Feb 3, 2009: “Forever and a Day” is a novelized soap opera about the people who work at two rival fashion houses, their families, their enemies, and their lovers. The author has included photos and a synopsis for each character. The text is gold on black with links throughout to each character’s page. It’s a really fun idea but, unfortunately, the clumsy writing detracts from the premise.
The first problem is the text itself. There were a lot of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It feels like a series of notes scribbled on the back of a script. The very first line of the piece is one long run on sentence with comma splices, missing capitals, and too many ideas:
"The announcer over the PA thanked everyone for flying with Delta Airlines, this announcement was the ok for all passengers to get off the plane, but not for Regina Belle, who just got a job working for the Cosmetic Department at Sterling Clothing, Inc."
There were several times that the wrong word was used, as when one character gave another an “assuring smile”, instead of a “reassuring smile”, or “sells” was used instead of “sales”. The wrong tense of the verb was often used, as in “Decided to put some of her trust in Joshlynne’s hands, Regina sighed . . . ” instead of “Deciding . . . ”. It made the story very hard to read.
I think this would have made a brilliant parody of soap operas. The story was so over the top! Rival family-run fashion houses duke it out at a big Fashion Show with famous performers like John Legend and the Jonas Brothers. It hit all the clichés. It’s like “Dirty, Sexy Money” with a runway. The characters were all incredibly shallow people. Each character was introduced with their name, their parents’ names, their job description, what they’re wearing, and who they’re feuding or sleeping with. Most of them were soap opera stereotypes: the Patriarch with his unruly children trying to save the family business; the scheming assistant trying to steal someone else’s job or husband; the crazy relative who gets out of jail with revenge in their heart. The dialog included some truly purple prose that would probably have sounded better on afternoon television than when read at home on my computer.
This story would probably work better on television because you could keep the various characters straight by their faces. There were a lot of characters introduced in a relatively short period of time, with little chance to get to know them. They were all either related to each other, sleeping with each other, or used to be sleeping with each other. The waiter was the son of the caterer, who was also the father of a main character whose wife was sleeping with his best friend. The synopses do help but clicking on a link to refresh my memory tends to break the story flow for me. Oh, and the sex was implied, not described.
I like the idea behind “Forever and a Day” and think it could have been really fun if the writing was better technically. As a parody of soap operas it could have been screamingly funny. In its current state, though, I would only suggest reading the story if you’re curious about how the genre can work as a web novel—and if you can overlook the many grammatical errors and typos.