Reviews for The Glass Staircase
elisefey chapter 1 . 4/16/2007
Wow, this story is trippy and cool! I'm really curious to know more about what is going on inside this house. The mystery surrounding it is intriguing and especially with the boy in the tank.
Lccorp2 chapter 3 . 3/27/2007
Harr.

Hmm.

Nothing much to complain about for now, but the interlude is jarring and out of place. Give it its own chapter it you must, but it's best to relocate it somewhere else.

I still can't believe she doesn't think about the ouside world at all.
Lccorp2 chapter 2 . 3/26/2007
Harr.

Let's see whether this is fit for the Book of Annoyance, or even worse, for the Book of Rage.

-"There is a house on the other side of the hill...immovable walls."

Many fantasies do this. They start out with the panoramic view of, say, a headland or a beach or a castle (tugging a bored black dragon along for the ride), and descend on a character watching the scene.

Personally, I blame movies for this; the simple fact that unless it's a movie script, writing is not a movie or screenplay of any sort. It's a dang book.

Perhaps if you had something eye-catching, something unique about this haunted house I'd be willing to give it a pass. Problem is, so far as it goes, it's haunted house number 836153 off the the fantasy bulk-buy store. People go missing in it. Big deal, the haunted house around the corner in the next fantasy does that too.

So I look for characters in that first few paragraphs-the all-too-important first impression, and find none to care about.

I click back and look for another story, thus all your words after that have gone to waste.

Get my point?

-"...and a perchance for trouble..." Penchant.

-Once or twice, or even thrice is all right, but...

"Gem was frozen. She watched, as if from a distance, Jack yell out and the blood spray across the leaves of the hedge. Bright red blood against a green so faded as to be gray. Jack ran down the pathway he had come from, crying out for his mother, and leaving red speckles along the trail.

Gem was still staring at the blood on the wall of hedges. Only, it wasn't the impermeable wall it had been a minute ago. A small opening had appeared.

Gem touched the leaves. They were the same color as her eyes, she noted, a harsh green-gray. Gem knew she shouldn't be here. She should have gone after Jack; she should go home now, or at least continue to the Sue’s party. But Gem was in a trance, and this seemed more like a dream than reality."

Exercise: tell me what the hell is wrong with this extract. It's a problem that's echoed throughout much of the first chapter and we'll see about the second. If you honestly can't tell me what's wrong...

Scratch that. There are TWO problems.

-Oh goody, she blacks out. Personally, I dislike blacking out, because it's a overused plot tool to 1) get characters from point a to b, like what you're doing right now, and 2) used to skip over things that are too hard or too lazy to write.

You seem to be doing both 1 and 2. Here's a fun quote from a parody site:

"8. Skip the hard parts.

Despite the need to keep the book long, some bits are just too hard to write. A thousand mile journey by foot is long, but easy to write. Battles on the other hand are hard because there’s a lot going on and you probably require some knowledge of military strategy. So if you’re writing a battle scene and it’s just getting too hard, simply have the hero suffer a wound and lapse into unconsciousness: e.g.

"… then suddenly his head exploded and a mist enveloped him and he felt himself falling down into an ethereal tangible blackness. Badcolds’s sword, still swinging through the air, seemed caught, imprisoned in time. The sound of the battle was suddenly a long way away but just as he closed his eyes and the black cloud engulfed him he thought he heard someone crying from the grassy knoll, "The Toasters are coming. The Toasters are coming."

Voile. Next thing our hero wakes on a white alabaster slab in the Healing Room where the Pure Maiden Warrior (see "Characters" below) tells him that the battle is over and, Guess what? They won! Result: you've saved 50 pages of intricate military description.""

By contrast let's take a look at Harry Potter:

Harry Potter faints two times in book 3, when he encounters Dementors. But for that, we get a full explanation as to why and how, and the experience is incredibly humiliating to Harry. In book 2, at the end after being poisoned by the basilisk, Harry almost loses consciousness, but that's because he almost dies.

The difference is that Harry's fainting is necessary, either to maintain Suspension of Disbelief (Nobody would remain conscious after shattering an arm for the first time or being bitten by a huge snake and subsequently poisoned with fatal venom, especially not a kid his age) or to advance the plot (The Dementors causing him to faint was the catalyst for Harry learning more about his past and learning to defend himself from them, which otherwise would have caused nearly the entire character list to die at the hands of the Dementor Horde. Even then, I'm iffy with the last one-it seems too much like a blatant plot device to me.

