Reviews for Arms Race
happyapple chapter 1 . 11/15/2007
very very very very good!
Zozma chapter 6 . 11/14/2007
Friends seem to come up with the best sex jokes. :P

Hating to ride the bus is another similiarity Gypsy and Tracey share, hmm?

"The proverbial kids in the back of the bus, a tight-knit and very loud -in the morning for them to gossip at the top of their lungs."

Very good sentence structure, I think. I dunno why in particular, it just flows. I'm reminded of a revelation on writing I had several years ago where I realized just becacuse a word is a synonym for another doesn't mean it can replace it. This is a great example of where the words all fit together perfectly, like a vernacular jigsaw puzzle.

“I’ve got gym first period today with the lesbian.” One girl groaned, to a squealing chorus of “ew!”

“She doesn’t wear a bra or anything. Uck.”

I think you're overplaying the preppish drawl a little here, in that I doubt any sophmore cliques are that overboard :P. Although the "bra or *anything*" is pure gold, really.

Clever observation on gym teacher sexuality. Very clever, actually. One of our gym teachers, whom I've never met, is purportedly a lesbian. I've simply grown to accept it as fact overtime with very strongly enforced sentiments of "I don't give a flying fuck."

"Clearly, there was just no exception to that rule. She wondered how Miss Warson felt about it, if she knew. Did they usually catch on?"

I'm not quite sure I understand, was there a typo here? She *wasn't* rumored to be gay, but there was no exception to the rule? Did they usually catch on?

"Wendy is a whore. Josh has a huge penis. I 3 Blake. Mike is gay. Fuck you."

Very nice and highly realistic. Shame about the "
EnigmaInk chapter 5 . 11/11/2007
Better late than never, so sorry!

...yay shopping? Try shopping *with* teh males, that's an adventure.

"acquiesced" is a bigger word that even I would use. Good work.

So God only listens to you if you pray at church?

I sense social satire! What, should we be happy with our bodies the way they are? Crazy.

"My huge ass makes my ass look huge. The shorts just make it look plaid." Ahahahaha

So despite... everything that happened, Mrs. Cumani is still trying to set up Gypsy with guys? Huh?

Aww, cute. I can see how your male readership may have been less than thrilled, but it wasn't terribly long and did get some good backstory across. I give it several stars! Gold ones!
Ends in a Ryhmed Couplet chapter 5 . 11/8/2007
This chapter starts beautifully. A funny paragraph followed by a beautiful description and a tender moment for Vince. I just cant get over how beautiful the imagery is in the second two paragraphs. Its short and to the point but it really sticks with me and makes me feel like Vice might feel.

And then Vince's prayer. Wow:

Vince frowned slightly. He didn’t like awkward pauses in conversations, and felt oddly inclined to tell God to “say something, you asshole”. That would probably be less than wise.

Crap…you could hear me thinking that, couldn’t you?

Genius. I had sort of pegged Vince as an atheist, but now I see him more as someone who just doesn't care xD.

What a stunning, mind blowingly succinct way to open the chapter and further develop Vince and his mother. I loved this first part.


Instant transition. The way I was jolted from the tender but funny moment with Vice and his mom to this slightly disturbing very "tense" moment with gypsy.

God/ess, Gypsy thought, if you really are a woman, surely you’ll understand what I’m going through and smite me now.

Hillarious but striking

Clara and Tatianna exchanged glances for a moment, trying to figure out how best to explain it, and finally Clara said, with a wry smile, “a weight nazi is somebody like our mother.”


I just read the description of the dressing room, it feels like a post-apocolyptic waste land! Thats awesome!

“No, Mom.” Clara replied with a grin – Clara had apparently composed herself in the dressing room, as the obvious aggravation in her expression was no longer to be found. “My huge ass makes my ass look huge. The shorts just make it look plaid. To be honest, though, I’m not crazy about that effect either.” I love clara xD

Despite the humor, this whole shopping section was...I'm not sure of the right made me sad. It was a strongly depressing situation, and I really felt sorry for Gypsy. I even felt a little sorry for her mother...It was really well crafted, so much so that the humor blended perfectly with the depression of the situation...its like Shindler's List, it was incredible and wonderful, but I am not sure that I would want to read it again. It was...painfully awkward. Not the writing, the writing was perfect, the situation was just so awkward. I thought it was really wonderful.


Interesting e-mail section. Again, succinct. It fits in with the stylistic differences between each section. Dutifully succinct followed by painfully languid,in an interesting cycle.


“Again?” Wryly. Gypsy’s eyes momentarily flashed and her mother made an apologetic gesture, raising her hands.

I feel a plot point coming on xD

“Hey, well what do you know.” Gypsy smirked. “Clara’s got a following of teenage boys after all, she was just a late bloomer!”


This was an odd was painfully awkward like the shopping section was somehow happy...I dont know...its really well crafted and entertaining. Its happy but sad. Its complicated.


Aw. Succinct and beautiful happy ending. I have no clue what that authors note was about, you once again have shown incredible growth. Its a great chapter, and I hope you put out more just like this.


