|Reviews for Through the Fireplace|
| Virage chapter 6 . 7/7/2014
Sitting across the desk from her and folded his hands over it and a serious face set in. - There's stuff going on in that sentence that sounds all kinds of weird. It's like a fragment mixed with tense shifts, not sure exactly how to fix it.
she shrugged a little, "That's pretty much... - I would capitalize the "She" and change the comma to a period. Since there's no speech tag and you're not using "said" or some form of the linking verb, it might as well be a standalone sentence. Or, you would have to say - She shrugged a little and said, "That's pretty much..."
...ink thing is a new - ...ink thing [is new]
"...not supernatural." [There] was a loud...
"Ffine..." - Could probably get away with just "Fine"
So not a lot happened this chapter although the plot does thicken. Kia is an interesting character, but for me her maturity has taken a nose dive. She's become far less interesting and her speech is riddled with teenage girl mannerisms. She talks to Bastien like he was also a teenage girl who just asked her if she saw that cute boy in the red jacket and Kia is like, getting really excited and using hand gestures and is on the border of screaming OMIGOD I KNOW! Like I said, her maturity took a serious nosedive. I mean, maybe that's just her personality but she seems so unprofessional especially when talking to Bastien who is clearly the total opposite of her. If I were Bastien I would be less concerned with her hand gestures and more concerned with how many times she said the word "like." Actually, that's exactly it. The first half of her dialogue was kind of cute. She gave off this feeling of being slightly airheaded, which I'm totally fine with, and perhaps if the mood was right, I could even be attracted to it. The point where I got annoyed was exactly when she started using "like" everywhere in the explanation.
The scene in Horace's office was giggly. It was funny seeing the camera set up after she just got done complaining about going back through a fireplace. And the subsequent computer meltdowns were interesting as well. I see the plot is connecting back to chapter uno, which is always good for a story. It makes the first chapter still relevant. I'm interested to know what will happen.
The only other issue I have is from a plot/character perspective. Why was the ending scene included? It seems like that whole section could be axed and nothing would be missing from the plot or character development. Bastien told her to call home so even if it weren't written, we'd assume she did just that. She has a good relationship with her mother and perhaps sister, so that's not anything out of the ordinary. In fact, this section would be far more interesting if her mother was like "Why are you calling me? Do you need more money again? Do you have any idea how busy I am?" Cause then we as the readers would have been morbidly shocked.
| Virage chapter 5 . 6/28/2014
"...to kill someone half blind wasn't something that difficult," - Audrey was half blind? I didn't know that. Like she wears glasses or is she literally, half blind with only one good eye?
Sooo, just had to throw this out there, little fun fact about San Francisco, which is what I assume you mean when you say San Fran. I did a little bit of research on this when I was writing a story and wanted to make a character a native of that particular city. I don't know how I came across it, but apparently, San Francisco has many names and some are used by natives and some are most definitely, not. For instance, SF, SFO, The City, San Fran, and Frisco, all refer to this city. Locals typically use The City or sometimes SF as far as I can tell (Btw, I am not from San Francisco and have never been so please correct me if I'm wrong). If you glance through some forums or typical access boards, you'll see a lot of tourist using terms like San Fran and Frisco, which natives will immediately know you are from out of town and may even cringe at some of those other nicknames. If Charlie is native to San Francisco, I wouldn't have her refer to it as San Fran. I'm hard pressed to tell you to use The City cause if you're not local to northern California, you're not going to know what The City is. Kinda a dilemma. Anyway, my two cents. This is actually less a suggestion and more of a I-wanted-to-share-some-useless-knowledge-I-found-whilst-researching-a-story-one-time.
"Aie ya..." Did anyone else think of Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? I did. I totally did. Made Charlie less cute in my head, but twice as funny. "One moooooore thing. Ancient Chinese secret." Haha.
