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for Meeting Room 2407

4/25/2012 c11 16Ioga
This chapter remained in the evils of reality. And they get very evil indeed, as we establish that the boss is not only Neutral Incompetent, but actually Cowardly Evil, as the Dungeons and Dragons Office Edition character alignments would go. (For reference to FictionPress lawyers: I just made that up. The Wizards of the Coast won't come sue you for copyright infringement this time. Or they don't have a case anyway; it might not stop them of course.)

Gerald has a better skill at playing the boss than Cindy and Ashwin, it seems. He's involved in the issue but manages to turn it back to the boss, while people uninvolved with it are unable to straighten him out. No wonder he's the favourite.

Reading this chapter went really fast. I wonder if it was shorter or if I just read the absurdities slower.

Thanks for this!
4/25/2012 c10 Ioga
The story provides a critical view of society through an absurd depiction of an office environment where pseudowords rule over pseudodoing. A magical word repeated by pseudoactors in the office causes repeat distortions of reality, which, while surreal, end up feeling more real than the twisted pseudoreality of the office.

This chapter takes a turn towards rowdy because Cindy is seen swearing multiple times.

There! I hear these kinds of descriptive summaries are all the rage in paid author feedback these days, so I wrote one for you so you can extract the learnings from it too! Whatever they are, I'm not entirely sure yet.

I can step on it for Meeting Room now that I know I've got me some 'shrooms waiting around the corner. MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

I had minor trouble parsing the sentence "Mr Black exclaimed with all the enthusiasm of a small child hearing" - I didn't see it as a-child-hearing but rather Mr Black exclaimed, foo, hearing. It's kind of funky, I'm learning that the -ing is, particularly when stacked (multiple -ings, not here though), surprisingly ambiguously roled in a sentence. Using Finnish comma rules I'd put a comma before 'with' to split the sentence into two segments, and know that since there's no comma before hearing it means it's a part of the second segment and not the first one. But when commas go a-missing English style, I feel so lost! Like a polar bear in a melted-down meeting room!

Thanks for this!
2/11/2012 c1 this wild abyss
I'm not sure this "counts" as a first chapter. What I mean is, it feels like half of it is missing. You've got exposition here, but no action. You've described who Cindy is, but not what her conflict is going to be. This reads more like a plot proposal than a first chapter, if you understand.

On the topic of your writing itself, I think that your word choice could have been better. It's was overly formal a lot of the time, which made the writing come off a tad cheesy.

However, I do think you have established a strong narrative voice here. It's easy to follow and has obvious personality. Your humor is apparent and appropriately placed.

One thing: if you want to use the Spanish-pronunciation of Jesus ("hesoos"), then you need to spell it differently. It'd be Jesús with the accent. It's a small thing, but as a Spanish-speaker it confused me for a few seconds.
2/6/2012 c9 Ioga
Today, I had a taste for the strange after many a cup of rooibos. So here I came!

A-ha, in chapter 8 we at last pull in someone else who survives the trip and might be able to help prove that Cindy is not, in fact, completely crazy in the head.

But despite the exchanged look afterwards, they do not meet up right after the meeting to discuss this strange event! The tension is not released! Is she only projecting the confusion upon Jesus? Will the next chapter show Mr. Black sucked into the alternate dimension that seems to operate within or in sync with Cindy's mind (since she could get a balloon when she needed one), and possibly leave him there, making Cindy the saviour of the organization?...

...That is, unless she imagined it all and Mr. Black is only gone because Mr. Black's job is done, as Bob might be gone just because he was retiring. Suspicions are maintained. Only Jesus can save us.

As the alternate worlds go, chapter 8's was the closest to a dream that we've so far gotten, because Cindy was actually generating things into it (or they were popping into existence for her to use, anyway) rather than simply observing strange things unfold. Also, it followed even less laws than usual, including falling upwards. My favourite continues to be the lizards at the volcano, although I'm starting to peer at these suspiciously in case you're actively weaving in symbolism rather than just letting the symbolism grow itself from narrative whim as I've liberally assumed based on how I work. X-)

Thanks for this!
12/11/2011 c1 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
...she tipped him as well as he tipped her hair.

-*snort* I love the little bits of wordplay you have here. It always makes me smile.

