thought seriously about it. It ticked the necessary boxes of theme and full story (beginning, middle, and end of story). I found the story personally appealing. It didn't rise to a vote for me because it seemed to refer to a lot of stuff "mage revolution," "sorcerous dictator," etc. that seemed important to know, but of course couldn't be drawn out in a 75 word story. --- That said, now when I look at your story I find that there are a number of adjectives that might not be necessary and the judicious use of those words might give us a more compelling story.

Over all I'd count this story a success.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
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I appreciate any and all feedback on my Mar 2021 entry, reproduced here, in its entirety, for your convenience:
Thanks!

I like the idea in this one but it didn't stick in my head when I read through all the entries while voting. Looking back on it, I think you could have reduced the 2nd and 3rd lines of dialogue to place a greater emphasis on showing why she needed to prove that dragons were not evil and how that was linked with the dictator and the mage revolution.
 

paranoid marvin

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Hi JS Wiig, this was a good entry, and almost made my (very short) shortlist.

There are a few suggestions I would make, and it may make little or no difference and others may disagree. But these are more things I thought might improve your story, as there was nothing in there that was 'wrong'.

“It’s not true, just a sorcerous dictator’s propaganda,” Marion said. “Dragons are not evil.”

I think that the sorcerous dictator’s propaganda was a bit of a mouthful for a first sentence, and I'm not sure that a grandmother would use this language to a young grandchild. I would also suggest using 'grandma' instead of Marion for a few reasons.

“I remember. Come, I’ll show you.”

Here I would suggest removing the 'I remember' as you can then show that she does rather than spelling it out.

From a dusty shoebox hidden away long ago during the Mage revolution, she pulled a yellowed photograph. It showed a little girl snuggled up against a scaled beast’s tail.

Only a minor alteration, but I would suggest "In it.." to replace "It showed...". I just think that the sentence flows better this way.

Overall it's a strong entry, and a really good story.
 

paranoid marvin

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I like the idea in this one but it didn't stick in my head when I read through all the entries while voting. Looking back on it, I think you could have reduced the 2nd and 3rd lines of dialogue to place a greater emphasis on showing why she needed to prove that dragons were not evil and how that was linked with the dictator and the mage revolution.


I was undecided on this myself. Do you attempt to explain why dragons are classed as evil or just tell the reader that they are? The Mage Revolution' is adequate enough to show that some seismic event has occurred without the need for the 'sorcerous dictator'.

How about replacing the first line with:

"Don't believe what they teach you at school" said Granny. "Dragons are not evil."
 

luriantimetraveler

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As a very new newbie to both this community and flash fiction, I would love some feedback on my untitled piece (I immediately kicked myself for forgetting a title!).

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sixteen year-old girl in possession of her wits must be in want of a dragon.

I know that isn't how it goes, but after Uncle took me to Wales (let everyone forget the teacup incident) I couldn't help myself. She was cute — iridescent, with a cat's chirp.

Now she's gotten out, somehow.

And the house on the corner is on fire.

I'm in so much trouble.
 

paranoid marvin

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Hi luriantimetraveler. Is this your first entry in the Challenge? If so it was an impressive one, and I love the style of writing. Although hardly an expert, I have had plenty of practice at fitting an entry in to 75 words. This is one of the real challenges, and something you will improve at as you go along.

I would say that the story is missing something between 'Uncle took me to Wales' and 'I couldn't help myself'. I assume that a dragon was found/stolen and she brought it back home?

So to find the extra words you need, I would look at trimming down parts, and removing/shortening stuff that doesn't have a detrimental effect on the story.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sixteen year-old girl in possession of her wits must be in want of a dragon.

Is an opening I really like but

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a teenage girl must be in want of a dragon.

has the same effect, but crucially frees up another 7-8 words

(let everyone forget the teacup incident)

which is fun, but unnecessary - removing this gives you another 6

and even shortening

And the house on the corner is on fire.

to

And the neighbour's house is on fire

gives you another 3.

I'm in so much trouble.

A great, memorable last line. Don't change this!

So suddenly you've got the same story, with all the key bits remaining, but with another 16 words to play with to explain how she acquired her dragon.

But please bear in mind that others may disagree, this is just my opinion. And the fact that you got a vote is a great achievement, especially when there were more than 40 stories for members to chose from and (as you mention) someone who is new to this format of writing.
 

luriantimetraveler

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Hi luriantimetraveler. Is this your first entry in the Challenge? If so it was an impressive one, and I love the style of writing. Although hardly an expert, I have had plenty of practice at fitting an entry in to 75 words. This is one of the real challenges, and something you will improve at as you go along.

I would say that the story is missing something between 'Uncle took me to Wales' and 'I couldn't help myself'. I assume that a dragon was found/stolen and she brought it back home?

So to find the extra words you need, I would look at trimming down parts, and removing/shortening stuff that doesn't have a detrimental effect on the story.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sixteen year-old girl in possession of her wits must be in want of a dragon.

Is an opening I really like but

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a teenage girl must be in want of a dragon.

has the same effect, but crucially frees up another 7-8 words

(let everyone forget the teacup incident)

which is fun, but unnecessary - removing this gives you another 6

and even shortening

And the house on the corner is on fire.

to

And the neighbour's house is on fire

gives you another 3.

