Reviews for The Example
Carus chapter 1 . 4/14/2009
Hi Suz, here's your April Fool's review :P

Okay, I just read it all and right now my only response is "wow". You are definitely a very talented writer. I think that in this story you've managed to get the balance between action, dialogue and description perfect.

The way it's written from the soldier's point of view is good because you've managed to show his confusion brilliantly along with evoking emotion from the reader. However, I do think that the soldier is portrayed as too good - he is very much the typical innocent, good boy who's been manipulated into an evil situation by the bad guys who are now killing him. I think what I'm trying to say is that it's quite a typical view of this situation that has been done many times before. But that's okay, because you've written it brilliantly :)

"Here was not the face of the devil, of evil with pig eyes and snout for a nose." I love this reference to the propoganda :P Very subtle, and it shows the way teh government and army manipulated the soldiers into doing what they had to.

I found it incredibly interesting that you used the Chaplain as the character who was both symapthetic to the soldier AND the character who was used to get information out of him. It brings up (to me) interesting ideas about religion and stuff... you know what I think there, anyway :)

One really minor point: you say in the A/N that it's about the Great War, which was the first world war, am I right? If so, then the Aryan idea of blonde hair and blue eyes wouldn't matter for Germany then; that was Hitler and WW2. But that's a very minor point :P

Overall... I actually love this story, and it is so well written it nearly made me cry. Well done :)


(Also, have you read Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulkes? If not, do. It's really good and it's about WW1)
Sophronia Lee chapter 1 . 3/27/2009
Hiya, Suzie. This is my review for the RG's WCC. Sorry for being so lazy and not doing it til the last minute. :P

The opening definently made me want to read more. It created suspense for the rest of the story- why is he so nervous? And I like the way you wrote it, too. Very descriptive.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this story. It was suspenseful and sad without being some emo cryfest. But, at the beginning, during the trial part, I was a little bored. It got a wee bit repetitive. But I liked the part where he was remembering his mother. It made him seem more real and human.

"Here was not the face of the devil, of evil with pig eyes and snout for a nose. He was just a boy, like him." I loved this part. Very true.

Your writing style works great here. And it's very vivid and descriptive. There are a few cases, though, where it gets a little confusing: "The two soldiers that bring him join eight others..." This confused me a little. It makes sense, but only after I reread it.

I like how, during the execution scene, you used irony; like he was going to die in a matter of minutes, but the scenery is beautiful and tranquil. The only thing that I'm not sure I like is how resigned he is to his death. Then again, I've never been in a near-death situation, so I couldn't tell how I would react, but he seems almost happy to die.

All in all, it was a great story, and I do love historical fictions. Good job, and congrats on winning!
karma-dollie chapter 1 . 3/27/2009
Congratulations on winning the March WCC! :D I've got to say, this was fantastic and I'm not much of a war or history fan.

The opening definitely caught my attention. I've got to wonder what has this man so nervous. Considering it's a war story, I figured it couldn't be anything good. I didn't understand why, after being screamed at for lolling his head to the side, Edward would do it again in mid scolding, but it makes sense when you see whose hand is on his shoulder.

The scene describing the the possibilities of the home life for the dead German was beautiful and sad. I don't doubt for a minute that that's what happened when these men went off to war leaving family with no idea what's happening. And the fact that Edward kept the cross was lovely too.

Your writing style for this reminds me of a short story I'd see in a textbook at school. It has a very professional feel. It's like one of those stories I'd be asked to over analyze and I'd hate every second of it. Being able to look at it and just enjoy it is fabulous.

The characters, even having such a short time to introduce them, were very realistic. Edward being just 19 does still make him something of a boy to be in such a terrible war. I felt bad for the chaplain who surely wanted to help Edward and sympathized with him, but he put his duties first as he had to. And the sergeant was just...god. I think with him, if he were really as angry as he sounded, he might still have hit Edward despite the chaplain holding him, but other than that, I think he was the perfect brute.

There were just a few typos dealing with subject verb agreement. Also, you wrote, "He cries for hours, he has no sense of the time." Using a measure of time and then saying Edward has no sense of time seems a little awkward. One other off thing I noticed was the line, "He thinks of him now, the reason really that he left." I understand what he's saying, but the phrasing is strange. Sounds like what I'd say if I stumbled on my words while speaking too quickly.

