|Reviews for Ordinarily Modern|
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 5 . 8/8/2012
I thought the sense of 'closeness' you generated here was very effective. For example;
Hs lips lightly kissed the rim of the pristine glass. [a typo here]
Where his skin touched,
he smell of his newly purchased rich wine wafted through his nostrils
This particular kind of imagery made the description more intimate; I almost felt as if I was the one drinking from the glass.
However, again because the piece was so short, I was left wondering about the characters; what is the significance of their meeting? I found it hard to connect with them because of this, and I feel the piece could be expanded a bit.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 4 . 8/8/2012
Argh safety pins1 I Can NEVER find one when I need one.
Anyway, I liked the reference to the fairy tale here- it added a magical quality to the humble safety pin! I felt this quality influenced the tone of the whole drabble. It made the pin both more sinister and less 'normal'.
I also like how you add a kind of personality to the pin. Although inanimate it seems to have a malevolent desire to stab. I thought the phrase 'it munched on her finger' was particularly evocative of this.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 3 . 8/8/2012
I enjoyed how you generated a sense of nostalgia here; by mentioning 'expeditions' and 'her first competition' you evoke a sense of tradition and childhood surrounding the pencil. You make a simple object much more interesting by doing this!
I also like that you raise some important contemporary issues here, for example how the ipad is replacing pen and paper. This contrasted with the description of her childhood drawings starkly and added to the nostalgia. Using the new word 'paser' really adds to this contrast too.
I have to say I really hate those mechanical pencils, I break them really easily and avoid them as much as I can now I've realized that.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 2 . 8/8/2012
I like that you have taken a seemingly mundane item here (shoe laces) and played with, creating something fun. You mention a lot of things about shoe laces that I just wouldn't have thought about before, for example the different colours, how they reflect the way society is.
However, I would have liked to hear more about the connection between the man and the shoe laces. You give a few clues here- is his need to buy new shoe laces a reflection of poverty? However, without more detail, I think it's difficult to know exactly what is happening.
| Not Bent Just Broken chapter 1 . 8/7/2012
I liked the intro, as it was so different and such an interesting way to start the story that I had to continue reading. I also liked the way you wrapped it all up at the end. It showed routine and that's how most people live - it seemed realistic.
| professional griefer chapter 8 . 8/7/2012
I didn't like that you didn't really give a motivation for the fire. You mention a few things about other fires, and unless I've missed something major, none of them were his reasons. I just feel like he had no motivation, and that sucks most of the enjoyment out of it for me.
I did like that you're getting less wordy, it was a good deal easier to understand and a hell of a lot shorter. Your descriptions were vivid without being pedantic, and I'm quite glad about that.
| A. Gray chapter 8 . 8/6/2012
Strong opening. It's a very nice hook with just that one line. zto think that watching your home on fire and you would smile and think there was nothing worth it in it. It's a concept that is extrememly hard for me to understand.
I love the touch that the firemen were as confused and stunned as the rest of the populous. It give a very strong indicator of how rare this is without you needing to say it. You do state it, but the firemen's reaction really drives it home.
To think that no one was the least bit swayed even the man who lost his home. It boggles the mind, and gives a clrea distinction between this socity and ours. And that the wife and child wouldn't know! it seems so calous, but it just shows how mundane this place is.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 8 . 7/28/2012
Beginning: Another powerful opening, however I think you should take the 'simply' out since I feel like it dulls the effect of the opening statement. It's a very bold, powerful statement, and the best way to get those across is to be very direct and eliminate any unneeded adverbs. But aside from that, again, it was a very good hook and immediately created a sensation of curiosity/suspense.
Enjoyment: I wasn't as impacted by this chapter as I was with the previous two once finished reading, which felt strange to me considering the content (a man losing all his belongings in a fire). I think it's because the bland tone of the narrator, as well as the character's reaction, kind of got to me. Because the man isn't at all effected by the way he's watching his house burn down, I also wasn't effected by the story itself. I don't know if his personality bleeding into me is a good or bad thing, honestly. On the one hand I guess it's good because it's obviously making me feel what the characters feel, but on the other I feel unchanged once done reading this, and very blah.
Writing: I enjoyed how you described the fire. I thought the colors you addressed were really cool, and how you mentioned the ash. You painted a very vibrant picture with how the man was sifting through the ashes. However, about halfway down (after the fire was stopped) the writing started to get a little bland. I think it's more due to the fact that the writing is trying to match the blander tone of the overall story, though, so I don't think this is a negative thing. Just not completely my cup of tea.
