Reviews for Searching (Edit)
thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 3 . 11/23/2013
(Character) I like how even within the first few lines, we get the idea that Brandon is maturing, and he is changing thanks to his interactions/friendship with Daffy. Especially the line about how he realized that he couldn't survive was touching, and it really helps to have a MC who's aware of himself and his faults. You're developing two nice characters, and hah, I still love how Daffy is a pothead. We need more of those during the apocalypse.

(Dialogue) I LOVED the first dialogue exchange between Daffy and Brandon at the beginning of the chapter. It was poignant, and you did an excellent job developing Daffy's character - we got to see his tough, devil-may-care side, and his softer side. It's rather difficult to develop character and such through such a short amount of dialogue, but you did it wonderfully. I think Daffy is already my favorite character.

(Grammar) I'll just note that there are some times where you don't use commas, but they'd work pretty well there. For instance "People are scared kid." There should be a comma after "scared." As well, I'd put a period after "kid" in "on the road, kid." I've found in general that people talk in shorter sentences and more of them when they're not exactly focused on talking, but then those sentences get more complex the more serious they are about their verbal communication. But, hey, just suggestions. Sometimes it helps to read certain passages and let natural pauses determine where commas go.

(Plot) This is a smaller suggestion, but when you describe Brandon's dream, it might help to actually show the dream unfolding. In general, it's a bit harder to get across the emotions experienced during a nightmare when we're not experiencing it, and it helps the readers give empathy to his emotions. I really like the way you've brought the military messages into the story - they're a different format, which I always think is so cool when stories include letters and such, and it adds a lot of what is going on outside of the sphere of Brandon and Daffy. I'm excited to see more of the brother and sister.

Overall, great work! I'm still excited to see what other mischief comes from this one. Just on a shorter note, though, what POV was the last little bit from? Was it from Brandon's? I suppose I'm just not clear as where Brandon is. Are they still in a shelter and those kids showed up? The clarity might be something worth looking into. (if you want)

thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 2 . 11/23/2013
Hello again,

(Opening) I wasn't crazy about the first paragraph. The sentences didn't quite seem to flow together well, and it felt like one of those paragraphs that could potentially be repeated over and over again. Perhaps giving more specific words in there would help? Like, say specifically what kind of food he had, or what it felt like to not have enough water. Perhaps describe the snow a bit more, show how insignificant it was when compared to what panic it caused? But, I will note that I was hooked by the first line about the snow flurry. Definitely keep that!

(Dialogue) I think you're doing a pretty good job. So far, Brandon's dialogue has all been pretty solid, and in step with his narration. As well, I like Daffy and how you developed his character through his speech, but just be careful to not over do it with the Texas drawl. (even in comedy, there can be a bit too much). If there's any dialogue, though, that I'd consider revising, it'd be the bit with the radio announcer. The actual sentences felt unnaturally choppy, and overall, I think the syntax and word choice seemed a bit odd when she was doing her longer broadcast.

(Plot) I really like the addition of Daffy, and how you go right away and start adding more to our cast of one. It keeps the readers on their feet, and adds more color to the story as more characters are added. I'm fascinated by your decision to have Brandon's family all be safe - it's definitely something different when thinking about those tropes you mentioned in the previous chapters. XD But, if anything, I think the actual scene where Brandon finds the letter felt a bit off. Maybe it was the letter in particular. I don't know, I just feel like if you couldn't find your kid during a zombie apocalypse you wouldn't necessarily write such a long letter. Perhaps re-write the letter thinking of Brandon's mom as she writes it? Perhaps say there were a few tear stains on the letter, or make it more succinct?

(Relationships) You did a great job with beginning out Daffy and Brandon's relationship. I think you've established enough through Daffy's character to make him a nice foil to Brandon's seemingly closed in self. It's really kind how Daffy was willing to let Brandon in, and I think that mixture of that first friendliness with his toughness will mesh well with Brandon. Their dialogue was very nice, and the ending was very fun. I especially love how Daffy is like that badass old guy, and when he waves the pot - hilarious. Nice job!

