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3/9/2016 c1 J23K
“After thirteen years, I couldn’t let him get away from me.” Why though? What’s so important about him? Why is it so important you catch him right now? To you as a writer, this might seem obvious, however it’s never explained to the readers in this entire chapter. “I’ve always wanted to meet you, (Blues).” Why? What’s the reasoning behind this? Does she want to meet him because she likes him or empathises with him? Is that what I should presume here? “I lowered my camera. I was feeling light headed …” see in this part you explain the thoughts going through her head so I can understand why she’s feeling light headed. This is a good example of concreteness, however also a bad example, because the explanation still begs the question as to why she cares so much about Blues. “I did as she asked.” What benefit would doing as she asks bring to you? Did you deliberate with yourself before you did this? Was it important to you to get her to trust you? “I wanted to hug Judith, but I couldn’t move. My hands were shaking in my lap.” I assume your hands were shaking due to fear, however maybe it was sadness or trepidation. This isn’t concrete enough to know. “I sat motionless for a few moments.” So what was going through your head at this point? What were you contemplating when you were sitting motionless? Was it to take it in or just because you had low blood sugar? I know that’s extreme but honestly there’s no yardstick by which to measure what’s important and what’s not. “The idea popped into my head that I should follow Judith.” Why? What was the reason for that suddenly popping into your head? What are you hoping to gain from following her? More evidence on Blues? More clarification on the points she made? “I realised the effort was hopeless, so I staggered back up to my room, feeling defeated.” What made you come to the conclusion the effort would be hopeless? Is it that she’s a marathon runner? She’s actually like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter and can morph into a cat? She’s a terminator sent by Skynet?! “Then my thoughts turned to my daughter and I shut off the music.” Why did you shut off the music? To think? To deeply ponder your daughter? Did she like that kind of music? Anyway there’s a couple more but I think you get the picture. Concrete thoughts will always trump abstract thoughts - and too many abstract thoughts will lead to frustration over the long-run - which on reflection was my major problem with the Turing Tests - not so much that Blues’ gave up, but that Blues’ giving up was never explained properly to me. I want the thought processes of the character's drawn out and explained to me. Any decision or fact I want to know why it's there and how it affects our protagonist. If it doesn't, I'm going to constantly question why it's there.

This also has a really simple fix - if there was just a line or two of reasoning before any decision or action, or even if the decision was inferred from body language and thoughts; then that would make sense. With every decision any one of your characters makes, ask yourself why he or she has made that decision. ESPECIALLY if you think well it’s obvious, isn’t it? That's a MAJOR sign that it's generally not as obvious as you might think. And then carefully scan if you have anything that directs me towards what you want me to feel. A shaking hand can have a multitude of reasons as to why it is shaking, however shaking hand and then clutching it with the other and chastising herself for having shaky hands and jumping at every new sound - in the longest-way around possible which you don’t always have to do - will tell me she’s scared. However please do have a look at the points above, because this is one thing that really throws me off about your prose.

Now I know that’s probably really heavily critical, and I hope it hasn’t put a total downer on your day, because I want you to know I really did enjoy the chapter. Blues, Rock, Roll, hell even Judith!, came together wonderfully in a package that really introduced the story well. When I read this at work, it was when I had pulled up at a service station. I had a tea and a panini and spent an hour in the parking lot just reading this chapter, and I was really intrigued to want to find out what happened next. So much so, in fact, that as soon as I got home that night, I read the next two chapters immediately. So for this introduction, despite all it’s flaws, I want to give it a 7/10. And yes. I’m heavily inconsistent with my scores. It is a problem and I am getting help for it.
3/9/2016 c1 J23K
The next part is about Yuichi and her relationship, which has some emotions in it which work for it and then other parts which again have a completely neutral reaction from her like the explanation of the Jinsei project being abandoned. Does that rile her suspicions? Make her angry? Feel like Yuichi’s withholding information from her and she really hates it? Then there’s a whole section about Light on his interview on Rock and the Jinsei project where she has just one line of input at the start of the section and the rest is all neutral. What are her thoughts on this? What can she deduce from this report? Does she know Dr Light is a liar? The next part is the Rock/Miki interview which I really enjoyed reading because it was very sweet however still no reaction from her. I know it might seem redundant writing out reactions to every single event by your protagonist if you don’t think it’s necessary, but what about if she just watched the report and as she watched it, she was going along with the pen in her mouth and then scribbling down anything she deemed to be an important note? Then she’d have an emotional reaction to these facts already in her scribbling because it would imply some of the facts would be more important to her than others and that’s why she’s writing them. Or if she was trying to study Rock to really see if he could be deemed a human from the interview or so on or so on.

