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Old 09-18-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
Lien_Geller
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Talking Lien_Geller's Story Review Thread.

This is something that I've been thinking about doing for a while, so here goes. If anyone's interested in getting constructive criticism or a little extra feedback then post your story up here and I'll dig into it for you. At the very least, it's an easy comment and at the very most it's a reader giving a more in depth view of your story than you usually get on the comment boards.

If I get a lot of responses to this then please bear with me as I try to muddle through them.

For most of you that likely don't know me, I've been writing on Lit since 2008 and currently have 17 stories on the site. These stories include several that have hit the top lists of their respective categories. I'm 29 with a degree in English and I go through books like a demon.

I'm not here to say I know everything because I sure as hell don't. I'm no linguistic master and I'm not published anywhere but on here. What I can give you is honest advice and opinions on your writing from a reader's perspective. As I said before, I'll go into a little more depth than the average commenter or feedback message gives.

If you take me up on the offer then I only have a few additional details. I'm not going to comment on any stories in the following categories: BDSM, Gay Male, Incest/Taboo, NonConsent/Reluctance and Transexuals/Crossdressers. No offense intended to anyone writing in these categories but they really aren't my idea of a good time in the first place so I can't really criticize them very well. Keep that in mind with the Fetish category too. If a story just isn't to my taste because of this then I'll let you know and please don't be put off by it or think of it as negative criticism.

Conversely, I tend to enjoy Sci-Fi/Fantasy and that's mostly where I write my own tales so it's where I have the most experience.

Finally, I will say that if you do post here then please prepare to get hit with a critical sledgehammer. I can't promise I will like your story but if I don't like it then at least I'll tell you why and I promise to try not to be a dick about it. (Not unless it's really, really funny.) Hope for the best but prepare yourself for the worst.

I'm partially doing this because I like reading new stories. Also because I thought it'd be interesting to offer to do the usual feedback forum request in reverse for a change and offer to give rather than ask to receive. If you don't want your story displayed to the masses on here then just wing me a PM here on the forums and I'd be happy to check it out and respond privately for you. Although, I will flag up the good as well as the bad and linking on the thread might get you more hits and discussion going on your tale.

To post here, then to make my life easier just give me a link to your story on Lit (DON'T copy and paste the entire bloody thing into the thread itself). Also, if you could include a brief description of the type of story and, if you like, any points you want me to focus on, then that would be good.

So, let's see how this goes.

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:54 PM   #2
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I was the guinea pig.

Lien critiqued my last story, "King's Bay." He was quick, concise and polite, so you can't ask for more than that.

Thanks, Lien.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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I bit the bullet and offered Lien my lowest rated story for his review. In my mind, Fallon's Final Fling was an under-performing story, but there were a lot of views and only one comment, so I had no idea where it went wrong. Turns out, it was the first paragraph. Lien offered a quick, concise summary of that story's failings, and some useful suggestions on how to avoid those traps in the future. The experience was a firm but gentle reality check. In fact, I liked it so much I asked him to take a look at another low scoring story, the fun but creepy Modern Science.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:25 PM   #4
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Hey there. I'll take a look at what you have. Do you want me to reply in PM or are you ok with me putting it up here on the thread? If you want a PM then you're going to have to enable them. To do this then click User CP at the top left of your screen, check for Edit options on the menu bar on the left in the screen that follows and then check the box to enable PM's. If you're cool with me putting the review up here then that's fine too.

Either way, I shall get back to you tomorrow because it's now half past one in the morning and bed is singing its siren song at me.

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:36 PM   #6
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I've had a few folks ask for me to look at their stuff in the past few days and it's been fun! soflabbwlvr said it was ok for me to post one of my responses up here on the thread so I'm gonna go ahead and do that. I looked at two of his stories. I figured I'd do this to give anyone who might be interested a feel for the kinda thing I'm up to.

- - - - -

Ok, so here goes. I have to say that I didn't really like this story all that much. I think that might be partially because of the category though. So with that in mind, I'll delve into some things I disliked and let you decide if I'm talking out of my ass or not. Just before I begin though, I do not mince words and I tend to write with a generally foul mouth. None of this is intended to be offensive to you personally since I can see that you do have talent there. If I didn't think you were worth the time then I wouldn't just have written all this for you, would I? I'm trying to help, not stomp on your head. I hope I manage at least a little.

On the good side, the story obviously seems to be generally well thought out with the concept of the scavenger hunt coming across quite well. It's a fun, kinky and hot idea. It's also clear that the effort is there too and there were no parts of the story where I felt shunted out of the plot because of bad writing or any careless errors. It was very easy on the eyes in that sense.

Some minor and slightly more major issues I had unfortunately started at the beginning. I'm going to put your original paragraph and then I'm going to put my version of it then highlight some stuff for clarity.

