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Do You Know Me?

That would be a "No." 0.4018691588785 40.2% [ 43 ]
Of course! We're BFFs! 0.046728971962617 4.7% [ 5 ]
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x_Squiddish_x's avatar

Dangerous Capitalist

Hello, loves! I've been away from Gaia for a bit, but I'm back and what better way to welcome myself then by posting in a writing contest! (Whoooo... ?) Anyway, I just wrote this today and I'm quite pleased with it. It was actually just a short, short story that was done during a writing exercise / prompt / game thing at a meeting I was at, but I'm giving it to ya'll anyway.

For the writing exercise, we had to pick pieces of paper out of the hat that each contained one of the following things. These are the ones I ended up with, and I did my best to make it all work together:

Place: Snow Bird, Utah
Last Line: The silence wasn’t much of a comfort.
Character: Frank, recent widower and physics teacher in Chicago
Conflict: Not sure which rating to give a recent Netflix movie

It’s amazing how quickly one’s life can go from smooth sailing to complete turmoi. Frank still couldn’t completely grasp the concept that, when he woke up in the morning, Alice wouldn’t be there beside him. That, when he went to go get his cup of coffee in the morning, he only needed to pull one mug down instead of two. As a force of habit, or perhaps as a way to cope, he hadn’t stopped filling up the second mug every morning. Secretly he hoped that Alice would be following him out of the bedroom to join him at the table with their coffee.

But, every morning, the result was the same. He would finish glazing over the newspaper, randomly picking out a few titles and not much else as his mind wandered to other thoughts, he would sip his coffee in silence, and he would get up to find the full cup still sitting where he left it. Nothing had been moved or changed.

The house that he had imagined growing old in with his wife was no longer the comfortable, inviting atmosphere that he wished it was. It was no longer the place where he felt safe and at home. All of their pictures, their shared moments within those walls, were now nothing more than a daily, bitter realization that death was inevitable.

With winter getting into full swing and the stress of the current courses he was teaching, Frank found that the harder he tried to force himself into a routine the less productive he became. It was no longer easy to grab his bike and ride to the university in the morning because he knew that, when he headed home for the night, his wife would not be waiting there for him with dinner and a kiss. It was why he finally decided he needed to get away. He needed to get out—get air—and enjoy something that he’d always wanted to do.

Skiing, to most, doesn’t seem like that big of an adventure. But for Frank, it was something that he had never been brave enough to attempt. Despite all of Alice and his traveling, they had not once been to a ski resort like they’d promised. Now, on a Wednesday morning, he ignored the fact that his class was supposed to start in ten minutes and put Chicago in his rearview mirror. He resolved that he was going to do everything that Alice and him had promised. He would find some way to live up to her memory if it killed him.

Snow Bird, Utah. Maybe not the most well known ski resort in the world, but it proved to be a good enough place for a first time skier like Frank. Still uneasy on his own two feet, he relaxed as well as he could as his skis hit the snow when he slid off the ski loft. Damn, that was a lot steeper than he’d thought when he was riding the ski lift up. Death was sure to follow in the next few minutes if he actually attempted to try and ski down the incline in front of him.

Other thoughts. He needed to think something unrelated to skiing. Unrelated to the sure doom that was to come. What else was there at the moment? Instantly, memories about the previous night popped into his head. Sleep had become somewhat of a rarity since Alice’s death. More and more often he found that late night movies were an inviting past time and saved him from the nightmares that were guaranteed to be waiting for him. What was it that he had watched the previous night? From what he recalled, there was nothing overly thrilling about the film, but he had enjoyed it nonetheless. It distracted him and, in the end, that was all he wanted. Normally, he would go back online right away and rate the movies he got from Netflix. Push in the number of stars he thought it deserved and tell everyone his opinion. But as he stood at the top of the ski hill, it occurred to him that he hadn’t done that.

The thought bothered him. He always rated movies. He always went back. Why not this time? And, more than that, how would he rate it? If he thought about it, the movie wasn’t all that good. It was nothing he’d buy to put on his shelf and watch more than once, but it also did exactly what he intended it to. Was that worth a good rating?

Doubtful.

Taking a slow breath and forcing himself to focus as best he could on the task at hand, he was finally off down the hill. At least for a few seconds his mind was distracted from the fear caused by the mountain because of his trivial thoughts about movie ratings. Had he been paying more attention, however, he would have realized that this was not the trail he intended to take. It wasn’t the right way at all, as pointed out by the rocks and terrain that far exceeded his skill level. It didn’t take long before he knew he was in trouble.

The realization that he was not making it to the bottom safely set in as he felt his left ski give out and sent his body tumbling forward. Something sharp hit him in the back as he rolled, tearing his jacket and drawing blood. He finally came to a stop a few yards from where he’d begun. Once more, he felt a sharp sensation, a sickening crack filling his ears as he stopped rolling. Pain shot through his head almost instantly. What had he hit? Whatever it was, it had caused more than just a cut. No doubt there had been a rock or stone jutting out of the snow. Next time, he would have to be more careful.

