Reviews for Seeing Through Tears
lookingwest chapter 2 . 4/6/2013
Similar to the first chapter, I'm have a hard time sympathizing with Savannah or, at least feeling like she's a real approachable person/character who has relatable reactions to things. The way her friends treat her just becomes so over-the-top in the way that she hangs out and around these people and they treat her like crap - that she just seems to be a character that takes on a lot of pathetic weakness and pity. I want her to be stronger. I understand that her weakness is obviously part of her personality and her characterization, but I'd love to see more smaller bold moments like when she went and talked to Alex happening. I mean - it was almost very out-of-character for her to do that based on what we see form her in ch. 1 and the start of ch. 2 - she's shy, timid, pathetic, and yet she has the guts all of the sudden to go talk to this guy. I almost think maybe you might want to add in a little bit of strength in her - at least kind of give us some explanation as to where she's drawing this strength and drive all of the sudden to talk to a boy she hardly knows with a 'reputation' when she can't even bother to attempt standing up for herself. Still however - it is quite early on in the story.

This chapter is a lot stronger than your first chapter, I think, and I definitely did like the introduction of Alex. He kind of takes on a Perks of Being a Wallflower persona of the "alternative" high school kids - I'm looking forward to seeing how you deal with him and how he unfolds. It's refreshing that he's nice to her when they first meet, but it's clear he has conflicts of his own and he is concerned about image in the second half. I would argue that right now he's your most realistic character and the one who becomes someone with the most relatable motivations. So you're doing great portraying him so far, and I liked that. I also liked the paragraph specifically when you describe him, and in turn, Savannah's reaction to his description with the eyeliner and piercings because it was a fun moment and I could really feel the spark of their relationship happening. Really interested to see if they will become friends!
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 4/1/2013
I don't think your characters act natural enough for the high school setting. They speak way more formally than I imagine someone their age would speak. I mean, it's okay if you have maybe one person doing it, because it'll set them apart and make them have a unique voice. But I think almost everyone talks in a very formal manner, like they're acting ten years older than they should be. I'll show you an example of what I mean:

[He chuckled. "Same to you, Savannah, and you can call me Tray if you would like. Now, would you like me to help you back to your locker?"

Meeting his eyes, Savannah smiled, her eyes crinkling in mirth at the edges. "Oh, thank you, Travis! That would be so helpful!" She clapped her hands together and bowed profusely.]

In the first paragraph, the dialogue is very stiff. I imagine a teenage boy would probably be a lot less wordy and more casual, maybe something like this:

"You too, Savannah. And you can call me Tray if you want. Do you want me to help you back to your locker?"

I think this sounds a lot less stiff and formal, and more like a teenager would talk to a fellow classmate (especially if it's a guy talking to a girl, because they tend to want to impress girls and seem more aloof or "badass"). As for the second paragraph, Savannah sounds way too eager, even for someone who's shy or introverted (which is what I'm assuming you intend her to be perceived as). And the bowing just seems weird to me. I don't think I've ever bowed to someone or seen someone bow to me when I was in high school, no matter how happy something I said to them might have been. Maybe toning down the enthusiasm will help make Savannah's character seem more consistent. Something like this?

[Meeting his eyes, Savannah smiled, her eyes crinkling at the edges. "Thanks, Travis. That'd be great."]

Much more casual and believable, I think.

I wonder if taking a slower pace with this story might be something to think about. Right away you open with the mistreatment from her aunt, and then a couple scenes later the bullying from the girls in the locker room. I think slowing down and exploring a bit more about Savannah and who she is before throwing her into these situations will help form a bond between her and the reader. Right now I feel like she's just an instrument of abuse - that's all her character is here to do, to be tormented for the reader's enjoyment. Before Savannah is punched in the locker room, she thinks to herself "Not again." What happened to her before? Has she been bullied before? What happened when she was bullied in the past (if this isn't the first time)? I think you could do a lot with this scene if you slowed down and really explored Savannah's thoughts, past, and motivations. Maybe this is a good time for flashback - it'll give us a better insight into her past, and help develop her into a more three-dimensional character. Right now I don't really care that she's getting beat up. It might sound harsh, but it's true. I feel like I don't know her enough to care about her on a personal level; which goes back to me feeling like she's only here to be tortured in order to pull emotions out of me. The sentimentality cheapens the effect you could be having. It's kind of like how you open with her aunt being mean to her and hitting her - maybe opening with a scene that'll show me more about Savannah as a person is something to consider. Don't let the abuse and bullying define who she is, but *show us* that there's someone underneath all the bruises and cuts worth relating to and caring about. Right now you seem more focused on the acts of abuse and bullying rather than the long-term effects they can leave on a person.

