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Thread: The Ember Days

  1. #26
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    *snugs Ian* Thank you~! x3

    Haha, that always slips through - I know the rule, but for some reason it puts itself in. xD All sorted, and I scanned the rest to catch any more. :3

    About 'caterwauling' - huh, maybe it's more of a British thing? Or perhaps it's just my family/area, 'cause it's a word I'm quite familiar with... I'll keep it for now, but I'll definitely look into it.

    Long running sentences have always been a fault of mine. xD; I've run through the entire thing with a comb again trying to counter them, hopefully, they're a little more sorted now. <3

    Looking forward to the rest of your review - I'm glad you're enjoying it~! x3 I managed to make it suspenseful? woot! I suppose it's very different when you know the entire plot, haha - I did try though. :3 The next chapter should hopefully sweep up some of those questions I've been collecting. <3 On '3 AM' - haha, it does have some meaning. Hopefully that will become clear with the rest. x3

    catz! *squishes* Thanks for getting back to me so soon, and thank you for the lovely review!

    Haha, thanks for the stuff on my imagery - I'm glad I've found a good amount, I used to swing from swamping my stories with it if they were one genre, and cutting it all together in another. :x I'm glad I'm finding the medium...

    The hunt~! :3 The Pokemon... mm, they are normal, except that their 'powers' are a little different. I think I will have one of the other characters lay out the difference at some point (very soon) but basically their abilities are more elemental: they can control their elements to an extent like normal pokemon can, but they also, depending on how powerful they are, can transform their shape- with great difficulty. xD They live on thhe outskirts of human civilisation and its one of the traits that helped keep them alive. I guess I've likened them to a form of fae that way. :x x3

    You have no idea how much it means to me that you like my characters~! :3 Nathaniel in particular because I just love that fellow too much, but the rest as well. x33

    Thanks you both again~!

    On a general note: I've made a few edits and switched the mightyena's identity to another Pokemon. :x


    Floating over your rocky spine
    The glaciers made you and now you're mine


    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

  2. #27
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    This is a review exchange review.
    Fics: "Under the Same Sky", a PG-15 Chaptered Story (Currently at Five Chapters, and 35,000-ish words).

    Summary: A nameless teenager is heralded as the Champion of the Unova League. However, he's not ready to bear that cross. In order to deal with his inner demons, he absconds to Undella Town - and meets a certain blonde Sinnoh Champion.

    Review Wanted: A review similar to mine. I provided quote-by-quote analysis for four chapters, which should be similar to my three chapters in length. Generally, I want some nitpicks as provided: grammar mistakes and syntactical errors are both areas of focus. Other elements I'd like you to perhaps concentrate on are plotline, premise, and description.

    Time to take this pony downtown. =O Corrections are in bold.

    Chapter Zero:

    The flickering flames from a camp fire beside him slipping across his red straggles of hair, he scratched letters into the soil with a twig.
    This part seems a little strange. I would personally use a "while" or "as" to clarify the flow. Exhibit A: As/While the flickering flames from a camp fire beside him slipped across his red straggles of hair, he scratched letters into the soil with a twig.

    The dream had felt so real– the touch of the breeze on her back, shivering through her shirt, the bite of the grass beneath her feet as it pricked and tickled her ankles – yet here she was, safe and cozy in her duvet.
    I recognise that "yet" is a coordinating conjunction, but the sentence is so long. D8 Start a new line with "yet".

    There was no point worrying about dreams. In the end, they were just that - fantasies.
    Missing comma, perhaps?

    Overall, this is a pretty beginning. The descriptions are lush and vibrant, although they are bogged down by overly long sentences. I noticed that a lot of the "Old Guard" writers of SPPf have this problem. Like I said with Dragonfree, I suspect that this pattern is a throwback from the old days of Scrap/Saber, who used to throw around purple prose and gargantuan but lyrical sentences. I do think that the phase has passed, and SPP is reflecting the more contemporary trend of shorter, choppier sentences.

    However, I still congratulate you for the strong start.


    Chapter One:

    At the same time, she called down to her mother in the sweetest, most imploring voice she could devise that if today she could, pretty please, ask a lift to her university.
    Another missing comma?

    A small boy smiled across town.
    This is rather ambiguous. Are you saying that the boy's smile travels through the town? Or are you, as I suspect, trying to say that the boy, who is standing at the other end of town, is smiling?

    To make your meaning clearer, use: Across town, a small boy smiled.

    I guess there really was a limit to how many hours you can sing Karaoke.
    Cue my grin. Le truth, that is.

    Julie sang like a drowned dog.
    Impressive use of simile.

    She continued her search with bleary eyes, frowning as she saw nothing out of the ordinary, her eyes straining to pierce the shadows, a new shiver creeping over her skin.
    Again, this sentence could easily be divided. Start a new line with "her eyes".

    Chapter One wasn't terrible. I appreciated the light humour you had injected through the character of Lily. Bad singing is an automatic trigger for laughs. Moreover, the dialogue is naturalistic and not stilted. You do need to work on your formatting, though. As Breezy pointed out, the odd breaks (and lack of breaks) in sentences and paragraphs makes your prose difficult to read at times. This isn't a big problem, however, so you should be fine.


    Chapter Two:

    The rest of the household was soundly asleep, bundled away in their respective rooms, and apart from their cat Smudge (who stayed, without fail, curled around Anthony’s feet for the night) they had no other pets.
    Smudge is a unique name for a cat. =D

    He also sported, Elizabeth noted dimly as the boy placed a hand on the wrong side of his chest, an equally-red tail that drooped down between his legs, dropping to his bare, dirtied feet
    Long and ambiguous sentence alert! Separate for clarification, please.

    She almost tumbled into Nathaniel as the boy skidded to a halt in her shadowed entrance hall, and she waved her free arm for balance, grasping at the banister. Her movements slowed as her eyes found the flashes of red that poked out of his hair, uncovered by his uninhibited, joyful descent.

    Twin canine ears.
    If it wasn't clear before, it is now. PokeBoy.

    His voice sounded slightly altered when he responded, something darker, sadder, tempering his usually light tone.

    “I’m me, like you are you.”
    Nice character moment for Nathaniel. The line is very quotable too.

    I loved this chapter, to be honest. It's clear that you've enjoyed writing Foxgloves; your enthusiasm is evident in the clarity of your prose and the dynamic interactions between Elizabeth and Nathaniel. Didn't you notice that I didn't find as many mistakes with this chapter? It's because the quality of writing was higher than the standard of the previous chapters.

    Nathaniel is an adorable character who should be cherished. His presence actually invigorates Elizabeth's character, which has been rather stale, to be frank. Good job.


    Chapter Three:

    Then again, she remembered, blinking steadily, she hadn’t even thought before agreeing to follow Nathaniel out here, had she?
    Okay, this is how I would've done it:

    Then again, she hadn’t even thought before agreeing to follow Nathaniel out here, had she?

    So much clearer. =3

    Naive trust clear in his eyes, he offered her another grin.
    Aw. Nathaniel is becoming the readers' Ensemble Dark Horse.

    “It was just a little- magic, alright? Fox fire. It couldn’t hurt you, not at all and I wouldn’t, anyway – not ever. Not ever.” He reached forward again, and this time she didn’t flinch, remaining as she was as he crept forward, expression imploring.
    This is another interesting interaction between Liz and Nate. The dynamic between these two is a great focus to the story. =O

    Arching his back with a wordless cry, the boy began to jerk uncontrollably, forehead grinding into the grass, his shoulders straining as he attempted to brace his arms against the slope.
    Do I have to say it? I have some nifty scissors, if you need help with that sentence. xP

    Holistically, this chapter was strong. You built up the suspense deftly, and your command of imagery is precise. Moreover, the character Nathaniel is awesomesauce. However, keep a steady eye on those long sentences. Long descriptive sentences have their place and uses, but clarity should be favoured over ambiguity in most cases.

    Great work and keep it up.

    Under the Same Sky - PG-15||Completed

    Memorandum to UtSS: "A Deathless Prelude".
    FF.net Profile//Quote-of-the-month: “History is much like an endless waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.”

  3. #28
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    X3 Draco! Thanks for the review, m'dear, I'll return it soon.

    Long sentences have always been a fault of mine, I admit it freely- even before serebii. I do quite like being referred to as the 'old guard' though. I remember Scrap and Saber- I never read Saber's work, never got around to it, but I did read a couple of Scrap's oneshots. Good times! Is it just me, or has the forum become quieter since then? Back then you could post up a oneshot and get two pages of comments. We certainly have lost a lot of people, it's a shame.

    I sound like such an old fogey. I blame you. ;p

    You caught me - I certainly preferred the later chapters. I'm still not satisfied with the prologue- it was one of the first things I'd written in a year, and I found it a pain. At least it was pretty; that's something.

    I agree with you on the majority of the suggested edits, and have incorporated them. Nifty scissors indeed. ;3 I'll keep an eye out for the longer sentences, I do have all too great a penchant for them.

    'Not terrible'? XP Nah, I'm glad you liked the story, and dear Nat. I have at least two more main characters left to bring into play now. I probably should speed this old thing up, considering, actually. Nathaniel is certainly a favourite, though.