Other (Theme): While I think you do a great job getting across the general theme of this story in each chapter, it's not really something I personally find entertaining. This is nothing bad on your part; I'm the type of person who reads/watches movies/plays video games in order to get *away* from the ordinary world. So reading about how ordinary the world really is (when I already feel like I know this all too well) feels a bit redundant. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you do a great job getting your point across, I just personally would rather be blinded by big explosions and violence (as shallow as that might sound) than dwell on how boring the real world really is. You do have a very powerful theme, though, and congrats on finishing it. It's always a great accomplishment. :)
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 7 . 7/28/2012
Opening: I feel like I'm being very repetitive with what I'm saying about your beginnings these past few chapters. xD But I have to admit, I really like each of them. This one as well, because it's a great hook and it really pulls me in. There's a sensation of emptiness and mystery, and it immediately brings up some interesting questions like: why is the picture frame empty? Who does it belong to? Why even keep it on the dresser if there's nothing in it?
Scene: I think what stuck out to me the most about this chapter was the scene of the woman walking past all the brightly colored buildings. I think I found it interesting because it shows how much the people seem to understand that they now lack the vibrancy of life, but they're still powerless to do anything about it. It's almost like they've sold their souls for technology, which I'm not sure how I feel about. I think technology is a great thing - this almost gives me the impression that it's attacking it.
Ending: I felt the ending was a little too... blatant, I guess. I felt almost like the narrator was trying to tell me what I should think and feel once reaching the end. I would have preferred a little more ambiguity, especially when dealing with this type of subject. But that's all personal opinion, of course.
Setting: Again, I thought you did a good job building on the setting in this chapter. You addressed the more physical aspect, especially the sense of sight. I thought the mentioning of dust was very effective with how you built the setting - it was a useful prop to show the present will never be able to escape the past. The statement, "and yet dust collecting from the prehistoric age persisted," gave me that impression. I thought it was a very effective way to show what the narrator was trying to convey.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 6 . 7/28/2012
Opening: I really enjoyed this beginning, especially how you addressed the sense of touch. I thought it was a great way to grab a person's attention, and it helped set the scene right away. There's also something oddly endearing about a child being so excited about holding/touching a book, so I thought that image helped draw me in even more.
Setting: I thought you accomplished a lot of great world building in this chapter. I almost feel like maybe you should push this up further in your chapters so the reader can get a firmer hold on what exactly the world is like during these writings. The thought of people not leaving their rooms is indeed a scary thought, though I guess I have no right to complain considering how much of a recluse I am.
Ending: I really enjoyed that allusion to Repunsel, when you mentioned the blonde braid being like a stepping ladder. I think the way you bled past fairy tales into the girl's ordinary day was very effective. The inclusion of the 'bibliophages' also had me chuckling. I had never heard of those before, but after reading the definition about them and seeing the way you tossed them in here, I thought it was a great addition to the chapter.
Enjoyment: I think this is my favorite chapter so far. Everything is very crisp and clear, and I can really relate better to the setting. I feel like you did a great job filling in a lot of the questions I was having at this point, like what time period this is taking place and what the world is like for these people. And I particularly enjoyed your writing throughout this chapter as well - it felt more direct and to the point, but also still held vivid descriptions and metaphors.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 5 . 7/28/2012
Beginning: I have mixed feelings about this opening paragraph. I think you did a good job making the very long opening sentences flow well and make sense, but after the second sentence I got a little confused. You went from describing the glass and the person drinking it to talking about diseases and epidemics. The tone goes from describing an inanimate object to being rather open-ended and philosophical, and I just think it would've made more sense to separate the two thoughts into their own paragraphs.
Scene: I like how you took the time to address the dancers in the room with the main character. I thought they added some interesting qualities to the narrative, and it also helps show what type of place he's in. It doesn't sound like some normal, typical bar. I think it shows he's there for more then just a drink. The setting itself says stuff about the character that doesn't been to be blatantly addressed, which is always nice to see.
Writing: Be careful with some of your adjectives. The best thing to take into account is to make sure the adjectives you use contribute something, which I don't think all of these do. For example (these are just some examples off the top of my head), "The enraged, stampeding elephant," gives you a completely different image from, "The docile, sluggish elephant." These are important adjectives that add to the scene and define it. If you were to say, "The large, grey elephant," that doesn't really add much because its already expected.
