Reviews for That Essay That Everyone Else Writes
Alexis Grey chapter 4 . 6/6/2008
Going for some brownie points here.

"For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction."

Although I learned it as "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction", I think its... Newton's Third Law of Motion...?
Alexis Grey chapter 3 . 6/6/2008
This should be compulsory reading for every aspiring writer!
cat-and-mouse chapter 12 . 5/14/2008
Hey there! Just saying that I love your essays and that they're really* helping me out. (Though I confess, once I used the "keyboard-slam" method of making a language. In two different stories I actually wrote the sentence backwards and broke the words differently to make an incantation. Now when I go back, I have no clue what the he11 my character's saying!)

Anyway, I think the next essay should focus on magic. You could have ways to make your magic-using character be NOT all-powerful.

Later, could you write an essay on doing a good death scene, really making the audience cry? (I tend to kill of characters, and I want a good reaction.)
InSilverShadows chapter 11 . 4/12/2008
Up until the worldbuilding chapters, you take on this aggro-defensive tone that suggests you're sick of the bad stories you've read. The fact is, if I stumble across a bad story, I stop reading it a paragraph in. I really think that only in the worldbuilding chapters do you really start to attempt to give advice. Mind you, I'm as sick of bad stories as the next person, but as I said before, aggro-defensive, sarcastic essays aren't going to purge this place. What writers of Mary-Sues and cliches might really need is the kind of thoughtful advice you give in the worldbuilding chapters (and in a few other places throughout.) You know your audience. Take the humor genre. It's a risky business going into it, bacause there are two types that turn up a lot: completely random LOLZERS!-style humor, and the classic bitter-wit liver-tripe stews of satire and sarcasm. The fantasy genre? Those beloved ripoffs of Tolkien and vampire erotica. The teen-drama genre need not even be brought up. But you can't change the world simply by beating it so hard that it bursts into tears and gathers its belongings and tromps down the office stairs. You obviously have the insight to offer advice to right these wrongs, and I'd love to see you really start to take that insight and write it in a manner that people OTHER than sarcastic FictionPress veterans will read to get a chuckle out of. Make this essay (even if it is one that everyone has written already) one that is meant to HELP, not to chase off. I find it arrogant of people to write sets of 'rules' for this place if you will, because though there are many who only write to get reviews, there are also many who come here in search of good advice and betterment. They probably soon realize they're hard-pressed to find it, but that doesn't change the basic ideal that every writer wants only one thing, and that one thing is to IMPROVE; the facts are that veteran writers are a good source of the feedback and perhaps the bitter honesty they need. But that doesn't mean that they need to get the bitter honesty from someone trying to chase them off. If you ARE looking for more serious or educated readers, it would be a good idea to take your material to more specialized online communities, and not one so open to the public. I think you HAVE the insight to teach young writers quite a lot, from your voice, diction, and the thought you put into places in this, and I would really love to see you use it in a new and better way.
InSilverShadows chapter 6 . 4/12/2008
Returning reviews is a dangerous venture. I like to check out the work of my reviewers, but I for one refuse to return 'gr8 story read mine kthxbai's'.
InSilverShadows chapter 1 . 4/12/2008
Complaining about young writers is NOT going to chase them off of FictionPress. Let them have their fun. If you don't like their stories, don't read them. At least most of them are doing something constructive like writing instead of selling their bodies on MySpace.
essie chapter 2 . 4/9/2008
damn! and here i thought with 'the horror! the horror!' as chapter title i would finally discover what joseph conrad's characters saw as they travelled down that damn river. heh
McQuinn chapter 12 . 3/24/2008
I've just skimmed this whole piece-I'll be back to read it thoroughly and review appropriately when I'm a little more lucid, and somewhat less tired.

But I found I should comment on the Judaism part of this chapter-well, let you know of a small correction I have, that is: The Reform Movement of Judaism refers to its place of worship as "temple;" however, this is not so for other Jews. I think a more correct term to use would, in fact, be "synagogue," which is more universally known to be connected to the Jewish faith.

-McQuinn
Phantos chapter 11 . 3/17/2008
*showers you with love*

As a linguistics major, your essay on language and world building really hit me, in a good, happy way. (Especially when you mentioned Bantu, as that's my phonology prof's favorite example language.) People usually have no consideration for everything language is when they go to build one - phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, etc - and most people don't even begin to understand the complexity behind it all. So thank you for trying to bring some knowledge to the FPC community.

