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for Lovers and Madmen

11/11/2018 c8 Guest
Hi! I forgot a lot about this story, but I remember really enjoying it. It has been such a while since I read it though. But I’ve been trying to get caught up on my fictionpress favorites list, so I’m going to leave you a review nonetheless.
…Ah right, I remember this had a really literary, prosey, almost abstract kkind of style. Okay, so this is a bit jarring to try to get back into. “Her parents, Man and Beauty” – I’m not sure if this is making a statement about her actual parents of saying she was somehow “raised” or “brought up” by these concepts.
…That being said, though I have to slow down a bit and digest it, some of the prose is really nice sounding. For example “now the more somatic equivalent of a shushing tut-tut.” It helps me picture exactly the manner in which he patted her arm, if I stop to think about it.
…That’s actually really cool that Bill lives in a room down a secret tunnel from the library. I totally which I coudld live in a house with something like that. Heck, I wish I could live in any house big enough to have one room as a dedicated library. Is Faye actually going to visit Bill or is she just wandering around? It’s a bit awkward to just show up in someone’s room who you’re not closed to.
…I have to wonder what was in the other half of that conversation about the seniors celebrating the Fourth of July.
…The, “wow, this horrible thing is happening at this place I’m going to go to for vacation, woe is me (because who cares about the people who were actually raped in Austria right?)” almost sounded a bit TOO stereotypically evil villain… but, real people do say those things, and but with all the awful things those people were saying that… honestly sound exactly like real people, I bought it.
Weird coincidence here – the surreal feeling, Faye wandering through a house during a house party and hearing all these strange bits of conversations was kind of putting these pictures in my head, like, if this was a movie, it would be one of those trippy movies that critics love, like Ten Nights of Dreams or mother!. Then I get to the part where she’s thinking about the heartbeat of the house, which is TOTALLY a recurring motif in mother. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting.
…I think if I walked in on a guy like Ptolemy I’d walk backwards right out. I mean he mostly seems like a harmless weird autistic guy, but I wouldn’t want to be introduced to such a guy while he’s watching an “autoerotic asphyxiation” scene.
…Anyway, this is an interesting chapter. It would be cool if you picked this back up again someday.
12/25/2017 c7 6She Who Loves Pineapples II
You know, I really like the constant references to literature and how it shows the kind of person Faye is – she’s a writer and a reader so she thinks about books. A lot of the time comparisons to other works of literature come across as lazy or trite to me, but in this case, describing the sights as “Grapes of Wrath scenery” and comparing the house to Dorian Gray’s is just so perfect for something written in the POV of someone who casually remarks on things “sounding Orwellian” or whatnot.

I like the wittiness in the narration with lines like “music that, if you were not careful, could cause your hips to twitch.” Such a clever way of calling something an earworm or a guilty pleasure.

I wonder what Skip’s deal is.

And no, I was wrong, I still have no idea what they traded. I thought he had heard Faye got invited to the party and wanted her to bring him or something like that.

…Anyway, this is really good so far. And now it’s reached the part where it’s not only good but I’m intrigued and want to read more. I think Faye is probably Portia? But I’ll see. I wonder what horrible thing she’s going to witness, if so.
12/25/2017 c6 She Who Loves Pineapples II
I really wasn’t expecting Ector to get so worked up about her going to the party instead of the lake. But I guess if she waited until last minute to bail on him I get why he’d be upset.

And ah, now I guess I think I know what they traded for the shoes? Maaybe?
12/25/2017 c5 She Who Loves Pineapples II
The use of new characters in this chapter caught me off-guard at first, but wow, you really brought them to life really quickly. Once again, I'm impressed with the kinds of small details you can pick out to show who your characters are and, in this chapter specifically, how they relate to one another. Like the mom calling Bill childish nicknames. And wow, Skip is awful...
12/25/2017 c4 She Who Loves Pineapples II
I cannot tell what it was they traded for the shoes; is it supposed to be ambiguous or am I dense?
12/25/2017 c3 She Who Loves Pineapples II
Ohh, I see. That's interesting. He's just been named Blog. But the first chapter was a prologue. It could still be a flash-forward I guess. I guess I'll just have to read on and see!

Nan reminds me of my husband's grandma. So far a lot of the characters feel real and give me flashes of a feeling like "Oh, I know this kind of person." But Nan is the strongest example of that.
12/25/2017 c2 She Who Loves Pineapples II
Typo (wrong "it's") in the last sentence.

I like how you pick descriptive details that illustrate the characters' personalities, like the No Lives Matter shirt.
12/25/2017 c1 She Who Loves Pineapples II
Hey. I wanted to review you for the review game again, but I don't really want to start reading at the seventh chapter, so I figured I'd just read the whole thing and just pay attention to word count in the review of the last chapter... anyway, so far I'm glad I decided to do that because I really like this story. I liked Airmid right away and then you killed her off but it totally got me invested in the story anyway so... yeah. It's good so far!
6/27/2017 c1 51Electrumquill
The prologue definitely shows interesting ideas. Is Faye dreaming about the first part because of her prophetic ability or is it some premonition? Either way, it’s definitely material for her writing.
I like the atmosphere built up at the beginning. The forest setting is definitely very rustic. My first impression was that it must be in a bygone era, although that is not crystal clear. The oblique hints thrown in of the supernatural in this world, like the watcher, all helps build a picture too. If wood carving is a profession, then the time period could be centuries ago. The mention of a lamp would indicate that as well, but then we hear about a dentist drill… I wonder if Portia was the victim of a cult?

