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Anna: A Short Story. Looking for feedback please

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Anna: A Short Story. Looking for feedback please


The child sobbed softly in her arms as she tried to reassure him everything would be alright. The shattered glass crunched loudly under her feet as she and the boy moved slowly through the otherwise silent building. Noticing a door at the end of the corridor that was slightly open she made her way toward it.

Pushing it gently with her shoulder the door opened to reveal an empty classroom. Bright, colourful drawings of dinosaurs, jet planes and other fragments of children’s imaginations adorned the walls of the room. The seats and desks were scattered and disorganised, books and pens still on those that remained upright. Large chalked numbers revealed the days unfinished math lesson on the board behind the teacher’s desk which was cluttered with text books and notes.

The boy began to weep uncontrollably as she tried to put him onto one of the seats. “It’s okay, it’s okay”, she repeated as he lay his head in his hands on the desk, tears now streaming down his dirty face. Going to the nearest window she peered out into the grey, rain soaked morning. The schoolyard below seemed abandoned as the driving rainfall danced and glistened on the solitary swing set in its centre. She glanced briefly back toward the boy who remained in the same seated position only now had his sobbing desisted slightly to a quiet moan as he drew circles on the desk with a newly acquired marker.

Out of the corner of her eye she spotted three men with guns at their side slowly enter the schoolyard below. Using their hands to signal the men fanned out, each moving in different directions. Panic now engulfed her as she grabbed the boy and left the classroom, retracing her steps back along the dimly lit corridor.

Passing the shattered glass she thought she could hear voices behind her so quickened her pace. Turning left past more classrooms the body of a woman lay protectively over a dead child in a pool of blood by the doorway of one. Further ahead lay two more children their faces etched in pain from the gunshots that ended their short life. “Don’t look”, she whispered to the boy she carried, “it will be over soon.”

Reaching a stairwell she moved hastily down the first flight the boy rocking in her arms with each step. Pausing on the landing she listened for any more voices and when she heard nothing descended the next set of steps.
On the ground floor she noticed the neon green exit sign that illuminated the top of the door at the end of the corridor. She glanced over her shoulder before setting off in the direction of the exit. Another woman lay lifeless in a foetal position by the water cooler her white blouse stained heavily red from a gunshot wound to neck, as she and the boy passed.

She gripped the metal bar on the door and pulled down but nothing happened, the exit was locked. She tried it again but nothing happened. “shit, shit, shit”, she muttered under her breath as she looked for an alternative way out. The men she had seen from the window were entering the school from the front so that was not an option. She moved toward the back of the building, the weight of the boy now beginning to drain the strength in her arms.

The door of the school canteen lay open in front of her. The smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air. Moving through the rows of tables and chairs she tried to open a window on the far side of the canteen. The window opened slightly as a rush of cold wet air rushed in before the jamming on its lock. She tried another window but it was the same and then a third. Realising all the windows were similar she carried the child through the hall and into the kitchen behind.

Pots of steaming food sat on top of the cookers in the kitchen with utensils strewn on the surfaces beside them. Shards of smashed plates littered the ground some still decorated with the meals they once carried. She was tiring fast as she searched for a way out. Next to the large silver industrial refrigerator behind the ovens she spotted another exit. Once again she pressed down the metal bar that ran across it and this time with a slight groan the door swung open.

The rain soaked her and the boy as she ran across the almost empty car park behind the kitchen. Trying to remember where she had left her car that morning she stood momentarily to get her bearings. “Ma’am, stop right there”, a booming voice commanded behind her.

Turning slowly she faced the police officer who had his weapon pointed at her. He edged toward her not leaving the gun off her. “I’m a teacher and I am trying to get this boy out of here”, she said with fear tinged in her voice as she held the child close. ”Okay ma’am, just put the boy down and we can get you both to safety”, the officer replied gradually putting his weapon back in its holster. She placed the boy on the wet concrete his hands still wiping tears from his face.

As the policeman moved toward them she swiftly removed the Glock 19 from the band of her jeans and fired off two quick rounds both hitting the man one in the stomach and the other in his eye. His body folded underneath him as his face cracked off the wet surface. The boy screamed as the loud bang of the gun exploded in his ears. Grabbing him up in her arms again Anna ran in search of her vehicle.