Fallon McKenzie pulled into the Starlight Club parking lot, found an empty space beneath a lamp post, exited her Audi A4, and hurried toward the club entrance. She pushed open the heavy door, paid the cover charge, and then scanned the room for her friends. Despite the roar of dance music, loud voices, and even a siren that the bartender sounded every time he received a tip, the piercing laughter of her best friend, Selena Santana Salerosa (her parents were huge fans of Mexican music) penetrated the din and guided Fallon like a homing beacon to her group. She counted twelve heads crowded around two square tables pushed together to form one large platform. Eight bodies were crammed onto six chairs; the other four women were standing.

That one's yours.

Fallon Mckenzie rolled her brand new Audi into the parking lot of the Starlight Club. Excitement was already sizzling throughout her body as she settled the car beneath the flickering light of an old lamp post and hurried out toward the entrance. The air outside was cool on her skin, making her desperately long for the heat of the rhythm-riding bodies awaiting her inside. Slipping out of the night and into the welcoming darkness of the club, she felt the sweet roar of the music greet her ears. The unmistakable, piercing laughter of Selena Santana Salerosa cut through the deafening melody and guided Fallon toward her best friend. She eventually found her settled at a table with twelve other familiar faces close by.

Ok so there you get rid of the excessive commas and establish the mood better, I think. I'll just go bit by bit. The parking of the car in your version just seems to be a by-the-book And Then problem. It could read like this:

Fallon MacKenzie pulled into the Starlight Club parking lot And Then found an empty space beneath a lamp post And Then exited her Audi A4 And Then hurried toward the club entrance.

You see? There's no stopping, no setting the scene properly. It's just a series of actions. This is the opening line of the story. Immerse me, Godammit! In my version I started out with the basic set up of her driving her car to a club. So we know the protagonists name, we know where she's going and hopefully the reader's wondering what the club is like. Short, concise and to-the-point. Then I used her parking the car beneath the lamp post to set up what she's feeling and give the reader a little sensual anchor to relate to the character with. After that, it's into the club and a quick establishing note of what she feels when she gets inside before we introduce Selena and finish setting up the scene.

I don't need to know what model her car is since it's not really relevant. The brackets of her parents being fans of Mexican music feels unnecessary, especially in an opening paragraph where you're trying to sink the reader down into your tale. Look through your writing and slice out the fat.

This wouldn't be so much of a problem but you don't do this kind of thing throughout the rest of the story. If you're going to bugger up any paragraph in a story then make sure it's not the most important one!

The initial dialogue in the story was great. Snappy and punchy. I initially got a good vibe of friends meeting up for a night out and all was going well. Then, you just didn't stop. As I read more and more I felt less like I was being included in a meeting with fun characters exchanging banter and more like I was sat next to a fucking obnoxiously loud group of assholes in a restaurant. I didn't like any of the characters and more-so, I didn't think I was supposed to.

I'm not saying they were badly written but rather that they all came off as genuinely fucking awful people that I wouldn't want to get within twenty miles of. I'm not sure if this is intentional. I guess writing in Non-Con means that if your readers empathise with your characters then they're going to get mad once the rapey stuff happens. Sorry if I'm way off here, I'm not trying to be a dick or anything but before the end of the first section of the story I was just thinking "Will someone please drop a piano on these people!?"

It completely cut off my interest in what was happening to them. Without any initial investment or interest in the characters, I had to really force myself to read the overly-long conversation that followed. Also, the constant reminders to "Have fun" from them just made me wonder when I was going to actually get to start having fun too.

Oh, and a slightly less problematic thing that bothered me was this:

"OK--fifteen pounds. But everyone knows the last five don't count. I still think I look damn good and a helluva lot hotter than any you."

Don't put 'helluva' out there like that. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

"Alrite, fifteen big ones! Fuck it though, it ain't like y'all don't know the last five don't count. I look finger lickin' good an' a helluva lot hotter than any 'o y'all."

If you're going to drop in stuff like that then make it fit in with the rest is what I'm saying. Still, please just drop it altogether because writing that hurt my soul a little bit.

My biggest complaint with your dialogue is that it sometimes seems like you're using it to force the story along. I don't get much of what the protagonist is feeling toward her friends, what her quirks might be or what she might be considering outside of the dialogue. It's all just a massive speech that I thought would never end.

Moving on, the lack of an initial description of Fallon also makes me somewhat confused as to what she looks like. It's something you want to at least hint at. I usually pick three things that set my characters out from the rest and drop them in to the opening paragraphs somewhere. It's a problem I have with my own writing too, I tend to write from the perspective of the male and since I'm mostly interested in the dudettes of the tale I sometimes forget to describe my protagonist.

The second section of the story does start off much better with good, sensual descriptive writing setting the scene. The story becomes sexy for the first time too which is a plus because you do sexy much better than you do banter. Throughout the story there also seems to be a lot happening without any actual experience of it happening. It's the And Then problem back, though to a lesser degree. Humans have five senses. Think about them and implement them into your story. The smell of alcohol and smoke in a club can draw the reader into your scene much further than a by-the-numbers description of the surroundings.

