Reviews for the Watchman's Bell, Book, and Candle
Tawny Owl chapter 1 . 7/7/2008
Interesting to see how all the relatives react differently to the beginning of the story, and how they are invited to make up their own minds about whether what they are about to hear is true or not. There were rather a lot of them though, and I think I lost track of who was who a bit, but if they aren’t going to play a large part in the rest of the story it’s not important.

I really liked the bit at the beginning about how you want to share something when you feel it so strongly. It was a good opening and it really drew me in.
Serious Sonneteer chapter 3 . 10/9/2007
Quote: Marie’s head was spinning, her stomach clenching painfully.

The structure could have been better.

Quote: Marie gasped at the painting presented before her;

Not quite correct use of the semi-colon.

Quote: The man stopped with hand still outstretched, watching the stranger as she dashed to the right door on the balcony.

An all too abrupt change in point of view. This simply won't do.

Quote: The hall seemed to stretch on forever.

Cliche.

Quote: purple, stonewalls

Unnecessary use of punctuation.

Quote: illumining

ILLUMINATING.

Quote: Marie stood transfixed; staring at her savior’s back. The boy, around sixteen or seventeen, was dressed in a strange outfit. From beneath a dark green, light green lined tunic with long, loose sleeves and shirttails, he wore a pair of loose, white pants. His brown booted feet were firmly gripped on the stone floor.

It's amazing and definitely unbelievable how panic-stricken Marie didn't try to wrench free from the boy's grip but was scared stiff to even allow the seven-foot man to lay a finger on her. It's even more amazing that under such tense circumstances Marie, whose heart is probably beating hundredfold its original beat by now out of fright, can even discern the nitty-gritty details of the boy's physical appearance. You'll have to rethink her character.

There is little insight into the protagonist. All she does is panic. The events of the story aren't entirely realistic. One would have expected Marie to die of fright the moment the Watchman pounced out of nowhere. If Marie nearly suffered a heart attack when she saw the seven-foot guy from a distance, then she definitely would have suffered a heart attack when that boy appeared all of a sudden.
moonlit dynasty chapter 5 . 9/14/2007
And the story goes deeper. I feel sad about Haven's fate, but I also hate it that it seems like he doesn't want to change it, as if he's totally accepted that he'll forever remain in his world - sorta fatalistic, he is.

Nice chapter, though it's sad.
N.E. Olson chapter 2 . 9/6/2007
Whoa! Cliff-hanger! I'm really liking this story.
N.E. Olson chapter 1 . 9/6/2007
This is very good, very interesting. It sets the reader up for the story nicely.
Serious Sonneteer chapter 2 . 9/6/2007
Quote: Marie strode through the gardens in awe at the vast size and variety.

Instead of 'the', use 'their'.

Quote: The lawns were littered in rainbows of flowers, lining the golden leaved trees.

There is a big difference in meaning if you choose to, or choose not to, place the comma where you have done so. Without the comma, you're saying that the flowers that on the trees have littered the lawns. With the comma, however, you're saying that that lawns are what line the trees, which isn't exactly what you're trying to convey. Let me use the next sentence as an illustration of my point.

Quote: She frowned as she laid a hand on one of the knotted trunks, sliding her palm down its rough bark.

May I ask why you have chosen to place the comma after 'trunks'? Perhaps you were only subliminally aware of the disparity the comma makes. With a comma, you mean to say that the girl slides her palm down the tree bark as she rests it on the trunk. Without it, you mean to say that the trunks slide their palms down the rough bark as this person frowns. See the difference?

Quote: It was a warm, summer day; one that Marie wished she wasn’t experiencing.

The phrasing could be better.

Quote: tears brimming her eyes threateningly.

Again you come across as using words for the sake of it. Why 'threateningly'? Any particular significance, prophetic or otherwise?

Quote: The girl looked up in surprise as a young man stepped out from the line of trees, a birch bow slung over his shoulder.

This doesn't seem logical to me. I'm not sure if I can imagine this happening in real life. Why would the man say something like what he said and step out of the trees? He should have made his appearance first, shouldn't he?

Quote: bombarding

Wrong word, unwisely chosen.

Quote: wind strewn

One habit many people have on this site is to not hyphenate adjectives that should be hyphenated.

Quote: glorious treetops

Glorious? Has your description done justice to the scenery?

Quote: he continued; Marie’s eyes widening.

This makes no sense, in terms of structure.

Quote: Marie, wrinkling her nose

Enough of nose-wrinkling. Don't repeat words or descriptive details used earlier or the effect will be lost. You may occasionally want to repeat similar details but at least make some effort to rephrase/restructure your sentences.

Quote: long bangs

Bangs?

All right, to tell the truth, this chapter isn't well-written. There are many things for which you have not sufficiently and satisfactorily accounted. Why is Maria in the garden in the first place? Why is she meeting this man? Why and how does she know she's going to get married? Is that the reason for her being where she is? How did the whole marriage come about? Why did it come about? Who planned it? All of these should have been covered more or less in the beginnings of the chapter.

You need more description, description that is less bromidic and more specific. What are the gardens like? Are they a labyrinth of trees and bushes? What is the atmosphere like?

There is also little or no effort to make clear what your characters are like. They are as flat as a sheet of paper and very very uninteresting. The dialogues reveal practically nothing of Maria except that she is a troubled young lady. And what of her male companion? The only impression I have, perhaps the only impression you want me to have, of him is that he is debonair young archer. And that is all.

All stories/narratives must have CONFLICT/COMPLICATION and must be EVENTFUL. There is no point in detailing uneventful happenings because they are boring. Remember this.