The first border is unnecessary. It looks like you're just using it to switch to Audrey's point of view, but if that were the case, why didn't you use a border to separate the ninja in the first paragraph from Charlie, a few paragraphs down? Actually, this took a bit of gleaning. The first section of the story is mostly from the ninja's point of view and you can even argue that a lot of Charlie's dialogue and actions is still from the ninja's point of view. But if I had to bet, I would say this is where it is no long truly from the ninja's point of view - she replied, but seeing the man was looking in a different direction she followed his gaze - since "the man" was used as a descriptor, a very objective one at that, there's no way its from the ninja's point of view. This was such a seamless transition I had to break out the magnifying glass to find proof there was another POV. This is good. This is excellent. This shows the story's flow; a crystal clear, smooth, uninterrupted flow. The border is the total opposite. It is a stop scene in the middle of a street with no intersection. So, was just curious why there was a need for the border. Unless...
Are you RPing this story and are using borders to show different people? (hands akimbo with a slight smirk)
I like the description of Charlie's movements. She's like a cat girl with no ears and no tail. While that makes me extremely sad cause because cat girls without cat ears and a cat tail are like little sister characters who don't say "Onii-chan!", I still got some great imagery in my head while I was reading the fight. Kinda short but fights that are too long aren't good either. So this was somewhere in the middle. Regardless, good characterization. Also, second border is okay since its a scene and time transition.
Oooh, little bit of heartfelt romance eliciting some light "Aww"s and "Oh my"s between Audrey and this Anthony fellow. Makes me wonder how Horace knows Audrey, cause he seemed a little more than worried than let's say, if he were talking to Bastien instead. "Bastien wait!" the screen went black and Horace made a whimper, "Be safe..." - Not the same effect. And although that scene is incredibly funny in my head...did I just unknowingly open the gates of Hell to what could be Horace/Bastien slash? Dear God have mercy on my soul.
Interesting way to end the chapter and even more intrigue and questions now that this Zero fellow ended up where he ended up. But these inky creatures seem to show up here and there and I wonder if they have a connection to Kia...you know, cause they're inky? And she uses a stylus? Makes ya kinda woooonder...
Not you, cause you're the author. You already know what happens.
| Virage chapter 4 . 6/26/2014
A few clunky sentences here and there, mostly with double words or sentences that are too wordy and can be shortened with some well placed adjectives or adverbs:
"One of the walls was brick and the other walls were made of panels of wood, giving the kitchen a surprisingly homey and rustic feel, especially with the paintings of houses and sunflowers." - "One of the walls was brick but the rest were made of wood panels. It made the kitchen feel homey and rustic, especially the paintings of houses and sunflowers." - I took out "surprisingly" because nothing was shown or said to make the reader feel this particular kitchen should feel anything but rustic and homey. Though if all the appliances were digital and super techy it would make sense.
"She waited for him to sit down and slowly picked up a fork, watching Bastien watch her." - This maybe be stylized and you're using "watching Bastien watch her" on purpose, but if that's the case I would throw a comma after Bastien for dramatic effect. If not it should be cleaned up to "She waited for him to sit down and slowly picked up a fork. Bastien was watching."
I loved the whole scene with the food and dialogue that went with it. It's great to see a character expecting something and we as the reader expecting it as well, but then Bastien stops and just goes about cleaning stuff. Very telling of his character and the "I ain't that rude to disturb someone while they're havin' a meal" is gold. I wonder what it says about me that I could care less if someone is eating or not, I'd still ask them questions if I was that curious. And I'm absolutely positive Bastien is pretty curious to know what she was doing in the castle, among of things.
Interesting story about grits. I used to live in Mississippi so I was no stranger to the stuff. I eat grits with butter, salt, and pepper. It's good. My dad who lived in Philadelphia his whole life eats grits with sugar, cause he says it's like oatmeal. Never heard of anyone eating it with sugar.
"her hair going up into her hair" - first hair is supposed to be "hand" I gather.
"...she sliced through something she made a big eyed concerned face to herself..." very awkward sentence.
"...chance to style it." Bastien said... - comma instead of period. Very next sentence same thing.
"...Or a witch." At least he thinks she wasn't... - just a minor tense shift there.
