The Phone Call

The Phone Call

8 chapters / 3950 words

Approximately 20 minutes to read


Rhianna uses her journal, friends and faith to survive the latest family adventure.
*Cover by Jordan the Boa*


Writing, Romance, Novel



4 months ago reine said:

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about 5 years ago Abby Broadbent said:

I really enjoyed reading this. I love the idea. keep it up!


about 5 years ago Vulpes said:

I really loved this. :)


over 5 years ago lauren said:

This was beautifully written.



over 6 years ago Deserae McGlothen said:

Review Summary: -Story sits on a lot of unused potential -MC is likeable but hasn’t been fully formed -Supporting characters are one-dimensional -Writing lacks something special but is not without its merits -Annoyances in structure and typos highlight piece’s flaws

GRADE: Solid C (It passes. It shows promise. But it needs work.)

THE PHONE CALL strikes me as the kind of story that hangs in the middle. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. It’s not here, but it’s not there. Rhianna, the main character, starts high school after a summer of family drama that isn’t revealed until chapter five (or six?) of the novel. I was able to get through the eight chapters that were present, but I think I pushed through them looking for something… else. Something I didn’t find. I wanted to find it, but didn’t. This is a first draft, so let’s get that out of the way so you all can exhale your “Oh! That’s why”s before I get down to it. But the reason this piece didn’t resonate good things to me was because the writing lacked attentiveness. It lacked something that could possibly set it apart from the hoards of other girl-meets-boy/ girl-has-problems books already on the shelf.

I won’t expound on that because I think if you read the story yourself, you’ll see what I mean. Instead of taking the Sarah Dessen approach and really fleshing out the MC, her environment, her situation, and her wants/ desires, THE PHONE CALL just gives us a girl and tells us about her day. It throws in a mom, two siblings, and a friend. And it gives us this boy who we hope can save the MC from closing up (and/or save the kind of lull of the story thus far since we don’t have any idea of what’s wrong in the MCs life at the point in which he’s introduced). But it doesn’t give us anything else. The most pizzazz that the writing gives us comes from these epithets at the beginning of each chapter that aren’t connected to the chapter (although… See the slip up below), but are like snippets from Rhianna’s journal. I didn’t dislike THE PHONE CALL, but I knew that even if the other qualities of the story were redeemable and perfect in every way, the *way* it was written was reason enough to dole out my first C grade. Whether it was a plus or a minus relied on the other elements.

They were average, too. The fact that the story sat on so much unused potential disappointed me greatly. The journals mentioned in chapter one set us up to think that they were going to be important, but the truth was that the journals almost had nothing to do with the story at all. I have a note that explains it best: “I would have liked to *see* the journals since it sounds like they’re a reflection of the MC--- a very creative move. But why it’s not used confuses me. Were they lost in translation?” I have to wonder. If these journals were used as reflections of Rhianna, we could see what she looked like through them. Her personality and current state over the summer months up until now could have been SHOWN. And I just… I *waited* for them to make their grand entrance. For them to become necessary. But I almost saw no point in them. Really. It would be really, really simple to take them out completely if the author looked at a few of the scenes from a different angle.

And the second disappointment stemmed from the lack of character development and use. How sad was I when this story about a “families struggles” refuses to show me the girl’s freaking family. I want to SEE the mom. I want to SEE Dristan (who is younger than her but manages to stay out of every scene). If this story were just about Rhianna, then fine--- sticking the camera on her the whole time could have been… tolerable… But even then, if you’re writing a character driven story, People, you have to show character. And the best way to do that is by showing the people they know. Their interactions with the MC, how they affect the MC, and every word they SAY to the MC should exhibit some sort of gravitational pull that works on the MCs heart up until they can’t stand it anymore and have to come to terms with their situation. By the end, there should be no doubt why the MC decides to do this. To date him. To befriend her. To come to a certain resolve. But not only does the climax occur way too soon in the novel (or what I thought was the climax--- apparently, this is just the first half of the story, so is there going to be another heart-wrenching, emotionally tormenting moment that outweighs *SPOILER!* you revealing that your sister has cancer?), the relationship between the characters develops/ transforms too soon. There has to be more. There has to be time for these characters to breathe, to see each other at their best AND worst… I don’t know… I just… I wanted more from this. I wanted more than the one-dimensional supporting characters, more from the not-fully-developed-herself MC, and from the interesting premise I was promised.

The typos didn’t help. The floating dialogue didn’t help. The formatting didn’t help. It made it worse. Because even with first drafts, you can tell if an author really cares about a story with the effort put into it. And I cared. ME. The reader. But between the misspelling of Rhianna’s name in chapter two, the weak dialogue between Rhi and her guy at the first party, and the strange sounding narration, I had to wonder if reading THE PHONE CALL was what the writer really wanted me to do. Did they want me to pick it apart like this? Am I doing the right thing by being honest about a project that may or may not be looked at ever again?...

I think I am. I think that pieces like this are good examples of when we writers come down with CFD. Cruddy First Drafting occurs often and to most of us, but AND (Awesome Next Drafting) only occurs to those of us who a.) can see where we’re going wrong or b.) can get someone else to see it for us. And I think that the author of this piece can TRULY get this one right with a little elbow grease and a bit of encouragement. The story is full of this Sarah Dessenesque potential. It really, really is. I have specific notes on the piece (author, if you want them), but I think the general stuff is what this author needs to think about if planning on going forward.

Because, overall, THE PHONE CALL is a nice read if you can’t see its flaws. It’s title might need a change (trust me--- unless this author decides to go for the rewrite and they find a way to show that the family IS affected by the phone call, they’ll realize the present story isn’t about that and that maybe even the future story won’t be about it either). BUT, the idea holds a spark that can be revisited for inspiration and encouragement. I hope that this helps the author to see that average isn’t all this piece has to be.

All the best, Deserae McGlothen


over 6 years ago Wholockian said:

Right sorry, I was planning to do this last night :P Umm, I loved it. Absolutely great, I think this is going well and that you should continue!