Back for the CMDC review event round 2!
What a lovely ending to this story. I don’t know if I’ve remarked on this yet, but I really enjoyed how you were able to write seven chapters taking place within such a relatively short amount of time, about 48 hours, with plenty happening to fill them out!
I did wish that we could have understood a little more about all of these entities, the Factors and Shadows and Others and the Hidden World -- but I also think I could understand why you didn’t necessarily reveal all, and that it may have detracted from the way you wanted to present your story, and also that we’re supposed to be experiencing this along with Gobnait, who already has the internalized understanding of what’s going on. And as far as that goes, us experiencing the action along with Gobnait, I thought you did very well!
The very end to this chapter carries just the perfect note of promise. I like that it’s one of those endings that’s still sort of “open” -- even though I’m sure we all know where this is going! It plays out like a movie scene: I could see her turning to call after him at the last second, and him running back (because we all know he was hoping to hear her call him back, how cute is this???) and their funny little exchange about peeling potatoes! And the last line. Just heartwarming and sweet!
A truly fascinating story with an unexpected heroine that shows us that the most ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things!
This is a short ilttle chapter, but after the excitement, it is good to finish things off pretty quickly. The mood is peaceful,in contrast with Chapter Six, and Gobnait seems quite recovered from the stressful events of the preceding day. (Although I shudder to think what her hair must look like right now.)
It sounds as if the three of them stayed overnight in the lakeside pavilion, sleeping on the floor. By morning the city was a smoldering, steaming mass of ruins, and therefore it was easier to walk home. I wonder if they could have walked straight home through the burned-out area or if they had to go around. The entire city did not burn (I looked up the Great Chicago Fire on the internet), and it seems that Gobnait's neighborhood was spared.
Sidhe's remark, "I am certain that you can manage the rest yourself," which makes Gobnait blush, seemed to me not so much inspired by a prurient interest in her love life so much as a reminder to her of her duty to find a spouse and produce offspring to perpetuate the line of Factors. Mr. Moretti has been an invaluable assistant in the present crisis, but let us not rush forward with automatic assumptions.
In the final lines, he too seems hesitant to rush forward with automatic assumptions, but Gobnait, in her strong way, takes steps by calling back to him offering to give him the job of peeling potatoes (but perhaps meaning more), and he eagerly accepts the job of peeling potatoes (but perhaps meaning more). A cute ending to a nice story.
Congratulations on your venture into the realm of original fiction.
Back for the CMDC review event round 2!
Wow, so much happening in this chapter! Where to even start? I thought this was such a great climax to this story. The descriptions, the action, the emotions. The way your characters are exhausted at the beginning of the chapter but push through. I felt that I could see the action so clearly in my mind, the repeated, frustrated attacks by the wyrm and Gobnait continuing to do the only thing she could do while Moretti and his brother fought.
And wasn’t that a surprise! Moretti’s brother. I’m so curious to see if there’s any more explanation to that in the next chapter, how the two wound up on opposite sides of this conflict or whether’s there is any significance to that.
Also I liked another little tidbit that you dropped in here about Gobnait’s role -- about how if she dies, there is no one left to “anchor” the Shadow. How interesting! Because for all the Shadow likes to act like he’s the superior entity, this makes it seem like he needs Gobnait or another human with similar capabilities (a Factor?) And without them...what power does the Shadow have? Furthermore, this does seem to bring more significance to Gobnait’s responsibility to have children.
The end of this chapter is lovely! I can’t wait to see how things wrap up in the last chapter!
Back for the CMDC review event round 2!
One thing I really enjoy about your writing is the attention you pay to social conventions and their importance. Like here we get a very real sense of the awkward situation Gobnait and Moretti find themselves in when getting into the church, and it’s not an interaction that’s easily ignored by either of them. I also enjoyed the image of her getting stuck in the window, and how it was so frustrating nd absurd that it even made her laugh -- despite the dire situation and her own otherwise restrained, proper demeanor. Nervous laughter is totally a thing!
The moment was too full for her -- I really love this way of expressing this!
I find Moretti’s trust in her, even before he sees Sidhe, so touching, as well as his dedication to her after he understands what they have to do. He seems to have great strength of faith!
“if you think for one second that I would have wanted you to go into this alone, then you must think me a sorry excuse for a man”
^Please excuse me. I’m just slightly drooling over here.
I think you have done such a good job, in these last few paragraphs of this chapter, in capturing the terror and tension of this situation, building up to them literally walking into a fire. The images here are beautiful! And I like how Moretti’s confidence inspires Gobnait!
An exciting chapter. I liked your descritpion of the walk through the burning city. Even though it was only two paragraphs long, you included many images -- the skeletal bones of the burning buildings, the flames obscuring everything, even the sky, the seeming endlessness of their trek through the inferno, block after block. It's very hard to believe that Gobnait could have accomplished it alone.
Even when they arrive at the lake shore, it is still like a "strange world without sun, moon, or stars." I tried to envision that -- the sky so full of the smoke that there is no sky, like news photos of major wild fires or volcanic eruptions.
