|Reviews for Pages|
| darkin520 chapter 1 . 4/21/2017
Your SPAG list got cut off, so here's the rest:
Michelle, on the other hand, just followed the rules, as stated, with little to no deviation, and she was often repaid by being taken advantage of, and she was very sane, sane enough to pick up the slack for the people who claim to have "lost it."-Run-on sentence here. I feel like it could be broken up.-Michelle, on the other hand, just followed the rules, as stated, with little to no deviation. She was often repaid by being taken advantage of, and she was very sane, sane enough to pick up the slack for the people who claim to have "lost it."-Except I don't think sane is the proper adjective here. I think perhaps conscientious might be better.
porn tapes?" Her mother's monster of a boyfriend yelled.-porn tapes?" her mother's monster of a boyfriend yelled.
Those innocent lyrics—Kind of an odd way to describe a song about drug dealing. Innocent isn't the adjective I'd use, and I don't think it fits here. I'd suggest a complete revamp of the sentence. Perhaps: She was sure the artist figured most people would never live those lyrics, but she knew better. Or something to that effect.
oh if she hadn't—oh, if she hadn't
The "tell-them-whatever-they-want-to-hear ruse-The "tell-them-whatever-they-want-to-hear” ruse
"...and once when we were in the Coast Guard and we apprehended some drug dealers and we had to move several pounds of pure cocaine!" The recruiter said.-This doesn't quite make sense 'in the Coast Guard'. Is the recruiter a Coast Guard recruiter? If so, I think I'd write the Coast Guard recruiter said as a dialogue tag instead. If he's not a Coast Guard recruiter, you know, they don't float about through the different types of armed forces. So it sounds like a very odd thing to write. But your sentence with a correct dialogue tag: "...and once when we were in the Coast Guard and we apprehended some drug dealers and we had to move several pounds of pure cocaine!" the recruiter said.
touching the stuff," the recruiter said. (But seriously, is that even possible? I just don't see why the recruiter would tell fairy stories like that and lie to them. Doesn't make sense.)
"Nope, not buying it." Michelle thought to herself. "even if it's free."-"Nope, not buying it,” Michelle thought to herself, “even if it's free."
a low that she was certain drugs-a low that she was sure certain drugs
cheer her up, at least it-cheer her up; at least it
"So much for creature comforts." She thought to herself.-"So much for creature comforts," she thought to herself.
high school." the recruiter continued to explain.-high school," The recruiter continued to explain.
too late."Michelle thought.-too late," Michelle thought.
but she would need to do this in front of a whole group of other recruits.-but she would need to do this in front of a whole group of other recruits?
| Edhla chapter 1 . 4/21/2017
Hiya, I'm from the WA Review Game :)
I usually do a line-by-line review, so let me know if you need anything clarified. Let's do this!
["Get in the f-ing car, baby!" The blond haired demon of a man shouted.] As an opener, this was a little disorienting, since I can't visualise where this is happening, who it's happening to (at this point I don't even know Michelle's gender) and in general what's going on. I'd consider perhaps a bit of scene-setting or a more vivid description of what's happening for the reader to cling onto. I'd perhaps use the guy's name or explain who he is rather than use an epithet ("blond-haired demon of a man"). At first I was completely confused about whether he was an actual, literal demon or just an awful person, and the colour of his hair seems less important than things like his name, how Michelle knows him, how he speaks, how he moves, what he's trying to do in that scene.
In terms of the dialogue, I'd go ahead and write out the full f-bomb or have him say something else entirely.
[That's man's] That man's
[terrible voice was the end of Michelle's happy care-free life. Her mother started dating him shortly after she separated from Michelle's dad.] This is a really interesting premise, and I feel like it's underused here, and in the "Michelle watched her mother…" paragraph. Perhaps you could expand this, not so much in terms of telling us the new boyfriend is a bad person ("evil creature from the pits of hell" strikes me as a little overwrought; is there something else loathesome that you could compare him to?) but in showing us scenes or incidents of him being awful.
[Beer cans crunched in the floorboard of the car.] Wonderful sensory detail. I'm a little confused though about your use of time in this particular passage, since this and the first paragraph are happening immediately in front of teh reader, but the mother doesn't appear to be in the actual scene, even though Michelle "watched" her.
