Reviews for Stolen
lookingwest chapter 2 . 4/17/2014
from the Labyrinth

I'm not sure I'm a fan of these divisions that you're making mid chapter - seven seems a bit excessive for your word count, and most of the time, the first few didn't feel like they actually needed to be there. Usually scene breaks are indicating big passages of time or POV switches, and I didn't find that was really the case or justification for a lot of them, except maybe towards the end when we get a limited perspective switch to Vitis from Placebo. Since you don't have a whole lot of reviews for this - I'd say wait and see what other people say as you gain more, since this observation could maybe be more personal taste from me, anyway.

I thought your ending was very strong, as opposed to maybe your opening which started out a little slow (but still captured some interest). I think right now I'd really love more development on Placebo, even, as I felt since you had so many page breaks throughout, that the pacing got a little fast and maybe I'd like to have lingered a little longer in his perspective in some cases, hmm... But Vitis, very unique introduction with the electronic bugs. I sort of got a steampunk vibe with Vitis - which gives this story another interesting angle on setting, which I feel right now might be the thing that I'm lacking the most of.

Overall maybe you could bring the setting to life more by remembering sensory description: touch, taste, smell, listening - things that aren't necessarily just "oh I see this - describing what it looks like" - for instance, maybe the cracked hourglass in the center of the room - what kind of room was it, really? Did have a scent? Was the room eerily cold? What could be heard? (I liked the information about the carving noise towards the opening though, that Placebo thought was just scratching - that was a great sensory moment). But yeah, really maybe slowing down just a tad in some of your scenes and really developing them more with capturing a whole-r sense of place might be beneficial at this point.

Plot-wise, yes, this invention of the twist clowns idea is pretty interesting, though I think what I'm most unclear about right now is what "gems of power" have to do with "stealing children", like it's mentioned in the summary. I'm also a little unclear on what exactly makes these gems worth the power? And if Caroline knew that her gems had this power or not? It sounds like they're just ordinary diamonds, maybe, judging by the ending - but then these are all details I'm assuming will be answered as the story continues (and I'm probably getting ahead of myself). In that regard, I think you do a good job teasing the reader with a variety of possibilities as they await for more!

Like I mentioned though, I think your ending is quite strong because it leaves on a moment of tight suspense and tension for Vitis, and ach - poor puppy! I feel really bad for it. What would a twist clown want with a dog? I thought they just stole children? Guess they'll steal anything to create dramatic tension or something? haha. I feel confident Vitis can get out of this. I know we've only just met her, but you've done a good job characterizing her to the point where she feels very capable, so well done!
Un-Ended Tales chapter 3 . 4/13/2014
I enjoyed this chapter. I would like to see a little more world development. I can see that it is anything but ordinary, but how different is it? Where do Vitis' strange devices come from? Perhaps when they return to HQ we will know more. You have a very interesting world here and I'd like to know more about it. So many questions.

I am very intrigued by your twist clowns. Your description of them is creepy and fantastic. They're my favorite part. I also enjoyed the development of the relationships between the characters as we see what they mean to each other. I'm sure we'll see more of that in the future and find out who exactly their boss is. Looking forward to reading more.

Edits:
‘The DEM3 seeing the younger victim crawled changed direction.’ I found this sentence quite confusing and I’m not sure what you were trying to say.

‘Placebo walked over, with (caution), ignoring the smoke that started to fill the small room.’

‘It had a (picture of a) little boy and his father at a little league even (on it).’ Is this what you meant?

‘When she flipped over her eyes flew open as she saw a black mass of black filled with red and blue dots coming towards her.’ Your repetition of the word ‘black’ messes with the flow of the sentence. Perhaps try changing one of them to a synonym.

‘Her oriental carpet had been torn to shreds with only threads let.’ The ending of the sentence doesn’t make sense. Did you meant to write ‘left’ instead of ‘let’?

‘She grabbed her (lamp) and threw it at the beast.’
STARSUGA chapter 3 . 4/3/2014
I really like this story so far! It's an interesting concept and clowns creep the heck out of me anyway! I would like to know more background info about the Lost Children though :)
lookingwest chapter 1 . 4/3/2014
from the Labyrinth

There's a moment in the first section writing-wise where you slip into present tense - it should be "This stroke him as suspicions" not "This strikes him as suspicious" - since you're narrating in the past tense you gotta keep your verbs in past tense too. Otherwise, I liked your opening because I thought the idea of a heist does a great job with capturing reader-attention, for sure. There's a moment though too where I was a little confused if the main character was stealing more than one jewel since you called it, "Caroline's prize jewels" with an "s" - but it seems like it was just one diamond? At any rate, I liked how you also wrapped in the character's description, like wearing a trench coat, by having him interacting with the setting (putting the diamond in its pocket) because it's a very clever way to go about integrating your descriptions!