Gobnait's reluctance when faced with the next step of her task is understandable. Sidhe's instructions had been so bland -- lure the wyrm by playing the flute, and when the wyrm goes into the lake, we'll finish it off. Easy for him to say. He really didn't explain how the wyrm would attack her; he didn't mention the demon-possessed rider on the wyrm. Without Mr. Moretti, and later the fortuitous rain, she might have died. So much for perpetuating her line.
All of these action scenes are well written. The pace is brisk. Gobnait reminds me of Miranda (and Sidhe reminds me of Snape). They are not alike in many ways, but I can see them coming from the same pen.
An enjoyable read!
More straight-forward storytelling here. The best kind. I am all in favor of storytelling. The great works of literature from the earliest times are storyteling.
The Hidden World part of this plot is not too convoluted. That is good. The Hidden World seems to operate by rules that are fairly plain and simple, and that means that it can be appreciated clearly. More elaborate is not always better.
I noted that when Gobnait and Mr. Moretti could not immediately find an open entrance into St. Patrick's Church, she did not hesitate to entertain the notion of breaking a window. This shows that she is tough enough to do what has to be done, even though the sight of the fire as she later approached it was enough to make her quail, even give Sidhe's assurance that they would not be harmed.
Mr Moretti is a very different kind of guy. What other man would have gone along with Gobnait's apparently insane plan, as she thinks in the line "...surely any sane man would draw the conclusion that she was stark raving mad.: He says, "...I'm not such a fool that I would deny what's in front of my face." That is unusual. Most men would convince themselves that they were imagining things or hallucinating.
As in your other stories, there is a lot of excellent creativity and imagination here, which make your stories such a pleasure to read. Not the same old stuff, that's for sure!
Hi Noelle! Back for the CMDC review event round 2!
I like how even when Gobnait is troubled, confused, and in pain, she still reads as...so remarkably sensible and in control? I don’t know if that makes sense. But that’s the feeling I got from the first couple of paragraphs.
a terrible beauty that froze the blood rather than warming it the way beauty does in our world
^Lovely description that made Sidhe even more vivid for me!
busy scouring the Land of Nod
^What a truly delightful turn of phrase. I love scouring the Land of Nod myself.
Throw potatoes at the beast like some latter day David?
^Why is this so funny? I love it.
Yes, Gobnait, no corsets today!! I love the bit about how she saved a pair of her father’s clothes for sentimental reasons, and even more so when she puts them on. Feels very significant.
Random observation: When you say Moretti’s hair is not carefully quaffed, I think you mean “coiffed”? :)
I really like how you played out this interaction between Gobnait and Moretti, and I felt that I could visualize the chaos happening around them. I’m so interested that she sought him out in particular.
Well it’s not exactly a day for dancing, now is it?
This is a wonderful opening to a story. Your protagonist Gobnait is so easy to envision, the bit of backstory is so smoothly slipped in, and her present daily situation is made so clear, that it is a joy to read. You present us with four other-worldly things: the concept of being a Factor or an Other, the shadowy Shadow, the daily ritual with the bowl and the lake water, and the vague notion that Gobnait is required to do certain things.
I read this chapter over several times, first when it was originaly posted and now twice again in the course of this CMDC review drive, and I appreciate it more with each reading.
The focus on the worship service is not only very scene-setting but also revealing of Gobnait's personality and character. I loved that line: "As usually happens when one tries to keep one's mind on prayers, Gobnait's mind began to wander to her tasks of the day." I have that problem myself. It's a good concept to include, not only because it shows that the very nice and conscientious Gobnait is not perfect, but also because it gives a natural introduction into more about her connection to this alternate world.
You have a good background for the Great Chicago Fire -- the heat, the dryness -- and I was afraid, on reading that Gobnait's window was stuck shut with dried paint, that it would prove to put her in danger if her building caught fire.
A great start. Thank you for writing!
Hi Noelle! Back for the CMDC review event round 2!
OF COURSE! How could I not have realized until this chapter that this is when the Great Chicago Fire happened? As soon as I read “fire bells” it clicked in my head and I googled the dates and they are exactly the dates contained in your story here. I have my eye on you! What are you up to??
A dragon?? A dragon set Chicago on fire? Of course it did. I love it. (Poor scapegoat Mrs. O’Leary, however; she’s innocent!)
I really enjoyed how this chapter started out, bringing a nice change of pace after the previous two chapters involving quiet, restrained, understated Gobnait going about her business, which, despite being intriguing and involving the supernatural, is treated as just part of her supposedly mundane life. In the whole first half of this chapter I swear I could feel how hot and dry the city is. I also enjoyed that paragraph about the fire bells not exciting any interest in people further away from them. I feel that really captures the...I don’t know, apathy?...that one tends to develop after being exposed to a certain occurrence over time. Like living in LA...I hear sirens and never think anything of it. Because I just hear them all the time. But for someone else, that’s something monumental, and likely tragic.
I love the description of the cat and its reaction to whomever this guy is. Animals can totally sense things we can’t.
And the ending of this chapter -- I thought it was done so well! Not only because it’s such a nice response to the first part of the chapter, but also, it tells us something else about Gobait -- maybe? Does she have a history involving a fire? Is she having a premonition? Who knows. Only one way to find out. Reading on!
