Reviews for The Price of Love
Blue-Inked Frost chapter 1 . 11/6/2012
I've seen Teen Titans, and I like Aqualad, so I was looking forward to reviewing this one! :)

I thought the first several paragraphs were very generic - jut a guy preparing food for a date, nothing character-specific. I was not sure if your point of view was Aqualad or another character until you had the character address him. Since eventually Garth addresses Dick as Dick, I figure you weren't trying to go for deliberate ambiguity here. It'd be nice to have a stronger character voice for Dick.

The details also felt a little too mundane for me - there's nothing wrong with sweet domesticity, but nothing in the writing really made me want to keep reading, not the style nor the character voice nor any particularly adorable details.

"The steak finished just in time for me to finish cleaning up my apartment, set the table and even place a few candles around the room. " - verb tense problem here. "The steak finished just in time for me to finish cleaning up my apartment and setting the table. I even had time to place a few candles around the room."

"I'd heard so many times throughout my life that people lost interest in each other when they stop making the effort. I knew a little three-month relationship didn't compare with thirty years of marriage, but I thought the principles were the same." - This Dick Grayson sounds like a wouldbe fifties housewife here.

I think it's in character for Robin to be a perfectionist even when it comes to cooking and dating, but he doesn't sound in character here on the whole. A touch too saccharine, especially with lines like this: "Just the me I was now. The one that tried hard to be a good person, help people and somehow wade through life without making any tragic mistakes."

"I watched as he melted at the savory taste of the steak." - Given that this is a character with water powers, is 'melted' meant literally here or not?

"They wouldn't take me seriously anymore. Law-enforcement is a man's world. Even the women are men. Being gay is even worse than that…I just—I'd never get anywhere!" It's too bad he doesn't work in Metropolis - he might know Maggie Sawyer.

It's sad that Dick and Garth have the issue to deal with that they can't tell people. Definitely a realistic situation and one that readers should feel empathy for. I like how their dispute is framed by Dick not wanting to tell his co-workers and Garth not wanting to tell their friends, and the issues of hypocrisy there with neither character being right.

But I feel like this is a story about two generic guys who happen to be called Dick and Garth, not the Robin and Aqualad I know from the cartoon; Dick doesn't come across to me as having a strong personality and as you say in your A/N, Garth is different too. The Aqualad in the cartoon struck me as incredibly confident and self-assured. So this version of him in the closet seems OOC. Is there an area in his life where he is confident and self-assured? Or has he been hurt and driven inward by a tragic backstory in the AU? Or could you forget the angst and make him confident and self-assured and out of the closet to his friends?

Mechanics-wise I didn't see any major errors.

Hope this concrit helps!
Rhea Silverkeys chapter 1 . 7/12/2011
Ello! I'm reviewing as part of the Comfort Zone challenge.

For someone who's never done romance before, this was pretty good! However, I did feel that I didn't get enough explanation or backstory for the characters (or maybe I wasn't reading properly. I dunno). I know that Dick wants Garth to out himself, but he doesn't want to, and Dick wants to out it to everyone but his co-workers - but what about Garth's situation is different from Dick's? I don't know, so I lost a bit of the why they were arguing.

I think you missed out the 'the' before 'sneaking' in this sentence: "Honestly, it was all the lying and all the pretending and all sneaking that was getting to me..."
Maiafay chapter 1 . 5/18/2011
The next time you edit this, or compose a story similar, infuse tension from the very first line - or at least, the first paragraph.

You don't have it in the first segment, but in the segment afterward you do have the conflict of "not telling" others of the relationship. While not the biggest threat, this story would benefit if you presented this conflict from the beginning.

Right now, the initial scene falls flat to me. I would have clicked out on the grounds of no conflict, no tension. It's just a character making dinner.

Microtension is what I'm reading about in the book "The Fire in Fiction" by Donald Maass, and he's right about what makes readers turn the pages. If there's a problem to be solved, or the character is worried, tense, uncertain, or has something going on that the reader can sense - it makes more for a compelling read.

You know how some movies can have special effects and big explosions, yet aren't memorable? There's a reason. With tension and conflict, you can write your characters doing ANYTHING, and it would seem interesting. Likewise, you can have bombs going off, superpowers running wild, or monsters attacking, but if there's nothing at stake, no conflict, no tension, then it won't hold the reader's attention for long - no matter how well written or flashy.

But take a mundane scene here such as dinner, have Dick express worry, doubt, and have anxiety over some mysterious problem. Then reveal this problem during dinner dialogue. Then add more tension with Garth's reaction of not agreeing, then end with the bedroom scene and keep it unresolved. Then you will have a short story engaging from beginning to end, and your readers would want more.

M
The Lauderdale chapter 1 . 3/26/2011
I've read this story a couple of times now, and I've also looked at what you've said elsewhere (at Writers Anonymous.) So here are my thoughts:

My biggest reservation about this story is that it doesn't feel fandom-specific or character-specific. The scenario feels ubiquitous, and there is little that makes it specific to these two characters: two young men in a same sex relationship, one who wants to be more out and the other who doesn't. I don't know the original show, so maybe I'm not on firm ground when I say it: maybe another fan, reading this, would be nodding and saying, yes, this is exactly who these two are...but what about this story makes it especially "Teen Titans"? What makes these characters especially whoever they are supposed to be? (evidently Dick (Robin?) and Garth, or Aqualad.) Perhaps the closest we come to a character identifier is Dick's bitter assessment of law enforcement, the area in which he works, because that feels like something concrete about the character and, presumably, the milieu he inhabits.