Next morning, after the news report, she wakes up in her car and says ‘it was hot.’ That’s a motivation; what’s her reaction to that? I know this seems redundant, honestly, but we will only feel what she feels. So if it’s hot, is there a slight prickle of sweat on her brow? Does she roll her windows down to try to let some more air into the car? Does she take a quick walk to cool down because it’s too stuffy in the car? Then skipping along a few more neutrals with a couple of reactions from her, you have Yuichi’s message to her telling her he’s in Yokohama. What’s her reaction to that? Is she deeply in love with him so there’s a connection through his texts that she feels? Is she scared of flying so she’s glad he landed safely? Is she just a slight bit scared that Judith and Yuichi are getting it on (though the last one would probably change the course of the story so be careful with that one :) )

Now the next part I really enjoyed however would have still liked a lot more reaction than there was from her; and it was Blues coming back into the house. So first you describe Blues at the house. How does she feel (not yet knowing it’s Blues)? Suspicion? Dread? Curiosity? Then you say he climbs the wall with inhuman agility. Does that further her suspicion, or her dread, or her curiosity? Then we do get some pretty decent emotions from her in the next couple of motivations, and then there’s kind of two paragraphs where she realises it is in actual fact Blues and then does nothing as Blues shuffles about, just kind of watching him like some kind of strange paedo stalker :P . Why not use this time to ponder over how he can still be alive or try to get past her initial shock of seeing someone she thought was dead? Finally, she says excuse me and then Blues runs. What’s her emotional reaction to that? Shock at him running like that? Frustration? Principle-driven behaviour that causes her to chase after him? Her journalist instincts? Instead she just says ‘come back, please’ which works, however it doesn’t reveal anything about what’s happening inside her at this news. Then she loses Blues and there’s another news report (my, you do love your news Kaguya) about the police finding Dr. Wiley’s body. Any reaction to that she might have that we should know? Things like ‘good, he deserved it’ or ‘yeah, he was an arsehole but he didn’t deserve to die’ etc etc? See you have the reporters reaction here, but not the protag’s own reaction :/

Anyway finally, the chapter ends with a conversation between Judith and Kaoru which is fairly interesting, I wish there was some kind of conflict that propelled them along though, like two conflicting viewpoints on what information was withheld from Kaoru or her views on the Jinsei project. As it stands, it’s more just an info dump. What I would have REALLY loved to see here was Kaoru using her deductive abilities as a journalist to try and pry information out of Judith to further allow us to embody her with her unique journalism skills; and Judith obviously withholding the information (mostly because she’s a dick) to varying levels of success which would also have made for a nice bit of conflict - in that Kaoru has a goal and Judith isn’t letting her reach that goal - which is the best type of conflict I think for your stories as you don’t favour external conflicts like fights and external events. I can actually imagine that making for some incredible conflict in FS later on where Blues needs something from somebody, however can’t get it because his own shyness and lack of knowing what to say to another person all too well stops him :)

So that’s - IMO - the first problem which has a really easy fix. Just with most new outside stimuli you introduce that are neutral; be it a line of dialogue by a character other than your protag, an action by another character, a change in weather, a particular news section she’s watching; anything at all - then have an equal and opposite reaction by the protagonist i.e. another line of dialogue by the protag, a thought on that action by the protag, an adjustment of clothing to suit the weather and a writing down of notes for news. You don’t have to do this for EVERY single new motivation, but I’d recommend it for the ones that should mean something to the audience. I hope this has helped you as opposed to frustrated you, and like I said if you do disagree, you are more than welcome to not use it, I won’t hold it against you and you can also tell me and I’ll understand if you don’t agree with this :D

The second weakness in both FS and Hiding is that you really favour the abstract far more than the concrete when it comes to your prose. I understand what you’re doing with this, and you’ve even told me this before; you want to keep readers guessing as to what will happen next. Which is great, however we need to actually have the information there to be able to quizzically guess and come to our own logical conclusions. Instead, your protagonist never really explains her train of thought as to why she’s doing certain things to the reader or what certain things mean. Do you remember that one time in a review when I told you Blues jumped out of the car when it stopped but it frustrated me because I didn’t know why he did that? And then several times I picked out other occasions where I was like ‘what is his motivation for this’? This is what I was talking about. I’ll show you in this chapter exactly what I mean when I say you favour the abstract to the concrete - however it’s not always to the right effect IMO.

