As per Jeff's answer here on meta, I'm posting a Critique Question. Let me know if I'm not following the process correctly.

My story for critique is found here (pdf, or you could go to my story page).


This is a short story about a writer who is drawn into the world he has been writing about for many years.

It has 14 chapters, marking it longer than a short short story.

I think the story is too condensed, and needs to be drawn out.


Is this story too condensed? That is, am I trying to fit too much into a short amount of writing?

1 Answer 1


While I'm going to need some more time in order to look at this fully, I think that the answer to your question of "is this too condensed" is "yes".

The main thing I notice from the very start is that you do a lot of "telling" and not a lot of "showing".

For instance, the very first two sentences:

Moses was a writer. A good writer.

Here you are telling us that Moses is a good writer, but you aren't SHOWING us that he is a good writer. There are a number of ways to show this. You might reveal it in a scene where he is talking to his publisher about how well his latest book is selling. You might have another character reacting to what he read. You might have an excerpt of what it is that he is writing.

Secondly, the second sentence is technically a fragment. I do not know if this is a style thing for you, but I found similar fragments to be mildly distracting.

Thirdly, I think some of the concepts are introduced too abruptly, such as the garishka. One just shows up... poof! Moses's reaction felt a bit... subdued. If something kind of like a small dragon suddenly shows up on the top of a building that I'm walking into, and these sorts of things don't actually ever happen... I'm doing to need a change of shorts.

  • 1
    Thank you! I'll take those three points on board. Especially the change of shorts <g> Feb 9, 2011 at 4:51
  • Read about the first twenty pages of the story and I completely agree with Ernest. It seems like there's more exposition happening than actual story. I'm not learning about any of the concepts in the story before they become important. So instead of thinking "Wow, a garishka just appeared on that building!" I'm thinking "What the heck is a garishka? Oh, it's an evil dragonlike creature from the Jesse King novels. Is that weird? Well, this Moese guy seems remarkably calm about it, so I guess it's not." Feb 11, 2011 at 21:17

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