Death of a Simpson

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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:48 pm

Wow, you got your reply in while I was continuing my review. Continuing where I left off:

This is a very minor nitpick, but "a girl she recognised as her best friend" distances the reader from Maggie a bit. I'd prefer if you referred to her as "Sarah" rather than "the girl" (here and in the next paragraph), and just let Maggie's dialogue show that they're best friends.

You write a good Willie. I could hear his voice saying the lines.

I can indeed picture Miss Hoover being an alcoholised wreck in the future.

Typo: "role call" should be "roll call".

I don't think "disinterested" is the right word in this context. "Uninterested" is probably better.

Again, this is a very minor nitpick, but the confrontation between Maggie and Miss Hoover feels a bit melodramatic. It makes perfect sense for them to end up fighting, it's well-written, it just seems a bit... uncalled-for. Maybe if Maggie contradicted Miss Hoover for a while longer before they actually start shouting at each other. I don't know; just try not to make it too stock.

Ms. Hoover, having recovered slightly, called after her. More out of spite than any real conviction.
This should be just one sentence.

Maggie pushed open the door and found the stern disciplinarian sitting at his obsessively tidy desk.
I love it.

Skinner thinking that Maggie comes in answer to his summons is nice, if a bit predictable.

it’s lack of context.
Should be "its".

Again, good chapter ending.

To be continued.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:31 pm

You'll enjoy chapter 5 if you've liked the descriptions so far. It picks up with Lisa, since you mentioned you were wondering what was gonna happen to her.
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:29 pm

Continuing:

The first thing Lisa became aware of as she struggled into consciousness was how dark everything seemed. A thick, wholly consuming one that immediately sent her into a blind panic.
Nice opening, except for a grammatical nitpick: "one" in the second sentence doesn't refer back to a noun in the previous one. Change it to "darkness" or "dark".

Excellent description (sensory deprivation . I like how Lisa's rational personality comes through in her perception of her surroundings. Her mental voice feels very in character, too.

threatening to open her freshly sutured psyche.
Lovely description, maybe a bit precious, but lovely anyway.

It’s imagined tone
Should be "its".

Her conversation with herself manages to be both realistic and add a bit of appropriate comic relief to the otherwise horrible circumstances. That's the way to do it!

Her horror turned to dread as she realized how much trouble she was in.
I think the second part of this sentence is inappropriate; it's not nearly serious enough for the situation. (Possibly just a taste thing.) Potentially, the whole sentence could go, so you'll just let us realise how horrified Lisa is.

A hand firmly grasped her arm
Again, a taste thing, but I think "firmly" might not be necessary, seeing how the rest of the sentence shows that the grip is firm enough to lift her off the floor.

and she had to look away in order to let her eyes adjust to the suddenly brilliant light.
A great bit of description.

“Come now, Lisa, we’ve been acquainted for years. Just Bob will suffice.”
Great as this joke is, it's already been done on the show in one of the later Bob episodes (don't remember which one, unfortunately).

As Lisa’s eyes came into focus she looked upon the man in front of her for the first time in nearly four years and almost yelped at the sight of him.
Not bad, but it feels very wordy. It could easily be cut down to something like "As Lisa's eyes came into focus, she almost yelped as she looked upon the man in front of her for the first time in nearly four years."

The description of Bob is great, particularly how his face "had once held the air of a dignitary".

the knife a hair’s breadth away from her throat.
"Hair's breadth" is a bit of a cliché. I'm sure you can come up with a more original description. "So close she could feel the chill of the metal", perhaps. Or something.

Her eyes widened as she tried to keep from giving in to the despair quickly rising to consume her mind.
This sounds a bit too florid to me. In extreme situations like this in a story, the best bet is usually to let the events speak for themselves, instead of going into detail about the characters' fear or anguish.

Herschel Krustofski, better known as Krusty the Clown, was discovered dead four years ago under mysterious circumstances.
This sentence is a bit of a cliché. It serves its purpose, but it's common enough to feel, well, trite. (Particularly since the next sentence also points out that nobody knows how he died.)

It's "turn for the worse", not "worst".

Bob spat viciously.
"viciously" could go.

