|Reviews for Evil Personified|
| LuckycoolHawk9 chapter 10 . 6/18/2015
I like the way that Lucy said what all the readers were thinking because it shows how conscience she was on her own happy ending and it seemed strange. I also liked how she still feels that she has a debt to humankind because it shows that Gemma still has an effect even after she left him. I also liked how you ended this in the future because it showed that this piece becomes a diary which is a beautiful metaphor! Great story!
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 4 . 6/14/2015
OMFG THEY'RE SO CUTE.
Alright, let's see...
I really like the opening. It's kind of what I've been wanting to hear from our narrator for a long time - acceptance of responsibility, guilt - and some positive attitude towards Alan. It sets the chapter off well for what it becomes - a break in the ice and some final glimpse of light into a positive beyond.
I also loved the development of their relationship here. It starts off gradual but obvious, dispelling all those cruel little notions she had about him and turning them into realities - learning about his hand and small details about his life. His travels. And so on. It was also a handy way to develop our narrator a little more and slip in some brief facts about her.
Their dialogue felt smooth and natural. It was also well-used. As much as I love dialogue, I know that sometimes it can go off on tangents that don't really add anything to the story, but I think the dialogue in this case not only fit the moment and built on their budding relationship, but helped flesh out the two of them, so good on that.
I thought it was nicely placed how, even as everything looks up for the better, you feed in that back plot of uncertainty when he says he has to 'tell her something' and make an admittance. Since the 'plot' so far has been all about her feeling as though she's been overcome by compulsions from his Evil Personified, the reader certainly can't forget all that, and so we don't expect her to either, and it fit in well there in the couple moments that it was brought back up. I find myself still wondering what exactly is going on, if all of this is 'too good to be true' and what is going to happen next, and so on. Since what's come before has been so wild, my mind goes wild when wondering how it might all work out.
I also liked the scene where he helped her with her essay. I think it did a good job of emphasizing his intelligence and, again, giving us (the reader) some insight into him. We've been in the narrator's perspective all this time and until very recently, she hasn't had anything good to say (intentionally) about him, so it's refreshing to get more tidbits about who he really is. A writer. An artist. A romantic (on some level, or he certainly seems it) and an all around Good Guy.
The close was incredibly sweet. It left me feeling worried, though, that somehow this is all going to turn on its head (though that was no fault of the closing itself). Just, so far things have gone all over the place, and I know I've only made it to chapter four, so I have to wonder how their new budding relationship will fit in to all the hate she's sewn for him, all the horrible things she's done, and what WERE all those insane feelings, anyway? I hope to see these questions answered in future chapters, and am definitely enjoying the ride!
| Ventracere chapter 2 . 6/14/2015
Opening: I liked how you open with a reminder of Al and Lucy's quick impression of him. Well. It's not just an impression anymore - instead it's an imprint of him on her mind. To the point that she's warning her friends off. I think something that goes to say is that you portray the idea of college students in the opening well. Once something happens, a rumor is quickly spread, and it reaches the student body pretty quickly.
Which brings us to the characterization. Since this is a first person POV story, it's a little more difficult to flesh out the characters, as we get a lot more introspection. Something that I felt was that Gemma wasn't exactly dynamic. To be fair, it's only the second chapter, haha. While I understand that she's there for the comforting aspect/calling out Lucy, I feel like she's a bit one dimensional. I'm sure that she'll become relatively important later on and we'll see her edges and angles soon.
Pacing: I said this about the first chapter, and I think it applies a bit here again. Sometimes I feel like your time jumps rather far, and it's a little jarring. This may just be me (so tired, haha). But the time skips here jumps from her talking to her friends in college, to her dreams, to Christmas break. It's flying by so quickly, and I'm honestly not sure what to think of it, hahah.
Ending: something I really liked was how you came full circle in the chapter. First she started out by saying that her friends should stay away from Al, but at the end, she can't even stop herself from thinking about it. At the same time, it also feels like she can't stay away from him. Or is it the other way around? That he's touched her twice, and now he wants to follow her around? Either way, your ending sparks questions, especially when she mentions that this may be like selling her soul to the devil, even if she has done no such thing.
Thanks for the read!
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 3 . 6/14/2015
Character: Gaaaahhh, okay yes - I really dislike the narrator - or just, *completely* don't trust her, and her actions just...are not easily forgivable. She's pushing her friends down stairs and hurting little kids. She could have killed her friend. As a reader, I can't trust her and it puts me in a very interesting position since I am bound by her word as I read, since this is a first person narrative.
