Reviews for (first draft) Apoptosis
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 4 . 11/26/2012
[summer may have arrived buts its heat began] *but

I feel like the pace of this chapter was also fairly slow. Especially at the start, there felt like there were several extended descriptions of things that didn't exactly feel like they advanced the plot. (Sort of day to day life type stuff, but it might just be that I'm action hungry.)

I did like the election at the end, though. I feel like it was the highlight of interest for the chapter and it's not only advancing the action and telling us more about the culture, but also successfully getting me invested in the characters and really wondering the ever present, "What's going to happen *next*?"

My extensive apologies for taking way longer than meritted to get around to these reviews (I know I surpassed my time limit on MC-EF), but I hope nano is still going well for you and you can keep chugging along. Good luck!

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 3 . 11/26/2012
I like the lesson on snakes, their venom, and the effects/possible dangers to those who might consume their victims. While it might have been a rehashing for the students, some of it was news to me and it's cool to learn tidbits of factual information from stories.

I feel like the overall pace of this chapter was a little slow, though. Maybe it couldn't be helped, but although a lot of the stuff was informative about their culture, it seemed to drag a bit excitement wise. (Until, of course, the final line, which is a nice hook.) Plenty of room for editing stuff down after nano, though. Not bad. :)

- Moonstar
Persevera chapter 3 . 11/25/2012
[Especially with the reduced level that went with the Spring Harvest, as most men were occupied elsewhere.] I don't like this sentence. It's a fragment, yes, but also the idea seems incomplete, as though words were omitted.
I like the atmosphere described for the festival. There was such etiquette associated with it, such as not choosing a girl for the first dance after a wedding because that might suggest a commitment, but a later dance was okay.
Sombrette chapter 3 . 11/24/2012
I like the teacher and his schooling of how to take the poison from the snake, I thought that was a very nicely described scene. Col's personality is perfect for a boy his age too, a total boy who want's to prove himself, and at the age of not being that interested in the females either. I also like how you immediately immerse the reader into your world, and don't spend a lot of time describing your world, as in, we already see it as it is (hope that's not too confusing :}) This story is very well written, and it reads almost like a movie I can completely imagine everything. My only thing I'd say is I wish there were a bit more to the ending festival, seemed to just flash by a bit too quickly. But that's just me. Another wonderful chapter!
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 2 . 11/23/2012
I like what I've seen of Col's character so far. He seems like a bright, cheerful young man despite the loss of his parents and the impact that must have had on him.

I also like the way you've portrayed his and his grandmother's relationship. Obviously they're very close, and it's nice to see that, even at his age, he's the one inviting her to tell her story 'again'. Usually it seems that it's the old person who just rants on and on about the same story and the younger characters roll their eyes, so it's nice to see that switched up.

And this was one of my favorite moments: ['Uhh…' Blotches of red appeared in his cheeks. While it was a tedious task, the village frowned upon verbal complaint.] Simple and yet, it gives us an important, 'slice of life' type glimpse at the culture here, so I like it. It makes the world feel more real.

Depending on whether or not you're interested in corrections (this being your NaNo, I understand if you're not fixing anything at the moment) here's some stuff I noticed along the way:

[Obtaining the reeds were easy.] *was not were

[The river's saline water kept it most and somewhat softened] *moist (pretty sure this has already been pointed out)

[His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said. / 'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then brushed fair hair from his forehead.] You repeat this twice. It reads kind of like deja vu. xD

[They shifted beneath the small form, but the claws shifted and found a stable perch as it cocked its head at Col and squawked.] This sentence reads awkwardly to me. By 'they shifted' I assume you mean Col and his grandmother working? The 'but' seems to imply that the bird will somehow...disrupt them? I'm not sure, and you use the word 'shifted' twice in one sentence which is kind of awkward in general. I would change the first one to a different verb - bustled or worked/toiled/moved etc. - something along those lines.

[Despite the complaint though it felt nice to stand again] I'd get rid of that 'though'. Without commas to tell me where to pause I got confused and had to read it a couple times before I figured out how it was supposed to be read, and I think it works just as well without the 'though' in there at all.

[he like most children in the village were simply too excitable] *was not were [he...was simply too excitable] since [like most children in the village] is a clause, it shouldn't affect the verb form.

Ahh, there's probably more but I realized I was being nit picky and made myself stop since it was a nano. Nice chapter regardless. :)

- Moonstar
Sombrette chapter 2 . 11/23/2012
I was very impressed with the description of the scenes, little things added really make a story worthwhile to read. I was sort of thrown off by the apostrophes instead of quotations but after awhile it didn't bother me so much.

One thing I noticed this chapter is there is a section that repeats:

*His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said.

