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for Meeting Room 2407

11/8/2011 c3 12Deedee Elle
Very short chapter but it really changes the tone after the first two character introducing ones. I think you could expand it a bit as you've got information in there such as the eyes being on the tail that yo drop in but it would be more effective if we discovered it at the same time as Cindy does. I like the fact that it is only the change in sky and sun which makes her question her sanity- not being chased by sandworms!

You need to start Cindy's dialogue on a separate line to her boss'.

I wasn't sure whether the word Dune was supposed to be the first line of the chapter as thought by Cindy or indicating the source of the quotation (which I know it is from as I'm a geek). If it is the latter I think it needs to be on the same line. These could be to do with the software you use so ignore them in that case.

There is something intrinsically funny about the word bugger used to express general dissatisfaction. I love your use here as a wonderful understatement.
10/27/2011 c2 16Ioga
A mix of Orwell and Hamlet-depressiveness... I guess I should have seen the brutal Doughnut Deglazement coming after that.

The "tattling did not stand in anybody's favour" part made me grit my teeth. My heart's already gone out to this alienated woman and watching her sit and passively take a punch after another makes me want to shake some determination into her. So much energy spent on "if I'm controlled enough I will earn respect", and the effort is wasted on refusals to stand up for herself! Graah, woman! Snap out of it, the office is full of crazy people and no one will stand up for you unless you do it!

Makes me wonder what exactly I'm projecting at her. ;)

Would add a comma after "Actually" and "sorry". A bit later, "bosses mouth" - boss's or possibly boss'? But I'm pretty sure not 'bosses'.

The bull****-bingo she was playing with the pointy-haired boss talk was an amusing detail. Repeating the "100" with an exclamation mark for the last 'learnings' felt a bit tautologous. I noticed a similar effect the coffee machine in chapter 1: two 'coffee's in italics made the second one feel a bit like "in case this wasn't obvious to you, dear reader, let me repeat it to make sure you got it". Since the term actually read on the machine it went by a bit better the '100' jumps at the eye more actively since it's a number (even one that can also be written out in letters, so the numeric form reads as an emphasis of its own).

After reading two chapters of this I realized that if I'm not careful I'm going to gulp down this story like I do with regular long stories and thereby fail to pull off writing a review for each chapter (more like one per catch-up) since they all end up merging in my head. So I'm going to go and spend up the short story selection first and then come back to this when I'll be even more painfully aware of how strictly I must ration the reviewable material. ;) But that said, you can of course help alleviate my worries by regularly publishing new reviewable material!(Mwahahahaha, expert rationalization for 'write more' nag. I must pat myself on the back for my sneakiness.)

Thanks for this!
10/27/2011 c1 Ioga
Blast it, my reader dropped my spelling nitpick notes/tags for the first two chapters - but oh well, I think I just had one or two anyway.

This story is well and truly creepy. A dreary office existence combined with what seems to be a 2-hour daily commute, systematically nasty coworker, unappreciative boss (to think that some people might be more or less stuck in a job like this) accompanied with a personal neurosis on not fitting in. It's like the nightmare I've never had. Although sitting in a car stuck in traffic for the work trips could be a final cherry on the cake.

The first paragraph had so much 's' in it that for a moment I wondered if that was "the thing" for the story. :D Shiny smooth slivers snaking down her sharp-edged suit! Try saying that fast!

In a similar thread, the word 'force' gets repeated in the second paragraph in two different meanings, which made them bounce out at me too. It gives me this itch for writing something utterly punny.

I was a bit confused about Cindy going into a public toilet and operated her train station locker _before_ heading to the office building that seemed to be almost next door (a couple of blocks away). I guess she doesn't want to risk being seen by others in the building before she does the final pantyhose change (do they get dirty during the two-hour train ride to need changing?), pep talks and such operations.

I'm under the impression that commas are in the middle of phrases like "Hi Bob" - while you seem to consistently avoid them. I'd add a symmetric comma after "her hairdresser" since there's one before it too.

The "nominate yourself for planning committee for the Christmas party" mail made me giggle. That was possibly the most personally familiar element from this story.