Hi Noelle! Here for the CMDC review event round 2!
I really think you do such an excellent job with description. I have noticed this in your other work. I feel that I can picture Gobnait’s walk from the church to the lake, and her subsequent actions when she reaches the lake, vividly in my mind. You provide so much detail, but in a way that feels natural, not cumbersome. I really think this is such a skill. I recognize it as something that I so often overlook in my own writing so I really notice it in others’, like yours.
I’m so interested that Aventino followed her, and we know now that he’s not an Other (and I want so badly to know what that is!) but it is interesting that he waited until this point to establish contact and introduce himself. Makes me wonder, if she had not lain down to collect the water, would he have even said anything?
I like how you’re doing a slow build to what exactly is going on here in terms of Shadows and Others and so forth -- I mean, it is damn frustrating to not know, but I like how you’re weaving it in! For example, how you mention, almost in an offhand way, that she knows Aventino can’t hurt her even if he is an Other because she’s too close to the lake. So now -- aha! -- in conjunction with her collecting the lake water, we understand now that Lake Michigan in particular is important. (Or maybe not? Perhaps it could be any body of water?)
It’s interesting so far how each chapter gives us just a little glimpse into part of a day, and I am so eager to see how this progresses over the next several chapters; but I do note that, considering the title of the story and the content of this chapter and the previous one discussing the importance of the Angelus, it’s really nice that you’re focusing so much description on the act of getting the water for it. Seems to really build up its significance in a way that makes us want to understand why.
Hello Noelle! I'm here for the CMDC event, round 1.
I think, sorry to say, I have not read much of your work. Which is truly a shame! I'm glad I found a chance to check it out!
I have to admit, though, that I lack context for this story. I'mJewish, and even then not religious. So if I miss religious references I should know here, pleae forgive me!
On that note, one thing I find interesting about the world you've crafted her is the combination between Christian tradition, and the reciting of the line of deendency, which is a common oral tradition in many Muslim cultures as well.
You know there's that expression "show don't tell"? Well, generally I don't love that advice because I think it's okay to tell sometimes. But you really hit the mark of showing not telling in this chapter. As Gobnait moves through the chapter, the setting and the situation are slowly revealed to us, like you're gradually pulling back the curtains on this world. It's incredibly skillful.
It does make me want to know how correctly I've understood things, which I could presumably discern from reading more. At the moment I'm getting early America in the upper midwest, a rural community, and some kind of magic, or calling, or spirit, beyond what the real world shows us. Maybe it's not maic, and more dystopia. But the capitalization of "Shadow" suggested something supernatural to me. On the other hand, this has a decidedly "Handmaid's Tale" feel. So that would be more dustopian in nature. Either way, I'm very intrigued and I think I want to read more of this!
The character seems gaurded to the extreme. I cannot tell if she's at home with duty and simplicity, or if she puts on an act of embracing these things for her safety. I want more details, more background! In other words, you've hooked me. ;)
Thanks for sharing this OF piece! That's very brave. Or perhaps not so brave, since it's so well done. :P
Hi Renee! Thank you for coming by my story :D
And I'm extra excited that you checked it out, even not being that relgious. I think that you picked up on all the major stuff, and I"m glad to know that it communicated well. I went back and forth about doing obsessive footnotes, and decided against it, and I think that all the main points came across okay.
I think that the lineage is important to all the relgions "of the book" and I love how you tied this to Isalm too.
Thank you so much! I was actually afraid this chatper was a little tell-y and I'm stoked that it wasn't. I tried to just sit back and let Gobnait do her thing and hope that it made sense to the rest of the world.
You've got pretty much all of it--we're in Chicago in 1871 which has sort of a cow-town feel. The Shadow is indeed supernatural, as will be revealed in later chapters. And things are a little dark, so the dystopian and "Handmaid's Tale" is not too far off.
Gobnait is very guarded, and she also doesn't ask many questions about her life. Yet anyway.
Thank you so much for this lovely review!!
Hi Noelle! I'm excited to be reading some OF written by you!
I think this first chapter serves as a really nice sort of appetizer for the story - we're not getting everything here, but just enough to know there's something going on that we want to know more about. I enjoyed your descriptions of Gobnait and what we see of her character so far. From what I know of her in this chapter, she seems dutiful, collected, independent, intelligent. She's also a mystery to the reader, but something in your characterization of her makes it seem like she'd be a bit of a mystery even to people who know her, if that makes sense. She seems very private, and it seems to me she's someone who would never say more than she needs to.
I'm also interested by her attitude with respect to needing to bear children. It seems pretty clear that it's not something she's excited about, but it's not so distasteful to her as to be outweighed by whetever her actual desires are. Or maybe she's just trying to convince herself it's not.
I like how you can make even the simple act of getting dressed interesting, even something of an ordeal, such as with the discussion of how she came to realize that it was important to put the boots on before the corset.
I think my favorite line in this chapter was:
As usually happens when one tries to keep one’s mind on prayers, Gobnait’s mind began to wander to her tasks of the day.
--It's so subtly humorous, even satirical.
Looking forward to reading on, and seeing what's going on here!
I'm so glad to see that Gobnait is coming across the way I wanted her too. You are right--she's very private and even if you knew her well she'd be something of a mystery.
