Reviews for Apple and Cinnamon
Scriptertwist chapter 1 . 4/10/2013
Continuing my review-
I admire how you show the characters' traits by showing their actions- already I get a feeling for their personalities. Vee in particular interests me. Your skillful characterization is the strongest trait of these piece- I have no complaints there.

Something I would point out is the sort of stiffness I got from parts of the dialogue. Most of it was wonderful but some segments of the speech could have been improved greatly by the use of commas and by injecting traits into the dialogue.

As I said before, clarification would be helpful. Reading the piece, I was a little confused as to the setting of the story- though I understand blocks of explanation would not segue well to other parts of the story, I would suggest adding details that tip readers off to details otherwise not obvious. For example- a sentence that doesn't just describe the town, but names it or gives it's general location at the least. I'd also give some information as to the name of the school and its quality.

I'd also suggest making your chapters equally intriguing. Vee and Sanshiro have an interesting and antagonistic dynamic which makes them fun to read (and I'd imagine fun to write). You don't have that benefit in the second chapter, so it's harder to get into. Make sure you make Sanshiro's home interesting.

Thank you for writing. I enjoy your stories and it really is difficult to come up with criticism for them. Keep up the good work! :)
Scriptertwist chapter 2 . 4/10/2013
Your writing is lovely as usual. This story is very captivating and I'm already interested in the characters. It's strange, a little twisted- but intriguing. I want to say that the best feature of this story is it's rugged, quick, and somewhat confusing pace- however, this feature can also lead to confusion on part of the reader. From what I've gathered, the narrator is Japanese, goes to a wealthy or at least decent school (uniforms), and judging by his use of 'bloody', he's either a. in England b. Moved there in the future? I'm not sure of the setting of the story; besides that I have no complaints :)
MissIrralee chapter 1 . 4/7/2013
I really like Vee; you’d have to have nerves of steel not to at least flinch if some was to cut your arm open. I mean he hands Sanshiro the knife! I do question the intelligence of handing someone a knife and daring them to cut you though….it seems a little masochist.
Your writing style does a very good job of showing the personality of Sanshiro. I get a clear picture of what kind of person he is, and how he reacts to particular situations. First person point of view really makes this story come alive.
I am still not quite sure whether I should like or dislike Sanshiro. His determination to do whatever he wants is impressive, but he has a grating personality.
I am looking forward to where you take this story. The plot is interesting even if I don’t know where you are going with it yet.
Congratulation on your win! :D
JustJazzyD chapter 2 . 4/6/2013
My apologies for misspelling Sans' name in my first review. I guess Vee's taunting of him stuck with me. I'm noticing you use non-American spelling of some words like honour, colour, recognised... interesting. Not a complaint; just something I took note of.

My question about nationality was answered in this chapter without being spelling out... kimono robe, miso soup, sitting on knees to eat. I've got my character images clear in my head now!

I laughed at your line, "He wore a suit when they came to stay, it didn't suit him." I love a good homonym.

And Sans rapid descent into violence startled me for some reason. It seemed so sudden. One moment I was sympathizing to his feelings about his mother and loving his reaction to his grandparents visiting and in the next it was San vs. Vee's sister. But I feel like he didn't really mean to harm her, he was acting out his anger towards Vee and his sadness over his memories of his mom. Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but that's my interpretation.

But I did like how Sanshiro recognized in this section that Vee isn't the one calling the shots on his life and making him do bad things, it's he, himself that's the one "with the hand on the trigger". Our complicated MC has a conscience. I enjoy reading about his internal revelations.
JustJazzyD chapter 1 . 4/6/2013
I disagree with the reviewer who mentioned this might need to switch to YA. Since this is about reflecting on his childhood, I think it can be kept teen. Just a mature T rating since you intend to have violence in it.

The imagery is there. When I'm reading, I like to picture the different events as if they were scenes in a movie. The movie of your words played successfully in my mind. I pictured an older man sitting back looking over his memoir or just sitting in a chair on his front porch thinking back to when he was 12 in an all boy's school. It worked for me. Though, I didn't know what nationality/race to make Sanshero and the other boys because that wasn't described. Maybe you did that on purpose. Maybe it's implied based on the type of name Sanshero is, but when I'm reading, I like a description of my MCs so that I can put them into the movie in my mind.

The description of the school and the violent environment is spot on. I feel the peer pressure through Sanshero's reactions to everything around him; his classmates and the constant daring to do things that will get him in trouble. I am interested to see how Vee and Sans' relationship develops. I think San admires him just about as much as he hates him in the beginning.