Overall, though, from what I've seen of Savannah, I think she's a very promising character, just needs a bit more fleshing out to get me emotionally invested in her before I want to start seeing her pushed around. I really like how you use the italics of her thoughts, too. It allows the third-person narration to get really close to her, and I think those moments really make her character shine.
Badlands chapter 1 . 3/28/2013
When I first started reading this I expected to not like it. As a victem of abuse and bullying myself, I often roll my eyes at the way it's portrayed in stories, like, "No, that's not how it is at all." But I was... surprised. The abuse was portrayed more realistically, if that makes sense? The way the aunt tries to cover it up and be all kissy in the car with the "mocking, 100-watt smile" had me nodding my head saying, "YEP! Got it in one." Been there.
I also liked the way you described Travis' apperance. You didn't go overboard in descriptive terms- you used just the right amount of imagry to make him visable in my head. Usually it's far too overdone detailing every last bit of their apperance, but I prefer just being given guidelines so I'm able to imagine it myself.
Sometimes your writing style came across as a little... awkward? Like the line, "Don't ask why, she just did" was a little strange... boarderline meta, it takes the reader out of the flow of the story. You're addressing the audience there which implies that it's *just* a story being told and it's a bit jarring. Also, perhaps when Savanna's thinking something, you could put the words in italics to show that those are her thoughts? Like whenever she thinks 'oh shoot' or 'darn'. For the same reason- so as to not be so jarring to the audience.
When she bowed to Travis it made me wonder if this is a story with a unique setting? Her name is "Savannah" so I assumed she was just a white American/European/Canadian girl (later clarified by her US background and green eyes) but with actions like that (and the anime picture on your profile page) I wondered if she was supposed to be Asian? Perhaps you could clarify.
The bullying felt a little uncomfortable, as well. I know there's a thousand different types of bullies in the world, but these felt a little strange to me. Generally (IN MY EXPERIENCE) they have a reason to act the way they do. (Not a GOOD reason, or a reason that makes sense, but... Savannah seems cute, and nice, and not particularly nerdy. Why do they dislike her?)
Jessica seems pretty cool!
Like Savannah, I don't really feel comfortable when other people get too lovey-dovey around me either.
How old is Spencer? Poor thing. I know some kids like him, and I do feel for him.
All in all, very nice; descriptive without being overly so. I'd like to see more of this story!
unconscious willpower chapter 1 . 3/27/2013
This story is just one bad turn after another. Savannah has a terrible day, and it only gets worse and worse. I would have snapped long ago and tried to kill someone. We are dragged through the miserable life of Savannah in chapter 1, where there are very few points that aren't more downhill. There is definitely a nice atmosphere around Travis and his girlfriend Jessica, but your story is written in such a way that I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up being murderers. Thats really good mood setting.

THis takes place around the life of a hurt and broken girl. Her school doesn't seem to be anything super special. You don't really describe the places that the story has, however you sneak in small descriptions throughout the whole chapter. I feel like i'm being pulled through a dream where everything outside of Savannah's focus is a white blur. Things are easy to imagine if they are focused on.

Savannah is such a tormented girl. When you say things like "Savannah reluctantly stopped. She should've known better than to try to fight." It really drives the point of how broken this girl is. I feel sympathy for abused people. You make your readers want to reach out and call a child abuse line for your fictional character. Throughout the chapter, you show us how helpless this girl is, good job.
Travis, and his girl Jessica, seem the only decent people that exist in this world. Every other person that comes across Savannah is cruel. I hope that she isn't too afraid to try to make some friends.
Spence is a nice kid. I feel bad for his predicament, people can't grow up properly when threatened and scared constantly.

