benedict recent comments

written 98 days ago
cherry

YARG

Hi there,

sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, I should have probably waited till after Christmas to put my book up on here as I've had no time.

There is a lot to like about your book. You have a good way with language and you combine the different elements and periods well. Furthermore you have chosen a period in history to play with which not only offers a lot of interesting possibilities to your narrative but is still a source of intrigue to a lot of people. The opening chapter is particularly strong and you find a lot to delve into in the character of your young witch. I was very much taken into the cell with her and the arrival of the unknown figure is very exciting for a young reader.

The third chapter too is well handled as we jump once more into the past and you introduce the back story and the terrible villain.

The biggest problem I found with the book is that you have a tendency to over-write. It's not that you spend too much describing things but that you use several adjectives when often only one would do. This is particularly the case when describing people's feelings. As opposed to bringing us deeper into their minds however, it has the effect of distancing us from the action as often the language you use is over the top. This is a shame as without that, I think you'd have a very nice tale and it would really help if you could rein it in a little!

Here is the close criticism that I found in the first two chapters

For any other member of the town’s community the Sun’s rising would be welcome,
-I’d say would have been welcome – as your narrative is in past tense

For the young girl, the certain knowledge of the exact time and place of her death was a torment,
-I’d delete certain – it’s overplaying your hand a bit

All night long she had wept for her mother,
-this made me think it was the mother being put to death

The heartless brute
-a bit of a theatrical insult – not very personal

Prisoner’s smock
-apostrophe

she knew that then she would have just a few more minutes before her life WAS over;
-avoids the repetition

she wouldn’t be hanged till DAYBREAK.
-daylight isn’t a time

Chapter 2
The young boy scoured his fingers through spiky brown hair
-scour doesn’t sound right to me, it would imply that he is scratching his scalp very hard

of freckles was framing a shot ON his cell-phone
?

while Freckles seemed no older than HIM
-not a reflexive sentence so only him needed not himself

Lad
- By using lad instead of kid or boy it makes your narrator sound older than the target audience which may be offputting.
Two seven-year-old heads nodded as one.
-hyphens

The two boys held back slightly, before the first lad turned to the youth at his side.
-these references to the nameless boys are becoming grating. Couldn’t you just say the two boys turned to one another?

answered the freckle-faced youth,
-hyphen

“Yeah!” Finn quipped
-quipped means joked – he’s not joking here, also these sort of dialogue tags are very out of fashion in modern writing, it’s better to keep to simple things like said/asked/replied

Gregor let OUT a soft whistle.
Then he went to fix some other people’s planes,
-apostrophe

Their speech sounds a lot older than seven also the level of language in the book is clearly aimed at older children so you should definitely make your characters older – at least 12!

But,” he winked, “don’t tell my dad that.
-by laying out the sentence like this you’re saying that he winked the word but. It’s a separate action so should not be set out between commas but as a sentence in its own right.

The tempest’s destructive outcome
-apostrophe

Considering how prevalent belief in witchcraft was at the time that’s a rare feat.
-Is that true. Surely witches weren’t killed in most towns at the time which is why Salem is so famous.

finished the rambling story the guide led most of the party of shuffling children
- You overdo the adjectives sometimes

their versions of the witch’s story
-apostrophe

he was led to a locked door
- led not lead

The female author
- We know she’s female why remind us?

that seemed hopeful, at least from the scribbling’s on the faded brown card
-apostrophe not needed

through the drawer’s contents
-apostrophe needed

She had been just twelve years old.
-this doesn’t seem to be the kind of detail which would get forgotten especially when there were such readily accessible documents around

Instantly, the moment he saw her tears, he regretted his hurtful actions
- Seems contradictory, use instantly or the moment he saw tears not both. Either way it’s overwriting to use both

real men never used violence against the fairER sex.

cashing in on that poor girl’s suffering
-apostrophe, also it’s a bit odd that they objected to a child being hanged but not an adult

Best of luck with this, you've got some good material to work with and with a little trimming it could be a great book for young people. Just think carefully about the language you use and also, as I said above, about the age of the main characters in relation to your audience.

Highly starred,

Benedict


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written 131 days ago
cherry

YARG!

Hey Chris sorry it's taken me a while. Last time I was on Autho I was working half the hours I do now so it's tougher to find the time.

I enjoyed the opening three chapters. You're incredibly good at pacing and though there's not too much action at the very start you keep the reader gripped through what is essentially just a storm whilst all the time slowly introducing us to the characters.

The central character for me is a little blank at this stage. We know he's strong and athletic but couldn't he have something more to his personality hinted at? Perhaps this comes in later but at the moment he's a little too clean cut to win me over.

But the frame of the novel is very strong and, as always, you retain control of the plot and action extremely well.

Here is all my close crit for the first chapter

“That’s a game changer,” J.C. jokes from the front of our canoe as thunder rumbles over our heads, echoing along the river bank.
I find this far too cheesy to be an opening line. It’s not as if game changer is a particularly unusual phrase which you have to explain to the audience. It feels to me like you’re underlining the metaphor far too strongly. It also kind of reminds me of the bit in “Stop or my mum will shoot!” when Stalone says. “Stop, or my mum will shoot."

Will calls back from the canoe he shares with his brother, Nate – shouldn’t this be present continuous – or if it’s a habitual thing wouldn’t it be more common to say owns or has?

designer sunglasses – not the subtlest of messages that she’s wealthy.

. It looks perfectly fine to me, like always – why the italics? The whole thing is from his perspective. You do this a lot but I don't really see that it's necessary.

and reduced the ONCE pristine Eleven Point Scenic River to a mere trickle – as it’s now a trickle???

, I WAS relieved to see that no one else was parked there this morning – You can’t use past perfect here. The past perfect is the past of the past. As you’re book is in the present tense you need to use the past simple – as above.

I hadn’t anticipated reaching – again – should be past simple. You use hadn’t in past tense novels to mark a point which happened before that already past moment. Here it should be I didn’t or perhaps you could say, I never…

the knee-deep water – hyphen

I flinch as a crack of thunder, sharp like a rifle shot, seems to tear the sky open overhead.
-to me here, seems, suggests something visual, maybe sounds like would be better

muddy bank – you repeat this within a half a page

“Good catch.”
not good call or good spot? In what way is it a catch?

Climbing nimbly as an ape – I assumed this was a negative thing. If you compare someone to an ape you normally suggest they are big and clumsy

muddy bank. – three times now

a NEAR-BLINDING downpour is on top of us – sounds smoother to me

my six-and-a-half-foot, power forward frame – punctuation

Haley whimpers – you keep reiterating her name, I think you could just say she as no one else is mentioned
but it’s A kinda cool to experience a good storm. – though as it’s speech you might prefer it the other way

At times I can’t even see the brothers goofing around, and the sound of the downpour is so loud that we can’t even hear – two “can’t even”s = rather harsh repetition

A burst of panic overtakes me. WE’LL BE in serious trouble if they’re swept away. – clearer

Good work again Chris,

I'll back this to the desk and wish you all the best with it.

