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2/22/16 - Eisenheim - A Delicate Matter


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Some details below the line, but in summary, I found the story interesting and entertaining. I had no issue with imagining the other half of the conversation, which was easy enough to do. Wat (presumably) is making all the running, so I don’t think there is much room for misinterpretation. It’s a novel idea, not something I’ve encountered before and it’s certainly well done.


I was entertained, curious, but perhaps not enthralled. The problem I usually have with flash fiction is that either I want to know more, or am not sufficiently engaged to want to know more. Here, I am curious to know why Wat was dismissed by Lankin, and why this deed deserves retribution.


Well written, of course, and very easy to read. An interesting diversion, but I fear my praise cannot be burnished any further, as a reader less than devoted to flash fiction.


(I'm just glad I managed to keep my usual rambling comments shorter than the story.  :) )





Yes, the privacy would be lovely” – There doesn’t seem to be a context for a specific, just privacy in general.


I’ll stay right here. Let’s get right to the heart of the matter.” – repetition.


Now Sir, why should I trifle with you?” – Unless it’s his name, he’s just any old sir, in my view (no caps)...  E.g. “Farewell, Sir Blacksmith” – here, it is used as part of a name.


I could not breathe in there.


None shall see but I.” – ‘me’, I think.


Ah, that is lovely.” – Damned by faint praise. If this is the finest smith in the land, I would have thought his patron would have something more to offer. Either that or the blade is not up to much.


I will fill your hands with gold to take that sword away this instant, and you will have more than time enough to make another before it is due, and you can make it twice as rich, out of what I will pay you, with fine cut gems and ruddy gold.” – This is a long old sentence.

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Yeah, I think the best flash is necessarily ephemeral or unfinished.  I like flash that actually puts a hard end on things less, because you can't fit a good, complete story without loose ends into 1,000 words.  I think I could get why Wat is aiming for murder in without expanding wordcount too much, and I did mean for that to come across at the end.

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I think Robinski covered all the grammatical problems I saw.


The one-sided conversation worked without much problem.  I could still follow easily.


I was similarly entertained, but it didn't really make me think at the end.  I presume one Fey folk pissed another off enough for cold steel to come into play. Even though this was short, there still wasn't any character development in it, and no real arc, except Wat settled on a knife rather than a sword.


From feedback on a flash piece I submitted to several places, editors are expecting much more work to be done in 1000 words than would be done even a short story.  I liked this, but it doesn't have a lot of meat to it.  No real stakes or problem.  If Wat doesn't get the sword/knife, what then?  Does he care?  Why can't he get a one from a lesser blacksmith, save for pride?  Will the smith come after him when the fairy gold disappears the next morning?  At the moment, none of those questions really matter.

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- As someone who deals with a lot of customer service, I also appreciated the one-sided conversation (it felt frustratingly familiar).


- I was thrown by the word "helpmeet" at first until I saw apprentice. I was wondering if this was done to make the speaker feel more foreign?


- The escalation on the last page seems a little out of place. Clearly they are having a disagreement, but I didn't feel the need for him to call him a villain. 


- I like the Fey twist, but I think there needs to be some hints at his identity throughout the piece. I'm guessing that's why he couldn't actually enter the forge - because of all the iron? Things like that - and his face changing - might need to be a little more prominent. 

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I liked this story, it ready quick and fluidly for me.


I was able to manage through the one sided conversation easily and felt like i heard both sides of the conversation.


The ending felt a little lacking to me and i missed the fae connection. I kept thinking he was going to kill the blacksmith or rob him in some way which kept me on my toes.

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The ending felt a little lacking to me and i missed the fae connection. I kept thinking he was going to kill the blacksmith or rob him in some way which kept me on my toes.


Yeah, I must admit I missed the fae connection too. The clues were there of course (iron allergy), but I think because it read through so easily I didn't pause to consider the implications of that. Should have got it though.

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"before moon is dark" - I didn't understand what this was supposed to mean. Is this moonset (not during the day I assume) or is this a new moon?

"a worthy blade, all silver" - I assumed that it was made of actual silver, but it occurs to me that that isn't the case and that you were just describing the colour. I assume the cutting blade needs to be steel in order to work the way it needs to?


I enjoyed this quite a bitt, though I think it could be quite a bit better. The tone of the story worked for me, and so did the one-sided conversation, though I felt that it ran long for a flash story. A little less back and forth between the buyer and the smith would do well to speed this along to its conclusion (especially since the wordless smith appears to protest, but in the end produces at least three weapons).


If I could suggest, cutting out anything where the buyer comes down hard on the smith might help, because we don't get a chance to develop why the character would look down on this person in the first place. Such as the following paragraphs:

 - "Do not speak that word to me again... bring me a blade fit for my station"

 - "Take that tone with me again, villain..."

I'm not sure if this was just supposed to advertise the fickle nature of the buyer, but that was what I enjoyed the least in this piece. It works as character development, but makes me dislike the speaking character, and so I cared less about the twist at the end because I wasn't overly invested in his (albeit short) revenge arc.

In the end, the fact that he's fae is important, but the real twist feels like "He's buying this blade for revenge" which isn't much of a twist when someone's buying a knife in a hurry with too much money. Something to punch up the "He's a fae" twist would sell this much more strongly (and especially, something to punch up why this smith in particular, and what the repercussions will be for the man after this deal).

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