|Reviews for Fighter|
| Complex Variable 9/23/12 . chapter 3
["Hey, dad. Did you have a good day," Jake asked, watching his father step inside and shut the front door.
It was just a few hours after practice. Jake was sitting in his favorite red, silk chair in the living room; he was doing his math homework.
"It was a slow day. Not many people came into the gym today," Jake's father said.
Jake's father, Bill Sorenson, was the owner of a fairly successful gym downtown. He had helped Jake train prior to joining extreme fighting. He was a tall, muscular man. He had thick brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a thick beard. He always wore a smile; Jake had never seen his father frown.] - - - I would swap these sentences; make it:
[It was just a few hours after practice. Jake was sitting in his favorite red, silk chair in the living room; he was doing his math homework.
"Hey, dad. Did you have a good day," Jake asked, watching his father step inside and shut the front door.
Jake's father, Bill Sorenson, was the owner of a fairly successful gym downtown. He had helped Jake train prior to joining extreme fighting. He was a tall, muscular man. He had thick brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a thick beard. He always wore a smile; Jake had never seen his father frown.
"It was a slow day. Not many people came into the gym today," Bill said.]
It's always nice to give a description of the scene at the beginning of a chapter; also, it's always nice to give a description of a new character when they first enter.
["It was a slow day. Not many people came into the gym today,"] - - - the "today" is redundant.
[The rest of the afternoon was full of celebration. Jake's parents made a huge dinner. The whole family enjoyed it, particularly Emma, Jake's sister.] - - - If I was in your place, I would expand this sentence into a paragraph, or two. You can explain what the dinner is (what foods), you can explain whether or not there's a tradition in the family behind these foods, you could explain Jake and/or Emma's emotional reactions to these foods—telling us about why/what they like/dislike about the meal is a great way to build/develop character.
[Jake got up and went upstairs to get ready for bed.
"Dude, are you ready for this. It's a big day for you. And I'll be in your corner the whole time. You might just walk out today as a number one contender to the Extreme Fighting Championship," Jesse said.] - - - You're skipping over a large amount of time/space between these sentences. At the very least, I would insert a line-break so as to let your readers know that the scene is changing. Additionally, I would add some description/elaboration of what happens in the morning, before Jake leaves for school, and for the fight. Remember, too, that the emotions/thoughts/worries going through Jake's head as he gets closer and closer to the hour of the fight are probably going to be quite important to him; show us some of that process. I mean, if I had a big fight (or, to use a real example, a piano recital) I would be thinking about it almost non-stop right up until the very moment I started doing it. I would be nervous about it, it would distract me—it would do all sorts of interesting things to me. These kinds of things are great to show to your readers, especially in a fighting story, because they show us how your characters deal with the psychological stress that comes with something like competitive fighting.
[Jesse wouldn't be fighting that night, since neither of his tourneys was set to take place that night.] - - -
remove the last two words "that night"—they're redundant.
[Just before he landed he curled his legs into his chest and landed right on Jake's stomach.] - - - Be careful—you tend to do this a lot. You use a word multiple times in a single—relatively simple—sentence (in this case, the word "landed"). Use a thesaurus to find a different word ("fell", "crashed", "pounded down", "slammed", etc.) to avoid the awkwardness of repeating the same word over and over again—your word processor/the internet will have one.
[In his anger, Jake barely noticed as Jesse led him back into the weight room. He started on a punching bag, but his mind was focused elsewhere. His punches did nothing to the bag.
"Dude, is something wrong. You should be giving that punching bag a real beat down," Jesse said.
"I'm fine, but I know why Sam let me win," Jake answered.
"Why," Jesse asked.
"He and Jordan are just weakening me so Josh can take care of me in the finals," Jake explained.
"That sounds like something they would do," Jesse agreed.] - - - you set up this dialogue with Jake hitting a punching bag. Is Jake continuing to hit the bag as he's having this conversation? If so, why not describe Jake's punches every few lines—like, after he finishes speaking. It will help add more depth to the conversation. In fact, during conversations, showing the reader what your characters are doing BESIDES talking is a great way to make the scene seem far more realistic.
[That'll teach Josh.,'] - - - should be [That'll teach Josh,"]
["They were asking for it,'] - - - should be ["They were asking for it,"]
As I've said so far, you have a great framework set out for this story; you just need to flesh it out with more narration, description, and character development.
| Complex Variable 9/3/12 . chapter 2
Once again—AGAIN—you can do a lot more character development; it will really help your story. Give your characters easily identifiable personalities; make them stand out from one another. These are high school students, so, they're BOUND to have lots of intricate relationships (friendships, crushes, rivalries, etc.) with one another. Expanding and building upon those relationships—and the changes and challenges that they face over time—will greatly help to make your plot interesting, meaningful, and exciting. Basically: give your characters something to "fight" that isn't actually a person in the ring—give them problems, fears, worries, and desires. Make them strive to see those things come true. The fights in the ring just reflect/symbolize their struggles with and against those issues/problems.
| Complex Variable 9/3/12 . chapter 1
There are slightly more descriptions in this work than there are in your other story, "River People"; that's a plus. And, yet, at the same time, I still feel that you can do a little more.
For example, take a look at the sentence you have right before the fight starts: [Jake and Jesse hopped through the ropes into the ring. They shook hands as was done before a match. Then they went to their opposite corners. Mr. Phillips rang a bell, signifying the start of the match.]
This is a perfect opportunity to deepen your story—an opportunity for you to develop your characters. What is going through Jake's (or Jesse's) head(s) as they get ready to fight? Are they scared, excited, angry, nervous, bored, tired, etc.? WHY do they feel that way? A good fight always has a strong emotional undercurrent to it—the fighter isn't just mindlessly attack something, he's attacking something for a REASON; he's fighting against a problem (either an internal one, or an external one) as well as his opponent.
For example, Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the fight on the lava-world between Annakin and Obi-Wan is "dramatic" because it involves a fight between two people that are supposed to be FRIENDS—like brothers, even. Annakin is turning evil, and we sympathize with Obi-Wan's emotional state—we, the audience, don't want him to loose his friend; we don't want Annakin to become Darth Vader. See, in that fight, it is the emotional backdrop of friend-vs.-friend that makes the scene so compelling. Letting your readers have a glimpse into the emotions/mindsets of your characters is an essential component of a good fighting story—it makes the fight truly exciting for the reader, because the reader can become emotionally attached to the fight as a result of sympathizing with the "Hero" and/or hating the "villain".
The fighting scene itself, though, was pretty good—although, yet again, I would add more detail. What do Jeese' blows feel like for Jake; what are the sensations that are going through Jake's body: his sweat, his pain, his adrenaline rush, etc?