On the very third line of the first chapter, Kaoru says “I was ready. I knew what would happen next.” Okay, she knows, then why is she with-holding this information from the reader? Why not just tell them what would happen next? If it’s because this will be explained later on, then why not give a little fact that piques curiousity like ‘I was ready. I knew what would happen next. I was going to have to go to Shizuoka’ or some shit like that. That way, it becomes concrete as opposed to abstract thoughts. “I glanced down at my own hands to make sure they weren’t shaking too.” Is this fearful shaking? Curious shaking? Excitement shaking? This is not concrete enough for me to know. And this leads more to frustration as to why her hands are shaking then the curiosity you’re looking to ire in the reader. I need to be able to thoroughly and fully understand Kaoru if I am to relate to her - and abstract emotions like this won’t allow me to do that. “But I knew what Yuichi was thinking. He wasn’t worried about Tokyo.” Why don’t you tell me what he was worried about then? Why is the protagonist withholding her thoughts from me? Now you do have a fact here to support it which does make it a little better, but it’s a fact of elimination as opposed to evidence. So basically, there’s 10 million thoughts he could be thinking from that very vague statement, but at least now I know one of them is he wasn’t worried about Tokyo. Why not instead have a fact of evidence, which postulates something like ‘But I knew what Yuichi was thinking. He was scared for Rock and Roll.’ And even this, I’d want some explanation too so it’s not as vague. That would pique curiousity just as much, however at least now I know what she's scared for so I can worry with her.

“Later, I stored the disk in a safe deposit box at the post office. I never told Yuichi about it.” Abstract again. Why the Post Office? Is that a good place to hide it? Does she do work there? Why isn’t she going to tell Yuichi about it? The obvious reason is because she’s stolen it but that's just what I could assume. There are just as many other options I could assume. What’s her deeper motivation for not telling him? I mean they are husband and wife so my thoughts are she would confront him about it. Is it because she’s trying to keep it secret from him due to spite? Resentment? Because she feels he’s broken her trust? It’s never explained, only that she never tells Yuichi about it for the entirety of the chapter. I am therefore left to assume any one of these possible trains of thought, and that's not always to the effect you seek to make.

“He admitted he had been involved in the project, but refused to say anything more.” This is far too abstract, what exactly was his admission? How did he refuse to say anything more? If I am to create a logical argument in my head with your facts, I need to first - have the facts :) . “Privately, for years, I mourned that strange new life cut short.” Abstract. What were you mourning about Blues?
3/9/2016 c1 J23K
Then we meet Blues again. Come a long way from FS, eh? This guy is a lot more seasoned, even if still not a fighter as he is (I think) portrayed in the games. The jerk reaction he has of running as soon as Kaoru calls him is instinctual, and in that one action we get a lot of information about his lifestyle so far - secrecy and withdrawal; the instinctual need to run as soon as somebody sees you. And then you’ve got the character-defining elements like the Chopin and the yellow scarf (at least I think the yellow scarf made an appearance here but I haven’t actually written it in my notes :/ ) And also he’s a total badass. With the whole ‘THROW ME THA GODDAMN CAMERA’ and she’s all like ‘ok jeez stop having a period’ and then he deletes all the pictures of himself and says some cool shit like ‘Let me stay dead. Also try not to stare at my perfectly-proportioned ass while I leave,’ and she’s just left in the dirt like -jaw on the floor at how fucking perfectly proportioned his ass is-.

Blues came across as incredibly interesting, a character who I was curious to know how he’s going to play into the overall narrative at this point, especially because he’s talked about so much with the whole Jinsei project and no-body actually knows he’s alive. It raises promptful questions that kept me guessing in a good way :). Also I have just realised you were at one time Christian, you don’t mind me saying things like Goddamn, do you? If you do, do let me know and I will seek to correct it :). And there was also a nice bit of conflict whilst she wanted to get to know Blues and Blues weren’t having none of her shit with his whole ‘Hurry Ms. Nishikawa. It is INDEED a hot day.’ Speaking of which, and just touching on this point before I move on, that also makes for some nice new enigma codes - apparently Wiley’s dead too.

