Feedback for "Crawl" - Halloween 2018


The Angry One
Staff member
Jun 29, 2008
The Great Pond in the Sky
My Rating: 8.5 / 10
Quick Impressions: A gripping story of non-sequitur madness that's only really held back by a lack of clarity and an over-abundance of stylistic work.

The Good:
+ The dream-like state of things once the passage of time has been established adds wonderfully to the atmosphere of the story.
+ A great mix of personal attachment and outsider perspective brought on by 1st-person perspective contrasted against unknowable surroundings and events.
+ The persisting unknowing nature of the protagonist got me very interested. It feels like the setting itself is against them, fitting for your Silent Hill inspirations.
+ The conveyance of physical details throughout keeps the story strangely grounded through its bizarre and abstract developments, I appreciate the touch of realism you bring to your horror.
+ The slight amount of background on our protagonist gives enough of an impression on the life they've lived and the events that bring them to where the story picks up are just enough to satisfy without intruding into the necessary action of the plot.
+ Stream-of-consciousness can be difficult to balance in traditional prose, but you did a fantastic job of mixing the very stop-and-start nature of it with the developing plot.
+ After a few rereads, the overall Silent Hill tone of the piece really sets it apart from the others submitted. I can feel the PT and Silent Hill 1/2 vibes radiating off the way story elements are introduced and repeated at key moments.
+ It doesn't come through entirely, but there's a very clear implication of something deeply unsettled or troubled in the protagonist's mind, and I almost wish there'd been a little more time spent with them before things kick up, but you do well enough in pushing that sort of 'unreliable narrator' that's so classic in horror literature.

The Bad:
- A large amount of parenthetical prose, some abrupt page breaks, and repetitious dialogue all seriously damage the pacing the piece, making it feel rushed in places and disjointed in others. It adds to the non-sequitur feel of the story in some parts, but otherwise it jarred me from what I was reading.

Final Thoughts: For being relatively middling in length for the acceptable word count in this contest, Crawl really stays true to its tight scope of getting to the heart of what you wanted to write. It's a great piece that sadly doesn't quite measure up to a 10. It punches above its weight for sure, and you've navigated a few concepts in this contest that I don't think anyone else was brave or willing enough to explore at length. If I had any real lasting criticism to give on this, it would be to take your time a bit more next time. The lateness of this submission shines in its pacing and styling, and I can't help but feel I might've given this a 10 had there been a bit more time spent with it before submission.
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