Reviews for Means of Grace
Tawny Owl chapter 20 . 6/8/2011
Make up as a weapon. Too right, sister. Although I'd quite like to see Jude's eyes bugging out.

Sex Godess with heart is awful close to tart with a heart. I hope Odette can deal with burns if she's doing all that fire fighting.

I'd forgotten Carson loved Diana. Isn't there some strange triangle thing going on because he's supposed to be with Susan? I can't find Diana very lovable though, especially because Carson can be a nice guy sometimes. I'll have to flick back and find out what he sees in her. Although love/hate relationships do quite well, as Carson enjoying seeing her plans go wrong would suggest.

That song seems a bit raunchy for a school concert in a church, but quite apt for a resurection. :) Although Carson and Odette mucking about before feels long enough ago that I didn't quite see it coming. Enjoyed Odette getting a chance to see the audience though.

I know that once Diana sees in you what I see then she'll think the same way too." - Really? Diana? She just seems so...angry, and that it'd take more than that to melt her.
Tawny Owl chapter 19 . 6/8/2011
Scary image to start with. I think there’s room to expand on the legolas image as well. I don’t remember him having roots, or ever being nervous come to that.

Maidstone! The jewel of Kent, I think not.

I’m on board with Odette noticing the length going, but the fringe not so much as legolas would be snipping right in front of her.

I did really enjoy the way Diana and Susan treated the staff though. I think it was the first thing that really brought home to me how total the woks hold is. Everything else has just been hearsay or in school, or at the mansion, which is home ground. Out in the real world it makes it more potent.

Although in this chapter Susan did seem kind of stupid, She’s supposed to be a prize manipulator, but she slips up twice, the second time quite badly and without shutting up. There doesn’t seem to be any real reason for her to be so open with Odette, except that she just loves trying too hard, which given how almost needy she is of the woks approval, is believable, but it does make her seem irritating rather than any real kind of threat. Diana is the one I’m frightened off.

The detail of Odette’s hair stopping quicker than it used to is nice.

They are organising miscarriages! That’s really horrible – you need more of a reaction to that.

Ah, I’ve forgotten who David is…but it’s slowly coming back to me. Actually, if I can go off at a tangent. You have a huge cast here and lots of complex relationships and plotting in terms of what everybody wants. Given that I think the third person omniscient narrator that you are using is good because it gives you a hot line to everyone’s head. Bouncing about though does get really confusing, so I think you need to work on your narrators voice, especially because, from what I remember, you start off in Odette’s head which led me to believe that you were in third person restricted and then started moving about, and Odette is such a wilful character and the undisputed heroine that she does eclipse the narrative voice, I think you need to take control back from her a bit, and think about how, why, and when you shift character perspectives. Maybe read other authors who have done it as well? (I love Rebels and Traitors by Lindsey Davis.)

The end of the Reuben/David paragraph is a bit of a weird morph back to Alice though. I like the way you lead into it, but stick in a paragraph break somewhere so that it’s really obvious that you’ve finished one scene and are moving on to the next.

I thought I liked Dillon, but now I’m not so sure. I don’t think we’ve really met him before now though, have we?

I was a bit confused about whether Dillion knew about Henry though. I’m sure Alice said that he did, but then said no one knew. There’s scope to expand on exactly what happened between Alice and Henry in terms of her memories though. Nothing graphic but sensations and feelings maybe.

This last bit did kind of make me sad for Alice, that she felt under so much pressure. But the way you handled her agreeing to something she didn’t really want to do was really well done.

This doesn't even to start to make up for teh reviews on Gothic. Will try and do more next week.
Tawny Owl chapter 18 . 3/17/2011
'Kay, finally made it back here!

Jude never expected he'd actually use the word 'Fun' in the same sentence as 'Woking' or 'House' - I think you need to put Woking and house together. Or have them as Woking and the woking's House. My immediate reaction to this was to ask Jude if he'd ever heard of a fun house? See what I mean?

I must admit, I liked seeing Odette squirm. It showed that she wasn't as in control of everything as she'd like to be, and it hints at more danger for her to over come later on if she's not always holding all the cards.

Odette with too intense eyes, dark and boring; - Do you mean too or two here? if it's too you can probably cut it. And boring or brooding? I'm sure his eyes are anything but boring for Odette to llok at. They could be bored though? If he's acting?

