Following on from my post with Round 1’s story, here is Round 2’s entry and feedback! Sadly, I didn’t advance into Round 3 but nevertheless I’m quite impressed I got as far as I did for my first attempt at any of NYC Midnight’s challenges. I hope to revisit this story and maybe expand it, and correct a couple of parts. My Round 2 prompts were:
Action: Opening a refrigerator
by Rai Furniss-Greasley, 2021
Rin and Char were throwing a party to celebrate their new home planetside after years of juggling their relationship between two different ships. Rin was buzzing with a nervous excitement; her crew had been happy for her when she’d left but this would be the first time they’d met Char in person. She knew they were accepting of inter-species couples nevertheless she wanted them to like Char too.
Only two of Char’s younger siblings were coming. Their family didn’t approve of a relationship with a human and it had been a secret from their last crew. Char was a quiet, private sort and while they had a few good friends no one was close enough to their new home to make it for the party. Char didn’t mind, as long as Rin was happy.
They were both in their new kitchen preparing far too much food for their guests, Rin with stacks of covered dishes tottering towards the refrigeration unit. Hands full, she nodded towards the door,
Char grinned, they were busy chopping ingredients but an ambulatory tail came in handy sometimes. They opened up the fridge and Rin half-placed, half-dropped the food onto the shelves with a clatter.
“Thank you, darling.” Rin beamed and came over behind Char to give her a hug. It felt so good to be together finally. Char wrapped her tail around Rin to hold her close as they turned away from the food to steal a kiss.
What the judge’s liked:
Judge A: The reader is drawn into the story by Rin and Char’s interspecies relationship. The closeness of the two characters is illustrated as the events unfold. Then that leads to the heartwarming ending.
Judge B: There are few things sweeter than two lovers cooking together in their new kitchen. I thought the simple gesture of opening the fridge door was a sweet, strong choice for a focal point in their interaction, really driving home their relationship’s kindness and mutual care.
Judge C: The acceptance of inter-species couples as a contested, complicated issue is a relatable parallel situation for any reader, which helps define a world otherwise different from reality in terms understandable to anyone.
What the judge’s feel needs work:
Judge A: To add to the overall impact of the story and clarity for the reader, consider being clear Rin is the human and indicating Char’s species early on. As an additional suggestion, consider adding another element of controversy with Char’s family. To find some additional word count for those things consider reviewing for low impact descriptive words/phrases to eliminate. Just as an example, the phrase “far too much” in the sentence that begins, “They were both in…”
Judge B: To me, the first half of the story took a little too long, compared to the party prep. I think that perhaps weaving the back story into the present moment would give readers an anchor point to move from right out the gate while still allowing for you to shine a light on the essential parts of their history.
Judge C: Though this is but a brief moment between Rin and Char as they prepare for their guests, drawing out their differences as two separate species, as they work together functionally, complementing each other to the increased benefit of their relationship as a whole, would help solidify the presented idea that love is love, and others’ opinions only tangentially matter. Char has a tail, and Rin is human, but how else are they different, and similar? More details could be expressed through the little actions they take while preparing for their guests.