|Reviews for Desperate Desires|
| Kenna-Kat11 4/24/13 . chapter 2
Another god chapter. Your characters are very realistic and I'm glad we get to read multiple points of view. I don't have much time so that's all I can say for now. Happy writing!
| Kenna-Kat11 4/22/13 . chapter 1
Interesting start. You've certainly go the troubles of high school down and written about realistically. Jinx is an interesting and dynamic character and you deserve a lot of credit for creating her. The only thing so far is that I don't see too much of a plot point or conflict other than Clara and her boyfriend that Jinx has a crush on. But perhaps it will become more apparent in later chapters. Anyway, good job. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
| pseudonymsurname 6/30/12 . chapter 6
Woops, I didn’t keep a very good eye out for updates on this.
Anyway, I think I’m just going to review as I read for this one.
“Since I'd come home from Jinx's, Mum had been...different.” Purely subjective, but I’d ditch the ellipsis. EllipsES, now that I’ve finished reading that paragraph. And even more now I’ve read the whole thing. For the most part, they add nothing to the story other than an unnecessary pause.
“Will Harper played lead guitar, and I was surprised by how talented he proved to me.” ‘be’ rather than ‘me’.
“but...but I just felt angry, annoyed that Dawn couldn't even tell her parents she was gay, annoyed at the whole fucked up world that painted a picture of right and wrong in black and white tones, with no grey, pissed off at a world where one of my best friends could be perceived as 'not normal'.” Maybe it’s just me, but this came outta nowhere and jarred the narrative. I’d suggest this could be sorted by a little rearranging and perhaps foreshadowing this overriding anger Faith feels when you mention Dawn’s crush earlier (maybe Faith thinks something about how unfair it is she can’t show that part of herself to her parents or something like that) and in other instances. Right now, she goes from being angry at a friend for not being the greatest friend, and suddenly this morphs into a diatribe against the binary this-or-that nature of the world.
“Jinx stared at me, eyes wide and pleading. I nodded, she smiled, and just like that, before the taxi pulled off, things were fixed.” Uhm, okay. That can’t be healthy.
“and her brother had worked through his issues” I like this and I don’t like it. It hints at some further exposition / potential future plot, but it only reminds me that the brother has not been in the story at all yet… at least, not that I can remember.
“My heart skipped a beat” There are a few instances during your more overtly typical ‘romance’ scenes where you hover a bit too close to clichés.
“picking up her pace to reach the van,” Full-stop rather than a comma.
“where two guitar” GuitarS.
“I had managed to corner my friend in the kitchen as she poured some drinks from Jess and Gwen” Heh, ‘for’ and not ‘from’.
“Because whatever happened, whatever words had been said, she was my best friend. Nothing would destroy that. I would be there for her, like she'd always been there for me, whatever happened.” I don’t know about this bit. Having such a confident statement of her friendship with Jinx so soon after accusing her of being a shit friend is a bit… disjointed.
"Jump in, we'll give you a life” I cracked up at this. Funny typos seem to be a recurring theme in my recent reviews :)
Overall, another solid chapter. The only thing I can really think to add is that, while I do still like the aspect of re-doing the same scenes from a different character’s perspective, it does result in a lot of backtracking and slowing things down a tad. For instance, it takes like 2k words in this chapter to get to where the previous one left off. While I wouldn’t suggest changing the structure of this story, maybe keep an eye out for a little bit too much repetition in future chapters?
Anyway, good job on this and I’ll be keeping a better eye out for future updates :)
| pseudonymsurname 6/19/12 . chapter 5
Again, I thought the short scenes blended together well in this chapter. Before, it felt like the plot was flying all over the place, but now you seem to be using the scene changes to only cut out the trivial moments of, say, travelling to the concert and all that plot-less stuff. As for character development/AN questions:
"Jinx couldn't give two shits about anyone without a dick." Seems like a fair comment to me, based on the five chapters so far. It’s one thing for Jinx to wish she didn’t put herself before her friends, and another thing to actually do it. As it is, when she’s not fawning over Jake, she’s with Harrison (while simultaneously mind-fawning the hell outta Jake). Of course, Faith was out of line for saying what she said, and they’re all out of line for blaming Jinx for leaving Dawn when it’s her own fault she’s drunk and their fault as well for being with her AS she got drunk. Yeah, all a bit confusing. As for Harrison, he seems okay but also a bit of a git – see joking with Jake and then calling him a dick. Plus, if you’re going to cover a blink song, why would he pick Rock Show? Jake hasn’t had enough time to leave an impact yet which makes it a bit weird when seeing how Jinx is so infatuated with him – I mean, why? I think you really need to start fleshing out the male characters. And the most disappointing thing of all is that Clara the uber-bitch has yet to make a proper reappearance. After the first chapter, I assumed she was going to be the big problem, but she seems trivial and insignificant next to alcoholism, eating disorders, depression over friendships ending. Makes it a little hard to grasp what kind of direction/mood/tone this story is going for.
