Story #1: Naimy Schommer

The Last Shitty Term Paper

By Naimy Schommer

 

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 11:34 am

 

Caleb,

Hi, I found your flash drive in a library computer just now. I opened the file “my last shitty term paper' just to get your name so I could email you. This seems important and time-sensitive, and I would be happy to meet on campus to return it. Let me know what works for you.

Best,

Ramona

PS- there was also a copy on the printer that I grabbed.

 

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TO: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

FROM: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 2:48 pm

 

Ramona-

Yeeaah sorry about that title. You know, senioritis. Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll be out of this lab at 4:30. Can I meet you at Ray’s around then? I’ll buy you a slice for your trouble.

-Caleb

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 3:12 pm

 

Ray’s? Is that on campus?

-Ramona

 

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TO: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

FROM: caleb.burque@westvirgina.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 3:15 pm

 

Um, Ramona… yes the greasy-ass pizza joint behind the bookstore. Do you not know where that is?

-Caleb

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirgina.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 3:18 pm

 

 

Um, Caleb… no, I’ve never heard of it. I’ll find it though. 4:30 works for me.

-Ramona

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 4:41pm

 

Alright so I couldn’t find it and am impossibly lost. I’m outside the bookstore. Are you close?

-Ramona

 

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TO: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

FROM: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 4:46 pm

 

Be right there. Not to sound creepy, but what are you wearing?

-Caleb

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Found Flash Drive

4/14/18 at 4:48 pm

 

 

White sweater, jeans, Chucks. Standing by the bike rack.

-Ramona

 

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Ramona perched on the empty bike rack and tapped her foot against the metal. Her rubber shoes made a hollow ringing sound down the frame and she scanned the area for someone who looked like a Caleb. The courtyard was crowded with students and teachers. Some were going home, some were just beginning their night classes, but all were enjoying the warm sunlight and moving a little lazily like heavy bumblebees.

 

Ramona had a blunt brunette haircut that was long enough to get caught in her chapstick and short enough to not stay tucked behind her ear. She wore a plain white cuffed sweater with the sleeves pushed up, dark jeans, and some broken-in Chucks. She swung her tan purse and leaned forward, a little impatient, as she wrapped her leg around a spoke in the bike rack and pulled out her phone to refresh her email. ‘What a weird exchange,’ she thought to herself. ‘Who uses flash drives anymore?’

 

“White was not a good idea if we’re heading to Ray’s' Ramona lurched at the voice that approached from behind. “Ramona, I’m assuming. Caleb. Nice to meet you.' Her hand was already shaking his before she even had a chance to fully turn towards him.

 

“Yeah, that’s me. Nice to meet you too.'

 

Caleb was about her height, with broad shoulders and a wide nose that tapered towards the top. He had a slightly-open navy blue backpack slung over one shoulder and a tin water bottle swinging from two fingers. He smiled like someone who smiles a lot: his cheeks settled easily into folds around his nose and his brown eyes crinkled slightly upwards. Ramona’s purse slipped off her shoulder as she drew back from his handshake and she caught it in the crook of her elbow as she turned to dig through the side pockets for the flash drive.

 

“It was in that computer by the window: the sunny one.' She said.

 

“Ahh, yep. That’s my spot. Man, I’m really glad you found it. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it was missing until I’d left campus.'

 

“You live off campus?' Ramona squinted in the warm setting sun as she looked up.

 

“Yeah, it’s a bit more expensive but I like the privacy.' Caleb pulled his phone out of the front pocket of his jeans and clicked it once to check the time. “Oop! C’mon Ramona! We’re going to miss the pizza! Ray closes at five sharp no matter how regular of a customer you are.'

 

“But don’t you want-“

 

“Yeah, you can get it there. We’ve got to go, though!' Caleb took the steps two at a time. Ramona slung the straps of her purse back up onto her shoulder and slid down the wheelchair ramp to meet him at the bottom.

 

“You know there’s the 24-hour pizza place like half a block from here, right?'

 

Caleb sighed and turned his palms towards the sky. “It’s Ray’s. You’ll see. It’s just behind here.'

