Date: 09/20/18 03:16 am Title: Chapter 36
omg the cliffhanger, you finished this story and yet there's no enclosure for me, all the pain D=
Seriously though, this was a really hard story for my mind to read, won't get in detail, just it was. I couldn't stop reading it because i was looking for that enclosure the final chapter offered, so, now you have me glued waiting for the next, and the next. I loved the story, hated the story, cried and laughed with the story, and overall, while it's awesome, im not satisfied sadly, but at least it's not the end and can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks for the rollercoaster of emotions so far, an extra star for you *
Author's Response: It's not the end -- there's quite a bit of race track left to go over. I'm glad you've, well, felt it. Thanks! :)
Date: 09/19/18 09:02 am Title: Chapter 1
Danny is so dumb, but it's hard to see a way out when you've lost all hope. Bittersweet ending chapter. I hope very much for adulthood to bring them happiness and satisfaction, they've been through too much bitterness not to. Although, it seems we have more of a rollercoaster to go. Lovely writing as always, please keep up the good work
Author's Response: Thanks! There is indeed a rollercoaster ahead, but first, a lull while Samantha tries to settle down after this latest development. I'll try to have the next book up soon! :)
Date: 09/10/18 12:25 am Title: Chapter 1
Really like this story. Keep up the great work. However, I can't help but feel like Samantha and Danny are kind of idiots. Especially after this latest chapter. Danny's parents where clearly trespassing regardless of him being there or not. Sure she didn't object to them being there, but their attitude was clearly not hospitable. Then you come the the assult in her own home. They could and should have called the cops at the very least. Can't say it would help, but you're just an idiot to let something like that happen and not do anything about it. I know she's had it tough, but from what I've gotten out of the story she's not someone who just let's that stuff happen. Maybe I've overlooked some clues though. Look forward to more all the same.
Author's Response: Samantha's coherence tends to crumble in the face of severe emotional stress. She has a sense of personal justice and can speak up for herself, but when her emotions are struck because of a perceived or real and dangerous aggressiveness in her counterpart(s), she hides and recedes into herself and that sense of personal justice disappears. It was displayed most prominently at her junior year graduation. When she found Danny in that classroom and feared that she would be assaulted, she didn't struggle or try to escape -- she simply sat frozen in terror like a deer caught in the headlights. All she could do in response to the initial behavior of Danny's parents was cower in silence as she feared something violent would happen. Once it did, she was able to respond to the danger she faced, which was no longer immediately life-threatening to her, but her energy was sapped quickly. This was actually a development in her character that has been brewing for a while, but was truly set into motion back in Chapter 14 when she had a near-death experience at Ryan's hands. After that scene in Chapter 14, she seemed to recover relatively quickly from what was a very traumatic experience, but the effects of it can be seen in the way she reacts to her life being threatened. The problem was that I didn't draw so much as an implicit connection -- instead trying to see if the similar circumstances would be clear enough to convey the breadth of what she'd gone through, and it wasn't enough at all. With regards to Danny and why he hasn't done anything, he's reliant on his parents. While he could easily separate from them legally after the things that they've done, he needs their financial assistance and feels like that dilemma takes a higher priority than his mental health or the prospect of an uninfringed relationship with his girlfriend. More basically, he's scared, and much like Samantha, he's trapped in the addictive status quo.
Date: 08/15/18 10:14 pm Title: Chapter 32
I *LOVE* this story. I'm bummed out that more people aren't appreciating this. I read the original story back in the day and it was way too cartoonish for me to enjoy. This story, on the other hand, is...realistic is not the word I'm looking for, but more grounded, abrupt shifts aside. I hope this bittersweet romance continues and has a happy ending. Keep up the great work
Author's Response: I appreciate the feedback! :) The romance will be thrown for a bit of a loop soon, unfortunately, but it has a happy-ish ending.
Date: 06/14/18 04:07 pm Title: Chapter 25
I feel like Danny's change of character and Samantha's breakup with him is not as well handled as some of the other character developments earlier on. Their reconciliation is better and more believable, but Danny's motivations in the breakup still aren't that clear after he explained them to Samantha.
