Reviews for It's Hard
Jessloz1986 chapter 8 . 10/6/2012
I just love that story...had to resd it again...;-p
Aralith chapter 8 . 3/27/2010
So, before I start this, let me say that Kate is by far my favorite of Jack's love interests. So realize that any advice or criticism I give is A. an attempt to most accurately portray that relationship and B. fueled by that bias. That being said, this story is awful. Nearly everybody's dialogue and personality is OOC, many of your characters actions are unreasonable and without precedent, and that's just the characters. The writing is only mildly inspired, and you're using this awful "script" format for your dialogue.

Honestly, I have a hard time keeping track of who's saying what, let alone how they are saying it, or what actions they're taking while saying it. You're telling us. You need to show us more. Leaving some things in ambiguity and letting the reader make up the details is alright here and there, but we need WAY more descriptors than you are giving us.

How to improve on your characters. Okay, first things first, the way Kate and Jack are interacting in your story is completely contrary to how they acted in the actual show. Kate didn't make Jack feel vulnerable in the show, she made him feel peaceful and as though he could have a second chance. She was basically his redemption. Now, those feelings certainly couldn't be transformed into a relationship over night, but Jack should be approaching Kate in this fashion, not like he's embarrassed by her.

Ask yourself this: did he ever at all appear vulnerable when around or embarrassed by her during the course of the show? If the answer is no, then that's how things need to continue. I understand that the circumstances of the show are different than everyday circumstances, but still, some semblance of their canon interactions ought to work their way into your fiction.

Now, how Kate acts is strange as well. In the show, it's implied (or maybe even explicitly said, can't remember details) that Kate has never had a successful relationship. This being the case, she would probably begin to feel as though it was her fault somehow, which it very well could have been, and I think is actually, once again, implied in the show. She shouldn't be taking ANY bold actions in this relationship. All of her actions towards Jack should be shy and reserved, afraid that any step she takes will result in catastrophe.

Now, there's Kim. You haven't used her all that much, but what you have seems strange to me. I'm not entirely convinced that she would move back in with Jack immediately, or that she would have a problem with Jack dating Kate, but let's say that you're right for a moment and that she would react that way. This being the case, why in the HELL would Jack ask Kate to HIS place for dinner? Small steps? That's BS.

They're both adults, and know very well what could (and did) happen if they were over at each others place. Jack KNOWS Kim doesn't like his seeing Kate, he KNOWS what could happen if he invites her for dinner, says he wants to take small steps, and then acts completely against all three of these things? And then, after also agreeing about taking small steps, Kate agrees? Also KNOWING two out of three of those things (she doesn't KNOW about Kim having a problem, but clearly was aware of the possibility, as she seems to be unsurprised by her reaction later)? I'm sorry, but no. This is, in fact, probably THE most out of character moment in the entire story. I would HIGHLY recommend altering it.

Onto finer points, I already mentioned I abhorred your style of dialogue. Allow me to elaborate. When you just put every word someone says into a block of text, it strips it of all emotion, all nuances, and all action by clumping it together with no qualifying statements attached. Let's take an example from your story:

"Stop Jack. I did what I had to. Maybe I wasn't to blame for that day but I still felt responsible. When you are drawn to this kind of situation, I think you don't have the right to back up and hope for someone else to help. I won't say it was easy (tears were glistening in her eyes as she was talking) but I'm glad I did all of it. I would be feeling a lot worse if I had spent the day locked up in my house, terrified and useless. Instead I found strenght in me that I didn't know was there. Yes, my life's been shattered but at least my conscience is clean."

First of all, the ONLY reason I know who is talking is because there are only two people in this scene, and the name of one of them is said, thereby leaving only the other party to do the talking. If not for that, I would have only contextual clues and the order in which the dialogue arrived to tell me how is doing this talking. There were in fact several times when I DID have to do just this to figure out who was saying what. I was genuinely confused a few times. This is very bad.

Secondly, clumping all this text together makes it incredibly lifeless and boring. Yeah, it's great and all that she's saying all this, but how is she saying it? What facial expressions is she conveying? Is she taking action or remaining stationary while this happens? Maybe you know, but I, the reader, has absolutely no idea. You have to SHOW me what's going on, not tell me. Allow me to rewrite/restructure this to show you just what I mean:

"Stop Jack," Kate said softly, "I did what I had to. Maybe I wasn't to blame for that day but I still felt responsible." She gazed deeply at Jack now. "When you are drawn to this kind of situation, I think you don't have the right to back up and hope for someone else to help. I won't say it was easy," she continued, tears glistening in her eyes, "but I'm glad I did all of it. I would be feeling a lot worse if I had spent the day locked up in my house, terrified and useless. Instead I found strengh in me that I didn't know was there."

She stiffened a bit as she said this, betraying her attempt at confidence, though Jack seemed not to notice. "Yes, my life's been shattered but at least my conscience is clean," she finished, hoping for some kind of positive response from her companion.

See how much better that is? Now, obviously I just kind of made up what it was she was feeling, how she acted and reacted, and how Jack did or didn't notice things, but do you see what I'm getting at? This is a MUCH more interesting piece of dialogue, because it now has life. It has character. We can see what she's thinking and feeling as she says it. We are being SHOWN what is occurring in the story, rather than being blandly told by large blocks of dialogue and then some later blocks of thought to qualify what was just said.

