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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 28612 times)

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #120 on: December 11, 2016, 07:01:23 PM »
Alright, after a gruelling week, and today a shift so horrible at work I considered walking out a couple of times, I finally can sit down and give @TOMunro the review he deserves.

I'll steal Lanko's good use of the template :

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quotes:

Quote
I drew in a pointless breath, dragging the soft perfume of mother’s flower garden through a nose that had lost its sense of smell long ago.

That was the first hint that something was terribly off with our narrator, but I love how it doesn't quite sell things away.

Quote
One of my sisters no doubt, or perhaps Ernest’s latest wife – whatever her name was.

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Despite the intemperate urgency of my sister’s question I turned slowly, not wanting to try my rickety knee.
Love how counter-tempo this is.

Quote
I had not done much looking in mirrors lately so I was out of practice at facial expressions.

Quote
Ah, she had me there, I had to admit.

Loved that too. Again, the counterstep, it works great for a quiet sense of humour.

Something Amazing: What really did it for me was the mix of the humour and the irrelevance of the ending, with its rather lame pun. Yes lame, as in, easy, tad bit corny, it was perfect.
It crowned the other lame jokes (literally), and gave a caustic tone to the tale. I liked the humour a lot because it was well thought, well integrated, often irreverent, well paced.
The plot was easy to follow, nothing tangled, and the character was compelling. I would totally read more or that dude's adventures. The non-healing body reminded me a bit of Ellantris. 

Theme Appropriateness: Very high.
I mean, zombie MC goes to his dead mom's wake and steals her eyes, you can't really get any more spot on.

Conflict and Tension: Low.
We don't know what Tomas is after, and he encounters little struggle, none at all obviously by the end, but it wasn't a story that needed it. It wasn't a conflict driven piece, but a curiosity driven one, with me wanting to understand what was going on with the narrator, and looking over his shoulder with growing enjoyment as the humour caught me and kept me in.

Something Confusing: Not confusing but not so nicely done, I'd say there is a couple of timewhere the "beat" was lost because you didn't break the line.

Here :

Quote
people look after themselves after they were dead. His policies were expensive, too much for me to pay for all upfront. But I had not regretted it.  Knocked down by a runaway cart I should have been dead, in fact I was. But the joy of necromancy is that death really isn’t the end.  Thanks to Kirren I could walk and talk and function pretty much as well as I used to, though to be honest a dead body wasn’t so good at the mundane business of repairing all the knocks that life so irritatingly threw in one’s path.

And there :

Quote
Kirren was bent over the counter when I got back to the shop, getting ready to re-animate a mouse that the cat had caught that morning. He looked up at the jangle of the bell; I stood in the doorway savouring the moment. Motes of dust danced in shafts of sunlight, beads of sweat gleamed on the necromancer’s bald head. “Ah, you’re back,” he said.  “Did it go well?”

The bold sentences ought to be at the beginning of a new paragraph, for sure. It feels like I almost skipped over their importance, buried as they are.
The motes and beads are what he can now see after you emphasize his bad eyesight, the revelation that he is, indeed, dead, those are important moments in the story and it felt like the tempo of it broke there.
Nothing else confused me or disappointed me.
Also just noting, eyes flatten out very fast after death, and knowing some of the technicalities of post-mortem decomposition had me suspend my disbelief there, but again, not by much, and it was an afterthought. More like me wondering whether his own eyes are leaky and dull, or if the spell keeps whatever he integrates fresh.
I mean, necromancy leaves a lot of leeways, and I didn't think about that eye bit until re-reading.


Addendum : It was my favourite, in the end, though I can still see weaknesses in the prose or the way the reveals are arranged–aka, re-writing it to polish it off would still seem desirable in a couple of places. But overall the topic was great, the pov of the dead guy was refreshing, to me, I entirely put this in the world of Howl's Moving Castle, be it book or anime.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 07:04:21 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline TOMunro

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #121 on: December 11, 2016, 08:45:42 PM »
@Nora Thanks for the lovely review and the helpful pointers.

I'm sorry your week and the shift was a bit of a pig - work can be like that - which I guess is why we take such refreshing refuge in fantasy writing about death and corpses!

The observations are spot on, particularly about the paragraph breaks.

Reading back I thought the story could do with a bit of polish - I felt at times I was overworking the decaying/decrepit body theme - and I will confess that (while I research many things) I hadn't googled optical rates of decomposition.

Looking forward to reading your dragon piece!



 

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #122 on: December 12, 2016, 02:11:54 AM »
DID YOU SEE THAT @The Gem Cutter ???? DID YOU???  Just checking :)
I did. And since you bring it up, I apologize for my unreasonable outbursts. And as I tried to communicate, my issue was not so much a petty inability to receive criticism as it was an episode of  emotional instability caused by other things and manifested here to my lasting embarrassment. Now let me be, Bradley.

Sorry TGC was just trying to commiserate.

Offline LightRunner

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #123 on: December 13, 2016, 02:11:10 AM »
Thank you for the kind and helpful critiques!

@TOMunro I am not a physiologist, so I could definitely have been using the wrong body part. With science (as broad as term as that is, I know) I often know just enough to be dangerous, but not quite enough to always get it right. I also like the suggestion of starting just a bit earlier - maybe with a sentence or two of mad scramble to keep all systems going and then wading into the silence once She has left.

@Lady_Ty  Congratulations on guessing that I was the author with only one or two writing samples! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #124 on: December 13, 2016, 11:44:17 AM »
And then there was the Soulspeaker who was hanged and dumped into the river, which also led me to believe the killing of Soulspeakers was systematic (since we don't know the reasons he was hanged).

My thinking was that, as advisors to the clan rulers in the olden days, Soulspeakers would be protected, but as clan influence waned and Soulspeakers were just an out-of-place feature of an urbanizing society, they would inevitably get mixed up in conflicts--there's always someone who doesn't want the secrets of the dead to be known.  Thus, the Soulspeakers keep meeting unsavory ends.