|Reviews for Mirror Mite|
| Palantean Writer 8/18/10 . chapter 5
Ooh! Short chapter! Okay, here goes...
(Oh and, before I forget, what would you most prefer that I review next?)
Oh, hell. Who's Morgan again? I'm almost certain you mentioned him/her/it before, but I've forgotten.
Gosh. Morgan is a grim character and this is a very different tone to Annabelle's.
"A hundred options of what to say whirred through Morgan's mind as though it where a fruit machine." I like this sentence. Excellent description.
He's really quite mixed up, I'll say that much o.O
"Morgan swallowed down the first reaction to come to mind – "Go away," – and turned to see who it was." Hmm. Personally, whenever I see something in double quotation marks, I immediately assume that it was spoken. When it turns out to be something a character might/would have said but actually didn't, I find it distracting. So it's your choice, but personally I'd prefer to see 'Go away' either in single quotation marks or italics.
"All the moisture left her mouth." I guessed that Morgan was male, but then I'm unfamiliar with Morgan as a name, so I might have that wrong. But if Morgan is male then this is a POV change.
"Morgan has a friend outside the side-gate who's looking for her..." 'Side-gate' feels too articulate. I'd have gone with simply 'gate'.
I'm not sure if I trust Morgan. He/she seems dangrous. Sinister. I wonder what her past is with Gloria and Claire?
There's not much more I can say about this chapter, so sorry for the short review, but yes, I've got a general feeling that the description needs beefing up a bit. Maybe have a bolder feeling of Morgan's place in the story, or more reference to her blacked-out past. Other than that - well done.
- From We Return Reviews.
| Palantean Writer 8/18/10 . chapter 4
Finally, I'm coming back to this story!
I'm liking the reconnection to the little girl and her little girl concerns (and the unspoken
sinister implications) in the first paragraph. She hates black. Maybe only because black is
such a null colour, or maybe because it reminds her of the terror that watches her from her
mirror. You don't say, and that creates a splendid effect. And then you lighten it at the end
with "Just what was so dreadful about wearing a green t-shirt to church anyway?", which may
also reflect her psychological discomfort - her need to wear colours and stay away from the
black. But on the surface, it's all light comedy. Very nicely done.
Her rather abstact awareness strikes me again and actually, I like this. I've not seen it in
any other story and it works really well here. Even if you didn't intend to make it that way,
which I think you said in a PM once.
"Every tilt and turn of her head irritated her neck to the point of distraction." The choice
of the word 'distraction' here, however, breaks the little girl's world. It's too
sophisticated a word for the character, I feel.
"...on the higgledy stones around her." I've never seen the word 'higgledy' used on its own,
but it's a pleasant surprise to see it!
"She got through twenty six graves..." This suggests to me that she gets lost in her search
for rather a long time. Where's her mum..? It's starting to feel not right. So if that's
deliberate, great reference.
When Annabelle sees that side entrance and thinks about going through it, although really that
would be more dangerous than hanging around in the churchyard during a funeral, it sounds like
it'll be safer than where she is now. You've subtly, but effectively, woven a sense of doom
into this scene.
Oh! So something stopped her? She walked into something that she didn't see? Odd! This bit, though: "The force of the impact knocked her backwards onto her bum..." feels incongruous, as she's got such a youthful quality to her, I think the word 'bum' would be rather daring by her standards. (This coming from the author of Mase. Yeah yeah, I know...)
"The lady, who Annabelle noticed, had eyebrows a different colour to her hair..." I have to say again, Annabelle's observations really are those of a child. If an adult had thought this so consciously it might well seem bitchy (Ha! She dyes her hair!) but it's the kind of thing a child might notice in all innocence. One of those unintentionally harsh things that kids think. Again, considering you didn't really intend on making her so young, you've
"Annabelle thought this was a rather strange thing to say." You and me both, kid. That is an odd thing to say. Half of me suspects the lady gets beaten by her husband and that's what she means, but I'm not sure.
Hmm. Not much seems to have happened in this chapter, but you've conjured a strong feeling of Annabelle's world, here. I've just realised that you've not mentioned the horror in her life at all, but fair enough. Maybe that's just me picking up on that, having read this chapter such a long time after the last.
I've enjoyed it, the emotional space of her walking around the deserted quarter of the graveyard, and her naivete.