God, I'm whining a lot here, aren't I? Well I'm going to finish on something that I did quite like and that was the concept of the plot itself. A hen night involving a sexy scavenger hunt is a neat idea and once the characters actually FUCKING SHUT UP and that plot gets going then the story is quite engaging. The kinkiness was something I liked though there are still some NC themes here that I wasn't really into.

Overall, I'd say that those themes were the main thing that put me off and if I were I into them then the problems I've outlined here wouldn't stop me from enjoying the actual meat of your story. I think you need to work on better characterisation and refine your use of dialogue to better balance with the general narrative. The whole less is more speech springs to mind here too.

So that's it, thanks for showing me your work and I hope this was helpful. If you want to talk about it or clarify anything I've said then I'm happy to do that. Also, if you found this at all helpful then could you put a post in the thread to say that you did? I'd appreciate it. If you had any problems with the way I did this little review too then I'd be happy to hear them.

Good luck with the further writing!

Lien.

- - - - -

That was the first one! Here is the second.

- - - - -

I'm not going to give as much of an in-depth review of this one. Largely because it's simple, effective and good stuff. I liked it. It's a bit down and dirty and obviously quite the stroke-story but your imagination is pretty hot. You don't overdo it. The dialogue here is mostly porn-talk which is effective and not jarring in the scene as it sometimes can be.

It's also a lot more consistent. I know it's exhibitionist and voyeur but I would have liked to have him finish with a good fuck between the wife and the younger man.

To make it better then I'd focus less on the kinky and more on the character and perhaps try a longer tale? You've got the interesting sexual situations down very well, it'd be nice to string a few of those together with perhaps the explored relationship between just two characters.

The actual exhibitionist stuff was great too and she was a brilliant tease. I kinda wanted him to charge out, throw the husband off and hop on himself. ^_^

TX Tall Tales did something a little bit similar recently with a story called Pool Boy Benefits (I think) and I'd take a look at that if you haven't already. It had a more thorough overarching romance between the characters and some damn kinky sex going on.

I'd like to see what you can do with a story like that since the ideas are obviously there and the writing is mostly solid. Keep at it, keep exploring new descriptive techniques and remember not to let any one element take over a story.

Overall, I'd say this does what it does very well and I'd be excited to see you branch out into stories that have a little more depth to them in terms of character development. Not just one cool, kinky idea but a series of them. Maybe you've done it already!

Anyhoo, that's me out! ^_^

Keep writing!

- - - - -

So yeah, slightly long post here but that's the kind of thing I've been up to for folks. I thought it might give other people an idea of what my style is like. Thanks again to soflabbwlvr for letting me share! Oh, and to BrightXPsi, I finished looking over In Heat for you and I'm waiting to see if you want me to send it via PM or put it here.

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Ok then BrightXPsi, here goes!

I'll go with In Heat. You're a new writer and I'll be a little more gentle than usual. With that said, I do tend to use bad language and such for emphasis. I'm not trying to be mean and I hope you see that any complaints I put across are my own opinions and are always aimed at being constructive. There was also something about this story that genuinely made me angry so bear that in mind and I'm sorry if I go overboard in venting the frustration. So here goes.

The first thing I notice that sends up a fucking huge red flag happens before the story even starts.

--

I'm starting with a couple of extracts from a sci-fi series I never seem to finish as I get too distracted by all the action between the hot main characters

--

That's written in your author's note at the beginning. To me, that comes off as extremely fucking lazy. It sounds like "Well, I'm too busy jacking off to do a proper story but here's a few scraps for you since I want feedback." I know that's probably not what you're trying to say but do you not see how it sounds that way? If you want to be a story writer then write a damn story, don't put little bits of a half finished one out there and expect people to thank you for it. I've started a few stories on here that I'm having trouble finishing and it seriously frustrates me that I'm stuck in the mud with them because I've gotten so much support from many readers. Still, I'd never pull anything like just putting up a "few extracts" out there for them. I know we write for free but fucking hell, there's a line.

This is something of a problem with the occasional new writer. It's something I've come across before on Lit. The writer isn't confident enough to spend the necessary time and effort in writing the tale they want to, but they want feedback anyway so they splatter us with something half-assed in the hope of getting encouragement.

Don't start half way through. Start at the beginning. Establish your characters, your setting and tell the story you want to tell. This is so fucking important in the genre of Sci-Fi too. Without the grounding then the reader is completely lost. To put it another way, then think about it like this: Currently on Lit in the sci-fi/fantasy section alone there are 7862 entries. There are probably more than 1000 fully completed stories for people to read. There are also likely up to 1000 multi-chapter stories in progress. Now I'm pretty sure that I'm seriously low-balling that estimate for you. So why should I just read an extract when I can go read something fully formed? Would you?

Ok, mini-rant over. Let's get into your actual story.

First, the introductory sentence doesn't make sense:

Coll McDiarmid was enjoying himself, or at least he intended to later.

