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Time Heals Most Wounds
Original Minific
Time Heals Most Wounds
Original Minific
The Fox in the Backyard
#2279 · 3
· on Stasis · >>FrontSevens
The style is interesting. The major thing I must criticize though is that the narrative perspective is not consistent. You use a rare one that is sometimes referred to as cinematic, since it's like viewing the scene from a camera angle without the knowledge of what goes on in the main character's head (as would be the case in, for example, the all-popular third person limited). That is established in the beginning when you introduce the view on the room - disconnected from the character, who is described as "a man" who enters, without even mentioning a name. You even at one point say "He looked happier - or perhaps it was a trick of the red light," which you could not do in limited since you would know what he felt. However, there are a few instances in which you do jump out of the cinematic and do include his thoughts.
He gazed over the readings. Normal. Good.

You can omit the "Normal. Good" without taking anything from the story - you already show that this is normal, so you don't have to additionally tell it.
It was cold, and he imagined he felt a body.
Also completely gratuitous.

I agree with The_Letter_J on the first half, to an extend. I think that stretching it out a little is justified since it illustrates the long time that the protagonist waits for John to heal, but the first two scenes are too similar. You could rather use a few tells, like,
"Computer, report." He always said that.
Or you could bend the time through the narrative, like,
The man came back every day. "Report for patient Rothwell, John T," The computer would report. "No abnormalities detected. Progress: Thirty-five point three percent."
Then the next day, "Progress: Thirty-five point four percent."
"Progress: Thirty-five point five percent."
"Progress: Thirty-five point six percent."

I understand that the repetition in the beginning of the first three scenes is deliberate, but it's a bit overdone.

I like the dialogue bit in the middle, it really brings across the desperation of the unnamed main character.

As for the ending, I don't think that it's bad that the details are not clear. After all, in cinematic view, the narrative only observes, and I think that's one of the strengths of this story. The part I really don't like though is the last paragraph.
And he felt as if he had been cut up, and a piece had been taken from him. And in that moment, he knew that time could not replace his missing piece.

First of all, it is again gratuitous and breaking the cinematic perspective. And then, the prompt drop, as The_Letter_J has already pointed out, is forced. I would just straight-out cut the paragraph and end on "Computer, -" as the emotional impact on the protagonist is more than clear from the situation.
#2295 · 3
· on Longer Knives
from what I understand, Nazi persecution was on a racial, not religious basis
You're right. The NS regime actually didn't like the church because they were in their way at times, and they also identified to an extend with the old germanic paganism (the infamous SS runes for example are taken from the germanic rune alphabet). The reason why they deported and killed jews is that they believed them, among other ethnical groups, to be so-called "Untermenschen", meaning physically and morally inferior (the irony though). There was also the belief in a "jewish-bolshevik world conspiracy" with the plot to destroy germany and take over the world or something like that.

I agree that the ending lost its element of surprise by basically giving away that he has it coming.

There is not really a pay-off to it either. Might be that readers tend to like seeing nazis blowing up, which might justify it, but there's really no character conflict or progression or anything to put it into perspective. It's really just a story about he gets himself blown-up at a random time and place. I shall not be the judge of whether that is a good or bad plot ultimately, but it's nothing that appeals to me personally.
#2122 · 2
Thanks. Maybe you could mention this in the FAQ, in case other newbies might wonder about this too.

I shall now start writing.
#2392 · 2
· on The Faintest Smile · >>Icenrose
I'm not a fan of present tense, but I'll try to ignore it.

It didn't even strike me that it's in present tense, so that's probably a good sign. In any case it's solid YA style, and I would actually disagree with PinoyPony on the dialogue, I think it's fitting.

My biggest issue with the story is that five characters are introduced within the 750 words. For instance, I could not remember at the end which one was Jake and which one was Brian, and neither could I recall the names of Kestrel or Karen from the top of my head (those are too similar anyway). The problem was not the author doing a poor job in distinguishing between them concept-wise, not at all, it was just too much all at once. I think the story might work better for such a short format if there was just one of the narrator's friends in the scene instead of all three.

You see, I'm all for being nice to one another, but when I'm going to criticize a story I won't hold back with anything that comes to mind, both positive and negative. And that's exactly how I want my stories to be treated. I haven't seen reviews so far that I perceived as too harsh (I wouldn't like a tradition of bashing either, if that is the development you're concerned about), and I certainly hope that my reviews are not, but let's also not forget that this is not a school talent show. The content on here has been put out for the explicit reason of being criticized and evaluated in a competitive environment. I will try to keep your words in mind, but I can't sugarcoat everything I say, so I don't really know what to do other than just carry on.
#2607 · 2
· on The Fox in the Backyard
My time is a little tight, which I apologize for, but I still want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who reviewed this.

