KristenAC the Maniac is the rhyming title for the personal blog of the fictional character Kristen Addison Craemer. True to the title, Kristen is maintaining her electronic journal at the behest of her therapist.
The blog started in January so it is fairly new. Therefore it's hard to summarize the plot without summarizing everything. Here is what I can say. Kristen is a woman who's life is in transition. Her current spot in life is untenable, even if she doesn't realize it yet. She's hasn't faced her demons from a childhood of abuse and neglect, she can't pay for the apartment she's in, she's single while her friends are all starting to marry, and the 2 relatives she's closest with is her uncle, who is getting older, and her half sister, who is enjoying a childhood that Kristen missed out on, oh... and a cat about to die of old age. I have a feeling the rest of the story is how Kristen deals with all of these impending disasters.
The story is presented as a standard blog fiction, that is, a single fictional character writing a blog. The blog takes full advantage of it's format. It has pictures with the posts, it has polls, it's got character & plot summaries, links to other sites, and a facebook fan page. The only thing separating this from any other well put together blog is that the person writing it isn't real.
Posts are usually short to medium length. Almost never exceeding 700+ words. If a story or post exceeds that number of pages, it is usually broken up into several posts. There is a post about every 3 to 4 days.
The posts are in real-time so one day for the reader is one day for the character. However, sometimes it takes several posts to recall a past incident.
As far as age appropriateness, it's pretty clean so far. I would say PG, even though the target audience is probably adults and older teenagers.
The best thing about this Blog Fiction is that Kristen, despite having a seemingly "normal" life, is an interesting character. I can tell there is going to be a lot of conflict between Kristen and the people in her life. This is because Kristen bottles up a lot of negative emotions. She's Angry at her mother, she resents her younger half-sister, she's guarded against threats at work, and seems a bit jealous of her friend that is getting married. Best of all she's yet to acknowledge any of these negative emotions to anyone, let alone herself.
Some might slough off this blog as a blog fiction form of chick lit. To those that say that, I would first say, there's nothing wrong with Chick lit. Second, I would say the themes and obstacles are slightly darker than what is normally seen in so called "Chick lit".
One thing that I really like is that it is like a real blog. It's not just a book published on a blog, it's a blog. The story is very interactive. There have already been 2 polls that have had bearing on the story. Also, the author has allowed commenters to affect the story. Based on a comment, the author actually eliminated an option on one of her polls. Also, the posts are written like a blogger would write: complete with entertaining rants and side notes. Like this one:
"You can ride with us," said Jenna, grabbing on to the leftover with an irritating avidity. [Avidity, btw, means eagerness or greed: great eagerness or enthusiasm for something. You may have already known this, but I didn't. I found the word in my thesarus today, and I fell in love with it. OK, so back to my story.]The author is also talented and dynamic enough to include references to (unexpected) recent events.
The blog fiction also incorporates all the traditional elements of good storytelling. It didn't take long to immediately get Kristen into a problem. The characters have some subtle characterization, for instance: "Danielle keeps an earthquake kit in her car", Kristen has a gun, and Alana owns and knows how to install tire chains.
Finally, I have to say that I really like the prose. It is well written with fun description sprinkled in. Lines like this, "The climate surrounding this woman is arid, and twenty degrees cooler than the rest of the planet" are just fun to read.
The only think I don't like is that so often too much detail is given. This usually happens whenever there are multiple posts about an event. Kristen ends up going into excruciating detail about insignificant things. I can find entire paragraphs that could be removed without affecting the story at all.
For instance, the whole Easter Egg post was a bit much. Nothing that happened really affected the story and could have been summarized with "we painted Easter eggs" and the plot wouldn't have suffered one iota.
Another example was from the L.A.Fashion District series of posts. In the first post there is a long description of everything that she's putting on to wear, but no where does anything she wear actually affect the story. It is very annoying to read about something in great detail, only to find out that it has no bearing on the story.
I really like this blogfic. I plan on continuing to read it until it's abandoned or the writer brings it to a sensible conclusion. You'll notice that I listed very few cons about the story. It's true, I can't find much wrong with it and it does a lot of thing really well. However, the "too many details" sprinkled throughout the posts is real drag on an otherwise great blog fiction. If it wasn't for that, I would've easily given this a 9. Unfortunately, the extraneous details weigh it down so much that it starts distracting from the fun parts.
Being that I caught this blogfic when it was fairly new, I'm going to do something I haven't done before. I'm going to give it '7' overall, but then circle back in a few months and maybe bump it up. It'll depend entirely on whether or not if the author continues to inundate her readers with meaningless details.
Overall 7 out of 10