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for Nurture, Cliques and Green Skinned Freaks

7/22/2015 c3 1Cheddar-Graham

I like the little touches of futuristic sci-fi – the sugar mice, the shower, jellyfish in the pool... They don’t sound too farfetched, and they make this world sound like a pleasant place to be in if it weren’t for the bogeyman lurking in the wings. I enjoyed the dinner scene too – that story by mum is totally the kind of thing mums say to boyfriends, potential or actual.
I like Carly with her acceptance of Kristin, and yet she’s balanced too in advising Kristin to think of others who are worse off than her. I think that’s exactly the kind of thing Kristin needs to be told because she does come across as a little too self-absorbed when she elaborates on her baby fever and how she’s being treated by teachers and classmates. Incidentally, I don’t think the teacher was too much, because Kristin WAS disrupting the class and as a teacher, she has to put the needs of the many above the needs of the one.
Random thought: I think bright yellow or electric pink lipstick would look good on green skin!
7/5/2015 c2 4m. b. whitlock
RG Depth #4,982


I realize reading the opening that in many ways the world you present in this story is rather old-fashioned, which I think is totally cool. It’s just not so common to find the sexes portrayed like this in stories on FP. And personally, I guess I prefer female characters with a little more independence and courage and self-control. But that’s just me. I suppose Kristin was created to be specifically soft and dependent, so her actions/behaviors/thoughts make sense.

The security guy who discovers them seems to react to Kristin as if she is quite delicate and easily frightened, even calls her ‘Miss’:
“"They were going to attack Kristin," says Gannon gravely, placing his arm around my shoulders.

"Well you were gallant, hiding her like that, boy," says the security fellow, "are you alright Miss?"”

And Gannon is there to gallantly protect her. I suppose her weakness calls forth his desire to be the hero. It appears he enjoys that role. :)


“My throat is tight, my head is spinning and my heart pounding. I want Mummy, Daddy and Pearl. But I nod and then push my hair out of my eyes. Oh no, my bottom lip's quivering and I think I'm about to cry. I don't want to cry.”
So here again, Kristin seems very emotional and weak. At least she strives to be strong…some. Perhaps Kristin will develop some by the end of this story and get a bit more self-confidence. We’ll see… ;)

Wow she really is having a hard time controlling herself:
“Wait, he can't leave me now, he was my rescuer… and his scent is all over me. I have unfortunately smeared my purple lipstick and eyeshadow on his shirt where I pressed my face into him…”
It does make me wonder how she gets through life on a daily basis. Does she have a job? How did/does she handle school? I guess she wasn’t/isn’t a very good student, being so boy crazy and all.

Makes sense that Gannon confronts Baxter here:
“ "You had better have a mighty fine explanation for telling the HAM idiots about Kristin," he says, glaring.”
I do wonder if he’s only doing it because Kristin is standing there though.


“"There you see, you called her unnatural and now you can see how good she is,””
I don’t know if this bodes well for Kristin and Gannon’s relationship. He really seems to be patronizing her here, almost infantilizing her. ‘Look what a good girl she is!’ and she’s standing right there! To his bigoted ‘friend’ no less. Poor Kristin. Of course she’s so dim she probably isn’t even aware… Girl needs some feminism 101 education big time.

More Character:

“"Everything's in order Carly, I was here to see HAM off," said Gannon, smiling his perfect smile at her.””
Wow, he’s even being patronizing to Carly. I’m thinking that you intend your readers to react this way, Gannon really is acting like a pompous jerk. I kinda like characters who are jerks though… as you know. ;)

I like how scent-oriented Kristin is:
“"I love you," I reply, rubbing my cheek against hers to get her scent on me again.”
It’s a good technique to show your audience how different she is from normal humans. It does make more beast-like, but that’s cool.

“"Oh well," says Gannon, his freckled cheeks flushing rosy pink, "really any Briton worth his salt would have done the same…””
Okay, Gannon does seem like he walked out of a 1950s movie here… Definitely old-school.


