Reviews for Life as It Is
CheddarBrat789 chapter 1 . 4/12/2017
I really like the poetic and formal tone of this story. I was especially amazed at how much personality you managed to squeeze out of "him" despite there being no dialogue, and the story being in third person. The themes of desperation and imprisonment were very well executed, and I was on my toes the whole time the further I read.

Once again, you've written a very good piece!
Inflorescence chapter 1 . 4/12/2017
Oh wow. This is stunning. My heart is actually aching for this guy.
The characterization is absolutely incredible and done very well, as is the imagery.
The only suggestion I could even think of is maybe smoothing out the rhythm of the words, though it does work well with the style of this piece.

Excellent job! :D
vanessanicolect chapter 1 . 4/10/2017
Great short story. Loved it. Its very well written, very fluent, and most importantly, it kept my attention through it all.
Henry Palmetto chapter 1 . 4/9/2017
You set up a good narrative in a very condensed space-something that is very difficult to do. Your hero longs for a contact that is frankly impossible, and from there you begin to tease the reader's expectations that at last your hero will be able to accomplish this meeting.

The beginning of this piece is much stronger than its middle or end, where most of the pacing is lost. "Life was bleak until she passed by," is your story in a nutshell-you can do away with the following three paragraphs and just keep this. This kind of sentence-condensed, pithy, to the point-is precisely what you need more of. It doesn't allow for second-guessing; it drives plot, and it offers no superfluous details.

You have another sentence that accomplished something similar: "he fantasized so much he had a hard time telling his desires apart from his reality." This would suggest that the relationship between reality/fantasy plays some kind of thematic importance, later to be settled in the climax where either the hero's fantasies are proven to be false, or the reality is not as the reader had envisioned.

Both of these possible outcomes are established in the first half of the story, but after that very little occurs. Starting from the paragraph "He gave her a name," up to the end, there is a lot of room given to detailing the attempted escape and yearning for freedom. As the reader is given no information about why this character is imprisoned, or even who he is apart from a shy lover, whether or not he manages to flee his prison is beside the point. The man is characterized almost solely through his yearning for the woman; an aspect readers can identify with. Once she leaves the story, the action turns vague and readers are left questioning minor plot points instead of investing themselves in the drama.

I would advise you to delete the second part of this story and turn your attention to a climax in which the hero either meets with or fails to meet with the woman. I frankly do not care why this man is in prison and believe that the human passion is of far greater importance. I would also advise you not to waste words detailing actions or emotions
Francoist chapter 1 . 4/4/2017
5 Stars.

Interesting piece of flash-fic. I was sucked in by the first line and was hooked throughout.
It cannot go without saying that your imagery is beyond words, I was quite impressed.

The opening stanza is a well written piece that allows the reader to capture precisely what he is trying to portray. This woman is everything to him and we as readers can’t help but clutch to that. Though we don’t need to ‘be on his side’ as we are already, the following stanza captures not only who he is, but sympathy from the reader.

“They said he was insane. They called him names. Bewitched. Devil-spawn. A lost cause.”

Brilliantly written as one cannot help but sympathize for this ‘he’ who has had a tough life and continues to feel imprisoned.

“Now he must suffer…until her.”

Also very well put.

This flash-fic is succinct to perfection and yet one cannot complain over the impressive preciseness of portrayal. As a fellow writer I can’t begin to explain how grateful I was to be lost within this world-of-worlds. ‘He’ creates such a lovely vision of his interactions with ‘her’ that several times one must shake ones head and realize the reality is that he is still trapped, despite the fact that you see him out there, through an imagination he concocted coming across as though it’s reality.

