I Get My Ideas From... By Fiona MacDonald

Tell us what you thought about the August 2005 issue!

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Post August 10, 2005, 10:43:57 AM

Re: I Get My Ideas From... By Fiona MacDonald

This story has the potential to be a very creepy and evocative take on the mysterious-little-shop idea, and nicely touches on what desperate measures some authors are willing to take for their art.<br><br>Mostly, what I think this story needs more of is time. It starts off well enough, and the shop scene is deftly handled, but I think the story would benefit from unfolding the horrors awaiting our protagonist more slowly, and more subtly. The horrifying revelation of "the second half of your soul" would have more impact if the buildup had been longer, I think.<br><br>Aside from that, one scene in particular that nearly derailed me was the sex scene:<br><br>
That night Steve seduced his lover, Therese, with dinner followed by a full body massage. He started with her feet and slowly made his way up, rubbing warm scented oil into her limbs and following it up with a trail of kisses. When he reached her face he rubbed her cheeks in gentle circular motions with his thumbs whilst he brushed the hair away from her forehead. She wore it dark these days and he couldn’t decide if he liked it. Therese's eyes gazed up at him lovingly, green and shining. Gently, he lowered himself and kissed each eyelid in turn.

"I love you," she whispered. And then they had sex
<br><br>Now, I don't want a detailed account of their lovemaking, but that five word sentence jars. I'd like the fade to black with a little more poetry, especially after the setup of the preceding paragraph. Otherwise the whole event becomes, if you'll pardon the expression, an anti-climax. :)<br><br>All in all, I enjoyed this story, and with a little more polish I think it will be a great tale.
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Post August 15, 2005, 09:52:14 PM

Re: I Get My Ideas From... By Fiona MacDonald

Okay, it's about time! Been waiting for weeks to actually have a post on here. Anyway, I loved the story. It reminded me so much of the Twilight Zone! I agree about the more fading out. I think Ms. MacDonald just put the line "and then they had sex" was because the magazine doesn't want too detailed lovemaking scenes.
<br>What was keeping you? Everyone is welcome to comment on any story published here.<br><br>I'm with Rob Wynne on the sex line. Given the poetic tone of the buildup, the "and then they had sex" is jarring--not like the flowing words that precede or follow.<br><br>The setting of this world didn't seem right to me. That is, the level of description was inconsistent, and the "real" world had less of it as compared to that in the "dream" world, which is by definition, unreal. The two writers drink whiskey, but it has no notable taste. They meet a small, bald man with thick glasses, but he has no race, no definite age, no tone to his voice, and maybe even no clothes.<br><br>Steve signs on the dotted line & sensory input changes. There are smells & slippery sexy bodies. Melpom's world, in contrast, is stinky & dark. Then Steve goes on to Cleon's world, but things there are again incomplete in their description. Cleon is a tall man with black hair but apparently no other distinguishing characteristics apart from a disconcerting gaze and a mildly disappointed expression. This is hardly a description that would pick out someone from a lineup. Moving the setting once more, things get detailed again (as well as bloody) with the cuts to turn Therese into an outfit for Cleon.<br><br>On characterization, I was unsure about Cleon's rage at the Greeks. Was this pertinent? Steve didn't use it later as acquired knowledge to survive or succeed. It didn't help his character grow in his arc, although I suppose it gave a darker sense of what Cleon could be capable of. Was Steve supposed to later overthrow the Muse, like the Greeks did?<br><br>For that matter, what was the point of going first to Melpom? How did that advance the plot? What was learned about Steve or the Muses that was necessary later on? All it seemed to do to me was further de-focus the plot. <br><br>Steve, Cleon, and Melpon spoke in three distinctly different voices, and many less experienced writers struggle with that. Good job there.<br><br>I thought there was good potential here, but that it didn't develop as it could have. The description in the dream world and in the sex scene clearly indicate that this author as the ability to describe a vivid, real world in which to play out her plots. I'd recommend paying more attention to set dressing, developing true character arcs, and more complete plots in her next effort. I say she's got the basic building blocks, but they need polish and more practiced placement.<br><br>Nate
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