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9 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Hossman
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
From the Breach, Ch. 8
Hello! Sorry I’m a week behind but I did’t have much time last week. Here’s your chapter 8. This week I’m studying characterization with my group so that is what I was focusing more on when I read your chapter. I hope this helps, it’s a good start, but you need to add more flesh in there. And as always, I’m just some guy on the internet and may have no idea what I'm talking about, but I am enjoying your story.
Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?
Not bad, sets the scene but doens’t promise me that anything is going to happen. Why would I read if nothing is going to happen.
Story line / Theme
On the road with the soldiers. Some get sick, Bran is caught in a lie but escapes.
Characters:
Bran--still same old. You need to develop him in the transition chapters between the action scenes. Theres obviously something going on with him, discuss it a bit.
Fal--same as bran. He’s almost pointless in this scene Make him not pointless, bring him to life.
Soldiers---all the soldiers look alike to me, which is just a gaggle of men. Start describing them.
Tylos--he’s the most well developed character in the scene, keep it up.
Soldier sick: hit and miss a little on this one. Pick on or two out to give a general description of all. Sometimes you did a great job showing they were sick, but mostly they blend in the background. It feels important that they are getting sick, so develop that image a little bit more.



Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:
Good voice, to the point. Story moves forward, which is great. But pick up the pace.

Setting/Scene
Good description on scene, a column of men riding on a road, in the cold but not as cold as it was. Snow melting, flanked by trees with flanking soldiers.

Descriptions:
Scene was good, lots of work on the men though.

Emotional Reaction
Indifferent. Why should I care about men riding? What is going to get the emotion from me. The sick soldiers do somewhat, and their commanders concern, but other than that, meh.
Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?

Favorite part
Eack of them had bloodshot eyes and pale skin, shining with sweat.--better, show me the miserable!
“Yes, sir,” said Athern, an old soldier whose graying fringe of hair was slicked back with sweat. --much better

“I think we should leave these men behind.”--i like it, giving this man some character!


What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.

and now sat with slumped shoulders and miserable faces--this is telling, show me their miserable faces. Describe them, pick one or two guys out and get into it. How were their faces miserable? Maybe one grimaced and then spat phlegm while another’s teeth chattered despite the warmth.

The soldier who had reported the sickness led his horse to Tyollis’ side.--give me a little on this guy, make him real rather than just a part of the rabble. Describe him a little bit, even though his part is minor, just the messenger. Look through your chapters for this type of thing. Even a small detail can paint the scene and make it stick in the readers mind.

He was afraid--show, don’t tell

“Sir,” he said, “I’m scared, I don’t want to end up like those men.” --seems out of place for a soldier to tell his commander that he’s afraid. I would cut that, but it’s ok to keep the second line. Soldiers are all bravado except when they are alone with only one buddy and some whiskey.


Final thoughts;
You need to cut this chapter way down. It’s basically the last chapter, more riding with not much happening. Some men get sick this time, that’s great, gives a little conflict. But the endless riding is losing your reader. Do you need two chapters where they only ride and nothing really happens? I know it’s transition here but your story is slowing down. I would say keep the sickness parts, keep the small confrontation with Fal, but yo should be able to combine these last two chapters and pretty much get the same result.

Second: go through to each character, no matter how small, and make them real to the reader. Give the most vivid that can stick to them. If the messenger comes up, maybe his white cloak blows in the cold wind. Maybe the commander has on different boots. Find details to make the characters more real rather than cardboard cutouts. That feels like s***ty advice, to vague, but take a look at everyone in this scene and see if you can actually picture them. Once you can, find a way to make me picture them.
















*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review by Hossman
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
From the Breach, Ch. 8
Hello once again. Hope all is well! This week I’m studying scene and setting as well as “show, don’t tell” with my writer’s group. So As I read through Ch. 8 here, I’m sure that will be first and foremost on my mind. I’ve been working on fleshing out my own pieces by showing the relevant details that create the feeling I want, about showing behaviors/clothing/reactions that give each character a more realistic feel. So if I’m harping on that too much, just ignore it:) Alright, here we go.

Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?
Good start, right into some conflict.

Story line / Theme
Bran and his men come out of the second world and are immediatly taken captive. They ride to a river.

Characters:
The Soldiers--group of men that answer to the captain. --They are unformed in my head, a faceless mob that follows. A little bit more description about them would help me ground them in my mind.
Tylos--Takinthad captain--helmeted and on a horse, excellent with weapons. Some fame from past deeds. A bit of a bragart likes that he is known to Bran. good mental picture of him in my head.
Branston--hero
Faldashir --in hero’s troop
Olivar, --in hero’s troop
*not much description is needed for these last three characters as they were formed in previous chapters.






Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:
Style and narrative move me from one point to the other without taking me out of the story. Well done.
Setting/Scene
Need more here. It gets better towards the end but the lack of any detail at front makes it hard for me to jump into their world. They are coming from the second world so it’s like both the reader and Bran’s party are jumping in together to the unknown. It’s just kind of fuzzy until they get to the river.
Descriptions:
. Most of the scene is focused on Tyloss, and his description is well done. Bran is also firmly in my head, however it is lacking on the other details--the landscape, the soldiers, horses, sights and sounds. Flesh this out a bit to help ground me into your world.