I am interested as well by the dynamic of these rustics living together. Blog steals their stuff and the others are OK with it?
This story turns dark quite quickly. Who are the Agents? Are they a cult or are they from a regime with totalitarian ideation?

From reading this, Faye could either be dreaming about the present or the distant past. Nice juxtaposition with Amity Heights stricken by a power cut and Mertroy Tower, incidentally. I appreciate the comparison with the Tower of Babel.
5/9/2017 c5 3Sychronergy
Ah, the first paragraph is one of those "too much description" instances :p I think it's perfectly fine if you just keep the first and last sentence - you wouldn't lose any feeling from your story. I do like how you begin the story with "smart windows" though. It's technically advance and showcases Bill Callahan's wealth/life style. The imagery is also beautiful.

On characters - too many characters doing too few things. Other than the woman in the prologue, you've introduced Faye, a ton of side characters and you're introducing even more characters in this chapter. Though it's important to have a diverse cast (and many kudos for your skills of being able to flesh everyone out so well), it's difficult for a reader to keep up with such a diverse cast so quickly when most of them are, as it appears right now, doing nothing important (to the storyline) other than living their life.

The relationship between the characters (I adore the interaction between Bill and his mother) is alive . I like how there's a small throw-back to their past in the exchange and I can easily imagine a mother talking to her son that way ( as well as vice-versa). The small tidbit between Bill and his father is also believable and showcases the relationship between father and son.

I know I've mentioned it in a previous comment, but two chapters later, I have to say it again - this pace kills your story. Sort of like, while taking a walk, you're stopping to describe every individual grass/flower/pebble you find? A lot of this stuff is important for the writer to have in the back-pocket, but will distract from your storyline if laid out bit by bit. The main ideas of this chapter (Bill's wealthy lifestyle, his stories, his family life, bits about his past) can be slide into a more exciting scene without it being described in great detail for the sake of introducing him.

Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with the writing. Your command of many writing techniques - descriptions, narration, metaphors, etc are adept. The flow is smooth and the writing is elegant. Though, it does feel a bit like you're expending a lot of this beautiful prose describing things that aren't adding anything to your storyline or plot.
5/9/2017 c4 Sychronergy
In terms of what's going on, I feel like this chapter feels like a filler… like a transition chapter that just shows the reader that time passed from between Faye getting the invitation to when she attends the party. Maybe show a bit more about Faye's life and the people in her life, but I feel like this is giving the readers too many characters to remember when they are just talking and not seeming to contribute to the plot? Like, there's nothing to remember any of these characters by.

Writing-wise, the prose quality is as high as ever. A lot of little details are cleverly incorporated - Sherry's dialogue about these other girls was a good one. I do think the rhythm tends to get a bit ramble-y, but the flow is pretty good and your descriptions (while sometimes extravagant) are beautiful.

As for the plot, I'm starting to lose sight of it. I'm still not certain how the prologue will affect the main story. Your summary advertises that something will happen once Faye meets Bill, but you're really dragging out the plot because you spend a lot of time exploring aspects of Faye's life, people in her life that does not seem directly relevant to the plot.

That said, it is remarkable that you've fleshed out the relationships between other characters and Faye so well. This is one of those things I think is important to have in the back pocket for adding life to certain dialogue exchanges/or adding meaning to certain exchanges rather than something you need to show the readers in detail, though.

Dialogue between Faye and Sherry flowed very naturally, and reflects their solid friendship as well as revealed a lot about their views and how they live life. Sherry kind of overshadows Faye by a wide margin, though. She's one of those characters that jumps out and commands attention :p
5/9/2017 c3 Sychronergy
The opening is definitely description for the sake of description. It would be a terrible shame to take any of your beautiful writing out, but all that description is, well, redundant. Though individual styles play a big role in these things, I think it might help you to reflect a bit on why you put in so much description about everything? It's important to describe, but at certain points, the abundance of description makes it difficult for me to imagine a vibrant physical setting.

I like the scene with Nan - there's a cultural clash there, that simple remark she made about slick career mind/ring on it illustrated her characters as well as brought me right there with Nan because most of us have at least one person from the older generations who thinks marriage is king and nags just like that - Then you show that Nan is actually a really "cool" person who drinks and socializes.

I sense some backstory with Faye and Billy? I might say maybe your ending needs a bit more of a push. Something that'd hitch the reader's mood - like a le gasp moment? The characters (as much as I like Nan) all sort of feels… everyman - interesting everyman, but everyman nonetheless, which I am not sure if is the effect you're going for. Fayne in particular, seems to be a little faded away. I feel like she's trying to shrink out of every scene/things that can push the plot forward.

