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Request for Critique

An Attempt at Trendsetting

By Matthew FrommPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - August 2023
Request for Critique
Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Well, I'll be honest when I say that I have no idea how this community is supposed to work. So, here is a foray into the unknown!

Below are three pieces of work I would love to get some constructive feedback on, with a bit of an andectode on each. I like to think I have thick skin, but let's put that to the test shall we?

A bit about me. I am a hobbyist writer who enjoys writing microfiction, fantasy, and sci-fi, with a lust for exploring new topics on Wikipedia. While I don't ever think I'll be able to quit my day job to be a writer full time, I fully believe that everyone needs a creative outlet, and the pursuit of excellence in one is worth a fortune in human experience. If you want to chat, I hang out in the Discord daily.

Without further ado...

Story One

This was the first story I posted on Vocal as a part of the fantasy prologue challenge. At this point, I had just returned to writing after about a decade and had been working on a massive fantasy epic set in this new world I created. As with most writers return WIP, I wrote one hundred thousand words, went back and reread the first page, said "this is shit", and put it on the shelf. While that work sits on the shelf, I felt the world had something to offer and set out on this piece for the challenge I discovered less than a week after finishing that first draft. Sometimes things work out! I obviously did not win said challenge, but I think there are some legs here, and this same world currently owns two of my Google Docs tabs I keep open every day. I would love to hear your thoughts on it as both a standalone piece, and as a larger worldbuilding exercise.

Story Two

My first attempt at publishing a standalone story. I modeled this entry to the campfire challenge off of an urban legend at my old Catholic high school. I've often heard comedy and horror are two sides of the same coin. I'm not funny, so I tried my hand at horror. I would love to hear some feedback on the completeness and any compelling elements of this piece.

Story Three

Finally, my submission to the Distraction challenge. If I had to pick, this is what I would put forward as my best piece of work on my Vocal profile. With that said, I know nothing about poetry besides what my old bandmate told me about lyrics, "if it sounds good, it's good."

I would love to hear some feedback from someone with some knowledge on that front!

Anywho, that's it. For those that hop in and give your feedback, you have my thanks! Like I said earlier, I hang out on Discord, and if you really want to tear into me, feel free to shoot me a DM. Without feedback, none of us improve.

PoetrySettingFictionFeedback RequestedCharacter Development

About the Creator

Matthew Fromm

Full-time nerd, history enthusiast, and proprietor of random knowledge. The best way to find your perfect story is to make it yourself.

Here there be dragons, and knights, and castles, and quests for entities not wished to be found.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (11)

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  • Doc Sherwood9 months ago

    This is exactly how I set out my first contribution to Critique! I should have read yours first, Matt, as it would have greatly reassured me. It seemed to me this was the best way to go about it, so I'm glad to know someone else thought the same, as I had no idea if I was doing it right!

  • ELIAS PULIDO9 months ago

    I'm a bit like you, I don't quite understand the purpose of this community, but I think it's a good idea to approach it as constructive criticism. And without a doubt, stories are what make us human...

  • Erica Wagner9 months ago

    Looks like you are getting some great feedback, Matt. Thanks for posting in this new Community!

  • Lamar Wiggins9 months ago

    Congrats on your Top story, Matt! I just started reading The Scourge. Will update this reply when I finish it. I loved that challenge and read a ton of entries from it.

  • I'm not confident at giving constructive criticism but I came to say congratulations on your Top Story! I'll read your stories hopefully soon, especially the St Bartholomew one!

  • Paul Stewart9 months ago

    Congratulations on a fine Top Story. Found it very inspiring, as I get nervous about the idea of anything related to critiques, but you've motivated me to highlight pieces of my own that I would maybe benefit from understanding how I could do them better! I like to think I can take it on the chin, but...maybe that doesn't always happen? I think it's hard when you're precious about your writing...anyway, sorry about the huge mumble. I have not had a chance yet to read the pieces you've highlighted, but wanted to say thank you for this great piece and congrats on Top Story.

  • Babs Iverson9 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Carminum9 months ago

    I think the best line in ‘Shift work’ is “Ohh sleep! you sweet release from sorrow,” due to its assonance (ee, ee, ea). There is also some surprise to the final four rhymes (especially “fresh crown” as an example of pain) – though ‘sorrow’, while not out of place, sounds to me a little bit forced by the rhyme. I like that you used these phonetic effects (assonance and rhymes); people often forget that poetry has a lot to do with sound. A way in which the poem could be improved: you could add some more evocative and imaginative language, something that speaks to the senses or feelings, so as to give your readers a more fleshed-out sense of the place. E.g., colors and sounds and smells. Though I think your use of short phrases helps convey a hectic atmosphere.

  • Ashley Lima9 months ago

    I will be tackling this when I have some downtime. Kudos for putting yourself out there for feedback! I hope to see more of it soon. Also, congratulations on your TS!

  • Cendrine Marrouat9 months ago

    I'll have a look when my schedule is less hectic. I'm also on Discord, so feel free to hit me up if you need honest, but constructive feedback on your work.

  • Alexander McEvoy9 months ago

    Hi there, Matthew I don't know exactly how this community is supposed to work either, but I'll give it the old college try. For your poem "Shift Work" I'm not sure what help I can offer. Poetry isn't my forte, but I can say that I really liked it. I was a little confused by the tone, however. Everything came across as hopeful, but the words themselves seemed to be full of melancholy. If that's what you were going for then awesome! If not, then I'm not sure how to help, but figured I'd at least mention it. For "The Haunting of St. Bartholomew's" I really liked it! It was a fun and spooky story about ghost stories and evil nuns. I loved how you wrote the dialogue, it brought back so many memories of summer camp and you captured how boys speak brilliantly! My only critique is that some sentences seemed unpolished or awkward, for example "The children waited ON baited breath" I've never heard that before, usually it's 'with' isn't it? And "Couldn't dare stand the holy oils" was awkward, it felt like two sentences pushed together. I think it would work better without the 'dare' since it doesn't really fit. I hope I was helpful :)

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