Free First Chapter Feedback (V2)

manwithastick

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If you would kindly do so!
 

Jay_stylez

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Could you try out my novel

 

AdOtherwise

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Hear ye, hear ye. The old thread is dead, long live this thread.

After two years+, I am unable to edit the very first post and update my "Best of List" shoutout, so I have created a new thread.

The Rules are the same. Submit a link to your first chapter (or prologue) and I will give you a critique as well as a rating. There are no requirements and I will read anything. If I miss your story, it was by accident- just send me a message.

THE V2 BEST OF LIST

1. Caninstinct https://www.scribblehub.com/series/62445/caninstinct/
2. Ange'ls Dirge https://www.scribblehub.com/series/229892/angels-dirge/
3. Queensmen https://www.scribblehub.com/series/163971/queensmen/
4. Hive https://www.scribblehub.com/series/334266/hive/
5. A Meeting of the Ways https://www.scribblehub.com/series/700231/a-meeting-of-the-ways/

Be Sure to Check out my Other Thread for my Youtube Channel
https://forum.scribblehub.com/threads/looking-for-things-to-review.6228/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUJHTBWLa93g8k9SAXCgSzw
Recently began fixing my story so tell me whatcha think https://www.scribblehub.com/read/727045-lowly-ascent/chapter/742101/
 

TheTrinary

Hi, I'm Stephen
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Messages
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Yo, you still doing reviews? If so could you please do mine?
RATING: Would not Keep Reading

THE GOOD


There's some style there and the writing isn't flat. I could see this in the proper context being very strong. And that is a big compliment because things like voice and style are the hardest to learn.

You also had one line I really liked about the flag saluting. I didn't quite understand the tone of the work to appreciate it all the way, but I liked it.

THE CRITIQUE

The start accurately portrays the story. There's some fun style here and a good attempt but it's also presented not so great. The transition between paragraphs one and two is janky with you restating information we already know. The reader assumed it was Jenny speaking because that's the only character you described.

A bit more lofty, but I think it sets up some odd expectations and questions. The title says Mercenary, the first paragraph is about mercenary, but then it's teenagers hanging out or something? Tonally it's very odd. I think I understand the idea, bring in some motiffs from where we're headed, but in practice there's a weird disconnect because she isn't there story wise. . . or I guess she is? I don't think of young person in Texas with mercenary. Mercenary makes me think of foreign soldiers and fantasy worlds.

I'll be honest. I didn't manage to make it halfway. The start of this story is very dull and that's an execution issue, not an idea. Your MC walks around and meets a ton of people doing thier thing. In the writer's head, I could see this working because these characters are fleshed out and you love them. Not so much with the reader.

We're given tidbits of dialogue and it's essentially just character exposition. Nobody wants anything, no body makes any choices that inform their character. It's the writer just rattling off these characters as a fact sheet hoping we memorize them.

And this is where i need to be really clear, because the advice I give out more than anything for first chapters is to build up characters, and that's why we need to differentiate it here. We don't have characters being built up, we have characters being exposited. To work in this current format, you would need to absolutely nail every relatability element at every turn, like some Pratchett observational witisism.

OVERALL

Everything I read was almost a blank canvas in terms of advice. You could do A LOT with that space in terms of story. I'd say just go through every little detail and ask yourself what is interesting about it. Paragraph 2 shows us Overalls, and that interaction is "You're board, go do something." What does that tell us about her character, what does that really add to the story that you wouldn't have if she wasn't there?

And so on.
I'd be happy if you could take a look at my novel, The Seven Highways
Thank you very much (´꒳`)
Scary link. Stephen runs away from dark alleys.

Always willing to hear some feedback!
Full marks for that cover. I could absolutely see that on a bookshelf.

So for Chapter 1: RATING Would Keep Reading

THINGS I LOVED


You know what you wrote, but I just want to draw everyone else's attention here. Sentences 1 and 2 are immeadiately engaging, and they are about friggen leaves. Sentence 1 is a nice pastorl description. The topic is bland but it's nicely written and the last bit about detritous is engaging in the way that description can be, by focusing on something new that's not in my head. Great. And then sentence 2 comes along and wakes me up. I got a cozy blanket from the 1st sentence, and then you take it away: "We're focusing on what's different here." Everyone is out here writing about magic and portals and your writing about leaves is 10x more engaging because you are constantly pulling me to an unexpectd place.