Everything seemed blurry and dark for a moment and he realized, almost as quickly as he had realized he was on the wrong path, that he couldn’t feel his legs. He couldn’t move. The pain was still present, slowly throbbing through his skull and alerting him that he was in far more trouble than he ever would have expected. Apparently next time was going to have to wait.

Yet, as he lay there, he could only think about the movie; the unrated movie that still sat on his coffee table. Thoughts of Alice were almost completely gone at the moment, and Frank wasn’t sure if that was a welcome relief or a sad foretelling that she was becoming less important to him. The longer he lay there, alone and without any assurance that someone coming, he realized that this truly could be the end. Was it all going to end like that? Lying motionless in the snow while he could only think about what a proper rating for a movie was?

His breathing, after a moment, became strained and he winced against the pain. Surely, someone would come. Someone would notice.

But, unfortunately, the sounds around told him the opposite. Voices or sounds from other skiers wasn’t present and he had to admit that the silence wasn’t much of a comfort.
My entry is a re-write of the Rumplestiltskin story, written from the P.O.V of Rumplestiltskin himself.

Rumplestiltskin. This name you all should know very well. It’s my name. Yeah, that’s right, Evil little me. However, did you ever think of my story? I bet not. So, prepare yourself, for I am about to shed some light, and give you the whole truth, and absolutely nothing but the truth.
It all started years ago, when I was once human. That’s right, I said human. I was a happy man with a young son and a beautiful wife. She was a beautiful maiden with golden hair and fair skin. I was a handsome man with curly brown hair, deep blue deep blue eyes, and rough, tanned skin. My young son was a handsome young boy, my hair, his mother’s eyes. He was only seven when he was taken from me.
My wife had passed long ago due to a terrible winter chill. My son knew his mother was gone, but didn’t accept it. He didn’t want to accept it. Life had gotten hard, trying to get by on our own. However, one day my boy had a terrible encounter. A homeless man came to our cottage, and sat outside, telling stories of the Dark One. The Dark One is the wizard whom everyone fears, therefore respects. My son listened. He listened and took in the information like water poured onto a wet cloth.
That was the last day I saw him.
That Night, he was taken. The Dark One took him with the promise of letting my boy see his mother.. Then, he was gone. Wiped from the face of the earth. He was killed, nor lost, just… gone. The Dark One is who sent him away.
When I found out, I went to the man and Begged. I begged and I pleaded and threw myself at his knees. He smiled at me crookedly, and then gave that dreaded offer.
“I’ll give you the ability to see your boy. To bring him back even, however he will not be yours. You’ll have to find a maiden who may one day bare a child. That child with be the rebirth of your son, but you must accept my powers.
“Anything! I’ll do anything!” I declared. That’s how he had tricked me. He gave me the wand, and then changed. Falling to the ground, his hood fell off. He was the homeless man. He had tricked my son and I. With his last dying breath, he smiled at me.
“Now… it is your… burden” he said, voice weak as he turned to dust. I felt my body start to change. Suddenly, the world was much taller. I had become lame. I became the ugly little creature you all know me as.
Now, let’s take a skip, because none of you care about what happened between this. So, how’s about we skip to the story you all know.

It had been a calm morning, and I was dancing by the fire as always. Then, somewhere in the distance, I heard a carriage. I decided to go investigate, so I rushed out and found it. Following close behind, I managed to sneak past the castle walls unnoticed. I followed the guards as they pulled a young, beautiful maiden out of the carriage. She reminded me of my wife. I felt my heart drop at the thought, but something compelled me to follow them. She was the one. The one my predecessor had prophesized about. I followed until she was locked in a room. I overheard the conversation about gold, and then I knew that was my chance. I went in, speaking to the woman. I told her that I could turn the straw to gold. She offered her necklace, so I worked. I turned all the straw into gold. It wasn’t hard, considering I had my magic to help me. Once done, I left the room, hiding behind a large pot. I stayed there all through the night, because I knew she would be taken to a larger room. When she was, I followed, and promised her the same. This time, her ring was offered. I just had to wait. If I told her about the child to soon, I would never have my boy back. So, I spun the straw to gold once more. Again, it was easy as could be.
Finally, on the third day, I went to her. This room was larger than the last, filled with even more straw. She told me she had nothing more. This was my chance.
“Then promise me, if you should become queen, to give me your first child,” is what I said to her. My heart soared when she agreed! Oh, finally the day has come when I will get my boy back! So, I worked. I spun and spun and spun, until all the straw had been turned to gold. Then I left, not wanting the king to see me.
Had I known she would lie, I would’ve let her die.
One year. I waited one full year. Each day was absolute agony. However, when the child came to the world, I was filled with absolute joy! He looked like my son, and I knew it was him. So, I went to the queen. That filthy, lying woman. She told me she would give me all the riches of the kingdom. The nerve! I wanted the boy, but I knew how she felt. I had mercy. Through her tears, I managed to make a deal.
“I will give you three days time, if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep the child.” I never said it was her child. I said the child. If she found out my name, it would then be hers. So, I left, not another word.
The first day, I came back. She listed off names, some I liked and wished I could say yes to. Unfortunately, I wanted the child. So she listed- Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar- on and on and on, but didn’t find my name. I left when she had finished.
On the second day, I returned. Again, she listed name after name-Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg- and again I said no. I was filled with joy. One more day. The last agonizing day, and the child would be mine. Finally, I would have him back.
Finally, on the third day I sat by the fire, singing a merry little tune.
'To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
The next I'll have the young queen's child.
Ha, glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.’
This was my song. The merry tune that kept my heart soaring, for I knew my boy would be mine once more. Though, little did I know the horror awaiting me.
I went back later that day, back to the queen’s room, back to the same routine. She guessed and guessed again.
"Is your name Conrad?"
“No.”
"Is your name Harry?"
“No.”
"Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"
Oh, the horror. The disgusting little wench had my name!
“The devil told you that!” I declared, stamping my food so hard, it broke through the wooden floor. She guessed it! I was beyond angry as I pulled my left leg. I tore the right off as I pulled. That pain was nothing compared to that in my heart. As I hopped home, back to my cottage, I regretted ever seeing that wench.
From that day on, I went back to the castle every day, always in secret. I was forced to watch my little one grow; see how much he resembled his previous life. I cried, knowing I would not grow old with him, not ever.
The Dark One had been right. This was a terrible burden to bare.
x_Squiddish_x's avatar

