jd regan recent comments

written 1016 days ago

Here are my comments. Please note that they are just my opinion, so are to used or discarded at will. I'm also British so my language may not always be the same as yours. I will therefore avoid commenting on grammar or spelling unless I know that it is absolutely incorrect.

Pitch: I have yet to read a pitch I like (including mine). Yours needs more punch. Maybe have something along the lines of: 'Humanities survival rests on the return of a legend.'. I like your long pitch but it needs a bit more. I just don't know what.

Chapter 1: I might just be the only one but I'm finding this font hard on the eyes, particularly since I'm reading it on a screen. Times New Roman or Arial seem to be the best.
Relished in it? Shouldn't that be revelled in it?
This sentence doesn't make sense: 'Jason groggily threw on his clothes and slowly went downstairs to go for his morning routine before school.'.
Do you mean he goes through his morning routine or for his morning run?
'faded to fall': faded into fall?
'That was probably because, and this was a thought that had occurred to him many times, it was never an issue for Jason.' The use of the name indicates that the sentence id referring to someone else named Jason. It's his thought so the sentence should be: 'That was probably because, and this was a thought that had occurred to him many times, it was never an issue for him.'
'I’m sorry sir' . Sir is considered the same as a name and the norm is to place a comma before sir. 'I’m sorry, sir.'
“Yes sir.” same here. “Yes, sir.”
this may just be a UK VS US thing but I have noticed a lack of comma's where a pause is needed. Such as:
“Oh and Mr. Campbell?” could be: “Oh, and Mr. Campbell?”
Overall, I really like the start of your book. The writing is solid and a part from the spelling of honor, I would have said you were British. The use of language is superb and engaging. I got to know and like Jason and Mr Emryss is pretty creepy which makes me think he is Merlin. We haven't yet been fully introduced to the rest of the characters per se but this is about Jason. I get the feeling that Sheila is Morgan-le-Fey.

Chapter 2: Is this really necessary? The end of the last chapter was perilous enough, this kind of removes that terror for me. I know know that the threat is a 'man' whereas before there was more suspence when you think he may be a thing.

chapter 3: I really like chapter 3 but it seems to be missing something. I'm not sure what though. Again good solid writing and with the man in the suit I do think there would be a bigger sense of peril is the second chapter was removed.

I only have time to read the first three chapters but overall, I really like this story. i shall be returning for a further read. Well done.

JD view book

written 1024 days ago

Hi Sabastion

I have read your story and throughly enjoyed it. It is obviously aimed at children with the language being simple yet educational. It is a story about courage and not accepting defeat without a fight. For all that though I do feel your book is a bit short. I know that this is for the age bracket of 6-10 but even at that age my brother and I were having Enid Blyton stories read to us. I feel that you have produced an excellent basic story that now requires a lot of fleshing out as it currently feels very rushed. I didn't have time to really get to know the characters before they are thrown into danger and then suddenly, the story is ending. It is such a good story that I really want to hold onto the characters for a lot longer than you have given me. If a story is really enjoyable, it doesn't matter how long it is because a child will persever with the story. This one can benefit from being longer!

All in all, a wonderful read with bags of potential.

JD view book

written 1059 days ago

Hi Stella

This is your BHG review. Please note that these are merely my opinions so use them or discard them at will. I come at this story with a similar one your character and to you as I was born in SA and immigrated to the UK 12 years ago. This review is on the first chapter. I may come across as negative and brutal but that is not my intent and please understand that I have a self-deprecating humour and a sarcastic wit, so what seems patronising may only be a misguided attempt at humour.

Pitch: I like your short pitch. It's snappy, to the point and reels you in. I like your long pitch but it needs to be neatened up a bit. It's just not a snappy as your short pitch.