WHAT?! :D

The next section was actually the worst for me. It’s Judith. I just … I really, really, don’t like her character. Lool I’m sorry, that’s just how I see her since FS. I mean, she’s not even as bad in this one however from FS I know her to be a liar and an arsehole who will constantly withdraw information and that image has stuck with me everytime I see her again. She just does things and then doesn’t properly explain. Like she’ll hide pieces of information or she’ll leave the room and then all of a sudden break out into a run and it’s like ‘well why can’t she just FRICKING stop being so obnoxious and just let us know every now and again why she does the things she does as opposed to just saying ‘I HAVE TO GO’ and then speeding out of the room?!’ She’s also OBNOXIOUSLY withdrawn and she’s just … ARGH I’m not gonna lie I tend to just kind of skip over everything she says with very little regard - and if I ever saw her in real life, or the actor who plays her in any future motion pictures, I’d just punch her in the face. I think I know what you are trying to do - to raise questions as to why she is crying. There is - I think - a pretty simple fix to make it so I actually care rather than just be frustrated.

So having said all this, the only other minor concern I’ve had so far from the text, is that the protagonist herself isn’t at all very developed compared to the other characters. She doesn’t seem to have likes or dislikes, cares or defining character actions/traits; she doesn’t have any pathos really established in this first chapter other than ‘she’s a journalist’ and she ‘loves her husband, Yuichi’. I really would have liked to have seen her get more developed over the course of this chapter; as it seems the supporting characters are far more developed and fleshed-out then she is. My thoughts anyway.

Okay so onto the final part of this review before I conclude, which will be the two major weaknesses I have noticed both in this work and in FS that take me out of the story constantly. I think I’ve pinpointed two weaknesses that I’d like to give you some evidence for. Having said that, I am acutely aware that I am a singular fan of your works over the 7 billion people on the planet who will view this completely differently from one another, and I don’t have any formal qualifications that could say I can present these weaknesses, however I think I’ve read enough of your works to at least give you the facts as to why I think these are your two weaknesses and then let you come to your own judgements based on that. I want you to be fully aware however - as always - that my opinions really are just that; opinions. I won’t be offended if you choose not to follow them in coming chapters and just let me know if you don’t agree. Having said this, I know I bang on a lot about these so I’ll stop after I mention them here.

The first - and I’ve mentioned this before - is that everything in a lot of your stories is neutral writing. What we get is the facts of the story, but not really how these facts affect your protagonist - which in turn doesn’t give much character to Kaoru either. In particular, this story is one where the acts of the protagonist are more as an observer to events outside of their direct scope - which is not a bad thing, however oftentimes she will have no reaction to events that take place in front of her. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s fine to have a story where the protagonist is an observer, however she still should have reactions to the events around her - which is minimal a lot of the time in this story.

Now I want to give you my arguments as to why I believe it’s so important to have reactions to events so that you can then decide yourself if this is something worth implementing or not. Have you ever heard of the Uses & Gratifications theory? If not, it’s the idea that the audiences will consume media for four major reasons - and as we do both eventually want to get something published, I’m sure our works can be deemed as media eventually too. The two most major reasons are escape and identity - which make up the bulk of all people who consume novels and story media. The idea behind this theory is that the mass majority of people consume media for the major two above reasons; so they can escape for a little while to somewhere that is not their own life and also as a source of identity and a means to understanding life; through seeing it from someone else’s shoes and then deciding whether that’s also the right choice if they were to ever come across that decision in their own life. Your story - therefore - will be consumed by the masses because they want to live in someone else’s shoes for a while; be someone else; look at the world differently for a while. And that’s why the protagonist’s thoughts, views, ideologies and pathos; and in particular their emotional reactions; are so important. Because every neutral event then becomes filtered through a lens that the protagonist has, whether an event shocks them or makes them angry or scared or just non-chalant even … like not giving a shit. Which, in turn, makes the reader feel more like the protagonist and therefore draws them in more powerfully to your story.