Dangerous Capitalist

piggg


Hello there! I'm going to start my critique by saying that I might jump around a bit, but I'll try to be as straightforward as I can. Rather than split up the whole critique by grammar / spelling and then all the other points, I'm just going to go through in order and make points as I go. Hopefully it'll all make sense when I'm done and, if it doesn't, I apologize!

I can get that you're trying to do flash backs in the first 'scene' in which she's driving, but I feel like it breaks up the writing a bit too much and tends to throw the reader off. I had to read back over it twice to fully get the fact that it wasn't switching to another scene as much as it was switching to the past. I feel like it might work better to either just have her think about the past. Since you're writing in first person, you have the advantage of being able to tell things without having to flashback and use dialogue. At least when I do first person, I feel like doing that gives you a better way to show, instead of tell. It gives the character a chance to emotionally react. So, instead of going straight from:

Quote:
I slow down a few miles per hour as I drive under an overpass.

* * *


“That’s where the cops like to hide,” my brother told me. “They back in at an angle so the bridge blocks their taillights.”


You could so something more like:

Quote:
I slow down a few miles per hour as I drive under an overpass. Josh always told me it was a common speed trap. I remember it vividly. I was sixteen and I'd only been driving a few months at most . . . (continue, etc.)

That way, you can still throw in the dialogue, but it doesn't have to be as harsh of a transition between the two things and it'll flow better.

However, that being said, if you don't want to change that part, there's a few spelling errors.

Quote:
As he said this, he hit the gas and weaved into the left lane, then back into the right lane to pass the next car.

Weaved instead of weave.

Quote:
I was sixteen and had maybe been driving a few months at the most

I would drop the maybe or the at most from this sentence, since they both serve to tell us that she's not exactly sure. But if you put in both it gets a bit redundant and unnecessary.

Quote:
“I have a very fast reaction time. Watch,” he said.

I would suggest you either drop this sentence / change it / or add something after to let us know just what we're supposed to watch. Otherwise, it leaves us hanging (and not in the good, want to read more sort of way). It seems like a loose end that you never went back to fix.

Quote:
Every time my brother accelerated, so did the truck until the two of them were tearing up the hills at a hundred miles per hour.

That’s what he said when we were all telling our horrible driving stories.

We were at his military ball celebrating the hundred-and-somethingth birthday of the navy.

This area could use a bit of cleaning up. Because you have used the * * * all the other times to denote a change in time, it confuses the reader when we're suddenly recalling a memory here and there's nothing to necessarily signify that except for the change to past tense. I think it works fine, but only if you stay consistently like that throughout the story. Otherwise it kind of jumps around and makes it hard to focus on the story because I'm spending too much time trying to figure out exactly whether or not we're in the past or present.

Quote:
so he brought me instead and we were sitting with Morissey, Thomson, Clay, and their girlfriends.

No need for all those 'ands'.

Quote:
“You know what, Mary? I’ll fight you,” Clay said leaning into her face.

When you're addressing someone, be careful not to forget your commas!

Quote:
“Come on, man,” Morrisey said. Morrisey was six six then, and huge. He was playing rugby.

I'd be cautious here, as you're starting to get into telling instead of showing again. It's easy to say that Morrisey is a big guy, and if you tell us that we'll understand. But it's a lot better to show us. Rather than just saying 'He's six six and huge and he plays rugby', have fun with it. Something more like 'Morrisey wasn't a small guy. As the captain and flanker (or whatever his position may be) for his college's rugby team, the 6' 6" man wasn't one you wanted to challenge to a fight'

Quote:
“No. Take it back Mary. No, no, I take that back. Let’s go outside, and I’ll fight you.”

This sentence is a bit confusing. I'm not exactly sure what's going on and who's punching who. Clay and Mary? Clay and Morrisey? I'd clean that up a little bit to make it clear.

