We had wonderful entries this week. Choosing the winners took a lot of re-reading of all the stories. Finally, these three were the ones that stuck with me.
Alva Holland with The Day of Reckoning
I really enjoyed this tongue-in-the-cheek piece. I liked how you used the prompt, making the protagonist dread her own creation. Well done.
orang-utans not orangutans.
Also, you could’ve kept it at “Oh, the horror!” instead of the longer sentence.
And check that your story is in the same tense (present, past, future) and point of view (omniscient, limited third person, first person) throughout.
Benjamin Langley with The Door, The Wall, The Stairs
Effective use of the prompt. Your protagonist had a good idea of what awaited her – even her past experiences were making it worse in her mind. So often people keep quiet instead of speaking up – great character growth in this piece. Well done.
Use complete sentences: “The first time…” “It was her third visit…” “Her face was going to be a calamity…” etc. – sentence fragments have their place, but using too many weakens the prose.
Decide what you’re going to call your protagonist: in such a short piece, it’s best to stick to one name, e.g. Dr Winters.
For effect, I would’ve placed the patient’s name in a new paragraph and her injuries in the next.
Start dialogue in a new paragraph.
Because you use the title as the name for the patient’s abuser, it has to be written in capital letters in the story, too. E.g. “…her view of Mary was the Door, the Wall and the Stairs.”
In the last paragraph, when she reflects on it later, you have to use past perfect tense: “that Mary had given Henrietta” – it’s the past and you’re already writing in the past tense.
with Alternate Reality
I really enjoyed this great piece of speculative fiction. Loved the twist ending. Well done.
I would’ve divided the long third paragraph in two to fit the look and feel of the rest of the story. (New paragraph: she shut the trapdoor…)
And remember spaces between paragraphs for easy reading (as shown below).
She pulled back the curtain, her eyes tightly shut. She felt the warmth of the sun on her face. Bracing herself for the horror that would come, she slowly opened her eyes.
Nothing could have prepared her for the devastation before her. For as far as her eyes could travel, she only saw scattered bodies, some tangled in twisted metal of cars and lampposts and other debris. Buildings and houses had been flattened. They stood like jagged concrete stumps in the distance.
Her breath came out in gasps. The stench of the rot nauseating her. She rushed back to the trapdoor in the corner of the room from where she had just crawled out; her safe haven for the past few weeks or months, she couldn't remember. She had been too scared to come out. Her meagre rations had almost depleted. The air underground had begun to get unbearable to breathe. She shut the trapdoor behind her and sat on the steps leading down. For a long time she sat there, she had run out of tears and ideas. Finally she gathered some courage and climbed back out. She had to find other survivors.
As she stepped out of the house she heard a constant beeping sound. Then voices, a little muffled, but she could make out what they were saying.
"She's coming back, she's coming back!"
"Check her vitals."
"Everything seems okay."
She heard someone calling her name. A familiar voice very far away. She felt her vision blur. She rubbed her eyes. When she opened them again she saw her husband leaning over her.
"Welcome back," he smiled with tears in his eyes.
"What the—" she tried to speak, her throat parched.
"Shhh..." he cut her off, "it's okay, you've been asleep for a long time."
Thank you all for your participation! Until Saturday…