Reviews for Like Eiderdown & Disendowers
AppleCinnamon chapter 14 . 12/31/2013
I can't decide how I feel about Jen. I kind of liked having this neutral party looking at the exchanges between Dan and Phelan, but there are moments when she feels off. I can't help wondering if maybe Phelan has some sort of dirt hanging over her, or if they're seeing each other (which would explain why Phelan made such a brazen move last chapter when Dan's posed no threat so far).

Phelan seemed to go back to being an intelligent sociopath this chapter. The seeds of doubt he planted in Rebecca were handled quite well, and as much as I hate the guy, I really have to appreciate him as an antagonist. I also loved how it tied in with Henry's question regarding physics in the real world.

This chapter probably had the strongest emotion so far, particularly in the tension department. I really enjoyed it, and honestly I don't think there's really anything about it that needs revision.
AppleCinnamon chapter 13 . 12/31/2013
I have to admit that I wanted to face-palm with how the envelope thing was handled. Phelan hasn't gotten this far by being stupid, so simply presenting an envelope in the middle of a teachers' meeting was well beyond the realm of believability where he's concerned. All Dan had to do is call attention to Phelan being the one to deliver it, not to mention his 'colorful past', as Jen put it, and Phelan would be screwed this way and back while Dan, at the most, would have an investigation that goes nowhere. And tying the ribbons to the condom wrapper? That screams setup on too many levels for any law enforcement agent to not know it's fabricated evidence.

On Dan's side, I have a lot of trouble believing that he would simply sit back and say or do nothing about the envelope. He wants to protect Rebecca, and yet he's letting Phelan put him into a position where he won't be able to do so, first by creating a situation where they can't be alone together without suspicion, and in the long run by potentially getting Dan locked up, temporarily or not where there'll be absolutely nothing he can do.

These two are not idiots, so I don't understand why either of them are behaving otherwise and taking such unnecessary risks.

Rebecca's decision to go back to school has a misguided boldness to it, but it's definitely understandable and much more believable than the guys' actions. I really also liked how you got into Rebecca's love for physics. Given what she's been through so far, I felt you really timed her need for control and order very well.

Sarah came out of left field, and I have to say I really enjoyed her. She was much more interesting than Arielle and Hannah have been, and I'm really hoping to see more of her. She almost seems like she would fit nicely into an "unlikely friendship" sort of relationship with Rebecca.
AppleCinnamon chapter 12 . 12/31/2013
As the story goes on, the imagery seems to growing heavier. The last few chapters have been pretty good, but maybe sprinkle it a bit more throughout the chapter instead of lumping the majority of it together. At times it feels like the environment detail after the opening of a scene/chapter is inserted more as a reminder of where they are, rather than a part of the story itself. The exception in this chapter, however, would be the cornfield, which I thought you handled very nicely and consistently throughout the scene.

[Okay, so this chapter is sort of a conclusion to the first plot arch,]

A bit of a random note, I actually thought chapter 10 was the intro to the next plot arc. The framing at the end of chapter 9 and start of 10 have a strong sense of "That was that part, now here's the next," while this chapter feels much more like an early lull in a new plot.

[What do you think of Arielle and Hannah?]

Arielle and Hannah didn't really strike me as anything special. Pretty well template boy-focused extras more than anything. Hannah seemed like she might have some more interesting qualities, but overall I didn't find myself interested in either of them.

[I've been experimenting with writing Dan's dream. I wanted it to be a bit disorienting and overwhelming. Rebecca in Dan's dream is his interpretation of her, so (I hope!) she might appear slightly different from actual Rebecca.]

In Dan's dream Rebecca seemed to come off as more of a child. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you; given he wants a family and all, it makes sense he would dream about her in a childlike manner. Dream Rebecca definitely didn't feel like the actual Rebecca, though.

