He hands the story back to her. It had been a short story, now made longer by the remarks scribbled throughout the margins.
She reads through it in silence, sets it on the table when her hands begin to shake too much.
Opening is weak; where’s the hook? Whose story is it? Who is the main character? Why should I care about her? Cliché, cliché, cliché. Show me; don’t tell me about it. Be more specific; you’re too vague here. Metaphor doesn’t work. Use of symbolism here seems clunky. Writing style is too stilted throughout; let your own voice come through. Events don’t seem plausible. The ending is too predictable; I knew what was going to happen.
When she finally looks up, he is watching her. "You’ve got a good start," he says, "with a little more work—"
"There is no start. There is nothing. You’ve left me with nothing."
He gazes at her. "Oscar Wilde said, ‘Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.’ Sometimes nothing is the start."