Ben

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written 134 days ago
cherry

Hi John,

This is a return CHIRG.

I liked your opening chapters and think it's a big improvement on your early upload of your first book.

The biggest strength here is your characters. Especially the two best friend Radgers who we immediately come to like. They add a lot of depth and humour to the set up and avoid it being too simple a fantasy.

I liked the concept of the Radgers in general though I thought the meeting when we got to it was surfed over too quickly, with the selection process described instead of shown. Perhaps you could have the different Radgers volunteering instead of being chosen as this might add some tension.

The biggest problem I had with the story though was Sayra. Though she shows some bite, she's rather a flat character and it is also slightly bizarre the way she just pops up on the planet. I think we should have some event before she gets there - a meteor coming from the sky which the two radger friends investigate for example - to bring us into the story. At the moment your opening feels a bit too much like a summary too. It would be better to start with some action then describe the world in more detail later.

Still, I think you have the beginnings of an interesting adventure and I really like the humour and pace.

Here's all the Close Crit!

CH1
you'd probably be run away – delete be
Yes, you heard correctLY, they call themselves radgers, - more grammatically correct
began to sniff Sayra who was a little shocked to even talk
– sense not entirely clear here – I’d delete “even” or change “a little” to TOO
'That is what it said it wants, - not very smooth
Inconvenience – spelling
'How can't you not have heard of that?' – is there strange way of speaking intentional? Should be how could or how can….
Nevertheless – one word
led Sayra to a remarkable site – perhaps SIGHT??
becoming a little annoyed that Visk and Bala weren't saying much ON the subject
No shrugging – spelling
They all clearly RECOGNISED – Spelling

CH 2
There were various looking radgers, - I don’t understand this
the centre of everyone’s attention – apostrophe
The silence would have been terrifying if Sayra hadn't FOUND – deleted have
she'd already met. She liked Bars already
-repetition of already, better to avoid
he wasn't AFRAID of anything - spelling
He was considered to BE the highest jumper
, he'd already forgotten his anger AT Sayra going along (for now
A SMILE raised on the right side of his face.
'I'm very proud of you, son, - comma
Sayra believed to have heard it all. – not a typical phrase – Thought that she’d heard everything - maybe?
He stretched out, breathing smoke out of HIS nose.


This is a really good beginning and has a lot of promise. Highly rated and I'll be back for more once I get through my backlog.

Best of luck,
Benedict
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written 145 days ago
cherry

CHIRG Review

HI Craig,

There’s some fantastic stuff here. You’re plain and simple a very capable writer with some nice ideas and great comic flourishes. You set up the world of the Treewoods elegantly and I love the old grandfather in his laboratory.

I also like the rather scholarly narrator you’ve employed with his knowledge of astronomical publications and herbal infusions – though I imagine some of the detail here would have to be reduced if looking to appeal to a younger audience.

I did question the extremely short chapters and found it to be quite distracting when, finding myself within the story, it would suddenly cut short.

As well written as engaging as the book is, my biggest issue was that we can’t really picture our characters until at least the sixth chapter when we are told they are in fact half human/half tree. Before this point I was questioning the scale and manoeuvring of the protagonists and still have plenty of doubts – for example, how can there be wooden steps which presumably feel no pain but a table that can and why doesn’t a tree set on fire? Also, if there’s no sunlight – after all, the grandfather can’t find it in the sky – how can they survive? How does anything grow?

I’m not really saying this is any obstacle to your narrative but I do think you should address these issues earlier and allow us to picture how the characters are interacting and moving about.

Here’s my close criticism of the first 6 Autho chapters.

The preface sounds more like a blurb than a part of the story. You should avoid telling the reader what’s about to happen but rather show them the world they’re in and allow them to enjoy it.

Calling all characters Treewood is a little literal. It’s rather like having a book about cars all with the surname cargas. – couldn’t you find something a little more figurative?

long, hot afternoons
– comma

To play music – isn’t very descriptive – contrasts with the rest of the nicely written paragraph = perhaps say what instruments they play or find another expression for it

Dark, uncertain – comma

Doors and shutters = one or the other might run more smoothly
– I’d go with shutters to be different

Frostbitten = one word or hyphenated

Why so short a first chapter? You’ve built up some nice description
– why break our concentration?

Amongst his day to day duties, it was his responsibility to ensure that life in the forest ran smoothly. In his spare time, when he had any, he liked nothing better than to indulge in his favourite pastime - astronomy.
– I’ve split the sentence in two as I think it would run better like this.

Tree Surgeon – funny

Perhaps too much technical info on the components of the telescope
It seems odd that his telescope would be the best in the land if you could find the instructions to build one in a journal. Surely other people would have one in such a case?

autumn evening, but as the temperature continued to fall, the mist thickened until eventually a dense, damp sludge-grey fog
– add middle comma and also the hyphen – always hyphenate two part adjectives – e.g. broken-hearted

Later that evening, alone in his room, a pale blue wobbly apparition appeared before him. Shimmering in and out of focus, AS MANIFESTATIONS/PHANTASMS etc. from the spirit world tend to,
- to avoid repetition.

with the aid of a rusty compass and an ANCIENT, faded parchment map
– add comma take out the and to avoid repetition

CH 4
Due to LACK of sunlight
- smoother

How would you pronounce G’d – to me there’s no difference between G’d and Good so it seems unnecessary to use it

Ch 5
Why HAS it stopped?
-more natural

Weakened and depressed through the lack of sunlight
– we don’t need the reason again, we already know

Embarked on an attempt
- a bit too wordy

, for a split second,
-commas

Overall really good, I’ll take a look at some more when I get a chance and will give it the stars it definitely deserves.

Best of luck with it,
Benedict
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written 145 days ago
cherry

CHIRG Review

Hi there DLH,

There’s a lot to admire about this depression era tale. You have a nice eye for observation and build up the hardworking central character well. There is a nice nostalgic tone which suggests that the narrator is looking back on an earlier period of his life and feels quite comfortable for us as readers to settle into the tale.

It’s good to see the progression of the characters through the first two chapters. The main character (does he have a name?- I either missed it or there isn’t one included and this is rather disorientating)
develops with his hunting in the first chapter and his worldview in the second and the father’s shifting back and forth between drink and sobriety, caring and cruel is also nicely done.

What I feel is lacking, however, is a sense of place. I don’t know if it’s your intention, but the story could be taking place anywhere – though clearly in America from the voice – I’d like more regional identification or at least some scene setting of the house/town etc. Without it the story feels a little generic at times. I found this particularly apparent in the opening where we are thrown straight into the action, which is great, but then don’t really get to know much more about where we are.