Rowling doesn't use fainting to skip scenes and transitions that she doesn't want to write about.

-Oh, and SOMEHOW she knows she can't go home. You know what? You can take that "somehow" and "inuition" and shove it where the sun don't shine. That is one of the most pathetic ways of getting information to characters. "They somehow knew it.", no source, no nothing, it just pops up in their mind. Even worse than the Overheard Conversation.

-Seriously, I find Gem's reactions far too unbelievable for me to maintain my suspension of disbelief. Here she is, a kid from (presuambly) our world, at SEVEN YEARS old and probably plyed with all sorts of stories. Her mind hasn't got the "sense" (you know what I'm talking about, don't you?) most older people have. She's faced what appears to be a vampire and isn't squalling. I'm not buying "she's too young to know danger."

She's just had her "inuition" confirmed by King-and that's it. She knows she can't ever go home, but it's all right-while I don't expect her to think about the consequences of that to other people at her age, she can damn well think of the consequences of that to HERSELF. She's never going to see anyone from her old world again. Her parents. Her friends. Jack.

I want you to try telling any seven-year-old he or she can't ever see his/her daddy and mommy again, and see the reaction you get. She misses her mommy's oatmeal, but that vapourises into nothingness. She even forgets her hunger after not having eaten for how long? I don't care how pretty the ruins and gardens are, she's still going to feel hungry eventually.

Oh, but I forgot, she's SPESHUL! It must be true, because King said so, despite nothing to show her SPESHULNESS and why she has, or even deserves it! No! The author is TELLING us she's SPESHUL and ramming it down the readers' throats!

It's Limyaael quote time!

"Too often, the characters from Earth are unconcerned about leaving their Earthly lives. There are various reasons for this. If the characters are your typical angsty teenage roleplayers/fantasy writers, they think anything would be better than life on Earth. There's no mention of how they react to not having running water, electricity, air conditioning, or all the modern conveniences. They don't make much of a change. This is the "they don't understand me, so I'll go to a world that will" shtick, and is very hard to make original.

Other times the character lost "everything worth living for," usually a lover or a family member. These are more of your stock fantasy characters who somehow never recover from psychological wounds until the author deems that they should. In general, deep grief mourning lasts six weeks. If your character is still upset twenty years later, something out of the normal is wrong with her, and it should inconvenience her in ways other than the shedding of a few tears here and there. If it's just after the loved person died, why do the characters shed the grief the moment they step into the other world?

Still other times, the characters have always "known" there was a world beyond Earth, and are all mad to go explore it. Again, no mention of their bubbles bursting.

Donaldson's treatment of Terisa Morgan's transition from one world to the other is one of the most realistic I've ever seen. He pays attention to the small details like having Terisa really feel the cold in a stone castle and being measured for dresses she's unaccustomed to wearing. He also gives her a truly shitty life where she's convinced that she doesn't really exist, and needs to surround herself with mirrors to think she does. It's something she manages to leave behind realistically, and even then, it still influences her perceptions of the other world."

-On a side note, the only differences people have between each other are things to do with the hair and eyes! Of course things like walking gait, body shape, manner of speech, gestures while speaking and many many more don't matter!

Harr.
PiercedByWolf'sEye chapter 2 . 3/24/2007
Wow, that's really interesting. You have great ideas!

Even though I don't know much about the world, it's really cool how you've made it so far. I'm trying to figure out what Gem's purpose is.

Anyways, I can't wait to read more.
almostthegoldenchild chapter 2 . 3/24/2007
intersting. I enjoyed the first 2 chapters. I like whrere its going. looking forward to the next chapter
xxroseangelkurodin chapter 2 . 3/24/2007
This has been really exciting so far :D Update soon. . .
Wrath of Naillil chapter 1 . 3/22/2007
It's very intresting so far. You must keep writing. I'm far to curious! :) Great job!
MaryF chapter 1 . 3/22/2007
Aw, Gem is so cute! Your decription writing is very good, very pretty. Be careful to find something unique about each character (I know we don't know much yet) and keep away from stereotypes, like for the vampire. (that's all the criticism I could think though lol).