Gobnait has never really had a choice about her future--so she's a little ambivalent about it, if only because she's never thought to question it at all.
Can you imagine having to put on a corset every day???
It's so true--the more you try to focus on prayers, the more distracted you get.
Thank you for this lovely review!
Now that the craziness of the Night in the Department of Mysteries is finally over, I can get back to catching up on reviewing your stories. I started this review after reading Chapter 3, but this morning I see that Chapter 4 is now posted also. What a treat!
Chapter 3 set up a whole new scenarion in your story, but it was good to get the root of the complexities of your story planted soon.
I wondered if the man walking through the city at night was the same as the man who spoke with Gobnait at the lakeshore, but somehow I thought not. Aventino seemed like a nicer guy that the character in Chapter 3, who was listening to the Other, co-operating with the wyrm, and igniting the Great Chicago Fire.
After reading Chapter 3, I looked up the Great Chicago Fire on Google to see if the date of your story and the Fire matched, and they did! Perhaps a piece of your local heritage.
I particularly liked Chapter 4, not only because of the high quality of your writing and the enjoyment I get from reading the sentences, but because it reveals more about the principles of the world-structure you are creating, not everything, of course, but just enough to make us think that we are understanding a tiny bit better how these principles work.
A story that is quite baffling and remains so for a long time becomes frustrating to read, but you string us along, rather like an exotic dancer (if you don't mind my saying so :p) with little hints and promises of more to come! And yes, Mr. Moretti is turning out to be a good guy, even a possible love interest. But how can Gobnait and Aventino counteract the fire? Will the story follow the lines of the historical accounts of the fire as presented in the internet articles?
Here's hoping we won't have to wait long to find out more!
Hi Vicki! Thank you for coming back :D
I was excited to finally show a Shadow in this chapter. Since Gobnait actually gets to talk to him, I can show a little more of what's going on to the reader.
I don't mind being compared favorably to an exotic dancer :)
I won't deny that I've been reading some internet articles and a book about the Fire, but there will be quite a lot pulled from my own imagination.
I'll try to get the rest of it up soon! Thank you for the encouragement :D
Now that the craziness of the Night in the Department of Mysteries is finally over, I can get back to catching up on reviewing your stories. :)
Chapter Three is setting up a whole new scenario in your story, but it is good to get the roots of the complexities planted soon. Is this man who is walking through the city at night the same as the man who spoke with Gobnait at the lakeshore? Somehow I think not. Aventino seems like a nicer guy than this fellow, who is listening to the Other, co-operating with the wyrm, and igniting the Great Chicago Fire. Now I see why you named the chapters by the time and date.
Your writing style remains top-notch -- just the right amount of detail to show the characters and the situations, nothing precocious or striving for effect, good pacing. A pleasure to read.
I am enjoying speculating where this story will go. A documentary about the fire? Yes, surely that will be there. A romance between Gobnait and Aventino? Maybe (after all, she needs to find a husband and produce progeny). Action/adventure? That will be here, in spades; the painted-shut window guarantees that. Much more information about the Shadow being and the Hidden World? This aspect of the story will grow exponentially.
Great scope for imagination and creation. I do not doubt for a moment that you will deliver the goods.
Hi Vicki! Thank you for coming back by my story :D
Thank you so much for your compliments on my writing--and I'm glad to know that the sudden switch in persons in the story isn't too jarring.
I love how you connected the painted-shut window to the action/adventure that is on its way :D
I can't tell you what the deal is with the Other and Aventino yet, but I hope to finish this story this month, so then you'll find out.
I'll try not to disappoint!
Thank you for this lovely review :D
Hey, Noelle! I'm here to continue your entry reviews. Some day, you will even have all the reviews I owe you. ;)
I love the way in which your storyline is still revealed. As I read, there are still so much I want to know about the Shadows and the Other, and about Angelus. You've weaved an extremely curious world and I cannot wait to learn more about it. You've also managed to introduce this air of mystery and suspense that I can't quite get enough of.
Eep, there's so much I want to talk about. Fetching the lake water seems so extremely important to her, though it doesn't seem like such an easy task. Everything she does and thinks seems so purposeful and calculated. There's something special about her personality that I do love, her kindness and her ability to come off as cold, the way her thoughts move, and the way she views life and interacts within the world. She's a very unique character.
Aventino seems rather intersting too, like their meeting again is not coincidence. I've been soiled by tangled webs of lies and deciet (too many drama books -- the culprit) that I can't help but question his intentions. On the surface he seems very friendly and a bit enamoured but I don't trust him yet. n.n I'll keep my eye on that one. I'm very much anticipating seeing them interact in the future.
Anyway, I just wanted to say again that you've done a lovely job with this! It's very fun learning more about it!
Hi Rumpels! Thank you for stopping back by my story :D
I am so glad that the world of this story is interesting without being totally confusing. It's one thing to write fanfic in a world that everybody knows a lot about, and another to try to create a new world and keep it mysterious without being confusing.
Gobnait is a kind person, but she's very reserved. It's been interesting trying to write a character like her, where a lot of her personality is communicated in actions and thoughts rather than in words.