Though you misspelled "tongue" in the title.

You bring a decent amount of humor to your essays, more than you usually find in the rants. It helps ease the sting of "Oh my God, I actually have done that, shame, shame, shame." That said, for all your lecturing on spelling and grammar, you seem to have some issues with it yourself. Case in point: the misspelling of "tongue."

Not that I'm one to scold, as I used to fail my spelling tests in elementary school.

Grammatically, you occasionally leave out words (usually prepositions) or substitute alternate forms (I saw an "-ing" where you needed a "-ly"). I'm sorry I didn't write down specifics for you.

All in all, good going! You hit on all the major irritations!

-P
Hed in the Cloudz chapter 1 . 3/9/2008
I love this idea! And the metaphor is quite nice as well. I would like to point out, however, that Romeo and Juliet is, in fact, yet another example of the habits that you're speaking of. I'm sure by now someone has mentioned this, but young Shakespeare stole the plot (it was a common theme for tales in his time) and just happened to write it in a way that we find amazing. Sure, people still copy it thinking that it's HIS idea, but it wasn't- and that was why so many people disliked him when he was alive, and why he didn't reach fame until later.

History lesson over- I simply must read more of this!
Written chapter 4 . 2/27/2008
I love it :) I like how you explain things in an interesting way, and adding physics in is just wonderful! and divine right theory? I really did giggle.

Great guide. I would do well to take pointers ;)

I'm adding this to a C2 I have going, just for my own reference. Thanks for writing!
Windryder1 chapter 7 . 2/21/2008
*L* Ok, I have to admit, I now have the urge to write a story and title it, "Tales From The Fireside XXII: Who Moved My S’more?"

I abosolutely love your style of presentation. Not only do you state the facts -and state them well, but you also paint a picture both verbally and visually. The art of a true writer is to "paint the words so we see the house instead of just being told what it looks like," ~R. Garcia. English prof. of 25 years. My mentor.

I can see the house, and it's pretty.
Windryder1 chapter 5 . 2/21/2008
Ok, I'm only this far in your essay, but I must say you've done an intelligent job of explaining cliches. Most will tend to say something to the effect of, "They suck. They're everywhere." and not explain why. Bringing in IRL examples was a nice touch.

For this chapter, I loved the short piece on Melinda and the development of her character, Xiana. There are too many instances where I've read stories that contain this problem. In order for a character to be interesting -even if they are clothed in a few cliches-they must be multi-dimensional: Not just able to travel through multi-dimensions.

My novel contains some cliche's -I won't lie- but I've tried to make it my own, and make it as origional as possible. However, the deep deep subplot will not be noticed until maybe the 2nd, or third book. Teehee.

I was proud of your Mary Sue chapter. As a former Mary Sue attempted writer myself, I learned that everyone needs to go through this phase in their writing development. However, it doesn't need to be posted online. I wrote a SeaQuest Mary-Sue once, and hated it. The two characters just WERE NOT suppose to interact that way. It was forced, and I felt dirty. No one else has ever, nor will ever see it. The only way I see any Mary-Sue (or Gary-Stu) action should be in the author's own origional works.

I will enjoy reading the rest of your essay.
Seigetsu Ren chapter 1 . 1/27/2008
Sorry for mentioning this in a new review, but I figured I spelled 'forgotten' wrong in my previous review even after I've checked it over three times. It really proves a point that it is really hard to make your spelling perfect without spell check!

Hope you don't mind this extra bit. I guess I should've separated my overly long review into two anyway...

Sorry for the spam!
Seigetsu Ren chapter 12 . 1/27/2008
First of all, it really took me a while to read through all 12 chapters of this (while doing Lagrangian mechanics in between reading each chapter). Nonetheless, I found it to be quite well-written. You've presented some really good points, and for the most part, I agree with you. Since it doesn't seem too helpful for me to just say "good work, keep it up!", here are my suggestions. Though there are quite a number of things that I want to mention, rest assured that your writing is quite wonderful and was good enough to sustain my interest throughout all the chapters.

One thing that I'd like to mention is that you have spelling errors sprinkled throughout your essay. Although such errors are really minor, they really weaken your argument when you were telling people to spell 'summary' correctly. Here is the mistake that caught my eyes the most:

'I never feel, however, that anyone is every incapable of doing something...'