“"You are the one who should be your school's hero, dear, you are every bit the part," she says, smiling at him in the front mirror.”
The fact that Kristin’s mother coos over Gannon, calling him a hero and all, reinforces the old-fashioned aspect of the setting I mentioned earlier. It does seem like this is a world set up to promote boys so they can grow into the men that lead the society. I’m interested to see if any conflicts come up…

You are doing a good job keeping up the scent thing:
“Pearl was made with this special kind of latex that keeps my scent really well. From a distance, she actually does look like a real pink, fat baby.”
Interesting that the doll is designed to keep her smell.

More fragrances, the environment for Kristin must be so thick with them:
“There are about a million different scents out here. The garden teems with plant life and small animals.”
Good stuff. :)

Did you invent this plant?:
“Suddenly a round agyron plant pod squirms and its glowing white seeds shoot forth and stream across the garden,”
I like how weird and exotic it is. These kind of details do a lot to develop the setting and make it feel real to your readers. Good work!

“whereas I can get a computer to say "Hello World!" and then trying to do more complicated programs than that makes my brain implode.”
Sadly a typical response for a female character, and not just in your story. ;)


This exchange between Kristin and her father sounds a little forced to me. IT also comes off as kinda exposition-y, you know. Like it’s really convenient that he says this:
“"Exactly," says dad, "and they also don't really know how to help when your maternal urges make you unhappy. But we can find a way.””
Perhaps try working on this scene some, go with a more informal, conversational style and perhaps don’t worry so much about getting the information out…? Like Daddy could simply say that he wants Kristin to be happy without using a more technical term like ‘maternal urges’…? Know what I mean?

An army, really?:
“"Wouldn't you like a whole army of grandchildren under this roof?””
That sounds a bit weird coming from a prospective mother. A busload or something less threatening would make a little more sense to my ears. I mean these people know the history of the Dextror, right?

Interesting stuff, as always. You definitely have quite a unique imagination. :)


7/1/2015 c1 m. b. whitlock
This story is cute so far. Nice to get a different, more pedestrian pov on the whole DAX/Emily/DEXTROR saga.

I do have to say that Kristin seems extremely stereotypically female to a kind of cringey degree IMO.

Here are notes:

You might want to work on this section some:
“I’m liking Saturday night clothes shopping at Ely's department store with the girls. Perhaps clothes shopping is not something that I'm mad keen on, but I like the company. We're all trying on fancy clothes right now.”
I think you could edit this to talk about how Kristin is conflicted about the shopping night because she knows some of the girls will make fun of her and think of her as freakish. You could also get a bit further into Kristin’s head and foreshadow the attitudes of the retail staff and others by having Kristin talk about about how strangers always look at her with derision/disapproval/fear.

Missing an ‘is’ I think:
“My skin ** a sort of colour between grass and chartreuse that's also glow in the dark.”
Like that description. It’s very vivid! :)

‘Gowns’ I think you mean not *grows*:
“Little baby *grows* in blue for baby boys and pink for baby girls.”

I like getting Kristin’s pov of Emily:
“I always thought it a bit rude that they do that, no one looks their best from two inches away, but it doesn't seem to be a problem for Emily. Her face is perfect. Her green skin actually seems to glow as well.”

Funny, like ‘HAM’:
““Humans Against Monsters, or HAM as we shall call them, still want to protest against the children from Genutec.””

Maybe change ‘to’ to ‘up’?:
“Close *to* he's even more beautiful.”

“It's definitely too early to talk about my broodiness.”
“broodiness”? Seems a bit strange to me. Maybe something like ‘maternal desires’ might work better…?

This is intriguing!:
““My mum and dad wanted to use donor sperm, because Daddy has a congenital defect which made his fingers too short. I think that it really gets to him." I'm not telling how my granddad killed himself because of that stupid defect. It traumatised Daddy for life.”
I would definitely like to learn more about this. :) Also, it’s interesting that Kristin can smell her father’s genetic flaws. Though I can’t understand how that could possibly work… But this is an alternate reality…

“"I can whip up a good batch of cream myself," she rasps, smiling at Gannon and she pats her breasts which are concealed beneath her frock,”
I have to say this part is a real turn off for me. I think you limit the audience for your story with this lactation fetish stuff. Some people will really go for it though. But I feel it’s good for you to understand that there will be others, like me, who are way NOT into it.

