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Rated: 18+ · Message Forum · Other · #1848419
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Dec 30, 2019 at 4:26pm
#3313876
Re: Just seeing how this new piece works out
Thanks again for asking me to look at this chapter. I think the writing is much more active and intimate here than in the first version. You've got a great hook, and you give the reader ample reason to cheer for Ethan. I like the concept a lot, and Ethan is a great character. In fact, the other characters are, too. Even the school board president seems intent on doing the right thing.

BTW, I think most large urban school districts have alternative schools for students who have behavioral or other issues that prevent attending a regular class. The class sizes are smaller and the teachers have training to meet the special circumstances of particular students. Perhaps Ethan's school district is too small to have one?

Structurally, I wish that some information had arrived earlier. For example, we find out that there are 75 known super-humans on the planet. If we'd known that earlier, it would have grounded some of the early action. For one suggestion, maybe a group of students are looking at a video of a super-human, maybe even commenting on them being "freaks" who should be exterminated. Just a thought.

The whole idea of being an outcast in high school is a powerful one. The Buffy series is founded on that, for example. Having super-powers should be a blessing, but as you correctly surmise, it turns out to be the opposite.

Back to structure--it felt a little bumpy. The transitions could have been smoother between scenes, and the events could have moved more smoothly. This is almost enough for three chapters: one that ends with Ethan passing out, one at the school board meeting, and a final one that involves the fight and its aftermath.

In summary, I liked this. I can see where you deliberately took to heart the suggestions I made in my prior review. In the line-by-line remarks below, I'm going to be a bit more picky--that's a reward for being a good student!

Thanks for sharing, and keep writing!!!!

/////////////////////line-by-line remarks follow//////////////////////////
*Cut*Ethan stared at the clockc:gred}[,] twirling his pencil between two fingers nervously. Two minutes, I need to hang on for two more minutes. What started as a tiny pinprick of sensation in his hand, slowly crept up his arm and felt like painful acupuncture therapy. Seconds passed, the pain grew in increments, becoming difficult to bear. Ethan started to squirm like a drug addict going through withdrawals.*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: You've done a really good job with this opening. You start with Ethan doing and sensing, which helps to draw readers into his head. You also orient the readers in time and place. You show the pain bothering him when he squirms like a drug addict. The one place I'd suggest a change is the phrase "becoming difficult to bear," which is the author stating a fact. You don't need this because you show this fact in the final sentence. You could even emphasize if a trickle of sweat ran down his temple, for example. Note the missing comma. *Exclaim*

*Cut*Ethan's breathing was ragged now, desperately trying to get some measure of control over his body. *Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: I think you could use more active verbs here, to make this feel more in-the-moment as opposed to the author stating facts. Perhaps Ethan "panted," for a more precise verb, and "desperation gripped him" as he sought to regain control of his body. *Exclaim*

*Cut*The rest of the students were now facing him cameras[,] out recording the incident hoping to birth the next viral video.*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: Author tells us what's in the heads of the other students. You could convey the same information by having dismay grip Ethan at the idea of starring in the next viral video... *Exclaim*

*Cut*His slender hands gripped the desk with white knuckle intensity, while he gasped for air. A surge of energy jerked his arms upward. A ferocious snapping noise filled the air,*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: "air" used in successive sentences. This isn't wrong, but repeating words and phrases runs the risk of making your prose seem monoton. *Exclaim*

*Cut*Ethan's classmates were now gasping and pointing, *Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: Just an aside here: I've read some reviewers who say to avoid phrases like "were gasping" and just say "gasped." I disagree. "Were gasping" indicates ongoing activity, while "gasps" indicates a one-time instance. I mention this in passing to let you know I'd keep this exactly as written even if reviewers tell you to change it. [On the other hand, if an *editor* says change it, do so. They're the paying customer and may be following a style guide.] *Exclaim*

*Cut*A mousy girl with glasses shouted, "Someone call nine one one."*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: It's generally correct to write out single-digit numbers rather than use numerals, which is what you've done here. However, paragraph 9.57 of the Chicago Manual of Style, while not precisely on point, says to use numerals for telephone numbers. Paragraph 9.2 recommends using numerals for numbers larger than 100, so that would also support using numerals here. *Exclaim*

*Cut*The video of Ethan's ordeal appropriately named, "superhuman floppy chicken," went viral instantly.*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: This paragraph and the next are narrated background--an info-dump, telling rather than showing. *Exclaim*

*Cut*while gently tapping his neatly combed blonde hair, *Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: He's unlikely to be thinking about his hair color, or even that it's neatly combed at this point. Thus, this takes the reader slightly out of his head and hence out of the here-and-now. *Exclaim*

*Cut*Florence leaned against her podium, "I bet you think you are so special with your powers and scholarship."*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: Make it clearer that she's addressing Ethan--perhaps she glares at him before she speaks. *Exclaim*

*Cut*unresolved feelings may lead to further incidences."*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: typo: incidents. *Exclaim*

*Cut*I know Ivy League School would salivate over such a submission."*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: Ivy Schools generally are not the publishers of elite journals. The *faculty* at Ivy League schools publish *in* elite journals. The publishers range from Springer-Verlag to the National Academy of Science. Perhaps he knows someone at Harvard or another Ivy League school who would love to research Ethan's powers. *Exclaim*

*Cut*and the only villain in recorded history died in a hail of carpet bombing."*Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: must be a typo here of some kind... *Exclaim*

*Cut*Ethan felt his blood boil, and the lightning blue eyes dilated. *Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: "blood boil" is over-used--just say his face heated. He can't see his eyes dilate, so this is a POV violation. *Exclaim*

*Cut*Fear filled eyes stared deeply into his, *Cut**Exclaim*My Comment: "fear-filled," for clarity. *Exclaim*




Max Griffin
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MESSAGE THREAD
Just seeing how this new piece works out · 12-16-19 9:23pm
by Jolanh
Re: Just seeing how this new piece works out · 12-30-19 3:10pm
by Max Griffin 🏳️‍🌈
*Star* Re: Just seeing how this new piece works out · 12-30-19 4:26pm
by Max Griffin 🏳️‍🌈

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