taerkitty
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Joined 12-23-09, id: 703590, Profile Updated: 08-28-21
Author has written 7 stories for Supernatural, Romance, General, Life, and Manga.

Reviews

If you're here, you're most likely thinking, "Who is this person, and why did he write such a [blank] review?" Here are the types of reviews I normally give:

SPAG
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar reviews are for those works where the presentation itself gets in the way of my enjoying the story. A story is all about flow, about suspending the reader's disbelief and spinning that illusionary world. You want the reader to stay in that headspace, and every little bump in the road has the potential to upend the whole exercise.

I am not a grammar-n*zi. "Rules are meant to be broken," is valid, but only when coupled with understanding, specifically:

- Why it existed in the first place
- What is the cost for breaking it
- How your story benefits from breaking it

Truncated
"And this is where I stopped reading." I'm not a representative reader. I have a bunch of neuro-diffabilities and some fairly rare life experiences, so my requirements and stoppers for my reading should never be taken as how the larger audience will receive your work. When I say this, I will elaborate on why I stopped, and I am very open to discussing the story further in DM.

Suggesting Alternate Options
"Consider writing it this way," "If I had written it," or "It probably works better if you [blank]" comments are not my attempt to take over your story or enter into a collaborative effort. These are ideas for how I (the non-representative reader) might like the scene or scenario better. They're presented as options for you for the next time your characters are in similar situations.

Focused Only On the Beginning
I now review only new stories, or one-shots. I accept full responsibility for being a poor reader and reviewer in saying this, but I rarely enjoy long works. Most of the time, the potential and the promise of the story is so great that any execution leads me to be disappointed. Again, this is wholly due to my own failings as a reader and reviewer. I seek to compensate for this by focusing on the structure and deliverables for any story's beginning:

- Introducing the essentials: characters, setting, challenge, and complications
- Avoiding the usual pitfalls: info-dumping, "writing as discovery," and dragging
- Hooking the reader: character investment, desire to continue, and open questions


Goals

"Okay, what are you looking for in a story?"

Flow
As I mentioned in SPAG reviews earlier, fictive flow is critical. I want to ease into your story, read it until the end of the chapter or one-shot, come back to the real world and be shocked that time passed without me knowing it. I want to enjoy your story, be immersed in it. For this, it must:

- Have polish.
- Be internally consistent.
- Engender confidence this is time well spent.

Value
Reading fiction is an exchange. I am investing time, time I could be spent enjoying other avocations. I am taking the effort to paint pictures in my mind, evoke voices from the ether, all based on the prose blueprint of the story. In exchange, I expect to get something out of it. For the same amount of time and energy, I hope to reap enjoyment at least commensurate to whatever else I might be doing for the same investment.

Confidence
This is worth its own heading. Value can only be accurately assessed at the end of the story. However, my confidence in receiving adequate value is always, always being evaluated at the back of my mind. If the story requires more and more suspension of disbelief, or shows less and less ingenuity over time, my expectations for a valuable payload decrease.

Ease
My neuro-diffabilities and my job leave little energy to read and review. A "grey wall of text" or page after page of unattributed dialog without distinctive voices will dissuade me from even attempting those endeavors. Likewise, a chapter over 2k words will not be read. Again, this is not me speaking on behalf of anyone else. You write what you want to write. I'll review what I want to review.


Stories

"Okay, let's see you walk the walk. Put your money where your mouth is."

Active Works

It's Not Isekai to Me!
My neuro-diffabilities make understanding humor challenging. I offer this as attempt at parody. Subtitled anime in the United States is drowning in a glut of isekai, which means "another world" in Japanese. Western fiction categorize it as the sub-genre, "Portal Fantasy," but the anime version usually give the protagonist ridiculous levels of skill and power.

Archived Works

Days of Madness
Written in 2002 for a writing challenge on the now-defunct East of the Web online writers' workshop. I like this piece for its use of language-as-character and how it sketches a world with its history and pantheon.