What? So he's not enjoying himself now but will be later? He's both enjoying himself now and wants to later? It's the use of 'or' there that breaks the meaning. I can obviously see what you're trying to say but mistakes like this are unforgivable in the opening paragraphs of your story, let alone the opening sentence. "Or" means one or the other. "Coll McDearmid was enjoying himself and intended to continue doing so." That makes sense. Still, it's a little clunky. "Coll McDearmid was planning to enjoy himself." There, it's to the point and makes sense. It also throws the hook to the reader in hopefully making them want to know how he's planning to enjoy himself. Cut the excess baggage.

After that, I noticed something that genuinely surprised me after all that. For a new writer, you're not actually bad at all. Don't get me wrong, you're not about to appear on my favourites list, but the basics are all there. Good plot structure, you seem comfortable with your characters and they have decent sparks of personality. You don't fall into some traps of over-writing that new author's, myself included, often do. It's not spectacular but you've got a solid foundation here to build on. You just need to give more of a shit. I see quite a few stupid mistakes. Any story is going to have one or two of these, especially without a proper editor, but there's enough here that I feel you haven't even tried to re-read your stuff.

Another problem with doing the 'extract' thing is that there's a lot of stuff here where I feel I could criticise and you'd say "Oh, well that's explained in the rest of the story." That's not good enough. It's ok if it's intended to be a mystery but assuming the reader is going to know something that you haven't told them just breaks all rules of common sense. Why do Coll and Sweft like each other? Why the hell are martial arts so important? Is Coll sleazy or is the universe just more laid back? Why are you telling my about other boyfriends that never show up? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?

I get the feeling that you're trying to dip your toe in the waters of writing rather than taking a dive. Fuck that. C'mon in, the water's great. If you've done this to know whether or not you're any good then congratulation's, you've got a lot of good points to your writing. It needs a hell of a lot of work but the beginnings are there. Once again, I'm finding it a little difficult to review because all you've done is dipped your toe in and then asked me what I think of you as a swimmer.

Don't be afraid of mistakes. Don't be afraid of being shit. Everyone starts out with mistakes and my own writing is definitely not up to my standards of something I'd actually buy off the shelf. You've just got to dive in and know that every time someone rips into you then it's an opportunity to get better.

A few more things about your writing. You start off your story using the word cock a lot and then suddenly it shifts to penis. Penis is a bit of a clinical word at the best of times. It's fine to call it that but be consistent. It's ok to change words like this when the mood shifts. Like, if someone's in an office for example and a woman catches a glimpse of a bulge in the pants of a co-worker she finds attractive then it can be his penis in the businesslike climate of the office. Then it can turn into a cock later when the pair of them get hot and steamy in the storage closet. That's words changing to reflect the mood and it's fine. Your story does the opposite, when at the party Coll adjusts his cock and then later on he has sex with his penis. If you're not sure, then just be consistent and refer to it with one word.

I liked the use of descriptive language overall. It's immersive without overstaying its welcome. Sensual writing is definitely one of your strong suits, so keep it up.

So yeah, overall it just needs a bit more care and attention paid to it as far as the writing goes. The dialogue is a little distant and lacks the personality that's carried across in the tale. It doesn't sound comfortable. Again, this might be a cultural thing that I've missed because it's not a full story but for me it's too formal and it doesn't quite flow right. Especially since the characters are friends and lovers.

Anyhoo, I hope this was at least a little helpful! If it was then I'll take a look at the other one if you still want me to.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Hey there, Lien. Read your story "Lady Winter". I do not know if you intended to base it on Hel, but you did and did a great job. Gave me the proverbial chills.

Now onto reviewing. There are two stories of mine I would like feedback on. Since, scifi seems to be your forte, I present to you my maiden effort in the scifi category. I wrote this earlier in the year for the Earth day contest. Since it was my first foray into the genre, I expected to get basted. Turns out it wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but not near some of my higher scores. I would appreciate it if you dissected it and tell me where I went wrong (which I guess will be in a number of places).

The other story concerns a romance between step-siblings. Since, I don't know if this technically comes under incest or not, I leave it to your discretion if you want to look at that. Here is the link, just in case you do. For what it's worth, I dealt with it more as a romance than a taboo, dirty relationship. A sequel to this is in the offing once I'm done with my Halloween story.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to your views.
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In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:08 PM   #10
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BrightXPsi, I'm really glad you see my point there. Maybe if you were writing stories set in our world so that the reader could establish familiar points of reference then it wouldn't be so terrible a mistake. I still do think it would be a mistake though. If you want to make me interested in your characters then put in the work to do so. Establish your setting, cover your bases. If something's different or if the reader isn't going to know about it then explain it. Part of the attraction of Sci-Fi and Fantasy is the idea of exploring new worlds. I'm not talking just Star Trek here but Middle Earth, Alera, Westeros... the list goes on. Don't infodump but introduce me to the characters and the places properly. Start out small.

