|Reviews for Plus ça change|
| Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/3/2011
I suppose it's obvious that the key to this story is the interaction with the fictional reader, so I'll focus on that.
This reminded me of the chorus in Greek tragedies (I think you were in my English class when we always had those essay questions 'discuss the role of the chorus in_' and we ended up coming up with 'discuss the role of the chorus in my head'). It also reminded me of as somebody else mentioned, the choose your own adventure books.
Then it got me thinking about how there is a lot of discussion now about how the relationship between the author and the reader is becoming more interactive with changes to the technology of texts.
With a standard novel, the writer writes the book and publishes it, and the reader reads it. Sometimes when I find myself in this position, I end up yelling at the book, or if it is a journal article, writing notes that are underlined with exclamation marks about how angry I am at their stupid ideas.
With the invention of blogging, Web forums, and even with something like fiction press, this relationship changes and the reader is drawn in to the private world of the writer.
It is such a powerful notion to think that the reader can influence the plot. perhaps this also makes reference to the issue of whether the author is writing for an audience, and adapting their plots, and particularly the ending, to audience expectations. with the film they might even test different endings out on the audience to choose which is preferred.
my favourite line is this: 'The Duke's lower lip hardened against the maid's river of beseechments.'
one small formatting issue: you started out putting a line with a dot in it when you switch between story and the dialogue with the reader, but then this disappears. I got a bit confused when it changed.
Somebody mentioned a bit in the middle that lagged a bit, and I am inclined to agree. You kind of got around the stove by the fact that the dialogue was quite fast paced.
Nice one soph :-)
By the way, I also learnt that kissing toads doesn't turn them into Princes, and become outraged when somebody insults a dress that I have made.
| lianoid chapter 1 . 3/20/2011
I love the opening of this piece. I was wondering at the narrative for a moment, because although it was solid, it wasn't as eloquent as your normal writing, but once I read a bit more, I understood the style and it definitely suited the narrative.
I think this is incredibly hilarious and clever. Your use of the prompt was one of my favourites for February's WCC and it really made it stand out.
Anyway, fifteen years passed, and then a little more, and little Onella grew tall.
-XD I love the flow of this piece. A lot of the sentences are short, which moves things along nicely, but it also works incredibly well with the tone and the reader-writer dialogue going on between the narrative. This is so creative, Sophie! It's wonderful.
This is a nice light story with a sort of fairy tale feel to it, but you make it original simply by playing with the narrative and it makes the reading engaging. :D
Love the ending. I'm glad the Reader got their way and things ended on a high note. I didn't expect it to end in blood and tears, but you still managed to keep things unpredictable in regards to specifics.
This is such a fun piece, Sophie! Brilliant work with this one, and with all your writings, of course. Review on behalf of The Review Game’s Review Marathon. Link’s on my profile for further details.
| dx713 chapter 1 . 3/5/2011
The end made me smile. I had seen it coming, but the light tone and reference to the reader was a good read.
The beginning was nice too. The surprise of having the reader onboard was a good one, I had first interpreted the first Ew as a character's. And I like your descriptions in the first sentences.
Maybe the part with the maid was a bit longish. I felt more annoyed than moved by her pleading. I would have understood the duke being turned by the baby alone more easily. Although the part about the soul was good: this kind of principle works well within this kind of tale.
A good one, overall.
| lipleaf chapter 1 . 2/26/2011
WCC review. :]
Opening- This was probably my favorite bit. I actually felt uncertain about what the Duke would do. The succinct style and quick pacing drew me in- it was a good choice to start in the middle of the story, with the death of the family. It throws the reader into the middle of the action.
Plot- I'm a bit conflicted about my feelings on the storyline. On one hand, I like the way you twisted the story around from typical fairytales and brought it around to the same conclusion. It was quite interesting to see the way things developed- sending the son of the royal family's murderer to kill the princess was definitely a good twist. On the other hand, like you said, the conclusion was cliche and I feel like the anti-fairytale itself is becoming a bit overused. But the execution was great, and overall I feel that it was pretty original.
