|Reviews for Stigma|
| Sir Bradford 7/7/10 . chapter 9
Very well done. I'd say this is your best work so far. The world you have created uses elements from several genres and settings, but still manages to have its own grim originality. I like that you leave much of the physical description ambiguous, but what you do have I feel would be better communicated when you work it into the actions and conversations of characters. Large blocks of description, especially physical, are reserved for the Tolkeins of the world, who wrote when readers, like myself, had longer attention spans. The story itself is incredible; very well thought out and original, a rare occurence, especially for the internet.
The bulk of my critical suggestions come in the general writing style for this book. It is apparent that you possess a very mechanical mind, and while creative, I would offer you the advice of simplifying some of the sentence structure. The words themselves are easy enought to understand, but the way they are strung together, in long and complicated formats (not unlike this review) cause the reader to miss the full weight of the story unfolding in front of them. This can be remedied by breaking up your sentences into shorter bites. The language itself is unconventionally cerebral, but that made sense for the story it tells. Other than that, the dialogue was witty, nay, philisophical, and carries more weight than simply recanting some fictitious birth of the imagination. It is by far my favorite element of your craftsmanship. So again, I say well done, and I look forward to further postings.
| marjorievonnordeck 6/20/10 . chapter 9
Is this little bit all we get after so long? :P I really liked your discription of th eclockwork.
| Nemonus 10/14/08 . chapter 7
Interesting concept about powering the ship with heat, and nice pacing in ""Mr. Webber..." Eldridge took a slow breath, wondering whether or not there would be any point in trying to convince the man. "Heat is not a 'thing'", which was basically what I was thinking.
One typo: "I triad of lines" should have an A, correct?
| marjorievonnordeck 3/26/08 . chapter 5
I'm back again Q. :P ...how come you didn't tell me you posted more!
Anyway, I liked this part... the dialogue flows very well, and I like the way that Mr. Webber explaines everything with out telling Thomas (or the reader) anything much at all. LOL... if I were in that car I can tell you I would not be able to decline the man's offer either... I've always had a desire to find out 'why' and 'what'.
Messenger, huh? Messenger of what I wonder... I'm intreagued, lol.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 6
Good, as usual. I really can't find anything to critique about this chapter. The characterization of the detective in the beginning was excellent, painting him as very shrewd. I'll keep reading.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 5
Ah, the techology is much clearer now. Yay for steampunk.
"he remembered it from an author in a nearby world " I love this line! So casually spoken!
Your story reminds me both of His Dark Materials and The Handmaid's Tale. They were good worlds. Do not think I accuse you of being too dissimilar to other authors, either.
Consider "Deadscrape." I presume it is an oath of some sort. But tisn't easily identifiable as such, and in a world where mostly they talk as we do, it is potentially jarring.
"allowed plant life to reaching up " appears to involve a typo.
"the presence of mind to fight presences in minds" Clever!
I simply do not understand what he is talking about in "Look, besides the two mentions of the universe, I've had nothing useful of it in my entire life."
Excellent work. I was not intending to read much tonight, and yet I have.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 4
Good. Although it is a longer chapter, I was pulled in by the clear metaphor with the angel, by the sudden subterfuge, and subtle action scene. I am uncertain at this point as to the level of technology in this place-you said Driver, but did not specify whether it was a car or a carriage, correct? Therefor questions of why they used bladed weapons instead of guns (or Clockwork Slingthrowers or whatever your world might call them) tentatively comes up. However, I presume that said level of technology will be explained as soon as next chapter. As I said, I very much enjoyed this one.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 3
A very short chapter, but good. More hints at the disease...which sounds more like 'art' than any sort of 'flu'. Good illustration of the cruelty of the Combine, here.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 2
Think about reworking "He seemed to Eldridge to be too young for his station and yet too old for its employment; the judge himself seemed tired and distracted, as though he was part of an ancient and unalterable routine.". How he was both too young nad too old did not come off clearly; the use of 'himself' implies that you're talking about someone else besides the judge elsewhere and was confusing; adding to the metaphor with "ancient...ruitine" further muddied the waters as to how he looked to young. His physical description just before that was fine, and perhaps you can convery more characterstics through that.