I like Courtney, though, and hope she'll become a more major character.
> all three were completely stunned into science.
> and that was absolute godsend
an absolute godsend
> "Without it, you'd be a party to rape.
I don't get Nicholas's reasoning here, at all. How would Samantha be complicit
in some unspecified person raping some unspecified person? Unless you mean
"you'd be a rape victim," but that's not what "party to rape" means.
> A scene was gathered outside the Chemistry classroom.
Change "scene" to "crowd" or some such.
> she's technically our boss for the moment being."
"for the time being." or "for the moment."
Author's Response: Danny's character arc was interrupted very early in the writing of the book. I had the incident with Courtney in my original plans for the book, but it had plenty of lead-up, with hints dropped with increasing frequency about Danny's worries, inner personality, and the cause behind them. There also would have been more emphasis placed on the "sugar ceiling" that Danny and Samantha's relationship had prior to the climax of this development -- Danny actually references this in chapter 3 when he's telling Samantha that the mutual interests that had been the entirety of their friendship before H-31 weren't strong enough to hold the friendship up through the transformation. If I'd given myself a chance, I would have been able to spin that into a full-bodied theme by the time Courtney came along and that scene, from the introduction to the climax, would have made much more sense. But I began feeling like the light-hearted tone that Orange Soda carried was vital to the identity of this book, so I dropped Courtney and the surrounding incident, as well any negative portrayals of Danny's personality in general, opting instead to leave the relationship between Danny and Samantha as sugary as possible. It wasn't until chapter 19 until I realized that that part of the plot was more vital than any sugar was. I tried making some minute adjustments to dull what would be a very sudden 180 in Danny's personality, but I couldn't do much without creating miniature 180s before Courtney even arrived. (which would have severely disrupted the emphasis of the scene) Courtney will be returning though. She's survived one round of editing by an aimless author, so I have no plans to drop her to "minor" status. :) And regarding Nicholas' remark, he was referencing Ryan's r*** of Lizzy in chapter 14 and Ryan's subsequent death on Samantha's shoulders. Samantha wasn't officially a party to that crime regardless, but Nicholas, upon hearing Samantha's impetuous remark about the pain threshold, and knowing that Samantha holds some lingering guilt and sense of responsibility over the incident, replies in an inflammatory way that is not only meant to incite anger, but also to make a stinging, but helpful point -- that Samantha had, perhaps without really realizing it, allowed herself to be trampled on -- but Samantha is too incensed to understand.
Date: 06/14/18 02:27 pm Title: Chapter 20
The plot and characters continue to be interesting. Les is fun to read about if
a bit shallow. Nicholas and Luke are getting more interesting.
Samantha's mom seems to be sick every time she's mentioned in these last few
chapters, suggesting a chronic illness, but Samantha tells us almost nothing
about it. That seems odd.
> I'm going to a therapist now, and I'm on medicine, and I'm not too
> particularly happy or proud about any of this, but it's remarkable how much
> it's helping.
You suddenly shift into present tense here. Unless this is talking about the
now from which she is looking back and telling the story, not the now where
she's listening to roll call, it should be past tense. And if it's the former,
you may need to make it clearer that she wasn't in therapy yet at the time of
the story. If it's both, it needs to be worded differently.
I doubt it's legal to forbid students to bring their own lunch to school.
You might mention lawsuits as well as complaints in the passage where you first talk
> "Yes, mam?"
-- and again later in the chapter
> an gross sentence
> won't let us here the end of it.
Author's Response: Samantha's mom is struggling with deteriorating mental health. I purposely left her illness rather vague, but I didn't really do enough to differentiate between her depression and the "old-lady-with-a-chronic-illness-that-leaves-them-bedridden" cliche that makes its rounds in many stories nowadays where the author needs to manufacture another front of conflict. As such, her illness appears to have no cause and no relation to the stresses that she has undergone while Samantha held the mic. Regarding Fetter's mandatory cafeteria participation, it was meant as a little joke to keep the book from getting uniformly serious. I'll add a snippet about lawsuits to the chapter as it stands now, but beyond that, I'm really not sure what to do with it. Fetter has no importance to the plot other than mild comedic relief, and the whole "school cafeteria food is nasty" thing has already been done to death. It shines a bit of light on Mariah's personality in action, but does nothing to develop it further.
