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for The Hedge to Somewhere

1/6/2022 c3 ninagumilang
halo author, i am so interested in your work, my name is nina, an editor for a fast growing platform, may i know how to reach you professionally?
1/9/2021 c3 6She Who Loves Pineapples II
Hi, reviewing for the review game easy fix

Starting with answering the questions:

1) The lack of quote marks in the beginning was a bit confusing. I've seen some authors designate translated language with angle brackets within the quotes, but I think this website will eat those, so maybe you could do something else like italics or bold? But even if it's not technically a quote it is still dialogue.

2) References - yeah I didn't get the first reference and it just read as an oddly specific weird line. I didn't even realize it was a reference until the next line about Titanic made it clear that this is probably the kind of conversation they have watching couples on TV.

Anyway, on to general comments:

the idea of getting sexy texts on a work phone makes me cringe. x_x my husband once almost walked in on my zoom meeting in his underwear and ever since then I just triple-check any bit of technology that has anything to do with work.

I like the lines about how her mom uses the traditional age-counting system only "when it suits her sense of urgency."

Oof - that ending. Can't say I feel too bad for the narrator, but it still sucks. Looks like she's going to be forced out of this noncommital state of inertia she's been trying to float in...
8/11/2020 c1 17Encore19
Feedback you shall get. Hmmm. This was interesting, particularly character-wise. I like affable Ben, Selina is intriguing. So the voice of your protagonist... I can tell that you want her to be quirky. I wonder if the calculating, intellectualising edge has anything to do with her Chinese heritage. The culture would be different and I know the politics in China is pretty crazy. The protagonist seems glib to me, the way she said something crass and then seemed to engage with Ben on a whim, the way she thinks about marriage but doesn't seem very in love with him... well it could be normal. Or maybe she's like... on the psychopath spectrum. Depends how quirky you actually want her to be. This chapter was interesting for me in a slice-of-lifey way, it wasn't very long, no major or exciting event took place to hook me in. There's no fear. I'm just wondering if your protagonist could possibly be a twisted individual. It's just me wondering, but you could easily continue on with this and make her quirkier and quirkier until we're like 'okay something's really wrong here'. Ahem, I love psychological thriller stuff myself if you couldn't tell. I think it was the aspect of drab you captured, the "eh" and shrug mentality about whether she wants Ben, the moments so awkward that they are banal instead of movie/wonder/love like. The fact their serendipitious meeting was caused by a train suicide. Anyway I enjoyed the insights from the ethnic characters, good luck with this.
7/25/2020 c1 Guest
the lack of quotations was a bit irritating i'll admit, although not exactly confusing, but that may be my bias since i've always disliked when authors omit quotes for stylistic reasons. Your reasoning for it makes sense though.
7/16/2020 c1 Hedonistic Opportunist
This has actually been on my radar since I first saw it published. Sorry for taking so long to get to reading this. Here's to sending the first of (hopefully) many reviews :D

First of all, I really like how the writing style is subdued and mature; by that, I mean that the narrator's tone is just a bit embittered and sarcastic in a way that seems befitting her life experiences. There's some real underlying beauty to this - whimsical in a way that reminds me of how I look back at certain experiences / encounters in my life these days. I don't think I am alone in this, and I like how this chapter made me dwell on nostalgia. I also like how you did without the rose-tinted aspect that so many other stories engage. There's a sense of foreboding on how Ben and the narrator are skirting dangerous crowd, and I do wonder how the relationship will evolve here.

Passages I loved were especially the ones relating to how Ben and the narrator first met. As I said before, the tone was whimsical and beautiful: the last paragraph especially struck me as especially poignant since it summed up the narrator's bitterness in a very simple yet effective way. But overall, the entire part is just wonderfully handled: all those little details, the dialogue and the way the characters behaved just struck me as very realistic.

Also, I loved the way you engaged the way calculus throughout the story. Especially in terms of how it can be used to describe a lot of situations XD. Can I say here that I really loved how you described Selina? Not just in terms of looks but her personality. She seems like a good friend - very honest and no nonsense in terms of attitude. I do want to see more of her.

Ah yes, this review is rambly but I do like this and will continue reading. May be slow, but I just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying this.
7/7/2020 c3 642Dill Wilson
Reads fine to me all the way through. I assume the 20th century door in the Atlantic Ocean is a Titanic reference. And the flower line also works (even if I don't place the reference there). I appreciate your concern about making sure the reader understands the Chinese-American and Chinese differences but I wouldn't overthink some of this stuff too much - you are a terrific writer and you shouldn't have to hold the reader's hand.
6/29/2020 c1 19Anihyr Moonstar
[To maintain the life support system supplying oxygen into the lungs of our romance.] Haaah, I like this line - way to make it sound clinical and...maybe "like a chore" isn't quite the right word - but like something that "needs to be done" and is planned/done out of necessity rather than impassioned romance. I feel like right off the bat this gives me some impressions about our narrator, so that's cool.