The language is mostly unadorned, and very literal. You definitely can afford to impress your readers a little more by using extravagant, original language. Writing is also about expressing ourselves, isn't it? If your mode of expression is going to be bland and simple, then writing becomes no longer an art form.

The only thing commendable about this piece is perhaps its ending. That would be one of the turning points of the novel I guess.

I offer my utmost apologies if I should come across as being unnecessarily harsh but I am doing my best as a critic to point out the nitty-gritty errors, or details with which I, and a few others, may not be satisfied, as well as to give you overall comments, in which I try to be as comprehensive as possible. If I have the time, I will resume the subsequent chapters. The quality may pick up, I do not know. In the meantime, keep on writing.

JC
Serious Sonneteer chapter 1 . 9/6/2007
Quote: Ever hear something that touches you in such a heartbreaking way that you wish you could shed ten thousands tears in hopes another could understand it?

I personally am not too comfortable with this sentence, especially towards the end of it. Perhaps you should insert 'that' after 'hopes'. The word 'another' seems out-of-place. Some words/phrases are used in tandem. This is the case for 'another'. Usually, the word 'one' would precede the use of the word 'another'.

Quote: lifting sadness

All right I'm not sure how I should react to this. Part of me tells me that this might be a paradox. Part of me tells me that this is a contradictory detail. And part of me tells me that you're using the word 'lifting' just for the sake of it. Why do you use 'lifting', if I may ask?

Quote: defrost it, or be frozen in turn?

Defrost? Not freeze?

Quote: Everyone has a story to tell, and each is filled with the same feelings

There is some ambiguity here. 'Each' refers to? Person or story? From reading the sentence, I gather that it refers to the story but, if that be the case, what you're writing wouldn't make syntactical sense, would it, since 'everyone' is the subject?

Quote: the mind of the greedy

Minds would be a better choice?

Quote: feelings; joy

I really think that a dash is more appropriate than a semi-colon.

Quote: forgotten; never

Comma, not semi-colon.

Quote: Maybe that’s what Marie was afraid of; scared that if she didn’t pass it down, her friends and her experience would become nothing; that their time together meant nothing.

Okay there are many things I have to point out here. Your use of the semi-colon is getting frequent, unnecessarily so. Why are you choosing it over the comma? This is beginning to appear ostentatious. The semi-colon is only used when the segment after it is meant to elaborate on that before it and when both segments cannot be linked with a transition cue. You may delete the word 'scared'. What of her experience? Her experience of what?

Quote: tear filled

Hyphenate these two.

Quote: Their rounded

Whose?

Quote: Marie’s oldest, a pretty

You're missing a word.

Quote: This raised widened, searching eyes.

Odd structure.

Quote: questioned Anna carefully, the youngest of her offspring at twenty-one, sitting in a chair in the corner.

The structure is flawed. This is how it should be: "Anna, the youngest of her offspring at twenty-one, questioned carefully, sitting in a chair in the corner."

Pardon my over-sensitivity to detail but good writers don't just weave a good story, they write a good sentence too. Overall there is nothing majorly wrong with this prologue. It would be too early for me to ascertain the quality of this story this early so I'll have to read on. The first part of the prologue-the philosophical part filled with rhetorical questions-does not seem to serve much. The dialogue could have been moved to the first chapter, while the prologue should serve to enlighten your readers a little about what has happened in the past. This will shed a bit of light on the dialogue when it is being read later.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 8 . 8/30/2007
I'm finding it hard to review because I really want to get to the next chapter!

Anyway... so many predictions... Must read on!
Sercus Kaynine chapter 7 . 8/30/2007
Poor Haven. Poor Marie. I sure hope Eleanor didn't mean to make a mess of things.

Okay, I know Marie isn't just going to stick around in a diner. What's next?
moonlit dynasty chapter 4 . 8/27/2007
I'm having a terrible headspin, but ow, you have a lot of wonderful fight scenes! And very excellent imagery. To tell you, my heart in an erratic beating due to excitement. This is very very good! (I'ts just saddening that I have to go now, I still have a class)

I'll go and read more the next time I visit. Also, I hope you can drop by my story. _
moonlit dynasty chapter 3 . 8/27/2007
“H-How can I trust you?” asked Marie nervously, stepping back, and tripping, falling on the last step. Still trembling, she added, “Mother told me not to trust strangers.”

“I never said trust me.”

-How I love this!

Oh, I'm just a li'l bit confused and dazed, just like Marie but I guess I'm getting the hang of it. I know there's mystery so I wouldn't comment much on that. But your descriptions are very vivid, and the characters well thought of.

Nice job!
Sercus Kaynine chapter 6 . 8/23/2007
Scary werewolves things now? Haven and Marie are into a mess. Anyway, this plot keeps getting more and more interesting. I'll be sure to keep reading.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 5 . 8/23/2007
Poor Haven. :( I feel so sorry for him now.

On a less emotional note, I wonder how Haven's past plays into the story? :) Looks like I still have a ways to go!
Sercus Kaynine chapter 4 . 8/21/2007
OMG my picture of Naic is so cute! He has a pretty cool role in the story, too. And, being the obsessive animal lover I am, I'm probably going to constantly ramble about how adorable he is in later reviews.

Anyways... lots of action in this chapter. It was nice and long, too. I'll have to ponder about the many mysteries of this story.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 3 . 8/18/2007
So Marie beat haven in that battle. Marie probably thinks they'll never find the book. (Well, it is highly unlikely, by the looks of it)

I read the summary on your profile and it mentioned Idioms, and they were mentioned here, too. Well, I know that an actual idiom is a phrase or saying that is not to be taken literally, but I wonder what these creatures are?
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