“feeling thankful I'd spent enough time around my brother and his mates to actually be able to talk to boys.” An issue I keep on noticing is that Jinx, from her own perspective, is entirely different to how she is portrayed in the other chapters. Now, to an extent, I really like this because people see other people differently to how they see themselves. But there have been a few times where it simply doesn’t make sense character-wise. Eg. Jinx, this girl who has a close group of ten (?) friends of which four are boys (and Nate is one of her best friends), and who is someone who throws big parties, can only talk to boys because she spent time with her brother and his mates? A scenario which doesn’t really prepare someone for talking to new boys alone and whom she fancies (hate that word, but it’s a High School story, so I’m rolling with it). I get having the perspectives showing the characters differently, but there needs to be some consistency.
“Black was slimming, and I needed slimming.” Again, I think you hint TOO much here. I don’t think you need ‘and I needed slimming’; being in Jinx’s perspective, choosing to say ‘black was slimming’ says it all.
“jade green eyes” Why jade? I’ve never understood describing things as the colour of gems, when the colour can vary so much – jade green eyes could encompass any kind of green, really.
"Harrison, right'?" How does she know his name?
“He smiled, and I could feel my heart flutter at the sight of his cheeky grin” Small thing, but a smile isn’t a cheeky grin…
"She loved you guys." Anyone who goes to a concert and goes crazy to a support band must have reaaally liked the support.
“Cool, see you late.” Again, thought this was a funny typo – unless it’s not and I’m really out of touch with what pesky teenagers are saying these days.
Okay, thinks that’s me up to date with all the chapters so far. It’s a solid beginning – definitely some potential there. And I’ll keep an eye out for future updates :)
| pseudonymsurname 6/18/12 . chapter 4
Okay, this chapter – unlike the last – I thought had short scenes which actually blended together very well, for the most part. And the narrative voice is noticeable different to previous chapters – all bitter resentment and self-deprecation and coarseness and all that good stuff.
As for the AN questions: Gwen is easily my favourite character so far. She seems like the only one genuinely worried about her friends and what is happening to them all. Jinx is good from her own perspective chapter, but in all the others she seems totally different: an all-talk layabout who doesn’t really care about much except Jake. Faith is a bit hard to read at the moment, one minute I like her and the next I don’t. Dawn though is definitely my least favourite, based on this chapter. She reminds me of those kinds of people who complain a lot, but don’t do anything about it. Of course, this doesn’t affect enjoyment of the chapters; I’ve never understood why people want characters they can ‘identify with’. The most interesting stories are about people you don’t want to identify with. Anyway, one thing is certain, all four of them have issues.
“Tegan and Sara, Scarlett Johansson and the cast of The L Word” I’m taking it the hint is that she’s gay? And, reading on, I see she is. I really like how you hint at character traits and history throughout your chapters, but it’s ruined just a little bit by stating it so bluntly a short while later. Sometimes you need to for the sake of plot or clarity, but not always. Maybe leave the reader a trail of hints rather than going straight to the destination.
“Jinx's house party had been amazing. At least, I thought it had. And others said so, too.” I liked this line. One of my pet-peeves when reading FP pieces is coming across a description of something which it is clear the author has no idea what they’re talking about (of course there are some things you have to guess at). But here I think you’ve generally captured that moment of waking up the next morning having blacked out the night before and being told the crazy things that happened while you were out. And because they say the night was awesome, you start to tell yourself you had an awesome night too.
Yikes, I wasn’t keen on the biography of Clara paragraph. Information dump overload. I get wanting to explain the complex High School hierarchy and history, but I would suggest spreading it out. The exposition about the two other girls ‘in our group’ whom haven’t been a big part of the three chapters thus far is also too, too much.
“Nate was moving to college because of the butch” I’ve not been bothering to note typos and grammar mistakes which don’t particularly affect the content, but I thought this one was worth pointing out :)
| pseudonymsurname 6/18/12 . chapter 3
Well, first off, I thought this chapter was a lot better than the previous two in many ways. For one thing, it focusses solely on the four at the centre of things and, as a result, it was easier to follow and to get a better picture of their personalities, if still not their appearances. Now I’m not one who wants detailed descriptions of the intricacies of a character’s face and their hair and their figure, but a couple of details about each person would help differentiate the girls from each other. And it’d be jarring if, say, in chapter 5 you say that Faith has blonde hair when I’ve been picturing her with dark hair.