Emotional Reaction
Didn’t really have one. There is some tension building at the end, with Bran plotting escape, but mostly it’s just a leisurely ride down a road.

Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?
It did, it hinted at action soon

Favorite part
He looked at Faldashir and Olivar, whose faces were pale and wide-eyed--good bit

“ crooked teeth bared and eyes like that of a hunter catching prey.”--good detail

They would be swarmed if they hiccuped,--made me laugh a bit, great part showing how closely they were watched.

good look at the landscape, in that turn.--good bit showing me Bran’s description of the area around him





What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.

“with many points of steel digging into Branston’s back and chest.” --a great place to show

me through Bran’s eyes what the points of steel felt like. You use digging, but expand on it a bit.

Faldashir looked ready to fight--you can lose this sentence here. In the next sentence you show me how he is ready to fight, no need for this.

The captain looked back to Branston--using the word “looked” a little too much here. The captain looked there, the captain looked here. Change it up a bit.

and confidence marked his voice,--show me. You already say that the captain was calm, so now show me how he is confident. Trust your reader to infer some of these details once you show them minor details describing what you want them to feel.

, and eyed it--Same as above, show me the captain looking at it.
Then he looked to Branston’s hand--our captain is back to looking. He likes to look alot and it’s taking me out of the story

“trying to”--to passive for our hero Bran. You can lose it.

the whole time--you can lose this, doesn’t really add anything.

An eye-patch wound around his head, covering the ear.--this threw me for a second, thought the eyepatch was over an ear and not his eye. Clean it up?

meeting the other man’s eyes--Wait, doesn’t Tyloss only have one eye?

He tore his gaze from Tyollis’ pocket, in case someone were suspicious. --wouldn’t Tyloss always be suspicious?

This wasn’t funny anyway!--confusing line

, he was thirsty,--can lose this line. The next line shows me how thirsty Bran was


General thought: Not much happens in this scene. The dialog is fine but the pacing of the scene feels slow. It takes a lot of time to get to from point A to point B. The reader is left wondering some way through the scene “What’s the point?” The scene needs to be paced a little quicker or you’re going to lose the reader. Other than a short conflict at the beginning, there doesn’t seem to be anything really happening here.




Final thoughts;

A transition piece in the story, setting up some future conflict and possible escape. The introduction of someone who could be a bigger character in the future? It reads well as a horse ride to a river, but the reader isn’t given a lot more here other than Tyloss. I have him a good mental picture of him but the rest of the ride just kind of seems pointless. Clean up the scene a bit, tigten te language and speed up the pacing and you will be able to get to the transition in before the next chapter without losing your reader. Bran is a great character, I want to follow him and see what happens next.
















*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Hossman
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
From the Breach, Ch. 1.
Hi again! Sorry if this is coming to you a bit late. Busy Sat today. But I’ve read your first chapter and am ready to give it a go. Again, just keep in mind I’m just some dude off the net who enjoys long walks on the beach and reading novels. None of it means that I actually know anything. But if any of what I add here helps you with your story, then awesome sauce. Here we go:)


Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?
At the beginning of a novel, you have at most a paragraph to pull the reader in. You do a pretty good job here I think. Bringing in the tension of the wolves is a good idea, perhaps start with that before describing Bran’s horses? Wolves = danger, danger = conflict. So maybe start with Bran looking around for wolves. Then you can tell why (his neighbor’s advice) and jump into describing the scene with the horse's nervousness. But it is a good start.

Storyline / Theme
Bran is running from Krassos, a despot if there ever was one. While on the road, he is accosted by three ruffians. Did Krassos send them? They see the dragons on Bran’s hands and it seems to have meaning to them, they were indeed looking for Bran. However, before they can truly get to whatever business they have with Bran, the three marauders are shot down by Fald. After a misunderstanding, Bran and Fald seem to be coming to terms with each other until they are again attacked by a man on a horse. Bran and Fald seem to fight off the attacker but then, the attacker vanishes. Fald offers Bran safe haven with King Den.

I want to add here that this is a great start to the book overall. There’s action and intrigue, why is Bran running? What was he guarding, dragons? Where’s his dad? All good questions and a good storyline to follow for your first chapter. Well done.
Characters:
Bran: A man on the road, apparently he used to be a guard. Woolen clothes and a blond shaggy beard. Dragon (tattoos? Birthmarks?) on his hands which holds some significance. Great detail on that one by the way. But: I have no idea how old Bran is. The beard implies that he’s at least 20, 25 maybe. But he could also be 40 and no graying has occurred? It would help to picture the main character here with a hint of his age. Young man, old man, seen many summers or too few? Has he any experience with these types of winters, or just a little bit? Hinting at his age would help connect me to the character. He is, after all, the dude we all want to root for.

Three marauders: I think you have an opportunity here with these three. There are only a little descriptions about them, one is shorter, but they pretty much remain shadows to the reader's mind. First, give them names, even if they are going to be killed in a minute. Or at least one of them. You can drop in in the dialog while they talk to each other. I thought the dialog was pretty good though, just want to mention that. Didn’t seem stiff, so well done on that. Maybe describe them as Bran sees them, using all of his senses. Maybe the short one smells of the local weed that ruffians like to chew, maybe the first one’s voice seems filled with rocks. Those kinds of details help build the world and you can do it seamlessly I think. For example: “but the meaner looking…” How was he meaner looking? Perhaps he has a scar running over the corner of an eye that looks like a dragon talon made it? Go through that part again and see if you can flesh them out and world build at the same time.

