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A Falling of Words

by Cailey

Okay, so I am always saying authors shouldn't have any sort of explanation before they post their stories and all, but here's my two cents. This is for a class, it's a piece of flash fiction and is currently sixty words too long. I'm struggling. These are characters I've worked with a lot so I especially need feedback on whether it all makes sense without the background knowledge I have, and feedback on what might make sense to cut, if anything. With that being said, edit away: (Also title needs serious help.)

Equity Blue had not written a single word for her high school English class. Now she sat at the back of the class, notebook open to a randomly selected page, brown curls hiding the blankness.

“I want a graduation poem,” Ms. Paige coaxed. “A poem of goodbye. How do you feel about endings? Write about it.”

A collective sigh united the class once more, besides Equity. She wanted to write. She wanted to explain how it felt to meet Kyler, interested in the way she devoured her vanilla cone and revealed the contents of her treasure box. She wanted to write about her brother, Promise, two years older but graduating the same year, always shaking walls with laughter but hiding deep sorrow. She wanted to tell the story of the dirt smeared fourth grader, Anza, who couldn’t read and whose grimy face lit up when Equity hopped the schoolyard fence and joined her under the metal slide. She wanted to tell the way her mother’s blue eyes stuck to the yellow pages of her dictionary and never saw her kids. She wanted to capture her grandmother’s complaints that filled the house, and the way her grandmother had lost control when the woman from knitting club called Promise a failure.

“I can wave goodbye into existence,” Equity wrote. “Make it a person. Love and hate him all at once.”

Ms. Paige noticed from her perch at the front. She began to cross the room. Her talons already reached for Equity’s words. Equity took a deep breath, closed her eyes for three seconds, opened them and in one movement shoved the notebook into her bag and pushed her chair to the floor. She ignored the crack of wood on tile, ignored the gaping stares of her classmates, ignored the fuming disbelief of her teacher, ignored everything and left the classroom without looking back.

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221 Reviews

Points: 1476
Reviews: 221

Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:56 pm
Vivian wrote a review...

I'm sorry but I don't see any reason to change this. It's perfect to me even without knowing the background information and I'm sure the whole story would be even better. For now you've got the most interesting and mysterious characters that I am sure have their reasons for acting the way they do and being where they are, (we all do). Also, I like the names of the characters, they're all so straightforward and probably deeper but it's meaningful. Sorry if this didn't help but it is a great story, I'm sure your teacher could agree to that.

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1085 Reviews

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Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:44 am
Mea wrote a review...

Hey hey! I'm here for a review on this.

So, flash fiction! I haven't really written much flash fiction, but I know it's hard to condense a story down to such a small piece. I think you've done a pretty good job here.

Probably the main thing I'm not sold on is the ending. It's just not very clear to me why Ms. Paige would try to see Equity's writing, and even less clear to me why Equity would have such a strong reaction to it, especially since she hadn't even written very much yet. Does she not want Ms. Paige to read her work? I like how it ties in with how she was thinking about goodbyes and endings, since it seems like a goodbye, but logistically it doesn't quite make sense.

You said this was for a class. I'm curious to know what the purpose of this piece is, because honestly it mostly seems to be to give a slice of the character and give a lot of backstory. Because probably 1/3 of this flash fiction piece is exposition, and that's kind of a lot. It's good to know the things she wants to express, but I feel like you put too much in there. It almost feels like it's there solely to tell the reader about all of her problems.

Instead, maybe you could replace some of the details with Equity's feelings about them. You could tell how she wishes she could heal the sorrow in her brother's eyes, or wants to coax her mom away from the phone book. Things like that would help the reader connect with her more and care about her more.

"A Falling of Words" does sound a bit odd. I feel like "A Failing of Words" might fit better with what you're trying to convey here.

I hope this helped. Good luck with your assignment!

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802 Reviews

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Reviews: 802

Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:23 am
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Dracula wrote a review...

Hey, Cailey! I love flash fiction, so I'll definitely have a go at helping out.

Equity Blue had not written a single word for her high school English class.
High school could probably be removed, I don't think it's necessary.

“A poem of goodbye.
I probably shouldn't dig this deep, but if you want to get rid one word word, you could it to 'a goodbye poem'.

A collective sigh united the class once more,
Kill the 'once more'?

Equity took a deep breath, closed her eyes for three seconds, opened them and in one movement shoved the notebook into her bag and pushed her chair to the floor.
You could perhaps remove the deep breath part, and the one movement bit. Also the last bit could be simplified, I suppose. Your writing is great, it's just that if you're desperate to save words, you could make things sound less formal and more basic. But that's up to you, because making it more basic will of course lower the overall quality of the story.

The last bit was great, it sounds like poetry. :) Hopefully you can now remove ten or so words. Good luck with the rest. ;)

I'm also not sure why but even though I normally wear cool tones I have a feeling red would have been my color in the 1860s.
— Elinor