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for Sunflower Girl

8/24/2016 c4 Sally
Nice story. Had depth, subtle, very well handled. Perfect ending, the kind I like.
6/5/2016 c4 9Infected Beliefs
Well, you are an amazing writer with a gift for prose and descriptions. Reading each paragraph is a poetic treat. I find it ironic that you say you are fairly satisfied with the plot but less so with the writing. I was very satisfied with the writing but was left wanting when it came to the plot. I also was not satisfied with the ending but let me explain myself.

I felt, in the end, like you tried to fit too much into the story and didn’t tie up any of it, though I am a sucker for stuff coming full circle. She has this chance of redemption and forgiveness with her father but instead she puts him in a lose-lose situation that won’t help anyone. Like I said in my last chapter she seems resentful that her father isn’t the monster she has him painted as in her memory.

I was also expecting the racist old man to come to some sort of closure or at least have more importance than it wound up having, but maybe the lack of closure in both instances is supposed to mirror her own lack of closure.

I found it difficult to enjoy the plot when I could not relate to or sympathize with the main character. I kept waiting for her to have this redeeming moment that would make me understand her in the end but I was left with a perspective which I could not fathom or cosign with.

You have a line in here somewhere that says something along the lines of her mother not wanting to move because her sister was growing up with the right friends and I thought that this held very true. My Hawaiian/Asian friend told me a story once of how she came home from the park one day and her mother told her that she needed to make some better friends and stop playing with the “blue eyes” (aka, the white kids). Your scene with Lanie’s father telling her to make better friends and her mother wanting Lina to grow up with the right friends just hit very near to this and I was able to relate to it.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this piece even though I felt a bit dissatisfied at the end. I think that the writing was phenomenal and so long as you are satisfied with the story, that is all that matters.

Happy future writings!

6/5/2016 c3 Infected Beliefs
I’m going to stop reading this story with the assumption that I am supposed to sympathize with Lanie, because the more I read the less sympathy I feel. To me it feels as though she is acting like an immature and emotional preteen. Maybe that is what this story is about though. A young woman working through some emotional problems. I’ll explain why I am losing sympathy in a moment.

Firstly, lets just go through the piece.

I really enjoyed the line about the tentative hug that suggested she was part fish. That sort of description really painted this image of this somewhat limp, unenthusiastic embrace. Very nicely done.

I liked how Lina is very tomboyish. Sports and dragons and knights and stuff. Way to break the mold.

In fact, I really enjoyed the whole scene between the two girls until Lanie flips a bitch at the end. Firstly, I cannot forgive being a bitch to a grossly younger sibling. No excuse possible. Secondly, her dad hasn’t done anything to her since she has been home, and presumably not in quite a while since she hasn’t been home for a long time, yet she acts like he drowned her cat and bitchslapped her across the room earlier this morning. Yes it sounds like her father had an anger problem and was somewhat abusive but as with my comment about the racism last chapter his abuse is pretty mild so far as abuse can go. Hell, my own father bodily threw me across the room when I was a kid and I still love him to death. I am interested to see if she can work past her anger in the next chapter and learn to forgive her father, who from the sound of things has dealt with or is dealing with his own anger problem (you mentioned in a previous chapter how Lina has not seen any of the aggression that Lanie describes and her father has been completely unaggressive since she has returned).

I totally did not get that Lina only wanted Lanie to come home because of the bribe, but it makes sense because the girls do not seem particularly close nor does Lanie seem like she particularly cares much for Lina. It almost seemed this chapter like she held a bit of jealousy and resentment towards Lina for the happy, well off, unabused life she lives. The comment about the knight gambling away his armor seemed to me like a vicious jab to pop her bubble of innocence. Also, I can’t remember if it was last chapter or the chapter before but Lanie was frustrated with Lina for not being able to “see” their father like Lanie sees him. It’s almost as though she wishes Lina were abused so they could relate.

