Date: 01/10/15 05:56 pm Title: Coffee Shop
No. Hutcho is not the only one who notices these things. He took the time to give thoughtful and valuable feedback, and got rude dismissals in response. You're showing a very poor way of handling criticism, Hikaro. This is the review section, not the mindless praise section - "editor talk" is completely appropriate here.
I pretty much agree with every point Hutcho brought up - you waste your limited word count on generic phrases and needless exposition. From the third story...
Now it’s time for a little background. I get bullied a lot because I don’t play sports, I’m only five-foot-four at seventeen years old, and I have a pink book bag. I’m literally no good at sports, I have a naturally short family (my dad is only five-foot-five, my mom is actually taller than him), and the book bag is a hand-me-down from my sister, because my parents are cheap and she didn’t need it anymore.
No. No, that is not the time for a little background. Your opening paragraph told us...
They wanted to treat me like a girl just ‘cuz I’m small, let ‘em. In fact, I’ll embrace it!
There. Done. This sentence is all you need. It delivers key information in an emotionally engaging way. And then you weaken it by adding this superfluous info dump paragraph. What does knowing that his father is 5'5" add to this tale of a boy standing up to a bully? Nothing. Nothing at all.
The story is 580 words long. The protagonist arrives at school 300 words in. Nothing has happened up to that point, neither external nor internal conflict, just several paragraphs of dry background - meaning you've wasted half your word budget on mostly irrelevant exposition. And then, confronting the bully, which is the heart of the story... that plays out in 200 words. These are some extremely skewed priorities.
When you write flash fiction, you write with a completely different set of rules. Yes, more description and more worldbuilding are good in long stories in which you get to explore the world you're building at whatever pace you're comfortable with. The readers start caring about your characters just by sheer virtue of the amount of time they spend getting to know them. You don't have that luxury in short stories. You have a very narrow frame of time in which you must make the reader care. Emotions need to resonate. Superfluous words trimmed away. Information given on a need-to-know basis. Hint just enough for the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps.
In conclusion, why is this cookiecutter description of an outfit...
I’d asked Missy, my older sister, to help me pick out the clothes. A tan denim skirt and matching boots, knee high white socks, a purple tank top and a white scarf. I don’t know why I asked for the scarf, but it sure aided my looks. Nobody could see the bra or panties I was wearing, or at least, I was gonna keep it that way. Luckily, Missy gave me some pointers to wearing a skirt.
...longer than your climax?
His friends started to laugh and point at him, saying things about him. He turned red and ran inside the school, away from me. As I walked into the school, one response stood out to me:
“Damn, she fucked him up good!”
And I felt some disturbing sort of pride in that.
This is the moment of the protagonist's triumph as he goes from being a victim to experiencing - perhaps for the first time in his life - what it's like to win. To have people cheering for him. This moment marks a big change in the protagonist's life. And you completely gloss over it. Who gives a shit what color his socks are while this is happening?
On a different note:
It started off with the simple idea of a pre-op transsexual who works in a coffee shop.
This started out as a story about a pre-op transsexual making out with her boyfriend in a car.
“As far as everything but that one spot goes, you can probably tell that my hormone pills have taken care of that.”
Okay, so, if you're going to start writing realistic stories about real trans people instead of your usual magical transformations, then that requires some research so that things ring true. And that starts with terminology. "A transsexual" might have been acceptable terminology once, but it isn't now. It's not on the level of a slur, but it is about the equivalent of talking about "a homosexual" or "a Black". People are not adjectives. Call them trans women.
And "hormone pills"? Who talks like that? People not too familiar with the internal language of transitioners, that's who. The slang terms are hormones, HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) or, for trans men specifically, T (Testosterone). "I've been on T for 5 months." "I'm getting on hormones soon." "Can't wait to start HRT!"
Phew. So this was a very long comment to basically echo what Hutcho said:
The ideas behind the stories are good, but the writing needs some work.
Author's Response: Well... At least SOMEBODY other than Hutcho noticed. Also, I'm not dealing with the criticism poorly, I'm simply joking with Hutcho, that's all (I either responded to a review telling him that, or I emailed it to him.... I think). I enjoyed his criticism and took everything he said to heart, it's just that these stories are literally just one-n-dones. I have no intention of rewriting them or even editing them to be better. The opening story started out as a challenge put forth by Steph, and then I just started writing a few more, that's all. As far as not being "familiar with the internal language of transitioners", well... Yeah, I'm NOT. Again, said story was simply a challenge by Steph to write a story with a certain word count in a certain time limit, I didn't have a whole lot of time for research. Though, on the whole "transsexual" thing, I HAVE met a trans woman who refers to herself as a transsexual. Whether that's acceptable terminology for the masses, I don't know, but that's how SHE described HERSELF, not a blanket term I decided to throw into the story. in all honesty, though, much as I've said before: These were written quickly, little-to-no proofreading (I believe the longest one after the original took 40 minutes), and they were just meant to be posted and forgotten. I enjoyed Hutcho's criticism, as I've enjoyed yours, but these are simply stories upon which the criticism is partially wasted as they will never be changed. These are, to some extent, merely first drafts of larger ideas that will be far more fleshed out and better written.
Date: 11/27/14 04:32 am Title: When You Can't Beat 'Em
Nice little collection of stories... but it's missing something.... oh! I know! You made me do this... I'm going to write a story because of you. Just a little one... perhaps I'll make it a regular thing? Anyways... yeah.
Date: 11/21/14 01:15 pm Title: Coffee Shop
Actually, it was intended for the "whole lot." (Is that a British slang?) Actually, all five of them being so short and sweet, remind me of a bag of miniature donuts. Pop one in your mouth and a second later you're wondering if you even ate one.
Author's Response: Five?
Date: 11/21/14 12:30 pm Title: Coffee Shop
Besides, you know me, an "explanation" of "Okay" would probably wind up being longer than your -- what did you call them-- "Steph's damn drabbles."
Author's Response: It's more along the lines of the story you put the "okay" on.
Date: 11/21/14 02:42 am Title: Coffee Shop
Hey for a three year old she's very well adjusted. Although she did have her play doo snake eating her playdoo frogs and turtles today. And had her stuffed bunny save her from a stuffed bear that was eating her this morning.
Ok, she's a little strange. But at least she isn't squeamish
Date: 11/21/14 02:24 am Title: To Whom it May Concern
Ouch. This is why I'll support my daughter in anything that isn't completely illegal. This is every parents worst nightmare.
Author's Response: The s*** you put in her head, if she doesn't end up in an asylum, I'll be amazed. You do have asylums in Canada, right?