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Author Topic: Mesanine
besimirch
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I had a free afternoon today so I had a go at another flash story. A bit different to my last one in that this is sci-fi. If anyone wants to look over the whole thing for me, it's 985 words. Thanks again for any help anyone can give.

“Mesanine,” she said to me, her long black tongue and hard thin lips shaping the name carefully, her phosphorescent green eyes gazing into my own. “You can call me Mesanine.”
When I had tried to pronounce her given name in her own language of clicks and ticks and chirrups, she had laughed. A curiously trilling sound, melodious as a river and soft as a breeze. A sound I had wanted to hear again.
Almost without realizing it, I had taken to waiting for her to finish work and offering to walk her home through streets that hummed with hover cars and the chatter of a hundred different species, the lights of the diners already neon bright in the red smog. Mesanine would blink at me with her bright green eyes, but after weeks her shyness began to wane and her chatter would be as bright as her eyes, her elongated arms expressive as she spoke.

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Jennica Dotson
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I like this. The writing feels descriptive and sophisticated. At this point I don't really have anything to critique. I would simply be interested to know where this was going, whether there is any conflict to look forward to in your flash story.

I would be happy to look over the whole thing for you, although you may not want that, seeing as I haven't been able to offer any useful criticism yet.

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Kent_A_Jones
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Hi besimirch,
I like this opening.

In the first sentence, I would consider dropping the pronouns "her" as redundant. Stylistically, "my own" is more wordy than "mine," but I like its use because it feels more conversational. Concentrating on her mouth and eyes indicates a romantic as well as SF theme which is accomplished with wonderful economy. Love it.

P2, s3: >A sound I had wanted to hear again.
"Had wanted" is a big tip-off in a little package to the fact that the POV is attracted to Mesanine and has been.

P3,s1: >work and
I would consider splitting this sentence here, and begin the balance with "I would walk," or "We would walk" since there are two basic actions (waiting and walking) in this sentence. If this suggestion doesn't preserve the propriety observed by the POV, consider making the offer in a sentence of its own.

>...the lights of the diners already neon bright in the red smog.
This final clause might be a little too much for this sentence. Understand that I am nitpicking; this is a fine setting passage. I would omit the second article "the" before "diners" at the very least. I would consider rearranging the clause and begin it with "red smog".

P3, s2: "But" indicates the negation of something that has gone before so its usage is inappropriate to this sentence. "And" may work, however, I would consider beginning a new sentence with "after".

>...began...would be...
Tense confusion. "Had begun" goes with "would be".

>...elongated...
This denotes a process rather than a state of being. "Elongate" is the state of being.

Again, very nice fragment. I believe it needs something to improve dramatic tension. The POV indicates language difference, but not culture or species difference. If cultural or species behaviors are being violated, and the stakes are high, tension would rise accordingly.

Good luck

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pidream
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“Mesanine,” she said to me, her long black tongue and hard thin lips shaping the name carefully, her phosphorescent green eyes gazing into my own. “You can call me Mesanine.”
1. Consider dropping- to me as it slows down the description to me. The second clause- her phosphorescent could stand on its own. Consider rewording, I think it will read better.

When I had tried to pronounce her given name in her (own) language of clicks and ticks and chirrups, she had laughed.
2. I think when saying- her own language, the owning part is implied and you do not need to say own. Nice otherwise.

A curiously trilling sound, melodious as a river and soft as a breeze. A sound I had wanted to hear again.
3. I am not sure, but this is maybe an incomplete sentence. You might consider- Her voice made a curious—

Almost without realizing it, I had taken to waiting for her to finish work and offering to walk her home through streets that hummed with hover cars and the chatter of a hundred different species, the lights of the diners already neon bright in the red smog.
4. This sentence is long and a little wordy to me. You might consider editing it down and breaking it up

Mesanine would blink at me with her bright green eyes, but after weeks (,) her shyness began to wane and her chatter would be as bright as her eyes, her elongated arms expressive as she spoke.
5. This sentence is also a little wordy to me. Try to edit it down and it would read smoother to me. The word chatter does not fit the mood I think you are trying to create. When I read the word chatter, I think of a crowd where I cannot distinguish one word from another. The same with the word elongated. I am thinking of stretched our rubber-band.

I enjoyed the read over all, but it did not draw me in as much as I would have liked. I think the exotic setting drew me in more than the MC. You write nice prose, but nice prose alone cannot drive a story forward. Good Luck.

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Lamberguesa
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I definitely enjoyed this. Something about it pulls you in, just like those green eyes.

Just a few items of note:
-"When I had tried to pronounce her given name in her own language of clicks and ticks and chirrups, she had laughed. A curiously trilling sound, melodious as a river and soft as a breeze. A sound I had wanted to hear again."
I understand now that he is talking about her laughter, but at first I thought he was enchanted with his own pronunciation of her name. I think it could be more clear.
-"Almost without realizing it" This seems a very intentional thing to have done without realizing.
-I would agree with pidream: the setting itself is interesting but might be too much of a distraction from the more important relationship between the two characters. You should include some description, certainly, but perhaps a little less.
-"the lights of the diners already neon bright in the red smog." Why are they already neon bright? Did they turn on before they were supposed to? It seems an unnecessary detail and a little confusing as to what it implies. Another thing the word "already" does is confuse me about the timing of events. The story opens with a specific event: her saying her name. It makes a recognizable transition to a series of past events: him walking her home. But now the lights are already bright. This sounds like a particular point in time. Then back to the weeks of time passing as her shyness wanes. Maybe just me, but that's how I read it.
-In summary: I'd work on bringing the focus more on the mood and tension between the two main characters. The scenery is interesting and seems important, but shouldn't become a distraction.

Good stuff!

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Denevius
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Well, this excerpt is 155 words, and the piece is 985 words. Yet in this 155 words, no conflict arises, and the only problem is that, off the page, the narrator couldn't originally pronounce the girl's name.

I tend to note this as my perceived shortcoming of most flash fiction pieces I read. Each word is valuable in a piece that's about two pages long, but often time it seems like words are wasted. From this opening, I'm not sure where the piece is going, and without a direction, I'm not too keen to read further.

Though I haven't read the piece yet, I suspect that it begins at the end. I'd be curious to read the last paragraph as the first.

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