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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/oerath
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26 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Bleak Road  
Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Very good! I loved every bit of it. It's very tragic, and you build a good enough connection with the character that we care about his tragedy. Well written, the only part I feel really needs work is the memory of Miriam's first day of school; the jump to the memory is a little sudden, and it took me a moment to realize we had transitioned to the past. I do find myself wanting to know more about these winged creatures and how they first appeared, but leaving them mysterious doesn't hurt the story at all and I can see how it would be difficult to give more info about them without distracting from the more important overall story. I love the ending, it's an interesting juxtaposition of his elation and his obviously dire circumstances. Especially since we don't know what is actually going to happen to him. Thank you very much! Keep up the good work!
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Review of Dying Words  
Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Very interesting concept! You've picked a good setting to tell the story, and build an interesting narrative. You manage to give us insight to your setting in a believable way. Most of your dialogue feels very natural, and flows pretty well; though I would like some explanation of how our pseudo-descendants can understand her. Similar language despite the years? Translation device? They're scholars and studied the old languages? The lack of explanation is especially noticeable since it occurs to Miranda that they may not understand her.

A few other things that occurred to me:

The words 'transmit' and 'transmission' are jarring since these were recorded not sent. I would recommend 'record' and 'recording' or synonymous words.

If she has to be approximate with her dates, would she still give the day of the month? I would either cut the 'approximate' and 'roughly' or say 'mid June' and maybe on the second one: how many days since her last recording.

There are some places where I think you could combine sentences to make her speech flow a little better. Later on it's fine because she's more afraid, but earlier it doesn't seem to fit with how she talks otherwise, especially the first bit: "My name is Miranda Jones. I am nearly eighteen years of age. I am in the ‘last generation’" I would cut her name, since she gives it at the end; and combine the rest into: "I am nearly eighteen years old, one of the 'last generation.'"

Overall, as I said, very interesting! Good job!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
OK, sorry this took me so long...

First off: things you did well.

You have a very clear story, and a good understanding of the setting this all takes place in. You're obviously familiar with Resident Evil, and you've got a very detailed idea of how everything goes in your story. You did a good job of considering realism, choosing actual guns, remembering that ammo is a finite resource, and taking into account the surroundings on a train (luggage and so on). This is a good intro, it starts just before the action gets going, and leaves you room to go over back-story, without leaving the reader feeling confused about what's happening.

Secondly: things you could improve.

The first thing I would suggest, is considering why you've chosen 2nd person for your perspective. 2nd person can be very difficulty to write, and often would be more impactful if switched for 1st person. I think that this is the case here, telling the story in first person would seem a little more natural and allow for easier character development. I think what you're going for is the feel of the games, getting the reader directly involved in the experience; if that's the case, I could see 2nd person working well, but would include more emotional information (when you're scared, or nervous, or surpised).

Also, though your description is detailed, it feels a lot more like you're just telling us what's around, rather than really describing it. I would suggest stronger imagery, and maybe combining certain sentences together to improve the flow. Example: instead of "You asked Niel to help you get through a hole in the top of the cabin. As you get out you find tons of zombies all around before you help Niel up you shoot them off the train. Most of them stumbled when shot which meant they fell of but others had to be shot in the head." try something like "As Niel boosts you through the hole in the ceiling, you see a horde of undead crowding the roof of the cabin. Before pulling Niel up behind you, you turn and open fire on the zombies. Most of those you hit stumble, falling off the train; but some struggle on, until a well aimed head-shot finishes them off." See how that flows more smoothly, and implants a more vivid picture in your mind?

Your tenses (past-present) sometimes get confused as well, jumping back and forth between describing this as having happened and currently happening. I suggest sticking purely with present tense, as though this is all just happening. That is if you stick with 2nd person perspective, if you switch to 1st person I recommend past tense.

Lastly, your dialogue will be easier to read if you separate it from the rest of the paragraph; giving speech it's own line makes it stand out and it's easier to keep track of. Also, review punctuation for dialogue; commas instead of periods at the end and all that. It's not too big a deal, but it does detract somewhat from the writing. Getting someone to help edit will clear up this stuff, as well as some of the other grammatical errors you have.

I know that in comparison to 'things you did well' the improvements look like a lot... But don't get discouraged. This story has a lot of potential, it's well constructed and clearly thought out. A little polishing and revision will make it great, and help your overall skills as a writer. Revision is what makes all great writers more than simply good. And I can't stress enough: KEEP WRITING! Keep up the good work, and then keep trying to make it great work.

It was an interesting read, and I definitely want to read more of your story. Hope I was helpful. Let me know when you next want a review!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
You have a very good imagination, and a strong sense of your character. These add to the story and make it enjoyable to read.

That said; you do have a tendency to overload on details, or repeat them ex: "I walked very slowly towards him, one slow step at a time..." There's no need to reiterate the word slow. This also includes using extra words that are implied by other things you've said ex: "will of my mind" could just be "my will."