Thanks for this!
10/21/2011 c12 30sophiesix

ok , as you can probably imagine, this chapter had me in stitches. i don't know how it'll go for people not on that dive, but for me: awesome. ashwin's elegance, the eeevil misunderstood jellyfish, cindy's flailing, the bloboping: all just wonderful. i feel so fulfilled now i finally know what a crote looks like! maybe cindy could find a note on a scrap of paper back in chapter one: crote in the weed. that would set her wondering.

look forward to meeting teh crote again someday too!
10/21/2011 c11 sophiesix
ooooh Gerald and boss are made for each other. like smithers and mr burns, only not X) such a shame the boss didn't get caught up in this learning... i hope you aer saving this for later :D
10/21/2011 c10 sophiesix
oooh i liked this one. yay ice :D Goodbye mr black! haha. i was hoping a giant polar had caused teh roof to fall in and would pounce on him, but the twist was still awesome. it felt more tense and real too, pehaps because of that element of cold that teh reader could feel? teh only part i was less keen on was again teh length (rather short, though effective), and Mr Black's freak out seemed, i dunno, sudden? too out of character? its hard to explain why i freak out would be tyoo freaky, especially considering teh circumstances, but it was like he lost his nut completeley without any selfawareness of it... maybe a little elf awareness/ self consciuosness would improve teh believability/ realness of his actions? i mean, you want unbelievable things happening to believable people, yeah? its got to be rooted in concrete characterisation or else teh reader has no anchors to reality and won't be surprised by anything?

i also wonder what happens if seh sys the magic word now... o.0
10/21/2011 c9 sophiesix
aha! seh oes care about her hair! OK, So perhaps i got that wrong: is seh a diferent type of person in the learnings world, adventurous and uncaring and silly things like hair, or..? if so, perhaps emphasise this more strongly?

okin teh first bit, i'm wanting to see reactions, reverberations, responses to waht happened. cindy might be able to shrug it off; its happened before, but why does jesus not either bail her up adn demand explanations or else overtly pretend everything is normal? after bob, i think its important to at least hint more clearly here, lol.

'The first person he will have a chat with is Cindy,' he added./Cindy gulped and then ducked her head." Give us more of a feel for Cindy here. What is seh thinking? underline her fear/dread/ wahtever, make teh reader feel it too: it'll help biuld teh tension and engage teh reader better in teh scene.

again, interested to see how cindy deals with this one... :D
10/21/2011 c8 sophiesix
Whoosh! A train passed the room and Cindy's perfect hair was flying upwards and outwards. Not the hair!

Ok so I loved that last bit. But: pet peeve: describe the train whooshing past, rather than writing ‘whoosh’: that makes it sound a tiitchy bit Thomas the tank enginesque.

I have the same issue with this episode as with the black sand one: great descriptions of inredibley imaginatively weird experiences, but lacking something. I think here its emotion: like Cindy ought to be frantic about redoing her hair, especially with jesus there. Its feels a bit flat without her reactions to whats going on: the reader needs to be able to feel that rather just observe wahts happening?

I’m rather intrigued though: Will jesus remember *this* little adventure with Cindy? :D
10/21/2011 c7 sophiesix
aha teh plot thickens. i like teh way you start with teh sand showing a link to teh real world, so we know its not just hallucnation, and then this, with bob, biulds really nicely on that. what next? you get a sense of tension building, which is so important.

i also liked the little peeks into everyone's thoughts here. jesus and gerald especially, haha, nicely timed and most amusing ;)

Again, watch for overstating things here: “Cindy's immortal soul oozed pitifully into a dampened quagmire” consider: “Cindy's soul oozed into a quagmire.” Says much the same thing, but more efficiently, and I think, because of its simplicity, makes a more powerful statement?
10/21/2011 c6 sophiesix
to make teh story flow smoother, look for places you can cut down to improve the flow and pacing. Sentences like: “They hoped that by ignoring it, in their rarefied abstract world, it could come to not exist at all.” Whilst fine on its own, the effect of the clause in the middle of the sentence is to slow down the pace, which in this context, is unnecessary. “They hoped that by ignoring it, it could come to not exist at all.” reads smoother, drawing the reader on rather than tripping them up

Again, love the description of the meeting attendees, you are spot on as usual. I like how bob reacts on the black sand beach, but there’s something missing from that scene. It should feel quite a contrast in tone to the meeting one, but it doesn’t particularly? Maybe you mean it to feel a bit distant, but I think because the things described are so exotic, it would be better to make the scene stand out starkly, vividly, feel really real, and the things being seen /smelt/felt would actually give that sense of WTF? To the reader better, whilst also engaging them more?

love the last line heh heh heh
10/21/2011 c5 sophiesix
Great to see Cindy's non work side here - it provided great contrast to her work life. and meeting jesus again - that was coincidental, yes/no? love that their relationship is progressing.

teh length of the chapter seemed kinda short though, which didn't leave you much time to dvlp teh tension, making it seem more like a filler - well, perhjaps it is, every story needs filler chapters too.
10/21/2011 c4 sophiesix
aw, no being eaten by sandworm? That's a shame. good for pacing though i guess. ;) i like each of these paras individually, but i don't think you need so many to describe waht is in effect not terribley much hapening? teh bit about waht teh company does (or does not do, haha, loved that), might fit better in teh first or second chapter, for example. i really liked the thick as thieves relationship between jesus and cindy, and am glad to see seh didn't actually leave donut crumbs on teh floor - blasphemy!
10/17/2011 c2 12Deedee Elle
I do like your character sketches, they've got a nicely comic edge to them without being too vicious. Even Bob with his slimy com-on isn't too repellant. Your use of the business speak was fun and the Emperor's clothes comment was very recognisable.

