Reviews for Red and Black
checkbookstub chapter 1 . 8/18/2007
Here via the yahoo group youngwriters101. This is just my opinion of course, and by no means are you obligated to change for me. If we all wrote the same, the world of literature would be a very boring place indeed. I try to give reasons for every point I make. If you disagree, please, feel free to argue your case.

Lighting is a great way to set a mood. You mention the first room is "dark and poor" - would elaborating on the light source add anything? Same with the bathroom, when she turns on the light. What is the actual fixture? And in the madman's place later, you mention that he's blocked most of the light, but he's still able to see things. Is the light that gets through enough to illuminate things? Can you make that clearer?

You have a tense change in there, right here:

She reached into a lower drawer of the vanity and took out a pair of long, loose rubber gloves, the kind farmers use to help give cows in calving. The rubber clings to itself with something congealed and dark.

And then you switch back to simple past a little later, here:

"It is supposed to be a bathroom. She found other ways to keep herself clean. / Her hips moved like liquid beneath her slim, red skirt."

Tense changes aren't good unless you have a valid & intentional reason. I'd stick with simple past.

Don't really understand this line set:

"It is supposed to be a bathroom. She found other ways to keep herself clean."


Could you put the description of the woman when she's in front of the vanity, looking into the mirror? So it's not just so like it be character description tiem nao. Also you use "slim" twice in her description. I'd try to avoid repeating words in such short proximity.

Another repeated word close to each other: gray towel, gray knife. Question on the gray towel... was that it's original color, or was it once white?

"...turning the flesh and ugly purple with raw, yellowish patches around the metal."

Bruises like that will only turn yellow as they heal, which takes like, a week. Has he really been there that long? If so, nm, good detail for time passage without explicitly saying it. The cuffs haven't actually cut through his wrists?

"...and she had gone on for sometime." "Sometime" should be two words.

"...she rinsed the blade and dried it carefully..." dried it with...?

"...covering it with thoughts and nightmares. / He didn’t sleep. He’d never slept much." If he doesn't sleep, where are these nightmares coming from? Also, you use the past perfect tense: He HAD never slept much. Does it change the meaning to simplify it to: "He never slept much."?

"Slowly, he climbed down from the table, his mouth still full of blood." You specify here, still full of blood. But it's not really referenced again until his THIRD line of dialogue much later, so I thought you had forgotten about it or something. I'd change something around with that, so it's clearer that you haven't forgotten about it.

"It was draped in the windowsill, the collar hanging out into the open air." But I thought he'd put cardboard over all the windows?

"...said the thug, reaching for his pocket. " Which pocket? Jacket/pants?

"Another trebling step from the madman." Do you mean trembling?

Grammar was good, huzzah. I'm always surprised that so many people suck so much at grammar.

A nice balance of description/action/dialogue. Just had a few continuity issues, and adding some clarifying details would, well, clarify things.

All in all, a really great opening. I find beginnings like the hardest part, but this was really great. Makes me want to read and know more. I look forward to the next installment.

- Casey
autumn.fairee.x chapter 1 . 8/18/2007
That is soo mysterious and intriguing! You handled your character 'The woman in the red suit' very well. She was very mysterious yet evil. *faves*

Good work! :D