Fald: Old man, gray beard, an archer who has a scowl, guff voice. I like the old man, I can fit him in my mind easier. I’m assuming we learn more about him later but I think this is a pretty good start to this character. He has some depth and I can wait to get to it.

Man on Horse: Tall steel helmet, armored. What kind of armor. Is it new, dented, is there a logo on it. Same for the horse. I know he’s only there for a short time but this guy plays a little bit bigger role, he is going to tell K man about Bran and Fald. Add a short detail somewhere in his action scene as Bran is looking at him.

Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:
I like the narrator’s voice here. It’s informative, but not overly so. The action is well paced out, excellently actually. I didn’t get bored reading it and that’s awesome. Keep it up, style and voice are good.

Setting/Scene
So Bran is riding somewhere and it’s winter. There is snow falling and it’s cold. There is snow on the ground and also some ice. But what I don’t know is this:
What time of day is it, what is the position of the sun? He’s on a road, but what kind? Bumpy, well traveled? You do a pretty good job of dropping some scene in so see if you can clarify it. Clarity is a huge one with me and my own writing. There is a treeline somewhere, which would imply some sort of road out in the open, are there wagon wheel ruts that the horse can easily follow? If you can clear up the scene a little bit, make it pop unobtrusively, it will help me with the action that is soon to come. You did a good job of showing me it’s snowing by how flakes get caught in a beard. It’s cold by the clothes the characters are wearing. But what kind of terrain are we actually dealing with? Mountains? Flatlands? A combination of the two? Maybe just a forrest?

Descriptions:
Add a few details about the wagon, maybe the type of bow, things like that. Some of the descriptions are excellent but some are short. You can always cut later if you get to wordy and just keep the good stuff. Also, is there a poof when the guy riding the horse disappears, is there no sound at all? I’m just pointing out places that may help the reader develop a better sense of scene here.

Emotional Reaction
I’m rooting for Bran, the runaway who has intrigue and who has apparently lost his father. Good stuff. The pacing was great. Well done.

Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?
Great ending for this chapter. Intrigue and a direction. Should easily connect to the next scene. Wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Favorite part
“whinnied nervously as their hooves crunched down the snow covered road”--great bit at the beginning showing me it’s cold and snowing.
“He had to be careful, his boots were designed for walking on ice, but he nearly slipped” another great show that it’s icy out.
“Though his face was covered, Branston was sure the rider was stunned by the way he stood and looked around.” Great job of showing the riders emotion through his behavior. That’s tough so well done.



What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.


The three men: Where were they hiding so that Bran didn’t notice them? Adding clarity to the scene description would help. It’s hard for me to imagine 3 men being able to walk up unnoticed on a guy on a road with 50 yards between the treeline and the road. But maybe it isn’t that far? Maybe the road is bordered by large fir trees, oaks of amazing size that cast long shadows, giving the three ruffians ample hiding places. I don’t know, but it bothered me that Bran was looking for wolves and didn’t see three men anywhere near him. C’mon Bran, you are better than that. He is already on the lookout for something and I refuse to believe he is a terrible lookout. Or maybe he is and that’s why he left the guard?

“The man behind Branston slammed into him and fell backwards…” This part is a bit confusing as slamming into someone usually implies forward momentum. So if he’s going forward, why fall backwards? Shouldn’t he fall forward, or at least to the side after falling forward onto Bran since he just got shot?

“his teeth chomped through his tongue…” Makes me think Bran bit his tongue his teeth chomped through his tongue off. Maybe change it to “bit into his tongue” instead of through.

“Branston squirmed as hard as he could” You could lose this line as the next line shows how he is hard he is trying. Second line is better.

“The dragons broke out again…” You have an opportunity to world build with this statement. Maybe Fald says the Horned ThunderSkies took off first, or maybe something of that nature. Just hint at that there may be different breeds and types of dragons. Or maybe there’s not, all are just Dragons. But you can foreshadow that kind of thing here and also connect your reader to your world a little bit stronger.

“ Faldashir cursed. "He's armored…” As Bran and Fald describe him as wearing a tall steel helmet, this statement seems a little out of place and there shouldn’t be any surprise from Fald. If he is the older, wiser gentleman he comes across as then he should already know he’s armored.


Final thoughts;
Really great first chapter to the story. Plenty of conflict, a crisis, and some pretty good hints at the world Bran lives in. Flesh it out a bit more, give it some meat. I read through the first time and it didn’t bog down, it didn’t lose me and it kept my interest. The ending made me want to read the next chapter, for sure. Good job. The second time I read through it I paid more attention to some of the detail that wasn’t there. There’s places for it though, it's a good skeleton to build upon.















From the Breach, Ch. 1.
Hi again! Sorry if this is coming to you a bit late. Busy Sat today. But I’ve read your first chapter and am ready to give it a go. Again, just keep in mind I’m just some dude off the net who enjoys long walks on the beach and reading novels. None of it means that I actually know anything. But if any of what I add here helps you with your story, then awesome sauce. Here we go:)


Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?
At the beginning of a novel, you have at most a paragraph to pull the reader in. You do a pretty good job here I think. Bringing in the tension of the wolves is a good idea, perhaps start with that before describing Bran’s horses? Wolves = danger, danger = conflict. So maybe start with Bran looking around for wolves. Then you can tell why (his neighbor’s advice) and jump into describing the scene with the horses nervousness. But it is a good start.

