|Reviews for Ash: In Training|
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 7 . 12/3/2013
Your dialogue was good in this chapter; you used some very visual language, and I liked the fairytale feeling. I liked the back story of Ash's parents - it sounded tragic and dark. I wouldn't mind reading a one-shot about that!
(Also I thought the last scene in chapter 4 was a flashback ...turns out it was not? XD. So I guess this is ... a dream?)
Hmm, I like that Ash asked for proof: it shows that she's not going to take anything for granted. I also liked that Ash's mother wasn't all too bitter. The various clans/tribes of vampires are intriguing.
Nitpicks: There were a lot of mistakes in this chapter, and my case still stands: you should consider getting yourself a good beta.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 6 . 12/3/2013
Some of your imagery is nice, I liked the scene with the parents' past and I'm glad that Ash is finally getting recognised. The flashback scene was very soothing and nicely written.
But you need a good beta to fix a considerable number of errors, and to tighten your prose (and again, there's no shame in that!). I'd offer myself but I don't have a lot of time.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 5 . 12/3/2013
The opening of this chapter was very strong in its vividness, its clear descriptions and engaging themes. I liked the idea with the ball and its ...emotions? I like how you wrote Ash's feelings in this chapter; it was all very realistic and gripping.
The scene with the monster attacking Greg I liked too. I also like your writing when you describe feelings – you have gotten better with comparisons. Sometimes you have really clever wordings (I really liked this: 'in a voice like honey, sweet and smooth'). You might have used more gory details here, but then ...well I like gore _;;
What I had issues with: I still don't care about your descriptions of the characters' “beauty”. I don't think it does much for your writing, since it just seems so redundant. I know a lot of authors engage in such descriptions, but, in reality, it just works better if it's more off-handed or just happens when the characters are alone together, and have more time (would Ash really focus on Alexandria's beauty if she's just witnessed the death of her driver...?). BUT you're free to do it; I just personally tend to skim over scenes like that lol.
The scene with the vampires was okay. I don't care much for them being so beautiful and supposedly superior to humans, but that's because I don't ascribe to the Twilight canon of vampires (I'm more of a Buffy fan). I hope you'll reveal flaws to them! What would have made the scene stronger would have been, perhaps, if it hadn't felt so rushed. Overall, the second half of the chapter just felt more rushed than the first half (with the ball and Greg being killed).
You also had more errors in the second half; I'd suggest a good beta reader to help you tighten the prose a bit, and help you iron out glitches and errors (there's no shame in that!).
Things I noticed; feel free to dismiss - I'm definitely not infallible:
My head was starting to race again with the thought of what HAD happened. (You're referring to an event that has already transpired.)
He was leaning against the hood, staring at the school with A confused and worried expression. (missing word)
'his screamed terror' - ...do you mean 'scream of terror'?
The art wasn't just 'hung' on the wall - Art can only be 'hanging on a wall'. But even then it's vague. Maybe you could write something about portraits/painting hanging on the wall ...? Or think of a different description :) Also the room wasn't art, but was a PIECE of artwork ITSELF. /Or a 'work of art'. Looking back, this would also sound okay: 'The art wasn't just hanging on the walls, but the room itself was a work of art'.
'Hung from the ceiling' - 'Hanging from the ceiling'...
'The art hung from the walls' - The art HANGING ON the walls...
'You were just struck dumb by is beauty' - You were just struck dumb by HIS beauty.
'She seems way to much like a human...' - She seems way TOO much like a human...'
| A. Ceravolo chapter 21 . 12/1/2013
Alright, so I'm going to sum up at the start, which, I realize, is uncommon, but whatever. That was awesome.
Spoilers ahead, avert your eyes, new bloods.
I get how the whole Ron thing played out, well done on that, it was an intense scene to read. Would have been more intense had some High School Musical song hadn't been stuck in my head while reading it, but oh well.
The guilt over the killing, that was handled great, though I'm a little unsettled by the outcome of how she dealt with it. Removing the emotion from the memory was just a little too cold, especially for the ghost of the woman she killed to agree to. Though with her son on the line, I understand. Hope it crops up later.
Elijah's a dick...Really all I have to say about that.
