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for Mountain Dawn

1/4/2014 c1 2Jalux
It's a very simple but efficient opening for two reasons. One it shows off a bit of your character's personality and what prison has done to him. Secondly it shows him in a icky situation which is an excellent hook as people will want to know what's happening.

Honestly I didn't get much of a feel for Theo's character here, I realize it's only the first chapter and I shouldn't be too harsh but I felt a little more would be nice. That being said I did like the part with the storm and it really seems like the underground prison has changed him as a person alot. The small hints of his past are also good.

Obviously as a one-shot this would have been a powerful ending but even as a chapter ending it's still very effective, it feels rather bittersweet and serves as an excellent ending hook as it almost seems like Theo has died. There is also still an air of mystery about the prison which also prompts the reader to continue reading.

Dialogue is good, I can see a clear difference between the hermit's voice and the mountain/thunder's voice. You can easily see the hermit's age and wisdom in his dialogue when he tells the story. There isn't much dialogue elsewhere but where there is it feels quite believable and well-written.
4/20/2013 c3 A. Nonymous1234
I had never come across this story before, even though I figured I would have as I often lurk on the Review Game thread. The first chapter was interesting. It reminded me more of a poem than a story, just by the way it was written and the way you painted a mental image for me. The other two chapters had a similar writing style, which is the kind that really draws me. Overall, I really like this story. The story flows nicely, and the plot seems genuinely unique, as well as the characters. The ending of this was such a good cliffhanger! I'll read the next chapter when I get time!

-From the Roadhouse
4/3/2013 c4 19Alaeryel
OMG I want to skin Riker for what he did to her-what an a**hole! Also I nearly fainted when she gave him her name. I go by Alaeryel here on FP but my given name is Peri! I was in complete shock when I read it here. You did another BEAUTIFUL JOB writing this chapter and I saw where it is on temporary hiatus and it saddened me but atleast you didn't say you were scratching it all together which made me happier! I will definitely be watching for more when you begin this story again!
3/15/2013 c4 13VelvetyCheerio
Ooh, a cat-o-nine-tails? Those things are no joke, but it's a lot better than being flogged with a bullwhip, let me tell ya'. Actually, I can't tell you because I don't know about a bull whip except that they will literally slice you open if you don't have a cow's thick hide. Sucks to be Lea at this point, though. She's hardy, I'll give her that. I would most likely be screaming and or howling in pain.

Heh, but at least it was only a flogging. the intentions of those peacekeepers was a little hard to tell at first. Of course, they're called peacekeepers. If they just started raping whoever they found wandering around, they wouldn't exactly be living up to their titles, but still. Injured woman plus weird guy with gun who uses the term "sweets" equals Lea, you better haul ass as fast as your injured butt can go.

Speaking of Sgt Riker (lol, his name makes me think of Rich and Nazi Germany ._.) and his abundance of "sweets", perhaps this is a personal thing from seeing only the greasiest, nastiest, weirdest villains use the term, but I felt like his language didn't really match up to the use of the word "sweets". Like, his words are very formal, he seems well versed. I feel like "sweets" is a very scumbag word, like someone who skulks through grimy alleyways and has brown teeth. Or a guy who smirks waaay too much and is just greasy and nasty to women. And Riker seems like he actually feels something kind toward Lea.

Like, "Oh, that's such a terrible story about your brother and if this wasn't my job and the times weren't like this, I'd totally help you so I'm really sorry about this." That's the vibe I get from him.

Anyway, sucks for Lea. She took one step forward and two steps back, so it would seem. Boo that this story is going on the backburners. D': Oh well, I suppose I could live with Nomad. For now. Loved this chapter though. Fantastic work. :)
2/19/2013 c1 2Marguerite Grimmett
I loved the chapter/prologue, simply because it was interesting. Slightly moving, too. It was very nice to read, about a boy thinking back to his old memories. Also, the chapter had a good cliffhanger, :D, I liked it. I can't think of anything negative, though, sorry. :D
2/9/2013 c3 1k+Faithless Juliet
OPENING: I feel like the mourning or ‘paying respects’ scene may work better in the previous chapter as opposed to this one. As is I was ready for Lea and Davan to go searching for Theo but this chapter opens with Lea back at home. It may also help the plot if Lea reflects on having to find her brothers body in this scene i.e. where she watches the shadows move across the cabin, and then make up her mind to go rather than just going in the last chapter, but ultimately finding herself back here and waiting to go. Just a thought, you don’t have to listen to me.