Like this scary scene and how the HAM members’ costumes resemble KKK outfits:
“I turn round and there are two men in crimson robes with pointed hoods standing with him and they turn towards me, their faces hidden by the hoods, only eye slits visible. They're holding long metal sticks which have electrisity crackling around the bases.”
Why do you spell ‘electrisity’ with an ’s’?

This seems a bit strange:
“The HAM members continue their dispute: "I'm useless!"

"I'm more useless than you!””
Um, it’s a bit ridiculous that these types would come to blows each arguing that he was more useless. I think it would make more sense if they yelled ‘You’re useless!’ to each other. I get that you are going for humor here but self-deprecating sorts don’t often instigate gang/mob violence… It undermines the foundation of your world, just makes things seem too unreal/cartoonish, you know? Of course, that’s only my opinion. :)

So, my advice overall is to pull back on Kristin’s extreme boy-crazy, baby-fever, super girlyness. Her outrageous attraction to Gannon is a bit too outrageous IMO. I do like many aspects of her personality and the ways that she has to deal with discrimination are quite appealing and compelling. I can also believe that Gannon would act as gallantly as he does and genuinely be attracted and interested in Kristin. I just think a little subtlety might help. :)


6/24/2015 c2 1Cheddar-Graham

I like that you don't over-emphasise Kirstin's drive to breed too much until she comes across as a nympho. You use the term 'maternal instinct' to refer to this attraction of hers to Gannon, but I would say that is not as accurate as 'drive to propagate' because if it were the maternal instinct alone, she'd just want to grab babies, any babies, and care for them, not necessarily her own. That's kind of strengthened by the episode with her bio-nephew. I also like how you're giving us the sci-fi in small doses so we don't drown in new 'facts'. I don't quite get this point though: if the Genutec project is based on eugenics, then why did they choose Kirstin's father with his abnormal hands and congenital defect?
6/24/2015 c1 2Jalux
This reads a little bit like a child's comic, like you get a kind of The Incredible vibe from it. It's not a criticism really, just an interesting style to take. Personally I'm not a fan of using green skin as it seems really cartoony but I think you did the description of the MC well by using the mirror and her getting dressed. I think straight off the bat you touch on some themes like discrimination through the character of Shirley and obviously her being a test tube specimen more or less this will pop up sooner or later, I wonder what kind of spin you'll put on it though. The dialogue was smooth and easy to read too, nothing sounded too off. Anyways overall a solid start.
6/24/2015 c1 20Ventracere
As soon as you mentioned green skin, I immediately thought of Guardians of the Galaxy... Anywayyy. Onto the review!

Interesting to see the other girls franky dislike her right from the get go. What I caught my eye even more was the fact that Kristin herself, considers herself a freak. I probably should have known that considering the title, but you flush it out well here. She know she isn't the prettiest creature - even more so when you include the little note about her voice. I feel for her there - it's something that carries across from RL to the world that you've created here. It addresses what a lot of people do feel, and you do so in a way that isn't too dramatic or brushed over. Kudos.

The main squick I have with this is a little about how rushed the pace seems here. The immediate click she has with Gannon is understandable, as well as the scene at the restaurant, but overall the second half of the chapter feels a bit fast, especially the men in red hoods. I understand that she is a "hunted" member, and that part is fine, but when she and Gannon are running away from the masked men, I feel like that was the rushed portion. I think that may just be me, but when I read it through, it felt like: return from the restaurant, see men, hide, safe. It isn't that simple, but perhaps flushing out the chapter might slow it down, and put in a couple of descriptors may help.

Overall, this chapter was a great opener though. It introduced us to the characters, the potential love interest. Gannon seems like a good guy, even though he hangs out with people like Baxter.

Thanks for the read!
6/7/2015 c2 4lookingwest
I'm very interested in what this story thematically seems to make an argument about regarding nature verses nurture and how much biology is put into gender roles - specifically, of course, a woman's "instinct" to procreate alongside the man's. Even though your characters that feel these urges are not "human" - the story is still very much dealing with these topics and I think, making a very clear argument about them so far in favor of the "maternal instinct" that naturally all women feel in some way, shape, or form - as well as a "male instinct" to procreate, leading to promiscuity, etc. It's a complex subject I've never seen approached in this way in a YA-like novel, so I'm interested to see where it goes from here, and it's definitely perked my interest.