Last edited by Pat75; 02-14-2013 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:42 AM
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Good read. At first i was thinking it was the event at Newtown. I'm not a gun person. I have never heard of a Glock 19 hand gun. Is there such a gun?
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Domenic View Post
Good read. At first i was thinking it was the event at Newtown. I'm not a gun person. I have never heard of a Glock 19 hand gun. Is there such a gun?
Thanks for the feedback and taking the time to read the story Domenic. I'm not a gun person either, had to look that up.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:15 AM
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The story is well written with a nice twist. It feels unfinished though rather than a short story.

A couple of thoughts. I don't mind adverbs but there seemed to be a lot in the first two paragraphs enough to pull me out of the story. Also look at varying the language and start of sentences as a lot of them start with The.

Also remember your character has five senses - so smell, taste, touch etc can help to create a more vibrant scene.

Also i would have liked to have heard the little boy's voice - what did he say to her?
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:23 PM
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Reaching a stairwell she moved hastily down the first flight the boy rocking in her arms with each step. Pausing on the landing she listened for any more voices and when she heard nothing descended the next set of steps.
On the ground floor she noticed the neon green exit sign that illuminated the top of the door at the end of the corridor. She glanced over her shoulder before setting off in the direction of the exit. Another woman lay lifeless in a foetal never saw that word before. I would have used fetal but I like that variant. You're from the UK? position by the water cooler her white blouse stained heavily red from a gunshot wound to neck, as she and the boy passed.


The door of the school canteen lay open in front of her. The smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air. Whoooo!!! Food! All this stuff went down recently then...Moving through the rows of tables and chairs she tried to open a window on the far side of the canteen. The window opened slightly as a rush of cold wet air rushed in before the jamming on its lock. She tried another window but it was the same and then a third. Realising all the windows were similar she carried the child through the hall and into the kitchen behind. they set it up that way so kids don't sneak out during lunch? How ironic, it's meant to keep them safe.


As the policeman moved toward them she swiftly removed the Glock 19 from the band of her jeans and fired off two quick rounds both hitting the man, comma here. one in the stomach and the other in his eye. His body folded underneath him as his face cracked off the wet surface. The boy screamed as the loud bang of the gun exploded in his ears. Grabbing him up in her arms again Anna ran in search of her vehicle.


You definetly got me hooked. Anymore of this coming? Really well done.

Got a lot of questions. How come the shooters were just coming into the school if everyone was dead. Why did she shoot the cop? What's her plan from here?

Shooting the cop was a big deal. that tells me that that authority can't be trusted in this setting? Very cool.

All these questions make me wanna read more. Great job.

I'm also looking for feedback if you got the time ...

http://www.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=44190
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by AnyaKimlun View Post
The story is well written with a nice twist. It feels unfinished though rather than a short story.

A couple of thoughts. I don't mind adverbs but there seemed to be a lot in the first two paragraphs enough to pull me out of the story. Also look at varying the language and start of sentences as a lot of them start with The.

Also remember your character has five senses - so smell, taste, touch etc can help to create a more vibrant scene.

Also i would have liked to have heard the little boy's voice - what did he say to her?
Thanks for taking the time for reading the story and your feedback which I found very helpful.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Rooster Smith View Post
Reaching a stairwell she moved hastily down the first flight the boy rocking in her arms with each step. Pausing on the landing she listened for any more voices and when she heard nothing descended the next set of steps.
On the ground floor she noticed the neon green exit sign that illuminated the top of the door at the end of the corridor. She glanced over her shoulder before setting off in the direction of the exit. Another woman lay lifeless in a foetal never saw that word before. I would have used fetal but I like that variant. You're from the UK? position by the water cooler her white blouse stained heavily red from a gunshot wound to neck, as she and the boy passed.


The door of the school canteen lay open in front of her. The smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air. Whoooo!!! Food! All this stuff went down recently then...Moving through the rows of tables and chairs she tried to open a window on the far side of the canteen. The window opened slightly as a rush of cold wet air rushed in before the jamming on its lock. She tried another window but it was the same and then a third. Realising all the windows were similar she carried the child through the hall and into the kitchen behind. they set it up that way so kids don't sneak out during lunch? How ironic, it's meant to keep them safe.


As the policeman moved toward them she swiftly removed the Glock 19 from the band of her jeans and fired off two quick rounds both hitting the man, comma here. one in the stomach and the other in his eye. His body folded underneath him as his face cracked off the wet surface. The boy screamed as the loud bang of the gun exploded in his ears. Grabbing him up in her arms again Anna ran in search of her vehicle.


You definetly got me hooked. Anymore of this coming? Really well done.

