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Review:Beeezie says:
Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review! I am lame, but I am also here now, and hopefully will be forgiven.

First, I want to point out a few mechanical things.

You seemed to use "breathe" as both a noun and a verb, which isn't correct. "Breathe" is the verb, and "breath" is the noun.

You also occasionally jumped around between tenses. This chapter seemed to generally be written in past tense, but in the second paragraph, you wrote, "An owl hoots outside," which is present, and in the paragraph starting, "What if I wake up," you say, "My eyes dart," rather than "My eyes darted." It's not a huge deal, but it's just something to take a look at.

Your punctuation and phrasing was also sometimes a little off. For example, in the fifth paragraph, there should be a period after "moaned," and another one after "Please." You had a fair number of run-ons as well - not huge deals, but definitely worth looking over.

That aside:

Bit of personal disclosure here: I do have panic attacks sometimes, and I had a crippling phobia that I only started to truly deal with after I turned 20, so my standards for dealing with this kind of story might be a little high. Feel free to take everything with a grain of salt. (Or more.)

It's very difficult to present a phobia like this, and you definitely didn't choose the easy way out by portraying it as a panic attack rather than avoidance. On the whole, I thought that you did a pretty good job - your descriptions of the setting really helped to set the mood and make the story come off very creepy.

However, I did feel like you could have gone a little deeper with it. You didn't really describe her voice, other than saying that she was moaning, and something that can really bring this sort of attack to life is the way a person sounds. Details about Roxanne's voice, or just describing her state of mind as she's talking, would really add to the realism and mood of the piece.

Some of that is just organization. In the fifth paragraph, for example, I'd suggest that rather than clumping all of her words together at the beginning, you try to spread them out across the paragraph. That would help add to the impact of each statement. The paragraph might then read something like this:

["Please, please just stop!" I moaned. But the images didn't stop, they pounded against my brain, forcing my to think of nothing else. "Please! Just stop!" The fear continued to spread and my hands shook. "Please."]

Maybe you don't think it makes a difference or that this is more awkward, I don't know. That's just my take. Because when a person is having a panic attack, their words are really loaded, I think that you should try to milk each one for all it's worth. What you have is good - I just wanted you to go the extra step.

There were also a few points where I thought that you took it a little too far. Roxanne's biting her blanket to keep from screaming in particular seemed too exaggerated - muffling her sobs, sure, but the idea that she has so little control and is freaking out so much that she's literally screaming seemed a bit much. It was okay later on, when everyone wakes up, because you built it up to that, but before that, it just didn't make sense to me.

I thought that her encounter with everyone else after the incident was fine, other than that I thought that you made them a bit too surprised. All of her aunts and uncles probably wouldn't come in either way, because the last thing you want when you've had a nightmare is to be surrounded by a million people. Additionally, if this has been happening for two years, most of them - especially her brother - would have probably been sympathetic, but not uncertain or confused. The conversation with her parents in particular, however, was great - they clearly weren't really sure how to approach it all, and that was excellent.

I hope this was helpful. Sorry again if I'm being hypercritical - I really do think you've got a great start here. If you have any questions, as always, please PM me, and I'm sorry again that I am lame and slow.

Author's Response: You are officially amazing! Thank you so much for these reviews - they're always so helpful and I'm learning each time! :)

I've changed the 'Breathe' bits and it is now hopefully all the same tense - I have a lot of trouble with that! And.. argh, just remembered I haven't included the 'PLease' bit - I'm an idiot!
I'll put it in, in the next re-edit :P

I've got some experience with this aswell, so have to admit it freaked me out slightly writing this! Hm, I didn't think of that at the time, but looking back on it - I'd imagine that she got pretty good at hiding it?

Thanks so much for the incredibe review!!


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