|Reviews for Ordinarily Modern|
| Persevera 9/28/12 . chapter 1
"Twisting the glittering lips into a scowl,"-I like this line. In not saying her lips, it seems to suggest that with all the makeup, they're not hers.
I like the idea that while being in a rut was bad, it was worse if for something she really didn't feel strongly about. Her thoughts that she'd like to cut her hair too indicate she's growing out of caring about superficial things
| Anihyr Moonstar 9/27/12 . chapter 6
I think my favorite line in this is - [Or perhaps it was the same tale, written again and again with a different pen and in different words.] To me, this can be applied to just about everything. All writing is a new version of a familiar tale twisted in some way or elaborated upon or spun at a different angle; the idea that nothing is truly "original" is something I agree with, but don't necessarily think is a bad thing, because what matters is how the tale is told.
I also find her simile "It's like honey" to be amusingly absurd. I still can't grasp how she might link the two - they seem so totally different in my mind - but there's that finest thread of connection that makes it a believable statement for a child to make, when they have nothing better to compare it to. It emphasizes how novel and "strange" the book is in the context of her world.
| Dreamers-Requiem 9/15/12 . chapter 8
I really like the way you convey his lack of emotions towards the event. It really serves to show the kind of world he's living in, and there's almost no thought that his wife or child might be upset by what's happened. It's interesting that this is a world where fires are rare (in this sort of situation) and, as in previous drabbles, it really builds up the world these characters are living in.
As for the collection as a whole, I really enjoyed them. Like i've said time and time again, you show a world in a very unique way, and I loved the use of objects and items to do this. I would love to see this fleshed out into something longer with more of aplot - this portryal of a world seems too real to simply be let go. (For some reason, I'm imagining a romance between the guy here and the photo frame girl. I have no idea why.) Anyway, excellent stuff.
| Faithless Juliet 9/6/12 . chapter 4
I really like the idea of ‘seamless tailoring’ what a fascinating concept. Although I do wish you had spent a little more time within the piece in exploring that idea. The possibilities are limitless with an idea like that.
I didn’t particularly care for the last sentence of the piece. It’s posed like a question directly to the reader, and it caught me off guard because nowhere in the preceding text was the narration tone changed, so it seemed odd that all of the sudden the question was being posed. Writers tend to do that all the time though, so it’s either something you as a writer like, or dislike, so ultimately there’s nothing technically wrong with it, it’s just a pet peeve.
| Faithless Juliet 9/6/12 . chapter 3
“The only thing the old-school pencils were used for nowadays were professional sketches…not that there was much of a distinction between "professional" and "amateuristic" art.” – this idea felt a little strange to me. A standard #2 pencil really wouldn’t work for an artistic sketch. Artists (even amateurs) usually use a ‘drawing pencil’ the tip is thicker and the point is softer, and there are several different varieties used for darkness/lightness ect. It’s virtually impossible to do any kind of shading with a #2 pencil, and I know that only because I studied art in high school and college.
I liked the environment that you set up in this piece (they’re all standalones, I wouldn’t refer to them as chapters building momentum from the others) I think with the hair tie and shoelaces they were much more internally based storytelling, whereas this was much more extroverted, and contained more of the outside factors of the world as opposed to a single character, or action.
| Faithless Juliet 9/6/12 . chapter 2
“They were cheap, easily affordable from the perspective of a child with a predictably minimal allowance.” – I think this might sound better as “cheap, *and* easily affordable”
I think the topic of shoelaces in this chapter is much more interesting than the hair tie as seen in the last chapter. I say that because there’s so much more than you can do with it, and I feel like this one had a much fuller scope to it than the previous chapter. I kind of wish you had played more with the life of the shoelaces though: the normal wear of shoelaces from a boy’s perspective, and a girl’s perspective, something like that. I did feel that some of the narration was a bit clinical though, I kind of wish you had had more fun with it.
The only thing that felt off with it was the part in the beginning where you talk about a child paying for the shoelaces with their allowance. For one thing, when I was a kid, we never bought new shoelaces; we usually just bought new shoes. And I don’t ever recall using my allowance (or any of my friends, either) for buying new shoelaces. Doesn’t mean that’s not done, or that it couldn’t be done, it just felt odd to me that that was the main focus, and that it was assumed that the child had to purchase the new shoelaces.
| Faithless Juliet 9/6/12 . chapter 1
I liked how specific you were with a mundane object (the hair tie,) because its not an object that you would normal dedicate a selection of prose to. So the really interesting parts of this to me where out you continually maintained the subject, it because almost a day in the life of a hair tie, and the girl using the hair tie seemed to be more of a supporting character. I do wonder why you’re using 'hairtie' as one word with a hyphen. rather than two. If you were going with a style thing that’s fine, but I believe it’s actually two words, not one.
