Book Jacket

 

rank 1364
word count 29564
date submitted 14.02.2014
date updated 26.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy
classification: universal
incomplete

Deviance.

Lisa Toohey.

Lena was created in a lab to be the perfect soldier, then she turned her back on her creators to save the ones she loves.

 



Lena was created to be a perfect soldier, one that never questioned her orders... but when her 'father' is murdered before her eyes she learns to say no. She tried to run, but her dreams were haunted by the 'siblings' she left behind. Now Lena is back, and she's not leaving until all of her family is free.

She's still trying to learn what it really means to be human. She's only just starting to discover the meaning behind friendship and love, but time is running out for her siblings. They're beginning to display deviant behaviour, and if it is discovered they will be deactivated forever.

The time is coming where she'll have to choose what matters most- her budding romance, or her family. Chances are she'll have to lose one to keep the other.

 
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tags

genetic, guns, love, modification, murder, rights., science, soldier, truth

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lauraemmons wrote 66 days ago

CWOG Review of DEVIANCE by Lisa Toohey

I've read the first three chapters of DEVIANCE. The story is well-written. The premise is interesting. I love stories with strong female characters. You done a good job of creating a dystopian future where poverty is much more widespread than now, but it still feels realistic.

My favorite part in chapter 1 is when she plugs the computer cable into a port on her own body. That was a nice twist I've not seen before. In chapter 2, Jason's interest adds a wrinkle into Lena's plans, but her confused feelings about him make the story much more entertaining. In chapter 3, I like the flashbacks to her days in the lab.

There are a number of typos, missed commas, repeated words, etc. It would help the story if you had a chance to clean those up. I will mention one typo you've made a few times. God is used as a proper name and should be capitalized.

I wish you all the best with this story.

Laura Emmons
Seeing Magic

JCGG wrote 116 days ago

This is based on chapter 1. A very good start to a story. I don’t have any big issues, but several nitpicky things below. The writing is good. I’m interested in Lena, and if I had the book in hand, I would want to read more.


    Every one of us was born with a flaw. etc.
>I’m not fond of prologues/character epigraphs at the beginning of books or chapters, but I think yours works well.

    His hand closed around his opponents neck and squeezed while his free hand pummelled  the man's face, caving in his nose.
>The POV switches at the start of this chapter screw with the reader. We think we’re in the POV of the brute, then the POV of the girl, then we find we are really in the POV of some guys watching a screen. Things would have worked better for me if you started with the guys in the conference room turning on the video or something.

She ignored the dying mans gurgling plea's for help.
> you have the apostrophe in the wrong place: man’s . . . pleas - - or plea.

    Movement appeared
> If you can describe this movement, it would be good. a person, what? Also, use a stronger verb than appeared - - a {thing} flashed onto the left of the screen - - or something.

She fired, hitting her first target square between the eyes. She turned to look to her other side, a second man lay dead on the floor with a bullet through the heart.
> I don’t know who/where these targets are. Is one the guy that was getting pummeled?

    “I am coming for you all,” she addressed the camera, then she raised both guns and fired.
> This reminds me of resident evil.

what role they had played in her creation, and had decided their due.
>he instead of “they”, and his instead of “their”

He seemed much more in control of himself than his counterparts.
>describe his behavior and that of the others, rather than just making this value statement.
***
    Tap, tap, tap. Lena rolled over in bed, and groaned. Tap, tap, tap.
>I think you have to indicate that someone is knocking on the door, no later than the second sequence of taps. The character would know it is the door by then.

    “What,” she said,
> “What?” she said

In gratitude the flower shop's owner, Jack, had decided that for as long as Jason's patrols came past his door he would give him a free flower every single day.
> This seems odd. What are the cops going to do with a flower in the car all shift? Delete “single”, wordy and not needed.

He waived
>waved

the red headed man stood beside her,
>Capitalize “The”. red-headed

four by eight open space.
> spelling has been UK in places, but those measurements must be in feet, right?

miniscule
>standard spelling is minuscule.

with out complaint.
>without, one word.

turning the concrete and pavement into an oven.
>concrete “and” pavement?

just from their presence on the street.
>appearance? rather than presence?

like they were also his children.
> delete “also”.

but every single man
> delete “single”, not needed.

She caught herself nodding over the flowers as the air warmed up in the shop.
> I’m missing context here. Is she saying that sometimes the warmth would make her nod off? If so, we need to know that she is talking about something that has happened in the past. “had” before “caught” might suffice.
Lena felt a nerve jar,
> I know what you mean, but I keep reading this as a thing called a “nerve jar”. I’d rewrite it: It jarred her nerves. or something.

    Lena did know the details of the riot, intimately, she'd started it.
> I’d change that second comma to a period. I’m not sure the first comma is needed. If you want to follow rules, put the adverb, intimately, next to the verb it modifies, know: Lena did intimately know . . .

and god knows when they will come to collect.
> God, capitalized.

