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for The Final Word

1/7/2020 c1 11Oconee Belle
This was so good! You start out with a normal day in Stalag 13...Newkirk mysteriously winning every hand of cards, Schultz offering to critique LeBeau's cooking, the usual chaos that comes with mail call...and then, Newkirk's pleasant smile fading.
And, the whole happy mood fades with it. Even though Newkirk acts like everything is still normal, you make it very clear that it isn't. And, when he leaves the barracks, LeBeau cautiously picking up the note only added to the suspense.
The words on the note were brief and to the point, just like Newkirk's response when Carter asked him what was wrong. It reviles a lot about the Newkirk siblings' relationship with their father in only a few quick sentences. And, nothing more needs to be said. It was just enough.
9/26/2019 c1 80mrspencil
You have a fine grasp of the details which make a scene come alive. This builds up deftly to its sad conclusion. Very well done:-)
1/13/2019 c1 71snooky-9093
This starts out as a slice of life in the barracks story,and then hits you in the gut. There is really nothing more to say. sigh. Very sad. But, good use of the prompt. So glad you took part in our contest.
1/3/2019 c1 21Wind-in-the-Sage
I really enjoyed reading this. First, the humor. I like how they have to "catch up on their boredom," because they don't usually get the amount they're supposed to in this place. I like how Carter seems to know exactly what he is doing (Even though he obviously doesn't. Very canon-like.) and Newkirk has only realized he isn't playing the same game at this point.

I like the personification of the ink trying to sting LeBeau. The use of the prompt is creative and on point, exactly as canon seemed to describe Newkirk's relationship with his father.

My favorite part of this story is actually how nothing really happened. It's tough to make a story where you've got a big plot and things are happening all of the time and you have to keep it moving. If anything is tougher, it's making nothing happen. And I think this was very important to showing how Newkirk felt about it and what it meant. It developed the perfect mood to spring the prompt into. He died the week before, in Stalag 13 nothing has changed, Mavis's lack of emotion, the camp moving like molasses - it all works so well to emphasize the feeling of, well, losing something you never had. Also, the mood was created by reversing the order of the two most important sentences ("How can you lose something you never had?" and "He died last week.") and making the reader think back to the former. That was a very good way to structure it.

And let's not forget our characters. Newkirk is still touchy about this and everyone in the barracks knows it. The little actions like LeBeau hesitantly picking up the paper, Newkirk's dismissive laugh, and his flash of anger meant so much.

I know I'm supposed to stick some constructive criticism in here, but I really can't find anything to criticize, so I get the happy job of analyzing why I loved it! Thanks for this story!
12/25/2018 c1 23Tuttle4077
Well I did not expect the story to end like that. You lulled me into a false sense of security, and then- whammo!sucker punched right in the kidneys. Poor Newkirk. You can tell from how Mavis broke the news that his relationship with his Da wasn't the best, but it's still his father. I could feel the conflict of emotions, even though it came right at the end and you didn't actually put any of them down on paper.

I liked how Carter told Newkirk to Go Fish. It's something I do when I'm playing cards and I know someone doesn't need the card I threw. It's the little things like that that make a story seem more real.
7/7/2018 c1 25L. E. Wigman
This was superb. The way you set the scene inside the barrack was very real and pulled me right into the room. The boys' interaction with Schultz and the guard's dialogue were perfectly in character... then of course the wrenching ending was the icing on top. While I particularly loved the part with Schultz's mailbag caution, all the elements of the tale meshed together to make a thoroughly enjoyable read. Well done!
7/7/2018 c1 39Book 'em Again
This story is a prime example of how you don't need a lot of words or description to make an impact. You set the scene great by emphasizing the normalcy of the day. The reference to catching up on general boredom was a great one as it me go - yeah, boring isn't all that normal for the buys while showing that this is a welcome break.

The swift in tone from lighthearted to serious happens in time on the written page as I imagine in would in person - someone noticing something off - then suddenly everyone and the reader picks up on it too.

Finally, I like how you ended on the reveal. Because there really is nothing more to say, the lead up to the reveal showed us everything we needed to know what that news means to Newkirk and why it matters. In all, a really good job.
7/5/2018 c1 2Aker-ldh
Now, that was a bit of a roller-coaster. The story switches from one extreme to the other and yet manages to feel perfectly balanced (of course not for Newkirk). The card game and Schultz's hesitation (it's mail call, after all *lol*) are wonderfully vivid and convey the typical humor of the show (I particularly like the complaint about letting all the cold air out, hehe). But just as in real live, that's often the moment disaster strikes. And although it's actually only very few lines about said disaster, the moment is very intense and thought provoking. You say in your summary "With a single note from home, the subject is closed." I'm wondering if it really is for Newkirk. He certainly reacts very strongly, as if betrayed yet again by a man, who should have been his father, but even in death manages to steal away from his responsibilities and his family. Dust on the wind summed it up quite nicely. With only those few sentences and a powerful usage of the prompt you express "all of Newkirk's bitterness and resentment, and even regret for what never existed". The reveal at the end rounds off the story perfectly, leaving a lasting impact on the reader (and Newkirks friends), because Newkirks strong reaction is still reverberating. Very well done.
7/4/2018 c1 32Sam Worth
This is really, really good. From the easy and light start to the bitter end, you kept the reader engaged always wanting to find out what your title suggested. You didn't use a single word too much and stopped just at right time. Everything afterwards would have started a new story and taking something away from this one. Thank you for sharing your talent.
7/2/2018 c1 26Thaddeus MacChuzzlewit
Talk about a knock-out punch. The beginning was so funny, with the men catching up ‘on their reading, card playing and general boredom’, and the bit about Newkirk winning all the card games, that I certainly wasn’t expecting such a heart-breaking end. Great job! It’s well written, and your descriptive language allows us to see the scene without even trying: for example that hilarious paragraph with Carter carefully choosing his card. Thanks for the wonderful story!
6/30/2018 c1 119katbybee
I love the way you set the scene for this story. I can picture the barracks so clearly. The feeling being on edge was there, but not overplayed. Tension, but yet, there was balance. I liked the interplay between Carter and Newkirk…it felt very natural, especially when you had Carter tell Newkirk to “go fish!” That just cracked me up!” I liked the phrase, too, about catching up on their boredom. That particularly tickled me. You have a unique way of phrasing things that really kept me engaged throughout the story. So, when you reached the crux of the story, the blow to Newkirk in the letter he received from Mavis, it was all the more heart wrenching. It was masterful. I believe this is probably one of the most powerful stories in the competition this year. Brava.
6/30/2018 c1 momgobloo
aww - short but sweet -and sad! great job!
6/26/2018 c1 71dust on the wind
Oh, this is good - an moving evocation of a difficult relationship, entirely defined by its unexpected end. The prompt line is used to great effect, summing up all of Newkirk's bitterness and resentment, and even regret for what never existed.

I don't think there's a single thing needs to be added - it's a real little gem.
6/26/2018 c1 1NickTonyK
Awesome! Loved the prompt you used.
6/24/2018 c1 65Belphegor
Oof - now that was a sucker-punch. It's also what I love about this challenge: the sheer variety of stories, how they run the gamut between straight-up comedy through schemes and shenanigans to brutal drama. I love that 90% of this is a vignette of daily life in Barracks 2, card playing and friendly banter, and Schultz treading oh so carefully because he knows he's going to get mobbed. Newkirk's reaction is wonderfully understated, very much in-character, like Carter's tentative sympathy. Great use of the prompt line, too, it gains such an emotional weight on reread, after the last line. There's a whole story there that you tell in a few words, just by showing Newkirk's reaction. Very nice work.
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