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Reviewing "Threads in the Tapestry" Prologue
General Comments & Reader Reaction:
Initial reaction: Wow
This piece grabbed me from the first words as Mikhail woke up, focused in on where he was and what was required of him, and went from there. As it ended, with his "rescue", perhaps, I found myself wanting more -- I want to know where this story goes.
Less than perfect rating not because of the creativity, but rather the execution. There are a few spelling, word choice, and grammar issues (easily fixed), and a couple things here and there that don't contribute to the story or actually draw the reader away from the imagery.
Plot & Pace:
I felt where Mikhail was, what surrounded him, what he was doing, and what happened as the ship destroyed itself on the rocks in the midst of the storm.
The description was rich, and the story flowed easily from point to point. The pace felt good, and at no point made me wish it would get on with the story, or slow down to let me understand it. It was just about where it needed to be.
Mikhail, the head cook, the captain, and a few of the others were easy to visualize. I didn't need more information or details. When it got to the girl and her "father", there was a slight disconnect between the reality of the storm-tossed sailors (most of them now dead) and their dry, warm, existence -- but that was exactly what you intended, I think. There was supposed to be a disparity.
Setting & Imagery:
Well done. I could see and feel everything in my mind's eye as if I were there.
Two things stood out as less than ideal (to me): Describing mother-of-pearl as 'chipped from scallop and abalone shells' -- anyone who knows what mother-of-pearl is doesn't need it literally described to them, so doing it doesn't add anything to the text. Then, 'a quick, efficient killer with an unspoken name, hypothermia' is great, until you actually use the word hypothermia, which was unknown to them (I think) in the eighteenth century. Using a modern term in the midst of older description jars the reader out of the vision you have painted so precisely.
Emotion, Mood & Atmosphere:
Clear, precise, expository. Mikhail had to wonder if he was already dead, because what he was seeing and feeling was so real. The reader gets that same impression.
Structure & Consistency:
As a prologue, without the rest of the book to follow (without reading things you haven't written yet), I felt it was solid, and yet visionary at the same time. Consistent? I cannot yet tell.
Writing Style & Grammar:
There are a few errors, some typos, and some things I think you could do better, but they will come out in the natural revision process. The first error that strikes me is in the line: “More soup boy, boomed the voice. And mind your step now; she’s kicked up nasty again.” I would correct it to say, "More soup, boy!" boomed the voice. "And mind your step now; she's kicked up nasty again." -- in other words, basic editing, nothing to worry about. The writing, even with the few errors, is very clear and shows marvelous potential.
The tar-soaked beams sang to him in the dark, their distressed fibers wailing a siren's song of protest as the old ship pitched and yawed through the storm-tossed seas.
What a strange way to die, he thought.
Overall Impression & Conclusion:
I want more. You did exactly what a prologue is supposed to do -- make me want to read the rest of your work and where you are going with the story. Ideas are popping all over the place in my brain, wondering what your creative genius is going to come up with. Well done.
I am affiliated with PENCIL, but this is not a standard PENCIL review. These are my own opinions, and may or may not reflect PENCIL standards.
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A JaceCar Review