Overall, I'm happy to read this story, and you're doing a nice job!
thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 1 . 11/23/2013

(Opening) I have to say, I really like when authors incorporate humor into their horror stories, and this was also a great introduction to Brandon's voice. Many lines in the introduction held a snarky punch, especially the lines about the token black, Asian, or Mexican guy (I don't think "Black" is capitalized), the kick butt girl, and how the racial minority character always dies early on in sacrificing something for the group. It was all very funny, and I think it really gets the readers to think a bit about what cliches they've read, and it makes us (or at least me) really appreciate the lack of cliche in the story to follow. Also, I rather enjoyed the transition between the more humorous angle and then mentioning how kids are never really present in the zombie stories. It's probably still dark humor, but it felt more on the line to talking about the sad idea of kids dying.

(Writing) Hmm, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about Brandon's voice, but I'm leaning toward liking it. It's very no nonsense, and gives this almost skeletal description. But, at the same time, this looser, less description-y prose may even lend to the fact that there really isn't a lot around to look at. Brandon describes everything in a very straightforward manner, and coupled with his occasional bouts of teenage sarcasm, I think it does a great job developing his character. (I especially enjoyed the line where Brandon repeated Al-Qaeda over and over again). Overall, if there's any suggestion, perhaps add a bit more description to get a stronger feel for what's going on.

(Character) Brandon definitely feels like a 15-year-old kid, which, when you think about it, is a hugeee accomplishment in terms of writing a narrator's voice. You do a great job with keeping the language simple enough and the storytelling style just simple enough to where you feel like it's at the level of a teenager. You had him especially present his initial circumstances very well, and the scene with his neighbor was especially good at showing just how insane this situation is, and how he reacted to it showed a lot. I'm willing to believe that this kid can be our hero.

Just a few nitpicky things, though: I don't think Brandon would tell us how fit he is. The hair and eye color is pretty natural, but perhaps just wording it differently?

(Enjoyment) Overall, I was really likin' this story. I think it's different, in that it really gives the guy who's not taking this situation that seriously the light to tell the story. It's a good use of black humor, and I imagine you'll be mixing the humor with the serious stuff, right? I think it'll be a fun ride, and I really like reading Brandon's commentary - it really adds to it. He's an entertaining character to watch, so in that way, I'd be willing to stick along for him. But, I do think that perhaps the longer story at the end with his neighbor did drag a bit. It kind of felt like it was dropped in there to get a stronger feel for the zombies, and didn't quite fit with the tone established previously. But, hah, I'm sure those scenes have to exist in zombie stories, so feel free to ignore what I'm saying.
deadaccount2019 chapter 3 . 11/12/2013
Proofing notes

[We set up the water purifying equipment, started on a well and basically, improved our chances for survival.] For flow purposes, I would either place the second comma immediately after "well", or else remove it completely.

[I left too many people on the road, kid, I just speed on by.] A period after "kid" for flow purposes. "Speed" should be "sped".

[I was after having a nightmare about Mrs. Morales.] Not sure if this was meant to be, "It was after" or "I was having".

[I was pouring through more of the document we had found,] Pluralize "document".

[One was small than the other.] Missing "er" on "small".

[Both were olive skinned in their complexion,] I would drop "in their complexion" to eliminate redundancy and improve flow.

The plot so far is progressing well, but I have to ask, where did the files come from? Why are top-secret files that should have been sanitized and locked down, sitting in a private home of all places? (Being a records clerk, this last point really bugs me). The files are certainly a plot device, but the handling of it creates a huge hole that makes the device very unbelievable.

Despite the plot hole/device issue, I liked how you introduced getting into the content of the files. I can't count the number of times I've simply sat down and started reading through random papers, whether dealing with stress or simply bored; I think it's something many of us do to simply escape reality for a while, and timing it after the nightmare was pretty believable.

Going back to the files one more time, the language of the report could use some work. As it is, it sounds more like another character narrating. Some things that would help the impact of the report is to stick to more formal language, and try to be more rigid/to the point in the writing. The memo to senior staff was much more believable, in terms of writing.

Moving on, Brandon's voice is continuing to sound more like a teenager. It creates some inconsistency, but more importantly, it's making his voice more believable.

Daffy's voice doesn't feel all that different from Brandon's. A bit of work could be used to make his PoV his own.

