This podcast would not be possible without you brave souls who put your work on the sacrificial altar, I mean send your work in for reaction. I want to remind you that my opinions are just that – opinions. They’re just my feelings about the work, and are not judgement on your value and worth as writers or as people. My intention always is to be positive and helpful – but please remember that I am not an editor, agent, or industry professional. You may want to take what I say with several grains of salt.
OUT OF SIGHT
by Liam Saville
The woman sitting across from me was rake thin, in her late fifties or early sixties, and had obviously been crying. It would be a good bet that whatever it was that had brought her to my office was behind her tears. I handed her the tissue box from a shelf behind my desk, and she nodded her thanks as she took one, wiped her eyes and screwed the tissue into a ball in her hand.
I adore the feel of this opening – it gives the impression of noir detective fiction but in a gentle way, without being heavy-handed or becoming a parody of itself.
It’s quite sparse as far as descriptions go, and I quite like that. I will admit that I don’t read a whole heck of a lot of crime fiction but this makes a nice change from what I have read in the past. It’s refreshing to have this kind of opening without making a play-by-play of the woman’s appearance, and for the damsel-in-distress to not be a stereotypically attractive “dollybird” and obvious object of lust for the hero. Or heroine – remember, we haven’t been given any information about them yet. Of course, there’s nothing to say that a more mature woman can’t be a romantic interest. 50 is the new 30. And I’m going off on a tangent.
Having said that I love this opening, there is one sentence that I am less enamoured of: It would be a good bet that whatever it was that had brought her to my office was behind her tears. I understand what it’s saying but I found myself tripping over it while I was recording. I wonder if there is a way to write this sentence leaner, so that it fits in more with the rest of the opening.
I really do adore this, though. I am very keen to find out what’s caused this woman’s tears, and what our protagonist is going to do about it.
Thank you so much for your submission, Liam. I can’t wait to finish the story!
THE FAIRIES WANT ME DEAD
By Mark Hood
Right away there’s a feeling of menace. The fairies really do want “me” – whoever that me is – dead.
We don’t know who our protagonist is, or where they are, but we get a good description of their companion – I use the word for lack of a better one. It’s clear that this large, many-fingered being is acting in a protective capacity towards the protagonist, but are they doing so willingly and can they be trusted? Given that the title tells us we’re dealing with fairies, and we all know how dangerous they can be, I’m inclined to say no.
I did stumble a little over the line: His skin and hair were so pale as to be pure white, and a single row of horns ran in a decreasing series from his head and along his neck. I’m having trouble picturing it, and that makes it a difficult sentence to read out. It’s definitely not a bad sentence, though perhaps a little long. My instinct would be to split it into two sentences, but that’s personal preference again.
I’m quite keen to see where this story goes. Thanks, Mark, for sending it in – and please do let me know when I can get my hands on the rest of it.