To even further emphasise the point of why it’s so important to colour almost every event with some kind of reaction from the protagonist; I’m going to tell you about this guy called Eliot (from a book called ‘Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain’) which is a story from real life that should tell you what I mean. Okay, Elliot! So Elliot’s like this crazy-genius level man. His IQ is in the 97th percentile, he has an incredibly high-functioning memory. He’s totally sound of body and mind. Until eventually he develops a tumor in his brain, and needs surgery for it. Unfortunately, during the surgery they also cut out a small section of his pre-frontal cortices, which in turn, leaves him never able to feel emotion again. If you told him this story, he wouldn’t actually feel sad about it. Or happy or angry or anything. Now he’s still in the highest percentile for IQ and his memory is just as high-functioning. For all intents, and according to the modern day criteria for intelligence, he is of sound mind and body. Turns out though, now that he has no emotion he literally can’t do anything. He can’t make a single decision for himself, not even what colour pen to use or whether he should prepare for a meeting on Thursday or take his time to arrange his paperclips into lines on his desk. Eating a banana is just as evenly weighted a decision as saving several children from a burning building; and everything became a neutral decision with completely neutral consequences to him; there was no longer such a thing as time pressure; or guilt; or some type of intrinsic respect for another that gave priority over some decisions to others. What the book suggests is that emotion is the number one reason behind every decision that anybody makes EVER; however small or large it is. It drives why we go to funerals, why we choose to eat when we’re not hungry, why we like exercise and the endorphin rush it brings and so on. Now my theory (which isn’t really my theory it’s more like a recycling and amalgation of other theories I’ve read) is that this same rule applies to fiction. If the reader doesn’t have a post by which to measure how important or unimportant events are; they will turn off - which for me, was the biggest problems in both Hiding and Falling Short, that events were often told as completely neutral. There was never a reaction from the protagonist on what these events meant to them.

I want to show you through the arc of this chapter why I think that to be true in this work. The very first small section where Kaoru hears of Dr. Light’s death, she packs a bag and makes plans to head for Shizuoka. Which is fair enough, I mean there is a fair bit of emotion here and it works as a good opening so I have no real criticisms with this. Straight afterwards, you’ve got her sitting on the plane and watching a news report. She doesn’t really have a reaction to this at all so it’s a neutral report to
3/9/2016 c1 J23K
Hellooooo Kaguya :) (and this review is only like ... two weeks later than I said it would be :P )

So I’m about halfway into this story and figured I'd post this review to first off recollect my thoughts and opinions so far and also to touch on a lot of things that piqued my interest in this first chapter. This one’s kind of a long-un review, first to show you my appreciation for your beta on Ch. 3 of EWTRTW, but mostly because reading Hiding and FS I’m starting to notice the trends that I can now more concretely explain to you in these chapters that I think work and also don't work. Much like with my previous chapter review on FS CH. 16, I’ll be presenting this as an overall theme and narrative/plot hole analysis, with some line-by-line whenever it’s relevant.

Right so here’s the structure of this review, because it is a bit of a mess. I’m going to give you the overall thoughts, themes and narrative analysis’, what I thought overall of the plot and then the minor weaknesses along the way as well. I’ll conclude with the two major flaws I think are prominent in your prose however - as I always say - this is just my opinion. And I know you know this, however I want to emphasise that it’s only there to complement and support your own opinions. If at any point, you find any of this to not be useful, just bring it up with me. I’ll make sure from then on out to not bring it up without reason. Also, as a final point in this introduction, at times it may sound like I don’t really like this chapter. That’s not the case - when I read this chapter I pulled into a service station and read the entire chapter from start to finish on my lunch, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I was really intrigued by what could potentially happen in the next chapter. I remember thinking about where you’re looking to take the story on the car journey over to my next appointment (and I even have that little tid-bit written down in my notes lool).

So this was - at least for the first chapter - a totally different type of beast to Falling Short - whilst also staying oddly similar. What we get rather than a cause and effect story like FS is an almost montage or compilation-like sortie of different clips that come together as a cohesive whole. For at least the first chapter, it works incredibly well. There’s a great sense of freedom in being able to jump from one to the next clip, being only where you need to be whilst the fallout of Light’s death affects lots of different characters all at once and the pieces are set up for the whole of the story. We get a good insight into a lot of the different characters; Blues, Rock and Roll (both of whom I’m seeing for the first time however they definitely leave their mark) and a lot of similar faces too in Judith, Yuichi and Kalinka (who I don’t think is introduced in this chapter). It’s almost juggling an event like this and how it’s rippled through the world and that was really interesting. What I most liked is almost like it put you into the thick of the disaster right at the start.

