|Reviews for Life is a box of chocolates (Anthology)|
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 5 . 8/26/2014
There were a lot of great techniques used throughout this story. I like that there was a first person POV, but that you also included her inner thoughts in italics to bring the reader even closer, as if she's telling a story to us but we also get to hear what she's thinking. And the distinction of the inner voice she was hearing was helpful as well.
I haven't read the companion piece but this wasn't terribly hard to follow. Your writing is simple (in a good way!) enough to make it digestible to someone unfamiliar with both the originating story and with a lot of fantasy type writing. It also makes it enjoyable, in that regard.
I got a very good sense of Jay's character through some of the smaller details you put in, such as how she's not a particularly foul mouthed person to the point of only knowing a very swear words (cute detail, haha). You also make it very clear how much Mach means to her through her actions and repulsion at the parasite responsible infesting her (if I followed properly).
That brings me to relationship, which as I mentioned previously you get a strong sense of here through the actions of the heroine, mainly. It was very well rendered in that way, through both her action in the main plot and her inner thoughts. It was a great tale overall.
| deadaccount2019 chapter 8 . 8/25/2014
[Plot] I love how you keep the reader guessing even at the end. Is it her? Is it not? The unreliable perspective is what really makes this story creepy but also a mystery. It does feel like it goes off track from time to time, which I wasn't certain I liked at first, but after a second read, I think it helps further emphasize the narrator's unreliability.
[Relationship] I think you did a perfect job portraying an obsessive relationship here. The words are gentle, innocent almost at times, and I do get a sense of emotional ignorance. As the story goes on, you hit the substitution note quite well; not delving too far into it, so that the reader is given a false sense of hope until the final scene where we see that whether or not the girl he's been watching is actually the ex, where we at least know whoever she is (I'm leaning toward a substitute that's been around for longer than the story confirms), he's not wanted in her life.
[Character] I love how many traits you've packed into the protagonist. We get the very obvious scary stuff (obsessive, stalker), but underneath it there's an almost sweet whimsical feel in how he thinks of the ex. He's deluded, and there are moments when it seems like he's trying to break away from it, but like a drunk he just keeps slipping back to his devices. Definitely psychopathic, if not necessary violent (well, I have to admit I wondered if he was the reason she was in the hospital).
[Ending] The ending bugs me in a good way. You do a great job ending on a pretty terrifying note, but not having a solid answer as to who the girl is or why the doctors don't seem to realize what's going on re: his presence leaves this the story without any closure. In turn, the lack of closure plays up a sense of underlying horror, making the story feel less restrained to any one theme.
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 4 . 8/25/2014
Just to comment on the prompt for the piece for a moment, I think it was an excellent interpretation of the line, turning it into burning metaphorical bridges. Very clever, I think.
I like what could be considered the dialogue, I guess, in this piece. Feels very natural to online relations between virtual friends and actual strangers. Plus it was interesting and kept the piece moving at a nice pace.
I like the repetition of click, that technique really resonated with me. I love the way you followed each with a different type of click, and it all related to the progression of the tale as well. It was a great choice.
I really enjoyed the scene where legacy was being described, as pictured anyway, it was full of great imagery and the relation between how he's perceived to look and how he's acting was nice.
I enjoyed the theme of this overall very much, and I think it contributed greatly to my enjoyment of this piece, as well as the always excellent writing. There really isn't much for me to critique here, I fully enjoyed every aspect. Nicely done!
| WhiteRosieagain chapter 2 . 8/24/2014
...I accidentally clicked the "post review"...
So, excluding the fragmented sentence in my last review,
I didn't expect the story to turn out the way it did though. What I imagined was the boy and the girl somehow falling in love with each other, but of course, since that was not specified in your genres, I was wrong :)
My favorite scene was the ending when they parted despite the tension that you built up. I almost expected them to greet each other and embrace the fact that they were already acquainted. You did mention that the boy is a bit reclusive, so I am wrong there, too.
