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Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:02 am
Calligraphy says...



Oh thanks so much guys one, two, ... five reviews to read! Well, I better get started thanks for all the help!

A. S.




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Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:50 pm
Elinor says...



Hi again Cali!

So, I don't have that much to say because you've made this new draft much, much better then the original. The story feels a lot more coherent and gripping. I love how you build everything up, and the scene where she's bullied by the other kids at school and the ending are especially strong. I think it has much more of a focus then it did before, but I still think that you could make it a lot stronger.

Even though the story about the dad is supposed to be more of a subplot, it's definitely built up too strongly in the first part for you to just forget it in the second part. Does she think of what her father would say if he knew what was going on? Does she wonder if the package is from her father? Overall, I'd make the two plot-lines in the story more connected and seamless then they are now. Maybe she gets the package at the beginning of the story, and they talk about dad while sewing bits of the coat. That way you'll get to build up enough of the character and motivation that will drive the piece and make the ending seem more touching.

Overall, this is a major improvement! Hope these thoughts help a bit. ^^

-Elinor x




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Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:49 am
Light_Devil! wrote a review...



Good day to you, I am here on part of the Four Musketeers and I am quite happy to make your acquaintance. At your service, my good friend. Now, I am here to review! Let us begin!

Calligraphy wrote:<I wrote this short story for the contest Tear Jerker song. It ends on the 14 so if you are going to review review now! The song that I followed is Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton. I want nitpicks, but also want reviews on the content. Does it make sense to you?>


It may be beneficial to put the description below your story, as the unneeded writing is a deterrent to the casual story skimmer.

Pumpkins sat about me on our old front porch.


Who or what is Pumpkins? Also, about the porch... Is it an old porch? Or is it a porch which you use to once own? The two different meanings are a little confusing here.

I picked at the peeling red paint on the steps as the cold breeze made goose bumps run up my legs.


I don't like the way you've explained the goose bumps. The word "made" is... very simple, but I suppose since the child is the one writing it... Though that's just the point, how does the little girl know it was the cold?

I stood up as my momma walked out, letting the screen door slam behind her. She picked up the lantern I had set beside me; we wouldn’t get back until after dark.


Mmmm, I don't like the word "slam". A door doesn't slam shut unless it is broken, automatic or swung hard.

Momma’s hands were warm and callused, but at the same time, soft; I always felt cozy and comforted when she held my hand like she did now.


When did the mum grab her daughter's hand? I think you tried to put the movement into the sentence, but it isn't clear enough. Maybe changing it to, "soft; I felt cozy and comforted as she pulled my hands into hers, like she always has."

As we walked, we talked about all sorts of things. This was my favorite time, when Momma and I would walk to the barns every night to do chores; not even the evenings we sewed together were as special. “Momma,” I asked. “Does daddy still live here?” Then I didn’t realize that he often traveled to find work and when he could come home he came long after I went to bed and left hours before my mother or me even got up. When I did see him seemed years apart to me though it really wasn’t more than a week of absence. I used to cry in his closet wrapping myself in his shirts.


Cute. :D

All I wanted was a hug or a kiss or his laugh.


The proper way of writing this would be: "was a hug, a kiss, or even just his laughter..."

I waited patiently as my mother slowly sounded out the words: For the girl. That was the first night in a long time when my momma laughed. She laughed out of happiness until she was forced to slide against the wall to the floor. She laughed until she cried. Her laughing made me laugh and we both sat there hugging our stomachs unable to stop.


I'm missing the joke as well... I don't understand. Why are they so happy?


Mamma had already taught me a lot of reading, writing, and some math, but today I would lean #FF0000 ">learn from a teacher.


Fixed it up.

“Your big thought that I can barely hold in my big hands. They’ll never know it, but Moses will and I will and Momma will and God will. So, you gotta where that coat with pride. Like Joseph wore his cus yer not poor unless you choose to be.” I did wear that coat for the rest of that school year and the next. Patches were sewed over patches, but I always tried to follow my father’s orders.


Gah-blah. I thought maybe this story was going somewhere, but alas, it doesn't. As a non-religious person I think this story is alright. I understand and actually like the story of Joseph, but... this doesn't go anywhere.