I love the part where the captain gets up to give a speech and proceeds to tell everyone they were once David and now they're Goliath. Given the fact that he just told the story of how David took down Goliath, it makes me laugh to think that he's labeling the Navy as the new Goliath that's surrounded by all these Davids. (That sentence may not have made any sense, and I apologize for that.) But I thought it was funny... Yeah!

The next section jumps around a lot again. She's suddenly at 'Barton Hall', a place that we haven't really heard about before, and then there's no mention of it's relevance again. Unless there's something that you specifically needed to use that section four, it's not really adding to your work and, in my opinion, it's actually bringing it down. It adds in unnecessary explanations about things that don't pertain to the story. I suggest either taking it out completely or linking it into the story better. (And, again, adding in all the * * * leaves me unsure of what time we're in now, so be careful on that note.)

As well, I love the description of the hotel in reference to the Worst Case Survival Guide. Though, at the same time, I get the feeling that she's just listing things. Which, in a sense, she may. Depending on her personality, the second paragraph after she finishes listing off all the things that you can't touch, it seems like a good place to throw in a personal comment. Like 'apparently they expect me to float the whole time I'm here.' Or something along those lines. A little sarcastic tid-bit that highlights the ridiculousness of how many things you shouldn't touch in a hotel room, as true as it may be.

Quote:
I stand in front of the mirror and pull my eyelid taught as I put on eyeliner and then mascara and I consider lipstick, but decide to skip it.

For this, I would just suggest trimming this down or cutting it out. Most people know how to put on makeup and it sounds like you're giving us a bit of a tutorial instead of keeping on track with the story. The make-up she puts on isn't all that relevant to the point at hand. Besides, anyone that doesn't know how to put on eyeliner probably doesn't want to know.

It's usually a good idea, when writing, to think about what main point it is that you're trying to get across. What are you trying to say in this story? If what you're writing doesn't point towards that, it can usually be trimmed down a lot. Putting in description is good, but we, as the readers, don't need to know everything about her morning.

Quote:
I’m early at first, and then on time, and then borderline late.

I'm assuming this is because she's sitting outside for that long, but it's not necessarily clear in the paragraph. Perhaps shifting for something more like 'Despite showing up early, I keep the heat on high and watch as more and more cars show up.' and go from there.

Quote:
I don’t pause to imagine being a dragon.

This seems almost out of place at the moment. While I imagine there's likely a reason she says it--maybe a memory or something--given the fact that it's stated so simply and then just ignored for the most part, it seems to throw off the general mood.

Quote:
I don’t ask her about work or about the baby and she doesn’t ask me about school

I've just got to say that I love this sentence. Despite the friendly attitude that was displayed before at the banquet, this rides in stark contrast to it and it fits well. They're not interested in small talk or each other's lives at the moment because everything else in the room seems to impact them. It's a very strong point.

Quote:
After the military ball, we all went out for cookies. We went to Infinity Cookies, or something like that. And everybody had chocolate chip. It was somebody’s birthday and my brother planned the whole thing. He didn’t even like her, but it was her birthday. Hers and the Navy’s. We stayed there until nearly midnight.

Without explaining this any further, it again throws off the story and I suggest either giving us more information or cutting it entirely. We don't know who 'she' is and, while it may be a good point of mystery, as it stands right now it just leaves us feeling really confused and unsure of what's going on. That, and the sudden jump back to the night of the ball breaks the flow of the story. If you decide to keep this or revise it, I would suggest putting it with the actual scene at the ball, rather than throwing it in here later.

Quote:
He’s still six six and he’s still big enough to make anyone else look small, but he looks defeated and weakened and broken and gray.

The reader likely still remembers that Morrisey's a big guy, so the need to tell them like this again isn't needed. Instead, I would suggest something like 'I still feel dwarfed standing next to Morrisey. Regardless of his size he still looks defeated and broken as we talk, his voice distant as it seems like he's trying not to cry.' With a revision like that, you can condense the next sentence as well.

Quote:
When I got to the building where they were holding the ball, I couldn’t tell which one was my brother. They were all dressed in blue and wearing swords. All of their heads were buzzed down to the skin. I could only tell him apart because he wasn’t as thin or short as Thomson, as large as Morrisey, or as pale as Clay.

This paragraph is a bit contradictory. She can't tell them apart except she can. I see that you're trying to draw the similarities between them: the cookie-cutter look as they're all in the uniforms and all have the same haircut, but I would suggest you reword it. Rather than say she can't pick him out of the crowd and then tell us that she can.

Again, we also find ourselves hearing about this mysterious birthday party but it doesn't really serve to give us any more information about it. I like the interaction you see between the two of them, but at the same time, it's breaking apart the story because it's not actually serving to give us much information. The character development is minimum, say for providing us with a bit of brother / sister dialogue, and we're still left without the information that we want; namely, who's having a birthday and why is Josh in charge of throwing the party, especially if he doesn't like her.

Quote:
Morissey folds his hands behind his back and tries to smile and then tries to fit his face in the dutiful look the marines are wearing. It doesn’t work.

This sentence is just a little bit messy. I'd suggest rereading it and cleaning it up a bit. There's a lot of 'and's being thrown into sentences when they don't need to be.