Date: 06/14/18 08:31 am Title: Chapter 15
I know you want to cover a lot of years in this story, so you need timeskips to make that work. But be careful that you don't skip important things that should be onstage. I think Samantha and Danny's first date is one of those things, and her dad and sister leaving is probably another -- at first I thought the scene was opening with Samanthat disovering they'd left as she got up in the morning, but then it became clear they'd been gone for some time.
> I sat down next time.
Should be "sat down next to him." or something.
Author's Response: Laziness had a hand in me not including those scenes, but I also wasn't sure how those scenes would mesh with the flow of the story. The focus is on Samantha, and her recovery from the traumatic incident with Ryan; having an awkward first date with Danny, or having Samantha add another traumatizing -- but completely different -- event to her story arc, would have distracted from the development she was undergoing at the moment. I agree that they're important, but if I were to include them, they'd have to be moved around -- the first date happening before the Ryan incident and her dad and sister leaving happening after. Looking back, they probably should have been moved around in the first place.
Date: 06/14/18 08:14 am Title: Chapter 14
The plot is getting more interesting. The Nicholas plot thread seems to have been
completely dropped in an unsatisfying way, though; I know from your reply to my earlier
reviews that he'll be coming back, but it seems like he should be mentioned once or twice
in the chapters where he doesn't play a major role, just to remind the reader about him
and show that you haven't forgotten him. Or not; I can't really judge until I get to the end.
I'd prefer not to have the spoilery summaries in the chapter notes.
The fourth wall breakage is mildly amusing, but also pretty jarring when we haven't had any in previous chapters. If you're going to do metafictional stuff like break the fourth wall, you should do it within the first chapter or two and make it a regular habit, not suddenly do it once after thirteen chapters.
> "Mam..." The police officer gathered herself first.
Should be "Ma'am", here and several other places in this chapter.
> "How could a sweet little girl like you get into that kind of trouble"
Missing question mark.
> "I guess have been as well."
Author's Response: Nicholas should have had a much larger, if still diminished role during the sophomore year, but I was having a hard time keeping someone relevant while not drawing too much attention to him. At the same time, I missed a lot of important character development with him, and the next time he appears, all this development that has, in my mental plotting for the story, been brewing for the past year and a half, gets thrust upon the reader at once. Regarding the fourth wall remark Samantha makes in chapter 13, it wasn't meant to be anything deeper than a mild moment of comedy and a brief glimpse into Samantha's character arc; it was meant more as a demonstration of Samantha beginning to acquire/appreciate Lizzy's self-aware sarcasm as a skill. Regarding the summaries, I really haven't known what to do with them -- I like the idea of a chapter summary but I either give up too much or too little. Thanks again. :)
Date: 06/14/18 12:20 am Title: Chapter 11
I'm enjoying the way this is going, especially Liz's character.
> slammed on the breaks.
> and when we didn't all waltz around on eggshells the transformation I went
There seem to be one or more words missing here.
Author's Response: Writing for Lizzy probably stands as my favorite part of writing the book so far. It's not very often that one gets to say "f*** gender stereotypes", and her character shouted it from the rooftops. She wasn't afraid to be crass or "unfeminine", compared to Samantha who had already fallen strongly under the sway of societal conditioning. (which is one of the things I don't think I illustrated enough in the lead-up to her meeting Ryan)
Date: 06/13/18 10:01 pm Title: Chapter 6
The characterization of Samantha and Danny, and Samantha's family, continues to be good. Nicholas is a bit cardboardy so far, though. I'll keep reading.
> "YES MAM!"
should be "YES, MA'AM!"
My understanding is that you can't pick a typical modern pin and
tumbler lock with a single tool like a hairpin. You need at least two.