Also your character mentions "but not me" or something else about how special she is an awful lot; while I realize this is part of her mentality, and perhaps the reason she is able to do such terrible things, it gets to be a bit grating after a while. I would review the story and see if you feel all those times are really adding to the story and character development, if not then cut them. These things descrease the tension in the story and distract the reader.

Otherwise this is a very good piece and with a little polishing could be excellent. Keep it up!
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Review of The Accident  
Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: E | (4.0)
Very very good. Short and powerful indeed. I only have a few suggestions.

1. I would either change "lackadaisically" or "twitching" since the two words seem to clash. My personal recommendation is "lackadaisically drifting."
2. I would change "They drove. They crashed." to "He drove. He crashed." sort of foreshadowing what you say in the next paragraph. It also sounds more like him remembering it himself.
3. Lastly I would give the brother a name. It will give the crippled brother a scrap of personality that the nameless brother doesn't have, increasing our sympathy for him. It will also make it easier to read by allowing you to eliminate using "him" twice in the same sentence without having to always resort to "his brother."

Overall though you've done very well. His hatred of the respirator is particularly effective in giving voice to his emotions, and it gives that ominous weight to the silence in the final sentence. Congrats!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Excellent! Really considering that we'll be leaving off minor editing and such at this point I have little advice.

I love how you contrast Xanthe's great beauty with her utterly uncaring manner. She's terrifying, yet intriguing. Toying with, and almost killing, Lucinor adds to that. And then her crushing her human side when it comes up gives her a very good internal conflict.

You also have strong external conflicts. Both (as yet) vague Old Gods, and the more concrete Sekhmet. Sibling rivalries between gods always lead to trouble; should be interesting.

You do a fairly good job of out-lining your world without dropping too much in our lap at once. Though I did feel that this sentence was a bit much:
"A-all I kn-know is that an Ananke was sent by Sekhmet, not when, not w-why, just that your brother sought out the Siphons to the East and found this one amongst the Saari."
None of these terms has been previously explained, and we never find out about the Saari or the Siphons. It's somewhat confusing, especially since it's so important to Xanthe. Maybe if it was followed by her thoughts on it, revealing a little more about them. I'm actually still a little vague on what an Ananke is. Though I know it's dangerous.

I do really like the Mepherii, though again I'd like to know a little more about them. Very chilling though.

That's my general impression. Hope some of it helps, as you have been SO helpful to me. Thanks for sharing, I will be reading more.

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P.S. I almost forgot, I think the line "he had been gutted alive" is erroneous. By the time you say it we are well aware of it. I would suggest moving it forward to before the description, or cutting it out all together. Let you description shine a little more.
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Excellent start! You obviously have a clear idea of what's going on here, but you only convey some of that to the reader. The point of veiw you've chosen (Shad's) does make that a little bit difficult (because he's so young), but I think you could work some background in before we get to Shad. Let us know a little about the war from the king before he leaves perhaps; how long it's gone on, Vico's refusal to parley, maybe throw in some atrocities. As it is we have very little reason to care if the war ends, fill us in on the plight of your world a little and we'll be pulled in much more.

Also, when you switch to Shad's POV it still comes off as pretty grown up. I'd suggest using either a more omniscent style, or rewriting the piece to more accurately reflect a five-year-old's view of the world.

A couple other things:
1st: I would expect Lady Brosen to at least know General Tronec, if not necessarily well, being queen and all. His introduction seems odd because of this. I would suggest having her greet him, and then have him state that he is now the commanding officer. Or let us know through dialogue that he's unfamiliar. Maybe promoted in the field?
2nd: The way this is written feels a little rushed. There is very little description, so while we know what's going on it's difficult to picture it. Flesh this out with some details and it will really shine.

Overall, as I said, excellent start. I'm intrigued by the Amulet (sounds like trouble to me), and interested to see what happens in the wake of the war. If you work on the details this could be a great piece.

Keep it up!

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P.S. I love how you end with the image of his father's triumphant smile, happy in his noble death. Awesome!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I'm a little tired to give you a really detailed review, but here are my first impressions:

First: you've created a strong, though somewhat vaguely motivated, conflict within which to set your book. I would suggest either giving us more information about Ambrose's motives, or give us the a context for why we don't know.

If you're really fond of the omniscient style you're using I would set it as dialogue. If your main story is far in the future have some-one telling the legend to your protagonist. If it's close to the time of this war, maybe have someone telling the tale of how Mordecai (who I'm guessing, just guessing, is your protagonist) came to be as Barak's son.

If you really want to tell it as though you're there watching the battle, filter it through the mind of a character a little bit (but keep it 3rd person in my opinion). I'd recommend Alastair up until his death, then switch to Barak. But that's just me.

Now you've got a number of excellent characters already. If they're important characters let us get to know their personality a little more. If they're not, at least throw us a memorable quirk (or lack of one). Over all though you have a lot of strong characters, who you've obviously put thought into.

That's my preliminary review, I'll definitely give you more later, though at this point I think grammar and spelling are at the lowest priority, so I won't focus TOO much on that.

