Reviews for That Same Mistake
B. J. Winters chapter 8 . 3/6/2009
I already read 7 ages ago, so it made sense to continue on.

{excerpt} He doesn’t understand that she only cares about baseball to annoy him and because her family cares. Her father is still upset, but she’s moved on. {I'd cut the line about her dad - his perspective isn't relevant and is just random here}

I still don't buy it that she'd just leave...the ending just left me a bit flat. After the 'she can't say it', 'she had to say it' - the "merry way" seemed like you were dissing you character.

My overall impression of this story is positive. I liked the dialogue, and I particularly liked Carrie. As always, I enjoyed the read over my morning coffee. It was light and easy to follow.
B. J. Winters chapter 6 . 3/6/2009
Now here the "perfected glance" works and tells me much. This just reinforces my point about it before - you can only "perfect" once.

He’s moved from one crazy girl to another. {loved that line. Very telling}

I think you might have tried to do too much here. I would have focused on one perspective and let it build. I felt a bit like a pingpong ball - was I in you MC's head or not. I think I would have made this one scene, with all the emotion rather than having the break.

The ending could have been more dramatic than: Carrie looks at Lina with an almost relieved expression. Lina wants to give one back, but when all she can think about is how stupid she was in eighth grade, it’s hard. {one back - a look? And this is just flat after the raw emotion - have someone "storm off" "glare" - doubt and regret was not what I expected here.}
B. J. Winters chapter 5 . 3/6/2009
Even though the title is worded this way because of the song, it still reads awkward. I got caught on the choppyness. I expected to see: Leave me alone, and no one gets hurt.


She doesn’t realize what a mistake leaving early was until Carrie nearly chokes her. Lina is trying to enjoy one of the few sunny weekends she has left by walking aimlessly around town, window-shopping, but Carrie puts a stop to all that.

(unnecessary break)

The girl comes up behind her, clamps her hands around Lina’s neck, and then has too much momentum and nearly takes them both down. Lina swears loudly, rubbing at her neck and glaring at Carrie.

{for drama, I'd reorder this and make it one paragraph. You talk about choking, then have her setting, then go back to choking...Either do setting, choking, choking, aftermath - or choking, choking, aftermath, setting}

I've noticed that you repeat yourself occasionally:

{excerpt} There are voices behind them, and Lina decides to take her leave. “I’ve got to go,” she says softly, “my sister’s waiting for me.”

You don't need to tell me she decides to leave, and then tell me again in dialogue. It destroys your pacing to bog the reader down by saying the same thing twice.

Another example: Carrie is now officially confused. Lina can tell by the puzzled expression that’s passed over her face, and she’s staring at her like she doesn’t know what to think anymore. {you can do this by having Lina just see her face - you don't need to announce the condition and then show me the evidence. Infact, you can accomplish this with just: "Lina can see the puzzled expression," - as a reader I know that means she's confused...}

I think I like Carrie more than Lina. I have more empathy towards her. Lina is a bit irritating. I hope that was the desired outcome.
B. J. Winters chapter 4 . 3/6/2009
Now I have an elton john song in my head. *hums*

Nice Friday Night Lights atmosphere - well captured in the character reflection. I particularly liked the hot chocolate as a weapon (unique) and the laughing even though she knows its mean (typical for age of character and her situation).

It’s an abusive relationship, non-existent because she doesn’t want to admit that it exists. {this just doesn't fit. It's another example of contradition that I pointed out in the prior chapter - clearly the relationship exists, perhaps she denies it, but it does exist...don't tell me as a reader that it doesn't, because you're almost flipping into narration mode and that also doesn't quite fit with the balance of the story - stay on her perspective with more precise word choice. Here I'm almost seeing "Dot" talking.}
B. J. Winters chapter 3 . 3/6/2009
yes, I read the whole chapter, but I'm going to focus on the opening for my commentary.

I loved the openning italics - very provocative statement.