'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then paused to brush fair hair from his forehead.

His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said.

'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then brushed fair hair from his forehead. The small intermission...*

Other than that I didn't seem to come across any mistakes. I love how you have established the village and the roles the villagers play. And The story about the necromancer in the marsh, I wonder if it's the same from the Temple? Very interesting indeed. I come across very few stories that play out scenes as you have so great job on that, it's very easy to picture.
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 11/22/2012
Really like the opening description. You get that mix of fragility and dying beauty spot on. I especially like this simile: [Her fingers were as brittle as fig-stalks.] Strays from the norm but still does a great job of setting up that image.

I also like the world-building you work in. Between the mentions of the 'outer world' where the visitor comes from and the traditions of the Temple of Oasis we really get a sense of depth to the culture that we're only scraping at here and getting a brief taste of.

[Something subtle in the balance of magic made the air heavy as he took it in.] I really like this description for some reason. I guess the idea of magic being something almost tangible in the air appeals to me and it's very neatly put.

[Like a baby unable to leave its crib.] Nice simile.

[She broke off in a choke as the other extended a hand and clenched his throat.] This confuses me. Isn't he clenching HER throat? But you say 'his'...unless he's clenching his own throat and through some magic making that choke her...? If so, it still reads oddly and made me backtrack several times.

[The Priestess slumped away from him, hair pooling beneath his head to cushion the fall upon the reed mat.] Again here, do you mean 'polling beneath *her* head'? 'Cause that seems like it would make a lot more sense.

I also find the last line a little confusing. I thought he took both of their souls? But in the last line you make it sound like he left the Priestess with her body dying, but her soul still there, and the old woman with her body alive but her soul dead? I guess I'm just not quite sure what was intended there.

All in all, though, I thought it was a very interesting opening chapter. My favorite part is the world building, I think. It opens all kinds of questions for how magic works and how it fits into the culture and religion etc., and it sounds like it'll be a fun ride.

Hope you can write it to completion!

- Moonstar
professional griefer chapter 4 . 11/22/2012
[First instinct beseeched him to sit up with haste, but when his eyes flew open upon the perception of stiffness and dregs of pain snaking through his limbs his mind managed to register the abnormality of the situation.] I don't like this sentence. I just feel like the words you're using are unnecessarily long, and it confuses the rest of the sentence. It doesn't make sense to me. So, his instinct was to sit up quickly, but it was the pain in his legs that made him open his eyes? He sat up without opening his eyes? I don't know how you meant it, but that's kind of how it comes across. There are a few more sentences like that too, so I would just work on making them less confusing.
I actually really like all of the lessons that are being given, they fascinate me and definitely make the world more interesting. I think when you're done with the actual story, you should make the lessons into an appendix of sorts.
Overall, nice, but your sentence clarity needs some work.
professional griefer chapter 3 . 11/22/2012
I liked the pacing of this chapter, introducing what normal life is for these characters was definitely interesting and you gave a good glance without devoting thousands of words to it.
However, your style is a tiny bit over the top, in my opinion. I know that it's just how you write, because I feel the same way about most of your stories. I just don't like all of the descriptions everywhere because it just bogs all the action down and doesn't feel super necessary.
But I liked your ending, it was definitely a good enough hook to pull me into the next chapter, which I shall be reviewing presently.
AquariusGirl230191 chapter 1 . 11/21/2012
Great opening.

I like the way you have the sentence that is all one word "Blood. Burning. Screaming. Agony." - It's a great effect :D

Lot of action here which is interesting to read. I am enjoying it so far and feel the descriptions, dialogue and scene was set up well. I could picture it in my mind and enjoyed what I saw :D

Hope to read more soon...