I like "Clockwork Scribe". Ah yes, making technology sound old.
"not there," he said slowly" Clarify as to who this 'he' is.
Do know that I get a great sense of intelligence and confidance in your writing from this piece, and so I am nitpicking.
For example..."not IN [h]is mind". Tis one of only two typos, of the same nature..."adrenaline in is blood."
There is such potential in this story! A disease which corrupts minds, makes people think certain ways (or does it? 8/), the government's reaction...very good, very interesting. Food for thought.
The Advocate is so like a lawyer.
| Nemonus 2/21/08 . chapter 1
Good. Your first line sentence is a bit wordy-when I first read it I thought of a sin in writing that I myself am often accused of: sacrificing meaning for clarity. "failed to yield the desired impact" doesn't quite explain what he's trying to do-to open the door? To force it shut? With that as the first sentence there is potential confusion. The momentum of the woman's entrance later was good and clear (the second time I read it), but there wasn't enough scene-setting in the beginning.
You write very well; excellent sentence flow and use of words; I liked the descriptions of the "advocate". World-building is hinted at with ""Words from another world." and the alien words such as "Stigmata" (Part of the allure of this chapter is that we don't know what disease the main character has) and "soulseek" (which might flow better, but be potentially cliche-sounding, with an '-er' at the end). Your characters have realistic reactions; I am impressed by the banter toward the end. Very human. Good job so far.
| Jenny Rocker 2/17/08 . chapter 6
I'm back ;)
Just a few quick responses to your responses:
I absolutely understand an author's artistic liscence, and I'm not here to lecture you on what's "Technically grammatically correct". I ain't no grammer teacher. I feel, as long as you know the rules, a writer is always allowed to bend and break them as needed to get their point across. The main point, though, is that writing is nothing if not a form of communication. I only want to help give you the perspective of the reader; obviously YOU know what you mean when you've written this, and sometimes it's difficult for a writer to discern when he/she isn't clear in their prose.
I re-read the section I had commented on earlier in chapter 2 (Tribunal). A subtle difference, but I think it helps.
As for "The jaw before his visions clenched" . . . honestly, as much as it is a nice way of putting things, I would actually scrath that phrase. It's really ambiguous. One way I could suggest revising this section is something like: "The dagger weilding soldier clenched his jaw, veins showing beneath its reddening skin, and swore a short "Damn you, rooky," under his breath, before realizing that the triangle was now broken and dropping his weapon to the ground as well." Maybe not as poetic, but more concise.
Of course, this is just my humble opinion, and as is always your right as the author, you can choose to listen to or ignore any piece of my feedback. Bottom line is you're a good writer, and you obviously have a good handle on what you're doing. All I could possibly criticize are minor details.
Anywho, I'll shut up. I hope you find some part of my comments helpful in even the slightest bit. Good luck continuing this ;)
| Jenny Rocker 2/9/08 . chapter 5
So a couple quick comments.
I think for the first time, we're finally seeing more of Eldridge's personality, which is nice. Up to this point, he's been rather stoic and hard to read (except for his obvious anger and rebellion).
There's a line I really liked here. Webber is talking and he says: "This is a partnership, Thomas, not a rescue. I am presenting you a simple exchange of freedom and information. The freedom to gain information, in exchange for the information required to be free." And at this point, I like "what?", but then Webber goes on to say, "Though with honesty... I never am certain who is getting which." It's like he's saying he doesn't know what he's talking about either. It was funny. I liked that.
| Jenny Rocker 2/9/08 . chapter 4
This is growing ever more interesting. DO NOT apologize for the decriptions! They were fantastic. I especially liked the detailed description of the statue. Really, really nice. You have a way with words. Long chapter, what are you talking about? I didn't even notice. I actually liked that you delved a little deeper into this chapter, really decribing the setting.