Quote:
I put my head on the wheel and let the tears come, hot and salty and dripping down my nose and into my lap.

I would actually say 'let the tears come' rather than just 'them'. It makes it a bit more concise and clean.

Quote:
I let my chest heave up and down and let my nose stuff up until I can only breathe through my mouth. After a few minutes I take a tissue and blot my face, picking up a water bottle from the floor in front of the passenger seat and taking a sip.

Just breaking this one up into two sentences so it's not so long or a run-on.

Quote:
It’s cold. It’s been in the car for weeks.

I'd keep this as a part of the paragraph before, simply because you're still talking about the water bottle. When you put in the line breaks it makes it seem like it's a completely different topic we've moved onto, which is confusing for the reader.

Quote:
I drive through the gates and onto the highway. After about sixteen miles, I pull over in a Dunkin Donuts and call him.

Two sentences instead of one.

Quote:
Then (Try not to start sentences with 'And') he has to go because the guy in line behind him needs to call his wife and I hang up. Getting back on 83, I drive back to school. The whole time I'm (or phrase of your choice) assuring myself that I’ll get a call next week, and the week after that, and the week after that; but I know all along that there’s always the chance that all the wishes on birthday candles were worthless, the assurances were moot, and he’ll be the next one laid out under that flag.

Just a bit of cleaning up, since the entire last paragraph is a single sentence.

That being said, I think the final sentence (or rather, the end of the the final sentence) is very strong. It's brutally honest and it leaves the reader feeling this sense of oncoming dread. We want to be hopeful for her--we want to see them back together; see their interactions and their fun dialogue. But at the same time, we know that that may not happen. It's a good way to end!

I would suggest that you read back over your entire piece and, specifically, read it aloud. It can help you pick out a lot of typos or grammatical errors just because we tend to skim over them when we read in our head. Words are meant to be spoken--especially those in story form. Read it out loud and try to find some places that seem to need either more punctuation, less punctuation, and so on. All in all, I really liked the story, though! Splendidly done! I hope my critique offered you a bit of help, if nothing else!
x_Squiddish_x



Holy s**t. That is some of the best, most comprehensive critique I've ever gotten. Thank you so much. You pointed out a lot of valid things. I have some work to do now.
I was really impressed by your critique, so I've copied your format here. Imitation, flattery, you know.

I really liked your piece. The tone is controlled rather than colloquial and only slips in a few places. The story is poignant and Frank is a lot more relatable than I would expect for a widower. This is very nice.

Quote:
It’s amazing how quickly one’s life can go from smooth sailing to complete turmoi.


Turmoil, not turmoi.

Quote:
Frank still couldn’t completely grasp the concept that, when he woke up in the morning, Alice wouldn’t be there beside him . . . Nothing had been moved or changed.


These opening paragraphs are really strong. They're specific and they're really relatable. They got me invested very quickly in a character who I have nothing in common.

Quote:
The house that he had imagined growing old in with his wife was no longer the comfortable, inviting atmosphere that he wished it was. It was no longer the place where he felt safe and at home. All of their pictures, their shared moments within those walls, were now nothing more than a daily, bitter realization that death was inevitable.


This paragraph repeats the sentiments you express in the first two paragraphs, but it's telling instead of showing. I think with the exception of the realization that death is inevitable, you could cut it or find a for specific way to say it.

Quote:
Despite all of Alice and his traveling, they had not once been to a ski resort like they’d promised.


This could be more gut-wrenching if it were "like he'd promised," since then it's his fault.

Quote:
Alice and him


Should be "he and Alice."

Quote:
if it killed him.


I get that this is foreshadowing, but the rest of your writing is really original, so this sort-of-cliche stands out and makes the writing seem a little cheaper.

Quote:
Damn, that was a lot steeper than he’d thought when he was riding the ski lift up. Death was sure to follow in the next few minutes if he actually attempted to try and ski down the incline in front of him.


When Frank thinks, "Damn," it makes him sound a lot younger than he has seemed for the rest of the story. Also, it should be "try to" instead of "try and."

Quote:
past time


"pastime," not "past time."

Quote:
And, more than that, how would he rate it? If he thought about it, the movie wasn’t all that good. It was nothing he’d buy to put on his shelf and watch more than once, but it also did exactly what he intended it to. Was that worth a good rating?


I think here, you could use some more details about the movie itself. What exactly did he intend the movie to do and how did it accomplish this?

Quote:
Taking a slow breath and forcing himself to focus as best he could on the task at hand, he was finally off down the hill. At least for a few seconds his mind was distracted from the fear caused by the mountain because of his trivial thoughts about movie ratings. Had he been paying more attention, however, he would have realized that this was not the trail he intended to take. It wasn’t the right way at all, as pointed out by the rocks and terrain that far exceeded his skill level. It didn’t take long before he knew he was in trouble.


This paragraph feel unrealistic. Skiing isn't second nature to him, so he probably had to think hard about what he was doing. It could work better if he loses out of control and runs off the trail.

Quote:
The realization that he was not making it to the bottom safely set in as he felt his left ski give out and sent his body tumbling forward.


