Short Story Review

My Short Story –Newton’s Second Damn Law in Short Fiction Break – 8th Nov. 2017 was reviewed and here is the feedback:

You nailed the countdown theme with this one. I really like the self-aware humor, like “my face was experiencing a strange reorganisation by the wind.” The tension really ramps up when the parachute fails to come out.

The technical terms are interesting, but to be honest, something which the reader will probably skim over. It’s hard to know what those values mean, but if you can put the speeds in context (say, x times the speed of a cheetah, for example), it makes it more relatable to the reader.

Also, reading this felt somewhat more like reading someone’s journal than reading a story. It has the countdown theme, it has a climactic occurrence, but there is no decision on the part of the main character, no choice he has to make to reach the climax. It all seems to happen to him, in a way. If, for instance, something had happened to the instructor and he was left in charge of pulling the parachute, this would force the character to act, which is what makes for a strong story.

You have a lovely writing style, and I hope you keep writing!


This is a well-written story, with all the factual elements added giving it more sense of realism. As the MC prepares to jump, then does so, the protagonist’s doubts and fears are well-shown. The views and experience of free-falling also described well the situation.

What I think lacked for me is perhaps a sense of danger in the story. There is no indication until the end that something could go wrong. Perhaps if a hint was given early in the story, I would be mentalized that this wonderful experience could go terribly wrong.

While the technical information gave the story credibility, I think it might have been better to keep it to a minimum, and use the available word count to emphasize more the potential dangers.

The ending did indeed almost end in tragedy, but there wasn’t too much sense that the protagonist’s life was in danger, or great panic from him.

By enhancing that sense of urgency or panic, a good story can be so much better. Good luck

Top 101 Cockney Rhyming Slang Words and Phrases

For novel stories based in London you can use some Cockney Rhyming Slang:

1. Adam and Eve – believe
2. Alan Whickers – knickers
3. Apples and pears – stairs
4. Artful Dodger – lodger
5. Ascot Races – braces
6. Aunt Joanna – piano
7. Baked Bean – Queen
8. Baker’s Dozen – Cousin
9. Ball and Chalk – Walk
10. Barnaby Rudge – Judge
11. Barnet Fair – hair
12. Barney Rubble – trouble
13. Battlecruiser – boozer
14. Bees and honey – money
15. Bird lime – time (in prison)
16. Boat Race – face
17. Bob Hope – soap
18. Bottle and glass – arse
19. Brahms and Liszt – pissed (drunk)
20. Brass Tacks – facts
21. Bread and Cheese – sneeze
22. Bread and Honey – money
23. Bricks and Mortar – daughter
24. Bristol City – breasts
25. Brown Bread – dead
26. Bubble and Squeak – Greek
27. Bubble Bath – Laugh
28. butcher’s hook – a look
29. Chalfont St. Giles – piles
30. Chalk Farm – arm
31. China plate – mate (friend)
32. Cock and Hen – ten
33. Cows and Kisses – Missus (wife)
34. Currant bun – sun (also The Sun, a British newspaper)
35. Custard and jelly – telly (television)
36. Daisy Roots – boots
37. Darby and Joan – moan
38. Dickybird – word
39. Dicky Dirt – shirt
40. Dinky Doos – shoes
41. Dog and bone – phone
42. Dog’s meat – feet [from early 20th c.]
43. Duck and Dive – skive
44. Duke of Kent – rent
45. Dustbin lid – kid
46. Elephant’s Trunk – drunk
47. Fireman’s Hose – nose
48. Flowery Dell – cell
49. Frog and Toad – road
50. Gypsy’s kiss – piss
51. Half-inch – pinch (to steal)
52. Hampton Wick – prick
53. Hank Marvin – starving
54. irish pig – wig
55. Isle of Wight – tights
56. Jam-jar – car
57. Jayme Gibbs
58. Jimmy Riddle – piddle
59. Joanna – piano (pronounced ‘pianna’ in Cockney)
60. Khyber Pass – arse
61. Kick and Prance – dance
62. Lady Godiva – fiver
63. Laugh n a joke – smoke
64. Lionel Blairs – flares
65. Loaf of Bread – head
66. Loop the loop – soup
67. Mickey Bliss – piss
68. Mince Pies – eyes
69. Mork and Mindy – windy
70. North and south – mouth
71. Orchestra stalls – balls
72. Pat and Mick – sick
73. Peckham Rye – tie
74. Plates of meat – feet
75. Pony and Trap – crap
76. Raspberry ripple – nipple
77. Raspberry tart – fart
78. Roast Pork – fork
79. Rosy Lee – tea (drink)
80. Round the Houses – trousers
81. Rub-a-Dub – pub
82. Ruby Murray – curry
83. Sausage Roll – goal
84. Septic tank – Yank
85. Sherbert (short for sherbert dab) – cab (taxi)
86. Skin and Blister – sister
87. Sky Rocket – pocket
88. Sweeney Todd – flying squad
89. Syrup of figs – wig (sic)
90. Tables and chairs – stairs
91. Tea leaf – thief
92. Tit for tat – hat
93. Todd Sloane – alone
94. Tom and Dick – sick
95. Tom tit – shit
96. Tomfoolery – jewellery
97. Tommy Trinder – window
98. Trouble and strife – wife
99. Two and eight – state (of upset)
100. Vera Lynn – gin
101. Whistle and flute – suit (of clothes)

