Reader Notes on a Short Story

I read a short story for someone on line this last week. I have permission to post my notes about this short story on my blog.

There are three ways I read things sent to me.

  1. Content- This means I read it for content errors or continuity problems. I read each chapter. I give a short synopsis, then ways to improve the chapter and overall writing.
  2. Review- I read the entire book, often taking notes on it. I write an overall book review. I tell about the book, then tell what I thought about it.
  3. Grammar/spelling check- grammar and spelling checked. Errors are discovered. Content is not the primary importance, line by line mistakes are the main reason the document is read.

An example of my Reader Notes

Content Reader notes for short Story (Jason Raids) by Master Light James on Facebook Shared with permission 4/14/ 2020 Story Content C. 2020

from Katherine E. Soto  (

This is a fairly good story. It has story line that follows a story plot outline. It takes place over a night and into the evening of the next day, so time is well spaced out in the story.  The settings are fleshed out somewhat.  I liked Jason and Chrissie as Characters in the story. 


Fleshing out your characters more.

Finish your resolution of the story.

Flesh out the settings a little bit better.  Is it a pawn shop he went to?

My Opinion

I have read similar stories in books before. This is not a new idea. It reeks of the crime formula story telling. It needs work.

I have given you a synopsis of each chapter, then notes to consider from each one.

Chapter 1 Chrissie goes with her friend Hannah to a party.  Hannah leaves her.  Chrissie is abducted.

“Are you down yet?”  Down from where, you never say. Setting is weak here.

Take the first paragraph and turn it into the phone call with the invite out.

Show what her father caught her doing.

How is her aunt the worst person to have watching her.  Give an example.

Your conversations feel contrived.  If that Dad found his daughter missing he would be frantic, esp as an FBI agent.

This chapter would be better if you make the Dad more frantic and the aunt frantic, too.

Adverbs and helping verbs need to be looked at and either make the go away or change your sentences.

Watch telling not showing.  Your first two big paragraphs would be better as little vignettes.

Chapter 2   Chrissie wakes up in a small room or box. Clyde come is with food. Takes her to Mr. Alvarez.

Chrissie should be in a panic not having all these thoughts in her head.  Have her und on the box to get out.  Her thoughts would be a short jumble of sentences here, not long sentences.

Is she in a box or sitting in a room?

What is a technical looking bungalow? Describe it.

This a teenager, right?  She is acting and thinking like and adult as he walks her to Mr. Alvarez.  She should make a grab for the phone, pull against him, refuse to go. She’s a kid. They think they are indestructible.

If Clyde works for criminal element, he will not talk to her at all, much less give names of his sisters out or where he lives.

Chapter 3  Jason gets  to the party. He gets a phone call from Carlos wanting to exchange his brother for his daughter.

Jason better get out of the bar when he takes the phone call. It’s loud at this party. He would not hear on the cell phone. You have him standing up after he was already up in this scene.

Chapter 4  Jason goes to buy equipment in a pawn shop. HE has someone onhis FBI team looking for Carlos. Calls him.  Finds Carlos on property in California through his FBI buddy.  Hears from Carlos and speaks to Chrissie. Chrissie finds Clyde’s phone in her box.  She calls her dad through the FBI phone number.  Dad reassures her.  Jason picks up his equipment. Chrissie is told they killed Clyde.

Again, show do not tell.

Chapter 5 Jason goes after Chrissie. There is a gun battle.  Carlos escapes.

Again show don’t tell in long paragraphs. Action in the scene.

Stay in past tense or present tense in your writing, do not mix them.

Where is the guard staying, a guard shack? Make this clear.  It seems he is guarding the box room where Chrissie was held.

Rounds by themselves to not explode in hay.  He must put the gunpowder out of them or have a lighter to use to set hay on fire.

Gain more action instead of long sentences.  These should be short active sentences.

What happened to the fire?  If in SO. California that fire would break out and spread into the dry grasses.

Ch 6  Jason chases Alverez.  Chrissie stabs him with a piece of metal. Jason shoots him three times.  He is dead.  Chrissie and her father are reunited.

Show how Chrissie gets the piece of metal at the fence.  It’s important to the end of the story.

No ending yet.  Need to wrap it up.

End of story

What happens to Jason and his job? Clyde?

What happens between Json and Chrissie, as well as the aunt?

Is Alvarez alive or dead?

How is Chrissie’s behavior after this adventure? Does she change her ways?

What happens to her friend Hannah? Does Chrissie ever go out with her again?

What did Chrissie and Jason learn about their relationship.?

I offer my services to writers for short stories, books and any author who needs an ARC reader. We can discuss a trade or price for the piece. I will trade Arc for Arc book review when my book comes out. If you need anything read contact me at . (My resume is on this site, as are my publications.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.