I won't argue with the criticizm, but there's one thing that I realized and wanted to discuss real quick. The idea for this story was showing how the wounds that humankind inflicts on earth (urbanization, in this case) will heal, because life in general will probably persist way longer on earth than humans. However, >>Trick_Question makes a very good point about how foxes (and they are only one example) actually benefit from human culture in many cases. Life in the wild is not some sort of paradise that's ultimately better than the alternatives. And that wasn't my point to begin with, which is why a different approach of the theme might have been a smarter choice for me to make.

Also, just to clarify, I use an omniscient narrator and, in this particular case, went for the very telly style with full intention. Might be I didn't do a good job with it since I don't have any experience with the perspective, but at least that's the reason why you don't see a fox POV or anything.
#2172 · 1
Thank you. That makes sense :)
#2265 · 1
· on I can't remember to forget you · >>The_Letter_J
First, a few technical details I cannot ignore:

His eyes would wander and I'll catch a glimpse of yours.
You're in present tense though, so it's, "His eyes wander and I catch a glimpse of yours."
it's just that in a year's time, Professor Gwendolyne
Missing comma.
Matthew has died in Flanders fields
Missing period, also past tense would be preferable.
Professor Gwendolyne shadow
Do you mean, "Professor Gwendolyne's shadow?"

I'm not sure whether all of this is correct, but here is is what I understand is going on. The story is set during World War 1. The female narrator, on the side of the allies (quite possibly US or Canadian), has secretly followed someone close to her, and later follows that person's son Matthew, into war. She does that to remain close to him, assuming fake identities (e.g. that of Professor Gwendolyne). Also mentioned is Wendy, Matthew's sister, who is a military nurse. At first I thought these people are the narrator's husband and children, but it seems improbable since Matthew only seems to know her as his teacher and Wendy does not recognise her at all. Maybe she is the father's former lover.

The biggest problem I see with the story is how hard it is to understand. To be fair, hermeticism in not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact it's the story's biggest upside as well, as it demands the reader to look deeper. I just don't enjoy stories that require research and analyzing every paragraph multiple times in order to be remotely understood. To be frank, this was quite confusing and frustrating to me, and I think it would be a better story if it were clearer.

Other than that I cannot find much to comment on. The last paragraph is a promise that the narrator will never succeed in the task of forgetting. It means the conflict is not resolved, but I wouldn't criticize that as it makes sense and fits the tone of the story.
#2270 · 1
· on Cows Are a Constant · >>horizon >>Orbiting_kettle
The story has engaging, very well-done first person narrative and dialogue. My personal highlight is how the scene is set in the beginning:
"Fascinating, George. I'm sure there is a point to all this, but, if you allow me to be direct, why are we in a barn and why is that cow looking at me like there's nothing she wants more than to gut me?"

The premise is of course a little silly but within reason, and I like the worldbuilding.

The conflict between the narrator and George builds up nicely. The only weak point I see is the ending, which sort of breaks the style to basically tell the reader, "and this is how it ends." The author presumably struggled with the limited narration time there (haha), but that doesn't change the fact that it makes the ending feel slightly awkward. But it's still a brilliant story.
#2272 · 1
· on Knight
My overall impression is that this reads like the beginning of a mediocre heroic fantasy novel. While the style is not actually that bad, it could definitely be more vivid, and the whole thing is built out of stereotypes.

What could have been a strong point is the conflict of failing to live up to people's/ your parents' expectations. I think it's a good conflict to have for a young character, and especially someone in a higher social position like a prince. Where it falls apart for me, however, is the resolution in a "it all became clear in a dream" turning point. The reason why I don't like that is, first, it's forced and does not really show the progression of the character, and second, it's really the least interesting thing that could happen. Just to throw in one possible alternative, I would like a story in which the prince decided, screw you all, I will become a baker and bake bread for the rest of my life because I love bread. Something like that would make the story a lot fresher.

Something that threw me off was the character of Tammen. In the brief bit in which he is part of the story, he is inconsistent. The reader does not get much of an introduction of him, granted, but the first impression is that of a mentor who, might he care about Thomas or not, is trying to build him up. Then, in the next moment, he just tosses him away. If he is like that, you should introduce him as cold and neglecting from the start so that it becomes believable.

To mention another thing that I did like, the title "Thomas the Lame" is pretty cool. If he goes on to become a great heroic knight it would definitely make him stand out.
#2594 · 1
· on Pileup
you need to establish Dave as a rookie cop with more foreshadowing or descriptions

I would argue that it becomes obvious from the context. A little more exposition of the character might not hurt in either case, but personally I don't have an issue with it as it is.

Also, I can understand why he insists on his, as has been criticized, naive claims - it seems to be the first accident he witnesses, and since he is obviously shocked it makes sense that he's not thinking rationally. He is characterized as thin-skinned from the beginning because of the vomiting, and especially the medics cracking jokes made his reaction believable to me.

The weak point, I agree with most of what I read in the other reviews, is the ending, which simply doesn't indicate any progression.

But I still think it's a compelling story overall. The narrative is definitely strong.

quite a bit of passive voice

Can you point out examples for that? I'm just asking because can't seem to find any.