Reviews for The Light of Spring
Just in cases chapter 4 . 4/19/2011
I read some of your older reviews and woah.

Talk about critique.

I think that constructive criticism is great but should never be negative to the point that it discourages a writer. I hope that you haven't reached that point and continue to write, especially since your story has potential.

From what I have read, yes fair enough you have a few cliches, but I would be hard pressed to find a story that doesn't these days. I think the trick is to take that cliche and make it your own. Make your characters unique and capturing, your plot twist and turn; do something that makes the reader attach the story to you. Even if you have the rich/poor cliche you don't necessarily have to be confined by that sterotype. Make something about your story memorable or your tale may get lost in the thousands being churned out everyday.

Questioning your characters is an easy place to start. No-one is perfect. Find the damage and bring it to light. Your characters will be more realistic and your readers will relate to them. Thats half the battle I think, if you relate to a character you will undoubtedly become attached to that character and want to see how their tale unfolds.

Believe me I really am not one to judge literary construction or the more technical aspects of writing, but I can judge as an reader.

Hope this helps and apologies for the rambling. :)

Keep it up.

M.
Shadowcub chapter 11 . 11/7/2010
I sense the drama coming!
awilla the hun chapter 1 . 8/30/2010
I will be honest with you: I started reading this story with a certain amount of misgivings towards its quality, and these were, although there is a great deal of potential, largely fulfilled.

This was mostly for the reasons outlined by Sanity: that a (somewhat cliched) pair of characters are simply described, and that there is precious little information given about anything else.

Lets start with the cliched character accusation here. Anastasia (what a name!) is a rebellious, feisty noblewoman, who is kind towards the peasantry, and is implied to be fairly pretty also. Now, there is nothing wrong with this character, except that there is nothing wrong with this character. She is a completely perfect saint, which makes-in my mind at least-somewhat boring reading. Real people are often more complicated than this, and therefore more interesting. They have hopes, fears, dreams, likes, dislikes, and so on, which go beyond the plot of a story. Also, could we be shown a few more of their thoughts and conversations? Because, for example in Chapter 4 (the riding lesson), we get very little of their thoughts about each other, and are told-not shown via speech-vast tracts of their conversation. Brevity is all very well, but this could be a bit too brief.

Secondly, there is a fatal lack of detail. Hardly any information is given out about setting, little more about character description (soulful gazes into each other's eyes are the exception here), or indeed about anything much at all. What are the peasants wearing, for example? The world this story inhabits is completely barren: devoid of many town names, and any description of the country in which it is set, apart from a name, and a handful of very brief explanations from a shamaness. For example: there is a vague line about "men" taking over the country. What sort of stories do they tell each other about this? (That is: apart from one suspiciously knowledgeable shamaness.) Some sort of "Robina Hood" woman rescuing the people from them? Crusading men chopping through evil women to save Artemisia from its former unenlightened state? And how do they tell them? Songs, storybooks, dances, epic poems, a combination... Adding colour would add a great deal to the story.

Now, finally, on to the feminism which is this story's theme. I do not pretend to know very much about feminism, apart from a vague belief that equal rights and suchlike are a good thing. However, I would tentatively suggest that this also could do with a bit of work. Medieval people do not call other people "brainwashed". And there is very, very little "patriachy" beyond the cliched fantasy version: that noblewomen get forced to marry men they may not like, and that they have to wear dresses (except that there is nothing legally forcing them to; Anastasia gallops around quite happily, until she has to wear evening dress.) This is, of course, oppressive by modern standards-but it's all been done before. Anastasia's complaints, because they lack any detail or foundation in her thoughts, personality, or actual, painful oppression (for example, women being discriminated against by the legal system-getting punished for getting raped, for a real world example, because they are supposed to be "leading men on" in all cases; ) come out as minor teenaged irritations, rather than reasons for her to found a one girl suffragette movement. (In addition, there is a slightly unpleasant implication that all women love clothes; consider that Adams' way of showing his love to Melissan is... dressing her in rich clothes.)

(For an example of a society when female repression is really, really shown to be a bad thing, and is hammered in constantly, I would suggest reading Margaret Attwood's "The Handmaid's Tale". To sum up: the society depicted is a totalitarian hell hole where, due to mass infertility amongst women, the few fertile ones are used as "handmaids" by wives for their husbands to produce children. This is added into a mass of other forms of patriachy asserting itself through dress, terms of speech, bad behaviour, and a liberal use of bible passages, among other things.)

