|Reviews for Catchers|
| Dr. Self Destruct 12/4/11 . chapter 2
I really like how dark and demented this world is, how everything feels like it's on the brink of collapse and the apocalypse is nipping at this society's heels. You do such a great job showing how everyone, including the buildings, are just decaying and falling apart, sacrificing each other for greed and their own health. That image of Gina standing in front of those piles of bodies really says a lot about that city - I'm wondering if the people almost see her as some type of hero. I especially enjoyed that remark about tossing everyone into a blender, haha. It sounds so spiteful and apathetic, it was just so delicious and perfectly fit Gina's motives.
I think what makes this type of setting so appealing to me is how from the rancor there can be bred heroes to save everyone from this hell. I find it interesting how she brings up the thought that this disease isn't covering the entire world and how it could all be a lie to keep them slaves in their own city. It says a lot about their leaders... and it's frightening how the Ordinary's are now harvesting organs as well for their 'leaders' - goes to show how quickly humanity gives up their free will if they think they can get ahead in life.
I particularly enjoyed that scene told in italics about some of the leaders and how they think if they keep replacing their body parts it'll keep them alive. It's so typical for people to do something like that, especially those in power who wish to abuse that said power. It's disgusting and despicable, and I think you do a great job showing how even their leaders (who think themselves to be immortal) are just as frail and desperate as everyone else.
Damn, this entire city is just so depressing, but I love every inch of it... and I have no idea why. xD
I found it interesting how Penny doesn't stay after blowing up that building, and instead she runs away. But I find that very cool, because she doesn't take the route of a hero. Instead it seems she fulfills an inner desire of revenge and leaves, knowing one person won't make a difference, or simply not caring. I can't blame her - those people are disgusting and probably don't deserve a savior. It makes me feel like there's no salvation for this place and everyone is really damned.
Loved the ending dialogue. I thought it was the perfect way to wrap things up - and I'm glad at least she won't be alone.
| Zoicite23 12/4/11 . chapter 2
Inkspilled's last chapter uses an interesting method of showing the moments in Penelope's story as it shows her decision to burn down the tower of Gerard's old company. This chapter is a fantastic conclusion to the last one and I found the whole story an enjoyable read.
| Zoicite23 12/4/11 . chapter 1
Inkspilled has created an interesting and original story. Her writing style shows that she has great talent and she paints the scene of a war-ruined future New York with creativity and ingenuity. The idea of Organ Catchers is fascinating and I enjoyed reading her story. I look forward to reading the next chapter.
| Dr. Self Destruct 12/2/11 . chapter 1
Opening: I really enjoyed this opening paragraph because I thought you do a great job catching the reader's attention with the setting, especially when you mention the fire. I also enjoyed how you say the building is 'warming the town', because I get the feeling this is both metaphorical and literal. The image of the cold sinking into the narrator's skin was also a nice depiction, and I think the terminology itself here at the beginning was rather beautiful (is a dark, demented way) and really snagged me. If you couldn't already tell, I'm a sucker for pretty writing - and you sucked me right in. :D Also enjoyed that little detail about the motorcycle and the whole town watching - gives this a very suspenseful beginning, like someone is going to jump out at any moment and attack.
Technique: I noticed there is a lot of telling in this story rather than showing. I think a lot of this information in the first half could be shown better throughout the story and maybe woven into the dialogue, or shown through flashbacks if the information is needed. It is quite the information dump, and while these types of things aren't necessarily bad, it is difficult to get a reader to really devour all this information when we haven't yet developed much of a relationship with the main character. Perhaps instead of telling about the main character's first time being hired you can show us the first time she collected an organ - you can filter in a lot of the information you need to give by doing so, like her strange version of immortality and her 'carelessness' or apathy by the way she reacts.
Pace: The beginning five or six paragraphs were very good at keeping my attention, though it did start to slip near the middle. I did think things picked up very well near the end when the dialogue started. Like I suggested before, I think a lot of the information in the middle section could be cut down and better filtered into some action. After all, this is a story about an organ collector - I really can't wait to see some organ collecting. The story itself is very cool and such an interesting plot - kinda makes me think of this movie I once saw, though the name now eludes me. I think it was Repoman. Anyways, with a little trim near the middle I think this story will only become even better and really enrapture your audience through and through.