The ending was absolutely beautiful. Probably my favorite part. Yeah, it's sad about Edward's fate, but I can believe that it's better than what he would go through if he stayed alive and kept fighting in the war. I feel the same about the German soldier "waiting for him." At least he has peace now and that leaves me with that warm feeling. :) Amazing!

You did a marvelous job with this piece. I was surprised to enjoy it so much considering the genre, but you made it work so well. Congratulations, again!

Kalista Jia chapter 1 . 3/22/2009
It must be harsh to be in the army. I am reading a book called A Separate Peace. An interesting novel, where the students are preparing themselves to go join the army during WW2.

"Here was not the face of the devil, of evil with pig eyes and snout for a nose. He was just a boy, like him." Well said. it is something soldiers should understand.

"He wondered if that boy’s mother played piano for him, if she sat by the window every night and waited for him to come home. Maybe she went to church each Sunday and begged for his life, kneeling in the pews. Perhaps he had brothers and sisters too, perhaps he played hockey and went tobogganing in the winter." Aw Hockey and Tobogganing. I remember how I fell from the tobogan and rolled down the slope. o_0. Anyway, back to the main comment. I really like that part. I totally agree with it.

The execution part is heart breaking. It is so sad... but I guess the general had to set an example. (Like you mentioned previously)

I also like the little touch at the end. The way you executed the boy... and the German soldier came to him. It just shows (in my opinion) that in death, there are no longer any discrimination.

I love this story greatly. It was well written and realistic.
Kyllorac chapter 1 . 3/17/2009
Wow. Just wow. The descriptions made everything so poignant and gave this story a surreal but concrete feel. Also, that you have the story told in present tense from the deserter's PoV really makes everything have so much more personal than if you'd used another tense or viewpoint.

The scene that really got me was when he remembers the German soldier in the trench. He sounds so young and human then, as does the other soldier, and the fact that he keeps the other boy's cross with him really drove that point home.

The ending in particular was very powerful and so bittersweet. It's so tragic in that he's killed, but at the same time, he's at peace with himself.

So, yes, I enjoyed this very much. It really tugged at my heartstrings without using cheap tricks, and it was also wonderfully well-written. If there were any errors, I didn't catch them because the story itself was so good.

This is so going into my favorites.
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 1 . 3/16/2009
Herro there. Me back again. :) Anyway, good work here. I like the way you chose to ditch your nationalism mentality aside to do this one. I truly like the way you humanized the deserter. Definitely felt very real in terms of human emotions. :) And that also gets to show that in war, there's no place for God unless you're talking about what was written in the Bible concerning His judgments. If there's anything I can suggest here, I'll say you can do more details on Edward's struggles here like portraying what he had went through in terms of flashbacks for one suggestion. Apart from that, nothing to say. :)
gigglebug chapter 1 . 3/15/2009
The emotion in this piece is so real, I feel like I need to break out into tears. I won't, but you did a marvelous job.

I think there's a lot we can learn from conflict, whether historically accurate or fictionalized. I think it takes a good deal of courage to write about war, and I'm really glad that you have accepted the challenge - you do well with it.

Congrats on winning WCC this month, Suz. ]

FuckMeAlice chapter 1 . 3/15/2009
Hey, congratulations on winning the contest! Strike for us Canadians and their awesome history!

First of all, I love the character of Edward. Too often when I read stories similar to this one, the main characters are too self-pitying or already hardened against war. You keep Edward realistic and pretty unique.

Second, I liked the plot, and the whole underlying story with the German soldier. I remember when we were studying the Great War how the German side of the story was barely represented, and how at the end of the war it was the hatred and the propaganda that was directed to Germany that led to the Second World War. Here I think you balanced both sides really well, and I was feeling sympathy for the German just as much as Edward.

Third, your historical accuracy is really, really good. I can see that you put a lot of care into researching the era before writing, unlike me (I just write what I vaguely remember- more exciting that way). I almost felt like I was in the 1910's. Great job.

Fourth, I really enjoyed the piece. Usually I hate stories about wars that actually happened. Too often they're gratuitous and take sensationalize what actually happen, especially if they're set in World War One or Two. You kept your story human and despairingly truthful. I love it.
Chasing Skylines chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
[colouring the collar of his grey shirt dark.]

Sounds awkward to me. You could've simply said 'darkening the colour of his grey shirt's collar.'