Foster's Gambit
Incomplete serial work, posted to FP as I wrote it. I like this one because I had an actual reason why the detective-type first-person main character had an attitude, instead of it just being part of the archetype. In this case, he always snarked because fake humans wouldn't understand humor, so it was his way of testing them.

The Human Touch
Written in 2006 or 2007 as a demonstration of how I feel a "journal story" should look. See endnotes on what specific traits I expect in this format. I like this piece for how it builds the world in a format that, in my eyes, forbids info-dumping.

The Last Question
Flash fiction written in 2006. I like it for how it experiments in story form.

Parents' Platitudes
Written in 2002. This one is the most personal of my stories, using me and my family with only the names and events changed. It is an experiment in tone and mood, using a normal first-person's narration to convey emotion and foreshadowing.

Tomas' Sacrifice
Written in 2000 or 2001. Intended to be the first of a collection of short stories that developed an overarching plot as well as each being a complete story on its own. I challenged myself to "bookend" each story, to start the story with its final scene, then show the events leading to it.

This is especially a challenge because the opening has provide the reader the characters, a reason to be invested in at least one of the characters, the story's conflict, and a hook to keep reading By the time the reader is at the end, all of these should be clear, so reiterating them will drag the pace and possibly lose the reader.

Only Human by Thescarredman reviews
Cybers were designed to be killers - soldiers, infiltrators, and assassins - who look like teenage girls. Now that the war is long over and cybers are citizens, what sort of place can they find in human society?
Fiction: Sci-Fi - Rated: T - English - Sci-Fi/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 22,408 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 12/22/2009 - Published: 11/29/2009
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It's Not Isekai to Me! reviews
(Active) What do you mean, I'm not reincarnated? Everyone in this world is either an NPC or someone reincarnated from Earth! I can't believe even the NEET Guild won't let me join...
Fiction: Manga - Rated: T - English - Fantasy/Parody - Chapters: 7 - Words: 12,570 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 10/16/2021 - Published: 7/17/2021
Parents' Platitudes
(From the archives.) What can you say when you've done your best, and you still terribly failed the one you love?
Fiction: General - Rated: T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Chapters: 1 - Words: 2,442 - Published: 8/21/2021 - Complete
Tomas' Sacrifice
(From the archives.) Two short stories as anthology, inactive. "Tomas Kincaid Baxter, you face the charges of public display of power, of unauthorized magical combat, and, most serious of all, of illegal use of Blood Magic. How do you plead?"
Fiction: Supernatural - Rated: T - English - Supernatural/Mystery - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,639 - Favs: 1 - Published: 6/1/2014 - Complete
The Last Question reviews
(From the archives.) One-shot, completed. And the Angel of Death asked, "What do you wish to carry forward to your next incarnation?"
Poetry: Life - Rated: K - English - Spiritual/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 1 - Words: 127 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 6/1/2014 - Complete
Foster's Gambit reviews
(Abandoned, but of sentimental value.) I could tell you my Angel tells me where to go to fight Demons and keep them from opening up Hellgates to end Life-on-Earth-as-We-Know-It, but what's the point? You either know that already, or you think I'm nuts. Or maybe both.
Fiction: Supernatural - Rated: T - English - Supernatural - Chapters: 17 - Words: 30,117 - Reviews: 131 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 11/22/2010 - Published: 12/26/2009
Days of Madness reviews
(From the archives.) One-shot, completed. A kitten becomes a cat after the Test of the Hunt, and finds herself not looking forward to the rest of maturity's gifts.
Fiction: General - Rated: T - English - Chapters: 1 - Words: 1,866 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Published: 1/21/2010 - Complete
The Human Touch reviews
(From the archives.) One-shot, completed. She's a wealthy widow. He's her late husband's brother-in-arms from The Great War. Can they overcome pain and doubts to trust each other in her final days?
Fiction: Romance - Rated: T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 1 - Words: 3,911 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 1/7/2010 - Published: 12/29/2009 - Complete