[That's disgustin, Ben responds.] I laughed outright. Not what I was expecting, but hilarious. I feel like I already like Ben.

The opening scene did a solid job setting the stage and getting a lot of information packed into a small space. It read quick and easy, and definitely gave an instant sense of the characters in that little tidbit. A good hook to get the reader going and spark interest for more.

I'm amused by the "calculus" scene with Selina. It continues to build on my sense that our narrator is a little stiff and gives good background for why that may be. All business, business, business and strategic calculations with her. And her trying to work "calculus" into her own dialogue is just...humorous and relatable.

I doooo like Ben - he seems so sweet. Soft attentive boy with a good heart. Or, these are the vibes I get thus far, anyway.

["You guys should get married."] Lolol - you know you must have had *some* chemistry at least when you get commentary like this from a stranger. I really enjoy the dialogue throughout this first chapter. I feel like it's quick, feels natural, and tells us about the characters.

Ahhh, the ending scene/final line makes me feel bad for Ben (although there's been hints of that scattered throughout) - but I also think it ties this opening chapter up well. It draws on the running calculus theme and ties in with all the little foreboding bells about potential cracks in the relationship that have worn at it over time. It leaves me wanting to see what happens for these two.

All in all, I enjoyed this first chapter. No word seemed a waste - all adding something and keeping interest til the end.
5/6/2020 c2 3chanchanirl
Thanks to the author for having reviewed my work!

So far, the story is quite interesting. I did not think that any of the scenes so far were boring or confusing - I think they perfectly illustrate the modern day struggles of being a young person, working a job you're not particularly fond of, having an on and off relationship with someone you once thought was the one.

I was a little taken back by the suddenness of the blow job in chapter two. At least from my personal understanding of the character, I did not expect her to be so casual with such a thing but then again, two chapters are not enough to fully understand the character as whole or perhaps I misunderstood her. Or maybe I truly know nothing about people her age, who knows. But in terms of "palatability," I think the main character is quite funny at times so I can't complain.

I don't think you introduced too many characters at once. If every character is used in the upcoming narrative, it'll make it easier for the reader to remember who each person is and what they do. The reason series like Game of Thrones works despite having hundreds of characters is because each character is used at least semi-often throughout the work. So as long as you keep using your cast of characters, no matter how many there are, it won't be too many - at least, in my opinion!
4/17/2020 c1 GMSilver
You have a very quippy way of ending the parts of your narrative that is very appealing; you turn the narrative at the end of each section in what I'd describe as a flourish.

I find myself judging the main character on her flaws early on, which is a check in your favor for early characterization. I almost find her... too unselfconscious? About anything. That's really the only criticism I can bring to mind for her, bearing in mind this is a chapter 1 review.

I caught a couple of tense errors in this first chapter that throw me off the flow of your narrative, but otherwise I find the voiceover-descriptive-style first-person POV engaging, and easy to wade through. Your strength in shaping conversations to sound natural is a good quality to have in a slice-of-life drama like you're beginning to shape. Especially if the story maintains its conversation-heavy style.

You have a good, strong start with a lot of opportunity to branch your story outward, and a character with a lot of room for development at the helm. Lots of potential.

If you do review my story, please review anything other than the prologue. It already gets the most attention.
4/9/2020 c2 katie
to answer the q about if she's palatable - doesn't come across like a beacon of human goodness, but i personally prefer morally wavering or discontent charactes and so will a sizeable minority of other readers. interjecting some humor goes a long way in making that type of protagonist more relatable, which you're doing just fine.
4/6/2020 c1 1Vagrance
Opening: this is a strong start which gave me a glimpse into the mind of a stranger. It is a very good use of the first-person perspective. The humour, combined with a sense of insecurity, is a sentiment I can empathise with.

Style: I appreciate the simplistic style and the absence of flowery details. Again, I feel this fits first-person very well. The dialogue feels natural and conveys character. I especially like a theme built around the way people toss around the word calculus. Fortunately, none of the people I worked with were that pretentious.

Setting: As an Asian who grew up foreign lands, I can relate to a lot of the situations. My conversation with Chinese friends usually goes in this direction too. The realism helps immersion (admitted, my conversations tend to be nerdier).

Ending: this brought me back to the present, into the mind of a young woman dealing with uncertainty. The hook at the end, which comes back to the central theme of “calculus”, was really interesting. I really enjoyed reading this. Well done.
4/2/2020 c2 6She Who Loves Pineapples II
To start my review, I'll answer your questions-

No, the first section isn't boring or confusing. There's nothing confusing about it, and as far as entertainment goes, while an office meeting normally would be boring your narrator is entertaining enough that I wasn't bored. Her sharp analysis of Selina, Jack, Lucas, and modern office culture in general work well at keeping the scene relevant and interesting. Also, there's a hint of real conflict when Selina speaks up at the meeting, choosing to ignore that it was meant to be a self-congratulatory performance. Even if it's not a conflict that directly involves your narrator, it does involve her world.

