|Reviews for The Witnesses|
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 11/13/2011
Grats on your Halloween win, you tricky bugger!
Enjoyment: I'll admit, at first I was a little weary about this short-story, but as it went on and I went back and re-read parts of it (just to get a better, fuller understanding of the overall picture) I came away from this really enjoying it. I like how you take some unconventional routes and methods when telling this, like delivering a story from a raindrop's POV. By the middle of this you had me totally captivated, because I just found it so cool how someone could write something this interesting and complex without even addressing the sense of sight.
Dialogue: I think the dialogue was a huge driver for this story, because you mainly go off of the human sense of sound. I particularly enjoy how the dialogue pretty much moves the story along and shows the reader what's happening - I always enjoy and appreciate plots that move themselves along in other methods than the whole telling department. It allows the characters to take control. I also enjoyed the segment where the two women (Annie and Bethany) are kinda talking to each other but also just to themselves and it melts together. Very interesting. I had fun going through and reading that part a couple times.
Ending: Such a tragic ending, this really made me sad. :( I always hate seeing people who do good deeds end up having something bad happen to them. I think this man's death ties in really well to how the water droplets converge back into each other and travel to the rivers/oceans. Really makes me think about that whole 'we're all a part of a singular consciousness' thing. Though, unlike the raindrops, I don't think this man is going to experience a cycle of rebirth.
Other (Perspective): I briefly touched on the perspective part earlier, because I wanted to go more in depth with it here. I think it was a bold move to take on the POV of a raindrop - not only is there so much room for creativity, but it's something I've never really experienced before. I always enjoy new things. The way you address only the sound and touch really drives home the fact that this is something as simple as a raindrop telling the story instead of a human. While reading through this, I almost felt like I had my eyes closed, if that makes any sense - but I think this shows you did a great job helping the reader sympathize with the raindrop (which seems like a very difficult to do, especially because it isn't human).
Writing: I did notice some extra words here and there, and some sentences were worded awkwardly, but it's nothing a quick edit/polish won't fix. I don't think it detracted from the overall enjoyment of the story, but just wanted to bring it to your attention for the future if you ever come back to this. :)
Thanks for the read!
| Ezekiel Finch chapter 1 . 9/1/2011
I thought that your experiment in POV was really successful. You provided us a new and fresh viewpoint that we would've never seen without reading your piece. The idea that inanimate objects have the capacity to communicate and amass ideas is really interesting. It gives readers a sense of neutrality without actually relying upon some invisible and all knowing narrator.
I also really like how you cut out bits of information throughout your piece. The best example of this is when the two women are interacting and talking about the accident. We hear key bits from each person but we lack pieces to create a full picture. I feel that this piece is like a mystery tied all together by the drama and tragedy.
| rgarner31 chapter 1 . 8/27/2011
congrats on winning the WCC! HERE IS YOUR PRIZE :)
I think that its a very interesting concept to narrate from an omniscient POV following a rain drop... i dont think ive ever read that sort of thing before! I think its cool how you tied that in.
So for the opening, i did sort of wish that the first few sentences were more attention grabbing. Ive always believed that for the opening sentence, less is ALWAYS more. One of my stories starts: "wickedness ruled the air tonight.", and basically every review for that first chapter mentions that because of that line they kept reading. Its really simple, yet it sets the scene whereas the line in this story is rather bogged down in specifics. Just a suggestion :)
For the ending i thought that you tied everything up really well. I felt a sort of resolution occurred, even though technically we didnt really get to see any take place. Although we didnt see the mother in the emergency room being told her son is dead, we already know it.
Again, i love the idea of using the rain drop's POV. You make it sound like theres this little rain drop world, and theyre just watching us for entertainment, like how we watch cable. I really do love that whole scene.
I thought that the dialogue, specifically the banter between the two girl-friends was indicative of their personalities with very few words- how Annie was willing to just leave, then was worried about what else was going on told me a lot about her, and then what her friend was talking about clued me in a little bit on her as well, so it was altogether easy to read and interesting.
