|Reviews for White Privilege|
| Ventracere chapter 3 . 10/21/2015
Oohoo. I don't know much about Dex, but I like him right from the get go. He's incredibly relatable easy to to picture as someone that I could be sitting next to in class. He's got this down to earth feel despite his panic attack surge in the beginning. The way he deals with his ass of a roommate is kind of heartwarming. I don't even have anything to say about Pete. There are a lot of choice words that I have for him, but you've characterized him pretty well in the sense that there are a lot of people who, unfortunately, think like him.
Dex and his relationship with Andrew isn't very steady isn't it? Andrew, for good reason, is a bit wishy-washy considering his spotlight within the college and his situation in general. I'm not going to lie, I kind of want to know what pushed Dex to go up to him and say they want to be partners. Andrew was wary of him from the start and he had every right to be. I'm kind of glad that Dex was able to prove him wrong at most turns, to make him calm down a bit. It's also nice that Andrew doesn't dramatize his situation beyond just trying to lie low. There were so many way s for you to make this more dramatic than you did - instead, you put the situation into the back of the piece and let the growth of the two of them take the forefront of the chapter.
Setting - this is kind of chapter/story I want to be able to write when it comes to college. You don't make the setting feel made up, that we're just looking at a stage. No, you make it feel like we're actually in the college, an actual part of the setting, listening into Dex and Andrew's conversations. You don't overemphasize where they are, you don't make the college or the lecture hall cliche, with all the descriptions. Instead, you let the plot drive the imagination instead. Thanks for that, really. Makes it easier to focus on what is happening.
Dialogue: I think this is the strongest I've seen you write your dialogue yet. And I LOVED it. Everything read naturally and the emotion carried through. I'm usually incredibly nit-picky when it comes to dialogue tags, but the dialogue was fantastic. If you did have some trouble with them, I didn't/wouldn't have noticed since you kept me entranced with their conversation. Every time they spoke, I wanted to know what Dex or Andrew had to say. I wanted to know what Dex was going to say to get Andrew to work with him, to trust him. I wanted to see how Dex was going to react to his unreliable roommate. In other words, it was great!
Thanks for the read :)
| alicedreaming chapter 1 . 8/8/2015
Hahaha omg Landon is so absurd yet adorable
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 3 . 8/7/2015
Oh damn. I was going to read this one after exams D: I forgot, I totally forgot! I'm sorry ;_; And now I see that I've missed a real marvel and treat for a story, but that's cool - I got to read it now! :D I don't know where to start, so I'll just ramble, if that's fine with you :) But I totally heart this, and I just want to tell you that I'm really, really glad I finally caught up with this :3
So … plot, I must say I totally wasn't expecting this, considering just that 'White Privelige' up till now has been more about social issues than shaming and people being scumbugs (in a more general way). But I don't find that, as you state, the change is jarring. If anything, I find the change very interesting, especially because it seems far more relatable than anything else I've actually read by you? Maybe it's only because Dex's uni life is a bit of a replica of my own (well, I was part of the LGBT society in my uni, and well, porn and scandals were part of the norm, and I know people like the ones you describe here). Maybe it's also that I just can relate with the issues described here: heartbreak, and isolation and not giving into bullshit, because bullshit will always just be that. Also, it's also just a personal preference: I like stories about gay porn stars, I'm huge on sexual issues, and I feel that you handled all of this very well and respectfully :D (There were also parts that were just immensely hot :D). Hmm, what else just want to say is that, while this plot touches on a lot of issues (including one heavy backstory), it doesn't actually seem heavy to me. I think that's because you manage to touch on the issues just enough so that it's relevant and important, but don't waste too much time on introspection and drama, so that it remains 'light' (can't really think of a better word; it's still tangible and affects the reader's emotions, so I'm not saying that the plot is dimissable or something that I can just not think about). I just wanted to say that it doesn't seem like 'too much' for a one-shot, though honestly? I do want more. I really got invested into this story, from beginning to end, because the plot is honestly enjoyable in a non-cliche, realistic way that touches on a lot of tropes very successfully. It's not fluff, it doesn't end easily and there's enough open-endededness to the ending that I feel there could be room for more exploration. Okay, okay: I just loved this – because the plot was relevant (touching on critical issues such as shaming, sexuality and prejudices), and fun too (because of how unapologetic Andrew was, because of how he and Dex just flowed towards each other). I think it was a very, very real story to me on many levels :D I also liked how you added backstories – Kwame's cheating (how dare he? D:) and Andrew's home story; it didn't seem forced, and I think it explained a lot.