Which brings me to the next question. To put it bluntly, no, I wouldn't say the narrator is palatable enough to make me want to continue reading. Now, disclaimer here that everyone's preferences are different and I realize it was probably an intentional choice to not make your narrator super likable. She's got flaws to overcome and lessons to learn. But personally for me, it was a turn-off. The narrator is entertaining for sure, and I didn't *dislike* reading about her, and if I got this book from the library to start it I would finish it. But if I had picked this up in a book-store and read the first two chapters, but then got distracted, I wouldn't feel any compulsion to buy the book and find out what happens next.

I've thought about what I don't like about her - the obvious things are that she comes off as self-centered and she's cheating on her boyfriend - but I've definitely read about and liked characters who have done way worse. I think what it comes down to is that she's shallow, she has shallow desires and currently doesn't get invested in anything worth rooting for. and I think that's likely part of the social commentary you're trying to make, and I wouldn't discourage you from continuing to write her this way. She certainly feels like an authentic character, and as I said, she's entertaining. But as for my personal answer to your second question, I'd say no.

I don't feel like you introduced too many characters. They were all distinct enough.

As for things I liked about the story: I liked its honesty. It's kind of a cynical honesty, but it is an honest portrayal of life and people.

Selina. She seems to serve as a foil to the narrator, in that she is passionate about things, she'll actually call out her boss, she's considerate to others. She's really likable, and it's nice to have a character who is likable if your narrator can't be.

The details you used. You really have a knack for picking just the right details to create a vivid image, just enough to let the reader fill in the blanks. For example, your narrator's failing relationship with Ben is not blandly explained (as many authors would do, in a manner like "We used to be so close but now I feel like he's falling out of love with me because he never spends time with me") - no, you pick the details that are specific to their relationship, both from how it used to be and how it is, like the love notes, or the story of how they met in the previous chapter.

And you do the same with your side characters too - the wilting salad picked out by Lucas who is the kind of guy who has to tell everyone he doesn't eat cookies, Jack's awkwardness shown by him not getting the joke about him getting pizza for his mentor, the company culture is shown by the foosball table.

Lastly, the writing is really good. I've mentioned over and over that your narrator is witty but I'll say it again, she's entertaining. Everything seems really polished and you seem to curate just the perfect words and phrases to use, making it flow smoothly and feel natural to read. I didn't notice any mistakes.
3/29/2020 c2 642Dill Wilson
I liked the entire chapter - partly because I have fond memories of pizza from Boston's North End and also because I'm a member of my work agency's Inclusion Committee so I could identify with that sort of conversation (especially from the Narrator's Asian Viewpoint). I assume (as a reader) that you're introducing the various characters for a reason.
3/2/2020 c1 1Crimson Arrow
After reading the first chapter, I wondered if this will be a series of vignettes on different relationships in the throes of death. We heard the speaker's (unless I missed it, she is nameless) side of things, but it struck me Ben, Selina, and the person who leap in front of the train may have their owns stories to tell. The character are imperfect and unsympathetic at first (ben's texts, narrator's cheating), but the possibility they are multilayered has me looking forward to the next chapter.

As for the writing, the speaker's voice, you kept a good, brisk flow that had my attention beginning to end. The speaker's amusing quips to her own narration also kept me entertained.

The minimal dialogue kept things natural was perfect for this piece. I'm glad to see you are a follower of less is more.

The idea of romance being some kind of calculus, which no one really understands, was clever and allowed for some great one liners, such as the final line. I hope its a theme that continues into future chapters.

Overall, a great start and looking forward to the next update.
2/7/2020 c1 19Ckh
Hello from the Review Game! I haven't written a depth review in a while so I'll try to be as comprehensive as possible. Here goes nothing:

Opening - Your opening was distinct, making the voice of your character clear from the get go. From the language of the prose, we know that she is an egotistical individual. (he *will* see it...he *will* swell with love...I *should be*...) Yet, her sardonic remarks endears the reader to her personality, inviting them to read on. Frankly, I think that 27 percent of all statistics that say that 27 percent of all statistics are made up, are made up.

Flow - Your sentences connect to each other seamlessly, never lingering on more than they should. Even the description about Selina was laced with the main character's dry remarks, integrated into the narrative. The whole chapter just has a cohesive feel, especially with the main character talking about the calculus in the end. Her judgmental spiel about her co-workers had some relevance in the end - she was just trying to make he reasoning more important than it really is, just like her co-workers.

Voice - Your first person voice is so strong that it eschews the need for description - not that you didn't provide any. I think you hit the right balance of sardonic remarks. They certainly didn't grow annoying over time.

Dialogue - Your dialogue feels natural. Its not the main thing this chapter is focused on, but I do like how snappy it is.

Overall, this is a solid hook for an opening chapter. I wish you for the best for future chapters. Cheers.
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