Also nice to see her admitting that she might actually be falling for Jude. Poor guy needs a break.

Liked the physical closeness between Jude and Odette in the next bit, and how you built up to it. I think Odette's still being daft about it though. And I was amazed taht she managed to cast Susan's comments out of her head when she was clearly worked up about them. Surely there'd still be some niggling doubt, ebven if she could control it?

The multiple changes of perspective in the next bit though made it hard to follow sometimes. I couldn't always remember whose head we were supposed to be in.

Odette was spunky when squaring up to Michael. haven't seen that for a while, what with her trying to trick everyone. It was a nice change. Also liked the way you descrobed milky. Like some sort of oily predator crawling out of slime. Actually, Michael and Henry are teh only two Woks that come close to really scaring me. I can imagine Odette handling all the others, even Toto.

Liked Odette's trick on Jude too - and the idea of them all heading up to London.
Fatal93 chapter 1 . 3/16/2011
Wow! A lot of emotions embedded in this story. Definitely the best I've read so far, and I'm a picky reader. I'm beginning to suspect you are a wise old woman writing to teenagers.:)

Have you ever thought about getting yourself published?
Maria Gracia chapter 28 . 1/8/2011
Hey Lily, it's MaGa.

I read your story some time ago & just found my notes on it. They're not very detailed or throughout but I thought you might like to have them. I apologize because I *should* go back and reread just so that I can give you kickass feedback but working with Project Fiction and school starting Monday makes it highly unlikely. It was nominated for ‘Nella last cycle – inspirational character, to be precise. But it was rejected because romance played a bigger part than we liked & because there were other stories as well.

Here come the comments!

The story is not bad, it’s slow to develop and romance plays a bigger part than I like for ‘Nella. There’s some awkward writing and sentences that are too long. (Not that I don’t do that, too.) Nice grammar and spelling, overall. There were some “knew” that were “new”, though. I like that there’s more description than dialogue, but as the story progresses we see more dialogue. Still a nice ratio.

I found the first chapters a bit too tedious & overwhelming at the same time. There were a lot of characters being introduced all at once and it was hard to differentiate them. Odette was nice, showing signs of maturity at times and dealing with situations in a good way.

So there you have it. I know it’s not much, definitely not what you deserve. :(

Have a good day!

-MaGa
Tawny Owl chapter 17 . 12/7/2010
Lily17.

He considered several possibilities as he stood outside the church in the shadows the afternoon Sun gave, the first and most profound being to just come out with the truth – long sentence, with a lot of information in it. Maybe split it up?

He let out a sigh and looked up at the sky, its beauty hidden under the layer of dark clouds. – poignant.

Has Susan been there all through his reverie? And has she just asked him a question? It feels a bit late to introduce her now.

wall when she tiptoed closer. – I thought she was already pressed against him? And how does Jude react to that? Uncomfortably I should think.

"No Jude. I don't care enough to lie about it." – lovely line. Very Susan. And why’s she playing with her buttons? Is she thinking about trying to take it off? Hussy? I think it’s wrong to enjoy the way she plays with Jude like that, but hey. It’s kind of fun seeing it that way round.

Yay, hi, Zeke.

Oh, Carson is so going to turn. I did feel quite sorry for him during his talk to Odette. If she gives him a glimmer of hope he’ll come good in the end.

"It never occurred to me that you would seek Diana's affection," – That sounds a bit formal.

The him is Jude I’m guessing. And this is where the flicks in perspective make the prose feel a bit schizophrenic. So, not Jude, Henry. I know there’s a reason for keeping secret because it creates suspense, but staying in one perspective would make it more tense, and you can always hint at what the other character is thinking. We know the situation now so would be able to follow it I think.

I’m glad to see that the espionage is starting to take it’s toll too. It’s a complicated plan, so it feels right that it should.

So Jude was in the wood? Really confusing.

Poor Jude. Rory’s motherly arm was a nice touch though.
GoldenPoet17 chapter 28 . 12/3/2010
love it! Interesting and full of suspense.
Tawny Owl chapter 16 . 12/1/2010
Odette running to Diana’s aid. I hope she doesn’t expect thanks. It’s a good way to outline the situation though. The image of Susan barking like an uptight Broadway director is a good one too.