I loved, loved the characters, especially Andrew. He seems like such an asshole at first, but I feel that, the more layers were revealed, the more awesome he was. No, he's not openly vulnerable, and I do feel it's a bad idea to get romantically involved with him, because he's standoffish and he doesn't treat people well (ignoring someone for a while like he did towards the end? Nope). But I like that: he's not pretending to be someone he isn't (not anymore, or he never was?), and I feel that's a lot more honest than some of the other people in this story. Like Pete, for example. I like how Dex himself highlights this, saying that Pete is one of those people who is liberal but isn't, because he's uncomfortable with the very prospect of being liberal when pushed outside of his comfort zone. It doesn't necessarily make Pete unlikeable, but it also just stresses how some people in real life are hypocrites. And that's very realistic. Anyhow, back to Andrew: he's someone who sleeps around, and would cheat, but I also think that his honesty is very refreshing. I don't feel he's going to play a saint ever, and that makes him different from Kwame who cheated on Dex because he felt that was the right thing to do (how dare he?). Anyhow, I really like Andrew: he's got those hints of vulnerability that make me want to hug him, and wonder what he's like when he loses that facade of fratboy persona. I think he's got a lot going on about him, and I can see just why Dex is so attracted. Andrew is someone who's never going to openly break, but that doesn't mean he hasn't got any feelings (like I feel he was trying to protect Dex from himself mabye?). I also like how he teases and taunts XD.
Anyhow enough about him: I really loved Dex too, for the simple reason that I can reflect on heartbreak, and how that kind of anger re: heartbreak makes you burn up from inside with anger. I like how he's trying not to let this rule his life, but I also feel that he's no longer got any fucks left to give. I like that: it makes him more raw, more honest towards others too. I like that he no longer lets people do as wish with him; he's got integrity and strength, without losing his innocence or sense of right or wrong. I was really proud of him in this story, especially for seeking Andrew out in the first place :D
Moving on: relationships! I obviously ship the hell out of Andrew and Dex. I didn't think I would – I really loved Dex and Kwame in the first few installments, but now that I heard what Kwame did D: … I can't. I just feel that it's unforgiveable, especially because Kwame doesn't seem to feel sorry. I am not saying that Andrew is a lot better, and yet I sense that there could be some room for a good relationship here? I think that's because Andrew pushes Dex in a way no one else has before (Kwame did too, but not like this; I think Dex imitated Kwame, rather than doing something out of his own choice. Andrew pushed Dex before Dex even knew him properly). I like that, because I feel that Dex is at crossroads where he needs that kind of push and challenge; his opinions and even his own character is shifting, and he needs someone who can help him become stronger and prouder. I feel Andrew is that person, because of how he defies conventionality and how he himself pursued his own destiny – maybe arrogantly but he's not ashamed of it, and I feel that Dex needs to be more like this too. Haha, what I'm trying to say is that I definitely this relationship could benefit Dex (even if it has its dangers: Andrew is not a person who will commit, and he could break Dex's heart … XD). I'm not saying that this relationship should necessarily be some love forever kind of thing, but I think a hook-up between them is interesting. I don't think it's just Dex that would benefit: Andrew needs someone who can give him affection, and Dex can. Also Dex didn't judge him, and I can already see how Andrew opened up to Dex in a way he never did before … :D Also, the chemistry between them is just so awesome (I nearly melted during the kiss scene, and during that one scene where Dex watched Alex's porn and …). I am just tying to sa that you write them really well. You sold it for me. I want them to be happy and have kittens forever. Because I'm a hopeless romantic :P
I was going to talk about the ending, but I'd rather just talk about the scenes I LOVED. Obviously, the scene where Andrew just straight out forced Dex to admit his attraction was amazing. It was kind of dangerous and OMG a bit uncomfortable even, because Andrew is so straightforward and Dex isn't (he's shy and a bit inexperienced, and you make us relate so well to him), but I think it played out beautifully. It was mostly because of how Andrew pushed Dex so … sexily (his dialogue, his mannerisms), and how Dex pretty much melted. While the kiss didn't happen immediately, I loved the near kiss that was interrupted before the real kiss happen: it was nicely described and HOT. Also the actual kiss: it was just so hot, the result of a build-up that lasted the entire story and just came together beautifully. Also, you just wrote it so well XD. Speaking of writing well, the scenes where Dex checked out Andrew's porn or just watched Andrew were very sensual and made me want ACTUAL SMUT because you are just so good with tension and details that make one year for more :3 Okay, I am rambling XDD I have nothing. I LOVED THIS. YOU NEED TO WRITE MORE
Oh um. I also loved the scene where Dex offered to pair up with Andrew? It was unexpected and epic, given how he had said he would avoid the guy XD I also just liked how he tried to argue why it would work and so forth – it was awkward but also pretty awesome of him. I'm so proud of my boy.
