Reviews for Fallen Leaves
SKeene1956 chapter 35 . 4/1/2013
Again another very good tale. Or is it a novella? I don't know... But your writing is very tight and a solid cohesive whole. Once again I must say you have the potential to be a professional! Thank you again for sharing you energies with us. Best to you and yours.
Palantean Writer chapter 4 . 12/30/2011
You know, it's been absolutely forever since I've reviewed this, so please forgive me if I've forgotten important bits. And frankly, you more than deserve a good review after sending me so many, so here we go!

"Crimson grinned, turning her head slowly to stare at him. "Tell me about the first time you had it."" I get the impression here that Crimson knows a lot more about sleep paralysis than she's letting on. I wonder what this bodes for Scott?

"I was ill," he muttered. "I was about, I don't know, fifteen, maybe? It scared the shit out of me. I'd gone to bed in the middle of the day, right? And I fell asleep and, well, when I woke I..." The way he's speaking here really puts across the impression of how uncertain he feels about where he is and what he's seeing. And the possible implications of the conversation he's having. Although I don't think he's ready to admit that last bit yet, even to himself.

"You shouldn't panic, should you?" Crimson mused. "You should try to relax." The way she says this makes me wonder if the person suffering sleep paralysis is actually in great danger and should do the best they can to move. But she's humouring him, just for now. Either she's an icy-cool teacher of these things, or she's got a cruel side. Not sure which, yet.

"...wondering what the last conversation had been about." But then, I don't believe he's that ignorant of what was being said, or implied, just then. He may not understand the details - hell, I don't - but given the supernatural quality of this story and of the people he's met... I think he's just trying not to understand.

"We have to gather the supernatural's who actually like humans, who don't want to hurt them, and we have to stop the ones who do, because you're too stupid to do it yourselves." My first instinct was to ask, 'but why bother?' And then another animal came to mind that has to be protected because they can't do it themselves: pandas. They seem so maladapted for modern life that humans have had to intervene to keep the species going. Is that what humans here in this story? A weak, mostly-incapable species that need to be looked after in order to survive? It's a depressing thought, and one that could be pretty infuriating.

"What's this got to do with sleep paralysis?" Hmm, well, he's starting to show a bit of genuine curiosity.

"He sounded sceptical, though a part of him knew she was speaking the truth. Still, if he admitted to believing it then he would be admitting to believing in everything – his world would turn itself on its head, he'd be confused and lost and disorientated with no idea of how to get things back of track." Hmm. This feels a bit too straightforward. This is the process that has so far stopped Scott from being honest about what he's seeing and really exploring the idea for himself, but for him to go through this process of, 'I can't believe it because if I believe that then my world will change more than I can cope with' is too emotionally honest. I think he'd be more likely to go through a process of denial, then of grudgingly accepting that one or another of the monsters he's seen in the pictures exist (one he finds least objectionable), and from there he'd either find an equilibrium where he could remain half in denial, or if he is a more courageous individual he might start to believe in it all. But for as long as he is too scared to admit to it he won't do so - at least not consciously. It'll just sit uncomfortably on his shoulders for a while. Perhaps for his whole life.

His longer-term response to all of this is, to me, part of the story. A big part, in fact.

""Maybe not a demon, exactly," Crimson reached out, laying a hand on his shoulder. "A ghost, maybe. Something like that, anyway. Don't worry Scott..." They're coming to this problem from two very different directions. She's trying to be kind here, but I think she's too used to the world of monsters and ghouls to truly understand how far she has to go to truly comfort Scott. But then, perhaps it's best she doesn't comfort him entirely. It's in his best interests to recognise what's going on around him.

Mm hmm. And off Scott goes...

Ah, Crimson. You'll be doing far more good if you say nothing. But then, most people (and I suspect shape-shifters are the same) don't realise that when you're with someone who's going through this kind of inner chaos, silent support is one of the best things you can offer. He'll come out of his shell when he's ready. He just needs to know she's there to answer his questions when he's ready to ask.

That's a clever trick, Crimson turning into a falcon, but she's pushing him too hard. He'll come around.

I'm not understanding why Crimson wants to show him the darker side of the world only to have him forget it the next day. There has to be something in it for her, surely, otherwise she wouldn't do it. So her speech, which ends with 'trust me', sounds quite hollow. Clearly something is going on here that she's not letting on, so why trust her?

"They don't get used to being in the creature's body..." I don't understand what this bit means.

Hmm, so are the pictures more than just images? If they glow like that then there's something more to them, surely?

"He could barely believe how normal that thought was in his head." This sounds like he's coming 'round to acceptance too quick. I think he'd just be very relieved to hear that Cliff had stopped sounding aggressive.