[I slowed down, to calm my erratic breathing and looked me at the vacant buildings with broken windows, like empty eye sockets.]
Edit: There shouldn't be a comma after 'down', and the 'me' between 'looked' and 'at' should be removed. Not really sure I like the 'like empty eye sockets' since it's kinda hanging off the end of the sentence - maybe include that further in to help it mesh well with the rest of the text. Or you could just remove it... maybe even separate it with a period and leave it a sentence fragment. I'll leave that up to you.
[and I just wanted to burn it all, before it could spread any more.]
Edit: Remove the comma.
[It was a glass apartment, where all the Allentec employees lived, with the luxury of safety;]
Style: Suggest removing the commas so the entire sentence flows together.
[Inside the foyer, another sliding door awaited me. ]
Edit: Remove the comma. I notice you have a lot of commas where you don't normally need them after an introductory clause - you might wanna go back through and make sure you're using them when you need them. I've always been told that if you're unsure whether you need a comma or not it's best not to use one.
[I turned away from the window, and faced my familiar room;]
Edit: Remove the comma. You don't need a comma here since 'faced my familiar room' is not an independent clause and cannot stand on its own.
[Those men who brought you here, knew we'd already hired you.]
Edit: Remove the comma.
[and forced me to abandon my family, I was tired and . At least, I'd thought I was.]
Edit: Remove the 'and'. Also, the 'I'd' should be 'I'.
[I was set to receive five years of training, at the Miller-Stanton Institute.]
Edit: Remove the comma.
[Never had I hesitated in the face of an Ordinary, never ha I paused in my job.]
Edit: 'ha' should be 'had'.
[Gerard was 21 when he took over Allentec.]
Edit: Unless it serves a stylistic purpose, it's best to spell out any number under 100.
[I hugged him, and didn't dare check my pocket until I was back in front of my apartment.]
Edit: Remove the comma.
| wisedec4u 12/2/11 . chapter 1
First off, I would like to say you I loved your attention to detail and how you describe the Allentec head offices burning down in the beginning of the story. It seemed to be this huge, intimidating structure that many feared and you reduced to a fireplace warming the city it terrorized. Good comparisons here. Also, I like how you introduced me to the second characters, Gina, Frances, and Gerald. The read got a chance to learn their backgrounds thorough the eyes of Penelope. We saw them as she saw them. My only critique would be for you to be careful of grammar. There was a few commas out of place and some sentence that were a bit too long. I have the same problem with my writing, but found having a beta really helps. Other than that, I thought this was exciting read and interesting plot. Good luck!
| sophiesix 11/6/11 . chapter 1
Love the opening image. It’s visually dramatic and immediately makes me want to know what’s going on and how this guy is, and whether he’s causing these events. Love the contrast between his calm cool tone and the escalating inferno.
It might be an accent/ narrative voice thing, but a couple of phrase sounded a bit different to me, e.g. :
-“by the time I got down to the last set of stairs” in my mind this’d be by the time I got down the last set of stairs?
-“the midnight air chilled into my bones” dug into my bones, or chilled my bones. Might jst be the MC’s accent though, let me read on and see.
“I jumped onto my bike, revved the engine and set off down the street, there was no one there, yet I knew the whole town was watching.” Love the atmosphere of that, but felt like a run on sentence? Potentially you could tighten it too; like if you just say I revved my ducati’s engine and purred down the street, then you don’t need to say he jumped on, because that’s understood?
“Ricks and debris were thrown” woah that caught me. I thought you meant due to fire at first, but then realized this is an ongoing devastation / apocalypse/ conflict. So maybe consider a new para for this? And maybe do something like have his bike swerving around them, to tie the description into the action a bit more?
