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9/9/2012 c10 5Dr. Self Destruct
Ack! I knew this was going to happen. Okay, well, I didn't *know* it was going to happen, but I was afraid it was going to happen. ._. Now what is Brynhild going to do after she sees that Frederick drank the water and he's going to die too? Maybe she'll kill herself as well.

What really struck me the most in this chapter was the mention of how Guerin always thought he would die on the battlefield and not in bed to some sickness. I don't know why, but that really struck me. I think it's because of all the fantasy novels I've read and how a lot of the characters are the same way - I know it's seen as a great honor to warriors to die in combat and not against something they can't even attempt to fight. That means everything to them, and it's very distressing to see Guerin have to die this way.

I'm also glad we got to see a little of the story told from Frederick's POV. That mention of how he misses forming his wife's name was a great way to show his grief. And I also enjoyed the ending and how you mimicked his disorienting state in the way the narration was written - everything was very fuzzy and confusing, and it does wonderfully in reflecting his own current mental state. It also ends on a great cliff hanger to incite the reader to keep going.
9/9/2012 c9 Dr. Self Destruct
I feel like the creepiness factor of this story just jumped up with this chapter, haha. But that's definitely a good thing. But, hmm, perhaps suspense would be a better term than "creepiness factor." Anyways, I digress.

Once again, we're exposed more to the tumultuous turn Brynhild's mental state is beginning to take. I know I said earlier in the first few chapters that I thought her actions weren't very befitting of her thoughts, but now I think you're doing a great job making what she's doing more believable. By showing us how this is all affecting her mentally (what with how she snaps at Oren and threats him, as well as how she tries to feed the baby when she obviously doesn't have breast milk) it's making her action much more plausible. And speaking of the part where she was trying to feed the baby but didn't have any milk... I thought that was a great scene to open the chapter with - that right there shows a cumulation of what she's basically trying to do: replace the former queen.

I also enjoy Brynhild's reasoning for these people dying. In order to save herself from the guilt, she's coping by telling herself that these people are only going to sleep. She believes she's doing them a favor, which only goes to show the turn in her mental state. I really find her character fascinating - anything addressing this type of content really interests me, especially how far some people will go to obtain what they want. The part near the end where the guy is throwing the silver candlesticks into his sack was kind of funny - he's obviously ransacking the place before taking off. I thought his appearance helped show the chaos wrecking their village. And the image of a village where all the people are half dead is just... creepy.
9/9/2012 c8 Dr. Self Destruct
Oh damn. Maybe I was right after all that she'd snap and start killing more people.

This beginning paragraph is very beautiful; I love the way you address the moon. To mention that the moon was blooming was very cool as well, giving it the physical attributes of a flower. I thought that created the most beautiful image inside my head as the sentence went on, and I also really enjoy your word choice in the rest of the paragraph. I think the serenity of the moon does well in clashing with the emotions going through Brynhild's mind; while the night and moon are very quiet and stoic, she's furious, planning more death and destruction. It's scary the lengths some people will go to in the name of love, sometimes forsaking their own humanity in the process.

I think this chapter does a great job showing the mental state of Brynhild, and how she seems to keep going downhill with every chapter. I was surprised when she snapped at Oren like she did, but I think that's only one sign in the turn her personality is taking; where before she mostly ignored him and detested him silently, now we see the negative emotions coming forth because she seems less able to hide them. I can only wonder if her plan to keep herself, Frederick, and the children safe. I have a terrible feeling something is going to go awry and more than one person is going to end up dead.

That final paragraph of her laughing after pouring the poison into the well was very chilling. Once again, I think it's a great way to show how all this madness of killing people and seeking a man who doesn't want to be her husband is getting to her head.
9/9/2012 c7 Dr. Self Destruct
I really enjoyed the image of Frederick walking behind the procession of the people leading his wife's corpse to her grave. I thought the mention of how his crown appeared to be extra heavy on his head was very showing of the emotional pain he's going through. Not to mention later on when Brynhild finds him and has to force him to eat. I think you do a great job showing how distraught he is through his dialogue as well; the way he was slightly oblivious to what was going on around him was very well placed.