Sort of related to feminism is that all the male dominated societies are depicted as being brutal and evil ("civilizations", chopping up women, and so on-not that we get, as usual, very much information.) This has another unfortunate implication: that men are utterly incapable of running advanced civilizations without female guidance, whereas women are inherently peaceful and kind, restraining the violent instincts of men. This is not only insulting to men (such as this review), but also incorrect. Catherine the Great and Margaret Thatcher, for example, were both female leaders who were perfectly happy to use brute military force to achieve their goals.

I think that bringing lesbianism into it was a brave move, but it doesn't drag the plot away any further beyond a love triangle/enormous, many cornered shape. Which could be interesting, if there was any evidence that anyone involved genuinely loved each other. The servant girl seems to have got aroused from helping Anastasia dress herself and measure her for clothing-more lust than actual love. And Verna could love her-but we aren't really shown it very much, apart from a few stirrings when out horse riding.

And, before I forget: ancient nature mother godesses are an awful cliche. They can be used effectively-anything can be-but as here, like everywhere else, no detail is given (what gods do they worship at the moment?) This makes it in my mind yet another fantasy cliche. (Why is nature feminine and peaceful? If you get chased by a lion, nature is neither of these!)

So, this could go far. Grammar is good, spelling is good. Just flesh it out a bit more! And I'm sorry if this review is a bit disjointed.
Sanity's Oubliette chapter 1 . 6/22/2010
Having the urge to read and review something, this story's synopsis got my attention. However, upon reading the very first paragraph, I was instantly put off. In my opinion, perhaps one of the best ways to disinterest a reader is to start with a short character biography. Allow her past and description to come up, piece by piece, as it becomes relevant. Conversations can be a good way to have it brought up, but even that can be tricky to keep it natural.

The interaction between the grandmother and Anastasia is a step in the right direction; showing more than telling.

However, in the paragraph detailing her social life (or lack thereof) that line about her grandmother worrying is out of place. Her grandmother is no longer in the scene, so you should not be referencing her concerns unless it's Anastasia reflecting upon how it worried her grandmother. But then, it seems thus far (I haven't read the entire chapter, I'm making comments as I go) Anastasia is a bit oblivious to the woes of her grandmother over her conduct. Or simply doesn't care.

I will take this time to mention you have a very direct and choppy manner in which you deliver the story. There is little flow or segue between actions. This directly is not a criticism, just an observation.

Well, the chapter is short. To sum it up, a tomboyish noble girl rides into a village incognito and bumps into a pretty girl. We can assume this mysterious pretty peasant is going to become a love interest. Right. Descriptive passages are few and far between, in fact, the lack of embellishment makes the chapter quite bare. Of course, it's better than losing the readers in a paragraph detailing a tiny blossom that has no significance to the plot. There is a lot more telling than showing. For example, mentioning someone bumping into Anastasia. Was it just a light jostle, a brushing of shoulders, or someone outright stepping into her way and them colliding? Did someone falter or nearly fall? Whose fault was it?

Furthermore, saying a girl appears quite innocent based upon wearing braided pigtails is stretching things. No, when I see someone who appears innocent, it is how she holds herself. Does she peer up sheepishly from a hood of downcast eyelashes? Are her hands placed one over the other in front of her? Is her voice quiet, and her eyes large and curious? Or perhaps you might say that Anastasia herself associated the pigtails with innocence. Then you are not only describing an aspect of the peasant, but also letting the readers know something about Anastasia's view of the world.

The line " Her innocent appearance deceived the tomboy's first impression." Could have been worded better. It's vague. Is she STILL deceived? I'm not sure. This sentence puzzles me. And you can't deceive a first impression, but you can contradict it.

Alright, I admit I have been a little harsh. I know nothing of you, age, experience, or preference. If you are actually happy with the way things are, and manage to attract other readers as is, then I suppose if something isn't broken, don't fix it. However, some of the comments I made criticism I have received myself, and after making adjustments, I have received more positive feedback. Don't be discouraged at the lack of praise hereā€¦ I'm a no fun fuddy-duddy who is hard to impress half of the time, and then easily amused on alternate Thursdays.
Rocky Swordleaf chapter 2 . 6/22/2010
i LOVE it! i noticed a few errors in the grammar, but you have a really good storyline going here. can't wait to read more!