Overall:
I like the cute girl you have. She is not flat and her attitude towards the world is so entirely innocent. I like her. :D However... your story seems to lack anything else worth reading. The moral is nice. Though I wish it weren't so... pounded into me... like if I didn't know I would have to know it by the end. Hmmm, other than that this story is nice. Short, to the point and has a well-rounded, if not sort of preachy, ending. It has... the bones, thin muscle and skin of being a particularly fine specimen, but work it a little and you'll find yourself with a good pedigree.

Have A Nice Day,
Azrael.




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Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:57 am
Patch wrote a review...



Oh boy, lucky you, I'm a reviewer who doesn't particularly like religion...
Also, this review will probably be a bit nitpicky.

She picked up the lantern I had set beside me; we wouldn’t get back until after dark.

There is room here for description on the lantern, even if its a simple word.

For the next couple of paragraphs you do a good job of painting this picture of a poor family on hard times from the perspective of a child. There's a certain innocence in your writing that makes this sad picture seem happy and warm.

I waited patiently as my mother slowly sounded out the words: For the girl. That was the first night in a long time when my momma laughed. She laughed out of happiness until she was forced to slide against the wall to the floor. She laughed until she cried. Her laughing made me laugh and we both sat there hugging our stomachs unable to stop.

Maybe its a sense of humour difference, but the two of them break into lots of laughter. I wouldn't say hysterical... just lots. Maybe I'm just not getting the joke?

“Well, the note says they are for you, Jo. What would you like to do with them?” My first thought was my bare arms that always seemed to be ice cold. I rubbed them as I thought.

First mention of cold arms, but eh, can't complain.

The crackling fire gave us light and warmth.


The crackling fire? While that is a good description of a fire, it's a bit confusing. I'm genuinely not sure what era this story is in, or where it is set. Unfortunately, adding something into that line might take away the neatness or simplicity, so its up to the writer if they want to add in that its a gas or wood fire.

Days passed then weeks.

I don't know anything about sewing, so its probably accurate, but to me that seems like a while. But like I said, nitpicking...

Joseph had lots of brothers, but the brothers were jealous of him because he had a coat with lots of colors. They threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery, telling their father that Joseph was dead. Joseph’s new masters brought him to a new land he had never seen. But he worked hard and God helped him. Soon he became second in command next to the Pharaoh. God told Joseph that a drought was coming, so Joseph had the kingdom prepare for it. When the drought came, the countries around Egypt started to starve, so they asked for help. Joseph’s brothers came to ask for help, too. But, instead of being angry, Joseph helped them.

You summed up an entire bible story in a neat paragraph. Nice.

“Not until tomorrow before school. For good luck.”

I was a little confused here, literally asking myself 'She goes to school?'

“I hope that, like with Joseph, this coat of many colors will bring you hope and happiness.”

For those unfamiliar with the story, all they know is that the coat got Joseph sold into slavery. Is that really something you wish on your daughter?

Dammit seeminglymeaningless! Beat me to it.

When I entered the playground, almost all the students were there, playing and laughing together.

I have a feeling the kid is more then a little lost, since its her first day at a school and she's alone, unless she had been there before or something.

“So you’re from the country I suppose. Way out in the sticks.”

I know that's a character assuming something, but how did they reach that conclusion?

“Can’t you talk?” She asked as her scowl turned to sneer.

What scowl? Until this line I really thought the girl just had a very neutral face.

For the section about 'him' you never specify who 'he' is, relying on the viewer to figure it out. While that might be fine for the first once or twice you do it (setting it up for a proper reveal) if you just leave it as 'him' it can be confusing.

“I have my ways. But back to those kids in the school yard. The second secret is that they don’t know and probably know your secret.”


I'm going to go ahead and assume she told him what happened?

“Your big thought that I can barely hold in my big hands. They’ll never know it, but Moses will and I will and Momma will and God will. So, you gotta where that coat with pride. Like Joseph wore his cus yer not poor unless you choose to be.” I did wear that coat for the rest of that school year and the next. Patches were sewed over patches, but I always tried to follow my father’s orders.