14 simples lines
Blank-Page-Emperor chapter 3 . 11/1/2007
Ooh, that last part was all cryptic-like…

…But that was the idea.

Anyway, here’s a (hopefully) quick chapter 3 review. I don’t have too much to talk to you about in this chapter, rather than the usual grammar/usage lecture. I’m so much fun the Germans named a beer after me!

No, they didn’t. Although Werrwulf could sound very, very German if you say it the right way. Verrvulf. Verrvülf. VeerrVulf.


Alright, let’s get down to it:

““Oh sweetie, don’t be ridiculous, he could never hate you as much as he hates Kevin.” Lorena assured her in what she mistook for a very soothing manner.”

LOLZ. Seriously, I just like to laugh at this part. That’s all.

“As far as Vince was concerned, being creative was his job. Gypsy’s job was to sound pretty and do what he said.”

As much as I feel for him (I’ve about given up on the whole band thing and am going solo for the time being,) I still wish to forcefully relocate his face to a more suitable location. Say… Well, take a wild guess.

“She said he was an arrogant prick, he told her to watch her language already.”

*hip-hop beat* Oh, oh oh! Thatta comeback! *dies*

“She asked Lorena which one is the real Kevin, but Lorena blinked as if she didn’t understand and tells her that they’re both the real Kevin, silly. Maybe he’s really just a charming, likeable, well-intentioned skirt-chasing sleazebag?”

I don’t see why not… …Maybe… Ooh, I just made a connection between this and the other Kevin!

I’m so slow.

That’s what I LIKE about Kevin… he’s not really ever all the way there, in any number of ways. Nice contrast/comparison to Vince’s purely predictable taciturn nature. They’re different… but similar… in their differences? I’m just confusing myself, but I felt I ought to comment. I want to see how the animosity between Vince and Kevin plays out with Gypsy… in the equation? *sneaks away*

*returns a moment later to finish the review*

“But needless to say, Vince didn’t feel she sung the song as well the second time.”

Sang. *rofl*

*not really*

“She learned over time that Lorena was the only person on God(ess)’s green earth who knew which cord went to which instrument, amp, or appliance; she cashed in on the much-mined well of Cold War-related inside jokes that came with the bomb shelter.”

Two things:

1. I’d just make this two sentences. The semicolon, at least as I understand it, mostly links correlated independent thoughts; you could make a case for these, but they’re really better separate.


2. I just keep imagining Gypsy asking the guys about the cables:

Gypsy: “Umm… Where’s the mic cable?”

Todd: “I dunno. Ask Lorena.”

Gypsy: “And this cable does… what, exactly?”

Vince: “Lorena keeps track of these things.” *ninjas away with his guitar* (No, “ninja” should NEVER be used as a verb. Please forgive me.)

Gypsy: “Do you know where this big, thick cable over here goes?”

Kevin: “Wanna find out?”

Gypsy: *face-palm*

Okay, #3, then:

I’m the only Kevin fan that I know of, but I know that I am one.

Okay, I take it back, this is NOT a short review, but since this was a tough chapter, I’d like to give it some usefulness. There’s just so many things I’d like to talk about. Not that many problems, despite your dislike for it, but still *some* things I’d like to bring up, if only for a moment.

“The notorious Pennsylvania April, which had been sweltering for the first couple of weeks, had given way to a misty, rainy week with a cold breeze.”

I envy you. Writing in PA has got to be a lot easier than writing in Atlanta. You’ve got everything up there, while all I have is hobos, racism, and unpredictable weather.

Do you set much of your stuff in PA, or just this? I virtually never set stuff in Atlanta, or even Georgia. Nothing I like to write about could ever happen properly here. *sigh*

I envy you.

““Well, maybe he’d have better self-esteem if he didn’t pick his friends for their negative attitudes!” Gypsy crowed triumphantly.”

Touché. Although it’d never happen, I’d hate to have to explain Goth music to Gypsy… though somehow I think I’d be able to avoid contradicting myself as much as Vince…

“Gypsy smiled and dropped her eyes back to her Spanish worksheet without really reading it.”

I do that all the time…

…But that’s not why I’m commenting. This silly little sentence presents… not a problem… more of a question of principle. Obviously, “Arms Race” is about the band, and, more specifically, the people in the band, but outside of the band everyone here goes to school. We know that Gypsy was doing plays at her school, and Lorena and Todd “study English” some afternoons. However, this “Spanish worksheet” is the first real homework that’s come up so far. This story, if you don’t mind me labeling it, seems generally geared for young adults who would know automatically what you mean by a Spanish worksheet. However, I have to wonder if that’s an unnecessary detail that could potentially throw things off a bit.

Or I could be completely wrong about this. I’m not going to nag about this, but I’d like to see what you think.

The fact that it’s a “Spanish worksheet” is (as far as I know… foreshadowing?) a superfluous detail. But however, it throws in the idea of discussing the kids’ schoolwork in the story, which I know is ENTIRELY not the point. I really think you should call it a “homework assignment” or something like that instead of getting specific with it. Its nature is irrelevant, and, in my opinion, it doesn’t deserve a second thought, unless it gets prior introduction in the next version of the story, or the class itself becomes more important later on.

