150 words: Footprints

150 words: Footprints

A Story by CharlieO
"

This is a really short piece of flash fiction for a magazine. I need some constructive criticism and advice so please be honest. The bits in bold are poss things to be deleted as I am over the words count at the moment.

"

 

We’re giggling, walking, or rather stumbling, along the street. In some elaborate dance, we sidestep unseen obstacles, stooping, bowing, to the chill of the night air.

‘I can’t walk in these anymore.

Another giggle. There’s a slight weight on my shoulder. The brush of hot breath, the smell of sambuca. 

‘Can’t you speed up? We’re almost home.’

‘No.’

‘It’s cold.’

A look to say it all. ‘I’m walking barefoot.’

Linking arms we continue our dance. Despite the heat the crowded dancefloor has invested in us tonight the night air is pricking my skin with cold stabs.

With permission from the red light there are more conjoined stumbles across the road. Under the streetlight, in a dry spot, she leaves a set of six footprints in what looks like snow. I take a photo.

‘In the morning you won’t remember this.’ I say.

‘But you will.’ 

© 2008 CharlieO


Author's Note

CharlieO
Please give me some honest and constructive criticism.

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Very nice changes. I like this version a lot better than first draft you had on here. Clearly an improvement. The opening is a lot better than it was the first time, but I still think there is work to be done there. In those two sentences alone I counted 7 commas. That's way too many. The best advice I've been given about commas is to think of them as pauses in your sentences. They affect the flow of your opening tremendously, and right now it is very very choppy. If you're looking to save words, I think you could take out "walking" in the first sentence. Give this version of your first two sentences a thought if you'd like. They are just a suggestion. "We're giggling, stumbling along the street. In some elaborate dance we sidestep unseen obstacles, stooping and bowing to the chill of the night air." Just a thought. I feel that this way has more of a flow to it, unless you are trying to go for the choppy feeling. If that's the case, then you should continue it through the rest of piece. As for your bolded words I would keep "anymore" and "home." I like "anymore" because it gives a sense of time early on in the story. We know that the shoes have been on for a long time. I think that helps the story. I don't know how you can get out of not having "home" in there, unless you take out that whole sentence. I also like having it there because it gives a destination. In the sentence that begins with "linking" you might want to think about changing the word "dance." You use the word dance in "dancefloor" in the next sentence. I'd change it to "waltz." Then again, I'm a sucker for waltzes. It changes the feel of the story a little, but waltzes are also known for their occasional drunkenness, so I think it could work here. That's just a me thing, and isn't that important of an issue. If you're thinking about changing it though, I'd be sure to keep "dancefloor" because it fits with the alliteration of the line. Instead of taking out "night," I'd take out the "tonight" right before it. I don't feel that it's needed. The reader already knows it's night time. Maybe change "night" to "winter" or "autumn." Take a look at the line "With permission from the red light..." It's just a mouth full. I'm not sure what I would do with it, or if there is anything really to be done, but I leave that up to you. So Last but not least. The line "Under the streetlight..." If it's a dry spot, how can there be snow there? Not sure if I understand that. Whew, that was a long review. So like I said before, a neat little piece. I really do like it. I like the ambiguity of it. That's what makes it interesting. These are my suggestions, take them for whatever they are worth. I hope they help you with this story. If you'd like, let me know what you're trying to do with this story and I can focus my critique in that direction. Good luck.

Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very interesting piece of Literature that I just read there, but nonetheless it's very good. You've painted and depicted quite a picture with just the use of one-hundred fifty words. I do, however, agree with some of the comments that have already been posted on already. Though the use of commas really points out the minor details of the writing, I believe that you just have one or two too many. It just feels that, when I read it, I get slowed down or halted in the first two lines. It's a minor problem, sure, but it's still a small falter in the work. Other small little problems...hm...
Well, I think the problem that stands out, in my complete opinion, is the line that starts with, 'Despite the heat the crowded dancefloor...' To me, the word 'tonight' simply doesn't fit in, and I think that should be a change, rather than change the word 'night' that comes after it. Also, what I find to get to fix as well would be that...well...I believe that there needs to be something between the 'tonight and the'(or rather, us and the[provided you decide to take out the word 'tonight']). I feel that it either needs to stop completely with a period, or conjoined with a semi-colon. Either way, I feel that it would be classified as a run-on sentence.
That's the only 'major' problem that I find, but, like I said, that is in my complete opinion, and I could always be wrong. Other than those two 'problems' in this story, I believe that this is a wonderful story with One-Fifty words. Congrats on the beautiful write, and I look forward to more!

Posted 11 Years Ago


I really liked your poem. I thought it was well written and I felt as if I were right there in the moment. I will check in now and again and read more of your work.

Frank

Posted 11 Years Ago


I had something to say, once, but then I wasn't online for awhile and all these people said anything I might have, so I don't have anything to add really, good job making 150 words count and I hope you win/won.

Posted 11 Years Ago


/Draft Two/

This has definitely improved - you've taken everyone's advice well so far and it's a slicker piece.

There are a couple more things I would alter from this. Where you've got 'The brush of hot breath, the smell of sambuca,' I would change the comma in the middle to a full stop instead. I also agree with Peter's comments about the commas in the first sentence. There are a few too many, and the sentence slows up the pace. His suggestion is a great one.

There is one other sentence that I don't particularly like: 'With permission from the red light there are more conjoined stumbles across the road.' I enjoy the ironic juxtaposition, but I don't feel the second phase of the sentence flows particularly well. Maybe, 'we again stumble conjoined across the road.' I'm still not sure about this entire part.

