Reviews for The Paradise Tower
Timbo Slice chapter 4 . 12/9/2014
While this was a relatively short chapter I did like the phone conversation between Wes and Claire because they felt natural in their tones and the conversation flowed realistically from subject to subject. There was also some nice character driven dialogue present in the phone conversation that offered good insight into the characterizations of Claire and Wes like Wes's indecisiveness and Claire's perceived stubbornness. Humorous little bits about how Wes is "uncreative" in bed also!

I can't say the dream sequence was the most hookiest of cliff hangers but to me it kind of spells the beginning for something more ominous to come, a premonition of him killing Amy perhaps? Props to Wes for finally starting that first chapter though!
Timbo Slice chapter 3 . 12/8/2014
I haven't read this in a while so it's refreshing to catch up a little with it. First of all I love the character of Amy and how you switched things around to make this chapter from her POV. She has such sensuous yet devilish intent for Wesley that it's hard to figure her out as friend or foe but you do a great job of painting her as a seductress with her subtle mannerisms and her insistence on Wesley drinking

What I also liked was something I mentioned in an earlier review and that's the subtle undertones of something being "off" in this supposed paradise and that was highlighted brilliantly with her almost obsessive need for "fresh meat". At first I thought she was just being all psycho bitch wants her "meat" but now with Zachary popping up it makes me wonder if there is some sort of system for dealing with new people at the resort. It's jut a strange and almost disturbing way of which they talk about the fresh meat, almost as if they mean it literally...

Great chapter!
Cheddar-Graham chapter 2 . 12/8/2014
For the Review Game, Easy Fix

Oh hey, you did have some internal remarks like I brought up. Cool! We're in sync.

So anyway, I like how you show us that things are not completely fine between Wesley and Claire through the way that their conversation degenerates from the 'sweet' opening to the hanging up. I get the idea that Claire is mostly the one at fault, and Wesley is being tolerant of her because of some kind of sense of gratitude.
I'm intrigued by why the apartment management provides binoculars to its residents. I like the realism of Wesley's reaction, the mixture of fascinated voyeurism and uneasy moral reprimand. Maybe he could also relate the experience to Claire somehow, since she is apparently weighing quite a bit on his mind.
Finally you indicated to us in your A/N that one of the people in the garden is a MC, but perhaps you could show this through the narrative itself, eg by having Wesley dream about her or some such thing.
Cheddar-Graham chapter 1 . 12/8/2014
For the Review Game, Easy Fix

I like how you let us into the MC's head with the italicized thoughts. So even though this is a third person POV, I don't have to interpret everything myself.
I think you did give us quite a lot of clues to indicate the 'rich and exclusive' nature of the place, but I was thinking why don't you just go the whole hog and have him make more suitable internal remarks like "Just a touch shy of tasteless. I suppose for the money I'm paying they can't give anything less showy than that."
Finally I think the name of Paradise Towers is just the kind of label that would be used for the place by developers. In order to back that up, you could have a tagline/motto whatever of some kind like "Heaven on earth" or some other cheesiness.
Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 8 . 11/8/2014
So I was going to wait until you claimed Multi-chap or updated again, or we decided to have a review trade, but to be honest, I just felt like reviewing now, AND your story is among one of my top faves in the games/on this sites :3 So I hope you don't mind :D

Writing: Let's start off with this. It's all bloody fantastic writing, because nothing seems overflouous or unnecessary, but instead each sentence seems to weigh heavily on the plot and each words is carefully chosen, punctuating the importance of everything being said here. What I mean to say is that your writing is technically very good, without being stilted or losing the emotional edge. It still comes across as emotionally raw when you dip into Wesley's feelings regarding Claire or his wondering about his nightmares. But there are also no rough tones, and I appreciate how readable your prose is because of that. I also like how minimalistic the style is, while still paying attention to very important details. For this chapter, more so than before, I just felt that there was a very realistic edge to the prose; it sounded so much like something, I'd experience in real life, just because of how you managed to get all the little moments between a conversation across – the brief silences, the awkward and forced smiles. I also liked how you described the effect that drinking has on in the morning – again very realistic :3 Haha, will stop now, because I'm a big fan of the prose :D Also, your writing style is very light – that makes it even more intriguing.