Characters- I loved your characterization of Onella. She was snappy and bright and most of all, natural. It didn't feel like you were trying too hard to make her seem like an amazing, highly independent character. It just felt right. The same goes with the prince- you didn't overemphasize his supposed wimpiness or suddenly turn him into a brave, shining hero upon meeting Onella. I think the Duke had a conflicting personality, though, with his ruthlessness and the killing of the helpless maid juxtaposed with sparing Onella.
Dialogue- The brevity of the dialogue was well done. You didn't dither on anything and only spoke as much as was necessary. It did a good job giving personality to the characters.
| Faithless Juliet chapter 1 . 2/26/2011
This is definitely one of those chose your story books that you read as a kid (i.e. if Davey goes into the cave go to chapter five, if not go to chapter twelve) only much more creative and interactive. My inner monologue as a reader pretty much matched the one you’ve written into the story which shows a lot of good decision making and understanding on your part.
The characterization of the story was a bit clichéd but I think the story was designed that way so it wasn’t distracting to read. I liked Onella and your description of her muddy knees gave the sense that she was a tomboy which then later mirrored with the aspect of her holding the pitchfork. I liked that you didn’t gussy her up with the girly-crown-princessy in the tower image. Liam also seemed a bit clichéd, but as I said before that matched the story telling so it wasn’t really distracting. I do feel that he gave in a bit suddenly in the end. Like maybe you were running out of words and wrapped things up quickly.
The READER is also a character in the story, which helps the actual READER put themselves in the story, and whenever that happens it’s almost guaranteed that the storytelling will be stronger, because we feel like part of the tale. The major reason why people like certain books so much is because they see themselves in the tale, and you just took it one step further here.
I also liked the subtle sense of intimacy in this, and the intricate little details – particularly the reflection on the princess/princes hair similarities at the beginning, and the nickname that the nurse has for Onella toward the end. It implies backstrories and reality which I always enjoy reading, it makes the reader feel more connected with the material. All in all this is a very clever and entertaining read, I really enjoyed it. Good job, and congrats for winning WCC.
| StoryMonster chapter 1 . 2/9/2011
I LOVE ITT!
It's BRILLIANTLY described - the part where he killed the nurse was chilling and ruthless.
There you said that 'The river of words stopped from the maid's mouth, and a river of red ran from her throat.' I know it creates a cool effect and stuff, but the word 'river' could be replaced,. It sound great, but yeah.
Awesome - as I said before, I absolutely LOVED it.
| thewhimsicalbard chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
The best I've read so far. I loved how much you messed this up, but you still made it a typical fairy tale. That's beyond cool. Definitely more creative than anything I came up with this month. Bleh.
So, anyway, I feel obligated to at least give an Easy Fix-esque review here, so... I thought your beginning seemed a little bit whimsical (ironic, coming from me) and immature, but after that, it was easy to get into.
I liked how you characterized the reader, too. Sehr funny.
Best of luck this month!
| Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
omg, I adored this! Such a cute and clever idea. I love the fairy tale tone you brought it to life with, and I thought it was change enough when you brought in the Reader as a character. But you did more than that by the end!
The rival between the Reader and the Narrator was a nice touch, and I like how you gave each of them their champions. It makes me laugh because I can think of a number of stories, specifically fantasy, where I wanted the author to mix it up a bit.
This was also hilarious, did I mention? Especially the end. I can just imagine Laim standing there pouting. XD
Good job and good luck in WCC!
| Nesasio chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
This was a lot of fun to read. It made me laugh in several spots, particularly toward the end when Onella turns the tables on Liam and he sounds so pitiful. For the most part, I liked the use of the different interjections, of the narrator and the reader. However, the first couple lines of the reader's input annoyed me a little, particularly 'He's not going to kill her, is he?'. It didn't feel like there was enough description of the scene before you said that, so it almost read like the reader's input was meant to substitute for actual suspense. Like the reader character jumped to that conlusion before I was able to and that ruined it a little for me. Aside from that, though, I honestly loved this. It was fun and played with the stereotypical 'someday my prince will come!' in a refreshing way.
