john booth recent comments

written 16 days ago

I enjoyed this. I particularly like the universe you have created.

There is some confusion over the familiar at the beginning - why not make them all lemurs and have done with it? Or some other creature we already know.

Like all books on here it needs a little tightening, but any competent editor will help you do that.

Good luck with this view book

written 206 days ago

I've had a look. Structurally this book is a mess, you have a three or four chapter prologue, when even a short one is often a mistake.

Prologues are usually tasters that set a scene that will be explained later in the book. Sometimes authors use them to put in some action that otherwise would be missing from the first few chapters. Or they set a mystery that keeps the reader reading.

In your case the prologue is mostly ramble, this establishes the main character as a bit of a whiner but not much else. As Richard Maitland is wont to say 'Start the story where the story begins'. And get on with it.

I think your writing style is good and with a bit more structural and story discipline you could write something spectacular. As it is, I gave up after four paragraphs and then dropped in and out of the text to see if it got better.
view book

written 882 days ago

Hi Tonia, There are no available spaces on my shelf right now, but when one comes up this will be on there.

On a technical level 'two days and nights' seemed overkill in the prologue, use 'days' or 48 hours if the timing is important. You have already told us in the short pitch who they are (and presumably on the back of the book) so you don't need to hide this from the reader. I'd name them from the start.

I'm actually unconvinced the first section should be a prologue. One of the many problems with prologues is that they can be future or long past events, but in this case I think you prologue is contemporary with chapter 1. For that reason I'd merge it with chapter 1 and put in a bridging line so this is clear.

I read the first couple of chapters and they read fine to me. The start of a great mystery. view book

written 1036 days ago

Hi Barbara,
This is great stuff once it get going. I loved the fencing scene and the interplay of the kids conversation. Took me back to my own childhood.

You could improve the first few hundred words by getting rid of virtually all the speech tags. (he said, she said) They are all pretty obvious from context. You introduce a lot of puzzles in the first 500 words and I might be tempted to remove Mayteria from chapter 1, 'he wasn't supposed to ever.....' seemed a little heavy handed. Or perhaps just leave the unexplained without comment.

I also thought you could have done more with the soggy sock at the end of C1. The story of that sock gets three quarters of the way through the chapter and then peters out. At least have it miraculously dry when he puts it back on :-)

But looking forward to reading chapter 2 when I have some time view book

written 1176 days ago

Hi Simon,

First question: What's the first chapter for?

If this was my story I'd strip it out. After all, all you need in chapter 2 is that Liam wants to see what's over the wall and a ladder gives him a chance.

This solves the major problem that arises with chapter 1, the death of Liam's mother. You just can't dismiss such a major event in a child's life with 'two weeks later she was gone'. Much easier to do it as fill in backstory with "Mum died a couple of months ago. I don't want to talk about it." Much more believable that way.

On my shelf for the duration

John view book

written 1436 days ago

Good stuff, Jo

Backed, Naturally view book

written 1445 days ago

This is fun.

I think it needs some minor editing. Some places the unsigned text is difficult to follow, some places you sign it a little too much. But such things are minor.


John view book

written 1456 days ago

Cut the longer paragraphs...into two or more parts :-)

Damned 'Edit Comment' won't work today view book

written 1456 days ago

Cut the longer paragraphs. Especially for those reading on-line. :-)


John Booth view book

written 1501 days ago

Go on, reads well and so why not back it :-) view book

written 1517 days ago

A claustrophobic, intense walk into insanity. A Child from the Wishing Well is a strong novel that will appeal to those who regard the human conditions as the reason for literature.

I must admit to a strong desire to boot Gerard repeatedly up the backside before the end of chapter 1. This is not the kind of book I would read for entertainment but I do think it has power and a sense of reality about it. I thought your writing was flawless in describing a disturbed mind.

Backed because of all those things. Good luck with this.