Persevera chapter 2 . 11/17/2012
[His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said.
'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then paused to brush fair hair from his forehead.
His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said.
'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then brushed fair hair from his forehead.]
I don't like spellcheck. It always allows incorrect words to be used as long as they are actual words, such as...
[He stretched, arms rising and fingers flicking the lower boroughs of the tree]- boughs instead of boroughs
[The river's saline water kept it most]-moist
I like the information about the feast, particularly that it was a time for sad reflection, as well as joy. It's an interesting detail that only one two people from the village marry each year and that all the villagers seem to understand their duty so well. Is something coming to disrupt that?
professional griefer chapter 2 . 11/16/2012
First thing: did you mean to repeat [His grandmother looked at him. 'Those reeds won't clean themselves, Col,' she said. 'I know, Grandmother.' He picked up the first reed, then paused to brush fair hair from his forehead.] twice? Because you did, and it was confusing and distracting.
I didn't really like your first paragraph, the wording seemed a bit strange and muddled. I would try to clear that up a bit.
I also didn't care for the use of apostrophes instead of quotes, it always distracts me and has the tendency to confuse me. I know that's a total stylistic thing, but as a suggestion I would use quotes.
I liked the pace, the dialogue and action blended very well together. Normally I would consider a chapter that's almost all dialogue to be boring, but it worked well for this.
You had a few (correct count: 17) paragraphs in the middle though where I thought you could have summed the information up a lot more easily and clearly without those 17 paragraphs. They were just overwordy and a bit aggravating. I understand the whole word count thing really well, but when you go back and edit I would look out for those.
Nice work, really for a NaNo story it's extremely good. It's just kinda early where I am and I'm taking the tiredness out on your story. (Sorry about that)
professional griefer chapter 1 . 11/14/2012
I loved the first sentence. While things that have a first sentence that include the words 'she' and 'beautiful' usually immediately turn me off, the second half was kind of a surprise, and actually gave me an immediate mental image. I don't actually think you need the rest of that paragraph, it feels like unnecessary description and was a bit overwordy. I just think that since you summed it up so well in the first sentence, the rest is just filler.
I'm not a great fan of your style with this piece, however. You may just be doing it for the word count (in which case I understand completely) but I just think there are too many adjectives, it's too much and it kind of weighs this down. It's a really interesting prologue, but it's just far too much description, more than you need.
On the other hand, your descriptions are beautiful, the words you use are amazing at planting pictures in my head and feel really poetic. So I don't know, I think it's kind of a tossup between being semi-poetic or making the plot go faster.

Overall, great work. Good luck with NaNo!
Complex Variable chapter 1 . 11/13/2012
[For those of you not familiar with the biology,] - - - I would remove the "the". And yes, even your A/N's need to be perfect. XD

[Her hair likewise was raked with dust,] - - - why not try "Her hair was likewise raked with", instead?

[of blood that clung to his coat.] - - - "that clung" should be "clinging", I think.

[There was a blade at the altar, recently washed and stabbed into clay but worn and incapable of cutting through anything more tightly woven than a net.] - - - I would put a comma between "clay" and "but".

[The wrinkled skin and slightly hunched back told all, as did the white Temple robes she wore.] - - - I think the starting "The" should be a "Her".

You really like these enigmatic openings, don't you, Ohana? XD

[The old croon backed away, cloth sweeping the floor] - - - "crone" not "croon".

['Priestess –' He silenced the young speaker with a flick of his wrist, knife leaving his sheath and hand and sailing through the air in a fluid arc before slashing skin. ] - - - Nice sentence.

[Valiant, but useless. Like a baby unable to leave its crib.] - - - once again, nice sentence/image. Your writing is much more powerful when you alternate the length/rhythmic structure of your sentences. I would make the first period a semicolon, though.

I like your description/evocation of the soul extracting. It's quite effective, and wonderfully imaginative. A question though—and this is important: in this story-world, what distinguishes "white magic" from "black magic"? Is it merely a social stigma—i.e., black magic is the socially unacceptable variety of magic—or is black magic actually "evil" in it of itself? If so, why/how? Even if you're not going to ever include this kind of information in the story, it's important that you, as the author/creator, know the answer to such questions.

[A bead of sweat rolled down his neck as he completed the annotated task.] - - - "annotated task"? What does that even MEAN? XD

[And so he departed, leaving behind a Priestess with a living soul and a dying body, and an old woman to the contrary.] - - - wait, but, didn't he take out the girl-priestess' soul? That's a bit of a conundrum, there; you should really give the important characters a better identifier than simply "Priestess"—you have SEVENTEEN of them, for crying out loud! XD. Giving them names, or something, would really help make the action more easy to follow.

There's a lot of very nice writing in this, though. Smooth flowing, and not too stilted. Your purple tendencies are almost completely domesticated to serve this story's needs. Now, just be a little more concrete in places—with actions, characters, and identifiers—and, especially in the descriptions of magic—and I think it will be really great. :)

Redz chapter 1 . 11/13/2012
Interesting beginning, though a bit confusing because what the necromancer has done isn't really clear until the last sentence. At first we don't know if he's trying to steal the magic of the priestess, her soul or her life or the difference between them.

(Of course, all beginnings are confusing, and it isn't bad that you keep those things to reveal them later.)

A couple typos:
"either fear of uselessness," you mean "or".
"the other extended a hand and clenched his throat." I'm assuming it's "her" throat.

This prologue was intriguing; it made me want to read the following chapters, but unfortunately you haven't put them up yet. Anyway, good luck in NaNoWriMo. Keep it up!
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