[His piercing green eyes and drunken breath often filled her with disgust, but it was the "accidents" her mother got into that made Michelle decide he was a monster… this is solid in terms of it being a good plot, but it feels a little like "telling"- nothing is happening in the immediate moment that you've chosen to write about. Is there a way you can sort out which of this information you need to express and which can go without saying, and then weave the necessary stuff into the immediate scene? So far we've got this dude getting Michelle into a beer-strewn car, but we don't know anything else about what's happening: Why? Where are they? Is it day or night? How is Michelle feeling *right at that moment*?
[The man was wild and unpredictable from what Michelle could tell. She didn't recognize the smell of m*** hanging heavy in the air the first time she smelled it, but later she never forgot it. She sometimes heard her mother screaming; she called the police a few times even though her mother begged her not to do it.]
Full disclosure: I've, er, had some life experiences and have neighbours who are in and out of jail and should stay there :P Anyway, my point is that I'd pick a different drug here, perhaps Ice/M***. Stoners *can* experience psychotic episodes, but they generally tend to be sleepy, lazy and slow, not wild and unpredictable. Ice, on the other hand…
[The police came, asked her mom a few questions, and then left the man to go right back to what he was doing before they were called.]
Why? I feel like this would be improved by explaining what caused the police to not do their jobs and to turn their backs on a woman who is clearly being abused. Did he convince them it was fine? Was the mother manipulated into covering for him? Why's she still with him, anyway? Does she think she loves him, or is she scared?
[She also didn't want to be in the house when her mom's boyfriend was present. He was an absolute creep who made her extremely uncomfortable, sick even.] You've done a good job of conveying this, so I feel this is a little unnecessary to include.
[Maybe more than a creep. Michelle found him on the sex offender registry while doing a Google search. When she presented her mom with the evidence, he tried to play it off like nothing really happened. As would be expected, he blamed the woman he was with at the time for his misdeeds.]
Why did the police not help a woman in danger when her boyfriend is a high, violent convicted r***? I know I said something about that above, but to me that detail is a dealbreaker. I really feel that to make this piece work, you need to write out more fully the scene with the police and come up with a compelling reason that they would just leave without doing their jobs. And although it happens all the time, I stopped having any sympathy with the mother at this point. You don't ever date a convicted r***, especially when you have an at-risk child (although it's almost impossible at this point to tell Michelle's age, except that she's old enough to read). Telling that child you believe him over her? You're scum.
(I'm saying this because I don't know what you intended from this portrayal; if you wanted the mother to be more sympathetic I'd suggest dialing it back quite a lot).
At this point, too, we still haven't returned to the scene you began with or got any more information on what's going on with the car… or even the guy's name.
[that evil man around.] I feel at this point you're being a little heavy-handed with adjectives like "evil" and "demon". His name is fine, since you've established he's scum.
[One day, Michelle made a decision, "if I'm going to survive, I need to leave this house." She told herself.] The punctuation is slightly off here. It should be: [One day, Michelle made a decision. "If I'm going to survive, I need to leave this house," she told herself.]
[She signed up to join the armed forces. Her dad recommended it; he said that it built character and taught a person discipline.] This reminds me: What's the father doing when his daughter is living at risk with an abusive sex offender? Is there any reason he's not intervening/she wouldn't go live with him?
I've never applied for the armed forces, but I'd perhaps ask someone who has whether they ask recruits their thoughts about killing people. There are tons of jobs in the armed forces (is she army, air force, navy…?), most of which don't involve killing. Everything from engineering to secretarial work.
["If they were tying to kill me, I would maybe shoot at them in self-defense." Michelle nervously replied.] With a dialogue tag ("said" "replied" etc) you separate it from the preceding dialogue with a comma. So it would be, ["… in self-defense," Michelle nervously replied.]
[The recruiter scribbled a few things on his notepad.] I like the economy of this sentence, and its positioning on its own paragraph gives it a quiet significance.
[Michelle was mercifully scheduled to leave] Leave where? The home, or does she have school/another job? How old is she? What sort of place does she live: a city, a suburb, a tiny country town? In what country?
Michelle came back home to find another act of stupidity left in the wake of the demon man-child.
[Her dad's old work truck looked like it had been involved in a wreck.] How come he didn't take it when he left?
[ She found out later that the man did it with his bare hands; he got so angry that he tore the steering column out of the truck and removed the driver's door.] Again, I'm confused as to whether he's a literal demon. If he's not, I'd seriously pull back the "demon man-child" terms. If he is, I'd make it a little clearer. This did not suspend my disbelief: I just don't believe any ordinary human being, no matter how strong, could do this.
