throckmorton p. gildersleeve recent comments

written 889 days ago
cherry

Hello AG. I read the Prologue and first chapter of Shining Dawn, and enjoyed.

It sounds well thought-out, and the world/plot you've created is clearly detailed. You can tell just from reading the short amount that I just read.

There were a few spots where the language seemed to stumble. For instance: 'All the neighbouring houses were dark, its occupants sound asleep.' If 'its' is referring to the houses in this sentence, it should be plural ('their').

The preceding is a detail, however. Overall the work is good, and I would offer only a single suggestion: the first chapter is spent setting up the plot and giving the reader a good deal of exposition regarding the world the book is set in, but little time is spent on Zak. I felt like I learned a lot about the current state of things, but I have no idea who Zak is....what he looks like, what small details he thinks about... and I feel like this would improve the level the reader can relate to him on.

Shining Dawn is good and I'll support it. If you get a chance to check out my book, I'd love to hear any feedback you might have.

Thanks,
-Throck view book

written 890 days ago
cherry

Hey Joe.

I read the first chapter of Rupee Millionaires and enjoyed.

The prologue is good - at first the simile felt stretched too long, but looking back at it, I don't think so. I was just getting used to the voice.

The work has a positive feel, like it's being fondly recalled by a quirky, smiling narrator. This is a good thing.

The lack of scene description stuck out to me. A bit of artful setting could go a long way in the first paragraph.

I was sucked right into this piece. You have a talent for picking just the right smaller tales (and telling them well) to keep the reader interested in what comes next, and what might be coming down the road a bit.

Rupee Millionaires is strong, good luck with it!

-Throck view book

written 910 days ago
cherry

Hey Sarah. I read the first few sections of First Term at St. Twitters, and enjoyed.

Short pitch makes me think of a wistful children's book with bird characters. Looks like that was the intention. Long pitch confirms and expands. Good pitches.

I'm not entirely sure about this, but I'm pretty sure that the term 'bloody' as in 'Not more bloody worms!' is considered a curse in its native UK. Just thought I should mention, since this is a children's book.

There are some run-ons here and there, but mostly not a problem. The sentence beginning with 'In the whole of her short life' is a bit too run-on.

I'm having some trouble with the switching of perspectives. The done thing seems to be to stay in a single POV per chapter, and though it's a rule that's often broken, if I were writing a children's piece I think I'd be extra careful of ambiguosity there.

I hope my critique proves useful to you. You've done a great job of following in the vein of your influences. The characters come across strong, and believable. If you get a chance to read & critique my book, I'd appreciate much.

Best of luck with First Term at St. Twitters!

-Throck view book

written 910 days ago
cherry

Hello Benjamin. I read a few sections of Sons of God Daughters of Men, and enjoyed.

Here are the notes I took down:

Good short pitch in content, but could be snappier. The long pitch sounds good, but strays away from the character(s) the book is going to focus on. I'd recommend keeping Semyaza as the subject in the second paragraph.

Looks like you've set up fertile ground for conflict and story. The parallel, invisible goings-on between angels and demons, adding a layer of subtext to the human world - it's interesting and has a real hook. I found myself reading beyond the amount that I had planned, just to see what happens.

Have you ever tried reading your work aloud into a recorder, and playing it back to yourself days/weeks/months later? It can do wonders for story flow and language skills. I've found it a useful tool myself. In reading your work, there were a number of places where I felt that listening to the actual wording would illustrate areas that could be improved more clearly than just proofreading.

I hope my critique is useful to you. Good luck with Sons of God Daughters of Men. It's good and I'm putting it on my watchlist. If you get a chance to check out my book, I'd appreciate your comments much.

-Throck view book

written 925 days ago
cherry

Hello Ian. I read the first chapter of No Remorse and was impressed.

It's solid work, and crafted to have just the right amount of hook to keep the reader involved. You mesh the development of character, plot and setting nicely, using bits of fine detail to really put the reader into the story.

When I reached '...was their one and only priority.' I had to go back to the beginning to remind myself of the narrator's name. Might toss it in there a bit more. Also when it switched to Mac, had to think for a moment to realize it. Might want to hand that one off to the reader a bit easier.

