Reviews for Wednesday's child
berley chapter 1 . 3/31/2012
Congrats on winning the WCC. I know you said you wanted your reviews to go to the other people participating, but I was in the mood to read another one of your stories. Also, sorry this review is late but I got all busy with school and well, life.

The first thing I noticed was how you mastered creating tension with this story, especially at the end. Your short, choppy sentences work wonders for this story. You don’t use many dialog tags during well...dialog but there is no confusion over who is talking. The lack of dialog tags really adds to the short sentences and the tension which was really great.

You also really hooked me in with your opening line. I’m normally not a huge fan of starting a scene with dialog anymore, but I actually really liked your use of it. The sexist comment really hooked me in. I instantly wanted to know who was speaking, who they were speaking to and what the conversation was really about. It also instantly gave some personality to the speaker as well as established an approximate time period and setting without me even being introduced anything yet. Awesome stuff.

I enjoyed the twist at the end, and the descriptions of the setting and of Mary’s body after she was shot. You kept things simple and not dramatic, which I like. I’m starting to really appreciate understated writing. I think it is way more effective when done correctly. The last part of the story is really what drew me in. I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the story.

Sooo yeah! Great stuff. I always look forward to reading your work.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 3/27/2012
Opening: I really liked how you opened this starting with a line of dialogue that incites the main character's (Eleanor's) emotions, as well as, I'm sure, your other female readers'. You seem to leap right into the plot, catching my attention and keeping it throughout the prose - a very effective hook! It wasn't at all boring, and I think you really got across the dire situation that's unfolding. There's a lot of information conveyed in such a short span of narration, but it's not confusing and doesn't drag down the beginning one bit.

Technique: I noticed a lot of very short, choppy sentences. I enjoyed how you used them, really getting the most out of them and ramping up the suspense especially when getting closer to the end. It helped with the pace of the action, and I could really feel myself getting into the story right before the gunshot went off. As much as I would have liked to of seen Mary get away, I thought the pacing of her death and falling into the water was excellent.

Dialogue: I'd have to say that overall your dialogue is what really drove the story for me. I could hear Eleanor's desperation, as well as Mary's fear. Even the madman, though he only had a couple lines, had a lot of character in his voice.

Though, and this is more a minor technical issue, there were a couple dialogue tags (I don't know if that's what they're really called) that kinda confused me. This one in particular:

["Miss Eleanor." A hat touched. A hand-cart trundled past.]

There was another one too but I can't find it now. I just thought the image was a little awkward, and it took me a moment to realize the person touching their hat was the one passing her in the hand-cart (I'm guessing). I thought maybe phrasing it like, "The touch of a hat." might help with the image.

Writing: You really are a master at the whole 'show vs tell' thing. You get every character's emotions across with a masterful effort - just like with the dialogue. You also have some very interesting metaphors, and some of your descriptions created a really cool image - like her heart kicking at her ribs. That really stuck out to me, among a few others. You really do a good job with only saying what needs to be said as opposed to elaborating on unneeded descriptions.

Ending: I really liked the ending, as depressing as it is. Though, I don't know if it's just my stupid brain or not, but I was a little confused about the man at the end. I saw mention of someone's brother, then he begins to talk about his engagement - I think a little more clarification on who exactly he is between the two of them might help a bit with this. From what I gather, he's Mary's brother and Eleanor's fiancee, but I'm not 100% sure if that's the case. Then I started thinking maybe he was one of the people talking at the very beginning, but I dunno.

Anyways, I really enjoyed reading this. :) Congrats again on your WCC victory!
Punslinger chapter 1 . 2/23/2012
Excellent narration, as we've come to expect from you. And fine atmosphere of the late feudal period with its stern class structure. The male characters seem overly smug and pompous, but I can see how you wanted to stress the male-dominated society that Eleanor tried to resist.

Only the madman was so underdeveloped that he hardly seemed believable. Perhaps when you finally got to him you felt that you had put so many words into the story that you just wanted to get to the ending.

But overall it's a nice job of suspenseful storytelling. I'm very pleased to see that you are still active in FictionPress.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/6/2012
Really enjoyed this Sophie :) Another great short story! You have a talent. I liked the creativeness of the whole situation and of course, the accusations of witch craft and stuff. I liked the twist ending and then how you chose to end it too. Eleanor was a sympathetic character and I think I felt for her in the end when she watched Mary die. I also think Mary had a great death-good job with the water and falling over the ledge, etc. It kind of had this flavor of a good old fashioned American Antebellum horror story. I also liked the more literal interpretation of the prompt with the very creative story line and settings and characters that surrounded it. Great writing! Good luck in the WCC!
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 2/6/2012
I had to Google the poem because I could only remember Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday. Full of woe hey, that is pretty foreboding.

I can definitely feel Eleanor's frustration along with her. you do a great job of making the male characters look hypocritical and stupid.

'I've not met one that wasn't dumb, hysterical, or downright cruel...Present company excepted' - if present company is excepted, then that is one, so there is no logic to this statement. He is supposed to be a lawyer, aren't lawyers trained in logic?

Not that I think you have portrayed the characters inaccurately by any means, just that it means I am getting angry at them as if they are real people, which means you have done a good job of characterisation.

'Woman are by nature mad' - should be women, unless you are trying to make a point about his stupidity by suggesting he doesn't know basic grammar.

You really time the pace of revelation to perfection, so that we don't know what the bleep is going on until it finally clicks. there is a real craft to this.

Oh you are a genius, how did you manage to insert a line in there? you have special formatting skills beyond the mortal realm.

nice detail on the historical setting. You appear to have done your homework.

Getting a bit of a Lindy Chamberlain vibe here. This idea of being blamed for something that you are actually the victim of makes for a good story.

'Mary tried a ghostly smile a peeled a small bite from the scone.' - I am confused, but if you replace the 'a' before 'peeled', with 'and',it might just make sense.

I kind of feel like you have turned the prompt on its head here, 'listen to the madman' is what everyone in the town is doing, making him a Prophet, when in reality they shouldn't be listening to him at .

'Eleanor focused the force of her gaze of her friend.' - The second 'of' after gaze I think should be 'on'.

"I tried to stop him but –"- I am being picky here, but I would expect to either use '...' or '-' to indicate somebody stopping mid-speech.I think earlier you used '...'. If you were as anal as me, you would want them to be the same for consistency. But perhaps you are a little more well-adjusted, and won't feel the need to change such things.

"Then you'll be as good as a tried already, in their eyes."- 'as good as tried already'?

"He's going to kill me anyway." She whispered.- Speaker tag: 'He's going to kill me anyway,' she whispered.

now that I am getting this far into the story, I can see just how important it was for you to establish the rampant sexism of those in authority at the beginning of the story. It just makes you grimace that Mary has so little hope in a situation like this.

nice little touch with being forced to let the madman go.

So the ending ... Eleanor's fiancee killed Mary because if Eleanor got into trouble for releasing Mary, it would jeopardise his engagement to Eleanor? so this would stop anyone finding out Eleanor did it? am I getting this? knock knock knock, hello brain?

Anyway, great story with so many threads going on which all weave together. real emotional depth but also lots of clever crafting.
Inkspilled chapter 1 . 2/5/2012
That was a well written story. I was expecting it to end a little differently and focus on the madman more, but I like this ending, too. I could definitely feel for the MC, throughout. Also, I loved the first line. Rather infuriating, though. Her brother is really a horrible character, and then to say that women are mad.

What's interesting is that we are never explained how Mary got into that situation with the madman and the baby, I only have a bunch of ideas as to how that all came to be.

Anyways, I really liked this. I think you captured the history of the time period very well. :)