THINGS I LIKED

Everything else goes into this column. After that starting paragraph, I was prepared for something amazing. It wasn't, but it was pretty good. It lacks that drawing element to the writing that really pulls you forward wether that be in character details, or plot or whathaveyou. The character elements are the best and there's (what I assume) to be a very intentionall fleshing out of things there, like you knew what you needed to have. Good and even interesting details that are slightly off the mark from being genuinely engaging.

If I'm being vague I'll try to explain now. That proffesional quality of not being obvious. You either use too many words in some areas so my brain plays catch up and gets ahead of where you're going, or the presentation of information is flat and needs to be sharpened. Example:

The mother catching on to her that she wasn't fixing pants in the woods. The MC says that and the reader says, that's an obvious lie. Then we get two paragraphs where we find out the mother thinks that too. But the thing is, that was my starting assumption (and everyone else's too), so you needed to curve us a bit, have the mother do or say something to make us think that she's buying it. Like. . . she smiles and brings her daughter in for a side hug, arm around her shoulder only to thing pluck the twig out. Obvious lie? Oh she's buying it? Oh, I was wrong, of course the mom is more clever than that.

Same way, that introduction and dagger exchange are unique ideas but also unusual, yet I didn't have the oppurtunity to play along and figure it out. More dynamism. Absent that, more overt attempts to entertain with the writing.

OVERALL

If it wasn't clear, I was giving advice at a higher level than just web novel. It's quite good for around here.
 
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TheTrinary

Hi, I'm Stephen
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
984
Points
133
If you would kindly do so!
Rating: Would not Keep Reading.

Critiquerino


I made it about two pages; couldn't pay attention if I tried. There's a few issues that contributed to that.

Let's start with the opening paragraph and the way you set a scene:

My puffy eyes were greeted by the dim light that managed to pass into my room from the corridor outside. My eyes, my room. This convulted over explanation: you are seeing the light, obviously it managed to pass itno the room. There is a complete lack of natural flow here and even some odd choices. You say puffy eyes which in context with what comes later is a reference to crying or something, but its disconnected from the rest of the paragraph. I kept thinking: "What does that have to do with anything. All you need is "Dim light seeped in from the corrider outside." Seven words and you don't lose a single drop of meaning. I passed through the doorway into the narrow passage leading up to the staircase. And this is where it felt stacatto. It's the EXACT same idea as the first sentence. Why is it important the MC goes through a door in one sentence. You could even combine these: I stepped out into the dim light of the passage way. Your first two sentences rolled up into eleven words. I felt an unexplainable heaviness in each of my steps and the flashes of memories that materialized before my eyes made my heart thump wildly. So vaugue. You aren't saying anything. It might as well just say, "I had a strong reaction to something." Writing is about specificity; you have to give us somethign. No matter how much I tried to push those memories down, they resurfaced refusing to be forgotten. Still vague but we get, like, 10%, of meaning here.

A sliver of moon's ray managed to sneak past the gloomy glass windows, illuminating some parts of the smooth floor underneath into a maze of black and grey. You spent TWO sentences in the last paragraph describing lighting, and now you're just resetting and doing it again. You had your chance to set the scene, stop setting the scene.

I glanced at the sky, or little of what I could see through the hazy, overcast clouds. The moon's silvering rays were mostly blocked, casting a gloomy pallor over everything.
And even if we start here it doesn't work. You start talking about the "silver rays," you stop talking about the silver rays, and now you start again in a second paragraph talking about that same descriptive language.

The old wooden stairs creaked with every step that I took, their shuttering sounds involving the air and resonating behind my ears. Its melodic noise took me deeper into the gravestone of my mind that was the memories, how I once used to run down these without a care in the world. But that had changed, everything did. Yeah. This is a very good paragraph. You don't tell us he's moving around, you show us and you transition that to a fairly good metaphor. The last sentence is pointless and redundant. That kind of reptition can be used in a properly written story to show emphasis and I could see it working if we had more solid ideas to work with here.

How did it all come to this? I wondered. If you are going to write words, they need to mean soemthing.

And there are just outright mistakes:
It had been seven since I had seen his face. ??? I'm assuming years. Also "His" follows the butler, so you aren't even talking about the father at this point. We kind of have to do that work for you.