    “Their a corporation Jack,
>They’re

Talk like this will get us in trouble though.”
> delete “though”.

districts offices,
> dunno for sure. but I think you can delete the s at the end of districts. unless it’s supposed to be district’s office.

    Running the delivery for her boss was also the perfect opportunity to grab some documentation for Glen.
>That doesn’t make sense. Perhaps some contact she made could provide documentation.

Reaching the air-conditioned district office building was like winning a priceless prize.
>hyperbole.

    She walked past the receptionists desk,
>receptionist’s

    “Lena when are you going to learn to avoid that corner!” the secretary laughed.
>laughing can’t be a dialogue tag, as it is not a synonym for speaking. so capitalize The. Same problem on the next sentence.

A piece of paper had been taped to the door.
    Bring the flowers in please! I'm at a meeting.
>If that is what was on the piece of paper, I’d put a colon after door, and then continue with Bring the . . . I’d probably also write: A note had been taped to the door

    “I hate to be a bother, but is there a way I could get a cool drink before heading off?” she asked the busy lady.
    “Of course Lena, I'll go grab you a cup of water, you wait here.”
    Lena was at the desk the moment the door closed. She pulled a cable out of an inner pocket of her shirt and plugged it in,
>This seems very contrived. It seems odd the receptionist would leave for a length of time, and odder that Lena could expect it.

This computer wasn't suppose to
>supposed

hard backed chairs
>hard-backed

and handed the glass back to the receptionist.
> it was referred to as a cup, not a glass, by the receptionist.

RJBrown wrote 127 days ago

CWOG review.
SP: Good short pitch… one slight niggle, using the word until, implies that the first half of the sentence no longer applies, but if she was created in a lab, she would always remain so. Maybe Lena was created in a lab. She was the perfect soldier, until she turned her back on her creators to save those she loves – You still get your message across but aren’t contradicting yourself. Just a thought.
LP: Excellent concept for a story! I really think you get all the important things across in your long pitch and it would definitely make me want to read on. Careful of tense changes, your whole is written in one tense, except for the sentence beginning ‘she tried to run.’ Your last line is intriguing here, it could be more powerful by changing it to a question. ‘Will she have to lose one… to save the other?
Chapter One:
Very strong opening paragraph. I already feel like I’m inside her head and as someone who also thinks too much, I love her!
Be carefull with commas… I’m not an expert on comma use, in fact I suck! However, I do know that you don’t need to place a comma before the word and.
Excellent opening scene, really strong images and I get a feel for the almost superhuman qualities the soldiers display. One sentence read ever so slightly chunkily, ‘Movement appeared on the edges of the camera(,) (and) her head snapped suddenly to the left(,) and her arms uncrossed revealing the black pistols that had been tucked out of sight.’ Excellent imagery… just remove anything in brackets for a smoother read.
There is a double space in the sentence it took three steps to cross her apartment. Made my eyes stumble a little.
And turn the concrete (and) pavement into an oven.
This computer wasn’t suppose to have that sort of clearance. Suppose needs a d on the end.
Excellent opening chapter! Really grabs the reader’s attention, sets the scene and starts the character development wonderfully. I love the little touch about Leena pretending to be clumsy as well as the word tazers for police, it gives you a clear idea of what kind of law enforcement is being employed as well as being clear enough for the reader to understand who she is talking about. Very nicely done.
Chapter two:
“Been seen in public with a Tazer?” Should that be ‘be seen’?
“It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him no, he always ask again” – Ask needs an S.
“You learn, and there was no reprercussions.” Was should be were.
Another great chapter. I am really enjoying the building tension between Lena and Jason. He seems realistic to me, a nice guy but not without a jealous streak. Lena seems certain that he would turn her in if he knew the truth… I’m keen to find out if that’s the way this story turns out!
Chapter three:
Excellent flash back in the form of a dream. You are really very good a building a world through showing not telling. I feel immersed already and I’m only at the start of chapter three. I suppose I would like to know more about this world, it feels like America… but we aren’t given any clues yet on if it is and how far into the future we are, or if it is an alternate reality that simply resembles America. Maybe that isn’t an issue though.
‘she lay away for a while’ – Should be awake.
The Jack disconnected from her neck – jack shouldn’t be capitalised…especially with a character in the story sharing the name.
The last few lines to chapter three were a little confusing… might just be me, but I had to read them a couple of times. It may well be that you make it clear in the next chapter what Glen means by I have to go back in… but just remember that if you are sending out to agents, they tend to just want the first three chapters and won’t get that chance to find out and it could be off-putting.
Overall I found the first three chapters to be really well done and refreshingly different. I have to admit that when I read your short pitch, I though okay… so a female captain America. Having read on I can say that this book has no resemblance to that at all and is great. Your writing style is very accomplished and you have a real knack for telling stories. Please just tighten up on the grammatical errors, as other than those this book seems to me to be almost perfect. I think you stand a good chance at getting to the ED… but if you still have spelling mistakes at the point, they may not be as kind as this book deserves!
High stars from me and a place on my book shelf!
R
X