But you say "next day" and then make the character very wise/world weary (perfected over the years) - if we're still in eighth grade, this doesn't fit - and even if we've moved on a few years I just wouldn't expect that level of skill. I do think this would play better if there was more self doubt about how well the feeling are masked. Particularly since you say "he suspects" "concerned looks"- how can this be if she's so good at hiding.

I did love this line: She can’t stand it when he grins at her while he’s doing it, as if to ask if she approves. {paints a clear picture.} - so clear that I don't think you need this more analytical, unemotional line that follows: It hurts on so many different levels - I'd just start the sentence with "but". That way you show me and don't tell me.
B. J. Winters chapter 2 . 3/6/2009
This chapter is interesting in the change of POV. It's unique, but choppy and must have been a deliberate choice. To add to the flow you might want to consider using some illiteration. Since you open with a definite statement: (example) Lina thinks Finn is being purposely unhelpful. You might want to leverage common words. The next section says "she doesn't" - why not say here Lina doesn't think Finn is helpful - rather than the odd negative you have. And then the reader could see a pattern in the perspectives.

I think in the openning section you used too many pronouns. Since i haven't completely grasped a mental picture of your characters the heavy use of he/she left me still feeling disconnected. I need more to grasp to feel engaged.

Dialogue is good and appropriate for the grade level. I'm glad you showed me more of the history...although this felt a bit repetitive with chapter 1 - might be worth considering combining or putting into a flashback format. Just a thought.
B. J. Winters chapter 1 . 3/6/2009
I'm not sure what to make of this chapter. I did get a sense of the characters, and I liked how each was introduced in turn, but it was irritating to feel that they knew something that I didn't.

Example: Maybe he’ll think she’s crazy and therefore deserving of that one name. Maybe Finn’ll convince him to use it again so Lina won’t have to be in love anymore. {here you don't tell me what the name is, but the character knows. That is really disturbing, and makes me feel like I'm not in the characters head like I should be)

In a way, it almost felt like it was writen in future tense, I was so far removed from the action. "She doesn't know what to think" - really felt like it needed to be worded as "she didn't know what to think" just so that I could understand this was here/now and not off unconnected. And that's just one example of how I felt like I was floating above the story and not with the characters.

I'll read on.
improvisationallychallenged chapter 2 . 2/9/2009
For the review game:

This has a real spark to it. The dialogue and emotional situations the characters seem to be putting themselves into set this up as a good story. The antagonistic tension fizzing between Lina and Finn is darkly amusing, and the conversation between Lina and Charlie is a really nice little moment of mutual awkwardness.

However (and it is a pretty trivial however), I couldn't help but find this story a little too fast paced. I know I'm only on chapter two, but I'm still a bit uncertain as to who's who, what they're doing/not doing to whom, or why they're doing anything. It's mildly off-putting, but it can easily be remedied. It's clear that you're going for a rapid-fire, minimalist style, and it works - but possibly it could do with a tiny bit of expanding, just to fill in any gaps and make the structure that bit sturdier.
blak pearl chapter 8 . 1/26/2009
Ok, that was a sudden ending. I'm not sure if I like the last line or not, but actually... now that I'm thinking about it, it does sort of fit that the story would end with Lina telling Charlie, and then moving on. Maybe because we don't get the backstory from eigth grade, we never find out exactly why Lina likes Charlie so much (I love all the names in this by the way). Maybe she's even making her liking him a bigger emotion than it actually is in her head, because she's so afraid- she kind of thinks she likes him, and then flips out. And Lina tends to be an over-reacter too so... I'm glad that she gets the closure to continue life without the drama. (That's just my reading of her.)

I also take back what I said about Meredith, after the whole L-O-S-E-R thing (although that doesn't seem to upset Lina as much as I thought it would. I guess she's just more concerned about Charlie and her feelings about him?) At the same time, I think Meredeith's anger is completely warranted.

My brother's nagging me to take him out swimming now, so I'm going to have to leave it here, but I will def read the next installments soon! Huzzoo!
blak pearl chapter 6 . 1/26/2009
Hello you!