One style or grammar note- you're supposed to start a new line for every new speaker but on a couple of occasions you have a new character speaking on the same line which was a bit confusing as it wasn't obvious immediately that it was another character.

''No thank you Jesus' Cindy replied without breaking her lobotomised grin. 'Don't worry, I've already eaten five' Bob interjected' for example.

I like the fact that the boss doesn't have a name but I'm wondering if he should be capitalised to add to his authority.

What I didn't find with this chapter was much of a plot. It seemed more like a series of vignettes which were good to and in chapter one worked well as introductions but I'm hoping it starts to develop something with more substance as it goes on.
9/30/2011 c2 Guest
Review return!

It's been a while since I've reviewed this old gem huh?

I'm a big sucker for quotes. A well researched quote shows an author's willingness to research but also their eye for matching details. The two quotes from Orwell and Shakespeare perfectly match the ennui and boredom that Cindy faces for days on end. It directs what we should be feeling and searching for in this chapter, specifically how and why Cindy feels trapped in this endless landscape of monotony.

I do have a question about the usage of single quotation marks in lieu of double quotation marks. It seems that the dialogue looks cleaner and slimmer but there is still a problem. You bunch up lines of dialogue from different speakers in a single paragraph. Technically that's gramatically incorrect but if you have a reason for it then it's okay. The reason doesn't seem crystal clear at this point and hopefully we'll see it developed later.

Names are powerful. Names communicate an image that we come to expect and know. But names also carry important symbols and significances for the story. I find it slightly ironic that Jesus comes to "save" Cindy from the boss lashing out against her and her forgetfulness. It's a little trick that you do and it's much appreciated.

Finally, fake business words. There's something really funny about fake business words. It combines the energy and enthusiasm that businesses crave and the formality of real words. These words mirror Cindy as she tries to combine the enthusiasm that would supposedly lead her to the top and execute the commands that is expected of her.

Ezekiel Finch
7/20/2011 c1 4lookingwest
This is a return for an extra review you did for Deck about a month ago, apologies for it coming so late, I'll try to make it worth it! :)

I find you overuse the word "that" when it doesn't need to be used, and because of how often you overuse it, it can border the realm of distraction. A few examples, almost all in a row:

Her suit was so sharp that it cut through the air like a light sabre...

-Could do without "that"

She thought that by shaping her outward appearance through a force of unshakeable control that this might afford her a modicum of respect in the eyes of her manager.

-Could do without both "thats"

Deep down she knew that this was not the case, and that the only way he was going to respect her was if she grew a pair of balls...

-Again, could do without both "thats"

I would spell out all of your numbers except the ones pertaining to time, and make sure you're consistent about it, for example:

The last person got off on floor 21, which gave her three more floors to repeat...

-You spell out "three" but not "twenty-one" for some reason, and I think you should go ahead and spell out twenty-one. As a grammatical rule of thumb I use, I would normally spell out any number that's simple to spell, like one hundred, as opposed to a number like 4,586, which I would leave as is.

'Hi Bob' she gave...

-Edit: after Bob, it needs either a comma or a period. I would go the period route, and then capitalize "She". Double-check all of these because it seems to be a habit to forget the comma or period, and happens quite often throughout the chapter.

'Hi Cindy. You look hot this morning.' Bob was counting down...

-Edit: grammatically, this needs to start a new paragraph. Whenever you have a new person speaking, they need to be in their own paragraph, always. You do this a lot in this chapter so I think it would really benefit if you went through and corrected all of them, as it keeps narrative flow consistent and precise. Maybe review how to properly end and begin speaker tags as well, just for some extra umph :)

Overall, I have to be honest, I felt for a starting chapter this was quite dry and boring to read. It was basically a routine, which it's good to show I think, but perhaps after you give us some sort of action to juxtapose with how it had thrown off the routine...I would only suggest putting the action first or starting with something "boom!" so that you draw us in, especially if the plan is to reveal every detail of our narrator's life down to making the coffee. It can be done, for sure, and I like the little details you've created about her life (especially with the plastic bag in the beginning, really enjoyed that), but I just wanted a bit more out of it for excitement purposes, or even something to tease us with since you'll be getting a few fantasy buffs in here, and you want to show off a little bit of what you have to offer them. The style and pacing of the narrative was well done beyond a few grammatical errors that can all be easily fixed with a another edit read-through, and I think it shows some good promise for how different her life might turn out to be once the fantasy elements enter the story full-fledged!
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