    Thanks again~! <3
    Last edited by katiekitten; 4th September 2011 at 11:25 PM.


    Floating over your rocky spine
    The glaciers made you and now you're mine


    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

  4. #29
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    Aaaaaaaand the next chapter~! Two days late. :x I was intending on updating it once a week while I still could - ah well. x3 It's still a nice long 'un...? Let me know if any rogue terms make it through. I was rereading the first chapter and spotted a random 'Julie'. Ahhh, revising~ x333

    Properly introducing dear Tobias, here, and finally providing an explanation or two. x3

    Beta'ed by the beautiful ejunknown. <3!!


    Chapter Four


    Glaciers



    With a shrug of movement, the great stag shifted from his prone position and leapt effortlessly over the fire, landing with a scuff of earth in the cub’s path. Allowing his momentum to thrust him forward, Tobias easily sideswiped the growlithe as he fled past him, ignoring the boy’s surprised yelp and pinning him lazily to the floor with a single paw. The surrounding demons ignored the disturbance, as he’d expected – they knew better than to meddle in the affairs of their betters - and he lowered his muzzle towards the cub, growling a soft warning as the growlithe struggled beneath his grip.

    He watched as the human girl stumbled to a halt a few feet away, dark eyes shining with sudden fear, her shoulders shaking as she drank in the sight of the two of them.

    The boy’s first catch. He considered her with emotionless eyes, his lips pulled back in a partial snarl. The boy had chosen well.

    He tightened his hold and the boy shuddered beneath him.

    “Are you afraid, human?” he asked quietly.

    She trembled at the sound of his voice, wrapping her arms around herself and her strange attire, her eyes not leaving his.

    He saw his answer in them.

    “Then run home.”

    She refused to move, her gaze flicking to the cub in his grasp. He growled his disproval, raising his hackles. Her trembling increased satisfactorily, her dark hair trickling across her features, brushing against her lips – but she remained where she was, against his expectations. She was stubborn, it seemed.

    As if in response, the cub began to writhe beneath him, bucking against his weight. Tobias afforded the youth his attention, baring his teeth in a snarl.

    “Leave her alone!” the boy growled, clawing at the dirt beneath him for purchase. Desperation shone in his eyes – a fool’s determination, he noted with a faint touch of disgust. “She-she’s- part of the truce, so you can’t- touch-“

    A heavier paw bore down on the cub, cutting his whimpering off with a sharp yelp. A flicker of movement before him, however, distracted him, and he turned back to the woman. A pained expression painted across her features, she inched closer, despite the fear that steeped her scent. He gazed at her in surprise.

    The mortal was brave.

    Not enough.

    He snarled at her, mocking her strength.

    “Run child.”

    No.

    Her voice was barely above a whisper, trembling as much as she was, but the defiance was still there, burning, her protest barely audible over the collected cheer of the revellers.

    He stared at her with a hint of surprise, examining her across the ash-streaked grass.

    He’d underestimated her.

    With a yelp of bark, the cub took advantage of his distraction to wiggle free and throw himself before the girl. Not noticing her flinch, he scraped to a halt before her. Foxfire flaring from his nostrils and the edges of his mouth, the growlithe arched and with a soft roar of flames was a boy again, crouched on his hands and knees, a grimace painted across his features.

    Tobias’s disgust stirred once more at the sight, and he lowered himself onto his haunches, a growl rumbling in his chest.

    The boy besmirched his blood with his obsession.

    “Would you rather be a human, child?” Snarls curled around the question, stunted claws clenching into the soil.

    Nathaniel’s answer was forced between gasps, and the boy swung himself upright, oblivious to his nakedness, placing himself between the stag and the girl.

    “I’d rather not be a beast.”

    “Fool.” He took a step forward, lowering his muzzle towards the two, hackles raised. The growlithe’s beliefs unnerved him, an emotion he was unaccustomed to experiencing. “You are what you are born. Why do you idolize an inferior race?”

    Nathaniel’s features set in a very human frown, the child shrinking nevertheless in his place, ears pressing down against his skull. The scent of his fear filled the night air, mingling with the bitterness of the smoke. “They… are not inferior.”

    “They are weak, child.”

    The stag’s claws tore up the soil and grass in the easy flex of his grip as Tobias took another step, illustrating his point, irritation emphasising the movement. Nathaniel flinched at the display, shuffling backwards to the girl’s side.

    “There- there are other ways to be strong, you know-”

    “Their lives are short. They have no power of their own, only that they’ve taken from others, and even that they abuse.”

    The cub was giving away ground, as expected, edging back towards the hill slope, the girl retreating with him. Her eyes were fixed on Tobias’s- but it was not only fear that held her gaze to his, he noted.

    The boy’s faltering response drew his attention from the observation.

    “They’ve created their own, haven’t they? The boy’s lips were quivering, and he reached for the girl’s arm, weaving his fingers in-between hers. Cowering. “They’ve made cars, electrical appliance-things-”

    “That is inconsequential.” Tobias allowed his disgust to colour his words, eyes flashing. The boy’s breath caught as he bared his teeth further in a soundless snarl. “Humanity fears us and calls us monsters because they covet what we possess. Do not be fooled, child.”

    Another step – his flickering shadow fell across their feet, lapping at their ankles, electricity sparking, roiling across his twisted antlers, crackling, into the night.

    “Don’t think to deny what you are.”

    The boy held his gaze for a moment more, wide eyes glistening – before his nerve broke.

    Fsshhh.

    The child fled along the hill, dragging the girl behind him, as a decoy smokescreen exploded soundlessly on the hillside. Coiling wisps masking their escape, the faint layer of ash licked at the crescent moon overhead, breaking free of the forest in tauntingly flippant coils.

    The stag snarled and snapped after the pair, a measure of personal restraint the only thought that prevented him from following. The electricity that gathered between his horns clawed at the night sky as his pride thundered within his thoughts, urging him to catch the coward, sparks arching down his neck to writhe against his skin.

    The orphan, while pitiful, infuriated him. The child embraced a truce that served as a permanent embarrassment to his race, casting aside his pack ties for the temporary, insipid affection of humans. His subordination was insurmountable, the boy trailing ever farther away from the hunt’s territory as the days past, burying himself within humanity.

    Coward.

    This was not the time, however, to settle their misunderstanding.

    Forcing himself to turn on his heel with difficulty, Tobias returned to his spot by the fireside through a crowd of Rapidash, his seat remaining suitably unadulterated, the mere hint of his scent warning enough to any who might’ve sought to take it. He did not rejoin the celebrations, however, as he sank back into the grass, his eyes settling back onto the flames of the fire.

    If it were a millennium ago, he would’ve torn down the slope and challenged the boy for his insolence, slaughtering the girl before him as proof of his victory. A millennium ago, the girl would be only a whisper of an old legend told to the young as they suckled at their wet nurses breast, a frightened traveler’s dying wish as he was run down by the hunt, the lead hounds braying as they nipped at his already bloodied heals.

    A millennium ago he would still have been a lord.

    He tucked his feet beneath himself and gazed into the flames, banishing the image of a pair of soft, dark eyes moistened with fear, tempered with another emotion he refused to recognize in the gaze of a human, that rose, unbidden, from his thoughts.

    The fire twisted and spat at the sky, a shower of sparks hissing into the grass as a log slipped in the depths of its embers.

    It was a fact he'd long ago accepted. All history, all of his history, had ended with the ‘truce’, and humanity had began, flourishing in the hunt’s retreat, forcing the dwindling communities to assimilate or extinguish themselves. The once great ‘Hunt’ was reduced at last to a mere formality, an occasion to feast and to observe traditions long since rendered obsolete, its primal, joyful violence lost.

    There had been an honour in it, he remembered; a strength in the mastering of the blood-haze of the chase, a thrill in the taste of the host’s excitement siphoning into the breeze. An energy that had coiled and twisted in every sinew, every bone, pushing the pack onwards.

    Tobias shut his eyes and allowed himself to relive those moments, recalling the salty, metallic heat of a boar’s lifeblood as it pulsed over his lips and tongue, flooding his throat. It calmed him as he drank in the heat of the campfire, the electric crackle settling in a shroud around him, sinking into his fur like a second skin.

    His past was now myth, a folk tale clouded by the centuries and the liberties of licentious story tellers. Little had changed since their fall. It had been their own civil wars that had led to it, after all. He was no fool.

    The child knew nothing.


    ---

    The child in question hurtled the few feet down the slope to where he’d abandoned his clothes, throwing himself down onto the slope. He pressed into the grass in an attempt to hide, his ears straining to catch signs of further pursuit. Elizabeth followed after him, her slippers scrambling over the slick grass, dirt scraping under fingernails as she wrapped her fingers around the stalks and pressed herself into the earth.

    “What- what was that?” she whispered after a moment, squinting at Nathaniel in the shadows. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the change in light, filling in his slightly hollowed features. “Or- who…?”

    The glowering, ochre eyes of the stag filled her mind, her thoughts stumbling over the memory of the coldness of the burnished depths, and the iridescent, ice-blue flecks that swarmed around the pupil. She was struggling to catch her breath as they lay there, panting, her chest heaving. Her heart still hummed with left over adrenaline, sending her pulse trilling through her veins, fluttering in her neck.