We’ve got the fallout of Light's death beginning at the very start with her packing her bags, and then it’s just a ripple effect on lots of other characters and different tidbits that ties up very nicely. It’s a shame because this type of chapter did come together very creatively, and then I noticed it’s back to the same style as FS for the rest of the story - or at least what I’ve read so far. Still, that’s not to say it’s bad; I just would have liked to see you tinker with this style for a little longer as a different type of experiment.

There was also a massive amount of telling in this chapter; in the form of news reports and large dumps of information. I didn’t lose interest at any point during this however so well done on that front. It was very well written, and I loved the angle that the news reports and interviews can give you that other aspects of the story just can’t. There was also - once again - a much smaller amount of conflict; the only part that really sticks out as being of conflict was when Blues’ ran away and their encounter, otherwise it was mainly a lot of talking and information that was given. Not to say that’s bad, for an opening chapter I still enjoyed it the entire way through, however right at the end of this chapter I did have my reservations that this will be a lot like FS in a lot of ways - just because of the content it’s covering and the whole giving up way too easily that your protagonist seems to do in this too :/

But MY GOD if this chapter wasn’t filled with enigma codes I wanted answers for. You have the sudden death of Light which sparks a lot of delicious questions (though none of which seem to really disturb the protagonist all too much in this first chapter), then suddenly there’s Dr. Wiley and he’s dead too? And Rock and Roll have gone missing, presumed dead in the same house? What the hell happened?! This chapter had just as many questions I craved answers for as did perplex me that there wasn’t answers for (which I will get to later on in the review). Then Blues shows up, and he doesn’t exactly like Light from what I remember, and he’s in Light’s house? What’s going on lool?!

Having said that, there was still a lot of dead ends that I did find a bit empty, like Judith - who in both this and FS is just this gigantic downer when she talks - just because she’s always hiding things that just close her completely off from me. And then there was the whole thing about the Jinsei Project which Kaoru found and then just hid away from her husband for eleven years without so much as caring to ask him why he had it or what it had to do with anything. I’ll be honest, I still don’t really understand why she hid it in the first place. What was the point in doing that? Why not confront him about it? And fair enough it might be because she shouldn’t have been looking anyways, however the rest of the chapter postulates that this video had a massive impact on her when she watched it, because first she remembers it from so long ago but also she has a huge emotional impact for the rest of the chapter when she sees Blues. It’s like a thing I would expect would be suspicious enough to at least dig a little further into outside of their marriage, not just let slide for 11 years lool. Still, it didn’t completely detract from the story, it was just a bit jarring as to her motivations behind that.

Moving on anyways, there weren’t any themes I found in this chapter that immediately jumped up at me, nor has the tone of your writing changed much since FS. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the way it was written; it just feels and sounds very similar to FS in a lot of ways with the way that characters talk. The only thing I really got from this chapter in terms of themes was the fallout of Light’s death, and the set-up of the different pieces of an intricate, seven chapter puzzle. Still, as first chapters go, it did serve as a good introduction to all the different pieces and did keep me engaged the entire way through.

So I want to take this event by event just to explain all my points and tell you what I really liked about this chapter. So the first kind of event or clip was when she was talking to her boss. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really care all too much for this. Yeah she was talking to her boss and she was discussing how Light had just died but she wasn’t treating it as a very colossal event. It was more like ‘well Light’s dead. Bummer,’ like seriously there wasn’t a lot here that made me think ‘OH WOW ok this is going to directly affect her life for the next seven chapters’. I would have much rather liked to be hooked by a jolt discovery that made her immediately pack her bags and tell her supervisor she needed to go be with her husband. That would have been a lot more resonant. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad opening … it just could have been more ... personal.

Straight after that, and in a scene I really liked, you’ve got all the people sitting on the plane with Kaoru and all intently watching this news report. I really liked this small part because it seemed like for a few seconds, these people on this plane were all united by this disaster that’s just rocked Japan, however once again Kaoru is very neutral about the entire thing. Still, the report gave a really good insight into how Light was loved by the world as well as his creation, Rock. It also sparked a lot of questions with the whole ‘WOW wtf happened to his house?!’ You go on with some good backstory about Rock, however I feel this could have all been explained in dialogue or something to make it a little more dynamic than just kind of this info dump that it is.

