The next to last before the jury edition.
__rosieposie (Week 21) - There are times when the word "raw" doesn't quite hit right. Where it's less "raw" and more like an open vein streamlining onto the internet. There are some folks who do that and all it does is make people roll their eyes with a "this again?". Then there are people who do it well, who tell their stories so fluidly that you don't realize the knife ripping out your guts until you are clicking away.
You are definitely in the latter category.
To be fair, I remembered that I liked your work, and that it was always highly emotional. But it wasn't until re-reading it, one after the other, that I went "whoa". After all, it's easy to read something, go read something else, then something entirely different. But entry after entry? Each of them stuff like http://users.livejournal.com/__rosieposie/503121.html , http://users.livejournal.com/__rosieposie/500959.html and http://users.livejournal.com/__rosieposie/491796.html
There is such beauty in the fabric of your words though, and not every "hitting raw nerves" ends up being painful. http://users.livejournal.com/__rosieposie/489866.html is a perfect example of this. It's actually kind of funny, because of all the entries, *that* was the one that I did clearly remember and had made a mental note to go back to at some point. The flower sticking out of the snow. :)
The run off of the run off piece. . . hmmm... how do I put this? I liked it. But it didn't *feel like you* to me. It was a lovely piece of writing, that I certainly don't think anyone can deny. I dunno. Given how personal you had been up until that point in the majority of your work, it was a break that was a bit on the jarring side for me.
There were a few times you started a piece with meta that I thought would have been better trimmed off. But on the whole you have a knack for pacing, in particular when it comes to use of "time jumps". It's a trick that a lot of people attempt to use, and more often than not fall on their face.
You make it look easy.
Now if I can just remember how many spaces there are in your user name! :P
sonarvampress (Week 19) - I was never quite sure what I was going to get when I clicked on one of your entries. One week would be an entry that I would think showed enormous potential and then next was an entry that was good, but just didn't have the same spark. Granted, that's me. I don't know if there was just some changing things up, or something behind the scenes. But entries like http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/278012.html really proved what you could do.
Again, it's me, I probably would have shaken up the paragraphs a little more - letting the words breathe.
I would say that's probably the biggest "issue" that I can see with your work, is a tendency to get into "block paragraph" format in your writing. Breaking some of them up would really help with the flow. The potential for intimacy is very much present in your subject matter and writing. The block format though seems to be doing your work a disservice.
I think http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/260642.html followed by http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/270016.html work really well together in painting the narrative of what your family has endured. That first piece (along with your "Smile" entry http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/261038.html and of course the very first week's entry: http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/259187.html) put you on a lot of people's maps of "people to watch" and "Bearing False Witness" http://sonarvampress.livejournal.com/264528.html continued to keep you there.
Interestingly enough, take a look at that last one for an example of breaking up your "normal flow" and how well it works for you. I would have probably done it a little more with separating those last couple lines, since they work so well on their own.
You have a great deal of potential I hope you are continuing to write, because I think as you continue to grow as a writer, your voice is just going to strengthen.
creature_girl08 (Week 14) - I'm not sure how much interaction you had with the other writers you teamed up with during the intersection. I do know that in a lot of cases people share their work with their partner and help edit. Whatever it was, the intersections brought out a side of your writing that tends to be overlooked.
You have everything tagged, so that makes it easier: http://creature-girl08.livejournal.com/tag/lj%20idol
Weeks 12 through the home game entry in Week 15 (which you didn't have a partner for) really stand out for me of grasping that potential that I saw back in week 7's http://creature-girl08.livejournal.com/155032.html where you are focusing in on the story you want to tell.
One of the things that I noticed creeping into your work, and this is true of *a lot* of writers, is the "conversational notes". When talking to someone it's the aside you make, interrupting the flow of the story you are telling. Face to face it's easier to recover that flow than it is in written form.
That said, I do think have a really natural voice for first person narrative - and that same "aside" issue that I mentioned, you actually use *to your benefit* in http://creature-girl08.livejournal.com/159888.html capturing Tennyson's voice. So it can be done!! Just not in every case.
I think by tightening things up a little in your structure that those last few weeks showed people just how good you are, and can become.
finding_helena (bitterlight) (Week 19) - People are constantly asking me "what makes for a good LJ Idol entry?" What I attempt to do in my answer is to explain that Idol isn't all that different from the rest of LJ. A "good LJ Idol entry" is a good entry period.
What works in the context of the competition is something compelling enough that you would be reading it even if there was no voting involved. After all, when it is all said and done, that is what is going to be *keeping* the readers around. They might come for the spectacle, but if you can't keep their interest when it is all over??? I mention this because looking over your entries there is a distinct "lack of meta referencing": http://finding-helena.livejournal.com/tag/lj%20idol You did even less than you did last season! (Which for those who missed your previous season's worth material, it's also part of the link. It's pretty much all good stuff.)
I love that the last season's stuff is included because I remembered that I liked you, but I was fuzzy on "how does the material compare". I'm glad that I took the time to go back, because as much as I did like where you were in Season 5, I like where you were in Season 6 so much better.
There seems to be a greater confidence both in subject matter and narrative voice. There were times last season when you would seem a bit disjointed. But for the most part I would say that seemed to be gone this time around.