Got a lot of questions. How come the shooters were just coming into the school if everyone was dead. Why did she shoot the cop? What's her plan from here?

Shooting the cop was a big deal. that tells me that that authority can't be trusted in this setting? Very cool.

All these questions make me wanna read more. Great job.

I'm also looking for feedback if you got the time ...

http://www.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=44190
Thanks for your feedback, I found it very helpful. Glad you enjoyed the story and I will try to answer some of your questions.

The three men she sees entering the schoolyard were the police, one of whom Anna shoots at the end. I deliberately left the ending open so the reader could come up with their own conclusions.

I will take a look at your stuff and give you some feedback in return.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:41 AM
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Black= your original text
Blue= text to pay attention to
Green= corrections and suggestion
Red= questions and things to think about

The child sobbed softly in her arms as she tried to reassure him (that) everything would be alright. The shattered glass crunched loudly under her feet as she and the boy moved slowly through the otherwise silent building. Noticing a door at the end of the corridor that was slightly open she made her way toward it.
(might flow better like that "Noticing a slightly opened door at the end of the corridor, she made her way towards it.")

The seats and desks were scattered and disorganized, (";") books and pens still on those that remained upright. Large chalked numbers revealed the days (day's) unfinished math lesson on the board behind the teacher’s desk (add "," here) which was cluttered with text books and notes.

The boy began to weep uncontrollably as she tried to put him onto one of the seats. (something about this doesn't sound smooth. Perhaps "The boy began weeping uncontrollably as she tried to get him seated on one of the chairs.") “It’s okay, it’s okay”, (First, I wonder how you want the tone for this to be. With how you wrote this, it sounds like she's a bit nervous. If you want to make her sound controlled, perhaps write it like this "It's okay. It's okay." second, the "," should be before the close quotation marks not after.) she repeated as he lay his head in his hands on the desk, tears now streaming down his dirty face. (perhaps this will flow better like that:" ... as he hid his head in his hands;tears now streaming down his dirty face." sounds better without the desk part in my opinion.) Going to the nearest window she peered out into the grey, rain soaked morning. The schoolyard below seemed abandoned as the driving rainfall danced and glistened on the solitary swing set in (at) its centre. She glanced briefly back toward the boy who remained in the same seated position only now had his sobbing desisted slightly to a quiet moan as he drew circles on the desk with a newly acquired marker. (Cut this down big time see if this sounds better:

She glanced briefly back toward the boy who remained in the same seated position as before. Only now, his sobbing had subsided slightly, until it had turned into a quiet moan as he drew circles on the desk with a newly acquired marker.)



Out of the corner of her eye (add ",") she spotted three men with guns at their side (sides) slowly enter the schoolyard below. Using their hands to signal the men (Signaling with their hands, the men...) fanned out, each moving in different directions. (in a different direction.)

Passing the shattered glass she thought she could hear voices behind her so quickened her pace. (She quickened her pace as she passed the shattered glass, thinking she heard voices behind her.) Turning left past more classrooms the body of a woman lay protectively over a dead child in a pool of blood by the doorway of one. (This was quite disorganized, try:
"As she turned left passing more classrooms, she saw a woman's body laying protectively over a child's in a pool of blood." or "Turning left past more classrooms, she saw that one of the doorways was blocked by a woman's body lying protectively over a child's in a pool of blood.")


On the ground floor she noticed the neon green exit sign that illuminated the top of the door at the end of the corridor. (you can remove this, it would sound less long winded.) She glanced over her shoulder before setting off in the direction of the exit. Another woman lay lifeless in a foetal (did you mean futile?) position by the water cooler (add ",") her white blouse stained heavily red from a gunshot wound to neck (... to the neck), as she and the boy passed.

The door of the school canteen lay open in front of her. The smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air. Moving through the rows of tables and chairs she tried to open a window on the far side of the canteen. The window opened slightly as a rush of cold wet air rushed in before the jamming on its lock (... before the lock jammed). She tried another window but it was the same and then a third. Realising all the windows were similar she carried the child through the hall and into the kitchen behind (you can take this out. Or did you mean "back of the kitchen?).

She was tiring fast as she searched for a way out. Next to the large silver industrial refrigerator behind the ovens (add ",") she spotted another exit. Once again (,) she pressed down the metal bar that ran across it (,) and (but) this time with a slight groan the door swung open (this time, the door swung open with a slight groan).

