Review for Don't Answer the Door

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Great opening! I was planted smack dab into my childhood: The ’80’s. Thundercats. NES. Transformers. The premise here is great. A young boy alone and given instructions not to “answer the door.” That is a nice hook, because, as a reader, you immediately want to know why he shouldn’t. What’s hunting him. What is coming his way? Also, you immediately feel some sympathy for him being left alone. I assume a single-mother situation. It’s got a good emotional pull.

Awesome. I don’t think there’s a problem here.

So the thread of the plot is strong as mentioned above. I think it has a LOT of potential, but I’m not sure it’s fully realized yet. Specifically, I think it might benefit from a stronger threat. Maybe Mom tells Eddie something like “Don’t answer the door, you know what happened last time.” or “Don’t answer the door. He musn’t find us, Eddie.” Just a thought. Basically give the threat a little more weight and substance. It’s cool you don’t resolve what the threat actually is. I liked that, but I don’t think it’s intense enough during the meat of the story. Also, instead of having Mom call him right away with the ringing code, consider having Eddie pass out on the couch or something. Use a section break to represent the passage of time. Have him wake up to the phone ringing at three a.m. It’s way later, which would make the knock scary as hell.

To really amp the tension (if you want) maybe consider having Eddie hide in a “special” hiding place, while the guy (or whatever it is) breaks in and stomps around looking for him. Shouting. Going berzerk. Maybe Mom comes home to that. Chaos. Shit all torn up. Just a thought on how you can up the stakes a bit. I do think the story needs that.

Again. Enjoyed them. I would like to “feel” a bit more for Eddie. Maybe he remembers Dad abandoning them. Maybe he stood up to Dad when he yelled at Mom. I don’t know. Sort of a lame example on my part, but I’m not sure I totally connected with him.

There are spots you can tighten your writing. An example: in the first paragraph consider deleting the entire sentence that starts with “She then stood pulled on her coat…”. You say she leaves a few sentences later, which is enough. Too much writing on movement, etc., can get a bit distracting. Another example: “He stood to his feet.” can simply be “He stood.” We know people stand on their feet. Another: “Just as Eddie was about to move the receiver away from his ear…” can be “Just as Eddie was about to hang up…”

Just some thoughts. I really got a lot out of Rayne Hall’s “The Word Loss Diet.” Great book on tightening writing: https://www.amazon.com/Word-Loss-Diet-Rayne-Hall/dp/1500604445/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=The+word+loss+diet&qid=1610407874&sr=8-2

Capitalize your pronouns “Ma” “Mom” and so forth.

Anyways – I’d love to see where this story winds up. Cheers!

Premise 4.5
Authenticity 5.0
Characters 4.5
Dialogue 4.0
Details 5.0
Pacing 3.5
Theme 4.5
Clarity 4.0
Word Choice 3.5
Grammar 4.5
Spelling 4.5
Dread Factor 5.0
Helpful? 0 0

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