I know it sounds like I’m getting worked up over something incredibly minor, and I’m not all that bothered by it, but this kind of thing could come up later. The whole thespian thing is part of Gypsy’s character, and “study English” has a lot to do with Lorena and Todd as a couple. The Spanish worksheet, however, stands for nothing.

Unless it will later. Otherwise, I ADVISE (but do not demand) that you alter that part.

Whew… That was way too much about one little thing…

Onto the…


““But he was a big jerk and he can’t sing, so who cares? Did he even play any instruments? He was a useless little man with a negative attitude and a pretentious made-up last name.”

“He’s the lead singer – speaker, whatever – of the most famous punk band of all time!” Vince practically howled, furious.

“That doesn’t change anything.” Gypsy shrugged, greatly enjoying this.”

Vince’s agony is “gorgeous” as Dieter (Mike Myers) of Sprockets would say. Since Goth is a growth off of Post-Punk, I was a little bit irritated with Gypsy for trivializing the whole thing (for my own personal reasons, obviously,) but Vince’s ridiculous lack of intelligibility made me loll. I’ve taken to saying “lol”, not L-O-L after seeing this: puffsgain.

Anyway, Vince FAILS so beautifully. He could’ve just talked about non-conformity and anti-consumerism, but instead he had to go out of his way to reference every band that he ever listened to in one conversation.

I guess what’s sacred to Vince is not to be defiled. BUT IT’S STILL FUNNY!

And then Gypsy had him right where she wanted him. Lol.

Wow… That was WAY longer than I had intended, but at least it’s over now. Chapter 3, I know, was little fun for you, but I’m glad you tried. It helps to explain a lot (i.e. Gypsy’s situation, the location of the story, FORESHADOWINGS LOL… That kinda thing) and was a rather pleasant read. The only chapter I haven’t liked that much so far is the newest one (5), but only because it’s so tense and family-drama-y.

Not a word, I know.

That is all.

Rawk steddy,

Werrwulf lololololXI.5

PS: The XI.5 thing probably won’t be around for much longer. I just wanted to try it out.
sugarandspice91 chapter 5 . 10/29/2007
omg vince is putting his hair in a ponytail. *gasp* lmao i ADORE the vince's convo with God. vince is just so...vince, its incredibly amusing. :P

"My huge ass makes my ass look huge. The shorts just make it look plaid. "

lol. nicely said.

o gosh this chapter feels so familiar. i actually went shirt shopping just this weekend and i had lots of fun trying on "larges" that binded my arms together and "larges" that were 3x too big. i swear, the clothing industry needs to standardize. i could get clothes in half the time.

"Clara said girls aren’t born hating themselves. It is not innate and it certainly isn’t natural"

amen, sister.

i love how blunt vince is. and then he signes it "yours truly" lol.

AW THAT IS A PREFECTLY GUSHY WAY TO END A CHAPTER! *hugs* and with this chapter-ey goodness i shall go forth and do my history homework. :)
Zozma chapter 5 . 10/27/2007
Hush, luv, I'm sure the chapter will be as amazing as always. You should have more self-confidence, be proud of yourself, etc. On to the chapter. :P

Vince putting back his hair is a big sacrifice. He really loves his mom o_o

I like the simplistic description on Vince's mother's ensemble. Usually I prefer big, grandoise descriptions, as seen in my works, but here it's strangely befitting. And detailed, mind you, her dress being too small. Most things like that would escape people, but you catch them.

Incidently, do we ever hear Vince's mom talk, directly? It seems most of the time she only speaks indirectly, never in quotations.

"Um…hey God."

Heh heh, absolutely amazing. Those last three paragraphs were golden, really. And recognizing divine figures serves multiple boons, really. For one it adds an extra complexity to your characters. Secondly, giving Vince some vague Christain tendencies makes Lorena's Budhism more realistic. Whereas before a Western culture may have viewed it as an unneeded novelty, you recognize that a good portion of mankind actually worships something and therefore made it more concrete. Good show.

"Vince frowned slightly. He didn’t like awkward pauses in conversations, and felt oddly inclined to tell God to “say something, you asshole”. That would probably be less than wise."

Brilliant :)

"Crap…you could hear me thinking that, couldn’t you"

'Do You know everything I do before I do it?'


'Then what if I do something different?'

'Then I don't know that.'

"You know what, I don’t like this. Leave me alone. Go listen to Mom instead."

Absolutely wonderful. Ripe with personality. You really shouldn't be so hard on this chapter, luv.

"Clara’s smile remained motionless, ironed onto her face, but you couldn’t miss the eye roll from a mile away."

Nice touch :)

"Mom.” Clara’s tone was that of waning patience. “That store – just -in there.”

If I didn't already know so much about Mrs. Cumani,this would be a wonderful insight into her character. It's very subtle. Multi-faceted and complex at first sight but bound to become simple and shallow mere moments from now. Let's watch this unfold.