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 128 days ago

CWOG/CAN - read offline

i know this is an unedited unpolished work and you're looking notes on story, not grammar/punctuation - but it's hard to get past typos to see the story that it is... To avoid all the silly nitpicks, i recommend uploading a polished version so that people don't see mistakes as they read along.

the notes i made for you:
- watch for repetition - there are 11 counts of the word 'his' in a single paragraph

- watch for past/present tense switch - avoid words like here/now/today/tomorrow/ago in a past tense story as all these words compare time to the present

- speaking to 'you' is directly speaking to the reader, it snaps the person out of the story. "If you encouraged them in the slightest..." try "If i encouraged them in the slightest" or "if they were encouraged in the slightest" etc

- the 'undercover' person looking for info, was unsubtle in her approach. Give her a leading sentence, something that would spark the conversation naturally to the disturbance down the street

- give extra line breaks between time jumps - and be careful not to jump into the future as it's jarring: "breaking back into the offices tonight" - is just weird. 'tonight' doesn't happen in a past tense novel, and her predicting the future is bizarre

- "she took down their names and then let them know they were free to go" - unlikely... i realize this is a fantasy fiction, but it's unlikely they'd spend the time at the station at all if they were only asked a couple basic questions and told to leave. they'd either not waste their time on the trip, or they'd spend hours there answering questions, waiting to give statements, etc. this was rushed.

- unless the couch was pulled out into a bed when she walked into the room, she'd have know way of knowing that his couch was a pull out sofa. it's just a couch

- i wrote a long blurb on Jason. Bottom line: he's annoying. i can't even read some of the chicken scratch i wrote - but overall, he's way too clingy and needy. he's always there, always finding her, always trying to make out with her, ask her out, whatever... and then his jump to jealousy and immediate anger? he's unlikable. If he is to be the lead romance guy, her protector, and eventual lover - these things should change. give him a backbone and some distance. make her miss his absence... and possibly, make him curious about the unknown man in her apartment, not jump to stupid conclusions. Besides, if Glen is her lover, Jason should be relieved to know that he was being rejected for a reason, not angry that he didn't know about the other man.

- also, Glen or Glenn... pick one.
- her flashback memories should be italicized
- "frankly, i missed my dear sister" - unnatural
- be careful of repetition in phrases, like "fell silent"
- "have some intentions towards my sister" - doesn't make sense and it's unnatural. are we in the future or the distant past where people court each other with letterman jackets, football promise rings, and dads waiting on the front porch with a shotgun


that's about it. premise is good, dialog and formatting needs work...

July's World wrote 130 days ago

CWOG review

Hi Lisa!

Your book sort of reminded me of the "Dark Angel" series, although I'd gather from the first chapter that it has its own style. :)
"Deviance" is quite interesting but you still have to put some work into it. Please don't be discouraged by the amount of work people suggest, it's worth it! :D
The following statements are my thoughts, so choose if you want to use any of it :)

Some things I noticed (I put missing characters in brackets):
- I wouldn't classify "Deviance" as universal, especially because of the violence at the beginning.
- both pitches are interesting :)
- "... and his dark eyes bore into his captive(')s fading stare..."
- "Movement appeared ... tucked out of sight." I don't think that you need the "and"s after the commas. I discovered these ", and"s a couple of times, by the way.
- I'd advise you to tighten your prose. Let me give you an example to show you what I mean:

You wrote:
"She reached into the miniscule food drawer and pulled out a packet of dehydrated food. She didn't even bother to check what it was, she just ripped open the top and poured the contents into her single pot. She added water, and sad the pasty white mixture on the burner."

I'd write it this way:
"Lena reached into the miniscule food drawer, pulled out a packed of dehydrated food. Without checking the label she ripped it open, poured its contents into her single pot, which she sad on the burner after adding water." I know it's not perfect, but I hope you see what I mean. :)

- "She still plugged onwards() in her aimless, carefree way. She was careful to keep to the main streets..." That confuses me because Lena can't be carefree and careful at the same time. And, as you can already see here, you use the word "she" far too often.
- I'd advise you to check your spelling/punctuation.

I hope that helps ;)

July
Midwinter Nights

Fiona Haven wrote 131 days ago

Hello Lisa,
SF42 review

I've read four chapters and flicked through the other two.

I'm actually feeling stuck about what to say, I normally jot down notes as I read, but don't seem to have much written down.
I think that means nothing stood out as being glaringly off, and neither did anything grab me as being absolutely superb. I think I'd describe it as solid, because it's an interesting concept and capably written.
I was hooked enough to be interested in where the plot was heading, but you haven't posted enough to really be able to comment on that.

I'm not being very helpful, am I?
If I were to be really picky, some thoughts would be:

I wondered why you had this categorised as 'universal', with the violence?

You still have a few nits with your writing, like occasional small grammar and spelling errors, e.g. waived instead of waved. This is probably always going to be an issue for you and you will need to engage a thorough editor to pick them all up if you want your work to be totally professional.

