James Borda Writer, Game and Interaction Designer

Short story critiques

Hannah Davis:

Best birthday ever, except for snakes.

I love it. It starts with one of the most benign premises possible, and punches through at the end with horror and comedy all in one word. It then forces me to double-back and reevaluate the opening clause – is the joyful innocence I first saw there intact, and the speaker just a bit put out by the snakes, or was it a frenzy of panic and death which still managed to improve upon all the speaker’s dismal birthdays up to now? Or somewhere in between?

Ioni Gkliati:

After All

 After All

I opened my eyes and you were there.

Light like the light around us.I hold your hand.

“welcome” you whispered

This path has no end.

Heavy drops on my head.

Surrounded by this soaking wood in a room floating in tears.

Like the ones I cried when you died.

There is an explanation included on Ioni’s blog, so I have to admit I feel like I’ve cheated a bit. I can’t say for sure whether I’d have recognized the real story if I hadn’t been prompted. But, having been told the secret, the resonance is there – a lovely tension between sadness and peace. Is this an afterlife I’d like to be part of? Would the presence of my lost love overcome the oppressive atmosphere of ‘heavy drops on my head,’ ‘soaking wood in a room floating in tears?’ The path has no end, after all.



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Posted: February 11, 2013


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Blog, Collective Storytelling, ITP