Reviews for A NORMAL LIFE
PhantomFemme du Pantages chapter 86 . 2/8/2020
Wow Cool! Very interesting! I really enjoy the humour. And I like the twists you've given all the cannon POTO characters. Neat! In particular, I really like the way you've brought in the Indigenous story to give a supernatural twist to the E/C relationship. Very interesting! I'm glad to see the story progressed from where I left off last!

The only thing, though, is that imo your chapters are way too short. You could cover more ground and move the plot along much faster with longer chapters!

Apart from that, though, good work! Very cool! I can't wait to see where it all goes!
Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 86 . 10/29/2016
N.B. Your chapter numbers seem to have got confused again - somewhere around Chapter 83, by the looks of it, where they go 79, 83, 81, 85...

"twirling around, he opened the window curtain" - "twirling" makes him sound like a ballerina ;-p
Maybe "turning abruptly" or "spinning on his heel"?

"The phantom crushed the curtains in his hand" - I assume you want him capitalised here too, since you've done so in the following paragraph.

"Inaudibly curses floated upon the air" - either "inaudible curses", or "curses floated inaudibly" (depending on whether you were originally looking for an adverb or adjective here!)

'This hideousness carried since your birth, not even a Healer can reverse' - this is in single quotes, not double quotes; I'm not clear of the significance of that. Is Erik quoting something that was once said to him? (Sounds like a rhyming curse!) Is the scarab supposed to be saying it (after all, it can apparently curse out loud, albeit inaudibly)? Is Erik supposed to be thinking it rather than saying it? (but he has been thinking other things without quotes earlier...)

And it took me several re-reads to connect the "suddenly crushed legs" of the scarab here with the Phantom's earlier scrunching of the curtain - the "suddenly", to me, implied somehow that the injury had happened abruptly *after* it slid down the curtain, leaving me wondering if this was meant to be some kind of psychic reflection of Erik's despair. In fact it's presumably a very practical effect of getting squashed!

"Whipping from the window narrowed eyes landed on his dirty clothes" - you really don't want the image of disembodied eyeballs whipping out from the window and landing in a heap on the floor :-D

I'm not sure what (beyond unfounded optimism) convinces the Phantom that Christine is likely to be able to reverse his deformity in the future if she can't do so now, despite her greatest efforts ;-p

he spoke confidently, "First the transponder" - you can't use "spoke" to introduce dialogue (the verb doesn't work that way).

I had some trouble remembering who "Betty" was at this point, I'm afraid; too large a cast and too long since she last appeared :-(

Who knew that so many were unhappy to be alive in someone else's reality/How do we know you will go through with your promise once Dugan is captured/How could you - rhetorical questions still need question marks!

Raoul is proposing mass euthanasia as a solution - nay, as a bribe for the clones' help? That certainly comes as a shock!
(And as Meg points out, it's clean against the Hippocratic Oath - he is compromising his conscience.)

A low rumble bounced across the room as the group discussed this new option - I take it this is an attempt to describe a sudden outburst of talk, but it sounds as if the "low rumble" is actually a threatening outside development at this point; I initially interpreted it as the start of an attack by Dugan :-(

Setting her jaw, eyes narrowed the officer stared into her attacker's face./"How could you. Don't you think that was something he needed to know?" - juxtaposing these two sentences makes it sound as if "the officer" is the one described as speaking, but I'm assuming it refers to Sorelli while this speech is being made by Meg...

So what is the strategy? Clones who are tired of a shadow life will kill themselves, while those "who want to live at all costs" will form the second wave of attack against Dugan? What is the first wave that she is apparently planning? And when Raoul describes the survivors as "the most dangerous" with fear and mistrust predominating, is he praising them as a potential weapon or (as it would appear) warning Sorelli not to trust them?

