Some random thoughts about a damn foreigner.
agirlnamedluna (Week 30) - I think this was a "weird season" for a lot of veterans. I haven't completely put my finger on it yet, other than a huge influx of newbies and a shift in that dynamic. Obviously it's something that I'm going to be thinking about over the break if I decide to do another round of this craziness.
Then again, finishing in the top percentile every single time you've played - that's certainly nothing that can ever be dismissed. It speaks very highly of what people think of your work, even if the reactions might not have been as strong this time around as they were in the past.
Since everyone - including you - has been waiting for me to say it - "English isn't even her first language!" *smiles*
I think when people come across folks like yourself or imafarmgirl, as cliched as it is, they should be reminded. Not as an excuse - but as a "The vast majority of folks you come across aren't as good as this - and they are native speakers!"
It ceases to be an issue pretty quickly, but as a reminder to folks out there that what they are seeing is *even more impressive* than they think it is - it's worth noting in my book.
Since you've been so patient - I'm going to do random thoughts on every one of your entries from this season. Why? *shrug* I told you that I wanted time to sit down and read them again. So now I am. Or rather I'm re-reading them all in
What sort of comments am I going to have? *shrug* Let's find out!!
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/612762.html - Your Introduction. I got the biggest smile over the line "My conversations about politics, the definition of time, the position of women in society, the influence of planets on our life, the lessons in mythology and the philosophies of life, the study of esoteric knowledge and old religions has come to this: " and the conversation that followed. Because it's something that most people realize at one point or another - that everything that you spend all your time and effort building up toward, it comes down to those little moments. Introducing yourself can be difficult for some people - and especially since you've done it a couple times before at this point. But I think that scene in particular sold it for me.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/614265.html - Saying that your imagery is powerful or beautifully haunting doesn't really do it justice at times. That delicate layer of language that you place over the pit full of emotional spikes - it continues to serve you well.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/615805.html - This kind of combined elements of the above for me - that pit of spikes and the being able to weave around to find the little moments. I think you captured that emotional tension between the two of you well, a tension that only one of you knows exists.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/617794.html - I'll admit, I forgot this piece. Maybe because of the vampire thing or because it was fiction. I don't know. I'm not the biggest vampire story fan out there, but I think you did a good job with the genre, and more importantly, you made the story about the characters and their lives rather than about the supernatural elements. Which I think far too many people miss that.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/618855.html - The Flanders Fields entry. Yeah. You nailed that one. Not really sure what else to say. Honestly? It could have come across really tired. Oh, another story about Flanders Field - but the personal narrative and the growth from playing in the trench to realizing just what your playground was. . . yeah, you nailed it.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/621261.html - I had to read this one a couple times. On one hand, it's fiction, but on the other it's on a subject very dear to you. It took me a couple times through to really get a bead on the flow - once I did, I liked it.
Subject matter is a risky thing, and although the subject was something I personally love reading about - you are rolling the bones. Sometimes you have to in order to get to the pay off. Given the depth of the framework and (all that stuff that I said earlier) it just really didn't end up connecting with me to the point that I would have expected.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/625287.html - OK, This is the continuation and to me it works a lot better. I loved the reveal and her going through her village.
It read fast to me. But that's good, because I was anxious to read the next installment. That can work for or against you in this sort of environment. Serial fiction requires that balance of "wanting more" and "this wasn't enough to hold my interest". I think you definitely ended up in the former column.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/630726.html - The melancholy comes off this one in waves. I like how you tie the different memories together, out of order, but still very much all leading up to the glass being smashed against the wall that breaks the tension and moves us forward. Reading through the comments, it hit me what was missing from the piece - the memory from now. Because obviously there is still that emotional connection, even though it's long ago and you are in a much better place. I'm not sure what that piece is, or how to get there without falling into half a dozen cliches, but I think that nugget tucked into that final section might have been nice.
