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for A Short Walk in Elysium

8/24/2012 c1 28a-perpetual-hiraeth
I really love the concept here - that we're just passing through and will one day have to leave this life for another. Some may find that sad but I find it beautiful, and I love the way you handled it.

The "sound" imagery was lovely. I admit that I'm a sucker for detail that stimulates other senses besides sight. And I think the use of sound imagery is very effective given that the protagonist is dying. I imagine that sounds would be very prevalent to someone confined to a single room, unable to get up and walk around.

I also really love that you set up the choice between life and death using nature. It's appropriate because death is natural, and when we die we "return to the earth," in a sense. The word "dances" in the last line is, in my opinion, a perfect way to describe the protagonist's journey towards death. It shows that death is not always ugly, and in fact, can be a pleasant release.

"A heartbeat, her heartbeat." Unlike a few of your other reviewers (yes, I snuck a peek at your other reviews; I was curious), I like the comma in this line. However, I think that the word "her" should have some emphasis because you're not just referring to any heartbeat, you're referring to *her* heartbeat. I'd suggest italicizing it.

"She closes her eyes and feels as though she's floating on a cloud." I'm not sure if I like the "floating on a cloud" bit here. In a way I want to say I don't because it's been used many times, but in a way I want to say I do because it's familiar and brings out a feeling of nostalgia. I'm kind of half-and-half about it. XD

"The breeze shifts." As a general rule, I hate repetition; however, I think it works here. It does well to signify the gravity that each choice holds and the force with which they compel the protagonist.

Nice work! Definitely like this one!
8/14/2012 c1 1Loraine Wentworth
This is an interesting, clever piece. I like the way you open this with the 'noise' sounds, I think it reflects the characters' confusion here.

I also like the gradual way you make her aware of her surroundings. First of all, the sentences are short and sharp, she hears some noises. Gradually the sentences start to get longer and she starts to be aware of people.

You definitely brought the sense of hearing to the fore here; the protagonist experiences her surroundings mainly through sounds. I thought this was cleverly done.

Although the opening did indicate a depressing ending, I did like the hopeful/optimistic tone that the ending conveyed. I'm not sure about the repetition of 'The breeze shifts' though. I can't decide if it is jarring or not.
8/7/2012 c1 1Deranged Dairy Products
I'm sorry I couldn't get to this before the expiration of last month. My words aren't probably of much use to you, but here they are anyway.

I thought the theme was executed softly, ponderously and, overall, effectively. Your use of ambiguity is great here; plenty of questions arising and not much info given, though I think you could afford to be more subtle with the dying bit. It's good for the most part, but the 'She is dying' sort of tarnishes the tone set by your other words. In the end it's not definite facts that are the main interest here, it's the sense of place and unknowing and the take on universal spirituality that form the core, and all three have been communicated excellently.

Some things I noticed:

'A heartbeat, her heartbeat' - I just feel your desired flow here would be better met with something other than a comma. I'll leave the choice of punctuation up to you, because a few could work.

'She closes her eyes and feels as though she's floating on a cloud' - I think clouds are overused in soft, peaceful similes. You should forge your own unique one here. It will read more rewardingly.

'On the hill, the grass swirls around her' - I'm usually for repetition of imagery, but I just don't know if I'm feeling the grass one here. I like the rustling and the sounds, but not so much the grass. Perhaps it's just a little too repetitious in places,

Other than that, though, very well down. I feel sleepy from reading this, and not out of boredom. Cheers for the read.
7/19/2012 c1 Guest
i think the repeating of the breeze shifting really brough out how this girl doesn't know where she's going. Shes all lost and must want to have sex with 4 brother. I hope she finds them.
7/19/2012 c1 Guest
this was far too long and I understood non of it.
7/12/2012 c1 4Rogue Energizer Bunny
Oooh! Poetic!

I love the opening. It immediately establishes the conflict and the setting, and it's so confusing and chaotic. So off to a good start.

I would've liked it to be more specific about why she was dying. It just says "doctors working" which is a bit vague and hard to picture, because not only do you have to guess at the number of doctors, but also what they're doing.

Love the concept, also. I like that you show her making the choice, but it's almost a metaphor in nature. I'd like the description to be a but less Utopian and all, with everything so pretty. I guess it is a dream, though.

