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for Midnight City

10/8/2013 c1 1ArcadianCrown
I really must play Borderlands, especially if it can inspire something this awesome :)
You managed to create a really rich world in so few words- I've haven't ever played borderlands and I'm listening to Midnight City for the first time now, so I had no idea what context you were writing this from, but I still got a really strong mental image of what was happening and the vibe of the world you based this in.
The language you used really helped with this, words likes "heretics" and "goddess" giving it a slightly obsessive, cult-like undertone whilst the starvation and rough situation this all seems to be based in also comes across really well.
I know another review commented on how this seemed quite static, it being almost like a speech from one character to another, but I actually thought that worked well; it afforded quick insight into the world and character through a singular perspective, and allowed the character and their personality and opinions to colour in the details. For a one off, I think it was a pretty smart technique and was just about the right length for this too.
In terms of writing style, this felt almost lyrical. Admittedly I had one of your 8tracks mixes playing whilst listening to this, so that probably influenced it, but a lot of your lines read like speech-lyrics. It gives your writing a certain momentum, and since it fades a little at the end to give way to a richer, more grounded writing tone, I think it made for a fairly unusual and interesting opening.
8/30/2013 c1 76The Autumn Queen
Hey Elric. Long time no see.

Anyway, ohdaughter asked for her WCC review to be given to you, so here you go. :) And sorry for the delay.

Opening: Starting out with a gruelling image like blood is an interesting start, particularly since it develops into a somewhat metaphorical image later on, as opposed to a physical/gory one. The short snappy tone of it is also a very good hook to engage me as the reader. The tone makes it obvious we're not necessarily talking about the newborn sort, which makes an interesting mix between innocence and world issues.

Imagery: your imagery is portrayed simply, but strongly. You paint a very vibrant and drastic image with the idea of blood, starvation and religion, with subtler concepts like life and death to tie it all together. I think my favourite was "my goddess is starving"...barring the first line of course. That was just priceless.

Word Choices: As I said above, you've got some really interesting imagery, however I feel as though the narrative voice is fluctuating a little in power and passion. For example, "You'll be keeping the city alive with every drop" - I feel the "the" makes the city a little less consequential; "this" city would be much stronger. And when you say "that" city later on, it seems to imply we've moved somewhere. The repetition of "this" would really hammer the here-and-now portion of it home. Also some subordinate clauses which extend some tiny points could be cut out. I think it works a whole lot better with the places where there's no word that doesn't add something to the piece. Its emotional power comes out quite strongly there.

Ending: somehow, I'm not satisfied with that, since it doesn't appear to accomplish anything. It's like there's something more to the story that the writer has decided to keep for themselves, and that's fine except I wanted to know what happens to the city. :) Oh well; I'll keep on imagining it tethering on the edge.
8/28/2013 c1 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
...on his conscious.
-conscience

Characters: You present three different characters here and two of them confused me. The 'you' character doesn't do much but is otherwise consistent. I got the feeling something was happening on that end, but I couldn't be sure exactly how that was playing out because the 'I'/narrator's characterization fluctuated a lot. I got the impression he was supposed to be a believer, one of the supposed devotees, and yet there's a consciousness to the immorality of his actions ("And sugar, I have no problem shooting you down, cutting you open, and bringing you to her temple." seems to fulfill the twisted morality, but the insistence of 'I have no problem' rings false to me. This shouldn't even cross his mind if he truly believed it.). The city, in turn, is its own character, and she is alternately portrayed as omnipotent ("nothing is up to chance or construction, everything is decided by her, she is all-powerful") and incapable of preventing the police from getting involved ("and I'm sure a pretty boy like you doesn't want the deaths of a few policemen on his conscience. ") If she really is omnipotent, why is she starving?

Relationships: I was intrigued by the different players in the city, the devotees, the police, the heretics. What I didn't understand is how they all interact. Naturally, the police and devotees can't be friends because, hey, murderer and lawkeeper. But the narrator mentions they're on the same side and doesn't try to back that up at all. It's a cute bit of characterization that fits with his unreliable perspective, but only raised questions for me about how these groups all work together. Is this dictated by the city somehow? In that case, how do the heretics play in/exist at all? What level of free will do these people have?

Plot/Pace: There wasn't much movement to this piece. It's basically just a monologue by the main character, which isn't inherently flawed, but does restrict the piece a bit. This could work if the conversation flowed from one point to the next but the narrator rehashes things once or twice, making this seem repetitive (the craziness paragraphs stood out to me in this sense).

Writing: Overall, I thought your mood for the piece worked. Despite the occasional logical oddity in what he was saying, the narrator's voice came through in a neat poetic style that was borderline crazy but beautiful at the same time. It's a good style for a morally twisted believer justifying their actions.
8/26/2013 c1 Margaret Miller
I found the perspective of the story interesting. I kept wondering if this self-proclaimed priest was crazy or part of some cult, but perhaps there is no distinction between the too.

At first I couldn't place what time the story was set in. Initially it didn't seem to matter as it seemed to be set in a fictional world with a fictional religion or set way in the past, but then you brought in cops and started using the word "bitch". This made the tone more modern than what you started out with.

I was also confused at one point if the entity this person is sacrificing to is the city or represents the city. You seem to change your mind on that during the story at least twice. You also never explain what is meant with "her temple".

Overall I am missing the details of the setting of this scene. I have no idea where they are or if they are even inside or outside.

This story is also missing a plot. You have one character who does nothing and only has an internal monologue with himself/herself. That is the risk in having characters by themselves. They tend to withdraw into their heads and halting the story.

