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Excellent Story, great twist ending - next stop 'Development Slate?

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
April 10, 2012
Robert, here are my notes as I read your new ‘updated’ version:

I love the ‘set-up’ of this story – evocative and mesmerising.

Some ‘on the nose’ dialogue – easily ‘fixed’.

And then, poetry IAN: “This layout wraps its arms around me like my mother did. A straightjacket of solitude.”

A little too much exposition in conversation – come on, after the poetry above I KNOW you can do much better!

The whole ‘deadbeat’ conversation doesn’t quite sit – needs more work/focus.

The cartoon voice ‘chat’ with himself does work BUT could be much better – take us to another level – raise the stakes = opportunity lost - no?

More enthusiast/focus on the FLAT PENNY please = isn’t that what the whole shebang is about?

The talk of the layout – no wars etc. needs much more work = move away from the cheese into meaningful and underlying theme.

The conversation: Eurostar etc. seems a tad stilted NEEDS a little something else to maintain the momentum – no?

Sequence followed by flash – needs some more work seems a little contrived, un-focused and forced.

Alex/Ian interaction a tad melodramatic/self-pity NEEDS something another dimension too one way at the mo.

Metaphor: tree etc. more interesting – something to ‘build’ on and much better than previous scene.

“Beyond a God” etc. I know what you’re aiming for BUT maybe a tad more subtle – more subtext?

State Office etc. could really do with a complete re-think - very obvious and predictable as is. Maybe flip it 180 and see what happens – might work or inch back from the polar position… maybe?

The whole Pete/Ian diatribe needs work – too melodramatic, stilted and needs more subtle references to what is/has happened = too much obvious ‘exposition’.

Alex/Ian ‘phone’ conversation – almost there just needs tweaking, good job.

Okay first major ‘concern’ – one minute Ian can’t afford Alex the very next wants to take him to Europe?

I know he mentions ‘credit card’ but so soon… well unless of course Alex’s protestations of not leaving him in the lurch makes him say: “fuck it” = growth = a very nice job indeed sir – lol!

Landlady/Ian/Alex interactions don’t work at all for me as is – sorry.

Nice touch with the Female Passenger – light at the end of the tunnel – possible future - reality…

A very well written scene in the car = Alex and Ian – bonding, excellent job.

Trackside – nice touches - BUT still needs something - I haven’t a friggin clue what BUT it definitely needs something – lol!

Phylis/Tanya scene works – nice job.

Nice ‘revealing’ scene when Ian shows Alex the ‘new layout’ – plenty of heart – nice pathos.

Nice scene with suicide jumper and cut back to reality – an eye-opener, well done.

Informative scene at Tony’s – raising the stakes/intrigue.

Nice bonding scene before the party.

Again an excellent/informative interaction between Ian and Alex about ‘Fathers’ – which to me only illustrates when the above mentioned ‘stilted’ scenes really stick out for the wrong reasons in comparison.

The dialogue at the party seems to lag at the moment – it needs some ‘punching’ up.

The reveal About Ian the train engineer could do with some serious work – doesn’t quite ‘pay off’ at the moment – unfortunately, right now I’m unsure what I’d do – sorry.

The scene directly after between Ian and Alex feels a tad to melodramatic – it needs more focus, preferably tied in to the theme with irony if at all possible. It just doesn’t feel ‘real’ to me at the moment – which it obviously needs too.

The scene with Phylis is much tighter and works much better.

Alex/Phylis/Tanya scene again edges toward melodrama and needs more clarity/focus – it’s almost there but no cigar as yet.

The Scene sequence works on a cerebral level BUT not heart – explore further?

Good scene about Eurostar – imparts despair & shows some subtle touches – nice one.

Excellent ‘interaction’ between Ian and Alex – especially when Alex redials – heart moment.

Excellent poignant scene – God/Ghosts/Inner demons etc.

An excellently written piece that gives Ian the ‘redemption’ he has looked for since the accident but was too chicken-shit to willing do himself – very well done - And yet…

BAM!

It is all thru the imagination of Ian – someone who needs to be the ‘hero’ of the crash - BUT never can be.

ALL of the “major players” seen before are in fact the actual victims of the train crash from all those years ago - Alex, a four year old boy when it happened!

The twist works very well and I believe lifts the story out of the ordinary to the extraordinary and could very easily become a suburb feature.

I also feel that “Flat Pennies” will be an excellent addition to the AS ‘Development’ and wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.

Overall, although I have pointed out several areas where the dialogue seems a tad too melodramatic – as my original mentor told me “EVERYTHING can be fixed!” And quite simply this is one of the best stories I’ve read on the site and something that I as a writer would be very proud of if I wrote it.

Well done Rob, and all the very best going forward

- with much respect, Jim.
 

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