Word order in this sentence is wacky. It creates a lot distance between Frank's mind and the action, which I think might be the effect you're going for, but it also confuses the reader.

Quote:
Thoughts of Alice were almost completely gone at the moment, and Frank wasn’t sure if that was a welcome relief or a sad foretelling that she was becoming less important to him.


Awesome line. It does a great job of tying your three mini-plots together (Alice, skiing, Netflix) and twisting the knife in regards to his loss.

Quote:
The longer he lay there, alone and without any assurance that was someone coming, he realized that this truly could be the end.


Missed the "was."

Quote:
Voices or sounds from other skiers wasn’t present and he had to admit that the silence wasn’t much of a comfort.


I know that you had to make this your ending for the exercise, but since there aren't any rules here, I think you could change this to make it stronger. In this situation, silence definitely wouldn't be comforting, so it doesn't make sense that Frank has to admit this. Plus, I think you could definitely write a succinct one line conclusion that would make this really last in your memory.
x_Squiddish_x's avatar

Dangerous Capitalist

piggg


Thanks for the critique, dearest! And I'm glad you found mine helpful. (For spending all afternoon on it, I would hope it helped a little bit at least!) And I agree with what you've said.

Like I said before, this was all written in about fifteen minutes and I went with the first idea I came with--after receiving a few critiques, chances are good the ending is going to change a bit to make it flow together more and work out well. I'm glad you liked it though, and I'll certainly work on some changes! (At some point...)
Kivery5's avatar

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Mid-Afternoon Madness
My entry is a re-write of the Rumplestiltskin story, written from the P.O.V of Rumplestiltskin himself.

Rumplestiltskin. This name you all should know very well. It’s my name. Yeah, that’s right, Evil little me. However, did you ever think of my story? I bet not. So, prepare yourself, for I am about to shed some light, and give you the whole truth, and absolutely nothing but the truth.
It all started years ago, when I was once human. That’s right, I said human. I was a happy man with a young son and a beautiful wife. She was a beautiful maiden with golden hair and fair skin. I was a handsome man with curly brown hair, deep blue deep blue eyes, and rough, tanned skin. My young son was a handsome young boy, my hair, his mother’s eyes. He was only seven when he was taken from me.
My wife had passed long ago due to a terrible winter chill. My son knew his mother was gone, but didn’t accept it. He didn’t want to accept it. Life had gotten hard, trying to get by on our own. However, one day my boy had a terrible encounter. A homeless man came to our cottage, and sat outside, telling stories of the Dark One. The Dark One is the wizard whom everyone fears, therefore respects. My son listened. He listened and took in the information like water poured onto a wet cloth.
That was the last day I saw him.
That Night, he was taken. The Dark One took him with the promise of letting my boy see his mother.. Then, he was gone. Wiped from the face of the earth. He was killed, nor lost, just… gone. The Dark One is who sent him away.
When I found out, I went to the man and Begged. I begged and I pleaded and threw myself at his knees. He smiled at me crookedly, and then gave that dreaded offer.
“I’ll give you the ability to see your boy. To bring him back even, however he will not be yours. You’ll have to find a maiden who may one day bare a child. That child with be the rebirth of your son, but you must accept my powers.
“Anything! I’ll do anything!” I declared. That’s how he had tricked me. He gave me the wand, and then changed. Falling to the ground, his hood fell off. He was the homeless man. He had tricked my son and I. With his last dying breath, he smiled at me.
“Now… it is your… burden” he said, voice weak as he turned to dust. I felt my body start to change. Suddenly, the world was much taller. I had become lame. I became the ugly little creature you all know me as.
Now, let’s take a skip, because none of you care about what happened between this. So, how’s about we skip to the story you all know.

