|Reviews for Formerly Arvin Gauss, Ordinary Immortal|
| Complex Variable chapter 6 . 2/4/2013
STOP SKIPPING THE DETAILS! Xo Stop skipping over the events where your characters interact with one another, doing the big and little things that make up their day-to-day lives—the things that show them acting and reacting; the things that reveal who they are as individuals.
Why does Arvin need to be great? Why are they pressuring him? Is there a conspiracy going on? Why does he agree to all this? If I were Arvin, I'd just tell these immortals to go f-k themselves. xD
Make this meaningful! You have ideas—that's a good start. Now, just add motivations, personalities, and conflicts to make it into a functional story.
| Complex Variable chapter 5 . 2/4/2013
Okay, now I'm VERY confused. Is this taking place on Earth, or in a fantasy world? You need to make that clear. Likewise, introducing even more world-building information without developing character accordingly is just making this worse. I understand that this piece is five years old, and so, I hope that your writing has improved overall, and that you can recognize the problems with this pieces, but still—the problems remain. They need to be fixed.
[ Dyak Duor Menihab, the great explorer, who died tragically about the time Siral disappeared. She and he were close; it is my belief that her death drove him mad with grief, and thus led him to abandon the Order once and for all. ] - - - How can an "immortal" die? Xo Not only are you going overboard with information-dumping, but you're not even presenting USEFUL or needed information. I want to know how all of this relates to Arvin. Who is he? What does he believe in? What does he want, and why does he want it? How does he feel about all of these developments? Did he not know about them, or did he? What makes him tick? Was he born immortal, or was it something bestowed upon him? Are these people even human, or are they something else? Why are they immortal? WHAT'S GOING ON!
*More confused ranting*
| Complex Variable chapter 3 . 2/4/2013
[The next two months were spent doing just that, it seemed, as the coach sped along heavily rutted thoroughfares and ill-travelled backroads, across mountains and plains towards the east. He learned quite a lot about Nia during that time, as the majority of it saw the two of them alone in the careening carriage with nothing for it but to talk and watch the scenery. He asked her about the driver. She was evasive. All she said was, "You can trust him. He's been doing this for quite a while." He did not press the matter.] - - - Oh, wonderful! XF Arvin learns stuff about Nia, but the reader doesn't? That's cruel!
More importantly: TWO MONTHS!? What the hell!? XL If this is you trying to be humorous, it really doesn't work. Quirkiness is lovable when it adds extra dimension to qualities already present in the story—to characters and conflicts. But this, this is hollow; it's quirkiness, but without any substance underneath, so it tastes like cardboard.
Once again, this story is more plot than character—and that's bad; worse, the plot is, so far, meaningless. I have no reason to continue reading about this story or Arvin's adventures (other than my die-hard commitment to provide you, a fellow review-junkie, with reviews.) Fix this—make the story compelling! Give Arvin a challenge to overcome; severe depression, a long-lost love, a horrendous fear of all electronics—ANYTHING to add more substance to this story. Make it Arvin's story, not a random series of discombobulated, half-baked info-dumps!
Watch episodes of the TV show "Pushing Daisies" if you want examples of quirkiness executed wonderfully. ;)
I apologize if I seem harsh. :/ I don't mean to; I'm just disappointed with what I'm reading. Xo
| Complex Variable chapter 2 . 2/4/2013
[themselves as they walked and the woman explained things. ] - - - These hanging phrases are really bugging me! Xo
[I heard that you had taught here since time immemorial, and never seemed to get older, and it peaked my interest.] - - - Wait. What? xD This is a ridiculous statement; if Nia could hear of such things, wouldn't the government have, too? XD
[D'dorvey,] - - - I LOVE this name! :D
Okay, plot-wise, I have to say... this is pretty bad. Xo Hast thou not heard of subtlety? XD We know virtually nothing about Arvin as a person/personality, and yet, already, he's been called to adventure. This makes the story feel very, very detached—and not in a good way. Throwing out all this information about immortals so soon and so abruptly in the story line feels very overwhelming and amateurish. You're giving me information, but I have no incentive or motivation to care about the information you're giving me—that's a fatal flaw for any fantasy story. Give Arvin a conflict of his own. He needs to have a problem, independent of other characters, so that the reader will have a reason to care about him when he goes on his adventure. Spend more time letting the reader get to know Arvin in his day-to-day life—maybe a chapter showing his day playing out, from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed. I feel like I'm reading the middle of a story, not the beginning of one.
| Complex Variable chapter 1 . 2/4/2013
Okay, the opening to this chapter feels very stilted and awkward. I get this feeling that you're trying to cultivate a quirky, Roald-Dahl-ish atmosphere here, but, IMO it doesn't work. The sentences feel bunched together and very awkward, rhythmically speaking, as if they have literary ADHD, or something. I mean, just look at your opening sentence:
[Once upon a time there was a young man named Arvin Gauss who was a teacher.] - - - "who was a teacher" just trails on the end of the sentence, mucking it up like a joke that garners only silence from the audience. Xo IMO,yYou just need to put a simple change, though, to make it better: "Once upon a time there was a young man named Arvin Gauss. He was a teacher." See there? The rhythm of the first sentence has been rescued, and, at the same time, the somewhat-absurd beginning—that Arvin is a teacher—gets to stand alone, juxtaposed against the timeless "Once upon a time" opening that accompanies it. Much the same can be said of the rest of that paragraph—it's just a tad bit on the WRONG side of awkward, if you know what I mean.