Aventino will be back and very soon. I also tend to distrust characters when they are introduced--so I don't blame you for being wary here.
Thank you so much! And thank you for this lovely review!
Hello! I'm running through the entry reviews to the Original Fiction Challenge (if only about 300 years later).
I'm bad at figuring out where to So one of the things in this story that I enjoyed the most was your execution of the period. Your storytelling felt authentic for the time, with Gobnait (a woman, albeit a woman whose familial lines may be of some importance) having only one lifepath due to the sort of traditionalism I'd expect from this period in particular (as well as most other periods). And even if she wasn't bearing the sole brunt of the responsibility of carrying on her family lineage, it appears that her life choices weren't that much more lucrative anyway (which, again, largely makes sense for the time).
Following that, I'm also intrigued by the religious influence of the characters. It's completely fitting, of course, but it does add another element of society expectations in this piece, which is placing more pressure on Gobnait to yield to said expectations (there really is no alternative, after all). It also compels her to do certain things -- like the prayer as the Angelus bell sounded, and (although she wasn't expecting anything to happen) waiting to see if something would as she watched the basin. Also, definitely appreciate her overall disappointment of her fate as such. She's not so much a rebellious spirit, but more that she wishes she was (or could).
And then things deepen, which I absolutely adored. With talk of her Shadow contacting her, needing the Lake Water, and Factors from the Hidden World and what they mean/do (aside from bidding conolences and handing out congratulations). There is also the question of the man who had been watching her for so long, what the Others are (and if he is one). There is so much intrigue and mystery in this story just from the first chapter, which is lovely. You haven't left the chapter off in so much as a cliffhanger as much as a general intrigue for the plotline to come, which is a beautiful skill to utilize.
Anyway, you've done a wonderful job so far and I'll see you in the next chapter!
Hi Rumpels! Thank you for hosting this awesome challenge :D
And thank you so much for the compliments about how I wrote this time period. I was a little nervous about writing this because of the time period actually. I am interested in history and have read a fair amout of historical fiction, but I'm not an expert by any means. It is so good to hear that what I wrote felt like it fit in the time period.
And you're right--Gobnait doesn't have a lot of decisions that she gets to make in her life, which is frusterating even if it's also true for most of the people around you. I adore your noticing that she's not exactly a rebellious spirit, but she sort of wishes she were. That's a good observation of her character, as will become clear later on.
I'm also delighted that this chapter was able to raise a lot of questions without being totally confusing to the reader. I was a little worried that it was not going to make any sense to anyone but me.
Thank you so much for this lovely review! I really appreciate your taking the time to write it and I look forward to seeing what you think of what happens next.
I am the dumbest reader on this planet; I only just realized that you provide a very important context for the story in the chapter titles themselves. I should’ve realized this omg. I write down my reviews on a separate document, and I write the story and chapter titles down, so I don’t know how I missed this?? NOELLE I’M SO DUMB I’M SORRY. Please ignore any potentially very stupid comments I made in the previous review about time periods and such. :P
This chapter was also really really good! You’re so incredible with writing historical stories; the period tone feels exactly right, I feel like I’m right in the mind of someone who emerged from the mid-to-late-ish nineteenth century haha. Also, the more time I spend in Gobnait’s mind, the more charming I find her, in her own way. Her steadfast adherence to her own personal rules and beliefs is somewhat endearing, and also the way she got onto her stomach so that she wouldn’t fall into her late was smart (and kind of cute, I can see why this man is interested in her hahaha). It makes sense she doesn’t really know how to swim, so it’s good she was keeping safe. Also, slightly unrelated, but “promontory” is the coolest word omg; I’ve never heard it before, but it’s quite fun to say.
I am really curious about this man, Aventino. He’s clearly interested in her, in at least a vaguely romantic sense haha. (Speaking of which, he almost scared her right into drowning omg— “when she heard a sound so unexpected that she almost fell straight into the lake”—silly man. This is not how you go about making good first impressions on the young woman you like.) It was nice that he thought to check after her when he thought she was in trouble! Even if he stuck around even while she was glaring at him hahaha. I love that her coldness used to scare away school boys made him blush a bit.
I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO THESE TWO GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER. <3
Gobnait is really interesting. I’m not sure if the ‘Shadow’ is a common belief in this version of our world, but she seems to be quite devoted to it, going out of her way in her life to make room for it at every opportunity (such as how she brought the stone basin with her on the painful trek to the lake). I’m also still really curious about this ‘Other’ concept! Does it have anything to do with her Shadow? She seemed to expect some pretty serious consequences from touching an ‘Other’. Is it something terrible in human form, ready to trick humans into…something?
(I’m sorry if all these ideas are dumb omg.)
Please please please let me know if you write another chapter!!! I love this story so far <3
Hi Eva! Thanks for coming back!
You're not dumb! I don't always look at chapter titles myself, and it's good feedback for me that not everyone notices what time period we are in (you are not the first reader who has been confused about when this story is taking place). I'm thinking it might be a good idea for me to add the date/time to the story text itself too--because it is pretty confusing otherise!