If you are writing with the intent to frame Lanie as this angry, resentful, somewhat immature girl than you are doing a fantastic job. If you are aiming to portray a character who’s problems we are supposed to sympathize with than you might need to do some recharacterization. I suppose I will learn next chapter.
6/4/2016 c2 Infected Beliefs
[[“…wealthy patrons had paid to ship the byproducts of human excess elsewhere.”]] – I freaking loved this.

So, Lanie is Asian, I remember from last chapter, but what ethnicity is Amara? And how old are these girls supposed to be? They refer to high school boys as though they are soooo much younger, but if Lina is only 8 or 9 than Lanie can’t be more than 26 or 27 now. Also, as fucked up as it may sound, “Go to the back of the bus” is pretty benign as far as racial bigotry goes, at least as far as the horror stories some of my ethnic friends tell me about. Either there is more to this event that will be revealed later in the story or Lanie has really thin skin. I can’t imagine such an event sticking with her so profoundly for so long.

You are spot on with the competitive Asian parents.

I am losing sympathy for Lanie. It’s not like her father has been bad to her all of her life. He seems to genuinely feel sorry for the way he behaved and is at least half heartedly attempting to make up for it. Lanie is a complete Debbie downer to her mother who is obviously excited to see her again and acts pretty much like a pouting twelve year old. And I’m not pulling this from inside of a bag of no experience. My mother and I had a god awful relationship until I left home (as in so bad we could not be in the same room together). She felt bad about it and worked to repair the relationship the best she could. I see much the same behavioral pattern going on here but Lanie seems to be putting in no effort. For Christ sake it’s been almost a decade. On the other hand I don’t know if we are supposed to sympathize with Lanie or if we are supposed to critique her.

Aww, I was hoping we would meet Lina this chapter.

I see that this story is complete at only four chapters and I can’t really say that I see where this story is going yet. Not necessarily a bad thing (I’ll probably know by the end of next chapter) but for a shorter novella length piece it seems a bit plodding. It is a very introspective story as a whole and I suppose the plodding nature works for it. I will have to see where the story ends up.

As always your diction and flow is superb. Overall I just really enjoy reading your prose and think that the way you phrase things is beautiful (see beginning of review for example).
6/4/2016 c1 Infected Beliefs
Alright, let’s do this thing. (RG In depth multi…yada yada)

I think the writing is beautiful. I loved opening on the game she plays with herself and the shoes and people. I thought it was stunningly written and establishes where she is and in a manner of speaking her distracted mindset, or more of how she is forcibly putting herself in a distracted mindset. It also establishes her as observant which is further proven by her attention to detail about this man on the bus.

In terms of writing present tense with flashbacks I thought you did an amazing job as well. I was actually going to comment on that prior to seeing your author’s note at the bottom. It felt seamless and I liked the ambiguous time frame (if that makes sense) of the writing. We are present and not at the same time.

I chuckled at the older woman grumbling “about time” when she finally gives up her seat.

I am getting a very Hawaiian vibe from this. The heavy mix of Asian and white culture (and of course the Kauai). My friend is a Chinese/Hawaiian and the stories she tells me of her life growing up ring very true to this. The closeness to siblings and the mother along with distance from the father.

I’m not sure that I understand this incident with a racist man she keeps referring to. Perhaps though that is alright and you will explore it further in future chapters.

I’ll talk about Lanie’s characterization and your ending together as the two go hand in hand for me. This whole time Lanie seems very hesitant and reluctant to return to her family, but I can’t quite understand why. She mentions that her father is uninteresting, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough to eschew home, particularly if she is close with her mother and sister, as it seems she is. I have a sister who is 16 years younger than me and I tell you it would take much, much more than an argument or displeasure towards my parents to make me not go see her. Also, Lanie is supposed to be a Wall Street Professional except that she doesn’t seem to have the force of personality required to be so. Wall street is a hard, loud, fast paced world and most of the people that I have met in that industry match that in personality. Quiet introverts don’t tend to survive and thrive there.
At the end when she ditches her flowers and gets off of the bus to follow this random old guy who may or may not be some racist man from a previous experience of hers I don’t really understand her motive. To me it seems that she is using it as an excuse to avoid her family, which makes the most sense to me given her characterization so far. That being said, it still seems a bit out there. Why would you want to follow someone who was unpleasant in the past towards you? I had this strange thought that he might be her father (if her parents were separated and she never really met her dad) but then that wouldn’t fit with why she doesn’t want to go home.

