Reply To: The Disappearance of Rebecca Faulks (short Story – 2,800 words)

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Hiya Elle, Well done for diving in on the critique posting! This is a sad and believable portrayal of depression, quite uncomfortable to read – which it needs to be. I spotted a few wordings that I felt jarred a little, so I’ll give you them…

‘The caller’s name required a sharp inhale before answering.’ I’m not sure about the required, it seems too formal rather than instinctive. Perhaps ‘drew’

‘With a steadfast hand, he pulled up the zipper of her dress, before leaning to kiss her bare shoulder’ I wonder whether steadfast does what you want it to here. It’s a longer term loyalty/stability, rather than the steadiness of that particular action. BUt perhaps that was intentional.

‘At the end of the short hallway, the front door loomed at her,’ I think things tend to loom over, rather than loom at.

‘Three hours later, she lied on her stomach not having written a word’ Lay, rather than lied.

‘Trekking to the kitchen at a listless pace’ Although not wrong as such, the ‘at a listless pace’ felt awkward. Perhaps just sticking with ‘listlessly’ would flow a little better?

‘The façade of the next-door building was an advent calendar whose windows displayed lives she would never have’ Do you need ‘the facade of’? It works just as well without, and perhaps reads easier?

As an overall thought – I would say that it would help if there was a little more conflict for her. If she tried harder to go to work, or tried harder to speak to her mum (otherwise her mum might appear on the doorstep, which would be worse than a phonecall). That would help create more tension in the story, and perhaps make her easier to connect with. Another minor point is on the panic attack, whilst realistic, I felt that it needed a little more foreshadowing – other moments of anxiety, or more build up.

I do think this is a powerful story, on a difficult subject. So really well done for that. I do think it needs a more complex/conflicted route towards suicide to make it more powerful still. BUt remember that’s just my opinion. And btw your english is native-speaker level, so I’d not fear that ever being an issue!