Anyway, I thought there was some great character development here, and you’ve made a good use of yet another perspective to show the fractures growing between the friendships. Although I’m still not keen on how the narrative blinks from one place to the other so quickly. It could work, but I thought the scenes in this chapter just didn’t mesh together too well for me and it felt a bit jumbled at times. It almost felt like two chapters had been spliced together.
“and it made me wonder how Jinx managed to stay so thin with so much food around.” Nice continuation of the hints that Jinx probably has some kind of eating disorder. And it’s a nice subtle hint which doesn’t slap the reader in the face with a sign that says ‘girl got bulimia!’ Although, reading on, there are a couple not-so-subtle hints… but that’s fair enough. Friends worry and can struggle to see the obvious even when it’s right in front of their faces.
“Her parents had been back only a couple of days, and had already given her twenty quid.” I really liked this line. This is what’s been missing in the other two chapters a lot of the time: using the first-person pov to its full advantage. By itself, the line means little, but through Gwen’s perspective the ‘back ONLY a couple of days’ and ‘had ALREADY given her twenty quid’ brilliantly hint at her own poor background.
“Okay, so it wasn't the best beach in the world, but it was our beach.” I really liked this line as well. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it’s like the friendships they have – they’re not perfect, but it’s all they have. Which is something that is really shown well in this chapter, too. “What was happening to us?” I can’t remember the last high school-set story I read which actually explored how friendships, like relationships, can slowly fall apart. And I get the feeling that might be at the centre of things in future chapters.
“Dawn's love of hardcore, mixed, strangely, with her Tegan and Sara induced liking of American Indie.” Yet another line I liked… although that might just be because I have an equally eclectic music taste :)
“a full English” It’s weird how much I like reading things based in the UK – I’m used to having to ask myself what the heck a sophomore is again or how old someone in ninth grade is.
“No matter what was going on, there was something we could always rely on.
Whether her parents were there or not, at Jinx's we always got fed.” Only a small thing, but I think this should be on one line, with a colon after ‘on’ and before ‘whether’.
“The fresh air was a relief from the smoky kitchen,” Another small thing, but aren’t they smoking..?
Overall, I thought this chapter was probably the best yet. The only problem I have is how you flit from one place and time to another, and how you are focussing on one thing in one section and then continuing that two scenes later. And I’m still waiting for the inevitable reappearance of Clara and how it might just f*** everything up even more.
| pseudonymsurname 6/18/12 . chapter 2
First off, I really like how you’ve switched perspective and then gone over past plot points introduced in the previous chapter, and through a different perspective. Certainly the start blended well with the last chapter and I didn’t get confused as to what was happening or when or who was narrating. Again, the writing is solid, although I would prefer some more description maybe (if only of the characters to help form a picture) and I think there’s just a little too much happening in this chapter as well. The plot is sound, but the characters are still very thin and seem somewhat secondary to what actually happens in the story.
For instance, “Shortly after, I was leading the guy with the sparkly eyes upstairs, taking him to Jinx's room.” This is what I was talking about in chapter one, where the plot swiftly moves with no reaction from the characters. Maybe you could replace the bland, clinical ‘shortly after’ with Faith’s mind-set – what’s she’s thinking, the effect of drink in her system, her anger at her mother and all that jazz. Unless you’re subtly trying to portray Faith as a bit slutty, which could make sense, matched with lines like "No! I mean it...what's my name? Do you even know that?" when the dude’s name isn’t mentioned either. Either way, it could be clearer and it makes it hard to really get into the story.
“It would be strange with Nate gone, for Jinx especially.” But who is Nate? He wasn’t even mentioned in the chapter told through Jinx’s perspective. I’m too busy reminding myself which one is Gwen or Dawn, and trying to remember if Jess was in chapter one, to meet another character.
“"Talk about an invasion of privacy," I muttered” Something about this seemed a tame reaction to a mum going through her daughter’s diary.
“Jinx was a talker; I wasn't.” I really liked this line. It, ironically, says a lot and hints at the underlying tension Faith feels towards Jinx which is implied in other places, the end particularly. Although all these hints are somewhat countered by Faith saying "She's my best friend, Mum. You can't just stop me seeing her." But then again, maybe she’s simply trying to convince herself…
The only other thing I noticed in a somewhat negative sense was that Faith’s ‘narrative voice’ – or whatever you want to call it – doesn’t feel any different to Jinx’s in the first chapter. And while I really like the idea of having multiple first-person povs, if they don’t *feel* like multiple povs, it’s all a bit redundant. Again, though, it’s still early, early days.
