|Reviews for River People: Into The War|
| Complex Variable chapter 3 . 9/3/2012
Once again, you're missing several wonderful opportunities to draw your readers deeper into your fiction.
This chapter starts off saying: [The next morning everyone awoke. It was time for Trenton and Chase to go back to the foster home and for Summer and Sam to return to their box on the streets.]
Imagine if YOU had to live in a box on the street. What are Summer and Sam's feelings about living in a box? Do they dislike it (as we would expect), or, are they unusual—do they actually LIKE it? What are their lives like, having to live as homeless people on the street? What about clothes, or food—what do they get, and where do they get it? How long have they been out on the streets like this? Etc.
Notice that all of these questions ask you, as the author, to do two distinct things: 1) they ask you to give more details and descriptions; 2) they ask you to tell your readers more about who your characters actually "are" as individuals. Let us know your character's personalities; their likes and dislikes; their hopes and their fears; their problems and their pleasures, etc. Make them come alive on the page.
Though your story has action in it, it suffers from a lack of description:
[The agents charged at them. There was a loud snap and three of them dropped dead. Jake realized he could use his power to fight.]
There are literally INFINITELY many ways that you can kill these three guys off. Imagine what it must feel like in your readers' shoes—we only know that there was a snap, and that three men dropped dead. That's not a very interesting mental picture, now is it? How did they die—how did Jake use his power; what did he do to them. Did the agents try to defend themselves? Did they manage to land an attack or two on Jake before he defeated them, etc. ? When you write, you should ask yourself these kinds of questions; that way, you'll have an idea as to what you should add in for the sake of your readers' imaginations.
| Complex Variable chapter 2 . 9/3/2012
Your sentences are short and choppy; it's kind of annoying. For example:
[Then everything went black. When Jake awoke he was sitting in his house. Only, his house was destroyed. The walls were broken in half. Everything was tipped over and the roof was completely gone. The carpet was torn and scorched.]
Read this aloud to yourself (in fact—always read your written work aloud to yourself. It's a great way to edit your writing, as well as a way to catch your own mistakes.). Notice how weird it sounds—it's kind of halting, and stumble-y.
Here is an example of how I would re-write the excerpted passage to make it more flowing:
"Then, everything went black. Jake awoke to find himself sitting in his house—or, what was left of it. The wall has been broken and ripped in half; all of his furniture and belongings were knocked over, broken, and scattered around the floor. The carpets were torn to shreds. The fabric was burnt black almost beyond recognition."
Moreover, you need to slow yourself down when you write. For instance, you write: [He gasped. The whole town was destroyed.] I would take a whole paragraph—maybe even two—to describe what the destroyed town looked like.
Here is an example of a description of a landscape and a carriage from one of my stories, "In the Brightness of the Sunrise" :
"It was early morning in the Llor Flatlands: the western frontier of the Dahrian Republic. The sun was up: high enough to be seen over the distant boundary of mountains to the west, but low enough to still overwhelm the eyes if you tried to look to that horizon. The land spread out beneath the sky, undulating softly—rising and lowering in gentle hills and valleys, spread out between stretches of flatland—and all of it submerged under an endless sea of tall, tall grass. In the rising sunshine, the grass sparkled green and brown and yellow—bedecked with pearls of the morning dew. The fertility of these lands was a monument to the constant labors of the peasantry of the Gaddeonese States. It had to be—as farmers, their fate and the land's were inextricably linked.
An attentive mind could see something approaching from afar. It was a carriage, storming over the dirt roads between the vast expanses of farmland like a stray thunderclap. Four fine horses pulled it—though, they were easier to hear than to see. The vehicle whizzed by in a blur, bringing in its approach the echoing sounds of pounding hooves and rolling wheels, only to leave them behind, just as quickly. The subtle blue glow of the horses' shoes gave away the reason for their impossible speed: magical runes and powerful field geometries had been engraved into the metal, enhancing the animals' speed almost ten-fold; the work of a journeyman enchanter from Drexel Province, far to the east—his first, no less."
(Copyright 2011, 2012; MCS)
Look at what I'm trying to do in my own descriptions: I'm not just telling the reader what's going on, I'm also SHOWING it to him/her. I'm painting a picture with my words, using my descriptions to create a particular mood/image within the minds of my reader. Though not necessarily the way that I do it, you should try to do something similar in your own writing. Try to visualize what the scene is like, as you write it down. Use as many of your senses as possible; what does the experience look like; what does it feel like (both physically, and emotionally); what does it sound (or not sound) like; what does it smell or taste like? Let us see the physical and emotional reactions that your characters have to the things that they experience; draw your readers in, deep into the confines of your imagination.
Also, be careful to avoid the common error of confusing "your" and "you're". "Your" means "belonging to you" (as in "your story"); "you're" is a contraction of the expression "you are" (as in, "you are a writer" "you're a writer").
An example of where you make this mistake: [Well I think your going to be okay, Sam. I'm Jake]; it should say "you're".
Once again: add more detail. Flesh out the scene; sculpt an experience inside my mind.
| Boon chapter 1 . 8/24/2012
I couldn't make it past the first paragraph. I guarantee no publisher would take this unless it was completely rewritten. Your main character 'walked home feeling sad' after his best friend was kidnapped and apparently did not think it prudent to mention this to anyone else. Keeping in mind that his friend was kidnapped 16 sentences into the story, which left no time for readers to visualize the characters or the setting properly.
Additionally, your method of defining characters is so formal and rigid that it's boring and grating to read. Try letting your characters' appearances evolve over time, only ever mention the most defining features so that readers will generate their own mental picture as the story develops. Try to make sure that the defining features are not the same for all characters (ie: 'He was kind of tall.').
| Nmb3l35s S0u1 chapter 7 . 8/25/2012
Hmmm... I feel that there is something wrong with this chapter. But, overall, It's okay. I don't like to impose, but, read and review my stories? A
| Tiamatty chapter 3 . 8/22/2012
Yeah. The ideas aren't bad, but the execution is lacking.
| Tiamatty chapter 1 . 8/22/2012
Not to be mean, but this . . . isn't very good. Aside from the formatting issue with the one huge paragraph, it's just a very bland writing style. The story itself is reasonably interesting, but the writing isn't.
| Nmb3l35s S0u1 chapter 5 . 8/22/2012
Short & Sweet.
| Nmb3l35s S0u1 chapter 4 . 8/22/2012
| Nmb3l35s S0u1 chapter 3 . 8/1/2012
Very direct. Very Good. I like this chapter. Continue.
| Nmb3l35s S0u1 chapter 2 . 7/22/2012
This story has much potential. Make sure you don't write yourself into a corner. I look forward to your next chapter.
| Anxious Axolotl chapter 1 . 7/20/2012
You have some great ideas going into this story. It was really difficult to read though, because of the formatting. A new line needs to be started for every turn of dialogue (maybe fictionpress stuffed up your formatting when you uploaded this.). Also, I find it a little hard to believe that a teenager who's just been kidnapped would be paying great attention to all what of the people around him (except for to his kidnappers) looked like, making the description more subtle would really make readers focus on the story more.
I don't know about you, but if I (or anyone else I can think of) had been kidnapped and given superpowers, turning on the kidnappers would have been the first thing I'd do. That or calling the police. Being kidnapped together isn't really a bonding experience, if they became friends because they all had to spend so long at the police station giving out statements, I think that'd be really interesting.
Good luck getting an agent and getting published one day! You can do it :3
| Guest chapter 1 . 7/20/2012
really good so far. keep writing!