Dialogue: I'd have put this together with writing style, but since we have our category for this, okay :D What can I say? Your dialogue is very, very good. It's so good in fact that I'd consider it some of the best I have read in a long time. Not only does it sound real or pinpoint little character quirks (like Nathan rambling or Emmett talking about his law firm all the time), but it's very, very plot-relevant. I like how each conversation here seems to add to the characterisation and also helps to flesh out Wesley further: like making him realise that he's not ready to marry Claire, and why. I also like how in both cases, it fleshes out Nathan and the old couple further. In the case of Nathan, we get the feeling that he's a helpful soul, but also has some agenda of his own in mind (his words, the way he seems to read Wesley so well) seem to suggest that he's good at manipulating. With the elderly couple, they come across as friendly and conservative, but the way their conversation seems to hint at Wesley's insecurities is quite unconcerting too (the way he doesn't want to settle down, the way he feels bad about being a writer but still has pride in his work …). I also like how the dialogue between him and Cecilia in the end seems so 'random' on the surface, but hints at deeper tensions underlying the Tower. It's all very good, and I love how you the move the plot along through the heavy emphasis on the dialogue.

Character: I feel like we've learnt even more about Wesley here: he's insecure and non-confrontational, and I think that's why he might have dreamt about killing off Amy. It was his way of coping with pent-up frustration and aggression. He certainly does seem to bottle down his feelings a lot, as suggested in his interactions with Emmett and Cecilia. Both, but especially Cecilia, give him unwarranted advice, and instead of telling them to sod off, he just lets it happen, which again suggests that he would rather shy away from conflict. I cannot help thinking that this will all implode one day, AND that in a much bigger way, everyone in this chapter is plotting against him to bring out his real desires. Especially Nate, in his scene about dreams revealing forbidden desires, seems to have an agenda: to make Wesley confront whatever he is running away from. I know it's early to speculate, but Nate just seems like such a charming schemer. Even if not, I do like how you depict him as this charming bartender who drops off advice, and seems to be the only friend Wesley has made so far. Overall, I must say I really like your characterisation: they're all very intriguing. Oh, I haven't said much about the couple yet, but like with Nate, I suspect that there is more to them than meets the eye :P

Relationship: I don't like Claire, and I think she's the wrong woman for Wesley. I feel that this chapter really confirmed my thoughts in regards to that. Sure, Wesley is fooling himself into thinking that he loves her, but if he also finds himself wondering in the same breath, if he's the man who can give her what she needs, then there is something off with their relationship. More than that, he also asks himself if she is the woman who can love him. I just feel, furthermore, that they have been unhappy for a while – Wesley's realising that the older couple seem happier than they are really suggests that ): If anything, I feel he's been trapped by this bad relationship, and is only with Claire because it's what is expected of her. He seems obliged to marry her, because it would be the right thing. But I also feel that marrying her would mean that he'd have to sacrifice everything he is for her, and then get a right job, because she would never be able to accept him for what he is :/ So yeah, I cannot help thinking that this is a very bad relationship that only makes both parties feel very miserable :/

SIGH JUST BREAK UP WITH CLAIRE ALREADY, WESLEY keyboard smash
TaliaRed chapter 9 . 11/2/2014
First off, I found the part about the little kid/toddler thing rather interesting. Yeah, I did get the impression that he really liked the idea of being famous. The thing about Wesly being accepted is fine, it makes sence that he would want to be around people closer to his own age. I can't wait for the next chapter, this story is really interesting to me.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 10/13/2014
Hey there, Toot! Grats on getting third place in Review Marathon! Here's your winning review. :)

In answer to your questions:

1.) I did get that impression, yes. I actually just moved to a town pretty similar to this, where there's just one 2-mile long strip of every fast food place you can think of, and then nothing but trees for miles and miles on either side. So I immediately started thinking about where I live now when you began describing the town and the tower and everything.

2.) I also got this impression, yes. Mainly from the type of car Wesley drives and how the one man who tapped on his window reacted when they were looking at the tower in the distance. Also, the tower itself sounds really fancy, especially the condo with the Persian rugs.

3.) No, I think the italics are fine. I'm pretty sure it's the norm in third-person to italicize the character's thoughts anyways. Plus it helps with differentiating which are his thoughts and which are the narrator's words.