The irony about the weakness in Daffy's narrative voice is that his dialogue is so much more his own. There's much more of a flare to it, much of which you could get away with applying to the narrative in his PoV.

Brandon is much the same as Daffy, in that his voice is much stronger in dialogue than it is in the narrative. How he talks to Daffy and asks questions feels authentic for his age and is going a long way in keeping me from slipping back to the image of a twenty-something year old.
deadaccount2019 chapter 2 . 11/12/2013
Going to put a couple proof notes first.

[It wasn't much, and didn't last long, about thirty seconds.] This would read better without the first comma, and the third segment divided either with a semicolon, or into a sentence of its own.

[To most people, it would like I was set.] Missing a word ("look" or "seem", would be my guess).

[It would be pointless brining her with me.] "Bringing"

[I defiantly remember closing it so...] Should be "definitely".

[To tightly packed for me...] Should be "Too".

Once again, good voice throughout the story. There were a couple points where adverbs felt a bit unecessary, but overall it read well. One thing I have to mention, however, is the note that Brandon's mother left. Granted, there are various mannerisms people practice in speech and writing, however Her letter felt too stiff and detached for a mother who has no idea where her child is during the zombie apocalypse. (If you've ever watched a subtitled movie where the scene is super emotional but the subtitles are flat and formal, it's kind of like that).

[Seemed like a good plan, for one that took all of ten seconds to make.] Punctuating his plan with this line really helped drive home that he's a kid. It sounded a whole lot more natural for his age, but also it made him relatable in that we all have our naive/desperate thought moments. Also loved how out of the loop he appears to have been. It makes his age all the more believable if he missed things like announcements for a quarantine.

Daffy is... interesting. I don't usually thing of pothead hippies when I think of someone with a Texas drawl, so that in itself makes him quite intriguing. He does seem a bit creepy, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is that's bothering me about him. One thing I can say, however, is that I hope Daffy isn't going to be used as a steroetypical pothead. Growing up in a pot town, I can say that most people into recreational use are actually pretty decent folks, and it's gotten old seeing potheads in movies/stories being used as a catalyst for comflict/mayhem.

I loved the end of the home scene. Waking from reminisce can always be a jarring experience, and you handled it effectively here. It worked well with the gradual awareness of the building noise. Felt my guard dropping when he reached the car, and then the bloody battery (a very nice touch of realism. I get the feeling the suv was having issues with the battery before the the infection blew up.) In all honesty, if you had ended with him boarding the bus, it would have been a great place to wrap up the chapter.

Continuing with my last thought, the final paragraph felt rather weak. Both the boarding and the conversation would have made strong endings for the chapter. The sudden break to the sanctuary feels rather forced, and I think Brandon's thoughts here would have worked better in the following chapter, even if it was just a reminisce.
deadaccount2019 chapter 1 . 11/12/2013
[There is the token Black, Asian or Mexican guy.] I *loved"* this line! Snort-laughed when I read it, but I can practically hear the annoyance dripping from his voice, and the rest of the spiel on cliches in disaster/doomsday stories was pretty spot on. The whole thing works as a great hook, because there is so much relatability in Brandon's thoughts.

I really enjoyed the writing throughout. I suppose people who are very stringent might complain a bit about breaking the fourth wall in the beginning, but I think in this case, it works to the story's advantage. Brandon's voice comes through quite naturally throughout the chapter, and doesn't seem to get too narrative-feeling. I also loved the line [but the Maple Leaf Curtain had come slamming down.] While I don't know that Canada would do so (imo, we tend to be a doormat for refugees,) it was still a pretty interesting way of phrasing it.

There were only two things that stuck out in a negative way. The first was the use of brackets. It's a bit jarring to read. The flow would be much smoother if you simply separated those moments with em dashes or commas. The second thing was the line [The poster read:] It felt a bit wordy, and personally I found it detracted from the impact of the sign. Granted, some might find it jarring to go from, [sign dominating the top.] to [WARNING!], however I think in this case I think it would work more effectively to go with the jilt.