Pace-wise, I've sort of glean that this story is very slow-unwrapping but full of interconnecting plotlines. Maybe a bit too slow? I feel like what happened in the prologue and first chapter just faded away here in this chapter, which makes it hard for me as the reader to see the connections.
I do enjoy the piece, as your writing makes reading enjoyable, so keep up the good work!
4/27/2017 c2 Sychronergy
To start, I'm not fond of the opening. It's beautifully written (like the rest of the story), but I get a strong "The author is just showing off their writing skills" vibe from the archaic (At this point, I tried very, very hard to come up with a different way to phrase it, but no avail) ramble. I'm reading slowly, reading multiple times, and I'm having trouble deciphering what you're trying to say - but the audience reacting in such an unanimously impressed/excited way after hearing it once… I find myself feeling alienated. I can't imagine it, even if it's just a mob effect because one person cheered so loudly. I think a more effective way to kick off this chapter is just to start at "Silence hung.." because what the writer specifically said isn't that important unless it adds to the theme/plot of your story.

In the exchange between Faye and Dan, I feel your protagonist shrinking away. I sympathize that Faye isn't too confident in her writing/doesn't feel it's polished (trust me I sympathize with this part and I love that you picked a writer as a protagonist), but I… don't find it realistic that Dan is a bigger fan of Faye's work than Faye herself. Maybe you're hinting that Dan is kind of sleazy (putting his hand over hers/talking to a man with a skull and crossbones bow tie), but I'm not quite catching the drift enough that the scene is coming together for me. I do think this scene is a great one - I love how everything pans out, but the scene feels to be missing this quality that makes it … alive.

As for the second scene… I am not sure what you are trying to say other than… average day in Faye's life? Overall, I don't quite feel it adding to your overarching plot or invoking any emotions in me as the reader. It's too early for me to see if there are any Easter eggs hidden in the scene and the scene distracts from that sort of suspenseful/ominous feeling you invoked with your summary and your prologue.

You definitely are a really good writer. Your prose feels polished to perfection and your grammar/command is pretty much perfect. The kind of sentences you put down is what I can expect to find published in a book I see in a bookstore, but I feel like your characters lacks something - Faye feels to be shrinking away in the first scene and she's… metaphorically absent in the second. I would say, maybe find a universal human experience that all readers can identify with, associate it with Faye/your main characters and play on that a bit more. Tighten your prose, add more dimensions to your scenes; make sure you capture a powerful emotion/experience/moment in each scene as to not stall the story or leave me (the reader) feeling unacknowledged.
4/22/2017 c1 Sychronergy
The first paragraph of the story is strong and establishes a very good setting for the story. "knowledge greets dreams and weather carries omen." is a absolutely stunning way to invite us into your story and I really, really applaud that line. The opening is an absolute killer, and I mean that in the best way possible. That said, I am not as fond of the second paragraph or the third, because they feel like an info dump. This information is certainly necessary to have in the back of your mind so you can insert more layers into your story, but I do not think I needed all that backstory/character revelation upfront when the first paragraph already depicts an action that we'd like to know more about (the troubled prowling), and we'd like to know that quicker.

If I must use only one word to describe your writing, it's picturesque. It's definitely not easy to do, but you managed to stay within the realm of "description to add to the atmosphere/mood" and not stray into "description for the sake of description". Overall, the writing is beautiful, the flow is nigh perfect and it's really easy to follow one sentence into the next. The vocabulary is a perfect balance of easily getting the point across and making your prose eloquent. Your writing matches the plot at hand, I think (I will expand on this later). Your word choices are wise and certain ones are very creative - "elan vital" for example. I really feel like I'm *right there* thanks to your writing.

I certainly praise your writing, but I think the dialogue is your actual selling point. There's something about them - it reveals backstory, reveals the characters, have a lot of emotional subtext that you sort of cleverly slide in. What stood out to me: Airmid's thoughts for her daughter / Blog's "Sky ever think of that?" Your character all have a distinctive voice, this is revealed through the dialogue, and that is amazing. Beautiful dialogue.

The setting is what I'm sort of confused about. When the story started, I thought it was medieval fantasy because of the shanty/mention of woodcarvers/clairvoyance. Your writing would've been right at home in a medieval fantasy because of the terminology, the focus on the weather and all the mention of herbs/lores. Then there were electric lamps, mentions of "Euclidean/Newtonian" so I was like "Maybe some sort of slightly under-developed/isolated suburban area in the 1700s-1900s?" But then you bring in agents, dentist drills, cities and I immediately get a modern feeling. By the end, I think it's an isolated area near a modern cities, but … not quite clear.

(I think it's also unclear when the agents killed Airmid? I had to read that part a few times before I caught that, though the use of the word "survivor" tipped me off)

Overall: lovely writing, lovely writing style. You have a really unique voice and this prose is ~beau~ti~ful. The story is fascinating, the characters really feel alive and the pace is gripping. Astounding job on this fic and though I probably won't leave another in-dept review (lazy, sorry!) I am definitely on my way to chapter 1.

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