Possibly the pace was slightly on the slow side, partly because there was quite a lot of exposition in the first few chapters (but I wouldn't worry about that until you have a complete draft to edit and tighten up), and partly because there were not enough reveals for the reader to grasp exactly what it was Lena was trying to achieve.

What I mean is that the backstory / flashbacks were short and not very revealing. We can understand that she is some kind of military-trained drone, considers the other drones to be family, and that she wants to rescue them before they are deactivated for deviant behaviour. But that is basically all we know, so the reader is left with lots and lots of questions. We have to guess from context that it is Gensol who created them, but we don't know anything about GenSol, even whether it is government or private, what it's main business is or why they spent so much time and money creating the drones. So the reader does not have too much sense of what Lena's driver - rescuing her 'siblings' - is going to entail or how dangerous it is. I think you could create more tension by allowing the reader to understand more about her background and what she is up against. Perhaps it's a case of the reader needing to understand who the 'bad guy' is - if GenSol is acting as the 'bad guy', we need to have the sense of its character (e.g. corporate goals, culture). And what was her 'father's role in the company?

The only other thing I thought of was that, while I can understand that Lena has learnt how to fit in over time, it would be good to see Glen having more difficulties with this. He seemed remarkably normal to me. I wondered whether you could have him acting more like a military machine, instead of having normal reactions, such as shrugging. Perhaps he might react inappropriately, such as with force, to a minor problem that he has no experience with. It might add more suspense, if there is the constant fear of him giving himself away through his militarised reactions. Lena might have to coach him on body language and normal conversation, perhaps.

Anyway those are my thoughts, I hope some of that will be helpful. I would be interested to read again when you have more posted as a lot of how I feel about this will depend on how the plot develops, I think.

Best wishes,
Fiona Haven
Falling Upwards

Ida Luther wrote 132 days ago

Interesting premise. I just started reading and I will continue.

Porpoise wrote 132 days ago

Deviance SF42 review

Hi Lisa, here we go.

First Paragraph - Great setup, can't fault it. Maybe the line after 'I've had a lot...' could be dropped. Then it leaves things hanging in the air. Not sure though.

Paragraph - 'Yes,' the man standing - I know the guy is cooler under presure than the rest, but the last line of dialogue doesn't quite sound right. Thinking about it, it's the 'Now lets' bit.

Paragraph - She took tthe flowers - Just so you know I love the addition of action to dialogue, in this case the twirling of flowers. It says so much in a few words.

Paragraph - Lena walked six blocks - Perhaps 'like they were also his children' would sound better as were his own children.

Paragraph - What's that you're talking about?' - could drop the 'here in your district'. Only a thought. I'm struggling to find much to say at the moment.

Paragraph - Perfect - Not sure Lena would say 'at that point' in casual conversation.

Paragraph - By the tine - I'm going over the top now just for something to do. It's only my opinion and I'm not sure it's better anyway. Could drop 'still' and join this next sentence with the next one with a comma.

It's difficult, Lisa, for me to find much at fault here. The character are believable and the setting is well described, just the right amount. It was so easy for me to immerse myself in to the story. I thought sometimes you could use a semi colon instead of a comma.

I'm wondering about the first non italic paragraph, it's qui e a full on beating, which is good, (in a story that is). As it's such an important introduction to Lena and Glens secret side, this act of absolute violence, could it be ramped up a notch; not the physical actions, but the description. The nex paragraph is good short, then, maybe, Lena's action could be increased in description too. It's just an idea.

Chapter Two

Paragraph - 'Hey!' - Probably because I'm a Brit, the 'awfully' word normally depicts some one who is a bit posh, which Lena isn't.

Paragraph - Well I'm healed' - Not sure you need the 'Wee'.

Paragraph - Well I always feel - Another one.

Line - 'Haven't you ever wanted more' - Very brave of him to spurt that out. Most guys would be more roundabout in their enquiry to a girl and squirming, inside anyway. Or perhaps I'm too timid.

Up to -'Now doesn't this look crazy' - There's a quick development in Lena and Jason's relationship where he becomes a little more pushy. I didn't expect this from Jason, for him to be so direct. I sort of expected him to pussy foot around more and maybe Lena to have a quiet chat with him.

The ' now doesn't this look cozy' would work better if there was some description of how close they were standing or Jason reaching out to her in some way.

Just remembered. I had to go through my entire book putting commas in dialogue before names where the speaker was addressing someone direct. I notice you don't do that either. Plaese don't tell me I did that in vain.

Line - The door slammed close - This could be Jason's character devlopment, but slamming a door seemed an over reaction, especially if he's after her.

Paragraph - 'Lena!' - I see why he slammed the door now. It might have been better if he had been rude in a less aggressive way.

Line - 'I'll be by to talk later' - I see Jason's character is building towards something, so I'll hold off on the comments for a while.

Line - His look told me - I think you popped into the first person for a second.

Still immersed, loved the development of Glen almost getting into trouble. As Jason ran to intervene I couldn't wait to see what happened.

