OKAY HI ARIELLEM! It's Ac here reviewing for the improvement challenge (sorry that it's taken a fair amount of time, there was a long list and it well... it was a bit daunting so it took me a bit of time to get this way through the list). So, I'm not entirely sure whether I've ever read any of your horror/dark stuff before (have you written all that much before) so it's really different for me to see your usual style in such a different story.
And ack, I have to say I absolutely and categorically loved it and it's going to be really hard to get my critic brain on. Honestly, I lovelovelovedit - got to be one of my favourite things that you've written, honestly.
ANYWAY. Improvement. Yes. Cough. I honestly thought that the beginning sentence could have been a little stronger. I think the 'there were so many things wrong with this image...' bit sort of diluted the brutality of it all. I think that maybe you should have started with 'Naked man huddled in a corner' and make the sentences choppier and more succinct. So, cut out some of the non-functional words - for this type of writing sometimes they're almost like, well, transport. So, maybe... Arms covered in scratches, bleeding rivers. Face hidden by knees. His bruised and bloodied needs. There are bite marks on his legs. I mean, everything you need is already there its just about manipulating it to make it really brutal and to ensure that it really packs a proper punch.
I do, however, like the dialogue bit there - its so ambiguous and, when I got to the end, it wasn't what I thought he meant at all. I really liked how you omitted that information there and let it become obvious later.
I absolutely adored how you had them as separate beings having an actual conversation, of sorts, that was just all kinds of wonderful and, ackkk, I loovverredd it.
Saying that, as occasionally happens with your writing, I just wanted more . I wanted more tantalising hints about the 'Monster' and that before it all became clear, I wanted a bit more description, more of the dialogue between the two.
Another thing that I thought you could take advantage of was the clinical and straightforward way of Fredick's mind. Okay, so, '(he) knew the advantages the lyncanthrophes gained when they transformed' is, if you think about it, utterly ridiculous - they don't 'gain advantages' they take the hell over. But his scientific way of rationalising it as an 'advantage' makes perfect sense because he believes he can beat it. I'd love to see more of that - a sort of dark humour sneaking though. So, more of a scientist-type view on something that defies science. As I really loved that bit.
Agg, I just all round loved this so yes. Please write more in this genre of things - the subtly of the psychological battle (or lack of subtlety, maybe, I can't decided) was really nicely balanced out by the horror-like details at the beginning of the piece. The only other thing is I'd have liked a bit more of the... well, I say gore, I mean your pretty description at the end as a sort of cyclic thing which I always find quite wonderful.
So, I hope that was remotely helpful in some way! Basically, what I'm saying is that you should think about your sentences structures and the effect that has on the sentences. Don't be afraid to make something not entirely grammatical for the sake of effect, sometimes. Thats my main point, anyway. Thanks for entering the challenge and it was a pleasure to come read and review this! Looking forward to your second entry :)
Author's Response: Hey Helen!!
To start this out, wow, this is a really long review, I'm glad you liked it that much. I haven't really written much mind horror (as I call it), but I am working on my piece for your challenge (as to whether or not it'll be allowed is a whole other bag of cats).
A lot of things you point out is where I didn't take advantage of the story, I think it was my fear of it not being validated that made me hang back on the brutality of it all.
Anyway, obviously my story for your contest will be of this genre, I already have most of the outline written for it and now it's just time to flesh it out. I'm going to focus on all the things you said. :)