Opening: I love the use of time here, and the almost list-like routine presented. It's very straightforward, which was good for the character's state of mind and also for moving the story consistently forward. I really wanted to know what would happen to throw off the routine.

Ending: That said, I sort of lost that feeling toward the middle and end. Around the time Cindy arrived at work and started noticing her coworkers, the routine feeling left, even though the time element remained. So it seemed like it should still be routine but it wasn't anymore. I dunno if this was deliberate or not, but it felt strange to me. I was waiting the whole time for something to interrupt her routine but nothing really did (except the email at the end) and it was a tad disappointing when it stayed routine through the whole chapter. Could just be my opinion, though.

Scene: For some reason, the bit with Jesus stood out to me in the listing of Cindy's coworkers. It seemed like that part was going to go somewhere, but then it didn't. I don't know why this is, since his description is actually longer than some of the others, but it felt incomplete, like their interaction was missing some revelation about Cindy that the others had.

Enjoyment: Overall, I liked this. The beginning in particular had me speeding through to get to the next bit, because the descriptions of her morning were so meticulous and intriguing. I love how you characterized Cindy through her routine. Toward the middle and end I lost that drive to read a little, but the end still caught my interest a bit. I did want to read on. So, all in all, an effective first chapter.
12/10/2011 c2 31Laoch
Ah, now we are seeing the humor.

A nice transition from the informational type of the first chapter; this was interesting and funny. Much more entertaining to read and still more details are being added to each character as you go.

I would suggest that you try not to use so many of these; ... As they bog up the page. I know that in this context, they are what you want to come across to the reader but they really are there in excess. Perhaps limiting yourself on them would work better.

An amusing and clever chapter.

12/6/2011 c1 Laoch
Interesting. Me like. ^.^

But mostly, I adored how you described each character right from the beginning. Most people spread out discriptions over the course of a few chapters and such, so it was refreshing to see it done in one bang here.

As well, I think I might like all the personalities. This just seems like something ready to explode with... pazaz?

Although the plot isn't very obvious in this chapter, I feel as though that's good thing. You've dangled enough of a carrot for many to come back for more, which is what is strived for. I especially liked the little hint at the train station.

Solid and promising.

11/30/2011 c7 16Ioga
Wait, did we dive back into the same meeting where the boss was talking directly to Bob a moment before we got into iguanas? Or is this a different meeting?

Poor Cindy, I fear your waking hours are the illusion reacting to your daydreaming, and the logically behaved five-tailed dog-lizard the reality.

"I didn't actually want him disappeared" - I kind of like the alternative for 'disappearing' here, not sure if it's intentional, but it sounds like the dog-lizard or the powers controlling its realm actively set out to fix his disappearance. :)

In this chapter, we see into the heads of everyone! It is kind of creepy.

Hmm, gobsmacked guppies. Sounds like a fish that's been rolled in desert and cross-bred with goat puppies. (Which are like kids, but with more bark. Treants, in other words.)

"How can he possibly think that we added value" - while this underlines the point, I think the pointy-haired boss joke works better without explaining it explicitly. ;) (Besides, "adding value to the dialogue" can be interpreted as "presenting more listeners for the monologue", can't it? ;))

Jesus is asking for the booze. Don't do it, Jesus, you know what the wine had with 12 friends does to you!

I love it how the boss is using vision-speech even in regular delegation communications. He must be a basically smart individual who has grown horribly twisted at some point. :D

Cindy is forced to stand away from the cheese - but yet she has a rather large slice of camembert. Or is this a moment after the speech? ("Finally!") No, the speech starts after that. I'm successfully confused! (It helps that I never figured out how cheeses are digested independently. Cheese.)

Also, is this booze and cheese dealt out in the meeting room? It kind of by default sounds like something that's not set up in a confined table-and-chairs area, but if Cindy goes into a learnings hallucination, surely it must be according to the summary (that the specific room is behind this)? I shall have to investigate further episodes of this mystery tour!

Thanks for this!
11/30/2011 c6 Ioga
This was my favourite chapter so far, with the phoenix and the iguana interacting. What, me biased for animal observation? Never!

Unctuous, sartorial - I love it when you use words that make me reach for Webster.

