Reviews for Don't Apologize
Julietish chapter 1 . 12/29/2013
Hey, it’s Juliet! Star-Cross’d entries always get a review from me, so here is yours. Your one-shot was great! Emotion was handled and described very well. I think you should consider going back and fleshing out why he is so helplessly in love with her. I loved the tie-in of the title with the last line! I absolutely adore fluff, and the last lines captured that lovely essence of romance perfectly.
AlysonSerenaStone chapter 1 . 12/18/2013
This was a really deep story! I loved the spelling of Tiler. There seems to be some echoes of "Away With My Heart," but that could just be me. I didn't see any typos or mistakes like that. I thought that the ending was really cute as well! This story is both deep and cute-if that's even possible.
JWT chapter 1 . 8/7/2013
Firstly I want to say that this is a very sweet little love story and that I especially like the depth you give the characters with the revelations about their parents. It gives them something to bond over, a deeper connection that just the fact that they fancy each other, which adds an extra little something to the traditional boys-meets-girl-at-uni story.
Also I love the first line: straight in to the escence of the plot with three words. Marvelous.
I wanted to say that first so you can keep it in mind because now I am, at your request, about to be really overly picky about every little thing, so remember that I do think this is a lovely story.

"...wondering what his shift was over..." - I think you should word this differently, because he would know when his shift was over just not how long that is from now.

"...her and her friend's" - The ever-popular aberrant apostrophe. Remember: no apostrophes in plurals!

"She sucked in her breath and let it out in a huff, an annoyed look on her face" - The first part is a really creative way of displaying her emotion, then the last bit lets it down. You don't need to clarify that she looks annoyed because you have shown it with her sigh. (I'm being so hypocritical pointing this out - I do that sort of thing all the time!)

"...he walked out to where Sophie Vicari sat..." - I can see why you have left mentioning her name until then - it's fun to without names - but it didn't quite sit right with me when I read it. It sort of seemed like you mentioned it too soon to be doing a proper witholding but not quite soon enough for a normal introduction. As it is a short story and you are bringing in her name pretty much straight away, it might sound better to put it out there immediately. For example, you could have it as a stand alone sentance right at the beginning - "...honey colored hair. Sophie Vicari. He drummed..." - to make it stand out as it surely does in Tiler's mind. Or you bring it in with "...and not have to watch Sophie Vicari and her friends..."

"...all of the trash in his arms and, instead, left a trail of used napkins and trash..." - This is a nice little comic line but I think you could do it a bit more elegantly, particularly as you have used the word "trash" twice. You could do a simple change, such as "...a trail of used napkins and [trying to think of more coffee-related rubbish] wooden stirrers..." just to avoid the second use of "trash".

"He tightened his jaw and made his feet move..." - This "and" could be a "but" and, building on that, you could spice up this sentace a bit more by playing with the contrast. The tightening of the jaw suggests strain and difficulty in holding back anger, while continuing walking shows control. You can say something like, "He felt his jaw tighten but managed not to break his stride, determined that she would not see that she had got to him." If you build a little more on the emotions surrounding his actions, even tiny things like the tightening jaw, you can build up a more substantial character.

"She'd played Juliet while her then-boyfriend played Romeo." - I'm picking this out as one example of your use of simplistic sentances. You are clearly capable of coming up with more interesting ways of saying things - like how near the beginning you say "earning a sympathetic look from Ray" rather than just "Ray looked at him sympathetically" - but you seem to fall back on the most simple way of saying things quite a lot. While simple sentaces do of course have their place, I think you could be a lot more confident at throwing out more shaken up sentances more often.
For example: "She had starred as the tragic heroine alongside her then-boyfriend's overly-macho take on Romeo." This sentace gives a tiny drop of character to the ex-boyfriend, as well as to Sophie by giving an idea of the type of man she usually dates.
If you think carefully about how you construct every single sentances, all those drops of character and setting will build up and help create your world without you having to do too much in-your-face description of past events.

"Ever since that night, for some reason, Tiler has always been attracted to her." - I don't thionk you need the "for some reason". If it was in first person it might work, as Tiler may well be completely oblivious as to why he likes her. However, if a pretty girl spends a whole night - especially one involving a romantic play - staring at you, I think it is only natural to be attracted to her so it's not really a big mystery.

"Fine art's class" - Aberrant apostrophe again.

