Tag Archives: Baseball

Group Writing Critique: “Abandon Hope” by Jilanne Hoffmann

Welcome to the dogfight! Here’s a snippet from a short story by Jilanne Hoffmann, followed by critical comments. Dogpatch Writers Collective occasionally posts these excerpts of our group critiques of work in progress, and your comments are welcomed!
  • From “Abandon Hope”

I flip through the pages until I find the map of hell I’d been trying to draw. I trace the outer circle that says “Limbo” with my finger and then spiral through the circles until I reach the Circle of the Violent and remember Henry memorizing, “But now look down the valley. Coming closer you will see the river of blood that boils the souls of those who through their violence injured others.” I look up quickly to see if Henry is sitting in a dark corner of the basement waiting to jump out and scare me, but he isn’t. I haven’t seen Henry for two days, and I’m ready for this game to be over. Maybe if I just sit and wait he’ll surprise me. So I slam the book shut, squint my eyes real tight and sit there, trying not to breathe. Then I turn off the lights and stare up at the constellations. In the dark I can pretend he’s right here with me.
  • Comments from the Dogpatch:

Dear Jill: This story is sick! You’ve created a truly tragic scenario in this story, made more so by the restraint with which it is told and by the narrator’s own lack of understanding of the true implications of her own innocent actions. Pile on that her mother is completely shattered by her own historical grief and unaware of who her daughter is, and this is a story that sticks with a reader long after the pages have been put down. You do an amazing job of allowing the reader to correctly intuit what the narrator herself doesn’t know, and that makes the heartbreaking effect of the story even stronger. Nicely done! I hate you! Continue reading

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Filed under Craft, Dogfight

Group Writing Critique: “National Pastime” by Wes Pierce

Welcome to the dogfight! Here’s a snippet from a short story by Wes Pierce, followed by critical comments. Dogpatch Writers Collective occasionally posts these excerpts of our group critiques of work in progress, and your comments are welcomed!
From “National Pastime”

They sit in their usual seats. Tony has season tickets on the front row of the first balcony, right alongside third base. ‘Best seats in the house,’ according to Tony. Her husband makes a lot of money, so he can afford the best seats in the house. But for Beryl they are not the best seats in the house, they’re the worst: she is afraid of heights. 

Tony knows this. ‘We’re only twenty feet up. Thirty, tops,’ he says, whenever she brings up her fear of heights. ‘What’s twenty or thirty feet?’ 

‘But couldn’t we sit just a few rows back?’ she says. ‘Couldn’t we sit lower down?’ 

‘I don’t want to sit a few rows back. I don’t want to sit lower down,’ Tony says. ‘You can’t take in the whole field lower down. I want to sit right here.’ 

Tony says she only has to be logical about it. 

‘You’re not going to fall, if that’s what you’re worried about,’ he says. ‘And besides, we’re only twenty feet up. Thirty, tops. So even if you did fall, you’re not really going to get hurt, you know. Not if you keep your head. If you were to fall from up here, but you kept your head, you’d be all right. Oh, you might break a leg or an arm. But you wouldn’t die or anything.’

Comments from the Dogpatch:

Wes,

You’ve got a harrowing story and a parent’s nightmare—being seated next to an obnoxious drunk at some “family” event they’re attending with their child. They don’t want to leave the seats they’ve paid good money for. They don’t want to make a scene. They want to make nice while maintaining  a psychic distance from the annoying ass and hope that nothing gets out of hand. Until it does. Continue reading

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Filed under Craft, Dogfight