Reviews for The Word Writ On Her Face
MayaLala chapter 1 . 9/21/2013
Nice language. Beautiful.
Mr. Ree chapter 1 . 11/24/2012
Hi there! Your story has been added to the one-shot category of "A Drop of Romeo." Here's your review:

Ali thinks: "The Word Writ on Her Face" is a extraordinary short story about an unnamed narrator and his fascination with the ever enigmatic Wisteria. Through just 1,638 words, This Wild Abyss effortlessly paints a beautiful, intricate community, creates a curious and innocent protagonist, and hangs a veil of mystery around Wisteria, the anomaly in town.

Wisteria, the pretty miss with a blank face and striking blue eyes, has a face that never says anything at all. Everyone else, on the other hand, can (and does) communicate with words that appear on their faces. The fact that Wisteria can't just adds to the intrigue the unnamed narrator- and the reader- feel for her.

The narrator, being as innocent as he or she is, is ignorant about a lot concerning Wisteria, including her real name. This lack of knowledge is extended to the reader, and with it comes the drive to figure out what exactly Wisteria had seen to make her become such a mysterious figure. The Wild Abyss
keeps it a secret until the very, very end, and once you get there, I guarantee you'll scroll right back up
to the top and read it again.
Kalida chapter 1 . 11/4/2012
Okay, I have to be honest. I'm the type of person who reads books that could be finished in one sitting. Either detective stories with lots of gunfire and a bulletproof protagonist or romantic stories with sarcastic, witty and snazzy dialogues.

Historical fiction is not my cup of tea.
And I have a hard time understanding accents, dialects etc. They tend to confuse me. It is totally a personal preference thingie...

That being said, you ARE AWESOME!
I thoroughly enjoyed your story. I could understand the characters and motivations, I could get a feel of the setting (though I didn't really understand it), I even loved the dialogues (with the accents rather than despite the accents).
But most of all what I loved was that your story moved me.

It made me want to know more.
In all probability, I haven't understood the story properly but I have to ask - Who are the blue men? And why shame?

Also, I didn't understand the bit about 'man in mountain throne', 'willowy wives' and 'honwsty husbands'. The gave me a feel of the setting and I could appreciate the alliteration.
But I'm curious. What do they mean?

Anyway, fantastic job. This was interesting and dynamic and I may have to rethink my choice of genre.
Great job.
Velvet Vixen chapter 1 . 7/27/2012
I loved the story you managed to tell in so few words.

The opening had me hooked and already curious about Wisteria and who she was, why men called her that, why her actual name was unknown to the voice of the story, etc. I also liked the use of 'her right name', as if Wisteria could be her real name, but not her correct name, suggesting that it's shame instead.

The setting was fairly vague and only really hinted at (through the accent) but I liked that as it left more room to focus on the story and characters who are the clear focus. The only thing that threw me a bit was the 'old man', 'little cave girls', 'willow wives' and 'honesty husbands' which you placed as part of the setting but I felt had another meaning, as other reviewers suggested, that I can't quite figure out.

The writing was very good and I liked the use of the accent for the characters which, for some reason, I thought fit well with this though I'm not sure why this accent in particular seems to work so well. I also thought the different colloquialisms that were dropped into this were good and added extra depth.

The ending was what I liked the most. I felt that you built up the story well so that the ending provided a sense of realisation and closure and the reader could feel satisfied that they understood what had kept Wisteria so masked all the time. The fact that the word was shame also surprised me when I first saw it, but then, when I thought about it, wasn't that surprising at all.

Overall a very nice piece considering the length and, as others have said, something that I think has more to say maybe in other stories or just as more explanation about this one.
Guest chapter 1 . 7/23/2012
I love the voice you have here. The dialect is very strong and it really changes the feel of the piece.
My guess is that Wisteria was in some kind of concentration camp, since she had a number tattoo on her arm and spoke of unspeakable acts. Maybe she... escaped? I don't know, but this was really good.
Guest chapter 1 . 7/2/2012
You've got an interesting narrative voice. It's not the conventional sort and yet believable, shifting between an almost casual tone and seriousness while still retaining the same voice, something I find is very difficult to accomplish. Your sentence structure serves to reinforce that, eg. [Baby, she looked at me.] Adds to the uniqueness.

