Reviews for The Phoenix Sage
Boomer Kid chapter 3 . 10/14/2012
Hey there! Thought I'd drop in a review and thank you for supporting my story.

First off, nice work with your descriptions. Simple yet vivid, and it really fits with setting up the scenes. If I could give a couple of tips which is of course, up to you to consider, it is to note that we humans tend to recognize and remember faces a little more than clothes. So it really helps to provide details of a character's features, and you do a good job at that, but you don't always have to do so for clothes. Of course, it's still nice to know what a character wears, and maybe get hints on his/her personality on how he dresses.

The second thing is something I address in every single review of mine lately, maybe because I'm too much of an advocate on it, but oh well. It's about showing versus telling. To show your character's expressions, thoughts and actions instead of telling the readers how they feel, why they act in this certain way and so on.

Actually, you do a lot more showing than telling, which I find hard to come by here. And I really commend you for that. I believe some telling is okay and even needed if you want to give information to the readers, like how Sho feels about his mother when she mentions about his father. Also, if you write in first-person, you could get away with a bit more telling since the character you are focusing on may have useful information on what's going on. And first-person deals more with the character's feelings/emotions, whilst third-person is centered more on plot.

Still, since this is third-person, I believe you can make this story even better if you edit a few passive sentences, as in sentences that tell instead of show.

For example: "And?" asked Sho who didn't seem to care.

Firstly, you have a dialogue tag that sort of reiterates, or repeats what the character has said/his action. We know by the dialogue "And?" that the character is asking a question. You don't really need to add in 'asked' there, as it simply restates what he's doing. Basically, anything that does not move the story forward could put a hitch in your writing. For me, I usually avoid dialogue tags unless I feel that putting 'said' (or 'say' since I usually write in present tense) could fit in the sentence. And in my personal preference, 'said' should be the only dialogue tag used. But of course, it's up to you to choose whether to add dialogue tags like 'growl' or the sort. Take this as sort of my personal view.

Second is the main problem, the line 'who didn't seem to care'. There is no showing of Sho's expression or action, only that you have told what he should be feeling.

You could reword the sentence like this: "And?" Sho turned his gaze away as he rested his cheek on his hand.

Maybe not the best example, but oh well.

First, the dialogue tag 'asked' is gone. (Bwahaha! I am da slayer of dialogue tags!) *Wields sharp katana with a magnificent glint in his eyes*

Okay, back on topic. Here, we show a character's reaction to a certain situation. With his actions, we imply that Sho seems to not be listening intently to the subject, but we do not explicit state what exactly he is feeling. Basically, instead of telling what a character "should" feel, show what the character "could" be feeling at that moment. Open up many possibilities for the reader to think and feel for the character, instead of feeding them too much explicit information.

Speaking of words that don't move the story forward, let me share you a trump card of mine (though that's just embellishment). I rarely write passive verbs like 'is', 'are', or in the usual case, 'was', and 'were'. I instead put in active verbs, verbs that show action. Which again, shows instead of tell.

Compare the two:

1. Shirley walked across the street.
2. Shirley was walking across the street.

May seem similar, but they are not. They don't feel similar, don't they? I don't really know how to explain this that well, but in the first sentence, the verb centers on the action and there is a certain feel that the sentence progresses. Whereas in the second, the word 'was' kind of hitches this progression, as passive verbs tell of something being done to an object, rather than center on the action that is performed.

Sometimes though, passive verbs could feel more suitable to a sentence than active verbs. My favorite sentence with a passive verb: "She was there." Yes, for some reason it sounds so poetic to me. Maybe I'm just high. Anytime you feel that you want to focus on something being done to a subject or the subject in a state of being, use passive verbs.

And that's all for now! Mostly technical stuff, but I hope it helps! Hah, all my reviews are long.

I believe that Sho's handling with the person's death could be expressed better with showing rather than telling, for example. But other than that, you've done a great job. Just some tips above you may want to consider. At the end of the day, it's all about preferences. All the best! Looking forward to see more of the plot you have in store, as well as character relationships.
Fantasy Writer Hina chapter 1 . 10/6/2012
This seems like a really great story. :) I hope you post the second chapter soon. :)
RameerLewis chapter 1 . 10/6/2012 awesome Chapter 2 please hurry!