I can’t help thinking Odette is a bit harsh on Robert – children can be easily manipulated sometimes. But I suppose if the pattern has been set Robert might not be strong enough to break it.

Change of pov to Carson, but an interesting insight for all that.

I actually prefer the rolling stones to the beatles. But I think that’s still a hanging offence in Britain, so shh. Let it be is good though. Hmm, I’m wondering if Odette is going to win Carson over without even realising it. I think you should have a go at showing how Carson reacts to Odette without changing pov and telling it.

An archaeologist! Don’t do it Odette. The money’s rubbish and there’s no security. You’d be better of trying to be a writer, honest.

"Think you can tune it back from Amber burns a hole in our ears?" before?

Is Amber still playing while Odette and Carson are talking? I think you should remind us of that? And are there other people milling about? And in an old Kentish church. There’s lovely scope for some scenery there.

"I'm Head of the Committee Odette, it's not that simple," Susan barked – she’s barked already, but I still like the image of her being all control freak and insane.

a secret love – I was hoping Carson had better taste.

Haha. I want to see the big girl fight over Carson. That’ll be fun.

Interesting start to the next bit. And interesting way of approaching Diana’s feelings, but I’m buying it. It took me a while to work out we weren’t talking about actual houses though.

Actually starting to feel a bit sorry for Diana too now. I’m all heart today, clearly.

"You can ask, I reserve the right not to answer though," she chuckled. – that’s definitely Odette not acting. It must be putting pressure on them all to be acting most of the time. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone starts to feel the strain of it.

"He won't!" Susan pressed on. Odette looked at her and knew it was time to feed her the name.

So, is Odette putting Jude in the firing line as part of the plan? With all the espionage it’s getting kind of confusing.

I like Susan’s line. Ok, she may have more brains than Odette gives her credit for, but here ego is kind of the same!
Tawny Owl chapter 15 . 11/3/2010
Having had permission to skip registration in the mornings to save her from climbing the stairs, she'd been unable to see her or to implement phase two of her plan until the blonde beauty had made her way to bench she was sharing with Eliot. – Long sentence.

Like that Susan’s smile fills her face though – that’s nice. Nice to see Ackers back too. I kind of missed him. Is he in on the evil plan at all?

Seriously? A serious crucifixion musical? This I gotta see. It’s bad enough the poor guy’s being crucified! Don’t make humiliate him more by making him sing about it! I’m pretty sure Toto isn’t Lord Andrew.

I like that Odette is finding part of her plan hard, or the lying to her friends part anyway. It’s all going really smooth so far, so I liked that you pulled out that twist.

Urgh, I didn’t like Susan because she is so fake and stupid, but I kind of feel sorry for her. Diana is the real bad ass (must be something about Dianas) because she actually believes she’s the Queen Bee. Drop a piano on her head for me, would ya?

Ooh. Is there going to be a big public bash the Wokings fest at the concert. Is the concert the horse?

There is a lot of switching perspectives going on in this chapter though. I know I’ve kind of stopped pointing it out, but given the complexity of Odette’s plan (and that we aren’t privy to it all yet) popping into different people’s heads so quickly is making it harder to follow – and it loses the momentum of Odette’s ‘voice’ too, which is a shame.

I want to see Ru blow his top. Or at least get all red faced and huffy. There’s a good chance to show rather than tell at the beginning of the paragraph. You could really build up the attention before Odette arrives, and then have her react to it. I like her squeaking though – it’s like she just stops and diminishes when confronted with her brother’s fury. Bet she’ll bounce back quick though.

Oh bless Ruben. That’s such a big brother reaction. And I live that Rory has to translate. That’s a nice family moment.

Oh, Susan gets to play the whore…well, there we go.

It’s crafty how Odette isn’t telling Matt the plan as such, but using the play to bring them all together and work towards a common goal. Nice.
Tawny Owl chapter 14 . 10/28/2010
she's dreamt – she’d dreamt. That attitude towards what’s happening suits Alice. It’s a nice counter point to Odette’s assurance, and it feels right for the role of best friend. I was about to say side kick, but I think that undermines who Alice is. Especially after Lindsay’s what have you done now, and her back chatting to Michael. It’s kind of nice to see her pov because she has always been eclipsed by Odette before.

not realising what had gotten Alice so worked up. – That’s kind of self explanatory given that Lindsay isn’t in on the plan.

she saw shadows only from (for) them to disappear.