Story line / Theme
Bran is running from Krassos, a despot if there ever was one. While on the road, he is accosted by three ruffians. Did Krassos send them? They see the dragons on Bran’s hands and it seems to have meaning to them, they were indeed looking for Bran. However, before they can truly get to whatever business they have with Bran, the three marauders are shot down by Fald. After a misunderstanding, Bran and Fald seem to becoming to terms with each other until they are again attacked by a man on a horse. Bran and Fald seem to fight off the attacker but then, the attacker vanishes. Fald offers Bran safe haven with King Den.

I want to add here that this is a great start to book overall. There’s action and intrigue, why is Bran running? What was he guarding, dragons? Where’s his dad? All good questions and a good storyline to follow for your first chapter. Well done.
Characters:
Bran: A man on the road, apparently he used to be a guard. Woolen clothes and a blond shaggy beard. Dragon (tattoos? Birthmarks?) on his hands which holds some significance. Great detail on that one by the way. But: I have no idea how old Bran is. The beard implies that he’s at least 20, 25 maybe. But he could also be 40 and no graying has occurred? It would help to picture the main character here with a hint of his age. Young man, old man, seen many summers or too few? Has he any experience with these types of winters, or just a little bit? Hinting at his age would help connect me to the character. He is, after all, the dude we all want to root for.

Three marauders: I think you have an opportunity here with these three. There are only a little descriptions about them, one is shorter, but they pretty much remain shadows to the reader's mind. First, give them names, even if they are going to be killed in a minute. Or at least one of them. You can drop in in the dialog while they talk to each other. I thought the dialog was pretty good though, just want to mention that. Didn’t seem stiff, so well done on that. Maybe describe them as Bran sees them, using all of his senses. Maybe the short one smells of the local weed that ruffians like to chew, maybe the first one’s voice seems filled with rocks. Those kind of details help build the world and you can do it seamlessly I think. For example: “but the meaner looking…” How was he meaner looking? Perhaps he has a scar running over the corner of an eye that looks like a dragon talon made it? Go through there part again and see if you can flesh them out and world build at the same time.

Fald: Old man, gray beard, an archer who has a scowl, guff voice. I like the old man, I can fit him in my mind easier. I’m assuming we learn more about him later but I think this is a pretty good start to this character. He has some depth and I can wait to get to it.

Man on Horse: Tall steel helmet, armored. What kind of armor. Is it new, dented, is there a logo on it. Same for the horse. I know he’s only there for a short time but this guy plays a little bit bigger role, he is going to tell K man about Bran and Fald. Add a short detail somewhere in his action scene as Bran is looking at him.

Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:
I like the narrator’s voice here. It’s informative, but not overly so. The action is well paced out, excellently actually. I didn’t get bored reading it and that’s awesome. Keep it up, style and voice are good.

Setting/Scene
So Bran is riding somewhere and it’s winter. There is snow falling and it’s cold. There is snow on the ground and also some ice. But what I don’t know is this:
What time of day is it, what is the position of the sun? He’s on a road, but what kind? Bumpy, well traveled? You do a pretty good job of dropping some scene in so see if you can clarify it. Clarity is a huge one with me and my own writing. There is a treeline somewhere, which would imply some sort of road out in the open, are there wagon wheel ruts that the horse can easily follow? If you can clear up the scene a little bit, make it pop unobtrusively, it will help me with the action that is soon to come. You did a good job of showing me it’s snowing by how flakes get caught in a beard. It’s cold by the clothes the characters are wearing. But what kind of terrain are we actually dealing with? Mountains? Flatlands? A combination of the two? Maybe just a forrest?

Descriptions:
Add a few details about the wagon, maybe the type of bow, things like that. Some of the descriptions are excellent but some are short. You can always cut later if you get to wordy and just keep the good stuff. Also, is there a poof when the guy riding the horse disappears, is there no sound at all? I’m just pointing out places that may help the reader develop a better sense of scene here.

Emotional Reaction
I’m rooting for Bran, the runaway who has intrigue and who has apparently lost his father. Good stuff. The pacing was great. Well done.

Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?
Great ending for this chapter. Intrigue and a direction. Should easily connect to the next scene. Wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Favorite part
“whinnied nervously as their hooves crunched down the snow covered road”--great bit at the beginning showing me it’s cold and snowing.
“He had to be careful, his boots were designed for walking on ice, but he nearly slipped” another great show that it’s icy out.
“Though his face was covered, Branston was sure the rider was stunned by the way he stood and looked around.” Great job of showing the riders emotion through his behavior. That’s tough so well done.



What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.


The three men: Where were they hiding so that Bran didn’t notice them? Adding clarity to the scene description would help. It’s hard for me to imagine 3 men being able to walk up unnoticed on a guy on a road with 50 yards between the treeline and the road. But maybe it isn’t that far? Maybe the road is bordered by large fir trees, oaks of amazing size that cast long shadows, giving the three ruffians ample hiding places. I don’t know, but it bothered me that Bran was looking for wolves and didn’t see three men anywhere near him. C’mon Bran, you are better than that. He is already on the lookout for something and I refuse to believe he is a terrible lookout. Or maybe he is and that’s why he left the guard?

