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for The Wooden Box

1/5/2007 c3 9Alteng
I finally got around to finish reading this story. I would think that Maurine would be able to slip the bow into her box by way of magic, and she would pass the gift onto her daughter, since the box seemed to contain everything she needed for her quest.

This was a really good story, and I like how the moral comes out in it.
12/9/2006 c1 12iamthedave
Some good, some bad. You have a real problem with commas and some of the descriptions are messy, but fundamentally you've got a decent story here. Traditional fare, in the 'fairy tale' startup, but you use it fairly well. Her reaction to her life seems a little disproportionate, to me, and that makes it hard to sympathize with her. Yeah, she's a bit bored with her life, but you give no indication of why she should be quite so utterly crushed by it. You could do with a little more set up, probably not too much more, but as it is you're actually lowering the impact of your own fantasy. In any story where you introduce the fantastic to the mundane, it's vital to set up the mundane first. Think about how Dickens does it in The Christmas Carol. We see Scrooge going about his boring, miserly daily life several times, for quite a while actually, before the interesting things start. Same with 'Great Expectations'. If you don't set up the mundane to get swept aside, all you're doing is brushing aside the things your reader is supposed to have a grip on.

In short: Your 'quick start' is rather damaging to the story here, in my opinion.

"were a real bunch of straggly"

As opposed to an illusionary bunch, perhaps? This is way too casual and jaunty, and kills the pace and tone you've set up. I'd use 'group' over 'bunch' and lose 'real' altogether if I were you.

"time for gratefulness"

Gratitude? I'd also lose the later comma after 'diversion'.

"gripped her with frightening suddenness"

Suddenness? I'm not even sure that's a word, and it certainly isn't a very good one.

"twelve years old, with dull, brown hair, and a face that"

Choppy stuff. Far too many commas in a short space when you only need one. The only comma you need is after 'old'.

"arms and legs were thin from being unused and forgotten."

I get what you're going for, but that's a silly image. Nobody just 'forgets' about their LIMBS. Nor, in fact, do they not use them. This is especially odd since we've already seen her closing a book with one of her hands. This also isn't very clear. Do you mean she doesn't exercise much? Is she malnourished? Could be either, or a few other things.

"eight-year-old body was still quite young and petite"

Given that you've just said she's eight... it's kind of intuitive that her body is young. I mean, what else is it going to look like? That's also a very vague description. What exactly does 'young' mean, other than 'not very old'?

"oping it might ease the demons that tortured her insides, she drew her sacred wooden box from its shelf, and observed its contents on her bed."

Again an unnecessary comma after 'shelf'. The word 'and' is used to link sentences, so unless you're very deliberately putting a pause there for some specific reason, you might as well use it as it's intended. The stop feels... forced with where you have it.

"She loved this little box dearly, partly because it was so mysterious, and more importantly, because her father had given it to her."

More unnecessary commas. You need one, and that's after 'dearly'.

"down the stairs, and slipped away"

unnecessary comma

"To Maurine this somehow completed the image of the terrible beauty of these awesome horses."

Your whole description here is nonsensical and contradictory. They don't sound beautiful at all. You describe them as 'a mass of tangled pipes, pulleys' etc. That makes me think of a walking junkyard, not a sleek, well oiled machine which is what you'd really need to start thinking of 'beauty'. They sound very Tetsuo: Iron Man. On top of which, you specifically describe their heads as 'terrifying' and their scream as 'horrible'. Why does Maurine then not react with anything that even remotely approaches these two emotions? If I hear something that terrfies me and see something that is horrible, the last thing I'm going to do is sit there and stare at them. I'm going to get up and run, or sit and panic. Yet in the very next sentence they've got some kind of 'terrible beauty'. It makes no sense. When you're grounding a story in one character's perspective, you MUST make sure the descriptions are logical and from that character's perspective. If they're being contradictory, you need to draw great attention to that. There's no indication that Maurine is feeling multiple conflicting emotions, you just use contradicting words and have her get on with it without so much as a blink.

As is always, I request return reviews, if you have time or interest.
11/28/2006 c2 9Alteng
This has to be a dream come true for Maurine. She is in the world where there are dragons, but she is homesick. I guess that would be a normal reaction.

Warren (again! Must be your favorite name! ;)) might well know Maurine because of the box, but he didn't say anything. I would think that it would draw such a significance. Warren probably gave it to her ancestor.

Of course, the meeting of the two was a bit brash. I think I would be really freaked out if someone shot down an irritating little critter. Irritating, he was, but did he deserve death? It seemed a bit cold. Oh well.
11/22/2006 c1 Alteng
This definately has a surreal feel to it. The train at the end was really weird. I like it. Somehow, I was really able to envision that in my head.

I like how this began, a fiction within a fiction. It says something about Maurine, if she likes this story so well.
11/7/2006 c1 5Heatless Flame
Hmm, this is an exciting beginning. In the first few paragraphs I hadn't realized it was a book, and I rarely miss stuff like that. Now for the good stuff.

First of all, excellent description of the horses. I could see them in my mind. Unfortunately, I could not picture the girl herself. Sure, she's skinny and has twig arms, but you kinda rushed the descriptions. Try to space out the descriptions, with passages such as-

"As Maurine walked through the wilderness, her brown hair like tree bark fell over her eyes."

Also, nearly every sentence starts with a noun. Try to mix things up by rearranging sentences so that verbs or adjectives begin them once in a while.

Finally, overall good job, I saw few grammar mistakes. Excellent piece, and I will continue to read this if you update.

By the way, I have no stories that I particularly want reviews on at this moment, but I have a new story coming out maybe tommorrow. Could you check it out when it does come out? Drop me a private message if you want to R&R it.

~Heatless Flame

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