I must say this is a pretty creative idea for well, almost like the beginnings of a horror story with a clown theme. I thought you did a good job with sections II and III amping up the tension of what was happening for the boy, though I'm not sure I'm totally a fan of the narrative switch in III since I and II were focused on a pretty limited perspective with the boy. I'd say keep it consistent and keep the narrative lens tight behind him instead of zooming out and refocusing on the woman as a limited perspective - or well, even omniscient maybe, I'm not really sure I can put my finger on your switch (point is: I liked the first two parts a little better in the narrative distance camp).

Plot-wise, I thought you could maybe do a little more with the description of the "twist clown" beyond just the fog and the yellow teeth. I sort of want a bit of a shadowy visualize on what this thing is wearing, a mask? Or a painted face? I think you could elaborate a little more on that point, but I liked the device of the smoke and this idea that it was there and now it's gone. I'm wondering if the woman is Caroline or if that's her daughter, but I have a feeling that question might be answered as the story continues. At any rate, very highly symbolic ending with the hourglass and the black feather - maybe something symbolizing death and the passing of time? I wonder if those symbols appear every time the clown disappears. Guessing that will be mentioned too! Overall - very unique premise, and judging from your summary, a very unique plot line too. Well done!
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 4/2/2014
Returning your review!

So my reaction upon reading the first paragraph is that the writing is a bit saturated with adverbs and adjectives. Obviously, in all matters of style, this is your creative license, but I find that often, adverbs and adjectives could be substituted for stronger/more apt verbs and nouns, which would in turn not only make the prose stronger, but also tighter.

[A sweat rolled down] a bead of sweat? Or maybe get rid of “A,” because I’m prett sure sweat can’t be counted in this context

[He felt like a lion and its prey. The latter being him.] something’s off with the phrasing

Interesting beginning. I like how this is action packed. I like how you characterize the boy by his inexperience (though seeing the clown guy, I feel like he wouldn’t have been able to do much anyway!). I like how there’s multiple parties (perhaps) involved in this story, the thief, who’s after the jewels, and the clown, who’s after children. I’m definitely interested in seeing how it works together.

I guess my main critique right now is that the clown guy is a bit generic. I mean, not that I’ve read a lot of clowns—so great idea!—but the whole evil cackling, disappearing with a weird clue has been done, many times. And I think, to make your evil guy stand out, the writing really needs to be a bit more original, to follow the original idea. I suggest really thinking about the little details that the clown might have, and focus on sensory image. I think that’ll really make the smoke scene stand out.
alltheeagles chapter 1 . 3/30/2014
For the Review Game, Easy Fix thread

I like the way you describe the burglar with words like ‘limber’ and ‘gracefully’, which along with the description of his movements, tell us about the kind of burglar he is (a good one) without having to resort to a briefing from the narrator. However, I didn’t like the second and third parts so much. Were the roman numerals really necessary if the action was continuous? It makes the reader wonder if ‘the youth’ is also the burglar in the first part, and if he isn’t then things become very hard to piece together. The overall effect is that too many things are introduced to quickly, which makes this disjointed, and that is a pity because the starting was really promising. The suggestion for improvement is that this phrase sounds a bit off: ‘this marks him as suspicious’ cause it was about the door being open and not anything he’d done. I think ‘this strikes him as suspicious’ would be better.
tstul006 chapter 2 . 3/30/2014
Oh yeah I remember this one. Creepy clown... I'm glad to get to read it again. So on to the review.

This is a very different way to format. I kinda like it though. It adds a sense of suspense that probably wouldn't be there otherwise, and it actually makes it easier to follow. So kudos for trying a new thing and making me a fan of it.

I like the little analogy about the water drips and what Placebo felt like.

So your characters are great. I love Vitis the most though. Burgundy hair and goggles omg I'm in love. Her little robots are awesome as well. Robot bugs how innovative. Its a rather good idea because they are small and can go everywhere.

This whole world seems very steampunk in my head. (I'm not sure why... maybe the goggles..lol.)

So the Twist Clowns are probably the scariest things ever... ;0. And now you've left me on a cliffhanger and I feel so scared that Vitis isn't going to make it... (crosses fingers and hopes for the best.)
Un-Ended Tales chapter 2 . 3/5/2014
A great chapter. I was a bit confused at the beginning as to if the boy was the same one from the first chapter, because I don't remember him being captured. I'm liking the idea of the twist clowns more and more each chapter. They're creepy and mysterious. I wonder what their purpose is. Placebo and his group seem to know a great deal about them. Are they a normal occurrence in this world? I look forward to learning more about them.