For the writing of the dream itself I didn't find it particularly overwhelming or disorienting, beyond a visual asthetic of the dialogue handling. The corn was perhaps the most eye-catching aspect, simply for its uniqueness. The rest of the dream, though, seemed lacking in emotion and I didn't really find myself connecting to it.
AppleCinnamon chapter 11 . 12/31/2013
The pacing felt a bit weird this chapter. The first part during the drive and then while eating felt pretty good, but after that the chapter felt kind of fast and slow, particularly the last scene. I really enjoyed getting to know Jen, but at the same time it felt like the scene lasted longer than it should have.

[What do you think of her now?]
I'd have to say Rebecca is still emotionally unhinged, to be honest. During her cynical and almost manic musing on roadkill and lust, I couldn't help thinking of a friend when her PTSD was really bad some years back. If the intent was to get to know Rebecca in a neutral state, I think perhaps it would be better to work on her character before her conflict with Phelan. Perhaps this was her neutral behavior before, but going back and refreshing myself on previous chapters, I didn't really get this doom-and-gloom side of her. My impression of her now, though, is that she's still to some degree unreliable.

Very grisly imagery this chapter, and I'd have to say perhaps the most memorable. Roadkill is not something I would have expected for a chapter hook, but you executed it wonderfully and led into the chapter very well.
AppleCinnamon chapter 10 . 12/31/2013
One thing I felt would help emphasize the dream is if dialogue was given some visual cue. Not necessarily quotations, but perhaps bolden Phelan's dialogue to punctuate the helplessness the dream brings Rebecca. This is a purely style thing, though. When handling flashbacks, I would definitely say stick to proper dialogue formatting.

Regarding the flashback presentation, the line between narrative exposition and Rebecca and Dan relating their pasts is very muddled; I'm not really sure just how much either of them said, and how much was introspect.

Very nice touch with Rebecca's sensitivity to the word "Us". It's such a little thing, but says a lot about her own state of mind at the moment.

1. Pretty well what I'm getting from Dan is some emotional immaturity that is now working in tandem with some unresolved grief for Sophie. He does seem to be smartening up a bit this chapter (having the sense to not barge in on Rebecca, for example), so in that sense he's understandable, but his interest in Rebecca as a potential partner doesn't feel all that healthy for either of them. There's definitely hope for a healthy relationship between them, but they're a long way off.

2. I actually remembered her from chapter 3 during the dance. She definitely sounds much more like an adult this time around, if a bit of an abrasive one.

3. I didn't find it particularly awkward. The timing made a lot of sense, to be honest. It seemed to me like he was looking to establish some trust with Rebecca so she would feel a bit safer and open up to him. I actually thought for flow it would have worked better if he related his story about Sophie before she finally opened up.
AppleCinnamon chapter 9 . 12/30/2013
I loved the build up of Dan's relationship with Sophie. It felt like a very natural development, and really gave younger Dan a hopeless romantic quality. His thoughts on "The One" also made for a very nice lead-in to the present.

I really appreciate how consistent you are with Tom. When he hasn't been drinking he comes off as just insensitive, but then when he's been drinking he turns into a complete asshole, which leaves me wondering if there might be some underlying plot for him, such as a potential road to redemption alcoholic story.

Given all that's happened, I was a bit surprised at first that Rebecca caved in with Dan, but thinking more on it I think you did a good job building up an "any port in a storm" mentality. I thought it was a bit naive for Dan to think insisting Rebecca stay in a stranger's bedroom was a good idea, but then I wondered if maybe his thought process was to ensure that she didn't take off and get herself into some sort of trouble. Maybe something to hint at his thought-process on this aspect?

Very good pacing and tension throughout the chapter. The confrontation with Tom seemed a bit slower than other tension moments, but I think it really helped to build empathy for Rebecca, and even Dan to a degree.
alltheeagles chapter 18 . 12/28/2013
Right, so now I see the point of Rebecca’s interaction with Pete in chp 15, so that this (Rebecca applying for a job) could happen here. Only to be soured by Phelan’s presence. The guy is everywhere. What happened between him and Elise that was so bad that he’s making Rebecca’s life so miserable now? You’ve dropped plenty of clues, and I’m all for withholding some info in the interests of suspense, but it might be about time to give something more substantial.

