This story, “Thankful for You,” was submitted by a young writer who has asked for feedback and is happy to share that feedback with a bigger audience. My feedback and comments are in coloured text. Note, I will not be correcting grammar and spelling, just the telling of the story. – Laura
Thankful for You
– I like that the title comes directly from the last scene (see last paragraph)
He fished out his keys from his pocket, handed them to her, and instructed her to turn on the ignition. The motorcycle sprang to life, and making the soft whirring sound that he had come to know so well. She stepped on the petal, and away they went, moving farther away from their tiny home until it became no more than a dot blended into the background. They rode downhill, with the wind gently grazing their faces and the bright sun shining behind them. The two of them stopped near the small parking lot near the convenience store, dismounted, and walked side by side down First Circle Street.
She pointed to a tree at the distance, and, while he looked away, she snatched away his white baseball cap, where is his motorcycle helmet? and ran down the street giggling, “Try to catch me!”
“Give that back!” he insisted, sprinting after her.
She turned around and ran backwards and teased him by waving the hat in front of him. She was too busy laughing to hear what he was saying. this opening scene could be enriched by foreshadowing the tension that certainly would be there in the wake of a fight
“Watch out!” he exclaimed, frantically gesturing for her to get out of the way. It soon became apparent that she wasn’t listening, so he charged towards her. He lunged and heroically pushed her away from the giant truck behind her. Startled, but safe, she fell to the ground. When she looked back, she had her eyes wide open. The shrill screams that followed echoed across the quiet neighbourhood.
It was only seven months ago when she moved in with him. Their lives were quiet, peaceful, and mellow, just the way she liked it. They lived in perfect sync, harmonizing their lives’ every detail. She was a bright yellow flower; he was an industrious honey bee, inseparable from the flower. nice metaphor for their relationship Often, they would just stare into each other’s eyes and tell exactly what the other was thinking. On occasion, they would eat at a fine restaurant and every time there would always be something wonderfully unexpected. And after, they would walk together through Chinatown, with her head resting against his shoulder, among the crowd in the busy streets in the glare of the multi-coloured banners and street lights. This was their life, and they knew no other means of living.
They did enough of this stuff to fill up their own personal book of cliches. But cliches alone could never fulfill a true relationship, and their cliches were certainly no exception. cut this paragraph, it doesn’t add enough to the story, show me don’t tell me
Soon after he was hired into Pfizer, things began to change. Whenever she suggested something they could do, try, see, or eat, he seemed interested and only concerned about work. He just had to rush to the super-important meeting before a date, or just had to meet a deadline during the weekends. Sometimes she half-jokingly told her friends that he was more in love with his boss than with her.
One night, during an uncomfortably silent meal, she proposed that they attend the Thanksgiving Festival held in Robert Square on the night before Thanksgiving, which was only in five days. don’t mark time, it’s distracting
“I guess,” he murmured, indifferent. They could not agree on Thanksgiving dinner plans anyway, or who to eat with, or what things they should even be thankful of. This would be a perfect solution.
“Hey,” she added, “you can invite Ted and Peter, I’ll call Lily and Angela.
“Sure, but don’t expect me to pick up any of your friends,” he quickly interrupted. not sure why this matters to the story
Thanksgiving arrived like a plague. The night was ruined before it even started. Inside their house, he was furiously tapping his foot. He joked, “By the time you’re done with that eyeliner, the Easter bunny will be hopping around Robert Square!” He smirked at his wit.
She stopped, glared at him, grabbed her handbag, and stormed out the door. He raced after her, and together they rode the motorcycle to the 27th Annual Robert Parker Thanksgiving Festival.
When they arrived, he excused himself to go to the washroom. A few moments later, Lily and Angela drove into the parking lot together. They showed up alone. Not that they had any choice, she noted. the significance of this thought it not clear With what little enthusiasm left, she put on her best fake smile as they came up to greet her.
“Long time no see, Bunnycake!” Lily called her by her nickname. “What have you been up to? We never see you anymore. Come with us down to the bar, we’ve got some catching up to do.”
“I would, but I came with my boyfriend tonight, I have to stay with him,” she declined. I’m sure she told her friends this when she invited them
“Come on, we’ll bring you back soon enough. Plus, he’s so annoying.”
At least I’ve got one, she thought. But it was nice to see some friends. “Alright, ten minutes.”
So she hopped in the car and drove off with Angela and Lily, leaving behind the poor fellow, alone in a deserted parking lot. Surprised, but calm, he called his brother, and drove to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. Somehow he didn’t give the fact that his girlfriend left him much thought.
“So, what’s the deal with Mr.McJerkface boyfriend, Bunnycake?” Angela slurred, a beer in her hand. “I mean, he’s not even rich. Plus, his face is stupid.”
