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Here's a submission for the Machine of Death anthology. I'm going to send it in a few weeks. Any help you guys could offer with this appreciated.
People will always try to beat the machine, but it may not be for the reasons you're expecting.

"Look." I sighed. "My employer has instituted mandatory testing. I have to find a way to beat the machine."
"Sheesus." Paul said. "Why'd you want to work for a bunch of pricks like that?"
"It's more of a calling" I said, lifting the top back on my trench coat showing him my white collar."
Paul choked on the most recent pull of his drink, although he was able to maintain enough composure from doing a full-blown spit-take. He wiped the rivulet of brandy and soda water off the bottom of his chin with his hand. "Holy shit, father."
"You don't have to call me that." I said quickly. "Just help me beat the machine."

It's only 1,200 words: Read the whole thing at Google Docs.

I agree. Great concept, very

I agree. Great concept, very good dialogue. But more narration to fill in some of the gaps and slow the pace down a little would help a lot. What's there is very good and very noir. (I love the line where he admits he's not a very good priest.)

The reader just needs a little more in order to understand it better.

In Bed With A Hooker

I like it. I agree that it does need to be longer with some more plot points. I had to read it twice to be sure I got it. A really good start though...

Run that by me again?

Wow, that went by really fast. So fast, in fact, that you lost me. It had a wonderful noir feeling for a bit, but your haste to get all of your points out onto paper started taking away from that.

I like the concept, and in general I like the execution. I just want more time in which to appreciate it. More time to understand what's going on- it gets a little hazy in the last third. I want a better feel for the setting, for the flavor of it. Seedy bar, grimy glasses, surly and doomed bartender.

I need more on the relationship between the main character and Paul. They seem to be familiar ("A guy like you...") yet missing some key details (like the main character being a priest). The whole Benny thing needs to go someplace- I don't see why the topic even comes up. What does it mean that "Benny can beat the machine", and why does the offer of "narc"ing on him mean so much?

I'm a big fan of leaving things out to build suspense and give the reader a feel that there's a wider universe out there than I'm using for my story, but you can't do that with what are key plot points. Give me more about the setting, more about the characters- more, more more more!

Oh, and proofread. There's lots of typos.


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