There seems to be a fine line in Jason's character devlopment between being a good honest caring guy and the jealous type who may have a temper. I'm not sure the two traits go well together, or if they do maybe the jealousy and anger have to be indicated more subtly, dark hints some how. That's only if he's going to turn out bad. All the other characters ring true, I'm jst having a problem with his petulance.

Chapter Three

Great change of direction and timing. Didn't realise I needed it, but this was the perfect place for some of Lena's back story. Interest still very high.

Might be an idea to put her dreams or reminising in italics.

Paragraph - The three sat awkwardly - I think it should be 'even so' not 'even still'.

I loved these next exchanges, especially Lena's under table kicking.

Paragraph - The men laughed - 'hand their table off' you don't need the 'off'. Just being pedantic.

Paragraph - He glowered at her - I think maybe what's going on is your description of how people interact with Lena. Jason seemed too petulant for me a while ago and now Glen's just glowered at her then sullenly wandered off. I can see waht you're doing, it just feels too intent at times. It's only my opinion though. All the other interactions between characters ring so true that these stood out a little, for me.

Line - 'Now, was that so bad.' - Could drop the 'Now'.

Up to - The jack disconnected - Enjoyed the exchanges between the three and the developing relationship between Lena and Jason. Also, her first ponderings on her own feelings. Good stuff.

Line - Good morning Lena - Still think these passages would be good in italics.

The rest of the chapter reads perfectly. I like the introduction of the father and the veiled hints of a plan. I'm still being drawn in.

Chapter Four

Paragraph - Drake, I can see what - I'm not sure if you meant 'insinuate' rather than 'inundate'.

Paragraph - She checked her watch - couple of errors in this paragraph.

Up to - Time to wake up - This is good; the story's building with questions unanswered and character relationships are building, There's hints of things to come, which I really like; keeps the reader guessing.

Paragraph - it had taken her less time - waiting for 'waited'. 'for only a few minutes', perhaps? The second part of the last sentence doesn't quite read right, somehow.

Paragraph - What did you dream about - 'questioning on them', you could drop the 'on'.

Paragraph - Lena blinked away the tears -could drop the off in the fourth sentence.

Paragraph - He saw her - Seems Lena has definitely been effected by Jason's advances; this is the first time she has a big emotional response to him. I might be tempted to add a bit to this paragraph, although you move the story along at such a pace you might not want to pause it too much. Tricky decision.

Line 'Holy shit Jason' - You could drop the 'holy shit', it being the second one in a short while and all.

Line - 'Goodnight Lena' - I remebered you used 'hoarsley before, might be worth changing it.

Up to the end of the chapter - This is good, you have the dilemma of the main character, Lena, developing well; she's starting to experience the first seeds of love, or maybe lust, which is a big deal in itself, with a man who should be her enemy.

All the characters you have introduced are believable as is the world they are in. It was a clear read, no rereading to work out what was going on. Much of what I read needed no comment on, that's when I started pointing out tiny things for the sake of saying something.

This is a story I will be coming back to and keeping an eye on. It was a very enjoyable read. Well done.

Remember, this is only my third review, I'm still trying to get my head round it. I hoipe it's been of use.

Mark

noodelwoman wrote 132 days ago

So I've read the first three chapters and my initial reaction is as follows:

All of this is far too on-the-nose. People rarely say what they're thinking or do what they want to. Too much other subtext gets in the way. As well, more of the contents of chapter three needs to be leaked earlier. We need to understand Lena's limits and the limits of the world she was created in. As well, what makes her special? What is her immediate danger?

Fantastic start to the story. Can't wait to read more.

-Robin

vee8 wrote 134 days ago

Apologies for the delay in the return read!
Opening prose in the first chapter is excelent, but the last line seems a bit incongruous, it felt like an add-on. I can see it's ironic humour, but the passage flowed better without her having a lot of time to think about it.
What follows is a powerful and dramatic start. Can't beat a bit of good, old-fashioned, hand-to-hand ultra-violence! But thinking caps? That felt like picking up a splinter while running a hand over a polished table, it really didn't fit the mood of the rest of that passage.
The part about the flowers and the heat, you repeat how they like the heat.
A data port in her arm? Now that's cool!
Chap.2.
Glen or Glenn?
Chap.3.
'The scientist dropped their tablet... from his belt.' Is there one scientest or more than one?

Okay, this is a great premis. I'm a sucker for forbidden or impossible romances, and I can see one developing between Lena and Jason. Greg is the loose cannon. The world you have built up is very believable, with the heat, the intollerable poverty and the grinding crime rate. Jason is, maybe, just a little too goody-two-shoes to be totally believable, but I like Lena's character a lot. There are grammar issues, but other reviewers have covered those already, so I won't repeat them. There is huge potential here, and I am wondering how Lena is going to free all her brothers and sisters, keep Glen on a leash AND rebuff/romance Jason all at the same time! Good writing and good luck!

Vee8
Daughter of Chronos.