It was an interesting choice though - to break off from your story in order to tell this.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/635380.html - Back to the story! I like the tension in this. This one actually *did* end up feeling a little short though.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/644769.html - Breaking into new fiction territory. Vampire Zombies. I like the concept and the "brain" joke. I absolutely love the bit where he is making light saber noises. I think that was such a real touch. I would loved to see it fleshed out a little more. It just felt a bit abrupt.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/649018.html - I'm not a fan of the concept of mixing an entry like this. I think both of them would have been much better served as their own separate entries.
But you know what? I like what you did with the sister and the idea of searching for people to find out what happened to them, and that urge to keep people safe. Although I didn't like the concept, I think the execution of it is actually well done and ended up showing the reader the character and her creator, and the things that they have in common.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/652742.html - It had a really nice rhythm to it moving through different periods of life and different kinds of running. I think the going with the shout out at the end distracted from the piece though, and may have played a factor in making it seem more disjointed than it actually was.
Going through the comments I see people thought it was scattered, and I'll confess, during the reread I thought it was as well. So I stopped and read it again. It read much better that time and I actually think some of the comments are off. It works rather well as a whole. It's one of those cases where a scan will give you a much different impression than a couple go-throughs of a line-by-line read.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/656006.html - Obviously the concept is quite personal. But, I don't know, this one didn't work for me as well. It was definition too short and while it had punch, it didn't seem like there was enough. The connection, which you are usually really, really good at - just didn't come through to bring me in. Which was surprising.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/661124.html - You took one of the standard intersection techniques (we met/dated/stalking) and with those last couple of lines completely sold it. I've actually known people who will do something "so I can write about it later on LJ/facebook". So that reasoning didn't seem too far off from things I've heard folks say in real life!
But it's still a killer last line that made me *literally* LOL.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/664964.html - Don't you think that was a little far to go just to kill me? ;)
I think you worked very well in that universe, while still very much "sounding like you", which can be a challenge to pull off doing both.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/666668.html - is the free topic and normally I wouldn't mention it, but since it is part of the
Story of Alfhildr I will. I want to read this novel and not in the entry segments. I think it could very well work and would love to see the bigger picture. This bit though is one of my favorite parts of it that appeared in Idol. It's short, but I think it captures the scene quite well, both giving more insight into the characters as well as paying off the tension with a bit of relief.
That is the last tag that I see for Alhildr - I *hope* it is because you are working on it off line.
If that is *not* the case, MAKE IT the case.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/667985.html - an eloquent kick to the stomach
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/671075.html - Or perhaps she has taken the darkness from you, for herself, to rule when she comes of age.
This is definitely another one of those scan vs read reactions, where the former it was "OK" and I liked it much better having taken a couple times through it to establish what you were doing. I like it. It's a common enough reaction, but you manage to relate it in an uncommon way.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/673063.html - Even reading it through a few times, I didn't like it, it just seemed like too much on the plate - until the end.
I think that end line ties the vignettes together and makes them that much more potent and actually made me feel as if "too much" was part of the point. There were just too many of these people throughout your life, with too little time in it.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/676504.html - Not going to lie - this one had me in tears. Beautiful piece.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/677753.html - I really loved the concept here, as well as the imaginary. For some reason though, and I'll be honest, I can't quite put my finger on it, it felt uneven. I may actually have to think about this particular puzzle a little more, because it needed something else. But I don't know *what* at the moment.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/679540.html - Considering the number of "House MD" references to "Playing House", seeing another one was a bit of an eye roll. Especially from someone that I had hoped was far enough outside the US television market to miss it!! ;) I should have realized Hugh Laurie is everywhere!
Once I got passed that though, wow. I really liked this.
The first half at least. The second half was good - as a separate piece. I thought the "and that's what I'm going to do" was an obvious device that *for me* didn't work as well as it could have.
As I said earlier though, I'm not really a fan of tying two stories together. To support it, you need really strong frame work and a nice side-by-side element that I thought was missing.
