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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 28584 times)

Offline m3mnoch

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2016, 03:25:33 PM »
corpse could have been more integral to said story.
I am really curious about this. The four corpses were each described in distinct terms (peaceful, ghastly, broken, unrecognizable), in ways that impacted the character and evoked different emotions from the protag, and from some readers (disgust, loss, and sadness). Their discovery changed the mood of the story and the protag. They altered the protag's intentions, who abandoned plans of escape and chose a lop-sided confrontation. The protag used the energy from their cremation as a weapon to avenge them.

So I am at a loss. In what other ways should/could they have been more integral?

i didn't pick up on the peaceful/ghastly/broken/unrecognizable bits.  it just seemed like random dead people.

i also didn't pick up on the mc going from fleeing to fighting.  it felt like he was already mid-fight and these were his buddies as war casualties.  his flight seemed more a regroup than a "screw this!  i'm outta here!"

for example, the blurb (basically one or two sentences to summarize each story to help jog my memory) i wrote for your story is:  "wizard fighting on a bridge, discovers bodies of his buddies in the bridge tower, exits and engages in a wizard battle where he wins by collapsing the bridge on the final badguy.  now, he's the enemy of the whole wizard school."

so, to put it succinctly, your story was about a guy battling a wizard school, not necessarily anything to do with the corpses.


I think it's a matter of interpretation. Your corpses were catalysts for the aciton of the MC, but they weren't the subject of the story.

Still, I find that I apply this thinking inconsistently. Soulspeaker isn't really about corpses, either. And I voted for both stories.

see?  and i don't think that applies to soulspeaker.  the story there is about a guy who tries to assassinate people who speak to corpses, but gets out-maneuvered by his target.  take away the corpses, and it's a totally different story.  why was he hired to assassinate the people?  how would he bluff his way in?  why would it be a kid who was really the target?  you could construct answers for those questions, but you'd have to rewrite the entire thing.

take away the corpses in bridge battle, and it could have pretty much the same plot, but the dude could just decide to fight back when he was finally cornered instead of when he saw his dead buddies.

also, i didn't hate the cliche-ness of the ending in soulspeaker because i thought the double-punch of two cliches -- "talent misdirection" and "poison trick" -- was interesting.  meaning, i expected just the one twist, not two.

Offline shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2016, 03:35:07 PM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Maybe your kid had aspergers. We often get called little professors, and for good reason. I was talking at nine and a half months, and, probably due to the amount of documentaries we watched at my house, using twenty dollar words in every day vocabulary.

I kinda liked what you did, and probably for that reason. Made me feel a bit less...quirky? Would that be the word? It's not impossible to have kids like that. I'm proof...then again, I also didn't get out much either. Doesn't seem like that kid did.either. I don't know. I guess it's just not common enough for most people to think about and relate.

Hi. Maybe not (easily relatable). I tend to see it as a trope in TV and movies: the precocious, genius-kid, usually wise-cracking. Doesn't mean it doesn;t happen; just that it's used a lot. At the end, my issue isn't with the soulspeaker's genius and verbal skills, but with not noting and explaining (or hinting). Bradley's response seems to indicate he wasn't so much making a conscious choice about these things as defaulting into the child's speech. To the degree that's true, I think the call-out may be useful.

Meanwhile, @shadowkat678, your experience sounds really interesting. And huzzah for quirky!

I guess that's true. Though, to be fair, they wouldn't know what autism was at that time. And I guess it was interesting. Though it came with a bucketload of problems too.

No, they wouldn't have given it a name. But surely they'd have recognized its presence in a child's demeanor.

Oh. No. Trust me. Or, maybe they would, but never in any "oh, there's just this group of people who think a bit different and he's just one of them. No biggie" kinda way. Funny thing though. Mostly people still don't unless they're obviously on the "low end of the spectrum" which is honestly so dehumanizing and horrible. I still get people try to explain mine away.