XD Okay! I am done. Thank you for this read :)
| BeeSkeez chapter 3 . 8/3/2015
Oh my God, I think everything about this is incredible. To be honest, I often find I don't enjoy slash or romance generally just because I usually find it's pretty poorly written, but I absolutely loved your story. I have nothing bad to to say about it.
The way you wrote Dex was incredibly engaging. He is the most realistic character I've ever read - so flawed, what with being so angry all the time, but then so kind deep down. The way he dealt with the Andrew situation and refusing to look at the porn, and everything (at first anyway haha) was quite lovely. He just really came to life; he felt like people I know, rather than just some random character.
Definitely have to say the plot is entirely unique too. I have never read a story with a similar plot, and the funny thing is, from reading the description I would've thought I would hate it, but I absolutely loved it (which is a total testament to how good you are at writing). The slow-burn kind of thing that was going on, where the relationship developed, right from Andrew being sunglasses guy, to Dex being a bit infatuated towards the end there. I just love everything about this relationship, it felt really realistic to me. A lot of the time I find that's hard to achieve in romance, because things get rushed, but I thought this was perfectly paced.
The opening was quite charming. Honestly, it wasn't the particular content that hooked me, but more that I could see from the beginning that you knew how to write slightly quirky characters, and I wanted to see where you were going to go with it. You have a great way of incorporating unconventional, or colloquial elements into your story, which makes the writing feel so much more natural. Like the early discussion with Dex getting annoyed at people and everyone telling him to chill out seemed so authentic (sorry I keep saying your story seemed real or authentic, that's just what I really loved about it!).
I thought your dialogue was flawless. I like that your characters hold back with speech - they don't say everything they want to, or have giant rants about things, they just kind of use words sparingly. Sometimes they don't say what they mean, or when it's someone else speaking, maybe Dex doesn't quite know what they mean or why they're saying that. I love that because (once again) that's so true to how people actually speak. No one gets up and has a giant rant about all of their feelings, or spills their life story, unless they're drunk haha.
Basically, in case this wasn't already clear, I thought that was fantastic, and your story is beautiful. For some reason I struggled to accurately convey what it was that I loved about your story in this review, I'm not sure why but I'm sorry about that. I adored it, but I found it difficult to put into words why i felt that way. Anyway, you're very very talented and I can't wait to read more.
| Virtuella chapter 3 . 6/20/2015
You always manage to write such interesting things! Detailed and astute portrays of modern moral dilemmas. Pete, for example, with his “liberal guilt.” And the feminist groups and the minority organizations who cannot make up their mind how to respond when the victim does not fit their templates - yes, I can just about see that. And Dex sums is up so eloquently and succinctly: “I'm not here to affirm anyone's ideological notion of how good and progressive they are.”
It is so true about the philandering. “Kwame was adamant that it was all some white supremacist tactic to destroy a great legacy and not worth bringing up.” Well, he is wrong. I had the same situation with my boyfriend at uni, both of us being white, and me disagreeing that sleeping around was an affirmation of a progressive political stance and an emulation of Che…
But Dex also learns a lesson here, about his own assumptions. It starts with the sunglasses, for which there could be any number of reasons, but Dex is sure he knows what they are all about. Then the assumption about Andrew’s father and the humiliating clarification on that. And finally the confrontation with Andrew’s assumptions about Dex, which may or may not have a grain of truth in them. So, Dex is not there to confirm anyone’s ideological notions, but neither is Andrew there to provide Dex with a cheap opportunity for emotional one-upmanship over Kwame.
I am a little surprised at the extreme reaction of the students to Andrew. Since I am not familiar with the American college environment, I’m not sure what the reason is – is it the gay thing or the porn thing or the combination or both or just that people had preconceptions about him that turned out to be wrong? In any case, I could see how it might make people feel smugly superior to him, but to shun him like that?
