|Reviews for Boulder|
| Erisah Mae 9/28/07 . chapter 1
The scariest thing? I can completely relate to this character's situation. This is a beautifully constructed piece of prose, and the descriptions are so clear that I could easily picture the action as it was described.
| Quisty Almasy 5/2/07 . chapter 1
Ah it is you! I've finally found a speck of time to stumble around and was reminded that I've always had a faithful reader/reviewer of my stories (that's you). Just wanted to say that I apologize for not having come to fictionpress earlier to read your works when you had dedicatedly read mine (yes bad me).
Anyways, enough of the greetings, now for the criticism! Ah I kidd again (I like to do that a lot). I'm sorry old friend but I have not a single criticism for this story. I loved it and it has stirred some feelings inside of me. What kind of feelings those are is a bit hard to describe but let's just say your story made quite an impression. Simply said, you write beautifully ) As a writer myself, it is always a pleasure to read another writer who can write with talent and wit (that is you again). I can see I still have much to learn ) but from who better than from a friend of mine right?
Anywho I hope you still check your reviews (crosses fingers) because I know I was always happy to receive more reviews. I've been meaning to get back to my writing but my school workload has been quite unpredictable lately. Hopefully I'll get to start again, especially after tonight now that I've revisited fanfiction and have read your wonderful little story (ah such inspiration). When I have time tomorrow at work (which I always do) I'll find some time to read and review your other full length stories )
Hope to hear from you soon (thru e-mail at least..provided at the top)
* I love the song Tower - Vienna Teng. I have yet to hear more of her works but Danica seemed to be giddy towards her. Perhaps I shall explore her music more?
| Lyharii 1/10/07 . chapter 1
Wow, I really liked this. What attracted me to it was the summary—loved it. The boulder metaphor works so well. When I finished reading through this the first time, I was surprised to reach the end and realize that I didn't view Maddie as some whining/complaining kid (aka an unlikable character) just relating a sob story about how her life was so hard and whatnot. I didn't think of her as conceited or prideful (even though she DID say she was proud at one point), even though some of the things she said could've been interpreted as boasting to some degree. I thought that that was both interesting and a good sign: probably means the author's doing her job when the readers like the characters, right?
So… good job. Now I'll just nitpick some, for the heck of it.
"How I could’ve missed the gentle pressure in my chest that slowly became excruciating instead of gentle. ¶ How I could’ve missed the tiny claws that scrabbled onto each inch of my skin and slowly, patiently dragged me down." Actually, when I read that first part, I thought this would be one of those stories about someone who just found out they've got some terminal sickness and will die in a few days/months/undetermined amount of time. So for that reason, I actually would rather that you NOT use that first sentence—it strongly implies the wrong thing.
I didn't really see what you were getting at with the second sentence, either. Claws…? Dragging her down…? I guess it could've been some allusion to being pulled from a standing position to a kneeling or prostrate one, i.e. in forced submission, but I'm not sure. Kind of seemed out of tune with the first sentence, too, if you know what I mean. Generally these sorts of analogy things work best when they're along the same track, but I felt that this was a little out there—stretched the mind some, you know? That's really a really subjective thing, though.
One last thing about the second sentence: I didn't really like the word "patiently" there. It felt too… benign. I'd rather that you used something with more negative connotations, e.g. "inexorably." But that, of course, is really your call.
"…grew and thrived the way bathroom fungi never should... And I realize: I didn’t miss them. I ignored them." Not so sure I like "never should" there with the fungi. It implies that the feeling of isolation IS bathroom fungi, rather than LIKE bathroom fungi in its exponential growth. I understand that it was just a figurative/comparative statement, but it might be better to just say "grew and thrived like bathroom fungi." I know… blander, but clearer too.
Aside from that, it took me a little by surprise when Maddie says "I didn't miss THEM," because I expected "I didn't miss it" based on the "feeling of isolation" I thought she was referring to. Then I went back and realized that you were talking about ALL the things she missed, but possibly most specifically the "signs" mentioned earlier. Not sure if you might want to re-mention said "signs."
"I missed the bus to school. I know; I’ll be labeled irresponsible for it…" I kind of disagree with the "I'll be labeled" there. I'd prefer something more like "I know that pegs me as irresponsible," or possibly (and this feels kinda funny since this piece wasn't written speaking-to-the-reader style) "I know you'll label me as irresponsible for it." I guess I don't like the "I'll be labeled" because it indicates that she hasn't been labeled yet, and technically that kind of event would've labeled her as it right off, I'd think. Because of the in-the-moment feeling of the piece, it almost indicates that Maddie hasn't yet gone back to school since the event.
One last thing, kind of small: I don't think that semicolon is quite right there, though this could just be me. It's like Maddie's saying those two things separately ("I know" and "I'll be labeled…"), when in reality the two are connected solidly enough to use a comma or eliminate the semicolon altogether.
"…lest he swallow the blood and cause an upset stomach…" When you say "cause" here, it almost feels like the little brother'd be causing someone else an upset stomach, rather than suffering from it himself. You could consider changing "cause" to something like "get" or whatnot.