"Mrs. Cumani’s gaze fell on Gypsy like a ton of bricks, and she wilted under the force of the inevitable, wanting to sink into the floor."

I'm going to go on about how wonderful this line is, but first I have to remark on how, were Arms Race to become standard English class material, God forbid :P, this is a line teachers will point to and do the 'state the obvious symbolism' speech. You can just hear them say, 'See, what the author here is doing is really quite amazing, see, she's comparing Gypsy to a flower that's *wilting*, you see.'

Oh, and this line is absolutely amazing :)

"God/ess, Gypsy thought, if you really are a woman, surely you’ll understand what I’m going through and smite me now."

Another brilliant line. Although we clearly established that everyone in heaven has a great figure with DD breasts, so God is unable to sympathize :P

“Well, it really depends…” Gypsy -but usually…”

For some reason I just want to hug Gypsy here. Also, this strikes me as defiantly Mia.

“Usually, she’s a fourteen. -be flattering on you."

'Your daughter is fat. She is fat and she looks bad in clothes. Get over it.' :P

"Gypsy felt herself slowly shrinking under her mother’s gaze."

Which, appropriately enough, is probably exactly what Mrs. Cumani wants her to do.

“Clara.” She said sternly, icily. “When Gypsy lived with us, she was a size twelve."

My daughter is now fat. She is fat and she looks bad in clothes and it is your fault!'

“That’s different.” Mrs. Cumani snapped. “You’re tall. You carry it well.”

Ouch. Nice effect. An early hint at how Mrs. Cumani loathes even Clara's unimpressive body? A 'you're thin, you're not allowed to talk.' perhaps? Even if not, it's still very nice.

And a weight loss camp, no less. Mrs. Cumani is a minion of Satan.

“a weight nazi is somebody like our mother.

And at ten years old, Gypsy understood exactly what she meant."

That's adorable! Also, just so you know, I imagine ten-year-old Gypsy in Chibi form.

Christina Cumani

A. Olivetti chapter 2 . 10/27/2007

roflmao! that just made me laugh so hard I pretty much choked on my root beer! This is awesome! Keep up the god work!
Blank-Page-Emperor chapter 2 . 10/18/2007
Batten down the hatches, then. This whole war-with-FictionPress-over-“Arms Race” thing is so ironic it’s cRaZeH. But enough about that; Chapter 2, as I recall, is (currently) my favorite chapter, so let’s start. Expect more uselessness from me this time around, alas.

And don’t worry; there is no POSSIBLE way for this to be anywhere as long as the last review. Zozma, you may have your vengeance after all.

Or not. Big deal.


“It was right there. He should be playing right now.”

I salute you. I… may have an actual chemical addiction to playing my guitar. That’s awfully insightful of you, unintentional as it may be. That’s a guitarist for you, right there.

“The walls were thin and the main bedroom, well, all of the upstairs was right beneath the attic, after all, and he’d heard her. No specific her. Just some her that he’d picked up after work.”

This whole thing right here I find lovely, but consider replacing the “he’d” with “Vince,” since Vince likely isn’t the type to find one-night stands for his dad. Or not, as I always say.

“Crossing his room to the trapdoor, he grasped the handle with sweaty hands and yanked it open, grabbed the rope ladder and dropped it down into the hallway.”

I think you’re probably already getting crap for this thing, but I’d suggest doing away with the whole attic-bedroom thing altogether, or else giving more detail to certain aspects of the room. ONE REASON AND ONE REASON ONLY: Ya can’t get a mattress through a trapdoor. Trust me, I’ve probably tried to in the past.

…”on account of his father’s mistress was a woman and that was against his outdated morals.”

Try “being a woman and that THAT was against his outdated morals.” This is a funny section that I need to do some damage control on, so… If you EVER have any grammar questions, I’m your guy. Of course, one of your Myspace friends is the “Grammar Vigilante.” He doesn’t seem to be doing his job?

So here I am, blabbing about something I know absolutemente nada about.

““I told you can’t catch!” She yelped, laughing.”

Then why did you tell her to throw it to you? Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, dear.

Oh, and take a quick look at that one. You’ll see the error. For once, an honest mistake that makes no attempt to conceal itself from the All-Seeing Eye… I wonder which one that is…

*winks right eye*

No, not that one.

*winks left eye*


““Ah, but it’s all part of the master plan.” Clara winked. “Later, I can use my refusal to date someone you don’t like as an excuse to exercise my veto power in regards to all your potential boyfriends.”

“Conniving bitch.” Gypsy stuck out her tongue, getting into the car.”

Hmm… I’ll definitely try to remember that one…

“It was a little bit cooler in the bomb shelter than it was outside. This was partly as a result of the several fans which, like the amps, all plugged into the tangling rope of orange extension cords which snaked all the way back to the house, and partly because it was underground. “

*high-fives Tracey* Alright! It just ain’t rock’n roll if it ain’t dangerously high-voltage!