As always, I enjoyed your crisp and lucid prose. Dialogue is credible, actions are narrated in a clear and straightforward manner, descriptions are to the point, similes and metaphors hit right home: “the wound of my broken heart got infected and oozed stinky pus of loathing all over my life” Poor Dex. Let’s hope he’ll find some strong antibiotics soon.
| Cheddar-Graham chapter 1 . 6/10/2015
RG Depth review
Coming here from chp 3, I find myself not really recognising Dex at first without his anger (well he’s still angry but it isn’t a personal thing so it doesn’t feel as intense). I’m not sure about the effect of loading Dex with so many weights of minority – his race issues and his image (real or imagined) as a line-toeing nerd, his heretofore unannounced but well-defined sexuality, and now his decision to take part in the walkout. If done right, it could be a powerful message of one person overcoming the odds, but if overdone, it could turn into an unappealing martyr scenario.
I found the opening scene very thought-provoking – it takes the trope of parent-child divide to another level with the additional ‘race’ element. The contrast between him and his father is almost comical in its role reversal, but underlying that is something sad: his father’s lack of interest in his life is yet more reinforcement of Dex’s sense of disconnection. That ‘keeping one’s parents in line’ phrase made me smile!
Race relations is definitely a current theme with what’s been happening of late, even if it’s not something new per se. I might be going out on a limb with this, but I’d say that whatever Dex says about racism, he is ironically just the same with his antagonistic stand towards white people. Having said that, I think the theme of this piece is not race but belonging. Dex wants to belong somewhere. But then he is caught in a catch-22, so to speak, because whichever side of his heritage he chooses to identify with, conflict with the other half is bound to happen. I wonder if by the end of the tale, Dex can come to terms with who he is and forge his own unique identity.
I like this chapter better than chp 3 simply because it doesn’t feel as heavy. That is not to say that I found the writing unpleasant or substandard. I understand that you address serious issues and it would not be appropriate to use an overly light tone because that would make this come across as flippant or disrespectful in some way.
| Cheddar-Graham chapter 3 . 6/9/2015
RG Depth review
First of, I don’t particularly like reviewing something not from the beginning, but since this is what your link led to, here goes...
Again, pointing out that I’m jumping in without context, but on its own the opening did get my attention with its inherent questions of why is the MC so angry over stupid people, and then that gets further developed in the next paragraph about why or how he (took a while to fully realise that he’s a he) feels personally stupid, and before I know, I’m reading away... so yeah, the opening did its job!
Dex’s anger comes across loud and clear, and while at first it seems he’s just mad over a lover’s tiff, it soon becomes apparent that his anger is from a deeper source. I’d say he’s angry at himself actually, for what he is and how he can’t come to terms with how the world sees and treats him. Even after he’s done ranting over his ex and starts falling in lust with Andrew, the anger remains.
I can’t really say a lot about the ongoing theme of this story as a whole since this is my first visit, but for now Dex’s identity crisis alone is theme enough, actually. Being biracial isn’t something everybody has experienced or indeed, can experience, but I reckon the feeling of being different and being treated differently (whether with kid gloves or with open prejudice) because of that is something that most people can identify with. The urge to fit in is hardwired into us and when it’s inherently difficult to do that, life can get pretty snarled up.
I’m not completely sure if I like this yet, mainly because it’s all about Dex and Dex isn’t an easy character for me to like. If he were for real, he’s the kind of person I’d steer way clear of. With his gigantic chip on the shoulder he sounds like live ammo in a gun with a loose trigger and I dread having to interact with this kind of personality. But having said all that, I guess I do feel some measure of sympathy for him – I mean, you could just see him as a guy who got hurt by somebody he trusted and is just trying to pick up the pieces.
| lookingwest chapter 2 . 5/29/2015
OOOOooohhhHHHhh Kwame's POV! This was a very interesting perspective to get into that I wasn't expecting at all with this project! I liked the idea of getting the switch-around on Dex to see Kwame's perspective on things - I think what was most surprising to me here is that they aren't really involved yet, it's just the beginning of their relationship, which is fun. Does this chronologically happen before or after the events that I'm reading in NG? It must be before, right? Since he seems very into Kwame on a deeper level in NG? Though we do get that his family knows about Kwame and their intense friendship in the pervious "chapter" of this work, when Dex's dad tries to talk to him in his room...
But anyway, I think perhaps the only things with this is that it's probably not intended to stand alone, right? Without the previous chapter? It didn't feel like it would just because it relies on previous knowledge of what this "walk out" was all about and even the inclusion of the guy with the dyed hair at the end that Dex says he likes from the GSA. Well I suppose he could still be here but it's fun to know the backstory, haha. I think due to me reading Ch. 3 first, I thought this was a collection of short stories - but if it actually is sort of a cohesive project attempt of some sort I'd be all game for reading more from this spot of Dex and Kwame's relationship!