- From We Return Reviews.
| Palantean Writer 5/11/10 . chapter 3
"Claire Lewis hoped never to have to go to another funeral like this one again. Not for as long as she lived." Ooh. Well, that's drawn me back in, right there!
"...as much about appreciation as it was mourning – this was not one of those." Aha - that's very true. I've been to funerals like those. Nice placement of this observation, especially when one remembers it's a contrast against a funeral where there is no celebration. And they must exist.
"It was only to be expected in a service for someone so young." This makes me wonder, with a start, what's happened to Annabelle. And then I saw further down the page that she's still alive, and at the funeral. So that's a relief.
Is 'little Annie' Annabelle? I just want to check. It seems logical, but could be confusing. And I'm struggling to remember who Claire was again.
"...Gloria somehow blamed the little girl for what happened to Susie. She had been found in Annabelle's room after all." Ah. Okay, piecing things together, now. Susie was the teenager, wasn't she?
"Whatever logical reason you're given, it's always hell to have to put your child in the ground." True, true. More than I can guess, but undeniably terrible. However, the change in tense here isn't working for me. Maybe it would on another day, if I was in another mood, and perhaps it will for other readers. But just for me, now, it jars a bit.
Ah, and you clarify who Claire is by mentioning that she's Annabelle's mother. Fair enough.
It's a shame that Susie's gone - I liked her.
When Claire and Annabelle start having that conversation, it's clear that the tone of this chapter really is as dark as one in which a mother burying her daughter could be. It's very poignant, especially considering the almost fun tone of Annie and Susie arguing in the previous chapter. I just wonder whether you need to draw a little more attention to just how heavily Gloria's feeling the grief. I can see she's holding herself together, but I wonder if you need a little more - just subtle - indication of how grief-stricken she is.
I had to say, though, I'm enjoying this chapter.
""That is a horrible lie to tell Annabelle," She said..." Annabelle's really in a fix, isn't she? I'm starting to wish her mum could see the horror in the mirror too, just so she'd believe her.
""She said that there's no heaven, only dark places and hungry worms."" Chilling. And it makes me wonder whether the worms are something of a point of obsession for the dead in your story, if they remain 'aware'.
"There, stood next to Gloria, was Morgan." Morgan. Was that Annabelle's dad again?
A great chapter. Quite a short one, but a good one nonetheless! I look forward to reading the next!
- From We Return Reviews.
| Bickazer 4/28/10 . chapter 3
Okay, this chapter.
It's nice and short and sweet and I envy that, because everything I write balloons into five-thousand-word monstrosities. Actually, I first completed this chapter a while ago, but I was lazy and never got around to reviewing it, soo...shoot me. Sorry.
I liked this chapter-I wish I could write a more in depth review on it but there's not much to complain about. You captured the emotions of the characters perfectly-Claire's grief and frustration, Gloria's coldness, and Annabelle, well, being annoying yet understandable. She's really giving off creepy vibes, isn't she? It's clear that something unusual happened to result in Susie's death, and I definitely want to find out more-so good job with the suspense. And this Morgan's appearance at the end only adds to the suspense. Her appearance was well done without being too sudden, since you foreshadowed her existence already. I'm assuming she's the ghost of a dead child and has been manipulating Annabelle somehow...intriguing. Really, it's the suspense and the characters that shine in the chapter. I found all of the characters' actions and feelings to be realistic and atmospheric (though I've never been to a funeral before, so what would I know...).
This is a nicely low-key story, and I'm liking that, even though my tastes tend to veer towards the epic. I like the subtlety and focus on characters, though, since a lot of amateurish suspense/horror writing gets too over-the-top.
The one problem I have is that the transition from the previous chapter to this one came across as a bit jarring. The previous chapter seemed like it was set up to show Annabelle and Susie's stake-out, so I was expecting to read about that in this chapter instead of being suddenly thrown into a funeral. I did a double take when I realized it was Susie's funeral. I understand that you probably didn't want to show the events of that night in order to preserve the suspense, but I'm wondering if there isn't a more natural way to transition between the two events, because as now, the transition feels very, very jarring. Perhaps because the last chapter really seemed to focus on getting to Annabelle and Susie's stakeout, or something.
Anyway, good job so far, and I'll try not to be too slow with future reviews. I'll definitely read more of this.
