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A Snapshot of Goodbyes

by paulaplate


Tiny tree frogs croaked in trees covered with thick moss. Their voices started off as single chirps, but slowly their calls harmonized. The frogs created a song that set the mood for the dying light. A young girl sat on the edge of a wooden dock and listened to their songs. The dock creaked as the girl’s bare feet dangled above the water. A Canon camera hung from her neck. Above the marsh grass, the sun fell from the sky and bled pink and orange.

Her task was simple. Her father had asked her to capture the sunset for every night he had been gone. Three months had passed and Flora May had collected ninety-one pictures of the sun escaping the sky. Every time the sun set she was filled with dread. Night after night she watched the sun leave the sky, and it reminded her how her own father had left her. Didn’t the sun realize how lonesome the nights were without his presence?

The girl aimed her camera at the streaked sky. She hadn’t wanted to wait for the replacements to come, for the moon and his children were only a reflection of her father. Flora placed her finger on the shiny button and squinted through the lens. The sun had just slipped beneath the Earth when she snapped the picture. Ninety-two.

Flora May remembered the night her father had left. He sat with her at the kitchen table. She stared at her father’s face as if it held the answer to her troubles. “But why are you leaving?” she asked. Tears welled in her eyes, but she’d wiped them away before they could fall.

Her father had shifted his weight in his chair, “I got into some trouble,” he said. “Now I need to go fix some things.” Flora started to cry. Her father had noticed and wiped her tears away, “Don’t cry Flora, I really will be back soon,” his voice cracked. “I love you,” he said and took her into his large arms. “Will you do me a favor while I’m gone?” She nodded into his chest. His shirt smelled like cigarettes and sweat. “Take a picture of a beautiful sunset for every night I’m gone,” he said. Flora squeezed him goodbye. A few minutes later, Flora watched as sirens came to take her father away.

Flora watched the sky grow darker. She stood with her arms outstretched, the dock rocked. Water splashed onto the dock and the damp wood caused her to lose her balance. Flora’s eyes grew wide as she descended into the water. Her heart raced. “What will happen to the pictures?” she thought. She swam to the surface and gasped for air, then reached for the dock. Flora clawed her way out of the water. The marsh grass danced in the wind and turned its back on her. When she was once again on dry land, she inspected her camera. It was ruined. The black camera wouldn’t turn on. The water had destroyed every picture Flora had taken.

When Flora realized that every picture was gone, she threw the camera as far as she could into the salty water, and watched as the camera sunk beneath the surface. “No more goodbyes.” she yelled. Beside the dock, a street lamp flickered and the moon reflected a comfortable glow. 


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Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:39 pm
bernardo23 says...






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Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:59 pm
tigeraye wrote a review...



The frogs created a song that set the mood for the dying light.


heh. I love that sentence, and I have no idea why.

Every time the sun set she was filled with dread. Night after night she watched the sun leave the sky, and it reminded her how her own father had left her. Didn’t the sun realize how lonesome the nights were without his presence?


This is an awesome paragraph too. As someone with a similar experience, I love the comparison. I'd use "it" instead of the second use of "sun" since we already know what you're talking about, or "he" if you want to be even more personal. But that's just a nitpick.

I have nothing to really chastise here; it has almost the makings of a great story - a ton of emotions, a strong, relate-able message and a clear meaning behind it. The one flaw is probably word choice.

When Flora realized that every picture was gone, she threw the camera as far as she could into the salty water, and watched as the camera sunk beneath the surface. “No more goodbyes.” she yelled. Beside the dock, a street lamp flickered and the moon reflected a comfortable glow.


Here's a paragraph where you pick a great detail to put in, and a not so great one. You mention the water is salty. Why? Is Flora going to drink the water? Why does it matter if the water is salty or not? What would matter if how deep it is, foremost. The reader would want to know after she throws the camera, whether or not it'd be retrievable more than if they'd want to know how salty the water is.

On the other hand, the picture of the street lamp and the moon is very serene; it's a well-done visual. When rereading your work, try and pick through overly used, plain words and pick more powerful vocabulary. If you write in Microsoft Word, you can actually highlight a word then right click it and there will be a button for "synonyms" to replace certain words. If you do use Microsoft Word, I'd try that, it's really helpful. Good luck, I hope you stick around x_x




paulaplate says...


Thank you so much for your review! Everything that you said is very true. I really do struggle with adding unnecessary detail haha. I will definitely take your advice and be cautious as to what/when I add detail to things. Thanks again for taking the time to read and review my piece!



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Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:39 pm
steampowered wrote a review...



Hello, steampowered here for a review! Welcome to YWS, and congratulations on uploading your first work to the site.

Even without taking into consideration the fact this was something you wrote quickly, I was incredibly impressed. You’re clearly a talented writer with a well-developed writing style, and I’d love to read more of your future work!

Tiny tree frogs croaked in trees covered with thick moss. Their voices started off as single chirps, but slowly their calls harmonized. The frogs created a song that set the mood for the dying light. A young girl sat on the edge of a wooden dock and listened to their songs. The dock creaked as the girl’s bare feet dangled above the water. A Canon camera hung from her neck. Above the marsh grass, the sun fell from the sky and bled pink and orange.


I feel like it’s a bit homogenous, with all the sentences being so short and simple. Maybe you could consider linking some of these sentences up into longer sentences, so there’s a little more variety, but that’s just an idea you don’t have to follow!

for the moon and his children


By his children, do you mean the stars?

I feel like Flora falls into the water a little too easily. By a dock, I thought you meant a jetty; that is to say, something that is firmly rooted in the water. Or perhaps you meant a pontoon, which might well be more unsteady. Maybe she doesn’t fall in. Perhaps just her camera does? Again, just an idea. :)

“What will happen to the pictures?” she thought.


