|Reviews for Streetlights|
| TheBeastlyPrincess chapter 1 . 3/22/2016
Okay, I like this piece. Granted, not as much as your other work, but it is still very good. I like how well you have described everything in this story because it makes me think of when I go out and walk at night. Everything is clear and I find myself noticing lots of details.
I also liked when the main character thought the cat was a demon, because for a moment it genuinely confused me. All in all very well written and detailed piece, though very depressing. But I am guessing that was the idea, for it to be depressing.
Till the next piece fellow writer!
| Infected Beliefs chapter 1 . 2/29/2016
Ah, pills. I was thinking acid, mushrooms, pcp, or maybe too much meth. Whatever though; I liked this rather plodding and contemplative piece. The reason my mind went to psychedelics however was because of how you capture the characters reactions. The diminished sense of time, the untroubled paranoia, the first glance visuals. These are all pretty common side effects (or just effects?) of many of the afformentioned entheogens (and nastier shit).
I also liked the existential (or nihilistic maybe?) Vibe I got from the story. Nothing really happens, and that's ok. It's a pretty little flash fiction story. We're you writing for a competition? Or did the idea for this just wander or jump into your mind? (If you are into psychedelic writing, check out my story One, or Bending a Mind Backwards).
Best of luck!
| Complex Variable chapter 1 . 2/29/2016
Very nice. It has the quality of being eminently readable—and that's one of the best qualities writing can have. A while back, when I was reading "A serpent's greed", I felt that your writing *was* rather messy (that was one of the things that got me to put off finishing my review for it). This, however, and the Viking piece, are much, much better written; I guess I'll just chalk it up to a want of polish and editing.
I've never taken recreational drugs, myself, so, I can't speak for whether or not the depiction here is accurate, but, it certainly *feels* that way. (To that end, I thought the line about the cat was an excellent little addition.)
I *am* curious though: what was your reason (if any) for writing this? (I hope it isn't autobiographical. x3)
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 2/28/2016
First thing that I noticed is that you end up using the word Illuminated quite close to each other. I'm not sure if that was on purpose, but you might want to switch up the words a bit, so neither line loses its punch. Another word that you tended up use relatively often, Euphoria. I suspect this was done on purpose, but again, it might help to change it up a bit.
Anywho, I liked what you did with the piece. You appealed to the need to get away, that one moment in time that everyone wants the time to stand still. That time when everything seems to be against you but at the same time so peaceful. There are demons in the night hidden as everyday sights, as we saw with the household cat. I liked how short the piece was how you were able to get across your message so succinctly. Like I said, it appeals to at least one point in everyone's lives. At the end, we now know what allows him to escape away; not a bad thing. But it captures what puts him at ease, what gives him more time, what soothes the itch beneath his/her skin.
My one squick is that it felt like the protagonist was telling us what was going on most of the time, instead of letting us see what was going on. I'm not a fan of too much description, but I think you need to give us a little more in this case since this is a piece that seems to rely more on sensory details.
Thanks for the read!
| Electrumquill chapter 1 . 2/27/2016
The way the narrator perceives light and his surroundings is as though he has taken a mild hallucinogen. It was apparent from the start that he uses drugs to numb the pain of existence. Good way to open incidentally, with a dazzling streak of light. A lightning bolt of a beginning.
I suppose that if the driver recognised he was high or something, their response is understandable. Again, the purple headlights seeming to jump out convey the idea of drug tinged senses well, without making the prose hard to follow.
The misery of mundane problems (his alcoholic mother) form a contrast to the malachite greens and epicness of his surroundings (even if the demon turned out to only be a domestic cat). I am pleased you have obviously researched the different types of green.
I see the structure of this piece is cyclical in nature. The narrator is still pursuing a high so the resolution is postponed 'til after his stash has run out. Somewhat Beckettian I think.
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/20/2016
I have to say - I did read what this was about, but your second paragraph had me thinking something was up in terms of reality/supernatural ability. Things sound pretty literal - I almost thought this was a rumination on a fallen angel. I'm still not sure by the end what this narrator meant by "immortal soul" or "realized I was still on Earth" - that line took me into another direction more than the other - why would someone not believe they're still on Earth? I was envisioning that maybe the narrator got hit by a car, maybe what they mean is they can't believe they're still alive and not dead? Why one would think "oh I'm still on /Earth/" confused me though. I'd expect "oh I'm still not dead or in Hell/Heaven"...