I'm really looking forward to the next installment. You've got a great story here, and this ending has left me wanting. Keep up the great work.
| Whirlymerle chapter 4 . 11/30/2013
Writing: [But the only private school in the area wouldn't accept me. I didn't really understand why but every time my parents had applied we always get a letter back saying that I just was the type of student they were looking for.] I’m confused. If the letter said that she was the type of student they were looking for, why wasn’t she accepted?
Spelling/Grammar: [effect my grades] This should be “affect.”
[the pressure reached it’s breaking point] The correct word choice should be “its.”
Scene: I’m judging a little bit that the in the Advanced English class everyone, including Ash who’s supposed to be smart, writes like they’re in the sixth grade, but I know how lacking public education can sometimes be, so I think it’s good that you illustrated this to show that Ash really isn’t as smart as she claims. It’s a good character flaw, and realistic in the big fish/small pond sense. I also like how you show the different teachers’ personalities.
Ending: I like the build up of the flashback scenes to the ending. The repeated chanting of “Dominic the Freak” was a good way, technique wise, to illustrate the mounting pressure that culminated in the “explosion” at the end.
| Whirlymerle chapter 3 . 11/30/2013
Character: Have you ever heard of the Mary-Sue? The opening of this chapter, where Dom/Ash describes herself as beautiful, rich, and smart, and hated and lonely really gives off those vibes. Also, the fact that you’re writing in first person makes Dom/Ash sound kinda conceited in a way that’s hard to like. Anyway, Mary Sues aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, but I would be careful because they tend to make two dimensional characters.
Spelling and Grammar: [contemp] The correct spelling is contempt.
[I said walked out] The phrasing is a little awkward. Try “I said and walked out.”
[brain of it’s own] no apostrophe.
Relationships: While I think it is possible for a daughter and her mother to truly hate each other, I had getting a sense of true hate from this chapter. Despite Dom/Ash saying that she and her mother hated each other, I feel that she showed herself to be no different than any other bratty teenager in this chapter.
Scene: I like the flashbacks. They were cute. I especially enjoyed the description of Ash’s bedroom. You clearly put a lot of thought into it, and I could picture it well.
| Whirlymerle chapter 2 . 11/30/2013
Spelling/grammar: I’m not sure if you mean to write in present or past tense, but there were a lot of instances where you flip flop between the two. For instance, your opening begins with “I stood” but the last sentence of the first paragraph says “I shiver.”
[My smile turn feral] “turns” is the correct conjugation because smile is singular
[So I knew he’s feed recently] fed
Setting: I like the cliff as your choice of setting. I thought it did well to heighten the sense of danger and also worked as a good parallel to Ash’s current situation where she’s on the precipice of success of failure.
Scene: I like how Ash cuts off the demon’s head and it goes plop into the sea. It’s very memorable.
Enjoyment: Overall, I enjoyed this chapter. The intensity and action of this chapter kept me interested.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 4 . 11/27/2013
Scene: I felt that this chapter was a bit stronger than the previous ones. The flashback scenes were more genuine, and connected emotionally more. For example, I do feel that you tried to showcase the mother's cruelty more in this chapter, and it worked rather well with the scene where she slapped the main character. While I'm not sure how realistic the bullying scenes are … the kids seem needlessly cruel and jumped at her for no apparent reason at all (I don't recall kids caring about clothes until middle school?), they were emotive. I do think the writing could have been much stronger and the emotion more explored, but the flashbacks in this chapter were less bland than in the previous one.
Character: I think that Dominic seemed very flippant in this chapter at first – her off-handed way when she explained that mathematical formula didn't really make me think that she was shy or timid. I think it would have more more genuine if she had visibly shown signs of not wanting to come to the blackboard (fidgeting, stammering, not meeting eye contact etc.). I still don't feel very sorry for her because we never see her interact with other characters really, so I don't really /know her/. You keep telling us that she's like this and like that, but I just don't /feel/ it. I think you could have profited from just showcasing her relationship with other characters more, even her parents. Just small scenes that moved the plot along, but still explored the various layers of her character, for example?