OVERALL


This is either a first draft or you need to learn how to edit. Sit down and look at every word you chose and decide why you chose those words.
Could you try out my novel

RATING: Would not Keep Reading.

THE GOOD


Often times, I think you have a good authorial voice. It's light and doesn't draw attention to itself but still leads us through the story. Probably the hardest thing to learn in any acedmic way, so you've got a useful skill there. You come back in at the end with some more, so it's not an accident.

A CATASTROPHE (Probably not that bad, just went with the first pun I could think of)

The writing made me worried right away. There are some poor choices: you outright tell us he is weak and then explain he is weak. Like, one or the other there. And then you say "let alone drink milk." The phrasing indicates that it's a difficult thing to do in context which makes no sense. Not the right way to use those words.

What is essntially the second section with the god figure, while not offensive, is just boring. You have this stock character expositing dialgoue. From my experience these are the scenes that are the real test of how good a writer is, because it's a kind of nothing scene that everyone writes, so who's going to make it entertaining. And it's typically distractingly bad, while yours is pretty much up the middle.

Section 3 gives us some character voice and it's, once again, pretty stock. More expository than genuine thoughts and words.

OVERALL

I feel like you are more focused on making sure the audience has the requisite information required for the story than actually telling a story. But there are flashes of talent there, so I'd be more than happy if you honed your craft and became a better writer. Best of luck.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 11, 2023
Messages
47
Points
18
RATING: Would not Keep Reading

THE GOOD


There's some style there and the writing isn't flat. I could see this in the proper context being very strong. And that is a big compliment because things like voice and style are the hardest to learn.

You also had one line I really liked about the flag saluting. I didn't quite understand the tone of the work to appreciate it all the way, but I liked it.

THE CRITIQUE

The start accurately portrays the story. There's some fun style here and a good attempt but it's also presented not so great. The transition between paragraphs one and two is janky with you restating information we already know. The reader assumed it was Jenny speaking because that's the only character you described.

A bit more lofty, but I think it sets up some odd expectations and questions. The title says Mercenary, the first paragraph is about mercenary, but then it's teenagers hanging out or something? Tonally it's very odd. I think I understand the idea, bring in some motiffs from where we're headed, but in practice there's a weird disconnect because she isn't there story wise. . . or I guess she is? I don't think of young person in Texas with mercenary. Mercenary makes me think of foreign soldiers and fantasy worlds.

I'll be honest. I didn't manage to make it halfway. The start of this story is very dull and that's an execution issue, not an idea. Your MC walks around and meets a ton of people doing thier thing. In the writer's head, I could see this working because these characters are fleshed out and you love them. Not so much with the reader.

We're given tidbits of dialogue and it's essentially just character exposition. Nobody wants anything, no body makes any choices that inform their character. It's the writer just rattling off these characters as a fact sheet hoping we memorize them.

And this is where i need to be really clear, because the advice I give out more than anything for first chapters is to build up characters, and that's why we need to differentiate it here. We don't have characters being built up, we have characters being exposited. To work in this current format, you would need to absolutely nail every relatability element at every turn, like some Pratchett observational witisism.

OVERALL

Everything I read was almost a blank canvas in terms of advice. You could do A LOT with that space in terms of story. I'd say just go through every little detail and ask yourself what is interesting about it. Paragraph 2 shows us Overalls, and that interaction is "You're board, go do something." What does that tell us about her character, what does that really add to the story that you wouldn't have if she wasn't there?

And so on.

Scary link. Stephen runs away from dark alleys.

Full marks for that cover. I could absolutely see that on a bookshelf.

So for Chapter 1: RATING Would Keep Reading

THINGS I LOVED


You know what you wrote, but I just want to draw everyone else's attention here. Sentences 1 and 2 are immeadiately engaging, and they are about friggen leaves. Sentence 1 is a nice pastorl description. The topic is bland but it's nicely written and the last bit about detritous is engaging in the way that description can be, by focusing on something new that's not in my head. Great. And then sentence 2 comes along and wakes me up. I got a cozy blanket from the 1st sentence, and then you take it away: "We're focusing on what's different here." Everyone is out here writing about magic and portals and your writing about leaves is 10x more engaging because you are constantly pulling me to an unexpectd place.

