Reviews for The Secret: A Mostly True Story
Narq chapter 1 . 12/20/2010
The start: the confession bit really pulled me in. Great hook!

But some things just eat at you.

- at a first glance, it was weird. I had to reread it, but when I did, it gave me the goosebumps, so :shiver: great!

At first, I got confused because I couldn't see the narrator anywhere, then I realised (hopefully this is right) that the narrator is imagining/thinking he's there?

She read the card over and over with a smile and a tear on her face.

- normally I'd say cliche, but strangely, it fits this short story, the poetic kind of short story.

I liked how you handled the ending. I've got heaps to learn from you. So, I'm guessing the 'someone' is a brother/sibling?

It's such a clever wee story. Of course the kids want mum to be happy (and normal?) but of course they feel like they're lying to her... :(

great story!

Elsbeth Lagrange chapter 1 . 11/29/2010
I enjoyed this story very much- it's sad in a pretty way. Have you read, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith? It's a gorgeous novel, and something quite similar to this happens, though without the burdensome secret, which I think really adds something.
Sasha W chapter 1 . 11/18/2010
Really cool the way you decided to format/structure this. Unfortanately, this structure prevents me from making a formal analysis of individual sentences, because I couldn't be sure whether anything I could say about them would be valid or not.

Anyway, what I like the most probably is how you transformed a story into what reads to me like a poem. No. That's wrong. I think it's more than a story. It's almost like you plucked individual emotions from tense, heartwrecking situations then transformed them into colorful little stanzas...notes played on a harp?

I also enjoyed the repitition and format in the dialouge. Your wording was obviously carefully chosen and flowed well.

for ex. "'I want to tell you a secret,' Someone said" goes into "I really need to tell somebody, but you have to promise not to tell [Mom]."

On top of that, your endings in prose to these snippets of dialouge added to the power of the peice as a whole. The prose was incredibly short. But incredibly sweet and harsh too.

for ex. "It's eating away..." is super powerful. Especially since it is expressed as thought, not a part of the dialouge. And even more so still when that line is later incorporated into the dialogue.

I felt that the middle was a bit awkward, since it dips into paragraphs/lines that are nothing but prose/description, which kind of interrupted the flow. Almost made it seem like it slowly was turning into a regular narrative for a bit there, not freeverse like I was expecting. However, it was still well written and you returned to the poem-like flow quickly after. So don't worry about it too much.

Overall, that was pretty awesome. I enjoyed it from start to finish. We have such creative writers on this site, able to come up with things like this!
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
This was definitely a little outside the box, but I loved the short, clipped, mostly dialog way of writing it you took on. Such a sad, sweet story, and I can totally relate to how guilt eats at you.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
Postscript624 chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
How shiny! I really loved the way you let this story unfold. I've always had a fetish for weird, non-traditional storytelling and this really tickled my fancy.

I particularly enjoyed the way you began the story "They came to the door." It really reminds me of the "it was a pleasure to burn" straightalk of Bradbury. I loved it.

Sometimes though, I felt you got a little bogged down with the details. It was sort of redundant to say that the father had been dead eight years, and I feel like leaving it implied would play to the style of narration. Elsewhere I think you spent a bit too much time describing the mother's reaction to it and how they were told the father set the whole thing up.

On a positive note, I found wonderfully subtle little allegories for a religious journey to atheism, maybe that's just me, but the whole thing had subtle underpinnings of religion here and there which I picked up like Easter eggs.

Nicely done!
lookingwest chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
Wow, sad story Lyra! I mean it was sad but also bittersweet in a way, and I agree that in this case for sure, ignorance is bliss. I was particularly interested in the floral shop being in on this since I work at one-gee, I can't imagine ever completely endorsing an idea like that, but who knows?

One of the most interesting things about this piece is definitley the way you formatted it with those different blocks of dialogue and the subject matter. I liked that decision and I thought it brought something unique to the table that we haven't seen yet this month. I also liked how you used the "Impossible!" as a break in the narrative and change in subject, I thought that was done in a pretty cool manner, haha.

The dialogue was also kind of cool, I liked how at the end you used the brackets to say what wasn't said, though I have to admit it did get a little confusing to keep all those voices straight, which can be the downside of using that format. At the same time, I think it was executed as clearly as possible.