I've been meaning to read this series for ages, and finally I do it! (Yay!) Quick things to say before I review properly- I LOVE that moudly peaches song, I've got anyone else but you song by them and the song that michael cera and the girl who plays juno sing too (ah I've forgotten her name. Ellen? Ellen something?) Also, as a How I Met Your Mother fan (they've been airing it week nights here over the summer, finally I got to see all the eps I missed when I forgot it was on, tragic I know but it's ok now) this whole chapter with Lina not wanting to be a crazy girl reminded me of the whole 'crazy eyes' thing which Barney and Ted go on about when Marshall's broken up with Lily and is going out with the coffee chick. Yes, you see the link? ;) (Btw seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall? So freaking hilarious man, you have to if you haven't). I also totally get how Lina's feeling, in the sense that it's really hard sometimes to contain your emotions just because you think that the people you're around won't get it if you explain just the hell why you're so upset (they'll just think you're a crazy psycho.) I speak generally not from experience. ;) Haha a lie.

Anyway, truthfully, I like the characters and plot to Guitar Hero better but I like how the sections for this are very short, and you can pack a lot in to every chapter. It's like usually, a story is in a teapot- all boiling water and tea leaves, but here you've strained everything away to leave only the tea. Which is good, because no one really likes dealing with the tea leaves. Does this even make sense? It's somewhat early in the morning and I'm a little sleep deprived. Anyway-

I like how Meredith is the 'bad girl', in that she's Lina's competition, but she's actually in the right. Lina's lucky to have such loyal friends, considering especially how prickly she can be. I love Finn and Carrie, and also the boat metaphor. Charlie is so darn oblivious it's hilarious.

Ok, I shall read on, and will drop by another review soon!
Josephine Sawyer chapter 8 . 1/16/2009
I really like the ending. I might agree that the last line could be revised, but the ending up to that point is essentially perfect. Because the story was, really, about next-to-nothing, with a tone that was both dismissive and terse, so the anticlimactic ending is perfect. Good job.

I would, however, consider beefing it up - and this applies to most of the chapters, with more descriptions. I feel like, at the end of this piece, you know the characters very well but I don't so much, and that's in part because the descriptions aren't there to add in the backstory and flesh out the characters.
Josephine Sawyer chapter 7 . 1/16/2009
I think I like this chapter best. There's just more here, and the scene after the game, with Finn and Lina supporting Charlie and letting him practice even though it's late and they're tired and want to go home is a nice touch - again building up the relationships between the characters.

I like Charlie's mother's character, (although I might like her even better if, after Charlie gets home, she gives him a very stern talking to). But I felt like the mention of the Petersons was a distraction from the rest of the story.
Josephine Sawyer chapter 6 . 1/16/2009
I like the first bit; the matter-of-fact way you describe how Lina reaps what she sowed when she lied is very nice.

It's nice to see Charlie stick up for Lina and Lina stick up for Charlie, as well; it makes it seem more like a friendship-turned-crush and less like just a random crush.
Josephine Sawyer chapter 5 . 1/16/2009
Props to Carrie for confronting Lina on the whole being-a-coward-and-ditching-them thing. I like her character a lot.

I think that your style is particularly good for describing things like Lina's lying - and the conflicting desperation with which she does it. Since it puts Lina as an outsider to the whole story, it makes her an outsider to her own lies as well. Which helps with making it seem realistic. But I still found it hard to believe that Lina, who had been characterized as tongue-tied more often than not, found the lies so easy to tell.
Josephine Sawyer chapter 4 . 1/16/2009
I like your tone, terse and emotional at the same time. It fits Lina's character very well, especially since she seems to be all about denying her emotions.

One thing that I would say, retrospectively over the first four chapters, is that I would have liked a little bit more character development. Lina at the beginning was terrified and awkward and wanted to do anything but talk about it; Lina right now is scared and awkward and can't talk about it. She doesn't even admit for a second that maybe if she had talked about it earlier she would feel better (even if it didn't change the situation necessarily). All of which makes it seem like things are happening around her, and not to her.
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