I'm so excited that you like Gobnait! I was afraid that she wasn't going to come off well--but she is pretty steadfast and tough. Promontory is a great word, and I know it because of the time I've gotten to spend in Chicago. There is an amazing part of the Lakeshore called "Promontory Point" and it's one of my faovrite places in the city. It juts out into the lake, and it's surrounded by trees, and the wind whips around you in the most delcious way, and the sound of the tide is so soothing.
I'm also delighted that you picked up on the fact that Aventino has a serious crush on Gobnait. I wanted him to come off as sweet and not totally creepy.
I'm also looking forward to them getting to know each other better! And she's going to do her fair share of startling him to pay him back for almost sending her into the lake by the end of this story.
These are not dumb questions at all! In fact, hold onto your thought that the Shadow might trick humans into something ;)
You will meet the Other in Chapter 3 and the Shadow in Chapter 4. I will for sure let you know when I write more! Drafting has been kind of slow this month, but I do plan to finish this story, hopefully soon!
Thank you so much for this lovely review! I really appreciate it!
Thank you so much for sharing your original fiction with me! I’m really honored to be reading it! And I think you’ve done an amazing job, setting up the world your main character Gobnait is living in; you keep the tone so consistent with the time-relevant language you use, as well as the descriptions of her everyday life. Just from this first chapter, we know so much about Gobnait already—the first line, which is so well-written, already provides so much information about her, how her lineage is important to her and how continuing it is even more so. We know she’s an incredibly religious woman who lives a simple life, as someone who is entirely not vain and materialistic. Even just “plain, grey, calico dress” tells us so much about her; you do an incredible job of doing this throughout the chapter!
It was really interesting and fun piecing together the different elements of this world, of finding out which time period this was and what the surrounding society is like and what kinds of lives are led. As of this moment (this is my fault completely, not yours), I’m not entirely certain still whether this is a historical story with elements of the supernatural within, or whether it’s entirely factually correct. (I’m not remotely religious, or historically savvy, so a lot of the discussions of Gobnait’s life and beliefs fall into the “unknowledgeable” territory for me haha. For instance, I’m not sure whether the Shadow/Hidden World were things that existed in religion/people actually believed in, or if you created it for your story. Also the Factor, as well. I tried Googling these things to make sure but didn’t find anything. :P)
Either way, the worldbuilding is wonderful. You do such an amazing job with your writing and descriptions, and I’m so interested in finding out more about Gobnait’s experiences with her Shadow (who is it??) and how her father’s death affected her life afterwards. I also wonder where her mother is? And what’s happening with her own reproductive life? It’s clear that she wants to continue her family line, but is this a societal pressure or simply a burden she places upon herself? And she seems to view childbirth in a very analytical way: find a husband, get pregnant, give birth to a child. It seems that she’s not even considering anything about her future husband other than his ability to give her a child, which is really interesting to see! It’s also interesting seeing how her religious background is such a huge part of her life.
I’m also so curious about the man?? And what exactly is a Factor? And what exactly does this line mean, it’s so intriguing to me: “Fewer Factors were called to duty in these latter days—it had been different in earlier times.” I’m looking forward to reading more!!
Again, thank you so much for sharing. This is so wonderful! <3
Hi Eva! Thank you so much for coming by my story!
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited that you like this first chapter! I was very nervous about writing it and posting it because I really haven't done OF, gosh, since I was in High School. It's so good to hear that my descriptions worked and that the story was interesting and--more important--that it made sense! I was afraid that it would not make sense to anyone but me :P
Gonait is a pretty practical person and she's not very keen on going into society and trying to find a husband--even though she knows it's expected of her. Her mother has alos passed away, and I will check and make sure that that is clear either in this chapter or the next. She is alone.
The SHadows and Factor parts are made up by me. The rest of the relgious stuff is true, and typical of the time period. The Angelus is a real prayer, although the ritual with the bowl and the lake water was made up by me.
You will find out more about the man soon! And also about the Factors.
Thank you so much for this lovely review! I really appreciate your taking the time to write it.
Hi Noelle! I’m here for your requested review! I’m excited to read your original fiction. :^)
What an intriguing way to start the story! It was a great way to add some background information for Gobnait, while also raising some really important questions. What do all these names mean? And why are they important? Will they play a role in the story later?
Also, Gobnait is an interesting name. When I first read it, I thought it was a boy’s name, for some reason. Silly me.
Lacing up her corset… Does this mean that it takes place in the nineteenth century? If people ignore her, is it possible that Gobnait is not part of a particularly notable class?
Most of what’s been going on in the story has been slow-going, what with you describing Gobnait’s morning routine (?), but all of it is so mesmerizing to read. Sure, to do it might be boring, but the way you write it and bring Gobnait’s character and personality into brings a lot more to the table. So far, I’ve figured out that Gobnait takes pride in her work, and seems to be a very pious person.
These sorts of details are also alluding to some stranger things in your world. For example, what is a ‘Shadow’? Why is the word ‘factor’ capitalized? And the ‘hidden world’?
I’m mostly confused, but this was an amazing opening chapter. It raises a lot of the right questions, just enough to make me keep reading. I also feel that this is something I might come back to if I ever struggle with “show don’t tell” because I think this chapter is a really brilliant example, and I could definitely learn from it.