I'm wondering where this will go as far as plotting, since in this chapter especially, the conversation with Kristin and her dad really focuses in on it. I'm unsure if Kristin really feels it's a part of her that she would like "fixed" - but I almost get that sense from her father, even though he words / approaches the subject in the language of "making it easier on you" - perhaps that's code for "fixing" which could later come into conflict with Kristin's identity and who she feels she is biologically. YA novels are all about that search for "who am I?" and I like the idea of that being approached in this manner of things that can be altered or not altered in terms of DNA, etc. and classic sci-fi sort of characteristics.

The relationship between Gannon and Kristin right now is very shallow and I fear for Kristin, but I think that in terms of sort of naivety and innocence you're portraying her in an accurate way - if not a little smidge over-the-top on the naivety category... She's not *completely* likable to me, perhaps due to that growing up she has to do - a lot of it, and a little unrelatable to me because of that and the maternal instinct thing, BUT like I said, I can see her growing through these potential experiences as the story moves forward - especially with Gannon.

The reason I feel it's shallow or headed perhaps for disaster is that he so easily decides to meet up with her again just because she's promising him something material - he doesn't really say he's going to visit her on the 'marrow because of liking *her* so much, but more what she *has* - and that kind of thing actually does feel like a typical danger in regards to young love. Some guys only want sex / physical things too. So I think you do a good job hinting to the reader that these are also complex themes. I can't say I like Gannon due to those qualities, but these two have a lot of potential imo to grow as characters.

World-building wise, things continue to feel unique. I liked the reference to Kristin's mother in the garden and the different plants. That was just enough "tell" to not drag down the pacing or plot in my opinion, it characterized your world but didn't go over-board. Nice touch :)
6/3/2015 c1 19Anihyr Moonstar
The first sentence of a novel is a once in a…well, novel opportunity that you never get again, and as such I think opening lines ought to be chosen with extreme care. That said, while there’s nothing *wrong* with how you open and it does introduce your character and line the setting (a bit), I feel like you could have utilized your opportunity there more. I’ve never been a fan of “My name is…” openings, just because there’s nothing ‘special’ to them that jumps out at anyone. On the other hand, I am kind of intrigued (after reading on) by how the complete ‘ordinariness’ of the opening lines contrasts with what is actually going on, and there’s an interesting sort of appeal to that.

As a young woman (who was once a teen girl), my mind automatically wants to combat with Kristin and say that it is certainly not every teen girl who wants to be out and about on a Saturday night, but even if the line isn’t true or relatable by everyone, I think one of the nice things about first person narratives is that you can get away with that. Being completely inside that character’s head allows them to say whatever they want, however they believe it - within reason - and it gives the reader an early glimpse into her character, emphasizing the ‘ordinariness’ suggested by the opening line and further supported by very typical things that follow, i.e. being out with female friends, trying on clothes, shopping in general.

Kristin makes for a very interesting, if distinctly different and ‘odd’ narrator. I am especially intrigued by how you balance her innocence — clearly a young teenage girl, heavy on many even highly stereotyped teenage reactiosn and feelings — with this genetically affected hypersensitivity to wanting to breed. It comes off as exacerbating what would normally be ‘natural’ teenage hormones and turning them into something much more pronounced. But you still manage to make her come off feeling very young and, as I said, almost innocent, which I think is neat and in this case tasteful.

While the world-building you managed was interesting, I did feel like there was a lot of it going on. I think I followed it fairly well, but on occasion it did feel like maybe we were being fed too much - then again, since it really toes the line there, that could just be me and personal taste. You emphasized the breeding program and this genetics experiment enough to successfully explain why Kristin felt the way she felt without making it extremely awkward (since she clearly feels more acutely than most humans).

