howard matthews recent comments

written 1232 days ago
cherry

A lovely mix of the mundane with the weird. I like the way you mix the practicality of becoming a governess and the opening of the morning mail, with a completely different world. Too often 'otherworldly' tales spend all their time telling you about the world. You get straight in and we're there.

I think this hits a lot of buttons for interest by an agent or publisher - i hope you're sending it out.

Some minor observations - there's a lot of capitalisation early on. Fine if that's what you mean: Bad Blood is clearly a title in this world. There are a lot of them though which might reduce the impact - I don't think 'Make Sacrifices' would need capitals?

I was also getting taking along with the flow created by the dialogue but then brought up short by a descriptive paragraph about the Duke's family. If this section is essential here can it come out of the conversation? (could it, in fact wait for later?)

But they are minor and I would read this.

backed and rated

Howard
Heretics of Death view book

written 1235 days ago
cherry

This should just plain be on the shelves. There are writers with a string of "best selling" titles to their names who can't write this.

Backed and rated

Howard
Heretics of Death view book

written 1245 days ago
cherry

Looks like you've already got pretty comprehensive comments which cover everything I'd say.

I'm happy to back it as it is good writing - your dialogue is good and pacy. I'd echo JayG in that I've got to chapter 5 and am browsing forward to find what's going to happen. It's an intriguing read early on because it's a new envoronment and one I'm not familiar with but by Ch 5 I'm wanting some more rapid plot progression.

In some of the introductions you pause for a brief description. A squat woman in her fifties, she had.... she had shoulder length hair.... personally I think that's fine on occasion but I've had the problem of describing people rather than lettng them come out through the text.

Despite all of this it is good and has a lot of potential. I think the setting alone is a selling point.

Howard
Heretics of Death view book

written 1246 days ago
cherry

I don't think there's much I can add to previous comments. I like the genre so would back anyway but as you've seen there are a lot of typos and editing needed. I found some of the dialogue a bit stilted. 'She is mortal born', wouldn't someone say 'she's mortal born'?
The similarities to Mr Potter - Justice of Magic for Minstry of Magic, the defeated evil one working his way back - are just a bit too close.
I do love the idea of making magic an adult genre, it's very difficult though. As soon as you call people Wizards you're back to that School beginning with H.

Good luck

Howard
Heretics of De'Ath view book

written 1252 days ago
cherry

Certainly a catchy and intriguing pitch plus a great title!

As others have said, the paragraphs need to be broken up - new line for each speech.

I'll comment on a few style items - which you can of course kick out completely - after all I'm not published!

And I've been told never use exclamation marks....

One published author told me to delete every 'that' in my work and only put them back if the text made no sense:

"She knew that she should feel guilty, but she'd had a lousy week at work, and Maddie felt that she needed a treat."

How about "She knew she should feel guilty, but she'd had a lousy week at work and felt she needed a treat."

Another sentence with lots of 'her'
'Marjorie wrote something on a sheet of paper before handing her membership card back to her, not looking at her as she already had her next victim in her sights'

Could it be 'Marjorie wrote something on a sheet of paper before handing her membership card back, not looking up as the next victim was already in her sights' or even 'in sight'?

Not sure you actually need to use the words 'slimming club' later on as you've already shown the reader that's where they are. (Publishers seem to love show not tell and you've done that really well without ever having to say it's a slimming club.)

Marjorie is the name of the leader in Little Britain's fat fighters. Might need to watch that - copyright and all.

Cold Play is one word, Coldplay. and The Script should be capitalised.

Probably enough to be going on with before you want to kill me - but I hope it's useful. Nit picky I know but Publishers and Agents seem to turn work away on scraps such as these.

Always willing to recieve the same..

Howard
Heretics of De'Ath view book

written 1253 days ago
cherry

Happy to look - from the point of an unpublished novelists with more rejections than sticks to shake at them....

I'm a Michael Moorcock fan and this reminds me of him in many ways

Pitch first of all: Not even the recriminations, no capital N, it follows the comma.
The sentence "For Arlick Frances though, who at forty one, and forced to live between the possibilities of a parallel existence." doesn't appear to be complete. What about him? the 'For' and 'though' signpost something that is coming to Arlick. "Arlick Frances though, at forty one, is forced to live between...."?
Not sure you need the : after time bomb. A comma and lower case 'to rise' would seem to read OK.

In the Text:

"But the faces," The familiarity... should be lower case 't' as it follows the comma in the quotation marks. But the faces, itself is an interesting construction, and legitmate if it's what you want to do. Is it a question? "But the faces?" in which case the 't' is upper case because it follows a question mark. Or is it a cut off sentence? "But the faces,..."

The semi colon after visages - again an unusual use but it works if it's your intention and you know why it's there - breaking the text?
"strengthened his spirits, more." comma might not be necessary, unless you're implying that his spirits have already been strengthened.

Whatever dark shadows that had carried him. I'd lose 'that' I did get told once to delete every 'that' and only put them back if the text was incoherent without it.

sub concsiousness - should be subconscious?

semi colons and colons! endless debate on the web. Lower case after semi colons, upper case after colons if what follows is a complete sentence.

I had loads of trouble with speech marks and punctuation and found some really useful sites on the web.

I did also get told by one author - single quotes around speech. Published books don't use doubles - I'd never noticed that!

cruel bright light that, had at least... no need for comma.

Generally as others have said, a lot of semi colons where full stops would do. Have a look on the web for guidance.

You do have a unique style which isn't easy, but then have a look at Michael Moorcock - Jerry Cornelius series, some very tricky text.

All I would say is that it's all OK if you know exactly why you've done it. The publisher will ask, why have you used a semi colon her instead of a full stop - and of course you'll know.

Hope it's some help and don't take me as gospel..