THINGS I LIKED

Everything else goes into this column. After that starting paragraph, I was prepared for something amazing. It wasn't, but it was pretty good. It lacks that drawing element to the writing that really pulls you forward wether that be in character details, or plot or whathaveyou. The character elements are the best and there's (what I assume) to be a very intentionall fleshing out of things there, like you knew what you needed to have. Good and even interesting details that are slightly off the mark from being genuinely engaging.

If I'm being vague I'll try to explain now. That proffesional quality of not being obvious. You either use too many words in some areas so my brain plays catch up and gets ahead of where you're going, or the presentation of information is flat and needs to be sharpened. Example:

The mother catching on to her that she wasn't fixing pants in the woods. The MC says that and the reader says, that's an obvious lie. Then we get two paragraphs where we find out the mother thinks that too. But the thing is, that was my starting assumption (and everyone else's too), so you needed to curve us a bit, have the mother do or say something to make us think that she's buying it. Like. . . she smiles and brings her daughter in for a side hug, arm around her shoulder only to thing pluck the twig out. Obvious lie? Oh she's buying it? Oh, I was wrong, of course the mom is more clever than that.

Same way, that introduction and dagger exchange are unique ideas but also unusual, yet I didn't have the oppurtunity to play along and figure it out. More dynamism. Absent that, more overt attempts to entertain with the writing.

OVERALL

If it wasn't clear, I was giving advice at a higher level than just web novel. It's quite good for around here.
Thank you so much for checking out my story :) I really appreciate your time and your comments. Someone else did suggest I expand on the dagger scene and give more life to the merchant and the knifes story so I think I will end up reviewing that.

I hope you keep reading!
 

fantasyretreat

New member
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
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3
Would love a feedback on my story. New author here though.
 

TheTrinary

Hi, I'm Stephen
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
984
Points
133
Thank you so much for checking out my story :) I really appreciate your time and your comments. Someone else did suggest I expand on the dagger scene and give more life to the merchant and the knifes story so I think I will end up reviewing that.

I hope you keep reading!
Sharpening doesn't mean expanding, it means offering more in the space that you're using.
 

TheTrinary

Hi, I'm Stephen
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
984
Points
133
If you could possibly give me a brief example, I would appreciate that. Thank you.
So with sharp, we're infusing as much meaning as we can into the prose. Faster, more intense. The opposite of sharp is flat.

On a sentence by sentence basis, it's a matter of specific wordchoice and intentionally creating a deeper meaning in the readers head. On a bigger scale, it's a matter of Including details and beats that reveal more information.


“I'll trade you this knife and it's (typo) story for the privilege of getting to know you.” In the context of your story, it's a lonely woman wanting company, so what does this tell us? The first half is fine enough, not sure what else you could do with that, but preivilege is a bit flat. . . in context. Does the merchant see company as a privlege? You could use language here that more directly references the fact that she's a lonely old woman, or you could change what comes after to create that theme of privlege.

She offered the seemingly simple deal. Mostly restates what we know. The only interesting bit is the word seemingly. In a different sentence where you weren't reintroducing old information, it would hit harder and draw our focus that something is odd or off; however, getting something for free is obviously odd or off so it's a little eh.

“It's not a trick,” she said after seeing the confused and doubtful look flash across the younger girl’s face. Do you not see what I mean about flat? We start off with this deal. Something for nothing. The audience is not stupid, we understand that, and then you use the next two sentences to beat us over the head and let us know that it's not a normal deal.

“I really will give you this knife, I'll even throw in a cloth and sharpening stone to keep it in good shape.” This is okay. I'm assuming her having the stone and cloth is gong to be refrenced so its foundational and addds.

Her words seemed genuine, but Amalia didn't understand her intentions.
The first half is a little iffy. I would agree that you can only convey so much through text so having the narrator tell us that the words are genuine is. . . fine. The second half once again would be completely redundant. But circling back to the meat of the sentence, if the best you can say is that it's "fine", then sharpen it up. "Amelia had heard the stories of hags luring in children with promises of riches or sweet, but Amelia couldn't reconcile that while looking into the merchant's eyes." And this is boiler plate, but it's a fantasy world and you could impart your own mythos or fable into the presentation.

There was no obvious benefit to her.
This is completely redundant with the next sentence which is just this, but better.