I mean it. *ponders nearby paperclip and electrical outlet*

““Hello!” Lorena greeted her, smiling hugely to make up for the lack of her usual greeting. Lorena said hello to her friends every day by squealing, flinging herself upon them and throwing her arms around their necks. “

Consider changing the first “her” to “Gypsy.” Sure, we were JUST watching Gypsy, but the scene’s changed, and Clara was previously present.

Also… Do you have friends who do that like Lorena does? Because I do. Hmm…

““No one wants to see that!” He shouted.

“Yeah?” Gypsy challenged. “Then QUIT STARING!”

Kevin, Todd, and Lorena looked cartoonishly back and forth as if watching a game of ping pong.”

Love that part. Just do. Probably NOT a chapter highlight, but I still find it quite comical.

““It’s distracting!” He stammered loudly, mentally scrambling for the excuses provided by the school as to why the dress code was needed to provide a good learning environment.”

He’s right, ya know.

I, however…

…Am not complaining.

*waits for the smackdown to fall upon his poor Wulfeh head*

“Her eyes narrowed, and her eyebrow fell heavily into place in a stereotypically angry v-shaped furrow. Her whole body tensed so absolutely that the tautest violin string would have looked loose and sloppy compared to the set of her shoulders.

Todd smacked himself in the head on Vince’s behalf.”

1) Remove the word “stereotypically.” Lorena’s expression is classic to the point of being cliché, true, but I think we get that. It’s a great description of Gypsy’s expression, and I don’t think you should throw it off like that.

2) I get the expression, but consider making it a guitar string instead; this is rock ‘n roll. The whole violin thing seems a bit random. Just a thought.

3) Again, whatever would we do without you, Todd? This is GREAT Todd-ness right here.

““Aye!” Lorena thrust her hand in the air, grinning, as she repositioned herself upon her stool. “Just kidding, hun. Kind of. Ish.”

“I think what she’s saying is that we’re on Gypsy’s side, but with less offensive wording than Kevin’s.” Todd clarified politely.”

*high-five* Great catch, Todd!

Oh, and by the way: Always capitalize “Cold War.” Thank you.

““No, that is not the case.” Lorena said emphatically, glaring at Vince. “Kevin and I are allowed to change our parts with Vince’s approval, and Todd gets to make up his own part.”

“In translation:” Kevin drawled, “yeah, it’s just you.””


““And by ‘correctly’, you mean ‘your way’.” Gypsy said scathingly.”

Oh snhap.

“Kevin good-naturedly toppled off his stool, clutching his sides.”

Huh. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone toppling off of something good-naturedly. I do believe I rather like that. Huh.

Well, I’m at the end of the review-proper, and I’m not sure if this one was my favorite chapter or not. Not that I didn’t like it, but I read 2, 3, and 4 in rapid succession the other day, and the events are a mite mixed-up in my head.

I DO recall not hating chapter 3 as much as you claim to. But more on that later.

I feel like this chapter was much more solid than the last one, in all honesty. Most of your issues were matters of technicality, once again, but I think your overall tone and expressions went much better. I don’t really have any advice to give you outside of what was outlined in the notes…

…And this makes my day SO MUCH EASIER.

Okay, again, it was a toughie, but here ya go:


““I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear pants.” Todd said thoughtfully. “You’re in a skirt pretty much all the time.”

“GYPSY’S LACK OF PANTS IS NOT THE FOCUS OF THIS ARGUMENT!” Vince bellowed, his face a madman’s mask of rage.

There was a really, really long pause.

With the last bit of breath available to her before she cracked up laughing, Lorena dryly remarked that she’d always wanted to hear Vince say that.

Todd folded his arms on his drum set and buried his face in them. Gypsy doubled over, unable to speak for several minutes for giggling so hard. Kevin good-naturedly toppled off his stool, clutching his sides.””

I guess you could have seen this one coming, but there are SO MANY things I love about this passage. I found the characters’ reactions to Vince’s decidedly hilarious comment to be as remarkably funny as the comment itself, if not more so. Todd gives us yet another stunning performance of Common Sense, leading to Vince showing himself for the silly bastard that he really is, despite any aspirations he may have to be me.

Another… silly bastard. Wait, nevermind.

Anyway, I LOVE the way the tension just goes *poof* and we’re all laughing, because that’s life. Another angsty fight could end like a million others (in a poof of ridiculous angst,) BUT IT DOESN’T. At least for the most part. Either way, this part could have, really, truly, been stupid, but wasn’t, all thanks to you (of course.) And that makes me happy.

Whether me being happy is a good thing or not is a mystery.

Chapter 3 is nice and short, but I need to go home and study/work off all the fucking junk food I ate today… I don’t know what’s wrong with me today… Oh well. I won’t be getting on to the next chapter for a few days, so sit tight and… well, I could always pester you to write more, but that always gets a negative reaction and lowered productivity out of me when I am pestered, so I won’t.

Hah. Now you HAVE to write! It’s reverse psychology.

No it isn’t.

I don’t know.