I'm also glad we get some more information about Frederick and Brynhild now, and the relationship they used to have. I know it was touched on a couple times before, but I never really understood *how* close they were up until this point. Until now their relationship felt very one-sided, with Brynhild chasing after him and Frederick not really caring about her, but now I see that's not the case. I think he really does care about her, and I'm wondering what he's going to do now. He mentions needing to be there for his children and his kingdom... I really hope Brynhild doesn't snap and decide to kill his children to hopefully have him all to herself, haha.

A very emotional chapter, on all ends.
9/9/2012 c6 5Persevera
The death scene was believable and well-paced. I like the progression in this story. One can guess what might happen next but you've added so much to the fairy tale, it could also go in a completely different direction.
It's good too that she's still not going to get what she wants. Frederick's continued rejection of her, while maddening that he used her, is the price she'll have to pay.
I like Old Bess's doubt. That could be an interesting dynamic.
You might want to correct this passage "her bones would have cracked from the angle from the strained angle her body took."
9/9/2012 c6 5Dr. Self Destruct
Plot: Dammit, looks like the Queen died after all. This makes me very sad. :( But I suppose it was inevitable. Now I'm wondering what's going to happen next. What will Frederick do about the queen dying? Will he be willing to go to Brynhild, or will he somehow figure out what happened? Considering Old Bess looked suspiciously at Brynhild, I wonder if Old Bess might know what caused this or might eventually go investigating and find out.

Scene: I enjoyed the scene at the end the most. While I really don't like Oren and think he's a complete brat, I'm surprised by how bad I felt for him when Brynhild was trying to lead him away from his mother's corpse. I think that shows you did a great job addressing how his mother's death effected him, like how his face looked, how it was all full of tears, and how he kept saying "Mother, mother, mother" to himself. That created a very haunting image.

Beginning: I'm glad you also showed how the rest of the castle is reacting to this "plague." It would make sense for them to be in an uproar. I also enjoyed how you opened the chapter with Brynhild being woken up and incredibly confused, because her disorientation makes the possibility of the queen dying feel all the more sudden and unexpected regardless if I already knew it was coming. It makes me wonder how common plagues were back then; I don't know too much about this time period, so I'm finding this all rather fascinating.


[ "What's going on?" She asked sleepily,]

Edit: 'she' should be lowercase.

[ "What's happened?" She asked again,]

Edit: 'she' should be lowercase.

["What is it?" He spat at her, visibly flustered.]

Edit: Unless he literally spits at her (which I don't think he is), the 'he' needs to be lowercase.

[and head back out to their families farms.]

Edit: - family's

[ "All will pass!" She insisted.]

Edit: 'she' should be lowercase.

[A deep cough irrupted from the Queen's throat,]

Edit: - erupted

["Do as I say!" He instructed,]

Edit: 'he' should be lowercase.
9/9/2012 c5 Dr. Self Destruct
Scene: I have to admit, the moment I figured out that Brynhild was going to be stuck in the room while Frederick and the Queen had sex, I wanted to giggle. But that's just because I'm an immature perv. xD But yeah, I think that scene, if anything, really gives Brynhild the incentive to see the Queen dead so that she can hopefully take her place. Though I wonder if that's even possible, considering her lowly position. I have a feeling Brynhild might be doing all this in vain.

Character: I thought near the beginning when Brynhild starts to think of the people who died to the poison would have been a great place to expand a little more on her current reasoning and mental condition. Considering she gives so little thought to killing people in a castle where she's worked much of her life, it makes her seem a little... off to me. I know love-struck women do some crazy things, though. But I would have liked her try to reason with herself there as to why she's justified in killing all these people. I'd imagine the guilt would either make her feeling terrible, or make her feel defensive as to why she's actually doing this. Explaining her emotions a little more will help bring the reader closer to her character and perhaps even help them sympathize with her, regardless of how terrible her actions are.

Pace: While I enjoy the fast pace of this story, I do think there are parts where it would be better to go with scene over summarizing. For example, near the beginning when it's mentioned that a few people had already died, perhaps actually going through that scene and showing what happened instead of summarizing the events would make the shock of it leave more of an impact. That would also be a great time to build on Brynhild's character like I mentioned before, allowing the reader to see how she reacts to seeing her former housemen dying by her hand.