I think you meant 'ever incapable' not 'every incapable'. Normally, I won't be mentioning this because it is unreasonable to expect perfection, but since this was the paragraph right before you were criticizing other writers' spelling, I thought that you should make sure to check over your own very carefully for that particular chapter. One very good way of making sure your spelling is spot-on is by getting a beta. If that's not possible, try proofreading your work a day after you write it. Since you would've forgotton the exact wording you've used by then, it would be easier to pick out your errors.

Another thing that I'd like to mention is that I didn't like your scientific metaphors. While I do happen to understand the science behind them (being a science student as I've mentioned in the beginning of the review), it took me a while before I understood how they related to the writing that you were talking about. While metaphors make writing more interesting, extremely extended ones and overuse of them make your writing distracting. Also, this is an essay. Essays need to be clear, concise, and easy to comprehend. Overuse of metaphors made your arguments hard to understand, thus weaken their general strength. By the way, the action-reaction reference that you made is Newton's Third Law. Actually, a clearer way of putting it is 'When a body exerts a force on another body, the other body would exert a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction on the first body." That is to say, when I push something, the thing pushes back on me; there are two bodies and two forces involved. Sorry, I digress again...

One last thing that I'd like to mention is that a lot of times you have good points, but the examples you use to support them are not so...suitable. Take the language topic for instance. You wrote:

'Chinese doesn’t usually discriminate between ‘he’ and ‘she’ but does note between a living and inanimate ‘it’ '

This, in my opinion, is not a very strong example. Chinese only makes such distinctions in the written language. Let me use standard Mandarin for example (since you're learning Chinese, I think you would know pinyin). All of these third person pronouns are spoken as ta1. As for written language, there is a distinction between 'he' and 'she'. The character for 'she' is written with the character 'nu(with the two dots on top of u)3' on the left hand side while the character for 'he' is written with the character 'ren2' on the left hand side. While you can use the 'he' character for a female, you can't use 'she' for male.

Another example, also regarding Chinese, that I thought was a weak supporting statement was in chapter 10. You wrote:

'The Japanese written language, for instance, is technically based of the Chinese writing system. Over time, it became something completely different. '

Besides the fact that it should be 'based off' not 'base of', that argument is not entirely true. Katakana and Hiragana are not based on the Chinese writing system. The Chinese writing system is logographic while kata and hira are both syllabary. The symbols used may have their roots from Chinese characters, but it is definitely not based on the original Chinese writing system. What is completely borrowed from Chinese is kanji, and those have definitely not become completely different over time. In fact, I (a native Chinese user) can read all the common kanji used in manga, games, and the like. Very, very few kanji are inexistent in the Chinese language. I think a better example of a language having evolved into something completely different would be how English came from Latin.

I would like to mention something about Buddhism too, but since I'm not too familiar with it myself, I thought I wouldn't criticize you on that. I think you should ask some Buddhists about the Absolute Creator God thing. From my understanding, some Buddhist sects do not believe in deities to start with (but don't quote me on this one. According to your essay, I would have to do a bit more research before I can be sure of it)

Once again, you have good points in general, but you need to work on how to support your statements. The above, that I've mentioned, are rather technical things, but there are some other examples that have more general problems. For instance:

'If your people live in a harsh landscape, like a desert or mountainside, do you truly think they would show respect to a nature so harsh to them? Would a religion that honors animals and tress really thrive in a highly industrialized region? Do you think tree hugging people would be keen on conforming to a religion dedicated to technology? '

Besides the fact that you spelled 'trees' wrong, there are other problems that I found with your argument. That is, most religions based on nature are found in areas of harsh climate and geography. Shinto is found in Japan which is an island nation with plenty of earthquakes, little fertile land, and plenty of storms. The Incas worshipped nature as well, and they live in high mountains with rocky soils and thin air. The Egyptians on the desert also worshipped gods that symbolize the sun and moon and such things. Why do harsh climate foster worship of nature? I would believe it is because they think worshipping such gods would improve the climate, or at least not make them any worse. Also, take Shinto for instance again. You said that religions worshipping nature do not thrive in industrialized settings, but Japan is actually one of the most industrialized countries on Earth. Religions tend to depend on history rather than the current state of things, although I admit that religions change over time and differs from place to place.

I have plenty of other points that I'd like to mention, but since this review is certainly getting too long, I'll stop here. Sorry if I came across as disrespectful or harsh; I didn't mean to offend you if I have. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed what you've written. It is just that I thought I should give you as much advice as possible so that it might help you in future writing. I'll be looking forward to future installments of this essay. Hopefully, more interesting topics would be examined in the near future!
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