Merchants were in the business of making money, not giving away knives with mysterious backgrounds in exchange for a young girl’s name.
Once again, completely redundant. These types of sentences can be used at the end of paragraphs when you show far more than tell to make sure the audience is caught up or to emphasize a point, but when you do write flatly, this only beluigers the point.

ALSO, thinking about the set up, it's so plain. She walks up and happens to look or be about the same age as this merchant's grandaughter. This scene would make so much more sense if the merchant specifically targetted her and tried to get her over to the shop. THAT is sharp, because it has two completely different meanings based on how much information you get. At first, we assume it's a merchant trying to sell their goods, but then looking back, we'd realize she wanted the girl who reminded her of her grandaughter to come over. Bosch.


“Well, alright then...” She said slowly, still a little unsure. “My name is Amalia Bexley, uh, I'm nineteen years old.” She looked at the female merchant, wondering if that was enough to satisfy her trade agreement but she simply stared back at her, smiling politely. “Um, let's see... my favorite color is purple, and I like being in the forest much more than I like being in lessons...” She paused again, really struggling with what about herself was interesting enough to share. “I like thunderstorms and spring,” She added. “What else do you want to know?” She finally said, unsure how to satisfy the trade. This is the definition of flat. Just this boiler plate, who cares information. A whole paragraph of no one saying anything important.

Yeah, kids might talk like that, so how about:


“My name is Amalia Bexley, uh, I'm nineteen years old. Um, let's see... my favorite color is purple?

"Yes dear, purple. Play any instruments, the violin perhaps?"

"No?"

"Ah. How about classes. Doing good in school?"

"I much prefer the woods." Amelia added hastily, "M'am." She wasn't about to blow a free knife.

The merchant's lip curled all the same.


Not only is it far less trite, this weaves in a secondary level of interpretation. The questions are too direct, too specific. The woman is clearly asking about things her grandaughter did. She's looking for similarities or trying to live intervenously.

Perhaps thats the best definition of sharp. You're always engaing the reader in some way, violating their expectations, leading them on, posing questions, forcing them to reinterpret. Your first two sentences do that well, they pull.
Hello!
Please review my story

In my opinion, there are some things that don't feel right with me, but I can't figure it out, so I'd like a third source to maybe fix my issues.
Be as harsh as you want haha im trying to improve

I'll probably rewrite it if anything tbh https://www.scribblehub.com/read/817770-past-the-dark-into-the-light/chapter/819583/
RATING: Back to basics.

Tense Swap: "Hah...hah..." Her panting becomes more pronounced by the second. She couldn't stop though, she knew that if she was any slower, her fate would be to resigned back to hell. In fact, you keep on with the new tense. Very odd. And then you swap back. All over the place.

Sentence Structure: Your sentence are all noun verb, not only that but they mostly start with "she." It creates a staccatto effect that becomes irritating and then it becomes clear it's all written so redundantly and stale.

It jumps around seemingly at random, completely restating ideas, Paragraph 4, If she couldn't be captured, she would be killed. Paragraph 5, She knew she would be caught or killed eventually.

OVERALL

Just work on y our writing, how you present information. Don't get lost in the weeds of what happens just yet.

Hello, I would appreciate a feedback on my novel too. Thank you
Thysia – The Sacrifice | Scribble Hub
RATING: Would not keep reading.

Opening paragraph is rough.

It had been quite a long day and the grave robbers were getting pretty exhausted. Mostly fine, use of both quite and pretty is a bit much, I'd cut on. The fast approaching dusk wasn’t really playing on their side. Confusing given the set up of grave robbers. They do that stuff at night, so this asks some questions that it shouldn't. It started getting darker and darker and the grave robbers could barely see a thing and could only rely on their sense of touch to find a way out. First half is redundant; we know it's dusk. And then it's horribly vague: get out of what? You aren't telling us things. They had to leave in a hurry, how could they even stop and grab their possessions with all those villagers coming after them. Run on sentence and a question without a question mark? And the tense gets weird here. Did this just start happening or has the story started with them being chased? All they wanted was to escape without actually realizing every step they took was slightly bringing them a little closer to their impending doom. This does not say what you intended. The modifier starting with "without" is still affecting the verb clause. It's pretty nonsensical.

And then I gave up at paragraph 3.


