Reviews for Life is a box of chocolates (Anthology)
Ventracere chapter 14 . 9/7/2015
T.T
The opening started out a bit ominous and I kept thinking it was going to go one way, but you always took it the other. Not going to lie, I thought Hong was going to do something drastic, maybe commit a crime, not stage a hit and run T.T

The thing I liked most about this piece is definitely the emotion you were able to explore and create from Mei Mei's POV. That's difficult to do, and it honestly made me feel for her. She knew something was going to happen, she knew that something was wrong. It just still felt out of the blue to read it :(

Another thing that I liked was the pacing. Usually, I'd say this was a bit slow, but I think the lead up was necessary. WIthout the context we would have been severely lost, and the discription wasn't so much that it made my head spin. Nice job with that. Your third Person POV was also really solid here - you had time to mention who was who and constantly reminded us the name of the protagonist. Nicee.
m. b. whitlock chapter 2 . 9/2/2015
August 2015 WCC Review

Congrats on winning the contest! Sorry this review is a bit late, I've been a bit busy. (I would have posted this yesterday but FP was down for like 24hrs! Why can't they run a decent site? Aaargghh!).

Okay, the first thing that hits me about this piece is the formatting. Since I don’t immediately understand why you alternate use of italics and parentheses, I find the formatting jarring.

“He'd always been good at staring through people.

(eyes focused on everyone and yet no one, not glazed, not lifeless; just unseeing and untouching)”

I don’t see the need for a different format for the second part. You haven’t switched perspective, both sections describe ‘his’ thoughts and actions…

Also, don’t quite get what you mean by “unseeing” and “untouching”

This is quite strong and intriguing:
“He didn't think he would make anyone puke at the sight of his skin and flesh.”
Definitely a strong voice for your main character there.

“with only a primary school—that's grade school to the Americanized world—completion certificate?"
This might only be me, but I would cut the aside about “grade school to the Americanized”. It, like the formatting, pulls me out of the piece because it disrupts the flow and the voice of the narration. This aside is you (the narrator) directly addressing your readers. This is not a first person perspective piece so that in itself – directly addressing readers in a third person limited omniscience perspective – I find jarring. Then the added aspect that we don’t know this character through dialogue and/or action but only through being told his inner thoughts, makes the direct address tone weird…

I like this personal history bit:
“Even if he did get A's on the basic literacy and numeracy school-leaving tests and had an award with his name on it as proof”
Interesting plot, a man who lacks secondary education but has a career as a writer… Sounds like the majority of the ‘great’ English writing novelists of the 19th century, certainly no female writers in English during that period had formal secondary (let alone university) educations.

“– the shop was licensed, and they'd told him he'd be fine as long as he followed the twenty-page guideline they'd provided”
Okay maybe there are two different characters here? and the writer is not necessarily a person who lacks a secondary education. I think if you simply alternated italics and normal text this would have been easier for me to get (if I’m right, still confused). Also, you could make the two voices a little more distinct.

Wondering who this new character is:
“She would get herself a souvenir.”

And whether the narration is referring to her or some other female character here:
“(nothing big or garish or noticeable; something small and private that she could carry around on her person and easily hide at the slightest hint of it being seen”

Like the way you show us this scene through the eyes of the character:
“didn't these people know vampires were so last year? and the cosplay costumes were so *eye-roll* homemade – did you see that one with a pointy ear hairband and patch of fake orange fur on the chest that's supposed to be a werewolf?”

I am confused here whether you are talking about the mannequin or the guy:
“along with the lack of breasts indicated that he was male; the androgynous K-pop attractiveness of his partly-visible face was no help in that aspect.”

This is a really cool detail:
“ he didn't, unlike the other ninety-five per cent of the student population, wear a T under the thin white cotton of his uniform shirt”
It makes me think that ‘he’ might be poor, he might not be able to afford the T-shirt, thus his need for cash and the work at the sex simulation joint.

