Reviews for Mauerspechte
lookingwest chapter 1 . 1/26/2014
for a WCC review (from Whirlymerle)

Opening - I liked the opening of the story specifically because even from the first paragraph I knew something was wrong with the our MC and I got that sense of intoxication right away - you also managed to incorporate that panic and fear really well in that opening to. For the opening of the second part though, style-wise I didn't like how every sentence started with "She" in that first paragraph - it started to sound really repetitious to me, and even if done intentionally, I didn't really see that repetition anywhere else in the piece so I think it would be a better technique to break it up.

Character - I like how you captured the insecurities of Brad after his proposition and thought you did a great job also characterizing the woman's distaste for his request. Even though we're not with Brad for very long, we definitely see how manipulates the situation, and it doesn't paint a pretty picture of him. I also enjoyed how you characterized the woman through her different flashback moments and as a technique, thought you really incorporated those well. I think that incorporation was my favorite part of this - and how it aided in highlighting the woman's longing.

Setting - I thought the setting was most vivid in the first part when the woman is wandering around on the street. You did a great job bringing that vivid setting into the one that perhaps was not as vivd (Brad's place) - with the bits of glass. Just mentioning it in the second part of the story recalls the panic of the night before and that unforgiving alley setting, so I thought that placement of remembering it worked quite well. Also, sensory imagery in the opening was great too.

Enjoyment - Overall I liked how tightly scene based this story was because it all came together in the end quite well. I was wondering where we'd be going with Brad and I enjoyed how you twist our expectations (I thought it might end up in some kind of romance optimistic ending), but the more pessimistic ending fit the tone of the whole story overall, especially when looking back on how the story started.

Thanks for the read!
Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 1/22/2014
Plot: So I think this story is open up to interpretation, as you don't spoon-feed us at all, and there are only *hints* as to what is going on with the woman in the story - she's trying to run away from her past, but still unquestionably haunted by it as the opening shows. In the opening, she’s confused and thinking she’s returned to Germany, only to find that in the morning she’s not, and that she’s back to the same hell that her current life is. That’s what I got from this initial round of reading anyway. So, what do I think of the plot?

I rather like it? I like that you didn’t tell us everything, and I adore the fact that this can be read in various ways. I don’t think it was confusing, just more up to the reader to try and work their way out of this puzzle. Moreover, I just like the dark themes of this story – that there’s no fairness in the world, and that you cannot escape where you came from, no matter what (it also tells about one woman’s desperate search for someone to break through her walls, and save her). I’ll probably *have* to come back and read this at a later point, but I still liked the story as it is now as well. I like the story because I’m a strong believer in open-ended stories with multiple meanings :)

Technique: I like your repetition of lines like ‘she’s nothing but a wall’, and ‘Mauerspechte’ – it relates very nicely to the themes of the story re: the woman’s motivations and her search for a meaning in life. I also like the way you use German, but don’t specify what the words mean until much later in the text. I think the confusion over what those words might mean to a non-native speaker of German really add to the confusion that Brad might feel, and further create this illusion of chaos and uncertainty that the first scene has going for it. I’m also going to applaud you, as a native speaker of German, on the correctness of the terms employed – nothing irritates me more than annoying mistakes when using a foreign language.

Generally, I also like how the story is structured, and broken down into two separate scenes – the event of her drunkenness/searching for someone to find her, and the morning after. It’s a very simple, but effective break-down that made the story very easy to read and digest.

Pacing: I am going to disagree with the previous reviewers on the pacing. It was fine to me in its chaos and franticness in the first scene, as I think that this rushed, nearly dizzy sort of pacing really mirrored the woman’s drunken stupor quite well. I think it also conveyed the scene with a nearly desperate atmosphere (remember: the woman thinks someone is chasing after her, and that she will die). I like how the pacing slowed down in the second scene, only to pick up a bit when Brad revealed his motivations – the sudden summarisation of future events in two, three simple lines made the ending so much more chilling.