4.) The Paradise Tower is cool. The whole vibe surrounding it so far feels kinda surreal and a bit weird, like there's something off about the tower itself...maybe something creepy. It makes me think of Hotel California, lol. You can go in, but you'll never leave. And I think the name "The Paradise Tower" helps reinforce that type of eerie atmosphere. Is it really a paradise? Or is it the opposite?

I'm really enjoying this style, Toot! I think your writing has fleshed out a lot throughout these past few years. I think you have just the right amount of detail too. Not too much but not too little, plus you're really good at balancing it with the dialogue. Also, showing vs telling - you're really good at that. But while I'm on it, there is one suggestion I have with the telling vs showing:

There are some places where you can show more instead of tell. Or, well, it's not really showing more than telling, but more eliminating the telling because you end up showing right after it anyway. I read an article once that called them "thesis sentences," and while at the time I didn't fully understand it, after going through and taking them out of my own stuff I get it a lot better now. I'll use an example to show you what I mean.

"He found himself enjoying the room, his foot easing on and off the pedal as he played around with the speed, his left arm lazily hanging out the window as the hot air brushed up against it."

So, breaking down this sentence, the "He found himself enjoying the room" is telling and the rest of the sentence is showing. If you wanted to, you could take out that first part and just stick with the showing: "He eased his foot on and off the pedal as he played around with the speed, his left arm lazily hanging out the window as the hot air brushed up against it." You just go right into the scene and action itself without giving us a telling sentence (or a "thesis sentence") first. Personally, I don't mind thesis sentences, but they do help in tightening up the prose and I would try to use them sparingly just because telling us what's happening and then showing it right after can sometimes be redundant, especially if that telling isn't needed (sometimes it is). Plus I tend to write over my word limits, so these thesis sentences are something I'd want to look out for just to give myself more wiggle room. For you they may not be as big a deal.

After going back through and reading a chapter after taking out these thesis sentences in my own writing, I do think it reads better and it's less cluttered. Plus it comes off as more of a surprise, I guess, since the reader will be piecing together the information themselves (like here, that Wesley is enjoying his leisurely drive instead of being really nervous or tense or something) instead of being told it.

Hope that all makes sense. Let me know if you'd like some more clarification or if you had any other questions. :) Also, if you're still working on this, you should totally email it to me as a pdf. I want to keep reading and I'd love to give you some more feedback, but I'd really prefer doing it in a pdf (or Mic. Word) file because it's a lot easier. Plus I noticed some typos here and there, and I'd love to help you out and proofread it for you too. Just let me know in Skype if you're interested and I can give you my email. :D
deadaccount2019 chapter 6 . 10/6/2014
I think you chose a good cutoff point on the previous chapter. It allows a quick change of scene without needing filler to help transition from one place to the next, and the starting point of this chapter didn't feel jarring. The one thing I would suggest is to introduce Regina and Otis's names while they're pulling into the drive way, as the absence of the names felt off.

Reaction time: Otis using Regina's addiction to get her to come inside made me scared for her to the point that I felt a bit sick. This is a very good thing imo, because as horrific as it is inciting a reaction in the reader is what keeps them hooked, good or bad. What really makes it punchy is that it is such an honest portrayal of what happens IRL, especially in those who are in a position that makes them easily manipulated. I don't know whether anything will actually happen, I'm kind of nervous to find out, but there's almost a *need* to know what happens next (well, beyond how Regina's arrival will tie in with Wesley's plot, of course).

My first though regarding Regina pushing drugs was "Why?" Generally criminal organizations place non-users in charge of drugs to prevent the pushers from using up the products, and even in individual cases the most profittable (and usually the hardest to catch) pushers are non-users. What I do find interesting is that Marcus would trust Regina with weapons, given the elevated risk of something going wrong (accidentally shooting a client in a sale, etc.,) but I have somewhat limited knowledge when it comes to illegal weapon market. In any case, Marcus's motives regarding drug trafficking are pretty clear for anyone with some general knowledge of it, and I thought you did a good job demonstrating it and including Regina's frustration with the decision.
deadaccount2019 chapter 5 . 10/6/2014
Something I noticed immediately in this chapter is that the writing feels so much fuller, in terms of narrative. There's more attention given to setting and the character's actions, and the overall atmosphere just seems to shine through more vividly than previous chapters. I'm not sure whether this is simply a matter of playing up Regina's alertness to go with her addiction, or simply getting more comfortable with the writing, but I have to say that this chapter more than others felt more complete.