 

They jogged along the sidewalk of the long campus bookstore; Caleb’s half-zipped book bag coming more unzipped with every pavement slap of his well-worn Nikes. Finally, he turned the corner sharply and pointed towards a rickety structure no bigger than a gardening shed that read “Ray’s' in swoopy, hand-painted calligraphy above the door. Two metal chairs and a small table stood lopsided in the gravel to its right, and a peeling red pickup truck was parked to its left. The air smelled like lasagna and garbage.

 

“Uh-uh. No way. That has to be the creepiest shack I’ve ever seen.' Ramona pulled up one sleeve of her sweater and looked at her watch. 4:58 pm.

 

Caleb strode confidently up to the shack. “I know it’s a little creepy but trust me,' He turned around and spread his arms out to Ramona who hadn’t moved from the corner of the bookstore, “this pizza will change your life. I swear.' He rapped three times on the creaky wooden door and waved her over.

 

Ramona followed cautiously up to the steps of the intimidating shack and jumped when a heavy-set elderly man opened the door with a bang. “Cutting it a little close today aren’t we, Caleb? He slapped an open hand on Caleb’s shoulder before he noticed Ramona. “I know what he wants, what can I make for you?' His voice was gruff and abrasive; it sounded like pop rocks and made Ramona squint her large, oval eyes a bit.

 

“Um.. pizza? I guess?' she responded. The man disappeared into the shack without another word.

 

“Take it easy, Ray, don’t go nuts now. Just pizza.' Caleb shouted over his shoulder as he headed to the teetering table. Ramona heard faint muttering from within the shack before she followed and took one of the seats. “That’s Ray,' Caleb said as he stretched his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair, “He used to be a professor apparently, but he’ll never tell what he taught. After he retired he bought a pizza oven and somehow got a license to sell food out of that shithole, excuse me, out of that… place. He’s here every weekday from three to five. I usually grab a slice before heading home.'

 

Caleb didn’t look like he ate a lot of pizza. He was slim in the waist and his jeans hung a bit loose; he wasn’t in shape, but he was close. He had long eyelashes that caught the slight breeze as he stretched his neck back and teetered precariously on the back legs of the rickety lawn chair. “Yeeeahhh, this place is kinda quiet–“ he yawned and his voice became hollow and distorted as he talked through it. “–but the food’s delicious and cheap so I can’t complain.'

 

Ramona placed the flash drive between them on the table. “Here’s your last shitty term paper,' She said as she flashed a smile and swept her hair behind her ear.

 

“Yikes, yeah. Sorry.' Caleb cringed and leaned forward to pocket the small flash drive. “That was never meant to be seen.'

 

“Well hey, that’s an accomplishment. Also, what kind of psycho still uses flash drives? Haven’t you ever heard of GoogleDrive?' Ramona laughed and jabbed at Caleb’s shoulder.

 

“You can’t trust the cloud, dude. I don't know about you, but I don’t want my stuff up there.' She couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not.

 

“Wait, are you actually-“ Ramona was cut short when two paper plates loaded with dripping pizza were slapped down on the table in front of them.

 

“One usual and one… just pizza.' Ray’s voice garbled. “Five dollars.'

 

“Five dollars?' Ramona raised her brow in surprise.

 

“Aww cmon Ray you know I won’t pay that,' Caleb whined as he reached for his wallet.

 

Ray grumbled to himself for a second, a low grumble like thunder before he wiped his hands on his streaked apron and sighed. “I’ll take seven,' he said begrudgingly.

 

“Good man, I’ll see you tomorrow-hey! Don’t be like that, this is good stuff!' Ray took the floppy bills from Caleb and waved his hand over his head like he was swatting flies as he walked back into his little shack. “He’s a good guy, just old and grumpy. He was in a war but won’t say which one. Prolly ‘Nam.' Caleb already had one hand cupped under the heaping slice of pizza as Ramona took a look at hers.

 

It was basically a block of cheese. Marinara and grease ran down the sides, and she was almost positive she could see a slice of pepperoni peeking out in one place, but other than that, it had no discernible toppings. She sighed, shrugged, and decided to go for it. One hand cupped under the slice, she raised the mound up and took a bite. Grease shot towards Caleb and she snorted, trying to control her laughter and not choke as he dove out of the way.