Thank you for the always surprising plots, and congratulations for winning the WCC!
| WhiteRosie chapter 2 . 8/23/2014
Reading your "Part-time" made me realize how the outer-selves of people that we meet everyday are not the same people we think they are. Although the two people mentioned in your story "...passed each other" as if they were strangers, they had an untold history behind them that they probably will never voice out in public. At first, I was confused about who "he" and "she" were, by the time I finished reading your work, I was able to figure out that they were seemingly normal students at a college. She had a crush/interest in the boy, but she became disgusted by his inappropriate behavior. As always, you surprised me using your creative way of writing according to a prompt. You related the prompt to the story by showing a boy/girl who looks fascinating at first but when someone looks closer, his/her true nature might not be the one the observer was thinking of at first.
Your characters were developed nicely through only snippets and insights of their actions. They smoothly morphed from an un-relatable duo to a duo with something they would rather hide. Everyone has secrets, and like your characters, his/her secrets may never be revealed.
I still don't completely understand what job he has though. Does he work for a souvenir shop or a fan shop for k-pop devotees?
Your method of using parenthesis is really clever since they effectively show the unknown actions that took place and were unnoticed by bystanders. It kept me wondering what would happen next since it showed me that your characters are likely to be contrary to most expectations.
I was first induced to read your "Part-time" from the spark of curiosity that ignited when you began the story in an unexpected format. I also wondered at the object of his attention and thought that the
| The Autumn Queen chapter 3 . 8/22/2014
Hi Eagle! Long time no see!
The summary for this oneshot really stood out for me in the index, so here I am. Starting with the OPENING, I find it very interesting you're choosing to start straight off with numbers. In some contexts that can be discouraging, but I think in this case it works really well to set the tone as well as the scene. Perhaps the bbit about the grid that follows might dampen the effect of that first line a little, but while only vaguely knowing the context, that first sentence and the exact slightness of its imperfection really makes for a powerful beginning.
WRITING/STYLE: In some places, I feel your choice of words dampens the scene a little, makes it more poetic than I feel appropriate for the scene. For example, "But he persevered" sounded to me more like a perservering through a goal in life as opposed to a physical task.
I think the change between the italics and the normal prose is interesting; the way the two parts of the story match in terms of frame and tone, but tell two different things all the same. How it comes together at the end is clever at end: the past, the present and the future.
SETTING: While your context was well set up by the end, I felt like I didn't get a good grasp on your scene. What stands out is the programming, which is interesting and all, but I would prefer to have a physical setting as well: subeties like the darkness/lightness of the room, the temperature: little things that add to the place, and don't give it the impression of being in this floating place. I think that would ground the present part of the scene a little better; as it is, it seems to float a little.
ENDING: It's an interesting sentiment: the concept of choice that's very sneakily protrayed throughout the meaning, but not so clear at the end. All the same, I wonder if it's overstated by the end, particularly since I find "thoughtfully" an odd word to put to the tone. I wonder how you could go about escaping the fate of a promised one. It's a good note to leave a thought-provoking piece with. :D
| deadaccount2019 chapter 7 . 8/20/2014
.WCC review (gratz, btw! :D )
[Opening] The first act does a good job establishing how Io and Euan know each other, and the root of their relationship. This works great because it helps get the reader oriented from the getgo in regards to their bond and eliminates the need for further explanation later on.
[Plot] When I originally read the Author's Note, I had been expecting a much different direction, which made the build up in the second-fourth acts all the more intriguing. The revelation in the final act was unexpected, which creates a great twist and makes the reader want to reread to see if they can pick out hints of what's to come.
[Scene] The second act is definitely my favorite because it really casts off any expectations for the story. I love the build up, and then the deescalation, only to validate the earlier anticipation in such a short and sudden way. There isn't much opportunity to get wound up in what's just happened, which I think works perfectly for a natural effect.