I really like how important clothes are in this story:
“she'd stood out in her plain turquoise pinafore and long-sleeved white shirt underneath primly buttoned up to the wrist and neck”
Great way to explore the characters in a removed, unemotional, sociological way, while developing the setting at the same time. Good stuff.

Well, I like the way you show their lives moving in parallel directions and almost intersecting at the end. I think your formatting choices bothered me the most at the ending because I would have enjoyed how the story came together (especially the way you show passage of time) a lot if I hadn’t felt distracted by the separations. So yeah, if you ever revise this story (and I think it has some really cool parts) maybe redo the formatting. Try to come up with something more organic, that reads more smoothly.

Very best!

mbw
Electrumquill chapter 13 . 8/31/2015
Your prize for winning the August Challenge:

The opening is structured well to pique the interest of any reader who has an interest in male male action. Beginning each paragraph with “waking up” reinforces the medium-sized variety of the deal. Is Kip processing it rather slowly? Good use of the rule of three in setting the scene.

Techniques: I like Kip’s style of dry, laconic humour throughout. Take for instance when he is slightly self-effacing at the beginning and asserts that he is still recognisable as himself in the morning. The method of using his internal monologue makes the prose very accessible and easy to read quickly. His monologue about Boy’s imprudence with vodka would drag if it weren’t for his clear and non-threatening way of expressing himself. Same with the paragraph on his lodging above the laundry place. His upbeat personality even keeps the story light, despite the fact that it touches on the subject of date rape.

Themes: The serious topic of date rape – Kip’s idea of a good deed by an unconventional warning against binge drinking to unconsciousness, but actually allowing Boy to think of him as a date rapist in the prank gone sour is hard to swallow. I wonder if we should infer that Boy knew it was a prank from the beginning…? Anyway, I suppose it is a quirky sort of way to bring on a male/male action scene that may be titillating to those who are into it.

Ending: Sort of ending on a cliff hanger – fading to black. The last line “I sure as heck deserved everything that happened afterwards” once again, piques the reader’s curiosity. I suppose the reader can imagine what ensued and thus the chapter is self-contained. Otherwise it is a good introduction to a mature rated literotica scene.
Guest chapter 13 . 8/30/2015
Congrats for winning the WCC! And an interesting thing you've done to the prompt too!

[OPENING] I like how you repeat that first line, but it takes on a different meaning each time. And then I go back to the first line and it's got a different meaning again, and yet it's not different in a confusing way but in the way a word or phrase gains a little something extra as more puzzle pieces are in place. You've captured that puzzle sentiment beautifully in the first couple of paragraphs, and the overall voice in setting up that context as well.

[WRITING STYLE] One of the odd fics I've seen where not introducing a pronoun early on (in the first couple of sentences) still manages to clarify the POV. There's a distinct "I" and "you" feel to it and it's nicely engaging as well. The sort of narration that highlights things that wouldn't normally be highlighted too, things like the little spiel with the name - less capturing if it was more objective but the subjectiveness to it makes it amusing and memorable. It dawdles a little in the middle, once we get to the dialogue and explaining the background of said dialogue - I found it more entertaining when we lacked the background, which makes me wonder if some of the explanation of the dialogue, eg. the mid-autumn spiel, could have been done without. It fits in the sense that the second person narration allows the narrator to explain to the ignorant second person, but it also detatches a little - there're a few many side-trips, to to speak, and the mid-autumn paragraph is one I feel can definitely be done without.

You merge the flashback in beautifully. Almost missed the transition, except for the bit of brain going yep, I see where we're back to the morning after... :D

[DIALOGUE] More spaced out than I expected from you, and it has an interesting effect. More of the dialogue seems to be inferrable as opposed to within talking marks which does a nice job in prioritising it in short fiction like this, but there was something about the "night before dialogue" that seemed a little dry compared to the morning after. Not sure if that was a consequence of the flashbacking or just the way it's written, but the morning after/real time dialogue is what stuck with me in the end.

