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ADVENT

Hidden Gem on Web Fiction Guide!

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Feb 4, 2019: Now THIS is a great example of what the medium of web fiction can pull off if done right. Using short chapter bursts and nested hyperlink asides, Advent paints the picture of the life of a young child from a broken home who gets involved in events out of their own control. It’s a pretty short story and not one that is good for plot summaries, so I won’t get too much into the plot.

The main plus for the story is the absolute mastery of voice by the narrator. The story is thoroughly, utterly within the point of view of this child and restricts the reader to viewing it entirely through them. You can only piece together the story through subtext and inference, and the realization of certain elements make for really emotional revelations, even if the narrator themself may not ever come to the same realizations.

And the story makes good use of hypertext fiction to expand on its story; often during chapters, there’ll be links for you to click, taking you to observations, memories, or side scenes from the narrator relating to something within the main part of the chapter. This kind of nonlinear storytelling is exactly the kind of thing that web fiction. and only web fiction, can pull off in a prose story, and we absolutely need more usages of the internet as a medium for storytelling!

Advent is a must-read for fans of web fiction, and the fact that it’s a short and breezy read means you can knock it out in an hour or less. Don’t pass it up.

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ADVENT

Feel a bit accomplished you read through the good, sad serial.

By Snuggle Squiggle, author of Endless Stars

Feb 2, 2019: Advent is a short and well-honed story. It’s a realistic work, written in first-person and influenced by diary fiction without leaning too heavily into the form. There are roughly twenty five chapters of several hundred words each, and for each there’s a footnote or three which are shorter.

The prose of Advent tastefully mimes a child — simple and declarative, almost suggesting stream-of-consciousness with its lack of commas or advanced constructions. Sometimes you’ll see the voice seem to grope around to describe something Luke doesn’t have the word for — “metal that’s so hot it’s liquid” instead of “molten”, for instance. It’s charming and never breaks your immersion with exaggeration or excessiveness. Aside from the flavor, the prose flows and renders masterfully. Once or twice it is marred by a typo, but chances are you wouldn’t notice.

Advent does not try to give exhaustive descriptions, or transcribe every encounter. It strives more to render vividly with details and impressions instead of the sort of immersive realism more common in web serials. While this robs the story of a certain kind of viscerality, the reader remains present in Luke’s mental landscape, and that is all what the story wants and needs.

Meanwhile, the characters of Advent are solid or even good. Luke is a study in complexities, cynical and troubled yet still childish. While I was engrossed in his perspective, it never felt like identifying. His perspective color all impressions of other characters, yet even the ones he does not care for still have suggestions of depth shine through. It’s clear that Luke and his mother are the focal points here, and their characterization is at times tangible. The other characters complement them decently enough.

The plot of Advent is perhaps its least exceptional aspect. It is straightforward to both a fault and a virtue. You wouldn’t be quite surprised at how it ultimately turns out, and yet the uncertainty and tension runs taut through it. And once it reaches its final cadences, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to tear up.

When it all comes together into a story, the result is a resonating and memorable piece of web fiction. It does not truly grip you — it doesn’t make you stay but doesn’t give you reason to leave. This is not a story that satisfies viscerally. But on an abstract level, I find it fulfilling.

The ending is not poignant, but I cannot decide if it’s a fault. It’s simple, wistful, and feels kind of fittingly empty. It is not a great ending. But I don’t know if this story could — or should — have had a great ending.

Due to its length and realism, I feel confident recommending this story to just about everyone.

Brevity isn’t a common sight in web fiction. Telling a straightforward story with a only couple characters is no less impressive when it works, and for Advent, it works quite well.

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ADVENT

Don’t Read The Tags

By Rhodeworks, author of Not All Heroes

Mar 24, 2018: Advent is quite good. Unfortunately, I think the story kind of spoils itself. If you’ve read this far, do not look at the tags for this story. I did not look at them and found Advent a good read, but I feel I would’ve been less intrigued had I been ‘armed’ with that knowledge.

Advent is a complete work. It a short web serial with the lean feel of a short story, and I suppose you could call it ‘diaryfic’. It uses some images and hyperlink ‘footnotes’ to develop the story (more on those later) and take advantage of the web serial format. Ultimately, without spoilers (although, really, it is all there in the tags) Advent is the story of a boy—Luke—in foster care who finds his biological mother at his window one evening, and the pair set off on a journey.

I think it’s fair to say that, technically, the quality of writing in Advent stands above a lot of serials on this site. It is quite well written and the author absolutely nails the ‘voice’ of a ten-year-old boy with Luke’s particular history and resulting issues. Initially, I found myself surprised by the sheer depth of Luke’s cynicisms and dour nature—but it is, as mentioned, a result of his particular history. Once you realize what’s happening, you just feel pity for him.

Advent is a fairly simple story. It deals with some pretty grim subject matter and does it in a way that feels accurate, honest and sympathetic. However, Advent’s simplicity feels a mark against it in some ways. While I went into it completely blind, I had the story pegged pretty early. This is not a bad thing: if a story is written well, and you’re paying close attention, being able to predict it to a certain degree is normal. But my problem with Advent is it never felt it quite deviated enough in certain directions to surprise me.

But, at the same time, it really is just 25 days out of Luke’s life, where it ends only because Dec 25 is the cut-off date. This is not a story with an ending as much as that it ends. And, at that end, while Luke has changed, there’s the definite sense that it isn’t a final resolution—life goes on. He’s changing, but it’s a slow process, and he might relapse. As much as I can respect that artistic choice, I came away from Advent feeling not quite satisfied.

Despite that, what Advent does quite well is create this omnipresent feeling of suspense, tension, and anxiety. You know something is going to go wrong, but you don’t know what or when. It could come from any angle and it could be anything. This is probably what held my interest the most throughout Advent. You are seeing through Luke’s eyes and he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong. But even when the reader has figured it out, the story can still create this marvelous sensation of dread. And I say that’s a strong credit, especially with what I said about having the story pegged.

So, all that said, onto the things I didn’t personally like. And it’s a credit to Advent that my criticisms are pretty minor.

Essentially, I’m not sure the images added anything to the story. They didn’t detract, but they didn’t enhance it. They were nice to have, but they probably could’ve been struck from it and nothing would be lost.

I found the hyperlinks distracting. Admittedly, I like to click to a chapter, scroll down, and click next. Rinse and repeat. I called them footnotes but sometimes they border more on tangents, or just covering certain things in more depth. They’re not extraneous, and they’re a neat way of utilizing the online format, but being aware of links to click on took me out of the story just a little bit.

Those two and that, really, and while I understand and appreciate thorough tags, I absolutely think removing two of them would make the story more engaging.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend Advent. It’s a short, sharp read with a well-executed mood about it. But I can’t quite shake the feeling that it is too easily figured out and for all the wonderfully evocative tension, that other shoe never quite drops in a way that left me feeling satisfied. I came away from the story respecting the author’s craft, but not necessarily feeling content with what I’d just read. While I read it all in one sitting, and was engaged by it (even if just for that wonderful tone), I’m not sure if I can say I enjoyed it.

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