Peer Review by Robert Snider (United States)

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A Minute to Live, a Minute to Die

By: Wyatt Jones


PROMPT: All in a Minute

T-minus 60 seconds
He awoke. Looking around as his vision settled he could make out a timer.
50 seconds
His tired mind chooses to ignore the timer and examine the blank room. No features. No exits.
30 seconds
Now fully awake he began to wonder what the timer was for.
15 seconds
He fell to the ground in pain with the horrible noise of ripping steel.
10 seconds
Now in full panic he raced around the room looking for anything that may stop it
5 seconds
The noise grew.
4 seconds
3 seconds
2 seconds
1 second
“Engage!”
He collapsed.


Message to Readers

For this piece, my goal was to inspire imagination with a hint of darkness and confusion. Please advise/comment on how well you think I pulled this off.


Peer Review

The mystery and ambiguity of the piece draws me in, and I was especially curious to find out what you meant by "engage."


"His tired mind chooses to ignore the time and examine the blank room. No features. No exits." This line creates drama and suspense, and the two short sentences vary sentence structure and make the piece flow well. Also, this is one of the few lines written in present tense, which I think sounds better for the piece.


Reviewer Comments

I liked the way you broke up the piece and added drama by interrupting periodically with the countdown. It effectively showed that this really did occur in a minute, and it gave an air of apathy contrasted with the character's panic, which provides a great image. I love the vagueness of this piece, but although I have said this a few times, I think it would sound better in present tense, which would create more drama and would get the reader more in the moment.