The rain soaked her and the boy as she ran across the almost empty car park behind the kitchen. Trying to remember where she had left her car that morning she stood momentarily (you should add an adjective after "momentarily" i think) to get her bearings. “Ma’am, stop right there”, a booming voice commanded behind her.

Turning slowly she faced the police officer who had his weapon pointed at her. He edged toward her not leaving the gun off her. ("... never moving the gun." that would sound better to me, but your choice. And you used "leaving" strangely here. You can either write what I suggested or any variation from it, or if you really want to use "leaving", try something like like, "... the gun never leaving her face.")

“I’m a teacher and I am trying to get this boy out of here”, ("," should be before close quotations) she said with fear tinged in her voice as she held the child close. ”Okay ma’am, just put the boy down and we can get you both to safety”, the officer replied gradually putting his weapon back in its holster. She placed the boy on the wet concrete his hands still wiping tears from his face. (I don't understand, is the police crying or is the teacher? Did you perhaps mean "her" instead of "his"?)

As the policeman moved toward them (,) she swiftly removed the Glock 19 from the band of her jeans and fired off two quick rounds (split this so it reads "jeans. She fired two quick rounds...) both hitting the man (";") one in the stomach and the other in his eye. His body folded underneath him as his face cracked off the wet surface. The boy screamed as the loud bang of the gun exploded in his ears. Grabbing him up in her arms again Anna ran in search of her vehicle.

It was an interesting read. I have to say the shooting makes me unease because of my past, but the mood was somewhat captured right. I think you should work on the mood some more. The pace is good and dialogue was not over used, which was good. Some of your description is fine, but at parts, I thought you could add more. Finally, just one more question. I don't know what country this is based in, i'm guessing uS, but would a teacher really have a gun with them at school? I'm just wondering if that was realistic enough. There were some grammar stuff, and I think you should work on your run on sentences. Remember, it's fine to have short sentences. I hope the suggestions and corrections helped. Feel free to ask for more opinion form others though. Hope my comments were helpful and good luck continuing writing.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:05 AM
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Hi Elisa. Thank you very much for your comprehensive look at my story, I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. I feel the corrections you pointed out were very helpful and will take them on board on a new edit of the piece. To answer your question about why a teacher would have a gun, I don't make any reference to Anna being a teacher but with the ending left open as it was this must have been the impression you took from it. Thank you again for taking the time to give such helpful feedback.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:06 AM
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Great story with a totally surprise ending. I enjoyed the read. No suggestions for improvement.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:09 AM
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Ah, thanks for that clear up, I see what you did now. Happy editing, lol no sarcasm intended
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:24 AM
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Writing and depth is good, although, I feel I have a problem with the story as a whole.
Obviously, this is a tragedy stricken event where there is an obvious presence of a definite evil, but I'm having a hard time seeing the balance. It may just be me forgetting a part of the story, but I am unable to see why she shot the police, and where she stands on the matter.

Otherwise, depth and twist is good, would do well to see more.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat75 View Post
Thanks for your feedback, I found it very helpful. Glad you enjoyed the story and I will try to answer some of your questions.

The three men she sees entering the schoolyard were the police, one of whom Anna shoots at the end. I deliberately left the ending open so the reader could come up with their own conclusions.

I will take a look at your stuff and give you some feedback in return.
Interesting. So no continuation then? A shame, would have made a great serial.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Rooster Smith View Post
Interesting. So no continuation then? A shame, would have made a great serial.
Not sure yet if I will continue it but thanks for the kind words!!
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat75 View Post
Not sure yet if I will continue it but thanks for the kind words!!
Oh yeah, it's the death of the cop that hooks you. You wanna know why the police officer couldn't be trusted.

That's my opinion anyway.

Either way, private message me when you post something else.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:38 AM
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As with everyone else I was hoping for more after she shot the police officer to find out why she done this.

However, unlike everyone else seems to I then thought she was the bad one, maybe kidnapping the child? I couldn't understand why she would otherwise have a gun in the first place or why besides the police there didn't seem to be anyone else there to have shot the other people.

Did she shoot everyone?
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by NicolaM View Post
As with everyone else I was hoping for more after she shot the police officer to find out why she done this.

However, unlike everyone else seems to I then thought she was the bad one, maybe kidnapping the child? I couldn't understand why she would otherwise have a gun in the first place or why besides the police there didn't seem to be anyone else there to have shot the other people.