Horace on the other hand couldn't help but feel a bit annoyed... - Looks like you might have cut and paste something and forgot to look it over.
.png file should just be PNG, like GIF and JPEG.
The whine of a siren could suddenly be heard, and it made him look up and around at his surroundings, but mainly it was Audrey who suddenly got up from her seat, the sound coming from her end of the line. - super clunky sentence. Needs to be shortened and possibly periodized. - A siren suddenly whined and he looked up and around. Audrey suddenly stood and Horace realized the noise was coming from her end.
POP! Sound - assuming autocorrect messed that up for ya but yeah, "Sound" should be lower cased.
Audrey quick turned, pulling her leg up as what looked like metal claws swiped at her and she slashed downward, pinning it. - Make that two sentences so its easier to read - Audrey quick turned, pulling her leg up as what looked like metal claws swiped at her. She slashed downward and pinned it.
So, I just had to rant here a bit since you used "mech" as an adjective. I'm very passionate about this. Typically mech is shorthand for mecha which encompasses all manner of humanoid shaped vehicles but is used most notably in reference to large war machines though smaller humanoid war machines exist as well. Power armor differs in that it is armor that is worn and operated like a suit and can either be all encompassing, like Ironman, or skeletal, like the ones in movie Elysium. The word you probably want to use is "mechanical" or "mechanized" or "powered." Slash end rant.
Mmm, so got to see a few new characters and I like them all. They are interesting and unique all with different personalities. I wish I could have seen what Charlie looked like since the assassin and Audrey were very well described. Some of the sentences in the action sequence were strangely worded but it was fine to read for the most part. The cliffhanger is great and I'd love to see what happened next. Touching the ring though man. That's a flag if I've ever seen one. On par with "After this battle, I'm going to ask my girl back home to marry me." Ah, its funny in a grimly humorous sort of way. Love me some dark humor. I hope Audrey, Charlie, and nameless assassin are all reoccurring characters in some form.
| Virage chapter 3 . 6/23/2014
Thank you so much for thanking me. It is tough to spend time doing a long review only to never hear back from the author. As long as you let me know you like them, I will keep doing them. But you're putting in a lot of effort to convey a story you clearly enjoy writing, so it's only fair I return the favor and put some effort in my reviews as well.
"STOP IN THE NAME OF-" and everything that proceeded made me laugh out loud. I don't remember if I every asked, but I was curious why you labeled this story as "manga." Whatever your reasons, know that when I run a spool of film in my head, putting everything you write onto a movie screen, because it is labeled manga, it will be animated. And this scene, I just imagined still shots in slow motion of the girl spearing him in the chest; her body rising in a slow forward roll, feet curling in and Bastien's body reeling back, sliding, tilting, with a look of horror on his face. Well, maybe I exaggerated that scene a little. I get the feeling this story is less Love Hina and more Witch Hunter Robin.
"It was an expression he was all too familiar with seeing and he looked behind her, seeing nothing down the hall." - I'd clean that up a bit to eliminate the second "seeing" word - "For Bastien, her expression was an all too familiar one. He looked behind her but saw nothing down the hall." Actually, I don't even like that fix either. I spent a few minute rearranging words but I can't get it right .
"Getting down on his knee beside her Bastien lifted her head up by gently holding her face" - There's something odd about that imagery. I'm trying to picture it and the best I can do is imagine him kneeling near her and lifting her chin, or cupping her cheeks...or something. Either way, it looks awkward in my head. Ahh, she has asthma, I can actually see him doing the cupping her cheeks thing to help clear her windpipe since holding her by the chin would force her mouth shut.
1080 HD? Ain't no true gamer doin' less than 1440 or 1600. Nah, I'm just kidding. *snickers*
"As she suddenly remembered how she had ended up running into him she jumped a little with a flail of her hands, "OH YEAH. We have to leave." she deadpanned at them, "Like now. Or, at least you guys do but I really don't wanna be here either." - Maybe it is closer to Love Hina than I thought. The sentence is working hard at trying to say something but I don't think its concise enough. "Or, at least you guys do" makes it sound like she's referring to something they had said to her but they didn't actually say anything. And "either" makes it sound like they said they didn't want to be there and she is agreeing. Did you mean something to the effect of "Or, maybe you guys wanna to stay here, but I really don't."