(BTW, when he says "law enforcement," am I to understand this as regular law enforcement, or superhero stuff? Depending on what *kind* of law enforcement, I can envision some situation-specific problems. If you are curious, Perry Moore wrote a take on a gay teenage superhero in the young adult novel "Hero," which was fairly well received, though it had its own issues.)

Your mechanics are clean, your pacing is good, your dialogue feels natural, and it is easy to sympathize with the two characters and their situation. The scene feels rather isolated and more specifics about the characters would help that. Perhaps concrete references to people they know, actual experiences they have shared...maybe Dick can remind Garth or think back in his own mind to a specific instance when Garth was not forthcoming about their relationship in the company of mutual friends). Even some physical identifiers could be helpful. (What does Garth actually look like to Dick? Does Dick have some favorite aspect of him? "That cute embarassed smile of his" was a nice example, but I wanted more.)

You mentioned that this was written for the Comfort Zone challenge, so I checked that thread at WA and found some specific questions you had.

"If anyone here is gay or knows something about gay people, please let me know how I did on accurately portraying the problems a gay person might face when considering outing him/herself."

Coming out of the closet isn't something that happens once and is done forever. It is a continuing business: you will ALWAYS meet people who don't know your orientation and assume you are straight by default. There are people who you will be out to and people that you won't be. Dick makes this differentiation himself: wanting Garth to to tell his friends, not wanting to tell his own coworkers.

"Let me know how I did on the romance. I know how to angst, even though I'm not a fan of it, but romance is very new to me."

I think more character specifics like I mentioned earlier will make both the characters and their relationship feel more developed. I do think that this is a fairly significant stresser in their relationship (which is, granted, a young one) and that if Dick is at the point where he is demanding an openness of Garth that he isn't willing to exhibit himself...there's going to be resentment, which I don't particularly see here. A question for you, and this is not necessarily a suggestion for you to put this in your story, more of a thought exercise as the author: if Garth were to hear this question out loud, "How much [is] our love worth to me?" how would he react? Shocked? Dismayed? Sad? Hurt? Angry? Would his reaction be to get closer to Dick or to pull away?

"I have never actually had Steak Au Poivre and honestly, I just kind of picked it randomly out of a cookbook myself. My description of it is entirely guesswork from the directions. If anyone sees anything at all out of place about the description, let me know."

No idea whatsoever. I liked what you wrote for it, though. It felt convincing enough - I never thought that it wasn't something you didn't know from firsthand, so there's a compliment for you!
White Eyebrow chapter 1 . 2/5/2011
It seems fitting that I would christen you with my first review of the year. So, here goes...

First impression:

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I know you went out of your comfort zone in writing a romance fic, but I'm still not cutting you any slack because you're not a noob, m'dear. *insert pernicious laughter*

Grammar:

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Clean as usual. Just a couple of nitpicks:

/My heart swelled until it felt too big for my chest and I felt such a deep need to [get] as close to him as I could that nothing ever felt close enough.

/Honestly, it was all the lying and all the pretending and all [the] sneaking that was getting to me, not just him.

Story:

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As requested, I'm focusing on the romance aspect here. You had me worried in the beginning there; at first it seemed as though it was going to be one of those gooey, sappy conflict-free romances. However, the second half put those fears to rest, giving the relationship some much needed balance.

I don't blame you for shying away from romance: it's hard. IMO, the key to romance is 'balance' and 'characterization'. For the reasons I have stated above, you have achieved a good balance so far, so that just leaves characterization...

OC-Dick: you did a good job of putting me in his head and keeping me there. If you plan on continuing this, in future chapters I would want to see less exposition and more detailing of his character in how he deals with conflict.

Garth: even though he didn't get much "screen time", I thought he was sketched out well.

Romance: I list romance here because the romance genre is unique in that the relationship is central to the plot, rather than a mere plot device. As such, I feel it helps to think of the relationship itself as a character in it's own right (albiet a schizophrenic character.) Try to keep that in mind going forward.

Final thoughts:

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So, to answer the question, 'is it romantic?' My response would be two-fold: it depends on what you where trying to accomplish; and I think it is as romantic as it can be, given the constraint that you are only one chapter in.
Kermit Kills chapter 1 . 11/1/2010
It was a good fic, well written, but it was in no conceivable way your best. To me, the story was interesting but... incomplete I felt there was more more to the story both in the beginning and the end. There was no real ending. The reader is given a brief glimpse of a much larger story. In your story Why, I felt that it was much the same situation. However, in Why, which I regard as a masterpiece, that is part of what makes the story so powerful. In this story, it just annoys me, it feels unfinished. I don't know how else to describe it. And yes, I understand it was for a challenge, so that's why, but...

That said, I think you captured the emotion of love really well in this fic, and it was certainly an interesting situation, but it felt like it was not developed enough, probably due to the lack of a beginning or ending. It has a lot of potential, but, in the end, the fact that it was written for a challenge made it substandard compared to what I have come to expect of you. You may be uncomfortable with the genre, yet from my perspective, the the story did not suffer because of it and you rose to the challenge admirably . The fact that you did so well outside of your comfort zone is a testament to your extreme skill as an author.