Writing: You tell too much. For example, the entire first paragraph would have been so much more effective if you had just immediately jumped to the Maths lesson, and her being called to the blackboard. You do get better towards the end, with the flashbacks interspersed with the narrative, but I think the beginning could have been far more poignantly and effectively written. I do, however, feel that emotionally this chapter was the most genuine so far: I do get a sense of despair, sadness and anger – the flashbacks really helped get this across.
Ending: The ending was good. The flashbacks being told one after another conveyed a sense of maddening, crazed emotion, and the last sentence in its brevity and shortness makes it clear that something will happen. It's effective, and it makes the reader want to read more (it should be /its breaking point' though).
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 3 . 11/27/2013
Character: Hmm, I'm torn. On the one hand, she is a realistic representation of a teenager, especially when she said that her mother could 'shove it', but, on the other hand, I don't feel much sympathy for a narrator who tell us, straightforwardly, that she's 'beautiful', and 'smart'. Beauty is the eye of the beholder, and nothing so far suggested that the character is 'smart' to me. I think, personally, rather than having the narrator tell us that you could have hinted at it, through her interactions with other characters. Having the narrator ascribe such qualities to themselves ...well it doesn't paint them as very likeable to me.
I do think she's a realistic teenager though; I can remember a phase in my life where I tried pleasing my parents too much, before I decided that I was tired of it. I remember that rebellious phase, and I think you did get the emotion of that nonchalance, anger and sadness quite well across.
Scene: I think the re-decoration scene was a bit fillerish. You added a lot of description there that I felt didn't really add to anything (what did the room look like before?), and the interaction with her father there ...just didn't touch me emotionally at all. The same goes with the character exploring her new house for the first time. The scenes just felt very bland to me. Maybe, you could add more detail?
Personally, I think you could have focused more on the mother/daughter relationship, trying to showcase /how/ her mother didn't love her – try to pinpoint an event where this was really striking and the main character felt particularly saddened by it (instead you were just constantly telling us that the mother was aloof and bad.) It's a very interesting tangent to explore, and I think you could really flesh out your characters like this :)
Spelling/Grammar: There were still the same issues as in the previous chapters. Sometimes you had missing words, or spelling mistakes (e.g. 'you're mother' finally approved...in the redecoration scene, I think?). Your tenses were inconsistent and you also didn't use them correctly at points.
Writing: I think your writing bears a lot of promise. You have a talent for wording, but I don't care much for those character descriptions. I know they're common, but it just seems ...somehow unnecessary to give us two, three sentences of what a character looks like (maybe, you could try incorporating little details into a general sentence more? Like this, they'd be more striking...?). Also (this is something I myself struggle(d) with) try to more sparse with your imagery, and more creative: imagery is much more striking when lightly used and in unusual ways.
Sorry for being so critical; it's just that you asked for concrit and since you aim for publication, I'm trying to actually be as thorough as I can - please don't hesitate to PM me if you want some clarification! (I don't bite :)!).
| Jalux chapter 2 . 11/27/2013
Opening: Solid if not unoriginal, the writing itself is good and it makes for a decent hook but nothing really stands out. I do like the mention of bloodlust though, that will prompt the interest of the reader.
Dialogue: Dialogue was generally smooth and natural, adding more depth to your characters however I do think there are a couple of awkward phrases like
["But don't worry it won't...continued"]
Writing: Writing was very good, descriptions were good, paragraphing was done right and the sentences flow very well. I'd say it definitely matches the genre you're writing for.
Ending: Yet a little unoriginal but stronger than the opening. You feed us a part of the story and leave a lot hanging which serves as an excellent ending hook. It ties up the chapter nicely.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 2 . 11/27/2013
Grammar/Spelling: There are numerous grammatical issues in the prologue. First off, especially towards the latter paragraphs, you switch tenses for no apparent reason (for example, when describing the battle/actions scene, you use the present tense, rather than past. Also when referring to past events, you don't use the past perfect). Your dialogue tags, in general, need work. It's not: “I will come.” he says, but “I will come,” he says. There are a few small typos ('like a ago'), but those are the major kinks I noticed.