They were really scared for their lives. Really is such a weak word in prose. The villagers had stumbled upon the grave robbers while they were robbing their ancestral graves. It's comprehensible enougha nd would work if the other writing is strong, but the gerrund is technically modifying the robbers, not the villagers. The villagers were not offering any mercy. What does this mean? Also you start with the same SV opening twice in a row; it's noticable. It was one thing to be a robber but to steal from the dead was merely disrespectful. Merely is a word that trivilizes. It is the completely opposite of the intended meaning you are conveying here. The grave robbers deserved to be punished.


OVERALL
Did a full critique on every word I read. Can't make any other comment.

Would love a feedback on my story. New author here though.
RATING: Would not Keep Reading

THE CRITIQUES MUST FLOW


Solid first paragraph.

P2: The children trooped in one after the other, following their seniors to find out how their adventure went. Fine. These children were forced to endure the harsh realities of life in the orphanage, surviving on meager rations and sleeping on bare, cold floors. Their frail bodies, with little flesh to cover their protruding bones, were a testament to the harshness of their existence. The next two sentences are really weird in context. You just set the scene and now you are essentially repeating information, even directly repeating information established in the first paragraph. Not only that, but the opening sentenced seemed to promise a different focus. I would recommend using that first paragraph to set the scene, and then the second to transition into a new idea.

Jerome listened for movement inside the dilapidated building.
Who is Jerome? Is he one of the older children off on an adventure or is he a young child following. Or is he someone completely else. It's a hard cut and you didn't transition properly. Ms. Tara and Moss must have left to find them something to eat. Old Wen’s snores were the only sound that greeted him upon entry. See? We didn't even know he was coming into the building. He could have been here witnessesing all those other kids filing in. Jerome sighed. He hoped their caretakers could get them something to eat tonight. They hadn’t gone out to find anything when they left to attack the blind man this morning. Huh? If only they were allowed to leave the slums. It could increase their chances of finding food. But there were always guards waiting for them when they tried to leave. He wondered what the city would look like. And then everything after that "huh?" is pretty good. Only it left us hanging with some major information that felt like it needed some follow up.


“...Jerome?” one of the kids called to him. “I’m hungwie.” the others that came in with him also began to sob. This works as a way to establish his ages actively, given that we've ruled him out as a caretaker.

Jerome came out of his musings.
Just how old is he that he has musings? Looking down, he saw the child pulling on the hem of his tattered robe, crying. It pained him to see such a little child hungry for food. What kid is "pained?" Is he a moody teenager? Would a moody teengar still be emo if they were an orphan. Doesn't really track. He held him close and caressed his hair to soothe him and assure him that he would eat tonight. Ash pulled another to her and Doti and Dreamer got the remaining. Who are these people. There is room to introduce characters like this if there is proper context, but we really don't have the context of what I assume is the MC, let alone the secondaries.

The rest of section 1 really picks up. I found the naming conventions and their meanings interesting and it accomplishes the goal of intorudctions that everything up till now didn't, almost begging the question of what we were doing so far. You could set the scene in a single paragraph and just jump to that, pretty much.

I made it through section two and decided to stop there, because it just doesn't make any sense. A new orphan woudln't know what they were doing and go ask a guard for food and get whipped, but someone who was older, had done this for (presumptively years), and had managed to stay alive by doing this every day. . . why are they breaking the rules and getting in trouble like this? Is this a bigger emergency than ever before? Does this actually work sometimes? You really need to explain why things are happening and how those things make sense in context.

And I was thinknig of it at the time, but the two sections don't line up. Section 1 is Jerome coming BACK into the orphanage from a day out, only to now be outside again. Why did he even come back if he still needed to get food. There's not a hint of complexity to this story so far and I can't discern a logical flow to scenes or the overall story.

OVERALL

It's fairly nonsensical. Things kind of just happen and the writer doesn't really understand the reader's headspace.
 
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fantasyretreat

New member
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
29
Points
3
RATING: Would not Keep Reading

THE CRITIQUES MUST FLOW


Solid first paragraph.

P2: The children trooped in one after the other, following their seniors to find out how their adventure went. Fine. These children were forced to endure the harsh realities of life in the orphanage, surviving on meager rations and sleeping on bare, cold floors. Their frail bodies, with little flesh to cover their protruding bones, were a testament to the harshness of their existence. The next two sentences are really weird in context. You just set the scene and now you are essentially repeating information, even directly repeating information established in the first paragraph. Not only that, but the opening sentenced seemed to promise a different focus. I would recommend using that first paragraph to set the scene, and then the second to transition into a new idea.

