Are You There?

Are You There?

5 chapters / 1118 words

Approximately 6 minutes to read


An exchange.

Winner of the FigmentFiles contest! Enjoy.




over 1 year ago tarabu42 said:

Since you won the #figmentfiles, I thought this might interest you - the authors have a contest - the winner will have a character in their next book named after them:


over 1 year ago Sara Winters said:

Oh my god...this brought tears to my eyes. It was beautiful. Am I the only one who was actually thinking about someone throughout the story...?


almost 2 years ago Day Dreamer said:

This hurt my heart


almost 2 years ago Astrid Hartman said:

Whyyyy >.< so many feels! But this was really good :) I didn't think I was going to like it because I'm not one for text messages but she has such a funny character, it kept me reading. I also liked how you used all sorts of communication (letters, emails, texts), that was really cool.

Congrats on winning the contest!



almost 2 years ago Jon said:

(So you know, I write my review as I read the story, not afterwards. I won't really focus on grammar. I'm honest. If I like something or not, you'll know. I'm not ever trying to be mean. I genuinely want to help you become a better writer)

I was about halfway through writing this when my computer crashed and I have to try and remember what I said, so apologies if any of it seems rushed.

Your cover is cool and mysterious, you're description is, well, nothing. :/

OK, Back to CHAPTER 1

I haven't seen someone text like that in a while. I find it interesting how she shortens 'birthday' and 'you', but nothing else.

Michael doesn't autocorrect to Michelle. (I actually tried this one.) I could never get it even close. I doubt many will even care, or know, but small details like that could end making a huge difference.

Wait, what's the paragraph break for? The first paragraph isn't all one message right? It wouldn't make sense if it was. I think you really need time stamps here just to help ease the confusion a little bit.

Shorthand bday is OK, but she's going back and forth between using 'you' and 'u'. I haven't seen anyone do this, so at least for the sake of the story I would stick just one.

This chapter really just needs time stamps.


When does this story take place in time? AOL phased out a long time ago. Only really old people still use it. AOL wasn't being used when I got my first phone, back in 2006ish. So it's a little strange to see AOL and autocorrect together.

Unless she's traveling back in time or something.

WTH. I know you used this to mean 'Where the hell', but it typically refers to 'What the hell'.

If whoever is texting Mike is a girl, maybe he will like it? Depending how old they are. Still can't tell that.

So that's a cliff hanger.

CHAPTER 3 Oh, it's just letters. Well that cliff hanger went nowhere. Prostitution. Nice? If she knows his address, and is clearly concerned for him, why would she just go to his house to see what's up? I understand what the rules of the contest were, but in terms of the story world, it doesn't make sense.

There really need to be time stamps. I have no idea how long has passed at all. I don't know if it's been a few days, or months. How have these people not seen each other naturally? Like through school or something?

Oh, it's been a month. So I refer back to my last question. Is it summer break? Are they not even in school?

Girlfriend? What's with the

Basic information is missing to help connect to these characters and the story.

CHAPTER 4 So they're 18. OK, that makes some sense. Am I shocked that he's dead. No, absolutely not. It was kinda obvious. Obviously this was meant have a shock factor where there was 3 chapters of buildup before punching you in the gut. It seems it worked for many people.

But if this story takes place in our world, which nothing shows otherwise, then it kinda falls apart. What you showed in the opening chapters was just how close Lindsey and Mike were.

If they were close enough where they were sleeping in the same room, they were close. If they were close enough where she is sending nudes, they were close. What you showed is that these two were best friends. You also say three months past. They're 17 going on 18. So, they are in school. Nothing has shown that they don't live near each other. Even if they didn't, it doesn't matter, and here's why. Since they were so close, someone would have told Lindsey.

Someone would have told her. If they were that close, she would have been one of the first to find out. I have been in similar situations. Unfortunately multiple times. The longest it ever took for me to know was two days.

If it took three months, then something else is going on, and why are they even talking?

I haven't gone forward yet. Maybe you mention why it took three months. However, in our real world, I highly, highly doubt it would ever take that long.

Also, how old is Lindsey? Is she also 18? The nude pics thing is a little weird.

CHAPTER 5: So you don't explain why it would take three months. The last email is nice. She's in shock, I get it. The 'I love you' throws me off again.