    She’d felt those eyes swallow her up as he’d looked at her, shred her apart like a rabbit under a lion’s teeth, with her neck snapped with a simple jerk of the head.

    Yet they were so… beautiful.

    That- was Tobias,” Nathaniel managed after a moment, fixing her with a shaky smile. He reached out to grip her hand, his fingers trembling in an all too familiar pattern. “He’s, ah… one of the older ones. Older gods. He shouldn’t follow us down here, though.”

    She managed a smile at that, squeezing his hand despite the lump that refused to shift from her throat. “Gods again?”

    This was insanity, she knew.

    He cracked a smile back, eyes twinkling with a fragment of his earlier joy, before his head jerked as a tremor wracked through him. Recovered his composure, he fought to replace the smile, clinging his shirt to himself nevertheless, fingers digging into the fabric. “Of course!”

    She regarded him with watering eyes (a delayed response to her fear) as he shook once more, his grip tightening periodically in hers. Whatever had effected him before was apparently returning – his- metamorphosis (she supposed) starting anew.

    They lay for a moment against the hillside, his shuttered breaths the only sound that broke their silence, waiting for approaching steps that didn’t come.

    “Na…Nathaniel,” she began softly, shuffling carefully towards him. The grass fronds were cool against her stomach, their dew seeping through her shirt to graze her skin. “You need to explain everything, now, alright? All of it.”

    He nodded as best as he could, eyes shining with a slight glaze of pain, and let out a little laugh. “It seems a lil late now, doesn’t it? Haha, alright, though.”

    He pushed himself into a seated position, ignoring her unconscious intake of her breath, tugging lightly on her hand. “He’s not coming, don’t worry, I can smell him – he’s moved away, not closer. But I’ll start- from the beginning.”

    She listened for a moment more, ignoring the questions that had arisen at his use of ‘smell’, before forcing herself to relax, placing her trust in the boy. She felt that she could, after this mess.

    He released his grip after she relented and sat up, moving backwards as best as he could until there was a decent space between them and bunching his shirt in his lap.

    She watched him as he took a deep breath,

    “…I guess it begins with the hunt. As I said before, we aren’t… human. We are ‘magical’, ‘supernatural’ beings, or… I guess we are similar to werewolves, which is kinda cool, but that- that is off topic, haha. We aren’t werewolves, although I think werewolves were actually some of us. Rather, we are creatures who have existed alongside humanity for centuries, millennia even, and are just a little bit different.

    Elizabeth nodded as he took another breath, trying to follow his words, Nathaniel shutting his eyes briefly before continuing.

    “You’ve given us all sorts of names over the years, and depending where we are, the names change. In this part of the world, we were always called ‘the hunt’. And indeed, we do a lot of that.”

    He gave a toothy grin.

    “Our natural forms… also aren’t human. They differ from species to species – I, for examble, am a Growlithe – a kinda of dog, I guess. Tobias, the big scary guy, is a Cab- Cobaleo, or something, I believe, similar to a lion."

    Elizabeth nodded numbly, the memory of the glistening, polished teeth flickering once more into her mind - the flash of the canines as a growl rumbled from behind them. Tobias. She fought a shudder.

    "We have many, many different species, basically. The hunt itself is made up of mostly horse-types and canine, feline types, though, its just what makes up our community and always has. Oh, and the occasional bull, although they aren’t quite nimble enough, see."

    His expression spoke of an amusing past memory, his lips curving as he continued.

    "It’s just a quirk we have. All of these different species, however, are separated from the rest of the animals by one more thing, mmm? Each one has a different ‘power’, a different ability. It’s usually something that ties them to an element or the other, like fire, or water, or wind – I don’t know why we have them, but we do, and it’s pretty specific depending on the species. I can create and control fire all by myself, for example, as you’ve seen.” He paused to peer into her features, “Following alright so far?”

    She nodded. He smiled back.

    “These abilities occasionally allow us, or well the stronger ones of us, to even change our form at times, to that of another creature, such as normal animals and eventually humans, although the process is… painful, and hard to maintain.” He adopted a wry expression at that. “It was developed first as a power display, I believe, although it eventually became a survival measure. It was just an adoption of a shape, a body, with out any of the powers that shape would normally possess– and of all forms, a human is the easiest, I think because our minds are more similar. Whatever shape we adopt, you see, we adopt all of their limitations. The greatest shape shifters of our kind could take the shape of birds – but only at the great risk of losing themselves.”

    He paused to take another deep breath, screwing his eyes up in a moment of concentration as another ripple of trembles sunk through him. When he opened them, she noticed that his eyes were brighter, the gold sinking more into a rich scarlet.

    “Anyway, a couple thousand years or so ago, though, humans and our kind lived separately in joint territories, only occasionally overlapping, and regarded each other with animosity but peace. Well, kinda. The hunt used to possess all of the forests (they were much larger then, I’ve heard) and the lands around the mountains, and we built our homes up in the peaks, the places that most creatures did not have the strength or ability to reach. On certain occasions, however, when we needed to, or just when we wanted to, we went out ‘hunting’.

    “The hunts would be bloody and long, these wild chases after boar and deer and other such things, whatever caught our eye. The pack was ruthless, and proud – the lords would lead, followed by their nobles, and then the rest of us, and the ‘aristocracy’ demanded complete respect. Still does, really. Anyone who didn’t show proper respect when the hunt passed would be run down. Sometimes the horde even took itself through the human settlements, charging down their little dirt streets in the night, and the like. You have many legends and myths about the ‘raging horde’, or the ‘wild hunt’, as we eventually called ourselves.” He grinned a little toothily. “As I said before, you’ve named us both gods and demons.

    She watched him with wide eyes, her breath huffing out before in little clouds. “What happened?”

    Nathaniel shrugged.

    “I’m not certain when it all changed, but it did, at some point. We were never the only bunch of our kind out there – there were millions more living across this continent alone, joined by others across the world. Our numbers began to go down, though, while yours, humanity’s suddenly… exploded.”

    He poked at the soil with a toe.

    “We… live a long time, you see. If we aren’t physically killed, or taken down by a particularly strong disease, we can linger for centuries. The stronger ones even more than that. As a result, we have fewer kids.” He shrugged again at that. “Dunno why, we just… don’t. We take longer to grow up too, by your standards.

    “So there was that, and then there was also the civil wars. The different clans waged wars against each other, slashing down our numbers. By the time peace had been restored, the balance had already shifted, and the humans were grabbing at our borders. I don’t know what century that was in, but it was a good long time ago. I wasn’t born until long after.

    “And then there are the caul bearers.”

    They were huddled against the slope’s side at this point, Elizabeth gazing at the boy with a mixture of fascination and faint mystification as he spoke, ignoring her hair as it fluttered against her neck with the cool touch of a breeze. At his last words, however, she blinked, glancing down at her hands curled in her lap, the thoughts spinning in her mind.

    Caul bearers.

    That term again, as bewildering as this entire situation and somehow, apparently, linked directly to this. The story was unbelievable as it was, but-

    Somehow, she was caught in this fairy tale.

    “What exactly does it mean to have been born with the… ‘caul’? She asked with a frown, looking back to the boy. He watched her with a twist to his lips, evidently working to keep his hands still as they clasped together in the folds of his shirt – and her frown deepened, a thought striking her. He mentioned they lived long. “and… how…old are you?”

    His lips twisted into a rueful smile, evidently despite himself and he shrugged again. “We don’t keep count as you do, really.” He withdrew his hand from hers to grip his knees, cocking his head slightly as if listening to the hubbub above. It continued as it had the entire night, a warm wash of raised voices and the crackle of bonfires, mingled with the flickering orange light that blurred into the darkness. “I was born seven summer cycles ago, though, so around... seventy years ago? Yeah, seventy three of something.”

    She stared at him in shock.

    “You’re seventy years old.”

    He laughed, a blush colouring his cheeks. “Yeah, by your count, but really I’m only seven cycles.” He grinned. “Just a kid. If you were like me, you’d be hitting two hundred by now, fogey.”

    She blinked at him in wonderment, rousing herself enough to stick her tongue back at him in response. “Look who’s talking!”

    He giggled, wriggling his toes, before another tremor ran through him, shaking through him to the ends of his fingertips. Grip tightening on his knees, he cast his eyes down as he began to pant, the trembles increasing until they sent chatters through his teeth.

    Elizabeth reached out gingerly for his shoulders, clasping it awkwardly as the attack swelled to its crescendo. It was happening quicker this time, she realized. Discarding the fear that rose at the memory of the icy flames, she drew the boy towards her, cradling his feverishly hot, shaking body against her chest. The transformation was forcing itself sooner than it had before. The previous time must’ve worn him out.

    He glanced up at her gratefully, his eyes now a pure, deep shade of scarlet streaked with gold, and her heart broke at the expression within it.

    He still seemed so young.

    “Can’t- really hold this anymore,” he apologized through gritted teeth against her shirt, renewed pain straining his voice. “Can’t- speak in the other- form, but there- are people you should meet- anyway. Follow- me, ‘k?”

