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for Sequence of seven

7/28/2011 c1 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
She doesn't want to hear about the seven bodies Widya could count.

-Liked this. Simple but effective and quite fitting for the POV.

A whisper in her head, like the in the canopies...

-Missing word.

Opening: I liked this beginning as a whole, particularly the opening of the second paragraph. The first paragraph seemed like an average death story but the next sentence really grabbed me, promising a different perspective on the subject. It instantly drew me in because I wanted to see how you'd portray a little girl's take on a big problem.

Ending: This felt a little rushed to me. I mean, I see it's a prologue so I'm sure some things will be explained in more detail later, but there was so much detail in the rest of the story that I wasn't sure what to make of the last two paragraphs, concerning the man in her head. It didn't give me enough detail about how she was seeing him for me to be able to tell if she was actually seeing/sensing him, or if she was just describing the memory of the man, as a way to reassure herself that she really had seen the 7 bodies, contrary to what her mom said.

Characters/Relationships: I really liked how developed Widya's mom was in this, despite only briefly appearing. You showed a lot with just her reactions to Widya's actions, most memorably for me being when she pushes her daughter away in annoyance, wondering why she's not in school. I got the feeling she just wanted to maintain status quo, out of fear of something Widya didn't understand. The child's confusion in this made it all the more interesting, as her mom's actions seemed like a betrayal even though they might make more sense for the situation than she can grasp just then.

Enjoyment: Overall, I liked this. The ending wasn't my favorite because I wanted a little more there, but the narration was interesting and the descriptions made it very easy to picture. I was right with the little girl on the road and by the bodies, and even clutching her mom's skirt. That was really impressive to me. You have a great writing style, that's unique and enchanting but still very easy to follow. That's definitely my favorite aspect of this piece.
7/15/2011 c1 6Ezekiel Finch
Hello!

Congradulations on winning this month's WCC and I am here to review one of your other stories!

I like the number seven popping up. Seven is closely connected to seven days and how God created the world and set aside the seventh day for the Sabbath. From my interpretation, the seventh body is set aside for Widya to realize and celebrate the fact that she can count. It's very interesting how you use the number seven to your advantage and to deepen the story.

I also like the way you capture the pure childishness of Widya by euphimising (if that's a word) the death of seven people. The blood and the river, and the forest all create a flower to her. A flower that is beautiful. She does not see a durian fruit, which I know from personal experience smells like rotting flesh, but instead a flower. It's shocking and well done.

On top of that, you really push the supernatural genre to a new level in this piece. You make the ghost that follows her not a real ghost but a mental one. A shadow of a person, which has manifested within her through her own imagination, haunts the very corners of her mind. It's a ghost, but it's a different kind of ghost.

And of course, the reference to Communism. I'm a history buff and the political clash between powers makes me think, "Are they Communists? If not, are they townspeople? Or are they Americans?" There's just so much by saying, "Communism" that gets me excited. It allows for more depth, more questions, and more complexity in the story.

This was a really great read!

Ezekiel Finch
7/15/2011 c1 16Dragon made me do it
Opening:

It is quite disturbing to be reminded that there were children involved in the anti-Communist purges, and you introduce this in a horrifically surreal way. I can't use the word good in the same sentence as talking about these events, but it is terribly well-written and treats the subject with a sensitivity and authenticity.

Writing style:

As always your writing style is effortless, but in this case you also managed to adapt your style to the perspective of a child. While the child is not in first person, so it is not a child-like narrative voice, it is an outsider's view of a child's perspective- if that makes any sense.

I think the repetition of the red imagery works quite well here.

Subject matter:

Once again, as with 'the serpent's fruit', you have done a wonderful job of unmasking silenced stories. This time, the memory continues in a child's mind, but we don't know whether she ever dares tell the story publicly and if so, what would be the consequences to her of doing this.

I was not sure whether the mother's cold response to their deaths was because she really felt this much antipathy towards communists (or as we know the killings also involved suspected Communists who were actually just Chinese or people they didn't like), or if she was just afraid to be implicated herself if she showed any concern for them. It seemed in the story to be more of the former, although I suspect the latter would have come into play in many instances. Perhaps some of this coldness in people came about just because they were afraid not to take this perspective, lest they be implicated themselves.

I am really perplexed as to how this happened in such a beautiful country, but the reality is that it did, and you do a good job of exposing this reality.

I think that by choosing a real, historical backdrop but infusing a fictional story into this scene, it gives it an authenticity to the story. mind you, this may not have worked without your excellent writing ability.

Characters:

Widya is a really well fleshed-out, genuine character. it is rare that you see this in child characters. the mother is a bit more of a caricature, but I think that firstly in that amount of space she could not have been anything else, and secondly, her role in the story was really a mouthpiece for an idea and her personal characteristics were secondary to this.

Keep writing! I enjoy reading your stories.
7/4/2011 c1 Boy at War
"Thinking that if she were to bring it along,"

I wasn't really sure what to think here, you didn't say that it was a flower she was trying to bring back but you refer to it as a flower later on.

I liked the reference to 7 since it was a tiny subplot that many would overlook if not for your mentioning of it. Most people would overlook that she can now count, due to the fact that there were the dead bodies.

I do wonder though, what is she learning at that school if she's just learning to count?
7/1/2011 c1 5Whirlymerle
I enjoyed the beginning; I think the imagery was very powerful, especially your use of color. I could really picture the red bodies contrasting with the green banana trees.

Although I did find the part about counting confusing. I feel like even children know how to count, and I don’t understand why so much emphasis was placed on Widya realizing she could count after seeing the bodies. Will it be important later on?

I also really liked your writing style, it’s not something I see often on FP and I feel like the abruptness of the sentences complemented with the fact that your writing from a child’s perspective.

~Merle
6/26/2011 c1 Lotus-Hua
Ooh...a very haunting, chilling piece! I really enjoyed reading it; it hooked me from the first word to the end and still continues to resonate in my mind. The storyline seems rather simple, but your rich description makes it all very vivid. It was a pleasure to read. :)

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