[Besides, if she beat the man up, she would have trouble explaining things to her mother.] I'm confused as to why she'd care. She's going away, and her mother doesn't care if her boyfriend abuses her daughter.
["People aren't that evil." She told herself.] People aren't that evil, she told herself.
If it were mine, I'd consider taking out the speech marks and just using italics for reported thoughts, but that's a formatting thing and there's no strict right or wrong there.
[It was like living with the Boogieman, or as close as she'd ever came. Knives, guns, blood, drugs, a complete disregard for human life! Her mother loved him like some kind of sick devoted puppy, yet he treated her like his property, like an old worn-out toy! Her mother was no longer capable of keeping her safe; she couldn't even see past his lies well enough to take care of herself.] I felt this strayed a little over the line into melodrama, and there was nothing in it that you haven't said before.
["You f-ing, b*!"] Here as well, I'd either write the words or choose dialogue that doesn't have any cursing in it. People can say some pretty awful stuff without necessarily swearing.
[Tonya's daughter decided to go with her mother.] This is a little confusing. Maybe just 'Michelle decided to go with her mother'? In addition, I'm confused about what's happening in the immediate scene again and what's reported from something that happened a while back.
[In about twenty minutes, they were in the dangerous area of town. A sense of general decay permeated the place. Dilapidated buildings and boarded up store fronts warned of the character of the neighborhood. People rode slowly on bicycles and the stillness was broken by the blare of loud rock and roll music. It seemed like the guy always liked to listen to music while he was doing drugs, and tonight was no exception.] Some nice scene-setting here.
["Baby, that's good dope. Let's go rent some p*** flicks." Crazy man said.] Commas, not periods. Please, please give him a name. And I've known some awfully seedy characters, who do this stuff, but this dialogue didn't ring true to me. Also, I was under the impression Michelle and her mother were out together, so why's t
| darkin520 chapter 1 . 4/21/2017
I figure I best give you fair warning this review will be more on the critical side, but I feel like you should know these things before you write any more of this story. So brace yourself.
While I think you have a good concept (though it is a bit cliché), I feel like this story line moves way too fast. What I mean is there's a lot of telling over showing, and it doesn't work in your favor. The character introductions are weak, and for the one character we're supposed to know the most about (Michelle), there are what I feel very important details left out of her story. What happened to her father? If he's still alive, why in the hell doesn't she tell him what her living situation is like? Why isn't she calling the police on her mother's boyfriend? What is the deal with this mental breakdown she mentions?
It really doesn't make sense to leave these little details out. And honestly, I know your intention is to make the reader sympathize with Michelle, but at this point I don't. The reason? Because you didn't lead me to it. You're listing off all these horrible things that are going on in her life...and okay, it's realistic, because certainly many people have similar lives. But I feel like you're trying too hard to make us sympathize with her. This is where I feel like you should slow things down, take out the telling, and do a bit more showing. Don't have Michelle tell us, “My life sucks, yo.” Instead, I'd have her not tell the audience anything and do something like this:
Michelle and her mother stood in the driveway. They were supposed to have been going out to eat with her mother's loser of a boyfriend, but as soon as they all got in the car...
“You're drunk,” Michelle commented as soon as she saw the empty beer cans strewn about the car.
“I ain't drunk. Takes a lot more than that to get me drunk,” he said with that stupid laugh of his. “And how about you knock off the attitude? We're going out as a family, so don't ruin it.”
“You're not my family,” Michelle muttered under her breath.
Unfortunately, the asshole heard it, because he turned around to her, raised his hand ready to strike.
Michelle's mother reached for his hand before he could do anything, though. “Honey, she...she didn't mean it. L-let's just go.”
For that, she got a slap, and the two immediately started arguing. Michelle was the first to leave the car, and surprisingly, her mother followed shortly thereafter. That wasn't something she was used to, since her mother rarely stood up to him. She wasn't sure why tonight was different, but maybe she could use that to her advantage.
“Mom, why? Why do you put up with his shit?”
Her mother gave a pitiful shrug. “He really does love me, though.”
Michelle motioned to the bruise forming on her mother's cheek. “That isn't love.”