Relationships: Seeing the King and Queen together really makes me sad and angry that the Queen is going to die from drinking the poison. I'm glad we were given a glimpse of their life together, because it's obvious that Frederick loves her and vice versa. I think building on their relationship before the Queen ends up dying (if she does) is a great way to add more characterization to all the main characters: Frederick, the Queen, and Brynhild. Showing Frederick and Aurorette together really paints Brynhild as the villain by this point, and I really enjoy that turn in the plot; it's not often a person reads a story from the perspective of someone who could be seen as a villain.
9/9/2012 c4 Dr. Self Destruct
Characters: You do a great job making Oren completely detestable, haha. I love how sweet he acts to his mother, but even with her when he finds out he's not going to get what he wants, he gets an attitude. I think he's the only one by this point I wouldn't mind seeing falling victim to Brynhild's poison. I also like how Brynhild doesn't really worry about him - I get the feeling she's hoping he'll fall down a flight of stairs and break his neck so she won't have to care for him anymore.

Plot: I think Brynhild's decision to poison the entire castle in order to get the Queen with is indeed a smart one, as sick as that might sound. If so many people die to this "plague," then they won't think anything suspicious was afoot that caused the Queen to die as well. Though, I have to admit, I'm a little surprised Brynhild would go to this much trouble for the love of Frederick. Not only is she killing the Queen, but possible maids she's worked with for years. Perhaps exploring her feelings for Frederick a little more during the exposition will help make her actions more justified. Or even evidence that maybe she's not all right in the head would help with that as well.

Scene: I liked in the beginning how you kept playing with the cup of mead Brynhild gave to the Queen, like how she kept going to drink it but was interrupted. I thought that created a great feeling of suspense and unease, because now after finished reading the chapter, I'm wondering if she drank it at all. Part of me was egging her on to drink it for Brynhild's sake, but then the other part of me was hoping she wouldn't because I like her, haha.

Ending: Just like the scene I mentioned above, I thought the ending did a great job leaving some unanswered questions that will keep a person reading. Did she drink the poison? From the looks of things it doesn't look like she did. So does that mean Brynhild will try to kill her by another means? Or perhaps she'll take more effort into getting the Queen to drink another cup? Or maybe the Queen suspects something? All these questions are raised, and they're all good incentives to spur a reader into continuing.
9/9/2012 c3 Dr. Self Destruct
Writing: While I really enjoy the tone and voice of the narrator for this story, I noticed there are quite a few comma splices that kind of interrupt the rhythm for me. I used to think this was a grammar issue that always needed to be avoided, but I recently read a published short-story for an English class that was littered with comma splices as well, so it very well could just be a stylistic choice. Personally, I prefer using semi-colons and just breaking sentences apart rather than going with comma splices, but it's entirely up to you. I'll show you an example of what I mean:

[ Brynhild waited patiently, her back was to the window but she could hear the clank and clatter and heavy voices in the courtyard below.]

In this example, both "Brynhild waited patiently." and "Her back was to the window but she could hear the clank and clatter and heavy voices in the courtyard below." are complete sentences. Technically they should be linked by a semi-colon, or a period should go where the comma is. If you want to keep the longer sentence flow, however, all you would have to do is take the verb ("was") out of the second sentence to make it into a sentence fragment, which can be linked to the former statement with a comma. Like this:

"Brynhild waited patiently, her back to the window, but she could hear the clank and clatter and heavy voices in the courtyard below."

You'll also want to put a comma before the "but" since it's going to act as a conjunction in this situation as well. I hope this makes sense; sometimes I don't do a very good job explaining my reasoning when it comes to grammar, so just let me know if that example was confusing.


[ "Brynhild?" The Queen asked:]

Edit: 'the' should be lowercase.

[a patch of red butterflied against her face and neck]

Edit: - butterflies

[She knew what she needed to be done.]

Edit: Remove the second "she."

[The Kings forest was a few leagues from the castle,]

Edit: Need an apostrophe in "King's."

["But, not even touch it, father?" She had argued,]

Edit: 'she' should be lowercase.

Characters: Although I haven't seen too much of her yet, I think Queen Aurorette is a very interesting character. Not only do I enjoy her description, especially her long hair, but I found it slightly endearing as to how she was drinking her ale right after and during feeding her baby. I just thought that was funny for some reason, haha. Not to mention she seems very kind hearted enough; I'm worried Brynhild plans to kill her in order to get Frederick all to herself.

