|Hello, DMT - THANK YOU WRITE.COM!
Set up — is your chapter opening confusing?
Your opening effectively reminded the reader what happened in previous chapters and set this up well for this chapter to begin. However, I did feel that Jake's viewpoint could have been better established. It appeared to be from Adrian's viewpoint in the first few paragraphs.
Characters — are they well rounded?
I like the banter between Jake and Callore. I like the way their relationship is slowly developing.
Plot — is it driving the story?
The ongoing plot - Callore introducing Jake to the life of a warrior etc - is going well.
You have a plot point about a stranger wandering into camp and stealing a map. The problem raised by this is that the map gives the location of the camp and the General is concerned about that. HOWEVER, the way you have arranged things in the story it's not a genuine problem. Think about this. The stranger already knows exactly where their camp is, otherwise he couldn't have gone there to steal the map. IF you have him steal the map from somewhere else, like if he met up with a long distance patrol and shared their camp overnight, then he could steal the map without needing to first know where the camp is. Otherwise, you could have the map providing other important information, like the distribution of the forces and position of their assets etc. If the map showed where they'd hidden arms caches and food caches in secret locations around the country, THAT would be information they wouldn't want the enemy to have.
Pace — does your story feel like it's going somewhere?
Pacing is good. You have a good balance between setting, dialogue, and plot and character development.
Language and voice — does this reader 'feel' the story? Are your characters' voices distinct?
Your prose is generally clear and it's always easy to understand what's going on. However, you have quite a large number of typos, like forgetting apostrophes in contractions or using possessive apostrophes when the 's' is actually a plural 's'. Try to make your text more varied. Use dialogue tags for some speeches, but not all of them. Just use enough tags so that we don't get lost about who is saying which speech line. Also, vary sentence length and sentence construction.
"I can see them," Adrian shouted as he pointed to the mouth of the cave. -> think about viewpoint. If this is from Jake's viewpoint, he's outside the cave right now so his view won't be like this. Try to keep everything how he would naturally see it and phrase things from Jake's pov. Also, establish Jake's pov as strongly as possible at the beginning of the chapter. Having another character's actions and words there kinda undermines Jake's pov.
Jake rubbed his hand over his face, "Cant this wait? We have been on the road for days and I can -> period after 'face'. Can't needs an apostrophe. Suggest We've been. Comma after 'days'
Jake and Callore locked eyes, sighed, and followed him. -> Don't need the end 'him'. When it's obvious who you're talking about, you can often omit objective pronouns.
he boomed as he pushed his chair back, walked around the desk and gave each of them in turn a wolf hug. He marched to the drinks cabinet, poured himself a shot of whiskey. He glanced in their direction, studied their faces and took out two more glasses. He gestured for them to sit and handed them each a drink before he sat in between them and sipped his. -> watch out for too many sentences with similar construction, eg. he boomed/He marched/He glanced/He gestured -> all start with He + verb.
Jake shrugged his shoulders. "Derek -> don't need 'his shoulders' here. There's nothing else you can shrug so the words are redundant.
Callore stood up and saluted. "What do you want us to do, sir?" -> why is she saluting now? It's very random. She might salute on first meeting him, on receiving an order, or on being dismissed. But this is just a weird time. And while this is on my mind, you DON'T need a dialogue tag for every single speech. In a long conversation, it's sometimes better to have a few exchanges of speech without other non-spoken text between.
Jake waited for her while she raided the kitchen for provisions -> kitchen or mess tent?? It's a camp, and their general's office is a hut. Why would they have a proper kitchen?
Jake reached into the rucksack and pulled a deer leg out. He put it on the spit and turned it. -> he's only just arrived here and is laying on the ground exhausted. How did we get from that to a spit? Didn't he need to gather wood, build a fire, light it, and then set up a spit first??
When you get a certain age your sense of smell -> you get to a certain age, your
So, vampires are not so good while they are trainee's and not so ->, trainees
He took a leg off the fire and handed it to her. -> the way this is phrased, it sounds like there are several legs on the fire and this is just one of them. If I recall, there is only ONE leg
Jake ran at the oak tree again. as he got near the tree, he heard Callore yelled "now." -> either 'he heard CAllor yell, "Now!" OR 'the tree, Callore yelled, "Now!"
"Now we need to kill him before he wakes up and its almost dusk." -> and it's almost
The head rolled off the bed and hit the ground. -> he's sleeping in a TENT but he has a BED with silk sheets?! Sorry, but I can't imagine he's lugging a bed around with him when he goes hiking through the woods. Shouldn't he have a ground mat and sleeping bag?
Other son's make their fathers proud by winning trophies -> other sons
Settings — is this reader grounded in 'real' scenes?
I like all the information about the tree and the venison and the smells etc. Think about the consistency in setting, though. If the general is using a hut, and people are in tents, they won't have a real kitchen. If a man is a wanderer who sleeps in a tent, he won't have a bed and silk sheets. Try to visualize the whole scene when writing details on setting.
Conclusion — a summary of how this reader personally felt about your chapter.
My feeling is that this chapter fits well into the overall flow of the novel BUT there are inconsistencies in the setting that need addressing, and the minor subplot within the chapter simply doesn't work for me. It's implausible.
Thank you for sharing your chapter. Good luck with your writing.
This was a review from "The Cross Timbers Novel Workshop "