The teacher was worried that with only one story, and only 5 pages at that (~1790 words), we would breeze through it and 20 minutes into the 2 hour class we'd be done already. We spent the first 15-20 minutes of the class on unrelated things, but once we launched into the story we went for another hour just on it.
Go ahead and read it for yourself then come back here to compare notes or provide other feedback.
I was flattered by the amount of positive feedback people were giving.
- Good foreshadowing.
- Good pacing of description and action.
- Good description of situation and object aspects
- e.g. "the intricate patterns embellishing it did not look natural" gave obvious situational awareness without explaining everything about it (yet).
- Balanced dialog / narration.
- Good focus on characters and not world mechanics.
- Very good on subtle explanations.
- Enjoyed the literal aspects of statements.
On an aside, I was very pleased that people hadn't gotten attached to Cole. I didn't want to put too much detail into a character that I was going to kill off as part of an object lesson.
There were a few places that could use improvement.
- Needs more empathy for the characters (soon).
- Need to scale back on the woman at the airport.
- More physical detail of the characters.
- The ending of the airport segment was anti-climatic; needs to tie in with the beginning a little more.
- Change the name of Cole; too similar to Cody.
- Move the encounter with Cole to a less public location.
- Not yet, but very soon needs to explain the motivation of the bad guys.
- This one will be difficult because I don't imagine them having a motivation beyond the pleasure at seeing other people panicked, confused, and dying. They don't have demands (Beyond, maybe, "for you to die").
My next step is to refine the existing story using most of the improvement suggestions given. Before I continue further, though, I'll need to sit down and flesh out character looks, feelings, & back story. I'll also need to decide just how I want this plot to go, who the main character is (or how to avoid having a main character yet still keep it interesting), and what the exact obstacles to be overcome will be. Once I've got a better idea of plot and characters I'll be able to move the story forward more than a few more pages.