Another problem you have is that, by including barely any dialogue, the story almost feels like a summary. Everything we’re told is narrated and individual scenes are only focussed on for a few lines so that whole seasons pass in a single page. This isn’t too much of a problem if you are building up to a longer stretch of narrative, but it will be difficult for you to maintain interest over the course of a novel as it is harder to delve deeper into the narrative.

Overall though it is an intelligently written and engaging opening which could benefit from some retooling to make it a little more full an account of a fascinating period in American history.

Close Criticism on First Chapter
I was eight years old the first time I remember Dad getting drunk. That was 1930, the year Cherry was born.
- Nice clear opening but perhaps not as dramatic as it could be. First lines are supposed to hook you and you should maybe focus on the domestic abuse here rather than the drinking.
It was a cold, hungry winter that year, more than I remembered it ever being before that,
- Clumsy sentence, too abstract and complicated – better simply, MORE THAN EVER BEFORE
One day I sneaked I
- Not clear where
and he MUST have known we were hungry - ??
. I couldn’t afford that. If I could have saved up the nickel I got every week from our neighbor’s soda pop bottles, I could have maybe gotten some for him, but every week there were days I couldn’t
- 4 coulds in a short space – doesn’t sound nice for the reader
It might not HAVE BEEN much, but Mother could make a soup
back to school after Christmas break, only one other KID had a hole = avoids repetition

She said it was an answer to HER prayerS, - more typical

The next week he was too tired, though, and then he hurt his leg at the railroad and HE started drinking again.
gleamed when I said that. I liked to see their eyes shining like that. – ending consecutive sentences with the same word is rather jarring for readers.
The birds sang louder that spring than I ever COULD remember, and all at once it was bright everywhere, fresh leaves glinting sunlight
- I also deleted the central period as it seemed to be in the wrong place
. The next day A MAN came back with some shoes for all of us and pants for me and some cloth so Mother could sew dresses for herself and the girls. After HE left

Dad was sober more often now. Maybe the reason he’d been drinking so much over the cold weather was that his leg hurt, or to keep warm; hard to tell. He didn’t have much MONEY, though,
- deleted second now

Obviously these are just my thoughts but I really hope they help!

Highly starred for a good opening,

Benedict view book

written 146 days ago
cherry

CHIRG review

Hi there Amanda,

I enjoyed reading your first chapter and will come back for the others.

You have a very nice tone and measure your language well for your target audience. You manage to do this without sounding patronising and whilst still allowing yourself to be descriptive. You also select your imagery well with the references to the moon, the inhabitants of the hangar etc.

I like the way you integrate the world of Jim with the world of the humans looking after him. It's skilfully done and shows real care has gone in to the creation of your tale. There are lots of nice touches like this throughout and I particularly like the family of mice who bring their belongings along with them for the journey, though thought it might be wise to introduce their names and perhaps even some characteristics earlier.

What I would worry about from the perspective of trying to get the book published would be the speed at which events are unfolding for the audience you've targeted it at. Is this written as a full on picture book or a beginner's reader book? Take a look at similarly pitched books on the markets and consider the pacing and lengths they use to advance your own chances.

Here are some close observations I made, I hope they help.

You perhaps overstress the sadness at the beginning, rather a dark opening. Maybe you could add a little more adventurousness to the end of the chapter when Jim drives off - instead of making him sad perhaps he could look forward to the next stage.

The book mightn't be published with a word in the title that most children wouldn't understand - simply jet or aeroplane might be better

Both men CARRIED a water... - EACH not necessary

...he STARTED to relax and feel more at ease - avoids repetition of BEGAN

...previously been balanceD on the man's ....

Jim liked the buffer, it tickled - needs the comma or a semi colon

...weRE not allowed...

Jim remembered being a member - not very pleasant the repetition here - a bit of a mouthful

the birds and the family of mice - missing the full stop.


high stars, best of luck with it and make sure you look in on CHIRG soon!

Benedict view book

written 285 days ago
cherry

CHIRG review

I'm in the middle of a writing session so don't have much time but your book caught my eye on the CHIRG list. Great title, interesting premise. Fabulous names!

I thought the opening was a little contradictory as you say they're an ordinary family but then change your mind, I think you should say they seem like an ordinary family

I think it should be:
And Barry hoped one day HE WOULD TO.

The Harrys and Barrys get a little confusing in the paragraph introducing Barry - perhaps you could call Harry "his dad" etc.

Cheryl the chaffinch is brilliant

You basically introduce the dad twice, that's not necessary.

Saturday morning lie ins - very funny

exclamations marks and capitals - funny

Pant ants - brilliant

Can a shed be anything but average? I don't think you need to use this device again here, it worked well in the opening but is perhaps overused.

This is packed full of brilliant ideas. However I feel the problem with this opening is that it reads too much like a blurb. You should throw us into the situation - have Barry coming home from school and tinkering with his inventions, not just tell us that he does so. Show don't tell - it's the advice you'll get a lot here on Autho!

High stars and I will return!

Benedict
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written 489 days ago
cherry

Primarily Yalf but also a CHIRG and YARG!
Sorry, late to the party as ever. This is my review of Adele's Cabinet of Curiosities. I'm 30% in and will keep reading till the end.

As I said when I first read them, the first three chapters really drag you in to the story and are extremely well polished - no doubt with help from Autho! Whilst, more generally, the book is always extremely well written, by the time Pelly gets to the family house, the book simply drags. You're spending far too much time - including at times whole chapters - describing furnishings, architecture and fairly irrelevant details at the expense of pacing, characterisation and your reader's interest in the story. I could chop about a third out of what I have read before and not lose any plot.

Firstly we don't need all this detail and secondly it doesn't seem very natural for the characters to give it to us. I was totally hooked and looking forward to what was going to happen next when she showed up to be introduced to the family and then a day (more or less) seems to pass in which she walks about a bit, talks about cushions and yet learns nothing about her magic or her relatives. There's all sorts of interesting magical influences and devices you could be talking about but instead we are told in great detail about the windows in her bedroom. I liked the development of the friendship with Forester but instead of letting us enjoy the build up, most of their time together is annotated by the narrator. I'd prefer to have the dialogue reported rather than a summary of it.

I also think it would work better if you simply had school starting the day after she arrives which would explain her lack of orientation and the reason why no one would have bothered telling her anything. As it is, it seems very unlikely the aunt would have allowed her to oversleep or not told her about who her new teacher is etc. By compressing the time span this would be more understandable, whilst you could still include her guided tour with Forester.