Writing: I'm sorry to say I don't care much for how you describe your characters 'eyes as black as coal', for example, is a well-worn metaphor. It's not very … striking, in terms of imagery. I felt the same for the similes you used ('hard as granite'). The biggest issue (and offending thing) for me was the the rapist comparison – how, pardon me, can someone look like a rapist? How can you be assured of the fact that a rapist looks like that, always? Why did it have to be that comparison in particular? I feel it needlessly sexualises the scene, apart from being, yet again, being an, misogynistic overused trope (PM me, if you want to know why I took offence to it; it's a too long discussion for a single review.) I'd really consider rewriting that bit though. Otherwise, I do like your prose – it's visual and vivid, though it could use a lot of tightening. I think you could have been even more atmospheric. However, what you have so far is promising prose.
Dialogue: The dialogue is okay, for the most part. I think it's a bit well-worn (that seems to be my major issue with this prologue so far), but it rings true for the situation. I think the condescending tone fits the attacker especially well. It characterises him as someone unpleasant and I like that.
Setting: The setting was actually my favourite bit of this prologue. I felt that's where you did best in terms of your descriptions. I liked how you engaged our senses in making us feel the place, and I think by 'tightening' you could add a bit more detail, to paint an even stronger picture since you're good at it.
I'm sorry for the slightly negative review. It's just the 'rapist' comparison, I feel, was very ill-placed here.
| A. Ceravolo chapter 17 . 11/27/2013
I know in my last review I said it felt rather anticlimactic but now that I've read this chapter I can see a rather interesting conflict brewing. I'm not sure if it's what you're going for but the combination of Ash's longing for action and her sudden bloodlust could be the makings of a very interesting inner-conflict and those are always fun.
Also her arrogance over killing him is a nice touch. Alex made Ron seem like the equivalent of a cricket in this sparring session. The only problems I have are purely grammar specific. For instance when Savin tends to Ash after Alex kicks her into a wall, he says "I probably have a few broken ribs" instead of "You probably have a few broken ribs." A tad confusing for a split second, nothing major, though.
I did like the part where after Elijah leaves she stands there thinking "He's hiding something from me. Again." I found that entertaining. He does hide a lot of things, it's an interestingly irritating aspect of his character.
At any rate, great chapter. I'll read the next one soon-ish. Keep up the good work.
| A. Ceravolo chapter 16 . 10/18/2013
...OKay that seemed a lot like an ending to the first book and...I have to say, it was underwhelming. She killed him in a matter of seconds, didn't even ask him who sent him after her, nothing. I wouldn't mind him dying so quickly if there was something more exciting down the road of this book in particular.
For a villain to be a good villain you have to develop them but this Ron guy barely had time to say more than a few lines. And then he just dies. Too easily. It's hard to care about Ash/Dom if you don't have her overcoming difficult challenges, because failure and then perseverance causes the reader to admire the hero. Everything leading up to this point was a little too easy for her, but I was hoping that it would be rectified with a significant challenge. I think you may have overpowered her.
Elijah getting mad earlier in the chapter might have been more effective if he actually turned out to be right, and Ron at least severely injured her, but I won't try to write your story for you.
As for Alex...she started to annoy me. One half of the book she was actually nice, but then after Ash/Dom's date she instantly became venomous for no particular reason.
And Elijah...I remember his eyes being green. First few chapters you described him with green eyes and in this one you switched to blue. I could be wrong but that's just what I remember.
At any rate, I think this chapter was rushed. If it was the ending to the first installment then it was very, very rushed at an ungodly speed. I'm hoping it's rectified in your rewrite.
| A. Ceravolo chapter 15 . 10/18/2013
Alright, good chapter. Just one thing, it's Sparred, with two R's. Spared is the past tense of spare.
Still think there could be some improvement in description when it comes to transitional things. Specifically when it comes to Ash stating a couple of weeks went by, or a couple of hours. There's not much else going on description wise, I just think there might be. I don't know.
At any rate, keep up the good work.
| A. Ceravolo chapter 14 . 10/18/2013
Good chapter. You used "Cuz" a lot instead of "'Cause." 'Cause is the actual spelling, but I'm sure you already know that. "Cuz" was created to make texting and other things like texting easier and more convenient, probably after "'Cause" was decided to be too long. Personally I just think they're all lazy.
At any rate, keep up the good work.