[ENDING] The repeating sentiment makes a repeat, but not quite as obviously this time round. Clever in having a somewhat circular structure, and time manages to loop around as well, closing the gap that was called out on, so to speak, throughout the story. What bothers me about the ending though is we sort of lose the narrator's reasoning - "I heard my own voice going" doesn't really tell us what the narrator wanted. It leaves the ending somewhat ambiguous, but at the same time, the question of whether the narrator returned Boy's sentiment for wanting sex is something that was raised quite early on, so it's odd to see that unresolved. The "if" at the end makes it seem unresolved as well, which makes for a curious ending.

I think I'll need a reread of this. :D Judging from the beginning, there'll be more subtelties revealled in a re-read which is always fun when reading something for the second time.
LuckycoolHawk9 chapter 13 . 8/23/2015
Opening: I really liked the opener because it helped to establish the type of character that Kip is and how he views his actions. It also has a strong hook which draws the readers in because we wish to know why he is saying that lying naked is no big deal to him.
Ending: The ending was so well written because it manages to incorpoate how graphic their sex without saying it was painful like any other narrator might say about it. I also feel that we get how Kip views the situation at the end because it shows that he has regret for lying and that he deserved the sex with Boy later.
Characters: Both Kip and Boy are very flesh-outed and unique without either being boring or bland. Kip is very well written because we can tell that he is a boy who doesn't think of consquences of his actions and is reflected in the peace. Boy also is shown as intelligent and very vengeful without you saying it that he is that kind of person and manages to make him very likeable altogether.
Enjoyment: This piece is really enjoyable because we are put in a real life situation and are shown the consequences of what they do for a while. I also really enjoyed that you show Kip's development of the prank that goes array and is very fleshed out because it makes it relatable and allow us to be close to the characters.
Dialogue: I really liked the dialogue because it was simplisitc and allows us to see the type of relationship that the two of them have that is shown. I also liked how the last of dialogue shows the true character of Kip because it reflects how he is a chronic liar and deserves what he gets.
Lie Ono chapter 13 . 8/22/2015
This gem was a delightfully easy read. Everything was smooth. Your voice was well informative, yet still lighthearted enough for some humor. The ending had me chuckling a bit, but it feels a bit unfinished to me. We never did find out how Boy got into the Main Character's apartment 'that fateful night'. But I guess I'm just being nitpicky, lol. I would've like a little more elaboration on their relationship. Are they friends? Friends with benefits? A new couple? It seemed a little vague. I like the characters. I feel like they compliment each other well, and they seem realistic (to me). There was one part that had me a bit confused, but this isn't that impactful on the story. 'Astronomy of Philosophy'? Did you perhaps mean 'Philosophy of Astronomy'? This is probably just my age showing, but it kind of makes sense both ways. Then again, this is just my opinion. Over all, I really enjoyed this piece. Keep writing!
InkWellWisher chapter 6 . 8/21/2015
Review Game Depth: WCC Review

Introduction: I really love introduction to this story, there is a great hook where we are immediately transported to the current scene with a minimum of sensory and visual descriptors. It successfully set the expectations of the “voice” and establishes a pleasing rhythm or pattern in which the story will continue to unfold. It is smooth and easy for the reader to keep going, and we are interested in the welfare of the character who is in a very foreboding predicament.

Enjoyment: What I really admire about this story is the absence of extraneous details and a focus on the action-based characters There are some really nice lines and passages that tell us exactly what this world, this society is like without having to explain too much about it. It keeps us with the protagonist and not searching for more evidence about the structure of the world.

“Corruption greased the wheels for those who had the means to harness it, but for those who didn’t, they learned patience, and how to stave off boredom.” –Great line, it explains the nature of the monarchal government and the disparity of social classes defined by wealth or lack thereof. Needs a little tweaking in the first half of the line, it is a little confusing logically. Money/power/influence is the thing that greases the wheels of corruption, not corruption itself.

“Glossy black hair swept back from the face was braided neatly down the back of his head and tied with a simple leather thong, leaving behind one single wayward lock that kept battling against the mask as if determined to pry it off.” –Simple character description, yet powerfully alludes to the small part of Roja which struggles to remove the mask and reveal his true nature—not unnoticed by Shyan, of course.