Ending: I thought the breaking glass was interesting and how the man was more interested in it staining than the pain it might have caused. I think this shows how dulled he is to the world, as well as how dull the rest of the world seemingly is. At least, that's the impression I get from the previous chapters I've read, and the title itself. I'll admit, the modernity doesn't really appeal to me all that much - it feels like something I'll easily forget once done thinking about it. But I guess that's the risk of writing about something mundane.
| lookingwest chapter 8 . 7/17/2012
Smoke was rising into the pastel blue sky. [You know me and my passive voice opinions ;D, maybe "Smoke rose into the pastel blue sky." I just like things to be more direct visually. This one is completely optional - but I do really like the image because it is a strong one, especially as a follow up to the first line.]
This situation kind of reminds me of Fight Club when our unnamed narrator sees his apartment has been blown up and later finds out he did it himself - it's a strong accusation, but this idea of someone being happy they lost everything plays on a certain part of every person's deepest desires, I think. It gets at something a lot of people don't want to admit they feel.
I found the middle sections about going through the mental list of his days off and then the paragraphs about his wife and children was kind of dull. Nothing really pulled me through those sections, but I feel like your beginning and ending images were the most successful yet.
The most striking image in this piece of me was the "charcoal cat", at first I wasn't sure if that was literal or not, but I'm guessing it really does mean the dead cat? Maybe "dead charcoal cat". But it was very strong and I think the image really worked.
Overall this was an interesting collection. I feel like the two that strayed the most from the original pieces were this one and the last one. There was more focus on the characters here, than the objects in a way...and I got a more complete picture with each of them. I think that might show some progression that was purposefully done though, we get more of an idea for the society as a whole instead of just little snippets. These last two were quite enjoyable, thanks for the read! And congratulations on finishing this project!
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 2 . 7/16/2012
[for a loss of any other activity to engage in, they would create the cradle from the loosely knotted string they so conveniently carried and challenge each other to climb up to the twelfth level…until their mothers scolded them for their unhygienic hobby.]
I thought this sentence was a little long and convoluted. I think chopping it up will help gets its meaning across better. As it stands, I'm not too sure what it's really trying to tell me. Also, I don't think the ellipses are needed. The pause was a little awkward for me. Perhaps just use a comma instead?
[clothes, but they were still in a society where the other parietal surface of modesty and humility was still kept…even if the viscera buried underneath had crumbled into invaluable dust.]
Same with this sentence, I think the ellipses would be better suited as a comma. The longer pause reads strange to me.
I like how you address the passage of time with the shoe laces. I thought it was an interesting way to get across this particular man's growth from childhood to adulthood, and the role his shoe laces used to play. Instead of being colorful and enigmatic, now they're bland and frayed. I think this does well to portray the character itself.
Some of the narration is this I felt a little unnecessary, like the information in the parenthesis. I didn't feel like it really added to the story and took away the briefness of the piece itself. But that's something that can be easily fixed in an edit.
| TinfoilKnight chapter 1 . 7/12/2012
Interesting idea. I love how you show so much about this character just through something as ordinary as a hairtie. The description’s spot on – I can picture her very clearly.
“That didn't stop him, however, from looking at his entire female staff. Marriage wasn't a whole lot more than a teenage novelty or a simple status ring.” Not sure how I feel about the tangent about marriage. I like that it brings light to the society she lives in, but it doesn’t really fit with the theme in the rest of the piece. I think it might be because it comes right in the first paragraph; I expect the introduction to introduce the most important main ideas, so when I read the part about her boss’s marriage I expected it to be developed more later on. It’s really not a big problem, though, it doesn’t get in the way of anything.
“…but her hair somehow managed to knot itself around the cheap elastic and the consequence was, many a time, either having to re-comb it or retie it in a neater fashion.” Ha, I like this sentence just because I can totally relate to her…
| TinfoilKnight chapter 2 . 7/12/2012
“Once upon a time, shoe-laces were a novelty.” I like this as a first line, it has a fairytale feel to it and sets the mood for the description of his childhood fascination with shoelaces.
“The shoes themselves were little more than a nuisance, similarly to the burden they carried upon their skin: clothes, but they were still in a society where the other parietal surface of modesty and humility was still kept…even if the viscera buried underneath had crumbled into invaluable dust.” Erm… The structure in this sentence is needlessly complicated, I think. And I’m lost in the vocab. It might be better to go with simpler diction and structure, because your meaning gets a little lost in the pretty language.
“...he sighed, rubbing a shining bald spot in the dim light.” Nice way to show his age instead of outright saying it. It’s a nice image, too.
The symbolism is more subtle in this chapter. I like it this way, for some reason – it sounds more mature and masculine, and I think it suits the character well.