Howard
Heretics of Death view book

written 1253 days ago
cherry

It's an excellent idea and pitch. The pace is great as the story moves along from the first page. Absolutely no hesitation picking this up to read the whole thing.

Constructively: I know it is a stylistic piece and you will have strong views on every word.... I found some of the sentences where I would add commas - right before I knocked and her eyes, "right before I knoced, and her eyes"?

Also some passive voice in there - truth is that the heart that thinks too much... "truth is the heart that thinks too much"? Not to mention that the glass itself was mud splattered, "Not to mention the glass was mud splattered"

A published author told me to do 'find delete' on the word "that" from the whole novel. Then read it again and only put them back if the sense is lost...

Would the possessive of Sir Vantes be Sir Vantes's hooves?

All small points though

good luck

Howard
Heretics of Death view book

written 1471 days ago
cherry

Happy to back as it gets straight off to a cracking start. I've read CH1 and skimmed on but i have'nt got to the story in the pitch yet - could there be some signposting early on? She knows who's just shot Pete? This is a very commercial genre and I wonder what the USP of this story is-what will make i stand out on the slush pile?

howard
he's dead, you idiot view book

written 1491 days ago
cherry

Very good opening, grabs the attention and well written. Just wonder about "those someones" - "That somone"? It's singular at the first mention. Also the pair climbs - the pair climb? Although it's two people a "pair" is singular. Other than that good luck -number 1 halfway through the month so I'msure you'll be getting HCs comments.

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1542 days ago
cherry

Happy to back this. Easy to read with good description and evocation of the prison. My only thought is pace. If this is a thriller some of the flashbacks might stop me turning the page, end of CH 1 and I'm not sure where we're going.
Apart from that the writing is clear and the POV consistent.

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1547 days ago
cherry

Good stuff. Straight into it and wanting to read on from chapter one. Happy to back but needs a lot of work on tightening/editing etc. First chapter typo “are well”. A few more as well, your instead of you're etc

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1547 days ago
cherry

I will say that as a sci-fi, fantasy, comedy reader/writer this very realistic modern piece was going to have a struggle! Good opening though and gets my attention and interest. One passive voice “would have had his beggar's bowl robbed” perhaps “would have his beggar's bowl robbed”?

I once had a response from an agent that she liked my book but didn't do present tense! Unbelievable I know and I hope attitudes have changed...

First para. A sentence starting with “And”. I've been told to avoid those unless absolutely integral.

More passive voice “Renee has never had.”

Well written and good work at getting the connections from the opening to the dinner party so happily backed.

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1594 days ago
cherry

For me the writing improves on the pitch. Charming but serious stories,as you say eminently readable to children. Will they be able to read it themselves though? I don't know enough about this audience to know if that's important or not

Very happy to back as I can already see this on the shelves...

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1594 days ago
cherry

Took me back to an annual my kids had "Shoe people".Those were all charm and entertainment for young children though. This is a bit dark in places so I'm not sure of the audience- the shoe idea seems good for the young but coke cans being crushed by metal teeth is pretty scary.
Others are mentioning the edits needed-aposrophe's etc but apart from that it' s well put together so happy to back.

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1598 days ago
cherry

Very realistic and evocative. I think you're probably ready for a re-read and an edit. (I'm at that stage now. All the stuff I thought absolutely fine I now see doesn't flow) just a few examples:
Chapter 2 He always came down every weekend” don't think you need always and every in the same sentence.
“When he had first had to go to..” too many had?
“Just when it was looking more than likely that he would “ Could there be a neater way?
She headed towards the door where he stood- - we'd been told earlier that he was leaning on the door.

Just details I know but that's good because the story and the setting are eminently readable so backed for that.

Good luck.

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1603 days ago
cherry

A good tight story and opening plus an ending to chapter 1 that makes you want to see chapter 2.

I'd not read Spin and so I had a glance at that. My only comment on conflict is that I am being told about the opening character rather than being with him - could be because he is about to die? In Spin I am with the character from the opening words.
In Conflict I get a lot of description about what the place is like and what is happening as if I am an outsider observing.

Apart from that no problems so happy to back.


Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1605 days ago
cherry

I can certainly see this on the bookshelves and being read. I suppose you've just got to get the "imaginative" publishers to understand that The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nightime is completely different.

Backed

howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1609 days ago
cherry

Happy to back as it is well written and has a good premise, I do find it's a bit tell rather than show here and there - telling what a character is like rather than letit come out through action.

Good luck on the list though.


howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

written 1612 days ago
cherry

I'm sure there's a well researched and saleable tale here but as other have said the writing isn't quite there yet.
Me a princess, something I never wanted to be (She never wanted to be a princess?)
The intro comes across a bit cliched- 'the most dangerous place on Earth'
During early April...dawn broke. I'd think it would be better to talk about a specific day?
The Royal courtiers plus..'plus' seems to be out of place somehow.
Third para of the intro 'would ultimately altered' - typo?
Rasputin continued to spew – have we had the first spew?
The Tsarina already commanded? The Tsarina had already commanded?
Alexandra sat impatiently for twenty minutes... had sat impatiently?
Shalimar toilet water, which the Tsarina over-indulged herself... with which the Tsarina?

Hope some use in future drafts...

Howard view book

written 1612 days ago
cherry

Good story, nice pace and in a current genre - heroes, misfits etc. Not sure I get what the USP of this one is yet but I shall carry on reading.

Can't see major problems with the writing. There's just something niggling about the voice. The descriptions of Sam's actions and thoughts are fine I just get an awful lot of 'he' and 'his' coming through. e.g His first period was study... he was good at math... he would do it easily. It could probably be re-written without those?.His first period was study... being good at math it woudln't be a problem...
Just a personal view and what do I know- I haven't been published!

Howard
He's Dead, You Idiot view book

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