Yes, with Sorelli's talk about "the suicide of a child" I was just wondering what was happening about Connie and 'her' babies :-(

Note that you've got a consistent punctuation error in the dialogue towards the end of this chapter; you can't just join dialogue onto the preceding sentence unless the preceding sentence consists of an appropriate verb.
e.g. you can write
Sorelli shouted, "I can't let you go back to the others!"
but not
Sorelli nodded to the bed rolls stacked in the corner, "You understand I can't let you go back to the others"
because "nodded" is not a verb that describes someone saying something :-(
So you need to put a full stop at the end of the sentence that describes what Sorelli *did*, and then start a new sentence for the quoted dialogue that she actually *said*.
Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 85 . 9/10/2016
Interesting fantasy here - I'm wondering if it is a longstanding daydream that predates Erik's acquaintance with Christine (dark-haired, brown-eyed), or if it's based on her stage disguise in Landon Hills (blonde wig, red dress). The former makes more sense, but if so Christine now seems to have found her way into it in the guise of "the Healer [who] removed the curse of his face". Unless he has just been looking for an unknown Healer for a very long time...

The shift of the dream turning into nightmare is very natural; that's the sort of thing the subconscious does to you :-(
Although Erik's nightmares seem to be split between the horror of his own face (returning to haunt him even when supposedly healed in his dreams) and his new-woken conscience where Christine is concerned.

Calling her 'Madame Daae' is an effective reminder that this Christine is a middle-aged married woman instead of an angelic ingénue! (Also the fact that she is snoring ;-)

"recovering from being work roughened and red" - is this from her earlier work on the reservation, or her attempts at escaping the Phantom? :-(

"She had spent an inordinate amount of time in the bath last night."
So we've now shifted on to the next night/morning by the sounds of it - did the party stay holed up in the motel all day? (And do motels have baths? Only the shower has been mentioned so far, so I'd got the impression somehow that the 'bathroom' didn't actually have one!)

I'm rather losing track of the colour of Christine's hair...

"Raoul" she sighed - ouch! *Not* what Erik wanted to hear :-D

(And kudos to the author for having Christine remember Raoul and Connie - both still very much in danger - instead of simply disappearing into a rose-tinted "Erik and Christine are finally teamed up against Kalona Ayeliski, now they will stop fighting" haze!)

From a technical point of view, this chapter was much more accurate than usual :-)
There were just two repeated mistakes - multiple phrases where hyphens were missing:

blood-stained mask
claw-like fingers
hard-earned face
Once-fresh breath
work-roughened and red

and a couple of places where a comma was missing before a dialogue tag:
"Murderer," she hissed
"Raoul," she sighed

I know these are only one word each, but they still count as dialogue...

"Not since that lying Delilah, Sorelli had Erik felt a woman's skin" - you need a second comma *after* the interjected "Sorelli" as well as one before. (Otherwise it reads as if "Sorelli had Erik"!)
GRANDMA PAULA chapter 85 . 8/26/2016
WOW THOUGHT YOU DISAPEARED FOR GOOD. WHERE DID YOU GO? HAVNT SEEN THIS SITE FOR SO LONG NOW AND HAD TO REREAD THE ENTIRE THING AGAIN SO I KNOW WHAT HAPPENING.
Child of Dreams chapter 85 . 8/24/2016
(winces)
Uh oh...
Child of Dreams chapter 57 . 3/25/2016
Okay, I'm confused.
Is it Sandy or Stacy?
Child of Dreams chapter 44 . 3/25/2016
(raises eyebrow)
Daniel...Boone?
(smirks)
Child of Dreams chapter 21 . 3/25/2016
carats, not carrots.
Child of Dreams chapter 15 . 3/25/2016
(snickering)
And it's official!
Erik is head-over-heels in love with Christine!
Child of Dreams chapter 13 . 3/25/2016
Ubaldo, not Umbaldo.
Child of Dreams chapter 8 . 3/25/2016
(snickers)
Oh yes, we all know how Erik practically worships music...
Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 84 . 3/7/2016
I'm amused (in a good way) at the idea of the nurse busy reverting to type and taking the pulse to check on the health of the superhuman death spirit that has just threatened to destroy her and her only ally :-D

Apparently he has some kind of acid-spitting attack left up his sleeve, though...