Did she shoot everyone?
Hi NicolaM, thanks for taking the time to read the story I appreciate it. Yes you seem to be the first reader to think that she was the shooter and this was why I left the ending open so the readers own conclusions could be made.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:44 AM
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Haha unfortunately that may just be me being incredibly British about things. Here only the bad people have guns most of the time.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:58 AM
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Great piece of writing. You really do a great job of setting the tone in the beginning, and it is very well written. I would like to see a continuation of this though. You could make a great story by continuing these events and I'd like to see that. Nice Job.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by buckethead View Post
Great piece of writing. You really do a great job of setting the tone in the beginning, and it is very well written. I would like to see a continuation of this though. You could make a great story by continuing these events and I'd like to see that. Nice Job.
Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. I have posted part two in the fiction forum if you get a chance to read it I would like to get your opinion.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:57 AM
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I loved the story, and again it may be a british thing but i thought she was the bad guy too especially when you added that the second bullet went through the cops eye (she really isn't messing around!), although i was unsure as to why she have caused so much damage to kidnap/retreive one child? loved the tone of it you can almost hear her breath as she makes her way through the school, hopefully the second part to your story will clear up a lot of questions. I like open endings, but sometimes wanting to know where the writer was going with it themselves has more meaning to me then where i would take it.
Can't wait to read more!.

em.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dyslexicem View Post
I loved the story, and again it may be a british thing but i thought she was the bad guy too especially when you added that the second bullet went through the cops eye (she really isn't messing around!), although i was unsure as to why she have caused so much damage to kidnap/retreive one child? loved the tone of it you can almost hear her breath as she makes her way through the school, hopefully the second part to your story will clear up a lot of questions. I like open endings, but sometimes wanting to know where the writer was going with it themselves has more meaning to me then where i would take it.
Can't wait to read more!.

em.
Thanks for your feedback on the story, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Part 2 is up on the fiction forum and I would be interested to get your opinion on that.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:47 AM
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I thought this was a really well written piece that hooked me from the start, it wasn't till the end that I even considered Anna to be the bad guy especially as she tod the boy not not look at the dead bodies.

I am off to read the second part now
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Pat75 (02-24-2013)
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:41 AM
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This was a good read. I'm glad there is a second part as I would like to known who she really was and what her motivations where doing what she did.

Bic
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by LA GOBFREY View Post
I thought this was a really well written piece that hooked me from the start, it wasn't till the end that I even considered Anna to be the bad guy especially as she tod the boy not not look at the dead bodies.

I am off to read the second part now
Thanks La Gobfrey, I appreciate the feedback. Hope you enjoy the second part.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Bicicleta View Post
This was a good read. I'm glad there is a second part as I would like to known who she really was and what her motivations where doing what she did.

Bic
Thanks Bicicleta. I appreciate you taking the time to read the story.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:40 PM
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Hmm... the part where she finds the locked door and swears clashed for me with the sense up until that point that she was trying to stay strong for the kid and keep up a brave face. Not sure if I would take it out, but that's what stood out the most for me.
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Pat75 (02-27-2013)
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Heliolater View Post
Hmm... the part where she finds the locked door and swears clashed for me with the sense up until that point that she was trying to stay strong for the kid and keep up a brave face. Not sure if I would take it out, but that's what stood out the most for me.
Thanks for taking the time to read the story Heliolater. Sorry I'm not quite sure I get what you mean about the part clashing but if you want to expand on it I would welcome your opinion. Thanks again.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:32 AM
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Oh wow this was just so tense, really nice work Pat75. You have a great ability to draw the reader in and immerse them within the story and I loved the twist at the end. I spotted the other parts as I was browsing so am quickly off to see what happens next.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat75 View Post
I deliberately left the ending open so the reader could come up with their own conclusions.
I agree with AnyaKimlun in that it feels unfinished. It feels like the prologue of a larger story than a standalone tale in its own right as it leaves too many unanswered questions to be truly satisfying. Why has Anna got a gun in her jeans? What connection is the boy to her? The ending makes me want to read more into the story - and it does have the potential to develop into a longer story - and I felt slightly disgruntled that there is no more.

What I did especially like was the mention that the child was heavy and beginning to 'drain the strength' in Anna's arms. When we see heroes carrying people in the films we forget how heavy their cargoes actually are, even children, and this adds an extra sense of realism and tension as we know it is impeding Anna's escape, but it's an impediment she isn't prepared to ditch.

In all, it's a well-crafted story. It needs some polishing and I think it needs to continue so it doesn't feel as unfinished but it's got potential.
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