The other big problem you have - which is something you're no doubt sick of hearing - is how similar it is to Harry Potter. Whilst HP itself was incredibly similar to The Worst Witch and that was probably a rip off of something else, HP changed children's fiction and unless publishers and agents think you're doing something different enough, they won't touch your book no matter how well written it is. There are of course moments which are extremely unique and original - arriving at the port is great and I liked the train - though it still made me think of the Hogwarts' Express - but you need to go a bit further. I thought you were going to get around it by not having her go to school but just learning magic with her relatives, though this clearly isn't the case. The problem is that, as soon as I had HP in my head, I started finding similarities. I couldn't help but think of the greasy, grumpy teacher being a tad similar to Snape for example. And even if, in another book, I wouldn't have thought that, by writing a book about a girl who discovers she's not just a witch but a very powerful one - confirmed by a sorting process - before travelling to what amounts to a boarding school for her to hone her magic, you're inviting such comparisons.

Still, none of this has stopped me from enjoying it over all and I look forward to continuing reading it. Here are some of the things I really liked about the book. I love Pelly, she's a very complex and original character with interesting facets to her personality. Forester is also likeable though I did feel the picture we first get of him rolling about in the bushes is contradictory to what develops later. Magnus and Morgan are also well drawn. I like your use at times of different sources (diaries / blog) and the misunderstandings between Pelly and Forester are well signposted. However there are times where this technique felt less successful, particularly Pelly's first comments on the house. I'd like more revelations or more hints of magic early on instead of all that interior design basically.

A couple of small things I didn't like. I don't like swearing, not cos I really care but because I know agents won't let you say shit in a kids' fantasy book. I also thought even the suggestion that Pelly may be in love with her cousin would never be allowed to a final edit even if the whole point is to show how Magnus charms people.

Well, I hope that's not too blunt, I'll be back with plenty more once I finish the book and also have detailed notes to send you by e-mail.

I promise I'm enjoying it!

Best of luck,

Benedict view book

written 499 days ago
cherry

CHIRG
Hi Jessica,

I ended up reading the whole book and really enjoyed it.

The only questions I really had were over what kind of book your were trying to write. It's somewhere between fiction and education and whilst I enjoyed this concept I'm not sure if publishers and young readers will be so open to it. The obvious step to take would be to flesh out the fiction side of it whilst still including the same level of detail (which really is fantastic). I felt at times too removed from the action and the characters and that some things were presented in a rather cold manner. For example, people do bad things and are not punished - this is almost unheard of children's fiction and I think children would have a hard time not seeing the evil man on the first island or the rival earl on Orkney get their comeuppance.

You also have a habit of telling us what is happening instead of showing it. A lot of speech is narrated rather than laid out for us to read and this felt unnecessary to me. A lot of the plot I really got into and the characters are well drawn and believable but we would grow to like them even more if we had more words from their mouths rather than the narrator's.

Still, I honestly did enjoy the book. It's very nicely written. You have an easy style and manage to keep things flowing well and never over describe things or spend too long on one topic.
I also really enjoyed the historical elements and was pleased I knew a little about certain elements (my mum is a history teacher and has taken me to countless viking sites - we went to Sutton Hoo in July in fact).

If you ever go for the desk I'd be happy to support you. This really is a very good piece of Children's writing. Well done.

Benedict,
p.s. I've sent an email with all my small notes and corrections. view book

written 526 days ago
cherry

Yalf/Yarg/Chirg

Here be spoilers - don't read this review unless you've read the whole book!

I've just finished reading the whole of the Ghost Shirt, having had the book on my shelf for many months, right since the first week David uploaded it. I think it's full of great ideas and amazing characters, especially Tug and J.M's Beard (for those who haven't read that far, this isn't a reference to a fake girlfriend a man takes to pretend he's not gay but an actual beard that talks).

However I'm not going to talk about anything good, I'm going to rip into all the stuff I didn't like - you know, constructively. :-) I've sent David a full file of 400ish small corrections but these are my bigger concerns.

I definitely think that the original opening to the book worked better. It gave us a lot more empathy towards Angus and actually established him with a genuine personality which, I'm afraid to say, I felt was rather lacking for much of the book.

I also thought that by highlighting Little Wing's departure from her tribe you raise some unnecessary questions that the book doesn't really answer, the most prescient being why send a child all on her own without much defense against the evil she is going to encounter. I think one way of solving this would be to have her run away from the tribe as opposed to being sent. I also thought that the character of her rival in her tribe which you introduced served little purpose.

Though Koda is very cool, she ultimately doesn't do too much to help them, though she is the most useful magical thing they have. I don't think it is explained how L.W. has her, after all she has no other magical creatures and has not been to the wakan realms before and wakan creatures don't seem to be able to cross over so what's she doing in our world??

Tug is perhaps the strongest character in the book and definitely helps things move along well. More Tug?

As other people have said, after an interesting opening, you end up having them all sit around a lot talking. This incredible half native American girl appears and we expect her to do things but instead she goes to school and social services etc. There's no need for this, cut straight to the action. You could still keep the scene with the bullies in the playground - which is strong - by having her come to the school to get Angus maybe, but it takes too long from that point to get to the next interesting scene in the museum which should follow straight on. You do not need the long sections of explanation about Native American culture and I'm sorry to say it but the environmental messages are rather heavy-handed and slow the book down.

So in a sense, rather than having Angus suspect something funny is going on and getting glimpses of his sister's rituals etc. you should have her come right out and tell him, as, after all, she knows she has to tell him at some point any way.

I also had a big problem with the relationship between the twins. There friendship doesn't develop as the book goes along and Angus is very passive and apparently not particularly curious about his background. It's like you're trying to delay revelations but they never actually come. I think you need to be more upfront from the beginning and also invest more emotion into their relationship.

Doris - we're told she has reasons for the way she is but we never find them out, even if this is the first of a series of books I think certain things should be concluded and I felt the same way about Eldrich at the end.

The ending itself left me rather frustrated. They conclude their adventure but there's no closure to the relationships or much sense of achievement or reflection or sense of threat for what will follow or anything to really grip a child's imagination or want them to read a second book. Also introducing the uncle at the end is a very odd time to do it and as he doesn't add to the story at that point, I would hold off doing it. Why not have the children realise a new threat they'll have to face as a cliffhanger for the following book (this is a series, right?? Or am I confused?)

Overall, I felt that it's a book full of great ideas that are, sometimes, rather poorly executed. You write quite beautifully a lot of the time but your plotting and manipulation of the reader's imagination needs to be improved. The most obvious way to do this would be to reduce the word count by about 20-30,000 words and greatly tighten the plotting. There are just too many bits in between the action where people talk about the mythology or what they're going to do without any new revelations or character development.

Sorry if this all sounds rather harsh, I do think it's got great potential this book, your writing style is very strong and there are lots of bits which work fantastically well. Best of luck with it and I'm happy to help out with any restructuring if I can. view book

written 570 days ago
cherry

YARG review,

Hi Deklan,

Sorry it took me a while to get to you.

I enjoyed your opening chapters. I think you have some solid and original ideas here and I enjoyed the openness of whatever is going on. The character of the gnome is very intriguing and the altered reality, reflected in your MC's inability to see the landscape, people and food - though this did leave me with the question of how he could see the gnome in the first place. I also thought that his (presumably it's a man) nakedness at the start is a bold device to use.