Life as it is – is a compelling flash-fic that should be read by everyone who wants to experience how it is to feel. Loss, hopelessness and sadness that only ‘he’ can turn into bliss when ‘she’ walks through the barley fields that lay just below his window.
Tapp chapter 1 . 4/2/2017
Interesting concept. Overall, it does invoke a feeling of pity, but for a flash fiction, it feels too focused on an introduction that seems to be forcing empathy onto its readers.
The beginning sentence is generic and could present any love story. I thought I was reading a high school romance before the "imprisonment" part came along. Nevertheless, it did hold my attention as I wanted to find out more about the character's circumstances.
What follows are his thoughts being told to us instead of shown. It did very little to move the story forward and the degree of his maniac state (as it was told) was never made clear. This is evident when reading the conclusion. "Product of disgust and overwhelming angst" could imply a perfectly normal person weary at the sight of blood or not. Although he does give off a vibe of being crazy, I don't know what his state of mind was at that moment. He could be trying to chew his hand off or rubbing at the wound to erase it, but I have no idea which one it would be.
Which makes it rather hard to determine what the story is trying to present. If the girl was representing the freedom that he desires, what broke that desire (I assume "she never came" means the desire for freedom is gone. I could be totally wrong on this)? Because he hurt himself? Because he came back into reality?
All in all, it has the idea and it has the stages that would make that idea work. A lot can be improved just by moving through the action and letting the reader develop their own connections and conclusions. His desire for the girl and his maniac state can be shown simply by having him scratching her portrait on the wall. He could be trying to escape while at the same time dreaming of his life outside the walls. Whichever way he does it, be sure to act it out and that will create a much bigger impact.
Charlotte Gardner YA chapter 1 . 3/17/2017
This is a great piece of flash fiction. For some reason it reminds me a little bit of the poem 'The Lady of Shalott'. I think is has similar themes of oppression and depression and love and hope.
M3rcy chapter 1 . 3/17/2017
This was really well written! I love how the ended is left kinda open ended, and that I don't know what exactly is happening in the story. Its vague and mysterious, yet gives enough description to draw a person in to this man's anguish insanity. I thought the imagery was very powerful and the mystery of the girl, whether she existed or not, very intriguing and a good grounding plot for the story. I really did enjoy it. The tortured state of the man was quite interesting to read!
shika-paprika chapter 1 . 3/16/2017
This is a nice piece. While you did a good job of carrying out a mysterious, eerie vibe throughout the story, it felt a little bland. I understand this is a flash fiction, but it could've used a little more detail.
Mikka Bouzu chapter 1 . 3/16/2017
Oh my gosh! This is ridiculous! (ofcourse I mean that in the best way possible) isn't that just the way life works- a window of hope opens and just when you think it's your big break, it slices your knuckles to bits- or something of the like. I also like the part about the storm and the clouds, it reminded me of my younger self, saying almost anything to impress a pretty lady. Excellent writing, I can't wait to see the next one!
Electrumwriter chapter 1 . 3/16/2017
Hello again. I’m going to review your flash fiction.

It is really quite intense. I am aware that it is open to the reader’s interpretation and I think it works to a great extent on a symbolic level. The protagonist of the story is in a prison of his own mind and make-believe just as much as he is imprisoned by walls and bars. Now I would just like to make a few small observations.

Regarding the first line – the late and great George Orwell advised us not to use the passive when we can use the active. “The idea of her consumed him.” Would work better than the passive does.

So this is very mysterious. Can the prisoner see a real lady or is she a figment of his imagination. Either interpretation works. I like that the ambivalence is maintained. Same goes for the ambivalence about the wider world. Is it in the Ancient Roman Empire or is the world outside the cell part of his fantasy? He’s already imagining every detail about the lady.

OK… if the term ‘royal’ applies in this world then it cannot be in Imperial Rome – they detested the word 'Rex' ever since they dethroned their king.

So yeah, he built her up in his mind when really he knows nothing about her. She may not even exist. The ending is Beckettian in its hopelessness – waiting for someone who will probably never arrive and who may not exist. In a very short piece you convey the hopelessness better than Beckett could in the entirety of Waiting for Godot. The prisoner gets worked up and now bears physical scars from his frustration to go with the psychological scars.

Good writing.
Dan Levinson chapter 1 . 3/16/2017
This was a pretty interesting and sad story. You definitely evoked a lot of feelings of loneliness, depression. I think perhaps in that way it operates as metaphor for how people are trapped in their own cages of unworthiness, and they're afraid to reach out because when they finally do, they'll discover that those they thought were there were just illusions.

I definitely think you could make it even better by pulling back on some of the more heavy-handed stuff. "Pained screams"; "cried in agony"; "hot tears flowing down his face" - I think you can try to reduce some of these dramatic cues, and instead go for something with more depth. Dig for some good imagery or description that works on multiple levels.

I also wouldn't mind a little more context. The reference to Venus made me think of ancient Rome, but other than that there's nothing to really put it in a place or time, nor even any rough sense of what the prisoner looks like or who first put him there. A certain amount of vagueness is totally fine, but even one or two more tiny details about the setting or character would help.

Aside from that, the opening could use a tweak. The woman still literally passed by, even though he didn't see her face. So the "At least" line didn't land right for me. If anything I'd make it feel additive to the first line, instead of subtractive, e.g. "Life was bleak until she passed by. But he was drunk on the idea of her."

Hope that helps. Nice work!
Sychronergy chapter 1 . 3/15/2017
Oooh, this is an interesting piece. I like how none of the characters were named. I'm imagining some locked up madman, but I also get a slight Rapunzel feel to this :P I feel like this story is a bit more philosophical than plot-oriented in the sense that I begin to think about how we as humans keep wanting for things we idealize without a solid grasp on what it really is. Great writing!
justanothergirlnextdoor chapter 1 . 3/15/2017
Loved the very vivid imagery. It was short and sweet - but great from beginning to end!
deewritesx chapter 1 . 3/14/2017
oh my lord so pretty i love this . . .