It had been a calm morning, and I was dancing by the fire as always. Then, somewhere in the distance, I heard a carriage. I decided to go investigate, so I rushed out and found it. Following close behind, I managed to sneak past the castle walls unnoticed. I followed the guards as they pulled a young, beautiful maiden out of the carriage. She reminded me of my wife. I felt my heart drop at the thought, but something compelled me to follow them. She was the one. The one my predecessor had prophesized about. I followed until she was locked in a room. I overheard the conversation about gold, and then I knew that was my chance. I went in, speaking to the woman. I told her that I could turn the straw to gold. She offered her necklace, so I worked. I turned all the straw into gold. It wasn’t hard, considering I had my magic to help me. Once done, I left the room, hiding behind a large pot. I stayed there all through the night, because I knew she would be taken to a larger room. When she was, I followed, and promised her the same. This time, her ring was offered. I just had to wait. If I told her about the child to soon, I would never have my boy back. So, I spun the straw to gold once more. Again, it was easy as could be.
Finally, on the third day, I went to her. This room was larger than the last, filled with even more straw. She told me she had nothing more. This was my chance.
“Then promise me, if you should become queen, to give me your first child,” is what I said to her. My heart soared when she agreed! Oh, finally the day has come when I will get my boy back! So, I worked. I spun and spun and spun, until all the straw had been turned to gold. Then I left, not wanting the king to see me.
Had I known she would lie, I would’ve let her die.
One year. I waited one full year. Each day was absolute agony. However, when the child came to the world, I was filled with absolute joy! He looked like my son, and I knew it was him. So, I went to the queen. That filthy, lying woman. She told me she would give me all the riches of the kingdom. The nerve! I wanted the boy, but I knew how she felt. I had mercy. Through her tears, I managed to make a deal.
“I will give you three days time, if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep the child.” I never said it was her child. I said the child. If she found out my name, it would then be hers. So, I left, not another word.
The first day, I came back. She listed off names, some I liked and wished I could say yes to. Unfortunately, I wanted the child. So she listed- Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar- on and on and on, but didn’t find my name. I left when she had finished.
On the second day, I returned. Again, she listed name after name-Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg- and again I said no. I was filled with joy. One more day. The last agonizing day, and the child would be mine. Finally, I would have him back.
Finally, on the third day I sat by the fire, singing a merry little tune.
'To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
The next I'll have the young queen's child.
Ha, glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.’
This was my song. The merry tune that kept my heart soaring, for I knew my boy would be mine once more. Though, little did I know the horror awaiting me.
I went back later that day, back to the queen’s room, back to the same routine. She guessed and guessed again.
"Is your name Conrad?"
“No.”
"Is your name Harry?"
“No.”
"Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"
Oh, the horror. The disgusting little wench had my name!
“The devil told you that!” I declared, stamping my food so hard, it broke through the wooden floor. She guessed it! I was beyond angry as I pulled my left leg. I tore the right off as I pulled. That pain was nothing compared to that in my heart. As I hopped home, back to my cottage, I regretted ever seeing that wench.
From that day on, I went back to the castle every day, always in secret. I was forced to watch my little one grow; see how much he resembled his previous life. I cried, knowing I would not grow old with him, not ever.
The Dark One had been right. This was a terrible burden to bare.

This is really cool. I like this twist to the story everyone "knows." "He was killed, nor lost, just… gone." The "nor" should be an "or." Other than that, you did a good job. smile
Crystal the Rebel Mage's avatar

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Pandamoneyelephant00
When the flowers are fake
can the love be real;
or does it all just fade away?
When the flowers are fake
are they as beautiful;
or is there no beauty at all?
When the flowers are fake
do they have a meaning?
When the flowers are fake
do they last as long;
or do they wilt twice as fast?
When the flowers are fake
can the love be real?

~Fake Flowers


First, it's a beautiful poem! I believe it could definitely be associated with women who are "fake", like when they have implants, plastic surgery, and just all those who are two faced. The lines "are they as beautiful," "can the love be real?" and all of those can be associated with a woman who is not true to herself. She can never love anyone and she is far from beautiful.

The only real problem I see is that most poems have capital letters at the beginning of every line, even when the sentence isn't over. I don't know if that should apply to all poems, but it's just my opinion. also after the lines, "When the flowers are fake," there should be a comma at the end.

Anyway, I love the poem. heart
Crystal the Rebel Mage's avatar

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Fake

You paint a portrait of yourself
That you want everyone to see.
Some people believe it to be true,
But not people like me.

You make your promises
And put on a show,
But your mask can’t hide the truth,
The truth few seem to know.

So you can hide behind your mask
And disguise your bitterness,
But you know damned well
You can never hide your darkness.

I can see your true form,
All the lies you can make.
You can pretend all you want,
But you’ll always be fake.
I Am

I am a mockingbird
my heart is an innocent child
doing nothing harmful to the world
only singing joyful tune when needed

Yet i am a Tyrannosaurus Rex
my feet are hammers to the ground
destroying everything in my path
and my heart is pure sin, with a thirst for evil

Though maybe i am not those things
maybe i am the wind
my quiet whispers are
nothing but beckonings
to the lonely hearted who share my pain

Invisible to all those who gaze upon the stars
yet angry, destroying masses in twisters
only hoping one day
i'll only be the wind that satifies the hot summer days
Kivery5
Mid-Afternoon Madness
My entry is a re-write of the Rumplestiltskin story, written from the P.O.V of Rumplestiltskin himself.

Rumplestiltskin. This name you all should know very well. It’s my name. Yeah, that’s right, Evil little me. However, did you ever think of my story? I bet not. So, prepare yourself, for I am about to shed some light, and give you the whole truth, and absolutely nothing but the truth.
It all started years ago, when I was once human. That’s right, I said human. I was a happy man with a young son and a beautiful wife. She was a beautiful maiden with golden hair and fair skin. I was a handsome man with curly brown hair, deep blue deep blue eyes, and rough, tanned skin. My young son was a handsome young boy, my hair, his mother’s eyes. He was only seven when he was taken from me.
My wife had passed long ago due to a terrible winter chill. My son knew his mother was gone, but didn’t accept it. He didn’t want to accept it. Life had gotten hard, trying to get by on our own. However, one day my boy had a terrible encounter. A homeless man came to our cottage, and sat outside, telling stories of the Dark One. The Dark One is the wizard whom everyone fears, therefore respects. My son listened. He listened and took in the information like water poured onto a wet cloth.
That was the last day I saw him.
That Night, he was taken. The Dark One took him with the promise of letting my boy see his mother.. Then, he was gone. Wiped from the face of the earth. He was killed, nor lost, just… gone. The Dark One is who sent him away.
When I found out, I went to the man and Begged. I begged and I pleaded and threw myself at his knees. He smiled at me crookedly, and then gave that dreaded offer.
“I’ll give you the ability to see your boy. To bring him back even, however he will not be yours. You’ll have to find a maiden who may one day bare a child. That child with be the rebirth of your son, but you must accept my powers.
“Anything! I’ll do anything!” I declared. That’s how he had tricked me. He gave me the wand, and then changed. Falling to the ground, his hood fell off. He was the homeless man. He had tricked my son and I. With his last dying breath, he smiled at me.
“Now… it is your… burden” he said, voice weak as he turned to dust. I felt my body start to change. Suddenly, the world was much taller. I had become lame. I became the ugly little creature you all know me as.
Now, let’s take a skip, because none of you care about what happened between this. So, how’s about we skip to the story you all know.