Either one of them would have been really nice. (Although my preference is for the first half) Together was a little too fractured for my tastes.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/682411.html - Again. I'm not sure why that first part was there, or the last part. It didn't work (for me) as framework. Although I guess if you are talking about "writing fiction" as sign of sheer stubbornness, then that certainly works here!! Or using the real life frame work for a fictional piece!!
I think the story being described as "cracked out Kafka" is hilarious and somewhat accurate. I love seeing you explore a lighter side. We don't get to see it that often, other than when you are killing me!! ;)
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/686245.html - You know what I said above? Yeah. The opposite. This one was spot on.(the footnotes were pulled off a little awkwardly, which was distracting, but once I realized that the 1. was a footnote, it was all good.)
I wouldn't stop looking. That mermaid might know the way to England.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/688674.html - This is interesting to me. Because it has the same exact situation of tying in life and fiction, but how you structured the epilogue really worked for me. Heck, it's another reveal the vampire story - until you get to that epilogue and it makes everything that much more crisp. it took everything that I *didn't* like about the last couple of framework entries and turned them on their head - and really elevated what could have been "another vampire" story into something with some substance.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/691913.html - You do love your frames. ;)
I think it was pretty cool though how you were able to incorporate your own life, the situation within the country/greater Europe - and planets going into retrograde.
Although I see "retrograde" so often that it's becoming as triggering as my other trigger, the word "triggering". ;)
So I was inclined against the piece, but by the bit of you on the train, going into the political history that was unfolding - you had me. There was A LOT on this plate, but you managed to make it work.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/694432.html - Raw and brilliant. Seriously. It's one of your "get inside my head and let me rip your guts out" moments.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/697558.html - I really liked this piece when I read it the first time, and was looking forward to reading it again.
What really strikes me this time, in reading it with all of your other work from the season, is what a good job you have of taking "big issues" and bringing them back home to make them personal.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/697923.html - My first thought. Another vampire story??? But since it was never confirmed he was indeed a vampire or anything other than a mysterious stranger with an even more mysterious rose, I'll cut you a break.
I debated back and forth if it was too long, but no, I think it was pretty much the right length.
I like the build up of the weather throughout the piece, crashing down in that final explosion of energy in the final scene.
I've said this before for earlier entries, but I really do like the character development. The supernatural elements to your stories tend to show up at the ending as the twist. Obviously there are pros and cons to this, but I think that it works for you.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/702019.html - This feels like a rather frightening snapshot of those doubts that make us question each and every thing, wonder if we are making the right decisions, make us wonder if we are *good enough* to be making any sort of decisions at all.
It just has the feel of something with the pieces falling off it, with the desperation in the voice, not knowing what sort of pieces those actually were.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/705469.html - Seemed to be a sequel to the last piece, and I really loved that you went back to the sea to reflect. It's a reoccurring image in your work, and obviously in your life.
The flow was a little jarring, compared to how you usually transition. But overall I think the message, was able to get through.
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/708704.html - Idol meta science fiction. Not a lot that I can say about that. At least I until I press this button... So you better getting running!!!
http://agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com/711718.html - I'm divided on this one. On one hand - I completely love the themes. It's stuff you've been exploring for awhile now, but tying it into watching the Wizard of Oz gives it a new frame of reference. On the other, it feels rushed to me. Like it needs more.
Knowing how close you get to the deadlines, I wonder if it was. Then again, so many other pieces *don't* have that rushed feel and you were just as close to not making it in. So I have to wonder about that.
So there you go. Comments. Some of them are obviously better comments than others! It's more general impressions as I went along than anything in depth. But maybe it will be good for *something*.
Overall, your work is farstronger than it was in your first season, and I have no doubt that it is going to continue to get even stronger still. I definitely want to see work being done on that novel. So less tweeting and more writing!!!
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
Part 4: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/351336.html
Part 5: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/355319.html
Part 6: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/357155.html
Part 7: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/358961.html
Part 8: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/361618.html
Part 9: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/363128.html
Part 10: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/363838.html
Part 11: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/366595.html
Part 12: http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/367714.html