For example in The Missing Dragon we get introduced to the main character in our world so the focus is initially on him. Then when he gets thrown into the fantasy setting there's initially a strange jungle, then a strange creature, then a small encampment, then an outpost/small settlement. Layers building gradually up to show off the world properly. My point is that it's very important to set up your setting in this kind of writing and it's the same with Sci-Fi.

Also, just as a side note and a very personal gripe. When I'm browsing Lit I never read a story that is just a page long. First thing I always do is flick to the bottom to see if it's longer than a page of Lit. Ideal length for me is three pages and up. Otherwise, I don't see it as being worth the time unless it's written by a writer I've previously enjoyed.

Anyhoo, I'm glad to hear that I was helpful! Also, don't be insecure about your writing. Get yourself a nice thick skin and charge in there. I know it's hard when it's your baby but you have the enthusiasm and the spark there. The rest will come with practice. Hell, if you want a giggle then check out the first chapter of Aphrodisia I put up and chortle at all the mistakes I made when starting out. Hell, I still make half of them now but I'm trying to learn and finding that the ride is pretty fun. I hope you do too!

As for LaRascasse, I'm going to check out your story and will possibly have my thoughts on it up by tomorrow! It's getting late now and I need sleep. The step-sibling thing really doesn't sound like my thing though. It creeped me out enough when they tried it recently on Dexter. I'll definitely take a look at the other one though.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #11
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Not sure if other people are allowed to provide feedback in this thread, if not my apologies.

I read soflabbwlvr's Fallon's Final Fling. Here's my thoughts:

- Overall, I liked the concept -- a clever idea and setup.

- I thought the story lacked drama. Drama = Conflict, which leads to Resolution. Fallon just seemed to go along with everything.

- The women spoke more like ball-busting dudes than females.

- I agree with Lien, every character seemed to be about "What's in it for me?" and weren't very likable.

- The low score, I think, was due to the story being posted in NonConsent/Reluctance category. I think readers of this genre are looking for something more forceful\controlling\hardcore.

- I agree with Lien, the opening paragraph didn't do much to hook the reader or advance the story. Here's my version of the opening (for what it's worth):

Fallon McKenzie pulled into the Starlight Club parking lot and turned off her car. She hesitated, wondering if she could really go through with this. Fallon wasn’t a club girl and alcohol made her do things―stupid things, things she wouldn’t remember, things she would later regret.

Fallon was reaching back towards the ignition to make her getaway, when the door of the club swung open and flooded the parking lot with the raucous sound of the party inside. Her closest friends were in there, waiting for her. Fallon realized she couldn’t back out of this one, not on this night―her night.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:53 AM   #12
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If I had known this was going to be a gang bang, I would have brought some lube. No hard feelings--posting in a feedback thread is an invitation to be roughed up a little.

I already sent my thoughts to Lien Geller, but I will post them here, as well. The dialogue may be informative for other writers or readers.

For months I have felt that this story underperformed, and I couldn't understand why. It seemed incredible to me that there was a 60% drop off in readers from chapter 1 to chapter 2. I realize that all multi-part stories will experience some falloff, but this was unprecedented for me. I thought perhaps it was because there was no real noncon action in chapter 1, but your comments make a lot of sense.

I had a tremendous amount of fun writing this story--probably more than with any of my other submissions. I was trying to convey a feeling that all of the women were friends of the bride, but not necessarily friends with one another as they knew her from different intervals in her life. My inspiration was my wife's two best friends in high school and college--they both loved her and competed for her attention, but they didn't like each other at all. My wife wouldn't play favorites, so a night out for the three of them was always stressful. I was also influenced, to an extent, by the dynamic in movies like "Bridesmaids;" i.e., women can be as raunchy as men. But it appears that I went too far for most readers.

I wanted to portray Selena as the evil bitch, and Quashondra as the only person in the group who had the balls to stand up to her. Michelle and Natalie were supposed to be the soft counterpoints to Selena and Quashondra, but as I reread he story, it really doesn't come out so much suppose in chapter 1. I should have tried harder to make someone likable right from the outset.

I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestions regarding the first paragraph. It is rather mechanical. Your example is much smoother. Further, I specified an Audi A4 to make the point that even though she was upwardly mobile and driving a new Audi, her car was still an entry-level model. I saw it as a shorthand description of her economic situation, but maybe it was too obscure. (Also, I'm kind of a "car guy"--I tend to mention at least one specific model in almost every story).

As for the "helluva" mention--that's just how I pictured her responding. I would never use that in the prose, but in dialogue I think it can be appropriate. In any event, I'm truly sorry that you found it so painful. LOL

Finally, I find it interesting that you feel I use too much dialogue. In my earliest stories, there was no dialogue at all. It was all description, with conversations summarized rather than set out in detail. I read discussions of other authors describing "showing" versus "telling," and realized what my stories were missing. I suppose I may have gone too far to the other extreme.

Dream Operator--

Since you echoed many of Lien's criticisms, I will focus my response on your additional points.