SETTING: I’m still not sure what time frame the story takes place in. With the overall mode and vibe it makes me think it’s not a current time, or it may be an alternate reality ‘current’ time but your use of soft leather shoes as a descriptive makes me think medieval (even though you’ve already established the use of riffles) I think at this point I would like a clearer image of where the story takes place, just so my mind can become more at ease with where the characters are and what potential dangers they may face. I hate to say it but your use of ‘peacekeepers’ and ‘mines’ makes me think of the Hunger Games. I would try to shy away from those types of comparisons, being that it’s been done before and you should want YOUR story to be as unique and original as possible.

CHARACTERS: I like the journey that you let Lea take in terms of finding her brother. I like that you haven’t written her where she wallows in her pain, because you’ve already established that she would have had to be the strong one just to stay and take care of her father. Davan seems a bit one dimensional though. I can tell that he cares for Lea but you haven’t really presented the reader with a reason why, and his affection just seems forced on the reader for development.

ENDING: What an ending, and no more chapters, how could you do that to me? The fact that Lea ‘hides’ Davan really works with her characterization, as I mentioned above she would have been the strong one, and within her personality I get the strong sense of a self-sacrificing nature. You really left me with a cliffhanger on this one, keep up the good work, and please update soon.

2/9/2013 c2 Faithless Juliet
SETTING: I really enjoyed how you captured the life of your secondary characters within the first few paragraphs. It makes sense that the list of the dead would be ‘formally’ presented, and that a more accurate account would be followed up with a ‘runner’ its little details like that that really make a story come alive, and I really enjoyed how you presented these here.

DIALOGUE: Normally you’re dialogue is very good, but I do want to point out: “"Okay," Father said in his usual monotone and turned his attention to the wary young man in their kitchen.” I feel like your use of ‘okay’ here doesn’t fit the setting either time or place of the story, it feels too modern. I would go with ‘alright’ or something along those lines.

CHARACTERS: I don’t think Theo’s really dead – it might just be me, but I’m not buying it, you said he became the *storm* see you already made me feel for him which is really good. I would have liked to see Lea flushed out just a bit more as a character in this chapter. I feel like the action and image of a young girl taking care of her aging father is a archetype that has been done before, but I didn’t really see anything stark or refreshing in your take on that image, and I would have liked to in order to make the chapter pop.

ENDING: You haven’t really explained why it was that Theo and the others were shot, although it does appear to be a regular occurrence in ‘these parts.’ I think at this point it would help the reader if you explored the ‘world’ a little bit more and gave more info to the reader. I liked how you left us with a bit of a cliffhanger in regards to what would happen next. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

2/9/2013 c1 Faithless Juliet
OPENING: I really liked the scene that you set in your opening. Using very few words – just two sentences – you introduce our character into a very precarious position. I really like how you let the opening punch for the reader but you use very little descriptive fanfare to tell the reader that. Rather than saying Theo is obviously in distress you trust that the reader gets it.

PLOT: I feel like this section lacked in plot. True, it’s the first chapter and things are getting introduced and working themselves out naturally but I find myself confused about what exactly is going on at this point. I like the otherworldly aspects of “he became the storm” but I’m uncertain as to why he’s been captured and why he’s being executed. I think you may want to explore a memory scene where Theo reflects on how he got to that point to give the reader a hint and help them along.

CHARACTERS: I like Theo, although I feel like only 10% of his character has been explored as of yet. I like how you give him vulnerability with the storm and tie that in nicely with his past but you also give him a lot of bravery to face the moment that he’s in now. I look forward to seeing where/how he develops.

ENDING: I really enjoyed where you took the ending. You leave us with an ethereal, otherworldly counter vibe. As I said before I’m not really sure if we’re in an alternate reality or not but that last line was extremely powerful and really works. I can’t wait to see where you go next. Keep up the good work.