YEEEEEESSSSS. Irish made a joke about drinking. That put a big ole smile on ma face.
"It made the red head stare at Bastien with a serious face as he gestured towards the scene to make a point." 1 to the clumsy girl trait. And awesome follow up by Irish. I love your tiny scenes dripping with subtle humor. Moreso when its done without anyone saying a word.
"...almost black and his head did a subtle nod to Bastien." - Clunky sentence, easily fixed by shortening it "...almost black and he gave Bastien a subtle nod."
"...pointing it at the doorway..." - Used "At this point" already so I'd change "pointing" to "aiming" or "training" or "forcing" or any number of beautiful verbs to describe what one can do with a pistol in relation to an object down its sights.
"Run...!" she mouthed to him, pointing to the door and he just gave her a reassuring smile, rolling his sleeves up." - The use of quotations indicates she is shouting that phrase but I don't get the impression she is. Perhaps italics or single quotes would suffice? Also break up sentence and eliminate the first "and." - "[I]RUN[I/] she mouthed to him, pointing to the door. He just gave her a reassuring smile, rolling his sleeves up." Turns out italics don't work in reviews. Hence, the BBcode.
Hmmm alright, some confusion here. But first. "Dark hair draped down around a white face of a woman with a mouth full of sharp teeth screaming at him, her body could be seen dripping down the walls like black ink, thick and bubbling." - Clunky sentence, but here's my suggestion "Dark hair draped around the white face of a woman with a mouth full of sharp teeth screaming at him. Her body dripped down the walls like black ink, thick and bubbling." The word "draped" implies a downward direction so "down" is unnecessary. The second half of the sentence is very passive and wordy. Breaking it up into two sentences will give it better sentence flow.
But as for the confusion, you had the girl mouthing RUN to Bastien. Is Bastien the one who took out his moleskine and performed the whole spell casting thing? Cause at the end you mention the Librarian, like he suddenly started acting different when he could see the creature. Or did you mean for Horace to cast the spell and not Bastien. I noticed immediately after the break you say "Horace shouted another spell" indicating he had cast one previously. Also, if the creature is above them wouldn't it just drip straight down instead of sliding down the wall? Also also, I don't think that page break/border break is necessary since the scene is still taking place in the same time and location.
"...grow exhausted and sore, his mind going fuzzy and slowly going blank despite..." Sentence was too big to type whole and I was feeling lazy. I would break that up to something like "...grow exhausted and sore. His vision was fuzzy and his thoughts were fading despite..."
"Ah!" - "Are ye okay? Lass please say something-" and "Holy shit..." All lack dialogue tags. The "lass" in the second quote makes it obvious Horace is speaking, but the other ones aren't so obvious. Although you could argue that the third one is in the same paragraph as the girl's other quote "Oh my god... Oh my god I-I don't even know what happened!" her hands were shaking..." but there actually isn't a dialogue tag here. "her hands were shaking" is an action but is not indicative of who is speaking. You should be careful with these as this is a mistake many, many, OH SO MANY authors make. "Damn!" he laughed, "Oh no," he frowned, and "Too bad," he grinned, are actually terrible ways to imply speech. It is actually very hard to laugh words and one cannot frown and grin words into existence. I make this mistakes myself, but I'm getting better at avoiding them. Please keep this in mind for future reference. As you start to craft a writing style for yourself and begin seeking more serious critiques, seasoned editors and reviewers are going to notice the dialogue tags.
Oh Jesus Christ this review is long.