 

“Wow, so it’s going to be like that.' He joked.

 

“To your last shitty term paper' Ramona raised her dripping slice towards Caleb. He laughed, hung his head and raised his in return.

 

“In all actuality though, it is shitty. I really don’t know how I’ve made it this far.' He took a large bite and rested the edge of his forearm on the table in front of him.

 

“Nah, it’s not that bad. Totally fixable.' Ramona set her slice down and finished chewing, wiping her hands on a napkin.

 

“Wait, you read it?' He placed a hand in front of his mouth and talked sparingly around the pizza.

 

“I didn’t mean to. But I skimmed the first page when I saw it on the printer and just…' She pulled a folder from her purse and removed a binder clip from a stack of papers inside.

 

Caleb swallowed hard. “You PROOFread it.' He gaped.

 

Purple notes crowded the margins of the paper Ramona laid on the table in front of them. Slashes divided the body and arrows rearranged the formatting. “Um… yeah. Kinda.'

 

“Ah geez, well… now you know I’m an idiot I guess,' Caleb laughed and set his pizza down.

“No way, look this paper is rough, no doubt, but you obviously know your subject material well. I’m guessing you’re a Natural Resources major, right? Maybe a concentration in wildlife?' Ramona swept her hair back again.

 

“Um, yeah.' Now Caleb was surprised. “How did you-“

 

“You just need a little help translating what your brain knows into a paper that someone else can read.' Ramona continued, gesturing at the paper before taking another bite of her pizza.

 

“So, what you’re saying is, it makes no sense?'

 

Ramona chewed quickly and shook her head. “No, not at all. I’m saying it doesn’t make the most sense it could. I see what you’re saying, I just think there’s a more concise and easier way to say it… Here look. You start the paper off talking about the rate of deforestation in southern Canada, but then you jump to wildlife in the New England area before you draw your conclusions on the deforestation thing.' She flipped a few pages and pointed to a sentence circled in purple pen. “It’s all here… it’s just out of order.'

 

“Wow. Yeah, no I totally see that.' Caleb flipped the pages himself. “What’s your major, just out of curiosity.'

 

“Uhh, English. I want to teach English as a second language, eventually.' Ramona laughed.

 

“Makes sense. Hey um… will you go through this with me? I mean, if you have time?'

 

“Of course!' Ramona pushed her pizza aside and leaned into the table as Caleb scooted his chair closer to hers.

 

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TO: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

FROM: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Thanks

4/16/18 at 8:35 pm

 

Hey thanks again for going through that paper with me earlier this week, I appreciate it. I just turned it in. Can I buy you another slice of $5 pizza to celebrate?

-Caleb

 

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TO: caleb.burque@westvirginia.edu

FROM: ramona.smith@westvirginia.edu

SUBJECT: Re: Thanks

4/16/18 at 9:19 pm

 

Man, I don't know what’s with that pizza but I HAVE been craving some. I’m free tomorrow afternoon if that works. Why don’t you just text me this time? My number is (681) 555-2097 😉

-Ramona

 

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Author’s Note:

 

This story was inspired by our Creative Exercises assignment from last week where we had to write the ending of an ambiguous short story. I think the reader’s involvement in the story can only improve the work as a whole; collaboration (specifically, writing from multiple perspectives) is why I am personally inspired to write by people and the different ways they show/reveal themselves to others. While the final resolution to this story is heavily implied, I wanted to keep it open enough for the reader to project their own thoughts onto the characters.

I’m very intrigued by meet-cutes at the moment and wanted to write a piece that showed unique characteristics from two different people blending well right off the bat.

 

13 thoughts on “Story #1: Naimy Schommer

  1. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    Naimy, first off I have to say that I love the way you interpreted the emails into your story. I rarely see stories like this and I was very pleased while reading your piece. I enjoyed the two main character of the story. The way you described them was helpful for me to paint a clear image of them in my head. They were both quite the opposite when you described them, but I like how they became friends throughout the story. The way you made the friendship blossom over a term paper was done perfectly. What are the odds of this happening? You made this odd situation funny and perfect.