"But you can make eye contact", "socialize sometimes", "are so smart" (ummm...excuse me?), "don't LOOK autistic", "not like my best friend's sister's son who has autism!", etc. Back then it was so much worse. Autism in of itself has become a special interest. The history is...no. If so likely they'd just be labeled a social deviant if it was too visible and then ostracized, or, if it was a case that was visible (the whole low functioning junk), they'd have been drowned, left in the woods, or locked away from sight in order to avoid bringing embarrassment on the family. The disabled community has a very dark history with this. If they learned to mask themselves and explain away the oddities, they would probably have just been the strange village oddball and get no help with difficulties. Normal, but someone who no one would really want to be around or encourage others to be around. Might even be accused of being demonic. They jumped way overboard when it came to people who didn't fit ridged social norms and expectations.

Acceptance would be a hard thing to find. Even a lot of famous figures (artists, philosophers, scientists) who anyone who's familiar with what to look for would say they no doubt were autistic, were considered erratic loons or standoffish a-holes. And still people deny that they were anything "truly abnormal" as I once heard one jerk say. I went on a rant off the thread topic, but...eh.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2016, 03:59:45 PM »
i didn't pick up on the peaceful/ghastly/broken/unrecognizable bits.  it just seemed like random dead people.

i also didn't pick up on the mc going from fleeing to fighting.
Sounds like you read it at a sprint and didn't pick up on a lot of things.

take away the corpses in bridge battle, and it could have pretty much the same plot,
No. If you take the corpses out, the story collapses - the protag runs away.

but the dude could just decide to fight back when he was finally cornered instead of when he saw his dead buddies.
Yeah, you think? ANY STORY could have been altered by removing the corpses and going some other way, just a matter of how much they'd have to be altered. Some could not happen, mechanically. Mine would not have happened. And that's a pretty fine discrimination you're making considering how much you're not picking up on.
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Offline night_wrtr

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2016, 04:50:47 PM »
i didn't pick up on the peaceful/ghastly/broken/unrecognizable bits.  it just seemed like random dead people.

i also didn't pick up on the mc going from fleeing to fighting.
Sounds like you read it at a sprint and didn't pick up on a lot of things.

take away the corpses in bridge battle, and it could have pretty much the same plot,
No. If you take the corpses out, the story collapses - the protag runs away.

but the dude could just decide to fight back when he was finally cornered instead of when he saw his dead buddies.
Yeah, you think? ANY STORY could have been altered by removing the corpses and going some other way, just a matter of how much they'd have to be altered. Some could not happen, mechanically. Mine would not have happened. And that's a pretty fine discrimination you're making considering how much you're not picking up on.

I just want to post that I agreed with m3m's comments. I don't think we have to assume someone wasn't paying attention to the story because an element wasn't picked up on that you intended. Maybe look back at the story and see if there is anything that could have been done differently that could have emphasized those aspects more.

Just my two cents as another reader. 

Offline m3mnoch

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2016, 04:51:53 PM »
i didn't pick up on the peaceful/ghastly/broken/unrecognizable bits.  it just seemed like random dead people.

i also didn't pick up on the mc going from fleeing to fighting.
Sounds like you read it at a sprint and didn't pick up on a lot of things.

i read bridge battle at no different pace than i read the others.

*shrug*


Yeah, you think? ANY STORY could have been altered by removing the corpses and going some other way, just a matter of how much they'd have to be altered.

that's precisely my point.  it's the amount of alteration required.  that gives you insight into how closely tied to the theme the story is.

bridge battle basically only needs a 250-word drop-in replacement where the guy gets cornered after his retreat, blasts a couple red-shirt pursuers, and finds the nerve to head back to battle after his friends betrayed him.  the rest of the story could basically stand as-is.  "wizard starts a war with the wizard school because of his friends' deaths betrayal."

can you say that with where there's a will?  or navigator?  or weincawnathun?  or hoy-girl?  or blink?

sure, you can rewrite them, but it's a massive undertaking and they're totally different stories then.  not same-plot-different-motivation.


edit:  also, i don't want you to think i didn't think it wasn't tied to the corpse theme at all, it was just not as strongly tied as some of the other stories.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 04:54:03 PM by m3mnoch »

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2016, 08:41:21 PM »
Okay. Lesson learned: 20% of the story devoted to theme isn't enough. All theme elements in a cohesive scene in the story is too comparted because the story could be too easily edited into something else. Character motivation is less important than plot.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2016, 09:08:49 PM »
Okay. Lesson learned: 20% of the story devoted to theme isn't enough. All theme elements in a cohesive scene in the story is too comparted because the story could be too easily edited into something else. Character motivation is less important than plot.

