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Old 04-07-2013, 06:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Default Re: A Mother's Love [Rated T for safety]

Introduction:

One of the most crucial aspects of the introduction is the characters. More specifically, the introduction not only strives to establish who the story is about, but it strives to make the reader care. The caring factor is either pass or fail, and it's extremely important: does the reader care about what happens to this main character, pushing them to read on? Is he or she curious about this character's story? Now, I want to laud you here because you absolutely passed with flying colors. A funeral itself is an almost alienating event because of its sadness, but here you took away from that funeral not only the tone of loss, but you managed to make me care about these two children and their late mother. Whether it was the succinct detail of Maryanne's favorite flowers (this little details are fantastic for characterization) or the fact that the preacher was the father, I'm not quite sure; but I knew immediately that I wanted to know more. Awesome job here!

Plot:

Your plot is quite fascinating because there's more than one issue at hand here. I'm interpreting this story from Charles' point of view; now I have the heartbreaking story of struggle from a man recovering from the loss of a great loved one. From this viewpoint, you did amazing with his initial characterization, personalizing the pain of his loss vicariously through his grades dropping and through his deteriorating relationship with his father. There's also the involving story of the Marowak themselves, of this rich culture that you have crafted, which drives the plot itself. Finally, we have the most important subplot: at the end of the day, this story is a murder-mystery, and I want to find out who done it.

I really just want to take a moment and compliment you here on the phenomenal plotting skills! As outlined above, you managed to balance three plots perfectly well with few faults. This took great skill and it was awesome to read this story. There are a few tone issues and crucial plot moments that I want to briefly go over. But know that your plot was actually very entertaining; it could have been a movie!

Now, the first tone change. From the waves of sadness reverberating from the introduction, we took the sharpest, most driving change in tone.

Quote:
Unfortunately, no one knew who killed Maryanne Marowak.
From here on out, the events described demonstrate a tone of urgency and full creepiness. Now, after reading the full story, I question whether this tone was intentional or not. There is a certain tension that begins building between Caroline and Charles: something changes her by seeing her mother, but ostensibly the narrator was extremely clever in not disclosing to us what exactly that change was. The reader begins to assume a little distrust between the two characters, which greatly heats up the plot. We are now very involved, very intrigued, and the former half of the story breaks down until it seems as if Charles will literally break down himself. This was brilliant!

Now, the tone change in the latter half of the story had me worried because it was no longer as involving. It seemed almost nonchalant; Charles finds from his mother what had actually happened, and then the story just seems to /happen/. Now, the crucial character error here is that Charles simply believes her. There is no delayed moment of his questioning his real mother, questioning how it would have happened or even why; he knows that he hates his instructor, so is it this hate that makes him fully believe the phantom of his mother? In this sense, I almost see Charles as a Hamlet: has he gone mad with the events proceeding his mother's death? Is he so loyal to her that he would absolutely follow everything she says? Now this is the true debate. The fact that I'm heshing this out says great things about Charles' character because this event either destroys his character or completely supplements it. At the end of the story, I still completely care for his character as a reader. So, however you want to take my perceived plot mistake or stroke of genius here, know that I was very happy with how the plot ended up.

Description:

I want to begin by stating that I was very intrigued with the spots of expository explanation provided by the narrator. They were indeed incredibly helpful, from the spot where you described how schooling worked to the big apologizing exposition (the latter specifically was incredibly powerful). It's clear that you know what you're doing with the narrator, and this is crucial for description because the narrator is the raconteur. Now, to go a step further, I would advise planning specifically what the narrator will omit (words that are not said are almost more powerful than those said, as portrayed by the struggling yet silent character of Charles) and specifically where the narrator will say something important. This seems like such a minute writing device, but having these little explanation parts in a crucial area will greatly impact how the reader sees the story. For example, a quick expository spot at the very end would have fully wrapped up the story, although I did feel like you did a wondrous job with the closing itself.

Now, initial detail was almost mesmerizing. The imagery of the Bellossom and more really made my heart hurt; again, these images contributed to the tone that you crafted.

Detail seriously began to falter towards the latter half of the story, again altering the tone into this nonchalant thing because events were not fully described.

Quote:
Once they arrived, they entered the Pokemon Tower, traveled up to the first floor, and had lunch.

All of the action happened following the lunch break. The group, led by Marlon, travelled up to the higher levels, and as soon as they arrived on the fifth floor, they were ambushed by the multitude of Gastly and Haunter that roamed the tower.
This is straight plot. Sometimes, straight plot is a positive device because it quickly delivers what the readers needs to know; however, here, I felt that the straight plot device was ineffective. Here, the lack of description not only gave the story this /event one happens, event two happens/ type of narration, but now I felt like the pacing was greatly skewed. As a general rule of advice, you want to keep description mostly consistent throughout the story. More important events can be described with a little more description; lesser events can use more straight plot. However, never should a story go from one extreme of description to the other.

Finally, I wanted to touch a little bit on the word choice. Be cautious in using the same words for describing something or the same phrase; the imagery of stained tears was incredibly powerful at first, but I could not stop seeing the Cubone without these tears. The word fixated, specifically, was used quite a bit, which did become a little distracting. Description is something all writers are constantly trying to improve, so for you specifically I would advise on working more on consistency of description and tone control.

Grammar:

Going so in-depth because I wuvv you, going a little nit-picky because your control of grammar is already so fantastic and by covering these meticulous issues, you can only go higher.

Quote:
"Where's dad?" Charlie asked as he pushed himself into a sitting position
Quote:
He could talk to his dad about it later.
The former is incorrect because Charles (Charlie?) is using "dad" as a proper noun. Proper nouns are names, places, etc, and because he's using dad as a name, it would be capitalized. The latter is correct; in this version, dad needs to be lower cased because he's referring to his father as a normal noun, as a figure.

Bonus points for using laid/lay correctly!

On a final note, I would advise proof-reading. There was a little error in the first sentence, and another error with placing. Again, these are really minor errors, but there's nothing more that I can say here since your control on grammar is already awesome.

Length:

Wow, you pretty much hit the maximum! Excellent job. There's nothing much more for me to talk about here since I covered pacing in description, so yes, just use consistency to keep everything flowing as it should be.

Outcome:

Both Cubone Absolutely Captured! You are already an inspiring author, so I just wanted to be sure that I covered things in this grade that are for your particular writing level, and not just for a Pokemon of this rank. Thank you for being so patient with me! Work on keeping that detail level, and practice using a specific tone for a specific situation. Also keep in mind the actions that your characters take, their realism, and how that continues to evolve the character as the story goes on. You are awesome. Have fun with the Cubone, and with your Vulpix along the way!
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