Moses? Wouldn't it have made more sense to say Jesus or God? To me it sounds like you were just trying to avoid saying Jesus twice.


Overall you have a good story and you've done well to set it up in a logical and well written order, although the conclusion paragraph feel to me a bit... short and somehow incomplete. Like what the father said was the important part, and maybe it was? I'm getting confused thinking about it, because after telling Joseph's tale I thought the story was about the symbolism of cloak and its connection to the girl.




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Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:45 am
seeminglymeaningless wrote a review...



Hey Calligraphy :) I'm here representing one of the four Musketeers. One for all! And all for one! Thank you for visiting our WRFF thread.

On to the review :)

Pumpkins sat about me on our old front porch.

It might just be me, but this first sentence confused me. I immediately assumed Pumpkins was the character's dog/cat (as we actually owned a cat called Pumpkin), and as you can imagine, the sentence made no sense with the idea that "Pumpkins" was an animal. Perhaps if you had said, "Orange pumpkins lay amongst tangled green vines near our front porch. I sat down on the top step and picked at the peeling ...."

I picked at the peeling red paint on the steps #00BF00 ">as the cold breeze made goose bumps run up my legs. I stood up #00BF00 ">as my momma walked out, letting the screen door slam behind her. She picked up the lantern I had set beside me; we wouldn’t get back until after dark.

Be careful of repetition. The last sentence also doesn't seem to be needed either. Couldn't the main character's mother just carry the lantern out with her and grasp the child's hand with the other?

“Momma,” I asked. “Does daddy still live here?”

I'm trying to picture the child's age in my mind. Intitally I thought she was around ten years old or so, but I think you're aiming for younger. I believe a child of six would ask, "Where is daddy?", not "Does daddy still live here?" If you know what I mean.

Then I didn’t realize that he often travelled to find work and when he could come home he came long after I went to bed and left hours before my mother or me even got up.

I think the beginning "Then" should be replaced with something like, "When I was that young", or "At the time", because the "then" in that spot symbolizes what happens after she asks the question.

I wanted to give him a kiss back. I wanted to get a sip out of his coffee. (Momma didn’t approve, but he always snuck some to me.)

Here I don't think you need the brackets, a simple ";" or "-" would suffice.

That evening when we walked #0040BF ">back up the steps of our front porch #0040BF ">after the chores, even with the lantern held out in front of us, we almost stumbled over a wooden box.

Okay. I have a few problems with this.
1) If they only went to the barn to do menial jobs, they would have heard the postman (people who live on farms are always aware when there are people on their property).
2) Postmen don't travel to farms in the country. People who live in the country own post office boxes in the nearest town, and they have to drive there to pick it up.

So my momma carried #0040BF ">the box into the kitchen and undid the latches to open it up.


All I could think was that someone out there gave these to us and didn’t even ask for thanks. They didn’t even want credit for their gift. They just gave.


The whole time at the back of my mind I wondered who it could be#0040BF ">. I didn’t find out that night, but, at the very bottom of the box there was a note.


I waited patiently as my mother slowly sounded out the words: For the girl.

I don't know what to make of this story so far. They live on a farm, the father is always trying to find work. And the mother can't read. Who in this day and age can't read? But then, your story might be set sometime in the past. I'll keep reading.

That It was the first night in a long time when since my momma laughed.



She #00BF00 ">laughed out of happiness until she was forced to slide against the wall to the floor. She #00BF00 ">laughed until she cried. Her#00BF00 "> laughing made me #00BF00 ">laugh and we both sat there hugging our stomachs unable to #00BFBF ">stop. Finally Momma #00BFBF ">stopped. After a few moments I recovered too, but I still had to stifle a few giggles.

“Well, the note says they are for you, Jo. What would you like to do with them?” My first #BF4080 ">thought was my bare arms that always seemed to be ice cold. I rubbed them as I #BF4080 ">thought.


They were all very different, except for the ending; a young girl would always fall in love through hardship and they would marry and live happily ever after. Momma would tell all sorts of stories too, but most of them were about her childhood or a man named Jesus.

