Author Topic: Reviews? Maybe?  (Read 9900 times)

carelesswhisper

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Reviews? Maybe?
« on: July 08, 2013, 09:12:20 AM »
COMING SOON TO A THREAD NEAR YOU

Since I haven't read anything forever, and I'm still bummed I never got an app together (I had the coolest idea) I have finally given my last sigh and decided that maybe I should read the cool stuff that other people write for once. 

Not that I'm not still bummed.  I mean, seriously, guys, he - she - IT - was awesome. 

So I guess consider this a placeholder.

Nyika

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 09:17:27 AM »
Hi Carelesswhisper! We're so happy to see you! What was your app about? May I ask, or are you going to save him/her/it for another contest?

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 09:44:29 AM »
Poko - The Fall

I hate to say this, but I felt like the sole purpose of this chapter was "get rid of the parents".  I mean, I totally get that it's hard to operate a non-orphaned child character because it's impossible to be independent without physically or emotionally absent parents, but still.  I was interested to see how the family dynamic would develop within the story, given that it's challenging to keep NPCs involved.  Alas. 

The writing was pretty solid, I felt, though my attention wandered a little.  I think you could probably take it up a notch by engaging the reader a bit more, but it's hard for me to put my finger on what exactly I think could change to acheive that.  I will come back and reread when I have NOT just consumed the equivalent amount of caffeine to four cups of tea.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 09:45:13 AM »
I am saving... it, but I suppose I could go so far as to say that it was a vermin in the acting troupe with an interesting relationship with the leader.  :P

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 05:29:16 PM »
The Fall - Review Part Two!

So I figured it out.  There is quite a bit of summarizing and telling (as opposed to "showing") here.  An example: 

Quote
Poko remembered her mother’s hard words. Her father had defended her – like always. Poko specialized in finding trouble, it seemed, and her father was always making excuses for her. Her mother was afraid of being thrown out in the streets again after all her hard work. Pyracantha appeared sympathetic enough, but nothing should be taken for granted. Her father made light of the matter in front of Poko, but she could tell he was concerned as well. Their livelihood depended on the vixen’s favor. They were lucky to be a part of the traveling show at all. Poko credited their fortune largely to her mother’s beautiful dancing ability. She herself had not inherited that enviable grace.

There is nothing wrong with this passage.  But there is so much  more you could do here; you could have flashed back to the argument between her father and mother, and I wouldn't have minded a little more elaboration on the whole being *back* on the streets bit (I should note that I haven't read the apps, so if I'm just being stupid and missing something that was already covered, apologies.)  I also understand that you're trying to stay in the perspective of a child, so excessive attention to detail isn't always very easy or beneficial to include, but anything you can do to make Poko more attention-grabbing would be a plus for me. 

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 06:11:42 PM »
Nyika - Death on the Snowfield

Quote
Dispelling such unnerving thoughts, Nyika turned her attention to Zevka, leaning over her serene features and resting her paw against the pine marten's cheek. Beasts always were the most peaceful in sleep and death. Nyika almost considered them one and the same, the only difference being that death was a sleep in which one would never wake. She didn't want to disturb her. Zevka seemed so peaceful, but they needed to move. Something had happened, an avalanche, or something terrible. Already Nyika could hear the dead stirring, the moaning in her ears growing to an unnerving pitch. They had to leave, to survive.

Editing.  I think you could have cut this entire paragraph without negatively impacting the rest of the post.  You make some very obvious statements - "beasts always were the most peaceful in sleep and death" and "death was a sleep in which one would never wake" (and it should be "from which".)  Then we go back and forth - "she didn't want to disturb her.  Zevka seemed so peaceful, but they needed to move."  If you had cut either the first sentence or "Zevka seemed so peaceful" and put the other two statements together, there would be a much better flow there.  Many times in writing, less is more.  In my experience with these contests, you spend a lot of time polishing and editing down your app, using as few words as possible to get your point across.  When it comes to the actual contest, though, there is either no word limit or a much higher one, so it's easy to get a little sloppy and laid back on the trimming process.  I'm not saying that that's what happened here, but I think you could benefit from reading over your chapters and weighing the importance of every word, sentence, and paragraph. 

Quote
she felt like she was going to sick up.

I would have gone with "throw up" or "be sick".

My real beef with Nyika is that - and I'm assuming that she's seen dead people since she was a kit - I think someone her age would have either gone crazy by now, or somewhat learned to emotionally cope.  But, I'm trying to keep in mind that a pretty big catastrophe has just occurred, and she probably hasn't dealt with anything on this scale before.  I just keep getting this vibe that her primary coping mechanism is to try to ignore it all, and that only works for so long. 

All that said, I'm intrigued by the concept and I'm interested to see where you take this.  You can do some really different stuff with her, and that in itself makes her worth keeping around for a while longer.  My main advice to you is to spend a little more time on editing down. 

Balmafula

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 06:48:54 PM »
Personally, I'm glad that Poko didn't include flashbacks in her post. I am not really a fan of flashbacks, though. I think in some cases it's just as bad as telling instead of showing. It's always felt like a device for explaining things as opposed to organic action in the here-and-now. In some cases, they work. For Zevka, I didn't mind so much, but I guess it's because it relates to Zevka and Nyika's relationship. That's kind of wasted when the other party in the flashback just ends up dying immediately. Still, I'd rather see what's happening now as opposed to earlier, even if it means explaining a little instead of showing.

To be honest, if anything I would have criticized that post for being really short. But... losing your parents is kind of a big deal so it's not like nothing happened. I know what you mean about the parents staying alive thing; that's what I said earlier. Buuut it's a moot point by now, and I still feel it was probably a smart decision in the long run. Along with that, the Campfire Colloquy and her second post won me over toward her (even if she is a little brat! So mean to poor Nyika.)