John view book

written 1524 days ago

I read the first few chapters of this and was impressed. You have captured a period and made it live again. The characters are cleverly underplayed and you don't fall into the trap of telling us too much too soon.

I thought Jane came over as a little older that twelve in terms of speech and thought patterns, but not so much as to be an issue. There is an undercurrent of tensions, racial and others that kept me reading.

I'd love to see a HC review of this. They might even buy it.

Backed, naturally

John view book

written 1535 days ago

Hi Raven,
Ah, romance about a writer who writes about romance. This is entertaining and your heroin has a sharp wit that kept pulling me forward.

A stranger on a train as well. In some ways you are in danger of falling head first into the depths of cliches but I think this is a genre in which the reader expects to feel comfortable and you do that very well.

Well worth some time on my shelf,

John view book

written 1545 days ago

Hi Ted,

Creating alternate worlds is so much fun. Your world follows a fairly typical pattern for these things, being essentially medieval/dark ages with wizards, elves and dwarfs playing their usual roles. I enjoyed your writing style and you know how to tell a story. Shelved.

I have a couple of minor comments from #1, which I'll get out of the way ....

Use of the word 'play'. In a medieval society children played about as much as their parents. I would suggest having him watch the sheep or gathering wood.

'....that red moon...' Bound to have a name and this makes the character sound like a stranger to his world.

As a fellow creator of worlds I also have a question. Who made the troll's chain mail? :-)

My one concern with this story is that I read through to 5 and I didn't see anything that would separate it out from the pack. I think agents and publishers are looking for differentiators, something to make your book stand out. As a reader of this genre, it's what I look for too. As a sometime writer of this genre, it's where I start.

Good luck with this

John view book

written 1546 days ago

Love it. What more can I say? Oh yes, shelved view book

written 1548 days ago

Must be one of the best books on Authonomy.
Everyone should read it view book

written 1553 days ago

Okay, you made me laugh!

But surely you don't want to get to ed again?

Shelved, because laughing is good for me view book

written 1561 days ago

This is very imaginative and great fun -shelved.

This needs a thorough edit, but I wouldn't even start until you've finished the book,

When you do, read it into a recorder and play it back. There are lots of rough edges, sentences that don't quite work, that will become obvious if you do. Then all you have to do is fix them. But the narrative and pace are excellent and the story fun. Those are the things that matter.

John view book

written 1564 days ago

Hi Abigail,
This is very enjoyable fantasy. Loved Tisha - shelved.

Okay, here's my opinion of how you might improve this. But it really amounts to how I would have written it, rather than anything else. I think the narrative structure could be better. Cayle needs to be introduced in flashback earlier and Tisha's dislike of the riders needs to be upfront. Right at the beginning I would cut some of the description of the city and have Tisha have to jump aside in the street as some realm riders go past. I have her shout 'murderers' and get disaproving looks from the crowd. Bring in the eyepatch there and the reason for it. That would give an excuse for the flashback and establish her age (see later).

She needs a stronger motivation to climb the tower, that comes from the eyepatch and the fear of her that people would have if they knew she was splitways. Leaving the city is about being able to be herself. You should indicate that so she comes over as less of a spoiled brat. Getting into the tower was a bit too easy. You need to build up the tension. I would have liked to know how old she was earlier. She comes over as a twelve year old and suddenly she's 17.

My feeling is that you need to say more in fewer words (A problem I've just had while editing Shaddowdon). But I did enjoy this a lot and if you improve the pacing a little, I'd buy this.


John view book

written 1569 days ago

What an interesting mystery.
Great beginning and then alternating between the cave and the past. I love all the casual details you throw into this, not to mention a frightening view of mid-life crisis.

I can't imagine anything worse than being left to die in a cave with water dripping everywhere. My only concern stroywise is that the cave sequences are very passive. I think Marty should be doing more, maybe climbing up a little way before giving up, that sort of thing.

Shelved, Naturally. view book