Relationship: That said, I'm kind of fascinated at this point by her and Alan's 'relationship'. While she is out here looking like a good girl but doing all these horrible things, people are hating him ever more, and yet, through it all, she's obsessing over him and they're kind of gradually building up this tentative bond based on the small things she does for him and their brief interactions. The fact that he was eating a stale roll when she offered him pizza really says something about the state he's in - not only being the subject of a lot of unearned hate and scrutiny, but obviously not in a great place in life in general. I really feel bad for him, and kind of hope that somehow, through it all, the relationship they build might fix a lot of things for both him and her and clear up the muddy water and grey areas.
Scene: When she went into his room to place those tacks there, I swear my anger/hate for her multiplied tri-fold. That poor boy. I am intrigued, though, by the balance you put between her 'not knowing what she's doing' and then realizing it as she's doing it. (I.e., she didn't know why she got the second box, but then 'realized' it later.) It does add to the overall uncertainty here and vague lingering *want* to trust her - I just still can't. Not after everything she's done. It does make me curious, though.
Closing: My heart broke a little in the closing scene. I really feel so bad for Alan, and I loved getting to see him more in that sort of brittle, brutally honest state. The fact that he was driven to attempt suicide (and not the kind that anyone could save you from, likely, either - bleach, good god Dx), by having someone frame him for hurting those kids, I just...gah, I wish someone better was there to hold him and make him feel better. *But* at least someone was, and he didn't know what she'd done, so it worked out that he got some comfort and I'm glad she seemed to feel there at the end or realize that SHE was doing these horrible things.
Enjoyment: I really liked this chapter. Probably my favorite chapter so far - I loved that we got to see more of Alan here, and that little break in our narrator's mindset, seeming like maybe she was acknowledging that he wasn't this EMBODIMENT OF EVIL after all and just a skinny, sad guy that NEEDS FRIENDS. Poor thing. I just want to hug him. Alan is so far probably my favorite character by a long shot. I really hope this doesn't pop around and make him evil. Because he doesn't seem evil and he shouldn't be evil and I want him to be happy. Hnnnh. -pets him-
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 2 . 6/14/2015
Enjoyment: I have a sort of morbid curiosity when it comes to this story, I have to admit. I find myself torn between being eternally amused, flabbergasted, and in disbelief. I am really not sure whether I can trust this narrator at all, but perhaps that is part of it, and it keeps me on the edge, judging her, but also taking into account what I actually *see* Alan do, which is never bad at all.
Character: Alan, despite being a crucial character to the story, rarely shows up to take action, and that’s part of what leaves me wondering. I find myself trying to figure him out past the veil of the predominating narrator’s voice and piece him together from there - but so far all I’ve seen him do is dress in black, greet her, and try to make sure she doesn’t trip on her way onto a train, so nothing terrible there. I really find myself wanting to learn more about him.
Plot: Because of my lack of faith in the narrator as a person (her assertions seem so wild and strange that, without further evidence as to what Alan is doing, I just *can’t* make myself fully believe her), I find myself constantly wondering about the plot. *Is* she actually being possessed somehow? Is she insane? Is there some other magic out there entirely? Is there even magic at all in this story? If it’s your intent to keep the reader guessing on that front, you’re doing a great job.
Scene: The scene relating to her dreams and ah, sexual attraction to him, really stood out in this chapter. It made me wonder if this is some sort of wildly off-kilter crush couched in obscure behavior. She *does* seem to be reaching out to him a good bit - sharing food with him, happening to bump into him frequently, and so on. I have to wonder if there isn’t a romance in store between the two of them in the future. Maybe that would help her overcome these ‘uncontrollable urges’ and put her focus elsewhere.
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 6/14/2015
Something I liked was how you kind of just dropped us into the story. We don't necessarily know what's going on, except that she's shaken a hand that doesn't give her any good vibes at all, and that pushes me to want to know what exactly is going on. At the same time, I felt a couple things are glossed over - this might just be me. When you brought in Gemma, I was a bit caught off guard for a moment, thinking where did this girl come from?
I think this is a strong chapter - we get to know a lot of the potential supporting cast who might become incredibly key characters in the story later on. That said, I also felt like this chapter was a bit jumpy with all the time hops. Since the pacing was so quick, I felt like we didn't really get to know who the protagonist was - though that may have been do to the fact that Al took up most of her thoughts.
Thanks for the read!
| lookingwest chapter 7 . 5/25/2015
You know, I honestly feel like Lucy is being a bit selfish assuming that just because she hurts Alan in this way, he's going to kill himself over her. It's another interesting dynamic in regards to her character though, and I do think it fits. I liked the detail that he wasn't spreading rumors though, that also fits Alan's characterization so far.