Also, in regards to Nyika's post, I've heard people use sick up before so it doesn't seem that weird to me.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 07:07:50 PM »
Zevka - At the Mountains of Madness

I felt that all of the interruptions to tell us what tone of voice she was using while reading the letter were unnecessary.  I know that so much of the time, you have this perfect clear vision of how things play out in your head, and you want to communicate that exact picture, but there are times when letting the reader fill in the blanks works in your favor.  My first read through it was pretty confusing to sort through, but it was quite a bit better the second time through, so keep in mind that I'm a tad slow.  I just felt that the descriptions of her tone didn't do anything to further my understanding of why the letter was unusual.  You could have just as well left it all out and then once she was done reading, have her go over it again to explain what was off. 

I like Zevka a lot.  There's something about her character that draws me in, and I definitely want to see you go on.  The killing of the hare at the end of the post was genius.  I like the flow of your writing.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 07:11:34 PM »
Personally, I'm glad that Poko didn't include flashbacks in her post. I am not really a fan of flashbacks, though. I think in some cases it's just as bad as telling instead of showing. It's always felt like a device for explaining things as opposed to organic action in the here-and-now. In some cases, they work. For Zevka, I didn't mind so much, but I guess it's because it relates to Zevka and Nyika's relationship. That's kind of wasted when the other party in the flashback just ends up dying immediately. Still, I'd rather see what's happening now as opposed to earlier, even if it means explaining a little instead of showing.

I get that.  My feeling was that there was very little explaining at all, I suppose.  I would rather have seen an in-the-moment argument where the drama unfolds and their relationships are shown, even if it took up a little space, because it appears to be pretty important to Poko's character.  As it is, I felt like it got a small mention that didn't quite do it justice.  But, again, I've only read one app so far (Nyika) so I could just be going on about this when it's all been laid out already.

Vizon

Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 07:52:42 PM »
I also hate flashbacks.

Poko

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 08:50:03 PM »
I hate to say this, but I felt like the sole purpose of this chapter was "get rid of the parents".  I mean, I totally get that it's hard to operate a non-orphaned child character because it's impossible to be independent without physically or emotionally absent parents, but still.  I was interested to see how the family dynamic would develop within the story, given that it's challenging to keep NPCs involved.  Alas.   

I wasn't sure I was allowed to bring along NPC characters, to tell you the truth, and pretty much everyone's feedback after the application confirmed that I shouldn't, even if it was allowed. It was important to me for Poko to have a loving family and a strong relationship with at least her father. Her dependence on them was not insignificant. Hence, if I had to do away with them, I wanted it to be a poignant moment. This is going to change her a lot. It also changes how she will interact with the others.

 A majority of the beasts that were on this trek were killed, so I did not think it was such a stretch for both of Poko's parents to be killed. Even though they are dead, they played a large role in Poko's life, and others in the Dewhurst caravan knew her parents (Risk and Gashrock), so they are not going to be plowed under and forgotten so quickly. They were not so disposable as you may think.

Yes, the purpose of this post revolved around the loss of Poko's parents, but that's a pretty huge deal to my character, and I didn't want to move on so quickly. She herself is not going to be moving on so quickly, as chipper as she may appear at times.

As for showing the past in a flashback…well I try to avoid using flashbacks. I think they’re kind of a cheat.

I hope that as you read these next posts, you will be content with Poko's relationships (past and present).



And Balma, thank you for the encouraging words.

TNT

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 10:09:54 PM »
Pish and tush. Flashbacks can be great, as long as they're not overused and used appropriately.

Also, British people are really weird about the word "sick." I think maybe they just think "vomit" or "puke" isn't PROPER, so "sick" gets used in their place. Sick up is such a weird phrase, though. I don't care if it's correct. Silly Brits and their ultra politeness. Gotta love 'em. :P
"I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it." - Arrested Development

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 07:23:38 AM »
Oh dear, I hope I didn't give you the wrong idea Poko.  I LOVE the dynamic you created between her and her parents - that's why I was so surprised and sad to see it changed within the first post of the first week.  I wanted to see it explored to its fullest, and I'm glad to hear that that won't be forgotten simply because they're dead. 

And personally, I love relevant, well written flash backs.  I just get tired of italics. 

Poko

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 07:51:29 AM »
Oh dear, I hope I didn't give you the wrong idea Poko.  I LOVE the dynamic you created between her and her parents - that's why I was so surprised and sad to see it changed within the first post of the first week.  I wanted to see it explored to its fullest, and I'm glad to hear that that won't be forgotten simply because they're dead. 

And personally, I love relevant, well written flash backs.  I just get tired of italics.

Oh yes, I can relate in regards to Italics. And Tara, you're right that a flashback can be alright if it's written well and not over-used. I think they should be kind of a last resort though. Most of Poko's reflection on her parents will be her remembering them and talking about them more than italicized glimpses into a "Pensieve," so to speak (which, as a side note, was a brilliant way J.K. Rowling came up with to get out of using flashbacks).

Glad you liked the dynamic, Carelesswhisper.  I hope you have time to review everyone else as well!

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 09:01:08 AM »
Risk - Misty Mountain Hop

I see promise here.  One thing I kind of missed is a lack of tactile description - there are so many places where you talk about where he is hurt, or how his injury is being further stressed, or how blood is pouring out of him when he strains to move the boulder, but you don't say how any of that actually feels to him.  Just seemed odd to me.  I like the kind of quirky, rarely phased attitude that he has, but I think it can be easy to take that a little too far or use it in place of actual depth of character, so just be on the lookout there. 

I found it interesting when he freaked out over Poko, but I'm also having trouble figuring out how he decides to care about some things and not others.  I guess I'm just interested to see more and get to know him better.