Okay, all in all another great chapter. Excellent descriptions and even better subtle interplay between the different characters. The way they react to each other, the difference in speech patterns and actions, its good to see both well rounded characters and vastly different personalities occupying the same setting. I love the characterization. The tension from the girl's point of view is offset by Horace's though. When she is scared, Horace and Bastien seem to be more leveled headed, so the monster isn't as creepy as it could be, which is fine. Not quite the oozing eeriness of chapter 1, but like I said, this will happen when you have multiple characters reacting differently to a situation. Still, it was kinda freeky.
And wow with what the girl did. Just, did not see that coming. I was getting a Witch Hunter Robin vibe for the most part until she did that thing with the pen and the stuff that just, wow. Surreal. It was very surreal. Monsters and spells aside, I was getting a feeling the story was sorta ground in a paranormal reality. So, this changes the dynamic of the story a little bit. I'll reserve judgment of course, but I'm really interested in reading why the girl could do what she did and whether or not is explained in any way. I 3 logic.
Great chapter, great characters, interesting setting, and great interactions. Looking forward to the next chapter. Sorry the review was so long.
| Virage chapter 2 . 6/22/2014
"Papers and books fell with him and the man quickly sat up, narrowly missing the edge of the desk he'd just fallen off of and adjusted his round glasses, pulling them off his face." Long sentence with a lot of action, but excellent use of commas there. You can probably break it up for better flow but I understood it completely and it wasn't confusing.
I'm digging the exasperated "Aaahhhhh..." I could see and hear that image so easily it's strange.
"He let himself in and leaned against the door frame, crossing his arms across his chest, covering the crest on his maroon vest." Lot of stuff going on here. Suggestion: "He let himself in and leaned against the door frame. Then he crossed his arms in front of his chest, covering the crest on his maroon vest." Lot of crossing and across and chests and crests. I know you can't really do much about it but wow, it was almost poetic. Still, I think you should break it up into two sentences.
I liked the "I'm so FREEEAKING lost..." quote and how she censored herself. I get the impression of someone who has a tendency to curse but like, made a new year's resolution to herself not to. We know she dropped an F-bomb in chapter one so to me, this just adds a teeny layer more of characterization as far as her personality is concerned.
This sentence confused me - "There was a sudden crumbled of stone and he froze, whipping the gun in the direction, as did Horace who raised the stone to check it." I think I know what you're trying to say but I need clarification. The sentence reads that Horace also has a gun, which wasn't mentioned. Does he carry a weapon too? I made an assumption earlier that Bastien had a gun because he was part of Tactical and sounded like the muscle of the field work, whereas Horace was Intel, and spent most of his time as a librarian or archiver. Does he also use weapons? Maybe I've just been watching too much Castle and the Mentalist though.
"Bastien stopped and slowly, he took a deep breath in, like he was smelling the air" - I have a feeling you left out a word.
Now for the good stuff. Ah, great characters, I love me some accents to add authenticity and color to a world that is otherwise filled with tedious, proper English speaking folk. And yes, I totally agree with the "Writing these accents gets really annoying after a while." I've done it in my own writing and when they have a lot of dialogue, it gets extremely tiring to make sure you're following the own rules you put down within their accent. Still, glad to see it and it adds some depth to these characters. Now all you need is for Horace to hit a bar with Bastien later to settle down and the authenticity will be complete. I bet your thinking "Wow that's prejudice" but honestly, I feel bad for the sober Irishman on a week night. It just means he's working overtime! [insert knee slap].
Ahh, where was I? Oh, so I think the story is implying that the nameless girl, the Irishman, and the Cajun are actually in the same locale, shown via castle-like descriptions in both narrated point of views. I giggled at the Last of Us reference. It's a little bit of a cop out by telling instead of showing, but you can also read that as characterization too. We get a sense that the woman probably views everything in her daily life as some video game she'd played before, which I find interesting and like. I would keep that reference and use said argument in case someone else doesn't like it. Cause honestly, the point of view for her is practically third person limited. So telling someone "It looked like the motel from the Walking Dead" is actually telling of the character even if it is just telling the setting.