not necessarily.  obviously other people thought differently since they voted for your story.  so, that's just my opinion.  and, in this case, it's not catastrophic, it just barely pushed you out of voting range for me.  it's not like i thought it was terrible or anything crazy like that.  with lots of good stories, it comes down to weird things sometimes that make the cut.

also, i'm not sure if character motivation is worth less than plot.  it's just with such a short format, where you're spending the wordcount matters.  for example, hoy girl has a pretty quiet plot, but blazing-badass characterization.  or harry (which got lots of votes) was also quiet on plot, yet crazy-loud on character motivation.

i think it's just really hard to do "all the things" in such a small space.

Online J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2016, 10:33:18 PM »
Okay. Lesson learned: 20% of the story devoted to theme isn't enough. All theme elements in a cohesive scene in the story is too comparted because the story could be too easily edited into something else. Character motivation is less important than plot.

not necessarily.  obviously other people thought differently since they voted for your story.  so, that's just my opinion.  and, in this case, it's not catastrophic, it just barely pushed you out of voting range for me.  it's not like i thought it was terrible or anything crazy like that.  with lots of good stories, it comes down to weird things sometimes that make the cut.

also, i'm not sure if character motivation is worth less than plot.  it's just with such a short format, where you're spending the wordcount matters.  for example, hoy girl has a pretty quiet plot, but blazing-badass characterization.  or harry (which got lots of votes) was also quiet on plot, yet crazy-loud on character motivation.

i think it's just really hard to do "all the things" in such a small space.

The degree to which corpses were involved in your story had no bearing on whether I voted for it or not.  I was very very close to voting for it, but I ultimately didn't because of the story arc issue.

Sometimes people vote for reasons I can't fathom.  I loved the Grinning Man.  I'm the only one out of 24 people (all of whom had 5 votes!) that even voted for it.  They might not like xyz thing I think is pretty irrelevant.  Tying it to theme is no more arbitrary than the other myriad preferences people use to decide-- taste can't be standardized and it's a fickle audience we've got here.  I wouldn't stress it and just have fun with it.  You did an awesome job and I know you earned yourself at least one new fan (me) and probably others :)  That's a bigger win than votes imho

Offline Lordoftheword

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2016, 06:44:05 PM »
Yeah I really enjoyed Bridge Battle. Kept me engaged, the action was done masterfully (something I personally struggle with), and I did pick up on the motivation for your MC. Like Bradley, I'm quite a bit less picky about attention to the theme. If the story is good, the story is good.

But that doesn't mean I voted for it either. I had three tiers of stories this month, and in the end I voted for the top 3 (Where There's a Will, Weincawnathun and Is It Really Graverobbing if it's for Science?) . Bridge Battle fell into the second tier, only because I wanted more and, like others have said, it felt like part of a story rather than a complete short story wrapped up in a tight little package with a cute, curly bow on top.

Well I might as well let the dogs out on my story: Harry. What did you guys think? What would you have liked to see more of? The good, the bad?

It was what I would call a "safe" story by my standards. Not too complicated and fun. That would be my own brief critique, but I am curious to hear what others have to say. Thank you kindly :)
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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2016, 07:23:22 PM »
So, no one is interested in giving a critique to the Anonymous stories?
Blink, Memories and Pit of Forgiveness

Everyone was so frantic about doing anonymous reviews, but people are rarely frantic to do reviews at all.  :D

For whoever wrote Memories :

I voted for the story, but at first I didn't like it much, and abandoned it to my final reading time. The prose seemed a bit thick, in the sense that it gave an eeriness, a very "blurred memory" feel to it, that kept me from easing inside the story, and also I had the vague impression that the dead things were actually fairies.
I think the key thing is that the word for 'birds' came too far inside the story, so I had a bad visual of what we were talking about.
Corpses and feathers don't necessarily mean birds since we're all writing SFF, after all. I think a little bit more description of the content of the shelves would have riveted me harder.

This being said, a lot could be done to better the pacing, but it really worked once I was eased inside the story.

