Reviews for TwentyEight Inch Box
TawneyEverett chapter 1 . 3/12/2013
This is a very strong piece of writing with a great meaning behind it. I felt the story was very realistic and could be used as a lesson to people of what we are doing to our Earth. I know it was supposed to be fiction but it didn't seem it to me. I enjoyed your writing style as well the piece flowed nicely. The only thing I would suggest is that you explain more about these "unhumans" since one is narrating the story, especially if you are going to write more chapters.
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 9/25/2012
I like your opening - how the first words manage to answer my very first question on reading the title: "What is this box?" Answer: "That's about the width of a grave." Nice.

The paragraph that starts - [There was always a shortage of space.] - is twelve lines long on my screen. A bit too much to try to process in succession without the words starting to swim on the page. There are a couple really long sentences too that seem to drag on.

I like the different narratives on the roles different creatures - humans, plants, and animals - play in their lives and how they act as they grow up. How much "space" they take up. It's interesting to read about humans with such a distant third-person eye.

- Moonstar
blueagle246 chapter 1 . 7/16/2012
You have a real gift for imagery.
theft by beef chapter 1 . 6/20/2012
I enjoyed the darkness in this it gave it a strange life. I liked the personification you use to described the plants it gave them personality. I did not like your word usage seemed a little too high brow to was artfully done to me.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 6/20/2012
The staling air they share only with their own bones and ash, or rotting flesh decaying as the saprotrophs, the recyclers of the world, salvage the organic matter and synthesise nutrients before sneaking through the tiny gaps in the casket and the mounds of soil and clay, saturated with rain, before slipping into the roots of plants and feeding them. [A hefty sentence, and it lacks a clear noun/verb pairing when pulled like this. I would suggest since the preceding sentence does say "human", to carry it into the beginning this like: "The humans share the staling air with their own bones and ash..." to start it instead of where it's at. Otherwise, the length is probably stylistic, and I know you prefer lengthy ones - there's nothing wrong with that, just make sure you don't err on run-ons territory with the excess of the "befores".]

It was all the space they needed…in the end. [Did not understand why the ellipses pause was there.]

And it was shareable; bones, calcified rods…they lasted longer... [Or this one either?]

It was somewhat ironic that they required the extra space, even in death. [Could omit "that"]

Their adult body took up the same space as the dimensions... [It says "their adult", implying more than one, so I think it should be "bodies"]

As a child, the frame was much smaller…but a mix of action... [Again, unclear on why the pause is there. Like for instance, when I'm reading this paragraph out loud to myself - why pause and drift like that?]

Never mind the aging patellas creaking with strain. [I enjoyed the use of the word "patellas" in this sentence - I think it proves scientific words can be rather poetic, I've always liked the sound of that word, it's very round sounding]

...carried the majority of the blame…although plants... [In this case, a comma would work better]

Large mansions sat upon hectares, most of which remained unused and collecting dust... [Unparallel verbs here, I think you should keep it parallel, would sound better with "collected dust"]

...four walls turned into a grave locking its secrets within.. [Would comma after "into a grave", as that clause acts as a description of the Large mansion sitting upon hectares - so it should be set apart by commas.]

And on the streets they were all supposed to share…oh, the... [EM Dash might work better for this one]

It was times like that I was glad there was no connection... [Eh, I'm not sure about this sudden introduction of "I" here. I rather liked the Faulkner-esque joint "we" narrative you had going on, actually - so why change to I at the end of this paragraph? It felt sudden, and I wasn't expecting the change. I would've preferred to see you keep the "we" narrative throughout the entire piece. It's a more ambitious perspective, I think, but it was suiting this piece well.]

They had their match; the wild animals in the forest: how many bodies had been dragged away... [Would prefer a more direct "bodies were dragged away" here]

...with the rest of the organisms that embraced the universe…for it was the humans... [here a comma would work best]

...losses of homes, lives and crops. [I'm pro oxford comma, but...yeah I shouldn't correct if you aren't, because I see you have other sentences where you don't use it either, xD]

Or the earthquakesknocking down buildings... [Typo, "earthquakes knocking"]

...to this treacherous species God had created to inhabit the earth. [You could omit "had" here if you wanted, makes it more direct for the verb "created" I think]

How much longer, it made us wonder... [Back to the "we" narrative? That's good, I like that we go back to this - but I don't understand where the "I" narrative is coming from I guess]

How much longer before we were not separate from this destruction but rather a part of it. [Comma after "destruction", I think]

Already the blood was warping our reality,it's sent... [Typo, space after the comma]

The beauty dimmed. [Enjoyed the word choice here of "dimmed"]

...the selfish species of sapiens... [Typo, needs a space after the period]

Homo sapiens they called themselves: wise man; they thought much of themselves indeed. [Eh, wasn't a fan of the delivery here. I think "Homo sapiens. They said: wise man." or something like that - while I do like the experimental flavor/look of the wise man being visually separate with the colon and semicolon, it reads a tad odd with "they called themselves" for me, especially considering the following lines after this sentence.]

The earth would never return to the vitality it had once enjoyed. [Stronger delivery for me with "had" omitted]

Somehow, in this river of pillaging, all other species had become dependent on... [Would omit the "had", and I believe there's a slip here into present tense? Should be "became"]

Oh, how I rued the day the earlier diseases had failed to abolish this species. [Omit "had", unneeded, I think. And again - who is the we verses the I?]