Writing: I also didn’t mind the brackets, mind you. I loved the brackets, mind you XD (repetition done on purpose). I liked the brackets because I’m a) very fond of using them myself and b) I think they conveyed a lot of extra nice details from the past that, in my opinion, would not have necessarily fit into the main text. I also just liked how the thoughts interspersed into the brackets were always an afterthought. I don’t see what people have against brackets anyway – they’re a nice method as shown in your story, and you didn’t overdo them either. Overall, I like the realistic, visual quality of your prose; it’s very immediate and a lot of it sounded plausible to me – especially the retching and confusion while the woman was drunk. But the other themes also struck a chord in me – just this simple, nearly resigned sort of despair as the woman gives in to Brad, or when she looks into the mirror and sees what she has become.

Character: Brad’s actions saddened me, as I really thought he was a cute, shy type at first without any ulterior motivations. And then, bam, he reveals he wants sex, making a reader’s worst assumptions come true. Then again, I don’t necessarily think he becomes unlikable after that – just a bit desperate and stupid, especially as he keeps saying the woman owes him for his help. It just seems that he’s so desperate for sex that he would do anything to get it. He kind of remains sympathetic though because of his bumbling shyness, and the fact that he still wants to know her name before they do it. He’s just very human?

Ending: I really like last line. It’s perfectly simple, and yet perfectly complex, ending this story in a very sad and solemn way. I think you did a wonderful job of summing up what this story is about, and giving it a chilling conclusion. I don’t have anything to complain about, because it just leaves me feeling hollow and sad.
professional griefer chapter 1 . 1/7/2013
I didn't care for the pacing of this, it seemed a bit rushed and confused, I thought you were going a bit too fast and I got lost along the way. It may just have been me, but I think (once the WCC's over and you don't have a word limit) you should slow it down a little. I was kind of confused.
I however love your style. It's very distinct, the language you use is formal, but not so formal that it feels unnatural. You have lovely descriptions that have a poetic tint to them, but your actions aren't muddled. I got lost in terms of your ideas, but never really in what was actually happening.
I thought you pulled this off nicely.
Good luck in the WCC!
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
This one took me breath away.

I love the opening. The image is very vivid. Stylistically, I also like how you have long sentences with the commas breaking them up. It reminded me of the "tumble" image that you begin with.

Any except the most basic historical allusions are lost on me. But I looked up the word Mauerspechte. Writing wise (if I understood correctly), I thought it was supremely clever how you use a word that literally translates into wallpecker, and give it two meanings. I don't know how Berliners viewed Mauerspechtes, but since it has to do with the fall of the Berlin Wall, I associated Mauerspechte with freedom. But because you also compare the woman to a wall, the term Mauerspechte also becomes ominous, since that person is chipping at the wall, or her.

I was a little confused about is the setting of the story. I don't think it detracted anything from the writing or anything. But because of the historical references you throw in, I'm just curious where (which country) the woman is in, and how long has passed since 1989.

I think you did a great job with Brad's character. He starts off so believably sunny and nice so by making him want sex from her like everyone else, you really twist the knife in your main character.

Best of luck in the WCC!
Sombrette chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
This was beautifully written :) It does a lovely job of pulling us the reader along with the female character whom, even though we don't find out her name, can still connect with.

The description was near perfect, I could almost feel it when she was scraping her hands in the ally. And, when he finally let her knew what reward he wanted, I felt the disappointment along with her. Everything comes with a price it seems. I also like how quickly you set up the almost dark like mood within the short span of time. I'm always a bit iffy when it comes to short stories because I tend to want more but the way this has ended seems very appropriate. Very nice job!
AJ 96 chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
Wow, this is intense and believable! I like that your descriptions and of the scene and characterizations makes it more realistic and interesting. It was was very well-written :)

The only problem I had was that you used brackets. I'd suggest you get rid of those and make the content thoughts instead by putting it in a separate line.

Overall, a really interesting and thoughtful story :)
Arya May chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
I'm quite interested This is quite well written., and it would be nice if you could have another chapter up.