One thing I can critique is the length of the piece. I feel like you were restricted by subject matter, as anyone would be, and having concluded that the hair tie was the main ‘character’ and not the girl, it would seem odd for the girl to have more of a backstory. But I think maybe more exploration on the girl, or even more on the boss to add further flares to the tale.
| Highway Unicorn 9/1/12 . chapter 8
Repaying a review I owe you.
This was really strange, but in a good way. I like the whole vibe you created for this character because it leaves me wondering who is he? Why doesn't he seemed as bothered as most would get over a fire? Why does he see the world full of replaceable objects? These ate good thoughts/questions for the readers to have :3
I also love the image of him just nonchalantly vacuuming the dead cat because it was funny xD
Anyways, this was a great piece and rather unique. ;D
| Anihyr Moonstar 8/28/12 . chapter 5
"Hs lips lightly kissed the rim of the pristine glass." Missing an 'i' there.
"He tilted the cup and then his head, letting the flavourless richness slither down his throat." "Flavorless richness" is such an odd combination - I'm still not sure if they naturally cancel each other out or not - can it work? I'm not sure. "Slither" is great, though, is a great verb. Makes it sound more disgusting than simply bland, though.
I'm having a little trouble dealing with the idea that money is no longer even an issue. I suppose the description of how that works is very vague, but it seems to me that greed is a very inherent human characteristic, and it would find some way to manifest itself no matter what. But perhaps it's simply the lack of information there to convince me that makes me suspicious in this case.
| J Author 8/28/12 . chapter 7
I enjoy the futuristic tone of the story. Like paper and coins being considered relics, and cards being used as currency in this world.
"Perhaps that day would be different, but it was futility to hope." - The word should be "futile."
The final three paragraphs held a good sense of irony. Online, we can find find pictures of virtually anything. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to frame a picture. In fact, it would be even more time-consuming.
| Anihyr Moonstar 8/25/12 . chapter 4
Technical/grammatical stuff: "There were very little use for safety-pins nowadays..." Should be either "There *was* very little use" or "There *were* very few *uses*..." Most of the time your grammar's fine, though, so I assume this is just something you missed.
While I'm on the writing itself, though, for format concerns, I might split to a new paragraph after the sentence that ends "with their little prickly ends," starting a new paragraph with, "Every time she opened one of them..." simply gecause that's a fairly hefty paragraph. I've heard it said in several places that technically, one shouldn't go over five lines in length (because that's when a reader's eyes start to get "lost" on the page). I usually bend that rule a bit, but that paragraph is ten lines long on my screen, so...just a bit excessive, but it's only a suggestion.
I like the allusion to a fairy tale. It adds some flair to a subject that's difficult to add interest too, but at the same time, the simile itself points out that this is *not* like Sleeping Beauty's pleight, emphasizing the drabness of the situation - an ordinary, irritating prick and nothing more. So nice dual function going on there.
As far as flow goes, as well as keeping your audience's interest, while each of these drives home their point, I get the feeling of motonony a *lot* by this fourth chapter. On the one hand, that seems to be a theme of the piece, but on the other, it makes them difficult to digest these in succession (or even, at times, one at a time).
I know on the very first one, I mentioned that a drabble is exactly one hundred words. I wonder if it would be at all possible for you to condense *each* of these into a hundred words. It would certainly be difficult, since they're all significantly longer than that, but I *think* at least that their point could be driven across that quickly, and it would make the impact much more potent. (I'm not really suggesting you change them all at this point, but it might be something to simply try on your own, or to experiment with later on a different piece; personally, I love writing drabbles. They're a great exercise for someone like me who loves to use too many words, forcing me to condense.)