I think the biggest issue I have with this chapter is the pacing. It starts off just fine, and I think your original build-up was well handled. It clipped along at a steady but managable and realistic pace. Towards the end, though, once Gannon was introduced, suddenly it felt like things were happen *really* abruptly. For example, when he offered to take her to a cafe, I was like “Oh, well that was quick, but hey, they’ll probably exchange numbers now and then maybe meet up at this cafe next chapter…”

And then they’re at the cafe. And I’m like oh, wow, alright. And the pace is alright for a little bit there are HAM members attacking, and then suddenly Gannon is calling his previous friend a spineless traitor and…that just all felt like was one unexpectedly abrupt thing after another. Really, though, like I said, that’s only the latter half of the chapter. Up until she meets Gannon and that first interaction with him are all fine. I think a little bit more transition could smooth things out, and it’s all workable.

You have a very interesting premise going here on the whole, in any case. I enjoyed your story. :)

- Moonstar
5/26/2015 c1 1Cheddar-Graham
RG EF review

I like how you developed Kirstin - you fed us information about her unique qualities quite fast, but all the info was well incorporated. So we know how she looks, how she has urges, how she's biologically drawn to Gannon. It all fits together well.

Plot-wise, I liked how the cafe scene shows how other hybrids might behave and the general attitude of society towards them, but I'd have saved the HAM for later. Speaking of HAM, boy, are they hamming it up... I don't know if this is deliberate on your part, but those villains come off as cartoonish rather than menacing.
5/26/2015 c2 2Charlotte Phanrose
Forgive the earlier review post. I clicked the review button by mistake—which, unfortunately for me, means I must type this review over again...ugh! Isn't technology great?

So, from the top!

{Opening} Well, this is certainly an interesting rendition of first-person POV. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it felt strange to read. It felt as though Kristin were sitting right in front of me and directly telling me her story. It's not bad, per se, but it does have an odd feel to it that I can't, frustratingly enough, decide whether I do or don't like.

{Writing} The writing, to be honest, felt a little stale. I want to read this story, I really do, so help me out and give me some emotion! That's what the writing lacks: emotion. Try pretending that you yourself are Kristin. Ask yourself about how Kristin is feeling throughout the story. How did she feel during certain events? How would you feel if you were in those situations? Do you know? Good; use those emotions and push them into your writing. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your characters, and that should help stimulate the fictional feels a bit.

{Enjoyed} It was amazing to read this and notice the natural way the science fiction aspect of this story takes place. I liked how you didn't dwell too long on certain aspects but still explained them the way that a person who was no doubt used to these happenings would. That, in itself, gave this story a natural flow, which is good in the way of making it easy for readers to imagine this world you have created.

{Grammar} Beware the dialogue! There aren't many huge grammar errors—just a few hiccups here and there; they're not that big of a deal, but I would still comb through the first chapter again and try to find/correct them—but the major one I noticed usually happens in dialogue. Watch your capitalization. Mind that your semi-colons are in the appropriate places. Other than that, very nicely done.

To sum up: the point of view was interesting but left an odd impression on me; try to imagine how Kristin would tell this story and use that to put some feeling in it; I loved the natural way the sci-fi aspects are added; be wary of dialogue and minor grammatical errors.

All in all, I can't wait to see where the rest of this story leads! Keep up the good work!

P.S. This review was meant for chapter 1. But, seeing as I can only review one chapter at a time, my review wound up being marked for chapter 2. Sorry about that!
5/26/2015 c1 Charlotte Phanrose
{Opening} I'm not entirely sure of how I feel about this opening. Perhaps Kristin is too direct with the audience? It feels as though Kristin is sitting right in front of me and directly telling me her story. It's certainly different than most of the other first-person stories I've read here, though, it also feels strange to read.

{Writing} The flow of the story feels stale when I read it. I can tell that you're really giving this story your all, but it's not quite showing in the story. Show some emotion. Pretend as though you yourself are Kristin. What would she say, and how would she say it? What is she feeling when she tells her story? How did she feel when the events were happening to her? These are important things to think about; putting yourself in your characters' shoes can help make your story feel more lively and can help the reader feel more emotion from your work.