OVERALL For the most part, the technical side of things is fine. There's that little bit of inconsistency in the texts, but the actual writing itself is fine. I didn't spot any grammar issues.

The presentation is fairly well done. There really should be time stamps though. The texts get muddled in the beginning and knowing how much time passed between each text could help.

I think you wanted there to be a reveal of three months, but I don't get why. Outside of the shock factor. The problem with not showing how much time has passed that while reading, I'm left to assume only two things. Either Lindsey is overly-attached and crazy, or the obvious, Mike is gone.

And that's the biggest problem. I could tell you wanted to go for that shock factor. For some it worked, for some it didn't. I encourage to go back and see what you had to do to make it happen. The things you did (what I've mentioned directly above) only took away from the story, and made it more confusing. Yet, there were a lot of things you could have done.

There was zero build up to it. Even though (to me) it was obvious, it came out of nowhere. Since we only know Mike from Lindsey's perspective, I don't care about him. I don't know anything about him. I know he is in some relationship with Lindsey, he's a guy, and he's dead. That's it.

I don't know much more about Lindsey. Her character has some development, but not much. I can at least form some idea of what she's like.

It's a weird idea though because in one message she's talking about farting in her sleep, and then she's asking if he got a girlfriend, but then she says she's been sending him nudes. (Because that's a totally normal response.)

It all just seems random.

You end it by having her tell him she loves him, but since we don't know the relationship between the two, we don't know the significance of that. Was it a deceleration? Or was she telling him one last time?

Then it all just falls apart when you learn three months have passed. I'll say it again, I don't see how she wouldn't have found out.

You have an interesting premise, but I can't say you have a story here. You have snippets, but they don't really say much. Now that the contest is over, if you went back through and expanded on what you have, I think you could put a compelling story together where that gut punch hits the reader hard.


almost 2 years ago James said:

Alright, so first off can I just say wow thank you for my crisis in Chinese class because I get way too attached to characters way too quickly. (I knew he was dead I knew it I knew it noo).

Overall, I think your conventions and structure were pretty solid. I like the way your chapters were structured by each kind of message that she was sending to him, although it was slightly confusing during the first couple texts but I think that was just me struggling with the format. I was confused that it was all the same person sending the texts but I don't know a way to fix that with figment's format in a way that isn't like "Lindsey:___". While I also really like how Lindsey changes to a different type of messaging because that is the only logical thing to do, it leaves a lot up in the air on multiple fronts. Some of those are cleared up quite quickly like "who is this person messaging Michael", but it gives you very little room for narration. It's working for now, but it might be difficult to continue if you're planning on making this a longer piece because of the limitations it has. While I think you could definitely pull it off it would be confusing at times to your reader because if you think about the way a person writes emails or letters or such, they don't necessarily tell a chronological story. You would have to go with an angle of moreso small snippets of stories that your reader would have to construct into something larger. This can definitely work but I think that only in the cases that there are lots of interesting things that would have to happen to keep your reader there, but it can be done. If you're planning to turn this into a long novel I would recommend you read The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan if you haven't already to get a feel for how to tell a nonchronological story.

I also think the "I love you" letter got very poetic very quickly, which could really go either way with Lindsey's character. Just because these are messages doesn't mean you get to skip out on character development. I think that you should continue to focus on the relationship at hand but with a very stable idea of these characters. I also think that email is probably the best way to continue any sort of a story here because phone numbers are shut down quickly after death and obviously someone is receiving the letters- family member, presumably. I like the way that you slowly unravel the situation between Lindsey and Michael (for a bit in my mind I was wondering if they were internet friends but that's just life experience I brought into this).

Overall, I didn't really see any problem with convention or structure and I think you have a really interesting storyline going on. The only thing I would really like to see here is a more solid sense of character with Lindsey. I think that if you want to continue this story that you will be able to do it in whatever way you choose, but I would recommend to continue giving the reader the sense of what an important role Michael played in Lindsey's life to somehow show what an impact his death is really having on her and her life.

(also I love that the emails are (also no one really uses that anymore so for some reason that and the abbreviated text messages for some reason made me think of more of a 2007 kind of era but that's just me))