Writing: Quick suggestion on the writing. While everything is constructed very nicely, you have a tendency to use metaphors which are irrelevant to the story, such as “looking as mournful as a litter of spaniel pups” or “His examination of her teeth felt a little like a wriggling tadpole”. These don’t really tell us anything useful, stick out of the story and would be better suited in a different context. Likewise, we don’t need physical descriptions of Shyan—we already know that she is beautiful and unconventional, and the comparison between Shyan and her other companions comes off as as a little arrogant, unlike than the collected confidence she already shows. Otherwise, you have a good sense of what type of information to give to the reader, and what to hold back from us.

Plot: I like what you have done with this seemingly simple plot interwoven with underlying themes of corruption; there are some more overt references to a world in in which the disadvantaged are at the mercy of the rich and powerful, this mad scrabble for survival, fame, and riches. What I find most intriguing is the sorting of the lottery is that it levels out the class disparity in a highly aristocratic society—even the ones able to bribe are ones who are still subject to rejection. The only limitation, however, is that these 18 year old contestants have to be attractive to even compete, marginalizing people who do not fit this description.
The tests given throughout the plot have a particular resonance, such as the first in which the protagonist is intelligent enough to make herself memorable—and continues to do so. The tests are very reminiscent of the trials subjected to the disadvantaged heroes of mythology and folk tales, in which the hero must rely on their cunning as a strategy. As we progress to the end of the testing, which previously held a logic—screenings for beauty, health and vitality, and tests for grace/talents and physical attractiveness—we find trials which have a decidedly ominous foreshadowing, which only feeds our suspicions of this highly sacrificial ritual.
At the end of the story, we enter into some more intimate themes about the nature of human relationships, and the concept of contractual and conditional relationships versus that of the unconditional. Personally, while I really appreciate the complicated themes in this short story and they way it concludes, the way they are executed feels somewhat problematic.

Relationships: As much as I enjoy the story, the specific aspect that throws me out of the narration is the problematic relationship between Roja and Shyan. It first begins with characterization of Shyan: We are told what an honor it is to be a candidate for the next companion, but we don’t get the sense that the character really wants to be there, or feels the need to win for the benefit of her family. She is detached from the people around her, a cool sort of confidence that is at odds with the servile way she presents herself to the emperor, Roja; this part of the character really works for me.

The problem I have here is the romanticizing of both the conditional relationship and the non-conditional relationship which seemingly has very little to do with “loving” someone. The way in which a companion is chosen does not suggest “love”, despite the how the question posed during the tests is supposed to make us feel about the tension unfolding between the Picker/Roja and Shyan. Shyan seems like a person who plays whatever role is required of her, and this is perhaps the symptom of a world in which she has no control over herself.
When she is rejected from being named an official companion, it releases her from having to play a servant or a slave. But why doesn’t she rebel from the new cage in which she finds herself? This entirely journey has been an initiation in which Shayn enters into the obligations of society—but what is the significance of the plot twist in which she finds herself trapped? How does it really make her feel?
To the point—I think this could all work as a powerful statement about the nature of human relationships/love, but there should something more clear about the nature of the cage—perhaps it is the vessel which protects Shyan as Roja reveals the monster within himself, symbolic of his desire to be understood and perhaps tamed. Or it could be the unconditional love that she finds herself forever bound to him, despite the monstrous flaws within him? This could be easily inferred through the use of allusion or metaphor.

Good work, I really enjoyed looking at this story with a close eye and being able to see the work you’ve put into it and congrats on the WCC win! Just be careful of how you portray character relationships.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 13 . 8/21/2015
Opening: I like the opening and how you progressively narrow in on the current situation by becoming more and more specific. However, I do think the third and fourth paragraphs become too long-winded and could use some tightening up to get to the point quicker - it'll make it more snappy, immediate, and attention-grabbing.

