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Jack's Memory

by Liberty


A/N: This is for an English assignment! If you are going to review it, make sure not to tell me to add words, because it took forever to cut it down to 151. :) The limit is 150. 

It was winter time, and old Jack was staring out through the window from his bedroom. As usual, he remembered the death of his wife.

He recalled the spring woods, birds chirping, Ada's hand in his. Out of nowhere, the sky darkened.

A green dragon swooped down from the sky and grabbed Ada in its talons. Ada shrieked. When Jack shouted for help, a red dragon grabbed him and threw him into the bushes.

He heard a crack from his leg and whimpered.

The green dragon dropped Ada like a ragdoll. She screamed again, calling for help. The red dragon zoomed towards her and headbutted her, hurtling her towards the trees.

Then all went deadly quiet.

Horrified, Jack limped towards his wife, sobbing.

Now back into the present, Jack wiped the tears he hadn't noticed in his eyes. That was the past. Now he killed those creatures who killed his wife.


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Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:17 am
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tgham99 wrote a review...



This story packs a lot of action and quite a bit of meaning within such a small word count!

I won't go into corrections/grammar/anything like that since others have already left reviews of that nature, so I'll share my own opinion that you did a good job of capturing my attention with a story that is equal parts meaningful and adventurous. I particularly like little paragraph -- "Jack wiped the tears he hadn't noticed in his eyes" stood out a lot to me; I feel like in just a few words here, you've encompassed the fact that Jack is still plagued by the loss of his wife even when he's convinced himself that it's in the past.

Great short story all in all!




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! :)



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Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:43 pm
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WinnyWriter wrote a review...



Hey, there! This is a nice little piece, and so exciting! Considering your limitation to a certain number of words, it's really imaginative and captivating. The story draws the reader in, and gives enough details to make it exciting without ripping away the sense of shock, awe, and mystery.

I really like how you show Jack as experiencing this memory in the form of flashback. However, I'd move the first italicized words to a new line to show when the actual narration of the flashback starts.

That being said, you've done well in showing that your character is a hero. You also wove in his motivation, which is really key to a good story. One can definitely see that he has dedicated his life to avenging the death of his wife. Too bad your word count limit kept you from telling us how Jack learned to conquer the dragons, because there's kind of an empty space there and then an abrupt ending. Considering what you had to work with, though, it's pretty great. You have an awesome talent. :)




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! I had help from @niteowl and @MeherazulAzim16 - my previous reviewers too, since I edited it after their reviews. :)



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Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:54 pm
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MeherazulAzim16 wrote a review...



Hi Liberty!

I think I can help cut some more words down. But, remember, these are merely suggestion.

Suddenly he was back in the woods...

I don't think "suddenly" adds anything to the sentence here. "He was back in the woods..." works just fine. Also, you've already established in the previous paragraph that he is taking a trip down the memory lane. So it's not really happening suddenly.

Out of nowhere, the sky darkened.

How about: Then the sky darkened.

A yucky green dragon swooped down from the now-dark-sky and grabbed Ada in its sharp claws. Ada shrieked; as soon as Jack shouted for help, a red dragon came gliding down, grabbed and threw Jack into the bushes.

I feel like the events in this paragraph needed to be described better. But I understand that you had a length constraint. Considering that you did good here. The "A yucky green dragon swooped down" part was unexpected and had me hooked.

He yelled, ‘Ada!’ from the earthen ground.

I think you can leave out "from the earthen ground" altogether. You have already established in the previous paragraph that he is down on the ground.

The larger dragon...

Neither dragon had previously been described to be the larger dragon. I know that "let go of Ada" implies that it's the yucky green dragon that's larger, but I read that part after already having gone back to the previous paragraphs to scan for a mention. I think "The green dragon" works better, as it creates a clearer visual. Either dragon being larger also doesn't seem to add to the story.

The red dragon flew right underneath Ada, hardening her landing with its scales.

I thought the dragon was trying to save her. Or was he? Cool subversion of expectation there.

Jack, sobbing, dropped to his knees helplessly.