"By the way, Scott," Crimson kept her gaze fixed on Cliff, "this mutt talks about everyone as though they're dogs. It's his way to make him think he's on the same level as us." Heh. Well, she's happy enough to stick up for Scott. That counts for a lot when you're in such a lonely position as Scott, right now.

"No!" Scott protested. "I've never done anything like it. Seriously. It wasn't just adrenaline. Something hit my body, something different." Ehh, well, maybe he's right. But I'm also conscious of the fact that he's a 24-year old man who lacks confidence and is in the presence of a stronger male and an attractive woman. I imagine he'd be very keen to say he had innate superstrength rather than just accept the explanation that he was on an adrenaline high at the time.

Were it not for the fact that this is a supernatural story and he is probably therefore genuinely superstrong, I'd say he's just having a knee-jerk reaction and insisting he has strength he doesn't have.

"...eyes narrowed and eyebrows raised." Just checking, but are you physically able to do both at the same time?

"You said not knowing makes us stupid! You said it makes us more vulnerable! Why the hell would I want to put myself back into that position?" This retort doesn't quite ring true, either. He is your character of course, but my feeling is that he'd be more likely to say that he's got the strength to be useful to them, and he's got a natural affinity, as demonstrated by his sleep paralysis, so they'd be fools not to bring him onboard. Taking away his knowledge of them would do them harm - I think he'd be reluctant to draw attention to his own vulnerability if his memory is wiped.

"Before either could say anything more, something hit Scott over the back of the head and he blacked out." Hmm. Might be a wise thing to do, actually.

- From We Return Reviews.
thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 2 . 8/4/2011
Once again, nice chapter! We're really getting a feeling for Scott...hah, with his sort of weak reaction to anything (although I admit realistic. not many can keep their cool after seeing a bunch of shape-shifters). I liked Scott's line about being called funny boy. Hah, only someone like him would make a joke with a bunch of dangerous government workers. xD

You've got yourself a fascinating concept here. So we're dealing mostly with shape-shifters, right? I do enjoy coyotes, so I like your type of shape-shifter. Not your typical wolf or anything. Makes them seem more wild by them being coyotes oddly enough.

So shape-shifters trying to take over the world yet the government is stopping them? That sounds...AWESOME! Seriously, with Scott as our sort of bumbling hero (I imagine down the road) with all his foul-mooded government agents against shape shifters...I see bright things in the future. Well bright meaning fun to read.

nutrunningthenuthouse

P.S. I'm pretty sure we're all repaid, but if I owe you more than 2, tell me. :)
thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 1 . 8/4/2011
Let me just begin by saying that this is a very interesting concept. Stand up comedy is such an interesting sort of hobby/job for characters yet it's so underused. Plus, you had a bit of a intrigue at the end of your summary. Very well done.

Haha, now onto the actual story. I like Scott's character so far. He's vulnerable and the way he's so nervous on stage is a nice start for the story; not having a god-like character and all. Poor guy, cause i bet he can tell a good joke if he just wasn't so hard on himself.

All the part with Crimson and then the creature... all a very interesting concept to work with. I like how the sort of agency/mystery framed the chapter. I really liked how you described the situation at the beginning of the chapter. It just gave a really good tone and it gave a good introduction to the characters.

Hmm, I can't honestly think of anything to particularly comment on. Nice job. :)

nutrunningthenuthouse
Aspiemor chapter 16 . 7/26/2011
Honestly I felt this was more dailouge heavy than most. I understand as dialouge is your strength, although I felt it could have used more description in some parts. Msot of it was just one or two sentances seperated into different lines. But like I said the dialouge was good and is still good as I read on.

Pop culture references. That can make or break a story, or maybe not. Sometimes too many can well make it kind of seem like it's trying to be cool and hip. But your story, well I didn't mind them. It's kind of neat to see fantasy creatures react to how our society percieves them. Well I will have to read on won't I?
Aspiemor chapter 15 . 7/2/2011
Well this was a talking chapter I could see. So far I can tell there is a lot of planning and foreshadowing. I can't exactly say what but I can tell it is leading into something big. Dialogue continues to be your main strength so kudos to that.

I got nothing more to say on that except your dialouge can be funny and engaging at times.
Aspiemor chapter 14 . 6/8/2011
Well interesting . I gotta wonder what one would do in this man's situation. We dream of meeting fantasy creatures and then we get games like WoW to satisfy our needs. I think Scott is living those dreams. The fight scene flowed well as far as I could tell.

You gotta admit one probably wouldn't be willing to learn how to fight when you had a bunch of fantasy creatures fighting for you.