Chapter 1: It needs a lot of toning and weeding but you have a good base to start from. I am, however,disconnected with the story and it is way too long. This one chapter can quite easily be three. I will treat each part as it's own chapter.
Part 1: Who is she and where is she? You say her old bedroom but where? Put me on the map. You are giving me an invitation into someone's life, their home but I can't go because I have no idea where they live or who they are so I can't even ask for directions. You definitely have the characters experiencing the right emotions but they are not strong enough. Especially when someone is that against you going. This part needs to be cleaned up a bit and expanded on significantly. It's too fast. You definitely have the questioning down. Why are you running away is an excellent one. No one seems to understand that you aren't necessarily leaving, just going somewhere else. It's no different to moving towns really. The name Bimbo needs to be reconsidered. It may be a Nigerian nickname but has far too many negative meanings to be taken seriously. And what's with the obsession with getting married? It distracts me completely from her agony of leaving everything behind. In fact, you seem to take more time explaining that to me than her emigrating. It's like having a wonderful meal and then you slop tomatoe sauce on top. I know what you are trying to show the reader but when you are embarking on a new journey, that is the only thing on your mind. Also, this obsession shows her to be very insecure of herself. She is a doctor and more than likely had a few requests for marriage by now. She will be seen to be an excellent prospect and a wealthy one. A good catch. What kind of background does she come from? This may sound like a stupid question but as an African (and I'm white) I have been asked the most ridiculous questions regarding Africa. EG. Do we still live in mud huts? Or do we have elevators? My answer was, no we have a bucket on a rope. They completely missed the point that if we still lived in mud huts we wouldn't need elevators! And my personal favourite, did I have lions and tigers in my back garden? Don't ask, I tried not to figure out the logic. The reason I'm telling you all this is because the worlds perception of Africa is about 100 years out of date. So a black can't go to university and study to be a doctor because there is no such thing in Africa. And as for a wealthy black, well that must be a leader or a chieftan because all the others run around in loin clothes. Like I said out dated. Explain her background because not everyone has the option to go to uni let alone study medicine. That requires some serious cash. Also, give me her reasons for emigrating. They are very relevant as each person leaves for different reasons. It needs to have a lot more back story to start off with. Slow down and remove the fast forward button. Another thing you need to sonvey is her sense of fear and the craving for acceptance. You want to go but with everyone's blessing.
Part 2: Boom bang gone. I'm saying goodbye, I'm on a plane, I'm here, hooray. Not quite. There are tons of emotions going through your head before you get on that plane. You go from shit scared to exhiliarated to freaking terrified to wanting to call your mother and that's just at check in. Next you actually see the plane and it's terrifying because you've probably never seen one this close before. A 747 I mean. There's also what it represents. This is D-day in many ways. A milestone. A day you will never forget a single day in your life and one you can remember every second of until you die. You are like child going into it's first sweet shop. And worse, you're doing all of this alone. so there's no one to give you the courage to do this. All you have is the conviction that it's the right thing to do weighed against everyone else telling you you're crazy. The strength to get on that plane has to come from you. Tell me about her milestone, show me the first steps of her journey. The first steps of any journey are the most important.
Part 3: Again with the marriage obsession. You're on a honking big plane heading into who knows what. The last thing you care about right now is some dude you may never meet. Your first priorites are landing (preferabely textbook but you've heard stories), getting through the border (you've come all this way and you do NOT want to get kicked out), finding your stuff, getting to your hotel and settling into life somewhere else. That's it. Anything else is not even a thought. You crave normality. And you don't sleep, not even for a second. you are too busy taking everything in. It's like being 9 months all over again. Oooh, that dot is a city. Oooh a bird. OMG I'm above a cloud. On reflection, it's ridiculous what you look at but at the time, different story. You have a fat guy sitting next to you and you couldn't care less. Besides, if he gets too friendly or space hogging an African will put him back in his place. There's a zero tolerance for bullshit. You've dealt with worse. Believe me, he is a pleasure. Then you're going through the airport and what? The biggest thing that happened was the guy had toilet paper on his shoe? You're in another country. No going back and you're terrified/exhilirated/ all emotions under the sun. A husband would even become a thousandth thought. You watch everything, you take in everything. Not even jet lag has the audacity to show its face. And OMG, you get outside and you just stare. You keep having to pinch yourself that you are really there. Remember that, although you have emigrated, you are still very much a tourist and that will never leave you. I'm still a tourist and I've been here 12 years.

opening - does it draw us in, does it set the scene, does it make us want to read further? .
No. It's way too fast, glosses over things it should explain and doesn't convey the strength of fear or conviction of the MC. Nor does it tell me anything about the character, her upbringing, her reasons for leaving or identifies her in anyway.