Love his voice coming through here, great world building too with how these are Allentec streets: gives a good sense of the likely backstory in this world. Also makes me wonder how far allentec reaches, and waht’s beyond
Watch your passive voice in the next para, it could be a little heavy. Love the contrast between his description of the suburbs and his house – and I’m intrigued as to why it’s formerly his house yet he’s still allowed in , and the mention of contamination – love how you’re dripfeeding in the plot, it really amps up the tension. ‘the luxury of safety’ – awesome, and so true!
“I pulled out the drawers, the flex-plastic dropped to the ground and I searched through the debris on my desk.” The number of times you use ‘I’ started to register about here, but you could easily reword: e.g. ‘the drawers slid open at my touch…’ or something?
Plastic sheet paper – cool! Love these little details, it really brings the world to life.
“I was set to five years of training” sent? Set the task of? Set to complete? Dunno ,just doesn’t sound quite right to me?
“What saw in me was anger and…” what they…? What miller…? Would make the rest of the para clearer if we knew.
“ He said I took my things back and spit on the ground next to him, disgusted.” I don’t think you need, disgusted, I think its understood especially with the contempt bit in the next phrase? Also the two he’s is a little unclear.
“fathers pocket knife.” Father’s? oh I see Steph has got the other typos, I won’t bother pointing them out then X)
I like the way you give us some more backstory here, it’s a good point because he first section has made us really interested in finding out more about him.
Oh! He’s a she! Lol! Sorry, I assumed. Nice! With the bike it makes me think of the girl with the dragon tattoo.
“heavy loads of bricks… giant buckets of water.” Less is more here, I think. It was the ‘giant’ that tripped me up, because it seemed an exaggeration, whereas she didn’t seem the hyperbolic type before. Loads of bricks are heavy, normally, so I don’t think you need that. And a less powerful descriptor than ‘giant’ would work better for me. Also part of the problem here perhaps is a lot of backstory at once. The first snippet was good, well timed, just want the reader was after, but you should leave them wanting more. Although the backstory is interesting, I think the pacing might be more effective if you go back to present for a bit here, keep that narrative tension up. Leave the reader wondering what the training was about, and that will heighten the narrative tension over the next segment. Balance the tell with a bit more show?
I like how he has his own moral code despite the heinous nature of the work he does, that gives him a nice rounding and suggests potential plot conflict too
“After my first year, I'd already began work on the healthy, and I gained a reputation for my methods and success. I became friends with Gina through work, because she admired something about my work, and I liked her honesty” run on sentence
“knock them out with chemicals, pills or gas” I like that we are getting the detail here but having difficulty imagining someone knocking someone else out with a pill – especially if they have gas or an injection at their disposal. Pills are so slow, why trick someone into eating that when they are more efficient methods?
“though we rarely spoke to each other, we understood each other through experience. Trevor understood that my weakness was my reappearing conscience that haunted me at times. But he would never know everything. Trevor was a tall and lean student, no one had expected him to be in strength. I relied on him more for his strength of mind than brawn, but you couldn't trust anyone farther than their words, which counted for nothing.” Good characterization here, but it would be even better if shown through dialogue or a scene. Maybe Pen is deliberating about who to kill, showing that conscience issue, while frances is playing with some gizmo and drops it, Trevor says nothing but does some action to reprimand frances and stares at Pen, forcing her to choose? Dunno, but something like that would bring us into the present and engage us with th characters as people rather than descriptions?
Oh, hang on, frances doesn’t stick around? Maybe not worth describing him then… unless he has a future, sinister role muhahaha… *reads on*
“We were no longer a secret, and she flaunted it like diamond jewellery.” Ok I’m getting the timeline a bit confused here. Is this present present, or if not, at what stage of the past? It’s jumping around a bit here and I’m get tangled about which characters belong to which bit of timeline
Hmm, I’m curious why she has such a thing against whores, don’t they produce people too? And Gina is certainly productive: he seems to base his value-judgements on efficiency, so - oh but she kills families, doesn’t she, so that’s less efficient? It’s a waste?
