Review Request... or not?

Well then, This is a request to review Fabled Hearts... or is it?

Yes, yes it is, but I'm giving you options you already had!

Fabled Hearts is a collection of fantasy stories and stories of fantasy stranger still. This November I will have consistently updated for two years. Recently I even shifted to three updates a week and I plan to have an ebook out by the end of august.

While a review would be nice, what would be helpful for me is finding out a few things, such as;

Which story/stories would be the best for new readers?

How is the experience when binge reading?

How are the stories when read out of order?

What is most lacking about the stories?

What is strongest about the stories?

What was your favourite story?

Any favourite characters?

Tunnelverse or Motionverse?

Owls or Rabbits?

Penny for your thoughts Guvnah?

You can read as much or as little as you want, even none at all. You most certainly don't need to leave a review if you don't want to nor do you need to answer any of the questions I posed.

I would prefer it if you did naturally enough.

There is two types of stories currently. Short Stories and Snippets/Scenes.

Snippets are a single update, if you could even just read a random snippet and share your thoughts about it, I would be quite pleased.

The current story is now in its twenty third part. You can read it without having read anything before it.

So, please read and enjoy, if you enjoyed it, that is enough for me.

Also I'm fairly sure I did before, but thanks again Fiona Gregory for your extremely helpful review back in January.

I actually started reading your site back in early June before my job ate my free time. I would definitely be willing to go back to it in the next week or so!

If you want my initial impression, though, here it is:

I definitely feel it's okay to read the stories out of order. I clicked around a little bit, and it didn't affect my reading experience. Others may have different perspectives on that, though.

I didn't binge read it, so I don't have any comments on that. I read one or maybe two stories in a day and treated it more like a short story book than a novel. This actually made my reading experience super pleasant! I liked being able to get a complete narrative in an hour or so - but I'm also a big fan of short stories to begin with. :)

I especially enjoyed the Snippets and, personally, preferred those in the Tunnelverse. I liked the writing in your lighter stories a little bit better. I think you have a real knack for weaving irony and humor into your writing (not a gift to be taken lightly!). My favorite two stories were Sudden Manifestation and The Cardgame on the Carrot - though my favorite character (thus far, anyway) has been the Little Fire. That little flame was so easy to like! :)

One random thought I had while I was reading as well - your descriptions of your characters are amazing. I almost wished that you had written a little dictionary of your characters, just one tiny snippet after another. I would have read through something like that in a heartbeat because when you describe your characters, your descriptions are so clear and often times, wry and clever.

I do have a couple suggestions. The first is a formatting thing. You may want to go back and fix some of the formatting in the early stories. When I was reading through them, they were slightly difficult to read because of the spacing. The only reason I mention this is because the index page starts with a link to the first story, and I think it might give people a better impression of the site if this page was formatted a bit better. Also, some of the stories, for me personally, drug a little bit. I had trouble getting through Dark Wizard Cursed especially. Parts of this story were great - the ending is a huge payoff - but I kept getting bogged down in the middle. This is just my opinion. I could have missed the point of the story entirely somewhere along the way. And, again, I'm more a fan of your Tunnelverse than the Motionverse anyway, so maybe I should just stick to those stories to begin with! :)

I hope this helps!

First of all, I'm glad you enjoyed much of what you read and your post most certainly helps.

Out of Order: It is good that your experience lines up with my intentions, but as you said, I'll have to see how other people view it

Binge Reading: The way you read it might actually be more of an optimal reading experience for the stuff

Snippets: I am quite interested that you liked the snippets. Of late though, they've caused me some issues. It is very easy to end up with something that just seems like the start of a story. Making a self-contained piece of fiction in such a short length presents quite particular challenges. I think Cardgame on the Carrot is one of the better snippets.

Liking Tunnelverse and Lighter stories, Motionverse not quite as strong:

Writing absurd silly fun is really my comfort zone. Tunnelverse has two advantages over motionverse that'll ususally mean the tunnelverse stories will turn out better. The first is that when writing stories in that verse, I have a lot more freedom, almost anything can happen. Also the verse of the Tunnels and the Four Lands has brewed a lot longer than Motionverse. It goes back to my childhood, while Motionverse is a product of my late teens and a mass of it is still less developed. Generally the motionverse stories push the limits of my abilities. I have a lot less freedom in writing them. A basic illustration of this is magic, in the four lands it is raw and mysterious and unexpected, while in Kigan/Awarth/Sunder there is a system that replaces physics as we know them.

At this stage, I feel the identity and style of the motionverse stories has not fully been realized.

However, for an example of a Tunnelverse story that pushed me hard though, Gilded Blue Theft is a good example.


If you didn't feel that way about the characters, and the irony/humour, then we could call what I'm doing a failure there and then. I have a natural talent for those aspects and I do focus quite some effort on them, but I think I've a lot of room to improve. I think I need to study humour more, as while a quantity of it can't be learned except by doing the stuff, there is things like time for example that are quite concrete. The issue is that I need to study in the right way. If I do it wrong, I could quite damage my abilities. In terms of the descriptions, I still somewhat feel like I'm weilding a blade by its sword edge. If I'm not careful, I'll get cut.

I need to progress in that style, but I've not encountered that much that really does that. I had't actually read the Oz books when I started writing or when I was quite a bit into the serial, but it is one of the few things that does this. Another would be select myth/folklore. I do plan on maintaining a public wiki, and while I won't have stories depending on its information, there may be a bit more in there than in the stories. I want to be more wry and clever, perhaps that is greedy, but I think most times I've not even brought out my full ability, though part of that is writing when sick or tired or sick and tired, that and going out of my writing comfort zone general blunts things somewhat.

The Little Fire: This actually made me laugh. I actually felt that was one of my weaker stories and characters, but then I did intend to have a certain charm to the little fire. A Lighter Tale is vaguely related, so you might enjoy that one a lot.


I will go back and muck about with the formatting, for the record, I blame both wordpress and myself for not going back and fixing what it did to those updates. Not today though, since today is update day.

The middle of a story is one of the harder parts for me I think, which is understandable when one considers the length of fiction I write. Still I do need to be careful. Dark Wizard Cursed is an interesting case though, as part of it was written long before I bit the bullet and started Fabled Hearts, glad that the ending was a good payoff. I'll certainly have to take a closer look at it again when I'm editing for the ebook and see what I can learn. Motionverse stuff though... it can get a bit obtuse at times, as I said, the identity of that one is not fully realized.

Anyway, like with Fiona's review, I find this quite comforting. It is one thing to know what you want to do, it is another to see that people saw that.

I hope I have even more enjoyable stories to show you in the future also, I don't mind at all if you just stick to tunnelverse stories.

An essence of a collection of short stories and other small fiction is that you can if you want, pick and choose.

Glad I could provide some reassurance. And I probably will stick to Tunnelverse in the future - it's more up my alley! :)

And if you need any help editing for your ebook (or just need another set of eyes on your work), don't hesitate to hit me up! I'm e.foster526 at gmail dot com.

Thank you for the editing help offer, and again for your thoughts. I'll probably not take you up on your generous offer, but I shall use that email to tell you directly when I'm doing a tunnelverse story, if you don't mind. Now, I must sleep.

That would be great! Look forward to reading more!