The qualifier NEEDS to be with the dialogue, not after it. If the descriptors aren't with the dialogue, we're not going to read the dialogue descriptively. Explaining how everything was said and what actions were taken after everything's already been said does nothing for the reader. Telling is far more dull than showing.

On a more trivial note, there are grammar and spelling errors all over this. Not enough to make it unreadable, by any means, but enough to catch one's eye, make one read a sentence more than once to understand it's meaning, or just in general trip the reader up. Grammar and spelling errors egregious enough to catch the eye of the reader will pull him or her out of the plot, and break the general ebb and flow of the story. Run your chapters through a spell checker before posting them. If your word processing software doesn't have one, there are many to be found online. Spellcheckers are not perfect, and they won't catch every mistake, but they'll catch the really obvious ones that hamper down the text and cause those trip ups.

Now, that's not to say this story isn't without it's redeeming qualities. The scene where Kate breaks down and Jack attempts to console her was rather well written. It would be even better if A. the situation that got them there (i.e. going to dinner at his place, despite all reason saying that shouldn't happen) were more put together and in tune with their characters, and B. you spiced up the dialogue the way I suggested. However, having Jack note how he had only seen her strength and now saw her frailty (excellent word choice there, by the way), was a good way for their characters and relationship grow.

Several other scenes have this potential. You just have to fix up the previously mentioned criticisms. Make characters more in line with their canon counterparts. However, also make sure you have freedom to maneuver them in. These should, after all, be continuations of the show's characters, not carbon copies. Fix up your dialogue so it's not in this awful script format that's lifeless and confusing. Try to increase your prose a little, and shuffle it around. When using descriptors, try not to use the same word within four or five sentences of each other. Use a thesaurus if you have to and find a synonym. It will GREATLY increase the flow of your writing and make an overall more pleasing experience for the reader.

A final note before closing this review. Please don't think my criticisms spiteful or mean-spirited. The words may be unkind, but their intention is wholly opposite. I bring up the mistakes merely so you can fix them and make the story stronger and better, not to be a jerk and say how terrible of a writer you are. Because really, you're not a terrible writer. You just need some tips on how to make it better. Trust me, I have seen much MUCH worse. Take my criticisms seriously, but not personally. Other than that, good luck to you. Hopefully my critique will be of some assistance and I can look forward to better future chapters, or revised previous ones.
slugsbay chapter 8 . 2/26/2007
Yep, I can definately see the mess of packing and unpacking! We're in the middle of it right now! Keep going, let's see how Jack and Kate's relationship works out.
slugsbay chapter 7 . 2/26/2007
Good to see Jack and Tony so relaxed. I'm just going to read chapter 8. Keep going :)
Duff89 chapter 8 . 2/19/2007
Great fic! Hope you update it soon!
Jessloz58 chapter 7 . 7/14/2006
Hey...you know that I love all your chapters...! I can't wait to see the next one... You write wonderful things...I just wanted to tell you that I miss you and that I hope to see you soon! xoxoxox
24isthebest chapter 7 . 7/6/2006
Tony/Michelle in the story too! YAY! Love how you illustrated Michelle so playful!

I don't think Jack is OOC, especially when he is with Tony. To me, Jack always wants love and a relationship, but he feels he can never have it. I like that he was curious and asking how Tony kept his relationship together.

Update soon please! :)
kimberley l hughes chapter 6 . 5/26/2006
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE PLEASE
Jessloz58 chapter 6 . 5/16/2006
Hello...I really loved this chapter...It is better now that you made some changes...I can't wait for more...LOL...and I miss you!
24isthebest chapter 6 . 5/12/2006
Aww thanks for the thanks! I feel special! :)

Wow, another great chapter, hope Kim comes around to liking Kate soon!

Jack/Kate are still way too cute, even if it is 3 seasons after!
Slug's bay chapter 6 . 5/12/2006
Great meeting of Kim and Kate.

"Kate walked over to the dining table and took a seat right across Kim, her hands clutching the mug. She opened and shut her mouth several times, pondering what would be the right thing to say in this situation. Since she was clueless about that, she figured she might as well go for the simplest way.

- Good morning Kim.

- …

- Okay, I understand. You’re not a morning person. I’m not a big fan of this part of the day either…"

That made my day! Keep going asap.
nu224 chapter 6 . 5/11/2006
hi there. great chapter. pls write more. curious to see how their relationship progresses in your view. love jack/kate
k8lyn2002 chapter 6 . 5/11/2006
oh i really liked this latest chapter. i am so glad you decided to update. and i think you have captured kims character perfectly. lol nayway i hope add more soon. great work.
Jessloz58 chapter 5 . 5/6/2006
Hey...

I just wanted to tell you again that I love this chapter...I can't wait for chapter 6... I miss you!
BadHatHarry chapter 5 . 4/27/2006
yay I'm one of the ones you dedicated this chapter to! I liked how Jack knew that words woulnd't be much help and jusst held her. Very intimate. Loved the chapter and hope for an update soon
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