She rejected that on principal.
Should be "principle".

Lisa's brain bellowed at her to run, suddenly not caring that she couldn't possibly do it.
I like this.

Dramatic ending to the chapter. Lisa fainting makes sense; however, her last thought feels a bit melodramatic.

Chapter 6:

The opening is good, though again, I think you go into a bit too much detail describing Maggie's feelings. The fact that she's completely numb over Lisa's disappearance is great, but you don't need to spend a lot of time describing that.

The past few hours were a blur.
Again, a bit of a cliché. Clichés are what the name says: rubber-stamps in the form of text. You could come up with a more original way of putting it.

(You don't have a lot of clichés, particularly not compared to some writers, I just thought I'd point it out.)

When you're writing about something that takes place before the main "time plane" of the narrative, you should use the pluperfect tense (i.e. "Maggie HAD spotted her parents waiting outside for her" and so forth).

Homer's line when he's arrested is great and in character.

Well, to be continued.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:56 pm

Duly noted.
I'm still working some of those cliches out of the text, but I'm glad some of the descriptions worked for you.
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:02 am

Just a heads up for those wondering where I'm at. I started two jobs this week and I haven't had a single day off. Doesn't look good for next week either so it's really hampering my chatting and writing efforts...
:doh:
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:59 pm

At long last, continuing with Chapter 6:

I like how you don't show the family's emotions, letting the reader figure out how lost and shocked they're feeling instead.

Maggie asked it bitterly. 'Why do you keep coming back to haunt me?'
You should have a colon instead of a full stop, and I think the word "bitterly" isn't needed. Too much telling instead of showing.

'You are Lisa Simpson.' Was it's only reply.
"was" shouldn't be capitalised (it's the same sentence as the quotation), and it should be "its", not "it's".

where only last night her sister sat in the throes of emotional turmoil.
Should be "had sat".

Her sorrow and torment unleashed themselves in full, nearly crushing Maggie's now fragile spirit.
I think this is making it a bit too obvious. We know that she's sad and terrified.

I don't really see why Maggie gets so eager to hide the note. They really have bigger problems to deal with at the moment than whether Maggie has read an old note of Lisa's.

Bart saw the tears in his sister's eyes even as she tried to wipe them from existence.
I like it!

looking like some horrendously tear-jerking poster.
Another great description.

Bart's eyes unexpectedly burned with shameful tears as his guilt overtook him.
Again, I think this is overwriting it. You probably don't need to mention his guilt; his dialogue makes that clear anyway.

"It's all my fault! If I had just given her a ride to school she'd still be here! Now I'll never see her again! Never get to tell her I'm... sorry."
Apart from the second sentence, which I like a lot, this feels rather clichéd. I understand that Bart would have these feelings, but you probably need to phrase it in a less clichéd way.

Bart became caught up in his personal memories. To him it was as if experiencing them for the first time all over again.
Again, very good!

Maybe you should have one memory in the list that hasn't been in an episode. (This is pretty high-level nitpicking, it's just that having all his memories being straight out of the show makes it feel a bit like a clipshow.)

The next pages feel a bit dialogue-heavy. Sure, it's called for, but it makes for somewhat dull reading.

She never thought Bart was capable of such a selfless act.
Should be "she had never thought".

I like Lisa's having taken newspaper cuttings of Bob.

Typo: "sped-read" should be "speed-read". (Nice description otherwise.)

I think he's going to kill her!" She cried
"she" shouldn't be capitalised.

...let's go, Lise! Oh..."
Excellent.

'Do I dare?' She thought
Again, "she" shouldn't be capitalised.

'It's better to be safe, than sorry!'
You don't need that comma.

"Come on, Maggie!" Bart yelled impatiently.
I think "impatiently" isn't needed. We understand that he's impatient.

Good chapter ending.

To be continued, of course...
Last edited by Anonymous on Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
c_nordlander
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:58 pm

Continuing with Chapter 7:

Nice start to the chapter.

'Why do I lose control so easily these days?' He lamented.
"He" shouldn't be capitalised.

I like Bob thinking he might have got along with Lisa.