On the other hand, there were a couple of places that didn't agree with that. For example, ["Miz Wisteria!" shouts I to the ole miz. "Where you going?"] While it probably is in keeping with the narrative voice, it seems odd because you've got the accent more heavy in that line than any other in your fic. And in your first paragraph, the word "communicator" seemed a little odd as well, considering the simplistic language (relative) employed everywhere last thing I noticed was the word "didn't" - I don't hear the "t" being pronounced with that accent/lisp either, so I find it odd you've left that hard sound in and eliminated the "g", a sound that seems a little softer and easier to unconsciously pronounce.

[Writ there across her forehead for me and Baby and everyone else.] - should there be a "to see" at the end or is that a given?

The idea was really interesting too, and well written. Makes me wonder what the prompt was.
the-lovely-anomaly chapter 1 . 6/11/2012
What really stood out to me was the dialect. You have a good grasp of Southern vernacular and you managed to keep it consistent and authentic throughout, although bits and pieces of it felt forced. "Bedtime sleeps," for instance, didn't have an air of truth to it. And in all my years of living in the South, I have never once heard someone use the word "afeared." I get the feeling that this piece was meant to take place during a historical time period (in which Southern vernacular was different than it is now), but without any solid references, I can't say that for sure.

I really like the way in which you decided to go about this story. Wisteria is its main subject, but she is presented through the eyes of a child who acts primarily as a bystander. This type of storytelling reminds me of "The Great Gatsby" (which you should read if you haven't already). Through the child's innocent voice, this story derives a sense of charm despite its ambiguity and sadness. Wisteria is an enigma but she's spoken about so realistically that I believe everything I read about her, even though it sounds rather fantastical.

I was confused about the the blue-skinned men. I initially thought they were policemen. But wouldn't a child recognize policemen? I would think yes. So that means the blue-skinned men were something else. My guess is mystical creatures from another world who, for whatever reason, are angry at Wisteria. The honesty husbands and the wives confused me as well, but unlike the blue-skinned men who were essential to the story, these were sort of... just there. I wish more detail about them had been given, just so I could have some sense of who they were.

You wrote a great story here. It was a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading more.
bookppl93 chapter 1 . 6/10/2012
That's really sad, poor Wisteria.
DutchAver chapter 1 . 2/28/2012
This one-shot MASSIVELY aroused my curiosity. I wonder why Wisteria had so much shame? And those blue-skinned men were policemen? I guess she was involved in a crime of some sort. A murder? Or a robbery?

I love the way you write down your characters - the narrating voice really matches a young child that grew up at the countryside. I love the accent you worked in your story - I myself can't do that, but you pulled it off very well. You also made me curious from the beginning what the word written on Wisteria's face was: I love how you don't answer that question until the very end.

Well done!
ShatteredUniverse.old chapter 1 . 2/5/2012
Rule 10 EF Review:

The main positive aspect of this piece for me was the stream-of-consciousness narrative style. It lent an almost dream-like quality to the experience.

The one word of caution I would give you is to be careful with your alternative spellings. I come from a part of the United States where people really talk like this, and yet I still had to stop briefly a few times to piece together what you meant.

Best Regards,

ShatteredUniverse
AvalonOrchid chapter 1 . 5/21/2011
Quite simply an amazing little story you have here. The ending made me go ; "Aaawww" , and it wasn't what I thought would happen either. I like how you wrote Wisteria too, love the name that you chose. Lovely little story.
Zombiesaurus Rex chapter 1 . 4/5/2011
Hey, here's your Freebie Review.

Dialogue:

Your dialogue is, for lack of a better word, beautiful. Capturing a character's voice is difficult in any story, but good 1st person almost requires it, and here you've done just that. I agree with some of your other reviewers, in that the dialogue suggests the American South or possibly the Appalachians to me. A lot of it feels to me like it could have been written by Mark Twain or William Faulkner; it's strong and consistently regional without being too distracting to the reader.

Characters:

I loved how strongly your characterized Wisteria through the narrator's eyes, even though the reader only briefly meets her. We got a strong sense of what she was like before we actually met her. That said, even though Wisteria is central to the piece, it felt like the narrator's character subtly stole the show. I especially loved the way you balanced his conflicting motivations (curiosity about Wisteria vs. fear of Big Ma's beater). Baby was good, too, but I think less important than the narrator and Wisteria.