Point of view -has the right view been used, continuation of the POV thoughout, does each character have it's own POV?
First person is difficult. I'm using it as well so I understand. You use it beautifully.

narration - Description of location, scene, characters actions, indication of characters thoughts, backstory.
None. This is the one thing in the whole story that's lacking and it's the one thing that makes a story. Definitely needs to be considered.

Plot - Is the story believable, does it flow from one point to another nicely, exposition, clarity?
Plot is understood right from the start. She's emigrating. That's it. There's no why. She's at home, she's on a plane and she's there.

genre - does the story conform to the genre, ie, if it's billed as a thriller does it read like a thriller?
Chick lit without a doubt but could possibly be classed a coming of age story. It's also more of an adventure.

Flow/pace - Is it too fast or too slow, does it have the right impact in the correct places, where has it gone wrong?
Way too fast. Your too excited about getting to the action you miss the action. Slow down, tell me about her journey. They usually have a beginning before they get good. Tell me hers.

characters - are they real, do they react in a realistic way, do they have their own voice, style?
Strong, independant, determined. A great character but obsessed with love. For me the love story is an sub story and should happen more naturally. Like the short pitch says: She's struggling to juggle the culture shock, career, faith and finding love; then "Anonymous" shows up. I think she has enough on her plate with having to worry about a phantom would -be hubby. If I a was a guy I would run a mile from needy.

Sentence level - grammar, repetitive structure, wordiness, unneeded phrases, punctuation, spelling,
A few things could be neatened up but we'll worry about that latter. Let's get the story first. Anything else would be rushing.

Dialogue - does this make sense, is it real, is it necessary, can we understand a character?
The inner dialogue is rushed. You need to take your time with this. Also Bimbo doesn't really convey the strong feelings of abandonment that the people left behind feel. The feeling of 'so I'm not good enough'.

Originality - Have I read something similar before, is it unique, is it a new take on a current theme?
Absolutely original. Although I am not a chick lit lover (I'm more sci-fi, action) I do love this story but then I'm biased. I always enjoy reading other peoples perception of a similar experience.

Publishability - is there a genre, is it polished enough, how much work does it need?
Absolutely. Once the gapping holes have been filled I can definitely see this on a shelf at Waterstones.

overall - this is the reviewers overall take on the story as a whole. What do they feel once they have read it, what they would like to see happen within the story.
Your story has great potential but you rush it too much. I equate it too cutting a diamond. At first you have a rock. It is only once you know it's flaws can you cut a diamond worth millions. One wrong cut and the diamond is worthless. You have that rock, now let's find it. I have read the below comment you made to Janny and alhough I understand what you are saying I need to point out that you run the risk of alienating your potential readers. You can still get your story across whilst engaging your readers. You don't need to change your culture, you just have to put it across in a way that everyone can relate to. Your book may be fiction but it is also written to educate. Another thing that bugged me a little was the line Janny quoted: ‘I’m fat. You need to save me from American food.’ To an African fat is beautiful. It shows wealth and prosperity. So this rang a little untrue to me.

After writing so much I decided to only stay with the first chapter on this review or the poor website may crash. I also ask you to forgive my comments if they seem to negative or patronising. This was not my intent at all. I have Africa in my blood so I feel very passoniate about stories written about it, not to mention the experience of emigrating. You have a wonderful story once I dig it out. Your character is smart, determined, strong. Everything we want in a character but she needs to defined more. Right now I ahve read the synopsis and I look forward to reading the story.

Kind regards
JD view book

written 1060 days ago

Hi Rusty

This is your BHG review based on 2 chapters. This is merely my opinion so please feel free to discard or use at will.

