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for A New Spin Around An Old Haunt

7/30/2011 c1 3dx713
I like the introduction of your story.

The bit about pollution and change, the inclusion of the sense of smell with the diesel are nice. I missed something about the weather or the temperature, maybe, but otherwise, this was a good start that got me in the atmosphere quickly.

The first question about the house being haunted is also good: it provides a plot hook and makes me want to read the rest.

Now, the second part happens a bit too fast for me. After all the time spent explaining the background and the narrator's theory, I felt ready for a longer action.

Maybe a solution would be to withhold the explanation before the second part? Start in-media-res, inside the dark temple, and weave the background and theories with what's actually happening, to build up the tension?

I like the end about the narrator not wanting the spirit to follow her. Curious, but not that brave. That makes her feel very human. But I would have liked to know how she copes with knowing. Does she feel it's not her problem, or would she want to do something to appease that spirit but can't? It might be clear for someone from within the culture, but for me, a little addition about her state of mind would have been nice.
3/31/2011 c1 1xenolith
Wow Wow Wow!

Fantastic story. Thrilling, actually. I had a few problems with the start, like it could have been more attention grabbing, and the dialogue there did seem a bit sparse, but as soon as you went on to talk about the actual haunting boy, did things get interesting! You could maybe just chop the first part and start with the narrator relating the story. Man. That totally gave me the creeps! Well done XD
1/9/2011 c1 1demonhaunted
Hey there! I like the atmosphere and you've got a crisply told story here. Your length is good - more would draw it out unnecessarily. In general, this is proofread well and flows well.

Hope my comments are helpful!

*

Quibbles:

In your first paragraph, your stronger sentence comes second. Maybe rephrasing it would lend the opening a bit more punch: 'I didn't recognize Guangzhou anymore. It had been twenty years since I had been there before.' ('Since I'd been back for a visit' is a slightly problematic construction, too.) You need a 'was' before 'overcome' at the end of that paragraph, and 'isn't' should be 'wasn't' (watch verb tense.) If you can, I'd try to find something to describe the 'moon gates' very briefly - you know what they are, but your reader doesn't, and atmospheric detail is crucial in telling the story.

Verb tense again: 'Seemed to recall... still lived...'

I'd push 'what made it haunted' into the previous paragraph.

Nitpicking: 'Well' doesn't fit with your narrative tone.

'tried to learn what I could'

'Ling Kwai-Hing was his rival' - slightly jarring in narrative shit. 'He had a rival, Ling Kwai-Hing, who blamed...' flows better.

Any 'effect on' - The rule of thumb is that 'affect' is a verb unless you are talking about someone's facial appearance (ie, they have surprised /affects/.) 'Effect' is a noun unless someone is trying to achieve something ('The governor /effected/ changes.')

Tense shift with 'I've come back' and the next few paragraphs.

I'd concentrate a bit more on the dark, quiet details, and give us a little more info on the street boy, because the narrative becomes a bit choppy there and unnecessarily so. This kid is the whole point of your story, so you want to give your reader a moment to breathe and take stock of the situation.

If your narrator understands Cantonese (I don't speak any Chinese language, but am assuming given the location), then there is no need for the translation into English - simply give your readers the phrase in English, or translate it outside of dialogue.

'What I saw looked like a person'

Remove the 'well' again.

Tense shift in the last paragraph.
11/17/2010 c1 4lookingwest
Wow, intense story! I liked how it felt like you were directly telling me the story and everything. I don't think it really translated into a short story as much as just a direct account of an experience, but it's definitley a cool one and I liked it a lot. Maybe if you wanted to work on the prose feel of it you could go more into depth with the setting and the way the character first person narrator arrived there and perhaps more description of the other characters as well. But it does stand alone, I think, quite successfully and I enjoyed the read. I liked at the end with the flashlight and the eeriness that you impart through the darkness, etc. Quite creepy and other-wordly, you did an excellent job translating that into the prose!

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