I see my problem now. I’m letting my real life knowledge distort my interpretation of this story. I should just accept that this is a star-crossed lovers story, treat it like Romeo and Juliet, and get over myself. So in the light of this realisation, then No, I don’t find it strange that Rebecca is doing this. She’s decided to go over to the dark side, as I mentioned earlier, and act according to what her heart dictates the way popular culture and Disney cartoons encourage us to. Contrast that with the lesson learnt from roadkill in chp 11 on the consequences of ‘heart over head’, and... I don’t know what we get. Irony?

Your language is the usual delight: particularly loved the bit about people who don’t really know each other, the generic-ness of James, and that line: “That we want each other but can’t.”
Jalux chapter 11 . 12/28/2013
The description of the squirrel was gruesome, I really liked the detail there. While I liked the roadkill bit and its significance for Rebecca, I think you made it too drawn out, keep the detail but shorten it somewhat. I felt this chapter really helped me better understand Rebecca as a character. Particularly the part where she reflected she shouldn't last out at Phelan because she was insecure and even simple things like her preference of mozzarella cheese. I also wonder how realistic someone calling Rebecca little lady is, I suppose it depends on the person but she's basically bordering on a young adult now and I feel most people wouldn't refer you her as little lady, maybe young lady would be more suitable?
Shirin Madavey chapter 23 . 12/27/2013
"Now was when she should not say good" Confusing at first. Maybe it's the negative. I don't know. Consider rewording.

"Even though all she could think of were the slippery syllables in" I would take out the slippery syllables part out the sentence.

"The cold blades seeped into her skin" Is she stabbing herself with scissors in the middle of the guidance office? Maybe make a change of setting more clear?

"She wanted to know the difference between being a survivor and being condemned." You talked about being a survivor, but not being condemned. It's an interesting contrast, so it would be cool if you explored it more.

"As he reached for Rebecca...pull her out of the past." This was a great line, one of the most powerful of the piece. There were several really good lines. Overall, your writing is good.

"She could not believe it was hurting...because hair was dead." I think this line really brings the metaphor into focus. She is cutting out the dead parts of her, the past, and even if something is easily shed and forgotten, it can still be painful to lose.

"Because hair was the best bad thing to lose."

In the first part I got really lost in the setting. It took me about a couple pages in the figure out she was in the tub instead of in a guidance office.

Kind of a nitpicky thing. I don't know how I feel about the Sophia paragraph. It kind of read awkwardly and broke up the action in a way I didn't like. The first part was the strongest, the second part started off a little bit slow but picked up towards the end. I don't know, it seemed a little bit narrative heavy, but that's just a first glance.

Overall, it was enjoyable. It felt like an end. Like there were changes in Rebecca, but I'm wondering if Tom saw any of the differences in her, or if he was oblivious as always. Also curious how the abuse stopped, but you probably address this in previous chapters.
Jalux chapter 10 . 12/23/2013
Opening: I liked it, it was a a good mixture of a dream and memory of her once going to the beach. I also like the fact you don't realize it's a dream until Phlean comes into it and just the general purpose the dream serves is unoriginal but still clever and well-done.

Ending: Poor Sophie, although I feel her death might have made a bigger impact if Sophie was a more interesting character but that might just be me not liking her character haha. I do think the emotion is there though and that makes the ending a solid conclusion although the line "How are you so nice" kinda rubs me the wrong, it could be worded better I feel.

Dialogue: Overall good, there were some patchy lines of dialogue I feel could be re-written and said aloud to double-check. But generally you get different voices from different characters and the emotion is there.

