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#50158
peter.andrews
Participant

Hi, Joanna

This feels like romantic suspense to me, although both are suggested rather than made explicit here. It’s a strong scene, but I didn’t see a clear ending (which would be expected with flash fiction). It feels like these two are not done with each other, and I wanted to turn the page to see what happened next.

If it’s truly done, the title works, making Blake the winner here.

The opening has a good hook ingredient, combining victory with eulogies. For me, two things are missing. First, how distinct Ewa turns out to be comes across later, but not in these lines. Second, it reads like a later part, without the crispness and economy of language typical for a hook.

The rest of the first part works well, with winning, winning, winning. Some reflection on the past (the funeral and life with Blake) intrudes and dilutes things a bit. I wonder if that could be saved for later.

The big turn comes with the ringing doorbell (ignored). Which escalated to the peeking without confrontation.

Both of these are somewhat passive and reviewed for opportunities for action by Ewa.

Then Giselle seizes power, getting in some how and making a demand. This is the story’s confrontation. Giselle makes her case without any response from Ewa (who’s still thinking).

At last, Ewa vomits and insists Giselle leave. They get into a yes-no dispute that finally leads to a threat. Here Ewa plays her trump card. She has no allegiance to Blake. And Giselle flees, defeated.

Throughout, Ewa’s distress rises (which is good), but she doesn’t really take action. Their battle is one-sided, then becomes yes-no (where an argument would be better), then leads to a sly dismissal (the best part).

The conclusion turns once more. For Ewa, victory has been tarnished. Perhaps becoming defeat.

Concerns: Giselle turns out not to be much of a threat. I presume Ewa would have known that from early on. Ewa does not see to have anything at stake with regard to Blake’s reputation, which is why Giselle is powerless. (But what if his reputation did matter to Ewa, even though she hates him?)

I’m not sure why Ewa feels her victory has been tarnished. If the reason is that she has once more been called a barren skunk (from the grave, as it were), that point needs to be clearer and more emotional.

For a market, this would face rejection from a lot of flash fiction editors because it is over 1000 words.

I know all of this is hard to accomplish in so few words. I think the problem may be too much exposition (although it’s done well). One thing worth trying is to mark all of it. Make a version with none, and add in only as much is as needed to understand the story. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s a good exercise for beginnings of stories because that’s when writers (trying to understand their stories) distance readers by taking the story out of moment-to-moment. There is more latitude for that later in a story (but obviously not much for flash fiction).

There are good things here, worth exploring. If it’s part of a larger work, I’d encourage you write further before you begin rewriting.

I hope this is helpful.

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