|Reviews for Sphinxes|
| Samsonet 6/16/12 . chapter 1
The beginning didn't make much sense to me. Is Brandy a cat masquarading as a human? A were-cat? And what does a blue moon have do to with it? Reading on, though, it made a bit more sense.
Brandy is a cool character though. She's the kind of character that gets movies named after her ((i.e "Sherlock Holmes" vs "A Scandal in Bohemia")). I say this because she's on a mission, and she's doing it with style.
The way she talked to Sheila was my favorite part. It's enjoyable and it clarifies exactly what Brandy is. Using Latin names was a very nice touch, even though I'm not exactly sure what those mean so I can't say if you're using them correctly.
The ending seemed kind of off. This is probably subjective but it feels monotonus to have to ", and" sentences right next to each other. Chapter two started off quite nicely however.
| taerkitty 1/10/12 . chapter 1
Summary: A woman places herself in danger to help the only person she has left. Will she save her friend or be caught in the process?
A little dry. I think this may be because we don't have that much to go on, and it's a fairly open-ended situation: 'in danger' may be too vague. What happened too to her friend, how will she endanger herself, and how might that help?
Yes, I know all will be answered within. The 'opening question' is certainly there. What seems missing may be the 'hook' - why should the reader care?
"Brandy awoke with a smile on her face, it quickly faded though as her tail had emerged in her sleep. She normally didn't lose control of her transformation, but it was the blue moon."
So-so opening paragraph. It didn't grab me, but you may be trying for a more understated opening, a gradual easing of the curtain. It's a matter of style and preference here.
"face, it" is a run-on sentence. Add a conjunction there, or, better yet, break it into two sentences.
"as though" is unclear - did it or didn't it? Is she smiling because she felt good, like when her tail emerges, or is she smiling because her tail had actually emerged?
"Tail?" I found myself asking. I understand the desire to show that these are lycanthropes (or other sort of non-human), but this seems an odd way to express it.
"'A full moon is bad enough, but a blue moon is ten times worse,' she thought."
Missing a why. It could be as simple as, "...worse,' she remembered from the elders."
"Captain Tony Benedetti watched over his men as they trained."
"Miranda was having trouble concentrating at work."
Where are these people relative to one another? In visual media, you can cut from one scene to another. In written form, it's far better to have some sort of delimiter. Ideally, each person gets a chapter. Either that, or set off the middle segment by italics so the reader knows it's a major change.
"***Three days later***"
A personal preference here is to have an abstract delimiter, such as the "" above. Then, somehow establish the passage of time in-story, not as a cue card. Think of it this way - if the fact it was three, not four, (and five is right out) days is significant, then it can easily be established. If not, then ... why specify it?
"Captain Tony Benedetti was bidding farewell to his reserved troops, when he received a call."
The comma is unneeded. Here, I think the exact interval is not relevant - when first we met the good captain, he was contemplating the end of this tour. Now, it's that time. We've established that "some time passed", and that seems to be all that we require.
"One of the men, Corporal Ryan Acers, asked."
Again, if Cpl. Acers is significant to the story, he can be introduced without the author 'stepping in.' Have him pipe up now, then re-introduce him by name later - in his next appearance, the captain calls him by name.
"The only person he had to call was the woman whom walked his dog."
I hate who/whom rules, but this sounds wrong to me. My copy of EoS isn't around to check, sorry.
"That was one of the reasons he was considering leaving the military."
Marginal 'tell'. It's hard to do a story without any 'tell' whatsoever, but this seems a little close to the line.
"Brandy was grateful it was only a half day of work for her."
See above - need some transition between Tony to Brandy.
"Miranda had partially transformed when she had been wounded at Brandy's house."
That's the other danger in 'telling' - sometimes, the facts you're telling are potentially more intersting than the foreground story. A wound could be significant. Here, I'm curious what happened.
This draws the reader 'out of' the story. I want a story that enthralls me, that lulls me. I want it to create that 'fictive illusion' and maintain it. If the reader stumbles and wonders about this and that, they're not fully 'in' the story.
"Brandy managed to coax her back to human by transforming herself."
Using pronounds is difficult when you have two or more people that you could be referring to. Here, I'd change it from 'coax her back' to 'coax her friend back'. That way, the 'herself' is utterly unambiguous.
"... all kinds of races of her kind, of the Sphinxes,..."
"Miranda was a P. Leo"
Again, tell. If the name is signficant, then it should come out naturally. If it isn't, it doesn't matter.
