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The Seaglass Exchange by Steve Cleary - Short, Family - Displaced from her city life to spend the summer in a quiet beachtown, a disillusioned young girl helps heal old family wounds by collecting seaglass for her eccentric artist grandfather. 41 pages - pdf, format
At 41 pages, this one seems a bit long for a short. With some modern movies running 90 minutes, this is almost halfway there. Enough of that.
This one is a nicely written story that seems not quite enough. You start with Crystal and her move, and that brings the flash back, the real story. For me, there was too much of the same thing. Too many trips up and down the beach looking for sea glass. Too many spats between Dawn and Dad. Not enough real conflict. No real jeopardy for Crystal. I don't really understand Mrs. Inglish's role since she does little but compete for glass. Flash is good, but his role is limited. He does retrieve her sea glass, but we don't see that, and we don't see how that makes him a hero. If that's a real feat, then, he's great. Otherwise, he's a guy looking for a date.
I really wanted to know about the problems between Dawn's parents. You tease us with some accusations and Dad's sorta explanation, but we don't find out. For me, that doesn't work. Even if Dad lies, some explanation is needed.
I was hoping this one would have some reversals. Dad, while seeming a good guy, turns out to have feet of clay like most people. The man club thing was a once over, and that's not enough. I was hoping Crystal would get herself into real trouble at some point, and Flash or Dad would help her extricate herself from it.
I sound as if I didn't like this one. That's wrong. I did. I just think you can make it better. Give us a real villain. Give us a heroine. Make us watch the screen and wonder if Crystal is going to make it--although we already know she does. One of the problems of the flashback.
Thanks for your feedback Richard. This was a first draft, so perhaps I'll flesh it out into a feature and work in some of the conflict points you describe. I'll let it all sink in for a few days for now.
Very good writing on display here. Followed along seamlessly with this and was able to picture everything very clearly. Well done!
My main issues were with the story. This one seemed set up to throw an emotional knockout punch, but it just never landed.
I saw Jerry's issue as soon as he coughed. He was a good barrier character to kind of soften the tension between mother and daughter. Written well, and his untimely demise served both mother and daughter well. I found myself disliking Dawn at times, but never to the point of hatred. Overall, very good characterization with the three mains.
At the end, I found it hard to believe that Crystal and Flash were only now getting married, some 20 years later. If you ever choose to expand this into a feature there's your subplot.
I'm not sure why Crystal ended up in NYC. There's another issue that can be explored. I'm thinking that seeing as Dawn appeared to move around a lot, her daughter might follow in those same footsteps. As is, theres only speculation.
There's a lot of loose ends. I think you can definitely expand on this. Not every story needs that killer twist at the end, much like this one. But I feel it needs more than it has to drive home the emotion it sets out to deliver.
Overall, pretty good work. And really good writing!