"So, shall we begin?" he reached behind his back
And here, "he" *should* be capitalised, since it's a new sentence rather than a dialogue tag.

he reached behind his back and, with measured precision, slapped the flat of the knife he had concealed there against the shivering girl's cheekbone.
Very minor nitpick, but I think you should rewrite this a bit. The "he had concealed there" feels intrusive in the progress of events. Maybe just mention him taking the knife from behind his back before he hits her with it.

I like Lisa's defiance. Good description at the end of this section, too.

I like
Spoiler
. So many fictional characters act utterly rash and stupid in this type of situation.

"It couldn't hurt..." She responded nervously.
Again, "she" shouldn't be capitalised here.

"Let's check the front gate, Bob might not have locked it." Bart suggested
The dialogue should end with a comma rather than a full stop.

but the gate remained stubbornly shut.
I think "stubbornly" is a bit of a cliché, though not much.

Typo: after "gravity", you have both a full stop and a comma.

one of the bars that jutted proudly into the sky.
I think "proudly" is unnecessary.

"One...two...three...!" She quietly counted,
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

Typo: "it's door" should be "its".

You have two occurrences of "slightly" very close together. Perhaps you should eliminate one.

"Don't worry about me, I'll manage." She replied
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

I like how Bart has a feeling of where Bob would want to hide.

"Where?" She asked firmly
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

“This is taking too long!” He answered,
"He" shouldn't be capitalised.

on the edge of exasperation
I think this isn't needed; we understand that he's exasperated. In fact, you do spell out people's emotions a bit in this part, though not so much that it grates.

A bit of a continuity problem: you say that the mural of Krusty is "high up on the front of a huge building", but its mouth is obviously on floor level, since the entry is through it. You might want to rewrite that bit.

Together they crept through a spacious entry-hall which was obviously in severe disrepair. ‘Just like I remember it!’ Bart mused.
That made me laugh. I like the cockroach bit, too.

“These all lead to the center stage where Krusty worked his magic.” Bart explained
The dialogue shouldn't end in a full stop here.

Bob's first appearance is wonderfully scary. I like how you show his previous monologue from Bart's and Maggie's perspective, without repeating too much.

Bart and Maggie gaped at each other in shock as the erratic behavior Bob continued to exhibit faded with two more words.
Good, but a bit too wordy, and "in shock" is really redundant. I'd rewrite it to: "Bart and Maggie gaped at each other as Bob's erratic behavior faded with two more words."

Bart’s eyes widened angrily
"Angrily" should go, particularly since you mention him "shaking with fury" later in the same sentence.

"his eyes shooting daggers" is a cliché as well.

I like Bob's reaction to being called "Sideshow".

Spoiler
is very well written and not melodramatic.

a frightening center of focus overtook her senses
Very well written.

I like Bob mistaking Maggie for a young Lisa.

Maggie absorbed his words and added them to her collective rage.
Another great description.

The scene between Bob and Maggie is very good.

Typo: "revere" should be "reverie".

Another one: "in it's deadly calm" should be "its".

The scene ends excellently, too.

and started searching it frantically.
"Frantically" could possibly be cut. But then, it seems to work.

“It’s on his back!” She offered
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

I like Maggie throwing the knife away.

Her eyes swam with grief for the shattered boy.
I like "shattered boy", but I think this is a bit overwritten. You can just write that her eyes swam, we understand why.

while she held the coat firmly over his wound with one hand and gently stroked her hand through his hair with the other.
Should obviously be "and gently stroked her other through his hair."

I can't help but feel that Lisa's final line is rather cliché. To be fair, in such a strained situation, people *would* probably say clichéd things. Just think of what you would say in the situation, and maybe you'll come up with something a lot fresher.

Enjoying this so far. The suspense is very good, and Bob has some excellently creepy lines.
Last edited by Anonymous on Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:10 am

Glad to see your input as always, Chris! I've been so busy these last few weeks that I not only didn't catch your other recent review I haven't had any time to finish the second chapter of Bleeding Gums.
With all those dialogue tag mistakes I feel quite silly. They will be fixed when I get a chance to revisit this story. Hopefully not too far down the road.
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:33 pm

Continuing with Chapter 8:

I like the description of the coffin a lot, though in this bit

Pictures of suddenly painful memories and letters of sorrow adorned the display of grief.
"the display of grief" feels too circumlocutional. Just "the coffin" would be better.

