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pennywise86
May 28th, 2007, 09:23 PM
This is a really short story i wrote about 2 years ago for a competition. There was a word-limit so I had to keep it brief. Anyway, I've been looking it over again, changing a few things, and wondering if I shouldn't submit it after all. Please offer whatever suggestions you can to help me make it better. Thank you.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2456p0.html

MrBF1V3
May 28th, 2007, 11:32 PM
I think it's good, and unless you have to pay, you should always enter competitions.

The first paragraph felt a little crowded, like you were trying to do too much at first. I don't know if I can expalin how to do it, but try to pull the reader into the story first, then let him/her know about where they are.

And the last paragraph, I found it a bit confusing. I assume we have a POV switch there. I had to stop reading to figure that out. You need some type of indicator.

Hope it's helpful.

B5

James Carmack
May 29th, 2007, 02:13 AM
I agree that the last bit is problematic. You could pitch it without hurting the piece.

As a matter of accuracy, I have to ask when and where your story is set. If it's 20th or 21st Century America, there is no way the next of kin would just get a letter. An officer is dispatched to personally relay the news. Even in the case of injury, the next of kin gets a phone call, gets to hear a real human voice. If the setting falls outside these bounds, though, it's not an issue.

All and all, it's not a bad piece. Go ahead and fire it off. You might fare rather well.

pennywise86
May 29th, 2007, 12:14 PM
I actually changed it around a little, the bit concerning the letter and the ending. See if this is better.

Holbrook
May 29th, 2007, 01:02 PM
I agree that the last bit is problematic. You could pitch it without hurting the piece.

As a matter of accuracy, I have to ask when and where your story is set. If it's 20th or 21st Century America, there is no way the next of kin would just get a letter. An officer is dispatched to personally relay the news. Even in the case of injury, the next of kin gets a phone call, gets to hear a real human voice. If the setting falls outside these bounds, though, it's not an issue.

All and all, it's not a bad piece. Go ahead and fire it off. You might fare rather well.

Was it like that in the states in WW1 and WW2? Here most families got a telegram. I believe those started during WW1, sometimes families even then found out by the lists in the Newspapers. Personal belongings, such as letters etc were sent on later, sometimes taken by a friend, sometimes nothing at all came back. I know RAF crew used to leave letters for their families in their lockers when they went on a raid. My Uncle kept his for many years after the war. A sort of I made it keep sake.

James Carmack
May 29th, 2007, 07:01 PM
I'm pretty sure that if it was possible, a CNO (or CACO) was dispatched to inform the next of kin. Maybe WWI is pushing it, though. Given the difficulty of transit, I could see more remote areas getting a telegram. If anyone can find more detailed information of the casualty notification process back in the day, I'd gladly stand corrected.

And, Penny, while the contents of the letter are an improvement, I still think you'd do just as well without it. "My brother returned a week later, in a box" is a great ender, in my opinion.