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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Please, would you proofread my short story

    This is the fifth part of my short story "A Flat." Please, would you proofread it.

    Ivan used to cycle to work every morning. It was about four kilometres to the factory and the part of the road led through an affluent neighbourhood. He could see elegant houses owned by doctors, engineers, civil servants, army officers and others who had succeeded in life. It looked as if they were competing with each other to build the most luxurious house, the most beautiful garden and the most expensive fence.

    Instead of the odour of sewage, overflowing rubbish tips and pervasive smell of cooking, this street smelled of flowers, trees and clean laundry billowing from clotheslines. He would always slow down and breathe deeply whenever cycling by, letting his senses absorb the beauty of the scenery. Among these houses, there was one, which was distinguished from the others. It was dazzling white, three storeys high, had wide balconies all around the facade and in front of it a beautiful garden.

    It belonged to the high communist party official. He was a man in his fifties, overweight and bald. He would sit or lie on a sun lounge on one of the balconies or in front of his house, dressed only in shorts and read papers or drink coffee with his wife. He never deigned to look at the workers hurrying to their jobs or returning home tired and exhausted.

    His mind must have been busy devising new plans and working on theories, which would improve the socialist society. Ivan remembered that he saw him on TV on many occasions. He was criticizing capitalism and its empty materialism, prophesying its unavoidable collapse. He was gesticulating and blushing and one could believe that the man was a brave communist ready to sacrifice himself for the ideals of communism.
    Ivan stopped one afternoon in front of that large house asking himself how the man could live in such a palace knowing that at the same time there were ordinary people who lived in squalor. There was a large black car parked in front of the garage - another product from the decadent West, and the interior of the house was certainly filled with all kind of gadgets, imported from abroad.

    The man was a hypocrite, pretending to be a good communist while abusing the system and becoming rich. Ivan felt as if someone had hit him in the stomach. He wanted to vomit. He wanted to cry out. He felt powerless and he had nobody to turn to for help.
    Another year passed and still he was waiting for a wonder to happen which would give him the flat. One day cycling by the house of the politician, he came up with an idea to make photos of that large house and go to his factory manager and ask him some questions. He waited until Sunday morning when the majority of people were still in bed and cycled to the house.
    Then he picked up his camera and took photos of the property from all sides. It was a nice sunny morning and the house and its surroundings looked magnificent, almost like a fairyland. The next day he went to the photographer to develop photos. When after three days he came home with pictures in his pocket, he sat with Jelena and talked with her about his plan.

    She did not like it. She believed that his photos would impress nobody. They would still stay without a flat and instead he would get more enemies. What was going to happen if someone told the man that Ivan had complained about his house? The politician was a powerful man and it was enough for him to make one single telephone call and Ivan could lose his job. But Ivan answered that they had already been insulted year after year. He had been working so hard, he had not taken one single screw from the factory and what had he received as a reward? Society which could not provide a proper housing for their citizens was nothing but a sham.
    That night they went to bed early and did not talk with other as they used to. Jelena lay silently pretending she was asleep, but her mind was racing and she had a premonition of something bad which was going to happen.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. #2
    DavidA is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please, would you proofread my short story

    Hi again Bassim,

    1) In the first paragraph, remove the word "the" before "...part of the road led through an affluent neighbourhood".

    2) "Storeys" is spelled differently in British and American English. Your usage is fine, but just for your information, in American English the plural would be "stories".

    3) By "sun lounge", I assume you mean "sunlounger".

    4) After the words "...he went to the photographer to develop", add "the" before "photos".

    5) Instead of "They would still stay without a flat...", consider "They would remain without a flat".

    6) Instead of "Society which could not provide a proper housing for their citizens was nothing but a sham", use "Society which could not provide proper housing for its citizens was nothing but a sham".

    7) In your final lines, when you write "That night they went to bed early and did not talk with other as they used to", replace this with "That night they went to bed early and did not talk TO EACH other as they used to". To speak with somebody implies an extended conversation. To speak to somebody implies the opposite of remaining silent. Since it appears in your story the two have had an argument and are not speaking, "speak to" would make more sense.

    8) In your last line, you write "...she had a premonition of something bad which was going to happen". The word "premonition" implies something that might happen, not something that definitely will. Therefore, you should consider using "...but her mind was racing. As she drifted to sleep, she had a worrying premonition". This way, your writing will be more effective and it will allow your readers to use their imagination, as they don't know exactly what this "worrying premonition" is, and they don't know if it will certainly happen. This will make your readers more compelled to read on.

    I must say, Bassim, that I have enjoyed reading the last couple of parts of your story. Although you could use more interesting adjectives in some parts - instead of "nice" or "bad" for example - your vocabulary is generally very varied. Given that English is not your first language, your skill and proficiency is outstanding. You not only use English properly and well, but you also use it effectively to compose a flowing narrative.

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Please, would you proofread my short story

    Dear DavidA,

    Thank you very much for your advice and your kind words. I really appreciate your help. It helps me to understand how a sentence should be constructed and to see where I make mistakes. Hopefully I would master the English language one day and try to publish some books.

    Best wishes,
    B.

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