Thanks for writing! xx
Thank you for coming by my OF. Gobnait is not a typical name these days, and it doesn't scream girl at first. I wanted a very Irish name, and also a Catholic one. St. Gobnait is the patron of bee-keepers.
I'm so glad that this chapter was interesting, even though it was mostly about mundane things. And I'm also glad to hear that it was both confusing, but clear enough that the reader could follow it.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for this lovely review! I'm blushing :D
Hello Noelle, I’m back with another review!
I’m excited to find out more about the Hidden World in this chapter! It looks like the Angelus ritual and her Shadow are something to keep hidden, as Gobnait is so careful to keep anyone from observing it. I wouldn’t have expected that, since it seems to tie in so firmly with her faith, but thinking about it now, it definitely does make sense; it is called the Hidden World after all. I’m speculating now, but maybe that’s why there’s fewer Factors now; maybe they were discovered, and people got angry?Hihhi I’m also really intrigued by the Others, since Gobnait is so terrified of the potential Other from the church.
I’m also keen to find out more about Aventino, while he apparently isn’t an Other, and therefore no immediate threat to Gobnait, I’m not sure I trust him yet. He may just be shy, but to watch her for over a year and never introduce himself seems a bit shady, especially with the way he seems to keep popping up around Gobnait. It seems so unlikely that he should just happen to be at the lake when Gobnait is there, especially as the lake is quite far from where Gobnait lives (and presumably both of them, if they go to the same church?), but why would he go all the way out there just to introduce himself? There’s definitely something mysterious and perhaps even fishy about him, so the verdict on him is still out!
Right, I’m not sure whether I have more or fewer questions than after the last chapter; on the one hand, I do feel as though I understand more about the nature of the Hidden World, but on the other, I still don’t really know anything concrete, so I’m definitely eager to find out more!
Hi Julia, thank you for coming back for chapter 2!
In addition to the reasons you already mentioned, Gobnait wouldn't want anyone watching her trying to take water out of Lake Michigan because they would probably try to stop her out of concern for her safety--which Aventino does. It would just be easier if no one is around to get in the way. An Other will be showing up in the story soon too.
It is not an accident that Aventino 'happens' upon Gobnait in this scene by the lake, but I can't tell you why just yet. :-)
I am so glad that what I'm writing here makes sense--I was so worried that it would just be a jumble on the page. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reviews and the enocouragement--I really appreciate them and your time!
Hey Noelle! Here for CTF!
I'm always intrigued by people's original fiction, especially if they're brave enough do put it on the archives.
The opening sequence is one that we can all relate to really well: waking up in the morning and getting ready for the day. It is a mundane occurrence, but it is also a glimpse into your world, which constantly morphs and shifts you divulge bits and pieces of new information through Gobnait's morning ritual. You give us a good sense of who she is: someone who has deep ties with family and with routine and with religion and frugality. You show her position in life rather than just saying "single woman living in a borading house, will need to find a husband." You let that information unwind slowly and in unexpected ways.
And then going to Mass. I have been there with my mind wondering off during a worship service. Again, you cleverly layer out Gobnait's world as she tries to fulfill her pious and devout duty to the Church while trying to figure out her life. And you raise sooooo many quesitons. Her Shadow? Factor? An Other? The man following her? Why isn't she more freaked out??? Why does she need to get water from Lake Michigan? Ahhh! These are all good questions, and I am banking that we'll get answers soon enough.
I also love how the only dialogue in this chapter is in Latin. I think I'll have to brush up on my basic Latin before continuing this story! Well done, Noelle. I look forward to more!
Thank you so much for all your kind words and encouragment! Oddly enough, I didn't realize that all the dialogue in chapter one is in Latin until you pointed it out. That is cool, and I guess I didn't even do it on purpose. The Latin words themeselves aren't actually that important to the story, and I will foot note a translation if I put any in that are I think. The ritual that Gobnait does during the Angelus is tied to the time of day that you say the prayer: 6am, Noon, and 6pm.
I'm so glad that what I was trying to do in this chapter makes sense. Hopefully the answers will make sense when they come along.
Thank you again for this lovely review!
Hey Noelle, I’m here with the review you requested!
