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George Talbot’s Critique of “The Neighborhood Commandant” by Liz Dolan ©

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

Gertrude Meganhardt lives year round in a seaside neighborhood. Within the first three hundred words of “The Neighborhood Commandant” readers get plenty of story, setting, characterization, mood and potential conflict. Her territory is trespassed by a “shaggy-haired young man in baggy jeans and a black tee” seen behind a neighbor’s house. It’s March, and many of the homeowners have left until the warm weather returns, including Jim, who owns the house where Gert sees the man. He’s a plumber, checking out a leak, which is enough to disarm most of Gert’s apprehension, but readers are given an inkling the story isn’t finished with his character. The man’s reappearance at the end of “The Neighborhood Commandant” is not unexpected, but the circumstances are unpredictable and add a big dose of tension and crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ed Lebowitz’s Critique of The Neighborhood Commandant by Liz Dolan ©

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 12:46 am

The theme of this story is embodied in the title, “The Neighborhood Commandant.” “Commandant” refers to a military officer in charge of a particular force or institution. In this story, the main character, Gertrude Meganhardt, is a loner who lives full-time in a resort community where most owners come only in summer. She is a self-appointed commandant in that she enforces the rules of courteous behavior in her part-time neighbors, keeps alert for problems and notifies the police when she sees them. The author’s intent is to demonstrate the natural and logical consequences of this attitude, especially in someone who is angry about being mistreated in her past. Read the rest of this entry »

The Neighborhood Commandant © by Liz Dolan (Word Count 3340)

In Short Story on December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

If anyone on her street forgot to take in their empty trash cans during the summer within a half hour after collection, Gertrude made a point of reminding them. “This isn’t Tobacco Road,” she’d say.  When tourists trotted past her house with their fancy city dogs, she’d hand them a plastic bag-just in case they  forgot to bring one. If a neighbor dumped a useful item like a swivel chair on wheels, Gert would sniff it out and push it through the streets with her two tiny mutts perched on the seat before anyone else could get to it.

          On a late March day, as she cut through her neighbor Jim’s yard, her head pivoting in that odd way she had as if she were sniffing out trouble, her two mutts yiping at her feet, she noticed his screen door was ajar. She slammed it shut. The next afternoon a shaggy-haired young man in baggy jeans and a black tee appeared from behind Jim’s house.

“Hey,” she yelled across the yard. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bowl by Pooja Gautam © (Word Count 703)

In Short Story on December 10, 2011 at 7:09 am

Walking, running and then walking again. Men on the streets were looking at the willowy figure with interest. Her dress of some soft material looked like hugging her without much interest. From faraway she looked like a lump of cloth floating on the street.
She was out of breath. She leaned on the banister nearby. It seemed like she was trying to gulp down all the air around her. She looked up and closed her eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Yellow Rags and Vaccum Cleaners by Gayatri Makhijani © (Word Count 365)

In Short Story on November 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm

A yellow rag sits upon the window sill of the white, brown kitchen. Asha hurriedly picks it up, and mops the counter clean. And, upon it she chops freshly rinsed beans, little brown onions, yellowed peppers and orange-brown carrot sticks. Asha bustles through the kitchen, clambering pots and pans, currying potatoes, and swirling spoons. In her pink saree, mellowed with time, Asha paints a haggard picture. But, if you look closely, you’ll see a shimmer in her eye. Read the rest of this entry »

Promises, Lies and Jelly Doughnuts by George Talbot © (Word Count 3306)

In Short Story on October 31, 2011 at 5:57 am

“James, there’s got to be a woman out there who will marry you. Try the want ads, and promise me — you’ll take care of my sister when I’m gone.” The last things my mother asked of me before she died. Find a wife, and care for mom’s sister, Miss Madeline Huntsberry. Both requests, blue-sky reaches.

Nonetheless, I asked three women out the next year. One accepted. Helen Langford. A forensic specialist. She made phone calls from the lobby throughout act one of an Annie Get Your Gun revival, excited that maggots in her most recent ‘client’ found behind a Fredericksburg convenience store could help pinpoint an exact time-of-death. Things didn’t work out between us. Never saw or talked to her again. And no call back from the tarot card reader with a perm I met at Pizza Hut, or the woman whose blind Chihuahua bit me. “Antoine, you and I aren’t a good match.”

I agreed. Read the rest of this entry »

Ed Lebowitz’s Critique of “Promises, Lies, and Jelly Doughnuts” by George Talbot ©

In Critique on October 31, 2011 at 5:56 am

Ed Lebowitz’s Critique of “Promises, Lies, and Jelly Doughnuts.”

Theme/intent: “Promises, Lies and Jelly Doughnuts” is a funny and happy story in which the main characters triumph over adversity by looking out for each other and honoring each others’ interests.

What I liked:

Opening: The first paragraph presents the two problems the protagonist James faces, finding a wife and caring for his daffy aunt, in a first person voice that is familiar and pleasant. You like the protagonist and care about him because of his modesty regarding his attractiveness to women and his filial attitude toward his mother and aunt.  The first paragraph also makes it clear the story will be funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative WOW: Creative Writers’ Online Workshop ©

In Ed's Blog on October 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Creative writing is a lonely pursuit that doesn’t feel lonely. You work with villains and heroes who may one minute do one thing and the next minute do the opposite. You control their actions, thoughts and emotions as well as the timing and location in which they occur. The sun rises and sets at your command. With such responsibility and so much to keep track of, it’s no wonder you don’t feel alone. Nevertheless, when you’ve written a story, it’s hard to know how good it is. Is your point of view clear? Is your voice consistent? Does the dialogue advance the plot? Do readers want to keep turning the pages? Is the conclusion satisfying?  Or, is your story tedious, redundant and confusing? Workshop tells you how your story comes across to others. You need this information. Read the rest of this entry »