Plot: It's interesting how this entire story revolves around a pretty disturbing lie. That is, that Kip lies about him and Boy sleeping together. It brings that whole concept of "consent" into play, especially when a person is so intoxicated they can't remember the events from the night before. Depending on the reader, this could be problematic since it also seems to be taken in a light-hearted, haha manner (and the idea of male rape is already joked about way more than it should be, IMO). I guess the redeeming fact about it is that it didn't happen, which I think the general reader will be just as relieved about as Boy (despite him "coming around" to it later).

Ending: I'm glad Boy gets to finally entertain this idea of sex with Kip by the end of the story. At least something positive came out of the prank Kip pulled, in that Boy is more willing to entertain these impulses and desires that he would otherwise never embrace. The dialogue at the end was playful and witty, and I think the story ended on a good note.

Character: I think Boy is a character a lot of people can emphasize with. I'm sure we've all had certain desires we were too afraid to entertain, and seeing him realize his own at the end is pretty liberating. I'm not sure about the choice of "boy" for a name, though. It sort of gives Kip these pedo-vibes, as well as emasculates Boy himself. I wouldn't necessarily say change it because I doubt that was your intention, but just be conscious of how predatory it can make Kip seem (since it's coming from his POV).

Congrats on your WCC win!
lookingwest chapter 13 . 8/16/2015
Congrats on winning this month's WCC! Thanks for participating!

For the sake of not repeating anything: I'll just say that I'm in the same camp as mb whitlock on the consensual sex stuff and the vibes this piece threw in its opening, and I suppose you know about my crit in other pieces of your work where there's always this ambiguous age of your characters in some pieces that isn't always my favorite. The same applied for me here as whitlock speaks to. That being said, I also recognize that these themes are very big in slash culture and staple archetypes in the genre - I'm just not 100% sure if I see that as an excuse to perpetuate them, in some cases.

Opening - I thought the opening did a good job establishing the voice of your character in the first person. I had the immediate understanding of their more carefree attitude in relation to Boy's attitude. I also liked the technique of "adding" different details about the scene.

Pacing - I found the bits where Kip was going on and on about where he lives and how he's kept a "low profile" and his relationship with Boy sort of drug the story down. I was less interested in their background and more interested in the scene at hand in the present, so I felt pressure of slow pace.

Setting - On a large scale, I really really liked that this was set in China and we get some different words from English - that stuck out to me as a really unique thing about this piece (I wish there was more culture here - like as a Western reader, I'm ascribing Western views of homosexuality - are they the same? Idk. There could've been exploration here, I think, on a more complex scale.) I actually can't think of any other FP story that takes place in China, for instance. I'd love to see more of that. But as far as the scenes themselves, I'll rally always a bit more setting :) Except, it's hard to balance that out in a short story too. Maybe cut more of the details about *where* Kip lives and how he lives there, and instead replace it with actual details about the room more than "duvet"?

Ending - Awkward bit with the showing of the butt, haha. But (heh) I did like how the piece ended on a fun little note of a happy ending between the two of them. It was also interesting that Kip stammers his last bit of dialogue, since he appears so cooly confident in his narrative voice. It clearly lets the reader know he's in for an adventure, here, ha!
m. b. whitlock chapter 13 . 8/13/2015
RG Depth #5,070

I like the voice you develop in this piece for Kip. His sardonic comments lead me to feel that he thinks he’s pretty superior. I can’t say I get much of the humor that well though. It’s mostly because I fail to see the possibility of non-consensual sex as a funny haha kind of situation. Boy also comes off as very young and childlike until you reveal that he is in fact in university. This makes Kip seem a bit predatory when he tells Boy that they had sex. It appears to me that Kip is playing this ‘joke’ on Boy to shame him. If you gave us more of a sense of the culture and how homosexuality is viewed, this ‘shaming’ might not make me think that Kip is a rather shameful person himself, you know? Basically I just don’t get the funny here. I’m sure for other readers it works though.