Anyway, food for thought for me for later.
5/5/2016 c1 Grahm Lightfoot
This story is fantastic. I partially like your style, it's very professional.
4/23/2016 c2 8LorrahBear
You've done a great job of drawing me in. I wish so badly to know what happened between her and her father.

I did notice one or two spots where the punctuation was incorrect at the transition between "speaking sentences," she said. But not everywhere, so just a few proofreading spots. Additionally, I'm not sure Danishes needs to be capitalized if we're talking about the food(but I'm not sure about this one). I suppose I'm thinking you don't need to because it's not like I capitalize pizza or corn muffin. :)

Overall, a really solid second chapter with a solid hook. Very nice.
3/18/2016 c4 2ohsocyanide
First thing I notice, again, is tense and some of your wording. Truthfully (perhaps I am just getting lazy) I would rather not type it all out because FP won't let me copy-paste into the review box, which makes pointing out especially minor errors rather time-consuming.

I feel... incomplete with this, I suppose, so (I am going to be completely honest with you) I can't say I'm fully satisfied with the way this ended. It feels almost as though we've been led astray, in a way. I guess I got the impression that Lanie was planning revenge on the racist, not a confrontation with her father. This, combined with the 'suspense' category you've pegged this story as in the description box, threw me for a loop and is probably why I am left feeling a little more confused than anything.

I think I am going to stick with my original perception of Lanie. She is a downtrodden, soft-spoken young woman whose experiences with her father have left her lacking closure. She has gotten the closure she desired from him (or as much as she is going to get, I think) and now she will be able to begin speaking up for herself.

You've done a good job overall with this work!

3/18/2016 c3 ohsocyanide
Sometimes, the transition from present to flashback isn't very clear. I fancy myself a strong reader, and there are some times I have to read and reread a passage to make sure that I haven't missed something.

I do think you are doing a very good job at conveying the relationship between Lanie and all of her family members! The relationship that actually stands out to me the most is the relationship (or lack thereof) that Lanie has with Lina. Since Lanie left for college when Lina was so young, Lina of course is not going to fully grasp the fact that she has an older sister and is essentially unable to develop a natural, whole relationship with Lanie in part due to her young age and in part due to Lanie's avoidance of their home. It's sad, really because I think that Lanie would probably like to have a relationship with her younger sister, but I'm inferring that it may be shrouded in some degree of bitterness due to the fact that at this point, Lina's relationship with her father stands on (seemingly) better ground than Lanie's and her father's.

(Again, minor issues with commas and wording, but I am more invested at this point in the story itself than the commas).
3/18/2016 c2 ohsocyanide
"The weekend Amara had visited a heatwave..." There should be a comma after visited.

Also, the first time Lanie speaks, you should put a comma there to close what she says rather than a period. It will/should flow better then.

Should be "on this beach," not "of this beach."

At the end, it should be, "She feels like a celiac"

Overall, I have to say that this chapter is much better than the last. The flow of this chapter works beautifully. You show the readers (rather than tell) the relationships Lanie has and had with her family, and through her work with the crisis hotline, we get valuable insight and foreshadowing of just what may have broken the relationship Lanie has with her father.

Her characterization works much better here. She is reading now as though she was rather downtrodden by her family in the past.

And yes, to answer your question, the race issue is very clear! What is even better is Lanie's mother's emphasis and clear desire to assimilate into the culture they are living in by her "New England" home.
3/18/2016 c1 ohsocyanide
Hi! ohsocyanide here to play grammar queen and hope you don't take my recommendations as criticisms, because I am truly not meaning to offend or hurt in any way—I just like providing tips here and there as I read!