I feel I digressed again, but I guess that's it. Good story. Virtually no plot...yet, but awesome characters so far. Great atmosphere, good details, and yeah, just some minor grammatical issues. I am definitely following and faving this. Can't wait for the next chapter.
| Guest chapter 1 . 6/22/2014
| Virage chapter 1 . 6/22/2014
Some minor grammatical errors and some suggestions for you:
"...she murmured, pushing herself away from her desk and turned in it, kicking her legs out to stretch them." - There's a lot going on in that sentence and I would break it up to make the actions clearer "...she murmured, pushing herself away from her desk while turning in her chair. Then she kicked her legs out to stretch them." Just something to that effect. Otherwise the pronouns get confusing.
Later in the chapter there's another confusing pronoun - "...and reached out to her knife block, gripping the smooth black edge of one of them." Them is unclear from the writing although common sense dictates it is referring to a knife. Since using the word knife again will sound cumbersome, I would change "them" to "the blades" or "the cutting utensils." Something to that effect.
"A hand grabbed her, gripping her knife arm tight and she tried to pull it back yelling, and when it wasn't budging she held her stylus tight and stabbed it at the hand." - Lot going on in that sentence and you should probably break it up "A hand grabbed her, gripping her knife arm tight, and she tried to pull it back while yelling. When it didn't budge she squeezed her stylus and stabbed at the hand."
"A loud, high pitched hissing was heard as white punctures were leftover from the wounds and it let her go" is also kind of clunky, and it's passive as well. Something to the effect of "She heard a loud, high pitched hissing and saw white pictures leftover from the wounds. The hand let her go."
"Looking down at her feet, she saw a light was coming from behind her and she turned to see her fireplace pooling with a white light, almost like a tunnel." Another long sentence with three of the same pronouns in it. Could be broken up into "Looking down at her feet, she saw a light coming from behind and turned. It came from the fireplace, pooling with a white light, almost like a tunnel."
The writing, despite my suggestions, is actually pretty solid. This is the first story in a while that I've seen that didn't have misused words, misspellings, incorrect grammar and all that nonsense. Some of the sentences are unnecessarily long and can be broken up to create better flow, but that just my opinion on sentence structures. This was a good, easy to read, read.
The atmosphere you created was stellar. Fantastic. It was so good, that while I was reading it on my phone in the total darkness of my back yard, I decided to pause and read it one line at a time, scrolling very slowly as I read. I absolutely didn't want to ruin anything with my wandering eyes, jumping ahead to bold words later in the page. That created so much more suspense and yes, it freaked me out a little. Cause I have a big backyard with lots of trees and very little lighting.
The character, whose name I do not believe was disclosed, was well characterized by the details of her apartment. I gather that she's a gamer. A modern gamer at that. Lots of the newest, latest titles, which makes me a little sad, it would have been fun to see if she was quirky and also had a Super Nintendo with retro games or something, but that's just me fantasizing. Either way, a gamer and a writer, even better. Also, fucking kudos to you for never mentioning her name once. I just realized why you had so many pronouns. And other than the sentences that could be shortened, I never even noticed she didn't have a name. The narration flowed so naturally it just didn't occur to me she was nameless the whole time. Bravo.
The chapter was pretty short but served as a great introduction to events that would surely unfold in coming chapters. I have all kinds of questions and can't wait to find the answers. I do have one little logic problem. Why was the mysterious text saying "Help me" as if it needed help then warned her instead as if she was the one that needed help? I guess it doesn't really bother me, maybe that was intentional, but it would make me a little sad if you were just milking "Help me" to create tension and atmosphere. Which, it definitely worked, I was very tense while reading the chapter. But logically it still bothers me. Maybe it will get esplained later iunno.
But great chapter and great story so far!
| JaDeCe chapter 2 . 6/22/2014
Wonder what it could be! Nice cliff hanger! That girl surely is taking being lost somewhere after she'd jumped 'through' a fireplace well! I wouldve freaked out!
| JaDeCe chapter 1 . 6/22/2014
... Wow! During the whole computer scene I had to continue looking around mi own surrounding I was so creeped out! This first chapter got me hooked! And what was up with the black hands! Good job and keep it up!