I have to disagree with you on the story lacking conflict. I think, perhaps, the problem may have been that there were too many conflicts, and main conflict did not even come to light until chapter 2. I didn't ask Lien to read that one because it was well outside his comfort zone, but if you have a taste for Noncon maybe you could read that part and add your thoughts here as well. However, in chapter 1 there were conflicts between Selena and Quashondra; Fallon and the guys in the bathroom who attempted to rape her; Fallon and Selena (admittedly unknown to Fallon); and the overarching conflict between Fallon and her own self-destructive behavior. My failure to crystallize these conflicts may be more attributable to the structure of the story than the actual plot.

I do agree with the category problem. If you read the rest, you will find that chapter 2 fits squarely in Noncon/Reluctance, but chapter 1 merely sets up what happens next. I didn't know where to put it, since it touches so many other categories. In the end, I went with Noncon because that is the overall theme of the story, even though chapter 1 was intended to be all fun and games.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:54 PM   #13
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Ok so here I go with LaRascasse's The Prince & The Goddess.

The first thing I notice is that you don't describe the goddess quickly enough. What is she the goddess of? If she doesn't care about the people of the world she's living on then why is she living there? What does she look like? Is he talking to an orb of light or an actual woman? Is the woman beautiful and divine or horrid and hellish?

The king also has identity issues. You seem to be trying to set him up as a good guy but you don't establish it well enough. So when he starts talking about the fucking massive war he's involved in he comes across as more of a tyrant. Conversely, if you wanted him to sound like a tyrant then you haven't done enough to convey that either. I left the first section of the story somewhat confused about what was going on. I knew that there was going to be a prince that would get laid but I wasn't quite sure if that was a good or a bad thing. You can feel free to write characters that are mysterious, characters that are assholes or characters that the reader will side against. Despite that, the reader should always be on your side. I felt a little bit lost. You got the essential point across but I wasn't sure why it was important.

Next up, I noticed the following word usage:

Whoring out his unborn son for a while.

This turns up in the middle of something of a formal narrative. It stands out. Sometimes it's good to use language like that for purposes of contrast. It was something I tried in The Defiled Temple series. It starts out with sombre, doom and gloom writing and then my pint-sized demon shows up as a cigar smoking, slightly perverted and foul mouthed hellion. It shows the contrast in tone of the story and lets the reader know that they're actually reading something of a comedy-adventure. What's more, the demon stands out more as a character because of it. Or at least that's the idea.

Getting back to what you put. It sticks out without any reason to as a very casual way of saying something settled into a very formal moment. It doesn't feel like it fits. I wouldn't mention it because it's quite a small thing but I noticed the problem pops up in your writing quite a bit. It's not every other paragraph but it's often enough to be noted. Be consistent.

Anyoo, moving on. One of the things that really stood out to me here was that the plot structure didn't seem to favour the story you were trying to tell. I would have started out by describing the very end of the prince's final glorious battle and what it means for him and his empire. Then we get introduced to the main character, get to know him and figure out where he's going. Don't start with the universe. Start small with the really important stuff and prepare to add more layers when they're needed. That's how good fantasy is written. Forget the grand schemes and start with what's needed.

Then, after the prince's victory he would come home and we'd meet Catherine for the first time and actually have them share a happy reunion before he got the bad news broken to him. After that, backtrack to the initial scene with his father making the fateful deal told through his father (or mother's) words. Then there's a plot twist there, the reader is more surprised to find the scale of what's happening after initially investing them in the important characters. The goddess also remains more of a mystery which works better for all-powerful characters like her.

One other thing I noticed is that the prince wins the final victory before his eighteenth birthday. So, the king has traded his son for a quick victory...that took EIGHTEEN YEARS!? What the hell was he doing for all that time? If an army knew that every battle would go in their favour then there'd be no reason to hold back. You could attack an army of a thousand with five guys and come out on top. It's not really explained why it takes so bloody long. Again, this has a problem of making the king look like a tyrant as he's made this deal, given his son and then slowly cut a swathe through his enemies. World War II lasted six years and killed hundreds of thousands of people. How many would die in an eighteen year long world war? It's hardly the quick, decisive victory that he paid for, is it? It just sounds like a massive meat-grinder slaughter.

In the attitude of the prince when he finds out that he has to have sex with a goddess, I found out something I call "The Spider-Man Problem." Allow me to elaborate. In the nineties, I used to watch that old Spidey animated TV series. I loved it to bits. It was my favourite thing on TV. Then, in practically every fucking arc, they turned Spidey into a whiney little bitch. "Oh no! I've been hurt! It's all Spider-man's fault. I'm never putting the mask on again!" "What's this? Mary Jane broke a nail when I saved those five hundred people from dying in the subway? I shall never help anyone again!" It's just like: Dude, you've got awesome cool spider powers, a hot girlfriend who's mad about you and you get to save people's lives every day as well as punch douchebags in the face. Stop fucking complaining about it!