“The man behind Branston slammed into him and fell backwards…” This part is a bit confusing as slamming into someone usually implies forward momentum. So if he’s going forward, why fall backwards? Shouldn’t he fall forward, or at least to the side after falling forward onto Bran since he just got shot?

“his teeth chomped through his tongue…” Makes me think Bran bit his tongue his teeth chomped through his tongue off. Maybe change it to “bit into his tongue” instead of through.

“Branston squirmed as hard as he could” You could lose this line as the next line shows how he is hard he is trying. Second line is better.

“The dragons broke out again…” You have an opportunity to world build with this statement. Maybe Fald says the Horned ThunderSkies took off first, or maybe something of that nature. Just hint at that there may be different breeds and types of dragons. Or maybe there’s not, all are just Dragons. But you can foreshadow that kind of thing here and also connect your reader to your world a little bit stronger.

“ Faldashir cursed. "He's armored…” As Bran and Fald describe him as wearing a tall steel helmet, this statement seems a little out of place and there shouldn’t be any surprise from Fald. If he is the older, wiser gentleman he comes across as then he should already know he’s armored.


Final thoughts;
Really great first chapter to the story. Plenty of conflict, a crisis, and some pretty good hints at the world Bran lives in. Flesh it out a bit more, give it some meat. I read through the first time and it didn’t bog down, it didn’t lose me and it kept my interest. The ending made me want to read the next chapter, for sure. Good job. The second time I read through it I paid more attention to some of the detail that wasn’t there. There’s places for it though, it's a good skeleton to build upon.




























*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review by Hossman
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi Breach! Thank you for giving me a chance to read your chapter. First things first, keep writing the story! It's got legs and deserves to be finished. I liked it, honest and true. Everything that I put down below is my absolute best effort to help you improve. If I didn't like the story, I wouldn't have gone through it three times. So rest easy, it's a good story. Second, please keep in mind that I'm just some random guy off the internet and I may have no idea what I'm talking about. Although I read your genre a lot and am familiar with a lot of these themes, I'm still jsut a guy. The approach I took to revising your story is the same one taught here on Writing.com and the one I use in my writer's group every week. If it means anything, I have been published but honestly, that doesn't mean s***. It still doesn't mean I know what I'm talking about though. With all that said, let's get into the story.


Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?

It’s intriguing and pulled me in because mostly I wanted to know what the statement “think those arms did it.” It’s an odd statement, which is great. However, it needs clarifying a bit because I don’t think this is actually ever answered. Unless it was in a previous chapter, in which case nevermind.


Storyline / Theme

A hero’s journey, good times. I do love a good hero’s journey. 4 men ride from point A to point B, the old village of a man they meet on the way. In the journey, the tension rises until they meet a wraith. There is a fight and the men leave through a pendant, however, two of their number are struck down. We are now in the second world.

Characters:

Branston--leader. I don’t know his age, what he looks like or what horse he rides. This could be the result of this being chapter 7 and everything was described before. With that said though, I would like a little more development of him. He doesn’t seem to be the leader of the group at first, but becomes so throughout the ride. Maybe have him resist the title, or show someway to have some inner conflict about it? This would start hinting at some inner growth which is good.

Faldishir--old man, uses a bow. But here, there is also no description of him and his personality doesn’t really shine through I would like to see a purpose for him to be here. Is he sassy, is he a mentor to Branston, is he a mirror to where Branston will eventually lead up Does he have a beard? Again, some of these have probably come out through the book already but continue to grow it with each chapter.

Dead wolgs--no idea what these are, but probably introduced earlier. But some short description would be helpful.

Oliver--again, he seems bland to me and I don’t know his purpose other than to just follow around Branston.
Vigo--his purpose seems to only be to die.

Young man from tree line. He has sleeves. This character needs motivation. Why would he agree to go back to a village that he knows is dead, that he saw tons of people getting killed What is his motivation for going back? Also, what was his purpose in this story if he is just killed because the hero forgot about him. If the hero forgets about him, the readers will do. So what is the young man's role in this scene?

Wraith: a tall person, shadows dancing around him, light in eyes.--The bad guy and a good one. Classic--dark, menacing. You’ve got a real opportunity here. Show me in the wraith the reason I should be scared. Is there a smell about him, does his movement create a sound. Also, go out on a limb in his description, go big on it. His eyes don’t just shine in the darkness, they burn and the heat from them can be felt. His breath is that of decay, a soulless husk sucking in life around him. Give me a reason to be scared of him. It’s a good start, now give him terror!

Branstons’ dad--gives advice through a flashback--just a quick mention of him, but shows some longing for his father which is good.




Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:

Like the style and voice here. It’s from Branston’s POV. The story did flow well although the beginning ⅓ dragged. What I mean: You show the hero’s starting to journey but in that journey, nothing happens until they get to the river. You can cut almost all of that and use the extra space to develop the characters better. Or describe the scene. You can say that for 2 days and nights the hero's journey until they came to a river. Unless you want to build tension but to do that, something more needs to happen on those two days. But you can still keep it short, but maybe Vigo sees fleeting shapes in the woods, or Oliver has an encounter with an animal that seems deformed. But you can still do all of that in one paragraph. But if nothing happens in those 2 days that they travel then there isn’t a story to tell. Start closer to the action. Maybe begin the chapter with Branston finding the bodies in the river.