I don't feel like plot-wise I know Gemma enough at this point in regards to this reveal. To me it's like - okay, one of Lucy's random friends is the culprit. This development came about perhaps a little too easily - it just so happens they snoop in her books and find these notes? Could we get a detail earlier on in the story that Gemma writes in her diary? Like maybe Lucy is always noticing that - and that's what draws her to the bookshelf in this scene because she knows it might be there? I figured that anyway (that it was one of Lucy's friends), but this might have more impact if she was better characterized through close-scenes earlier on in the novel. Same with Jack.
Pacing was better this chapter insofar as it was only two scenes - though I do think this allows for the ability to go more in depth with them and focus-in. Especially in regards to setting this chapter. Gemma's place, or even the library - either one could have a little more to highlight the characters and plot developments. What does her diary look like? What about even her penmanship?
I like that thematically Lucy uncovers the rumors that Jack is perpetuating about Alan. That even gets into the psychology theme again about their relationship. I'm wondering how the confrontation will go down, judging by the end of this. Overall I think this chapter could use a bit more development, but given earlier PM exchanges, it's a point of crit I'm sure you're aware of in regards to scene :)
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 5/24/2015
Interesting opening. I enjoyed the vivid description in the first paragraph, though I did find myself really trying to place the story and struggling a little - without background, I was wondering if this was a fantasy of some sort and this character who the narrator was shaking hands with was some sort of haggard old warlock.
The pace is quick, though, which is nice and the style keeps the reader's eyes moving and attention engaged. The first chapter also essentially resolved all my feelings of 'where and when am I' as far as genre and setting, so that works out. I'm curious to see where this heads, and feel bad for Alan - so far everything that we've actually seen him do makes me feel as though he can't possibly be the culprit here, and really needs a friend of his own.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 7 . 5/13/2015
Spelling/Grammar-The capitalization issues came back up in this chapter, as well as commas. I'd really work on these as they are distracting and detract from the reading experience, especially when they are in the first line as Facebook is. Other examples are Google and Photoshop.
Technique- I do like in this chapter how you show me the ways Alan isn't forgiving her. You tell me he didn't change his mind, but then you support it with examples ranging from not returning texts to leaving the room when she enters. This sells the piece. Just for presentations sake I might consider putting instances of the characters writing in their own paragraphs. Right now you just italicize them, but sometimes you do that with thoughts too and I have to reread sometimes to figure out which one is being insinuated by the italics.
Character-I like when Lucy got defense of Alan with Jack, especially when she got hot in the ears. It gave me new information on how she expresses anger and it is a memorable gesture. I also liked when she flourished the diary. It gave a particular and exaggerated image in my mind and was much better than saying she showed the diary.
Plot- I did like the min-cliff hanger you gave me with the entries in the diary. What is in there that has her head buzzing? I'm almost wondering if Alan isn't as innocent as he portrayed. It also should provide some insight into who knows her secret. I also like how you showed that other characters still do not trust him and how easy it is for him to fictionalize his life. It makes the reader question whether they should believe what they are seeing.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 6 . 5/13/2015
Enjoyment-I am starting to enjoy this story more now that Lucy is getting the notes. It is more of a mystery to me than why she was going crazy. I almost wonder if she is sending them to herself. What bugs me though is that I don't have any sympathy for her. At chapter six I feel I should have a connection with the narrator, but I haven't made that. Usually I either like a character (Harry Potter) or I hate them with a morbid curiosity (Artemis Fowl). I think this is the result of some of the character issues I've brought up in previous chapters.
Relationship-Lucy/Al is progressing way too fast for my tastes. Lucy went from hating him to dating him in the blink of an eye. Now she is desperate not to lose him and they've been dating a week-ish? I'd work on progressing this more organically. Your chapters aren't long so I think you have plenty of room to flesh out building moments. It also bothers me that she seems to be attached at the hip. It comes across as obsessive rather than romantic.
Character-I think Alan's reaction to learning the truth at the end is a bit weak. If I found out someone I cared about had portrayed me to be evil I'd be livid. I'd yell or fume. I think this one scene where there should be more nonverbal communication going on-sinking arms just isn't enough to sell the emotion. He says "piss off" but his body language seems rather apathetic. Also, I really wish you'd give more insight into what is going on in Lucy's head as she is telling him. There has to be a million thoughts and fears and I think knowing some of them would help with character connection.
