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Mommacrit October 2007


First page by C.Holmes, one writer who dared send work to Mommacrit.







It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.  Honzinger wasn’t supposed to win, and I wasn’t supposed to die.  But Honzinger did win, and I did die.  And that’s the end of the story.


     It all started with the legless man at the ATM.


     I had been driving around for about twenty minutes in the drizzle that was making the streets of Clairmont bounce back the bluish glare of the mercury vapor lights, wondering whether I would find an ATM and then a gas station that was open at 10 o’clock at night or just run out of gas and be stuck in the middle of I don’t know where.  I had about decided that I was going to be stuck and have to spend another night in my old Toyota when I saw an American National Bank sign just up the street.  And where there’s a bank there’s an ATM.


     On a dark drizzly night you don’t expect to have company at the ATM, but when I wheeled into the parking lot I saw that somebody was already there, a guy sitting a little back from the ATM in a wheel chair.


     I pulled into a parking place and waited for the guy to transact his ATM business and move on.  But he just sat there and looked at me.  I couldn’t tell whether he was trying to stare me away or wanted to say something.  Finally, he lifted his right arm and waved me toward him.  I looked around to see if there was somebody standing around.  I could see a headline that said, “Stranger mugged at American National ATM.”  But there was nobody there, just the guy in the wheelchair.


     He waved at me again, this time putting a little oomph in the wave.  I cracked the car door and stepped part of the way out.


     “Hey,” he yelled.  “Could you give a guy a hand?”


     “What do you need,” I said.


     “Come up here and give me a hand with this thing, won’t you.”


     I looked around again, and there still didn’t seem to be any accomplice muggers around, so I got out of the car and walked up the ATM.  Very slowly.


     “Oh, come on,” he said.  “I’m not going to hurt you.  Wouldn’t even if I could.”




Reaction from Mommacrit


First off, has C. Holmes followed the guidelines?


“Send Mommacrit the first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume, and its genre.”


C. Holmes makes no mention of Honzinger’s genre. If it’s a romance, it’s a desperate failure. Perhaps it comes under the umbrella of General Fiction? Or, given the third sentence, where we hear of the narrator’s death, could it be a cross-over genre? Mommacrit cannot tell, because C.Holmes did not completely follow the guidelines. Most readers like to know the genre of a book they choose. It matters.


If ole JK herself came a-knockin’ on Momma’s door, the answer would be the same: READ THE GUIDELINES! FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES!


Did C. Holmes push Mommacrit’s magic button? Did C. Holmes write a damn good beginning and hook the Momma into wanting to read more?


According to the first paragraph of Honzinger, the “I” of the story is dead. Mommacrit wonders then, if Honzinger is written from beyond the grave, making it a ghost story. Morbid curiosity prods the Momma to read further, but C. Holmes could consider omitting “But Honzinger did win, and I did die.  And that’s the end of the story”, in case other readers prefer their authors alive and breathing.


The second paragraph is one sentence: “It all started with the legless man at the ATM.” This is quirky enough to make Mommacrit want to read on. A single sentence succeeds in pushing Momma’s button.


However, C.Holmes blows away earned goody points with the next sentence. It’s too long, although it does a good job of setting the scene for the following action.


There are several places where a good trimming would tighten this work. C.Holmes could remove a couple of the seven ‘ATM’s like this: I pulled into a parking place, waited for him to transact his business and move on. AND

I looked around again. There still didn’t seem to be any accomplice muggers, so I got out of the car and walked over. 


It is usual to end a question with a question mark: “What do you need?” I asked.


There is so much here that works well for Mommacrit. The narrator’s voice is authentic and sustained throughout. With a few changes, Honziger could be on the way to being an excellent piece of writing.


Unless, of course, it’s a romance.






Mommacrit’s Hatemail


It’s official. Mommacrit has hate mail! Apparently, Momma’s comments in the July column, about editors tending to be “anal-retentive jerks” caused a ruckus in at least one editorial bosom. (You know who you are.)


To show the Momma is above childish name-calling, she sends Mr Big-Head Editor some cyber psyllium and four little words: Na na na na!