|Reviews for Something's Burning|
| Nesasio chapter 8 . 2/20/2012
He liked the way fear looked on people, unless it made them run. More accurately, the paralyzing kind was the kind he loved.
To Simon, it seemed like the two of them were arguing.
-I didn't really get this impression. I mean, the woman is angry/shocked, but Louis's dialogue and actions seem pretty calm. It's very one-sided, with Louis talking and the woman only making noise. A bit of a nitpick, probably, haha, but I thought I'd point it out because this word choice surprised me when I read it.
I liked the last sentence of this, particularly Simon's reaction when he realizes he's alone. The use of 'despair' worked well to imply the emptiness of the room once his entertainment is gone and he's once again left to his own devices.
Another great chapter. :) The only other thing I'll mention is the woman's description as 'purple'. That descriptor came up suddenly and somewhat inexplicably to me since we get a solid description of her from Simon's perspective, but no mention of purple until after.
| Nesasio chapter 7 . 1/12/2012
Overall, I thought this was a nice chapter. I didn't notice any writing errors or anything that stood out as particularly awkward. My only two nitpicks are with a little description and characterization.
Description: The meat Simon was eating kept changing texture, to the point where I wasn't sure what to visualize. 'Cut of flesh' makes me think like a big slab of meat, 'red slime' feels more like uncooked ground beef, and 'strings of meat' was a whole other thing. Granted as a veggie, it's been a while since I've really noticed these things about meat, haha, but considering his fixation on the meat, it felt oddly uncohesive.
That leads me to the characterization. I liked the idea of his hunger winning over aggression and fear, but it didn't seem fully realized in his thoughts. There was a lot of planning put into everything Simon was doing (like 'I will eat this and then I'll eat him') which, to me, made him more calculating than he previously was. Since he's usually driven more by base emotions (and his actions suggest he's supposed to be here too) I thought I'd mention this. The hunger doesn't read like it's as attention-grabbing for Simon as it could be, but overall the effect still works.
| Nesasio chapter 6 . 1/12/2012
I like the sense of foreboding you introduce here. The chapter's not very long, but it's effective in making me want to read on right away. There's the sense that, for better or worse, Louis's reaching out to the nurse was a turning point. Can't wait to see where you take it.
The only thing I noticed that might need changing is the mention of Simon's moaning. It's a good effect, but it's implied through Louis's dialogue that Simon is continuing said moaning throughout the scene, but it's only mentioned in the first sentence. By the time Louis comes in and sees Simon, it reads almost like he has fallen silent, which Louis's words don't seem to imply. Just something to clarify.
| Nesasio chapter 5 . 1/11/2012
So, my revelation of the day is that this is apparently a sequel/continuation of another story of yours? I have to say I'm impressed. 1. That I haven't said anything so stupid before that you'd have to point it out to me, which I think is because 2. you've described this all so well that it never occurred to me until I looked on your profile. This is definitely how a sequel should be written: with just enough reference and explanation of prior events to forward the current plot but not bore readers who know what's going on or confuse people who have come in midway. This is brilliant as a stand-alone story but, I assume, also complements the first story.
In that regard, I do have one question: is the actual manner of Simon's initial infection ever discussed in this story, or is it just assumed knowledge from the previous story? I'm cool with waiting for the answers in here, if they're there, but I can also go back and read the other if that's necessary to understand.
And Simon had hardly stopped his stupid zombie habits from it.
-I'm not sure what this sentence is saying.
Louis locked the apartment up, feeling that once he was out he shouldn't bother to come back.
-This sentence seems out of place. The rest of the paragraph is about sneaking out of the house, and the next paragraph is more like this sentence as far as 'maybe I don't need to come back at all'.
If he found a cure for Simon, he definitely owed him.
-The 'he' and 'him' are easy enough to follow but I'll still point this out for potential rephrasing, just to be a little smoother.
One thing I noticed in the first few paragraphs, you had a lot of sentences with similar wording. For example, 'lightly lighted' in paragraph one, 'Simon' twice in as many sentences in paragraph two, 'some help' and 'that kind of help' in paragraph three. I'm not sure if this is a quirk of Louis's character and thus a stylistic choice or a word choice problem.
The line breaks in this chapter and the previous one stuck out to me. I know in an earlier chapter (2 I think?) there were two parts in the chapter, where a scene break might fit in. I was struck by the finality of the line break here, though. Was this a style change? Or are the scenes just much more distinctly cut off here?
Alright, I planned on the other two reviews tonight but unfortunately got distracted while reviewing this chapter so it's a bit late right now. I'll finish up in the morning. :)
| Nesasio chapter 4 . 1/11/2012
Very sorry that I took so long to review you! But I never forgot I needed to. :)
They didn't hurt unless he pressed them against himself, but they weren't very comfortable parts of him either.