It’d be good to have a better idea of who is buying these organs, we have a good picture of ordinary folk, but life seems so apocalyptic its hard to envisage what industries are left to sustain economies and purchasing power? Just a line to fill in that blank would suffice.
Love the continuing conflict between her values: she wants to work hard and be successful, be productive but is disgusted by her work and her employer, but on the other hand she’s disgusted by everything so why not be the best of a bad bunch, pruning out the worst of them? Love that complexity.
Gerard’s sudden retirement feels a little… sudden, lol. I didn’t get much of a feel for him beforehand, so I didn’t realize he had any values to speak of, that would provoke such a move? He seemed greedy, and so it seems strange that he would be willing to give up such power so easily?
“Exactly six days afterwards…” lol love the timing of that sentence, I could just hear it and it sounded dramatically perfect.
“He had been sent to me by Gerard, but I didn't realize it until he admitted it to me.” This is some really juicy stuff here that could be an awesome scene rather than just told?
“As I set up the capsules, I thought about…” As I’d set up? To make it past past, so to speak? That would help sort out the timeline a little better, maybe.
“The empty highway roads weren't in use anymore.” One of the other, but both ‘empty’ and ‘not in use’ feels a little like doubling up?
Ooh nice ending – again lovely dramatic timing. I like how you describe the place without telling us what it is, you trust the reader :) I’d have liked a little more description though so I could picture his approach to the place, which would also build that dramatic tension as appropriate for such an ending? For e.g. you say ‘there was a loud sound in the background: maybe describe the background and/or the sound more? Plains? A canyon? Mountains? So the reader an picture it if they haven’t been there. And the sound - Roaring? Machinery? Just a titch of descriptive language to paint that scene with? Is there a path or has the pavement worn away to nothing? If there is path it could lead the reader through the scene, e.g. a path winding along the clifftops to a old, half bent railing… or something?
Overall, I really enjoyed this. The main thing I’d do to polish it would be to write as much of it as possible in scenes, rather than tells, then decide which are most important to the telling of the story as a whole. Much of the backstory can come through by being implied in scenes, the rest can be interspersed between them. I think that structure would balance out the narrative tension a little better and make your piece the wholly absorbing, edge of your seat tale it ought to be. Thanks for a great read!
| Stephanie M. Moore 10/9/11 . chapter 1
"I jumped onto my bike, revved the engine and set off down the street, there was no one there, yet I knew the whole town was watching."
This is a run-on sentence. I'd recommend starting a new sentence at "there."
"What [they] saw in me was anger and carelessness."
"and I saved myself several times with my father[']s pocket knife."
"I was one of his start students..." Start should be star.
"and did not want some [anti-aging] solution injected into me lest I die and waste his hard work."
"Miller was only 65..." This is a stylistic choice, but I would spell out 65.
"Gina had progressed, she was taking organs from masses of the Ordinary, killing people in front of each other[']s eyes."
This is the second instance where you missed the apostrophe for possession. You might want to read through and look for those.
Your paragraphs are much too long. It's difficult to keep your reader's attention when they have to follow those lengthy paragraphs across the computer screen. I would highly recommend breaking them up (some of them need to be split up to four times.)
Also, there is a lot of information introduced in this piece. It is huge. I appreciate your attempt to give the reader background and information about the world, the narrator, and her profession, but about halfway through, I am losing interest quickly. Try to be more intentional about keeping up with the present situation.
That being said, you introduce an interesting situation. From what I can tell so far, she has set a building on fire. Arson is a crime, and so, her motivation is key. It would help the story if you explored this more, earlier to help maintain the reader's interest.
I don't think this was cliched. I have seen the organ catcher idea before, but I thought your execution and development was unique. For the most part, the build-up did have an interesting pay-off. I initially expected Gerard to be an enemy, but by the end, he seems like one of the smart ones. Despite your disclaimer about the spelling errors, overall this was very clean. I would recommend editing a bit.
Now that I've reached the end, I'm actually a bit fond of this piece. But I think you'll keep more readers if you cut and compress. Overall, really interesting piece. Nice work!