|Reviews for Strobus|
| too.much.of.water chapter 1 . 9/2/2011
Firstly, congratulations on winning the WCC and sorry for not reviewing earlier, I just came back from vacation with a pile of angry admin emails. I really loved your piece and if I could I'd give that a depth review because it was truly marvellous.
But then I read this and wow. The character you've described, Strobus, is gorgeous and a glittering piece of literary godliness. Really, I read it and his/her/its(?) story moved me somehow. The way you've kept them natural, very much a plant, but at the same time personified them into someone so relatable and human is beautiful.
The way you broke up the plot into colors was wonderfully circular, as all good stories are, and original, not just into days or months or seasons. The circle of life theme was presented quite subtly until the end and you somehow managed to make it touching without turning it into the Lion King.
Your writing was very simple and I feel like that added somehow to pure, natural air the story had to it. I was very impressed though, how you managed to put so much meaning into such a short story and on top of that it was also marvelously written and is definitely something special. And now I'm running out of things to write...
Oh, yes. The scene, or what you mentioned of it always seemed to subtly compliment the part of the story, the color of the section and how Strobus wasn't flawless, he/she/it used it's environment for its own means and in the end that was what killed him.
| What Happens Now chapter 1 . 4/7/2011
I liked the circle story, how is all came back to a start again. It was a predictable ending but I'm sure it gives the reader the feeling of a higher purpose and I think it gives Strobus purpose even in these ending moments of his life.
I was a little turned off by the lack of detail about his families' deathes, although he is a tree I would think that since he has kin and stuff that when they died he would be upset that his hardyness alone killed them, that they died because he survived. I think tearjerkers like that make stories a bit more thoughtful, and make the plight of the tree in general a bit more pitied and makes the story a bit more memorable.
| Fiys chapter 1 . 3/20/2011
This was interesting. Usually when I read stories about plant life cycles, they always sound mournful when a plant dies and ignore the next step of the cycle. I really liked your use of color to tell the story, great job!
| Narq chapter 1 . 3/5/2011
Hi, this is to return the review for the February WCC.
Firstly, I really liked how you went through the colours, and then returned babck to your first one, Golden. That gave me the feeling of trying to change something, which linked to the prompt.
And, haha, it only took me a second read that i realised your narrator was a tree XD
I thought that you had a really controlled way of writing here, and a good, strong tone.
| PoetryQueen chapter 1 . 2/20/2011
I really liked this! I love having a tree as the tragic hero! And then the theme of a phonex rising from ahes at the end, this was very good!
I only have 1 very minor critism. In the beginning you say he is the only seedling of his kind, he fell and has now taken root. You should say only sappling. Because in the same paragraph you call him a seedling then he is a little tree in almost the next sentence.
Other than that, this is very well written and I really enjoyed this piece. Very thought out and well written! This is going in my favs
| dragonflydreamer chapter 1 . 2/16/2011
You really have an affinity to scientific names. Is biology a side interest of yours? I think it's interesting to bring in such a unique flavor to your writing.
Opening - The very first line really caught my attention because your topic is so unusual, and you captured the idea that this is about a tree's life perfectly in that short sentence. Great hook. However, I found myself lost in the next sentence because it was so long. Maybe try to break it up by the time you get to the squirrel?
Writing - That's the only part that caught me up writing-wise. A few times, I wished that you didn't start with nouns so often. Especially with the name "Strobus,' which is so hard-sounding and not a word most people are accustomed to, it broke the flow between sentences. But as a whole, I enjoyed your style. It was descriptive and curiously emotional given the subject, but at the same time had the distance of storytelling.
Plot - The way you broke up the cycle was brilliant. At first, I thought you were going to use the usual four seasons, so I wasn't expecting when you said "decade-old sapling." Your choice of colors was interesting, especially taking the turn with black and the fire. It goes beyond just the physical appearance and gets into a more symbolic representation of its phases in life. Even though you don't personify Strobus to a human level, there's a strong suggestion of human life in this, too.
Other (Tone) - I thought this was the strongest aspect of the piece because it was so distinct. You have a balance of praising the tree in how strong it is and how it makes its way through life, while at the same time condemning it for taking the lives of the things around it. Back to the symbolism for humanity, it really touches on the idea that no one is entirely good or bad; we're all just trying to make it through life.
I already have four categories, but I'll quickly mention that I loved the circularity of the ending. The detail of the squirrel especially left a great impression in my mind.
For such a short piece, you captured a lot of meaning. Great work!
| berley chapter 1 . 2/14/2011
I really liked how you used to prompt in this piece, it was very nice and original. The story was a little sad, but I enjoyed how it became a cycle of life. I also really liked how you wrote the entire piece in the POV of the tree, it put an interesting twist to the piece.