No, we can read it together," - urgh. McNasty.

What’s Dad doing when they start slamming her into walls? Still looking worried? Or can’t he bear to watch?

She bit her bottom (lip)and looked up at him, - or that’s one flexible girl

"Your way?" she whispered, shaking her head disappointedly. Henry wanted her to be his, not because he loved her but because he had a fascination with owning things. He wanted to own her and control her, to bring down the unruly girl and break her into nothing more than an obedient dog. He, like his father before him, wanted a vessel in which he could create children, but what Alice did not know was that Henry did not want to get rid of her afterwards like his father had their mother. He wanted Alice for all his life, like a slave to his will. He knew he could make her love him and it was merely time before she succumbed. She almost fell for him once and he was confident she would again. – This is interesting. So it’s not so much as owning her, but wanting her to want to be owned by him almost? I’m guessing that’s why he wants her to love him?

I’ve just has a thought. How did Jude know the Woks were on the way over?

"I've got clear ideas of what I'm going to do when I get in the Committee but I have to wait for her to offer me a place in it again because if I approach Susan by myself she'll suss it out or at least be on guard. – Who says this? Odette still?

Liked the image of the petite woman in the overpowering chair. And the dusty old room around her. Very strong. The contradiction between the off putting appearance and the pleasant voice was good too. All satisfying details as it’s taken us this long to meet her.

The letter idea is very clever, but I can’t help thinking of it as a logistical nightmare from Odette’s point of view, having to time the conversation with how fast Mrs Dunes can read!
Tawny Owl chapter 13 . 10/13/2010
Wow, this was a really long chapter!

It was the prelude to the weekend of course but it was also a full day of lessons, - I think you should reword this sentence. Maybe put the ‘of course’ at the beginning or put it in commas.

Susan was missing and Odette relaxed at that – ‘at that’ isn’t necessary.

"Think of it as training for your sharp wit!" – I don’t think Odette needs it!

Elsewhere, nestled in the shadows of the art studio, Jude sat at his desk and worked on his sketches. – Jude having alone time! I want to know what he looks like while he’s doing something he loves, and what he’s drawing. It’s not Odette is it? Part of me wants it to be and the rest of me is telling me how corny I am.

he studied his depiction of a rat gnawing through a judge's gavel Ok, nowhere near close to Odette. But it feels like there’s some heavy symbolism going on there. It feels very political.

Woah, Susan is back. Has she been leaving Odette along to stalk him? The slinking wreaks of ominous. And if she’s that close what does Jude think she looks like/smells like? Just because we all hate Susan and don’t want to see her coming on to Odette’s man doesn’t mean you can’t make it kind of sensory and sexy. (I’ve been reading Les liaisons dangeruese and it’s brought back flash backs of the American teen movie. Throughout this scene I kept picturing Susan as Sarah Michelle Geller and now I think my head’s about to implode).

"Come now, Jude!" Susan whispered, licking her bottom lip – Oh, Susan, come on, at least try to be subtle, baby!

It must be hard not having any outlet to all that sexual frustration! – Hehe, she’s a step away from whipping out the oil and sitting on his lap, ain’t she?

"You're running out of time," Susan said with a sigh, standing up straighter and sitting on the desk instead. – With legs crossed and skirt riding up toned alabaster thighs I hope.

Actually, there’ s a lot of Susan moving about in this, which is good, but let’s see more of what Jude is doing too. Is he trying to get on with his picture and ignore her? Or is he humouring her with his full attention? Actually, would there be a tiny bit of flirting back in the aid of getting rid of her as soon as possible, or making her feel less desirable than she thinks she is? The bit further down when he taps his pencil on his palm, I just had this random image of him tapping it on Susan instead, like her chest or her leg if she’s still sat on the desk. I dunno. Given how strong Susan is turning it on it feels like Jude should either be meeting her on her own ground or permanently in retreat. Like standing up when she sits down. He seems a bit lost.

she easily kept it professional in class. – Interesting choice of words, makes it feel like they are all doing a job almost. That the duplicity is what keeps them alive almost. And for the first time it’s struck how really sad it is that teenagers feel forced to do that (dear god, I’m old!)