Congrats again on your win, and good job with this :)
| MeAsIAm chapter 1 . 8/23/2011
Congratulations on winning the WCC!
When I first read your piece before the voting started, I was like 'Whoa! This is the winner' :)
Anyway, off to the review:
The opening is interesting, but it lets you down a tiny bit after the first few sentences, maybe due to the sentence structure. The personification of raindrops is a really clever idea and gives a unique feel to the piece.
I wasn't clear about the scene unfolding in front of me. I followed the conversation between Annie, Bethany and the man, but later, as I reached the end, I understood that it was an accident (I hope I am right in assuming that). Though it feels confusing at first, in retrospection, it was quite an interesting way to develop the theme.
An invigorating aspect in this piece is the characters. There are the raindrops, the man with the cigarette, the two women, Luke and the girl with him, the mother and the child. They are hard to pinpoint because often, they merge into one mass of humanity (and the raindrops as a different entity) and then take the shape of their characters once more. I liked the conflicting monologues of the two women (interrupted by each other). They show the two primary reactions of bystanders to an accident as well as the smoking man.
The switch of point of views between the raindrops and third person narrative makes for an interesting read. However, the raindrops element is a bit repetitive. I was reminded this Hindi song, in which the protagonist asks the cloud where is it heading, and the cloud rumbles, but them it says that, it was off to meet its lover, the sea in form of whole scene with raindrops fails to include the clouds as an entity, or maybe that's just me.
Overall, I pretty much enjoyed reading this. It's intriguing and a bit confusing, but I'm glad I reviewed this. Food for thought, you know? :D
| Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 8/16/2011
I was drawn to this story both for the intriguing opening, and the fact that it is currently raining here. I really enjoyed the concepts behind this story and its brilliant description! awesome!
Opening: the story draws you in from the beginning with the introduction of an interesting concept of anthropomorphising rain. The comparison of rain to a frantic mass human migration is clever. you also touch upon ideas of unity of beings through those joining up of raindrops into rivers and lakes.
Dialogue: your dialogue is successful in not overly complicating what characters would say in these circumstances - brief, sharp phrases that cut to the point. This technique of different people constantly interrupting each other and never getting to finish their sentences works well in this context.
plot development: it works well to start with the journey of the raindrops and then bring us into a scene where it is only slowly revealed what is happening (you don't jump the gun). Then switching between the raindrops and the humans is an effective device. I also liked the way you messed around with time - I only worked this out when I saw the line about rubberneckers but perhaps my brain is particularly slow today. There is some irony there that are rain is what caused the accident, and yet as we feel the sadness in the ambulance being taken to the hospital, we also somehow feel some empathy for the raindrops: 'They dreaded the end. The last raindrops fell.' and yes, it takes quite some skill to make one feel empathy for raindrops!
Writing style: there is a mirroring here of the switching between characters in dialogue, switching between raindrops and people, moving back and forwards in time also so that the reader needs to piece together what has happened which comes out well in the writing style. this has the effect of building a rhythm which transfixed as the reader, for example in:
'The umbrella stopped shaking as Bethany stopped walking. "What are you talking about?"
"Same thing you are, Bethany."
"Right." The shaking started again.'
There is also a beauty in some of the phrasing you use, for example:
'The raindrop finally lost to gravity and feel to the gutter ...'
'And now they won't heard what I have to say ...' - heard should be hear unless you are trying to make the speaker use very odd grammar (which is entirely possible in the context of this story).
I am probably being anal here, but in the second last paragraph: 'Then the man climbed in ...' I would take out the word 'then'.
Nice closure on the ending too.
Well done :-)
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 1/25/2011
I'm not sure this story worked for me overall, I had a little trouble with it. I like the idea of it-telling stories through raindrops, or at least getting in a unique perspective from their points of view, but I found myself a little confused at times and not sure what was going on. It might have been the transitions from each raindrop, mostly in the middle sections. I think I agree with Cillian about the spacing out of the raindrops and helping the reader on with time gaps.
