Well, yesterday I had my Creative Writing class and everyone gave back their copies of my story "Whiff" with their thoughts on it. The general concensus:
1. Original idea (a woman who manipulates and captures smells for memory purposes)
2. Good pacing
3. Good introduction of SF idea (with a regular customer coming in before the special, plot-starting customer).
4. Didn't understand the motivations for special character (a rape victim who wants the scent-memory of her attack bottled)
5. Eli, an apprentice infatuated with the main character, is contrived.
6. The first, regular customer who came in helped establish the SF setting, but was too safe and simple - I should start amping up the suspense and distress of the main character from the start.
7. Why did smell of the rape include latex? Suggests the rape is premeditated.
8. The rapist (who turns out to be the main character's fiance) knows his girlfriend can smell thoughts - why would he be with her if he's a CALCULATED rapist?
So now my job is the revise it, and then re-submit it three weeks later. Sounds good to me.
I also went and spoke to my university's writer-in-residence about the story I sent him in November ("Desert Muse"). His comments:
1. Good story
2. Good storyteller's instinct (good pacing, etc.)
3. Story seemed like a part of a bigger picture (ie, a novel)
4. Some parts were overwritten, almost purple
5. Should have been proofread better -lots of spelling errors and missing words.
I was actually really worried about this one - I can't remember if I sent it in to my Fantasy Writer's group and re-edited AFTER I sent it to the writer-in-res, or BEFORE. If I did it before, that means I sent a copy riddled with wretched typos to Realms of Fantasy, which screws up my chances.
Well, at least there's hope for Whiff - I already have an idea of how to fix it.