White Heart Black Bones [PG-14]
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December 8th, 2011 (4:14 AM).
Gone. May or may not return.
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
I've been meaning to look at this for a while (huh; that's the story of my entire online existence) but haven't got around to it until now. I'm glad I did, because my initial sense wasn't wrong: there's something good here, and even better, it has the potential to be more than good.
The protagonist losing is an unexpected twist, and combined with the fact that the story actually starts
the battle to save the world has been fought and lost, it makes for a very interesting basis. Not much else I can say about that idea except to congratulate you for thinking it up.
However, there are two major criticisms I can make of the story as it stands, and both are to do with writing style, and so are easily correctable. The first one is this:
They're nice to me, don't get me wrong, I really enjoy their company.
There was something that had to perish to produce the smoke that tainted the sky, that's what made it so bitter-sweet.
I stood up not even bothering to toss the blankets back over the bed, it was usually a total mess anyway so I was indifferent.
and at quite a few other points, too. They're all comma splices, the joining together of two sentences using a comma, and they're a very basic violation of written English. They're also a very easy mistake to correct: instead of using a comma, use a semicolon to join two discrete but related sentences together, and it magically becomes right.
Next up is a more general point, to do with the way you describe things. icomeanon6 pointed out the 'gray orbs' bit as an indicator of purple prose; there are more instances, believe me. You apply way more adjectives and adverbs than are necessary to conjure up an image. Take this, for instance:
With no movement following the one I could have sworn I'd seen, I give up and trudged over to the mirror where a small counter lay. I flopped down, picked up a brush, and made an attempt to smooth out the huge mass of hair on my head, with a polished wooden comb. I kept my gaze locked onto the sullen looking girl who stared straight at me through the reflective glass.
Ignoring the fact that the comma after 'head' should be removed, there's quite a lot of superfluous description here. Touko is looking into a mirror, and I think it's safe to say that most of your readers will know what that is - you don't need to say it's 'reflective glass'. You could drop the 'polished' too, or even that whole clause, but that doesn't matter so much.
Now, this isn't wrong exactly, but it does get a bit annoying to read after a while. So do the random changes between present and perfect tense, though of course that actually
incorrect, not merely irritating. That's actually the other reason I chose this paragraph to view in more detail - you do it there as well.
Other than that, the description can be slightly awkward and even tedious at times - you have a tendency to dump it all in at once, like so:
The dining hall wasn't very far away from N's room. It was just out the door, down the hall and around the corner quite literally. Fitting with the rest of the castle, it was an extremely grandiose room, very long and rectangular. A table which resembled the room's length was the dominant feature of the area, taking up most of the space. The wallpaper was a slate-like gray. Columns, just like the ones in N's room, lined the walls like ribs joining together on the ceiling where a light hung down. In the space between each column was an expertly crafted painting depicting images of Team Plasma, Ghetsis and the Seven Sages or legendary Pokémon. Small tables rested against each of the four walls. A vase of flowers lay sleeping inside, providing a spring-like aroma to the room.
Detail is fine - Dickens did it, after all - but calling a room 'very long and rectangular' is a step too far; unless you say otherwise, most people will assume it was rectangular. The sentence describing the table essentially says the same thing three times: it's as long as the room, it's the biggest thing in the room, it uses the most floor space of anything in the room. It seems a rather awkward tautology.
Aside from all this, I think it would read better if you showed the features of the room as you went along, rather than all at once at the start.
Now I feel guilty for having snapped the metaphorical mast of your story's ship, but you have to believe me when I say it was still an enjoyable read, and easily in the higher-quality half of the collection of work on this forum. I just think it could be even better, that's all.
Oh God I hate having to point out bad things people have done...
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon
A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click
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