The present tense. Was there a reason? Is it intended to serve as a conduit for the reader to go back to this period of time? And you slipped up here, too:

[“Didn’t you?” the man roared]

Should be 'roars.'

And also, when you refer to past events, it appears off.

[His voice, unused in many days is cracked and scratchy.]

There should be a comma after days.

[In the silence he could hear ]

Another slip, I think. It should be 'can,' and not 'could.'

[long, thin gold chain.]

To make it less wordy and reduce adjective cluttering, I'm thinking there's a replacement for 'long, thin.' Narrow? Slender? Fine?

The transitions between past and present are jarring, though not overly so.

[“You’re a man of God”,]

Comma inside the quotations.

[quiet, tired voice.]

Would 'faint' work for 'quiet, tired?' Maybe 'weary,' though weary means tired; to cover the quiet, maybe replace says with whispers, though honestly, the dialogue and tone of the prose should imply so.

[Edward is quiet and still,]

I think you're overusing 'quiet.' In place of 'quit and still,' how about "motionless, unmoving, not moving a muscle, stock-still, immobile, inanimate, like a statue, as if turned to stone, rooted to the spot, transfixed, static, and stationary. "

Of those, possibly inanimate, static, or rooted to the spot.

[The sun is near the horizon, huge, a perfect orange circle. ]

By telling 'huge,' it makes the description seem subpar. There are probably more polished ways to describe the sun to fit the mood.

[There is no use, now. ]

You didn't need a comma there, it also sounds off with the pause before 'now.'

[Edwards looks up, to catch a glimpse of this man’s eyes,]

Also didn't need the comma after 'up.'

[Edward sighs and says quietly “No blindfold.”]

Missing a comma after quietly. Also overusing quietly. 'In a hushed tone' or something, maybe?

[The chaplain comes forward; his eyes grave and he mumbles the words of the last rites.]

The semi-colon is off. How about, "The chaplain comes forward, his eyes grave, and mumbles the words of the last rites."

[He puts his hand on Edward’s head and mumbles “May God forgive us” and then he leaves.]

Was that part not supposed to have dialogue punctuation?

[gently swirling mist.]

Now you're using 'gently' a bit too much.

[soft warm light.]

Mellow in place of soft and warm?

What a sad ending and event.

-RM Prize Review
criti-sized chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
This was written very nicely. I like how you slowly buitl everything up until the end and were still able to make it interesting. I didn't see any errors that I can account for, but wasn't looking for any either.

Great vignette.

DragonCeres chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
i really like your descriptions of Edward and everything that is going on around him.

the story really touched me, especially the part of the german soldier and the role of God in the war. war stories/movies always gets to me because everything is just so moving, both in positive and negative ways.
Morohtar chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
Here from the Roadhouse.

A very well-written piece (as all your stuff is) and I think that the angle you have chosen is interesting. You keep the editorial comments out of it (reserving them for the author's notes) and instead choose to convey your meaning by putting the pro-execution argument in the mouth of a man who doesn't believe it, and choose never to show the argument from someone who does.

It is certainly a very clever way of influencing your audience, and the fact I wholeheartedly disagree with your objective does not lessen my admiration for the tactic! Very well done indeed.

As I say, this is excellently written and the reader is always aware of the emotions of the deserter, with the motivations of the other characters being necessarially vague (as the story is told about him and from his perspective).

Great stuff. Pay it forward!
raineyday chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
This is positively brilliant. This piece is absolutely brimming with emotion and yet it never seems overwhelming. And at the same time, as always is true with your writing, the descriptions are phenomenal. Subtle but so effective.

I really liked the character of the chaplain for some reason. This sort of torn, confused religious figure. And Edward, of course, is a very sympathetic character.

All in all, a very well done piece!
Katy Lynn chapter 1 . 2/27/2009
Although this was a sad story to read, I quite enjoyed it.

I absolutely adore your style of writing. It really flows nicely, and it never faltered or ceased to hold my interest.

I also love how descriptive you were. I could feel what your character was feeling, and see what your character was seeing. You put me right in the characters skin, and that really makes for a great story.

“No Blindfold”.

should be "No blindfold."

That was really the only typo I saw... there wasn't anything else to critique. Great job with this! :]
Long Island Iced Tea chapter 1 . 2/26/2009
Deep, very deep.
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