"looking the worse for wear" - I'm wondering if the 'the' belongs thre.

Penis gourds? Send some my way too! (I'm going to spend days imagining different things this could mean.)

Today's dimensional hop episode actually made me think, for the first time, about schizophrenia. You have a completely normal meeting, you let your subconscious wander for a bit, and BAM, your inner world slides over the outer world and you find yourself talking to invisible friends. (Or so I imagine it goes from Completely Scientific entertainment examples. Heh. I wish someone wrote a fic dealing with the subject educatively. Maybe I should search for it, in case someone already has!)

Bob was not wearing even one of his penis gourds, eh. That rules out some interpretations, I fear.

"A golden bird with ... " - the sentence has kind of many nesting units of information, it might flow better as two sentences.

The snarl of a five-tailed dog-lizard is deeply fascinating! :D

The iguana's partner came as a surprise to me. Maybe he could be introduced a bit earlier than he's actively used as a plot item too?

Iguana smoochies, aww. :)

Thanks for this!
11/30/2011 c1 19Lara Bykirk
I think my favorite line of this whole chapter was the last one-I adored the pun on /glazing/ a reputation with doughnuts (presumably glazed as well?). You had a couple of nice sentences like that, and they really helped to lighten the tone of this chapter. Cindy is such a controlled, deliberate person, and your narration mirrors that control so well, that without puns the whole thing could be stifling.

The only thing that I would encourage you to think more about is the exact positioning of your narratorial voice in relation to Cindy. For most of the chapter, it seemed as though only Cindy's point of view is represented-and we're fairly close to her mind. However, there was a paragraph when you told us about Ashwin's life-things that Cindy doesn't know. I liked the paragraph, and I thought it helped illustrate Cindy's character, but the shift into omniscience was a bit jarring. Could you give us more omniscient moments earlier on, so that we're used to the idea?
11/28/2011 c5 16Ioga
Hi, chapter 3's sandworm is now definitely easier to follow - any critique left ends up being about how Cindy (or the narrator from her point of view) actually knows the hunting tactics of the sandworm - has Cindy read the Dune, for example, or does she Intuitively Just Know (which might be weird enough to warrant explicit mention)?

Ch 3: One sentence fragment I had trouble parsing, maybe a word has changed? "the awards are emerged as the sandworm's eyes".

Then onto this chapter!

"about as quickly as continental drift" I love this mental image. Also, despite this, Friday can surprise you just like California turning into an island might. Or India slamming into the side of your Asian continent for that matter.

The other sentences in this paragraph behave like sentences but don't have a primary verb. The last sentence made me notice this, the first went by as a regular narrative without hitching.

"time had accelerated to the pace of fork lightning" - this is probably intentional, but I don't *really* know what fork lightning is, so just checking it's not from Dragon. I can kind of maybe imagine it.

"she whelped Yipee! but she was too embarassed to do this out loud" - some punctuation or quotation marks would help follow this, mabbe.

"the distasteful feeling ..." This is a fascinating concept, I wonder how much of working against your own nature for money and/or lack of identification with your work this kind of thing requires to activate. It made me realize I haven't really been paid to do something I wouldn't find motivation to do without pay.

The first line to Juliana feels a bit "dialogue-driven" - maybe start with a description that when Juliana picked up the phone, blah blah, dialogue with her? And maybe add some descriptive stuff in midparts of the longer notions?

"Okay ciao bella" and "Ciao sister" - should there be commas in this? I have even less clue about Spanish punctuation, but when I look at it from the Finnish-English point of view it feels like "Toodlums, sweetcakes".

"once said, words can never be taken back" - and later "translates to" the tense jumps into present tense here. Could, translated? (Even though it applies more generally.)

Ooh, "effnik", I feel learnings being installed again! What is the exact meaning?

It'd be nice to hear more elaborately how Cindy proves beyond any doubt that she's all about naughty - showy showy! :)

I've got another chapter waiting transportation of review notes to FP, but looks like I must retreat to sleep first - I fear I'm only barely squeezing out coherency as it is. But I shall return!
11/20/2011 c1 4jinx1764
Hello from RG-

Okay to start I was intrigued by your opening sentences. They were uniquely descriptive and really got my attention. Though the second sentence -[Silken slivers snaked down her hair-straightener at 6 AM] is a bit vague. I'm assuming you're referring to her hair - silken slivers? Maybe rephrase to -snaked through her hair-straightener- rather than down since that's the actual physical way of straightening hair.