"So, I came late and hungry to first period... My little brother was fine and waiting for his own bus, so why should I complain?" The double "so" in such quick succession kind of bothered me. I don't really think the first one is necessary in that sentence. You could take it out without any problems (or maybe use "then" in its place, e.g. "I then came late and hungry…"). But anyway, it's a really tiny detail and when I read it aloud it doesn't jump out at me overmuch.
"…once again staying in our home while he searches for a job, the fifth time in a row…" What do you mean by "the fifth time in a row"? That was kind of unclear to me. Were you meaning to say that the uncle looked for a job, got one, and got fired four times, and is now looking for a job his fifth time? Or were you meaning to say that this is the fifth time the uncle's come to their house to search for a job? If so, then "in a row" doesn't make too much sense.
"I didn’t refuse and mention…" I felt that "or" would work better than "and" there, since it's negative.
"“And you’re so understanding. Thank you.” ¶ And it makes me so proud…" I personally love starting sentences with "and" too, but I thought that here it was a little too redundant. You could probably reduce the first to just "You're so understanding."
"Sure, there’s a tremendous pressure building up inside my chest and I can’t shake the little claws that have latched onto my skin, but I attribute them to tiredness and convince myself I’ll recover with a good night’s rest. And by morning, they’ve usually retreated to a manageable level. ¶ But today was different." So this has happened before? I was under the impression that it was the first time she noticed. If so, then this doesn't make too much sense. Also in the light of making sense is the present tense use: it makes me think that this is here and now, rather than something she's used to saying (as implied by the context). So it's a little confusing, because you reuse the pressure and claws, only with a contradictory sort of outcome: she's dealing. You could try fixing this by saying "there might be a tremendous pressure…" and so on, along with "I would always attribute them…" and stuff.
Hmm, actually now that I think of it, shouldn't it be "today IS different"? Because today's still going on and all? And she's still crying and suffering the breakdown, etc.?
"…when his furry golden body didn’t respond to my gentle taunting... I realized with a small amount of shock that my pet was gone." Her taunting… like what? Like poking and prodding? That'd make more sense, since it was his "furry golden body" that didn't respond. But "taunting" immediately brings to mind vocal taunts… so you might want to clarify that some more. Also, it seems to me like this "amount of shock" you speak of really WASN'T "small."
"It was like my mind was commanding my body to die, but my body wasn’t obeying, an internal struggle that left me short of breath…" The commas throw things off some so that it confuses some of your meaning. I'd take out the comma after "die" and use a dash after "obeying" instead of a comma. Or maybe you could try something like "resulting in an internal struggle" (kinda wordy, though).
"It’s like the howling gale cut me in two with minimal effort after I’ve managed to withstand its assaults for so long. It shouldn’t be possible." Hmm, I thought it might have been more effective to say that it was a gentle breeze (comparatively speaking) that cut her in two, but that might not be entirely accurate if the hamster's death was truly so world-shaking to her. Speaking from an outsider's viewpoint, though, I'd say that it wasn't as severe as the divorce or whatnot, though.
And lastly… "I’ve always been strong, unyielding as a boulder on stormy plains. Sure, the occasional gust catches me off guard and scratches my normally impenetrable surface, but when the wind dies, I’m still there, looking as if nothing had upset my peace in the first place. It’s only upon close scrutiny that anyone would ever notice the scars." LOVED that passage. Yum yum. :)
Anyway, nice job. Good luck and stuff.
| Wen Hui 1/10/07 . chapter 1
I liked this- it's a feeling I can totally relate to (only I had my breakdowns at school and got bundled off to the school counsellor, which did absolutely no good), and you've worded it very nicely. Well done!
| Narc 1/2/07 . chapter 1
This is really poweful. You do an impressive job of putting everyday emotions into words that make me really care about this person. It's great to find another Vienna Teng fan as well, since most people I know have never even heard of her.
| Raptora 12/29/06 . chapter 1
First off, thanks for your review! I really meant to return a review before this, but time took off without me. Anyways, on to your story.
Wow. Quite a powerful piece you've got here. I love it. It's a story far too many people can relate with-and yet, far too many can't. Some people are Maddie's, honestly caring about everyone and forsaking their own comfort for others. And some feel the stress and run, concerned only for themselves. Maddie is a pleasure to read about, even if the subject is stress. She cares about others more than she cares about herself-something you don't see too often nowadays.
You've also caputured an element of human nature that I think we all know about. Life can be an absolute disaster, but yet we stand our ground through it all (excellent use of the boulder theme throughout, too-the story's appropriately named). Until, of course, something small happens, like a pet dying, and that little action just takes more out of you than any other disaster thus far. Your story illustrates that perfectly. Good job.
Really, I can't find anything wrong with this. Short and sweet, telling the story without making it too long. Great job. :)
| Viera Wing 12/15/06 . chapter 1
As usual, your writing/description/emotion-the-your-creation is flawless. Someone who never complains...No one's that perfect, and in this case, she, um, gets ill...to put it mildly. Am I even close to right? I'm not so sure. Seems to me like this story is more of a metaphor. Vienna Teng, no idea who she is. Not from US. But yeah, I did enjoy this. Especially with you being the writer.
| ADSpencer 11/28/06 . chapter 1
Nice writing style. I enjoyed this. Very powerful prose :)