[Ending] The final act leaves the reader with a lot of questions, but of course the biggest one is how much of the previous acts was real or imagined. DeWalt is clearly not the woman from act 2, but the implications of her mention there aren't as obvious as one may think. Was it a dream, or did it happen and Euan is now just replacing the victim with DeWalt in his memory? Is Act 2 a future event or simply a plan for if/when he's released? Etc. Even though there's a good sense of completion, the wondering keeps the story with the reader after finishing.
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 8 . 8/20/2014
As I mentioned in my review for your WCC prize, your work has a poetic quality to it I really appreciate. The way you set things up visually, for example, enhances the story for me. It really, in some way, aids in the narrative. Like the way the opening sentence, which I enjoyed, was centered, as well as some of the others. Continuing on the opening, I like that it's an attention grabber that's not gimmicky or flashy, just a simple sentence that sets up intrigue for the reader. I think that's a great skill of yours.
I love the relationship you've crafted between the characters, it feels, when being described in the beginnings, very real. I like the way you managed to characterize her through the narrator, while also giving us a sense of his own characteristics.
A passage I particularly enjoyed, and what was perhaps made me want to continue reading the most, was the bit right after the beginning when he's talking about how he knows this girl just got her hair cut. I like the sweet tinge behind it, the nostalgic feelings he's experiencing seeing this girl with her fresh hair cut that brings all those memories to mind.
I'm definitely becoming a fan of your style and technique of writing, at least in the little I've read. The writing is evocative and descriptive, and the way you play with the structure is very intriguing and shows remarkable talent, I think. Well done!
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 2 . 8/19/2014
Prize review for the WCC!
I like the technique you've chosen in this piece because it makes it visually interesting to read as well as adding to the actual unfolding of the story. In some ways it almost read like a screenplay, but a sort of literary one. And it's stylistically sort of poetic. That's the best way I can describe it, it's so unique, haha.
The writing itself is fantastic, the descriptions particularly in the section describing the view through the plate glass window were very well rendered. I like the sparseness of the italicized sentences in comparison to the depth of description and imagery in the parenthetical parts.
I love the juxtaposition of He/She went to school and He/She got educated/socialized. I just adore what you've done there.
I'm a fan of both the opening and ending sentences just in terms of being compelling and well crafted lines. The opening did indeed make me want to continue reading this piece as I looked around through your offering to select one to review. I'm glad I chose this one. Very well done!
| Persevera chapter 8 . 8/18/2014
I really like the story but don't see how it answers the prompt.
The conclusion doesn't seem to be a feather bed for anyone, except the narrator's delusions and the suggestion of the bed being smothering.
The second-person narrative was a great idea. It was more intimate than third or first in allowing us to know how the narrator felt and for building anticipation.
I loved some of the phrases, such as the stab of loneliness dulling to something uncomfortable in a shoe. It's such a strong contrast, if it were true, but of course in this case it isn't.
The magic mentioned was curious. Is Wynt supposed to be a born magyk user or someone who has adopted the practice?
Is that part of what scares the girl?
This story asks more questions than it answers, which is appropriate, except for the feather bed part.
| WhiteRosie chapter 8 . 8/15/2014
Nice allusion there! A mention about the WCC was unexpected, and you played it off very well.
Although the main character's attitude towards his object of attention creeped me out for the most part of the story, I was still drawn in by the spell that you cast on me using your words.
If a life is a box of chocolates, then this character would be the caramel that sticks in your mouth long after its chocolate shell melted away. Your story was a delightful read; I wish you the best of my luck in your success in the WCC!
| Timbo Slice chapter 8 . 8/14/2014
Writing: I liked the subtle creepiness lurking underneath the apparently innocent story of a lost love, especially how the red flags slowly but surely started to flare up until the very end. The rich and descriptive metaphors punctuated the piece and helped to make the writing flow vividly.