My other thing though is that for some reason this perspective did not feel...perhaps as *rich* as Dex's or even Mica's? There's a focus on Dex here, but I didn't get a huge sense of Kwame as a character, other than perhaps his mother, which I liked the inclusion of. I suppose what I mean is that after reading this, Kwame *still* feels just as mysterious as ever - which might also be what you're going for. Though what it did do was create a character that shows weakness as well, which I liked, especially in the scene when he calls out the white guy with the dyed hair due to what I think was jealousy that Dex seemed interested in him over Kwame. I feel that if that didn't happen - perhaps we wouldn't have arrived at this ending. Which is also interesting because the blossoming of their romantic relationship becomes fed by something like that - a tensing moment of jealousy. Knowing how things end with them created the usual dramatic irony over the whole thing, but that was also an observation that was fun because I don't know if I would've noticed otherwise.
Anyway. I think my favorite conversation / moments were with Dex's grinning Dad - that was great from Kwame's POV especially because he *notices* that Dex is uneased by it, lol. And then the conversation where Dex tells Kwame that he's going to come out. I kinda touched on that before, but I liked how Dex approaches it with him and also isn't afraid to call Kwame out on his own BS. It also showcased the difficulties with Dex on having a white and black parent - one of the things that he's touched on in the previous chapters as particularly frustrating. Or maybe that was Mica actually...someone did! Kwame's thematic moments earlier on in this chapter, like when he mentions why he likes Dex so much - some of it being I think that he believes Dex could "pass" if he wanted to, were things that make this project "pop" and poignant, I think. Loved the ending and its suggestion about Kwame having been infatuated with Dex for awhile now, in a cool collected manner that fits his character perfectly - he doesn't seem like one to get overly excited, haha. Yay! Glad I could read up on this project. Like I said, I'd dig more - short stories or otherwise!
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 5/26/2015
Omg that ending made me laugh. How eye roll worthy, but I liked Dex's little reaction about it. I really wanted to know if he'd actually do the walk out - I thought maybe he wouldn't after the second to last section, but then I think at the ending here it becomes pretty clear he's going to go ahead and do it. I was a little afraid he might chicken out due to the consequences of what will happen. Really great though - and it's also for *once* very refreshing to know that he does get into college and things work out academically for him anyway, haha. Kwame on the other hand... Boo, lol.
Themes again are right on here. I especially liked the crack shirt thing. Man I feel so incredibly guilty too because I wore this "crack is whack" shirt to school once for a different reason - my brother got the shirt banned by the principle and I thought he was actually being sexist towards "hooligan" boys, so I wore it and obviously didn't get in trouble at all - and then went to his office and confronted him for creating a double standard. Though I guess I also tried to explain it was a slogan *against* crack used in inner cities in what, like the 1980s or something? I forget now. Anyway. Meh. It was a goofy shirt though, so probs racist - and that's shit that man, you don't even think about - I hadn't even remembered doing that until I read this piece and I was like "damn spot on and so true." So I really like the title of this piece and its themes in general - I think white people honestly do things so obliviously without context sometimes, ESPECIALLY in high school where in predominately white schools it doesn't even cross your mind. So thematically I really loved what you're doing here, and how it almost became didactic in a way as well, which was a double bonus.
The conversation with Dex and his father was realistic again - I liked the "father" line of dialogue and reasoning and how Dex gets his attention. It was kinda cute, haha. I also liked when he launched into the struggles of having a white parent and the straight up problems he faces with it as far as prejudices of their own on who his mother is, etc. The acknowledgement from his dad about Kwame having a big influence over him in this sense is also true - and I liked to see that hint there from his father to try to understand a little more. Though once Kwame is mentioned I think he checks out in regards to listening to Dex's own passion and feelings behind the protest.
Kwame is still aloft and a bit mysterious to me as a reader even though I've read a few things with him "in them" - but not even here where we finally get to "see him" do I feel like I have a good grasp on him. I actually think that's a good thing though, is where I'm going with this - especially for Dex and "Spiteful Chant" because it really makes Kwame feel like a mysterious influence that really broke Dex up. I don't feel like I especially get to know him here beyond just a device of the cause - and in that sense it kind of drowns out his relationship with Dex too, which could be why they eventually split up. Anyway, overall great chap, lots of themes and things that need to be said and discussed in the mainstream, and lots of great character development from Dex :)
| Samofthestars84 chapter 3 . 5/24/2015
Well, first off, I totally thought this was the first chapter, until I got to the very end. show's how much attention I'm paying.