You never gave her a name, did you? Haha. Awesome. Keep it up!
7/12/2012 c1 31Who Is This Girl Anyway
I like your use of onomatopoeia throughout this, as it relates very well to the original prompt. It also emphasises the waiting, to me, as it seems as though she's focusing on anything but her death.

"Two hearts deliver an exotic duet" What a lovely piece of imagery. :)

"Her feet carry her down the hill and she dances toward the horizon." Your final line struck me as being rather lovely as it emphasises the relief she feels at having finally died. I can understand that from personal experience, and the way you show her as carefree and happy is uplifting after watching her die.
7/11/2012 c1 76The Autumn Queen
Okay, this isn't standard EF review, but whatever.

I really like the jerky rhythm of the first line. No dragging necessary; it immediately draws attention to sound, which is especially important with this month's WCC. And the clang of metal is a nice touch as well; reminds me of Alphonse in FMA too for some weird reason.

[A heartbeat, her heartbeat.] - I'd recommend using something a little more pronounced than a comma there. It dulls the emphasis on the "her". A fullstop could have done it, or a colon or an EM dash...I think the last would work best. But commas are commas, you know? A little flat.

[Voices louder now, the rustle of fabric, rustle of clothing and people moving around her body] - I don't think you need the "around her body" part.

[short beep short beep] - I did a doubletake there. I'd recommend writing it as short-beep-short-beep; it links the words a little better and makes the connotation clearer. Our brains aren't automatically wired (well, mine isn't :)) to put those in.

Nice repetition. And spaced enough to not make me gauge my eyes out (not that I would, but you know)... I especially like the rustling motif. Soft and gentle, really shows the emphasis on sound...

I like the cycle of the sun as well. It's a nice slow image of passing time, heightened by the hastier image of wind. And the direction is nicely symbolic as well. Towards the rising sun aka. life or the setting aka. death. Or all those life-changing journeys as well.

[She turns and finds light on the eastern horizon, bright, sterile light.] - the first comma should be a colon.

[she knows there is time for either journey.] - I'm not sure where you're going with this line.

Best of luck in the WCC.
7/4/2012 c1 Guest
This is HORRIBLE! I hate it!
7/4/2012 c1 4kate800
This is so heartfelt, I love it so much! I could find no problems with this. I'm only confused with one thing: did she decide to go back? Or did she die? Whatever would make her happiest, I'd hope. .
7/4/2012 c1 pseudonymsurname
I like the way you shift between the two worlds, setting up the choice of life or death – or life and life, I guess in a sense. Some of the descriptions were good, too. And the image of the two hearts beating at different rhythms was very good. It’s a short piece, but it doesn’t feel too short – it captures the scene you’re going for well, I think.

I’m not too keen on the repetitive repetition (ironic way of putting it, I know) in this. At first, I liked the ‘rustle of grass’ and ‘the breeze shifted’ but when you use the same thing three or four or five times, it can start to lose its effect. Also, I wasn’t sure about ‘rustle’ as the predominant sound in the first place. I don’t think it works with the image of grass ‘dancing’ or fabric pushing together, and in a world where everything is noise (for a short while at least) I’m not sure about all the sounds being the same – how everything rustles. I think it might be better if you differentiate between them.

Things I noticed while I read:

“Over and over, short short short beep, long...” Wasn’t sure about this line. Not too keen on the three ‘short’ in a row. And here’s an instance where I’m not sure what you’re trying to do with the italics.

“She is dying” Don’t think you need to state this so bluntly. Kind of contradicts the 'ambiguity' that runs throughout the rest of the piece.

“Her eyes open, take in bright light, and close as short beep short beep becomes long and breathing, heartbeat stops.” Not sure about this line, either. Don’t think it works.

I liked the idea of “everything is noise”, which worked well with the small sounds you pick out that people wouldn’t normally notice. However, then you focus on sight and feel as well, which ruined the effect of this somewhat.

It’s also a bit of a pet-peeve of mine reading stories that overuse italics and ellipses, which this one does at times. Like with repetition, they can work well in moderation, but mostly I’d prefer it if the structure and rhythm was governed by the writing / words, and not italics and ellipses. Purely personal opinion, but I think, for the most part, they don’t particularly add anything to this anyway, especially the ellipses coming at the end of a paragraph where there is naturally a pause. I don't know, maybe that's just me.

Overall, this was a good, solid piece. Good luck in the WCC :)

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