-Nothing technically wrong with this sentence (I don't think so, anyway), but it was worded a bit awkwardly to me. I had to read it a couple times to be sure it made sense (mostly to figure out what 'they weren't comfortable parts of him either' was attributed to). Rephrasing may be in order, or I may just be dense. ;)
I love all the sensory details in the first part. Smell and touch are so often overlooked, but you elaborated on the details just enough. I could imagine the scene so well, to the point where I almost think you don't need the one line of sight description ('...watched the shadow above him'). It's intriguing enough to know he can sense Louis when nearly blind in the dark, it felt like a minor distraction, actually, to picture the dark silhouette shadow. I'd much rather focus on the smell and feel of him. My preference, of course, being optional advice.
The second part makes me wonder a lot about the type of zombie Simon is right now. Is he living-dead, and the discomfort he feels is slow decay, or is it just a degenerative virus, where he's still very much alive but in dire straits? For me, as a reader, it's a little odd not knowing how to interpret the pain he feels. Granted, it's told from Simon's lack of understanding, so it makes a good deal of sense. And it's a good tactic to make me wonder about his experiences as a semi-unreliable narrator. Y'know, there was going to be a but in here but I've talked myself out of it. I like this bit of mystery. It's fitting for the POV, and that's what makes this story so cool to me.
| Nesasio chapter 3 . 12/22/2011
Aha, we finally get a glimpse of Simon's friend. I'm glad we get a chance to see the situation from the outside. Simon's voice is really entertaining, but it's nice to have a sane narrator let us know what's going on from time to time.
That said, I didn't get much sense of Louis from this chapter. There wasn't much of his personality coming through in his thoughts, aside from his begrudging determination to take care of Simon, which we already knew from the previous two chapters. I think the easiest way to fix this is to really get into the scene. Maybe have Louis pacing or eyeing the socks or something, and have Simon's actions interrupting him. That way you can keep his internal monologue realistic by spawning it off of his reactions. It would keep the scene active and Louis's reactions to whatever happens could give a glimpse at what kind of person Louis is without quite so much telling.
Lastly, I have mixed feelings about the final paragraph. I think it's a great insight into how Louis feels about this situation, but since the reader already know what happens in Simon's brain at night, it felt a little flat to me. Not awful, though. You could easily keep it as is, since it's still a mystery to Louis and that's fine. I don't like knowing things the characters don't know, though, so I'll also suggest making this chapter two. This is very much personal preference for me, but just thought I'd mention it. :)
| Nesasio chapter 2 . 12/18/2011
...and although she had to slouch forward to fit, she seemed as though she were sitting there casually enough.
-Awww, I like this. The touch of normalcy in it and the acceptance of a fairly odd occurrence is fittingly dreamlike but also sweet.
All he could do was to cry out like that.
I'm really liking what you're doing here. The idea of getting into a zombie's head is interesting, and I think you have a pretty good balance of zombie-like and human traits. He's not completely without humanity, which makes his POV relatable, but there's that nice edge of body horror and alien feelings that makes it creepy.
My only real nitpick in this chapter is that the ending didn't feel very strong to me. I liked the transition from dream to reality, the sudden snap into pain and restraints. But the last sentence felt kind of weak, summarizing the emotion. I almost think the second-to-last sentence would be a better ending, 'cause it leaves the reader to come to the same conclusion you draw in the current last sentence, while also implying the continuation of his waking nightmare. It's a better hook, I think.
But, as is everything I say in reviews, this is only my opinion so do with it what you will. :)
| Nesasio chapter 1 . 12/18/2011
Thanks for checking out my story. Returning the reviews, as promised. :)
He was on top of something, a bed, which was on top of something else. Stacked. Oh, yeah, they were on top of another room, like his.
-The POV here feels a little strange to me. It seems like it's not sure if it's 3rd-limited, like the first sentence, or if it wants to become 1st-person. The language is informal enough for thought, yet still refers to Simon as 'him', not 'I' or 'me'. I can sort of see how this could fit for the rather detached way Simon sees himself, but the phrasing is just a little bit off in places so that it feels like the narrator is overstepping its knowledge boundaries.
...speckled with large black birds that looked like tiny specks...
-Word choice: speckled/specks
He tired to quell his panic.
I liked the second half of this the most. The start was a little rocky as it was settling into the POV, but around the halfway point, at the entrance of the light-topped one, it gained momentum as the effect really came together. Despite reading your summary, I wasn't quite sure what was happening to Simon until that point (whether he was only just falling ill or much closer to zombie-like, as he is here), but with Simon's hunger came some solid idea what was causing the detached air he has with his body. I like how you made him rather listless when he wants to be, to block all that out. I've never seen that done before, so it was a cool touch.
The thing I noticed most often was word choice. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to repeating nouns (because there're only so many synonyms for window in a situation like this, haha), but adjectives like pretty and simple kept getting repeated to the point of being a little tiring. Granted, he's in an altered, simple-minded state, so he's not likely to use big words, but it's always nice to switch things up. Alternately, you could use repeated words as a sort of personal vocabulary for Simon, much like how you call the other man the 'light-topped one'. It would help show the limited capability he has at that point.