Ending:

The ending was wonderful; you built up this concept of words on faces, and people being able to read them, and then you told us that Wisteria didn't have that. My first thought was that she was consciously trying to keep something secret, some horrible thing she had seen or done. You built that tension up throughout the piece, hinting at what it was and why she didn't have words on her face. All this leads the reader right into the climax.

I got a chill when you revealed what the word was; the way you foreshadowed and guided the reader to that conclusion was simply beautiful. I also loved how you connected the narrator's dream to the ending; it wasn't just left hanging, as dreams so often seem to be.

Other:

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what you meant by the old man on the mountain throne, the sea cave girls, and the willow wives and honest husbands. It was an interesting set of images that, expressed in the narrator's dialect, became quite captivating. The one that makes the most sense to me so far is that the man on the mountain throne is Zeus on Mount Olympus, and the sea cave girls are probably nymphs.

The willow wives and honest husbands, admittedly, have me stumped. But then, I might just be reading too far into this. Either way, they brought up interesting images that I think helped further the imaginative tone of the story.

Enjoyed this very much,

Zombiesaurus Rex
Faithless Juliet chapter 1 . 4/1/2011
Texture: I’m going to start with texture because I really think that your story has a very unique and distinctive texture. Which is something I don’t often seen strongly enough to comment on, but here is absolutely lovely. The almost Appalachian feel of the voice structure (Appalachian is really the only thing that comes to mind for me, but I don’t think you meant it to be that way) with the slightly southern drawl was amazing. The story has a way of carrying you further into this glimmer of a world that you create and I was completely transported.

Characters: Wisteria (although not the main character) is the central subject of the story. Love the naming choice, and it really fits in with the rest of the story. Although she’s a tragic heroine I don’t really pity her, which I think is a good thing. The conclusion of the word “SHAME” (great suspense and build up by the way) made me think in terms of a scarlet letter situation, perhaps she was raped or fell victim to a moral clause or what have you. I wouldn’t classify it as a harsher crime, just from reading it. Also loved Baby and the narrator, so vivid and energetic. I’m also intrigued by the honest husbands, willow wives, and the king on his throne. All very enigmatic slices of the world, yet you leave their conception mostly to the reader, it gave me a lot of freedom to envision my own world, which as I said above would account for my “Appalachian” feel because that’s what ‘I’ could mentally attribute to it.

Storyline: Not really an action based story, more of a slower pace character driven achievement, which doesn’t diminish it at all in my eyes. I think it added a lot of flavor and intimacy, as I said before.

Ending: I do feel like it ended somewhat suddenly (word limits, gotta hate um) and I could have happily read a few more hundred words. I would also love to see a further chapter in this, I really think you’ve created something magical with this world of yours, and the characters literally burst off the page. Keep up the good work.
thewhimsicalbard chapter 1 . 3/22/2011
I had meant to get this done before the voting actually took place, because I wanted to actually do it justice. As soon as I saw your piece, I was like, "Well, I think I found the winner." This was great. Your world is thought provoking and deep, as were your characters. Great work especially with the phonetic dialogue. You don't see that done around here very often. Great stuff. Congrats on the win, thank you for reviewing Yewman Writes (albeit briefly), and expect the depth review I owe you coming on Greensleeves shortly.

-twb
frugale chapter 1 . 3/21/2011
Opening: strangely enough, it (the three first paragraphs at any rate) clashes a bit with the rest of the piece, just because it's written in standard English. Then you fall into vernacular and hte magic begins. In other words, the beginning is smooth and allows the reader to seep int othe story without too much stress, but at the same time it doesn't prepare the reader for the maine piece - and that is, in my opinion, the powerful vernacular voice of the narrator. To me that is the strength of the piece and what makes it outstanding. I actually had little interest in the actual 'word on her face' element.

Ending: I thought it was a little bit forced, obvious - that the 'word on her face' actually be spelled out in the end of the piece. But it did bring it a nice closure in a simple and effective way.

Writing: The contrast between the informal, naive tone of the narrator and the understated horror undergone by the old lady is perfect. I loved the voice of the main character, it was well done and constant throughout.

Pace: The pace is representative of the characters in the story and that might be the most interesting thing about it. There are abrupt jumps in time, just like the bluntness of the little girl, while some other scenes flow slowly and smoothly like the quiet biding of the old lady.

Congratulations again! You did an amazing job at this.

-frugale
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