Reviews for The Psychic
cardiff1984 chapter 1 . 11/25/2014
Omg, poor Bob, he's been drawn into Virginia's web of lies and insanity and now it could cost him his freedom and all he wanted to do was find love, and he went to find advice from totally the wrong person, oops.

Brilliant story, excellent writing.
JaredB chapter 1 . 11/22/2014
JL Reaper,

I want to say, first and foremost, that I believe this is a really good idea for a short story. If it is presented right, then it would be a great read.

Sadly, this was not presented right. At all. It felt to me that you merely wanted to show us the idea, and not fully develop that idea into a story worth reading. Maybe it's for that reason this reads like a rushed overview. The dialogue is stiff/flat, there is ZERO characterizing, ZERO scene setting, and therefore ZERO excitement while reading this piece.

Allow me to explain.

In the first paragraph, you commit your first sin by TELLING us the information you think we need to know right away. In fact, this wasn't necessary, and it was a bad way to start the story. SHOWING is usually ALWAYS better than telling - in this case, definitely.

Certain scene ideas that come to mind that could better substitute the first paragraph is Bob pulling into the rickety hut the psychic operated out of, feeling nervous. This immediately could give us a sense of action and perhaps give you an opportunity to set the scene.

Description clocks in as the second mistake in this piece - well, let me be more specific. The LACK of description. I feel like you tried in the second paragraph when you wrote 'the night was young and full of mystery as she grabbed his soft hands', but it really didn't deliver. I mean, what does a mysterious night even look like? It's such a nebulous, flowery description that it really doesn't hit.

Because of this, all of your scenes suffer from 'Talking Head Syndrome' - or, a dialogue exchange between two characters without any reference given to setting. For the reader, this is uncomfortable and not pleasant to read.

Moving on. The conversation between Bob and Virginia is stiff. Very stiff. This most likely stems from the characters not truly being three dimensional. Instead, they're rather flat and cookie-cutter. Like I said, this entire story feels as though you were so focused on how cool the IDEA was that you just kind of threw these two characters in there, almost as if they were afterthoughts.

Your characters are the most essential factor in a story. Readers will bear through an average plot for awesome characters, but will rarely go through an awesome storyline for characters who have less personality than a glass of water. My personal suggestion would be to make these character's more interesting, maybe create a backstory for them. Even if you don't include it all in the story, at least you would be able to write about them as if they were REAL. (or close to it)

The following scene ... well ... no, you can't really call it a scene, can it? It's a dry, boring statement.

'The following morning, Bob stood in disbelief as he learned his boss had been murdered'

Um .. okay? Where's Bob when this is happening? Did he walk in on it? Did he get a phone call? Is he *at* work now? Honestly, you leave so many questions it's frustrating.

Skipping the scene where Bob talks to Virginia again (refer to the above suggestions, they apply to this section as well) - let's get down to the last scene ..

So this detective just pops up (No scene, of course, just a sentence) and then raps on Bob's door and asks if Bob's been to this psychic. Bob says yup. The detective tells him that his psychic is crazy and has been killing all kinds of people to make other people's predictions come true.

What's painful most about this scene is that it had such potential to really throw the reader for a loop (in a good way). They would have been like, "Wow, didn't see *that* coming!"

Instead, it's so stale that it's impossible to care. Even Bob doesn't care. "Interesting," he stuttered. I mean, disregarding the completely inappropriate dialogue tag, what the hell kind of reaction is that? Also, why couldn't this be better foreshadowed? From our brief (and boring) encounter with Virginia, there's NOTHING that could have possibly shown us this side of her. It almost seems deceptive.

I would recommend adding tiny details that foreshadow that Virginia is capable of doing such a deed. Maybe a small ominous statement or something, I don't know. What you have didn't work for ME personally, but maybe I'm just crazy.

The final little twist this story has in store for us was equally dismal. The detective arrests Bob because, in his words , 'you profit most from this crime, and because of that, you're under arrest'

For one, this detective never read Bob his rights, so Bob sure as hell ain't staying in jail too long. Second of all, not even in fiction can something that blatantly untrue go unnoticed. I'll accept that thrillers (and most fiction) allow you to suspend your disbelief to a certain degree, but to incarcerate our main character over something so flimsy as 'you profit most from the crime, therefore you must be guilty' is ridiculous. Anyone who's ever watched CSI for five minutes can tell you that, without proof, this would be a waste of time.

And then it ends. No hints as to what happens, no resolution, just a sad, confusing story.

Like I said, it pained me to read this most because I know it could develop into a really good short story with the right writing. Sadly, this wasn't it JL. Look into the things I spoke about - setting the scene, characterization, dialogue, and pacing - and perhaps your next work will be better.

Happy writing!