Overall, I still like this and will be interested to see where it goes.
| pseudonymsurname 6/17/12 . chapter 1
I was FP surfing and found myself on this story, so thought I might as well leave a review…
Okay, for a first chapter, a lot happens and there are a lot of names to remember (probably too many), but for the most part, it’s solidly written. I like how it’s already a bit grittier and more sordid than the fluffy rom/dram pieces I’ve read in the past - and judging from your High School terminology, I think it’s set in the UK, too, which makes for a refreshing change.
Personally, I’d like it if each of the short scenes were elaborated and the characters developed more, even if this sacrificed the pace of the plot. As it is, the plot is whizzing along and I’m struggling to keep up with what has happened to the people as a result, if that makes sense, and so it’s very hard to emotionally engage with any of the characters. For instance, I can understand why Faith does what she does at the party, but it’s hard to empathise with her seeing as so little is known about her. Also, the Jinx character portrayed in the first time segment, and even the second, doesn’t quite correlate with the girl who throws parties for a tonne of people when her parents are out of town.
But this is only a first chapter, so there’s plenty of time for things to settle down.
“All part of being a teenager.” True, but probably not something a teenager would actually think. ‘You don’t understand me!’ and all that good stuff.
That Clara really is a bitch. Certainly be interesting to see what the fifteen-year-old tyrant has morphed into two years later.
“Unable to help myself, I pinch a bit of the fat forming around my stomach.
God damn it.”
This was a nice little bit of character development, I thought. A teenage girl worried about weight is a cliché because so many teenage girls worry about weight – from what I understand, anyway. Boys, too. And you illustrate the large effect one person can have on someone because of this – eg. Clara calling Jinx fat. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can leave even deeper scars.
‘if I had no money and needed cigarettes.’ I’m guessing this must be set before they altered the age to buy cigarettes :)
As for constructive criticism, I wasn’t keen on how you introduce characters with their full name – it kinda felt like in a movie where it freezeframes on a picture of a character and it comes up with ‘Name: _ Age: _’ rather than seamlessly integrating with the narrative.
The only other main thing that really stuck out in a negative way to me was how you convey your dialogue. Namely, your speech tags. They’re a bit too… forced and don’t really match the scene – eg. Gwen piped up’ Why not simply ‘said’? And a few people ‘drawled’ – why? Is it their accent? I don’t agree with the ‘a story should be shown, not told‘ line people keep on saying because things need to be told sometimes, but I do think you shouldn’t rely of your tags to convey how people are speaking – the dialogue should do that by itself.
Overall, though, I thought this was a pretty solid start and I’ll be sure to read the next chapter next chance I get.
| Victoria Best 6/16/12 . chapter 1
I really like this! I'm not usually into the typical stories about the lives of teenage girls, but this one has really caught my attention and I really enjoyed reading this. You clearly have an interesting plot developing here, filled with realistic, intriguing narrative and brilliant characters. I am interested in seeing where it will lead.
It's great that we learn so much about the main character just from the first paragraph. She describes how she only really has one friend, which immediately suggests she is a distanced, introverted, closed-off person. I also wondered why she was on crutches, and that immediately grabbed my attention and encouraged me to keep reading to find out more.
I love how this deals with issues that directly affect so many people, particularly teenagers, which makes this a story readers can really connect with and relate to, as it may well build or touch upon their own experiences, or even things they may be going through right now. It's a story readers can easily relate to and thus they can understand the characters' thoughts and emotions and empathise with them. For example, I love the way you touch upon body image, for example "I hated everything about me," and when Jinx decides to skip breakfast and strongly believing she needs to lose weight, brought on from constant verbal abuse when she was younger. It is true that there is so much pressure to look and act a certain way in secondary school. It can bring on a negative self-concept and can even traumatise people well into adulthood, hindering them from ever being confident or developing as people. What's more is that people actually crave acceptance - so any nasty comment they are given they may actually believe and try to do something about it, for example Jinx and the diet. Although callous people like Clara are not worth bothering with, our basic human needs for acceptance and belonging undermine our own dignity, thus we do not stand up for ourselves for fear of being hated even more, in effect allow ourselves to be bullied. It's all in the futile hope of avoiding loneliness. Jinx has clearly been damaged mercilessly from the constant bullying she experienced when she was younger, and the worst part is I think she doesn't even know she is damaged - she thinks she is perfectly fine. It is brilliant that you touch upon all these psychological themes regarding basic human nature and the appalling way we value acceptance over anything else. These themes make your plot very thought-provoking, encouraging your readers to think rather than just passively reading, and they make your piece very enriching.