"She didn't know which hurt worse her eyes or nose" - you really do need a comma (or some kind of punctuation) after "worse" here :-(

"The stench Erik now emitted" - so Kalona has smelly blood as well as burning saliva? ;-)
Or was Erik trapped in his bowels after all...?

"Immersed in his task...", "Turning around...", "Rocking on his heels", "Realizing Erik was about to fall" - this is your old problem with starting a long run of sentences with an identical introductory structure, I'm afraid :-(
The cumulative effect is weird.

"A hot blush infused her face as she realized what she held" - so Erik is stark naked and Christine grabs for his groin when trying to stop him lurching backwards from his crouch? Somehow I feel that Christine might have realised the very inadequate nature of her hold somewhat sooner :-p
(I mean, realistically speaking, she is going to be trying for a bony limb or a handful of clothing: if she gets something smaller it's not going to work!)

"long fingered hands helped her sit up" - you need a hyphen: long-fingered. (Otherwise you're talking about Erik's 'fingered hands', which isn't exactly an unusual condition ;-)

What is Erik referring to by "I do believe we have done this before"? The hinted-at fall into the creek in chapter 24?
If so, I think you probably need to be more specific: it took me a lot of searching to relocate the passage in question, and even at the time I see my comment after the event was "Soaked? I assume it's the creek they fell into, though I'm still not clear how..."

And what on earth does Christine mean by "Knee deep" with reference to the frog?

"she had realized she had 't asked how he had exited Kalona's clutches" - typo (hadn't)

"They had retraced their steps to where they left Raven Mocker" - ah, I was just about to wonder whether they oughtn't to be worrying about what had become of their opponent! So was the idea that he gets his Cherokee body back once Erik has been forced(?) into his own form again, but couldn't transform before?
(I'm still not clear how Erik managed to manifest as 'Kalona Ayeliski' if there was a *real* Kalona out there at the same time...)

"Without Christine he could have caught him, unless he flew" - are you saying that only the handicap of washing out Christine's eyes had prevented Erik from catching Kalona? (If so, it needs to be phrased more clearly, I think.)
If not, what *are* you saying? :-(

So Erik somehow squirted acid at Kalona from the inside...?

And he seriously expects to find a *clothesline* in the spirit world?
"We didn't arrive here by walking, Erik" - ah, Christine works it out ;-p

I like the idea of the ubiquitous scarabs as Minions :-D

"That's what started this whole thing," Erik muttered - indeed, Erik had just *had* a shower before this whole 'volcanic spring' business started up!

Did Shade literally kick down the door? And without dropping the food in his hands?
The motel owners aren't going to be very pleased over that :-p

I'm not clear why Shade is bringing "breakfast items" anyway, as he had only just produced cheeseburgers etc. when last seen (ch77): does this imply that events in the spirit world took place in real time, and that the whole night has passed? But they were under "the middday sun", so in that case it ought to be later than breakfast time...
I'd assumed by default that none of the spirit-world stuff took any time at all, and that they had woken up in the motel the moment after they had 'left' in the same physical positions and condition that they were originally in; if this is not the case - if they arrive back, say, bloody, tattered and rolling on the floor - then I think you need to make it more explicit :-(

Why does Christine feel the need to "throw the sheet up over her" when she is in shirt and jeans - and how does she do so when the beds are apparently still "made", i.e. the bedclothes have not been disturbed?

