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January 29th, 2003, 05:26 PM
Hey all, I finally thought that instead of lurking about in the writing section with an opinion for every issue, I would put up a sample of something I wrote on the sight. It is a story from about 10 years ago, so writing style has changed, and hopefully improved, but I always sort of liked it.
Have a read and vote for it, let me know how you like it. Please don't blame me for the HTML conversion issue with the apostrophes, the site had that issue with a whole batch of stories and is working on it!
Cheers, and enjoy

February 5th, 2003, 09:55 PM
I'm not sure how much constructive criticism I can offer because I really liked your story.

Yes, it was a little bit cheesy--but that's good sometimes (my own stories tend to lean towards the cheesy side). I found the story very touching, and I really felt deeply for the young brother and sister.

I do have a few specific comments. The opening sentence really works: it suggests all kinds of possibilities and makes the reader want to continue.

I liked the way the story was written in a fairly simple style. This is appropriate since the point of view is that of two children.

As for the children's ages: Mary seems a lot more mature and understanding than her brother. But she is only 7, and he is 5. I don't think there's too much difference between a 7-year old and a 5-year old. If the 7-year old can understand well that her parents were killed in a car crash, then the 5-year old should be able to grasp this as well, or at least understand that his parents have gone away for good. Kids are pretty smart. Or has he not been told?

One more nitpick: It appears at the beginning of the story that the two kids are home alone. Then their aunt comes home from work at supper time. Are we to believe that the two of them come home from school and stay by themselves for a couple of hours? I know that the aunt isn't exactly a saint, but you can go to jail for that kind of thing. I think it would make more sense for a babysitter of some description to be in the background somewhere.

About the castle: Why is this castle so magical? Because it was bought on their parents' honeymoon? It would be interesting to learn more about this castle. Maybe a little side story about where it was bought or how it became enchanted. I can see Mary remembering looking at it with her mom and her mom telling her stories about it...something like that.

That's about it. Like I said, I found the story to be quite touching and I wanted to give those two kids a hug. I was very relieved that the ending was a happy one for them.

You should post some other stories if you have them. I like the tender emotional quality of your work. :)

February 6th, 2003, 10:12 AM
It is sort of 'schmaltzy' and emotional. I wrote it at a time I was doing poetry and short stories to practice capturing certain emotions and ideas. This was a very early story for me, writen almost ten years ago. I have submitted another story, very, very different in tone and style from this one (although written even longer ago...).
I had fun with it though, and have always liked this story for some reason. I really appreciate your feedback, it is always so helpful to have someone critique. Hopefully you found the 'mechanics' of the writing sound? That is something I am always worried about, and trying to improve. As I always say, the work is in the writing, the reward is being read. Thanks for reading...

February 6th, 2003, 01:40 PM
Won't do a grammar nit pick, I hate them. Grammar can always be sorted, one pays an editor *g* (besides, yours is far, far better than mine *g*)

Ideas and thoughts are the core of writing, so will do the sort of crit I do on another site.

The children, maybe get in their heads a bit more. They can be complex little creatures and they also see things far more black and white than us. They also see the truth about people and places far quicker than us.

Miri has a point about the setting, it wasn't quite real, maybe setting it the evening might help. Auntie working in her study so they are shut off and alone and not alone. This could under-pin their loneliness.

The Castle needs to be made a bit more magical, maybe a little threatening at first. Chrildren are drawn to the strange, slightly frightening. Maybe it has been tempting them through the glass.

The ending couldn't be anything other than that, it suited the style in which it was written.

Always a risk putting early stuff up, have done it myself and I cringe at it. But worth it to see what others think of past and present work.

February 6th, 2003, 04:03 PM
You know, the advantage of putting up the early stuff is that I can then put up later stuff and look like my writting is improving in leaps and bounds... until I run out of old stuff (not a long trip there).
A sci-fi is coming next, another really old one (at least 10 years). Someday, if this stuff does not get me boo'd off the board, I will post something new. Gotta build up slow. Thanks for the feedback, and for taking the time, both are appreciated.

February 6th, 2003, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Holbrook
Won't do a grammar nit pick, I hate them. Grammar can always be sorted, one pays an editor *g* (besides, yours is far, far better than mine *g*)

Always a risk putting early stuff up, have done it myself and I cringe at it. But worth it to see what others think of past and present work.
However, I love grammar nit picks... if you see a nit, pick it, I always say...

February 13th, 2003, 06:41 PM
New one posted -- sci fi and very different...

Hope you enjoy it (no soft and fuzzy emotions in this one... sorry)

Lucky Joe
February 15th, 2003, 08:29 AM
Hi Richardb,

I just read 'The Castle In The Curio Cabinet' and though I don't have very much to say about I thought it was important to tell you know that I really enjoed reading it. After all I'm guessing that you put it up there for some form of feedback, however limited it might be.

It's not the sort of thing I'd normally read but then for some reason I always seem to think that about short stories.

The points made by the other people who read it seem valid enough although I must say none of them occurred to me until I read the other reviews, so you had me.

I'm pleased you had a happy ending for the kids as I really felt for them, and other than that all I can say is this piece seemed really well written - to my untrained eye - and that as I got to the end of it - which i often don't do with short stories - and enjoyed it you're doing something right.