Setting: I really enjoyed the details of the forest, especially of the plant Brynhild is there to collect. However, I think I would've like a little more detail of her walking through the forest. Perhaps address the sense a little more, like what the forest smelled like, if there were any strange noises or the like. Since she's walking through the forest during the dark, I'd imagine she'd be a little more wary than she currently is, regardless of her resolve. That line about the brook "slithering" past, and describing it as a vein, were both very vivid images. I really enjoyed that line.
9/9/2012 c4 this wild abyss
"In the Queens chamber" — typo; "Queen's"

One thing you should probably do a Google search on is how to correctly punctuate dialogue. Sometimes you get it correct and sometimes you don't, so maybe a refresher would be good. It definitely lessens my enjoyment of the piece because it's distracting.

I liked the ending. It wasn't a full-on cliffhanger, but there was a promise of more. I'm interested to see what happens next.
9/9/2012 c3 this wild abyss
At this point, I need more insight into Brynhild's motivations. I can see outwardly what's she's doing and planning, but because you've never really delved into her thoughts or history, I don't have a handle on who she really is and what *exactly* is making her do what she's doing.

Otherwise, I do think this story is moving along at a nice pace. I would like more volume, word count wise, but as far as what's happening inside each chapter, I don't feel too rushed or anything.
9/9/2012 c2 this wild abyss
"echoed Lord Guerin salute" — typo; "Guerin's"

"the eve of his triumph" — unsure if "eve" is the correct word, as it signifies the night *before* an important event; I get the impression the king has already triumphed

"Brynhild was weary of him, she had thought" — run-on sentence; comma should be a period

"Oren pouted, his whining voice curdled" — run-on sentence; comma should be a period

I liked the scene of the feast, because it was well described and had a nice atmosphere. I do think that I would like more detail here, though. More exposition, as right now there's a lot of action but very little to ground any of it.
9/9/2012 c1 this wild abyss
"Preparations began starting at dusk" — This is redundant, as "start" implies "began"; use "started"

"scattering herbs, and sundry flowers" — comma unnecessary

"marble mixing bowl, and blended it" — comma unnecessary

I think this is a good start, and though it's short, you've set the stage well. I thought that maybe some of it was a bit unclear, as your verb tense wasn't consistent, leading to confusion on my part. However, I liked the last lines, because they had a nicely ominous tone to them that was wonderful at hinting toward things to come.
9/9/2012 c8 76The Autumn Queen
Opening: The image of the moon was an interesting beginning because it gives the allusion to magic and evil, but also to romance and a few other things which aren’t so “evil”. Clever, particularly as you dive into the “spell” straight after.

Spelling/grammar: [That night the moon crept up to her window, it was full, and low hanging in the sky.] – the first comma should be a semicolon. I think it reads better as “hanging low” as opposed to low hanging, but that’s more a personal choice.
["People!" She chocked out] – “choked”, and “she” should be lowercase
[; people who do nothing for you!] - think that’s more effective as a separate sentence/phrase as opposed to a semicolon.
["Go back to sleep!" She spat] – “she” spat.
[And oh, how he was wild in those days!] – another personal choice, but I think it sounds better as: “how wild he was”

Relationships: I think this part focuses solely, perhaps a little too solely, on Brynhild’s relationship with Frederick and diminishes her interaction with other characters in the story. Oren is a prime example of this; her words and actions to him came out remarkably shallow. I think you could go through the same motions while drawing out how Oren feels about Brynhild, or Brynhild’s view of Oren past him being Frederick’s son. So she heard him sobbing. So what? What did she feel?

Ending: I love the motif but find the wording a little jarring. I expected the last line to actually contain the feel of tying down (in a somewhat poetic sense), but to be honest it more winds me up…relatively speaking. But I love the idea of music dying down. For some reason it makes me think of Gramophone. You should have entered that writing contest. :)
9/8/2012 c7 The Autumn Queen
I don't know why, but I love your beginning. There's just an extra dimension to it I can't really describe.

The other two things I really like about this chapter is the story of how the king grew to love his life. It shows a positive side to arranged marriages...or more generally marriages for reasons other than love. That's something that's looked down upon by a lot of people as it's a little more traditional, but I like how you dove so heart-feelingly into that aspect. Of course, it helps that my family is still traditional in that way.

I also like the description of the queen in the last line because it breaks the ancient figure of the subservient woman and brings an element of moral and emotional strength. I especially love the allusion of the compass as it's a really nice metaphor.

You've still got the errors I outlined in previous chapters floating around here, but I think there's less of them.
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