Okay, shake it off, here goes!
I will say that in general this whole work was so personal I assumed you were telling it to me through the phone or at least shouting it from the other side of a bathroom stall, one very long, complex and engaging story that you decided to tell a total stranger. I loved it, every word of it.
It was very out there, everything reading out totally unashamed and uncompromising, not apologizing for what is natural or even commonplace for people to experience, like a soft sell of human experience. The character's narration of every single detail was so precise and almost obsessive that I might as well have been standing over Dex's shoulder, nodding and tutting and groaning with every new twist and turn and casually draped set of bangs.
Now, the pace of the story, while mostly very high intensity, sometimes it would stumble over itself, become as muddled as the character's thought process. Then again this is probably intentional as this is in the first person. Overall, though, it works. This is my first interaction with the character and I'm already totally invested. I feel like I know them, I feel like I've heard them protesting at Berkley or informing me just how wrong I am about my concept of masculinity an sexual identity. And I say that with absolute love.
Now, the characterization itself is pitch perfect, just from the opening sentences, the opening remarks, hell the opening in depth breakdown of every secondary character's personal flaws. Everyone has an element of life to them, they are people that I could run into , that could be seen roaming around your average college campus. The interactions between them all were so well calculated that they themselves were sufficient to get the point across without any dialogue. I knew who I was dealing with, I knew how they acted when faced with a certain situation, I knew them.
Now, plot. I've read LGBT centered works before, fiction mostly, and I have to say that you broached everything not through some kind of in-world lens of personal opinion, but rather the in-world lens of the characters themselves.
The plot, though I'm a latecomer and also further into the story than I had assumed, the plot did not suffer at all, for me the reader, with that lack of information. Your author's note kind of threw me off at first, because it made me feel like I was reading just jumbled thoughts, but I was gladly proven wrong.
Altogether, You've got a new reader, looking forward to catching up and moving forward.
Keep it up, love it, love Dex, love you, just love it.
Alright enough fawning, till next time.
| chibikodo chapter 3 . 5/17/2015
Oh man young impressionistic college kids. It's like high school all over again when they live in dorms on campus and spread rumors and gossip like that. I'm glad I went to a commuter school that didn't bother with a lot of that nonsense.
Poor Dex's frustration with his ex, being stereotyped and trying to be a nice guy...no envy for his life, especially with Andrew trying to mess with him because he can't seem to figure out why Dex is even being nice in the first place.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 3 . 5/16/2015
Enjoyment- I’ve got to say I enjoyed this piece immensely. I was able to immediately relate to the narrator, because I feel the same irritation on an almost daily basis. Told a waitress the other day that my husband had an allergy and she asked us what a nut allergy was. So umm…yeah, I wonder how some people have made it to adulthood. Since I am sure many people have had this thought before it makes for a good opening. I also liked the porn star angle, and trying to get him kicked out of school. This is very real world. I remember something similar happened to a girl at a North Carolina college last year.
Writing- I like your style of writing. You’ve got a good balance of description with characterization and movement so it isn’t too flowery. It makes for an easy read. That being said, you do use the word “like” heavily in here. I don’t know if this is intentional characterization or not, but it doesn’t come across that way. Instead it just seems repetitive. I’d see about cleaning that up some and finding alternatives sentence structures.
Characters- Great as always. You seem to really have a knack for setting up distinct characters in a very short amount of time. For example Dex clearly doesn’t take any bull while Kwame is full of it. I especially liked the line about MLK and philandering. I will probably remember that one for a long time. And you did a good job of reminding the reader Dex is a tightly wound character the way his roommate also tells her to chill. And then Andrew with the sunglasses—very memorable.
Dialogue- Your dialogue is also on point. Everyone sounds like they are in college which is great. I can’t count the number of writers who miss this and write to structured or too impersonal. You give a good mixture of pauses and rephrasing. The question about Viagra and porn stars is a good example of this. I can hear someone in one of my college courses asking that the very same way. I also like the use of slang like “harsh” and “cool.” It’s very natural.
Great job overall! I really enjoy your writing. It isn’t what I’d normally pick so it has been pleasantly surprising.
| pumadelic chapter 3 . 5/16/2015
I like the opening a lot. Straight into a very characterful first person voice and the sentence rhythms themselves feel vital with anger. As someone who actually does gluten free, I also found it funny. A hard romantic rebound story is set up well.
Generally strong and consistent. It's lively and intense while also being formal and balanced. Examples are:
'like he's afraid some spontaneous sodomy will happen or the universe will tilt if the sexual orientation balance in the room shifts too much.'