    She nodded, and after a moment he tugged himself lightly from her grasp and raised himself onto his feet, his pale skin shining dully in the dark. Waving his hand to stop her following him, he took a couple of slow, faltering steps before he shuddered to a halt. Despite the number of times she’d now witnessed the process, Elizabeth still flinched at the flare of the heatless flame, her heart wrenching as a soft keen shivered into the air. Within seconds the blue light faded and he was the small dog again, trembling paws shuffling in his discarded shirt, claws catching at the fabric.

    Picking himself up, the dog shook out its fur, sneezing a light spray of sparks, before turning to her with a short rasp of a bark, his ears perking as he waited for her to rise. Getting unsteadily to her feet, Elizabeth gathered Nathaniel’s clothes after a small thought, and followed him around the crest of the hilltop, farther and farther from the reach of the forest.

    She felt a strange sense of loss when the last of the pines slipped from view.

    Wherever she was going, there was little to no turning back now.
    Last edited by katiekitten; 17th May 2012 at 3:50 PM.


    Floating over your rocky spine
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  5. #30
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    And now the drama begins.

    Tobias is one bitter old Cobalion. It seems that the rest of the hunt fear him more than they respect him. You did a good job describing is cruelty in this chapter. I was very scared for Nathaniel and Elizabeth. I like how Elizabeth and Nathaniel both stood up to Tobias even though they were vastly outmatched.

    One thing that really interested me in this chapter was the whole truce between the hunt and the humans. Tobias said it was an outdated embarrassment while Nathaniel seems to think it is a worthwhile thing to keep. I wonder what the rest of the hunt think of it, although they are probably to scared of Tobias to disagree with him.

    The description was very good in this chapter, as it really captured the emotions felt by the characters. I can't wait to see how Elizabeth copes with everything when she wakes up. If I were her, I probably wouldn't be able to sleep for a few nights.

    By the way do you have a PM List. If you do, would you please add me to it?

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    Sharpening scissors, adjusting oxygen levels and steadying all photon cannons. Okay, I think we're ready to take off. =D

    Corrections are in bold.

    Chapter Four:

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    The disturbance was otherwise ignored by the surrounding demons as he’d expected
    With a few exceptions, active voice tends to be better than passive voice. Make the "surrounding demons" the subject of that sentence; it will strengthen the structure.

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    The boy’s first catch. He considered her with emotionless eyes, his lips pulled back in a partial snarl. The boy had chosen well.

    He tightened his hold and the boy shuddered beneath him.

    “Are you afraid, human?” he asked quietly.
    Well, you damn-well should be. D=

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    Her trembling increased satisfactorily, her onyx hair trickling prettily across her features, brushing against her lips – but she remained where she was, against his expectations. She was stubborn, it seemed.
    I never liked "prettily" as an adverb, especially in combination with something like "onyx" or "azure". Substitute "prettily" for a more concrete adverb (perhaps one that describes motion?) or remove the words altogether. Sometimes, less is more.

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    A heavier paw bore down on the cub, cutting his whimpering off with a sharp yelp. A flicker of movement before him, however, distracted him, and he turned back to the woman. A pained expression painted across her features, she inched closer, despite the fear that steeped her scent. He gazed at her in surprise.

    The mortal was brave.

    Not enough.
    Your balance between action and emotion is commendable. I'd attribute the fluidity of that excerpt to your use of concrete verbs. =) Watch that long sentence, though. It's not as bad as your other offenders from previous chapters, but it's skirting the fine line. You could leave the sentence in there, but I would personally shorten it.

    The 'Not enough' was a nice, ominous line. Poor girl.


    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    With a yelp of bark, the cub took advantage of his distraction to wiggle free and throw himself before the girl, not noticing her flinch as he scraped to a halt before her. Foxfire flaring from his nostrils and the edges of his mouth, the growlithe arched and with a soft roar of flames was a boy again, crouched on his hands and knees, a grimace painted across his features.

    Tobias’s disgust stirred once more at the sight, and he lowered himself onto his haunches, a growl rumbling in his chest.

    The boy besmirched his blood with his obsession.

    “Would you rather be a human, child?” Snarls curled around the question, stunted claws clenching into the soil.
    Nathaniel and Lizzie's relationship is intriguing. The depth of their emotions in this chapter enthralls the reader. However, the underscored sentence needs some cutting. Divide, and then you'll conquer. xD

    Tobias shouldn't be a name for a baddie, though. What about the Animorphs. D= [/irrational Animorphs-fan moment]

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    Nathaniel’s answer was forced between pants, and the boy swung himself upright, oblivious to his nakedness, placing himself between the stag and the girl.

    “I’d rather not be a beast.”
    I know you're trying to say that Nathaniel's breathing is heavy, but somehow I read the line as Nate's words were forced between somebody's trousers. xD You don't have to reword it, but might I suggest a different word to 'pants'? 'Gasps' could work.


    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    If it were a millennium ago, he would’ve torn down the slope and challenged the boy for his insolence, slaughtering the girl before him as proof of his victory. A millennium ago, the girl would be only a whisper of an old legend told to the young as they suckled at their wet nurses breast, a frightened traveler’s dying wish as he was run down by the hunt, the lead hounds braying as they nipped at his already bloodied heals.

    A millennium ago he would still have been a lord.
    Nice use of detail and parallel phrasing.


    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    The fire twisted and spat at the sky, a shower of sparks hissing into the grass as a log slipped in the depths of its embers.
    Ember days...


    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    The child in question hurtled the few feet down the slope to where he’d abandoned his clothes, throwing himself down onto the slope and pressing into the grass in an attempt to hide, his ears straining to catch signs of further pursuit.
    That is one gargantuan sentence. My word, it's like Jane Austen all over again. Austen is a terrific writer, but I don't think Ember Days is intended to be a Regency-era novel. xP

    Although both of you do seem to have a protagonist called Elizabeth...

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    This was insanity, she knew.
    Stating the obvious in an understatement, Elizabeth?

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    “Our natural forms… also aren’t human. They differ from species to species – I, for examble, am a Growlithe – a kinda of dog, I guess. Tobias, the big scary guy, is a Cab- Cobaleo, or something, I believe, similar to a lion. We have many, many different species, basically. The hunt itself is made up of mostly horse-types and canine, feline types, though, its just what makes up our community and always has. Oh, and the occasional bull, although they aren’t quite nimble enough, see. It’s just a quirk we have. All of these different species, however, are separated from the rest of the animals by one more thing, mmm? Each one has a different ‘power’, a different ability. It’s usually something that ties them to an element or the other, like fire, or water, or wind – I don’t know why we have them, but we do, and it’s pretty specific depending on the species. I can create and control fire all by myself, for example, as you’ve seen.” He paused to peer into her features, “Following alright so far?”
    This paragraph is entirely expo-speak. It's so dense that the readers might not be able to process all the information. Cut it down, somehow, into smaller portions. One way of accomplishing this is through including Elizabeth's reaction to individual morsels of news.

    On another note, deft explanation. You conveyed the necessary information without compromising Nate's voice. Good job.

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    He mentioned they lived long. “and… how…old are you?”
    "Seventeen," said the sparkly sparkle.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. xD Elizabeth's response to the news is naturalistic, by the way. She doesn't seem too accepting or too anxious, which is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    He laughed, a blush colouring his cheeks. “Yeah, by your count, but really I’m only seven cycles.” He grinned. “Just a kid. If you were like me, you’d be hitting two hundred by now, fogey.”

    She blinked at him in wonderment, rousing herself enough to stick her tongue back at him in response. “Look who’s talking!”
    There's some great character interaction between these two. If Nate was a bit older, or Elizabeth was younger, I'd call it romantic chemistry.

    *discards the Shipping Goggles*

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    Wherever she was going, there was little to no turning back now.
    A suitably cliffhanger-ish final line.

    Overall, your strong suits are still present: your description, your portrayal of Nathaniel, and your depiction of Elizabeth/Nathaniel. However, be wary of those long sentences - and long paragraphs. Expo-speak itself isn't bad, but it can bore readers if it's one, big info-dump. Break your exposition into bite-sized pieces, especially if a character is delivering the information through dialogue. Focusing occasionally on the information's recipient is one way of slicing those dense passages.

    Anyway, I'll continue to praise your work for what it is. Keep it up, and start posting this on PC as well. =D

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    Okay--now everything makes sense enough so I understand what's going on here.

    I will second the suggestion to watch the infodumps--putting them in dialogue is one way to break it up.

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    I will second the suggestion to watch the infodumps--putting them in dialogue is one way to break it up.
    Wait, aren't they in speech already?

    As I said when I was beta'ing KK, despite the need for a long explanation, you slid it in well - and the image of the two of them crouched against the hillside, with the roar of the bonfire and creatures behind them, is primal and gorgeous.

    Even with breaks for grammar fixing and editing, your writing style brought me right back into the middle of the scene; the emotion within your characters really endears you to them, and makes this. Your characterization possesses this, always, and I will always adore how you do this. <3

    Write more soon, 'kay? ;D

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  9. #34
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    catzeye: I'm glad you liked it~! :3 Haha, indeed! Tobias can be scary when he wants to be, the little old fool. x3 I'm glad you liked him though.

    Oh, poor Elizabeth when she does finally wake up from all this, indeed - that's going to be fun to write. x3

    I will make one~! x3 I love those lil things. x3 I'll be sure to let you know, I'm really glad you're enjoying this. x3 Thank you again!