Characters: there were some nice, creative descriptions of the girl without forcing her physical appearance on us but still enough to give us a picture through he eyes of the narrarator. I also liked the narrarators take on the situation because he does not see the obsessive lengths he goes through to reclaim this girl, thus justifying his creepy obsession.
Ending: the ending to me was the strongest part of his story as it brought to a head the narrarators obsessive qualities and showed the reader who he really wasafter we had a totally different picture of him. The very last lines were excellent, like how damaged must his guy be to still harbor his unhealthy thoughts after her screaming?
Enjoyment: overall I thought this was a chilling little one shot. How it starts off innocent enough and snowballs into an uneasy then downright creepy lust is paced very well with the strong prose to back it up. The unreliable narrarator really does a good job of leading the reader along on the ride making us think that he deserves his lost love when in reality she shouldne as far away from him as she can.
| faerie-gumdrops chapter 8 . 8/13/2014
Hi! Oh the weird creepiness of it :D. Questions first – um, I don’t think the narrator sounds American in particular - not that they don’t either, I just think the dialect is quite professional I guess? There’s not really that much slang in here to place the narrator’s nationality, if that makes sense? But then I’m not American either, so I wouldn’t necessarily be a very good judge :D. And I think of the narrator being in his/her(?) mid-twenties because that’s where I’m at, so it’s what I always assume unless there’s anything in the voice to make it obvious that they’re a kid or something. What were you going for, out of interest?
Anyhoo, proper review time!
I really love unreliable narrators, so this was obviously interesting to read because of that – I really enjoy being made to sort of work out what’s real and what isn’t. I think this piece is in the end quite open to interpretation. There are a few things I wasn’t sure about (I think deliberately) like whether or not the magic is real, and what exactly went on with the girl fainting and everything. I’d love for you to explain if you have the time (I’m a bit of a dunce).
The way you told it was super interesting too – I like how you play with formatting and paragraph breaks and stuff, how the little starter lines seem almost like a poem themselves. And the relationship stuff at the beginning was cute! I like this girl and all of her quirks (the capitalising words etc). All the personal touches were really lovely and made me really care about this relationship (whatever sort of a relationship it may be – ALL BUNNIES AND BUTTERFLIES, yo).
CCwise, I’m gonna say maybe the last little bit isn’t really needed? Only because the screaming part is such an awesome ending on its own.
| Meng En chapter 8 . 8/12/2014
Wow, you got me. I admit to being fooled pretty badly, but I'll give the best excuse of just reading up this chapter instead of checking out the backstory - either way, you got me. The literary elements of the unreliable narrator, the chronological phasing, and the emotional imagery - I'm impressed. I read up on some of the reviews posted up on previous chapters, and I got to say: monochromatic is not the right word for your style. You combine a slice of finesse and blend it with the dreary heartache of a misunderstood love to create a brilliant chapter. Bravo, sir.
| ArgentanHeart chapter 8 . 8/10/2014
Okay, so I totally loved the first half of this piece. There are so many cute parts, and the relationship seems so real. Is it weird that I like Kimichi Tacos?
So, there were some parts I didn't love. The paragraph with the writing prompt felt a little forced.
I also felt that the part with the Cast was a bit weird. I feel like their is a weird split because the narrator is unreliable. So in his head, it makes sense that the magic is real in his head and he thinks it works. At the same time, it seems like there are a bunch of coincidences in what one might think of as the objective world in your story - the same night as the cast, the lookalike ran into the narrator/fainted and the ex-gf died (which would make sense if magic was real, and the spell really worked and brought her spirit to him). Unless maybe the narrator was stalking the lookalike and is the one who put her in the hospital? And then he was actually just seeing her real name everywhere. I apologize, but I may still be working through it ;)
But, that being said, I don't think the ending a big twist (it's well built to). I just think things maybe should be built to better. I think it would be stronger if you cut the part about the real girlfriend actually dying in the storm and the paragraph about the writing prompt (or modify those parts).
3/4 of the story I love, but I've just written a bunch about two little things :P