Here are my notes, taken as I read:

“Waking up naked next to somebody else – that might be just a teeny bit bigger deal. But only for the other person, since I know perfectly well how we ended up this way.”
I don’t see how it’s *only* a somewhat ‘big’ deal for the other person. At this point I assume ‘Boy’ knows why he fell asleep next to someone else, I mean that would usually be the case, only an unusual circumstance would lead to waking up in someone else’s bed and not knowing how you got there…

This intensification of the bigness of the deal seems a little unnecessary to me:
“Waking up naked next to somebody else in the same bed – you can see, right, how this might be a medium-sized deal at least?”
It’s only because I assumed they were in the same bed reading the previous paragraph.

I like Kip’s voice here:
“That annoyed me. I might not look my best in the morning—nobody does—but I was pretty certain I looked recognisable as myself. But then I realised his glasses were on the table on my side of the bed.”
I’m starting to get a sense of who he is, his slightly self-deprecating tone does little to mask his arrogance. I am definitely getting the sense that this guy thinks he’s smarter than most people.

This part makes me wonder how old these characters are:
“Boy blushed, which made him look like he had a bad case of sunburn, and stammered "L-last n-night?" while pulling the duvet up to his nose.”
Boy seems to be acting more like a child than an adult, literally hiding under the covers.

I like your use of slang here:
“Yep, Boy was a confirmed Bèndàn himbo last night.”
It helps develop the setting by giving your readers a glimpse of the culture.

This part seems a bit curious to me:
“Boy saying that implied quite a few things, the most earthshattering one being: he'd actually wanted the sex—that he apparently believed we'd had—to happen.”
It’s just that I don’t feel I know enough about either of these characters or their relationship to sense that this is possibly an “earthshattering” revelation to Kip.

I figured initially they were university-aged, only Boy’s reaction, hiding under the covers made me think otherwise:
“(yeh, yeh, we're two uni guys even if I made Boy sound like a Chǔncái not smart enough to graduate secondary school what more get into tertiary education)”
Like the slang here again. :)

“there was no reason or opportunity for me to cross paths with Boy the future solicitor and no doubt lawmaker to be.”
I like the contrast you are portraying here, a future solicitor and president of philosophy/astronomy clubs having the name ‘Boy’. Boy is becoming a different character from what I assumed in the beginning. Like it. :)

“the odds of me and Boy meeting by chance were probably only slightly better than the odds of me suddenly being chatted up by the resident hottie.”
I’m guessing by “hottie” you mean a female student…? I think it might be good to clarify that.

Might want to work on the transition to this part. I find the abrupt passage of an unknown amount of time a bit jarring:
“Boy was standing in the doorway of my room.”

Why is his reaction to naked Boy such a surprise I wonder:
“I realised with a start that I was getting turned on, and I had no idea why that was happening.”

“I managed to hold up until he started wriggling that arse and singing Bob Marley's A-la-la-la-la-long song off-key, waving the K-Y to keep time.”
It seems to me that if Boy acts like this, he must have at least a bit of a rep as possibly being gay. It makes me wonder why Kip was so shocked when Boy told him he wished he could remember the sex Kip implied they had.

Interesting stuff. Best of luck in the WCC. :)

vb,

mbw
Timbo Slice chapter 13 . 8/13/2015
Wow, this was a strangely erotic tale, more so the implications of lust these two young men feel towards one another and Kips futile reluctance.

I liked the tone of the piece, it was very very impersonal and to the point in some parts while still having sharply detailed descriptions of the characters.

I also appreciated subtle attraction they both held for each other. It's very permeable throughout the story, and sometimes the words that aren't said and reading between the lines gives us more insight into the characters motivation, such as this story.
solacing chapter 13 . 8/12/2015
Heya! I know that I reviewed your last request on the RG game, but I hope it's okay that I'm back. :P

[opening]
The opening had me hooked. It was pretty funny, and left me curious about wtf was going on. My first thought was whether there was a male or female in bed with Boy- and I'm glad it was a male. Made for more of an interesting story. Anyway, yeah, I think you used comedy well to hook me, as a reader, in. :P

[characters]
I loved the characters! Even right off the bat, Boy having such a strange name was interesting. He seemed so awkward, and I wanted to know more about him, a believable reaction to that situation. I like how Kip thought it was hilarious to lie to Boy about sex, but you can tell they both secretively wanted it to be true. I also liked the way you revealed Kip's ethnicity.