It drove him crazy about her – maybe she drove him crazy. I’m not sure what the it is supposed to be.

She licked her lips and smiled at him, nails scratching his trouser covered thighs. – Oh, Sarah’s back. Hehe. Seriously, I’ve never suspected this side of Susan before. She’s always just felt blonde, preppy, annoying and in training for a Stepford wife. Even the glimpses of interaction with Carson didn’t really show it, and now suddenly she’s the school sl8t. Although I’m guessing it’s more underground sl8tting in the aid of manipulation rather than because she has any real sex drive.

Diana said, eyes floating to Alice suggestively. Odette furrowed her brow and exchanged a look with Alice. – ohh, is Diana trying to stir it up so she can divide and conquer?

"Just go Diana," Alice advised, sensing something awful was going to happen. – I think you need to back that up with some atmosphere. Remind us where everyone is standing and if the crowd of footballers are on the brink of chanting for a fight or looking considerably more uncomfortable because they know that the wokings will be hearing about this.

"Please don't do that. My God! Why would you do that?" – Ha! That’s a good line, and almost humorous which suits Odette’s brave in adversity vibe. You need more reaction from the venerable bede though.

"Hmm, she's in some sort of shock," - would a doctor really say some sort of shock? It sounds a bit indecisive. But then that might be what you want for Lucy’s character. Wait, Lucy Woking is a doctor too, isn’t she? I may have to check, I still haven’t got them all straight in my head yet.

"Stop looking at me like that Aaron, we all have to get our thrills one way or another." – Oh, wait. I think who Lucy is is all coming back to me…

Ohh, Toto. Take the opportunity to remind us what he looks like again.

Yay, go Odette. She’s no match fro Toto and his crafty drugs.

I was surprised Alice called Dr Woking Toto to his face. It seems a bit informal considering he’s the villain who controls all their lives.

"Normal? You set Diana on her!" Hehe, Diana the terrier.

"You always did jump to conclusions young Ruben," I like the young in that sentence. Friendly or condescending, depending on how you use it…

. Brilliant blue eyes that challenged him, they defied him, pushed him, urged him to fight back. Eyes that watched, waiting to see the valour of a fearless hero rise out of the body of a good man, only to strike him back down in one fatal blow. – Oh, poor Mr Bede. Why’s it always the nice guys who end up involved with the psycho bitches?

Why would the car not be safe? Is Susan hiding under the seat or do the Wokings seriously plant bugs? That is so creepy.

."It doesn't matter about that. He isn't the only teacher fighting against the current. Ms Green would make one of the best spies in the world. She's figured out the bug in her class is from the red whiteboard marker and puts it aside at the start of every lesson with a pre-recorded lesson playing that Toto listens in on so that we can all be normal. She even got help from Mr Coins to rewire the camera in the skeleton so that it plays on a loop." – Ha? Did I miss something. When did Odette find that out? I think I’m leaving too long between chapters. I’m starting to forget stuff.

Oh, yay! Odette going double agent. And without telling Jude? That could be interesting to watch fall out.

its advertisements and puckered her brow at them in return – Put Odette’s reaction in a new sentence. And this is a really big scene. Tell us more about where everyone is and what the atmosphere is like. How individual’s react to certain parts of Odette’s speeches. You want to make it feel like they really are all being drawn together by their desire to fight back. To make it feel like a conspiracy make it feel intimate. And that’ll draw the reader in more too.

I think you should make more of Rory’s silence throughout this scene as well. Just because she doesn’t say anything doesn’t mean you can’t keep reminding us that she is there. Her reactions to what Odette is saying ar eimportant because the moment she has in the kitchen is clearly a big decision time for her. You need to build it up more so, not so much her leaving, but her returning as the weight it deserves. I think it’s a brave thing to talk your husband into the plan when he is clearly about to go a bit bonkers and alpha male on everybody.

"The fucking Woks Aaron!" Ruben said exasperated. – Show us his exasperation! What does he do as he speaks.

_
Tawny Owl chapter 12 . 9/23/2010
Yeah, I want to...

she was silent on the drive to school – repetition of school

Enjoyed the contrast of all the different people saying hello, and Susan dropped awkwardly in the middle. Have we come across Diana before though? I think she’s been mentioned in the background, but I’m not sure. And it seems like all the sharks are circling. Odette is surrounded!