    I really enjoyed your writing style as well. You make things simple to understand and fun to read. Throughout the semester I always enjoyed reading your work for our creative assignments. This was definitely my favorite piece that you have written. I found myself smiling at their conversations. I like how you made two complete strangers comfortable to meet each other and go out for pizza. I love seeing friendships being created but in this situation, I feel like it was more than a friendship towards the end of the story, and I my head I was fangirling.

    The way you described the interactions that were happening felt so real. Like I was sitting there watching everything go down. I also cringed for Caleb when he found out Ramona had proofread his paper. I would be mortified if a stranger did that to my paper. And I liked how Caleb just laughed about it when she showed him her corrections. Like he just accepted it but in a way was glad he was getting help. I like the strong personality Caleb has and how confident he was when taking Ramona out to pizza. It reminds me of when my boyfriend and I just met. I was like Ramona, skeptical of what was about to happen and my boyfriend was like Caleb, confident I was going to like it. That’s another thing that I like about how you wrote these characters, you made them relatable. Being able to relate to the main characters in a story always makes the reading more enjoyable and you definitely did a good job of doing so.

    When you describe things or situations I feel like you do a very good job, but there were times when I wanted more. For example, I felt that sometimes Caleb’s actions or responses were quickly described and Ramona was the one who was being described more. I wanted to feel more of Caleb’s feelings. Like when the two first met. What did he think of her? But other than that I felt that you did a very good job with this piece and enjoyed it very much. Good job!

    Reply
  2. Aundrea Pierce

    Naimy,

    First off, I love the title of your story (humorously relatable), and I thought the email exchange was a unique choice for the opening. I felt drawn in by my nosiness! You did a fantastic job with including imagery such as when you wrote, “but all were enjoying the warm sunlight and moving a little lazily like heavy bumblebees.” And you described the pizza so realistically that I wanted some, “It was basically a block of cheese. Marinara and grease ran down the sides.” I’m glad I wasn’t on my detox while reading this! The dialogue was very smooth and easy to follow.

    I honestly don’t have much to say about constructive criticism. I didn’t stop or struggle once while reading and there was no confusion about anything. You kept me engaged with anticipation about the creepy shack and suspense from Caleb’s intentions. I was waiting for something dramatic to happen, like Caleb attacked her or something, or maybe the pizza shack was a trap of some sort. I also liked how you described Ramona’s appearance, and I could remember her from her chucks, and oh my gosh I loved how you described the length of her hair! I would put a little more of what you did with Ramona into Caleb’s character (because you’re so good at it!). I could see Caleb’s build and his wide nose, but what else made him rememberable? I pictured him as Asian. Just an idea but maybe he’s wearing a hoodie that reveals a little more about his background! The reader is inquisitive about this stranger Caleb.

    I felt a good connection with Ramona’s inner dialogue and feelings. But I felt a little out of the loop with Caleb; unless that was your intention to give keep him more of a mystery. For this week’s creative assignment, I’d love to read a paragraph taken from this story, so I’ll secretly cross my fingers that you do! For example, maybe things are going good, but quickly they turn into enemies.

    Thanks for including your Author’s note and what inspired you. I really like your statement, “I think the reader’s involvement in the story can only improve the work as a whole;” I never thought about this. Overall, I was impressed by your story! I feel very similar to your piece as I do with Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral”; simple and sweet. You clearly have a talent and passion for writing Naimy, and as Jealous as I am of your ability, I hope you go further with it. I feel this story is just a small glimpse of what you can do!

    Reply
  3. Andrew Lange

    Naimy,

    First of all, like others said, I very much enjoyed your beginning sequence, opening with an email exchange between two students over a misplaced hard drive. The title was also extremely relatable, something that most any full-time college student should be able to relate to without a doubt, as is the “sympathy” of the person who found the flash drive and initiated contact, knowing that an almost-due term paper is undoubtedly time-sensitive. I found it relatable how the person admits they opened one file on the drive, “Just to get a name to email its owner”, as though attempting to reassure the rightful owner that no information was stolen or otherwise exploited.

    Like others mentioned, the story definitely foreshadows the idea that the individuals are going to “hook up” later in the story, with the way the opening sequence unfolds. (Talk about a unique “So, how did YOU two meet?” story if it were true!). I found it relatable how they were naturally a bit nervous upon their first meeting, as is generally the case when first meeting someone in person you have corresponded with through other means first for an extended period (I can relate as someone who has had this experience many times- arranging to finally meet somewhere in person and the anticipation leading up to such an event).