The overall tone of the story is very nice, but I really wish it had a little bit of a plot. I kept waiting for something to happen or even for the victim to do or say something. It would have been nice to have a little bit of a dynamic. That said it was well written and apart from some a few minor problem an interesting story.
7/9/2013 c1 5Dr. Self Destruct
Voice: I really love the voice in this. There's this creepy kind of insanity that only comes from those who believe they're doing the right thing, even when that "right thing" might be the atrocious act of killing another person. I think you pinned down that tone really wonderfully, especially because this is all the narrator talking and not really any scene. I think the voice is definitely strong enough to carry the weight of everything.

Ending:

[So sit still and don't struggle, baby, I'll do this nice and cleanly. I'm a holy man, don't you trust me not to hurt you too badly? If you don't, then I suppose you'll be pleasantly surprised.

And the only delusions I have are visions she wants me to see. Prophecies of death, burning—all the heretics banding together and destroying our goddess, our queen….destroying her once and for all.]

The order of these two paragraphs feels a little strange to me. Like, the narrator goes from talking about the city, getting pretty in depth with it, then starts talking in second person to whoever he has tied up. Then he goes back to talking about the city like he didn't just interrupt himself to talk to the other person, so...maybe switch the placement of these two paragraphs? I'm having some trouble explaining what I'm trying to suggest, haha. I think it feels like the narrator's talking and the flow of everything is fine, then it's almost like his eyes glaze over and he starts talking about something unrelated to what he was just talking about for a couple sentence, which makes the second paragraph seem out of place.

But maybe it's just me. x.x

Beginning: I really like the beginning and how you start with the "bleed, baby, bleed." It really grabbed my attention, and I immediately wanted to know who was bleeding. Plus you start with some movement, the act of bleeding, which immediately creates a picture inside my head. Plus not to mention the narrator comes across really strong right from the beginning.

Theme: I really love this idea of a diseased city and someone sacrificing people for that city. It kind of makes me think of Sin City or Watchmen, how everything is so nitty and gritty. The only thing i can suggest is to maybe go more in-depth than just the gunshots and car accidents - really *show* me the details of what's happened, like who's involved in those shootings and car accidents. Go more specific. I think if you dumped just two or three really specific scenarios on the reader it'll make the city feel even more real and alive - or dying.
7/9/2013 c1 1Unxious Custard
Hi, I love the way you link the city's needs with the murderers. Good writing here, you not only get us straight into the mind of the murderer, but also define the nature of the city at the same time. This is my favourite sentence: She's a carnivorous thing, that city—lives only on the blood, sweat, tears, and souls of her inhabitants. The city feels like a living, breathing thing. The religious mania is nice too, rounded off with the question "don't you trust me not to hurt you too badly?" It implies that anyone who doesn't fit in with this maniacs view of his goddess is simply crazy. The only slight negative, you haven't given us a reason to care why the poor pretty boy is being killed. Who is this sacrifice - and doesn't he have feelings too. I recognise it's hard to switch Point of View mid story, but perhaps a brief paragraph as a prologue, or some other clever writer's device for switching POV might crack it. Very well written. I enjoyed this.
7/5/2013 c1 4lookingwest
We always have the exact same amazing tastes, lol. Love Borderlands, love Midnight City by M83, ha!

I really liked the personification of the the city in this, and I like how she's a woman. I get the sense like this is being narrated by a man the whole time too, talking to another woman, so I liked that quality. The blood magic line was really cool, I enjoyed that because I thought you created a really cool way to talk about a city and show its powers over its inhabitants.

The length of this was also spot-on, I think. This was very much a vignette and I like how it's kind of a dramatic narrative from the perspective of one person speaking to another who well - could also be the audience, too. The length for that kind of dramatic monologue-ness is good - not too long, not too short, we get the tension of the situation without it being overdone.

I liked the preist/temple/church perspective too - it added another layer to the story, and another layer to the city. I kind of think of the music video for Midnight City with them all standing on the roof at the end and the light on them, and I felt that kind of towards the end, it was a cool moment. The last line was great - I liked how kind of scary it is, xD the idea of being dissected or dying adds another dimension. Overall - well done as usual, and I always love seeing what inspires you!
7/5/2013 c1 17cm-away-from-you
I really like the mystery of this and how easy it is to read, I think you should go further with it because it sounds like a good foundation to start a story line on! :)
7/5/2013 c1 1neuron
This was really eerie but intriguing. It reminded me of China's Mieville's Perdido Street Station, with the ideas of the city being a living thing. I think that's what I enjoyed most - the personification of the city as a bloodthirsty, terrifying "she." I could read it two ways - there is a literal woman who is a semi-goddess of the city's religion, or the priest-character reveres the city as a 'she'/goddess like sailors sometimes do their ships. I mean, there is ambiguity here, and I don't want to force my own reading on it, but I'm seeing this as a prologue to a novel, Its given me so many questions about what the city is, who she is, who the other she is, who the narrator is, why is there sacrifice? It reads like the opening to an awesome dark fantasy novel.

But if you're doing this as a standalone piece, then I'm gonna be critical and say it doesn't really work. As a short story, its too short, too confusing, too plotless. It creates the atmosphere of fear and mysery, but doesn't ground it in anything. I would like to see this fleshed out either as a story or full novel. I want the questions you've seeded in the reader to be answered!

Stylistically its well-done, not over-wrought, with short enigmatic sentences that go a long way to creating the air of horror and fear that I get from this piece. Maybe make it a tad more immediate, less of the narrator's thoughts, more description of the feelings and fate of the sacrificed person.

Rambling I know but I hope that helps.

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