Your tense struggles throughout this first chapter. Your flicker between past and present tense, and while I understand and can notice the majority of the "flashbacks," there are still some areas with improper tense.

The placement of your words lacks clarity in some spots and could use revision to make the purpose of certain sentences a little bit clearer. Examples of this: "Lina instead of her mother picked up their home phone," "the idea of explaining the truth to Lina which she didn't need to define to her mother left her stuttering" ...

"she's gripping to sunflowers so tightly" This sentence could use a little refining—you could simply add 'the' between to and sunflowers and that would clear it up, but it doesn't read fluidly the way it stands.

"avoid getting into cars with strangers who look like" Should be 'looked.'

"Something like, his eyes." You don't need this comma. (The bit where her mother tells her not to get into the car with strangers also has an unnecessary comma—before the 'because')

"It's dumb logic but..." Should be a comma after 'logic'

Your wording is absolutely gorgeous in this passage: "he wavers like a shadow over unsettled waters." I love the way you've written this, really, it's very lovely.

Lana's characterization is... a bit vague here, maybe? I'm not quite sure how to word what I am wanting to say. I get this picture of a quiet, soft-spoken girl whose experiences with the macro- and micro aggressions of the world have seemingly pushed her to her breaking point. Am I close to the mark, or no?

One more comment before I'm off: this first chapter seems more like Lanie's self-reflection and remembrances than having anything to do with much in the way of plot introduction/development. (Not necessarily a bad thing, just answering what you had initially asked for reflection on in your a/n).

Overall, good job!

2/17/2016 c4 4SForces
Great read. The ending feels a little complete.

Lanie gives me the impression that she is still somewhat stuck in the past when it comes to her father. She resents him and she resents the fact that her sister clearly loves him. She has an opinion of him being a disgusting human being so for someone else to have a completly different opinion of him seems to drive her crazy.

I don't think Lanie will ever get over what her father did and no matter how much he changes and becomes a super hero for their family she will always despise him. It seems like Lanie has seen a lot of bad things in her life from her father to the suicide hotline. There are quite a few skeletons buried deep in her closet.
2/17/2016 c3 SForces
Definitely more detail here. The part where her sister says she can have any toy at Toys R Us makes me think the main character is avoiding going home at all costs because of her father. It is because of this that the parents feel they have to bribe their youngest to try and convince their oldest to come home more often.

There is also an act of secrecy with this. This makes me think they don't want their oldest to know how desperate they are to live like a warm and welcome family again. The main character thinks the father is hiding beneath a veil and in fact has not changed at all. In this chapter I feel like the main character is hunting for the man that made the statement to Amata but I am not sure if it is active hunt or a in the moment hunt.
2/17/2016 c2 SForces
I would like to step outside the review and say that the questions at the end are brilliant to make the reader think. If it is okay with you I think I might do the same for my work because it definitely gets the reader thinking over what he/she just read.

As for the review.

The race issue for me was not clear. I didn't even realize it was about race until the question asked me if it was clear. I knew something was off because of how Amara reacted. However I thought it may of been because it was trying to tell me that the man was a resemblance of something for her. Whether it be something in her past, somebody she was reminded of etc.

I definitely get the vibe that something bad happened between the main character and her father. I just can't imagine at this point what.

Right now, my take on Lanie has changed a bit from the first chapter. I believe she is much younger than I first pictures.

This story is going very well. I will definitely be reading it start to finish today just because it is so immersive and well written.
2/17/2016 c1 SForces
A very good read so far. I feel like the pace fits perfectly with the story and the descriptions are very nice. The whole bus ride was written very well, I used to take the bus and the experiences she saw were similar to what I went through on some days. It is a wonder how much peoples eyes wander when they are on the bus.

I got the sense that she was in her early to mid thirties while I read. Not sure if that is an accurate depiction of age yet. One of the biggest things I took off of it was her being a Wall Street Professional which takes very many years to get good at for some people.
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