'My hands shake as I delete, dismiss, ignore his attempts to reconcile and remember that it was his stupidity that turned me into this hate machine in the first place'.
The sentences do get quite long in places but it creates an effect of cumulative annoyance and you are in control.
Dialogue is also effective and snarkily funny. Everyone sounds a bit similar but I'm assuming that you've got the college/locale lingo here and it's not a problem.
The first person narration really does work. It's always dangerous to refer to Catcher in The Rye in any first person story...eg apart from Jane Eyre, it is the benchmark. However, you not only get away with as your story is good enough, you get in a fairly low jab..'bratty WASP monster obsessed with phonies'. Of course, Holden would be the first to see through the porn genre as he is also practically the first male teenage narrator who would actually refuse to sleep with a prostitute out of empathy, not morals..so also apt to your narrator.
Another strength. I like Dex's uneasy friendship with Pete, the jibing of sarcastic, cynical Rion and the flirtation/seduction with Andrew has some texture and substance to it. You bring in issues of class, race and sexuality without belabouring them as a very natural ingredient of how these male relationships function. I particularly enjoyed Dex's analysis of Kwame's attitude to MLK's infidelities. Dex manages to get to know the person beneath the sunglasses and BMW image as well as responding to the porn. Andrew's teasing of him and his motivations are complex: he assumes that Dex will use him to get back at Kwame whereas the attraction is genuine. Great symbolic touch that Dex knocks off his sunglasses towards the close and that Dex reverses the power relationship and prods Andrew into resuming the biology project.
Mostly emerges through dialogue as there is very little description of environments here. This feel appropriate to the style of narration though.
You've got a debate going about porn here but because it is gay porn, it is a trifle toothless. The line about 'rapey and racist' amused me but it is not that amusing a subject once you start investigating it. Andrew needs the money and he also enjoyed it and would do it again. Presumably he hasn't had to do anything he wouldn't consent to without the money..which is the very definition of prostitution. The dynamic would also have changed if Andrew was black/a woman (But Dex is gay, not bisexual)I liked that you trashed the parent rejecting gay son stereotype in favour of 'nasty flawed narcissist rejecting son for defending mother'. The hypocrisy of attitudes to Andrew in the college is well explored as is the lack of supportiveness from the gay community.
A little anti-climatic (pardon the pun) but works nicely to get the reader's imagination going as to what will develop between these two.
Interesting stuff .
| lookingwest chapter 3 . 5/16/2015
Welp, I usually start my Depth reviews with any offering up of concrit I can think of, but honestly, I can't think of anything for this at the moment, lol. My mind has kind of gone blank because I really enjoyed it :) Wracking my brain but eh, I got nothing big or anything I feel like isn't just an opinion that doesn't matter, so meh. That means the rest of this review is pretty much just a bunch of gushing, so.
First off, yaaas. I really like how this story deals with all sorts of marginalized issues and also does so while nodding to the complications of these issues. I think one of my favorite moments was when Dex was talking about how the minority and the feminist groups on campus were handling this news. It's so true. And the porn industry in general is a pretty dark and not-good territory from what I've heard - but then again, oh! Maybe that's the only kind of concrit I can give... Like I've heard stories about women who are in the industry and how horrible it is and how they have little control over what they do - and I mean, I think Andrew even hints at that when he says he didn't even get to pick his name, so I suppose my only question is like - is the gay industry similar to the het industry or are the pretty much the same on the level of "used and abused" - so I suppose I'd ask if you'd done any research in that department only because Andrew says that it was a lot of fun in one section, and I didn't exactly sense that he was being sarcastic about it... But then, I also recognize the stories I've heard or articles I've read are biased because they've all been feminist angled articles, so there's that as well. Since I know this (I'm pretty sure) is a first drafting, maybe that's the only suggested area I can give you right now for where to take it in the future! Though I don't think it's that big of a deal, just more a point of curiosity I had since I know so little about the industry as a whole.
I do think though, that Dex's neutralness over it - or well, his lack of caring, was realistic and spot on in regards to the out-ing. And it's really nice because it allows Dex to be this unbiased onlooker who makes observations, though I don't think for a second that he doesn't have his own opinions on the entire matter, he just chooses not to voice them. Like he states in the opening - he knows everything is bullshit, but when it comes to the Andrew out-ing I think he relatively keeps his mouth shut and I found that fascinating about him. I can't say I totally remember him in Nice Girls... I remember a character Dex, though. I just can't completely remember what was said about him or brought up. But the expansion here on his character, I'm sure will give great light to him in the future. I remember him having the blond hair blue eye thing going on, but I don't remember him being gay, haha.