Jerome listened for movement inside the dilapidated building. Who is Jerome? Is he one of the older children off on an adventure or is he a young child following. Or is he someone completely else. It's a hard cut and you didn't transition properly. Ms. Tara and Moss must have left to find them something to eat. Old Wen’s snores were the only sound that greeted him upon entry. See? We didn't even know he was coming into the building. He could have been here witnessesing all those other kids filing in. Jerome sighed. He hoped their caretakers could get them something to eat tonight. They hadn’t gone out to find anything when they left to attack the blind man this morning. Huh? If only they were allowed to leave the slums. It could increase their chances of finding food. But there were always guards waiting for them when they tried to leave. He wondered what the city would look like. And then everything after that "huh?" is pretty good. Only it left us hanging with some major information that felt like it needed some follow up.


“...Jerome?” one of the kids called to him. “I’m hungwie.” the others that came in with him also began to sob. This works as a way to establish his ages actively, given that we've ruled him out as a caretaker.

Jerome came out of his musings. Just how old is he that he has musings? Looking down, he saw the child pulling on the hem of his tattered robe, crying. It pained him to see such a little child hungry for food. What kid is "pained?" Is he a moody teenager? Would a moody teengar still be emo if they were an orphan. Doesn't really track. He held him close and caressed his hair to soothe him and assure him that he would eat tonight. Ash pulled another to her and Doti and Dreamer got the remaining. Who are these people. There is room to introduce characters like this if there is proper context, but we really don't have the context of what I assume is the MC, let alone the secondaries.

The rest of section 1 really picks up. I found the naming conventions and their meanings interesting and it accomplishes the goal of intorudctions that everything up till now didn't, almost begging the question of what we were doing so far. You could set the scene in a single paragraph and just jump to that, pretty much.

I made it through section two and decided to stop there, because it just doesn't make any sense. A new orphan woudln't know what they were doing and go ask a guard for food and get whipped, but someone who was older, had done this for (presumptively years), and had managed to stay alive by doing this every day. . . why are they breaking the rules and getting in trouble like this? Is this a bigger emergency than ever before? Does this actually work sometimes? You really need to explain why things are happening and how those things make sense in context.

And I was thinknig of it at the time, but the two sections don't line up. Section 1 is Jerome coming BACK into the orphanage from a day out, only to now be outside again. Why did he even come back if he still needed to get food. There's not a hint of complexity to this story so far and I can't discern a logical flow to scenes or the overall story.

OVERALL

It's fairly nonsensical. Things kind of just happen and the writer doesn't really understand the reader's headspace.
You didn't read the prologue (1. Prologue). You jumped straight to 2. Slum Rats. The prologue is where the story starts. And I believe if you had read it before this chapter you critiqued, you would have known who Jerome is, how old he is, and what he had been doing outside the orphanage.

Maybe calm down and be patient when critiquing someone's book. I appreciate the effort, but your feedback is marred by the error of omitting the starting chapter. Can't accept it.

 
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RyujiSakamata

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This thread seems strict. I should offer mine as well.
 
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TheTrinary

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You didn't read the prologue (1. Prologue). You jumped straight to 2. Slum Rats. The prologue is where the story starts. And I believe if you had read it before this chapter you critiqued, you would have known who Jerome is, how old he is, and what he had been doing outside the orphanage.

Maybe calm down and be patient when critiquing someone's book. I appreciate the effort, but your feedback is marred by the error of omitting the starting chapter. Can't accept it.

While the intro post to the second thread no longer states, explicitiy, that I will read the first chapter unless specifically asked or directed otherwise, you 1) didn't provide a specific chapter link, and 2) don't understand what a prologue is, as a prologue shouldn't be necessary to understand the story.
This thread seems strict. I should offer mine as well.
There's probably been a severity power creep over the years. 🤷‍♂️ RATING: Middle of the Road so Would Not Keep Reading.

THE GOOD


Structurally, I think you have a really good set up here. We start with an introduction to the character and you have a nice push and pull with the portal fantasy where they are down on thier luck but finally about to make it before that gets stripped away.