There're a few cliches in here, I see that others have noted them in the comments already. Some would say that there's a reason they are cliches; because they work, but I would say that they're still better to avoid. Takes the reader out of the story for just a moment.

The use of brevity in form (short sentences) and in description (compact, doesn't hold up the pace for long) makes the work easy to swallow and more attractive, particularly to the folks that typically pick up this sort of book.

Well done. I'm rating it highly and will support. Would love to hear your thoughts on my work as well.

-Throck view book

written 925 days ago
cherry

Hello Ian. I read the first chapter of No Remorse and was impressed.

It's solid work, and crafted to have just the right amount of hook to keep the reader involved. You mesh the development of character, plot and setting nicely, using bits of fine detail to really put the reader into the story.

When I reached '...was their one and only priority.' I had to go back to the beginning to remind myself of the narrator's name. Might toss it in there a bit more. Also when it switched to Mac, had to think for a moment to realize it. Might want to hand that one off to the reader a bit easier.

There're a few cliches in here, I see that others have noted them in the comments already. Some would say that there's a reason they are cliches; because they work, but I would say that they're still better to avoid. Takes the reader out of the story for just a moment.

The use of brevity in form (short sentences) and in description (compact, doesn't hold up the pace for long) makes the work easy to swallow and more attractive, particularly to the folks that typically pick up this sort of book.

Well done. I'm rating it highly and will support. Would love to hear your thoughts on my work as well.

-Throck view book

written 925 days ago
cherry

Excellent work, Peter. Mother Knows Best is fantastic. I read hoping to critique, but I find that I don't have any suggestions. For the type of story you're telling here, I think you've fairly hit the nail on the head for style. Intriguing in its ideas and elegantly played characters. 6 Stars.

Would love to hear what you think of my work.

-Throck view book

written 925 days ago
cherry

Hello Valerie. I read the first Chapter of Sakugen, and enjoyed.

You have an interesting story here, it reminds me much of the kind of stories that are in anime.

Because it wouldn't be a fair critique without criticism...

The prose is a bit stilted; it doesn't read smoothly. The sentence structures are a bit jarring, and some of the visuals/metaphors are too esoteric for a reader. Remember that someone reading narrative doesn't want to stop to grasp meanings as they go along.

Here are some examples of things that hung me up while I was trying to read the dream sequence:

--The first sentence is hard to grasp. One cannot see walls beyond the horizon whether they are there or not. I'm transported to a vast place, which is good, but I don't have a visual of it. Is it outdoors? Is there light? What's the ground look like?

--Might be good to let the reader in on how far away the blackened figure is. At first it's in the distance, and the next time you place it, it's holding its sword over Hotan.

--'blood-curling'...the traditional term is 'blood-curdling'. Not sure if this was intentional.

--The last sentence in the dream sequence is a bit confusing. 'The black shadow laughed hysterically as he watched...' When you say 'he', you're referring to Hotan, but the sentence makes it sound like you're referring to the black shadow.

I think there's a lot of potential here. The work's strength is in the imaginativeness of the story and plot, and with a strong sense of the mechanics of writing effectively, it could be great. For this, I would recommend reading and reading and reading, all different styles, and trying to write in different styles too. Strengthening a variety of writing muscles can only improve your work on each subsequent piece you take on.

I'm adding Sakugen to my watchlist, good luck with it. If you get a chance to check out my book and leave comments, I'd appreciate it much.

-Throck view book

written 931 days ago
cherry

Hello Shirani. Thanks for your kind words about my book. I read the first chapter of Chocolate Cake Dreams, and enjoyed much!

At first, I didn't care for your writing style. It struck me as overly literal, and tedious. But then, after I'd taken in several paragraphs, it grew on me quickly. Soon I realized that the very qualities about it that I had disliked were now what I liked most. Odd, isn't it?

There's something about your flow of thought that pulls me in. The ideas are stacked in a way that I haven't encountered in mainstream fiction before, or in classic works. Whatever it is, it works. I like it.