    I also very much enjoyed your imagery. While I have no idea if this campus even exists somewhere in reality, I could very much picture how it may have looked- meeting behind the bookstore, students and teachers lazily wandering through the quad on a sunny afternoon, either going home for the evening or on their way to their night classes. Your attention to detail was also quite good, down to realistic-looking email address domains and all. I was almost tempted to call the phone number given in the last email!

    If there was anything I would change I might add something prior to the email exchange, but at the same time the email exchange does a great job of plunging the reader into the story, withholding a bit of information at first to get the reader interested, then giving them more of the backstory as the story wears on. Your beginning reminds me of a flash essay, just plunging the reader right in.

    Reply
  4. Caitlyn Williams

    Naimy,

    I really liked the format of your short story. The way your story opened with emails from one character to the other about a lost thumb drive was really creative. That’s one way to meet someone! I also really liked the casual tone of your story. It makes it easy to read, and it made the story flow. Your sentence structures were good, and the dialogue you included made it more life like, which was a plus.

    I appreciated the way you described the setting of your story. The imagery you included really made the setting more real. I liked that the main character was iffy to go have pizza in a worn down shack. The dialogue in that scene is convincing, and I would be surprised if she’d said no.

    Your descriptions of the characters and what they were wearing was good. I could visualize them meeting and jogging down the block. I could visualize Ramona’s bold haircut, mid-length, and her wearing chucks. I also really liked her character. She was nice enough to return a thumb drive to a stranger she’s never met, and that shows she’s genuine. She was also confident enough to tell him to text message her phone. She gave him her number, and I think that was a great detail to have in your story.

    Another thing that stuck out to me was Caleb’s generosity, paying more than Ray asked. It’s the little things that keep humanity alive. Little acts make a difference too. It shows his good character, and I liked that it ended with them hitting it off.

    Overall, it was a great creative short story. I loved the kind acts that the characters did. It was a good length, and it made me happy. I loved the positivity, and casualness of your story, good work!

    Reply
  5. Monica Gallagher

    The Last Shitty Term Paper

    Really great short story! I love the set up to the main body of the story and how you use that same set up as a closer at the end. It was a very straight forward, creative and unique way both to open and close. I really liked the metaphor “like heavy bumblebees”, it was very fitting without being too pretentious. Your writing style for this story was very simplistic and effective. It was easy to read and was believable throughout. The dynamic of the two characters was realistic and wholesome. Ray, the pizza guy, was a nice touch as well. There’s room in almost every story for a quirky grump with an interesting and mysterious back story.

    The use of imagery throughout was pretty flawless. I did have a little bit of a hard time figuring out the description of Ramona’s hair-cut, which was kind of hilarious for me. It’s odd, some of the things that I’ve found that are catches to the writing and the haircut was one of them. I reread it several times and it didn’t make sense, I couldn’t imagine it. For something to be that detailed, it should make sense, or it always could just be me. There was a couple of those catch elements in the dialogue that I noticed too. Caleb’s response to Ramona right before they’re leaving to the pizza place is slightly off, he says “Yeah you can get it there”, when I think it should be him saying that he can get it there. Also, when the main guy is talking about Ray he says, “got a license to sell out of that shithole, excuse me, out of that place”, but they’re in the pizza joint so it would make sense if it were “this” instead of “that.”

    Other than those few things, there were no other catches to the work. I say catches like everyone else uses that term and I’m not even sure how I started using it, but I’m basically saying that it’s a stop sign to the reading. Something that catches my attention because it seems off and doesn’t flow well within the writing. There were only three things in your story that did that, and they were minor. I enjoyed reading it and I think that you have a good heart for writing.

    The way that the images popped out of your story leads me to believe that this would be a good basis for a screenplay. You have bright characters that are well rounded and realistic. The plot delivery is on point and seamless. The format of the email communication at the beginning and end sparked the idea that this could be a great pitch for a play. I would highly suggest exploring that further. I think you could write some really great storylines that could be relatable to a wide audience. There’s not a lot of female writers out there for film and I think that it would be awesome to check out.

