There was some nice writing going on in these latest offerings, and some interesting concepts. It's bringing home the importance of the opening page... some of these stories might very well have been great a few chapters down the line.
I wasn't sure about the one that read like a play. Though it gained in interest by being read out loud (very well!) by two individuals, you wouldn't get that by reading it. A transcript is an interesting idea, but in the opening of a novel? In the YA (that I have submitted to Pete) I did a transcript of a trial, but it's in the middle somewhere, used by the misguided 'hero' to change the heroine's perception of what happened.
In the YA story of the boy who wanted to go to a bar, the context of the boy's mother being a solicitor made me think he wanted to go to the Bar, ie, become a barrister, or something. Was it just me who made that homophonic leap? Despite being well-written, the dialogue with his parents was essentially uninspiring. I thought maybe the story should have just started with him in the bar (if that was where the action began), with a single comment that he'd cleverly manipulated the opportunity from his control-freak parents.
I try to avoid saying how wonderful my prose is, or that my writing is literary. Though I have aspirations towards a higher standard, sometimes it might be both, either, or neither, but stating that as fact is being asked to be shot down in flames, really. As Pete said in a previous sitting: Let me decide if I think it's literary.
A small comment on Irish names... O'Mahoney would be pronounced O'Maany. There are complex rules regarding silent letters. The h's in the middle of words are often silent, though in the Irish spoken language they are pronounced as a faint aspiration. And in Ireland another Irish person would likely call him the familiar Mahoney (Maany), not O'Mahoney, the O' is the formal or written version meaning 'son of', and isn't used in everyday speech. An unmarried woman, a miss, would be Ní Mahoney, but that's going out of fashion. Tidgh is pronounced Teeg. Caitlin is pronounced Kathleen. Ailbhe is pronounced Alvy. The seaside town Youghal is pronounced Yawl. Where I live, the townland of Rearahinagh is pronounced Rearanack. Make sense? Thought not!
Maybe in America, where Caitlin is pronounced as phonetically written, these names have changed through usage? The tradition Irish spellings are about as crazy to non Irish speakers as those in Solzhenitsyn to non-Russians (When I read Cancer Ward I had to mentally change names to Fred and Sally.) In any event, in fiction, I think names should be instantly recognisable in the phonetic form even if you don't say them out loud. I read a lot of science fiction when I was young, and hated stories where the characters' names were a collections of XQZs. I simply can't identify with a character if I stumble over the name. I also avoid using names that start with the same letter, or rhyme. Also names that end with s, which make for messy plurals.