|Hello, Mastiff !
I am reviewing "Occupational Changes" to fulfill the package you purchased in the "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" .
Please know I am not a professional editor or author and these are only my thoughts and opinions.
What I Like
I liked being able to picture everything throughout the reading. You wrote good descriptions and I felt like I was right there watching everything play out.
I believe one of your strengths is writing narrative. Keep up the great work!
I liked the various settings, the gym, the Japanese garden, the apartment. However, I would have liked to get more description. I know I always forget to write with the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. These would have brought the reader more into the scenes like the restaurant and Japanese garden.
We get physical descriptions of Chris and his sensei and they seem real to me, but the descriptions read like a list as opposed to being weaved into the story. Something like, his 5'11" made it easy for him to kick the bag, or, when he grabbed his towel he could have wiped it across his short-cropped hair. Hopefully, you understand what I'm saying here, but let me know if it doesn't make sense.
I was able to follow along the story with little confusion. There were a few parts I had to re-read, but I think that was on my part.
My one question is, how did he die? Did he simply die in his sleep? What happened?
Even not a large man at 5’ 10”, Chris had plenty of upper body strength. This sentence read a little awkward to me. For me, the word "even" doesn't make sense.
Shadow wagged because he knew the word, and it was always fun. I think "his tail" might be good to add between "wagged" and "because."
Not fading away, but almost drawn away if sucked back by a straw. I believe this sentence would read easier if you added "as" between "away" and "if."
This time, he didn’t forget to unharness his dog, but once that was done, he just reclined on the couch where he sat. This sentence seems a little cluttered. You don't need the word, "just", and "where he sat" is also not needed because you already stated that he reclined. That gives the reader the picture that the character laid down on the couch. So, the sentence would read, This time, he didn't forget to unharness his dog, but once that was done, he reclined on the couch.
Here's a link about words to avoid in writing: https://www.freelancewriting.com/copywriting/ten-w....
Then, it pointed at him, then slowly floated back through his wall, and was gone. It may be considered 'old school', but I would refrain from using the same word in the same sentence. "Then" is used twice and fairly close. A suggested rewrite might be: It pointed at him, ... or Then, it pointed at him and slowly floated ...
“You are here late, deshi, does something trouble you?” I think maybe since Chris has already stated that he is troubled by saying that he needed to talk, I would suggest changing this question to read, "what troubles you" instead of "does something trouble you?" This would require a change in his response as well.
He grabbed a towel and dried sweat off his body after working out. Shadow, his mastiff, left his guard position across the doorway to the room, assuming it was play time. The word playtime is one word.
Past the restaurants, various shops full of trinkets martial arts weapons, and fireworks, it was a melting pot of many Asian cultures living in relative harmony. I believe there should be a comma after "trinkets" because you're listing three different items.
After showering up and smelling nice, because there were lovely ladies on campus, the two-headed for the Broad Street subway. There is no need for a hyphen between "two" and "headed" unless we're talking about a two-headed animal or person.
I felt sad for poor Shadow who was now left alone.
Although I still can't tell if this was supposed to be a bad spirit or not. I would have thought bad until Chris became the spirit himself and left to get his father. This left me confused.
Your description states horror/scary, dark, and occult, but I didn't feel any of those things. Although the spirit was a little frightening, that was it. The only thing I can think of to change this is maybe different language/words?
I have so enjoyed reading this story and having the opportunity to review it. Thank you. And, thank you for purchasing my donated package in the "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" .
Keep on writing!!