The contrast between her personal fantasy vs her reality was interesting. She's preparing herself battle yet the battle is a banal office environment.

Some of the details of your overall scene are confusing. For example: You explain that she carries a spare set of hose for image emergencies, then you have her change into the spare set after disembarking the train and stowing the old set in the plastic bag. Then you have her store her thermos and spare hose in her locker. I thought she changed into those hose? And for that matter, why did she change hose? Were the first pair ruined? Sweaty? What? You give us no reason why she would do this other than image control. This needs more clarification. Is this her normal routine every morning? You imply that she has a very strict image control routine every day.

Also during her transitions from the train station to her office building is rather vague. I had to re-read to be sure where she was as I wasn't sure if she was already in her office building or at the train station since you stated "her locker" which is odd because train stations don't have personal lockers, just random ones for rent. It implies that she's not in a public location.

Overall your grammar is good, though I did see a few mistakes with dialogue tags and such. Mainly I would change all of your numbers to words except for your times (2 am). Generally the rule is all numbers less than ten are spelled out, however when you have so many numbers such as yours it looks visually odd to have some written and some not. I tend to stick with the technical writing rule of all numbers less then 100 are written out.

Also many of your sentences could be tightened up, dropping unnecessary words with stronger rephrasing and less passive voice. I've also never been a fan of words inside sentences with exclamation points, etc. Italics serve well enough for emphasis.

Ex. [The lift made as satisfying bing! sound as the doors opened and she walked with a confident air towards her desk]

-The lift doors opened with a satisfying bing, and she walked confidently towards her desk.

(sound is unnecessary since the reader knows bing is a sound, this is the time to use adjectives to replace several words, the words- made as, as the doors, with a, air, are all extraneous and fall into wordiness)

I would also combined more of your sentences into paragraphs. This is especially important in the first half where you have a lot of short, choppy two and three sentence paragraphs. Given your topic, which is blunt (not a problem as I get the character's mindset and like it!) It, however, makes the reading less smooth and flowing.

I really did like this [It was fortunate indeed that the very substance which made one's mind able to operate complicated machinery could be produced by pressing a single button emblazoned by the name of this substance - coffee.] What a great concept! LOL! We've all had those mornings.

The ending "Cindy help us" was a tantalizing tidbit which I think almost loses its punch since it's so vague. I'm honesty not sure how to fix it or if it needs fixing. Maybe more of an emotional response from Cindy or her showing her lack of emotional response about it. Something as the whole story just sort of ... I don't know ... lies there. It all definitely needs more showing and less telling. I kind of felt like I was reading the minutes to a board meeting. But I think if you add more show, and more emotions it'll really kick it up and add suspense.

Good luck!
11/17/2011 c1 5Dr. Self Destruct
For the RG:

Ah, can't tell you how much I enjoyed the opening paragraph. Not sure if it's just my geekdom or what, but it screams sci-fi. The image of metallic, silvery surfaces, the light sabre metaphor, the 'sharp edges' of her suit... all very cool and unique. I think it also adds an air of ambiguity to her appearance that lets the reader fill in the rest, yet gives us enough of a foreground to have fun with it.

[If she could force every hair on her head to stand to order, then she could become a force worth reckoning with.]

Haha, already I see this woman being intimidating. Damn, I'd hate to make her mad! And to show such intimidation before her boss - it shows a lot about her personality already, not to mention the details of her sharp clothing. Cindy does indeed sound like a force to be reckoned with.

[and the only way he was going to respect her was if she grew a pair of balls, aged 20 years and dropped 40 IQ points - intelligence was a threat,]

I think you might wanna spell out the '20'. I've always been yelled at to spell out anything under 100 unless it's being used for some type of literary device. The 40 is probably okay since it's a test score, though.

[She carried a spare pair of pantyhose and tube of lipstick to cover any image control emergencies.]

Haha, loved that 'image control emergencies'. I think all women know what this feels like, eh? Some of us on a more serious note than others!