Pitch: Uninteresting. It leaves me confused and offers no insight into the story. What do you mean by Baby Boomer? Needs to tell me more about the story and be catchier.

Chapter 1: Love the voice of the piece, her humour and pragmatic approach to her condition. I have a few major problems with it though. Who is she, where is she and what is she doing? More importantly, does she have a name? Lose the "hello" and the OMG at the beginning and go in with the Imagine. The first bit is merely a distraction. First part is her and what she thinks of herself. Derogatory and gives a keen sense of her negative side with a bit of 'I'm not really worth the effort'. Then we introduce Tam. So he is Irish with a keen dress sense but who is he? We know that he is there to evaluate her but for what? A tax return, a medical condition or even a bank loan. The next bit confuses me completely. Previously the Italics indicated that Tam was speaking but the second time around it was her thoughts. It made me think that this is what Tam was saying to her and left me very confused. You need to choose a style and stick to it. The writing itself is brilliant but you are rushing to get to the action. Slow down and draw us through the story.

Chapter 2: Again, very confused. We have no clue as to why this woman is talking about sex. You've gone from having her evaluated to talking about sex? Am I reading about a mental health issue or an interview for a porno? There's no continuaty here. No interaction between the characters either. It's very disjointed. Do shrinks ask people about sex when they are completing a psychiatric evaluation? I wouldn't think so unless they were being assessed for nymphomania. There isn't much of an evaluation either. We have no sense of purpose or time. Again, you're in too much of a rush to say something and I've got to tell you, having some speak about sex for no reason tends to put me off. It screams 'I don't really know what to write so I'll go for the shock value'. What a waste of talent. And you have that in spades. The observations are hilarious and really made me laugh.

opening - does it draw us in, does it set the scene, does it make us want to read further?
Left me very confused and uninterested. I have no idea where, who or how or even what. Needs to be expanded on more to give a better demographic.

Point of view -has the right view been used, continuation of the POV thoughout, does each character have it's own POV?
1st Person is so intimate and focused. I love how you write from her point of view but you do so with no purpose. Even if this is the intention, we need to know more about the other parts of the scene. It sounds as though you are writing purely from inside her head which is fine but then don't bring in another character. I think that this style would be better suited to a diary style which is completely one person driven. Asking a patient to keep a diary is a basic technique for a shrink.

narration - Description of location, scene, characters actions, indication of characters thoughts, backstory.
None of the above. All I have his her thoughts and nothing else. For all I know she could be in the moon.

Plot - Is the story believable, does it flow from one point to another nicely, exposition, clarity?
If there's a plot it is hidden because I can't see it. There's just a few hints at a subtext and the ramblings of a nutter. Or is she a nutter?

genre - does the story conform to the genre, ie, if it's billed as a thriller does it read like a thriller?
No idea what genre this is. It needs more work before it can be properly tagged.

Flow/pace - Is it too fast or too slow, does it have the right impact in the correct places, where has it gone wrong?
Too fast. So in fact, that I can't even see it move. We need more exposition and whole lot more introduction.

characters - are they real, do they react in a realistic way, do they have their own voice, style?
For all her problems comes across as strong, independant and feisty. She may not be able to control what's happening to her but she is sure as hell going to fight it. She is aslo sarcastic and observant. She is a well rounded character with a clear and strong voice. Can't say much about Tam though.

Sentence level - grammar, repetitive structure, wordiness, unneeded phrases, punctuation, spelling,
Impeccable. Love the style of writing, the tone and the structure. There are a few words missed out here and there but the wording itself needs no work. You just need to add more for the back story.

Dialogue - does this make sense, is it real, is it necessary, can we understand a character?
There is no real dialogue which reinforces the diary style.

Originality - Have I read something similar before, is it unique, is it a new take on a current theme?
Completely original. An excellent take on mental health. Something that very few people would do and I applaud you for it.

Publishability - is there a genre, is it polished enough, how much work does it need?
There is a market for it but it's no where near ready. However, once the flaws are ironed out this has very chance of being published, for the humour if nothing else.

overall - This story has bags of potential. You have a witty and fun yet seriously deluded individual. I need to know about her before I can really care about her and definitely need to be given some form of time and space. Makes me wonder if Tam is another figment of her imagination. An imaginary companion.