A couple of proofing things:
[Once we were passed the car,] it should actually be [past].
[like I had done ever couple of yards.] "Every"

There is one thing I must say against Brandon as a character. His voice is too old for a 15yo who just entered the apocalypse a could weeks previously. The jaded tone he has at times definitely fits, but a lot of the time he talks like an adult. I still like his character (to be honest, part of what makes me like him is how alike some of his thoughts are to mine), but I doubt I'll ever be able to imagine him as anything under twenty.

I liked the note you ended on. The retelling of his first run-in with zombies felt a bit rambly, but this could easily be attributed to lingering shock. In any case, it provided a good boost of tension, and Brandon deciding to go to bed when he did felt like he was actually running again; this time from memories. The overall effect was great and gives the chapter a sense of completeness without making it feel as though the story itself is ending.
ArgentanHeart chapter 1 . 11/7/2013
So, I think it was a strong chapter, but I think there are a few issues.

Opening: I didn't like the opening. I think it was a good idea to have the contrast, but I'm not sure if you should start with it. I deffinately think you spent too much time describing conventional zombie movie tropes. It was slow and didn't really catch my attention. Start with your own story.

Character: I think you did a good job or creating a real feeling character. Brandon sounded like he could be a real person. It was a little weird when Brandon mentioned he is fit, but otherwise, I think you develop him naturally.

Style: For the most part, I liked the style. The story flowed well. The pacing was good (it was never too bogged down). There were a couple rough points where you did weird stylistic moments where Bramdon talks to the reader which I wasn't so into. Are we supposed to be in his world or does he know he's a fictional character? I mentioned the opening before. I didn't like the point when her said, "Perhaps I should use this time". The last sentence was a little weird too. If you want to stick with this style, I think you should make it clear who Brandon thinks he's talking to.

Plot: I think you have an interesting story. I like the idea of a zombie story from a younger guy's perspective. I also liked the idea that life in a small town was normal for a while. It's an interesting, well thought out story so far.

I really enjoyed the start. Thank you for sharing!
Veronica Fay chapter 1 . 10/18/2013
HI! Great start to a zombie story. I like that you're taking a different approach to it! I loved this line "I always liked to think I was tough...I didn't feel tough anymore." It really connected me to the character. I'm looking forward to reading more!
lookingwest chapter 12 . 10/15/2013
review return

"Your pregnant?" [You're]

The end of this chapter was a great cliffhanger that I liked and I thought it developed really well. I also liked the opening descriptions of how they pull into the car park and when Bran goes exploring it, though I will mention that the exploration paragraph is a tad long - maybe find a place to break it down a little more. But anyway, I'm nervous about Daffy becoming unstable, and I'm wondering what might've been the trigger for it. Finding Richard was a good moment - I always like it when other survivors find other survivors and they turn out to be somewhat safe or well...that's the first impression. I suppose things could get bad again real quick if these people turn out to be kind of collectively crazy, haha. But like I said - this chapter did a great job leading us to the end moment and I really liked it! Can't wait to see what the group might do now!
lookingwest chapter 11 . 10/6/2013
review return (I'll alert this and review the next chapter for your second return if that's okay)

This place is worst than hell. [worse]
These renegades, who would rather run then fight for their country [than]

I like how your story talks about religion and introduces that factor into the zombie apocalypse setting. I think it makes sense, and I like how you address different kinds of religious pastors and how they blame other groups or just talk about healing through religion. I liked that opening for those reasons. Also - I like how you check in with how far along Maria has come along, and it does a great job foreshadowing some potential distress that might happen when winter ends.

The last scene was a favorite for me because I liked that zombies came back into the story as a real threat - the description of the zombies was good and I also liked the setting choice of the school, that's a new kind of thing and I like how it also somehow alludes back to Bran being so young and caught up in all of this trouble. The Doctor Who reference was fun :3 Can't beat that. Enjoyed the character developments here, especially between Carlos and Bran - that's a relationship I felt hasn't been developed as much as others until now so it works out good. Ending was good! Really makes me want to continue reading, update soon!
Guest chapter 1 . 10/1/2013
A gary-sue! It's been so long since I've encountered one of these!
lookingwest chapter 10 . 9/30/2013
review return

It took me a moment to figure out who was narrating in the opening paragraph, until Carlos is mentioned. I wasn't sure - normally you mark it though, right? Should I just assume that if it isn't marked it's Brandon? That makes sense, since he was our original narrator anyway. I picked it up, haha. I also noticed that he's the only perspective we get this chapter... but then, a lot of this focuses on building his relationship between Carlos and Maria.