What I liked less was his continuing uncertainty and surprise. Of course it would be surprising coming into a strange world but he reiterates his shock so much that it became rather grating. I'm also not a fan of narratives which already tell us that the MC is going to be important from the outset, for me at least such prophecies rob the narrative of suspense and I think you could have held off the announcement of his greatness at least until later on in the book. However, I did really like your description of the Mirwitch.

Your writing is generally very strong though I did come across some minor corrections you could apply, listed beneath.

I remember someone shouting, I turned in the middle of a road AND then the screech of braking tires hit my ears.
-two changes here, I think it makes it flow a little better

It felt like it was about to storm, A dark clouds overhead type of grey.

a waiting room for something else?
-Question mark not necessary

to hide my embarrassment should someone happen to see ME, especially a woman

. I felt vulnerable under the little man’s gaze, and REMEMBERING I was naked; I covered my groin

My thoughts were churning frantically with questions. Who was that man? Where were my clothes? Was I dead? Where the hell was I?
-I don’t think you have to state the questions, they’re obvious,

I’D had enough.

The little man shrugged, “You’re in the Tsaren Fay.”

I was puzzled, “Where?”
-should be period/full stop before the speech in this case.
-you only put a comma if it is a direct tag – “Hello,” he said. / “Hello.” He looked tired.

“You are new here, aren’t you?
-would the man say this, he presumably already knows

but they seemED overlarge

the only answers I received LEAD to more questions

. It was the first proper colour I HAD SEEN since I arrived THERE

and the grey landscape, though now A few colours were beginning to appear

it all, and as dizziness swamped me, I bent over and vomited
-second comma

Chapter 2
the rough, cold ground
-comma

There WERE SOME black pants made out of some animal

was dotted here and there with COPSES of trees

Perhaps a brother OR SISTER?
-more natural

He kicked dirt over the small fire and walked out OF the cave entrance

We walked in silence, and I with my head down mostly, WAS lost in my thoughts.

“Watch where YOU’RE walking lad!” he hissed at me.
I was a little taken aback BY his tone. “Sorry,” I mumbled.

trying to solve the riddle of what WAS happening to me
-what’s = present tense

same time I looked right through her TO the woods beyond.
-sounds better, you’re not intentionally looking AT the woods

AS I stared at it MORE, I noticed things moving inside it

She was crying.
“You’re an Earthchild,” she SAID softly.
-we already know she’s crying, plus editors don’t like “said-bookisms” (google it) in which we use a verb inaccurately to describe the way in which it is spoken e.g. he laughed, he hissed, he tittered. Etc.

I gaped at her in total disbelief.
- a little OTT

A really interesting idea that I feel could be tightened up a little but will no doubt make a compelling read.
Highly starred and best of luck with it,

Benedict
view book

written 572 days ago
cherry

CHIRG review

Hi Roy,

sorry it took me a while to return the read.

I love this. It's funny and loveable. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. I, of course, loved the illustrations though you'd obviously have to scan them better and touch them up in Photoshop in places before actual publication, they work very well. I particularly liked the troll foot!

No major concerns with it. The characters are great the jokes work extremely well, there's a lot of dog-owner humour that people will enjoy. Your dialogue is good, no major problems with grammar or anything like that, it's just genuinely enjoyable. I particularly liked your use of fonts, though as fonts are copyrighted I wondered if you could get a publisher to print something with so many???

Here are all the small things I came across, I hope they help and I'm sorry not to have more time to spend at the moment with your book.


Tumble smirked as the Pack Leader burst out of the Big Bed Room, DRAGGING his dressing gown on.
-I’d add the comma, delete door
-why the capitals?

the stairs and the two dogs charged down. In a flash they were through the lounge and he heard a double clunking thud thud as they charged into
-two chargeds

As he took their food bowls from the wobbly pile of washing up, the Pack Leader wondered
-comma

Doggy Doorway into the garden. There they laid down under a bush for Forty Winks in the morning sunshine.
-again, why all the capitals???

His growl, which had been a low rumbling up until now, got faster and faster
Can a growl be fast??

After rummaging around a bit, Ruff pulled out his book
-comma

she was a Royal Princess, SEPERATED FROM HER PARENTS at birth. The Palace was going to send for her soon. Or so she SAID!
-I thought lost at birth sounded odd so something like this might work better

because all the Knights were at the borders it was open to Warriors
-not sure kids would understand “open” in this sentence

“It’s just a story, Ruff.”
-comma always before the name of the person being addressed

Within a minute Ruff clattered back in through the Doggy Doorway.
- you have three Doggy Doorways close together, a bit jarring

making him look like a CHEERLEADER’S pom-pom,
-one word

Lots is a bit more than three, lots and lots is lots more than three and lots and lots and lots is lots and lots more than three. If you see what I mean.
-bit ott maybe

“Yes! But maybe just a Trolley of Trolls?
Why, just??

at their enemy, screaming blood-chilling battle cries as they went.
-hyphen

“Look at the lovely doggies (who you definitely didn’t just see whirling weapons above their heads). Pat OUR heads and tickle OUR ears
-would be clearer

above their heads.
But that would be ridiculous.
He shook his head, put down his box and patted the two lovely doggies’ heads
-three “heads”


Six stars, great stuff. I would happily back this in the future and will return to finish reading.

I recommend everyone to download the picture version!

Best of luck,

Benedict

view book

written 576 days ago
cherry

Hi Audrey,

I made it back just in time for my YALF

Have read the subsequent three chapters from what I read before. Hope it helps.

I'm still really liking the characters and the romantic and plot is progressing nicely in this section. But I'm afraid I have a massive problem with, as I expressed before, the idea that everyone in the whole school would be taken in by the bullies' lies about Caroline. It's one thing for the popular kids to go along with the rumours but why would her carpooling buddies? It just seems too unbelievable to me that it could have lasted a whole year. I was wondering if instead of a year, she could have been there for just a term when Paul arrives, this would seem more believable to me, as it's a short enough time period for people to not question so much the veracity of the claims against her.

I like the character of Lauren, but again, I don't buy her conversion. She knows how nasty the bullies can be but for a whole year allowed Caroline to be excluded before taking it upon herself to address. It just didn't run true for me.

This is, of course, only one element to the story and I wouldn't want to criticise your writing or characterisation which are very good, however I do think this is a big issue and rather effects the believability of your narrative

I've just seen your comment about men not liking Caroline. I actually do quite like her though I agree with Adele that some faults might make her a little more interesting. Also, even as a Christian myself, I find the idea of her sitting there all alone at lunch time reading the bible perhaps a little standoffish and self-important within the environment of a high school. I think what's really missing in her is tension. She's too smooth and easy. Perhaps she could be shier, this would go a long way to explaining how she doesn't stand up for herself and why everyone believes the rumours about her.