I'm sorry if my review has been negative but you have a fantastic story that is hidden away. I equate it to a diamond. At first all you have is a lump of rock. You need to study and understand the rock's flaws before you can cut a perfect diamond worth millions. One wrong cut and the rock is worthless. I would love to see this story polished up. I have great hopes for it.

Kind regards

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written 1066 days ago

Hi Claire

This is your BHG review. Please note that this is just my opinion so you may use or discard it at will. I have only read the first two chapters.

Pitch: Not catchy enough. First line is a little hard to get my tongue around. Maybe something like: 'Falling in love may just change everything. Your plans, your future, you. Even your Politics.'. I like the long pitch though. It's got just enough in it to tell me about the story and tells me what it;s about. It's a love story but not a soppy one.

Chapter 1: I really like the first chapter. It flows nicely with an easy pace. Dialogue is playful and hints at there being more between the characters. I like the use of the tenses. The only issue I have with this is the sudden introduction of Mark. I know that you have mentioned that the character may be coming to Brussels but then he is suddenly there. We know that the tow of them will break up but we don't know why. I get the feeling that it's Mark's doing but there's nothing to state what. Might even be better to leave Mark out of the last bit. He is more of a threat to come.

Chapter 2: The first part of chapter 2 is a repeat of the last bit in chapter 1. This bit works better here. I like this chapter. It's a sweet introduction to our character but I don't really know the MC. I know she is a politian but is she married, does she have kids? We know more about the other characters than her. Might be a good idea to add more about her before she meets Brad. What are her ambitions? Or maybe even how they meet. Also, who is Stephanie and Ben? Suddenly, we have two new characters. You tend to jump around a bit too much. Reminds me of Kill Bill but without the blood shed. I like the way you jump between then and now, it's something we all do but you need to define and be clear in the why your doing it. There's no point introducing a character without an explanation. Why is Mark there? What is he like? Just expand on your characters a little bit.

opening - A good opening chapter. Needs to introduce the MC a bit more.

Point of view - An excellent use of POV. Especially with the past and the present.

narration - (Description of location, scene, characters actions, indication of characters thoughts, backstory).
Not enough given. I don;t the MC background, how she meet Brad. Nor do I really know where they are. This is the area that neds the most work.

Plot - (Is the story believable, does it flow from one point to another nicely, exposition, clarity? )
The story is lovely and completely believable. Who hasn't looked back at the what if's? It does jump around a little too much. Needs to have more of a defined jumping. Suddenly characters are introduced for no real reason. Plot is clear as we know that these are her memories and her real life.

genre - does the story conform to the genre, ie, if it's billed as a thriller does it read like a thriller?
I'm not sure I would classify this as chick lit. This is more of a literary fiction. Whatever it's genre tag it definitely reads like literary fiction.

Flow/pace - Is it too fast or too slow, does it have the right impact in the correct places, where has it gone wrong?
Pace is good. Brings out the right emotion in the right places.

characters - are they real, do they react in a realistic way, do they have their own voice, style?

The past characters are more defined than the present characters. you have descripted beautifully how the act and react to certain scenarios. point in fact, the Brownie incidwnt with Mark. She shows she is possessive.

Sentence level - grammar, repetitive structure, wordiness, unneeded phrases, punctuation, spelling,
Grammar, puntuation and spelling are superb. No repetitiveness. The use of language as well is wonderful.

Dialogue - does this make sense, is it real, is it necessary, can we understand a character?
This is fantastic. I can actually see the characters in my head and the dialogue moves the story along. It's not to wordy, or clunky but playful.

Originality - Have I read something similar before, is it unique, is it a new take on a current theme?
It's not a orginal storyline. There are other books that look into the past but you have a new take on a current theme.