I also perked up a bit when they got the note saying they were going to be murdered. It was an interesting wrinkle and added some intrigue and excitement.

I also think it's very readable. Even though it's a bit flat, it's technically well done and easy to read, so while I wasn't necessarily entertained at all times, I got through it just fine.

CRITIQUE

A lot of the writing is a bit reptitive/ flat. Take the start: you have several paragarphs setting the mood and seting as gray and rainy. You could edit that down without losing a drop of meaning.

The other way to play would just be upwrite it, include way more meaning and subtext. But as is with the amount of actual information, it could be about 60% as long as it is right now-- just guestimating.

OVERALL

Decent. I think you have several elements that work here and just need to present the story a tad bit better.
 
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fantasyretreat

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While the intro post to the second thread no longer states, explicitiy, that I will read the first chapter unless specifically asked or directed otherwise, you 1) didn't provide a specific chapter link, and 2) don't understand what a prologue is, as a prologue shouldn't be necessary to understand the story.
Thanks for this.

I remember reading about the specifics of this thread but I think I forgot and just went ahead to post my story's signature - sorry about that. I honestly didn't know that about a prologue - I'm a new writer as it is and didn't think to look. I've also changed the title of the first chapter of my story. I would still love it if you could look at that first chapter. But no probs if you can't. I understand.

Edit: And English is not my first language. Just thought to put this out.

 
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TheTrinary

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Thanks for this.

I remember reading about the specifics of this thread but I think I forgot and just went ahead to post my story's signature - sorry about that. I honestly didn't know that about a prologue - I'm a new writer as it is and didn't think to look. I've also changed the title of the first chapter of my story. I would still love it if you could look at that first chapter. But no probs if you can't. I understand.

Edit: And English is not my first language. Just thought to put this out.


I actually liked this chapter far more and would give it a weak thumbs up.

It sets up information more actively, the scene with the blind guy is fun. You get some personality that's not off putting out of the characters.

Now with all that said, there are some issues, but they aren't ever present. You just have some really weird sentences that don't work.
Strike that, the first section cut is a bigger issue. It completely retreads on what we've already seen, just from another perspective. You really want to not repeat yourself like that.


They would have succeeded, but in the split second, before they latched onto him, the blind man said two words. This doesn't make sense. It's phrased as cause and effect but the old man literally saying "Too slow" isn't what saves him.

Except for one. Jerome. His mission, and the reason why he visits the slums every day.
We're talking about his name and then there's this weird non sequitor at the end.

Rihal saw his eyes light up with expectation and eagerness. In a tenday, he’d join the ranks of people who could wield essence in the world. “Huh.”
Why huh?

“I’ll tell you if you promise to help me wash up before bed tonight,” Jerome said and they grumbled their assent.
What does this mean? Who needs help washing up. It almost sounds weirdly sexual, like "take a bath with me." You mention English isn't your first language, and if it wasn't for this sentence I never would have guessed it.

Overall,

LIke I said it's much better. It's definitely not a prologue though.
 

fantasyretreat

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I actually liked this chapter far more and would give it a weak thumbs up.

It sets up information more actively, the scene with the blind guy is fun. You get some personality that's not off putting out of the characters.

Now with all that said, there are some issues, but they aren't ever present. You just have some really weird sentences that don't work.
Strike that, the first section cut is a bigger issue. It completely retreads on what we've already seen, just from another perspective. You really want to not repeat yourself like that.


They would have succeeded, but in the split second, before they latched onto him, the blind man said two words. This doesn't make sense. It's phrased as cause and effect but the old man literally saying "Too slow" isn't what saves him.

Except for one. Jerome. His mission, and the reason why he visits the slums every day. We're talking about his name and then there's this weird non sequitor at the end.

Rihal saw his eyes light up with expectation and eagerness. In a tenday, he’d join the ranks of people who could wield essence in the world. “Huh.” Why huh?

“I’ll tell you if you promise to help me wash up before bed tonight,” Jerome said and they grumbled their assent. What does this mean? Who needs help washing up. It almost sounds weirdly sexual, like "take a bath with me." You mention English isn't your first language, and if it wasn't for this sentence I never would have guessed it.

Overall,

LIke I said it's much better. It's definitely not a prologue though.
Thanks a lot for this. I really appreciate.
 

Jaymi

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super interesting, would love to see your opinion on my first chapter!
 
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