I also took some notes (as always) while reading and hope they're useful!

Ch 3-5
Most of them also enjoyed social popularity
-is there another kind of popularity?

everyone knew that only the rudest people lived in the Hood.
-Literally?

he never discussed it and no one EVER asked

“Are you telling me he spent three hours a day with you last year
-not 3 hours a day, surely, does she have the same lessons every day??


Caroline nodded. “Yes. Grabbed like that.”
-like what? – is she demonstrating it?
-also I’m not crazy about the interruption from the narrator before this, it doesn’t add much and breaks the flow

I didn’t realize before. How bad it was.
-one sentence maybe?

Caroline began to wonder if Lauren intended to do more than simply spread the truth, but SHE couldn’t imagine what else she might be planning.
-I know you have two people referred to as she, but I think it works better like this and is still understandable

They raised lots of ready cash in return for minimal planning, but, in the days before each dance, Caroline re-learned her social standing.
-I’d add the extra commas

Life was more like what happened when you arrived, and tried to re-fold the map.
-seems the “when you arrived” bit is unnecessary and spoils the metaphor a bit

Caroline had become AN expert at not noticing when people pointed at her
-I know expert can be used as an adjective but I think this sounds better

The one who looked like Robert Plant, Randy, a wrestler who lifted weights instead of doing homework AND picked his curly blond hair into an Afro

who appeared to have spent the entire afternoon at Nordstrom
-surely the length of time they spent there is irrelevant? They were only buying one outfit each

, he slid his hands under her tee shirt, lifted it up, and unfastened her bra in one smooth motion
-yeh right a 17 year old boy could do that.


I hope YALF has been useful for you, sorry I just scraped in in time!

Best of luck,

Benedict view book

written 576 days ago
cherry

Hey Chris,

sorry it's taken me a while to get to you.

This is very well written. Your dialogue is extremely convincing, your narrative voice strong and you really build up the tension towards the end of the first chapter. I'm sorry, I know you said I should maybe look at one of the later chapters but I forgot, still I think I found some stuff that should be useful for you.

I thought that, overall the chapter is very nicely put together and the narrative drive strong however I had a problem with the opening. You have purposely chosen to kick off with a very mundane section which is contrasted with the final line which reveals they are planning their escape. This is a nice technique but takes place over two pages and may lead to the reader becoming disinterested. Even more importantly is the fact that an agent or publisher may not see the value in your work as they basically give up reading if they're not immediately hooked.

I also thought that over the chapter as a whole you should do more to suggest that this story is not happening in our world today but an alternate or future society. I hadn't read your pitch before reading and couldn't really understand what type of a work camp this was. I know most people do read blurbs before reading the book but I also think that book should be an enclosed unit and not rely on
external information.

Still this is no big deal and the strength of your writing really comes across well in this chapter. I made a note of some small issues I found. I hope they're useful.

“I keep telling you that reading is BAD FOR your health,”
-more natural

a hook by the door. The hinges creak in protest as it opens
-not phrased quite right, it suggests the hook opens not the door

don’t even acknowledge my friend’s muted chatter
-the apostrophe should be after the s as friends’ is plural

We go under the wire at midnight.
-good final line of this section

My entire day has been spent primarily ON two things

even our persecutors
-is persecutors the right word here? Incarcerators maybe?

There’s no surprise to find not a single fish ensnared.
I’d say: It’s no surprise we don’t find a single fish ensnared

Dripping-wet seine
-hyphen

We won’t have time to visit the girl’s cabin tonight
-more natural to say “your cabin”

The RAZOR-SHAPED barbs could penetrate through the thin wool layer like a knife through warm butter.
-hyphen, also try to avoid using clichés (butter)

Best of luck with this.It's a great, strong opening and I'll star you accordingly.

Benedict

view book

written 581 days ago
cherry

Hi Liz,

this is your return read, sorry it took so long. Convincing characters, a believable situation and a lot of depth to the emotion on show coupled with a very intriguing set up make this a very appealing read and, in my mind, just the kind of thing that a publisher would be interested. I think, especially with the historical context you've given the book that this could find a wide readership.

What stands out most of all in the opening is your quick wit and strong characterisation. Tina in particular is a very bold and impressive character with a sharp tongue - the only negative effect being that she does make her sister seem a little quiet and drab, though it is not unusual in film and fiction to have the sidekick be more quirky than the main character.

I thought your handled each revelation very nicely and built up their home life well - though the father does seem to have about fourteen million things wrong with him, perhaps he could just have one very serious thing! It really surprised me to discover that at some point this book will turn into a thriller, as the opening made me think it was simply a women's fiction / light comic novel.

Overall your prose is extremely tight, the only thing I found didn't work quite so well was your switch from Madelyn's to Tina's head as I felt some information was either laboured over or outright repeated, though this is just a minor concern.

I made some notes as I read through the book and hope they are useful to you. Feel free to ignore if you disagree.


the test stick leached bright blue,
I'd never heard of this use of the verb leach before - you didn't mean bleached, did you??

A great start , Madelyn.” 
-unneeded space after "start"

entered.  Her father appeared TO BE asleep as she made her

Tina had obviously BEEN HANDLING the injection while, just down the hall,
-commas and the change makes it clear the two things were happening simultaneously

Try AS she might, Madelyn could not make a lucid connection
-the more common expression

“It’s been the family joke, forever; Madelyn will be late for her own funeral.” 
-this isn't a natural thing for her to say as the family would all know this - it's too much explanation. I'd say -
People always say, Madelyn will be late for her own funeral.” 

She grew to trust him.  Then, he brutally raped her and she was now pregnant
-I'd delete brutally. It's kind of a common collocation and so sounds a little clichéd at an important moment. Also without the adjective it would be colder, more matter of fact and so more disturbing. - it really hit me out of the blue! If you feel it loses its meaning, I'd at least change it to "violently raped" as this is a less common collocation.

bedroom AND the car horn blared again. 
-avoids repetition of bedroom door

For all Tina knew, Madelyn thought, she could derail the train or set off the conductor’s pacemaker.
-I'd delete Madelyn thought, we know that this is from Madelyn's POV, and this makes the sentence clumsy

Fast-food is right up there with hotdogs, baseball and apple pie. 
-hotdogs are fast-food, couldn't you say something like, Old Glory or something else inherently American

Images of mealy worms made Madelyn’s stomach roil
-it wasn't clear to me why she was thinking of this???

called her Betty Bipolar and Tina was a woman capable of turning Gandhi into a mass murderer.  
-again the connection between these two things isn't very clear

NO matter the cost though, she knew what she had to do.  
-is more common

Tina didn’t wait for Madelyn’s answer.  “Here.” She passed HER a sport’s BOTTLE that read;
-avoids rep

Gazing out OF her smudged window, she focused
-I know it.s common in US speech to skip "of" but I'm not sure it's typical in writing (I'm a Brit)

At THAT moment, no one knew she was pregnant
-as it's not happening now, it's in the past

Tina couldn’t recall the last time Madelyn HAD even had a date. What July, maybe?
-plus, split in two sentences and question mark at the end

You’re acting really weird. Okay, so I yelled at you
-split in two sentences

waving her hands in MOCK distress,

She gave her sister A FINAL shoulder squeeze and got the last word in. 
-avoids rep

or at least smile even at the risk of getting us both in trouble.” 
-this section is rather a long speech from Tina, it's not very common for us just to speak and speak without interruption - perhaps Madelyn could at least offer some umms and yeses to break it up?