I noticed what might be a small mechanical error: the paragraph that begins with "Alright. Let's hide" appears to have an extra 'the' in it, just before 'Theja'.

After reading further a ways, I find that the story your building is great. The musing-almost-memoir feel is intensely romantic and it firmly endears Theja to the reader. Good job.

Good luck with Chocolate Cake Dreams. I'm shelving it.

-Throck view book

written 931 days ago
cherry

Hello Mark. I read the first chapter of Pluto Genesis, and enjoyed. Here are my thoughts:

--The first thing I think when I open up the first chapter is 'Whoa! These paragraphs are thick!'. Daunting, in fact. Whether or not it's true, heavy chunks of text scream of slow pace, and they can turn away readers before the reader even begins the first sentence.

--'Very few have ever done that.' You have broken tense here. The rest is in past tense. To match it, 'have' should be 'had'. There are some other breaks in tense....I just spotted another in the same paragraph. If they're intended to be interior dialogue that's another matter, but they don't appear to be.

--Remember to begin a new paragraph every time dialogue shifts from one speaker to another. In general, this piece could use more paragraph breaks anyway, so this will help.

In writing speculative fiction, we create fictional worlds to use as our setting. So much work goes into the worldbuilding that the author feels a strong desire to get that world across to the reader quickly - not just because the author is proud of it, but because the author feels that the only way the reader can get the full intended enjoyment of the story is if they see these characters in that setting as soon as possible.

This causes the author to reference as much as they can right off the bat - and this is always a mistake. Though I've read much stronger cases of this (and spent many hours on one of my own which fails admirably in this regard), Pluto Genesis definitely suffers from this. The reader is smothered in what my friends chidingly refer to as 'idea vomit', and lose interest in what's actually happening in the story.

The solution to this is to shift the focus of the piece onto the characters. Unfortunately, this constitutes a complete turn around from where Pluto Genesis looks to be sitting at this moment. However, I do believe that this world you've envisioned would benefit greatly from being seen through the eyes of your characters, rather than being seen alongside your characters.

I hope my critique is helpful to you. If you get a chance, I'd love to read your thoughts on my book.

Thanks,
-Throck view book

written 937 days ago
cherry

Hello Timmy, and thanks for agreeing to trade first chapter critiques. I read the first chap of Asylum, and enjoyed. Here's what I came up with:

There's a number of mechanical errors, things that could be picked out in editing. Stuff like:

--'cloths' should be 'clothes'

--'speeded up' should be 'sped up'

--'forwards' should be 'forward'

But far too many to pick out in a critique. I'll focus on narrative quality instead.

--'flamethrowers sweeping their lethal tongues', I like this.

--there are a lot of sentences here that have the same/similar structure. The monotonous rhythm can take away from otherwise solid prose. This is especially noticeable in the first few paragraphs.

--I like how the story lingers on descriptive moments in the story. The short exchange between Ryan and Kelly, for instance, or the way the soldiers take down the incoming swarm. You pause here to paint the picture more clearly, and it's effective.

--The setting is good. I don't seem to recall you describing it much, but the picture in my head is clear and entertaining. Sometimes this can be credited to the reader's imagination, but more often the author's work at implication does the magic here. Good job.

That's it for now. Looking forward to hearing your notes on my work.

Take care,
-Throck view book

written 940 days ago
cherry

Hello Cass. Thanks for your kind words about my book. I read the first 3 chapters of Sunflower and was very impressed.

This work is fantastic - very well done. I was pulled right in, cared about the characters, was never unsure about what was being said/implied/referred to. And best of all, the art in the work is perfect. The beautiful devices you use stand out and make it shine.

Here are some details I took down while reading:

--Good use of interior dialogue being in dialogue with the narration. Firmly sets the voice you use for narration into the head of the character.

--The wind making everything worse bit is great.

--'to be clean only right after being shorn.' I get an urge to add something about how filthy they can really be - a detail that puts the icky right into the reader's senses.

--'Coming as it had from a woman who was standing underneath a gently spinning mobile featuring animals made of pure white silk, Michael had been unsure how to feel about this.' I have an urge to break this sentence up into smaller pieces.