Enjoyment: Definitely enjoyed this chapter, it really nailed Rebecca's current emotional state and Dan as well (I prefer the former because we've been following her for 10 chapters). The writing was enjoyable to read as well, it flowed nicely and paced itself well. So definitely a strong chapter.
The Littlest Mouse chapter 3 . 12/22/2013
Is the radio symbolism? I can see how it would work. You have to jostle and prod the radio to do what you want it to do. Hit to the right to turn it down, hit to the left to turn it down, twist the nobs twice to go up one channel...Some people are like that. You have to be that nagging, pushy person to get them to do what needs to be done. Since Rebecca is the one abusing the radio can I assume she's that person to someone? The annoying, nagging, pushy person that gets you to do what you have to do?

If not then...oops.

I think more symbolism would give the story more meaning. Right now this story seems to lack...emotion. It's almost as if you're bored with the story. As if you don't want to do this anymore. I suggest taking a brief break from this story and relax.
Girlinblue24 chapter 11 . 12/22/2013
This chapters start was brilliant. It was a total change from the previous chapter’s end. It had ended sweet with a hug from Rebecca. But, then this chapter starts with two words: Road kill. And, then, the description of such a thing. The brutality in it, I feel anyway, matches Rebecca’s skewed mind set. She has been through so many things, and somehow, I feel that this road kill matches her inner turmoil. It could just be me, but that it what I think, and that it why I think this chapter’s start is so brilliant.
I’m enjoying the fact that their relationship is not at the student to teacher awkwardness anymore. Just having him talk about his family is nice. I almost forgot who he was for a second.

I think Rebecca is scared and emotionally scarred. I think she has the potential to be a normal high schooler but doesn't have that opportunity. She has a lovely bit of niceness and caring for others in her. She is very strong, emotionally. I like her. I have never not liked her. She is doing the best she can. I don't view her as hysterical or anything. I liked that random glimpse of her personality in this chapter.
alltheeagles chapter 17 . 12/22/2013
In this chapter, I come back once more to the beauty of your expressions. Among the outstanding ones: the breezeless air captured and suspended... / yellow shaded infamy... / clung to her skin as plastic wrap... Another bit I liked was : the former was rational / the latter was impossible. It captures how, well, irrational, Dan is acting, and yet how there could be no other outcome to it.

Plot-wise, I thought at the beginning that it was going to be a one-sided thing ie unrequited love on Dan’s side, but now it seems it’s mutual. That doesn’t make it any easier for me to deal with the age gap, and yes, that’s very likely my prejudice showing, or examples of non-successes from real life getting in the way of suspension of disbelief, but more than the age difference it’s the whole teacher-student thing. I don’t know. Maybe by next chapter I’ll get round to accepting their relationship, but for now, it’s just... not a match I’d root for. And of course this that has nothing to do with your writing ability – it’s a very, very, personal opinion arising from my past experiences (maybe... :P)

-‘a’ missing from ‘squeezed shrug’
-Dare I say it? Phelan HAD corrupted. Ok, let me know when you’ve had enough of my past perfect obsession and I’ll stop, I promise.
Jalux chapter 7 . 12/21/2013
I really like the internal monologue in this chapter, it really makes the chapter in my opinion. For example the part where Rebecca is thinking they only shared a drink together and he liked her essays is extremely well written and is an excellent display of both Rebecca's character and the desperation of the situation.

I also appreciate the characterization, especially how Rebecca seems torn on whether to go through or not? Phelan's dialogue is also excellent, he seems like a good person but flawed.
Jalux chapter 6 . 12/21/2013
I enjoyed the dialogue in this chapter, it's been a while since I've read your story but I definitely feel this chapter had better and wellflowing dialogue. Really helps to characterize Lucia and Rebecca more especially I feel. The cliff-hanger was also clever, it didn't feel cheap and is what a good cliff-hanger should do, force the reader to want to read on and also to ponder. Also another thing I did like is the plot is picking up, it felt a little slow in previous chapters.
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