    Bravo Naimy!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Cordova

    Naimy,

    I really enjoyed how you started your short story with the emails back and forth between Caleb and Ramona. I found this to be captivating, drawing me in from the very beginning. Also, starting with the first paragraph, you gave great, clear descriptions of the characters and setting that really allowed me to picture everything that was going on. I, personally, loved the way you even described Ramona’s haircut- long enough to get caught in her chapstick and short enough to not stay tucked behind her ear- very creative and thoughtful!

    You definitely have a gift for writing, especially short stories! Your entire paper flowed well and made perfect sense. I also thought it was a great idea to leave the ending up to the reader. The characters really seemed to hit it off, but really, the story could go any number of ways. You did a phenomenal job at describing Caleb and Ramona’s interactions, from meeting at the pizza shop to the email exchanges. I could tell you really took your time writing this piece, and I found it easy and exciting to read.

    I really do not have any suggestive tips that could possibly make this story any better- you did far better than I did with this assignment! Including an author’s note was a great touch that allowed the reader to know where you found your inspiration for this story. Great job and I hope you continue to write- you really are great at it!

    Reply
  7. Corbin Knapp

    Hi Naimy,
    I thought that your short story was very realistic and you had a very unique feel to your piece because of your use of emails. Even though you had a lot of dialogue in your story it flowed well and the dialogue didn’t seemed forced at all (unlike most of my dialogue.) I enjoyed how you quickly transitioned from just emails between your two characters to a full descriptive sequence of events.

    I think it was a great idea how you started off your story by showing an email that was shared between your two characters. This is something that I have not seen before in the books and short stories I have read, and it gave it a very unique touch. You continue to give us small insights into your characters’ personalities as they continue to write each other before one of them (Caleb) asks your main character Ramona out for pizza. This section is great because you give slight hints as to Ramona and Caleb’s personalities.

    An example of such a hint is that Ramona is a kind person in general because when she discovers a flash drive still stuck in a computer, she emails the person it belongs to and tries to give it back. This also shows that Caleb is slightly forgetful when it comes to his flash drives, but also shows that he does not have a lot of confidence when it comes to writing. I was impressed at how you managed to transition from the emails to the first person view of Ramona. Flowing smoothly from Ramona emailing Caleb to describing what she is wearing and where she is, to describing her thoughts and her surroundings. If you wanted to add something to the story to make it even better, I think it would be cool if you included a couple sections from the point of view of Caleb.

    I enjoyed your descriptions of Ramona and Caleb, but I would have enjoyed a couple details about the campus that they were at. Did it have an old-time feel to it or did it include more modern designs in its buildings? Besides those couple of things, I really enjoyed this section. I thought that the dialogue that you wrote was very realistic and had the appropriate relaxed feeling in it to match the situations you wrote about. I liked that you included your character, Ray, in the story because he added another interesting element to the story that leaves the reader guessing. How does Caleb know Ray? Are they friends or is Caleb just a customer? I thought this was also the case with your ending because you ended it with a cliff hanger that left me guessing at what might have happened next. Which in my opinion is the perfect way to end your story.

    I thought you did an excellent job on your short story, and your characters and dialogue couldn’t have been more relatable and realistic. The only thing that is missing in my opinion is a tiny bit more description of their surroundings and then it would be perfect. Nice job and thanks for letting us read your story.

    Reply
  8. Mekayla

    Naimy,

    First off – I love this! I didn’t feel like I was reading over a fellow student’s work, I felt like I was reading something out of one of my favorite short story collections. I seriously got lost in it. The use of email correspondence worked really well with this piece, and really got me excited to learn more about the characters and for the two of them to meet. Even though their exchanges were relatively short, I got a real sense of their personalities and backstory.
    The chemistry between the two was really apparent, and I thought it was great how ambitious you left the ending. Not sure if they went on to be friends or something more left the story with a wonderful sense of new-beginnings, which I think I loved more than if you had hinted to the specific type of relationship you wanted for your characters. The pizza place was a great addition. It gave the overall simple exchange between two students some needed excitement, and also had me craving a greedy slice myself. The mystery surrounding the shack intrigued me as well.