    Draco~ *noogies* x333 Thank you for the review! Your scissors are very useful again, thank you - I've skipped through it and tried to iron out the points that you noted. I dithered on whether to use 'prettily' or not - I normally hate it when people use those sorts of adjectives, but on the other hand I was aware of the point of view I was writing from and I wanted him to make such an observation... That can be implied in other ways, though. ;3

    The dialogue info dump has been spaced out a little more as well. :3 Hopefully it should read a little easier now - I'm glad I did manage to retain Nate's voice, in the end, I was keeping an eye out for it. x3

    :x There is a very good Animorph-related reason to why I love the name Tobias so much... xD That should also give you a hint about the eventual path of this character, although I will keep my mouth shut for now. ;x

    I was tempted to pair the two at one point, I will admit. ;D I have greater plans for the two of them, though. :3

    'Ember Days'... You'll understand soon. ;3

    Flaming: I'm glad it makes sense now. :3

    Ejun: *smothers in cookies and kisses all parts visible* Thank you so much for your help with all of this, by the way, my dear! That's a good point - I need to put your name in nice big letters at the beginning of this all. x3 You did an awesome job with the Betaing, thank you so much~!


    Floating over your rocky spine
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    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

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    ::fellow Animorphs fan here!--didn't really like the ending::

  11. #36
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    Ack, sorry for not reviewing the last couple chapters, KK! D: I’ve been busy with loads of stuff as I told you before. Okay, here are my thoughts on Chapters 2, 3, and 4 as I was reading them:

    Chapter Two
    I really like the part where Elizabeth thought about the stories of women being kidnapped and raped. That’s one of my fears whenever I’m alone. D: I had to laughed though when she asked herself, “why was the rapist so small?” XD

    Speaking of which, I love Nathaniel already. It was cute when he said he had this huge speech to Elizabeth and that she’ll love it. XD Also, I like his answer to Elizabeth’s question if she was dreaming or not, hehe.

    Chapter Three
    Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s interaction in the first part I really like a lot. LOL over Nathaniel showing Elizabeth some ”magic” there. Aw over him sad when he said he’s not really human and that he’s part of the hunt. :< Interesting over his reference how the people would call the human/animal mix gods and then demons.

    She would see him home. No-one deserved to suffer alone.
    Okay, this line had me go “d’awwwwwww” over Elizabeth going to take Nathaniel home. :3

    Oh, so Nathaniel got turned into a Growlithe all of a sudden? Also, Cobalion, as in the legendary Pokemon from Unova? Curious as to what role you have for him in this story.

    Chapter Four
    Tobias is an interesting character so far. His argument with Nathaniel is quite intense, especially the part where the Cobalion asks Nathaniel if he would rather be a beast or human. What got to me are his thoughts over Elizabeth and Nathaniel being challenged and him still be a lord if the time was long ago.

    She stared at him in shock.

    “You’re seventy years old.”

    He laughed, a blush colouring his cheeks. “Yeah, by your count, but really I’m only seven cycles.” He grinned. “Just a kid. If you were like me, you’d be hitting two hundred by now, fogey.”
    LOL, again this is why I love Nathaniel. I do love what you have going on with the “hunt” so far and also for some reason I like the info over the hunt living for a long time.

    Overall, I’m really liking this and it’s shaping into an awesome story so far. Can’t wait for the next chapter!


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  12. #37
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    Nice chapters. I'm not really the biggest fan of Tobias the Cobalion... -_-

    And I Lol'd at the part when Elizabeth found out that Nathaniel was 70. xP

    Like I said before, nice chapters.
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    FR: It was written by ghost writers by the end, wasn't it? I wasn't too fond of it either haha

    Bay: <3! Thank you for catching up, I appreciate it - and I'm certainly going to read the FMA thing when you finish~! I'm glad you liked the bit when Nathaniel screwed with the magic, haha - he was just digging himself into a bigger hole, neh? x33 I had way too much fun with nat, I must admit...

    He did, he's just a beginner at transforming, you see, and the use of the fire attack took a lot out of him on top of that. He's a bit of a div. xD

    X3 I'm glad you like the rest~! Tobias - we will be seeing a lot more of him, so we'll see how it all unfolds :3 He is quite interesting, the silly fellow. Thank you again, Bay m'dear! *snugs tight*

    xxbaconxx~! *hugs tight* x3 Thank you for reviewing~! xD Yeah, Tobias is a little cruel here, isn't he? Daft fellow. I'm glad you liked the '70' bit, it was fun to write. :3 <3 Glad you liked it~!


    Floating over your rocky spine
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    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

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    If it had been me, I would've made the Animorphs save the universe and live to tell the tale

    Is your Cobalion actually a human trapped in that form? (just as his namesake was trapped as a hawk)

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    xD That would've been much happier. And no, not quite - he's just like Nathaniel in that he can change into human form (much more adept at it to), he just isn't as happy to do it. But that's for later chapters. ;x


    Floating over your rocky spine
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    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

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    D: Quick post just to let everyone know I'm putting this story briefly on a break - I'm back at University, and have consequently lost all free time. I will try and keep writing this, though, so expect the occasional update - just few and far in-between. D:


    Floating over your rocky spine
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    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

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    Here's that review that you've been waiting all these months for, lol.

    First off: Mistakes I noticed

    Quote Originally Posted by From Chapter 1
    The lecturer – Guest Speaker A. Hickory, delivering a talk on social stigma and sexism in the early Orreon church – chose that moment to switch on his presentation with a burst of fanfare, and Elizaveth was therefore forced to swallow her further protests. Turning, stiffly, towards the front, her cheeks burned once more as Lily giggled beside her.
    Self-explanatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter 2
    He also sported, Elizabeth noted dimly as the boy placed a hand on the wrong side of his chest, an equally-red tail that drooped down between his legs to his bare, dirtied feet. It brushed against the dark-stained wood of her door with a faint rasp, its cream tip flicking occasionally from side to side.
    No need for the hyphen there.

    Quote Originally Posted by From Chapter 3
    She stumbled backwards, only able to grasp at the air as Nathaniel writhed into a foetalposition, his cries deepening into guttural growls, falling once more to her knees as the boy she knew as Nathaniel shuddered from view. Shock rendering her speechless, she watched as the flames quickly consumed the boy she’d gotten to know and care about, the one who reminded her so much of her little brother.
    Should be spelled, "fetal."

    And now for my thoughts on the actual story itself:

    Prolouge: Your opening paragraph sets the scene perfectly. The description here is wonderful, and you can almost feel the cool night air on your skin. It's intros like this that impress me. Moving on, you've made me wonder, "Who is this strange child? And why doesn't he have any parents that are keeping an eye on him late at night? What's going on in two days? And what the heck is his connection to Elizabeth?" And on Elizabeth: You haven't really done much characterization with her in the prolouge, (which is okay, because it's just a prolouge) but you can still tell how Elizabeth is feeling. A superb prolouge, my friend. Description is what makes this awesome!

    WILL UPDATE SOON!
    Last edited by Phoopes; 24th December 2011 at 9:11 AM.
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    Hello, this is part of the review exchange, sorry for taking so long to return the favor.

    Truth be told, I find this story rather slow and boring. You give descriptions that are rather deep, but some times you just do too much and it becomes draggy when you could use quicker simpler words with the same meaning. If there were any mistakes, I didn't notice them so I doubt nay casual reader would, so your fine with grammar. Actually, no, I noticed a few mistakes on rereading. At one point in chapter two towards the end, you refer to Elizabeth as Elizaveth. In the first line of chapter 2 you have "her self" instead of "herself". And in the second sentence you said she dragged the window down in a single snap, which I'm pretty sure is misusing drag as that is to pull one thing against another.

    It also seems unrealistic that she would immediately disregard their cat as a source of the movement because it sleeps around Anthony's feet as cats are rather unpredictable, even if you know them, and if it was awake it could be anywhere in the house, but that doesn't really matter much.You also seem to repeat stuff a little, such as when describing the smell of the boy in chapter two, you describe it as "smell of musky smell of earth and dead leaves" which makes absolutely no sense. Does he smell like musk, or earth and dead leaves? And if I'm missing something and musk describes the smell of earth and dead leaves, which with my understanding of musk it doesn't, you don't need the "smell of" before musky.

    Sometimes, your characters just don't seem realistic at all. Such as in chapter three after the fire thing when she was like "Why aren't I dead" in her head even though she was already told that it was a dream, so it wouldn't have logically hurt her to begin with, despite what she said about it being illogical. And a small thing, but you know that feral means wild, right? Because when you used it to describe Nathaniel's smile it just seemed weird and made me think more wolf with a fresh kill than happy kid, but that may have been the point as you later described his smile as wolfish. I wouldn't call Cobalion a stag in the slightest, but I guess he is a bit weird.

    Sorry for kinda jumping around and changing some things mid-sentence, that's just kinda the way I work and it came out as I thought it. Over all, good quality, but I don't like it and probably won't be reading more.

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    Phoops: Thankies my dear, I can't wait for the finished review~! *snuggles* I'll go get those typos right now, they always slip in haha! x3

    Kissmygrass: Thanks for the review, even if it was a little belated, my dear. ;3 It's a shame you enjoy the story, but each to their own mm?