Ms Sprott - This might be just an English thing, but at university the lecturers are called by their first names as there is a more casual relationship than between teachers at school. Of course, things might be different where you live but I thought I'd point it out in case you are younger and used to school and just hadn't thought about being on first name terms with a teacher.

"...without a partner was, indeed, Sophie." - To have the "indeed" there you really need some sort of build up earlier, like him thinking "Sod's Law says I end up with Sophie". You could change it to "typically" or something similar, or cut the word out completely.

"Tiler, though, slumped down in his seat." - A bit like above, I am not sure the "though" quite works in there. I'm going to try and explain why, but it might come out a bit rambled and non-sensical.
To have a "though" you need something to compare with, and while you do have the teacher's enthusiastic speech, since there is no non-speech happiness it didn't quite sound right. If you added a tiny line to the effect of "Ms Sprott positively beamed at the pair of them, evidently thrilled by this partnership" it might sound a bit better, but to be honest I think it would work best without the "though" at all, even if you do add a comparative positive action from Ms Sprott.

"...as he lay on his bed, watching as Tiler got ready..." - It's a lot of "as"s in one go. If you change the rhythm of the sentance and cut out the second "as" - "...as he lay on his bed watching Tiler..." it would sound less list-y.

Just after that, you use "replied" three times in a row. Personally, I think using a lot of "said"s in one go sounds better than using any other substitute. Using the same said substitutes kind of sounds like you can't think of any others, whereas just straight up using "said" sounds more like "the speech in itself is so epic that I don't need to obsessively think of new words for "said" to distract from it."
But that's much more of a personal preference thing, so you might want to completely ignore this rather badly explained bit of comment :)

"He barely saw anyone as he walked..." - Because of where you have placed it in the sentance, the "barely" belongs to the "saw" when I think you meant it to belong to the "anyone". Putting "barely saw" means that though people might be there, he is not seeing them. You might barely see anyone for the dense fog outside, or barely see anyone because you put up your brother's glasses instead of your own. To say that there are hardly any people around, it should be "He saw barely anyone as he walked..."

Now, the deep bit about Sophie's parents. You have set up the perfect scene for revealing a more vulnerable side to Sophie but have not used it to its full potential. She mentions the plane crash very casually, so I am assuming that, what with the gossip mill, she assumes Tiler knows about it. If this is the case, she probably wouldn't spell it out quite like that as it would still be a very painful memory.
If she said something like "...after the crash" or even "after...y'know" then not only would you be able to make the speech more realistic but you would be able to expand on the emotions too. You could break the speech at that point and maybe have her staring into the distance, lost in thought, then mention how Tiler perhaps feels awkward:
"Tiler didn't know if he should say anything or not. Everyone knew, of course, about the plane crash that had killed Mr Vicari on impact and left his wife to struggle for days in hospital before finally succumbing to her injuries, but Tiler had never heard Sophie herself speak about it."
Then you can bring Sophie out of her reverie either suddenly - "Anyway," she said, seeming to snap suddenly out of her melancholy thoughts though her eyes were bright with tears, "My mom took me on stage...") or slowly - "She took me on stage once," Sophie murmered, and Tiler was not sure she even realised she was speaking or remembered he was in the room. "It was after a show, at the encore...") depending on what suits her character.
It's the same sort of thing with the story about Tiler's dad. His memories of it are a lot more emotional, which is great, but Sophie brings it up very bluntly, and calls him mum outright "crazy", which seems too harsh for the mood.

There's another missed opportunity with Sophie's photo. You have the perfect setting for some sexual tension and I don't think you have really brought that out. Rather than having Tiler tell Sophie to lean forwards and let her hair hang down, he could go over to her (his mind then caught up in artistic-mode with this awesome photo idea in his head) and fiddle with her hair himself, maybe tilt her face to a different angle then have a sudden switch back to in-love-with-Sophie mode where he realises he's touching her, followed by the awkward blushing and stuttering and trying to pretend neither of them have noticed the emotional elephant in the room.

That's more than enough nit-picking for now. I hope this has been helpful and if you ever want me to have a look at an updated version just let me know. Well done on a great first draft and good luck with the competition. Keep writing! :)
MileyRowling chapter 1 . 8/5/2013
I really like it! I've never heard of a Drop of Romeo. I'll have to check it out. Good luck!