Author's Response: Nicholas is pretty one-dimensional right now, but more will happen starting with chapter 16 where his character will be a bit better defined, if still a bit flatter than I would have liked him to come off. I'll fix the lock-picking part -- I didn't really bother fact-checking the logistics of doing it. Lol Once again, thanks!
Date: 06/13/18 12:58 pm Title: Chapter 2
I usually wait until stories here are finished before reading them, but I saw your shoutout post asking for feedback, so I've started reading. I'll post a comment every few chapters as I read. Or if you want to contact me on Discord (Trismegistus Shandy#9627) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I can send you feedback privately.
I like the characterization so far. Samantha seems like she was an egg before coming down with H-31, suggested by her uncomfortable reactions to her dad's masculine pressure in chapter one and her ecstatic initial reaction to the transformation in chapter two. The dad, mom, and sister are all pretty well developed for the amount of words you've spent on them.
Numbers smaller than 100 should generally be written out as words, like "twelve" or "seven" rather than "12" or "7".
In chapter two, the scene where Tyler's dad comes home just after Tyler wakes up is a bit unclear in its staging. A little more description of the scene would make it clearer what is happening -- where everyone is standing and how people are moving. My best guess is that the bedrooms and bathroom are on a second story, and the dad walked in to the living room on the first story, saw girl!Tyler and Mom and Emma at the top of the stairs, and started upstairs... but it's not clear.
With some of the unattributed dialogue, it's unclear who is speaking.
Most of your dialogue tags are formatted correctly, but you have a few where the quoted dialogue ends in a period where it should end in a comma, or where the dialogue tag begins with a capital letter that should be lowercase.
Author's Response: This book was my first attempt at writing in about 2 years. I don't say that as an excuse, as I'm still struggling with the areas you've highlighted, but my descriptions were more cursory than usual, and most of what happens in the first few chapters is little more than a flat, empty, unenticing expanse. I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to do with the book but the question of "how" was a lot fuzzier, and I was working with a lot of rust at the same time. I've got some time tonight, so I'll probably be running through and proofreading it, clarifying the dialogue, and buffing up some of the descriptions. And Samantha is indeed an egg, but there's one more piece to that plot thread that is yet to come. Regarding the sister, I'm not sure if she'll be in the next draft. She won't make very many appearances for the rest of the story and she really has no importance to the plot. One of the things I have on my list to focus on for the next draft is trimming some of the fat down, and she's one area I could make that happen with. Thanks for your feedback! :)
Date: 05/09/18 02:31 am Title: Chapter 1
Did Lizzy die? I don't remember her dying.
Author's Response: Yeah, she was supposed to, in between chapters 14 and 15. I tried to hint at it in Chapter 15, but looking back, I don't think I really gave a whole lot of gravity to the role of Lizzy's death, especially given how big of a plot point her death was. I don't have time to do it right now, but I'll probably go through and revise both chapter 14 (foreshadowing) and 15 (flashback/memory) to make it stand out a bit more.
Date: 02/28/18 02:58 am Title: Chapter 1
I'm so glad to see this story back. I love how the chapter ended on a good note, I hope it doesn't go in the same direction as orange soda. I was tearing over that.
I would like to see her mother survive this time, her dad come around and her and Emma becoming close.
Maybe a scare with her mother can make the rest of her family come back.
Author's Response: That's exactly my problem. I want this story to have some happiness sprinkled through it but the plot line I have right now doesn't have any of it. I've been struggling with my attempts to inject some life into my work, but Disneyland is merely an excursion at this point. SPOILER: The way I have it written, this book will make Orange Soda look like Mary Sunshine. I don't want that, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I've already made so many adjustments to the storyline that I have no idea really what my purpose in writing it for is. Even with Orange Soda, I had a coherent, clear purpose. I knew what I wanted to do with the story, and I knew what I wanted my story to say. And this is talking about 14-year old me, who hadn't even discovered the art of theme, much less how to use it effectively. I have none of that because my goals for the story as I've been writing it have been nothing short of mercurial. Mr. Allan. Nicholas. The woman at the beginning of the story. (I'll simply say that she's changed identities several times over the course of the 15 chapters I've written.) Dillan Ryan was supposed to appear somewhere in there. I have no idea what to do with any of these plot threads. I've already started them, so I can't just leave them there. But I have no idea how they fit into my goal. The only reason I haven't abandoned this story -- besides the fact that I've left too many things incomplete and abandoned already -- is the fact that I've written a whole 2,000-word snippet that goes deep into the original theme I had for the story. It ties in very strongly with the surrounding plot, it's my lone motivation, and it's the only thing keeping this storyline coherent.
