|Reviews for Strong to Save II|
| Carmel March chapter 13 . 6/21/2008
Fantastic job on this chapter. Absolute genius :) Can't wait for more!
| Reaper chapter 13 . 6/2/2008
OH COME ON! I find this a week after you already finished it! Ah well, that was still pretty awesome. A single siting, a single story and still saturated with 's'. I think you need to make another one of these. A different cruiser, new characters, maybe an old one or four appearing by pure coincedence.
P.S. How long until a new work is in the works?
| Bob Evans chapter 13 . 5/30/2008
I'm going to be honest, it was a bit anticlimatic. It was basically a lengthy version of saying, the helicopter suddenly appeared, the day was saved, the children went home, The End. I'm not saying it wasn't expected (you clearly had the plot prepared for this ending), it just felt like you...rushed it. Almost like you were bored with it, and just wanted to wrap it up quickly. With your past stories you've put an extra amount of emphasis on making the ending special. This time it felt like you were just hurrying us to the end. We didn't even really get a chance to peek into Pat's or Alex's thoughts in depth on the matter.
But nevertheless, you got them home. And we even got to have another one of your Mayor Easter Eggs. And, I don't think I've mentioned this before, I've always enjoyed reading your little summaries at the end that explain your creative process. This one was no exception, and it feels like as good a time as any to say thanks, and hopefully you'll keep adding that nifty little addition to the rest of your stories.
Which brings up the next part of my review: Wow, nothing else till Fall? I guess you really are taking a "Summer Vacation". Well enjoy it. I'll keep my eyes open for your next post. And as always, thanks again for your thoughts and reviews on my stories.
~The one and only Bob Evans
| Bob Evans chapter 12 . 5/29/2008
How do they know they're on an island? They could be on the coast of Florida for all they know. They're all ready to set up camp and shelter, but they haven't even gotten a lay of the land. Unless the island is some odd fifty feet across, what makes them so sure they're not already saved?
Although I must admit that the surprise revelation of Alex's plan was quite fascinating. I certainly didn't see it coming. Kudos there. Too bad he was crazy enough to set the ship aflame.
P.S. Noticed a few more of those Author Intrusions. Tsk, tsk, you gotta watch out for those.
| Carmel March chapter 10 . 5/25/2008
Wow, really great chapter. Full of everything that makes me adore this story. I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to read it!
Can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter :)
| Bob Evans chapter 10 . 5/23/2008
Ha, it's good to see some payback. Especially on Max. Of course you had to leave us with yet another cliffhanger, but at least now we get to see just why Alex had to keep everything a secret (something I have been deeply confused by). Here's hoping it's exciting!
| Bob Evans chapter 9 . 5/20/2008
Ha ha, Alex is about to have a coup on his hands. I suspected you were saving Max for something special, and now I know what. We'll have to see how the children take the political intrigue.
I liked the scene with Pat and Shelby. It was amusing, although if I were Pat, I would've used it to my advantage and tried to either knock Shelby down or blitz for the open door. Or at least make something up and confuse her. In fact, I'm surprised Pat hasn't tried teaming up with Clark to loose themselves of their restraints, then set a trap for whoever visits them next (another interesting thing, how do they eat anything they've given when they're all tied up?).
Another interesting thing, I noticed you like to use the word "comrade". Nothing special about it, just thought I'd point it out (unless, perhaps, you were hinting that the children are Russian...*wink wink, nudge nudge*).
P.S. I'm glad you enjoyed those last two chapters. Quite interesting; maybe we have changed roles.
| Bob Evans chapter 8 . 5/10/2008
Curious. A nifty little side-view of everything that happened from their point of view. Of course, I'm not sure if a whole chapter was needed to go back and view this, since we pretty much had a general idea from the recent revelations about what was going on with those four. Perhaps it would have been easier to include a brief reminiscing scene where Alex briefly recounted what it was like during those previous events.
| Bob Evans chapter 7 . 5/2/2008
Love it. So good to see all the interlocking plot points fitting into place. And I especially enjoyed reading as Alex and Max "humbled" Pat. Finally some obvious points were raised (like just what it was exactly that was so hard for Pat as a leader).
