Reviews for The Faceless Nord
Elanriela chapter 1 . 5/25/2014
This was an interesting and well-written story. Much of the prose was beautifully written, and it flowed very well, particularly when the dragon arrived. The passage that describes Frida’s absorption of the dragon soul was beautiful. In the words of Toni Morrison, language has to “get out of the way” for a story to have impact, and I believe that “The Faceless Nord” is successful in accomplishing this. What I particularly loved about this piece is that Idolf was the main character, not the dragonborn. This makes the piece more accessible to us, as Idolf is the kind of “ordinary” person that we as an audience can relate to. Idolf’s personality was clearly visible and well portrayed. However, I thought that Frida could have used a little more fleshing out and a more distinct voice, while maintaining some of the mystery of her character. I liked the idea of the “faceless nord,” the sense that Frida is everyone and no one, and it would have been interesting to see this aspect of her played up a bit more. Idolf’s choice to call her nord before discovering her true name felt a bit off. Why? To put this in perspective, you wouldn’t call another British person a Brit, would you? No, you would say sir, ma’am, miss, etc. It would have made more sense for Idolf to call her “kinsman” (I am assuming that Idolf is a nord). I would also like to offer some criticism of the sex scene. The word “fucking,” in particular, threw me off. It seemed out of place in an otherwise classy and descriptive work. It also gives a connotation of a lack of intimacy. I felt that Idolf and Frida were having a quick but meaningful encounter, not an emotionless exchange, and the word choice conflicted with the value of the moment. I also noticed several grammatical errors. Incorrect comma placements were scattered throughout the piece, and there were a few tense inconsistencies, none of which were too jarring, but it’s something to be more aware of in the future. I enjoyed the ending. It left the reader to imagine the future, but not in a dissatisfying way. There was enough evidence to suggest that Frida would return, and I liked how the story hinted at her personal quest, but did not follow it. This piece maintained its purpose as a vignette and did everything that it should have. I appreciated the subtle elements of Skyrim humor; the arrow in the knee, lollygagging. When I first set out to read this piece, I thought it would be about a widowed Alvor and his new romance, so I would remove him from the character area, as he was only mentioned in the story. Overall, I really did enjoy this piece. I noticed that it’s your only Skyrim fanfiction, so I really hope that you write more of Tamriel in the future. Loved it!
LiamJJohnson chapter 1 . 1/15/2013
Alright. Let's go!

I love your prose. It's succinct and balanced. For someone not making a living out of it, your prose hits the spot; blending the action and dialogue, with diverse description without going over the top and you choose the right details to elaborate on- the ones that matter to our characters. There are writers in the industry who can't find as good a balance as you have.

I like you're taking on something different too and this proves that you can write for different genres and specific briefs, another useful quality. It was a nice angle- the drama of the fantasy kept grounded by the relative nature of your protagonist to us, the audience.

In a nutshell, what I'm saying is, if I were a producer, I could give you a brief with various bullet points and you would go away, write it and what I'd get back would be of a good quality. I've read enough of your stuff now to see that- where you suffer however (sorry it couldn't be all good!) is with those bullet points.

I believe the best writing comes from two key stages: macro and micro writing. You are fantastic at micro writing: description, pacing and prose. All your strong points. The macro, I think, is what holds you back sometimes: characterisation; plotting and highlighting what is unique about your writing to that of everyone else, especially when you've got only a limited space to get it across.

What this piece needs is your two characters to have a much clearer, more distinctive voice. Right now, they sound: a) similar and b) too obvious in their wants and intentions. So, as a result, they don't have any conflict and you're not asking your audience to dig any deeper into their lines than what is literally on the page. Try thinking of an ideal actor who might play the role if it were made into a film and hear the lines in their voice- sometimes thinking of a similar character you've seen or read and asking what they would say helps too. You need to find 'your voice' for each character and it needs to be different to your others.

You did telegraph your ending quite a lot- it did feel a little rushed and abrupt. I'm not sure what your plan is going forward, whether we follow her on the road to various places and each chapter stands alone or if each will connect into a larger story arc, I'm interested to see what the plan is with that.

Here's what I would do, before you write again, next: make a short sort of plan for the chapter. Decide whether it stands alone or not and say: right, what am I going to do here to make this dramatic and challenge my character. Also, make a list of your character's strengths and their weaknesses and find ways to showcase both- then relate that to your story, whether by episode or by a larger arc. These will give you your macros- then, when you, later, begin writing it out, your natural affinity with micro writing will only enhance the macros underneath.

Finally, think about your medium. Each chapter is relatively short and we should, by the end of chapter's 3/4, know exactly what your protagonist's internal need and desires are. Mind you, I say all this only from my perspective. I know you write for yourself Jess, I know it's cathartic for you and that's fantastic. Perhaps, if that's enough, then just keep doing what you're doing! But if not, try thinking about exactly what reaction you want your audience to feel at every turn and whether each scene is doing the best it can to instigate that.

Phew! Right, there's 20 minutes and way too many paragraphs ( another one here!) of my babble. I hope I've not disheartened you with all that at the end- cos I genuinely enjoy reading your shit, it flows wonderfully! I'm just thinking about ways it could be even better! This all coming from me, mind you, a guy without a single real writing credit to his name... so take it for what it is I suppose! And so long as you enjoy it, that's all that really matters... unless you want to go pro that is! Heh, I'm glad you're still writing, I truly am.

I hope you're well girl! We'll have to arrange some sort of a night out sometime. Been way too long. So long for now. xx