Reviews for Voices in a Tomb
Sekkan chapter 1 . 5/11/2013
(( The day came around again sooner than I had expected. Yes, a year is a year—always has been, always will be—but, this one felt longer than the rest. ))

You say "sooner" then say that it felt "longer". Maybe I'm misreading it but that seems like a contradiction in meaning.

I follow the six question review format. Otherwise too much of what I'd say would be personal preference. The first question being.

1) Where did you get bored?

Was never bored. You enjoy prose a little more than I do, but they had enough personality to be acceptable. Written very professionally.

2) Where did you get confused?

Was a pretty straight forward read.

3) What didn't you believe?

That this could possibly have a happy ending. Not what the question meant, but close enough.

4) What stood out in a positive way / What did you like?

The emotional build up was very smooth while at the same time it sort of- conflicted with the depressing mood and setting. The very literal description of his mundane life was a nice touch. I also liked how believable and involved the bird was. If you don't have a bird then you at least understand them as well as I do. It bothers me when some one tries to write an animal character and does it half heart-ed simply because they don't speak.

5) What created a question or expectation?

The bird of course. I was wondering how the bird would destroy him in the end and what effect it would have on the man. At first I considered it would have a new song but after that it was pretty clear where this was going. I was also concerned for the bird's safety. With my thought that the bird's song may have changed, I was dreading the man's response to its betrayal. That's what I get for having horror writers as acquaintances.

6) And what provoked an emotional reaction?

The end. Tears formed, I'll admit it. The descriptions were pretty emotional as well.

Final Notes:

The bird's involvement was an interesting twist to a common theme.
999buzzer chapter 1 . 4/26/2013
This is amazing. It's been a while, but still you never cease to amaze me with you extraordinary writing skill and talent! You put many professional writers to shame!
Linguistic chapter 1 . 1/31/2013
This is my favorite piece of yours that I have read so far. It's quick, and it has a very strong message: this man died the day he lost his reason to live. The title, 'Voices in a Tomb' is perfect.

The old man is senile, and your writing (the repetition of words and phrases, the frequent pauses in his own thoughts) conveys that very well. The hazy but evocative descriptions of his house, his city, and the bird, are also very well done.

[My bird! My Michelle! No! I need you! Come back, please—please. Live with me, stay with me. There is room here! There is room! I can draw open the curtains for you, I can make it alive, I can let in the sun! This can be your home! It doesn't need to be a mausoleum! I—I'll do whatever it takes. Just, come back! I can change! I can—] - This passage is brilliant. Is he talking to the bird, or to his wife? I was certain at first that Michelle had died, but here, you seem to hint that in fact, she left him. It's left ambiguous, which I like very much.

[The world goes quiet; the dawn grows dim.] - Instead of this, why not try: [The world goes quiet. The dawn grows dim.] Just a thought. It may seem trivial, but semi-colons bug a lot of readers, and here at least, really gets in the way of the strong emotions of the scene.
The Autumn Queen chapter 1 . 1/11/2013
Sorry for the late review. Internet was playing up again.

So, your freebie review:

I don't see the need for a page-break after the first phrase; in my opinion it makes the date seem a little disconnected.

[I woke up with the dawn, shuffling out of bed, slipping on my slippers, not bothering to change out of my night-clothes.] - I think there are too many commas in that sentence; they wind up being a little jarring.

I like the little tweak in the narration with having certain phrases repeated; it gives little parts more emphasis and importance over others, and does a good job in defining the narrator as an involved character as well as a separate narrator.

I think you've given too much emphasis on sound in the last scene, and that sort of disfigures the snapshot impression your style seems to suggest. It makes parts seem a little too defined when pain should be clouding those thoughts. That's the difficult part in first person narration in the present tense; it doesn't feel like she's in severe pain at that point in time.
Luckycool9 chapter 1 . 1/10/2013
(Freebie)I liked how senile the man is because it gives the story a jumpy view which works well, it makes the reader feel just as confused as the man. I however disliked the fact that we know so little about him and Michelle because it leaves a giant mystery which has no clear answer and leaves the readers to continue guessing. This is still a nice, dysfunctional piece on its own. Keep it up, CV!
RequiemAnon chapter 1 . 1/7/2013
I'll begin by saying that I do, in fact, like your piece. Now you don't have to wait until the end of this review to ascertain the most basic principle of reviewing: stating one's overall opinion.

All that out of the way, the most prevalent habit of yours I noticed throughout the story was a tendency to become swept away in your clearly apparent love of words themselves. While undeniably pretty and a constant reminder that you have complete control over your words, you sometimes say more than what is necessary. A good example would be when you describe the empty kitchen. It's clear from the first sentence that someone dear to him who is now gone once spent a lot of time there. But you continue to describe things (while evocative) that effectively repeat one another (in deeper meaning). There is a massive difference between saying things beautifully and saying them with beautiful substance. We must all strive for the latter.