Rock steady,

Werrwulf Square-Root-of-169
Blank-Page-Emperor chapter 1 . 10/9/2007
This ain’t a scene, it’s a Tracey! Sorry, it HAD to happen.

And why not from me?

Well, it’s review time at long last. Took me long enough, eh? I know this story is pretty much your small, beautiful, belovéd, fair-haired child, so I’d feel awful if I didn’t give you some coherent feedback.

I know the kind of trash I talked on MySpace (hey, it’s MySpace, who doesn’t?) about my reviews being longer than Zozma’s. I now realize that I COMPLETELY, utterly underestimated him.

Oh shit, bitches. It’s ON.

*gets punched by Vince for using profanity in the presence of a lady*

That’s really funny that I thought of that right then. I have a playlist of various ridiculously clashing music videos I listen to (listening to a music video sounds counter-productive, I know, but hey, how can I read AND watch at the same time? I’ve got priorities here.) that begins with Hikaru Utada’s “Passion” and ends with Stuckey and Murray’s “It’s Every Cuss Word We Know.” Irony, eh? In between are a barbershop-quartet-esque rendition of “Milkshake” and “Shut Me Up” by Mindless Self-Indulgence, among other things.

No, it’s nothing personal. I listen to this crap when I’m doing prewriting for my new short story that won’t get anywhere. Better to just let me do what I do and ignore it.

See, this is how I plan to beat Zozma: BSing like a pro.

Because I am. An ass.

Alright, REALLY review time:

First off: “Leave me along” –Zozma, Chapter 3 Review. That made me feel good.

Sorry dude, but she’s put us up to this, and I just don’t back down from challenges the way I used to. Oh, my achin’ back…

I probably won’t isolate many lines I react to unless they’re really, REALLY getting a reaction out of me. Or if they are in severe need of work. There WILL be a Chapter Highlight, so you can get ready to bring the pain. Or not. Wow, I’m out of practice…

Okay, Chapter 1…

Hmm… One weird lil’ bit right here:

“She pictured tall, grumpy, melodramatically black-clothed Vince being halfheartedly attacked by a small, yappy dog.”

I love this part of the chapter (I’ve read this chapter three times already, and this part may be chosen for Chapter Highlight- I’m not quite sure yet,) but some of your usage is a tad awkward. I think I see your pun here (Vince being halfhearted?), or is it the dog attacking Vince halfheartedly? Because I know crazy dogs, and they don’t do ANYTHING halfheartedly. You’ll have to fluff this part up to clarify, but it’s a great pun that needs to be made a bit more obvious.

Issue #2: You know I’m not a complainer (but that I AM a liar), but-

“Gypsy was great at storming out. She theorized that she’d picked it up from her sister.”

Two things about this paragraph: (1)- Either develop, leave out, or move the thing about her sister. It really doesn’t fit all that well. Clara comes in a later, so consider mentioning the thing about Gypsy’s inherited ability to storm out there instead. It still might seem out-of-place, but I think it spreads Gypsy’s development over a larger area, which I’m always a fan of. *dorks* (2)- I get a great picture of Gypsy’s hair, and, with my own experience in long, curly, disobedient hair (namely my own,) mine is gonna be better than anyone else’s. Still, consider throwing in the color. You don’t even have to be specific, just “dark” or “light” would do, but it needs to be there. I know how you’re writing this story, and I’m not gonna be too much of a detail stickler when it’s technically not necessary, but here’s one tiny little thing you could do that I think would help (me, at least) out a lot.

“Not being what you might call a diplomat, Vince fanned the flames of her resentment by expecting her to learn all their songs absurdly fast, rejecting her request to be allowed to help write songs, having a conniption every time she changed a word or improvised part of a song, accusing her of trying to take over the band every time she expressed an opinion, and criticizing her clothing.”

It is at this point, nowhere else, that I most wish to beat Vince within an inch of his life. Just thought I’d say that. I know for a fact that lead singers are a lot like wives: Let them have their ways, and everyone’s happy. Boss them around, and…

Oh Vince, you silly Emo bastard.

At this point, I’m having a few thoughts about your Todd problems. He’s a bit of an awkwardly normal character (go figure,) but he just kinda gets thrown in at random places towards the beginning. When first introduced, Todd is not explicitly Lorena’s boyfriend OR Arms Race’s drummer, or the normal guy, even. I KNOW I’m a stickler for detail, sometimes when I ought not to be, but I really think he could benefit from just a bit more introduction, much like Gypsy’s hair.

Otherwise, he just pops up at random in Lorena and/or Gypsy’s thoughts and speech until he actually appears. The reader needs to anticipate a person like Todd, and start putting together the pieces. I don’t think you would assume this, but Kevin’s introduction is fine. We are NOT supposed to expect THAT pervert, oh no no…

I keep going on and on about your usage, and I’m going to try to stop, but I think I’d like you to let me give you a more detailed in-story revision session like we did for “Bad Dances, Bad Dreams.” You know I’m a HUGE fan of the ways you like to put things, but in this chapter you’ve got some questionable punctuation and syntax, and sometimes- I’ll be honest- you tend to trip over your own efficiency. Look at this:

“Oh, absolutely Gypsy thought with sarcasm, shaking her head, but she gave in. Lorena was unmovable. “Okay, okay…” She groaned. “I’m still in. But you’d better get Vince to lay the fuck off, or…”

“Consider it done.” Lorena said soothingly.”