Her little sister always seemed to anticipate everyone’s needs, putting her own last. 
When Tina pictured those scenarios over the years, she swelled with jealousy and guilt
-comma in each sentence

No way would she give up her apartment ON the upper Eastside,

Tina was happier than she had been in years now, living in her
comma

Tina had to admit; lately she HAD spent a lot of time thinking about her mother. 

She gave Madelyn A long sideways embrace

Thanks very much for your support, if there's any chance you'd consider backing me again, I'd really appreciate it.

Highly starred, best of luck,

Benedict view book

written 581 days ago
cherry

Hey Damon,

we agreed to a read swap ages ago, you read my book. I read yours but I never left a comment. I just came across all my detailed notes on your first few chapters. If you let me know your e-mail address I'll send you them. It's a bit fiddly to type them up on here as I made them on my kindle and would have to do it by hand. So here's my general comment and I'll send you a bunch of corrections if you get in touch.

This is a real adventure. I greatly enjoyed it and will hopefully read more once I'm at the Editor's desk. I really liked your sea-weathered MC and his young would-be assistant. Of course, best of all is the shadow of the kraken over everything. I love mythological beasts and really appreciated the Moby Dick-like application here.

The scenes in the bar were well executed, especially the fight scene and I really liked the relationship that quickly emerges between the captain and the young boy - half trusting, half sceptical. Even the sex scene was pretty well done, which is not something I can honestly say I've mentioned before on Authonomy.

Overall a very intriguing start which deserves the high stars I'm going to give it.

Many thanks for your read way back when!

Best of luck with your book,

Benedict view book

written 581 days ago
cherry

Hi there, Peter,

You've been one of my longest standing backers but I somehow never left a comment on your book before. I did start reading it a long time ago but never left a comment. I'm really sorry about that but to make up for it I've read a good chunk now and am here with some very detailed crit for you. I hope it helps.

Story wise, this is a lot of fun. A sixteenth century British western of sorts, you quickly grab the reader's attention with the fight with the giant and the pace doesn't really let up at any point in the opening. Your MC is very likeable and an enigmatic character, we soon want to know why he wants to kill himself and the significance of his pendant.

I liked the scenes at court, though I thought readers of historical fiction might have been after some more little details to luxuriate in. I enjoyed meeting King Henry briefly and all the intrigue going on behind the scenes. Your MC is an interesting character being not an aristocrat but privy to secrets and responsibilities.

Overall this is a very enjoyable adventure which I'm sure will unfold in a grand fashion.

Here are the notes I made as I read. I hope they are useful to you, though you're free to ignore any you don't agree with. I think a quick read through of the book for such small errors could really help.

Chapter One
To the west an expanse of flat landscape criss-crossed far away by the main routes to THE CAPITAL from the coastal town of Harwich.
England’s largest city, TOO far away to be seen.
- both these changes help avoid the repetition of LONDON
-plus the hyphen in criss-cross
He pressed HARDER against the metal, the skin breaking,
?

his horse, Tempest, following dutifully behind.
-commas, here they are optional but I think it flows better

He rose TO his feet but the blade was coming at

The sun-drenched trees gave way to darkness,
-hyphen

The eyes silently stared as a corner of the Giant's mouth curled.
apostrophe - you miss a lot of these possessive apostrophes

hidden knife sprang from nowhere catching Thomas ON his right thigh

The two swords connected, piercing the air with the sound of metal upon metal. A stroke was parried then another.
-comma and I split it into two sentences

The giant's fear materialised before him as Thomas stabbed with his sword, catching him in the throat.
-apostrophe and comma

Thomas was breathing hard, he had not killed a man for many years and, when he had, he had known why. THERE'D BEEN a reason, a purpose.
-commas and correction to avoid all those hads!

asked his white-bearded face full of concern.
-hyphen

‘We have been waiting for you. This way,
- two sentences

and Thomas, noticing THERE WERE several other men present, made

The heavily-jewelled fingers
-hyphen

and heard the King's voice muttering to his advisors.
-apostrophe

tantalising sight of trees beyond, he sat and drank
-comma

office after that King's passing he
-apostrophe

built and still a strong horseman and capable WITH A SWORD. He was

Thomas had a regular interaction with and the only man HE could consider a friend now.

‘What is happening, Charles?’ The clear sky was
-comma

immediately saw the wax seal of the King and, as his hand closed around the message, he felt it was still
2 commas

‘That is precisely the question everyone is ASKING but the French
-sounds better

the giant to Charles, but there seemed little point. The man had enough problems to deal with and the giant WAS SURELY no longer a problem,

‘Everyone will be busy tonight, Thomas. Events
looked intensely upon him, ‘I think some hard times lay ahead, Thomas
‘Thank you, Charles.’ He held
always a comma before the name of the person being addressed.

He held out a hand which Charles shook, looking quizzically at him.
-comma

‘Indeed. You SHOW/ DISPLAY your heart through your face
-sounded odd

days. In the MEANTIME I will recover the body. If
-one word plus split into two sentences at end.

is any chance the man is known to us, we will find out.
-comma

Charles Baker's last words to him rang
deliver the King's letter.
-apostrophe

NOTHING IN CHAPTER TWO

Chapter Three

Richard's face
-apostrophe

‘He feels the same. He mentions you every day
- two sentences

He was in a room. Intense pain,
- two sentences

was not the time. Light came back
delete "for" and split in two sentences

‘He is in the stable. He’s fine.’
- two sentences, or you could put a semi-colon if you think the two sentences are linked.

King's messenger
-apostrophe

‘Thank you, Sir, I am indebted to you.’
-comma

Though it hurt, Thomas turned onto his stomach.
-comma

there are many demons in me and, though I try to forget them, they ARE ALWAYS able to find me.’
-comma and correction

‘I would like that, Thomas Cunningham.’
-comma

Six stars for a fantastic, adventurous beginning.

Many thanks for all your support and best of luck with your own rise towards the E.D.

Best wishes,

Benedict view book

written 581 days ago
cherry

Hi Alice,

thanks for your continued support.