Scott Butcher wrote 136 days ago

CAN review

Hey Lisa,

Good pitches, I'd read the book from those...oh! I am. Nice opening chapter. Interesting start, some sort of dystopian society?

Hope you don't rue this, remember, I'm a details guy:

Chapter 1:

"...in the pit of his stare." I think would be better as "...in the pit of that stare." makes him seem more machine-like, but also you've overused "him" in that paragraph.

"Her head snapped suddenly..." I assume somewhere in this paragraph that the guy with the red hair was killed? But that's not in the least bit clear. Who exactly did she shoot?

"It was the three steps..." I can't follow what's being said in this sentence, it needs TLC.
"The flower shops owner(,) Jack(,)...
"...with out complaint..." 'without' should be one word.
"...'to modernize' (her) hair(.)"

"Hello!" she said." So you've made the woman entering the shop the object of the previous paragraph. So this is better "Hello! Lena said."

"Lena did know the detail of the riot..." better as "Lena did know details of the riot..."
"...district(')s offices..."
"Only government building(s)...

Chapter 2:

"Been seen..." should be "Being seen..."
"..he always ask(s) again."

"He gave her a hurt look." then "Fine." I wasn't sure who was speaking her. Was it her saying saying fine she'd have dinner with him, or him saying fine, you're not. It was the latter, but I had to read on to find out. Need a speech tag here.

"...get to(o) close to."

"She had a firm grip on his arms..." who? Lena, or the woman?
"...gone all out of those men..." should be "...gone all out on those men..."
"..got us killed, Damn it," he punched the wall..." should be "...got us killed. Damn it!" He punched the wall..."
"...his look told me..." you've changed perspective, it had been third person up to this point.
"...his knuckles we(re) white..."

Nice ending to that chapter. Okay I'll bite, it's a good story Lisa. Enjoying it.

Cheers, Scott Butcher (The Dreams of Aine's Blood and The Fairly Stillwart Chronicles)

Roger Laurence wrote 136 days ago

All right! I read the first chapter and the hook is in. The main line here is fascinating and I'm jelous. That said, I think there is a little bit of fine crafting that could happen to tighten up the prose, and intensify the (already intense) pace. Here are a few specific of examples:
"Her head snapped suddenly to the left and her arms uncrossed revealing the black pistols that had been tucked out of sight." Consider
"Her head snapped left and her arms uncrossed revealing black pistols." Do any of the other words add anything to the drama you are creating?
"Lena rolled over in bed" consider "Lena rolled over" in bed is deduced from the context.
"I have to go to work" consider "I have to work"
"Jack had built himself a giant cistern in the basement of his shop, and every time it rained the gutters of the roof redirected the water down into his secret reserve." consider Jack had built a giant cistern in the basement and when it rained the gutters redirected water to his secret reserve.
I've been going through my novel linve by line trying to tighten up. It's hard going, but espeically for a first chapter, probably worth it. Anyway, I'm enjoying the read, Thanks!
And by the way, I alrady like your Jason. Check out the Jason in my novel. The might have a lot in common.

CarolynH wrote 137 days ago

Hi Lisa, I've read the first three chapters and found the hook in chapter 1 irresistible - I'm intrigued as to how this plays out. I agree with some of the earlier comments on structure etc and in particular about giving Glen a more distinct character. I think Jason's attentiveness adds to the intrigue about Lena. Overall, I'm sufficiently interested to read on and have watchlisted.

Please take a look at mine - Within A Year - different genre but might appeal to you.
Carolyn x

fantasygirl88 wrote 137 days ago

Ok, I've finally gotten a chance to read some of your book in return after working all week LOL. So far, it moves at a pretty decent pace and I see what you mean by the showing instead of telling thing. I've noticed a few grammar and spelling errors in your writing, not terrible but you should go look at it. Back story is neat but I thought you did just a tiny more than necessary about the flower shop, but just my opinion. I would also, when the same character is still talking, don't start a new paragraph. I might have read it wrong but there was a few spots where I lost track of which character was talking. I do like Lena, she's similar to my MC in a more subtle way. Good work!

Lauren Grey wrote 138 days ago

Lisa, my promised read from my, I’m Looking ... thread

I’ve just had the time to dip into the first chapter tonight but am very impressed with what I’ve read. You have an opening that grabs the reader from the onset and doesn’t let go through your superbly written narratives and the most realistic dialogue. What appealed to me the most is how much back-story you have been able to incorporate into the narrative passages without them coming across as an info dump to the reader. They are most engaging and move the story forward at a delightful pace while building richness into the characters as the chapter progresses.

I am not the one on the site to comment on issues of grammar and punctuation and will leave that to the experts. However, I did notice from a reader's perspective that in places, the language is rather stiff and could probably be pared back a little to read more natural and less formal. There are quite a few did not’s, when didn’ts would work just as well, in my opinion???

This will remain on my WL for further reading as I can’t wait to see where this is going, great start and high stars.