Setting/Scene

The setting shifts a lot but it isn’t clear where they are from time to time. There’s a tree line so there must be a forest. And if there is a forest there must be sounds. Also, is it night or day when they come upon the river. How close were they to the treeline when the young man popped out. When they meet the wraith, where are they? Is it in the ruined husk of a village. Or is the village still intact.
What is the trail they are following? Dirt, stone, well traveled, mossy from lack of use? The scenes need to be clean up so that the action can take place.

Descriptions:
I need a description of the pendant. I also want a description of the people, the horses, the type of weapons the people have. I don’t know how old anyone is except the old man, Fald. Pepper these things around in the story. Maybe Vigo has a bum knee from a childhood accident and now it bothers him in. Maybe Oliver shivers against the cold and pulls his wolf fur cloak around his short, thick neck. I know that this is chapter 7 but still add details like this from time to time to cement them in the reader's mind.




Emotional Reaction
I like Branston although sometimes his character seems inconsistent. Why does he care about the young man, why doesn’t he just leave them him there? But regardless of this, I did feel a connection to him. The other characters I didn’t much care about. Vigo dying didn’t make me feel a whole lot. But this may be because it’s ch. 7.
The scene is set with tension which is awesome but it needs more. More tension, the conflict is good but build up to the feeling of it.

Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?

Liked the ending a lot. I would clarify it though so the reader can follow what happened easier. But it’s a good ending, I wouldn’t change the outcome.

Favorite part

his shoulders prickled against the unseen eyes...great description
the soft snow crunched under Branston's boots--a great way to show me that there is snow on the ground, now I get a better feeling of the setting that I didn't have before this paragraph.
Olivar, who was actively not looking at the river--I like this little bit about Oliver, it’s the first time I get a feel for his personality.
His face was blank and uncaring in the moonlight.--great show
scrubbing his face with a sleeve. --great bit
“That's my village, in the river.”--I really like this sentence, very well done. The shock of it is interesting
“Branston struck him with an elbow.” damn right he did. That’s the hero I was waiting for.
and the wraith’s momentum carried them both out of the saddle. --this is one of the best scenes in the chapter for me. Shows the force that Vigo was struck.
“he had forgotten the other man. I forgot, and he’s dead now.He pounded his own leg with a fist.”--ha, poor fool.



What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.

3rd paragraph “The cold bit Branston…” biting cold is a bit overused, you can do better.
3rd paragraph “kept a close watch…” you do a good job showing how he kept a close watch so maybe you don’t need this phrase.
3rd paragraph: A little confused at this sequence. Did they stop to camp or were they just watching the woods for hours?
3rd and 4th paragraphs: so it seems that they are riding here for 2 days and nothing happens? If nothing happens, why is it needed? Can it be clarified and shorten I think it may work better. If you are trying to create tension, which is always good, can you add something that spooks them on day 1 or 2. Maybe a rustling in the woods makes someone jump, or an animal rushes across their path. Something to show that they are on edge for 2 days. Just be careful of adding paragraphs that don’t add to the story in any way.
5th paragraph: Noted that the horses are being pushed too hard. How? What do they look like, is there breath short, is there a sheen of sweat on the coats, can Faldishir feel the quiver of the horse's exhausted legs? The point is, show me how they have been pushed too hard because at this point it looks like they’ve walked and had two nights of interrupted sleep.
6th paragraph: “so..” cut the word. It isn’t needed. I sooo make this mistake a lot too when I transition.
7th paragraph: “Look,” Vigo pointed. “Fox tracks. Good news?”....describe the fox tracks, I have no idea what fox tracks look like. You seem to have a knack for description, don’t be afraid to use it.
8th paragraph: “and knew they were thinking the same thing” How?
12th paragraph: Are they back on the horses?
18th para: “ The river was narrower here than in most parts” tough to visualize this. Mississippi river size or Arkansas river? Flesh this out a bit with some of that description.
Second on this, because you might have an opportunity here: so there is some tension building here, from the “arms” yeah? Use the scenery to highlight that tension and mirror it. Maybe the river is rumbling, with the sound of crashing water over hidden rocks? The scene can help with setting the mood.
23rd paragraph: “But not every man wore the surcoat and armor. “Some are regular people.”..Drop “But”. It’s not needed. Also, unclear here who is talking. I do like that I know what the floating bodies look like a little bit. Expand on that. Are some bloated? Is there any animal damage or hint of how they died?
25th: “one of the men had a slashed stomach and his guts trailed along in the current” gross and awesome, love it. Expand on it. Are the bleached white from the water, are they waterlogged. Are all the guts there or just partial remains. Don’t shy away, dig into it.
27th: “Some have cuts. It looks like they died fighting. All their weapons are missing.”--how does he know all the weapons are missing? Is he checking everybody?
28th: “Branston pulling free his sword and Vigo his knife. A man came limping out of the treeline.” Ok, we got some action. Awesome. But I’m not sure of the scene. How close is the treeline to where they are? In fact, where are they standing? They needed a spyglass to see the bodies in the river, but the horses also took a drink from the river. Describe the scene more fully here to help with locations that the actions take place in.
29th: “The young man stopped…” How do we know he’s young?
37th: “We’re not going to hurt you,” Branston said, trying to sound soothing, but his anger came through.”--just wanted to point out something--Branston at first seems annoyed, with a terse “get up” statement as they met the man. Seconds later he sounds soothing? It’s a bit inconsistent to me. Branston’s actions dictate his personality to the reader and right now my vision of him is conflicted.
39th: “It can’t have been human. It was...too fast.”--expand on this. Why doesn't this man believe it couldn’t have been human, only because it was to fast. Maybe have Branston question him more and the man describe a blur, a shape, darkness that moved swiftly? I think this is a great opportunity to ratchet up the reader a bit, add some mystery so that the reader can begin to dread the eventual conflict with this thing.
40th: “I just ran, that’s all.” The man’s voice shuddered.” Seems inconsistent with the above. The man said it was too fast, but this guy was able to run for it. Unless there’s a reason for this, and if there is, such as he is full of it and plans to bushwhack our heroes, then keep it.
47th: “Branston looked at him, and felt a little sympathy. He too had lost his village and everyone he loved.” Now we are back to Branston being hard again. Just a bit confusing with him being soothing above. Branston doesn’t sound soft, caring, cuddly at all to me.
49th: “but they were vague shapes in the moonlight at this distance.” I love the visual here, it’s also the first time I get to know the time of day or night, which has been a little confusing.
--------sorry, here I lost count of the paragraph numbers. So any future comments from this point will just reference the sentence.