Just a thought. :)
Oh! And, as much as I love this line "Indeed time remained a curse bequeathed to them..." I'm not sure if it fits with the idea. Both the idea of a curse, but *especially* the word "bequeathed" sound very archaic for a piece focused on modernity. You can ignore that if you like, but I figured I'd point it out, since it really stood out to me.
| Anihyr Moonstar 8/25/12 . chapter 3
"...it reduced the chore that used to take fifteen minutes of pain-sickeningly carving away slivers of wood to the simple and rather energy-inexpensive act of pressing a button." This seems like a pretty big jump, I mean, I used regular pencils for my whole school experience and I *never* spent more than a minute (probably rarely over thirty seconds) sharpening my pencil. I mean, maybe once upon a time you had to flip out a knife or something (I really don't know the history of pencils, oops), but there were a lot of in-between steps from pencils and their various sharpeners before we got to mechanichal pencils. LONG sentence, sorry - all I meant to say was, that seems like an innaccurate description. Or at least a stretch, and as a starter paragraph, it feels a bit weak because of it.
"They'd started off as the equivalent of HB pencils, the likes businessmen utilised while half-attentively jotting down notes on a brief or a teacher scrawling useless corrections or a student scribbling process necessary in short-term but useless in the long run." Word wise, I think this is a fun sentence. It presents a nice line of very easily imaginable little scenes, and they pop right up into my head. At the same time, it emphasizes the sort of dulling, progression into the dull and grey world that these shorts are driving towards.
I like your mention of the appeal of "traditional" art. I think it shows a very real human tenancy to want to cling to the familiar, even as we strive ever forward into the new and uknown. An interesting contrast. Also, I can relate to it as an amature artist (who's sketched both on paper and digitally).
The female character, too, especially as a "dying breed" of artist is a nice addition to the mix. She seems to breathe a tiny breath of life into it, even if it's small.
So far, though, ever the optimist (or realist edging towards the side of optimism) I don't *think* we're headed in the direction these pieces suggest; some things would suggest it, but I have hope that creativity will never die out completely.
| Anihyr Moonstar 8/25/12 . chapter 2
For this sentence here, "They came in all the colours of the rainbow and more besides: neon pink, fluoro green…the list was endless," I feel like it would benefit the list to have a few more wild colors tacked on. You have a good opportunity to get wild with your color names and ideas, and the "the list was endless" part just makes it *feel* like it should go on for at least more than two. Just a thought, but it struck me immediately when I read the sentence.
When you talk about the inconvenience of shoes or the burden of clothes, I understand what you're getting at - they're losing their "glamor" and newness/interest - but when you simply say that they're inconvenient, I want to object. Even for someone who doesn't care *at all* about style, I think shoes are more convenient than walking without them and hurting one's feet. They do have a purpose, so they're not just there for superficial reasons. I'm not sure if I worded that correctly, but to me, that paragraph read a little strangely.
I think your intro's strong, again. Other than that one little tweak mentioned earlier, I think it presents a nice, vivid image of how things "used" to be.
Again, though, by the time I get to the end, I feel like the idea's been a little...over-emphasized? Might be a bad way to put it. I *do* like the comparison between the way the shoes "grinned with a boyish novelty" something that the young man didn't have in his face despite still being, well, *young*. Definitely get a sense of a loss there - a thin gleam that just doesn't go as deep as it ought to.
| Anihyr Moonstar 8/25/12 . chapter 1
Very interesting opening. I like the extreme twist on the modern dilemma. "Marriage means nothing these days, blah, blah" - "Britney Spears had a seventy-two hour wedding, whaa" - etc. Here, it's immediately illustrated that the "sanctity" of marriage has fallen even farther.
The character, too, seems to fit the scene well. She's not a moping, depressed character, but she's depressing in that she's fallen right in with the system more or less. She reflects the world she's a part of by plastering on the make-up and becoming almost a machine from her appearance down to her voice and the "same lines scores of times a day".
The writing reflected the tone well, too. Not too flowery or upbeat, but painting a good picture of what was going on.
The beginning felt stronger to me than the end - introducing a small "shock factor" that drew the reader in well - but the final scene still wraps it up nicely. It's a very easy-to-picture ending snapshot from a movie almost - lead female stepping out into the world, hair loose to the wind, and the flare of that mental image is nicely off-set by the ordinary, broken tie left lying in the wastebasket.
You worked quite a lot into such a short piece, but I'd like to point out that a drabble, technically, is exactly 100 words in length, and this is definitely over that, so it doesn't qualify as a drabble. Fyi. :)
| Dreamers-Requiem 8/25/12 . chapter 7
I love the world you're portraying, and the way you're showing it. I think this is a great series of drabbles, and it very few words you show a world so similar yet very different to our own. Amazing stuff, shame there's only one more. One tiny nitpick; i think you could delete the then from 'in essence then' at the end. Might just help it flow a tad better.