|Reviews for Of Broken Souls and Fragile Minds|
| Veronica Fay chapter 1 . 10/17/2013
I really liked this start. It was dark and creepy, and got me really interested in what's going to happen next. He should call the police or an ambulance! You're writing style is great, smooth and easy to follow :)
| ramblingrobin chapter 1 . 8/29/2013
I like this start. I'm interested to see what will happen next. I can't believe he didn't call the cops though, yikes.
| Maddam Redder chapter 1 . 7/20/2013
I hope you continue this! I would like to see what happens! :)
| lmnopqrsabcdefg chapter 1 . 5/31/2013
First of all, I really like the setting and the feel of this, and also your writing style. The mood is perfect, but after reading the synopsis I was confused by the actual content of the story. I assumed at first that Elias was the name of the narrator, but I realized that he must be the boy the narrator (Ray?) finds in the basement. And I was further confused by the fact that the narrator called Aerne in order to ask him to come and get him, but in the first paragraph he said that Aerne had wanted him to go on "this stupid business trip" with him. I'm wondering why Aerne isn't also at the creepy mansion if they are supposed to be on a business trip together.
I really hope you do something more with this. The setting and back story is too good to go to waste.
Okay. Now you have to worship me forever and ever. ;)
| blackouzel chapter 1 . 4/18/2013
[That was about seven years ago and he still got nightmares. ] Given how traumatic an event it is, I find myself wanting you to provide a *somewhat* more precise date, like "exactly seven years ago" or "seven and a half years ago."
Consider breaking some of the expositional portions into separate paragraphs- not because they need to be smaller (they don't), but to give a sense of timing and impact. Here's one place I hope you do so:
[He wondered if he should just go back to his room.] This line would be KILLER AWESOME if it became the start of a new paragraph. Right now it's buried between a lot of other lines, and it doesn't have as much OOMF as it could.
Your narrator is sleep-deprived and disoriented, so vagueness is to be expected in parts, but I found myself wanting you to tighten up your writing and actually describe some of the objects in further detail (you did this a little after he reached the basement. That was the best part, and other areas in this chapter could use the same attention). Specifically, the 3rd paragraph of this chapter could be expanded to be several times longer and WAY more fun.
It would have been great to see at least one of the old paintings (a hunting scene with lords on horses? A lone ship at sea?). I also want you to tell us a little more about the furniture. Is it smaller or bigger or more delicate than the narrator is used to? Does the fabric have patterns on it?
Does he find it tasteful or repellant? Does it come from a particular era or place?
This is a big opportunity to show the readers more about your character- can he mentally name/identify the objects he is looking at (aka does he have some esoteric knowledge of old/lux interior design)? Or is it just a bunch of ornate-looking curves and colors to his eyes? This will tell us a lot about his personal background.
You can also use these details to indirectly tell us more about the owner of the house: did the owner furnish it himself, or inherit it? Does he lavish attention on his home, or leave it to grow dusty in neglect? Is he a collector of rare items? Do the objects all kind of "go together" in a tasteful way, or is it the sort of bombastic casino-explosion (complete with a life-size dolphin sculpture next to the fireplace) you might expect to find inside the mansion of a person who is hugely wealthy but has no personal experience with luxury?
If you want to take it even further, you could throw in some symbolic imagery: taxidermied animal heads ( the owner is a predator) or statues of nubile boys (...the owner is a predator . . . hahah just kidding). But seriously, it would be mindblowingly cool if you found a way to hint at the themes in your story with an object or two that the narrator happens to focus on for a second.
So basically, I can't stress enough how important the setting and the description of it is.
As he walks through the darkened house, your narrator feels bored and restless and doesn't seem to be concerned with the potential consequences. His eyes skim past everything he sees. Even comparing his surroundings to a haunted house "in movies" makes the potential spookiness seem like it, too is "in movies" fake.
While this sets us up for an exciting conclusion after the mood finally switches to genuine panic, it comes at a high price: for the entire first half of your first chapter (the most important place and time to hook your audience) you're basically telling your readers, "nothing here is interesting and there's no risk involved."
Sure, you should tell us that HE believes that. But why don't you make it an interesting house for the READER to explore?
Your narrating character is fascinating, but the house he's in should be enhancing, not detracting from, how appealing he is to read about.
By the way, should your narrator be at all worried about draining the batteries on his mobile with the flashlight-function and having to find his way back in the dark? (This has happened to me, it's awesome and SO SCARY). Would it give your story some more punch at the end if that's exactly what happens when he attempts to take the boy to safety- the only light in his possession flickers out? (And with it, his one means of contact with the outside world. Oops.)
It might be a cool way to show that his prior assumption of a safe exit was just that- an assumption.
So, to finish:
This chapter has many strong points. It's INTERESTING. The voice is consistent. You do a good job of evoking the narrator's state of mind, and I think the way you introduce the situation, the characters, and the relationships is skillful.
I would like to know more names, however- particularly the narrator's and the home-owner's. It doesn't really seem like it's necessary to conceal this information. And yes, Aerne blurts the name "Ray"- if that even IS his name!- near the end. But why make us wait? It ends up seeming arbitrary, and it makes the narrator's name really freaking hard to remember, actually. I had to look it up while writing this because it had left no impression. (However, Aerne and Etienne stood out so much that I didn't need to double-check their names).
The final half page is really exciting. (And could be moreso. Dead cellphone, I'm tellin' yah! ;) )
But I also think you could take your chapter to a whole new level of awesome if you picked three or four sentences/areas that are generic and made them specific instead. (For instance, the only thing we know about where/how he found Etienne is that it was in his own bedroom. Can you give us a detail? A color, a texture- even something really innocuous could work, because it would make great juxtaposition with the horror of the moment, and it could give us an idea of WHAT haunts him in his nightmares. Give us a teaser to chew on before the big reveal that I HOPE is coming later).
Just so you know, I wouldn't have written such thorough feedback if the story hadn't captured my interest (and shown some serious potential). Keep up the good work! Please post more. D
| La Imperatrice chapter 1 . 2/23/2013
This is very interesting, I can't wait until the next chapter!
| T. Ishmon chapter 1 . 1/21/2013
Are you going to continue this? You open with questions and I'd like to see the answers.
| nffhkasjfnbsdkjb chapter 1 . 1/17/2013
Oh very creepy! After the groaning, I was thinking 'just get out of the cellar'! I'm really interested to find out what is going on with the unconscious boy. And I love the name Etienne. I have real thing for names and that is beautiful.
| Shaonna chapter 1 . 1/9/2013
Very interesting start :) can't wait for what's next!
| Daneeno chapter 1 . 1/8/2013
This seems interesting and has a very intruging begining. I can't wait to read on.
| Lilifrey chapter 1 . 1/8/2013
Except for the overuse of the term creepy I really liked it. I am goiing to follow because I want to see where this goes, so you caught my interest, which is the point of a first chapter right? I like the back story with Aerne too.