“Branston drew his horse forward, out from behind Faldashir, and saw what lay ahead.”--ok, so they are headed towards what was once this man’s village but the man seems pretty calm about, almost willing to come along. There is no panic, no disagreement. Surely Branston could make him come if he wanted to. But why would the man want to come?

““I am going to cut you,” Branston told him after some thought”--would Branston ask the man this or just order the man to give him his hand. I think you have a great opportunity to develop the character here though his actions which is awesome. Ask yourself, what would badass Branston do, not what a normal guy would do.

Like a snake, it ran,--snakes slither. And since we are going with this, can we add some description to the run to show it snakelike, like darting left and right, slipping from shadow to shadow, etc. Show the quickness and how the wraith ran.

“who dodged it easily” show me the dodge. Example-- the arrow flew towards the wraith, a dead center shot. As the arrow neared, the wraith turned his body in one fluid motion, his course never wavering and his stride increasing. The arrow passed through only the shadow that remained where the wraith once was. --sorry, I”m not supposed to tell you what to write but I just wanted to give you an example to help you flush out ideas.

Another note here on the Wraith: 12 yards is still actually pretty freaking close for someone to have time to notch an arrow. But good job on setting the scene. But for a thing as fast as he is described, he needs to be further away. Also, Branston would have noticed someone that close quickly at first. Secondly, they all have time to have a conversation before the thing gets to them. That’s going to be a heck of a lot farther way than 12 yards. I love the confrontation, but you need to clean it up.

“Olivar followed Branston’s orders, and recoiled with a sliced hand.” this confused me a little bit. I thought he was cutting the young man's hand who is still on the back of his horse? Clarify, please.

“Keep your hands close.” Branston looked to the wraith. It was so close. “Vigo!”--was no one watching the wraith? I love the attack here but surely they were watching the thing come at them and were not caught by surprise. Did they talk themselves to blissful ignorance?

“They were gone from the world.”--wait-wasn’t Branston riding the horse? Did he fall off when it vanished?


“Faldashir and Olivar were calming they’re shrieking horses” --confused, I thought they were disappeared by the pendent?--wait, I just understood. Branston and the troops have gone away courtesy of the pendant. This part was confusing a bit. I wasn’t sure where they were at.

“Where’s Vigo?” Faldashir asked. Again confused, did they not see Vigo get gutted?

“The landscape is the same.” I’m going to need a description of the second world, especially since this appears that it is the first time that Vigo and Fald have seen it.

Olivar had no weapon--bring this up sooner, good to know this when the wraith is attacking.


Grammar:
This is a longer work. Worry about the grammar later, after the book is done. I didn't pay much attention to it here.

Final thoughts:
Like I said at the beginning, it's a good story, continue it. Finish this book! The scene is basically 2 places: the river and the village. Focus your story more on those places, flesh them out. Describe them more, describe the people more. Their feelings, there reaactions. You've got the conflict--the confrontation with wraith--now build everything to that one moment. Create more tension, throw in a crisis to complicate everything. Your resolution to the chapter is great, but build up to that point with the river and the village.

NOTE:
I would be delighted to read the rest one chapter at a time and give feedback on it. I read at least two pieces a week to help myself. So if you want me to do the same thing with Ch. 1 and go from there, just let me know. It would help me as well with my own writing.

Good luck!!!
Hoss























*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of Strings of Holly  
Review by Hossman
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello! I enjoyed reading your story and thank you for posting it! I'll try to give the best review I can but please just keep in mind I'm just some random person on the internet. So here we go...

Opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?

Pretty good, there is something about the shoestrings and I wanted to read until the end to figure out how.


Story line / Theme

Holly is 8 months pregnant and apparently the only provider for this soon to be child. She is frustrated that she isn’t receiving any help from Gary. She takes a bath and soon catches Gary masturbating, which she ignores. She then goes to bed while Gary lies to her. She doesn’t confront the lies but hopes that tomorrow he will actually go out and seek a job.