Specifically, "Miranda was a were-lion." Yes, I notice you're not using 'were-' or 'lycanthrope' in the story. I laud the attempt at new terminology, but if it's the same thing, or so close that it takes a microsocope (or out-of-character elaboration, same thing) to differentiate, then why not use the commonly-used name?
"Brandy and Miranda had a plan though."
I -think- you should have a comma after 'plan'. Unsure. Here, I see the desire to foreshadow. Foreshadowing should be done with finesse. A foreshadow is a hint, and should never be in the foreground like this. If you explicitly say "they have a plan," then you need to finish the thought - either show the plan, or out-and-out tell the reader, "but I am not going to share it with you yet."
"She drove as quickly as she could to Miranda's home."
Using 'home' twice in two consequetitive sentences is a bit distracting here. Perhaps 'apartment' or 'house'?
"Brandy knocked on the door, and when it brought no response pounded on it."
"... and, when it brought no response, pounded on it." Again, I'm not sure, but that reflects the pauses I would imagine were someone to read this aloud.
"... a neighbor called out, "She hasn't been home since Friday afternoon."
Missing a closing quote.
"The military was being called in to hunt down and capture the animal,"
Sounds a bit overkill to me. Animal control, then police, and possibly SWAT, if they don't go to the private sector and bring in a pro hunter.
Oh, well. It's a different world, so I can get used to it. But it did jar me out of my reading to consider if that was right, and, if not, why not.
"When it was over she was up collecting various things ..."
Two 'was' seems repetitive. Also, needs a comma after 'over'. I'd phrase it slightly differently: "When it was over, she collected various things..."
"The last thing she loaded was a cooler of ice containing vials of blood and syringes."
Again, this may be too obvious and distracting.
"Tony checked over his men's camp ..."
"Brandy was told she couldn't enter the national park ..."
Again, need transitions.
"She knew several ways into the park, and went to the least know one ..."
'... while he was following up on the missing person's reports."
I think the apostrophe isn't needed. Missing persons reports.
"She was nervous and twitchy."
Again, a tell. Another danger of tells is that they make the reader lazy - if the reader knows you'll tell them eventually, they won't make the investment in the story.
"While he thought over her behavior her asked,"
The voice tag belongs in the same sentence (and line) as the line(s) of dialog. No linefeed after the ',', please.
"Ma'am, please tell me again why, when your son went missing, you made no mention of lion, or his disappearance for that matter?"
This seems oddly phrased. "Ma'am, please tell me again why you didn't report your son missing for so long?" If she didn't mention his disappearance, then she would have no reason to mention the lion.
"... but he was watching her for stubble body language."
Subtle, nto stubble. :)
"She paused, then added, "Corporal, please ..."
She's talking to Captain Tony, right?
"Sheila was lying. She knew the lion;"
This perspective shift is very jarring. We were in the captain's mind, now we're suddenly in the mom's mind. There's nothing to say a story must only have one perspective, but the changes between them have to be either delineated, such as a new chapter, or have a subtle transition between them. This doesn't have either.
"That was until the nosy human Gladus spotted it."
"Tony noted that she had called him a corporal, but dismissed it."
Ah, he did notice. Most military portrayals have them be very rank-conscious. I'm surprised he didn't correct her out of reflex. Even if he didn't, I would expect the instinct to was almost-instanteous, so it would make sense to snap first to his reaction to her mistake, then to go into her headspace.
"Tony knew she was lying about something; he just was sure about what yet."
"... he just wasN'T sure about what, yet."
"... and two other military men."
That sounds off. "Soldiers," "officers," or "your men" seems to work better for me.
"Her face had taken on a hard mean look."
Again, a tell.
"He assumed it was an overzealous media person."
Tell. And the phrasing seems off. "An over-eager reporter" perhaps?
"... but thankfully the lions hadn't ravaged anyone inside the camp."
"Delmar had been insured that the men's deaths had been quick."
I think you mean "assured". Two other points - I don't think that sentence works even with 'assured'. Perhaps 'informed'? And, we're missing how Delmar reacts - I suspect he'll be furious and out to kill the lion now.
"... the woman said rudely."
"She understood this woman had mistaken her for the media,..."
'Rudely' is a tell. Let her dialog, and a description of how she carries herself be the way of conveying rudness.
"Sheila was tired of all the commotion and attention."
Again, PoV shift.
(continued in PM - too long)