I had forgotten this part of your "goodbye/home game" entry from last season. I'm reposting it not only because I think it's something that you *did* do this time around, but because it's important for people who were newbies this season to read. Heck, it's important for people who are newbies *next* season to read:
"It's just that I ended up changing my audience. I ended up writing for people who needed to hear what I needed to say, because there was a time in my life when I needed to hear it from somebody else, and I didn't. I changed my audience. It wasn't written for them."and "I tried to write for attention, but I'm pretty sure that's over. It was holding me back. That is not why I write. I'd rather break the rules a little and get what I need out of the experience."
(from the original post at http://finding-helena.livejournal.com/660043.html)
That's something that a lot of people miss in the process. Because the temptation is there. It's right in front of you all the time to write what you *think* the audience wants, rather than listening to that inner voice. It's there all the time, but part of the design of Idol gives it a physical manifestation in terms of "votes".
There has always been a simple beauty to your phrasing and I think once you let loose and started writing for yourself, I think that came through far more than it had in the past.
I especially loved your exploration of faith throughout the season. Again, it's something that people have ingrained in them "won't get votes" or "people are hostile to declarations of faith". I *hope* that one thing that has come out of this is more people seeing that what folks *are* interested in seeing is sincere well crafted writing. Regardless of the subject matter.
phoenixejc (Week 19) - It was an interesting choice going completely fiction over the last few weeks. The biggest drawback of serial fiction is of course it's strength. You build up an audience over time who want to see what happens next.
Personally I was hoping for more of the story of Moon's Willow in the form of the Home Game entries. But I guess I (and everyone else) will just have to wait for the book!
This sounds crazy coming from me (but what is new about that???) but had you asked me for advice I probably would have said to stick with your non-fiction. That said, looking back over the course of the season's work, I think you started coming into yourself with the fiction.
Taking a look over http://phoenixejc.livejournal.com/tag/lj%20idol there are peaks and valleys where some entries are extremely personal and others are vignettes. http://phoenixejc.livejournal.com/50302.html for instance is one of the definite peaks where you are talking about your father.
The writing was good throughout, I just think that you felt more comfortable with the fiction.
Going back to my "Gary likes non-fiction" typecasting (even though in the "outside world" people would say that I was a huge fan of fiction), I would love to see you transpose that ability that you clearly have over to telling personal stories. Unless of course, you *are* doing that with your fiction. . . *eyes you cautiously*. :P
oldscratchx (Week 16) - Having just written about the strength of fiction it seemed appropriate to cover you next!
It also gave me the chance to reread some of your more pointed meta rants. :)
I've seen various people talk about how much they love your work, or what a surprise you were to them. Which is always really cool, finding someone that you might not have normally even looked for under ordinary circumstance and finding how much you love their work.
It's one of the things that are really fun for me to see in Idol, meeting and getting to know people completely outside your experience - and finding what you have in common in regard in and outside of writing.
You, by your own admission, tend to be "outside the norm" on subject matter, so the fact that you *have* found a dedicated audience made me really pleased to see.
It's no surprise, to me, that you did though. People talk about your dialogue, but I think the key is your cadence. http://oldscratchx.livejournal.com/90337.html has a really good sense of rhythm to how it moves.
I think your best entries all have that. It's just a natural flow that the compliments your love of dialogue well.
You know about the formatting issues on some of them, apparently transferring it from Word makes things a little on the blocky side at times. So I'm not telling you anything there you aren't already aware of - I assume you probably know about the starting things with meta and ending with a tag of your name tend to take away from the total experience. We know who you are. That's why we're reading it! :P
cobycaroline (Week 19) - I shouldn't admit this, and especially I shouldn't put it this way given some of your subject matter, but coming away from one of your entries I tend to have a big smile on my face.
Yeah - even with stuff like http://cobycaroline.livejournal.com/412685.html where my heart is breaking along with you, that unconscious is still forcing me into a smile. When you are on your game, it's just magnificent to see. There is a crisp structure to your work with a firm and understanding of the use of dialogue.
As long as you don't let Suzanne write for you, things tend to be good:
http://cobycaroline.livejournal.com/tag/lj%20idol (for some, not all of the fun)
And by "good" I mean "tooth fairy murdering": http://cobycaroline.livejournal.com/416543.html or just plain ball-gagging: http://cobycaroline.livejournal.com/415617.html
Right there I think shows just how much you do have in you, to go from stories of you as a kid to a revenge story and be able to pull both of them off? It's not as easy as you make it look at times moving from comedy to tragedy (heck, comedy in general is much more difficult than most people think) - but it's always refreshing (and worth an involuntary smile) when I see someone who can do it well.
Attention: in48frames, kutiechick and thaliontholwen. I would love to say a few things about you. You've taken everything friends only though, and unfortunately my memory can't pull out specific "oh yeah!!" moments as well as it can when I can look over the work itself. It's my own fault for dragging my feet for so long on getting these done. But I did want you to know that if you did at any point make those entries public to let me know so that I could talk about them (and you). :D
Part 1: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/330062.html
Part 2: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/347182.html
Part 3: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/348753.html