Much love,
2/5/2013 c3 13VelvetyCheerio
Oh man, this is not good for Lea. D:

I really enjoy her character, by the way. I like how she tries to show indifference to Davan, perhaps to keep him safe, but then she relents in the end and accepts his presence. How ironic, though, that she would the one to slip and fall, lol.

The history behind the peacemakers and hamlet-folk intrigues me. There was obviously some sort of war, but who controls them? And why take *all* the weapons? Are there revolutionaries?

['it's unlikely the bodies would be so near the road, to remind them of their sins.'] I didn't really understand this bit here. Was she referring to the peacemakers' sins? Or the miners' sins? Or the sins of the people in the village?

If it's the peacemakers, I'm even more curious as to whom they belong to. Are the locals who were given status, or are they foreign invaders?

['It's a falcon's dive down, Leanda, and only a falcon can get out of that.] I like this line. :3

Well, I wonder if the mountain spirit will be just as kind to Lea as it was to her brother. :\ Looks like she's going to end up a prisoner. Unless Davan comes to the rescue, which he probably will. He never struck me as a jerk, lol.

Awesome update. Keep it up! :D
1/30/2013 c1 3Leech Lester
Oh wow. I would like to put the most emphasis on your ending. You finished with a great hook that pretty much sealed the deal for me. The story flows nicely (correct spelling, correct grammar, sufficient detail, and excellent pace made this a smooth read). I sense an interesting plot. I'm looking forward to reading more.
1/29/2013 c1 14Shampoo Suicide
"He couldn't see the ravine below but he knew from the way the wind whistled and the tales it told his nose that this was their destination" Good sensory imagery here, and in the following paragraph.

I love the exchange between the mother and the hermit. I hoped we'd hear the rest and you delivered. The ending was beautiful, after revealing what the hermit had said in completion.

I'll read and comment on the rest soon.
1/25/2013 c2 5Persevera
I'm already very impressed with Davan. I don't know what he looks like, but he shows concern for not only Lea, but the father too. It's telling that he didn't just give the news then leave, but wanted to comfort Lea, then hobble up the mountain with her, despite her being less than gracious to him.

The relationship between Lea and their father has clearly shifted roles of parent and child. He seems to have what is known here and probably on that ridge too as "old timer's disease," rather than alzheimers. I like your line that caring for and comforting him will give her a little distraction before she can react to the news herself.

The beginning, explaining how the news of the dead got to the families was good, though geographically,it's a little confusing. The news of the dead traveled down to the mines, then a runner had to brave going up the mountain to tell the families, then Davan and Lea were going up to find the body. Maybe it would be better to say that the news filtered through the mountain, rather than down.

I liked this chapter. It gave a very clear idea of the action to follow, with the determined sister braving the patrols not once, but repeatedly, until she found her brother's body and that she would be accompanied by an equally determined man whom she'll probably initially consider a hindrance.
1/25/2013 c1 Persevera
The technique of having Theo remember his mother telling him about his being a mountain boy was very effective. It helped to show him dying with honor, even as a naked prisoner on a chain gang, as he was truly going home.

There was some prose I particularly loved, such as [seven shots and thunder cracked.] It was so abrupt and had much more impact than if it had been written more flowery. There was that contrast too of something horrible with the gun shots, and the thunder that his mother had told him he should never fear.

The scene itself was very well set, with the forest at twilight and the gentle rain that grew into a storm. The guards getting a little trigger happy seemed very real, as did the stumbling of Theo and the other prisoners.

While I felt for Theo from the beginning, the first part of the story didn't grab my attention. It might have been a little too detached, with him thinking about the reasons they were kept in the mountains. While I can see where that was interesting and good observation by the writer, it didn't feel like what would have been someone's last musings.
1/19/2013 c2 13VelvetyCheerio
I really like that last line from Davan. I don't know, it read kind of like a dramatic scene closer for a movie script, haha.

The description in this story is wonderful and I like the connection brought about between Theo and the storm and the mountains and the trees. I feel that gives a significant amount of importance to the description of nature.

And I actually thought you handled Lea's reaction, as well as Davan giving the bad news, really well. I think the level of shock and delayed emotions from her in one way helped me kind of understand the impact Theo had on the family. I felt bad for the dad. :[ I can't imagine what the news is going to do to his health now.