As arrogant as it might sound, I loved the last line, as it remembered me a lot of the sort of things I could write as well. "Faded, frozen, locked forever into one final pose, the lines of little corpses conjured sweet echoes of flight." very good.
I really enjoyed the mental process that went on, despite this "They were the reason I hated that place. They were the reason I was there." early on, I worried for a while that the story would focus on the one moment and the narrator's distaste of the stuffed birds, but the way things went, with the story being more about mending bridges and seeing things through someone else's point of view, it was very pleasantly surprising and well made.

I think the beginning of the story is what could do with some mending, but otherwise that's some great work. Beautiful, simple idea and nice prose over it.
I also really enjoyed that the little corpses were : things of beauty and horror - not human - the reason for a fracture in a strong relationship. All three were great points.


Is it Really Graverobbing if it's for Science? - by @Rukaio_Alter

I liked it, but didn't vote for you because, while good, it felt less reflected than usual. The grave digging was the scenery, but the dialogue was too farfetched, the relationship between the characters too improbable.
Actually think this could be a great little tv skit or youtube video, but on paper for a writing contest it vibed too much like a grab for laughs on situational matters.
I really don't want to offend you, given that I don't know how hard you worked on that, but for example your circus story was infinitely superior in my eyes.
The thing is, I think that with your vibe of humour, if you'd set such characters in a different situation, with more action, like for example the mad scientist trying his dumb experiment, and the experiment actually working, and the other guy being completely dumbfounded and then obvious running for his life, it could have caught my fancy more, with the corpse being a stronger key. Here we don't even see it, the grave is even empty. It's only an excuse for dialogue.

Anyway, can't do god-emperor stories each month...  :P  Your prose was solid and your style truly as unique as usual though, so it's only me being nitpicky.

For Pit of Forgiveness, I didn't finish the story, to be sadly honest. The way it was written, in huge chunks with no regard for airy presentation, dialogue swallowed in the paragraphs, it was just too confusing. A lot of the spoken text was very exhibition-driven and felt a bit unnatural and forced. It gave a weird impression of what the guy was feeling, and left us without much bearings.

As for Bridgebattle, by @The Gem Cutter I can echo the feelings that it wasn't corpsey enough for me, but then again, I just stated the same excuse with Rukaio's story! At the same time it's not my main reproach. Here are some of the things that bugged me :

This "the color of headstones" - left me so perplexed that it pulled me out of the story.
"Without sunlight, without energy, I was doomed. I had been a fool and would die like one at the hands of a layman." was a very strict and strong indication of what the MC thought was the immediate future, and to me it made "I don’t work that way" turn into a big case of Deus Ex.
I like my magic a lot the way Sanderson does it, with strict rules and limitations that I know, so I can enjoy watching the characters skirt trouble and get out of it. This was of course too early in a short story to make such accusations, but I think, if the MC had said "I was in trouble", and "I had been a fool and might well die", then the wind would have been hope and the development feel more natural.

"But better to be betrayed than to betray. By far." That's a very cool line, though I don't think I've ever thought up a character who could even think that way  ;D

"Without wind, I had no power, but I didn’t care." - I wish he would have cared. The MC appears less realistic for it, at least in my definition of what a normal human who just nearly escaped getting strangled would feel. Having only the wind to protect him, I'd expect him to feel a shiver of worry, and then to make the greater heroic step of going forward anyway. A character who doesn't fear death or injury is not as compelling as one who does but goes on anyway.

"The laboratory we had painstakingly built was now a shipwreck of broken furniture in a sea of loose papers and torn books." I really liked this, because the very first bit of story I ever tried to write in English, when I was 20 and completely immature on the writing part, had a very similar image, where a pair of shoes were linked to men drowning in the sea of discarded clothes they were in, but heck it wasn't nearly as neat a sentence as yours.

"They didn’t betray me, I thought." I think this would have been smoother as "They hadn't betrayed me" which would feel just as much like internal dialogue, since we're very much discovering the situation as he does.

Now here is the key of why the corpses felt less necessary to the story : "I emerged from the tower, and there, on the causeway before me stood Rachtus, flanked by two men and two women. Five wizards to one."