Little habits are awesome ways to bring life to characters, and the nose-rubbing for Regina works very well. I didn't feel like it was over done, and it's a good, subtle way of bringing light to character traits. Something else you could do, if you are ever concerned about overusing a habit, you can also add other habits, but not address them in the narrative until another character mentions it (ex: two people have a long conversation, and towards the end one asks about the other nail-biting, THEN address it in the narrative so that the reader is as surprised as the biter, who didn't know they were doing it.) It's not something I felt you need to include here (the nose rubbing is just fine), but it's an option if you're ever uncertain. :)

I can't really comment on the realism of Regina's reaction to the hit of cocaine, as I don't know anything about it. The decision to join the couple in the stall does seem to line up with impulsive behavior brought on by some drugs. What I found most interesting about the scene was the parallel between taking the hit and foreplay. It really helped build the tone of the scene.

Otis comes across as almost a has-been pimp, at least in the way he interacts with Regina. He has his mind made up about her worth, and the entire time I was expecting him to make a move on her (though it's not surprising that he let her address the matter; it seems like somewhat of a cowardly shit). Regina clearly knows what to expect from him, so the fact that she shows up even though she hates him definitely shows that from her side of things, they are only associated through obligation.
deadaccount2019 chapter 4 . 10/6/2014
You do a great job characterizing his selfish trait. Instead of an obvious "me, me, me" tone, he comes across as unaware of his attitude, which makes the selfishness feel a lot more natural. He also isn't without some sympathy. Although it's certainly not the best way to operate in a relationship, it's understandable that if he bought the condo with only his earnings and savings, there would be an expectation that he can do what he want with said money. Of course, that shows a level of immaturity on his part where relationships are concerned, but it compliments his characterization very well.

For his mood on the phone, I mostly got the feeling he was bored and frustrated. He actually reminded me a lot of trying to talk to my husband about business matters, particularly when he wants to be doing something else (usually video games). He does have some internal rambly moments showing that he's not as committed to what he thinks as he wants to be. In a way, it feels more like a lack of confidence than mixed emotions.

For the dream, I have slightly mixed feelings. The biggest drawback that popped into my head is that this is the second instance where it's a female character that's being abused. Personally I don't have an issue with its presence because this is being told primarily from a heterosexual man's perspective, so it's only logical that he's going to witness/dream of female characters in primalistic circumstances, but the recurance does pose the possibility of SJWs reading way too much into it and getting all offended.

Outside of that, I love the dual-purpose of the dream. It's a much more natural way to introduce Wesley to "the dark side", as it were, while also feeding his initial motive (writing a book). Also, the tone doesn't feel quite as horrific or disturbing as I would have expected, but I think that helps boost the dreamy feel of it. Sometimes we dream nasty stuff, and it isn't until after we wake up that it bothers us. Taking that route with Wesley feels a lot more organic than him just waking up all freaked out and stuff, and makes his future much less easy to predict.
TaliaRed chapter 7 . 9/29/2014
Your style of writing is really, really good. And I think that you have a really good basis for your story, I'm really hooked of the air of mystery that you have going on in this story. And I like how you make the characters so individual.
Anters chapter 1 . 9/25/2014
I appreciate a writer who writes outside of their typical style. It perpetuates growth. For someone who does not write detail as much, you have an acceptable amount in this chapter that kept the chapter flowing smoothly.

I think you did a fine job in your goals of describing a touristy village secluded from the rest of California's city lifestyles (in my head I was thinking something similar to Lake Tahoe: a highly sought out destination up in the forested mountains that lack the "typical Californian" atmosphere.) Little tid-bits of information scattered in your chapter also help to establish the wealth of tenants of Paradise Tower.

Your italics don't read as bothersome whatsoever. To me at least, I immediately think the character is thinking when it is in italics, so if anything, it is welcomed.

I really liked your use of the cell phone to introduce us to Clair as well. In one text message and a few extra thoughts you gave us little implications of her character without us actually meeting or seeing her character whatsoever. One of her most virtuous qualities that I already can tell is she really cares about Wesley.