Then you go onto the next sort of part of this section which details Yuichi and Kaoru’s marriage. I don’t know how you intended this, but what it comes off as here is Yuichi works far too much and hides things from his wife; both of which are signs of an unhealthy relationship to readers. This is another theme you have in your works; everyone is always hiding things. Everyone has secrets. Is the title some kind of double-metaphor as being because they’re hiding Rock, Roll and Blues but also hiding everything from one another?

I really enjoyed the next part; where Rock and Roll are introduced to that reporter Miki. I - and this is just me, I doubt every reader will resonate quite as well with this - really enjoyed this part. Once again, and a lot like Blues, Rock has this humanness to him that makes him incredibly lovable. You’ve got him being lazy and liking to sleep a lot, you’ve got him admitting his sister is far more intelligent than he is … he is a really likeable kid. In a lot of ways, you’ve made him like Blues however at the same time he’s also a lot more vibrant. Maybe it’s due to their upbringings however he definitely has a place up there in my heart alongside Blues, and this was just established in one chapter! And then MY WORD he strips down just
2/24/2016 c3 6J23K
Oh NOW I see what the photo was about in the Turing Tests riiiiiiight
2/18/2016 c1 J23K
I am really looking forward to reviewing this properly tonight :)
10/2/2015 c7 Proto Fan
There's not much fanfiction I read today, but your take on the Rock Man story is one I thoroughly enjoy. I don't know what compels you to do it, but I certainly am glad you do.

This story almost made me want to cry and that alone speaks volumes as I'm not one to have that happen. We see Blues endure the notion he may have to die, and his friends' concern for it all. However; I do understand that a soul cannot be quantified in a number and that ultimately disconnects me. It is a nice fantasy, though, when done right.

I most certainly am glad I started reading Falling Short as this has some spoilers for that.

All the human characters had a good role. Ivor being staunch and realistic, Kalinka being caring to a fault, Yuichi having this lighthearted-ness, Judith having to face her past, and the reporter just trying to piece everything together and being supportive. As long as fan made characters don't overshadow the main ones, I'm all for them.

I love how you define what the characters can do. I loved reading what Rock Man was capable of. That Roll was formidable in her own right. I only wish I heard about Blues' red armor and shield. Also, you create rules. -Such as the virus being nanobots. Good story telling is based upon establishing the rules and you're a pro there!

I'm a little curious why you didn't keep the name Dr. Right and chose a different translation's version... Ah well, it'll leave me to speculate.

Not only is your work emotional, you can still make it funny. Such as Kalinka asking "Tea?" that made me laugh quite a bit.

The story could've had several endings. Featuring the death of the characters and what they ultimately do, Or showing X wake up and choose how to live his life. Or it could've just shown Light's memorial in depth and ended there. Any of those endings could've worked, but it seems you wanted to leave the impression of a joyous life despite hardship. I liked that. Well done.
9/16/2015 c7 14RiceKrispie
Overall, a very excellent read! A solid idea with some solid writing behind it. Some key points in my mind:

1. Your story setup is a little confusing. You don't provide a lot of details for your setting. Everything is really abstract. You don't provide a lot of details on what kind of people they are, what kind of place they live in, or anything like that, so it's hard to get a feel for them until probably around chapter 3 or so. The first couple chapters just seem very sparse and overly concerned with events rather than providing any details or context for what's going on. For some of your secondary characters you can get away with this for the few chapters required, but since you're telling this from a first-person perspective, you really need to give the reader a good idea of the person we're viewing your world through right from the start, otherwise it's hard to reach the level of immersion in the world that first-person is trying to achieve, because you can't actually put yourself in the shoes of someone when you know nothing about them or the world they're in.

I think it would have helped if you'd done a little bit more "show, not tell" to give us some details about them, particularly about your protagonist. For instance, is she wealthy? Make a remark about her hotel room, about how she's glad the newspaper is paying for it, because otherwise she could never afford it, or something. She's a news reporter, but what kind of news does she typically report on? What kind of opinions does she have? Maybe make references to her trying to squeeze some contacts for information - or not, if she's not that kind of person. I dunno, just small details that show what kind of character she has, or that give small details about what's going on in the world *other than* the Thomas Light Affair as the story opens.

