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1st part of 'Not extra-ordinary, just a little out of the ordinary....'

by ABC123

The telephone in the kitchen rang before I'd even had a chance to sit down for breakfast. I was so sleepy that I didn't even register the sound at first, and for a moment, I was too startled to do anything but stare at it. Then my senses caught up with me and I picked it up and pressed the answer button, putting the phone to my ear.

"Hello?" I said, "who is this?" 

"Teva, is that you?" a familiar voice shook as it spoke, and I could immediately hear that something wasn't right.

"Yes, it's me," I said, bewildered. "What's wrong?"

I could hear deep breathing at the other end of the phone, and then I heard the words "Annalise.... has she been in contact with you at all? Since last night?"

"No," I told her with a sinking feeling in my stomach. "No, I haven't. Why?"

"Because she's disappeared - she's gone missing." The voice cracked on the word 'missing.'

My best friend had gone missing.

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452 Reviews

Points: 18918
Reviews: 452

Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:42 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there ABC123! It's MJ, stopping by for a short review on a short piece.

From what little you have here, I can already see that your pacing is good and that you are already establishing some things about your main character without explicitly telling the reader every little detail (for example, you show that she's sleepy and has just woken up by her dulled senses and slow reaction time), and that is excellent. I have just a few things I'll offer my suggestions on, and then I'll end with a few overall notes :)

"Hello?" I said, "who is this?"
. This should read "Hello?" I said. "Who is this?" to be correct grammatically.

a familiar voice shook as it spoke,
"A" should be capitalized here

"No," I told her with a sinking feeling in my tummy. "No, I haven't. Why?"
Two things: First, "tummy" feels like a strange word here. I think that "stomach" would be more fitting to the overall tone of the story. Secondly, since the previous line asked "has she been in contact with you?" the response should be "no, she hasn't," or if you wanted to have the line "No, I haven't" in here, then you need to rephrase the previous paragraph to say something like "have you spoken to her since last night?" This way, both these lines are consistent.

And finally, I would recommend that you describe an action in between the announcement that Thalia has gone missing and the final statement, to kind of bridge the gap between these two things. The best thing in my opinion for this situation would be to have Maddy put down the phone and then maybe stare at it for a second, or even do something more extreme and drop it, let it fall to her side, or collapse in a chair with shock. That gives the reader a clue that Maddy has processed this, and that this is her response to what she has just now realized.

Overall, this beginning (although short) has a lot of promise. and I enjoyed your writing style and pacing! I'd love to see more of this story and see where everything is going, as you've already done a remarkable job of creating an enjoyable, relatable main character through your brief descriptions. Excellent work on this piece, and if you have any questions, let me know and I'll be happy to help clear up any misunderstandings.

All my best,

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1238 Reviews

Points: 35807
Reviews: 1238

Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:27 am
niteowl wrote a review...

Hi there ABC123! Niteowl here to review.

There's a lot of potential interest in the premise of someone's best friend going missing. The description also gives us an idea of where this is going, which is good.

I think the conversation could be a little more fleshed out. It's unclear who she's talking to, so I'd probably have the person clarify who they are.

"Hi Maddy, it's Jane, Thalia's mom." Something like that would establish who's talking, and then we could get a little more insight into Maddy's feelings about hearing from this person. Is it normal for her to get a call from this person? Is this person not normally an early riser, making her wonder why she's up and calling people?

It also feels a little melodramatic to have the person say she's gone missing after less than 24 hours. In those first hours, I think the loved ones would be in fact-finding mode...when was she last seen? Who was she with? Where was she supposed to be? I'd think the person would relay some of these facts to Maddy, who could then add in any information she might know. Then the person would probably ask Maddy to try and get in touch with her. For example, when my friend ran away (long story), she wasn't talking to her family but she was talking to me, so I was able to let them know where she might be.
So in these early stages, I'd think there'd still be hope that she would be found, that she's at some friend's house and her phone died or something.

I'd also clarify some things, like the ages of the characters and the time period this is set in (the land line in the kitchen feels sort of old-fashioned).

One tiny comment: "tummy" seems like an odd word to use for a teenager or young adult.

Overall, this is a good premise with lots of possibilities, and it'd be interestint to see what you do with it. Keep writing! :D

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35 Reviews

Points: 816
Reviews: 35

Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:44 pm
Birdman wrote a review...

Greetings ABC123.
As a crusader against crime, every time I see a mystery novel in the Green Room, it seems like justice to review it.

I wasn't expecting too much from this with the listing as a prologue, but it would be nice for the readers to at least get a title. The lack of a title seems a bit suspicious to me, which is not the feeling a reader should be having so soon into the story, before they even get a look at the action. It feels odd to explain this repeatedly but the title decides many things for the reader's perspective, and writers should be more careful with it than they are. Hopefully the lack of including an actual title was just an oversight or not knowing how to use the yws publishing center.

Then there's the actual content of this short little piece, which again was listed as a prologue. I would have expected it to be short and lead into the main problem, but this was almost too short for me to accurately deal with. The repetition of the main information does give an important tone to this story, before slowly leading into an annoying feel for just how obvious the whole ordeal is to the reader. You might want to change the dialogue to actually reflect the confusion of one participant and the terror of the other.

If you're confused dear citizen, let me get a tool from my belt and explain further.

The word choice overall in this chapter, is highly conflicting. It swaps between professional and almost official wording, to then the descriptive "tummy", bringing back the doubt from earlier. The doubt continues for me when there's no real description around how the narrator feels and though the other character is described to be in this emotional state, it's currently not thought provoking. Focus on turning the reader towards actually feeling the scene happening, the heartbreak that they would feel in the same situation and then move onto that final line.

The final line is still troubling to me but I'll just leave it out of the critique for now. It really depends on how you lead into the next chapter. It would be better if the first chapter was a continuation on the troubling phone call but I'm doubtful that will be the outcome, with the way that the event was shaped here.

Well good day citizen.
I look forward to seeing your next chapter in the green room.


Who, being loved, is poor?
— Oscar Wilde