Joseph and the coat of dreams, eh? It didn't even click that your character's name was Jo.

I didn’t know how many nights we worked on the jacket, but the ones when I fell asleep to my parent’s whispering voices always have stuck out in my mind.Days passed then weeks. Before I knew it the jacket was finished. That last evening my mother told me of a boy named Joseph.


Joseph had lots of brothers, but the brothers were jealous of him because he had a coat with lots of colors. They threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery, telling their father that Joseph was dead. Joseph’s new masters brought him to a new land he had never seen. But he worked hard and God helped him. Soon he became second in command next to the Pharaoh. God told Joseph that a drought was coming, so Joseph had the kingdom prepare for it. When the drought came, the countries around Egypt started to starve, so they asked for help. Joseph’s brothers came to ask for help, too. But, instead of being angry, Joseph helped them.

I know this is necessary for the story, but I can't help but think this could have been incorporated better. Maybe in the form of dialogue between Jo and her mother as they sewed.

The next #00BF00 ">morning I woke up early. That #00BF00 ">morning was really the first day of winter because frost was in the corners of my room. The air was freezing and hung about me like a garland on a Christmas tree. I ran to my mother’s bed and shook her awake.

My excitement could not be contained. Today was my first day of school. Mamma had already taught me a lot of reading, writing, and some math, but today I would lean from a teacher. That #00BF00 ">morning my mother humored me.


“I hope that, like with Joseph, this coat of many colors will bring you hope and happiness.” She leaned down and kissed the collar, then sent me trotting down the old dirt road.

Knowing that the coat resulting in Joseph's slavery, I wouldn't be wishing that my daughter endured the same unhappiness. Also, if Jo is attending her first day of school, her mother would walk her. Especially if the school is far away.

She was older than me, not by much though, maybe ten. She chewed her bubble gum and twiddled with the ribbons in her hair. “So you’re from the country I suppose. Way out in the sticks.”

If Jo is from the country, and this girl is from the town/city, why would they be attending the same school? Either Jo just walked all the way into town, or this girl is attending a country school. It doesn't make sense.


“Hey Rebecca#0040BF ">,” she called. “Come here. The new girl doesn’t know how to talk.”


They weren’t as mean. But, no one came to save me.


The school bell started to ring. But, it was ignored.


But, when I felt them around me I knew they weren’t hers.


“I tried to explain, but they wouldn’t listen. You’re only poor if you want to be.”

That seems like a really wise thing for a little girl to say. Also, why would she know she was "poor"? Who did she have to compare their current state with?

“That’s a big thought for a girl your age to be thinking.”

lolz. See? Her father agrees :P

“First the scraps that made your coat were from the tin peddler.”

? Is this relevant?

“Your big thought that I can barely hold in my big hands. They’ll never know it, but Moses will and I will and Momma will and God will. So, you gotta where wear that coat with pride. Like Joseph wore his cus yer not poor unless you choose to be.” I did wear that coat for the rest of that school year and the next. Patches were sewed over patches, but I always tried to follow my father’s orders.

Joseph didn't wear the coat because he didn't want to believe he was poor. Joseph wore the coat because he was given the coat deliberately to single himself out. He was special, smarter, better than his brothers. It was his special treatment, and the making of the spectacular coat that was his downfall. I think you tried to draw parallels here that don't work.

It was a nice moral story, but I think you could have chosen a different Bible story to base yours upon. Like David and Goliath. I don't know. I thought it was sweet that Jo didn't care what the other kids thought about her coat, because she believed in her parents and the value of something hand made over something store bought, but I don't think many readers will be able to feel a connection with your main character.

Especially seeing as this is set some time in the past and the character is so young. What were the parameters of the contest?

Hope this helped :)

- Jai (one of the four Musketeers)

EDIT:

Reading over it again, I'm wondering if you needed anything about the father at all. The story can be reduced dramatically by size if you cut him completely out, thus leaving more room to expand upon the bullying scene and extrapolate the explanation of the story of Joseph.




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Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:37 am
dexterra wrote a review...



Cute story :)

Pumpkins sat about me on our old front porch. I picked at the peeling red paint on the steps as the cold breeze made goose bumps run up my legs.