Pace-I feel like I am being rushed through everything like I am in some sort of relationship sprint. In 6 chapters they've met, hated each other, fallen in love, and broken up. It is all a bit much. I recommend slowing it down and letting the reader savor their changing dynamics. I didn't have enough time invested in this couple to feel much when they broke up. The final line about having the bed to herself should resonate, but because I have been rushed I just don't feel it.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 5 . 5/13/2015
Writing-The opening scene of this chapter left something to be desired. You are writing from first person, and I think the great thing about this POV is that you can allow the reader to get in the mind of your narrator. However, you don't do this in the opening. Instead you tell us she is experiencing a chorus of self-reproof. It simply doesn't have the maximum impact. I'd rather read bits and pieces of that chorus than being told.
I did however like some of the descriptions you used in this chapter in regards to touch. The stinging stubble against her face when they kissed stood out in particular.
Character-I also had an issue in this first section with Al "perching." From what I've read so far he just doesn't seem like someone who would perch. To me that word has an effeminate and overtly flirty connotation and that just seems weird for someone who until last chapter seemed a loner.
Overall I'm just uncomfortable with his sudden personality shift since the suicide scene. I feel like he has become extremely open in a rush and that seems unnatural to me. I feel like he should be more hesitant in sharing, and there should be moments of discomfort-shifting or downcast eyes, staring off into the distance. I hope this makes sense.
Spelling/grammar- There are some issues in this chapter. For example, Skype should be capitalized. There are also commas throughout that do not need to be there. It looks like you probably overcompensate on commas when you are unsure. I used to do that too.
Plot-I am torn in terms of plot. On one side I thought the ending had a nice surprise when she got her own letter. It makes me wonder who knows and how. On the other hand I have an issue with how Lucy's impulses have essentially disappeared. It is like they just snapped and went away. I have a hard time believing this. I know you mention it a bit in here as her shadow, but I miss more specific examples.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 4 . 5/11/2015
So you've done a good job so far with keeping characters real and organic so I was a bit disappointed by this chapter. My concern here is that Al seems to turn around pretty quickly. He goes from suicide to grinning and chuckling in a few paragraphs. I know you say Lucy comforted him for awhile, but because we don't see more of it as a reader this all seems very rushed. I like to feel that events are unfolding naturally. Also this whole attraction thing came on very quickly. Yes she isn't scared of him anymore, but not being scared doesn't equal instant attraction. I feel this needed to be developed more if this is where you were planning on going-hints of morbid desire sprinkled throughout the first three chapters. Or there needs to be more time between her epiphany that he isn't the devil and their first kiss.
Also what happened to crazy Lucy? She just disappears once she realizes Al isn't influencing her. I think she should explore her guilt a bit more now that she has no one but herself to blame. She just seems to take everything in stride and that makes her a bit unbelievable.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 3 . 5/11/2015
Well that was a lovely twist at the end, making Alan upset by everything going on and scared. I am glad it went this way because it takes away some of Lucy's excuses. It makes it seem more like I am reading about an insane person which is much more interesting than someone being compelled.
I might work on your similes. "He stood there like a loaf of bread" just doesn't do it for me. It doesn't give me much in the way of relevant imagery. Is he surprised (wide eyes), completely frozen-I just don't know how bread stands.
I also liked how he was taking her barely contained repulsion as kindness. It is great insight into how two characters can see the same situation entirely differently. So good job on providing the unexpected; it keeps things interesting.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 2 . 5/11/2015
You do a good job of keeping up the paranoia while making us question whether it is all just in Lucy's head. Evil Al is never actually present when she is being horrible, but she always blames him right after her deed is done so he is never far from her mind. I also think it is great how you can feel her spiraling. You do a much better job of portraying guilt (but not for long) in this chapter, especially with the essay.
My only concern is that I am not sure on plot yet. Is it just that she is possessed? I think every chapter should have a point, and I'm just not sure this chapter is different enough from the last one for them to be split. It seems the point in both is to show her struggling so I think they'd be better together than apart. Try to always think of what your goal is with a chapter and if goals overlap consider combining. This is where outlining would be good.
| C. V. Atwood chapter 1 . 5/11/2015
There are a few typos in here- English Literature instead of English literature and Fresher's Week sounds like it may be a proper noun.
You are very good at describing impressions. I can completely understand that heeebie jeebies feeling that Evil Al is casting. The oily poison line had me recoiling as well. However, where you excel in describing impressions you could work a bit on describing actual features. "Brunette with curls down to her bum" leaves Gemma a bit generic and I haven't got a vision for the narrator.
In terms of a hook this is a good opening chapter. I am seriously concerned for why Lucy is spiraling into this dark punk and how far this will go. I just wish there was a bit more of confusion from her. It sounds like Evil Al is in some way making her do this, or the evil in him got into her, but she seems a little under concerned. Perhaps Lucy should think of herself as much as she thinks of Evil Al.