    First, the grammar corrections: Elizaveta strikes again! xD As does 'herself' - I find it impossible to catch such things, haha. Will be quashed. :3 On the use of 'drag', though, I'm afraid I have to disagree - the verb 'to drag' does not require or forbid there being a destination of the moved object. Aka you can drag things into other things, across them, off of them, or just drag them. The window was being dragged down until it was shut. How is it misused, then...?

    On the amount of description, this story is quite heavy with it, I don't deny it. I'm sorry you found it too much. I found that little section with the 'smell' a little difficult to write, something I'm certain was evident in the fact I repeated 'smell' in the same sentence. xD I was using musk to describe the 'feel' of the smell, as a thicker, fuller scent- some words remained from an earlier draft there, I'll sort them. ;3 If her thought about the cat seems unrealistic to you, I'll be happy to change it, I didn't think its presence would be so jarring. It was such a little passing thought - I placed it there because I assumed that while Cats are quite unpredictable, they are also prone to the force of habit, and I figured Buyo'd be shut in with the kid. No opposable thumbs, can't open doors. You are right though, I probably shouldn't have assumed as much. I'll give that a lil spiff. x3

    I would, however, like to focus on what you've said about my characterisation. Feel free to confront me at any point, I'm just running through your critique, and am quite happy to discuss any point through with you. x3

    At no point in the piece have I confirmed that this experience is a dream, for one.

    She was told that it was, but her experiences were supposed to run contrary to that and mirror realism, as much as was possible - her thoughts and emotions, primarily. The world she is within is dreamlike, but she herself is fully conscious. Despite what she's been told, therefore, when someone attacks her with fire, she reacts as she normally would - fear, expectation of pain. It's instinctive, especially as it was an unexpected event - she was not told that she couldn't be harmed by fire or that there was going to be any, just that she was 'in a dream of sorts'.

    Even if it were a 'real dream', per se, you would still be able tp experience the same thing. I've dreamt about almost drowning, before, being unable to reach air and struggling to hold my breath until I couldn't anymore. It was only because it was a dream that in taking that final forced breath I realised I could 'breathe underwater'. xD Dreams, eh? Before then, though, I was panicking, struggling to reach the surface. Therefore, not all dreams are able to remove your natural fears. You shouldn't generalise, m'dear.

    Your expectation that she'd just believe what she has been told, as well, and be able to draw that knowledge to suppress such primal reactions, is a bit of a leap, as well.

    Rationally, if you were perfectly conscious, no matter what weird place you may have found yourself in, you still don't instinctively accept what others say, do you? You have preconceptions that are very difficult to shake. Especially when it is someone you've only just met, and have no reason to trust, and who broke into your room. She felt like she couldn't /not/ trust him, as he's only a child, an innocent, trustworthy looking one, but... she's so disoriented. She doesn't protest when he leads you away, because indeed, why shouldn't she trust him? That doesn't mean she intrinsically believed and trusted him, though, and that is a crucial distinction. Following is a passive form of trust - but she doesn't actively trust him to believe everything he says, particularly as the evidence doesn't quite support it. Other factors, events, sways her response to him, and the levels of trust she holds, but none can make her trust him without doubt. I think I only have one person I could possibly say I trust to that extent, if that. And it would take that level of trust to completely override such basic instincts- if they even could, because they are not conscious reactions, are they? It's the subconscious. As a rational, conscious human being, are these reactions unrealistic?

    In what way, additionally, does it being a 'dream' mean that no harm can come to her, and that she shouldn't be afraid? I think even the word 'nightmare' sums that up nicely. xD I've had some pretty twisted ones in the past. Fear, as well, is not an emotion limited to reality. He never guaranteed that she would not come to harm, just told her she was in a dream 'of sorts'. So your leap is a little out there, at least rationally. In her rational mind, would she make such a leap from 'dream' to nothing can touch me? She may feel a little bit more comfortable, safe, but when confronted with fire without any preparation, she would forget that in a moment because there is not a link here between the rational lack of fear and instinctive fear. It is very hard to control instinctive fear with rationality, even with preparation, and I don't see why she'd think to prepare herself for such a thing because it was just a 'dream'. It was a shocking experience, the last thing she expected, impossible to prepare for.

    I've discussed rationality, now let's place this in a dream situation. ;3 I'm quite enjoying this.

    I just see no reason why being in a dream should mean that she instinctively trusts him. If all of the evidence supported what he was saying, then perhaps she would believe him that it was a dream, but is all sense and reason lost in a dream? Some of it is, yes, but all?

    Again, I would not draw from 'dream' that things such as fire could not harm me - I'd be less afraid, yes, if I knew I was just dreaming, but I would not be able to smother such an instinctive reaction if we are going by anything realistic. Once more, there are instinctive fears that are not mutually exclusive to the 'real world', and uncontrollable by even a fragment of a rational mind.

    Not all dreams are the same though, I understand that. They defy reality. Therefore, it is likely that you could have a dream where you wouldn't be afraid. But that wouldn't be realistic, would it? That'd just be because the dream is dictating the different factors. Dreams are like that. In real life, you would not be able to discard your natural fears in such a way. Indeed, dreams let you do whatever you like. Remember that, though. It doesn't constrain you to one interpretation of a dream state, and one type of dream with the same rules that we all experience. That means that you shouldn't generalise. Not all dreams are as unrealistic as others, it differs for everyone each time. If in your dreams you're impervious to fire and know it, then good for you.

    Back to the story. I've already pointed out that I never said that this was not a dream, and indeed, it's not. Therefore, she is fully conscious, and able to rationalise. Apply the above sections on rationality and voila, the reasons behind her actions. xD You wouldn't believe how challenging I found the characterisation in this, I swear - I've given it a lot of thought, as I'm sure you can tell from the above. I tried to play out throughout the struggle between her intense confusion, struggling with whether to 'see the dream through', and her rational mind, which is certainly still present and working furiously to comprehend what it's been confronted with. I set myself quite the challenge - it took forever to figure out how to get Elizabeth to even follow Nathaniel.

    Some reactions never change, though. ;3

    Feral was indeed intended. x3 He isn't human. I may move it to a different point, though.

    If you disagree with me at any point, m'dear, do speak up! Thank you again for the review, though, I'll go get those edits x3
    Last edited by katiekitten; 24th December 2011 at 9:52 PM.


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  20. #45
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    Despite the huge success of Inception, controlling your dreams is a difficult skill to master, and starts with the knowledge you are in a dream. Unless you know you are definitely in a dream (you can tell through some common problems, such as blank books), your control is limited, and actually, that is the whole premise of Inception in the first place - tricking the consciousness that their dream is reality. I bring up the movie, as it can show that dream states are easily controlled and recognisable - which, in reality, is unlikely. I'd still be afraid for my life. >U<

    Also, while Cobalion is genderless, which is improbable by itself, there is a strong resemblance to a stag. If you can say a steel type creature could be physiologically similar to anything. xD

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  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    Kissmygrass: Thanks for the review, even if it was a little belated, my dear. ;3 It's a shame you enjoy the story, but each to their own mm? Yeah, to each their own.

    First, the grammar corrections: Elizaveta strikes again! xD As does 'herself' - I find it impossible to catch such things, haha. Will be quashed. :3 On the use of 'drag', though, I'm afraid I have to disagree - the verb 'to drag' does not require or forbid there being a destination of the moved object. Aka you can drag things into other things, across them, off of them, or just drag them. The window was being dragged down until it was shut. How is it misused, then...? Well then. Like I said, I may have been wrong about the whole drag thing.

    On the amount of description, this story is quite heavy with it, I don't deny it. I'm sorry you found it too much. I found that little section with the 'smell' a little difficult to write, something I'm certain was evident in the fact I repeated 'smell' in the same sentence. xD I was using musk to describe the 'feel' of the smell, as a thicker, fuller scent- some words remained from an earlier draft there, I'll sort them. ;3 If her thought about the cat seems unrealistic to you, I'll be happy to change it, I didn't think its presence would be so jarring. It was such a little passing thought - I placed it there because I assumed that while Cats are quite unpredictable, they are also prone to the force of habit, and I figured Buyo'd be shut in with the kid. No opposable thumbs, can't open doors. You are right though, I probably shouldn't have assumed as much. I'll give that a lil spiff. x3 Oh, it doesn't matter, it just stood out as a little thing to me and I wanted to try and include as much as I could to make up for taking so long.

    I would, however, like to focus on what you've said about my characterisation. Feel free to confront me at any point, I'm just running through your critique, and am quite happy to discuss any point through with you. x3

    At no point in the piece have I confirmed that this experience is a dream, for one.

    She was told that it was, but her experiences were supposed to run contrary to that and mirror realism, as much as was possible - her thoughts and emotions, primarily. The world she is within is dreamlike, but she herself is fully conscious. Despite what she's been told, therefore, when someone attacks her with fire, she reacts as she normally would - fear, expectation of pain. It's instinctive, especially as it was an unexpected event - she was not told that she couldn't be harmed by fire or that there was going to be any, just that she was 'in a dream of sorts'.