[She replaced her pantyhose, and stowed the old pair in the plastic bag.]

Pretty sure you can drop the comma here since 'stowed the old pair in the plastic bag' isn't an independent clause.

[Cindy Shepherd ain't nothing to mess with!']

Very interesting last name there. A shepherd is normally someone who leads a pack of sheep... I can't help but think this was intentional. ;)

[but she breathed a sigh of relief when they look down awkwardly and scurried into a cubicle.]

'look' should be 'looked'.

[The lift made as satisfying bing! sound as the doors opened and she walked with a confident air towards her desk.]

Now I see why you mentioned the elevator being a nice plot driver in that review you left me, hehe.

['The offer is still on if you want a little something on the side,' Bob yelled out to Cindy as she walked past. ]

Ahahaha, I found this hilarious. I like how Bob's character seems to be a direct contrast to Cindy's. xD

[Cats were more reliable than people, and would remain your friend no matter what you did to them.]


I really like the tone in this story. It's humorous and sarcastic, clashes well with Cindy's personality, and the way you sometimes repeat the first three words of two or three sentences in order (there's a term for this, I just can't think of what it is!) really adds emphasis, style and character to the narration. Like that little bit about her hair not being naturally blond - I thought that also added a little more about her personality and how important her image is to her.

Very much enjoyed this. :D Glad I finally got to read something of yours other than WCC entries, haha. xD
11/13/2011 c4 16Ioga
This chapter had two highlights for me: RUOK (I have similar issues as Cindy with the communication methods people and my mind apply at me: wild association wantonly applied), and the realization that no one really has the foggiest clue of the purpose of the meeting - or the company, for that matter. Very Dilbert-and-pointy-haired-bossy!

"this very same nobody else," - leave out the comma, and add it instead right before the end quote of "end the meeting here" a bit earlier in the paragraph. :)

I was wondering if "weaved" should be "wove", but it doesn't really sound right either. Tapestries of tedium, extra deliveries on problems to fit our solutions, and other gems of

I noticed I'd forgotten who Ashwin (or Beverley, but I assume she was the crazy cat lady given the isolation) was by now. I then went back and it was so stereotypical given the stereotypical character that I wanted to facepalm. "Oh hi, ... whatsyourname!"

"That pendejo!" Jesus said - maybe even pick a stronger word here: spat, exclaimed?

Break paragraph when speaker changes, before "Patience," etc.

"doughnut crumbs you little piggy" - comma before you might help the flow here. (And I hope I've repeatedly mentioned that comma rules in Finnish are word of God compared to the English practice, hence when as I try to translate my mental scheme of how languages work based on my native, I end up molesting the commas so badly they refuse to spend time in the same room as me without an armed bodyguard.)

Thanks for this!
11/13/2011 c3 Ioga
Oh I hate it when the sand worms come out when I'm the middle of a meeting with people who can't see them! :D

I could maybe use a little more hand-holding in depicting the scenes in this new alien world, because my mental images went all over the place. How large is the sand worm exactly? It wooshes by her hair without sucking her into the current like a passing truck, but on the other hand it eclipses the sun and fills the sky above her. (Also, I learn that a bit later than when I was actually wondering about the size.) The thing about it camouflaging in the sand sounds like it's lying down in it, but at the same time it's standing up, and in some kind of a J-shape (I was trying to visualize this and my physics simulation on 'how to stay upright if I'm a sandworm in sand' crashed soon after I got over the fact that my reader's font made 'J' have a visible notch to the left on its top - poor sandworm with a broken head/tail end like one of my cousins' gerbils' tails).

It was everywhere at once! Zvoom! Woosh! And then she looked _down_ and the eyes were staring her in the face (right next to her face?, how do you stare in the face?), and it's the tail, but she has a mouth heading for her so the worm is a sideways U and the way this is going it can spell out "JULIA" in following episodes!).

"fangs ready to greet her with open arms" - I giggled at the mental image of fangs with arms, but this was a little weird maybe.

A random second note, "The sky was a perfect sheet of blue" - I suspect this is intentional, but just checking - sheet? ("Is it covering something?")

Thanks for this, and spanks for brutally leaving sandwormie into a cliffhanger! :)
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