The Imagineer wrote 139 days ago

Directed Read Swaps Request

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES:

Chapter 1:
The first paragraph really adds to the story as you go on. I like it.
There are a lot of grammatical errors, but they can be fixed by having a friend to go over it. (I had one do another book of mine.)
There is an unnamed lady that comes into the shop. I haven't seen her in any of the chapters, nor know her importance. However, you are doing well filling in tiny details about characters, such as Jack and his "flirting."

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Chapter 2:
Jason's being overly pushy, it feels. The end of this chapter is good. I enjoyed Glen's reaction at that moment.

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Chapter 3:
Finally, a bit of memory that resembles your long description's first paragraph.
Glen is laughing mid-chapter, which seems a little unbelievable. You had said before in an earlier chapter that he was a human weapon, and with the information you gave, you made it seem as if the only human interaction he got was from his "sister," and that he has stayed in her apartment for over a month.
They are talking in a crowded street and using phrases such as "deviant behavior," "allowed us to be human," "programmed... Savior," etc. Doesn't seem realistic if they are trying to keep everything about themselves a secret.
Perhaps be a little more bold about your changes in present and past. It just seems to switch at any given moment.

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Chapter 4:
There was nothing overtly jarring about this chapter. It flowed well and the conversation was believable.

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Chapter 5:
"Best, day, ever." __Out-of-place?
...Choke back laughs... __It seems that the situation would be more dire.

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Chapter 6:
This chapter was as perfect as I suspected in story and sure there needs to be a few run-overs with sentences, but that's all. And that cliff-hanger, you clever author. I can only see relations falling through now. Completely unexpected.

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FULL SUMMARY:

I really enjoyed the story, and I can see the potential in it. There are times when I can see some parts playing as a movie, and you definitely have some good characters. In all honesty, I am eagerly awaiting for chapter 7 to come out, as just imagining what is going to happen is making me smile. Will they break the deal right then, or will they try to use subtility? There is just so much you can do with it. All it needs is a good rewrite, and for the rest of it to be written.
Overall, the plot is good, and as it is Sci-Fi, it is highly believable. However, I have yet to see the Fantasy part of it yet. The pacing is good, except for what I described in *New Love* in OTHER NOTES below.

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OTHER NOTES:
Any form of laughter or comments such as "Best, day, ever." seems to be out-of-place coming from Glen.
*Glen* exhibiting anger, rage, and jealousy seems legitimate, he was a weapon. Even him being heroic, as it regards to their mission, is acceptable. But for some reason, it feels strange to hear him laugh, or joke. Lena feels acceptable in her joking and semi-gain attitude, as she has lived "outside" for a while.
*New Love* The romance is progressed rapidly to the point that it seemed unnatural. With how long Jason and Lena have been in contact, why the sudden increase in his tenacity towards her? As a counterpoint, her progression towards feeling love doesn't feel misplaced.
*Breaks* There has to be more distinction between present and past, as it jumps wildly, moreso in chapter 4 or 5.

Suggested Tags to Add:
Androids (Grown and programmed), Young Adult (They feel young), Savior (You keep calling her that).

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Disclaimer:
I did this review as a reader trying to understand. What I point out is either due to not reaching that point in the story, or it actually being a miscalculation. You can either make changes, or not. But do think about why I pointed out what I did, and decide from there.

Dean Lombardo wrote 141 days ago

Hi. I was back to read the second chapter. Good lean prose which makes for fast reading. Just some punctuation problems that need to be addressed; otherwise very nice, although I am anxious for something big to happen soon.

Kate J Squires wrote 145 days ago

Hey Lisa,

I've just finished the first chapter and had to comment. Your pitches are terrific, sucked me straight in, and with such a horrific opening, I had to read on. I really like Lena - she has a practical quality about her that should appeal to the readers of this genre. The universe you've built is brilliantly fleshed out, I think you've put serious thought into the in and outs of this city, and I loved the little details, like the city streets staying cold until the heat sneaks down at midday. Really great stuff and starred accordingly.

Actually, my only comment is around run-on sentences. There's quite a few in this chapter alone. "They'd met over a year ago, it was her first day at the flower shop... The streets were packed, you could tell a lot about a person... extra flowers to his bouquets, he knew his customers..." Have a quick read through and see if there are places that could use a full stop, semi-colon or a "because" or "and."

But honestly, this is a little quibble with a really excellent start - can't wait to read on!

Kate J. Squires
Niq

MMaguire wrote 145 days ago

Hey Lisa,
Just dropped in for a quick peek, and read the first two chapters and a bit of the third. It's more good stuff -- I'm seeing all your strengths from Nicholas. It's smooth, interesting, and the dialogue is particularly good. Everything just seems solid to me. Yeah, it needs a couple line edits, but worry about finishing it first. :)

Five stars from me for now. Let me know when it's done?