An exciting closer for this chapter, regardless. I don't really have much in the way of concrit. I am curious to see what the characters will bring to the plot. The summary certainly leaves a lot to the imagination. ;)

Kudos to writing again and getting both your stories up! :D I think you're doing great so far.

8/28/2012 c1 2DirtyTangles
Hi, from the Review Game. :)
So, some nitpick-y grammar/spelling/flow things, before I start my review. Apologies if these have already been mentioned:
“The rain fell, the thunder rolled, the line and Theo moved forward.”
This sentence *should*, in perfect English, be spaced with either periods separating the clauses, or semi-colons. I think it works as-is because it gives a nice flow to the passage, so I’m only pointing this out because it is a broken rule. I don’t want you to change it, but rather be aware of it.

“If he ignored the pebbles bruising his feet and the creaks and groans of the other prisoners, and closed his eyes, he thought maybe it would be just Theo and the trees, with the wind in his hair and the birds readying for sleep in the trees, and the war a distant memory on the mountain.”
This made me pause for a second, just because of name-placing. Putting Theo’s name at the end, rather than the beginning makes it seem as though we are introducing a second character for “he” to be alone with. I noticed that you seemed to have some trouble in general on deciding when to call Theo by his name, and when to refer to him as just “he”. I think that perhaps you use his name too much; I think once a lengthy paragraph would more than suffice, since identifying him generally isn’t that hard. Only more, I think, when there are other males in your paragraph, such as the guards, the hermit, or the prisoners.
“Soon the patter of rain on tree branches joined the forest sounds, along with the patter of rain on rifle barrels and the muttering of their guards.”
This can easily be shortened to “The patter of rain on tree branches and rifle barrels joined the forest sounds.”

“He had a vague recollection that this was so they could be put to work in the mines, and he'd done that too many days to count, but he thought there was another reason. “
Passive voice! Try your hardest not to use it. “He recalled that this was. . .”

Now, on to the actual review!

Techniques (specifically point of view): I don’t think that third person served you well in this story, for several reasons, the biggest of which is the voice you used throughout. You are constantly referring back to “Theo thought”, “Theo realized”, “Theo imagined”. So much of this story takes place inside Theo’s head; so much that I would recommend trying first person, just to see if you find it a little easier to let go of these sentence starters. If you do keep it in third person, I would suggest that you try and take these out. The reader understands that when you refer back to Theo’s mother, it is not an immediate incident, but rather a memory. I think this would make the prose tighter and the flow of the story smoother overall.

The Writing: I really enjoy a few of your lines, and the staccato pace of your story. As I said at the beginning, I think that when you have broken the “period, semi-colon, comma” rules it has worked well in your favor. In a few places, you weave Theo’s thoughts with the landscape well. I woudl love to see this more often!
Ex. “Theo became like the other prisoners, like the recently dead, like a soon to be dead man.”

I’ve addressed some of the flow problems already (the name drops and point of view), but there is one that stands out to me. There is a tendency in this piece for something to be described once, and then again. It’s a little much, and often results in repetitive word use.
Ex. “Maybe he would recognize some of them as he made the final drop. Would he have time to study the decaying skin, would he see a friend from the revolution, or recognize a silhouette from the mines?”
Taking out that first sentence doesn’t take anything away from the story, and gives it a tighter feel.
Ex. “He wished he'd seen the daylight; he bet it had been a warm, sunny day. A promising day, with the sun overhead and hardly a cloud in the sky.”
Again, take away that last clause, “with the sun overhead and not a cloud in the sky” and the prose loses none of its meaning or potency.

Character: I don’t get a lot from Theo, which is a shame because he is at the heart of this story. I get a lot of setting and time, a lot of his thoughts, but I want more. I want to know Theo, so that the end hits a little harder. Why is he in prison? What was he like before prison; did it break him? Change him at all? Does he have a family? What were his goals? What are his values? It was hard for me to get invested in this story, simply because I didn’t have a great picture of Theo.

The Ending: I liked the quote placement in the end, but I felt like putting it in the middle as well was too much, because this piece is so short. As far as Theo turning into the storm, I didn’t like the line. It wasn’t enough closure. It felt like a cop-out of ending the piece. If you do go over this again, I would suggest re-thinking that ending. Perhaps end with just the quote and go no further.
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