We get mention of a "firey demon" later too, that turns out to be just a trick of lighting/the character's thoughts. But I felt in general there was kind of a mixing of metaphor going on. Alien, angel? Dunno. Anyway, after that moment - we do get mention of the parents so that's why I figured this wasn't really a story about an alien or a fallen angel, but about a teenager just wandering around. Taking everything as figurative, then. It's a nice rumination and reflection but it left me by the end just wanting more information - what does the narrator mean "There's still time"? Time to live life? I didn't follow the clock numbering of looking at the time constantly... I know it's after their curfew and that's important, but?
So by the end we get this reveal that our narrator is on drugs. I like the reveal - but again, I just wish we had a little more to go on with their line of thought. I'm guessing they passed out and awoke in the opening... The "There's still time" line still has me stumped. But anyway - besides that stuff, I agree with your other reviewer that the actual imagery in this piece works really well. I like the idea of playing with the lighting - the purple hue after seeing the car, the headlights, the streetlights. I think atomsphere-wise this has a lot of strength! For a short story - I want more of a clear conflict/arc, and I do agree with your other reviewer that this starts out very predictably with the eye-opening factor (would consider a different entry point here) - but yeah, overall, like the turn at the end with the reveal of the pill. Like the moment before they swallow. A nice scene-piece here!
| Victoria Best chapter 1 . 2/19/2016
I enjoyed this piece. You have achieved a lot with such a short piece, and I applaud you for that. I particularly loved the emotion in this - that scene at the end, with the character and the pill, was a powerful, moving moment, and shows you can convey emotion with few words, which is a difficult skill to master.
I also liked the theme of light being shown throughout this. There was nice symmetry with the bright light at the beginning, and then again at the end. All comes together to create a meaningful piece. Great job with this.
Okay, here are my comments:
"Bright flash of light." The words "bright" and "flash" are the most cliche words to describe light. I am sure you can think of a better way to describe this. In addition, I would really recommend not having the story start with the character opening their eyes. This is the most common beginning to a piece of all time (character waking up, character opening eyes after a daydream, etc.) Really. I have seen it listed on so many 'pet peeves' of literary agents and in writing guides. Just don't.
"Laid there on my back." Meh. This was also a so-so sentence. I just don't like "laid there." Is there a neater, more professional way of describing this?
Would the character be waiting for golden gates to appear? Very over-dramatic. I think it would be better just to remove this line entirely and keep the sentence as an impactful, succinct, "this is my time," (maybe just add "to go" or "to elapse" or something else along those lines at the end).
"Light slowly faded away to cure my blindness." I had to read this sentence twice to understand what you meant. I see what you were trying to do, but I think it was just clumsily phrased. Why not just say "the light slowly faded, curing my blindness?" Or even better, just "the light slowly faded?" We already have the "vision cleared" part before this, so the section gets a bit over-kill.
Okay, you slip into the present tense quite a few times here. Was this deliberate? I don't think it worked if it was intentional; it just felt distracting. The places I caught this were, "and realised I'm still," "I'm frozen in place," and "pop the pill into my mouth."
"As I rose to my feet... as it gave me a sense of euphoria." You use "as" twice in one sentence here. Not quite sure it worked. And again, when you say "travelling along my bones as it gave me..." I just think it might be neater and more succinct just to say "and giving me a sense of euphoria." And also, gave / giving? Maybe a better word here. "Rushing through me a sense of euphoria," or something to that effect might have more impact.
"No, no, these lights..." Woah, that was a lot of commas in one sentence. Maybe break this sentence up into two :) And I don't think the second "no" adds anything to the piece, just seems like an extra word thrown in there.
"Driving far away from me." Driving is quite a dull word to use. Drifting, maybe? Slipping? Something more poetic.
Don't like the "emerald greens." Very cliche description.
Does it have to be virgin eyes? I think younger and immature readers would scoff at that.
You do use the word "as" a lot. I did a quick control f and it picked it up ten times. That is a staggering amount for a chapter of this length. Find new ways of connecting sentences together :)
Finally, I didn't like the sentence "light was blindingly bright." Pretty much the same description you used earlier. I get you were trying to show symmetry, but it felt repetitive. You don't need to ue the same words to show symmetry - readers will still understand what you are trying to do.
That's about it. Loved it. Had a timeless quality to it, you know? I think because of the themes it touches upon, which everyone has experienced. Very moving and relatable piece, and I could definitely read a longer version of this, maybe with more detail about the parents, which I found fascinating. Thanks for the read and keep writing!