It had been a calm morning, and I was dancing by the fire as always. Then, somewhere in the distance, I heard a carriage. I decided to go investigate, so I rushed out and found it. Following close behind, I managed to sneak past the castle walls unnoticed. I followed the guards as they pulled a young, beautiful maiden out of the carriage. She reminded me of my wife. I felt my heart drop at the thought, but something compelled me to follow them. She was the one. The one my predecessor had prophesized about. I followed until she was locked in a room. I overheard the conversation about gold, and then I knew that was my chance. I went in, speaking to the woman. I told her that I could turn the straw to gold. She offered her necklace, so I worked. I turned all the straw into gold. It wasn’t hard, considering I had my magic to help me. Once done, I left the room, hiding behind a large pot. I stayed there all through the night, because I knew she would be taken to a larger room. When she was, I followed, and promised her the same. This time, her ring was offered. I just had to wait. If I told her about the child to soon, I would never have my boy back. So, I spun the straw to gold once more. Again, it was easy as could be.
Finally, on the third day, I went to her. This room was larger than the last, filled with even more straw. She told me she had nothing more. This was my chance.
“Then promise me, if you should become queen, to give me your first child,” is what I said to her. My heart soared when she agreed! Oh, finally the day has come when I will get my boy back! So, I worked. I spun and spun and spun, until all the straw had been turned to gold. Then I left, not wanting the king to see me.
Had I known she would lie, I would’ve let her die.
One year. I waited one full year. Each day was absolute agony. However, when the child came to the world, I was filled with absolute joy! He looked like my son, and I knew it was him. So, I went to the queen. That filthy, lying woman. She told me she would give me all the riches of the kingdom. The nerve! I wanted the boy, but I knew how she felt. I had mercy. Through her tears, I managed to make a deal.
“I will give you three days time, if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep the child.” I never said it was her child. I said the child. If she found out my name, it would then be hers. So, I left, not another word.
The first day, I came back. She listed off names, some I liked and wished I could say yes to. Unfortunately, I wanted the child. So she listed- Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar- on and on and on, but didn’t find my name. I left when she had finished.
On the second day, I returned. Again, she listed name after name-Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg- and again I said no. I was filled with joy. One more day. The last agonizing day, and the child would be mine. Finally, I would have him back.
Finally, on the third day I sat by the fire, singing a merry little tune.
'To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
The next I'll have the young queen's child.
Ha, glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.’
This was my song. The merry tune that kept my heart soaring, for I knew my boy would be mine once more. Though, little did I know the horror awaiting me.
I went back later that day, back to the queen’s room, back to the same routine. She guessed and guessed again.
"Is your name Conrad?"
“No.”
"Is your name Harry?"
“No.”
"Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"
Oh, the horror. The disgusting little wench had my name!
“The devil told you that!” I declared, stamping my food so hard, it broke through the wooden floor. She guessed it! I was beyond angry as I pulled my left leg. I tore the right off as I pulled. That pain was nothing compared to that in my heart. As I hopped home, back to my cottage, I regretted ever seeing that wench.
From that day on, I went back to the castle every day, always in secret. I was forced to watch my little one grow; see how much he resembled his previous life. I cried, knowing I would not grow old with him, not ever.
The Dark One had been right. This was a terrible burden to bare.

This is really cool. I like this twist to the story everyone "knows." "He was killed, nor lost, just… gone." The "nor" should be an "or." Other than that, you did a good job. smile


Thanks! I didn't notice that typo, so thank you for pointing it out, and I'm so glad you liked it!
Mairose's avatar

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I'm definitely joining this. I have a few more days of judging entries to my own contest, and then I'll get to work on this. Fantastic.

Critiquing should always be encouraged, because that's more useful than anything you can buy on Gaia.
The Solarised Night's avatar

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Hey Calvi. I am in the process of a move so I wont be able to talk for a few more days. I'll be back though
Sol: Good luck with the move! Where are you moving?

Mairose: Ed Ravings, cute clothes, silly games - they've been fun. But for a long time, Gaia was invaluable because of the community and the critiques I received/gave. Wouldn't trade that for anything.

Also - SQUEE, more entries/crits. Updating front page in a bit.

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