Who or what is Pumpkins? If its a cat or something, mention it - it was a little confusing to read, especially as you don't mention it again.

Momma’s hands were warm and callused, but at the same time, soft; I always felt cozy and comforted when she held my hand like she did now. As we walked, we talked about all sorts of things. This was my favorite time, when Momma and I would walk to the barns every night to do chores; not even the evenings we sewed together were as special.


Loving the way you're describing things at the moment, the narrator's obviously quite young and still as that innocent quality.

“Momma,” I asked. “Does daddy still live here?” Then I didn’t realize that he often traveled to find work and when he could come home he came long after I went to bed and left hours before my mother or me even got up.


Awww, she misses her daddy :( Nitpicks: "Then I didn't realise" should be "Back then I didn't realise".

The whole time at the back of my mind I wondered who it could be I didn’t find out that night, but, at the very bottom of the box there was a note.


Sentence is too long - you need a break after "I wondered who it could be". Start a new sentence after it, and then read the whole thing out loud. It'll make more sense :P

“Well, the note says they are for you, Jo. What would you like to do with them?” My first thought was my bare arms that always seemed to be ice cold. I rubbed them as I thought.

“A coat?” I asked.


I liked this part :D
They were all very different, except for the ending; a young girl would always fall in love through hardship they would marry and live happily ever after.


Read that aloud. Who is the young girl falling in love with? It's not said. I would write: A young girl would always fall in love with some charming young man, and through their own hardships they would marry, and live happily ever after.

Momma would tell all sorts of stories too, but most of them were about her childhood or a man named Jesus.


Once again, I loved this part - as a young kid you didn't really care for stories that didn't interest you. I like how she just palmed off the Jesus stories, haha.

Mamma had already taught me a lot of reading


You changed the way you spelled "Momma'.
~~~
I was too shy so I stood watching as it spin round and round fiddling with the strings on my coat.

*Spun

“Your big thought that I can barely hold in my big hands.


I liked that! That was really cleverly written :D

All in all, I did enjoy that story. It was cute, and clever.

If anything, you need to expand on when she saw her father again, and you need to expand on the bullying part - more on what she felt, if that makes sense.

You use good grammer and punctuation, and you kept pretty true to the way that Jo would say or do things, which alot of people find hard to do sometimes.

So I have this to say - kepp writing! :D




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Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:08 pm
Calligraphy says...



Thanks, El. :) That really helps. The reason I had her say "Does daddy still live here?" is because I said that to my mom when I was little...




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Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:59 pm
Elinor wrote a review...



Hiya,

So, I like this. It's well written and you've developed some good characterization. But I don't really know how to describe this story in terms of the way it made me feel. It's cute and touching, yes, and I really like your word choice and style. However, this is not a very sad or emotionally gripping story. I think this is mainly because you need more of a focus. The beginning is good since you draw us in about how the father's looking for work (Although it does seem a bit unlikely that he would go out all day, every day. I know the family's desperate, but he would still want to spend time with his wife and kid) and then you just sort of forget about it. I can kind of get that the father sent the package, but if he had time to do that, couldn't he just deliver it himself?

Anyway, after your narrator gets the coat, the father is never mentioned again, and it becomes about the story of Joseph and his coat. Then you go straight to her being teased for being poor and wearing the coat. What happened to the father? I can kind of tell this story is more about the coat, so try to develop it as such. I think I'd either have her get the coat earlier, maybe just before the story begins. Then you can devote the whole attention of the story to the coat, and maybe have the mother and the narrator talk about her father here and there.

Also, it would be nice you could develop the teasing scene a bit further, maybe add a bit more dialogue. Show us the reactions of the other children, build up the scene. Instead of telling us what happened to her, show us. Also, your narrator doesn't really seem that angry/sad as I feel like she should after she's been teased. So try to work on adding a bit more emotion when she gets home and tells her mother what happened. Does she burst in to tears? Scream and cry? That way you'll get to add a bit more tension and that will make the ending seem a bit more touching.

Anyway! I wish you best of luck in the contest, and feel free to PM me if you have any further questions.

-Elinor x





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