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

When writing a sonnet in the style of Shakespeare, there are some rules you need to keep. This type of poetry is required to follow a specific format including length, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. To write a sonnet correctly, to follow this process:

Select a subject to write your sonnet about as Shakespearean sonnets are on tradition grounded as love poems. Write your lines in iambic pentameter.

Write in one of the various standard rhyme schemes such as Shakespearean, Petrarchan, or Spenserian.

Necessary Format: Format the sonnet using three quatrains followed by one couplet.
Form your sonnet as evidence that builds up as it goes from one metaphor to the next. Be sure that every line of the sonnet has ten syllables that conform to the Iambic Pentameter. Guarantee your sonnet is precisely 14 lines and the last syllable on each line rhymes with another last syllable on a previous line.

The Shakespeare Rhyming scheme
If you’re writing the most common kind of sonnet, the Shakespearean sonnet, then the rhyme scheme for the last syllable of the line is as follows:





Every ‘A’ last syllable of the line must rhyme, and every ‘B’ syllables rhyme and so forth. You’ll see this kind of sonnet consists of three quatrains. Or four consecutive lines of verse that make up a stanza or division of lines in a poem, and one couplet (two successive rhyming lines).

How a Sonnet Tells the Story
Ah, but there’s more to a sonnet than just the structure of it. A sonnet is also an argument — it builds up a certain way. And how it builds up is related to its metaphors and how it moves from one metaphor to the next. In a Shakespearean sonnet, the argument builds up like this:

First quatrain: An exposition of the central theme and primary metaphor.

Second quatrain: Theme and metaphor extended or complicated; often, some ingenious example is given.

Third quatrain: Peripeteia (a twist or conflict), often introduced by a “but” (very often leading off the ninth line).

Couplet: Reviews and leaves the reader with a new, closing image.

One of Shakespeare’s best-known sonnets is Sonnet 18, which follows this pattern:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

The arrangement of a Sonnet like this:

First quatrain: Worship, worship, excellent.

Second quatrain: Worship, worship, excellent.

Third quatrain: But, even if the bad thing happens, still excellent.

Couplet: Future excellent.

So now you see Shakespeare was a master of the english language and has been remembered over four-hundred years after his death.


Passive and Active Voice in Writing

When you write a sentence, it can either be written in the passive voice or the active voice.
* The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. For example, ‘Brian replaced the flat tyre’.
* The passive voice describes a sentence where the subject is acted upon by the verb. For instance, ‘The flat tyre was replaced by Brian’.
In most cases, writing sentences in a passive voice is discouraged because it can obscure the subject of the sentence, and mislead the reader. It also regularly creates a wordy and clumsy sentence construction.

Defining Passive Voice
Every sentence contains, at a minimum, a subject and an action. The subject is the person or thing the sentence is about, and the action is what the subject is doing.
When the sentence is in the active voice, the subject is doing the action, and the subject typically arises before the action in the sentence. For example:
* I run. I is the subject. Run is the action. The subject doing the action appears before the action, so it is clear to the reader who is doing what.
When a sentence is in a passive voice, the subject is being acted upon by the verb, and the subject usually appears after the action. In an example:
* Running is something I do. Here, the action is Running, and the subject is I. The sentence is in a passive voice because the person doing the action (I) is not introduced until after the action.
Sometimes sentences also contain objects – or the thing being acted upon. This can make it more difficult to define whether the sentence is in a passive voice. For example, here is a sentence in an active voice:
* Philip hits the ball. ‘Philip’ is the subject. ‘Hits’ is the action. So the ‘ball’ is the object.
That same sentence in passive voice reads:
* The ball is hit by Philip.
* The ball is the object – which is not the subject of the sentence because the ball is not doing the action. Therefore, it should be after the subject (Philip)