"A girl can do a lot of things by herself but it's a heck of a lot more fun when a guy does it for her," – Yeah, for the guy maybe – they hardly ever stop and ask for directions. Especially guys who say things like that!

Odette’s having a sarcasm overload. Try using ‘dryly’ although I don’t think it means exactly the same thing. Although a lot of the time we can tell she’s being sarcastic anyway.

I really do not like Carson. Can you drop a piano on his head? Although I like Faulkner less.

saw something different and cocked an eyebrow – oh, there’s room to elaborate there without giving the game away surely. Have I judged Mr Carson too harshly?

"Yes I need help. Will I accept it? That's another matter entirely."- Good line. I liked the one about lunch too, but this one was less of a brain full.

Oh wow, this dialogue is getting philosophical, and very heated. I’m reminded of the whole Lizzie/Darcy sparing here. Is Jude gonna have some competition?

And another lightening pov change to Carson and back again.

Loving the image of Toto growling about in the next room!

Haha. Susan is such the type to have a life plan. I bet she’s already picked out the colours for the nursery.

Did Toto hit her? I can’t think what else the red could be. I’m thinking yes given the way she then treats her own daughter. It’s like Dynasty on acid.

Carson is proving to be more interesting though – and potentially a weak chink in the wokings armour given that he doesn’t like them or the authority they try to exert over him. He seems to much of his own person to just do what they say. Although I suppose that depends on his relationship with his dad.

Given the role Mr. Bede plays in this chapter I’d like to see more of what he looks like and sounds like. Although given his name I can’t help thinking of him as venerable.

Bede cried out, feeling trapped. – this is an odd slip into Bede’ s pov as we’re seeing it through carson’s eyes.

How did Carson know what Bede had written? Or did he surmise given Odette being asked to stay behind after class?

Another potential ally for Odette as well. I’m looking forward dto seeing how all the separate parts come together.
Tawny Owl chapter 11 . 8/29/2010
Sorry it’s been so long: I’ve been doing uni work and just got back from holidays.

"We're very sorry to intrude at a time like this but I just had to check up (on) our village's newest patient!"

I’m strangely drawn to the fact that he’s called Junior. It sort of suits a fleshy oldest son that doesn’t serve much purpose other than to be his dad’s lackey, despite what his own ego tells him.

Even if she had not known their history, she would not be comfortable with him being her doctor. Not surprised: nasal, yuk.

And Ruben’s pause suggests he’s very much on his guard too. I’m liking that because we haven’t heard his, or Rory’s opinions yet. I’d like to know what Susan’s excuse for being there on a house call is too. Although given her role as teenage busy body it kind of fits.

Odette figured that professional responsibility may have overridden her personal pride – or fear, or the fact that the unwavering smile is lying through it’s teeth as part of a divide and conquer tactic. I’m now instantly suspicious of anything the Woks say or do. I’d be disappointed if they did something as nice as telling the truth.

and sceptically formed an opinion of their true reasons for visiting. – share with us Odette! I want to know what you think. Ah ha, she does. Maybe jiggle where you put the dialogue so her forming the idea flows better into what the idea actually is.

Ah, another insightful reaction from Ruben. Given what we’ve learnt about their attitude to Rory’s pregnancy he must really want to be wringing their necks. It would be nice to see more of what he’s doing in the background too. Does he automatically go to stand by his wife, for example, because she can’t be loving this either. There’s some really uncomfortable tension flitting through this scene (like Ruben reacting to the dressing gown chord) that I really think you can build on.

she questioned whether Odette knew it was her cousins Michael and Henry running after her that day or not and her palms began to sweat. – This confused me a little because I think we switch quickly from Odette’s pov to Susan and back again. Who’s palms are sweating, I think it’s Susan’s, and does she actually say “Did you know my cousins were chasing you?” or does she just think it. I think this who paragraph could do with some tweaking.

It’s also surprising that Lorraine is the feisty one rather than Ruben, although he has seemed quite a calm character so far, where as Lorraine has been louder, so it does make sense. And the tension does pick up a pace when she comes in. She must have heard them talking as well, so I’m betting she was after a confrontation rather than just popping by accidentally.