From We Return Reviews.
| Palantean Writer 4/28/10 . chapter 2
""Tell-tale brat," was the growled greeting Annabelle got..." Ouch! Only thing with this bit is, 'growled greeting' feels a bit of an awkward phrase, here.
"...Annabelle was probably in for a pretty horrible afternoon." Aye. Annabelle's got some grumpy adults around her, hasn't she?
""Mummy says you shouldn't do that to plants," Annabelle said, voice grave." Yeah, again I get the feeling that Annabelle's really young.
""Atta girl!" she said, switching instantly from cross to friendly." Heh! Actually, I like this bit! Nice to see a bit of wry lightness coming out of this story! Not that the horror aspect of it is bad, it's just nice to see a bit of humour put in like this.
"...Annabelle always wondered why she became so keen to get rid of something she'd paid for..." I'm not sure if this is meant to be a reference I'm meant to read something into, but I don't, anyway.
"She hooked her teeth around the outside of the wide rim, and tried to lift it up without using her hands." Nice 'kid' bit here. It's like saying, 'remember when you were so young you did this kind of stuff without worrying about looking like an idiot?'
""You can't do cheese on toast in a toaster, idiot," Susie said..." *shrugs* Touche.
""What is it then? A ghost?" Susie asked. "What does it do? Make scratch-marks in the glass? Write out how you're going to die? Make the walls ooze with blood?"" Ha! Excellent! I love how 'helpful' Susie's being here!
I like the argument between them - Annabelle throwing toast on the floor and the shouting match. That's really got a childlike softness/petulance/innocence to it. Really well-played!
""Have you gone mental?" she asked, surprisingly serious." People should use the word 'mental' more.
Okay, so Annabelle's going to show Susie the mirror. But I can't help but feel it's going to look normal when this visitor turns up. I really feel that the mirror-monster only makes its presence known for Annabelle. But... I'll look forward to finding out.
- From We Return Reviews.
| Palantean Writer 4/21/10 . chapter 1
That's quite an opening sentence. To be honest, you had me at 'Annabelle knew something lived in her mirror', but the fact that the mysterious Susie has somehow managed to make a paranoid mirror-gazer look even less lucid makes me wonder what on earth this story is going to be like.
"...Annabelle got the distinct feeling that it was looking at her more than she had ever looked at it." *makes squeaky noise* I can't help but say that my inner psychiatrist is itching at the moment. But you said this is a supernatural story, so...
"...and had told her Mummy..." Oh, right, so Annabelle is younger than I thought. I was envisioning a teenager, to be honest. That also explains why the mirror is so much bigger than her. Her apparent fancy that there's a monster in her mirror (if that's the best way to articulate it) makes a bit more sense now, too. Like the fear of monsters under one's bed.
"...she'd lose her television time for a week." I like the way this introduction is carrying on. There's obviously more to that mirror-malevolence than Mummy thinks, but the real dissonance between the general direction of the plot and this attempt by a mother to calm down her (apparently) over-imaginitive child is oddly entertaining. That and the semi-omiscient POV that doesn't give us that much access to Annabelle's feelings and thoughts. In many ways, this really does feel like an insistant, paranoid little child who's got the creeps over her bedroom mirror.
"With a tentative finger she pushed at the door, edging it into the shadow. " Yeah, there's a real sense of psychology here: 'I don't like the dark. You go first, door'.
"...and spilled her water down her front as she did so." Oh, bugger. Now, say that I was a worrisome child, but that kind of thing was always such a big deal when I was little.
"...the one at her bedside was cold, grey and dead. The one reflected in the mirror, however, was bright and twinkling." This is a very slick paragraph fragment. I was just about to comment on the morosity of a small child thinking of an off light as 'dead', when you caught me up in the following sentence about the reflection-light being lit. There's a spooky thing!
Your story title is making more sense now, actually, as a 'mite' can either mean a kind of parasite, or a small child. As you said the mirror might contain some kind of parasites, the double-entendre is now apparent. Nice!
Or not, as the case may be...
""She's nearly eight years old. She's hardly a little one," Mummy said. Ah, so she's eight. Thing is, I was starting to think of her as a five year old. I don't have any children of my own so I'm not very good at knowing kids' ages, but I'd guess that an eight year old would be more confident and lucid than Annabelle seems to be.