Publishability - is there a genre, is it polished enough, how much work does it need?
Absolutely. It is beautifully written, it's good fun and it really draws at the readers emotions. I can really feel what the character is feeling. Needs a bit of work and polishing but has an excellent chance of getting published.

comments - this can include any other comments the reviewer feels they wish to make.
You're falling into the age old trap of trying to get to the action fast. It's something I do as well but you need to take the time out to introduce your characters to the reader before the action. How can we enjoy a characters memories if we don't know who she is?

overall - this is an excellent book with great potential. If this is first draft then I'm seriously jealous. You have the writing ability and in time it's only going to get better.

Well done.


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written 1077 days ago

Hi Cariad

This is your BHG (I keep wanting to write BFG) review. Please note that this is my opinion only that you may use or discard at will. This is also not my prefered genre so I may not be of much help. I have read the first chapter and will return for more when I can:

Chapter 1: Well written. It is full of pain, anger and you get a sense of her wanting to leave. I love the backpack. there are three characters in this scene two I can identify, Coo and Joe. The third I'm having trouble with, he's not really there yet I know that he is important in the story. Also the scene where he comes up to Joe and Coo and tramp asks Joe to tell her he saw God was a little confusing. I have no idea who said the last line. Just needs to be cleaned up a bit. there needs to be more definition added to the story line as it seems to meander along a little bit. Nothing a bit of description can't cure. When you come to the speech, there is no character action involved.

for example: ‘I like to be tidy,’ he says, ‘don’t you? How old are you by the way?’
Could be written like this: 'I like to be tidy. don't you?' He says, sitting down.
'By the way,' he asks, leaning forward. 'How old are you?'

It gives movement to the story and allows the characters to show their intent and not just tell it. Another thing is with the continuation of speech. I'm not sure of the rule but I remember it being that the first sentence finished and the second part of the sentence continues after as a new sentence. Like this:

'Tell her!' he croaks. 'Tell her I had a message from God.'

Plot – Good start. Sets up the characters although the tramp needs to made clearer. Good flow of narration and then dialogue. Needs a bit more description of the area and a clearer flow of story.

Pacing – Good pace for an opening chapter. It draws you in and keeps you going. It needs to be more gripping in order for me to want to read more. Although I feel their pain, I've not really wanting to know more. It just seems to be the usual teenage anguish. I think to make this more exciting we need to know more about why they are there, in that place. We know Coo is sad about her brother because he was abusive but we have no idea about Joe. We know he was crying and we know about the police. I get the feeling that they are connected. Maybe add that to the coffee scene. Even, if Joe doesn't want ot talk about it, bring it into the story.

Characters/Characterization - Needs to be defined more. I'm having an issue trying to visualise the characters.

Point of View/Voice - A little undecided at the moment. Needs to be stronger.

Style – Doesn't really work for me at the moment. It's seems to basic.

Sentence level – Good but there are some errors.

Dialogue - Good, informative to a degree but needs to be clearer and contain more.

Originality - None. this is a normal teenage anguish, potentail romance novel. It is also a road to forgiveness story.

Publishability - Has potential. It definitely has a market. However, it is not yet ready as it needs to be more defined in characters, description and plot.

I hope that this helps. I'm sorry if I appear to critical but it is not my intent.

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written 1082 days ago


This is your BHG review. Please note that this is purely my own opinion and may be used or discarded at will.
I have read chapter 1. I will return and read more when I get a chance.

Plot – Opening not clear. We have no clear idea of who DR Mamon is or what he is supposed to be doing. Nor do we know his location. Need clearer explaination of his work area and the Archive. There is not enough background information to put us in the scene. What is the significance of the archive analysis? It's also a bit too disjointed. It moves from one view to another too quickly and not smoothly.

Pacing – There is far too little backstory. I don't know enough about the scene, the country, the when, the where, or even the who to really be engaged in the story. I know the Dr's name but that's it. I have no idea who he is or what he is supposed to be doing. Nor is there a clear reason for the compilation of data.

Characters/Characterization - Not well defined. I have no clear picture of the Dr nor do I know his purpose. I don't even know what he is researching. He also seems detacted from me, inaccessable. I can't connect to him as a reader should.