I think someone mentioned this in the reviews already, but you switch tenses frequently. It can be a bit jarring sometimes. It had me rereading passages multiple times to see if they matched the tense around them. Stylistically, I think you were trying to show how the past and present have fused in his old and feeble mind, but there are less confusing ways of doing that. For example, him seeing things that aren't there or memories pervading the present.

It was very well-expressed, however, that the theme of your story was that "you can't take it with you." I use the saying for clarity. You were pointing out that in the end of our time on this earth, we will only have our memories, positive or negative, to keep us company. Our knowledge of the afterlife or even its existence does not matter because at that moment we are lost in the sea of memory. That moment is when we determine the worth of our lives, and when we care for nothing more than the ending or the prolonging thereof. It was a potent message, and I took it to heart.

Your writing is mostly very descriptive and pretty, albeit a little jumpy. Your pacing is a bit jittery and needs to level out. Of course that might be because of WWC word limit. I know my piece has issues with that.

Speaking of WWC, I am also competing, so I believe that makes us competitors (if you like conjugation). I wish you luck in the competition. I hope this review makes it to you before the deadline tonight so that you can make any edits you desire.

A good read. Best of luck.

-Zach
Deserthawk chapter 1 . 1/7/2013
Oh man. That's just so-sad. I like how this gave me highly conflicting feelings... it's almost better than living like that, always pining away. But on the other hand isn't something always better than nothing? Is that how she would have wanted him to live? And the relatives are kind of you-know-whats for leaving him alone.
Nice description, as always. His house reminds me of my apartment. Oh man.
I guess the only 'fault' that some might find with this is it's kind of sentimental (although semi-derailed by the "—Ftftftftft.") But those are some intense emotions there, and I'm not sure how else they can be conveyed.
(PS what does he mean by "made" the food? It's kind of foreboding, heh)
Amy B. R. Mead chapter 1 . 1/5/2013
Beautiful. Currently my favorite of your work, but I haven't finished In the Brightness of the Sun yet, so I'll postpone that judgment. You capture desperation and loneliness perfectly, and I honestly don't see much that really needs improvement. The only thing that caught my eye was [We used to hike up into those lofty reaches, her and I], which should be "she and I", shouldn't it?

Also, I thought you said you didn't write in present tense ;P
Silver Witherwings chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
Oh, I like this very much. Sad and bittersweet. The imagery of the bird's bright wings contrast nicely in my mind with the old man's drab home. Well done!
professional griefer chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
I didn't like the flow/pacing of this, I thought you jumped from thought to thought more quickly than necessary and I got kind of aggravated at the writing ADD. I know the submission has to be under 2,000, but I would consider making this longer after the WCC is over, just to make it a bit more focused.
I did like your narrative voice, it definitely seemed like the way an old man would think, and I could hear his voice in my head as I read this.
I saw a few missing apostrophes, and this [I'll do whatever it take], which should probably have an 's' at the end.
Good luck in the WCC.
this wild abyss chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
This piece would read better if you could stick to one verb tense. You frequently shift between past and present from paragraph to paragraph, sometimes within paragraphs. I understand that some things are being referred to as if they are in the past, but within the present narrative itself it kept switching, which made things look clumsy. Stick with one tense.

I also feel that this man's character could be more firmly grounded, giving readers something to relate to with him. Most of this piece is him rambling on, which is effective in making it seem as if he's an old man, but hard for a reader to become engaged.

"I woke up with the dawn, shuffling out of bed, slipping on my slippers; not bothering to change out of my nightclothes." — Why the use of a semicolon? "not bothering..." is just a continuation of the list, so a comma is more appropriate.

"The light was dim, inside my little house." — Why a comma? The light was dim inside the house. Comma between verb and adverb not necessary.
improvementneeded chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
Hey,

That was quite nice ! If I had to give it a name (if it didn't have one yet), it would be Feathered Nostalgia (ok, I'm just trying to be a smartass).

Well, I don't see many things that could be improved, the theme is easy to understand and to "integrate". The reader follows a beautiful - and yet somewhat pityful - path inside the narrator's house and heart. I can't say that the theme or the ending are original, but it is not what is needed here, like old stories, the art is not in the subject but in its form. We know the beginning, we can guess the end, but it's the "view" that is enjoyable, a kind - and bittersweet - journey into an old man's last hours.

Nice !

PS
(We used hike up We used to hike up
her and I she and I ?)