{Spelling/Grammar} Nice job! Really, there isn't much to say about this. The biggest grammar issue I've found is some scenes where semi-colons are not used correctly in the dialogue. For example, in this scene:
5/25/2015 c1 4lookingwest
I find that this has an interesting narrative voice that perhaps dies out after the opening few paragraphs. It starts off narrating so strangely to me...almost like it's in real time? Like there's a camera on Kristin and an interviewer just asked her what she was doing and she's speaking back to the camera and audience directly, answering what she's doing... It's a very fascinating bit of voice, a little strange, like I said - but what perhaps is a little awkward about it is that it loses that style pretty quick, and we fall back into a more natural first person technique... For that reason, I would almost suggest trying to restructure the opening to have a more natural voice than one that feels like it breaks the fourth wall so easily - but then, if this is a style that becomes reoccurring in different parts of the novel, maybe not. It's certainly unlike anything I've seen before... Sometimes it's hard reading on FP because you wonder if choices like that are made on purpose or things that organically happen in the process - but either way, it caught my attention, even despite being a tad awkward.

It's perhaps sad that Kristin is hanging out with people who are so rude to her in the opening - though I think that shows instead of tells in regards to her friendships and who she has to keep company with even though it's perhaps not by choice. This is a relatable facet I think of teenage-dom in terms of taking on the role of an outcast. Her friends seem to kind of fade out of the chapter though, after she meets Gannon - I wonder if they'll show up again to offer opinions on the meeting.

The sci-fi flairs in this are cool. I think the most interesting detail is this baby thing... The message thematically is perhaps a little strange again - I'm not sure what it implies about teen girls in general, even though this is an alien teen of sorts - but it's also unlike any other quality I can think added into a sci-fi yet, and due to its uniqueness I think that's something. The acronym HAM is not very serious, haha, but I like there's some acknowledgement of the silliness of the varying acronyms for things that even Kristin finds eye-roll worthy. The scene in the store when she's shopping - right before meeting Gannon, is probably my favorite.

In those terms I also liked the news reel VP thing. I took a peek at some of your other works and Emily must be the one from your other stories, so it's cool how you've world built this world to a point where you can build off other stand-alone plots. The attention that Kristin pays to Emily while she speaks also says a lot I think - the way that she mildly judges in a sense, characterizes her age and her situation as well. I'm glad that there's someone relatable for her in the media who seems to be doing good. This story is doing some very unique things I haven't seen done before in terms of themes. Wile we've seen the genetic manipulation kind of plots in sci-fi, I can't say we've seen it from such an interesting perspective.
5/21/2015 c1 Hedonistic Opportunist
Interesting - actually very intriguing. This is a lot more contemporary in terms of writing style than your previous incarnations of this verse, and I like it a lot.

Kirstin is a lot more approachable and innocent than your previous heroines: there’s something very teenagey about the way she talks – something that rings true to me. At least, I can relate to her insecurity and bashfulness – it’s also endearing in a lot of ways. I like that she’s not ‘perfect’, but just a normal girl who happens to be green. I especially like the fact that she’s so sweet and considerate, like not telling her father that she can spell his defect.

I also find it interesting that – despite the rampant political themes in this story so far – Kirstin remains disdainful, if not even slightly ignorant. I think it’s a breath of fresh air, because it makes her far more realistic: she’s aware of how she’s marginalised, but she just wants to live a normal life, like going out with cute boys. It’s immature, of course, but it also makes her endearingly innocent: I, for example, really like how she considers the man who brought up her/raised her to be her real father. It shows that she values her family a lot. BUT I also think that her innocence and ignorance – or willing ignorance at this point (she shuts out the organisation that chases after her) – leave a lot of room for character development. You’re already hinting at how she’s denying her haters, and how much it pains her to be different. I can already see how she’s insecure: for not being a ‘real’ human girl, but also not being as beautiful as some other hybrids. It makes her interesting, and more relatable.

The dash of romance in this chapter is very sweet and kind of endearing too. I don’t mind that she’s already fawning over a hot guy, because you can tell that she’s just acting out on a teenage attraction/enhanced hormones. It must be especially hard for her since she wants to have babies rather sooner than ‘normal’ humans. It’s interesting, and I like how you touch upon her sexual interest/enhanced sex appetite here and there. It’s all rather tasteful still, and I appreciate that too.

Your writing is good and enjoyable for this: easy to read through, easy to get into. There are some parts that could be polished (maybe just a bit more details in the last part, when the attackers come in - it seemed a bit rushed?), of course, but I think it reads very well so far, and I definitely enjoyed the distraction from finals :3
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