""Keeping the kid on a diet of Disney and lies then?"
"She can watch anything she likes, so long as I know there's no horror or violence in it."
Auntie Gloria made a nasty sound, somewhere between a cackle and a cough."
Heh, yes! I'm with Gloria on this one, actually. I like the acidic quality of this compared to the soft-focus quality of Annabelle's thought process.
"...she had asked Mummy about where her Daddy was, several times, and had never gotten a straight answer, not ever." Ah, this works well for me. I care enough about what Annabelle's going through by this stage that it's nice to start going through other parts of her life, to build her up as a character.
On that point, I've been enjoying the apparent lack of awareness of Annabelle as a particularly feminine girl. What I mean is - and I'm going to sound a bit of a soap-box feminist here - that so many girls these days seem obsessed with Bratz and W.I.T.C.H. and other, sexy-style female icons, want to go shopping and diet and so on, that I'm finding Annabelle's apparent disregard for these things very refreshing. And I struggle to imagine she'd be ignoring these things if she was eight.
Unless she was brought up under quite a strict mum, which you've hinted at. But Disney's among the worst for creating sexually attractive - young - female icons, so that doesn't quite fit to me. I'm still finding it easier to imagine Annabelle as five.
The end of this chapter is good, I think. While there isn't a short, sharp cliffhanger, clearly Annabelle's got a problem, and it doesn't appear that it's going to go away. I'm looking forward to reading more of this!
- From We Return Reviews.
| Mr. Aek 4/15/10 . chapter 2
how old is Susie? before i got the impression that she was younger - around Annabelle's age, but "picking her up" means that Susie is considerably older. She's what, the babysitter?
"it was clear that she had been told off quite badly." your telling here, telling me she'd been told off - instead show her being harassed or snapped at by Susie - not the result.
I'm not sure the interaction between the two girls is real, assuming one is 7 and the other is 16. for one, I don't know of ANY 16 year old that would tell a 7 year old bad stories and use such language as Susie does - and at 16 a girl is getting interested in boys - so babysitting (or walking a 7 year old home) is more of a silent chore she has to do 'for the good of the family' not some 'girl talk' time. The age difference is really to great for their advanced girl chat.
Susie had started - had thing again.
"Susie began to shout at her, but Annabelle just shouted louder." - 7 year old outshouting a 16 year old? lol, yah.. right.
Annabelle looked up at the older girl, and ran the sleeve of her shirt over her eyes," - this right here is mis-modifying, it seems like "her shirt" is 'the older girl' but that's not what you intended, right?
"she said, giving her charge a grin." -not quite familiar with this metaphor/saying
"fringe" - you used this twice to describe Annabelle's hair (bangs most possibly) I'm not quite sure what it means in that context - I always though fringe was a fancy word for edge (aka he was left on the fringe of life - or he was "on the edge of life, almost dead. or The mirror is on the fringe of reality - aka it's almost not real...)
I liked, Once again the dialogue, because it is amazing here, all the emotion and drive and gestures you put into it is brilliant... I've got a thing or two i could learn from it...
I disliked the relationship/conversation itself between the two girls because I felt it was unreal - Annabelle is way to mature and sophisticated in her speech pattens and responses for a 7 year old girl, I might expect something like from from a girl 10 but for 7 she's just getting into school, likes playing with dolls and is all about the 'spur of the moment' forgetting things as fast as she can do them. (not to mention a complete mess maker, I know i have younger brothers, and sisters) I really think to get the feel of a 7 year old you need to volunteer in like a 2nd or 3rd grade class or at some after school daycare, cause its fairly obvious that unless Annabelle is some kind of kid genius or has been through some traumatic times (forcing her to mature quickly) that her thought process is simply not realistic.
lol, I did this one again, cause i was interested in the mirror, the speed of the story doesn't bother me one bit.
| Tawny Owl 4/14/10 . chapter 1
I loved the idea behind the opening line, but I think it might have more effect if you split it up and made it shorter.
Bitter chocolate – nice.
I like the way you convey both Annabelle’s character and the mother’s character. You also make it realistic, and almost funny with the way you describe it. It was really funny to read. There wasn’t much underlying tension though. I started off being apprehensive of the mirror but it faded away through this part of the chapter.