Date: 09/30/17 02:16 pm Title: Chapter 13
Wow. That's was.... An interesting chapter.... Not quite a fan of how it jumped around from one thing to the next. I'm curious as to who broke in and busted the door :O
Author's Response: I was trying to add some more characterization to the dad without intruding too much but I don't feel happy with how it turned out -- it sticks out like a sore thumb. Chapter 14 will be out momentarily to answer your question about the door. ;)
Date: 09/08/17 03:10 am Title: Chapter 10
This Dad and sister situation is very unrealistic... Either that or they have severe mental illness and are simply cruel.
Author's Response: Not necessarily -- the dad's position will be explained more towards the end of the book. Emma is mad simply because she views Samantha as the enemy for disrupting the peace of the household. I want to develop her more and flesh out her actions a bit more -- to make it more realistic -- but I've been having a hard time finding time for her in the book, sometimes even forgetting that she was part of the story, lol.
Date: 07/28/17 07:03 am Title: Chapter 5
Okay, I've been holding this review for far too long, as I didn't have the guts to tell it just now.
Golly, what happened to you? You know me, and whatever I write in this review isn't to offend you but to try to help you. I read the original Orange Soda as it was updating, and everything you have ever written I have read it. So not only this comes from a fan, but with the short time you were at the TGStorytime Discord Server, as a friend.
Your first draft of Orange Soda was great, it had its issues, but it told a nice story (even if at times filled with drama), but it felt that it was written with passion, love and care. When you posted the first chapter of this reboot, I came in with an open mind as I am a fan of the original Orange Soda. And when I start reading it I noticed a huge growth of you as a writer. The grammar and overall setting you presented the story is far better than before. It feels more natural and vivid. You improved with some characters, removing clear cliches that were in the original. And the pacing is way better than before, as by now we would be at the slumber party!
But, the worst part is, that in my opinion it feels that you took Orange Soda, cut it in half, and focused on one side of the story. Because the presentation, sorry Golly, but the chapter presentation sucks. This story feels like a dread to read, it lacks the color Orange Soda used to have. The charm is gone, when I read the story it feels that I'm passing through a list. One sentence paragraphs, chapters of 2k length, and all of the sentences are either short text bubbles or short descriptions. I read the reviews, as I wanted to read more of what you'll write. The staccato style that you chose fits, but when you're trying to create tension and emotion in the story. When all your story is written that way, the tension is lost as "everything is written like this". The lack of paragraphs makes the story feel as if it didn't have ideas. When you forced this style, it felt more like a play script than an actual story.
You're not writing a poem, you are writing a story. So please! Immerse us in the story! I sometimes don't see a character, and the only reasons I feel there is a character is when it shortly describes the visuals. Aside from that the characters are replace by cardboard cutouts, where one can only see what they say. So I suggest you this:
Be graphic! Tell us vividly what is happening, the environment, the movements, the body language, colors, everything! Find your sweet spot, where you can explain to us what is happening in more than dialogue. Write more than one sentence paragraphs, this reboot feels dry, and you need to change that. You got the pacing better, but you could administrate the chapter better. I read them all that you have at the moment, and you could easily turn these 5 chapters into 2.
I will not force you to pick on cherry valley, amazing as it was, but please improve this story. As a fan of yours, I'll read it either way. But as a writer myself, I can't help to see all these troubles that hurt the enjoyment of the story constantly. Since It's a reboot and the story hasn't change a lot, the rating on this review reflects my thoughts on the writing more than the story. You can improve, because I know you are better than this.
And if you have problems with HTML again, hop in the Discord server we can help you and we will welcome you with open arms.