Not much to say on this one except you did a good job per usual. Although you gotta give him props for trying to fight.
Palantean Writer chapter 3 . 5/21/2011
"Scott felt like someone had plunged him underwater." Usually a bad sign... And a good place to start (well, start bar the four bits of speech). This reader is as disorientated as Scott must be.

"It would be forever imprinted in his mind as the night where everything messed up, where his whole world got turned upside down." Although Scott is currently very disorientated and some very strange and frightening things happened at the gig, I feel that it's slightly premature for him to use it as a marker for 'when things went wrong'. I think he'd need to have been awake and alert for a while so that he could take stock of what's happened, and then he'd be more likely to put the event into that kind of context. Because right now, he's still in the thick of it - the strange events of that night still haven't really finished for him.

"He was staring straight into a bright, white light, and almost as soon as he had realised it, his head started to pound." Ngh. Nice sensory description here - it's not a nice feeling, but I can clearly imagine it.

"...Crimson was standing near the bed he was in..." I feel that it might be worth Scott noticing that he's in a bed in the first place - it reads as if that information has come to him without him even noticing.

"Make a joke, Scotty. Make a joke and it'll all feel better.

"Feeling blue, hey?" he chuckled, sighing when he received nothing but a few blank looks." It's never a good inner voice that says that. Mine says it quite often. I'm trying to kick the habit. Thing is, this part of the story throws Scott's problems at not being a very good comic into a deeper light: does he try to get work as a comic so that he can satisfy the part of him that just wants to try and make people laugh, regardless of whether he's any good at it? That's serious - to deliberately try and be the laughing stock (or the bully, if one classes the kid who used to laugh *at* you a bully) suggests a lot of personal flaws, or unresolved issues.

And the amount of concern he shows over his Tshirt - the one that's actually his - supports the idea of his immaturity.

"Doc, can we wipe him yet?" I don't think I'd be reassured if someone said this about me.

"...in awe of her, even if she had recited it all like she was reading from a text book." Ah, I'm glad you brought that up. Her wording did feel a bit staged, just there.

"Well, I'm not being his babysitter," Crimson spat. "Bugger that for a laugh. Let Marie do it." They don't really care about Scott at all, do they? It's quite an isolating position for him, here. I wonder where this'll go - contempt can make for interesting dynamics between characters. And it doesn't sound at the moment as if Scott has anything else in his arsenal of skills with which to impress them.

""Don't throw a tantrum, Crimson. Just because you've always been treated as the youngest doesn't mean you can sway me with your princess like attitude. You will look after the boy, and you will not complain. Understood?" He emphasised every syllable in the last word, and slowly Crimson nodded." I thought this was Scott talking - and was impressed! He might well have the wrong end of the stick and is, in fact, awake. But then he said, 'the boy' and I began to doubt it was him. Surely he wouldn't refer to himself in the third person like that?

Ah - from her answer I can see that it wasn't Scott who said that.

"Crimson will... he opened one eye, peeking at Crimson, who stared at him with the same confused expression as the Doc. Will find me suddenly extremely attractive and will be overcome with sexual desire for me." Oh dear, Scott.

""Well funny man, you coming or what?"" Nope, it's just the way he's sitting. Ba-dum, tsshh!

Sorry.

- From We Return Reviews.
thefaultinourpatronus chapter 2 . 5/15/2011
The color coded names are definitely cute :D At first it was a bit cheesy, but then I got totally used to it!

"Cobalt and Crimson?" Scott chuckled. "What, you part of the weirder names for colours squad?"

-Haha great stuff.

I do love Cobalt. [Love the name and the color, too]. He seems very mysterious and I can't wait to see more about him! Scott is definitely an awesome character as well; he was born for comedy.

x mandy
Palantean Writer chapter 2 . 4/28/2011
I've gone straight from the last chapter to this one, and yet I feel that this isn't so much the beginning of a new chapter as a continuation of the previous one. I'd like to see a bit more scene setting, or bringing the reader up to the speed at which a rather panicked Scott is functioning. Treat each chapter as if the reader has been away for a little while and you need to ease them back into the story.

"Where had the crowd gone? They'd just disappeared." Well, there were gunshots, weren't there? Some of them invariably made themselves scarce very quickly. And anyway, Scott stumbled outside, so it's not so much that the crowd has gone as *he* has. So I don't understand why he's wondering where they've gone.

"Part of him felt worried for them; were they alright? Then again, they hadn't exactly been warm to Scott. And anyway, he knew they were just a faceless multitude. He couldn't really drum up too much sympathy for them." I think this is a bit too contradictory. There's rationalising a problem so that one doesn't have to deal with it (or feels better about one's powerlessness), but I think it needs work, here.

