Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

User avatar
Posts: 3548
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: Eastasia

Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by brythain » Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:32 pm

Oh lovely! So unreal especially in these terrible times, so happy-making. Ah, Mutou/Akira... one of those ideas which needs growing.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

Posts: 497
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:38 am

Well, it has certainly been a year. If you've been paying close attention tot he news, you may have picked up hints of things that have kept me away from being more active here.

Seeing as we're almost past the point where I can use the "Christmas in July!" excuse, I should follow through on my promise to comment on all of the Secret Santa entries.

So, without further ado, let us bid "Adieu" to the past year's Christmas Celebration (almost in time for this year's!)


A lovely little interlude. Not a huge fan of that interpretation of the Hakamichi parents, but it's a common one; can't blame you there. The nice kind of sweetnees that's great to read wrapped in blankets in front of a fireplace.


This reads like the demented love child of Brythain and Doomish. I mean that as a compliment.

Christmas Double Date

A cute little story. If feels a little forced, but not terribly so...

Next Step

When I wrote the prompt, I felt that it was 50/50 odds that it would be an Emi story, simply since she's the most associated with "unconquered", being the one who overcomes her problems through sheer grit and willpower.

That being said, it's a very nice angle, and very well executed. Much appreciated.

Dreams By Firelight

Too short; didn't read.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

A fun bit of fluff, if a bit of a shaggy dog story. Which, to be honest, given the context, was probably the point. And still very amused how much this years drawing makes it look like I had my thumb on the scales.

A Katawa Christmas Carol

A fun take on the prompt, and a nice gradual escalation from things being a little bit off to getting downright bizarre. I kinda feel the ending bit was a bit of a cliche at this point, but still good for a chuckle.

Writing on the Wall

Well, we had discussed this before you wrote it, and I stick with my initial recommendation that you should have had Emi realise Misha's affection before Misha did, and break it off - both because it's more exquisite torment, and because it better reflects Emi's own issues with closeness.

And, for the record, when I saw Crud's prompt, my first reaction was that he isn't one of the individuals I would have pegged for requesting straight-up smut, so I side with you on that one.

One criticism, though: "How is she so good at this?" is a smut trope that I'm not a fan of in general, but it especially doen't work here. Consider, for contrast, easting a meal, or watching a movie. "How does she do that so well?" is the sort of thought that requires some removal from the experience to consider. Normally, this is someone who is a professional/extremely versed in the material, or someone who isn't really enjoying it (or perhaps trying not to enjoy it). None of those seem to apply to this Emi, which makes the thought rather jarring.

A Winter at Home

A bit unusual, but the prompt wanted something rather unusual. And definitely a good meditation when you get caught up in the little things.


A fun little look at a possible domestic future. You seem to have caught the spirit of the characters, and paint a compelling picture of events.

SX Entry

Silly fun. Not much more to be said about it. Not that that's a bad thing.

Christmas Confessions

On the other side of the coin, this is a prompt practically begging for smut, written by someone with a reputation for smut, but no smut. Decent (mostly) wholesome fun, if perhaps a bit standard. Nevertheless, a nice entry.

A Festive Flashback

While the whole story is there, it still feels somewhat incomplete. Like it needed more of an Act 2 or something. What's there is nice, but still, somehow feels incomplete.

The Secret Santa

Long, convoluted, and fun. Not much to complain about here - a stock plot, but still good for entertainment.


An interesting piece. Sparse and somber, but jsut enough detail to give it some weight. Not bad.

An Unseen Play

A tricky prompt, but handled surprisingly well, all things considered. Definitely one of the prompts I'm glad I didn't pull. :p


As always, we've got brythain at his brythain-est. There's a certian spirit, a je ne sais quoi to your works that just gives them a different flavor from most of the other writings around here. It's fascinating, really.

Almost Home For Christmas

Cute and fun. Haven't read any of the recent Saki routes, so can't compare it to much besides themocaw's Saki. But, for what it is, it's nice.

The Waiting Games

I'm a sucker for this kind of framing device, so I was pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it. But it was also reasonably well done, which is certainly a bonus.

A Hidden Obsession

Kenji-style shenanigans can always be fun. But 4 o'clock would be your right shoulder...
The ending is a little abrupt, but serviceable for what it is.

Away We Go Wassailing

A little bit happy, a little bit melancholic, but mostly a happy melancholic. About what you'd expect from a 40-something man watching carefree highschoolers (or a 20-somehtign woman who's seen far too much of the world). Getting all the girls together like this feels like a bit of a stretch, but there's more excuse than most stories. And the first perspective shift was a little jarring. But overall a sweet little short, which is precisely appropriate for the season of... early spring?

Is It In Gingerbread That One’s Cake is Dough?

It's a little rough and choppy, but serviceable. It strikes me that you're vaguely uncomfortable with your own writing, and trying to play it safe. In general, the lines lack follow-through and commitment, holding back on delivering a powerful impact. Additionally, the lines rush from one idea to another, as if they're afraid to let the reader linger on a thought. More generous use of line breaks would likely slow the action down from its hectic pace, giving the reader the chance to digest what's being said.

All said, not bad for a first post.

As always, wonderful work, everyone, and see you all next year in a couple months!
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754
Discord server

Post Reply