Good luck, and keep it up!
Author's Response: Writing this story has been kind of like juggling for me. I can't juggle in real life. At all. Lol. And I have a hard time doing it here. I've focused almost entirely on the themes I want to apply to the book, but I've dropped the ball when it comes to descriptive imagery, or background information, or anything of that ilk. As a result, the story so far has read much more like a story treatment, or a play script, than an actual story. It's happened with plot elements, too. At the point of the story I'm working on, there are several subplots that are supposed to be in the beginning stages of development but I'm having a hard time juggling them all, and trying to focus on them just makes me drop or even outright forget other things, like freshening up the bland or entirely non-existent imagery. As for the charm, I'm trying. I'm really trying to duplicate what Orange Soda did in that regard, but I just haven't quite been able to. Orange Soda was embarrassingly cliche, but it had charm to it. But the reason I think why: I wrote Orange Soda when I was 14. The world Orange Soda played out in was the world as an optimistic, incredibly naive 14-year old saw it. She had no idea how relationships worked, but she included them anyway. Heck, the writing style was that of a 14-year old -- it was easy to find the innocence shining through. Orange Soda never had an outlined plot. Not a single character note. What I wrote was exactly what I was thinking at the moment -- there was no guidance whatsoever. The plot, as a result, lurched from side to side pretty consistently, but it was hardly formulaic. Of course, that's just my opinion and it's hard to filter through my own personal memories of Orange Soda -- which reflects like a mirror some of my old dreams and aspirations -- to find out just what made Orange Soda that way. But in any case, I've been unable to replicate it. I feel different now. I'm unable to write in that same style any more, and even the plot-line this book has is going to be darker, with a bittersweet rather than sweet ending. I've also been trying to weave themes (something Orange Soda was devoid of, and perhaps it was for the better) with innocent narration, but I've failed. The pacing is better (forget the slumber party, we'd be at cheerleading practice by now xD) and the framework is stronger, but with what I've written so far, there's nothing really on that framework. I'll try to work on it, though. :) (oh, and about the HTML -- I tried putting a "<3" in the story but I think it expected a ">" to close off the code. When it didn't "close off", it took out the last 700 words, thinking they were all part of the same HTML command. Lol. I usually use a word counter to try to make sure my stories are at least around 2K, but I was confused when TGStorytime's word count was off by over 700 words. I had no idea what the problem was and I didn't realize the last third of the chapter was missing so I left it until yesterday when I found that the entire dinner scene was missing.) And on that note, is 2K a good length? Orange Soda was all over the place -- some chapters in the mid-1K range and one with 5200 words, but I eventually settled around the 1800-2200 range, with a couple deviations. The next two books, Cherry Valley, and The Election, had chapters around the 1500 mark. I write 2K because it's a familiar number but I'm open to changing it if necessary.
Date: 07/27/17 11:14 pm Title: Chapter 1
Okay, so I had to take chapter 5 down because it keeps cutting off the last 700 words (I was wondering why there was an incongruence between a word-counter I use and this website's word count) and it might take a while for me to put it back up. Please hold for further information. Lol
Author's Response: And it's back up. I'm assuming "<3" isn't HTML-friendly in stories. -_-
Date: 06/23/17 03:30 am Title: Chapter 1
Nice idea, but I think you should start over again. Your train of thought is hard to grasp with all those interludes.
Author's Response: You mean the breaks? I'm using them to establish that the scene is changing. Trying to work on making it smoother, but hopefully that comes as I start writing more. As for a train of thought, I haven't established one yet. I don't want to bombard the story with a bunch of themes, symbols, and motifs. I want to gradually introduce them as Samantha matures.
Date: 06/22/17 09:08 pm Title: Chapter 1
You have some distance to travel as a writer, but I salute your effort. My primary complaint is what I see frequently. Every sentence is a new paragraph This is necessary for dialogue, but horrible for continuity. Think about paragraphs as sections of thought They may contain dialogue.
Author's Response: I separated some sections into single-sentence lines to try to achieve a "staccato" affect for the flow of that particular section. That was intentional.