[One evening Mr. Gauss gathered up his ungraded papers from the vacant schoolroom and went to climb the hill to his house as he had done the night before and expected to do the following night as well, but as he stepped outside a woman detached from the schoolhouse wall and walked quickly to come abreast of him (Arvin walked faster naturally than most people he knew) and said, "Mr. Arvin Gauss?"] - - - This sentence is WAAAAAAAAAAY too long Xo ! Fix it! Fix it! fix it!
["Madame, I don't even know who you are! I first laid eyes on you not two minutes ago, and if you do not mind my saying so, don't you think you are being rather abrupt? I apologise, my dear woman, but I must decline your offer! Good day!"] - - - This dialogue is incredibly unrealistic. Once again, if you're trying to achieve a charming, humorous quirkiness, then you have a lot of work to do as far as it regards fine-tuning your literary marksmanship. Sometimes, saying less is actually saying more.
There could be a lot more description of the setting here. You spend time describing Arvin's looks, but I don't really have a feel for his personality. If you wrote out the way he took in the setting around him, showing us his thoughts and reflections and attitudes, it would go a long way toward establishing his character. Furthermore, it's always easier to introduce a quirky story atmosphere by using characters' quirkiness. Let us get inside his thoughts and his quips. Making him have silly thoughts like "Arvin wondered about long the fish would stay floppy", or "He always like looking at cars; he liked to pretend they could talk back to him. It made him feel less lonely. They were much better conversation than his students, anyway." etc. Things like that—it establishes the quirkiness far more smoothly, IMO. ;)
On to Chapter 2!
| SplitToInfinity chapter 6 . 4/8/2009
*smiles* I like it. It did seem to drag a little bit for the first couple of chapters, but I think that was more the mood I was in than anything else.
| alaisiaga chapter 6 . 2/25/2009
poor arvin! i want to read more of how he does on his involuntary quest for greatness.
though there is one thing i'm curious about and forgot to mention- in the previous chapter, you mentioned a few of the immortals who had died. i'm really wondering what, exactly, the circumstances are in which an immortal dies, and what their limitations are. all that's been said so far is that they have no need for food or drink and don't age. i'd definitely be interested to see more details about their immortality in a future update: for example, can they get sick, whether from a common cold or a worse illness? can they be injured by humans or other immortals, or even human weapons?
| alaisiaga chapter 5 . 2/25/2009
I like the conflict of "destiny" versus self. You've done a great job of making the reader sympathize with Arvin- yes, the greatness of the other immortals' achievements is inspiring, but we still feel Arvin's homesickness.
| alaisiaga chapter 4 . 2/25/2009
Haius Mooneyes is certainly an intriguing character. Though in the second chapter, you referred to her as "Lo Mooneyes". Is "Lo" a title of respect? I had assumed it was her name. I'd suggest making it a bit clearer- for example, changing the reference in chapter two to Lo Haius Mooneyes.
| alaisiaga chapter 3 . 2/25/2009
i feel like this chapter is too short. it brings up too many questions, and not nearly enough answers. which is a mean trick to keep me reading. ;P other than that, i still like it.
| alaisiaga chapter 2 . 2/25/2009
i like the way this is progressing- the idea of picking something to be really great at, and the hints that arvin doesn't particularly want said greatness. there are a few issues i have with word choice- in the first paragraph, you use the word "explain" too often. and i believe the phrase is "piqued my interest", not "peaked". other than that, it still holds my interest with no problem. on to the next chapter! :3
| alaisiaga chapter 1 . 2/25/2009
(i stumbled over here from deviantart. so, hiya!) :3
i really like the beginning of this story. normally i tend to shy away from an immediate chunk of description, but here it fits the feel of the story. i do wish, however, that there were more of a distinct timeperiod setting- i get the impression from a few things (cabin, the school house, the way they speak) that it's set quite some time ago, but i'm still left feeling a bit disoriented, time-wise.
other than that, i am intrigued. at the moment laundry is calling, but i firmly intend to read the rest once that's taken care of!
| Gary chapter 1 . 2/25/2009
A very compelling story that keeps me intrigued from beginning to end. My only complaint is that I want to know what happens next! Very enjoyable!
| firemounrain chapter 6 . 1/3/2009
Dude. Suddenly he's old, and there are lots of people... I'm dizzy!
I wonder what specialty he'll pick...
| Nicki BluIs chapter 6 . 12/28/2008
Poor Arvin. I find it ironoc that he was greater in his small town than he is among these amazing people.
I also like that he is still trying just to please the other people.
Yay! Now im 6 reviews closer to not losing at the Review Game's Review Marathon! (link im my profile)