|Reviews for Ordinarily Modern|
| Michodell 7/1/12 . chapter 6
This was interesting. I found that it was more about the lack of 'outdoor activites' vs dealing with everyday things via cyber space than the actual paperback book. That's not a fault as Paperback is simply the title, but it kind of took me off guard. I was expecting to read about your take on paperback books in this era you've created.
['It's like honey,' she'd giggled when she'd first associated the sensation with something...] I like how you expanded on this metaphor, but I'm not sure I can relate to what you're saying here. I don't understand how honey could be like a book lol.
[Once upon a time, the words could take her to a universe where her blonde braid was the step-ladder for some valiant prince, coming to rescue her from a life of boredom.] I like the image you've created here. You handle metaphors really well and I enjoy how you compare two things to one another. You expand on them more than most people do and I think that's a talent.
| this wild abyss 6/30/12 . chapter 6
The comparison of a book to honey was interesting, and while I liked it because it was unique and made me think, I didn't like it because it seemed like a bit of a stretch, as far as analogies go.
This is also the first time you've really mentioned the "world" this takes place in, and I found it a bit odd because you've never really mentioned it before, so it feels almost like you're throwing it out here. I'd be interested to go out and explore it, honestly, rather than just talking about it in little descriptive scenes.
| Who Is This Girl Anyway 6/28/12 . chapter 6
The idea of bibliophages is interesting. I also liked the comparison between the book and honey, as that struck me as unusual. The allusion to Rapunzel was also a nice touch as it pulls the reader back to the idea of childhood, which emphasises the character's lifelong relationship with literature.
These drabbles have quite an interesting tone. It reminds me a little of Margaret Atwood's style in the way that everyday objects are analysed and given more meaning than they would usually get. If you've read the description of an egg in the Handmaid's Tale, the style of this piece is similar to that.
I'm afraid I couldn't really think of much criticism for this- the only real suggestion I can give is that I wish I'd learned a bit more about the characters to distinguish them. Then again, they also work as anonymous characters and everymen/women, so again that's not really a criticism.
| lookingwest 6/27/12 . chapter 6
Her mother had looked vaguely... [I didn't like this paragraph or the following paragraph because I felt like it told too much instead of showed. While I don't believe that authors always need to adhere to these sorts of rules, I don't think the telling technique worked for me here. I would rather see a character out experiencing the world than the author telling us about a world that we can't explore. I'm not sure why the setting for these drabbles has to be in a sci-fi world where things are only slightly different from our own. To me, it doesn't add anything, it just makes it odd because they're drabbles - so we never get to go out and experience anything through characters. And things like birth conducted by androids isn't something we can experience through the drabble of a paperback book either (so why say it?). I think out of all the pieces, this one goes the most into setting outside of the object, and I'm not sure why.]
Still not agreeing on where you place your ellipses.
Although the middle section of this drabble kind of caught me off guard, I did like the ending because I thought it summed up things nicely with how things can change or it's different reading a book than seeing it written online. It almost has a fourth-wall quality to it, since we read FP stories that have been typed through the use of a computer too, so I liked that double meaning.
| Dreamers-Requiem 6/22/12 . chapter 4
Again, it's amazing how much emotion you can connect to really mundane objects. Like I've said before, you do an amazing job of characterising the people in these via their interactions with the objects and the way they respond to them. Despite the fact that most of the piece focuses on inanimate objects, there's still some really strong characters coming through. Great stuff.
| Dreamers-Requiem 6/18/12 . chapter 3
There's something very...comforting about using 'older' methods. I have to admit, I quite like sitting down with pen and paper to write at times, and I like how you captured that feeling via the artist, not just with the mention of the IPad but with the comparison between a pencil and paser (never heard it called that before; I think I've heard it called a mechanical pencil, though, but I think I prefer paser.) I love how much emotion you're conveying in these, via the use of objects. It works brilliantly.
| this wild abyss 6/16/12 . chapter 5
"Hs lips lightly kissed the rim of the pristine glass." [Typo: "his" not "hs"]
I think you've done a better job incorporating scene and description into the two. You have action intermingled with your imagery. I got more of a sense of the atmosphere of the bar where this man's is sitting, as you didn't just spend time on introspective stuff.
I still maintain what I said about your description being to flowery/excessive. It's all in huge chunks and you throw it at me all at once. I know you're fond of your imagery, but from where I sit, a truly good writer will be able to get their point across in three sentences, not three paragraphs. It shows a lack of control or a tendency to overindulge. And, since the majority of description came in the beginning, this felt very unbalanced. It's better to space it out, in my opinion.
| this wild abyss 6/15/12 . chapter 4
[Opening] You start off with “they” which I didn’t like because I had no idea what “they” were. It’s not usually a good idea to begin with a pronoun.
[Plot] Even more than the last one, this felt like an advertisement. Or maybe an essay on the usefulness of a safety-pin. I really didn’t understand what the point of it was.
[Writing] I liked your metaphor of the Princess Aurora. It was unexpected and interesting.
[Enjoyment] Overall, I wasn’t a fan of this. It’s a little boring and there doesn’t seem to be a message that I’m supposed to take away. Because of that, I can’t understand why I’m supposed to feel invested.
| this wild abyss 6/15/12 . chapter 3
[Opening] I’m not sure if you intended this, but the beginning of this piece sounded like an advertisement or commercial. It was like you were trying to sell me a pencil, and I was turned off right away.
[Characters] I think you conveyed this woman’s personality/beliefs very well. I can see her in my head—wood pencils instead of mechanical, stuck in “the way things used to be in the good days”, etc.
[Theme] With all of these so far, I’ve been unclear as to the purpose, but especially with this one. What message are you trying to convey to readers? There’s no plot, so there should at least be a theme. I get the sense that mechanical pencils are too modern and less “pure” than their wooden counterparts—is that what you intended?