2. Previous point in mind, the third chapter onward is much improved in that regard. It's like you were hurrying through the start of the story to get the part you actually wanted to write. While I can certainly sympathize with this feeling, having a solid context and characters for the later chapters would have made this story much more enjoyable from the start. As it is I found myself rushing through the first two chapters, and only actually started paying attention to what was really going on around the third chapter. Anecdotally, your paragraphs also started getting longer around there too. Possibly a sign that you'd thought more about what you wanted to say, and weren't just jumping from event to dialog to event to move the story along.

3. Once we actually got to learn the character's backstories and stuff, it was pretty cool. They were pretty solid characters. I feel like your protagonist is pretty saintly in her understanding :P but the relationship between her, her husband, and Judith wasn't particularly the focus of this fic, so I can understand why you kept it simple, and I probably would have done the same.

4. I particularly enjoyed reading about Blues, and both his relationship with Kalinka, and with Yuichi and Judith. I wish you could have shown more of the latter, but seeing as the story was told from a first-person perspective and I doubt Blues would have opened up in front of her, I can see why that would be difficult. But what you did show was particularly well done and probably my favorite parts of the fic.

5. The very small part you gave to Forte was very cool. I feel it suited him perfectly.

As I always say in my reviews, take everything I say with a grain of salt. The most important part is that you enjoyed writing it. I'm just some dude on the internet, don't take me too seriously. :) And if I didn't think it was a good read I wouldn't have read the whole thing in one sitting. :)

Cheers!
9/5/2015 c7 4CrystalRei
I really want to come up with something coherent but right now all can manage is d'aww. :3

This whole story was a push/pull mix of happy and sad, and is all the better for it. I find myself wishing the best for Rock, Roll, and Blues, but we all know it won't be that easy.

I enjoyed reading this. Good luck in your future work. :)
9/5/2015 c1 CrystalRei
I teared up a little reading the new reports on Rock, and again imagining that video of Blues and what Kaoru must have felt. I don't usually empathize with characters, but you managed to make me do it.

Rock and Roll both were adorable in their interviews; and I love the idea of Rock oh-so-innocently revealing how staged it is. The earlier comment about PTSD is also a lovely touch. And touching on Blues' legal issues is very representative to me of all the wonderful worldbuilding you're doing. It's all the little touches. :)

Awesome work overall. I wish you luck in your future writing. :)
7/29/2015 c1 malebron
The very first line is really good; immediately it makes me want to read on. The first few lines have a punchy, slightly disjointed (in a good way) sense of urgency. I don’t know the fandom, but I have met some of the characters in your other story and this must be set some years (ten years?) later.

Your weaving of description and narrative is perfect. I especially liked the way you described the tension on the plane and the TV interview.

I’m curious to know how Dr Wily turned into an arch-villain. Perhaps he always was! Maybe he is more complex than it appears.

There is good backstory here, I don’t know how much is canon or your own creaton but it certainly fills in the gaps very well.

One thing confused me a bit; Kaoru finds a date written on Yuichi’s hand that is two days before his daughter is born, but when she looks at the email dated that day, it congratulates him on the birth?
Is there a reason for not giving her name earlier? The email says ‘give my love to your wife Kaoru’, now that might be a typical way of putting it in Japanese, I don’t know, but Judith isn’t Japanese, so I would expect her to say just ‘Kaoru’ or ‘your wife’, but not both. You could easily have Yuichi or Takada call her by name right at the beginning to introduce her.
Typo - You wrote ‘pour over the images’ when I think you mean ‘pore’.
Then when she is at Dr Light’s house, you say ‘I was about to reach for my camera’, implying that she doesn’t actually take hold of it, but then she is looking through the zoom lens.

This is, as usual, beautifully clearly written and you have made a really good hook for the next chapters.
7/8/2015 c7 5LivingAtSomePointInTime
Thank you for writing this, I really enjoyed it! ;w;
6/3/2015 c7 2LynnDoubleLegacy
Gods.
This story.
I stayed up until 2:30 am reading this, and it was worth every second, I swear.
2/19/2015 c7 ReadR
This fic is interesting take of the usual 'Zero killed all the Original characters' except they are alive. All those background story how Wily and Light broke up, Forte secretly helped them, that chilling last message from Wily - and you make Roll so much badass, cute hacker and helped 'create' X.
I can't say what I don't like from this fic - except maybe it's too fanfic-y, that is, it is not written in the way you would write a novel, but maybe I was hoping too much. Kudos for you for writing this fic.
12/30/2014 c7 SSB Fan
Is this the last chapter? Because I really like this story.
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