See, the thing is, your character wants to go and warn his friends, regardless of whether they might have betrayed him or not. As a result, the fact that when he emerges, the enemies are already there, blocking his way, makes the deadness of his friends a lot more incidental.
Might as well note, I didn't feel that the idea that they might have betrayed him was vital. If anything, because he doesn't care, it lessened the feelings I had for the dead people. He goes in thinking maybe it's his friends, maybe it's people who just organized his untimely meeting with a wizard killer.
Now, if he'd gone in to warn them, or being sure that they were traitors, only to find them dead, it would have distraught him, one way or another, but since he doesn't know, it leaves the reader a lot less certain of what must be felt.
If your MC had waited for the enemy, or met them, or trapped them, it would have felt like the corpses had more influence. He would have made a clear, marked decision based on them, to stay and fight.
As it is, he has to fight for his life anyway.

I think that's what people meant when they said corpses seemed a bit less relevent, that it could have been triggered by something else. As it is, if the MC's friends had betrayed him, were alive, and warned, and the MC left, he'd still bump in the other people at the end.
Other stories less so, like Blink for example, which features a chick who's got the FBI on her ass because she can see from the pov of dead bodies, being some sort of super corpse hound, and gets into a serial killing case. Bodies are vital to the character's key arch as it is to the plot (the killer's chase).
A bit as if your magician used necromancy of some sort, for example.

My final line is that the story felt very "taken out" of bigger work, you must be tired of hearing that - sorry.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Mostly due to your use of names and unexplained backstory that wasn't so much left "fuzzy" as it was referred to directly without explanation. If you mention Liza and John and Jack and Jill, just the once as they appear, it feels a lot more like we should have heard about them before.
On that part, the only thing I can warmly recommend is to keep from using names, for fun. I was encouraged in that way, and it was pretty discussed 2 years ago. So on my second entry ever, I wrote about "the little girl" "her father", "her grandmother" and "the Wolf". It was very refreshing to see what could be done, and I've done it a couple of times after that.
Not sure it'd solve everything, but hey!
and it had a few looser ends on plot, or moments when the prose jagged a tiny bit. Overall good, but I didn't really feel for the MC, and in first pov it's a bit disgruntling, so I ended up not voting for you.
However I initially thought the story was written by Jmack, and I still wasn't gonna vote for it :p

Jmac already got his critic in private, so I'll stop here for today.


edit :

since it'll be a fast one : @Lordoftheword, for Harry, I didn't vote for you for two simple reasons :

# 1 - the corpse was completely supernatural, and as far as I knew, probably a ghost or demon or artefact of some sort, but definitely not a normal corpse.

# 2 - the way the corpse decides to appear and save the little girl along the time of the story felt like another huge case of Deus Ex Machina. He came out just when it was convenient.

It left me a bit bummed out because you had really strong prose and pretty good characterisation for the little girl. If it had been more in topic, I could have forgiven the Deus Ex, and if the Deus Ex had not been so strong, I might have forgiven some of the uncorpsyness of the story, but with both, it left me liking your story a lot but not wanting to vote for it.
Let me add, in all discretion, that with my liking for darker stuff, your story ended so well after building such thrilling gloom, it left me with a minor case of literary blue balls.
Otherwise nothing bad to say, it was a very strong submission, I'm confident you'll steal my votes before long.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 10:08:48 PM by Nora »
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Offline Lordoftheword

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2016, 08:51:23 PM »

since it'll be a fast one : @Lordoftheword, for Harry, I didn't vote for you for two simple reasons :

# 1 - the corpse was completely supernatural, and as far as I knew, probably a ghost or demon or artefact of some sort, but definitely not a normal corpse.

# 2 - the way the corpse decides to appear and save the little girl along the time of the story felt like another huge case of Deus Ex Machina. He came out just when it was convenient.

It left me a bit bummed out because you had really strong prose and pretty good characterisation for the little girl. If it had been more in topic, I could have forgiven the Deus Ex, and if the Deus Ex had not been so strong, I might have forgiven some of the uncorpsyness of the story, but with both, it left me liking your story a lot but not wanting to vote for it.
Let me add, in all discretion, that with my liking for darker stuff, your story ended so well after building such thrilling gloom, it left me with a minor case of literary blue balls.
Otherwise nothing bad to say, it was a very strong submission, I'm confident you'll steal my votes before long.