In your story I would literally have killed to be in the prince's shoes. When I was eighteen, if my mum had said to me: "Sorry son, we've made it so that you've got to spend a night of fiery passion with a stunningly gorgeous mega babe who holds the power over all of creation." Then my pants would have been off and my bare ass would have been running toward my steamy destiny before she'd finished speaking. If there was a hint that the goddess might be dangerous then fair enough, but there isn't. If there's a legend that says she takes a virgin every thirty years, shags them and then kills them if they displease her then I could understand his apprehension. As it is, there's nothing really like that.

Next point is this:
While Catherine might have been inwardly sad that she would not be his first, she realized the futility of her grief. There was no way, she could convince him to deny Eirene. However, she feared that after copulating with the celestial divinity herself, Fenthwick would lose interest in her.

You haven't established Catherine enough as a likable character in order for me to care what happens between her and the prince. You need to show them interacting and having a connection before introducing the angst. Otherwise it's meaningless.

Then there's this:
He wore his finest garments and his gold edged tunic. He rode is horse across the plains until finally he saw her fabulous palace from a distance. It was on Earth and yet it was somehow unearthly in its look. It looked grander than anything the human mind could possibly conceive with it's impossibly high minarets and spires disappearing into the clouds. The entire structure was built of material so white, that it dazzled in the sun from a distance.

Firstly, you say "he saw her fabulous palace from a distance" but you've been talking about Catherine in the previous paragraph. So it sounds like it's Catherine's palace. Also, you introduce the world that's being lived in as Earth. You've done nothing to say how Earth advanced to this point. Usually when a story talks of kings and goddesses then we're firmly in fantasy territory. If it's ultra modern sci-fi then you need to establish that with setting the appropriate scenes. Up until this point I figured you were on a different planet with clashes of swords and shields. Not a super advanced world capable of space colonisation within 30 years. In fact you often actually talk about swords piercing hearts so I'm completely confused as to what this world is all about.

The description itself is slightly hollow too. Here's my attempt at it.

Adorned in his finest royal robes, the prince finally saw the wondrous sight of Eirene's home. A great bastion of the goddess' unlimited power, its spires reaching up to greet the soft, fluffy clouds above. It was known that light had never left that place in all the ages since its first making. Bathed in the golden rays of the sun or the silver light of the moon, its beauty was almost enough to blind those who looked upon its splendour.

Ok, so what I've done there is start off by stifling the prince's finery by the presence of Eirene's home. So he becomes smaller in the reader's mind as the goddess becomes much larger. Next, I compare the place to the power of the goddess herself to convey a degree of majesty and wonderment. The thing with the light is a more fantastical element. Building pretty and big towers is something humans can do, making sure they are always in the light in a cloudy climate is something only a goddess could manage. So that's what was 'unearthly in its look' as you somewhat vaguely said. Then I go on to mention gold and silver, again to convey wealth, power and beauty. Finally, there's the idea that it could blind mere mortals, making the goddess seem more dangerous and a little foreboding.

Good descriptive writing isn't vague, it gives the reader's imagination a good grounding to start. It also often conveys things like mood and character as well as mere looks. Think about that when you're writing.

Next up is this:
From inside the recesses of that building, Eirene looked over the entire universe. It was also where young Fenthwick would be deflowered.

Ok, I already know that. It's redundant. Try setting it more from the prince's point of view.

Fenthwick looked upon that place where the most powerful being in all creation resided and could only think that it would be there where he would finally and truly become a man.

That's not great but it makes it more personal and more impactful, y'see?

You also mention a Seraphim angel. What's a Seraphim angel in your universe? How different is it from a normal angel? What are the other types of angels? Is she actually just a generic angel? If you're going to discern your fantastical beings then you've got to do better than just put a word like Seraphim and a quick description out there. Either just have her be a normal angel for the time being or, if it's important to the plot, then let me know why there's a Seraphim angel in your fantasy world as opposed to a Nephilim or a Cherubim angel.

Then next is what I think is the first hint of a description of the goddess in the story:
There was no reply. Fenthwick peered up at her visage. It was plain and impassive as she considered what to say next.

Her visage was plain? Really? She's a plain visaged woman? Not a real looker then?

Then the first reaction of the prince is just cowardly cowering and babbling. Again, this is the Spider-Man Problem coming back to haunt you. You haven't made the goddess a real threat up until this point and his great burden is to GET FUCKING LAID so this kind of reaction just comes across as the kid being more yellow than the Beatles proverbial submarine. It makes me think he's a complete wimp. You haven't done a lot to show me his personality and endear me to him up until this point and this is the first time I really get to see him have a spark of anima. It just made me dislike him. I thought "Move aside you little snot, let someone with a little back bone have a crack at this fucking golden opportunity."

Next up is just a quick gripe about word usage. Halcyon made me reach for my dictionary. Never heard of that word before and I'm pretty well read. Plus, since I think you're just meaning to say "Happy days" then just say that. Don't get unnecessarily complex. It comes off as being pretentious.