Like a record, Lovejoy scanned the reading that had been prepared for him
This simile feels a bit off, but I don't have any idea for how to improve it. It's not bad, anyway.

Reverend Lovejoy's reading is good. In fact, the whole scene in the church is.

She watched her family and tried to borrow their strength so she could go through with this.
Great description.

as her sister’s words drew to a close.
I think "song" or similar would be better than "words", since she's singing rather than talking.

The ending of the scene is excellent. One quibble: "she turned and held out the gun she suddenly held in her hand". The two "held" so close together feel a bit much, but it still works.

Finishing the review for now (page 33). To be continued sometime when I'm less tired. Still going strong.

EDIT: However, quoting the entire song Maggie sings feels a bit heavy, considering
Spoiler
Last edited by Anonymous on Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
c_nordlander
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:17 pm

Continuing:

Nice cut from the dream.

Great description at the start, though I think that

she could make out her house approaching slowly
"slowly" could be cut. It doesn't add much.

In fact, descriptions are consistently great here.

trying to clear away the horrible images dancing in the back of her mind.
I think "dancing" might be a bit clichéd. It doesn't seem very appropriate.

Typo: "it's cold handle" should be "its".

Asked Lou
"asked" shouldn't be capitalised.

“No, thank you.” She answered firmly.
Should have a comma instead of a full stop, and "she" shouldn't be capitalised.

Marge appeared, in silhouette, at the entryway
Shouldn't it be "in"?

spotting Maggie’s coat, held protectively, in Lisa’s arms.
This doesn't need the comma after "protectively".

Typo: "on hour ago".

Marge frantically wrung her already red wrists
Great description! (I'm not sure "frantically" is needed, but it doesn't make it bad, either.)

“Mom…” Lisa tried to say,
I like it!

“Bart got hurt, Mom.” She said delicately.
Again, comma, no capitalisation in dialogue tag.

and maybe some other stuff to bring with us.” Maggie offered.
Comma, no capitalisation in dialogue tag.

Called Lou from the cop car.
"called" shouldn't be capitalised.

I like the whole business about the gun. In fact, the sensible way Lisa and Maggie act is good.

Typo: "parent's" should be "parents'", since it's the door of both her parents.

she left the entry open
Very minor nitpick, but I think you should use "door" here. It's a common enough word that the reader won't be bothered by it being repeated.

"it's display stand" should be "its", as should "it's storage case".

Good ending to the scene.

I'm not sure why you put "Intensive Care Unit" within quote marks.

Homer's appearance is great and in character, and his dialogue adds some needed comic relief.

I like Lisa's story about the murder.

and spotted both the first and last person she wanted to see at that moment.
Very nice!

I also like Maggie seeing Dr. Hibbert first of all.

“He means Bart is okay for the moment, Dad.” Lisa interpreted.

“More or less. It’s hard to say for now.” The doctor added.
Again, should have commas, and "the" shouldn't be capitalised.

throughout the night, Mr. Simpson.” Hibbert assured him,
Again, should have a comma.

I like the drama of Marge's decision to
Spoiler


I’ll tell the nurses to let you in.” Dr. Hibbert replied jovially.
Should have a comma instead.

On to Chapter 9!
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:21 am

Trucking right along! Sorry it took so long to reply. Been pretty busy from my end of things.
Thank you for your diligence, however. One of these days I'll get my computer working again and the corrections will be made.
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:03 pm

Continuing:

From behind the desk that they all stood in front of,
This could be rephrased to something simpler, like: "From behind the desk where they were all standing".

"You are here to visit...?" She inquired politely.
"she" shouldn't be capitalised.

"He just got out of surgery, his name is Bart Simpson." Lisa told the nurse
You should have a comma instead of the full stop.

beeped and hummed seemingly with a random rhythm.
I think "with a seemingly random rhythm" might flow better.

"He'll be fine, honey. Dr. Hibbert said so." Homer remarked while he gazed sadly at his son.
You need a comma instead of the full stop after the dialogue, and I think "sadly" isn't needed.