--I'm guessing the lack of indents in some paragraphs is intentional...

--Sheep Shop Shirley, rusting in a charming way. Nice beatific additions, really touches on the intimate.

--'The driver swung out of the cab and looked at the gate.' Maybe it's just me but that little jump forward in time isn't transparent. It seems like Michael is telling the driver how to do it, then the driver immediately is done, and I have to go 'oh, because it already happened, okay'. I feel silly saying it because I'm sure it's meant to be totally transparent, but it wasn't for me so I thought it pertinent to mention.

--There's a lot of superb crafting at work here. Just the way Michael has to 'jerk out of his thoughts' after that bit of exposition in chapter 3, making the pause in pace fit neatly in, for instance. Or the way the driver wishes him luck with his art, a nice double-entendre there wrapping the chapter perfectly.


What I've read so far is excellent, I'm shelving this book immediately. Great stuff!

-Throck view book

written 943 days ago
cherry

Hello, ladies of CC.

I read the first chapter of Dark Side after Kat51 sent me a message telling me that CC had recommended my book. I enjoyed the chapter.

I think the strongest point here is the way that the author(s) guide the reader's point of attention from one thing to the next without muddling/sidetracking. There is a clear path for the reader to enter into Koleen's train of thought, and though you are dropping a lot of information, you manage to skirt the feeling of forced exposition effectively. After only a single chapter I feel that I've learned a lot, and the character of Koleen interests me.

If I were to look for things to improve, here's what comes to mind:

The major hook in this first chapter is Riley's sudden departure. Koleen's discovery of the book is good and important, but the event of Riley leaving her deserves more attention - a lot more - before venturing into the territory of the book, and certainly before describing the history of the book, and entering into the interior voice of the vampire. In only one short chapter you've traveled very, very far - this pace is too quick. It sounds like you're trying to tell the reader too much information in a short span.

I also noticed a few details that could be improved:

--She read no further when she stumbled upon and revealed the chilling prophecy...-- this sentence makes no sense. She read no further when she revealed it?

--But, his efforts to get into to the redhead's thoughts...-- into to?

I hope my critique has been helpful.

Thanks,
-Throck view book

written 943 days ago
cherry

Hello Kirk.

I read the first chapter of How To Steal A Lion, and was impressed.

You have a clear understanding of pace, and of flow of ideas. It's important to hold the reader's attention by giving them a simple, clear, one-way path forward (especially in the beginning of a book), and you do this well. I never felt muddled, confused, or sidetracked, and I read at a quick pace. There was no slowing between dialogue and description. This is excellent, as it is a mistake that many aspiring authors make.

I looked, because I always look, for something that needs improvement, and all I have to offer is details. Here are a few:

The two students Daniel barges past and angers - a cursory description of them would add depth to that short section that introduces Joseph.

'Daniel wasn't bothered by Joseph's burp' -- you don't need to say this, it is understood when you read what Daniel says just after the burp. I would omit that sentence outright.

The dialogue about Daniel's father's stroke etc., and Joseph's last girlfriend - this feels a little like forced exposition.

-
That's it for now. As an American reader who is not familiar with German, Germany, etc., it's obvious from the start that your intended reader is German -- but the book still reads solidly for me. This says a lot (positive) about your work. I will continue reading. In the meantime I am shelving your book.

-Throck view book

written 943 days ago
cherry

Hi Ted.

I read the first three chapters of The Immortality Game, and was impressed.

Of especial note was the way that each character's introduction was strong - you made use of crises well in this regard. Though I only spent a little time with Georgy, I immediately felt that I knew the character - he is familiar. And Zoya feels like the sort of protagonist that will have lasting interest-grabbing power over the coming chapters.

I had no problem jumping right into the physical spaces these characters occupy. Marcus' apartment, the safe house where Georgy is thrown from the balcony - these places were vivid in my mind even though there was little description of them.

I particularly enjoyed the poplar seeds that caught on Georgy's pool of blood. That struck me as a nice touch of beauty to the image.

I'll keep reading. Thank you for backing my book Shame The Devil. The Immortality Game is going on my bookshelf.

-Throck view book

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