Point of View/Voice - POV is not new and doesn't work. The voice is bland and holds no appeal. There's no life in the words. It's almost as though they were simply put on paper. They need to be injected with energy.

Style – very clinical and sterile which is at odds with your pitch as this suggests a happy community.

Sentence level – grammar is ok, there are a few issues here and there. Incorrect words have been used and words have been missed out. Spelling is great and the prose itself flows well.

Originality - None. This is a futuristic city that is almost a Utopia with a villian who wants to thwart that for his own ends. In stops hero who saves the day. Add in the technology and not very original.

Publishability - sadly none. It has great potential but needs extensive work and expansion on background info. It also requires an injection of oomph an life into it. Make the characters and and plot more exciting. Tell me more about where they are, what's the world around them like. I think you need to establish what our hero is trying to protect right from the start. Explain what technology he is using, why he is using it. Why does he refuse to use the replicators? What is the Dr researching and why. There is too little information in this draft to be considered eligible for publishing.

I hate having to give a negative review because I know just how much work has gone into this book but I believe in telling the truth. I would rather give you the opportunity to fix what is wrong and get it right before approaching an agent than having you waste your time. You have the basics, you have the plot, you have the characters, now make them real. Consider this the rough sketch of a design before making a technical drawing. You are a good writer if a little trepid. Let go and embrace this world. Let it talk through you not at you. I wish you all the best in this story and please do not give up hope. With time and patience this story will live.

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written 1088 days ago

Hi Raechel

I have only read the first chapter. It is beautifully written with an easy pace and has wonderful imaginery. There are some issues, however. First of all, I think you should describe the desert to us first, the silence of the desert, the activity of the desert. Put us on the map. Not many people know what a desert contains or has. Also, let us see and feel his journey in searching for a purpose. There is a spiritual essence to a desert if you listen closely enough. Use this to describe the desert, show us the hidden depths of a land. Doing this will let us embrace his reading of the animals and land later on a whole lot more. Then have him at the dam. This will make the peril of him crossing the dam more convincing. Maybe give us more detail about the dam. We know that it was built before he was born by his people but who and when? How decayed is it and does it need to be repaired? Maybe use this as an analogy to his life. The water could represent life and the dam the human mind or spirit. We use the dam to contain the water but once it decays what happens. You have to add signs in everywhere if you are going down the Native American route. Signs are everywhere, even in a reflection. I also need to know who Adam is. Is he Native American? I get the feeling that he is from the way he 'reads' the animals. We also need to hear his thoughts more. Let us get to know Adam and his connection to the desert. They are very important to the story.

The pitch needs to be far more gripping. To me this has the essence of a spiritual journey of discovery not just a search for a missing boy. That needs to be reflected in the pitch. Maybe something like this:

'We all walk the path of life to find our purpose. Some make their way with ease, others need a little help to spur them along.

A young boy is missing. Lost with the horse who saved his life but not forgotten. He is chased by nightmares and haunted by darkness.

An old man is lost. He has no purpose but his final task upon this Earth. He must wander the desert to find his final path and fulfil his last quest.

A family friend is hunting. He seeks for the lost boy but not alone. He must deal with a sun-crazed hermit who may be the devil incarnate.

Each must undertake their own rite of passage but it was never said they should do so alone. The spirits of the desert will show the way, send guides to assist and lay signs along the path but it takes a open mind to see them. Will each see the signs in time to rescue themselves? '

This is just a rough draft that you can choose to use or not. I think you need to embrace the spiritualism a lot more in your story. So far I'm loving it. You have a great way with words, just needs to be polished.

I hope this helps and I will get to the rest of your story when I have a chance.

Good luck
JD view book

written 1090 days ago


You definitely know your history but I feel that this has been put above your story. The first chapter has to grab a reader and to me, it feels very disconnected. You have introduced characters in short succession but have not taken the time to tell us who they are. I will go through each section and give you my views.

