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From the Comfort of their Favorite Armchair
  February 15, 2002

Today's Featured Author - Annalise Barker

by: Samantha Jay

At present there are only three parts to this story on the site. It’s a simple tale; younger brother is invited to older sister’s friend’s birthday bash in New York. A new twist is the confiscation of little brother’s clothes by Customs rather than the airline losing his bag, but we are still away from home with out a change of clothes.

It’s an all girl shopping trip and Paul is tricked onto going mainly because Cathryn wants him there. I think we are being set up for a romance between Paul and Cathryn.

The two flashbacks were nice and I thought of my own gym skirt (I shall have to wear it when I’m next home). I have a minor niggle, I’m not sure I would leave a ten and an eleven year old alone, but I do tend to nit pick.

I liked the dressing scene and it adds credence to, what I think is, Cathryn’s ulterior motive. She wants Paul, one way or another, but I could be wrong.

Well here we are in New York, shopping capital of the world, and the descriptions of the shops and items, well I was there, at the check out with my purchases. Bloomingdale's sounds like one hell of a shop to go to. I wonder if there is a changing room equivalent of the mile high club?

I am looking forward to the next installment, which I believe is going to be a night on the town.

Annalise first published on Storysite at the beginning of September. Part three was posted at the end of the same month. I believe we are long overdue for part four and I hope Annalise posts it soon.

The Shopping Trip is a nice story with loads of potential and Annalise has a nice style of writing. All in all it is my type of story and I enjoyed it very much.

by: Sydney Michelle

Annalise has posted three parts of a story of British characters on an extended weekend adventure in New York. The only caution that provides for American readers is that Annalise uses, naturally enough, Queen’s English spellings and British word choices. If that gives you pause, all I could say would be: Expand your horizons.

There has been a several month break in the posted segments to "The Shopping Trip", something which surely disappoints the mostly enthusiastic reviewers. The destruction of the World Trade Center would not necessarily alter the story, although it may very well have dampened the author’s enthusiasm to continue.

Although the story has some sex description as the hero(ine) finds mutual attraction with an old acquaintance, the story focuses mostly on the easily growing enjoyment of Paul/Sally with the feminine aspects of appearance, especially clothing. None of the characters fit into the evil or twisted categories. The story is merely a pleasant group weekend with an unusual twist. Not so unusual for stories here, but in the wider universe . . .

Although the story is pleasant and the writing competent, Annalise could use a good editor. There are some minor logical and narrative problems that a second pair of eyes would have easily discovered. An editor would have helped Annalise avoid putting speeches by different characters in the same paragraph as well as break up some long paragraphs. Annalise’s writing also falls into the trap of the literate: multi-part sentences that would read more smoothly split apart. Alas, a decent story beginning off a nice premise reads at times a bit like a one draft wonder.

A more difficult task would be to improve the demonstration of motivation. Annalise strives not to have wax-figure characters, to give them emotions and motivation. Annalise strives hard in limited space, but the result relies heavily on speeches. The speeches do not overwhelm the read, they merely make it bog down a bit.

At the posted point in the story, I suspect that an idea for a brief story has outgrown its original ambition. I hope that Annalise finds the motivation to resume the story, taking the time to plot out the full story and rework the early effort. There is the crux of an interesting divertissement, there are relationships awaiting development, but what is does not fulfill the obvious potential of Annalise’s talent. Even so, "The Shopping Trip" is a pleasant enough read, providing a number of threads to tantalize the reader about possible future story developments.

Editor - Heather Sinclair


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