Characters:
Holly: Works at Exxon, girlfriend of Gary. Pregnant with Gary’s kid, 8 months. She’s tired and frustrated in her relationship.
Gary: Unemployed for 2 months, wearing the same clothes as he was a couple of days ago. He’s pretty much a deadbeat that likes to masturbate rather than have sex with his wife/girlfriend.

I would like to see more of Holly's worries here, build her character a bit. Why is she upset that Gary isn’t looking for work. What are her worries and why is she so keen on letting go of the confrontation. It’s also a bit unclear what their relationship is, wife/gf. How long have they been together, are there good times to contrast the bad times?


Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:

Told through Holly’s thoughts. You can feel her frustration and almost loneliness. I did connect with her. Great job on this one!

Setting/Scene

In a house or apartment, not really clear. There is a couch, bathroom, bedroom and shoes. It feels a little sparse on the descriptions and it’s tough to put myself in the scene.

Descriptions:
I would like some minor descriptions of the characters to help form them in my mind. Gary is ok, but I feel Holly is just kind of a generic pregnant lady. Old, young? Unknown.

Emotional Reaction
Frustrated with Gary, feel sorry and hopeless for Holly. Pretty good connection with Holly, I want her to have a better life. She drives this story for me and I want to keep reading and rooting for her.



Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?

We are built up on this conflict between the two and it feels like it just kind of hangs there. She had gone through the trouble of setting up shoestrings, but for what purpose, her own self satisfaction? I feel like we are all looking foward to the confrontation that never happens.

Favorite part

Holly climbed out of the tub almost like she was born in water--I like the visual of this. Great line
Holly couldn’t tell if Gary’s face was red but she felt it should’ve been--good job keeping the knowledge strictly from Holly’s point of view. Been reading a lot of these stories where this isn’t the case.


What do you think they could improve on, and let them know why you think that. If you can, provide specific examples or explanations for your views.

When Holly arrives at the toilet, she grumps about how she has to put the seat down.--don’t need this line as the next one is about she is putting the seat down. A bit cliche and gary is already painted as a jackass. Also, is this scene of her actually peeing needed? Seems superfluous

. “Just takin’ a bath, Gare.”--drop the Gare. There is no one else in the aparment.

She decided not to mention the two customers that scared her out of her wits...

I'm not sure what’s going on or why they are noted. What do they have to do with the story or Gary? Or the confrontation that is about to follow? And if they do, it seems kind of innocent behavior to notice them for such small reasons, unless the author knows a reason but isn’t conveying it well or building suspense.

All in all, I think this story has great potential. It's a situation that naturally has a lot of conflict and that a lot of people can relate to. It's easy to root for Holly and hate Gary. There is a lot of different ways to go from here to show any kind of character growth that you would want. And it's easy as a reader to follow along and want to continue to read.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review of Adapting  
Review by Hossman
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi! Good story here and I enjoyed reading it! Keep in my mind I'm just a guy and not a professional editor but I'll give you my thoughts just the same. I hope it is of some help.

What I liked and why I liked it.

I feel for your main character here. I want to know his motivation, why he is in that place and what the metal object is. These are all good things because I would keep reading! Lots of intrigue and questions that I want to know the answers to.


Some of my Favorite parts:

hopelessly same days
Her smile was shouting her hatred,

Loved the phrases of both of these. Short verses that speak volumes about the setting. Loved it.

Theme

Kid? Goes into some sort of juvenile hall or similar environment? Made some sort of deal for the well being of his sister perhaps. I like the theme of it and the unknown questions in such a short scene do make me want to read more. I want a backstory.


Characters
I think it would help to define the main character here a bit more. Male, female, look? It would help me connect with him/her more and become more vested in the story. The same with the sister. I want to know who he has given up so much for.

I do like how he refers to his guards as the blue shirts.

Also, like the last character with the wig. Good description and off just enough to make me feel uneasy which is great.


Writing Style/ Narrative Voice:

1st person, to me, always makes me go deeper into a story. It seems more genuine I think sometimes.



Emotional Reaction

Made me uneasy at times which I think is the point. I felt his despair which is good.


Setting

Unclear on some of the setting. it's a short piece but I think it would help to give a little more imagery of the surroundings.


Descriptions:

Great descriptions on some of the characters.



Did the opening line and/or paragraph pull you in to read more?

The opening line implies some conflict is coming that certainly pulled me in.



Did the ending seem realistic? Did it leave you satisfied?

I did like the ending but I want it to go on, maybe that's a good thing then!

Corrections:

Just some minor mistakes. I'll not discuss punctuation because honestly, I'm terrible at it.

1st paragraph: --cared. -- Just a missing word at the end I think.

--as if this all is not so terrible--the line fills a bit jumbled, a reworking of the line would get the idea across better I think.

4th paragraph-- me forward and led the way from behind me--you can lose the "me" in the sentence, it's implied.

--Squeaky kid-- add a "The"

6th paragraph--blue lenses put on actually blue eyes--change to "actual" but I think it may more powerful to drop the word entirely.

8th paragraph-- knew what I was to say--breaking the 1st person narrative here? How does he know what she is going to say, maybe he knows what he thinks she wants to hear?

--T-shirt--described the guards as blue shirts above. I like that one a little better as it provokes an image in my head. This description though seemed to jar a little with the first description of it. I think just keeping it consistent is good.


Thanks for the good read this morning and great job!
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