It was slightly ajar, just as she had left it, but what bothered Annabelle was that the room was dark, which was not how she had left it. There’s something odd about this sentence too. Maybe spit it up as well? I’m not sure, it just seemed to run on.
The tension immediately comes back with the lights switch though. And I liked the comment about not being scared as long as she knew how to make the dark go away.
Aww, her reaction to the adult conversation is sweet. I’m torn between saying that I’d have liked more detail on voice tones, and saying it didn’t because it was Annabelle listening and she would only have reacted to the emotions like mummy being angry. (love that you call her mummy as well – it reflects Annabelle’s age really well). I’m intrigued now because despite thinking that Annabelle is telling stories there is something mysterious going on
You. Bed. Now. Perfect and brilliant. I could see it.
| Mr. Aek 4/13/10 . chapter 1
"against the stretch"
I think "a" would be better than "the"
"panic," needs a period or semicolon.
"and had told"
"how that anything"
okay, I'm noticing "had" a lot - its better to be less wordy than more wordy "Annabelle had spent almost..." doesn't need the "had" same at "nothing had happened" "and had told" ect ect
"going into her room, from loitering"
needs a semicolon or dash -
"being plunged into a little bit like"
-little bit of what?
"and spilled her water down her front as she did so."
-i was never told that she had water in her hands, say this before - "she walked up the stairs, angry, with her half filled glass of water..."
"nightie" - cute word, but not a cute picture i want to image if she's daring the dark, use "night gown" or something more formal. unless the main character is young, 4-5ish words like nightie and mummy should be changed to add more maturity.
"Annabelle listened as to each murmur and rasp" ?
"She's nearly eight years old." - this i think is just a tad bit too old for the childish phrases and words I keep seeing.
"'I'll get her to drop by before she goes to school,' " - your quotes go haywire here after... watch out on that use " not '
*starts a list*
and had told
Mummy had been
Annabelle had spent
nothing had happened.
Mummy had smiled
Annabelle had told
Annabelle had given
Mummy had really
but had stopped
light had ever
feet had carried
she had asked
and had never
-list done! all these "had's" could be removed, its wordyness you don't need.
Also, I feel at times you tell instead of show "She looked odd." - great you told me, but it would be so much better if you showed me, "Auntie Gloria gasped at the sight of me while trying to keep the volume down as to not alert Mummy of my presence. Her twisted face while trying to hold back the urge to snap at me appeared different than most the friendly ones I usually got..."
Okay, - here is the actual Easy Fix (sorry, I can't stand to do simple an Easy Fix without commenting on grammar and flow issues... *points at self* English Major - intent on being a Copywriter (editor))
I disliked the telling and the overuse of "had" in the story because, i felt as if it torn me away from the moment - it made me felt like it wasn't as big of a deal cause it already happened, I rather being in the "here and now" - I know using present tense is more so than past tense the "here and now" but also noticed using the certain diction and tone you used even further removed me from the conflict. It lost its "fire."
I liked the dialogue and the descriptions of what the people were doing while talking because, unlike most people, it worked wonderfully and had loads of information on what the people are doing - I noticed a lot of writers lack the ability to properly describe a scene of dialogue, but you did a real good job - from background noises to gestures and even i felt tone... Unlike the first part (before her snooping on the conversation) were i felt it lacked flare the dialogue had plenty of mood and action - it is most certainly your strong point.
| Bickazer 4/13/10 . chapter 2
Another returned review.
Unfortunately I probably won't be able to get as in depth in this one because I just...liked the chapter a lot, but don't really have a whole long list of reasons for liking it. Really, I think what I like the most about it is Annabelle's relationship with Susie. Just like the mother's relationship with Annabelle, it feels so...damnedly real. And for me, it's something I can really sympathize with, and really hit home with me because I have a little brother of my own, and our age difference is about is big (if not bigger) than the one between Annabelle and Susie. And, like it or not, I realized I recognized a lot of my own behavior towards him in Susie. Which made me go O_o and promise to be nicer to him from then on. :D
There isn't much hint of plot in this chapter (though now apparently we have a bit of a stakeout planned), and it doesn't really explore the foreshadowing in the previous chapter, but I didn't feel that the story was dragging in any way. This is a nice chapter that does its job-it sets up Susie and Annabelle's relationship. Like I said, I feel their relationship is very realistic. How Susie tells Annabelle stories and teases her and belittles and teaches her bad words, yet at the same time does seem to genuinely care about Annabelle (giving her the chocolate milkshake, feeling bad when she cries). You set up the contrast between the two girls well, with Susie's crassness contrasting Annabelle's meekness. I was a bit surprised at how old Susie was-from the last chapter I got the impression that she was only a few years older than Annabelle, maybe around 12 or so, not twice her age. But then again, Susie only got a bare mention in the last chapter.