The dialogue between Annie and Bethany without dialogue tags didn't work for me as well as I wanted it to, doing a story without speaker tags can be difficult when neither character has a very distinctive mannerism or way of talking that can be revealed within each line they speak, and I found that the two of their mannerisms were without anything that really stuck out for me, so they started melding into one and making it hard for me to remember who was speaking.
I do respect the use of experimentation though, and I like how you worked the experimenting into a narrative with coherence and I did like how you kept the raindrops consistent with their points of view, it was cool to say things like they joined to "compare notes", it gave them a personification that I haven't seen in inanimate objects that often-or nature that isn't an animal. You quite like personification, I feel, XD.
Editing I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, remember that a EM Dash is different than a hyphen, so when you're doing the cut offs of the dialogue either use two hyphens "-" or you can do that in MicroWord and it'll expand it into an EM Dash, but besides that, which is just me being picky, there was nothing that stuck out at me.
Overall I liked the boldness of this short story to take a story like this to a new place with a new perspective, but it wasn't my favorite of the pieces I've read from you in the past-that's of course more of an opinion, nothing that's wrong with the actual story, haha. Anyway, I did enjoy reading though, it was quite innovative!
| Henry Palmetto chapter 1 . 1/24/2011
I very much enjoyed this.
The characterization of the raindrops and their point of view, while at times rather tedious and repetitive, I found ultimately very satisfying and clever. I like the idea of their conglomerated stories, gathered from different perspectives and finally pieced together from rendezvous puddles or rivers. The beginning/ending I found very clever as well; it makes for a confusing read in the beginning but as the story progresses your reader will recollect their confusion in the beginning and harbor a certain amount of enjoyment in their newfound understanding.
I did, however, find the ending rather confusing in that I am unsure why the beginning of the story is told at the end and the end at the beginning. Logically, rain falls down, so if two raindrops were falling the first would see the beginning and the second would see the end and the story would be pieced together from there; I don't see how, from a raindrop's perspective, one could witness the man's "move on you old rubbernecks" before one witnesses Luke rescuing the child, unless the raindrops were falling in milliseconds between. Should this be the case, I would specify something about how spaced apart the raindrops are that are witnessing these stories.
I also found the beginning, strangely enough, underdeveloped. It would be clever to have the backstory of the raindrops' creation coupled with the gathering of the storms and everything preceding a rainfall, just so that your audience can grow all the more affiliated with this unique scenario. A correction in the first statement as well: you say the "cloud had grown heavy for days" and then say "each droplet" but you are referring to rain droplets here, not cloud droplets, I'm assuming. Only a slight subject-verb agreement issue.
Your dialogue is impeccable, compared to my own and many other writers' I have read. Congratulations on achieving such realism. That truly is a feat, and I applaud you worthily. That being said, I felt like you might have overdone the two overlapping conversations a bit, particularly after the woman's episode with the asshole (I can understand her getting upset by this man's hypocrisy, however his actions don't seem to necessitate the one woman's intense anger. Maybe paint her irritation in a bit of description just so that your reader has a sense of how pissed this woman already is). This is not a serious problem, perhaps limit it just a bit though.
Overall very clever and enjoyable. I will witness storms with an entirely new perspective now.
| downforthecount chapter 1 . 1/19/2011
Dialogue- I really enjoyed the way you were able to carry on the conversations between the characters. I especially enjoyed the part with the two women talking. I love how the two talked over each other. It seemed very realistic.
Writing- I enjoyed your word choices. I also love how you managed to keep referring back to the rain. They were appropriate references that aided in the progression of the story rather than hindering it.
Other/Organization- The one thing I did not exactly like was how you started with the two women at the accident and then went back to when the accident occurred. I understand why you opened with it but the transition to the past was awkward and hard to follow.
Enjoyment- Overall I thought this was a very beautiful piece. I love the new take on POV. I've always enjoyed experimenting with POV myself and can appreciate when someone else seems to have mastered it. The accident through the rain's eyes makes a clichéd story fresh and interesting. Great job.