And... sorry for being so critical, but I'm not quite buying that Scott starts talking to himself. Thinking to himself, perhaps, but talking?

"Then again, he mused, her tits were a bit small." Now I like Scott a bit less.

"...ran a hand through her coppery red hair." A-ha! Crimson! And I presume we've met Cobalt, too.

Scott expressed confusion about what to do next. I think in his position my instinct would be to sneak back inside the comedy club (in case there was still anything dangerous inside), get my coat and go home. Or maybe just go straight home and leave venturing back into the club for the following morning, when it's light again. I feel that we could do with some reason for Scott not to want to retreat to the safety of his home.

I'm following this conversation between Scott, Crimson and Cobalt, but you know, I'd like to feel, see, smell and whatever else the place they're in. They're pretty much floating against a white background at the moment.

"He found himself starting to wretch..." I think that'd be retch. Scott is being a bit of a wretch, but he's retching.

Ah, so Marie's a mind-clearing artist.

Imagine the money she and a good comedian could make :P

Oh, okay - so Crimson's more of a shapeshifter than just a human-bird thing. Cool beans.

Oh, and... as she loses her clothes when she transforms, what does she wear? Presumably it's some kind of one-piece thing that it's easy to just slip back on. I can't imagine she has the kind of job where it's adviseable to spend ages struggling back into tights, a combination of 3 tops and the like.

The mind-clearing wasn't completed, then.

""Look, here's the basics; Cobalt, Crimson and myself are part of a secret government agency..." Hmm... Maria's quite mature in her years, am I right? I think in her position I'd not use the word 'secret'. While anyone might work out from what's happened that her division would be quite secretive (probably even classified), I think I'd not make a big deal of that. It only glamourises the situation, when it all needs to be hushed up. It also occurs to me that she's there as a mop-up person, to make sure nobody remembers things they weren't supposed to have seen. So it wouldn't be in her interests to describe the entire situation. Scott might have his mind wiped eventually, but what if someone else is listening? If they're going to take Scott somewhere, they'd best tell him about it once they're confident he's the only one in earshot, surely? And I'm sure Maria could find a few well-chosen words to buy his compliance until then, without sounding suspicious to people in the streets and buildings nearby.

By the way, how high up was this fire escape Scott leapt up to? It could be within a couple of feet of the dustbin, or it could be several storeys further up the building.

"He has plans to build up an army and wipe you all off the world." Ooh, steady, Maria! Need to know, surely?

Yes, generally I'd take another look at Maria and try to model her on someone middle-aged. That is, if I understand her age correctly? At the moment she's talking a lot like an adolescent, or an early-20's at most.

"It was why he hated rollercoaster's." Rollercosters shouldn't have an apostrophe.

"Scott was rarely in control but he didn't like things where no one was in control. It felt like that now. It felt like he was tumbling through midair with nothing holding onto him except this woman's arm." Well, then... she's in control, isn't she?

"Suddenly, with a thump, his feet connected on a linoleum floor." Again, take care with your grammar. The semantics of this sentence say that Scott's feet connected with each other, whereas I think you mean they connected 'with' or 'to' the lino.

Ah, and Scott faints. Probably just as well, I bet he could do with a breather!

The story's panning out to be quite interesting and has its charms. I look forward to reading on with this.

- From We Return Reviews.
Palantean Writer chapter 1 . 4/28/2011
Hello, and sorry for taking so long to review you back!

Ooh, now! The synopsis for this one sounds intriguing! A failing stand-up artist! Full marks for originality!

Well, for the title, 'Fallen Leaves' sounds quite... woody, foresty. Mystical. I suspect there won't be mysticism in this story so my first instinct is that the title doesn't fit. It needs something with a clever twist, something wry I think. But we can come back to that later, if you have the desire to, of course.

'Crimson'? Makes a change from Scarlet!

""Right where I said I'd be," she snapped, mentally adding arsehole onto the end. Crimson had a very rocky relationship with Cliff, the tech expert at the agency." You start off well, here, showing us how Crimson feels about Cliff, but then you immediately give us a tell. The tell cheapens the show, I think, and given the infodump that came previously about Crimson's ambivalence about her job, it looks like as a reader of this story, I'm in for a lot of tells. Don't feel you have to sum the situation up too quickly - we can take our time with some of these truths. It'd be great to see Crimson's ambiguity in action rather than be instantly introduced to her moral stance on the job. Perhaps we will sympathise with her, perhaps we will not. But we'll learn a lot about her and connect emotionally with her as we find out what these ambivalances are.