I liked that we learn what the two were hiding. I'm glad that they didn't actually kill and eat someone, but that the person died. That reminds me - if you ever get the time to read anything on Fictionpress (I don't think this user is active anymore, so you wouldn't need to review or anything), you should check out the story Bite. It's on my favorite list, by Devil's Playground. It's a pretty cool story I think you'd like after reading this chapter of your story, but getting back to you - I like the progression of Brandon's interaction with Maria especially. I also liked when they had the heart to heart about him only being sixteen. Good developments.

We also pass a lot of time in this chapter too - big jumps. I'm wondering if we'll get a big zombie attack coming soon, as it feels like there really hasn't been any zombie action in the story for awhile. Looking forward to what might come next - and I like how close Brandon and Maria become by the end of this chapter!
lookingwest chapter 9 . 9/25/2013
review return

There was a good theme throughout this chapter about lies and I think it really focused in on how humans aren't perfect, even though they're the heroes of our story and we're on their side about the conflict and antagonistic forces. I liked the scene with Maria and Brandon when he started to guess something might be up, and the conversation about his paranoia was followed up with Daffy really nicely. So you did a good job leading into those moments.

The other big thing I liked about this chapter was the window we get into Brandon's parents' world beyond the wall. I think it shows that things are not coming up roses over their either - and the way you revealed the people eating people, by hinting at it in the first portion and looping it back ground with the CB radio was a very clever technique.

I'm now really curious to find out what Maria and Carlos are hiding about the baby. Hopefully we won't have some hybrid crazy kid running around like 28 Weeks Later or anything, lol. But the dropped hints are doing a nice job stringing the reader along to want to keep reading!
lookingwest chapter 8 . 9/21/2013
review return

were the most sombre of my life. [somber, maybe?]

Your chapters are always aptly named - I think this did a good job showing the mental issues with having shot someone and killed them who wasn't a zombie and the strain that has on a person. I thought Brandon's perspective and reactions were realistic, considering what happened, and I think Daffy's push for him to stay active was also realistic and well portrayed. It was nice getting the private conversation between Carlos and Maria too, and I thought that was a good way to start off after Brandon in the opening telling everyone that he hasn't been doing well. I'm not sure that I like the "*shrug*" in the first sentence though - I mean, can't you just replace that with "I give a mental shrug" or something? It seems a little comic-booky.

Anyway, it seems everyone's kind of resting back on the crutch of drugs to get them through these tough weeks and the trauma they've experienced, plus just for being sick (like Carlos.) It works. I think Daffy in this chapter is really portrayed as being the backbone of their group, he seems to keep everyone motivated so I'm hoping that he doesn't break or they might all go down. The ending scene was fun with him - I was a little nervous for a moment thinking everyone left like Daffy did, but it was cool to see Brandon super-embracing the active advice, haha. Hopefully he doesn't go too far with it - but I thought it was realistic how he keeps doing it to not think about the man he killed.

I remember back when I read Ch. 1 you said things would be answered in Ch. 8 - I thought you meant in the narrative, so this is an interesting place for that author's note, since it's so far removed from the first chapter. Maybe you want to actually move it to the first one so people know since you're not actually going to answer a lot of these questions in the narrative itself? (with the exception it looks like of the horse, which will come later.) I dunno, just a suggestion. I'd actually completely forgotten about the horse by this point since I was so focused on the plot of Brandon and the last two chapters with Maria, etc. but then, that's just me. Overall, good chapter.
lookingwest chapter 7 . 9/18/2013
The opening has a really cool action sequence I liked. I also liked your first sentence about having never shot something actually still alive, that put things in perspective. It was also a nice touch to get the perspective of the "bad guys" here - like Donny losing his daughter. It was heartbreaking and I think you pulled together a good last paragraph from that section about what's really the scary part of living with zombies. Also, I sensed the trauma aspects of their situation in the last paragraph when they don't talk with one another. Good chapter, liked the theme of fear.
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