With your dialogue sections, some have quotations marks, some just have the singular apostrophes instead. Is there a purpose behind this? I thought maybe you did it because this is San looking back on his life, but then the conversation happened with him and Vee and you used actual quotes. I didn't think the formatting was consistent.

Random thought: loved when you used the word "eked". I'm always on the hunt for uncommonly used words in literature.

Congrats on winning March's contest. You certainly have a writing voice that is different from all the rest of us and I like it.
Whirlymerle chapter 2 . 4/4/2013
["Doesn't do me any harm." He stuck out his chin and lifted his cup proudly to his mouth.] I think you just switched to third person narration here.

[I think this is what I liked most about their visits, it wasn't the delicious food; the steamed rice in bamboo leaves, the sweet mochi cakes she'd bring as a treat, the colourful discs of sushi he'd craft while humming to himself in the kitchen - it was this warm vapour that seemed to envelope them completely when they sat facing one another.] I know I mentioned to you about run-ons before. And I do like experimental writing and being avant garde and all. But I honestly don't see how using the semicolon instead of a colon or a dash adds anything innovative to the piece.

[I'd tell my young self, If only I could] capitalization

[the fabric was shabby and slick with oil] I know hardly anything about kimono or yukata, but how can fabric be so oily it’s slick? It can’t be from the body, given that they’re twelve, right?

[scrubbed for Monkey's poverty on my skin, scrubbed for the girl's blood on my hands] scrubbed for is awkward wording, I think

[Grandpa whispered to Grandma./"For me." I whisper to myself,] you switch tenses
[I'd look out across the shabby room; At the front are the good kids with something to work towards] capitalization

Wow. This got really dark really fast. This piece unsettles me with the way it's so beautifully narrated and the hideous actions of the narrator. I love the image in the beginning with the chalk boy disappearing. It fits well with the dying that seems to be a theme in this chapter.
Aureus Lux chapter 1 . 4/4/2013
I find this quite intriguing, actually. I like how professional your writing sounds; it gives a certain edge that I can't really explain.
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 4/4/2013
I really like the opening scene with the little kids. And I love how you say, “stick a finger against their scrunched up lips, all smiles and feigned goodness.“ I thought it was a great image. I didn’t quite like your opening sentence though. I feel like I see that line, or a variation of that line, a lot. I think, with a little adjustment, diving immediately into the scene or even beginning with the second sentence would be a better hook.

[it was me who the class looked up to; It was me who got the cheers] punctuation/capitalization issue

[I always thought that was a girls name] girl’s

['history',] This could very well be a regional thing, but the way I learned English, commas always go inside the quotation marks. Just thought I’d bring it to your attention in case it’s a universal convention.

[black satin uniforms] I really like this. There’s something about black satin and uniforms that gives me a feel for what Sanshiro’s school is like, I think.

One thing I was really interested in was the power dynamic and all around complex relationship between Vee and Sanshiro. Sanshiro claims he does everything by choice and is aware of Vee trying to manipulate him. I do wonder who has the upper hand here.
[It took every ounce of my willpower not to jump on him and sink my teeth into his face] I wanted to bring this up, because I thought it was ironic how San’s reaction to Vee calling him an animal is as animalistic as you can get. I thought that showed that, contrary to San’s evaluation of himself, it is Vee who’s “stronger” in that sense. Also, the part with the knife took some goddamn guts on Vee’s part, and I just find him an all around fascinating character.
MileyRowling chapter 2 . 4/3/2013
AlysonSerenaStone chapter 2 . 4/3/2013
First off, wow! You have a gift with emotion! I can see why picked this for your spotlight story! Second, congratulations on the win! The only suggestion that I have for you is that you should consider moving this to young adult.
AmberTimber chapter 1 . 4/2/2013
Little San deserves to get his butt kicked and in later chapters I hope he does, but at the same time I can understand the loneliness he feels and the cynicism he has developed at such a still young age. However, in reflection he does know that he had problems and you do a great job depicitng the conflict within his own soul.
Great job, as always.
Mandy Tyler chapter 1 . 4/1/2013
A tremendously well crafted story. You described perfectly the internal conflicted emotions of San as he desperately wants and needs attention but doesn't know any way except to bully others to get it. I've been a victim of bullying and you are absolutely correct. Most bullies have no real reason to bully except to overcome their insecurities by trying to look and feel superior to others. Look forward to this story continuing because I hope San will learn the errors of his way someday. Great first chapter!