Ruben and Lorraine exchanged a look as they set her down on her bed. 16 wasn't old enough by normal measures but for Odette it was, and they could trust that. Even if somewhat reluctantly. – I think you need to explain that more. What, in their eyes, makes Odette’s 16 different from anyone else’s?

she chose him – Aw.

I want to see more of the scuffling! It must make a noise if mum shouts up to them.

There’s a lot of changing perspective in this bit too. You need to stick with one to stop it being confusing or build up an omnipotent narrative voice separate form the characters that knows and sees all. Or you can read some of my earlier stuff and call me a hypocrite.

"Hold back your Rottweiler Helen," he said with a look of distaste. – I love this line, mostly because it encapsulates Zeke’s almost aggressive desire to protect his mum, but you need to clarify it’s doctor Woking that says it. Some description of how the guy talks would be nice as well. In fact he’ s the big bad and this is the first time we see him knowing who he really is. Feel free to ham him up just a tad.

I love that they lie to him so blatantly – it’s such a contrast to the reaction of Odette’s family.

"I don't actually care Helen," Toto said obtrusively, boo, hiss. And the fact that he calls Jude Mr Raith adds this whole sophisticated Bond villan image to him. I bet he’s wearing a suit and has driven up in his car with tinted windows.

Jude looked at him, agreeing wholeheartedly but following Toto out nonetheless. So why does he go then?

she'd blackmailed Jude into helping her and telling her everything that went on between them in the woods. – it’s been a while so I might know this already, but are we talking about what went on between Jude and Odette in the woods, in which case why wouldn’t he want people to know? Or is there some cringeworthy episode in the woods between Susan and Jude that is liable to make me reach for the nearest bucket?

Oh wait, I get it. Because everyone thinks he’s gay. Ok. Ignore me then. The sentence above just confused me a little.

"You told her Achilles was a fan of Queer Eye and she was after some fashion advice!" Given the image I have in my head of Toto stroking a white cat I’d like that to be Miss Ahilles.

a gentleman never tells. I suppose it would be hard for her to know, growing up with a lack of them around her." Point to Mr Raith.

"Jude," Toto said, grabbing a fistful of shirt and yanking him aggressively, bringing him closer. "I don't care much for your little bout of misguided heroics. If I tell you to cut your wrists and soak them in bleach, you do it! If I tell you to skin your sister alive you do it. If I tell you to kill yourself you do and if I tell you I want the truth you tell it. Got it?" – nasty. How does he say it? intimidating shout or creepy whisper?

Jude said fuming from his core outwards. – ooh nice image.

tapping the handle of his walking stick against Jude's chest. So he grabbed Jude one handed? Impressive for a grandpa. And I’m curious about the walking stick so going to shove my oar in a bit. What’s it like? It feels like it should be something really distinctive in terms of materials of insignia that reflects his position within the village. It’d also be fun to have it present when Susan first talks to him as Toto and we don’t really know who he is so that there’s a strong image to carry through the transition from faceless evil doer to Dr Woking. It’s just what I’ like to do though so feel free to ignore.

then I'm drawing up the plans with my lawyer." – more intrigue. Must read on…

Oh, so why does Toto just lay that on Jude rather than the rest of the family? Or does he know that Jude is the weakest link and the others would call him out and rather deal with the consequences of the lawyers rather than submit to him?

Not, of course, that I object to setting Jude up with the hope of Odette and then being put in a position where he’s forced to destroy her. Bring on the angst and inner conflict!

Isn’t Adrian a bit young for Wicked? Or is the reading just to make Odette feel better too? Can’t argue with Odette’s assessment of children’s TV though.

Oh, I object. Elphaba has got far more gumption than Susan. Susan’s more of a Glinda.

Maidstone! What does Athene want to go there for? The place is a dive.

I don't even know you well enough to know whether I like you or not!" – Oh, you like him, girl, listen to your goosebumps.

recieving her message loud and clear. (receiving)

but he could be persistant if he really wanted (persistent) and damn straight. Odette needs a slow siege and a great deal of camouflage. I, however, would rather embark on a frontal attack and give her a good shaking.
Tawny Owl chapter 10 . 8/7/2010
painting of an old battle shield – that’s really curious. Is it Reuben’s or Rori’s and what does it look like? It feels like it should be important.

fast asleep – repetition

the stairs – repetition again.