Let's see. I liked the mystery of Andrew when Dex first learns about the out-ing and is pretending to be disinterested in who he really is. Especially when he figures out that it's "sunglasses" dude and the ensuing scenes with Andrew in their shared class. The detail that he wears sunglasses in class was so interesting I was wondering if we would get a moment when Dex notices his eyes when he doesn't have them on - but I don't think that quite happened, which was fine. There's a bit at the end when he notes that Andrew "looks younger" which I liked. But I think it allows you to add that almost (an eye thing) if you wanted, though. Unless I did miss that kind of moment. I liked also that despite Andrew's untraditional position of being out-ed in a fraternity for gay porn, when Dex is just hanging out with him alone, he does pretty much come through as a frat guy, lol. And there are those complications of the racism and the sexism in the industry that he's perpetuating as well, and it all just comes together into a very complex character that - when it comes down to it by the end, I'm not 100% sure makes a total likable or trustworthy character. I almost *don't* root for Dex and Andrew at the end. I have this bad feeling like Dex is heading down a wrong path, but then, at least he might grow from it.
I liked the relationship development between Dex and Andrew on a sexual level - how Andrew pretty much figures him out at one point even though I don't think Dex was truly aware of what he was doing. But the bit about him wanting to get back at his ex Kwame and stuff was great. Plus that whole story with Kwame, or that Andrew really bit when he said that Dex must've been doing something wrong in the relationship if Kwame wanted to cheat... yeah. I appreciated Dex's response to that, haha. Then that ending where you think they're going to DO IT and they DON'T - that was frustrating, but made worse by Pete. But I'm glad that they didn't. Except now maybe they will? ha.
Secondary characters were all done well, even down to the minor ones like the professor. That would've been me - letting them do that project and also letting them have an extension, lol. I related to that professor, ahaha. I also would've been just as oblivious to the Andrew out-ing, unless it was covered in the school paper, so that all felt realistic. Overall, this was a wonderful piece. I like how you approach complicated issues and you show them for what they really are - complicated. That there are no fine good and bad lines to this entire situation, or even Andrew's character, because it's clear that he's revealed to have his own issues (like the one's with his father), but the ultimate questions are like, does it still negate the shitty things that he does? And those are tough subjects and I think they need voice. And in the end I'm really glad to know an author who approaches these things with such wonderful honesty and truth. If you've got any specific questions about this piece, hit me up with them! Sorry if I didn't touch on something you wanted me to as well - just let me know and I can dive into whatever, heh. Thanks for the read, Nads, truly! And happy birthday, again - what a great piece to give yourself as a gift, for sure! :)
| Virtuella chapter 2 . 3/27/2015
I don’t understand the ins and outs of American high school politics, but the pattern that emerges in this story is all too familiar: the privileged have the media on their side, they choose the narrative that will go on the record, they affix the labels and when challenged hide behind procedures and protocols. Campaigning against nuclear power in Germany in the 90s was much like that, championing Scottish independence in the 21st century encounters similar problems, though the internet is taking the edge off it. But I digress. My point is that you have created a very convincing scenario here, and one that will resonate with anyone who has ever been in a similar position.
Dex’s hippie father is a really neat character to use, so much better than the stereotypical strict-ambitious-conservative guy. Dex wonders how his father, as the husband of a black woman, can be so unbothered, but that might well be the reason why: he might unconsciously think marrying a black woman has resolved the race question as far as he personally is concerned.
I really like how the second chapter switches to Kwame’s perspective. Landon would have been interesting, too, for different reasons. The parents coming from the principal’s office, that was a very good scene, and I just wanted to kick the principal with his stupid talk about being “lenient.”
Dex’s reply to Kwame’s comment on mixed-race relationships is neat. He counters Kwame’s assumptions about what “they” are all like with a single, profoundly personal example to the contrary. Truly, we should judge people on no other basis than their individual merit.
I love how the moral, personal and political choices are so realistically portrayed. The context is not one that I can claim to know much about from personal experience (being a straight, white European female) but all you show us is true in any number of contexts, and I think that makes the story very appealing.
Assorted random notes:
“Even I know it's lame and ironic for a teenage boy to have the don't-do-drugs talk with his own father.” - I loved this sentence, it’s witty in an understated, throw-away manner, very nice, very charming.
How big are classes in the USA, that you can have a kid in your class who you’ve never spoke to before and whose name you don’t know?