|Hello Odessa Molinari!
I hope that this review proves helpful to you. Please remember that everybody has different tastes. My critique is the opinion of only one person and offered in the spirit of constructive criticism with a hope that it will be useful if you decide to further develop or edit your tale. Approaching your writing, I'm searching for specific elements that I shall address under separate headers.
Hook — does your opening have something that stops this reader putting down your story?
Awesome opening. I'd love to see an octagenarian 007! And you captured his character and humor very well, introducing the mc and hooking the reader.
Characters — are they well rounded?
Very good Bond character. I wasn't convinced about the nurses becoming ninjas without any other dedicated security. Don't get me wrong. I love the BBC TV show Our Girl about a military medic, so I can easily see that happening. However, I feel that in a location like this they would also have dedicated security staff that would outrank medical staff in an emergency situation.
Plot — does your story contain a clear plot with a strong resolution, or hook if it's a chapter or serial?
The plot is great…so far. However, you have so much more potential here. He hasn't even used his armchair weapons yet!!! Have you ever seen Hot Fuzz? The guy in the weaponized wheelchair really holds his own in the high street shootout.
I feel you should have a few more guards, dedicated ones, who come into the room to help James. They should attempt to relocate him to a panic room. All the defenders except the nurse should get killed, and then James saves her life by pulling her onto his chair, pressing a button, and the chair shoots through the roof on rockets like the ejector chair on his Aston Martin…just sayin'! Then, at the end, you could make it ironic by having him kiss the nurse, as you have, and then die from a heart attack with a smile on his face…that way you can keep your great ending.
You need a few "try-fails", eg. guards come into help him, but they get shot down by terrorists. they try to move James to a panic room, but an explosion damages the doors so they won't open or something. He gets to the roof for a helicopter escape, but the helicopter is taken out with an RPG. You get the idea.
Pace — does your story feel like it's going somewhere?
Pacing, at the moment, is a bit fast. That's because you haven't got any "try-fail" cycles in. you only have a "prepare-fail" and then it ends.
Language and voice — does this reader 'feel' the story?
It's generally clear. I have a few suggestions below.
Dialogue — are your characters' voices distinct, and do they add to character building?
The military talk doesn't work for me. Maybe do a bit more research there. Isn't roger only used on the radio?
Settings — is this reader grounded in 'real' scenes?
A few good things. You need a panic room and some sensory information, such as hospital smells to begin with and cordite later on etc.
Themes — is this reader blown away by mind-blowing philosophy or originality?
An aged James Bond is an awesome idea. Very original and funny.
Suggestions — a few ideas for possible improvement.
This needs to be much, much longer. You still have plenty of word count to use up before you meet the contest limit.
Specific points ->
"It's time for bed Mr. Bond." -> when speaking to someone, place a comma between what you say and their name, it's time for bed, Bob. You might also want to make the phrase more suggestive. A nurse might say, Shall we head for bed, now, James? When in longterm care, it's common for staff to become on a first-name basis with patients. And use of the royal "we" when persuading someone to do something is also common.
The curvy blonde in the figure hugging uniform -> a figure-hugging -> a hyphen is required, and you should use the indefinite pronoun "a" unless it's a very specific uniform or one we've seen before.
No time for that. The shutters were down. A hologram was talking to him. -> The armor-plated shutters rolled down. A hologram appeared and addressed him. -> more active.
"Your orders Commander?" -> comma before Commander. Also, as he's retired, there should be an actual commanding officer or senior non-commissioned officer here.
"Are all the patients guarded?" / "Roger." -> Are there no panic rooms here? I mean, if they have so much security with flack jackets and automatic weapons, it seems silly not to have a panic room that is much easier and more reliable to use until help requires. The use of "roger" becomes a bit repetitive. Check with someone who has worked with the Royal Navy, but I would think that a single "aye-aye, sir" followed by "yes, sir" after would suffice.
Conclusion — a summary of how this reader personally felt about your story.
Your story has an awesome premise and great mc. However, it's currently too short and the plot too linear. You need to develop it a lot more. If you throw in a few try-fail cycles and a more satisfying resolution, this could well be the contest winner, imho.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. Good luck with your writing.
This was a review from "The Cross Timbers Novel Workshop "