It's definitely a sign you've done a good job when the reader can empathize with a character, even in a negative way. Too often when we speak of making characters sympathetic we think of only making them sympathetic in a good way, but it's also possible to make a character that hits home for the reader because they aren't portrayed as entirely positive. Which Susie did for me. XD Now I feel terrible for traumatizing my little brother. Wonder if Susie will eventually have such a change in heart?
Now I'm going to unleash the grammar pedant in me and point out that in some respects, you do need to improve on your mechanics. You don't make major errors, but I did notice that you made the "it's/its" and "you're/your" error at points in this story, which kind of dragged me out of the flow. It is difficult to remember the difference between them, I know; for "its/it's" I find it's easiest to simply say "it is" every time you see "it's," and see if the sentence makes any sense or not. If it doesn't, chances are you intended to use the possessive, not the contraction. Saying "you are" when you see "you're" helps in the same way. Granted, these are minor errors but ones I've trained myself to automatically see because they're so common in rough drafts.
Other than a few mechanical errors here and there, this story is as a whole enjoyable and I'm looking forward to more. I really love how each chapters makes me want to click on to the next one because I'm enjoying it so much. So good job there.
| Palm Tree 4/12/10 . chapter 1
(“Annabelle knew that something lived in her mirror, but no one would believe her, all because of Susie and her stupid stories.”)—This was a great opening line. Reading the first time around, it served as an excellent hook. I was curious about the mirror, curious about who exactly Susie was, and what Annabelle was going to do about all of it. And then reading it again after having gone through the chapter, I saw that it was also an excellent summary easily circled back to. Having done that, it gave the chapter a complete feel, and I would almost suggest throwing it in again at the end if I didn't already like the conclusion so much. XD;
To provide a bit of background on myself before I make further comment, I’ve little experience with horror in literature, and most of my movie experiences were, well, subpar. Still, at this point I’m finding the concept of something living in Annabelle’s mirror an interesting one. I also see the potential for it to have a very strong and much deeper meaning when the climax comes knocking.
(“… and had told her Mummy that there something was…”)—that there was something?
I like how Annabelle’s mother is referred to as “Mummy.” The narrative really shines as one that belongs to a young girl, and that’s impressed me.
(“… Annabelle was never without the light of her beside lamp…”)—At first I thought the wording here was jumbled, but then I realized that it’s much more likely there’s a typo. Was “beside” intended to be “bedside?”
(“… not even on her bravest nights.”)—There are little pieces of the narrative that really stick out to me as effective ways to further pull the reader into Annabelle’s perspective and thus back into their own childhood. This short ending bit would be one of them.
(“… more than mere flick of a switch…”)—more than a mere flick of a switch?
It took next to no effort for me to visualize the whole scene where Annabelle was eavesdropping on Mummy and Auntie Gloria. Perhaps that’s partly because I did very similar things when I was little and got into some very similar situations, but of course, way more than that I believe that’s your talent shining through. ;]
(“… talking about stuff Annabelle didn’t understand, no cared to try.”)—nor cared to try?
I want to point out that the dialogue between Mummy and Auntie Gloria was just wonderful: smooth and revealing all at the same time. Engaging, too! And so I'm now wondering about Annabelle's father, Morgan, and how much his lack of presence affects Mummy's parenting.
To the end I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like Auntie Gloria. She seems pretty laid back (at least in comparison to Mummy), and I, having had my own experiences, very much appreciated how she fiercely got Annabelle out of the room and away from the risk of her Mummy catching her.
Also! As I sort of mentioned at the beginning, I thought this chapter’s conclusion was very well done with something tapping still from the other side of the mirror, and I was happy to see that there was a number more chapters to be read.