As far as the prompt is concerned, this was a unique working of it, it didn't have anything goth in it or vampiric, or take place in a cafe! XD I liked how you used the "love" part of the prompt and I liked how you used the imagery in the very beginning of the "white" delivery man and then the contrast with the "red roses", because that not only imparted a strong stark image in the reader's mind but also can be attributed to paralleling the prompt. So overall, well done and unique! Best of luck in WCC!
lianoid chapter 1 . 11/9/2010
I love the opening to this piece, particularly the third sentence. I thought the tone was awesome there and was a great way to catch the reader’s attention.

The second sentence in the second part is brilliant. I love the length of it and the “white shirt...white hat...mostly-white shoes” bit. It had a great rhythm to it that, along with the description, pulled me into the piece.

I also like how the tone of the exclamation of “impossible” changes the second time ‘round. Such a simple way to change the tone—with punctuation—but it had a wonderful effect. The second “impossible” with the ellipses and question mark, I can hear the hesitation and hope in it and I really like that.

The ending was really good, as well. Short and simple but I could feel the emotion behind it. The regret, the sadness, even the disappointment. A powerful short piece you have here, definitely. Visually, though, I’m not a fan of the formatting. Regardless, I think this is a solid piece and wish you the best of luck in this month’s WCC.
xenolith chapter 1 . 11/7/2010
Wow. This is such a dense story in such a small package. I'm impressed.

First off, I liked the format. I was a little annoyed, because I prefer proper spacing in prose pieces, it just makes it easier to read, but with this piece I didn't mind. It actually made reading it that much cooler. The structure was good, but I liked the beginning and end parts more than the middle. I was a little confused about the I and she characters, as I originally thought the middle part was told in third person. And the sunlight as God smiling on Jesus part threw me off, just wasn't expecting it. But the reaching into heaven part to touch his face made my heart melt, I swear. Such a sweet, genuine line. Lovely. And of course the ending was a real humdingger. Were there roses in the prompt? Must have been.

Anyway, this was good. Best of luck with the wcc this month!
thewhimsicalbard chapter 1 . 11/7/2010
Dang... I'm upset. This was probably the most upsetting story I've read all night, and I read berley's piece about corpse-rape earlier.

Goodness me. This is just... terrible. I want to smack the person in the last paragraph for ruining your speaker's angel and for ruining my night. So, I guess that means you have accomplished what you set out to do as a writer. Congratulations on that part!

I really don't have any complaints about this one, except that your characters were rather undeveloped. Your speaker could have been in jail at some point in her life, for all I actually know of her personality. Her family could have been extravagantly wealty, or just barely making enough money to scrape by. Create the image of your characters that you want your audience to see. Use their dialogue and your readers' first impressions, especially. Those two things are quintessential to a short story.

Best of luck in the WCC this month!

sophiesix chapter 1 . 11/6/2010
Aw, loved the last line. You really feel that.

I liked how the card whispered to her from beyond the grave, before we know about the death: touches like that really brought this piece alive for me.

How lovely, and then how sad/disappointing! You take the reader through all of that really well. Congrats, and good luck in the WCC!
Skyward Ending chapter 1 . 11/3/2010
This was so sad...ignorance is bliss after all :(

"Every morning, for weeks, she drank her coffee and smelled the roses and stroked them as though through them she could reach into heaven and caress his face." - Gorgeous.

The repetition of "believe" and "impossible" was well-executed. You really nailed the heartbreak.

Good luck at the WCC :)
berley chapter 1 . 11/3/2010
“The man in the white shirt and white hat and mostly-white shoes rang the doorbell and his face was lost behind a sea of red.”

-I’m not sure exactly why, but I love this line. The white, white and mostly white part was really awesome. Plus the imagery of all of the roses was really nice.

Awe, that is so sad. This story was a great way to showing the white lies and things that we do for the people that we love. It can eat away at us at times, but are needed to be done. The real question is, do you let anyone else know? the big question that I was left with was, if the Dad was still alive, would he be the type of person who would send her flowers? Probably not, I am assuming.

This really is a lovely idea that you look from the prompt. Well done. I also liked how you formatted the story as well. Very interesting.

Good luck in the WCC!