    I don’t think you could have done a better job with this piece. I related to the characters, got lost in the world you created, and was enticed by the subtle mysteries and beginnings you presented here. I’m invested in the success of Ray’s pizza place, and also wanting to know more about this retired professor/ veteran who has a talent for food. I’m invested in Caleb’s Last Shitty Term Paper, as well as the growing relationship between him and Ramona. I have no suggestions. Keep writing, you’re honestly so talented!

    Reply
  9. Ben Knapp

    I think you did a really good job on your story. Your characters felt real, and your story was brimming with unique twists that differentiate your story from anything else in your genre. Overall, I think the different aspects of your story work together really well.

    When I started to read your story, I thought there had been some kind of mistake. It looked like someone had posted an email or something by mistake! As I read further, I realized that this was actually part of your story. Once I had appreciated my mistake, I realized that this is a really good way to begin your story. Starting off with the emails really grabbed my intention once I realized what they were. It is also an ingenious way to allow the reader to get to know the characters, without resorting to any of the usual clichés.

    I also liked how you added different layers to your story, such as with the character Ray. Despite being more of a minor part of your story, Ray has a fleshed-out backstory, as well as a distinct personality. At one point, he and Caleb have an argument over the price of his food, which Caleb considers too low, and it is clear that they have been having this same argument for a while. Little things like this make your story feel much more real than it would if Ray had simply been a lifeless background character.

    Another thing I liked was how you used small things to hint at a characters personality. Caleb leaves his bag partially unzipped as he walks, showing that he is not always the most careful person. Ramona cannot stop herself from editing Caleb’s paper for him, showing that she is a bit of a perfectionist. Ray underprices his food, showing that he cares more about other people then himself.

    A small thing that I liked was your description of Ray’s pizza. At first, it sounds horrible, but as the story continues, it seems to grow on Ramona, and the concept of the greasy-cheese slabs that Ray called pizza seems somehow more palatable. By the end of the story, Ramona is craving more pizza, and the reader finds himself wishing he had some for himself.

    One thing that bothered me was how Ramona thought flash drives were outdated. Caleb’s opinion about the cloud is not actually that uncommon, and many people still prefer flash drives for their reliability. However, this does serve to create conflict, albeit minor, between your characters, which adds to the interest of your story.

    Your ending was the perfect way to wrap up your story. Because your story began with emails, it makes sense that it would end with emails. Although you end the story, you also show that it still continues, resulting in a satisfying conclusion.

    Overall, I think your story was really good. The characters were believable, and your story was unique. I like how you took something simple like two people meeting and becoming friends, and put a totally new spin on it to create an interesting and completely new creation. All your different aspects added together into an awesome story.

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  10. Cassidy Kramer

    Naimy,
    I was very intrigued throughout this story! I liked the way you creatively put the story into a more nontraditional form of emails. I thought that it was very nice! At first, I was very skeptical on what was going on because you started off the story with a sense of mystery, and I liked that. I did not know if this was going to be a scary kidnap story or a cute boy-girl meet story. The hopeless-romantic that I am, I am glad it turned out to be a cute story about a girl and boy meeting.
    Your imagery was great also! The pizza part had me drooling! Throughout the whole story, I could picture what was going on in my head. I even explained it to my little brother, and he could understand it. I am very bad at telling stories and explaining things, so it says a lot that he still could understand it.
    I thought that the part when she pulled out his paper that was scribbled with a bunch of purple marks was very funny. It totally explains an English major. Just the need for them to read and correct a paper is hilarious. I am not an English major, and I do not plan to be, but when I read a poorly-written story (even when I am not supposed to read it), I just want to correct it! Same thing happens when I read my own papers, sometimes I have to make myself stop reading them before I start switching the correct words to the incorrect words just out of paranoia.
    I was very happy to see a cute little love story in this bunch of stories, so thank you. Especially since I am going off to college soon. I will be looking out for any random flash drives! No, I’m just kidding, but I did think your story was extremely cute.
    In some stories, it is hard to get the dialogue just right, like when a story has too much dialogue it is sometimes like “okay I want to see what is happening outside their conversations”. Also, when a story uses too little dialogue you are thinking that you want to see some verbal interaction between the characters. Thankfully, you got your dialogue just right. You also did not make the mistake, like I do, to always use “she replied” “she said” “he said” way too much. I think you did a good job at varying the different responses like “Ramona squinted in the warm setting sun as she looked up.” And “Caleb took the steps two at a time.”
    Overall, you did a very good job with this piece, and I got to read a cute well-written love story, so that makes everybody happy. Great job!