I'm in so much trouble.

A great, memorable last line. Don't change this!

So suddenly you've got the same story, with all the key bits remaining, but with another 16 words to play with to explain how she acquired her dragon.

But please bear in mind that others may disagree, this is just my opinion. And the fact that you got a vote is a great achievement, especially when there were more than 40 stories for members to chose from and (as you mention) someone who is new to this format of writing.

Thank you for the thorough (and practical) feedback!
 

Hugh

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I appreciate any and all feedback on my Mar 2021 entry, reproduced here, in its entirety, for your convenience:



Thanks!
I liked the story. The trouble was I liked others better. I did think it definitely had something and I look forward to reading more of your stories.
 
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Hugh

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As a very new newbie to both this community and flash fiction, I would love some feedback on my untitled piece (I immediately kicked myself for forgetting a title!).
There was something about this story I really liked. It was imaginative and I did enjoy the teacup incident. My difficulty was that despite several readings over two to three days, I didn't understand it. Now I've read it again I get it. I'm afraid on my earlier readings I didn't realise that she'd brought the dragon home and that's why she was in trouble. I don't know how I missed that as it seems so obvious now, but maybe one can't assume that the reader will always follow jumps in the storyline.
I don't think the absence of a title matters particularly, but sometimes it can be helpful in building the story.
AND you got a vote! I always feel it's a real achievement to get a vote. It means someone thinks your story is the best compared with forty others. That's really something.
 

M. Robert Gibson

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As a very new newbie to both this community and flash fiction, I would love some feedback on my untitled piece (I immediately kicked myself for forgetting a title!).
I just want to let you know that the reference in the opening line did not go unnoticed ;)

 

Wayne Mack

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@Luiglin, I felt the final line in your story was a let down. It left me with the feeling of the son being arrogant when I would have expected him to be elated on having gotten a date. I think the last line really changed my impression of the story, of course, I tend to like sappy romantic endings.
 

Luiglin

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@Luiglin, I felt the final line in your story was a let down. It left me with the feeling of the son being arrogant when I would have expected him to be elated on having gotten a date. I think the last line really changed my impression of the story, of course, I tend to like sappy romantic endings.
As I said, weird that it's been taken that way. It was intended to be pure relief. It's certainly something I would have said more in a light hearted way than any sort of disrespect.
 
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Wayne Mack

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@JS Wiig, I think you may have tried to do too much for a 75 word tale. I see it addressing two things: a backstory about the mage revolution and the grandson's change in beliefs. I did not get a feel for any sort of resolution to the backstory and I did not get a feeling for the grandson's prior feelings about dragons. I also felt that the grandson's change in beliefs felt rushed. For me, I would struggle to address either one of those areas in a 75 worder. Perhaps it would have been better to drop either the backstory or the grandson due to the word length constraint.
 

Wayne Mack

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@luriantimetraveler, I am not sure that the first line really fits the rest of the story. The first line would seem to lead to a tale of the girl and her uncle getting a dragon, however, the end of the tale seems to be about the dragon getting loose afterwards. Each by itself is good, but I am not sure that they necessarily feed each other.
 

Mr Orange

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bit late to the party but

@Luiglin i thought your tale was a good idea but the ending fell a bit flat. i was a bit tired of "here be dragons" by the time i read your story and it also didn't seem to fit. and the last line didn't finish it off as well as i would have liked. looking back at it i think some of it was also the flashback. i think it would have been better to have it in order, with the MC feeding back to Dad (and maybe giving Mum an input too on the whole girls are dragons!)

@JS Wiig another good idea but the story just didn't grab me. reading it again i think it may have been the point of view. i think it would have been more powerful written as the POV of the grandson with a switch for the last line. just my thoughts.

@luriantimetraveler i really liked your story and it would have been on my shortlist if i had written one. might also have been close to getting a vote if there wasn't another story that had pirates as well as dragons...

below is my story. it's been a while since i last posted an entry to any challenge and although i got it the first draft done early, life caught up on me and suddenly it was 2 hours to deadline. so, i was unable to polish it at all. judging form the reviews it also seems it was completely mis-interpreted. i won't explain it as i'd be interested to see if the meaning is actually clear (as i thought it was). any feedback is welcome as i don't think it got a single mention:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Under The Bed


Stained walls. Cold, damp sheets, hugged tight. Thin mattress. Through it I feel sharp claws, tracing down my back.

I shiver.

Scared.

No.

Terrified.

Don’t. Please, don’t.

But my hand drops, inexorably searching along the wood floor. Nothing. Then I feel it. The teeth of the Dragon. Deadly, vicious. But the breath warm, comforting.

My head screams to get away. Fingers grasp, ignoring my pleas.

The chase begins again. Only death will end it.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
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@Mr Orange I assumed your tale to be about either a child have nightmares of a creature beneath his bed but then also though maybe the child was getting scared a a family dog beneath the bed.

Although, reading it again you could several scenarios to it and while many would like that ambiguity (as I sometimes do) this time there was a bit too much.

Other than that the descriptions and imagery were nice.
 

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