Hello there! Its AC here reviewing for the improvement challenge! Sorry its taken me a little time to get here, I've had quite a few to do and just looking at the length of the list was a little bit disheartening. But, alas, I'm here now and ready to review the hell out of this fascinating looking one-shot!
I wrote a piece for this challenge for the house cup too and it's been really interesting to look into how everyone interpreted the prompts and things differently.
Okay, so, the first paragraph felt really dense to me. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I felt like I had all this information thrown at me all at once. There were a lot of long sentences and subordination, which sort of works for the atmosphere you're trying to create, but at the same time for me it felt a bit challenging to get my head around. The use 'her' was used a lot, which was actually pretty necessary, but because of all these dense heavy sentences it felt really like obvious to me. I'd say either space it out a bit - turn it into multiple paragraphs - or you could slow things down a bit. Provide more description about different bits and pieces, ease me in a little, before you hit me with all this confusion and chaos .
In the paragraph after 'unblinking' you swap into present tense - this happens a couple of times throughout the piece but its nothing major and it only takes a second or two to fix up and it gives the piece a much more polished finish.
So, I really liked the way you had the words 'existence' and the like scattered around the first section of this bit; it was interesting, actually, and I thought it fitted with the piece quite well.
One other thing, I thought that the mention of Cho's problems could have been done in a more subtle way which would have packed more of a punch. Think about how you're manipulating your reader more - be wary of their presence - think about when you're going to give out bits of information, what the information you've given suggests and the conclusions they'll draw from that. You have done this - so the white walls and antiseptic, and we think of a hospital, but you could do more. So, its an addiction. Maybe talk about more craving for something? How exhausted she is? Let us draw our own conclusions vis a vis what's wrong with Cho before confirming it.
Also, in terms of characterisation there are more subtle ways you could show your character's emotions. So, say "reaching out, she gripped the letter, confused" - a slicker way of suggesting her confusion might be for her to reach for the letter 'tentatively' or maybe you could go more stream-of-conciousness like and have her scrolling through a mental list of names and drawing a blank - so instead of flat out telling us 'Cho is confused' you can show the confusion. And that makes it more real and, well, readers like doing some of the piecing together all by themselves.
There's a lot of suggestions for improvement in this, so I better say that this was a really great bit of writing that I really enjoyed reading! Some of your description was really vivid and interesting and you're obviously a competent writer. Thanks for entering and I'll be looking forwards to reading your second entry! :)
Author's Response: I was so excited to see your review. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my fic.
Going back and looking at the first paragraph I can see how it could be a lot to just be thrown in to and I could have broken it up a bit and added a bit more description for understanding.
I will definitely work on watching my tenses. They are something I struggle with a lot. I also know I tend to be very direct with my characters and plot, so I need to work on flourishing my descriptions.