I read the first five chapters of your book and it is well constructed with an interesting topic and a very sympathetic main character. The father is spectacularly horrible and helps the reader get drawn into the plot very quickly. The mother too is an interesting presence in the book, ghostlike in her lack of ability to influence events.

We really feel Kate's plight right from the outset and her relationship with her new baby is interesting. I also like the way you use multiple time lines, jumping back to her first encounters with the baby's father. One thing I thought perhaps didn't work quite so well was the amount of time we spent in Kate's thoughts. I felt that, though you started the book with a third person narrator, when you went inside Kate's head for a long period in the second or third chapter, you really wanted to have the whole book from her perspective. It's fine one way or the other, but as it was such an extended section it could be rather disconcerting for the narrator.

Apart from this though, I thought you handled the topic extremely well and with some definite skill. Your prose is very well constructed though I did come across some small changes you could make to help the story run more smoothly. I hope they are helpful though you are welcome to ignore them if you disagree!

“No! Stop! You’re hurting me,” shouted Kate
I thought as an opening line this was a little bit clichéd. Simply by changing the order, it might make it sound a little more natural. "No. You're hurting me. Stop. " is slightly more unusual.

“don’t think that you will be bringing that baby home after YOU'VE had it.
-more natural in speech

Kate looked up at the building and stared in dread at its forbidden features.
- I think maybe you mean FORBIDDING - i.e. that it has an ominous appearance, not forbidden which would suggest she can't enter

pleaded Kate again as she wriggled her wrist within her father’s grasp. Then SHE felt
-try to avoid repeating names when they've just been said

and I have no choice but to let you go,”  Kate sighed.
-you don't need the "Kate sighed." part here as you've already told us she is the one talking.

baby could not make a decision as she was only a baby. Kate also realised that she
-I have split this into two sentences after baby, it runs more smoothly like this

mad. He must be, to do the things that he does
-comma

Before he ENTERED a room, she would always whisper to me

he would still insult me and inflict injury
-inflict injury is rather cold and technical, perhaps HURT ME would be more natural

him. How can I bring you home to that? Doing that would be the cruellest thing in the world.
-I would delete DOING

He never actually needed REASONS; he would just pick up on anything
-he does use excuses, it's reasons he doesn't need

“Don’t ANSWER ME BACK, you little bitch”,

assured that they will RAISE you to be a good person.
- you use rear to talk about bringing up children a few times. this is more commonly used to discuss animals, I would say raise - have a search for this term in your document as it happens a few different times

I could RAISE you to be a good person, but I WON'T HAVE THAT chance.
-again more natural

How could I CARE FOR you with no money?
-again, to mind someone is rather formal and old fashioned

but it was short lived”.
full stop/period should be inside the speech marks

It was a crisp, clear evening in late October. The wintry, watery sun
-two commas

The cows were after going through the gate
-I didn't understand this expression

“Is YOUR schoolbag heavy”?

what she did was take a few puffs from her cigarette and then PUT IT OUT/ EXTINGUISH IT
-I've never heard anyone say they quenched a cigarette

as he took the cigarette from my mouth and, turning it around, put it back IN the proper way.
-avoids repetition of "my mouth"

“What age are you”? he enquired.
-more common to say "how old are you?"

Nothing very major there, I hope they help!

This is a really nice opening to an interesting story. I will star it highly.

Best of luck with it,

Benedict view book

written 583 days ago
cherry

Hi there Deborah,

This is a very different kind of fairytale. I like the way you inject so much emotion into it and the opening letter works well. I also like the different elements of the fairytale you have included like Cinderella's chores, the glass slippers etc.

Her character comes across very strongly and the relationship with Bryn is interesting as it veers so far from the original tale and makes us curious to learn more. You have some very nice passages of description and the plot moves along quickly to hold the reader's interest. This is very important for the opening of a book as it's vital you grip your reader and catch their attention from the very beginning.

I wasn't always clear with the difference between normal, italicised and the grey font text, is it the difference between her thoughts and narration? Though the concept and details of the piece are very nicely thought out I think you do have to pay a little attention to some grammar points.

I made a note of some errors I think you could easily correct as I read through the first two chapters. I hope they help, though you are free to ignore them if you disagree.

Now IT’S my SISTER’S turn to delude me
Now IT’S my mother’s…

These corridors I follow
-no down (not typical!)

Wishing it WOULD burn
-conditional

You MADE your choice
-more typical

Maybe it is Amelia
-no comma

Taken me A WHILE

Veronica and Opal’s father
-apostrophe

THE ORDER DOESN’T MATTER it must….

To sale
-as a verb it’s more typical to use to sell – even in this antiquated context

A very nice idea, well planned out. I will star accordingly!

Best of luck with it and thanks for looking at mine,

Benedict


view book

written 586 days ago
cherry

Hey Lucette,

this is an interesting read. You have a great command of the language and your prose flows well. I liked the form you took to introduce the different characters and the intrigue provided by the death of the self help guru. I guess these characters are not supposed to be the most sympathetic ones committed to a page and, as readers, we quickly come to learn about their habits self-obsessions. I thought of all the ones introduced that Doris worked best. You captured her no-nonsense tone very well and, though business-like, she was a somehow more likeable and less self-important than the others.

You have set the book up well to make the shadow of Chloe hang over everything, though by the end of the second chapter, I was hoping to know a little bit more about the dead girl who connects them altogether - I have no doubt that is still to come.

I did wonder how often in fiction we commit to books in which the characters are almost wholly amoral. We certainly aren't invited to like them, even Chloe herself as she narrator boasts on her behalf of her self-indulgence and weighty bank balance.

There's a lot of dry humour in the text and the economy and density of what you have written is very impressive. I'd be interested to read on and find out more about the situation so you've clearly done a good job with the opening!

I did notice a few things that threw me a little or didn't sound quite right and have made a note of them beneath. I hope they are useful though feel free to ignore them if you disagree.

craved EXTRA public attention
-"for" not needed

No SOONER than her shoulders touched the bed
-the standard phrase

ON my live show on Thursday night

Ch 2
Angry and sad ABOUT her current…
?

HYPERACTIVE five-year-old boy’s perspective
-works better

Can a rooftop apartment with views over Paris be gloomy??

Before he COULD HANG up in frustration
-the way it is now made me think he had hung up!

I think you tell us the name of the show and the fact it is live too many times

Knife through butter
=I know you changed it a bit but it’s still a cliché

Is the considered an anchorwoman? I think that’s just for news. She's a chatshow host, right? With her own show. We wouldn’t describe Oprah as one for example

He was tense and NEEDED to speak…

You keep explaining what the show is with each new character. I think you could lose that

Called off his presence AT a weekly..

Apparently, the young woman had seemed with
-I didn’t understand this phrasing

ON a dicta-phone
-??

Thanks for your continued support. I will star this highly and hope to come back to read more once I'm at the E.D.

Best of luck,

Benedict



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