    Even if it were a 'real dream', per se, you would still be able tp experience the same thing. I've dreamt about almost drowning, before, being unable to reach air and struggling to hold my breath until I couldn't anymore. It was only because it was a dream that in taking that final forced breath I realised I could 'breathe underwater'. xD Dreams, eh? Before then, though, I was panicking, struggling to reach the surface. Therefore, not all dreams are able to remove your natural fears. You shouldn't generalise, m'dear.

    Your expectation that she'd just believe what she has been told, as well, and be able to draw that knowledge to suppress such primal reactions, is a bit of a leap, as well.

    Rationally, if you were perfectly conscious, no matter what weird place you may have found yourself in, you still don't instinctively accept what others say, do you? You have preconceptions that are very difficult to shake. Especially when it is someone you've only just met, and have no reason to trust, and who broke into your room. She felt like she couldn't /not/ trust him, as he's only a child, an innocent, trustworthy looking one, but... she's so disoriented. She doesn't protest when he leads you away, because indeed, why shouldn't she trust him? That doesn't mean she intrinsically believed and trusted him, though, and that is a crucial distinction. Following is a passive form of trust - but she doesn't actively trust him to believe everything he says, particularly as the evidence doesn't quite support it. Other factors, events, sways her response to him, and the levels of trust she holds, but none can make her trust him without doubt. I think I only have one person I could possibly say I trust to that extent, if that. And it would take that level of trust to completely override such basic instincts- if they even could, because they are not conscious reactions, are they? It's the subconscious. As a rational, conscious human being, are these reactions unrealistic?

    In what way, additionally, does it being a 'dream' mean that no harm can come to her, and that she shouldn't be afraid? I think even the word 'nightmare' sums that up nicely. xD I've had some pretty twisted ones in the past. Fear, as well, is not an emotion limited to reality. He never guaranteed that she would not come to harm, just told her she was in a dream 'of sorts'. So your leap is a little out there, at least rationally. In her rational mind, would she make such a leap from 'dream' to nothing can touch me? She may feel a little bit more comfortable, safe, but when confronted with fire without any preparation, she would forget that in a moment because there is not a link here between the rational lack of fear and instinctive fear. It is very hard to control instinctive fear with rationality, even with preparation, and I don't see why she'd think to prepare herself for such a thing because it was just a 'dream'. It was a shocking experience, the last thing she expected, impossible to prepare for.

    I've discussed rationality, now let's place this in a dream situation. ;3 I'm quite enjoying this.

    I just see no reason why being in a dream should mean that she instinctively trusts him. If all of the evidence supported what he was saying, then perhaps she would believe him that it was a dream, but is all sense and reason lost in a dream? Some of it is, yes, but all?

    Again, I would not draw from 'dream' that things such as fire could not harm me - I'd be less afraid, yes, if I knew I was just dreaming, but I would not be able to smother such an instinctive reaction if we are going by anything realistic. Once more, there are instinctive fears that are not mutually exclusive to the 'real world', and uncontrollable by even a fragment of a rational mind.

    Not all dreams are the same though, I understand that. They defy reality. Therefore, it is likely that you could have a dream where you wouldn't be afraid. But that wouldn't be realistic, would it? That'd just be because the dream is dictating the different factors. Dreams are like that. In real life, you would not be able to discard your natural fears in such a way. Indeed, dreams let you do whatever you like. Remember that, though. It doesn't constrain you to one interpretation of a dream state, and one type of dream with the same rules that we all experience. That means that you shouldn't generalise. Not all dreams are as unrealistic as others, it differs for everyone each time. If in your dreams you're impervious to fire and know it, then good for you.

    Back to the story. I've already pointed out that I never said that this was not a dream, and indeed, it's not. Therefore, she is fully conscious, and able to rationalise. Apply the above sections on rationality and voila, the reasons behind her actions. xD You wouldn't believe how challenging I found the characterisation in this, I swear - I've given it a lot of thought, as I'm sure you can tell from the above. I tried to play out throughout the struggle between her intense confusion, struggling with whether to 'see the dream through', and her rational mind, which is certainly still present and working furiously to comprehend what it's been confronted with. I set myself quite the challenge - it took forever to figure out how to get Elizabeth to even follow Nathaniel.

    Some reactions never change, though. ;3

    Feral was indeed intended. x3 He isn't human. I may move it to a different point, though.

    If you disagree with me at any point, m'dear, do speak up! Thank you again for the review, though, I'll go get those edits x3
    I gave little input on a few small things in bold in there, but that big huge thing I'll respond to here.

    I know the whole thing wasn't truly a dream, but she was told that it was and had been given no prove by that point it wasn't. It's like how in Romeo and Juliet after Juliet pretended to die, we as an audience knew she was still alive, but Romeo thought she was dead and had no prove to believe otherwise and reacted as such. And it is just a common believe that stuff that happens in dreams can't actually hurt you, so with the fact it wasn't truly a dream I'd think she would still act like it was one, but with a bit of a clearer head. But it's your story so don't let anything I say bother you.

  22. #47
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    I completely understand what you mean about the difference between the audience and character's perception of a situation, but in this case it isn't really relevant. Let me break it down...

    First, the comparison doesn't work. Plays and novels are two completely different forms of writing, particularly in this case. In a play, you can see what all of the characters are doing and thinking at the same time (soliloques, those long speeches of thought the Shakespeare is fond of), and therefore, like in Romeo and Juliet, know that Juliet isn't really dead. In this story, however, I've written in a perspective called third person limited. This is when you write completely from the point of view of a character. We can only see what she notices, only know what she knows, only hear her thoughts. Very different from the situation in Romeo and Juliet. Yes, we may be able to read more into the things that the character notices then she may be able to, and therefore come to different conclusions. However, there is a vast difference between the two, and what the audience is able to know, so it's a bit of a simplified comparison.

    Moreover, this entire question of what the audience believes and what the character believes, is still irrelevant. Throughout, I've only been discussing the situation from how she has been experiencing it, and the natural response that she, just like Romeo, would have to the situation.

    I guess we'll just agree to disagree over how a person would react in this situation. :3 To put it simply, I simply don't agree that someone, whether they can think normally or not, would be able to override all of their fear due to one belief/piece of knowledge, no matter how much they believe in it. With something as weak as her belief in being within a dream, you have certainly misread the situation. In my opinion and experience there are some emotions that can't be overridden, or can only be overridden with difficulty and preparation, as earlier explained. Additionally, I cannot agree with your statement that 'it is common knowledge that you can't be hurt in dreams' for the initial, simple reason that if this was true, nightmares would not exist. Nightmares are dreams. Fear is perfectly real inside the dream world, and so even if she was dreaming, her reaction would still be completely justified. Again, you've generalised/simplified a belief that not all hold, which is certainly unrealistic.

    If the character wasn't conscious and this was a dream, the situation may be slightly different, true, but only within the parameters (specifications) outlines above. However, it is a fact that she is fully awake. She is fully conscious, and this naturally changes how she responds to the situation. This does not change whether she believes she's dreaming or not, or whether the audience believe it or not. I believe you misunderstood my explanation of why she had such a rational mind (given for your sake so you understand that it is an element of the plot) as saying that she unrealistically knows she that she isn;t in a dream. I have not said this. I only pointed out that I never said it was a dream to give you an explanation for why the unchangeable feature of her characterisation, her rationality, is there. The presence of her fully functioning mind does not change whether you know or not, or whether she realises it or not. She simply has 'a bit of a clearer head'. Fact. This changes how she reacts to the situation. Fact. If she knows it's a dream or not, or whether you know it or not, does not change how being able to think clearly changes the way you think about a situation. It is completely irrelevant.

    And on where I stand regarding naturalistic responses, when fully conscious or not, I believe I don't need to repeat myself. xD

    Simply, the characterisation is actually telling you more about what is truly happening in the story. Her conscious mind in a 'dream' is, indeed, an anomaly. (Not her reaction to fear, that I believe is naturalistic, but the sheer fact that she can think clearly) It is not an accidental one due to bad characterisation, however, but a key part of the story, and it reveals quite an important plot point that becomes evident only later: that this is not a dream, but perfectly real.

    Don't worry, you're not, I just like hashing things out. Debating is a key part of my degree, and practise is always welcome. x3


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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    her self
    Herself; one word.

    She dragged it shut with a little snap and turned to slump back into her bed, her teeth still chattering a discordant tune.
    For some reason, I really like this description. Probably because not that many people use the word "discordant," and it's such a fantastic word for reasons that have nothing to do with other fangirl pursuits of mine.

    as a scrambling, accompanied by a snuffling noise,
    It took a couple of read-throughs to grasp this detail completely. I feel like it'd be better if you just said "as a scrambling and a snuffling noise" to avoid having to break apart the sentence too frequently.

    That's actually one of the things that I'm noticing right off the bat. It's really not bad writing – in fact, I do like the description a lot – but it carries an almost disjointed tone because a lot of the sentences contain dependent clauses interrupting trains of thought partway through. While she might be a little bit scattered in thought at the moment, it might be better to smooth out the narration a bit by taking out all those parenthetical thoughts (like "accompanied by a shuffling noise") and finding ways to integrate them into the main clauses of your sentences.

    the animal's smell of musky smell
    Suggestion: Maybe "the animal's scent of musk and earth and dead leaves"? Otherwise, you end up being redundant with the two uses of "smell" here, and a feeling of repetitiveness occurs with the use of the word "of" so close together. While the "of" bit can be taken or left, it's definitely advisable to at least take out one "smell."