And so on... Something like that would show more of what her daily life is rather than doing all the telling. I feel like your opening is rather weak and doesn't showcase her daily life, her experiences, how Michelle's relationships are with her mother and the boyfriend. Your method of 'this happened, and then this, etc.' is really a detriment to your plot early on. You're shooting yourself in the foot before this story gets off the ground. We're not really in Michelle's head like you want us to be, so we cannot feel anything for her. If you want your audience to feel for her, to sympathize with you, you need to lead them there.
With your cursing, the story is already rated M, so honestly, why are you censoring the language? It makes the story look rather ridiculous. If you don't want to use those words for personal reasons, then don't write them, even censored. But if you're trying to show how bad the guy is, then censoring the language has an opposite effect. Go balls out and write it out or don't do it at all.
Though you don't state her age specifically, it's clear Michelle isn't a little kid. She's at least seventeen/eighteen (I think?), and she's obviously no dummy, that much is clear, so why in the world would she see all this going on and not report this to the police...especially if she's joining the military? Her not saying anything to these crimes would technically make her an accomplice, especially if she's witnessed the drug deals first hand, and if the military found out about that, that would be grounds for discharge. Not only that, you want to paint her as a very moral young woman, considering the fact she claims she doesn't think she can kill, but having her be privy to several crimes and not doing anything about it makes her seem rather immoral. I could see if she doesn't know right from wrong, but that's clearly not the case.
And why in the world doesn't she tell her biological father what's going on? I could see if he was dead, but I can't really be sure of that, since he's only mentioned three times in the story. All we know of her real dad is that her parents are separated (but not divorced?), he suggested that Michelle enter the military, and that he's got a work truck still in her mother's possession. Does he really not know what his daughter's home life is like? Why has he not fought for custody to take her out of that situation? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Michelle doesn't mention her father doesn't care, and since she's doing what he suggested, she must love him and trust him. So it really seems like a huge plot hole.
I also have to wonder if you did any research on your military scene. Some of it seems a bit...reaching. I do feel like they would ask about killing; that seems logical. But the rest of it, especially at the end, really doesn't make sense. Also, if Michelle has already signed up, the recruiter really doesn't need to sell the military, does he? I feel like that would be more of a scene to show before she actually signed on, but if she's doing psychological testing for them, then she's already done that. So why does the recruiter need to sell the military like they haven't even done so?
Also, if she had a recent mental breakdown, that would probably be grounds for her not being able to join up in the first place. If you want that to be true of her, I feel like it should be explained in detail and how she could still join the military with something like that in her past.
You also neglect to show us any physical characteristics of any of the introduced characters nor do you really explain the setting. This isn't a fanfiction where the world is already built for you. This is an original fiction where you have to do the worldbuilding, and I feel like you failed on that. It's all very vague. Michelle lives in a house somewhere with a mom named Tonya who had bruises on her face and broken teeth all the time (and as an aside, if he broke teeth every time he hit her, the woman probably wouldn't have any teeth left by now) and an abusive drug dealer whose name we never get to learn. We don't know where the house is, what her neighborhood is like, how the rest of the town can ignore what's going on with her mother and her bf, etc. These are details you really should explain BEFORE you continue this story.
With the undressing for the workouts thing... Again, did you do any research for this? I feel like you're just making things up as you go along. And okay, maybe you did research and things like that happen, but I've known a lot of people in the military who have told me about their recruitment process in great detail, and no one ever mentioned that. And then the fact that the recruiter talks about how cool drugs are doesn't make sense either.
And finally your SPAG. If you know full well your dialogue tags are incorrect, why haven't you fixed them yet? You've been told numerous times about them, and not fixing them makes you look apathetic. Please, please, please fix them before you play the game again. You'll see SPAG corrections below to make it easy for you.
Overall, you have an interesting concept, but you really have a lot of holes and technical errors that make this an unsatisfactory read. But with a little work, this story could turn out to be a real gem. Well done! :)
"Get in the f-ing car, baby!" The blond haired demon of a man shouted.-"Get in the fucking car, baby!" the blond-haired demon of a man shouted.
That's man's terrible voice-That man's terrible voice
happy care-free life.-happy, care-free life.
that-that-evil creature—I think you're trying to denote stuttering, but I'm not sure it works here. Had it been dialogue, perhaps, but personally, I'd omit it and write it normally.-that evil creature
Her mom Tonya would-Her mom, Tonya, would
and talk some drug dealer- and talk to (or with) some drug dealer
a decision, "if I'm going to survive, I need to leave this house." She told herself.-a decision. "If I'm going to survive, I need to leave this house," she told herself.