Personally, I’d italicise the thought processes and not put them in speech marks, because they aren’t technically speech. So something like:

What will happen to the pictures? she thought.


Although, I feel like what you’re doing is also correct.

The black camera wouldn’t turn on


I’m not convinced you need to say what colour it is, because there isn’t another camera.

I have one other question. How old is Flora? If she is a child, who is looking after her? Perhaps you could make some mention of this, although I suppose it’s not that relevant to the story.

Other than that, great job and feel free to let me know if you ever want anything reviewed!




paulaplate says...


Hey steampowered! Thank you so much for taking the time to review my piece! I really appreciated everything that you had to say. The part when Flora falls into the water was the most difficult for me to figure out, so I may need to rethink that moment. Flora is around the age of twelve, and is living with her mother. I will probably have to find a way to work that in.. Thanks again for your help!



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Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:52 am
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hello, paula ~ Weclome to YWS! I hope you enjoy your stay here ^^ Let's jump right into this review for your lovely piece of work.

I must say, you have very established descriptions and a wonderful tone throughout the entire short. The scene set is very clear in our minds and the feelings of this girl on the dock are conveyed so well ~ it's all well rounded and balanced in all the elements, which made it enjoyable and so well crafted. Great job!

Now, one thing that sort of bothered me was how did Flora simply fall in? I really don't know much about docks themselves, but I don't really recall them be able to rock so fiercely that someone on the dock itself would lose their balance and fall in. That's more like sitting on an actual boat, I believe. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Also, normally there aren't waves that strong in lakes -- because I assume she is on a lake -- because there are no natural waves in lakes. Those that do come are from strong gusts of wind, which are unlikely, and boats. Because you describe it at sunset, I don't believe there are many boats out.

Another thing that I noticed was where is Flora exactly? And I mean by position on the dock. At one point I thought she was sitting at the edge, but later on she was described as standing with her arms wide. I don't recall any mention of her standing up? (I may have skipped over that though.) That should probably be further clarified.

Thought that's all I have! Aside from some other probably irrelevant questions, this story is really short and sweet and brings a touching story around in a full loop with a good conclusions ~ wonderful job!

Hope I help some ~ Happy Writing!
~Wolfe




paulaplate says...


Thank you so much for taking the time to review my piece! It is very much appreciated (: In fact to to be honest, deciding how Flora was to fall into the water was the hardest part of writing this. When I pictured this moment as I was writing, I thought that the dock was going to be wet from some of the water that had splashed over the side, and Flora was just standing too close to the edge which caused her to lose her balance. This scene is set in a marsh. I tried my best to imply that without telling the reader "yes the story is indeed located in a marsh", but I think I'll probably have to explain that better. Overall I will probably just need to reconfigure this situation to make it make more sense. Thanks again for all of your help!



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Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:42 am
TheSilverFox wrote a review...



Wow, paulaplate - this is a very emotional and immaculate story. Well done! I'm stunned by your exceptional writing, and your beautiful words. Your details are immaculate and thoughtful. I could see the sun dipping in the sky, Flora sitting on the dock, her taking the picture, her memories, the way she fell into the water, and, lastly, the end of her goodbyes. These descriptions were powerful, thoughtful, and did a wonderful job of making each scene clear and vivid to the eyes of the reader. Finally, these details contribute immensely to the sheer beauty of the work, adding rich layers of emotions into the story and crafting a more intense and powerful work than if these details had not been here. From the way that you provided a flashback into the way that Flora's father was arrested, I felt sadness and sorrow at Flora's plight. When you described the way that Flora fell into the water, I was stunned and horrified, knowing that her camera would no doubt be ruined and all those photos ruined. When you described her anger at the end of the story, I was surprised by her reaction, but also saddened. It seems she has finally forsaken her father's wishes, and has been wrecked by the events that took place three months ago. In all, the descriptions in your story are beautiful and ingenious, and the emotions that you convey in this story, derived from the said descriptions, are equally intense and powerful. Needless to say, this story even made me want to cry - it was that good.

However, I would like to point out two noticeable errors that I noticed in the course of reading the story. In the fourth and fifth paragraphs, when Flora May remembers the scene in which her father was arrested, you use the incorrect tense. When you are describing a story in the past tense, and portray an event that takes place even before the main story, words such as "was" are usually replaced with "had been," so as to convey the setting of the event. I just wanted to point that out. Secondly, though this is also minor, in a sentence in the second-to-last paragraph - "She stood with her arms outstretched, the dock rocked" - the two parts of the sentence don't match together. They are two independent clauses, which would normally be connected with a colon, semicolon, or a comma and a subordinating conjunction, none of which connect the clauses in this sentence. As a suggestion, you could try to use any of these, or add more details, so as to connect the two components of this sentence so that they fit better together, and improve the flow of the sentence overall. Nonetheless, I found no other grammar, spelling, or any other kind of mechanic error throughout this story; it is almost perfect as far as that goes.

In conclusion, this is beautiful. Your character development, descriptions, and the sheer emotion of this piece overwhelm me in their splendor and excellence. This story was appealing, and I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. I loved the theme of the story, your usage of the setting to convey the mood and equally powerful tone of your composition, and I thought this was incredible. Welcome to YWS, paulaplate, and well done! This is amazing! :D




paulaplate says...


Thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to read/review my piece! (: I really appreciate your critiques and will definitely fix those mistakes. I probably wouldn't of caught them if I was just reading through it. Thanks again for taking the time to write this review. I was a little skeptical about posting it but your review has made me feel better about putting it out there haha.




You wanna be a writer? You don't know how or when? Find a quiet place, use a humble pen.
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