This is well written, ah I see you used a beta. Good Job. Nothing is wrong with using the resources available to you. Anyways, this story makes me think that either; A: you read all the series of unfortunate events during sometime, or B: you are writing this for a psychologist. Either way, you draw a realistic image for us to see.

Everything that I have written is my own personal opinion and I write it to help you as a writer. Please use what you will and ignore the rest.
JYates chapter 1 . 3/25/2013
I like your use of scene in this chapter! It sort of amplified the story. I think you could make use of the scene more towards the end to help show the mood of the story.

The racial makeup of this town in Rhode Island is pretty interesting. While it's not expected from Rhode Island, it certainly makes the whole story pretty different than what you would expect from a story taking place in Rhode Island.

I sure hope things get better for Savannah soon! I really wonder how she was even made to be with this aunt of hers and what will happen to her and her brother in the future!
emmadotlouise chapter 1 . 3/25/2013
[The time on the daisy covered clock by the corner of the small kitchen read seven fifty-two.] Would change the words to numbers so it reads 7:52.

[Savannah could see the other students' who were now her schoolmates (oh joy) huddle around the neutral colored lockers.] No apostrophe. The students don't belong to anything in this paragraph, so there is nothing to possess.

[She sounded pretty close. Oh shot. She threw her hands back into the water.] Is that supposed to be Oh shit.?

You have steady pacing throughout this story. I never felt my attention dragging and I commend you for that. Too often I see people race through their stories in an effort to get to the most exciting parts (I am guilty of this myself!) and you have nailed your pace. It's slowish, but it's fast enough to keep things moving.

I also appreciate the way you have established the protagonist's personality and already introduced some of your main antagonists (Savannah's aunt, some of the girls at the school...). It's nice to see that you have also introduced characters that support your protagonist, so while we feel sorry for her because of the situation she's in, we know she will have support just based on the way these supporting characters interact with her.

If there's one thing I would recommend working on, some of your description could use some tightening up. Some of the words to use your characters look like they have been used haphazardly, eg: Hazel/green eyes - are they green or are they hazel? If they're more green than hazel, I would call them green. If they're more hazel than green, I would call them hazel.
[her aunt turned to her with a mocking, one hundred watt smile.] This description also feels awkward to me, I would lose the one and say "her aunt turned to her with a mocking, hundred watt smile."

I look forward to seeing more. Your character development is nice and it will be interesting to see where this goes. Keep it up!
lookingwest chapter 1 . 3/24/2013
Oh shot. [shoot]

I like the way that you incorporate the character descriptions into the narration, like in the beginning you mention Savannah's hair color and then later you mention her eye color and introduce her description gradually, because I think this gives us by the end a really good visual of what your characters look like. Also when Travis was introduced I could really visualize him as well. Spencer, her brother, was also described well and I liked the last line of the story regarding his "soft black hair".

I think a challenge for this story that I see right now is that Savannah feels very much like a Mary Sue archetype and I'm wondering what moves you could make to perhaps disengage her from those Mary-Sue-like tropes. But at the same time, I think it's good that we see Savannah already making friends and interacting in a sense, with say Travis and Jessica. It makes me wonder though - this school-introduction makes it seem like Savannah is new or that she's never met the people that are coming to talk to her, but if this is a school she's gone to for years and since her childhood, shouldn't she already know a lot of people in her class and in her daily classes too? That was okay though. I like that you establish all the turmoil that's going on with Savannah. I hope she can stay strong through this - her aunt is awful!
Adrenalin chapter 1 . 3/18/2013
First of all, I would like to point out that your chapter is rather long. While 5k words and plus chapters are frequent in books, on FP it just looks very long and can discourage the reader sometimes.

As this is going to be a multi-chapter, maybe you could divide some of the events and information you give the reader into another chapter? I felt like learning that Savannah was mistreated at home, then confronted by a bully at school, then that she witnessed her parents (I guess) die before her eyes and is a self-cutter is a lot, and that it could wait a little, especially the latter part.