(1) I’d change the “with sarcasm” to “sarcastically.” It just seems a tad clunky. The sarcasm is obvious, but sometimes I wonder if you like the word too much. Funny as that sounds, I’m serious.

(2) “But she gave in.” Whoa, slow down with the change of tense there, lil’ lady! That needs to be a more separate thought, unless you keep it in the same tense, like “Gypsy thought with sarcasm, shaking her head, but then giving in.”

(3) Lorena’s obviously cutting Gypsy off right there, but she does it soothingly? I see how that could work, but I feel like you could expand “said soothingly” to something a bit more… er… accurate. Lorena’s jumping in, but being everyone’s favorite Enlightenment-or-bust too-cute-for-my-socks Asian bass player, she does it with an air of mediate and serenity. That’s no easy feat for most of the rest of us, methinks. Take this (like all my advice) with a grain of salt, but I feel like this just don’t flow, a’ight?

I’d like to say right now (have I said this already?) that I think it’s utterly adorable how Arms Race’s rhythm section is also its only (current, oh SHNAP?) couple.

“Vince was a puritanical prude living day in and day out surrounded by people who couldn’t take their heads out of the gutter long enough to breathe.”

Whoa, this is WAY out of place in the middle of the discussion of Vince’s foot-size-related pet peeve. It would fit much better before or after that bit. After, then (ironically) connect it to the sentence about Vince’s inability to sleep without his guitar in his room. They contrast very nicely.

Hey, DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, allow me to re-write your story for you. As I recall, the other chapters are neater than this one. I LOVE this story (it’s still probably too young for me, but I can wait!), but I’m concerned that this chapter, at least, is very scatterbrained. I’m glad you’re getting all your thoughts out, but be sure to go back and organize them. That’s all I really have to say at this point.

“Lorena had said they were going to give him a tan line. He said she was stupid. It had been a year since he’d taken them off in front of her and there was a reason for that.”

Hmm… Now I must… KNOW…

““She was going to quit?” Vince sat bolt upright. “Just because I yelled at her once? The fucking prima donna, why do we even – ””

OOH, Vince is a potty-mouth! Since when does Lorena not count as a lady? Okay, I take it back, HERE is another place that I want to beat Vince within an inch of his life.

“At least it lived up to its promise, though she cynically suspected that it would be worn out by mid-summer. Gypsy was hard on her bras.”


(By now I’m sure you’re well-acquainted with my use of the word “DAMN.”)

“Yes indeed,” She replied just as cheerfully, smiling from ear to ear. “Turned out perfect. The weather is beautiful, isn’t it? M, that smells good.”

Good morning, ADD!

“Exactly. They’re both hotheaded, stubborn, and easily offended.”

Again, Todd obviously can’t do the mediating job Lorena can, but he does seem like the one sane fellow keeping the key to the asylum gates away from the killer mental patients. I can see why he’d be a background presence, but just stick with the way you’ve been writing him. He doesn’t have to be too influential, but just make sure he’s present and accounted for, ya know?

Besides, I give him thirty Goth points because is name is German for “Death,” plus one letter. How you say?... PFFT.

“With his height, hair, and black clothes, Vince tried never to loiter directly in front of an entrance where people couldn’t avoid him, because he got the feeling he made passersby nervous.”

Jackass, that’s taking all the fun out of it!

“It was fading a bit and you could tell it had originally been dark brown.”

…And yet I sympathize with you JUST ENOUGH to not QUITE kill you…

Okay, so you DO talk about Gypsy’s hair’s color… I just think you ought to do it sooner. It’s really your call. *hides under the nearest bed*

““I’m watching my figure.” Calorie girl said primly.

“You and every man in the room.” Kevin cut in smoothly, slicing the tension that had grown thick in the air as Lorena’s irritation and Gypsy’s embarrassment grew more obvious. He winked. One by one the girls at the other table got it and burst into giggles, and calorie girl made a very pronounced show of shrieking and diving across their table to bat vaguely at Kevin.”

Now why didn’t I think of that one? DARN IT! *giggles* Have you ever heard anyone actually use that pick-up line? I feel like I have, but I’m not sure.

This is utterly random, but the whole Calorie Girl thing is actually rather Stephen King, “Cell” era especially. Coming from me, that’s a compliment. Coming from most of my friends, I wouldn’t know…

“Vince counted to three and then calmly stood up and pulled back the table without warning, catching Kevin in the act of getting a peek up Gypsy’s skirt.”

Like I said, all you can really do is neuter the bastard. But then who would Vince be able to actually understand? A Catch-22 already?

Somehow, this is giving Vince too much credit… Or is it…?

“Just let him walk with you.” Todd jumped in. “It’s safer.”