Keep it up!

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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Coincidentally I had just read, today, a fantastic translation of "Beowulf" by Seamus Heaney (which I strongly recommend). As such I couldn't resist clicking on your link to read this. And I am VERY glad that I did. You pull the reader deeply into the feel of these ancient times, but from a different perspective than that of a more traditional Epic. Your use of 1st person perspective is fabulous, allowing us to really see through Aesileif's eyes; rather than feeling like we're reading a diary or legal testimony. You also use it effectively reveal the culture of her world. There are of course a few spelling errors (the small ones from where you're typing quickly) and other little things that editing will catch easily. Really I have little advice for you. Keep it up! You've got 1 reader for sure.
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
So far so good. But I can't decide if I love or hate the first person style. The insight into the character is nice, and it fits fairly well. But her personality seems to be the dominant part of the piece, rather than the story. Especially when she addresses the audience. That's not necessarily bad; though in this short of a sample it is a little distracting; as long as you mean for her personality to be the part we care more about. The man with the gun and the whole underworld thing are interesting starts, but we're not really far enough in for them to really matter yet, so I'll leave them alone. You should go through and re-edit it though, there are some missed or misused words (like "insaneness" in the prologue, try "insanity"). There's not alot though so don't worry too much. Other than that the only advice I have for you is to be careful using more than one 1st person perspective. You'll need to find a way to switch between them that doesn't seem unnatural (for the story) and that doesn't confuse your reader. This might be a bit of a challenge so I definatly recommend thinking about it in advance. Good luck!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
You have a very good base of ideas going here. You've given yourself a very rich mythology to go with. But I wouldn't call this a prologue. Try to find some way of giving this information in a storyline, or if you really want to just tell it straight out write it as dialogue. You could do a teacher telling his student about it, or a bard telling the tale; anything that fits your story. Once you've done that we'll be able to see it the way you see it instead of as something of a list of historical events. The idea of the God's books being all of existence is cool, there are alot of ways you can go with that. This looks like an epic book, so I wish you luck!
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Review of The Affliction  
Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
A good start. I would include a few more specific examples of things he's forgotten, or rather times when him forgetting something causes trouble. That will give you a little more room to develop the character before jumping into the story. We only catch a tiny glimpse of Galabrad and the world he lives in, but it already shows that you know them fairly well. Keep expanding on that. Can't wait for more!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
I don't see the point of this prologue. I understand that it's not supposed to say much and is just there to give impetus to something that will happen in later chapters, but it's important to give some sense of what's going on. Try throwing it in as a part of the dialogue, them arguing about taking too long to get where they're going or something. You could even come right out and say it if needed, but it will give the prologue some sense of connection to the rest before the story even really starts. I would also expand upon the descriptions of the characters a little more, you've basically just described them by giving their race and (what in D&D would be considered) their class. Give us a little more, some reason to actually care about them. And maybe try and describe the action in the battle a little more, just for excitement. You obviously know your characters pretty well, so let us know them more through dialogue, and some description of the fight and you'll have a good start. Keep writing!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Very good. After the prologue it took a while to be sure I was actually reading the same book though, you might want to throw in the name of one of the Gods just to aid in the continuity. After that prologue you expect the Gods to be pretty prominent. You did well having a minor climax early on to illistrate the character of Theminor. And nice foreshadowing with the eyes. Not alot of other pointers for you really, except to maybe find a word besides "taking" to describe the barbarians' wanderlust. It sounds fine at first, but after a few repetitions it starts to sound funny. That's really all, keep it up!
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Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: E | (4.0)
I really like it. Your writing style is excellent, detailed but not too detailed; though sometimes a little long winded, but I do that to so I can't talk much... At any rate, the concept it great; that the Gods are bored with their responsibilities and they have resorted to using mortals as games for their amusment isn't entirely new, but it's still fresh. And I really like that they have lost their animosity as the seriousness of their positions begins to wear off. And also that they don't cheat because it would ruin they game is interesting, but makes alot of sense. The only complaints I have are pretty minor. While it works because it's a prologue I usually prefer to know a little more about the actual story, you're obvously setting up for something big, but there's not really any hints of what. If you meant to do that then I suppose it does work, I'm just always a little impatient I guess. Also, while you're quite clear on some of the Gods the actual structure of the Pantheon is undefined, if might be good to add some more info about it's structure to make the game they play more comprehensible. Of course that's assuming that we get anymore from the prespective of the Gods as the story continues. Anyway... great start, I'll keep an eye on you!
P.S. The part with the lightening bolt and the convict... Priceless!
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Review of Anthony  
Review by N. Michael Hawe
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I love it. It's bizarre, and a little twisted, but you've got an impressive "voice." And an interesting point to make it seems. I don't really get why the squirrels are interested in elk eyeballs, being herbivorous and all, but if you continue the story and explain a little more about it that would be great. You seem to be setting up for a protracted story, but I think you chose a great place to stop. Ending with his name gives me a profound sort of connection to him, and I want to know more.
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