"Sobbing" and "dropped to his knees" gets the message across that he feels helpless. So maybe you can leave out "helplessly."


I think the suggested changes will give you some more words to use. See if you can take advantage of that.

The story was good for what it was. The dragons are interesting. At first I thought these are two dragons in conflict or two dragons that are out hunting. But in the end, it seems like they may as well be children who are just "playing" and aren't aware of the consequences of their actions. So, you can't exactly hate them. At the same time, you can imagine what Jack is feeling in that situation. He doesn't swear vengeance, he doesn't try to fight, he doesn't run. He's just.. helpless. I think you can build on this concept. Maybe he has a conversation in his deathbed with those two dragons (now grown up). Or maybe something just as terrible happened to those two dragons later on (because of the same lack of awareness of consequences) and Jack isn't sure how to feel about that. You have a concept that you can build on, if you choose to do so.

Aaaaaaaaand that's the review. Excelsior!

~MAS




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review, mate! I'll be rereading this tomorrow when I do English. :)





Anytime, mate!



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Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:23 pm
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niteowl wrote a review...



Hi Liberty! Niteowl here to leave a quick review.

Ugh, assignments with word limits are the worst. Like for this Holiday Writing contest, I had to keep mine to 1000 words which involved a LOT of slicing and dicing. It would also be helpful to know the parameters of the assignment, as I don't want to suggest changes that would contradict the purpose of the assignment.

For starters, I'm not sure framing this as a flashback from Jack's deathbed is a great idea. It would only work if you were able to come back to his deathbed at the end of the scene, which you really can't with the current word limit. However, if the purpose of this is to make a flashback, then obviously I would keep it, but still find a way to slash words so you can come back to the present day at the end.

Okay, now let's look at how to cut out words and strengthen the ones you have.

Old Jack was on his deathbed, thinking of Ada’s – his wife’s – death.


I don't think you need to say her name here, as it's stated later in the piece. I would reword as "remembering his wife's death." There, we've just cut two words!

Suddenly he was back in the woods, strolling along the beautiful trail, Ada’s hand in his. Out of nowhere, the sky darkened.


The first sentence is okay, but I feel you can add more vivid words to improve the description in the same or fewer words. Something like "He recalled the autumn woods, leaves crunching beneath his feet, Ada's hand in his." More vivid and actually two words shorter! Pick one or two sensory details and see if you can work them into the scene.

A yucky green dragon swooped down from the now-dark-sky and grabbed Ada in its sharp claws.


"Yucky" is a kind of blah adjective. Extra adjectives are probably the best thing to cut when writing in limited space. You also don't really need "from the now-dark-sky", as you just said the sky is darkening. "A green dragon swooped down, grabbing Ada in its talons."

Ada shrieked; as soon as Jack shouted for help, a red dragon came gliding down, grabbed and threw Jack into the bushes.


This sentence is a little clunky. I think it would be a little smoother if "Ada shrieked." was its own sentence and then "As Jack shouted for help, a red dragon grabbed him and threw him into the bushes".

He yelled, ‘Ada!’ from the earthen ground.


"From the earthen ground" is filler to me. It doesn't really add any emotion or detail that feels necessary.

The larger dragon, flying high above, let go of Ada, and all Jack could do was cry and shout. The red dragon flew right underneath Ada, hardening her landing with its scales.


This is a nice action scene! I would just cut the part I struck through because we just had Jack crying and shouting.

The ending is a little confusing. First Ada's on the ground, then the dragon drops her, implying she was actually in the air. I might just keep her on the ground and focus more on Jack's emotions as his wife is dying. With the words you cut, you might be able to explain how this incident changed Jack. Like did it lead him to a mission of dragon-slaying? Or did he just like never leave his house again for fear of dragon attacks? Again, I think a flashback is more effective if you can connect it back to the present (Jack's deathbed).

Overall, I really like the story here and how you managed to get some neat action in this limited space. Keep writing! :D




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review!! I'll be rereading this tomorrow for English. Thanks again, nite, and I definitely agree with everything you said. =)




Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
— Francis Bacon