This is a good Todd line. Mmhmm.

Are the rest of my reviews going to be this long? I highly doubt it. But they are coming. This review has been over a week in the works, simply because I’m either sleeping or studying these days.

But fuck this shit. Let’s get to the important stuff:


Picking a chapter highlight is always a tough thing for me to do. This chapter is no exception, but I finally narrowed it down:

“Relying solely on hearsay, one could surmise that Vincent Margarelli was a no-good punk, a true gentleman, a self-righteous asshole, a misunderstood musician, a rebel, a poser, an emo kid, a badass, a prude, a goth, a stoner, a hottie, a fag, a juvenile delinquent, a pretentious bastard, an antisocial freak, a religious nut, a godless heathen, a sensitive artist, a heartless thug, a genius, a flunkie, a feminist, a male chauvinist pig, a future serial killer, and a big softie once you got to know him.

Most of it was kinda true.”

This is such a high dose of pure, 100%, unadulterated Classic Tracey that I almost bottled it and sold it to junkies on the street, but then I decided I’d just shoot it all up by myself.

Or am I doing a line of it right now?

Damn straight I am.

I KNOW I ended up sounding really critical at times, but I wasn’t lying when I said that I loved this chapter. I REALLY look forward to the rest of this story. (No pressure or anything.)

I hope this review was of help to you. I feel like a real cocky wise-ass perfectionist after going on and on about certain things, but…

Eh, whatever.

Signed and rocked steadily,

Werrwulf XI.5

PS: I win.
sugarandspice91 chapter 4 . 9/6/2007

act well-adjusted. lol. i love that.

the kevin-vince banter was beautiful. i really liked the whole group positioning at the pizza place, it was like aw hehe ha! seriosly. and i cant spell but whatever. speaking of spelling i was telling my friend sam about your theory of how all poets can't spell and my friend sara was like omg that is so true! and then went on about it for 10 min. it was really funny.
Doomy-Doom chapter 4 . 9/5/2007
Alright, fine. But I’m taking down your Christmas tree free of charge. Don’t try to argue with me.

Vince really did not like to lose at things.

then he should not bowl...

Gypsy, Lorena, and Kevin sat on one side, Todd and Vince on the other. Kevin was not within arms’ reach of Gypsy, Kevin and Vince were as far away from each other as possible, and Todd and Lorena were directly across from one another and could play footsies.

And, convieniently, they probably take up the most space...Keving being somewhat huge, Lorena small, and Gypsy average. Then...Vince and Todd are tall...they take up the same amount of upward space...

“Vince.” Said Lorena, with a tone and expression that reminded Gypsy very forcefully of her sister, “was anything in that sentence supposed to be reassuring in some way?”


the waitress, who was extremely tall and wearing some of the most startling eye makeup Gypsy had seen in ages.

and then

“Damn.” She sighed. “I wanted to ask where she got her mascara. I can never find purple mascara.”

its little touches like that that make your writing excellent.

“Aww.” Lorena frowned as she pulled a sausage off her pizza and all of the cheese came with it. “Now my pizza is naked.”


So, the first half of this chapter was hillarious and spot on. The second half was sad-ish and developed plot and characters, and was still spot on. No time for a long review now, but this chapter was excellent. Thank you for writing it so that i could bless my eyes and my brain with its perfection.

Love you dearly,

Ben-ho Ross, Captain of the doom-DOOM-doom
EnigmaInk chapter 4 . 9/3/2007
Pink Floyd is a cosmic entity, act accordingly.

Yay cheerful banter!

Oh god, another harem! Do you know how many fangirls will be clamoring to join?

"and…and be miserable in her direction." Possibly my favorite line out of the many, many brilliant lines you have composed.

No chalance concerts like disconcerting nonchalance. It's the negatives, they help.

I have purple mascara. Hot Topic baby.

Dude, her cousin might be the queen of the fairies of Midsummer Night's Dream fame. I highly suspect it.

Five foot four inches is not mere. There are *some people* who would seriously consider trading teeth to be five foot four inches and thus a full three inches taller. Diss not the vertically disinclined.

The whole scene with the mother is very well done, in a non-steak-like-way. In a writingyish way. The suspense for why Gypsy moved out is definately building, or would be if I didn't know, but yes. Great chapter, between the talking AND the things happening.
Alice0Lucy0Raven0Solay chapter 4 . 9/3/2007
whats wrong with being 5' 4''? and you'll have to introduce the mysterious waitress next chappie...
Dust Cloud chapter 4 . 9/3/2007
Nice chapter. Although, I kind of thought Gypsy had reddish hair, not blackish...and I don't remember if you mentioned Gypsy's old name before, and I don't think anyone else will either, so you're in the clear.

I really like the character of Clara. She seems so down to earth and all. You're also doing a really nice job of suspense. I'm sure we're all dying to know why she moved out. Except for Gina and me and people. Whatever. _

Anyway. I'm not reviewing as I go anymore because I end up chopping up the chapter. So, very nice work. Very funny and the characters only developed further. Yeah.

Great chapter.
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