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Hi everyone. I'm new to the group today, though I've been with JW for over a year. Just published my first novel ( a crime thriller set in Crete called The Unforgiving Stone) but I'm also interested in short stories and have written over twenty. I'm planning to publish a collection of these as an eBook in a few weeks' time. It'll be called The Late Shift Specialist. Here's one as a taster: The Garage Job. 

Schoolboy Kit lands a cushy weekend job with some lovable rogues, but, when events take a shocking turn, he has to question his ideas of right and wrong. 

Do let me know what you think.

https://www.alexdunlevy.com/newsletter-garage-job.pdf

Best regards,

Alex




Comments
  • Hi Alex. Thanks for sharing with us, but I'm sorry to say it didn't work for me. I found myself skimming through to find something happening, which, unfortunately wasn't until page 3. The large chunk of backstory beforehand failed to engage me. The trick with short stories is to enter late and leave early, so I would advise to work out what the core of the story is, or the main part of action, and begin with that.
    I hope this helps. Sorry to dissapoint.

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    • Thanks for taking the trouble to respond, Jimmy. I have a different view. I don’t regard the first two pages as back story at all, but scene setting. If you are skimming in search of action, then my stories will never work for you. Best regards.

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      • No trouble at all, Alex. It's not so much action I searched for per se. Whether it's backstory or scene setting, albeit good writing and interesting characters, I just felt it a bit too much, and lacking the necessary elements to drive the story forward.
        However, as Catherine stated, the characters are believable. The kind of characters that are rooted for despite their roguish actions.

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        • Thanks for the clarification, Jimmy. I will consider your comments carefully and appreciate the feedback.

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        • Hi Alex - thanks for posting your story. I enjoyed reading it. I think you have some lovely characterisation in there- favourite bit was probably Dick and counting your fingers.

          I have to agree with Jimmy's comments. Once we got into the diesel in the Jaguar, my mind started to wander and I felt there was a too much detail in the scamming. I would suggest thinking about cutting this back a little to make sure you don't lose the readers attention.

          I'm also not convinced you need Paul. Every word should count in a short story, and for me he didn't really have a place in the story. I think you could take him out and with a little tweaking not miss him at all.

          I hope some of that is helpful, but these are just my thoughts and opinions, so take what feels right to you and discard the rest.

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          • Thanks for your thoughts, Kate. I was worried that Dick and the fingers was a bit of a cliche. I agree that Paul is somewhat redundant, but then he is also very minor, either way. I take your point on the scamming. i appreciate your feedback.

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          • Alex, 

            I've just read the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of my own early days in the motor trade, just after I left school and worked for the next five years in an engine reconditioning company. It was started by the son of a wartime petrol tanker driver, who'd made his fortune selling black market petrol. He financed the company when it started up, and remained as overall main shareholder until he died, which was not long before I left to go into general engineering.

            However, the characters you described were definitely indicative of the people I met in the trade. The word 'straight' didn't figure in their language, and if they could fiddle an extra bob or two out of the customer then all well and good. 

            Thank you for bringing back a long lost memory of a time now fading into history, that will for many evoke a response of 'good riddance!' but which for me recreates something real, that I can recall with a certain fondness.


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