Reviews for Courage and Cowardice under Fire
Ioga chapter 1 . 10/30/2011
Looks like the earlier-mentioned bookmark damage extended to this story too. I better upgrade my software. ;)

Now for the ghost story that probably isn't intended as one, but how else do you explain a wind-up toy deciding to take off in the middle of the night, and then surviving a fire? It must have been haunted! :)

It took me a while to realize that the light came on and went right out. "The bulb had blown" sounded like it didn't go on at all. Then when our hero was seeing stuff after all, I assumed another light had been turned on, or the room wasn't that dark. It took all the way to not wanting to step on it in the dark that I realized what had happened. Oh man, I need to get more sleep. I was altogether spending a lot of time in the dark and confused during this story. (I read the other two reviewed today more recently, and suffered less from broken mental images.) So apologies for the jumbled review.

A minor note: "a man dragging a crucifix" comes out wrong: I think a crucifix already has the body of Jesus on it, and is as a result often seen as a small worn thing. I really liked the allegory between Via Dolorosa and the caught mouse though. :)

The "emanated words" (Help!) felt a bit cartoony, like they were floating in the air in a speech bubble.

"She searched through the drawers frantically for what felt like a torch or candle, but to no avail." She searches to no avail, and at the same time felt something like a torch or candle in the drawer; this sentence carries two disagreeing meanings.

I liked the fumbling in the dark theme the most about this story. I love being able to go around at home in the dark without bumping into things, and finding stuff without turning on the lights. I've played being-blind games since I was wee. But I'm also rather organized - I keep the batteried lights and matches in places where I can find them, even though we almost never have power outages here. Candles I haven't thought of since I hardly ever use them, might be worth memorizing where they're at again.

Splitting the candle length-wise by shaving it took a couple of reads. "How does that work?" Strange woman, she could have just lit the string alone and use it to find something to make a torch of. But if she can't handle a fusebox, it's credible that maybe she's lacking a few other McGyver genes too. ;)

The sounds the hero makes are all in italics. Why is that?

"It was too late" leaves it open whether she found a dead creature or not, by the way.

"Her neighbour was outside, and said that she had already notified" - it didn't take long to parse this, but the latter "she" is ambiguous: did the neighbour say that the hero had notified the fire department?

Capitalize "we" in the firefighter satement? Start of quote.

"that normally walks" - would walk? (Since the rest of the story is in past tense.)

Oh man, what a creepy puppet. (And such a malicious little ghost inside it! ;))

Thanks for this!
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 6/23/2011

I liked the mouse scene in the beginning, mainly because I find mice cute. It reminded me a little of A Little Princess. But really, the opening was good in that it caught my attention without being out there; I also liked the onomatopoeia of the “screech thud”.

Style wise, what I believe could be worked on, getting rid of some of the “it”s and other non descriptive pronouns.

Like: [she hadn't tried to walk past it before]

Or: [maybe it was just a fuse that had blown]

Or: [had a broken leg that made it drag along the floor]

I feel like they could either be cleaned up or you could use more descriptive words that make the piece more meaningful. I realize that this is super nitpicky, but this jumped out at me when I was reading it, so I feel like it’s something to be worked on.

Otherwise, interesting story! Sort of creepy...