Tips to Recognise the Passive Voice
Often a sentence in passive voice does not inevitably sound “incorrect” or wordy. However, it is still proper to write in active voice when possible.
To recognise that a sentence is in a passive voice, watch out for these keywords:

* Be
* Is
* Are
* A
* Was
* Were
* Has been
* Have been
* Will be
* Being


Your First Draft Will be Terrible, But That’s Ok

Once, I wrote the first draft of a short story that stank so bad; I had to open up a window while reading it.
I felt like ripping it up or pressing delete and then beginning again.
I spent a long time to discover the job of your first draft is to be, and it’s ok if your writing is lousy and unedited.
It’s a good thing that my first drafts are for me alone, and yours should be too.
You will sit down to write the first draft; you will likely lack self-confidence or feel indifferent to what you’re about to make.
You may likely feel that you’re writing and feeling stupid.
Most successful authors seldom experience a white-hot flash while working on their first drafts. A lot of writers question themselves and think about pressing delete.
They don’t do that though.

Alternatively, there’s a determined (and coffee caffeinated) person plugging away at his or her manuscript one word at a time, looking at their word-count and all the while thinking:
“It’ll do for now”, “I’m almost there”, “I can fix this later.”
You can fix it later too, but wait, you’ve got to finish your first draft.
You’ve got to reach the end and stop reorganising your outline or having the ‘Shiny new Idea syndrome’.

Feedback or a Critique is Not Easy to Hear, But Necessary

I used to show my early drafts of my short stories to friends and family, and they’d tell me:
“It’s great Phil; this is outstanding work.”
And I’m like, “Oh wow, thanks. Writing a book is going to be a career move.”
Their kind feedback wasn’t practical, and honestly; useless.
Here’s why:
The first time I received a response from an actual professional, like a Judge in a competition or a tutor on a writing course, I was flooded with things wrong with the story structure and grammar.
This feedback is not intended as a disparagement but as assistance in order to become better and achieve publication.

Never give your work to friends or family to critique as their empathy will cloud their efforts to find problems.

You Need to Write Every Day – Despite Not Getting Paid

I’d written and published four journal papers, a few conference papers and a PhD Thesis containing forty thousand words, but I still had a lot to learn about writing fiction and a long novel.
I hadn’t tried to find some time outside of work to write every day, as other things were consuming my needed time.
I told myself my novel would keep until tomorrow and that I could write at the weekend when the time was less important.
When I finally had the guts to sit down in front of the blank page and do my work, I could barely remember where I left off, as I didn’t know about outlines and I was just pantsing the story.
It took too long to pick up from where I left off the previous time. If I missed a weekend writing session because of, unknown things always interrupt, that meant I went an entire week without writing my novel.
I needed a daily writing routine that I could fit in around my job and my lifestyle, but I didn’t have that essential structure implemented in my life.
Then, along comes a short story competition that is inexpensive to enter and you get feedback from the judges. I had to write a short story limited to 1500 words about one person that was the only one to see an alien. I found the contest, entered it and realised I only had one week to find a scenario and write the first draft so it could be submitted for a week’s workshop where myself and the other contestants would read each others story and critique. It took hard work to generate a story and edit, critique and submit. If I had been writing every day, then things would have been more natural and fluid in reading my work. The more you do something, the more it becomes natural.

The Day is Yours to Waste or Use

I’ve often woken up, checked email, bought books on Amazon, phoned the Gas and Electricity company about my bill, organised meetings, and arranged everything else but write 500-1000 words wasn’t on my list.
If I’m lucky, I’ll hold an hour left to write just a little.
So, I tried looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself, ‘Don’t be lazy, just work harder’.
Self-talk is kind, here’s the stark, painful truth:
When I put writing last, it’s unlikely to happen at all.
It has taken me a year to comprehend that when I’m writing a book, it’s the most critical thing I need to do every day (apart from looking after myself).
It’s my job to reduce interruptions and distractions like the internet and put writing first.
Before some email.
Before the social media sites.
Before the news.
And sometimes before a breakfast meal.
When was the last time you set writing first?