There was one grammatical error I wanted to point out: cows have udders, not utters. ;)

Great introduction! I will definitely be reading more.
Orgaya chapter 5 . 9/24/2014
To answer your questions:

1. I didn't even notice.
2. It helped the eerie atmosphere.
3. Like they are siblings.

Plot - Much more intriguing now with more and more characters being introduced. I also like how it is much darker, and the themes of sex and aggression are becoming more prevalent. Although is it just me or does this chapter seem to be taking a cue from Pulp Fiction...?

Characters - Both are interesting. I like that Otis seems intelligent and curious about what's happening around him. Regina seems like a very believable character as well, in that she just accepts things as they are and hates taking bullshit. I'm beginning to look forward to when all of these characters meet and interact for the first time.

Relationships - Otis and Regina seem like brother and sister to me, which would make this chapter even creepier. Again, things are just starting, so I can't really say much yet. So far everything seems believable and justified. Sorry if this isn't helpful, but right now you are on a good track.

Final thoughts - I'm looking forward to seeing where this is all headed.
Orgaya chapter 4 . 9/24/2014
To answer your questions:

1. Yes, but it didn't help that everything Claire was saying was immensely selfish.
2. Yes again, but also again, it didn't help that Claire had him gripped by the balls so hard his brain didn't have the focus to give elsewhere.

Characters - If you can't already tell, I HATE CLAIRE. She is like some sort of unholy abomination created from my mother and my ex girlfriend. Two traits I can't stand in people: single-minded autocracy and manipulative jealousy. I related a little too well with Wesley here, but at this point, man, is he whipped! This chapter severely whipped up a ton of emotions in me... meaning that it's really good. I like not liking Claire.

Plot - Normally I would put this first, but I wanted to get my disdain of Claire off my chest. Anyway. It's too early to tell, but I'm guessing his relationship with Claire is going to be some sort of catalyst to assimilate Wesley into the atmosphere of the tower. Maybe. I also like the dream sequence; very bizarre, and it shows more of that aggressive/sexual behaviors we have as animals. It does indeed showcase the tower's effects.

Relationships - At this point I am hoping for two things. One, Claire gets her shit together and realizes that not every single thing has to revolve around her, or two, Wesley gets a fucking clue and breaks up with her. Take this is as my investment in the story, because as of right now, I really, really want to see how this plays out.

Pace - Going to sleep in the early afternoon and waking up later in the night, very relatable. Nothing to do with the pacing, just didn't know where to put it. Anyway, the pacing, as always, is right where I like it. Slow and gradually revealing. Nothing more to say!

Final thoughts - Man, fuck Claire.
Orgaya chapter 3 . 9/24/2014
Amy is a psycho.

Anyway.

Plot - I'm still very much enjoying this story. I adore mysteries that aren't kicked off with a murder, and all of the subtle hints that there is something going on with this tower just makes reading this much more intriguing. I also like this new idea, that the tower is in fact "calling" people to it. For this specific chapter, though, we also get a glimpse into some of the twistedness of the tenants... and I would be gleeful if this "game" was only a minor part of it, having only to do with the specific characters and providing only a piece to the whole.

Characters - You cheated. The main character, a writer? Please. Submitting that to a website where writers congregate automatically means that everyone will stick to him without any thought. In any case, we now have a new character, Amy, who, as I said above, is a psycho. I really enjoyed how she saw everything - literally nothing more than a chess game. Her personality, emotions, actions, they all mean nothing; she is merely setting her pieces in place, creating a strategy to defeat her opponent. This is, I assume, Zachary, who I don't have an opinion for yet. I liked him groping Amy, as that further demonstrates the bizarre nature of this place.

Relationships - In this chapter we mainly see the relationship between Wesley and Amy, the former of which I assume just sees the latter as a nice lady who showed him around. Amy, of course, sees him as a pawn. Their conversation played right into my paranoia that no one really wants to hear anything about your writing fetish, so that was amusing. Not much more to say at this point, since it is just starting.

Pace - Seems fine to me. I'm more a fan of slower paced stories, so the fact that this is taking its time immersing the reader in its world rather than shoving the plot in our faces is appealing. I also like that we learn things as the character does.

Good chapter, setting things up for... well, I have no idea. Theory so far: this is a Babylon Tower and the owners are trying to reach Godhood through euphoria.
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