There were also a number of problems I saw with the personality of the goddess too. She says how much she loves her creations when teaching the prince but at the start she speaks to his dad like she doesn't give a shit. Then she says she really loved the world that's getting all militaristic shortly before turning them to dust. Now this is the problem I also have with another book you might have come across: The Bible.

I'm not trying to start a religious debate here but in stories like the great flood or the ten plagues of Egypt, when we get to see what God looks like when he gets out on the wrong side of his celestial bed, then you run into something of a conflict of his character. How can an all-loving and all powerful being think that casual mass genocide is fine. Stop and think about it for a second. That world that you've just destroyed includes small children who couldn't possibly have done anything wrong yet. Also, surely not EVERYONE is an asshole? Surely in a population of an entire planet, there are some guys out there that think "Actually, this kinda sucks." Maybe give them a chance?

Now I'm saying this is something that I find flawed in THE BIBLE and that's actually a pretty good overall read. You aren't quite at that level yet so don't make those mistakes

On the lighter side of things:
"I want you to use your tongue now, young prince. Let your instinct guide you as you navigate your first feminine crevices."

I'm sorry but I just laughed out loud at that. C'mon man, just look at those words. Porn dialogue can come across as hammy at the best of times but jeez.

Then the ending was actually a pretty interesting little twist but unfortunately I didn't really like the snivelling little prince in the first place so I wasn't that bothered by what happened.

Overall, you've got some good ideas here. One thing you really need to work on is fleshing out your world and your mythology. Like I said, do it in stages but if you introduce something weird and wonderful then make sure it's explained to avoid confusion. Don't casually refer to two empires at war. Explain why they're at war so I, as a reader, can understand and invest myself in what's going on. Maintain character consistency too and if you're going to make someone kick a gift horse in the teeth then make sure he has a bloody good reason!

The sexual writing is also a bit bland. Not awful but not brilliant. Try reading this interesting little article from RedHairedandFriendly in the Lit writers resources section about kissing.

http://www.literotica.com/s/can-you-kiss-me-like-this

Anyhoo, I hope you found this helpful and not too blasphemous!
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:15 PM   #14
LaRascasse
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Thanks for the critique, Lien. Much appreciated.

Did you notice the influences of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the sex scenes with the cosmic trip?
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In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:41 PM   #15
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I'm really sorry mate, but no. I can sort of see what you mean now you've said it though. It's just that in Hitchhikers the cosmic trip and great insignificance of everything was played for comic effect. In yours it was taken much more seriously and again, the goddess' uneven character hurt the whole thing for me.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:29 AM   #16
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Hehe, why didn't I see this thread before posting chapter 4? Lien, I love your reviews. With my stories, you've always been fair and to the point. Critical, yet respectful. I'll have to be sure to give you an advance copy of Chapter 5 once it's finished, if you're willing to sink your teeth into it. Will definitely have to peek in here from time to time.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #17
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Sure thing Johneb87, just email me it when you're ready. Also, anyone reading this should totally check out his series if you're into Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

http://www.literotica.com/s/new-life...ew-world-ch-01

It's pretty awesome stuff.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:23 PM   #18
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I am Lien, hear me roar!

Ok folks! I'm back and ready to give more stories a go if anyone is interested. I just landed third place on the Lit Halloween contest so add that to my resume.

As I've said, I'm happy to answer folks via PM if they don't want me to splat what I think of them to the public. I'll give you an honest review that will probably be far longer and in depth than your average commenter. I mention this because last time I opened this thread, most people wanted me to answer them privately rather than on the thread itself.

Check the first post on this thread for my few restrictions. Other than those, I look forward to reading anything anyone might have to offer me!
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:58 PM   #19
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I guess I'll bite the proverbial bullet again, but it's not one story I want to have rippe.... errr critiqued, but an ongoing Romance series. It has 7 chapters as of now, averaging 5-6k words each (around 2 and a half Lit pages each by average).

Here is chapter 1 should you be interested.
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In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #20
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Cool!

Alright, no problemo. I shall have a look at your tale tomorrow and see what I think of it. As usual, the review will be up in a a day or so depending on how far I get through the story. I'll definitely read the full first chapter though!

Oh and do you want the reply via PM or on here?
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:45 AM   #21
LaRascasse
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PM please.
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My stories in case you are interested. Offbeat, unconventional and just a bit dark. Just a bit, I swear


In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:19 PM   #22
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Done!
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:41 AM   #23
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Thumbs up miss your stuff Lien.

Hopefully we can see new material published soon. Please do not give up.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:13 PM   #24
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Wow. I hadn't see this before. That's some impressive feedback.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:23 AM   #25
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Still here!

I'm still writing away here! Slowly but surely. Still, thanks a lot for the encouragement!

Also, if people still want feedback, I haven't abandoned this thread. So just post up if you want some criticism. I'll try to get to it ASAP.
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