She spotted Lisa, sitting in a chair that caught that caught her eye,
Obvious misprint, and also "that caught her eye" doesn't make much sense to me: if it refers to catching Maggie's eye, that just seems like a repetition of "she spotted Lisa", and if it refers to the chair catching Lisa's eye, that isn't very interesting.

"gonna to play" isn't really correct, unless Maggie speaks a bit non-standard. Either "gonna play" or "going to play".

I love the bit with Lisa teaching Maggie to play the saxophone.

Maggie looked at her sister blankly, surprised at the simple kindness of the gesture. 'She hasn't acted like this in ages...'
It's good as it is, but I almost think the bit about "the simple kindness of the gesture" could go. If you just say she was surprised, and then give her thoughts, we'll understand, and it feels a bit simpler.

"Trust me. You'll want it, this old thing gets heavy." Lisa continued making her very tempting argument.
Should be a comma instead of a full stop at the end of the dialogue.

To be continued, but still looking great.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:37 am

As always; it's a pleasure to hear your thoughts Chris. Getting very close to the end now so I see no reason to interrupt your momentum. Probably best to let you finish out through Chapter 10 before I consider starting my revisions to the text. (Plus having almost no time in which to do so plays a factor as well.)
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby c_nordlander » Fri May 01, 2009 10:42 pm

Continuing:

I'm a bit unsure about Lisa's beautiful playing being described as "mind-numbing", since I often see that used in a negative sense. Of course, it might be your intention to use the word in an unusual way.

I feel it's a bit unrealistic for most of the family to run off to eat right after Bart wakes up. Maybe I'm missing something, but it strikes me that most families couldn't be torn away from the bed in that situation. It feels extra odd that Lisa is the only one wanting to stay.

Bart's eyes widened and the heart rate monitor next to him jumped momentarily.
I like this detail. I also like Lisa's no-nonsense telling of what happened to him.

The words fell out of her mouth in a low, somber cadence.
This seems slightly overwrought. Maybe there's a way to get the same idea through in a simpler expression.

“Was it something I said? Or said?”
This one's an obvious mistake.

Bart’s eyes flashed with anger for a split second before he realized it didn’t matter. At least not now, in any case.
I really like the first sentence, but I think the second one could get cut. It just spells out what the reader realises.

I like Bart's irrational guilt, and Lisa not letting him indulge in it. It's the way people act in these cases. In fact, the whole scene is very sweet.

Typoes: "can thing's ever go back" should be "things".

Bart's health crisis is very well described.

"He's flat lined! Get the crash cart!" Cried one of the doctors as he checked the instruments.

"Intubating... now!" One of the nurses warned.
Again, don't capitalise these dialogue tags.

"Prep the OR, he needs in... NOW! I must have missed a piece in his lung!" Came the booming voice of Dr. Hibbert.
And again.

OK, I'm not an expert, but I'm fairly sure that viaticum is a Catholic rite, and Wikipedia backs me up. It should be fairly easy to change to something protestant, though I don't know if whatever denomination Reverend Lovejoy is has a specific rite for the dying (perhaps just have him say that Bart's soul needs his pastoral care or something).

A very dramatic bit, this, and you manage not to make it into melodrama.

"Bart!" She cried out again,
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

"To find my family." Lisa replied tearfully.
The dialogue bit should end in a comma instead of a full stop.

Lisa realized it was Bart’s bed immediately upon seeing the bleached white sheets slide out into the hall.
I like this.

as he shouted angrily.
This should have a colon at the end.

End of story, Reverend.” Dr. Hibbert said severely.
Again, the dialogue here should end in a comma, not a full stop. I do like Lovejoy having to do the rite as they go, though.

With a deep breath, the Reverend began.
I think this needs a colon, too.

Dr. Hibbert nodded his head and said.
Again, colon.

Continuing good and well-written. I'll keep going.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: Death of a Simpson

Postby CalculatedChaos » Sat May 02, 2009 8:54 am

The 'viaticum' bit is perhaps a little more revealing of Lovejoy than is presented in canon. Just a personal taste in my sense of humor. :)
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