Ah, so Crimson and Cliff are two different species?

I imagine that Cobalt is another of Crimson's kind. My immediate thought is, 'vampires and humans', but I'd love to know for sure.

Oh! Okay, I guess you just more or less showed us what Crimson is! A shapeshifter, or a witch perhaps. Excellent! "...a dark red fathered bird flying off into the sky." Feathered?

And now we're introduced to Scott. By the way, the synopsis tells us about Scott so we already know who and what we're dealing with - a struggling comic. But the complete lack of mention of Crimson and her troupe in the synopsis leaves them all in a rather more mysterious light. I like this - it leaves the reader more choice on whether they feel they're meant to like the less-mentioned character or not.

"The voice of the compare..." Compere?

Scott's comedy routine is indeed painful - you've chosen his words well, and although I think the expression of how out-on-a-limb he feels needs a bit of work, it's getting there. You've got a good start, here!

"Probably ask for sex tips, because if all of that True Blood and Twilight lark is anything to go by, these vampires are getting laid every night! I didn't realise there were so many necrophiliacs in the world." Thing is, said the right way, I think this bit could be hilarious - I have this feeling that it didn't work very well for Scott, but it could do. And that's excellent, because it's giving me more of a feeling that Scott *has* got what it takes, or almost has it, and yet he's just a bit off the mark in terms of reaching his audience. And suddenly, I feel I've really connected with him.

Must be awfully lonely up there. And stomach-churning. Rather him than me, really.

"and expect to leave you alone, right? Well, anyway, what happened was, he..." Pause. Think Scott, think. What made him stop? His heart drummed in his chest..." Oh, no! He didn't just try to launch into that on a whim, did he? You stupid bastard, Scott! And I mean that in a sympathetic way.

"It was complete bollocks, right, because, well, when do I ever caught?" Is the grammar at the end of this sentence wrong on purpose, because of Scott's distraction?

"The man who had finally looked away from him but was now staring at the door" Aye, so the man looked away, but the timing of this, the presentation of it, doesn't feel quite right to me. Perhaps we need a beat of relief from Scott when the man seems to read his mind, and then a deeper sense of dread (perhaps?) when he realises that the man's only looking away to watch for potential newcomers...

Ah, so I thought this was going to be a werewolf. But instead, a man who changes into a coyote. I'm intrigued by this - your monsters certainly aren't the standard-issue ones.

o.O Suddenly, dogs.

I'd question why Scott doesn't instantly notice the husky's strange, red colouration. Is this a totally unnatural colour, or would one see the husky and instantly think, 'ooh, I didn't realise they came in russet'? Either way, unless the husky's in deep shadow I would expect that to be really noticeable, especially given the vibrant quality of red.

"The sounds of a canines fighting." Singular or plural?

Just to say you're quite liberal with the commas, so you might want to comb back through the story and take a few out.

All in all, this is an interesting start. I look forward to seeing how the story goes from here.

- From We Return Reviews.
thefaultinourpatronus chapter 1 . 4/27/2011
"...She dumped me after she caught me watching her sleep."

-Oh my goodness, HILARIOUS! XD

Good comedians are pretty hard to get, aren't they? I should know, I spend half my days trying to get my friends to see the beauty of humor in my jokes...

A comedy club, huh? Definitely an interesting and creative idea!

I like how you described Scott's reactions to the man and how nervous he became. And then the action scene. Great work!

x mandy
Aspiemor chapter 13 . 4/25/2011
So sorry for the lack of reviewing. With the forums down I have been out of it. I have been catching your updates on fictionpress. It's admerable to see you are still writing. I have been writing myself, but not as often as you. The plot seems to indicate some troubles ahead. I can see that an army would spell trouble. Those supernatural creatures, always wanting to wipe out the human race. Well I will try to review more when I can. But I think the forum is working now. Not sure but you might want to try.

aS usual your dialouge was awesome.
Aspiemor chapter 12 . 4/5/2011
I can see he feels like a pawn in the grand scheme of things. Really I think I can relate a but as when you are employed, you really are just an employee amidst millions in a company. Easily replaced, easily expendable, but I guess that depends on the company. But enough about that, I was simply trying to make a comparison as I found it related. I guess we must feel for him.
Aspiemor chapter 11 . 4/5/2011
Good inner monolouging. I have felt like that as well, a nobody, but I am not here to dump on myself. Good chapter as usual. Dialouge, well do I really need to say it? I have praised you before on that. But I really liked how dark it got towards the end. His past matching with the present, or at least reminding him of it. Not much for to say than that.
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