Alright, so my overall thoughts on this piece. I do like the "we" narrative, like I was talking about. But I got lost midway on who the "I" is supposed to be in relation to the "we". I think I got lost there and I wouldn't mind if you review replied and let me know where that was coming from, I'm curious, I think it went over my head (my fault, not yours, I don't think). And you know, I actually liked the beginning and middle sections of this piece a lot. It's very scientific but it shows a good promise in the writing, and I thought the dense-ness worked. I mean, it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I could see this being really akin to nonfiction essays like "Consider The Lobster" when you go into such detail with the bodies. That's I think why I liked it so much - it felt like a good slice of creative nonfiction. If you aren't familiar with the genre, I think you'd be great at it - check out if you can find a book called The Next American Essay by D'agata - it has excellent examples of some very contemporary pieces.

But anyway, about the piece... Towards the end things started to lose me a little writing-wise, I felt like there was an excess use of colons and semicolons. I'm not grammar-savvy enough to say whether or not things were grammatically correct, but for some reason it just felt a bit off to me in some sentences. As in, I started to notice they were used quite often. But I enjoyed this. I'd like to see another piece like this from you, it had a strength in the focus and technical writing that I don't think was hit quite right for me Ordinarily Modern, but here I could see you really honing in (especially in the beginning). Overall, thanks for the evening read!
Kharmaoftherainbow chapter 1 . 6/20/2012
This was fantastic. I really liked the pondering tone you took, and I also enjoyed the subject and overall how it was addressed. The vague aloofness of the narrator and the imagery you used was the perfect combination for this piece. I like it very much on its own, although I could almost see it as the prequel of some crazy sci-fi book or something.

The only critique I'd have is a personal one - I feel as though you use too many ellipses _ But I personally am not a huge fan of the use of ellipses, so take that as you will. If you elect to keep them, though, remember that ... is the correct use if they do not end a sentence, and that ... must always have a capital letter afterwards.
BethanyWrote chapter 1 . 6/20/2012
I like how you open, especially the line about the definition of length. The only problem I had with the opening was the way you wrote it made it sound like the plants and the soil and everything immediatly started mixing when it would take years and years for a coffin to break down. But that could just be me :p

The peice has a good tone. I'm a little confused about the use of "we" and "they". They is the humans, obviously, but who is "we"? The animals? Aliens?

The transitions between paragraphs could use a little work. It just seemed like you were jumping around, especially after the paragraph about sitting on your parents' laps. At first I thought you were transitioning between the plant's progress and your narrative, but you didn't continue in that fashion.

I really think you should work on the ending. I understand that the closing paragraph is to wrap the whole thing up, it fits perfectly with the first line, but you need something between that and the line about lasting longer to tie it together nicer. I'd suggest just rereading the whole peice and taking note of when your thoughts jump around.

But that's just me. I enjoyed reading this though :)
professional griefer chapter 1 . 6/19/2012
This was pretty cool! Your first few lines about the dimensions of graves were really intriguing, they were definitely a great hook for the rest of the story.

The description of the process of decay was very nice, and I loved how you talked about the adults taking up more space than they should.

The fact that you had it from the POV of a plant made it all the more interesting, kind of brought a new dimension to it.

It was an interesting read, but I think you went on a bit too much. I would have been happier with shorter paragraphs, the fact that you kept going and going made it hard to follow and made it a bit boring, which is a shame because the idea is so interesting.

It's good, just excessive.
blackflier chapter 1 . 6/18/2012
It's very interestingly written. Your use of words make it seem as if something non-human is communicating to us, and you use a 'resource' that normally isn't seen as important: space. These two create an almost alien atmostphere.

However, in this website most people expect to encounter stories, with storylines and plots. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy what you've written, and it's exactly the style I myself like most, but I think it can bum people a bit out, to be honest. This isn't what they re expecting on this site.

I would also like a bit more information the 'we'. Now don't get me wrong, I like open endings. But when you use open endings you should give some hints about the possible endings, so people can theorize and think themselves. In here, my mind is blank. You also use a bit too many scientific stuff. This isn't necesary a bad thing, but it can turn away a great amount of viewers who don't get all your references. It's something you should think about, since I think you can write this too as something people with a basic education can understand, making it much more accesible, without losing it's charm. (like patellas, I'm not exactly stupid, but no clue what that means.)
Rogue Energizer Bunny chapter 1 . 6/18/2012
Yer on RG too?

*glomp*

I join. Well, joined. Like five days ago. :/

So anyway. I'm supposed to be reviewing instead of being awkward. Uh...

I love the concept of this, because I think it's awesome that you're talking about coffins. People need to talk more about coffins, I think. I mean... they but us in theez little boxes and then we just rot in them?

Pretty gross.

I really like the imagery too. "The staling air they share only with their own bones and ash, or rotting flesh decaying as the saprotrophs, the recyclers of the world, salvage the organic matter and synthesise nutrients before sneaking through the tiny gaps in the casket and the mounds of soil and clay, saturated with rain, before slipping into the roots of plants and feeding them." Very pretty. But you've always been good at imagery, so... yeah.

I don't like the size of the paragraphs so much. It's a little intimidating when you open the story and there's a freaking huge wall of text, right? That's my impression, anyway.

But yay! Nice job!

-REB