"Christine's high color combine with Erik's shifting gaze" - typo: 'combined'

"You two aren't still at it, are you?" - still at what? Fighting/escaping each other... which is what they've been doing since Shade first made it back to the house in the clearing?
Not making mad, passionate love, presumably, given that he's remarking on the lack of bed usage...
Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 83 . 2/29/2016
I see you've made some changes to Chapter 79 ("Internal Confusion"), which feels a bit clearer now :-)

I did do a double-take on "Aged arms wrapped protectively around his bloated abdomen", though - following as it does immediately after "wings spastically trembling", it looks like a sentence fragment in the same format, e.g. implying "his aged arms were wrapped around his body" rather than the active verb "he wrapped aged arms around his body", which I think was your intended reading here :-(

You seem to have lost the end of a sentence in the final paragraphs: "He would ignore the skeleton man's"... the man's what?

Chapter 80:

Why is *Christine* gasping for breath all of a sudden? I thought it was Erik who was supposed to be running out of oxygen; Christine was last seen trying to tend to the injured girl, who had started humming (and seems to have stopped now).

"The Maiden stretched to reach her other hand" - in the previous scene, Christine was busy chafing her patient's cold hands, which would imply that she was already holding *both* the girl's hands :-(
And if Christine is unable to feel her sweat-chilled clothing, that would suggest that she is not so much "emotionally numb" as very much physically deadened :-P

So this injured girl who seemed to be just random prey is *the* Maiden, Kalona's perpetual fellow captive in the cave? Why would he be hunting and injuring *her* of all people - and where does this leave Christine, whom he seems to covet along the same lines ("It would take many souls to purchase the white healer")?

It's a nice twist to have the new figures surrounding them suddenly revealed to be allies instead: not all ghosts in this world are evil, despite Christine's indomitable defensive stance :-)

"You now take the Maiden's destiny, Healer" - so they have explicitly swapped. Christine now has official authority for her position ;-)

"Rid me of these vile bones, woman" - sounds as if it *wasn't* the Maiden's tune that summoned Kalona back, then, but his own failure to 'heal' himself...

"You. Try. My. Patience"/ "Please God, give me the courage"/However you choose you cannot win!" - I'm afraid my first reaction here is simply that, as so often in fanfiction, the author is 'cheating' by reassigning Erik's canonical bad actions to an external hate-figure so that we can have Christine on the side of Good-Erik against Bad-Erik :-(
Although most people tend to pick on Raoul when they're trying to switch round these roles...

"He was trying so hard to free her!" - and conversely this is something I *really* dislike in fanfic: giving Raoul's iconic lines to Erik in order to make Erik look better. Although admittedly in canon Erik does have to resort to stealing Raoul's music in order to be able to attempt any expression of love for Christine ("all I ask of you" plus "Christine, I love you" are both clones of Raoul's earlier avowals, note for note).

Sorry, but trying to make Erik romantic by transplanting him wholesale into another man's place (because if it's love, it must be Erik! all those love scenes should have been Erik all along!) happens to be something that particularly gets my goat. But it's such a common (lazy :-p) fanfic trope that it's not likely to arouse any outrage in anybody else. They'll probably admire it.

"clicking and squeaking in glee" - not quite such hushed awe, then ;-p

I'm still confused by Erik's size in this: the Raven Mocker clearly isn't much taller than Christine if she can pull his forehead down to hers, but Erik has somehow shrunk small enough to fit inside his arteries and yet simultaneously large enough for visible hands and feet to bulge out.

"she squeezed the nerve in Kalona's neck. With a moan he fell to the ground" - Hah! Now *that's* my girl: that's the General's daughter :-D
We're busy expecting a kiss - or at least a mind-meld - and Christine is taking very direct physical action in her own defence :-P

"Taking a chance on loosing Erik" - "loosing Erik" is precisely what she wants to do ;-p
I assume you meant "losing", unless the meaning is that she hopes rendering Kalona unconscious will bring Erik out of him...
Child of Dreams chapter 84 . 2/7/2016
(sighs contentedly)
Child of Dreams chapter 83 . 2/6/2016
What took so long?
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