Still, there was one thing that irked me. At the end of Chapter 4, we had a confrontation between Pat and Max, where Max had yelled "Stop!", and Pat said, "Or what?" Well, beginning of Chapter 5, suddenly the rolls were reversed, and you had Pat not sure how to respond to the "Or what" comment, when he was the one who gave it in the first place. Major continuality error right there. Which was sad, really, because I was wondering just what it was that Max would say in response. Ah well, point is moot now.
Oh, and one other thing; you have a copy of the first half of the first sentence on the last four chapters at the top of each chapter. You should definitely fix that.
~The one and only Bob Evans
| cancelled chapter 1 . 4/21/2008
I'm really impressed by this...I'll list a couple of reasons why.
First of all, your writing style is...refreshing. Not overly descriptive and it's pretty fast-paced. Often, writers try to describe every miniscule detail of every object in the story, a la Faulkner, and it ends up sounding like a cheap imitation.
Your style reminds me much more of Hemingway-you say what needs to be said and don't get hung up on the details. It's nice.
If this were a different type of story, I might recommend that you use a few more sensory descriptions, but actually I think that there's not much of a place for them in this story. The simple nature of your writing allows the plot to really shine through, as well as lending to the chilling atmosphere of the story.
Also, you pretty much nailed the dialogue, something most writers (myself included) have a hard time with. You didn't give the kids unrealistically rich vocabularies, which I appreciate. I've noticed that even many movie scripts include kid's lines with words they just wouldn't know at their age.
In conclusion, nice job; I like it alot. And by the way, this story reminds me a little of "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane, and that's a compliment, for sure.
| Bob Evans chapter 4 . 4/13/2008
Time to catch up.
Okay, Chapter 3 answered a lot of my questions as to what it was exactly that Pat was doing as the "leader". Still, I can't figure out why he won't delegate responsibility (as Alex is so clearly willing to take some of it). I mean, one of the most unconscious acts of a leader (or more specifically, a despot) is to point and say, "You! Do that!" With Pat, it's beginning to sound like he has trust issues. Or, more practically, he's a control freak. The "I'm-the-only-one-who-can-do-it-right-so-back-off" attitude. In which case, I'd support the overthrown in power that we all know Max is leading. In fact, this seems a lot like the last one, only you're being a lot less subtle about this revolution, and the current "leader" isn't as delusional as the previous one (or as hard to appreciate as a protagonist). But then again, you may have surprises laying up your sleeve yet.
Which brings me to my favorite part of Chapter 4. I really liked the latter half, because Pat actually got on the trail of the mystery, having finally put together a sufficient number of the clues. He got close, and you even through in a nifty cliff hanger, which means one of two things; the truth is gonna come out, or Max is gonna bluff, and hold off Pat's will to make an executive decision just a few more agonizing chapters. Probably the latter, but once again, just speculation on my part.
Now, onto the rough part of my review. One obvious thing at the very top of Chapter 4; an immediate repeat in a sentence (Pat let out a depressed, almost annoyed sigh). That's a quickie to fix.
For the sake of doing an lengthy analysis of particular lines of text throughout the narrative, I'll stick to quick summaries (if you're looking for particular examples, I can PM you my findings). Firstly, you're being over-complicated in your descriptions. You'll use an entire sentence to say something that could be distributed into several, smaller segments, or even cut out altogether. Remember, you don't want to drown the reader. As a GENERAL rule of thumb, if you can't say a single sentence in one breath (and at an even pace), then odds are it's a little too long.
There was one sentence that caught my attention, and to make the point, I'll add it in as an example (I know, I know, just after I said I wouldn't). This was taken from the scene in which Pat realized Max and Shelby were nearby, talking behind his back:
"They seemed like they were up to something and that they were talking about something that could have possibly been of great concern to him."
Good attempt, but this over-complex sentence could've been done away with much simpler descriptions early on. Extrapolate about the various kids he sees around the particular room he's sitting in, or, if there are none others, then make a special note that Pat noticed a couple of other kids off in the background while detailing the scene he's in. Then, while Pat is listening to Alex make his proposition of delegating power, have his brain make the click, and realize just who the two kids are.