I also enjoyed the references to strained relationships with parents. Although it is not stated explicitly, I feel Jinx does have a slightly complicated relationship with her parents. I felt this mainly because the first time we see them, they are actually leaving her all alone and her mother's few words of encouragement include "Phone me when you get your results," which hardly suggests the closest of relationships - surely Jinx should be calling her parents just to catch up with them, not just to tell them about her results? I got the feeling they only really care about her if she isn't doing well in school or is in some kind of problem. This idea was also reinforced with Jinx's comment that her parents didn't get involved in her life "If they didn't have to." I like how you keep this a little ambiguous to allow your readers to build their own perceptions and come to their own conclusions regarding the characters and their relationships with each other. Again, struggles with parents and children is common at this age, and it is something that readers can definitely relate to.
There were some parts that were not as strong. I felt that there was barely any description, both characters and the setting. Although this may well be a conscious choice, it was quite hard to follow what was happening as the lack of description made it difficult to visualise it. Quite a few characters were introduced in this chapter, but all I really got from that were their names and I couldn't build up a clear, vivid picture of it all. Also, on a more personal note, I am a little confused about the characters in this. In the first half it felt as though Jinx was pretty unpopular and was used to being shoved around and bullied, especially seeing as she was on crutches thanks to Clara. She struck me as a damaged, introverted person who likes to keep the world at a distance to avoid getting hurt. However, in this second half, I would have thought that she basically was Queen Bee of the school. From all my experiences unpopular, introverted people do not really take drugs socially and host extravagant house parties. Are you trying to show a change in Jinx's attitudes and lifestyle that has taken place within the two years? I think this needs to be clarified and expanded upon if this is the case, and actually, this would be a pretty interesting idea to write about anyway and I would have liked to have read more about it and why that change occurred. However, I do not think the view that her lifestyle has changed within the two years is particularly convincing. Such big changes do not really happen in reality unless something seriously damaging has occurred. If not, then I do not think that so much emphasis should be placed on her being bullied in the first half to give the impression that she is not as introverted and closed-off so the second half will be much more believable.
Otherwise I really like this story and I will definitely read more as soon as I can. I am frequently amazed at your incredible writing talent. In fact, I am going to try and read as many of your stories as I can. You are a brilliant writer and are a real inspiration. Keep writing and following your dreams! :D
| this wild abyss 5/23/12 . chapter 3
I think it's really interesting how this group of friends seems to revolve around Jinx. It's fairly realistic, I think, and will most definitely (I hope) play a role in how the story progresses from this point. Again, your narrative voice is very strong, as is your style itself. Well-crafted and still entertaining.
| this wild abyss 5/23/12 . chapter 2
I like this. Your narrator has a strong voice and a personality that comes through. It's engaging and keeps me, your reader, interested. I really like how this seems to be internally-powered, always pushing towards the next thing.
Now, in my opinion, the "mother finding the diary" gag, etc. are all a tad overused. I didn't feel like I got anything new from reading this. It's not a huge deal, but you are falling back on clichés here and there, which tends to make the reading less interesting.
| Laken8 5/5/12 . chapter 4
I love this, please continue!
| trilby94 4/21/12 . chapter 4
I really liked this chapter, it made me feel very sorry for Dawn but you also managed to get across how hard it was for the people who were close to her. The way you split the chapters into the 4 different girls is effective and it was a good opening.
One thing I would say is possibly a bit more description (whether from their own point of view or the others) of what they look like, all we really know about Dawn is she's large (or thinks she is). It's just a suggestion but for me that makes me able to get involved with the characters - to have an image of them in my head.
I think my favorite character is probbly Jinx, I liked how she stood up for Faith with that guy :)
Thanks for your revew to Dreamland, it was really helpful :)
| trilby94 4/7/12 . chapter 2
This is really good. You've got the dynamics within the group jut right and eased the reader into each character, leaving us both wanting to know more about them but still confident with what we do know - they're very believable. You have given both Faith and Jinx very distinct 'voices' and I look forward to meeting the other characters properly :) Well done!
| this wild abyss 2/5/12 . chapter 1
This is an interesting start. You’ve got a strong set-up here that could lead in quite a few directions. I’d be very interested to see where you take this piece from here. Your characterizatio seems to be pretty solid so far—no major complaints, at least. Of course, we don’t know enough about these characters to say for sure what they’re all like. But on the whole, I think you’ve done a good job with this opening chapter.