Reuben’s reaction is kind of sweet and I love that Rory is crafty enough to dump Ade on Odette

Ah, yes the phone call *sits to attention*

Oh, the Wokings – Finally!

Why is he called Toto, exactly? I like the quirkiness of it but it does just make me think of a terrier that can be scooped up and shut in a handbag.

Fundraising busy bodies – I’m getting Witches of Eastwick vibes.

"Are they at school with us?" – I was just gonna ask that.

And all the webs come together creating some seriously maladjusted family that act like a weird secret occult organisation. Interesting. Despite the assurances that there wasn’t going to be any supernatural stuff I was expecting something, but I like the idea that they are just horrible people. I suppose now all we have to do is sit back and wait for Odette to bring them down? Mwhaha. The set up feels like a Stephen King novel almost.

I’m not sure I’m going to remember how all the Wokings interrelate though. There was a lot of information to take on through the dialogue. It did help that we already know Toto though.

"You should have seen what Susan done to Athene." Did?

Robert is…dangerously charming even at 12 years old and he drove her crazy." – Wait, I thought Robert was older than Odette and Alice and Athene was younger. They couldn’t both be twelve at the same time?

The whole thing with Athene feels like it needs to be expanded on more – maybe not here but through Athene herself and Dr Raith. From meeting Athene she doesn’t feel like someone who has had something like that happen to her. I’d expect her to be less trusting, or more hesitant/cautious with people. I’d also expect her bog brothers to be way more protective of her. Although how old is she now?

And it’s already been taken care of? hmm. By who and how if you just can’t stop them?

Ooh, I want some examples of those plans.

Yay, Jude.

Maybe some reaction from Odette during the messaging? Especially when Jude goes quiet. I don’t have a problem with it, but I think when it takes up a large portion of a chapter it needs something to keep it engaging. Like what Odette is doing while she’s on her computer – how she feels when Jude does go quiet on her. And maybe think about what Jude is doing even if you don’t tell us. I can be curious sometomes when it takes people a while to reply. Having large portions of text like that can feel a bit inaccessible after a while. That may just be me though as I am kinda old.

He’s a brooding gentleman – of course he’s hiding something! It’s like a law of romantic fiction. I’m sure it is.

Where abouts is Reuben standing when she sees him, and where does Lorraine come from? Or is she shouting up the stairs?

Haha, loved the looking ups strangely bit.

Liking the bald, fat, ugly, junior. That was a clever finish. Hell of a roller coaster of a chapter though with Alice’s confession, then the fun with Jude and a slightly sinister finish. I feel quite won out now.
Tawny Owl chapter 9 . 7/15/2010
Give Me Stitches. – Ooh, Foo Fighters?

Interesting insight into Jude’s family, and his relationship with his brother – I haven’t got much of an idea of the dynamic between them or Athene so far. Although Athene is clearly the smart one.

"My my! I'm honoured!" She shook her head at his sarcasm and looked down at her knee. – split this up. And I like the fact that Odette Outbursts have a title.

"instead of…dare I say it (,) friends?"

"Are you sure you want the truth?" Yes!, yes! Ah, and then the distraction…

Ha, there’s a little Red Ridding Hood Song! I’m off to google.

I like the dialogue between the two love birds, as always. Especially the bit about the light being heaven. I felt like I wanted more about Jude’s mother though. She can be beautiful but I think you should tell us why, or what makes Odette think she is, or is she beautiful because she reminds Odette of Jude.

Oh, she’s a doc-? Doc martin? But she’s not now? And the stunned expression and feeble wave imply she’s not had happy experiences of having strangers in the house.

I’m glad that we get more of a look at Helen further down. And I loved the typical mother reaction of blaming Jude. I’d be interested to know where she keeps her equipment too. It seems pretty handy because she doesn’t go upstairs or anything. Is it kept close just in case, or has she hidden it away to try and forget? It might be a chance to expand on the way she responds to be called Dr. Raith – the anger was interesting.

When she leaves Odette calls Helen Mrs Raith – I’m guessing it’s because of the reaction she gets when she calls her Dr. Maybe make that clearer to show that Odette has picked up on the tension around it?

Yay, Zeke does have a car! It feels like he kind of popped out of nowhere though I do remember anyone fetching him, although Helen and Dad were moving in and out a bit.
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