Thanks Nora! :) I appreciate the constructive feedback, but I will challenge you on the Deus Ex point, though not completely invalid.

The impending "belting" from Scarlet's step-father is the result of Harry's awakening and resurrection in her bedroom. If you remember, her screams and panic only happened when Harry started to speak to her, enraging her step-father. So while it was convenient that Harry was there to stop him from hurting Scarlet, he wasn't necessarily brought to life to stop him from doing so. The step-father treated Scarlet poorly before that moment, and Harry was never there to help her.

In fact, we don't really know why Harry chose that particular time to reanimate. Unfortunately, that kind of explanation just simply wouldn't fit into a 1500 word story. But let's just say it might have something to do with her real father ;)
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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2016, 09:09:04 PM »
That's the exact point that bothers me : we see the story from the moment it happens, but we know it must have happened before, so why now? To save her from another belting? One too many, or convenience for the story?
I think the idea of linking that to her real dad is great, and maybe could be put in the story, is only in passing : what if the more he mistreats her, the more the skeleton takes shape? What if she gloomly talk to Harry thinking to herself that whoever that skull had belonged to, he'd probably made a better father than her step dad ever did?

 :P
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Offline Lordoftheword

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2016, 09:43:31 PM »
That's the exact point that bothers me : we see the story from the moment it happens, but we know it must have happened before, so why now? To save her from another belting? One too many, or convenience for the story?
I think the idea of linking that to her real dad is great, and maybe could be put in the story, is only in passing : what if the more he mistreats her, the more the skeleton takes shape? What if she gloomly talk to Harry thinking to herself that whoever that skull had belonged to, he'd probably made a better father than her step dad ever did?

 :P

Oooo, I like that! A progressive reanimation born of hate and revenge. Mwahahaha
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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2016, 09:49:22 PM »
That's the exact point that bothers me : we see the story from the moment it happens, but we know it must have happened before, so why now? To save her from another belting? One too many, or convenience for the story?
I think the idea of linking that to her real dad is great, and maybe could be put in the story, is only in passing : what if the more he mistreats her, the more the skeleton takes shape? What if she gloomly talk to Harry thinking to herself that whoever that skull had belonged to, he'd probably made a better father than her step dad ever did?

 :P

Oooo, I like that! A progressive reanimation born of hate and revenge. Mwahahaha

Huh. Given the tone of your story, I thought more of a positive reincarnation, born from love and the desire to protect!
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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2016, 10:04:25 PM »
This one's for Jmack:

I think a slice of Americana is a bit of a tough sell as fantasy-types are often euro-philes.  That said, you did an impressive job of layering setting and culture into every line.  the body that had been "weeding, picking and pickling" yesterday, the shelled pea pod imagery, rushes and cedar shavings and the wedding quilt.  "witnesses" like in 4 lines you've got richer worldbuilding and thicker atmosphere than most can manage in a whole chapter!  It was impressive. [minor side note-- the thous and thees felt a little off as they were the only archaic bits in an otherwise country lexicon, not sure if it plays out that way usually but an extra "needest" or "hast" or something might have helped]

I also loved not only the auras but the way she saw them-- orange like when he's going for the belt-- you did your research, these are lined up with some of the modern explanations for those colors :)

There was a lot to admire about the piece, and to be honest, I can't offer you much in the way of a critique-- everything I have to say is resoundingly positive!  So why didn't i vote for it? Well, there was just a lot of really great stories this month.  I admired the artistry and construction of your piece the way I would admire a pre-impressionistic painting.  It was a pretty landscape, very neatly pieced together and well-constructed, but I didn't feel the emotions I would in viewing a much messier "Guernica".  The stakes were low (which to be fair can work sometimes...) and logically I can see the girl is struggling with her new role, but her character transformation still felt a bit unrelatable to me-- in part perhaps b/c we didn't ruminate on her attachment to her gran?  I'm grasping at straws really.  Honestly I wouldn't change a thing about it-- it's perfect as it is. It just got nudged out by pieces that made me feel a bit more of an emotional connection to the scene.  I know that's probably intangible and useless, but good job!