Now, are Placebo and his group just thieves or are they also guardians against the twist clowns? Hopefully more will be explained in the next chapter. The names you've given your characters are very unique, making them seem less generic. I'm really liking the storyline so far and look forward to seeing where you plan on taking it. And that ending, what a cliff hanger, leaving us in suspense. Great work.

Edits:

‘He blinked(,) gaining some vision of where he was.’

‘The same metal (pinned) his hands behind his small frame.’

‘His vision (shook) violently(,) making the room seem warped.’

‘They were the only thing for sometime he could hear in the basement.’ This sentence is a little awkward. Perhaps try swapping this sentence around to resemble something like this: ‘For sometime, they were the only things he could hear in the basement.’

‘He (shook) his head and continued.’

‘It was on the floor (where) the jewels were kept.’

‘He turned to Canis(,) waiting for (a) comment about being (attacked) was for his own good…’

‘These missions could be so (simple) sometimes.’
tstul006 chapter 1 . 3/4/2014
There is nothing creepier in this world than clowns. (Proven fact)

This is very mysterious. (Which is the point I suppose)

I love how you showed the boy's youthful arrogance.

Okay a few things. I think the boy needs a name and possibly a bit more explanation as to who he works for and maybe who Vitis is to him.

I think the woman's dialogue in the end needs to be broken up a bit.

{"Boy, are you another hooligan after my daughter,} then put in the part where he just says 'what' in confusion before adding. {The woman shook her head, "that girl never dates any good men," she sighed under her breath.}

Then the part where she says {I think you've been doing far too many drugs."

Maybe replace it with a simple. 'Are you high?"

These are just suggestions. Good start. :)
Un-Ended Tales chapter 1 . 2/23/2014
Interesting first chapter. You get right into the mystery of the story, building up the suspense. You gave hints of who the boy was and his connections, but still left room for questions, compelling the readers to, well, read on. I especially liked your description of the man with the twisted smile and this line 'The man only continued showing his stitched up smile(,) watching the boy intently.' You're only missing the comma. You call him the twist clown. I really like that name. The relation with clowns makes him all the more scary, and his laugh really freaked me out. This chapter is filled with mystery and I am left with many questions at the end that will hopefully be answered in following chapters. I don't quite have a feel for the story yet or an idea of where you will be going with it, but it has potential.

Edits:

‘…smirked at the thought of his teammate’s (face) of utter defeat…’

‘In the crack in the door, still lurking in the shadows, a man with a twisted smile stood.’ It might just be me, but I feel like this sentence would flow better if the last part was swapped around: ‘stood a man with a twisted smile.’

‘() Sweat rolled down his pale skin.’

‘He looked over slightly past the man as sweat dripped from himself.’ This sentence is a little strange and I’m not sure what you are trying to say.

‘They both looked at each other before the woman’s eyes fell on the family’s jewels and the (boy’s) to the area in front of him.’

I would suggest reading over this chapter again and do a little editing, but other then that great job.
Persevera chapter 1 . 2/22/2014
I like the way this turned from something very tense to something funny, with the woman in her pegnoir, wielding only a flashlight and bat, to protect her daughter's virtue.
I had thought that it was a little strange that there was no security but in this case, it seems to make sense.
I checked your profile page for country of origin but I didn't see it. I mention it because there were a lot of incorrect homonyms, like passed for past and udder instead of utter. I usually only mention that though if English is someone's native language so if you let me know, I'll look over it in future chapters.
I don't like what seems to be a helpless situation for this guy and the other Lost Children. Why are they lost and why does he know who to worry about coming for him? I want to see that situation changed.
deadaccount2019 chapter 1 . 2/22/2014
One of the biggest hings that could use some work, in terms of writing, is polishing description. There are a lot of adverbs popping up that don't need to be there (for example, "slowly creeping", creeping already implies slowness, so it isn't necessary to say 'slowly'), plus there are a lot of descriptors that get repeated (gently, gracefully, slightly). Removing unnecessary adverbs would help the writing's flow.

I think it would help if you picked a scene and stuck with it, particularly for an opening chapter. All three are intriguing, but the jumping around made it a bit confusing without rereading a couple times. Another option would be to add transitions between the scenes, so they have a strong sense of continuity and cohesion.
inkfngrz chapter 1 . 2/5/2014
Huh, that's not something I was expecting at all. A good read, I'd like to learn more! More please!