I’m intrigued by the set-up, and I’m excited to find out more about Shadows, Factors, and Others! I like that you didn’t fully clue as in about how these interplay with each other, and what their function is, that’s such an effective way to create mystery! I also like how you tied these spiritual experiences in with Gobnait’s catholic faith: The prayer she says when doing the Angelus ritual ties in really well with those prayed during mass, and the mentions of the cross also help to imbed the ritual into the ‘regular’ faith, but the use of the lake water, and especially the fact that she drinks it obviously imply that Gobnait has spiritual experiences that go beyond the ordinary, but it’s subtle enough to not stand out too crassly, if that makes sense. I know you asked me about ‘the Catholic stuff’, and whether I think it should be annotated, but I’m not sure if I’m the right person for that because I was actually raised catholic and I took Latin classes recently enough for me to be able to translate, so I’m not sure how it would be for someone completely unfamiliar with those references, but personally I don’t feel like annotations are necessary; with the longer prayer (starting salus populi) I think it would actually be quite fitting not to understand it, as Gobnait herself drifts off during that scene, so it’s easy to emphasise with her I that moment. I would also assume that most of the congregation is unfamiliar with Latin anyway, so it helps to draw your reader into that kind of milieu, I think. So unless there are some hidden meanings in the Angelus prayer that I missed but are essential to the plot I wouldn’t use annotations – and even then, I personally enjoy unravelling such mysteries for myself :)
I also like your portrayal of Gobnait, already we get a lot of insight into her character! Even in that first scene when she wakes up, we get to know a fair bit about her - she seems like a very practical, no-nonsense kind of person, and the fact that she refuses the help of others when it would make getting dressed so much easier suggests that she is a very private person, and strives to be independent. That’s also clearly reflected in her thoughts about family, although she is very adamant about the fact that she will have children at some point, she also seems a bit resigned about it, and not like it’s something she would want or enjoy at this point. The fact that she keeps on struggling with the window, even though she knows it won’t budge also makes me think she’s quite stubborn - you’ve given us a lot of insight into her character with relatively few lines, which is brilliant!
Gobnait’s ruminations about the Hidden World, and her Shadow, are also fantastic – I feel like there’s so much info in one small passage, but at the same time, I’m still absolutely clueless, and just have even more questions than before – Why did the Shadow only contact her after her father’s death? Does that mean there can only be one Factor per family, or that it’s somehow hereditary? But then why are there fewer factors than before? – so that I’m completely drawn into the mystery of the Hidden World, especially because of the mysterious stranger/potential Other, because Gobnait’s reaction to him makes me think the Hidden World is somehow at risk – Gobnait clearly perceives him as a threat, and I’m intrigued to see how that plays into the greater picture!
This was such a brilliant opening chapter; I feel like you’ve revealed just the right amount about your setting! It’s always difficult to get the right balance between showing enough to get your readers interested and giving too much away, but you’ve hit the nail on the head here! Posting original fiction can feel particularly scary, I think, but this was really, really good, and I’m exited to read the coming chapters!
Thank you so much for this amazing review! I really appreciate your thoughts and your taking the time to write them out for me.
It is so good to hear that what I wrote made enough sense to be followed without giving away the mystery and the plot at the beginning! When i wrote it, I was concerned that it would make no sense to anyone else. I was trying to tie in the magical world of the Others, Factors, and Shadows with something that people would be more likely to recognize (Catholocism) and I'm so glad to hear that it seems to be working. The text of the Angelus prayer is not important to the ritual that Gobnait does--the ritual is actually tied to the times of day that she says the prayer (6am, noon, 6pm). And I love your point that not translating the Latin prayer that the priest says when Gobnait's mind starts wandering during Mass brings the reader along with Gobnait in her wanderings! So I think I will continue on without annotations at this point (although I may do an entry in my WJ at some point about traditional Catholocism).
It's also good to know that Gobnait has some clear characterization, even though this chapter (and the next) is pretty short. I think for Gobnait, the idea of having to find a husband is pretty daunting because she isn't one to want to go out among strangers and introduce herself. And, since she is basically alone at this point in her life, she's going to have to put herself out at some point.
You are correct, there is only one Factor per family, and the role is passed on when the previous Factor dies. I had meant to imply that, at this point in history, the Factors are not usually called on to use their powers, rather than that there are fewer of them. That is all about to change for Gobnait though.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for the encouragment! This was a scary one for me to post, for sure, and I'm relieved to know that it is interesting!
This story is very good.
We have a good introduction to the nature, personality, and social situation of Miss McCann, with details that portray her character, such as her choosing to lace up her own corset rather than ask for someone's assistance, and trying repeatedy to get the window open, but she's not perfect, as we see by her not always bothering to comb her hair before putting it up under her cap.
We also have an intriguing glimpse into some other realm -- the Shadow, the Others, the "appointment", the Hidden World, Factors, her "errand" (connected to her "appointment"?) These are all points in a framework of which we do not know the details, but they are all sharp and clear, not muddled or blurry. Shadows, Others, and Factors are all persons (or person-like), they move with the Hidden World, and have stuff that they must do. Okay, got that.
The scenes are varied and crisply detailed. The action is very easy to follow. The plot has not been revealed yet, but the story is unfolding at a good pace. The actions, dialogue, and settings all seem to be driving the story forward. We see the POV character's inner thoughts, but I'm glad to note that they are almost all concerned with the present situation, not a stream of mental flashbacks intended to serve as a rapid info-dump. Everything we need to know will be revealed in due time, I am sure.
I would say that your venture into original fiction is starting off splendidly. Good for you!
Thank you so much for coming to read my OF, especially because I've been nervous about it. And thank you for cutting to the chase at the beginning of this review and telling me that it wa good up front. :-)
I'm relieved that the details that I put in about Gobnait did what I wanted to do for her. I had never heard the term 'info-dumping' before I came to this site, but I try hard not to do it and to still give everyone the information they need. I'm glad it worked here.
I'm also glad that my made up world makes enough sense that the reader is not totally confused, even though it is till pretty mysterious at this point. Thank you for your kind words about the pacing and everything else!
i really appreciate your encouragement--this was a scary one for me to post.