My final suggestion is to remove the 'but' from the final sentence. I think it sounds better without it being there. Why did you add it? Was it a suggestion?

Also, did you change the number of footprints from four to six?

Peter seems to have been a bit confused by the 'what looks like snow' part - it can be a bit confusing. Maybe if this is reworked, the possibility of confusion would be removed. I think the issue is that I can understand the sentence having seen the picture. Instead, we want it that the picture will expand on what the writing has shown us.

This is really good!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Very nice changes. I like this version a lot better than first draft you had on here. Clearly an improvement. The opening is a lot better than it was the first time, but I still think there is work to be done there. In those two sentences alone I counted 7 commas. That's way too many. The best advice I've been given about commas is to think of them as pauses in your sentences. They affect the flow of your opening tremendously, and right now it is very very choppy. If you're looking to save words, I think you could take out "walking" in the first sentence. Give this version of your first two sentences a thought if you'd like. They are just a suggestion. "We're giggling, stumbling along the street. In some elaborate dance we sidestep unseen obstacles, stooping and bowing to the chill of the night air." Just a thought. I feel that this way has more of a flow to it, unless you are trying to go for the choppy feeling. If that's the case, then you should continue it through the rest of piece. As for your bolded words I would keep "anymore" and "home." I like "anymore" because it gives a sense of time early on in the story. We know that the shoes have been on for a long time. I think that helps the story. I don't know how you can get out of not having "home" in there, unless you take out that whole sentence. I also like having it there because it gives a destination. In the sentence that begins with "linking" you might want to think about changing the word "dance." You use the word dance in "dancefloor" in the next sentence. I'd change it to "waltz." Then again, I'm a sucker for waltzes. It changes the feel of the story a little, but waltzes are also known for their occasional drunkenness, so I think it could work here. That's just a me thing, and isn't that important of an issue. If you're thinking about changing it though, I'd be sure to keep "dancefloor" because it fits with the alliteration of the line. Instead of taking out "night," I'd take out the "tonight" right before it. I don't feel that it's needed. The reader already knows it's night time. Maybe change "night" to "winter" or "autumn." Take a look at the line "With permission from the red light..." It's just a mouth full. I'm not sure what I would do with it, or if there is anything really to be done, but I leave that up to you. So Last but not least. The line "Under the streetlight..." If it's a dry spot, how can there be snow there? Not sure if I understand that. Whew, that was a long review. So like I said before, a neat little piece. I really do like it. I like the ambiguity of it. That's what makes it interesting. These are my suggestions, take them for whatever they are worth. I hope they help you with this story. If you'd like, let me know what you're trying to do with this story and I can focus my critique in that direction. Good luck.

Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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I won't sink in too deep with my review =) - very nice story, powerful language that takes short and simple story genre work to a new level, simple storyline that reveals a short, but obviously important event in two girls (I guess) lives, though their gender isn't quite important as I think. The surrounding environment is mystical and intriguing, i wouldn't want form the moment to end! And I to agree with one review here, that the characters could build the atmosphere themselves, maybe with their shared thoughts and speech. Still, a very enjoyable writing!

Posted 11 Years Ago


I love this piece! It totally made me smile on the inside! Lol!

I think that the words you chose in bold to possibly remove are perfect. I read the story with and without them and they seem like the right choices. With the exception "a set". I really think that should stay; it just wouldn't have the same effect without them. I think you could afford to lose the "we're" that starts the first and the second sentences and construct those sentences like you did the third one.

Other than that, I think it's a great piece! I can't believe how much you said in such a short story! Love it!

Posted 11 Years Ago


One of the things that I would change in this piece is in the first and second lines. I would word it as,
"We're giggling and walking, or rather stumbling, down the street; side stepping in some elaborate dance past unseen obstacles." The only reason for this is to get rid or the second "we're." I found it a little repetitive as I was reading just because the two same words were so close to each other. However, you might have been going for that to help with the flow of the piece. So my suggestion is really just a personal preference I suppose. The other word I would consider replacing is the word giggle in the fifth line. You already used a form of it in the first line, and because your word count is limited, I would vary the words as much as possible. I love the line, "the air is pricking my skin with cold stabs". It's a very vivid piece overall, the images are wonderful. You've captured a lot in only 150 words. Hope I helped a little.

Posted 11 Years Ago


/Draft One/

With the submission, are you able to submit the picture too?

I still really like this: I like the ideas about the dancing, and the little images you have about the breath and the smell, the way you move the focus about in the last line (a slightly confusing point, but I like how the narrator's words are echoed and then turned back towards her).

If you are trying to reduce the words, you can actually get rid of all of the words you've placed in bold, and a few more. If you do this, you'll change the narrators voice a tiny bit, which'll make the dialogue stand out even more.

You could also make 'sidestepped' and 'dancefloor' into single words.

This is just phase one - I'm sure we can get through a couple of drafts before the deadline!


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i think this set of action ,,kind of two heavily drunk couple though you do not mention anything about them ,its like a monolgue ,or a one act play ,i rather like it only there are some gaps you should look at like going deep into their characters tell us some more about them,this could be very nice really if you work more on it ,yes i think it needs more work,my humble opinion off course ,i could be wrong ,just give it a little more work,i think,thank you for sharing,M

Posted 11 Years Ago



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Added on July 31, 2008
Last Updated on August 2, 2008

Author

CharlieO
CharlieO

Southampton, United Kingdom



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Hello there, I'm have been on this site for a couple of months now.I have just started writing again having gotten bogged down in work for my university course (English Literature at Southampton Uni).. more..

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