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The image created of Joan in the first few sentences doesn’t correlate with how she is portrayed in the next part. The adult dress, the serious relationship implied by the fifth date, the mentions of work all create an image of a confident, capable young woman. That she suddenly becomes ‘a quivering lump of a woman’ becomes confusing and unusual.
From the very beginning, I would let readers know how Joan is feeling and how badly she is pining for Marc. Not only would that create more of a flow and be more consistent, it would also hook readers in more. In your first few sentences, you have just stated facts. If you include emotion in that, your readers will be more enthusiastic to see the reunion of the two and to be invested in the relationship.
Furthermore, Joan collapses onto Marc, sobs and shakes, and then kisses him passionately, and then in the very next line she’s worried about office etiquette. Her actions don’t correlate with her thoughts at all and we’re left uncertain about her.
I don’t think there’s any need to say ‘six adults’. When someone walks past a room, they don’t count the people inside and check their IDs. I think ‘numerous people’ or ‘several people’ would do just fine.
“Six rows of white desks with white computer monitors gave Joan a pang of agoraphobia, recalling an internship she’d endured five years ago”. I get what you’re getting at here, but the phrasing is a little odd. It makes it seem like the agoraphobia reminded Joan of her internship, rather than the reminder of her internship making her feel agoraphobic. I would just shuffle this sentence around to something like “Six rows of white desks with white computer monitors reminded Joan sharply of a [insert adjective here] internship she’d had to endure years before. She felt a twinge of agoraphobia”
Your repeated use of the term ‘the Asian’ is a bit off-putting. Reducing a character down to his race so many times is demeaning. Just say ‘he’ or something like that.
“quaint street lined with intricately detailed three-story buildings” creates some lovely imagery.
I personally wouldn’t use the word ‘dude’ in my narrating. If a character used it, that’s something else entirely, but it makes you as a narrator seem biased and unreliable.
Your dialogue is really good! It’s realistic and it flows well.
(This isn’t a criticism or anything, just a comment) I have absolutely no knowledge of Yu-Gi-Oh and I’m sure if I did, this sentence would make a lot more sense: “Daggers of ice shot from Seto’s gaze as traumatic memories of ancient Egyptian hooligans with magical 24-karat gold artifacts flashed through his mind” but its such a rich and multi-layered sentence I’m kind of happy just to wonder XD
Your characters are well done! They’re specific and well-developed and realistic. They all have distinct personalities and mannerisms, which is fantastic. For example, you’ve displayed Seto’s personality well when he notices not the woman, but the breasts attached to her.
Apart from being multi-layered and rather hilarious, sentences like: “Ever since an incident involving a broken wine glass and eight stitches followed by expensive scar removal procedures and lawsuit threats from both parties, Seto had Roland screen his prostitutes” are excellent as they suggest there is a whole world outside of these characters and what they are doing at this moment. It adds depth to your work, so well done!
(Another random comment) the sentence “I hear your wife has been dicking around in the Shadow Realm.” Is a fantastic one
Again, your dialogue is excellent
The conversation with Laura and Roland was thoroughly enjoyable! Well done!
I’ve read chapters 1-3 but I’ll stop here because I’ve commented so much. If you’d like me to keep going, please let me know!
I’m sorry if I was too critical. You’ve done a great job at creating an environment and the characters in it. Your pacing is also really well done.