[dialogue]
The dialogue felt very natural between these two characters. I could feel the awkward sexual tension, but also the underlying friendship that these two have. It was really cute. It didn't feel forced or contrived at all, so yeah, I think you did really well. It flowed nicely and was easy to follow.

[writing]
My favourite part of this story was the way you wrote it. It was comical, while giving me a good idea into Kip's mind and the way he thinks. You made the characters feel believable. It worked at a good pace, and I love the heavy implication at the ending there.

Overall, I really enjoyed this ficlet. To be honest, I wouldn't mind reading more about these two. I'm glad I checked it out!
mononym chapter 13 . 8/12/2015
Opening: I liked the hook. The repetition of "Waking up..." with successively more detail (and a successively more questionable situation) flowed well into the event (or lack of an event, I guess!) that the rest of the story hinges upon. The use of italics emphasized just the right words, too. I could hear myself sounding it out.

Relationships: I wish there were a little more background about the depth and extent of the relationship between Kip and Boy. Their different living styles and potential future career paths aside, and the bit about them being 'friends,' I still found myself wondering what each of them were really like. It works for the story, though-we don't have to know everything. It's enough to see that they are close, and that Boy obviously wants something more out of it.

Writing: Really fun writing style (I haven't read your other pieces, so I don't know if it's specific to this character/story). I like the way, for example, you casually imply that Kip might be Asian, and the way that his thoughts are humorously sarcastic, kind of a stab at social commentary. One thing I was confused about were the use of certain words (I don't know what they mean), but that also adds to the charm of the story.

Plot: The whole idea of waking up next to a stranger, or someone you know, after a supposed night of sex, is a bit cliche. That the main character went along with it, even though nothing happened, also happens a lot in stories. But the main character's quirks, and the way he tells the story, added a twist to that, and I found it quite enjoyable.
Ventracere chapter 11 . 6/15/2015
oh ho! I liked how this was more of an apostrophe. We don't know who this "you" is, and it puts the reader in a unique position. "I bite" is also a fun way to start the chapter - immediately makes me think of vamps and werewolves. But, thankfully you don't keep us in the dark for too long and it's a dog? I like how you give us the perspective of the dog and you mirror the happy personality well, immersing us deeply into the piece right from the get go.

Oh wow. The middle is a much darker portion of the story. It's not exactly dark, but we get to see who Sahara is, how she doesn't like the "shell" she's trapped in. I like how you make a stark distinction between the dog Sahara (happy go lucky, fixation on one thing), and humanoid/human-thinking Sahara. This gives us a strong characterization for such a short piece, and makes me think why Sahara subjects herself to this. The answer is clear in one word "beloved."

Thanks for the read!
Timbo Slice chapter 2 . 6/14/2015
While I like the premise of this story, I feel as though the formatting takes away from making it a truly enjoyable read, as if it's just a transcript of the plot happening rather than being right there in the moment. In a way I can see how the format compliments the story, with its disjointed, impersonal plot, it makes me wonder if it could've been written any differently while still retaining the same "voice". Just a nitpick really.

For such a short piece you manage to squeeze in some stark characterization for the unnamed characters, what really stood out to me was the line "he got educated...she got socialized", such a true statement that in all honesty speaks volumes on the current state of public education, not to turn this review into a debate but female students are more prone to the trivial gossip and rumors that permeate schools, and they're more likely to become ostracized if they don't fall into that narrow category.

I really like the last line as well and how it plays up the beginning of the piece. We all have secrets, maybe not as...perverse...as this guys but I get the feeling from this story that no matter what we may harbor inside we go about our daily lives with a stone wall around us, and the girl in this story just so happened to see inside this guys stone wall but still goes about her business as if nothing happened at all. It's realistic, if not a little sobering...
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