Section one: The first sentence doesn't gel with me for the simple reason that it's not definitive time wise. The set up indicates that the bodies are old and decayed yet at the same time you mention that the group overseeing the battle field. Are they the victors or are they simply looking at the leftovers of a previous battle? Another thing that really didn't go down well was the phrase : 'The bodies were picked clean by looters'. That just seemed really gross. I know what you meant but the image that was conjured up was not the one you meant. I got the vision of people actually picking the bodies clean and people don't do that. We also have no idea who Shenq is or why he is important. There are also plenty of spelling mistakes, incorrect use of words and missing punctuation. Hoard should be horde.

Section 2: You change to a different scene with different characters but don't set up the scene. Where are we? Is this the same king as before? Why does he take such an interest in Shenq? Who is the prisoner and why is he so important?

Section 3: Again you have introduced characters but not set up where they are. Are they on the same boat as the previous section? If so then you need to add this in in the previous section. Although there is a mention of ten other survivors, it is never stated that they are on deck as well.

Section 4: Is better. We now know the connection between the dead prisoner and the character but I don't feel enough of his pain or his rage. Not only has he lost his father but was not mentioned on his fathers last breathe. Yet, he feels compelled to bury his father. you need to add more to this as I get the feeling this is where the story actually starts.

Overall you have a fantastic and unique story. One that just needs to be fine tuned and cleaned up. We need to know more about the characters and the arena they are in. We also have no discription of the characters, only their names. This is a common error, one I am guilty of as well. We are so determined to get straight to the action we forget the necessary such as why they are fighting. Sometimes, to pick up the pace you need to slow it down. Elaborate more. It is within the first ten pages that we must set the scene. For me it doesn't quite flow comfortably. Another observation is that there are far to many adjectives. It's telling me what I'm seeing and not showing me. Let the characters interactions and response to the scene in front of them show me what has happened.

You have great potentail and a great starting point. I am being picky but if you don't know the issues then you can't correct them. I wish you all the best with your book.


JD view book

written 1105 days ago

Hi Su

Good concept but doesn't work in a diary style. First of all there is no dialogue in a diary. Second of all there is no back story. A diary is about that day's feelings and discription. You have mixed up first person and a diary POV. This needs to be remedied in order for this book to be considered. Decide on a POV and stick to it. Has bags of potential but needs a lot of work.


JD view book

written 1107 days ago

Hi James

I have read 4 chapters so far and I am loving it. Love the tone, style and pace of the book. You end up feeling sorry for Lizzy but at the same time can't wait to find out what she does next. There is one problem, however, I find the notations and footnotes to be very annoying. It detracts me from the story as I keep having to break my concentration to get the relative info. It would be far better to include this info within the story. Apart from that I love this story.


JD view book

written 1110 days ago

Hi Karen

I have only read the first two chapters and skim read the third chapter of your book and I absolutely love your turn of phrase, your characters and your story. The story just rolls off the page and into my mind with life and vibrancy. Your choice of words causes a cascade of images to roll across my mind with such ease. The only problem that I have with your book is that I feel I already know the ending and therefore I don't engage with the characters as I should. The aim of a synopsis is to engage the reader and allow them to find out about the story for themselves. To this end I would remove the sentence 'Isabel has no idea Michael is only dreaming her,' simply because this reveals too much. As far as Isabel is concerned, her world is no more unreal than ours is. The fact that she exists within someone's mind is irrelevant, she still exists. Allow the revelation of the dream to come through the actions of your character. It would make it all that more poignant.

The first chapter is beautiful, if somewhat disconnected. You were obviously trying to find your voice. I agree with someone else's comment whereby you need to show her feelings more, rather than telling us what she feels.

With Chapter 2, I feel that this has happened too early in the story. It would be far more intreging not knowing that Michael is in a coma. I think Chapter 3 should replace Chapter 2 as this is the land where the story is to take place and we need to know about it. I also love the way Michael suddenly arrives at the end of the chapter. The less we know about Michael at this stage the more interesting he is. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why does no one know him? This allows the reader to tag along and find the answers along with the characters.

Apart from that you have a wonderful and beautiful story. One I will endeavour to read to the end and enjoy all the way.


J D Regan
Destiny or Choice? view book