[Enjoyment] I feel weird about this. First you were telling me about how great mechanical pencils are, but then your character prefers not to use them. I wasn’t sure what to think.
| this wild abyss 6/15/12 . chapter 2
[Writing] Even more so than the previous chapter, I think your word choice is excessively complex. This sentence in particular stood out: “The shoes themselves were little more than a nuisance, similarly to the burden they carried upon their skin: clothes, but they were still in a society where the other parietal surface of modesty and humility was still kept…even if the viscera buried underneath had crumbled into invaluable dust.” First off, it’s so long that I’ve forgotten the beginning by the time I reach the end. Second, your word choice is flowery to the point where it seems like you’re showing off.
[Plot] While I understand that you intend these scenes to be stand-alone snippets, it’s usually a good idea to have some form of plot. Even most flash fiction has some sort of conflict, but there wasn’t one here. Just a look at shoelaces.
[Scene] You spend four-fifths of this setting up backstory and then two paragraphs on the actual scene. This felt unbalanced for me, and I would have liked either to have the present and past more mixed, or just less past.
[Ending] I thought your introspective comment was a nice way to end this. It was short enough and simple enough to not be confusing like your earlier sentences.
| this wild abyss 6/15/12 . chapter 1
[Writing] For me your word choice was over-formal, especially considering that we’re discussing something so simple as how this person styles their hair. Phrases like “neater fashion” and “with a bored ease” were too flowery and gave the scene a stiff atmosphere.
[Scene] I didn’t exactly understand why this woman’s hair style choices were so important. If this were a passage in a book I’d call it superfluous and self-indulgent. As is, I find myself wondering why it’s important and why I should care.
[Characters] I did think it was neat how you illustrated who this woman is just through her decisions regarding the hair-tie. It wasn’t completely effective, but it’s a nice idea as a strategy for character sketch.
[Enjoyment] Overall, I didn’t care for this. You’re a good writer, but the scene seemed pointless to me. There was no plot and I wasn’t invested in your character. Little scenes like this don’t tend to wow me.
| Love-Missile F1-11 6/9/12 . chapter 5
I specially liked the setting of this one, monotonous as the others but with a sordid touch. The references to medical and sexual issues help to shape further the world you've been creating so far.
The protagonist is enigmatic; on the one hand, bored and indiferent, but aggressive deep inside. It would be worthwile developing him a bit more in later chapters (although I'm not sure if you want to repeat protagonist in these drabbles).
The style seems a bit too flowery, or at least more than in previous chapters, specially in descriptions. The introduction of dialogues is a welcomed novelty, though.
The ending has a surprising note of dissonance. One thinks that the man reacted that way because he was frustrated and filled to the brim with all the shallowness around him, and then it turns out that all he cares about is his coat! I liked that ironic touch.
| Love-Missile F1-11 6/9/12 . chapter 4
I saw a mixture in this one between the bored and routinary woman of first chapter, and the replacement-obsessed society of second. I liked it less, because it felt too short and without enough content. The irony about safety pins being called "safe" was witty, though.
The protagonist is less defined when compared with the other ones. We don't get very much information about her, except what it's deducted from some details, like her cold attitude towards her baby. She seems quite numb and burdened with life overall, but some scene ilustrating this would help.
The setting however introduces more information about the changes in society than previous ones; specially the mention of some "revolution" that has happened, and how history has become stagnant. There's a strange mixture of futurism and tradition, with all the hand-made-tailoring thing.
The language flows with ease and the descriptions of the inconveniences of pins are lively, almost hurting. I miss so far a bit of dialogue to compensate descriptive narration.
| Love-Missile F1-11 6/9/12 . chapter 3
This is my favorite chapter so far, because of the delicate theme it touches: the progressive dissapear of paper and hand-made art. Personally, it's something that disturbs me a lot, so reading this was both interesting and painful.
This time, the futuristic setting is fairly obvious from the begining, with the introduction of the paser and the degraded art. You've been conservative, or generous, however, saving paper and pencils from total disappearance; I'm not sure if we're going to be so lucky in reality...The reference to the iPad was a bit weird, on the other hand; sounded too contemporary.
The female protagonist is well characterized, and one can feel her frustration because of the lack of recognition she receives. A little more background for her story and how she started as an artist would have been nice, though. Or maybe you could have included some scene in which we see her problems struggling to live from her art in such a world.
The ending is good, with its depressing note about how she has to surrender in the end to the "paser" and leave her old pencil. Also, interesting reflexion about the monotony of interruptions in everyday's life.
| Love-Missile F1-11 6/9/12 . chapter 2
I liked this chapter less than the others, because of the lack of a main protagonist and his/her own ordinary drama. Although the chapter raises some interesting questions about what we're teached to see as obvious, without further reasoning, it was too descriptive for my taste.
The setting, nonetheless, introduces those minor details that were missing in the first one, and that give it that dystopic flavor; particularly the reference to "climbing" as an "unhygienic hobby", or the explanation about infidelity turning into nothing more than a word. It gives me also the impression that people, despite having enough money to buy new shoelaces, are somehow "poor", because they care so much about laces breaking up.
The language style is ok, but somewhat less clear that in first chapter. I got a bit lost a couple of times, and had to re-read the sentence, particularly when they were too long, like: "wiping away both the newness that had once thrilled the world and the thought of ending the ritual of inconvenience he and his shoes so often dealt with". I liked very much this concept, though: "even if the viscera buried underneath had crumbled into invaluable dust".
The final line summarizes quite neatly the general theme of the chapter (well, at least what I understood as the general theme): that coming up with old replacements is better than finding new solutions in a tired and unoriginal society. While also emphasizing the obsession that people have nowadays about everything having to look "new".