Dean Lombardo wrote 145 days ago

Hi Lisa,
I read the first chapter and I'll read more. Your storytelling voice has really progressed. There's a certain cynicism to it that I like. For example, "and not enough doctors that (who) cared." Of course, some edits are needed. I've made some notes and will send them to you when I've gotten further.

not really there wrote 153 days ago

Hey Lisa,

You asked me a specific question. I'm afraid, after reading all you have posted, my answer is pretty much the same as it was on the Faux Agents' thread.

What you need to realise is that an agent will have to figure out whether or not this book will get past, not only an editorial board, but also all of the other peeps with self-interests who will be coming up with reasons why their publishing house should spend the money on authors who are not you. If I can see the Dark Angel links, and if the the execs and sycophants are earning their wages, they should too.
Is it different enough? Maybe. But that may not be enough to get you through.
The best advice I can give, for what it's worth, is to repeat that you should finish this book and have it as part of a portfolio to present to agents. With that end in mind, your best bet might be to attend one of those open session things agents have from time to time. In a one-on-one conversation, you'll be expected to pitch a number of proposals. It's obvious to say that the more they can get out of you, the more likely they are to want to be your friend.

I'm putting Deviance on my shelf because there is no doubt in my mind that you are an outstanding talent. Don't take that praise lightly: all of my favourite authors are dead and very famous. I don't read much contemporary fiction because most books published these days lack any degree of authenticity. What you surprised me with was brilliant, believable, likeable, yet flawed characters; a setting I could feel; and the kind of neat details which, regardless of how much effort you have put into discovering them, give your work that rare quality of being alive. I trust the author.

In future, though, you will be letting yourself down if you ever again present in public work which is of such a poor standard. I made pages of notes – not just typos, but grievances about shoddiness which I found to be disrespectful to the amount of time I put into reading you.

The publishing industry is fast becoming overrun with a writing school culture which puts out garbage that looks good but smells awful. Show respect for yourself and your given talent by always putting the reader first. You will hear nonsense about how writers should write for themselves and damn what other people make of it, blah blah blah. Being an author means entering into an unwritten contract with every reader, at whatever stage your book is at, in which you show them you've done your best and they – in the words of Young Buck – give you love back.
Polish + zero talent is the reason why publishers have to spend so much on marketing. Talent + polish – which you can achieve, even here on Authonomy – means authors and books sell themselves.
Start now with that mentality.

I'm reluctant to give you the further notes I made until you have actually finished the book, although I will if you ask. I will stress that you don't need to worry about fine detail right now, just be tidier than you have been thus far.
Even a project which might not fly is worth doing, which is why I don't think you should abandon this book.

I'll leave you with the final note I made on chapter 6:

Oh, brilliant ending to chapter 6. I should have seen it coming but I didn't. She should finish this book.

P.G. Spierenburg wrote 158 days ago

Hi Lisa,
I've read everything you've uploaded so far, and I really like it.
I think you've setup a great concept and I'm curious to see how it develops.

First off, that short prose in italic really benefits the story. In only a few lines you both explain the setting and the main protagonist. You hereby eliminate large scale info-dumping and bring the readers right into the story. This is the main protagonist, this is what happened, this is her story. Nice, simple and effective, which worked really well for me.

Your characters seem well developed and with a distinct personality. Their voices all sound unique and it easy to tell who his speaking.
I do have a some things about the dialogue. First off, watch the punctuation. The dialogue tags (he said, she said) should always be included within the dialogue itself. This means no capital letters in he and she and a comma instead of a period within the marks. Sometimes you write it correctly sometimes you don't. This also applies for exclamation and question marks, so "That's all the footage?" a rotund man asked. Doesn't have a capital on the a.
Also, something a bit more specific, I noticed characters say each others names kind of often. This is not a problem per se but take note. Listen to conversation people have with each other. People rarely incorporate names into dialogue (especially if they know each other) How often do you hear conversations like this
"Hi John, how are you?"
"Great Matt, long time no seen."
"Tell me about John, it's this job."
"I know Matt, I know," (Okay, not my best, but I hope you get the point)
Just something for you to be aware off. Changing this might make you dialogue flow a bit smoother and better.

Watch your page breaks. Whenever you go to a different location (dream or not) or change viewpoints make sure you add a page break. Once again, sometimes you did this, sometimes you didn't.

One thing I like to suggest, has to do with you description and world building. Try to incorporate all 5 human senses when you describing the scenes. Part of sci-fi is that readers want to be a part of the world you're describing, why not give the readers every detail. How do the flowers in Jack's shop smell/feel like? Is there a particular taste in the air? Is it different in each district?
You already mention things like the heat and meal, why not expand on that. Scattering detail like this throughout the story can really bring the scenery to life. Another idea, from what I understand Lena and Glen have superhuman abilities, does that include senses? You can add some great detail and scenery by with this. Just like you did with the undercover at the flower store, you can make them notice certain things that can give people away. Just something for you to play with.

Last thing, that was a good cliffhanger in chapter 6, now I want to know what happens :)

This was all I had so far, I hope you upload more, I want to continue reading.
I hope this feedback has been of some use to you.

Pim

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