    Oh Anthony, grandfather-! She thought wordlessly,
    Believe it or not, the "she thought" is actually a dialogue tag unless you mean to say that she continued thinking beyond that italicized part. The reason why is because "she thought" actually describes a character's line of dialogue, even if it's internal. With that said, it should actually be treated as a dialogue tag by keeping the "she" lowercase.

    While we're on the subject, you don't really need to say she thought wordlessly. It's apparent by the fact that she's thinking that she isn't speaking, and because her thoughts are embodied in words at the moment, it's clear that she isn't thinking wordlessly.

    Moreover, you'll want to remove that comma because either way, this isn't a compound sentence. Note that if you replace the comma and conjunction with a period, you'll end up with one full sentence and one fragment. That's your cue that you're not working with a compound.

    Shaking, she grasped forward for the door handle- only to feel two small hands already clinging to the knob firmly, a small shadow the height of her midriff braced in front of her only escape route.
    To begin here, I'd say replace the dash with either a comma or an ellipsis. The dash doesn't quite signal the right length for a pause there.

    Second, you'd most likely be better off separating the part about the small shadow into its own sentence. As it stands, this complete quote is a bit wordy, rendering that last dependent clause a little awkward.

    why was the rapist so small?
    I'd suggest capitalizing "why" and putting this whole thing in its own sentence. The reason why is because to Elizabeth, this is a complete sentence, so it should be behaving as such.

    Elizabeth recoiled backwards,
    Typically, when you recoil, you go backwards anyway, so you don't need the "backwards" part.

    A mop of russet hair flopping untidily across his eyes, he fixed her with an imploring look.
    It's an adorable description, but this is a comma splice. Try replacing the comma with a period. Notice how you get two sentences as a result? If you can do that when you put a comma in your work, that's your signal that you should either add a conjunction there (in addition to the comma) or simply end the first part of the sentence and put the second part on its own.

    I have this big speech I get to say and all, you’ll see, it’s really cool, I just gotta, gotta remember it.
    While the kid might not respect grammar, it's best to punctuate his sentences properly for him, just so it's easier on the reader. So, this would actually be three or four sentences that are strung together as one long comma splice – meaning they'll need to be separated. (Same thing with the sentence after that.)

    and yet
    Believe it or not, phrases like these are actually redundant. The reason why is because both of these words are conjunctions that are capable of connecting two independent clauses in a compound sentence. You actually don't need both at the same time in that case because it'd be a lot like putting down two commas.

    she made to clarify
    I'd suggest "she tried to clarify." "Made to clarify" sounds a bit vague.

    she found herself relaxing,
    I followed your train of thought up until just after this comma. The reason why is because I read this part as she was relaxing because she realized it was a dream, but the rest seems to go off on a completely different subject. (Also, the structure of the dependent clauses following this piece makes it a little difficult to figure out just what you're trying to say.)

    Elizabeth attempted to understand the boy’s question, but gave up after puzzling over his use of the word ‘adventure’.
    A trick: Whenever you want to put a comma and conjunction in a sentence, replace them with a period first. If what you get as a result is two complete sentences, leave the comma and conjunction in because it's a compound. If you don't get two complete sentences, leave the comma out because it's not.


    I have to admit that I skimped a little bit on the last couple of pages, but even then, besides the kinds of things I've already pointed out, your writing was pretty clean.

    So let's talk about the story.

    One of the things you mentioned in the Review Game thread was that you didn't like the first two chapters. I skimmed those, but even though I didn't think they were that bad, I honestly believe that it's okay if you took them out. This feels like a much stronger beginning. If we consider this chapter on its own, we get a thorough glimpse of Elizabeth, and her journey actually seems to start at this point. More than that, there's the fact that it just grabs a reader better than the first two (which I'm guessing is what you meant). The elements of fantasy and mystery in this particular chapter ("What is this dog-boy, and where is he taking Elizabeth?") are enough to entice the reader to read on. I want to know what's going to happen next thanks to the events of this chapter. I'm intrigued by this dog-boy, and I know that there's going to be this awesome, fantastic world to look forward to.

    The characters are very enjoyable too. Elizabeth is the jumpy heroine just trying to make sense of the fact that her life is about to tip into the insane, Nathaniel is an adorable little imp/furry guide, and their interactions (shocked Elizabeth, casual Nathaniel) are amusing to watch. I can tell I'm going to enjoy the way they click together in future chapters.

    Besides that, the description itself is pretty good too. You use a lot of visual details, which is great because I'm a very visual person, and I appreciate writers who appeal to that sense. I guess the only point of criticism in that department is what I've already mentioned: the fact that it'd be better if your sentence structure was a bit more organized to allow us to appreciate those details without having to rearrange a sentence to get meaning out of it first. (Or in short, this is about the clauses.)

    All in all, I enjoyed reading this. I'm sorry to say that I don't have time right now to continue to the next chapter (because I'm writing this before work), but I'll most likely be back to check out more later.

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  24. #49
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    Thanks for the review, JX! x3 I'm glad you liked it - and you've reminded me to catch up on your story...! Bill <3 x3

    The old sentence splice horror rears up again...! xD Thanks, I'll try and squash those out - and sort out my convoluted writing style. My tendency of elaborating on elaborations will be the death of me. I've been worrying about how to fix my writing style, somehow - I know it makes for a laborious read sometimes which puts off readers, but I couldn't narrow down the cause to anything past their sheer length. Your comments are very helpful, thank you. :3

    And that 'smell smell' sentence- I need to be more thorough with my read throughs haha. Same with all of the other corrections, I'll get them sorted. :3

    That's the reason why I'm not fond of those chapters - I myself only really got into the story from the second chapter onward, and while the first two are technically fine, they don't add much and move at a significantly slower pace. Removing them entirely is a great idea, I think I'll do that. I was considering revising the story as it was, although I'd just resigned myself to trying to figure out a way to rewrite the beginning until I liked it more. The beginning really isn't needed, though - I'll probably fit in the earlier dream as a little flashback because there's a neat little fact in there that further develops Nat's and Elizabeth's relationship, but that's about it. :3

    Thanks again, and I hope I've drawn you in enough to read more, the next chapters... <3


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  25. #50
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    Hi, thought I’d come by and review chapter 2 for you for the review game.

    Shuffling her self cautiously forward, Elizabeth bundled herself firmly in her duvet before slipping her feet to the carpet and darting to the window.
    Pretty sure “her self” should be one word. Also, it sounds kind of awkward, and I would put “Shuffling herself forward cautiously…”

    The sound of scrambling claws pulled her up short.

    What was that?
    Thought I’d go ahead and say that I really like this part here. You do a good job at conveying a tone of suspense and the idea that something’s very wrong. I see a lot of writers try to pack suspense and all that into one long paragraph, but I think it’s most effective when separated/alone like you did here. It packs a bigger punch and gives about an air of mystery, leaving the reader wanting more.

    Her heart skittered as (she swore) the animal's smell of musky smell of earth and dead leaves finally reached her.
    I also like the use of the parenthesis to add emphasize. It’s actually one of my favorite ways to add emphasis but I don’t see it used often, let alone correctly or in an effective way.

    He also sported, Elizabeth noted dimly as the boy placed a hand on the wrong side of his chest, an equally-red tail that drooped down between his legs to his bare, dirtied feet.
    The abrupt pause after “sported” followed by the rather long part of the sentence separated by commas makes the entire thing sound awkward. I hope that makes sense. By the time I start reading about what he’s wearing, I’ve forgotten about the “He also sported” part of the sentence because you put so much emphasis on WHEN Elizabeth was noticing his clothes. This wouldn’t have been an issue if you just put “Elizabeth noted dimly”. I guess I would suggest deciding what is most important and putting that at the beginning of the sentence, and make sure that sentences like this don’t get awkward.

    Her grandfather, in the least, was a notoriously light sleeper, woken up by the slightest misstep on the squeaky floorboards of the stairs, and more often then not it was Anthony, before anything else, that woke her from a nightmare due to ‘all the noise you’d been making, sis’.
    I think quotation marks are more appropriate here since it’s something that Anthony’s actually said, even if it was in the past. That also means that the quotation mark should be after the period, not before like the apostrophe is.

    He had an honest smile.
    I’m all for emphasizing words with italics, but not really entire sentences, unless this is part of her thoughts. In that case, the tense should be changed to present tense.

    Overall, this was meant to be pretty creepy and mysterious, and you conveyed just that. The words you used were very effective and fitting for the scene/tone. You did good with showing and not telling, especially with Elizabeth’s anxiety. Her actions told me exactly what she was feeling at all times, and it made me feel engaged and as if I was experiencing the dream with her. Another thing I really liked was the boy’s dialogue—it was extremely creepy yet childish at the same time, an interesting combination to read. My only complaint is that you use a lot of sentences with several commas/pauses, which makes for disruptive reading sometimes. The only time you really deviated from this is when you did those short, suspenseful sentences. Try to experiment with a variety of sentence structures. Keep it up!

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


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