For sure, this was an enjoyable read, and I hope I get to pick it back up in the near future. 8]
-Paying Back From We Return Reviews (WRR)
| Bickazer 4/11/10 . chapter 1
Your review returned from We Return Reviews. :)
I apologize in advance if this seems rambly or incoherent; I'm very tired right now so I'm not at the most lucid. PM me if you have any questions.
Interesting; I liked this even though normally I'm not one to go for suspense/horror. Which is weird; I do like getting thrills, which is why I hang out at Creepypasta all the time. But I find a lot of attempted horror/suspense writing falls flat because it's either too mundane or over-the-top. I'll have to admit that I didn't exactly get a thrill from this story, not the way I do from the best Creepypastas which keep me awake and shivering at night, but then again I get the feeling that you're not trying to scare the audience in this story, but convey Annabelle's fear. And you've done a very good job at it. I like how she's terrified of the small but subtle hints that something's wrong-the lamp lighting up in the mirror but not IRL, for instance. It's not melodramatically over-the-top and it's definitely realistic for the sort of thing that would scare a kid that age in the middle of night. I've long had a slight phobia of mirrors at night, as well as a fear that someone's watching me, so this story pretty much played exactly to my fears in a very nice, subtle, understated way which could potentially happen to any of us. Honestly, if you had Annabelle see some scary figure in the mirror, I'd have instantly clicked the back button, because that's too much too soon. The subtlety you're using right now works well in creating an atmosphere of tension and mystery, as well as making it easy for the mother to trivialize Annabelle's fears.
I think what really made the story for me wasn't the suspense aspect but the mother. Admittedly, the "dismissive authority figure" is too common in ghost/haunting/supernatural stories involving children, but the way you depicted the mother feels very realistic. I think it's because you're showing more the mother's effect on Annabelle than her own attitude (if this makes any sense...). Because of her mother's dismissiveness, Annabelle gets trapped further and further in a spiral of fear she can't escape because the one person who she should be able to trust doesn't trust her. I truly did feel her pain when her mother called her a liar, though I can see where the mother is coming from-she certainly comes across as a harried working mom. Another point in her favor-most of the "dismissive authority figure" types are depicted as being completely callous and uncaring, or at least hopelessly stupid, but Annabelle's mother does have genuine reasons for wanting to trivialize Annabelle's fears. The discussion between her and Aunt Gloria on parenting was a nice touch, too, especially how it contrasts Annabelle's mother's more protective nature with Aunt Gloria's more laissez-faire attitude.
And wonderful hints of mystery with what happened to Annabelle's father, and this "Morgan." I'm intrigued, and I'm definitely going on to the next chapter. A sign that you have done your job as a suspense writer!
| xenolith 4/1/10 . chapter 2
'If left unchecked, her hair would end up floating around her head like a big, black lion's mane.' - Great description! I like the imaginative imagery.
'Susie snorted, again. It was something that she did all the time. It made her sound like a pig.' - heh, good one Annabelle.
'She hooked her teeth around the outside of the wide rim, and tried to lift it up without using her hands.' - I like that, it's realistic and childish and cute.
'"You're mum told me all about you acting up this morning,"' - your?
So, Susie seems pretty cool. This was a good chapter, hopefully building up to some tension in the next! I like your characterization so far, and your chapter lengths and dialouge.
WRR rules :p
| xenolith 4/1/10 . chapter 1
'and one day, Annabelle got the distinct feeling that it was looking at her more than she had ever looked at it.' - Excellent! Nice, eerie! And a weird way of thinking about a mirror... *nervous double-take at mirror*
'Annabelle looked at her lamp – the one at her bedside was cold, grey and dead. The one reflected in the mirror, however, was bright and twinkling.' - Nice imagery, specially the grey and dead of what should be real contrasted with the twinkling in the mirror.
'"Keeping the kid on a diet of Disney and lies then?"' - ouch! lol
'knocking on the wrong side of a sheet of glass' - scary!
Okay so what was great about this was the way you made it really sound like a child was narrating it. No nonsense sentences, thought processes, simple descriptions, and a heightened sense of fear. I liked it. The way the adult conversation was handles was also done very well, very realistic. And the mystery element was great. No concrit for now, or maybe just a tiny gripe about a stronger intro, I got bored of the description of the mirror quite easily (but that's my crap attention span more than anything lol).
From WRR :D
| Charlee Rayne 3/23/10 . chapter 5