The scene between Jessica and Savannah in the toilets feels a bit pointless IMO, since nothing much happens and they could meet each other through Travis anyway. I was a little surprised Jessica was his girlfriend though, because from how you wrote it, I believed he would become Savannah's boyfriend later in the story. I did like that he was black though.
The Quiller chapter 1 . 3/13/2013
Let me just say that I didn't think anyone's life could suck as much as Savannah's does right now. I'm definitely rooting for things to get better for her, or, even better, for her to make things better for herself.

As for the story, I like the flow and the pacing. You've done a great job introducing all of the key characters right off the bat and presenting the setting in a clear and concise way. You've given all of your characters defining traits (and Spencer is utterly adorable), which helps them come to life.

On the flip side, I found myself a little confused when Travis turned out to be Jessica's boyfriend instead of Savannah's love interest. The cheek touching was a little misleading. The antagonists of the story seem a little flat to me too - I find Aunt Rachel almost a little too cruel to be believable. It's also hard to believe that the girls at school are so immediately cruel too. I suggest to temper it a little and give them a little more depth to preserve the reader's willing suspension of belief.

Other than that though, seems like a great start!
the-new-moses chapter 3 . 1/30/2013
I like your writing, very good job.
grinningwillow chapter 2 . 1/24/2013
Keep writing and I'll keep reading
Alex The Dragon chapter 1 . 1/18/2013
I like your story very much and it it really capture's the feeling of how hard some time's can be, in this case for Kimberly, i really hope you make the story further. i would like to read that she fight's her way trough and get's over the rought time stand's up for herself.

nice story ;)
The Autumn Queen chapter 1 . 9/2/2012
Have you rewritten this? I remember reading it before but it was nothing like this. If it has, this is a definite improvement. The chapter's a little long than usual chapters, (2-4K is usually a good length), but it's nicely written.

I don't like the ending though because the sentences don't really link to each other. Sometimes, it's better to not make tings so clear so they go a little more smoothly. Too direct as it is. There are other places as well, but for some reason it seems to be most prominent at the end of scenes.

On the other hand, I like how you paced the action in this. Not to fast, not to slow and not so dragging at the narration becomes overwhelming.
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 8/26/2012
This is well-written for the most part. You have some good descriptions and paint a pretty good picture of your characters. The plot strikes me as "Oh great, another first person narrator with a horrible life struggling through each day where everyone beats on them..." Not that those things aren't horrible - they are - but after reading so many stories that follow a similar vein, it becomes difficult to grab an audience's (or at least my) attention with that.

Also, what's more boring than doing dishes? Very few things. Just a thought.

"Immaculated" is not a word, by the way. "Immaculate", however, is. If you want to use that word, go ahead, but I gave a funny look at the page when I read immaculated.

I *do* like that you've introduced a black boy. I see almost no ethnic/racial variety in the stories I read, but love to add those elements into my own stories, so it's something that jumps out to me as a positive on the rare occassions where I see it somewhere else.

"I allowed a lone tear to fall." Ughhhh. I'm sorry. But this is the sort of angsty phrasing that makes me want to gag on a tennis ball. I have little tolerance for angst though, and some people like it, so it's partially just my taste and you can ignore it. But the "lone tear" thing...can you control it when you start crying? 'Cause I can't. I can't just let one fall. I never want to let *any* fall, but if they start to, then it's beyond what I can stop. I don't know. Maybe some people have magical control over their tears and can make it super dramatic like that.

More interracial elements - I like that, but the foreign language feels a little forced at times. "Hola, el amor..." Shouldn't it be "mi amor"? Why would she say "Hello, he/his love?" I'm not even remotely fluent in Spanish, but I seem to remember that much.

Eck. This review is already too long, so I'll stop bugging you. I think your writing is concise and I like some of the characters, but in a first person narrative, the most important character is the narrator, and I have a lot of trouble clicking with her. I guess I should have been prepared for that with the title though. Ah well. My opinion. Good luck as you progress forward with this!

- Moonstar