One thing that was a little confusing was the following:
"There was hesitation for what seemed to stretch moments into minutes, but the spear left Eldridge's back and clattered to the ground, alternating between the dull thud of the shaft and the sharp ring of its head against the granite pathway. The jaw before his visions clenched, veins showing beneath its reddening skin. The soldier swore a short "Damn you, rooky," under his breath, before realizing that the triangle was now broken and dropping his dagger to the ground as well."
You say, "The jaw before his visions", now as for male characters, you got, what, like 4 at this current scene? "His" who? The jaw before whose visions? I was a little confused as tho whose jaw was clenching.
Oh, and as for a response to you question on an Appendix, I, personally would think it would take away from the refreshing imagination in this story. Sure, you've made up words and phrases for this story, but I think if you want the readers to know what you're talking about, make sure you use them in a context the reader will understand. Divulge this information in the story. You use these made-up words enough and the reader will know what you're talking about without a guide. Ever read "A Clockwork Orange"? Like HALF the words in that book are the authors own made up language, but you read the words enough and you come to understand them without a definition being provided.
Off to read the next chapter . . .
| Jenny Rocker 2/9/08 . chapter 2
Well at this early stage, I will say that I am not only intrigued by what promises to be a unique story idea, but am also drawn in simply by the quality of your writing. Your prose is very straight-forward, but I feel that you describe your characters extremely well-without actually discribing THEM, but in discribing their body language. For instance, in chapter 1, the way that you described how Edlridge was playing with the figurine while Advocate Kingston was talking to him said so much about the way he felt about her than if you actually came out and stated how he felt about her . . . if you get my meaning.
Before I continue on, I did want to mention that there's a section of dialogue in this chapter (chapter 2) that is difficult to follow:
"The 'condition' you refer to is the result of a lifetime of self-hatred fed to me by my own society," He shot at the advocate. "I refuse to have truths ripped from my very soul in order to satisfy the tribunal's opinion of what is truth!"
"And you are aware then, that these so-called 'truths' you reference carriers of the Stigma to be bound with are repeatedly disproved by the highest professionals of their applicable field?" The judge asked, leaning his chin on one hand with the elbow resting against the front of his stand.
"And you, sir, are aware that these so-called 'experts' provide nothing more than poor attempts at disproving undeniable facts, using whatever misdirection the Consociate Combine chooses to force down the throat of the artisan community." It was not a question, as had been laced into the judge's tone.
That is quite a mouthful. Alot of "so-called" and words in quotes and long, complex sentences. I had a really hard time following this conversation and had to read that section a few times over to try to grasp some understanding of what these people are talking about. You're referencing a lot of things that the reader isn't really familiar yet, and while mystery and intrigue are always good, you don't want to lose your audience. This sentence in particular: "And you are aware then, that these so-called 'truths' you reference carriers of the Stigma to be bound with are repeatedly disproved by the highest professionals of their applicable field?" While I guess it's grammatically correct, it's kind of awkward. The only suggestion I would have to make this exchange more accessable to the reader is to break some of these sentences into more digestible pieces. Maybe something like: "And you are aware then, that these so-called 'truths', truths you reference carriers of the Stigma to be bound with, are repeatedly disproved by the highest professionals of their applicable field?" (because I THINK that's what you were trying to say, yes?).
Anywho, I'll shut up. I'm off to read some more. Seriously, really good so far.
| Song of Shadows 313 2/8/08 . chapter 5
Finally, someone who has an interesting idea and has heard of spellcheck! I am impressed!
That being said, however, I do have some problems. First of all, I believe you called the chapter previous to this one a 'long' chapter. I wouldn't mind if they were a bit longer, as some information seems to be missing. For example, what happened to the advocate and the two guards that this mystery group captured? Did they just leave them in the middle of the street? Seems a bit sloppy for a group that managed to make all the witnesses conveinently disappear, in my humble opinion. Also, while I think I am following all the terminology you're introducing from the context, an appendix of terms, as you suggested in the last chapter, would be helpful.
That being said, I'm looking forward to finding out more about the Soul Stigma, Mr. Thomas Eldrige, and this new world. After sifting through literary garbage on this site for so very very long, you have made me happy and given me hope! I hope my critiques are helpful to you (God knows the trouble I get with getting any real feedback on my own work).