    Reply
  11. Katherine Whelchel

    Naimy,
    Great work! The use of the emails was genius! I was instantly hooked into your story. I loved how you began and ended your story in the same way!

    While the storyline was not super exciting, it held a comfortable and relatable touch, making it fun to read! I have often become trapped in the mindset that fiction must be out of this world or super crazy; however, I find that the pieces that are so relatable that you feel they could be your friend’s life story, have a special magic. My own story was similarly light and peaceful. I do feel such a sense of casual joy in your story, as the characters just randomly meet and create a bond.

    Your descriptions were great, and the ‘hair in the chapstick’ comparison was on point! Your wording was just as easy to read as the story. The whole piece was so delightful! I was left with a smile and a lovely feeling of the simple pleasures in life. I actually imagined you and Levi as the characters, which gave me an extra sense of joy as I read.

    The only thing I would say is that I love your descriptions at the beginning as they meet, and would have loved a little more near the end of the story. I know that conversation has to take place and doesn’t always give the best space for description, but I just love the way you do it and wanted more! 🙂 Other than that, I loved it! It is refreshing to read a piece that reminds you of the beauty of life and simply causes you to focus on the beautiful. Great job my friend!
    -Kassie

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  12. Aubri Stogsdill

    Initially, I was rather confused about what was going on. I read the first set of emails and thought, “DId she copy paste the wrong material?” But as I read your story pulled me right in! I don’t think I’ve ever read a short story that is formatted in this way. You did a lovely job of creating a relatable, creative, but also realistic sort of story. I loved how descriptive you were. I felt that I could ‘see’ the scenes. You really set up your story so well.

    I think that dialogue can be so difficult to write well. Its hard to be convincing with it. In fact, I felt like I couldn’t use much dialogue in my own short story because it sounded so bumpy, but here you’ve created a beautiful story that is primarily composed of dialogue! Hats off to you, girl! I think the only thing I would like for this story is if it were longer, and I had a bit more of a look into their relationship. Overall, you smashed it, as usual. Great writing! (:

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  13. Jessica Honebein

    I think that the title really tied everything in and helped catch the reader’s attention. I like that it started out as emails between the two characters. I was a little confused at first because it just jumped in, but I think that it fit the style that you were trying to go for. This story was very easy to read and had me craving what was going to happen next. I think that you gave the perfect amount of detail in each scene to keep the reader’s attention, but not give away to much information. Overall I think both the story was able to shine through both the characters very well.

    To start off, I loved the emphasis on the dialogue and the emails. I would say that it would have been nice to have a little background before jumping right into the emails. When I first started reading they emails did draw me in though and I wanted to know what was going on. I think that through the dialogue and emails you layed out concrete for the dynamic that both the characters had. The emails did take a majority of your short story, however I think the style that you were aiming for it worked for your story.

    Another aspect that I liked was how easy the story flowed. I could easily pick out a beginning, middle, and end. Although it was easy to read it was still interesting to read and I wanted to know what happened next. Again, I think that the characters in the story really helped to define what went on in the story and the feelings that the reader should receive. I think if you added a little more meat it could make it even stronger.

    The last thing I want to comment on is how detailed of descriptions you gave. They really helped me picture what the characters looked like, or the pizza, even the events that were happening. I think that all the detail really helped to enhance the story and place the reader inside watching the events as they happen. I was amazed by how much detail you were able to fit in a paragraph to just describe how someone looks. I think that you did an amazing job, which helped me as the reader draw in my creative side and start imagining what was going to happen next in the story.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading the story and felt like you put a lot of your style and creative work into this short story. I would like to have continued reading the story to find out what happened with the two character and where life took them, or did not take them. I think that it did end a little abruptly, however I think that may have been what you were going for, leaving it up to the reader themselves to decide what would happen between the two characters. Or at least imagine different things that could happen between the two characters.

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