“Yeah. He nowhere near as handsome as Angela’s brother, you know?” Lily added, laughing.
Angela continued, “I bet he doesn’t even love you. He just ditched you back there in the parking lot to ‘go to the washroom’. He’s probably out dancing with some other girl now.”
“That’s not true–” she retaliated. She couldn’t let herself finish. They had a point. Was he like that? He has been acting distant lately. What if–
“Has he even called you to ask where you are? Does he even realize that you are gone? No. McJerkface forgot all about you and left.”
She was right. He never even called her. She felt her face burn and her eyes water, her mind unable to think. She gave a curt “good night”, and ran outside into the rain. It was nearly 3 AM when she got home.
“Where were you!” he shouted, flailing his arms. His eyes were wide open, with tears in them. cut this, give me an action that is more unique to his personality
“Oh, so now you care?” she snapped, her voice stone cold. She stormed into the bedroom and locked the door behind her.
He wanted rid of her. She hasn’t been close to being the perfect girlfriend lately, he thought. She’s been accusing, demanding, unreliable, and now this!? cut this paragraph, we know this already
The house suddenly fell cold. Even the wind seemed to stop blowing, causing the branches to droop down in sadness. No creature dared to make a sound; they trembled in the resonance of the mad shouting. Soon, complete silence dawned on the neighbourhood, begging to evoke terror and misery. Above, the moon laughed maniacally down at the people. cut this entire paragraph, it does not advance the plot or deepen characterization
Morning came, and she immediately suggested moving back to her mother’s house, to which he promptly agreed. They ended up fighting anyway; she demanded to drive the motorcycle, since she paid for half of it. She stomped on the petal, and lead them close to death racing furiously downhill. A small tear rolled down her face, but she quickly wiped it dry. The morning sun got her thinking. There’s no real reason for me to move back, she analyzed. Only my suspicion led to this; is it all my fault? Wait– he never even asked me why I’m leaving. Does he want me to move back? Fine. I’m going to give him what he wants! this inner dialogue could be cut, it’s repetitive They stopped before First Circle Street, which was for pedestrians only, and walked to her mother’s house. She stared at him. Look, his stupid baseball cap. She snatched it from him and ran off. It didn’t matter if it was his, it was hers now.
“Watch out–truck! Get out of the way–quick!”
Next thing she knew, she was out of the way and perfectly fine. However, he was not. Seeing his broken and damaged body, she panicked and quickly dialed 911. Soon, the paramedics arrived and carried him, via stretcher, into the ambulance for emergency treatment on the way to DFJ Hospital. cut this paragraph to keep the pace up
“Sir, you have a visitor. She says she’s your wife,” the nurse informed him.
He agreed, and grinned at the mention of the word ‘wife’.
She walked in, head down, and shyly greeted him. She went on to awkwardly apologize and explain herself. cut the action, go straight to dialogue “I’m really sorry about last night and this morning. I shouldn’t have overreacted. The truth is, my head is all messed up. I’m scared, insecure, and I have trouble trusting people, but I now realize that it’s not the same when I’m with you. I’m not perfect, far from it, in fact. But I know I’ll be okay with you. You saved my life, you make me feel safe, and I want to be with you.” shorten her speech and go deeper into her character, feels a bit generic
He paused for a moment and weakly replied, “What’s odd is that before the incident, I was furious and I thought hated you. But when the truck came, I felt the need to help you from the danger surge up inside me; I didn’t even consider myself. I guess my head is a bit crazy as well.” He chuckled. After it happened though, my entire life changed, and it really gave me wonderful feeling inside. I realize now, more than ever, how much I love you. I wouldn’t of instinctively lunged to save you if I didn’t, and I’m glad that I did, because now, my wife is still with me.” He smiled, she did too. That was it, no proposal. Was it more meaningful than the ordinary? Or less? It didn’t matter. He was once again the honey bee; she was the yellow flower. And they were as inseparable as before. cut his speech here completely and have him do something instead that shows us how he feels which leads him to say this next bit…
“I, Richard Bryant, am thankful for my wonderful wife, Kathy, and for the truck that brought us closer together. It was the greatest feeling and accomplishment of my life, despite the broken bones, and it provides me with satisfaction and gratification. I could not imagine what life would be like if she was to be the one that was hit by the truck. I am thankful for my family, and their support with me through the years of my life, how they always…” a bit too sappy for the tone of this the story, feels wrong for this character and talking about his family does not seem right, shouldn’t it be all about the girl?
More Feedback: I like how the sequence of events is told in this story and how the title comes organically from the main character. Settings are clear and well-described, too. Characterization is the weakest part of the story. I would like to see each a bit more depth given to each of them and perhaps the author could even give the boyfriend centre stage. The title and the last paragraph lead me to believe that this is his story.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback! – Author of “Thankful for You”