Good job, and best of luck in the WCC!
| Shirin Madavey chapter 1 . 2/11/2011
[His seed fell in late summer, carried first by the wind and then by a passing squirrel whose agile toes snatched him up, tested him with its quick gnashing jaws, then bounded away to bury him with its stash in the hollow heart of a driftwood log] This sentence seems awkwardly long and strangely worded.
Plot. It was neat how you broke the story up into green, gold , and black. I also liked how it could be interpreted as symbolic and such and I liked how you included the little bit at the end about his seed. It makes life seem almost cyclic as suppose to linear.
Formating. I like the effect the spacing has on the story. It almost seems like poetry. The different colors serving as titles also bring about a cool effect.
Writing. It is nice how you transition from poem to poem. It makes the narrative feel less smooth and even. A few times I find myself skimming, simply because I find the wording awkward. I like how you break the grammar rules for this story. It works most of the time, but not always. And perhaps a few places you could do a little bit more showing.
[He has lived for centuries, standing strong in the face of the wind and cold of winter, and the thrashing waves and heat of summer] standing strong, perhaps instead of saying those words, you could replace it with an imagine, along with replacing the words "cold winter" and "heat of summer" with a cool image that could let the reader really feel the heat and the cold. Otherwise, I think it was a cool idea, and it has nice contrast.
[ Insects ate at his weary flesh, boring into the golden rings, tracing dark mazes into his very core.] This is a cool image. Perhaps a little bit of rewording would help strengthen it. The grammar mishaps a slightly distracting.
[Now the blizzard rages around him and he's shaking in the gale. Snow piles on his branches and they shatter under the weight. One last gust hits him and his trunk creaks, groans, and finally splits. Strobus falls onto the sand and the waves consume him. ] Too many ands.
Overall Enjoyment-I think you have a cool idea, and cool imagery. I enjoyed reading it, but I found the grammar mishaps distracting at times. Some parts I feel as though could be stronger, but I still think that it has nice flow.
| Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 2/10/2011
Love that you told this in the POV of a tree! Plant experiences are new to me, haha.
Great imagery here, especially the details about the squirrels and tree competition for nutrition.
Good job and good luck in WCC!
| lianoid chapter 1 . 2/9/2011
Regarding your AN: Man, I hate when FP does that. I've had to use periods for spacing sometimes too and it sucks.
Oh my god, I love the descriptions in the Black section. It carries such a sad tone to it that's woven so tightly into the narrative it's hardly noticeable, it's just felt. I love the "Insects ate at his weary flesh" part because you've personified Strobus so strongly leading up to this part, at moments I forget it's a tree and not an actual human being, so the "weary flesh" was just brilliant because I had forgotten, yet again, the character isn't actually human.
Man, your personification is just so AMAZING in this. While reading, it's not even like I'm thinking, "She's personifying this plant." It's just this plant-character that I don't even see as different from me, you've just incorporated personification into this so damn well, there's not barrier between me and the narrative or me and the character. I don't know how to explain it clearly, but it's just beautiful. Absolutely brilliant.
Ah, man, and I love this ending. I anticipated it coming full circle like that once I began reading the last section, but I wasn't disappointed when I finally got to the end.
The flow of this was incredible too. I think this narrative had a wonderful tone to it that went really well with the flow. Everything about this is top notch. This feels like a well planned piece because the entire narrative is solid, I have no suggestions or CC. It's beautiful how it is.
Amazing submission, Lyra. Definitely one of the strongest I've read this month. :) Best of luck in this month's WCC.
| clockwork kiss chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
Very interesting take on the prompt! I loved the middle two parts because I think they conveyed the deepest sense of "personality" for Strobus. Your writing and sentence structure are very solid and well varied. I think I was just expecting a little bit of a twist of something, but as nature is cyclical, I guess it had to be a little predictable.
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
This made me sad. I don't know why, since it ends so happy, but the whole thought of being around for that much time and then being ripped away is just kind of sad to me-that's not bad at all, either, I think it's cool it evoked an emotion from me. I liked this one. I think you did a good job, yet again, bringing something that normally has no personified sense of life, to life through narrative. As I've said before, you're very good at it-I think it's a trademark, haha. Loved the descriptions in all the different sections and how you brought it back again, kind of came full circle-and I like the incorporation of the theme that nothing gold can stay.
Best of luck in WCC!
| Adrenalin chapter 1 . 2/8/2011
Oh, a fine use of the prompt.
At first I was worried that you were going with the overused subject of the fourth season but you actually went with something much more interesting.
I liked how you personnified the pine tree while not actually making him human. He has a special voice that (in my opinion) fits a plant very well. In Golden, I pictured him puffing his leaves to show how proud he is. I also liked how Grey ended the piece with the start of the new circle, and that grey and green are rather close in spelling (I don't know if that's intentional but I thought it was rather clever).
Good luck in the WCC.