Next, I notice you have these little additional sentences you throw in parentheses that you use for unnecessary additional emphasis. Now I'd be lying if I said I never use them, but you use them quite a bit, and they often end up being as long as regular sentences, and, just as I said, add unnecessary additional emphasis. Give the reader the benefit of the doubt. Yes, sometimes they'll get confused, but it won't feel like the reader is purposely stopping to explain things to them. A story should never require the author to pause and explain to the reader what is going on (this is almost as bad as the POV called "Author Intrusion").
And finally, I've told you this before, but you have a real nasty habit of TELLING the reader instead of SHOWING. This is something my Creative Writing course tried to ram down my throat. It's not a news report, it's not a re-tale of events, it's a story. This goes back to what I was saying about your unnecessary additional emphasis. Build a scene for us, don't tell us what to think. Let us imagine it. It is one of the hardest things to do as writer (along with making your characters round). If I could but give one last example of this, then I promise that I will stop doing it:
"Both were trying to ensure several times throughout their meeting that no one else was around them by looking over their shoulders and talking in whispers."
The latter half of that sentence was really all you need. As Pat watches them, note that Max is constantly looking over his shoulder; note that they were both whispering low, making it hard for Pat to understand them. The reader will clearly see that they are trying to make sure no one else is around; there's no need to tell them that.
In conclusion, I hope that if anything, this review added some nifty space to the quiet page you had for this story already. And if anything, maybe you picked up a thing or two on creative writing that you didn't know before. I can see you taking this story far, you just need the right applications of the creative imagination you've already got. So keep writing, keep taking these characters on the adventure you've got waiting for them, and I'll keep reading, waiting to see just what it is Max is planning, just how it is Pat is going to handle it, and just hope that somehow those poor kids get rescued.
~The one and only Bob Evans
| Bob Evans chapter 2 . 4/11/2008
There was a transition missing when you switched between Pat and Clark. Fiction Press provides those bars you can put in during the editing phase once it's been uploaded, but if you're not a fan of those, you can also add some dots or lines on a center formatting. Otherwise, it's gets slightly confusing, and the reader has to go back and figure out where things suddenly changed on him.
Anyway, I'm glad SOMEONE finally started thinking about their dead parents. For a minute I thought everyone was just going to be all chill/hang out until their supplies finally ran out. I don't know how much of a leader Pat is if all he ever does is check up on the engineering and occasionally plays a few games; he doesn't ever seem to be delgating responsiblity of whatever maintance they are actually doing, or providing services to the other kids that they are actually providing. He seems more like a figure-head; and then, only for the benifit of making his word law whenever he actually lays it down. I wonder what hope the kids see in him.
| Carmel March chapter 4 . 4/6/2008
Really fantastic story so far. Can't wait for more :)
| Bob Evans chapter 1 . 3/26/2008
"A well rounded critique is often the most rewarding tool for the writer." Gotta love all the little messages Fiction Press has laying around their site. So...subliminal.
Well, Pat is officially the leader, and not doing too well either. Of course, if I were a kid in his position, the whole thing would definitely look grim. Somehow I see a very "Lord of the Flies" scenario playing out. I imagine the conflict will drag on to the point where once they do run out of supplies, everyone will go for each other's throats. At that point I'll be curious to see where you take the main characters.
Speaking of main characters, I see we've established Pat and Nicole (old faces from Book 1), but perhaps there is the introduction of yet another mysterious group in the shadows (much like the first one Pat and Nicole were apart of, if my memory serves me correctly). However, I feel their introduction could've been handled differently. Once again, you gave the reader a TV POV; you wrote the narrative out like you were describing an image on a screen. Perhaps a better approach would have been to introduce Clark's character (in tandem with Pat), and then follow him briefly as he overhears the conversation in the shadows. Then cut the scene, and jump back over to Pat. Remember, Third Person OmniPresent isn't always the best POV for a story.
Anyways, once again, I'm curious to see where you take these protagonists (possible antagonists?), now that they've been bumped up to "Main Character" status. Keep writing!