Nice job and good luck in the WCC! :)
| Adrenalin chapter 1 . 2/7/2011
Ahahah, I think that may be the funniest fairytale I've ever read. And I'm totally in tune with the Reader. You always want to reach out and make the characters act the way that fit you, even if the story is really well written (like in Martin's SoI&F, oh, the number of time I wanted to shake Ned to make him understand that honesty wasn't the best policy in the Red Keep.)
When Onella jumps on Liam I was all 'yay, go girl! (and Reader)'
Good job on that one, fantastic take on the prompt.
Good luck in the WCC.
| RavenclawMoose chapter 1 . 2/6/2011
This was really fun to read. At first, I expected the reader interjections to annoy me, but they never did. That, in my opinion, is a sign of good writing. I like the concept of this. While it was rather cute and predictable, you added in your own definite flair and each character had a real personality that gave the story a unique heart.
I also enjoyed your descriptions and imagery. Every step of the way, I could see events clearly in my head and feel the emotions of the characters. It was excellently well done.
Good luck in the WCC!
| improvisationallychallenged chapter 1 . 2/5/2011
This is AMAZING!
I loved it! I loved the style, I loved the snark, I loved the warping of fairytale tradition, and I loved that the fourth wall got kicked to rubble. Simply beautiful, and takes the prompt on board in multiple ways.
I am in awe. 8D
| Punslinger chapter 1 . 2/4/2011
A very clever change of pace but not a surprising product of your fine-tuned creative imagination. I can't quite decide how I feel about the device of reader interacting with narrator. I've encountered it before in an experimental stage play in which the actors broke through the invisible "fourth wall" and conversed with the audience. You did it better, but I still think the story would have worked just as well without it.
| Narq chapter 1 . 2/4/2011
Hehe, no worries, I had fun beta-ing this.
You're such a great writer! :D
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/4/2011
From the Review Marathon at the Review Game (link in my profile)
I have pretty much no idea how you manage to crank out short stories once a month with such quality. You are seriously big FP business, XD. I love it!
The Readers tenses. Oh no.
-I *think* this should be "The Readers tense" without the plural on tense, but I don't know, perhaps that is intentional. Regardless, it's hilariously awesome.
But she's only a kid, she's not exactly a threat or anything
-Even though this is a stream of conscious sort of thing, I still think it should be punctuated with a period because the previous Reader's outbursts have been :)
Who's telling this story, me or you?
Liam the Girl-Killer...
He WHAT? Sick him, 'Nells!
"If you read the Royalty Act of 1438, you'll find it's quite so."
And the Reader smiled.
-OMG, are you in my bedroom with me? *turns frantically* How do you knoww?
Well Sophie. I OBVIOUSLY enjoyed this to the extreme maximum due to my reaction review content. Apologies, but I thought it would be proper, given the device in this story, hahaha. So, I liked all of it because it was so creative and clever, it had the best hook with that Reader voice. At first I totally was like, "Why does it say "Ew?"" and then it clicked, and boy did I have a laugh. I can't even express to you how awesome I think this is in proper wording, XD. Man, loved the whole entire thing-the idea of forced romance, the prince charming being this lanky guy with a pitchfork, the whole thing twisted and changed the tropes of romance while it also changed the obvious beginning of the story. I think that's so clever.
I loved Onella because I think the Readers did a fabulous job turning her into a strong capable woman for this Prince Charming destiny motif. It kind of also reflects how readers want new things in their stories and want to see things that are bolder and crazier than say, the Prince cliche, or the cliche that he would kill the baby girl, that sort of thing.
This was great!