"If you needed to, would you be okay with shooting to kill?" The officer asked.-"If you needed to, would you be okay with shooting to kill?" the officer asked.
shoot at them in self-defense," Michelle nervously replied.
scheduled to leave to take a physical for the armed forces in a few days.—I feel like this is a bit clunky. Perhaps: scheduled to take a physical for the armed forces out of town shortly.
tools, not weapons." She said to herself.-tools, not weapons," she said to herself.
aren't that evil." She told herself.-aren't that evil," she told herself.
"You f-ing, b*!" She could hear the man yelling at her mother through the window.-"You fucking bitch!" she could hear the man yelling at her mother through the window.
some porn flicks." Crazy man said.-some porn flicks," Crazy Man said.-Capitalized since you're using it to replace his name, whatever that is.
How, oh how did he manage to practically, or maybe literally? commit murder and get away with it?-How, oh, how did he manage to practically
| DemigodessOfEternity chapter 1 . 4/17/2017
Very interesting start with good characterisation. The pace was good and your vocabulary is excellent. Good job and I would look forward to seeing more.
| Story Blue chapter 1 . 4/16/2017
Sorry, I had to move this story, so I copied and pasted another poster's review of it so that the review wouldn't get lost.
chapter 1 . 19m ago
Hello there. This review is for the WA Short Review game, so I hope you don't mind me popping in and dropping a review.
I won't lie, this story is off to a rather rocky and shaky start. First off, is this intended to be an original work? You said this story wasn't a part of any fandom so far, but you plan to incorporate some later. This reads more like an original story than anything, and original stories aren't allowed on this site, only on FictionPress. Do correct me if I'm wrong, though. I don't want you to get into any trouble. Plus, whether this is an original story or not, the whole chapter came off as very cliche and...black-and-white. Michelle is the good, rule-abiding citizen who always gets taken advantage of by everyone around her, and none of the other characters have any depth or personality to them beyond just being j-erks. Good, well-rounded, interesting characters with complex motivations and reasons behind their actions are far more interesting than black-and-white good vs evil blank slates. I would definitely suggest working on that one, because readers won't exactly enjoy watching characters being nothing but jerks to each other.
Furthermore, while I do like that your prose is concise, I feel that there's far too much telling and not enough showing. The physical scene at the end by itself could really benefit from being expanded into a full scene. Add details. Describe the characters' appearance. Show how she's feeling. As one of my reviewers commented on one of my fan fics, "Try using the five senses. What can she see? Hear? Smell? Taste (if applicable)? What can she see? Are there buildings? Flowers? Trees? Traffic? Are there any specific landmarks? Can she hear anything like the traffic or the rain or wind? What about the weather? Is it raining? Snowing? Sunny? Is there a breeze or is it windy? What does the room that she's in look like? Remember that you can see it, but we can't. Therefore, it's your job to say what everything looks like so that we can see it, too. Think of it as painting a vivid picture with your words." I have problems with telling and showing too, so I've been in your shoes.
I also feel that the story is trying a bit TOO hard to make the readers sympathize with Michelle, what with all of these bad things happening to her. It kind of feels like the story is beating the readers over the head, screaming "BE SAD FOR MICHELLE HER LIFE IS SO HARD FEEL SORRY FOR HER!" Not everyone's life is full of bad events and memories. Pepper in some good ones, so we can see for ourselves what Michelle is really like, how she goes about her day, what she does at her job (Military? You mention physicals and armed forces). So far, as Michelle is the only remotely good character in this fic so far, she does seem like a bit of a blank slate. Add more to her. What are her strengths and weaknesses? Does she have any flaws, like a bad temper or a tendency to be judgmental? What are her favorite foods? Does she have any hobbies? Little details like that can really make a character more interesting and compelling.
I do like the pacing, though. Everything moves swiftly, but not so fast that I can't comprehend what's going on, but not too slow so nothing goes on longer than it needs to be. Plus, the premise does seem interesting, and I'm intrigued in regards to where you'll take this story and what happens next. Sorry if this whole review seems like I'm being overly critical and nitpicky. Don't get me wrong, I definitely don't hate your story. I've seen far worse, and there's room for improvement, so definitely utilize any opportunities you have to polish your story and bring out its best. It is your story, so don't feel like you're obligated to follow everything in this review like it's the Ten Commandments. My word is not absolute, and these are just suggestions, not demands. Anyway, I hope you have a good day, and good luck with the story, wherever you choose to take it!