|Reviews for A Prior Engagement|
| OneSupperNapTime chapter 1 . 3/23/2016
You will, hopefully, forgive me for taking a diversion from The Lindum Vanishings for a split second, but you have 12,000 words here that would have taken time and effort, and absolutely no visible reviews, and that attracts me because I like to be special (wow that was blunt, it -must- be late at night) and to give attention to neglected stories because I know what the other end of that feels like. I was curious to see what aspects of your style might have carried over, and thought reading the first chapter at least before returning to Lindum could hardly do any harm.
Firstly, yes, the lovely natural flow of conversation you have between characters that are familiar with each other is a strength this story appears to share. "Must have been the eater of lost socks" "The vein is real" (The vein thing is my favourite little banter snippet here I think XD.) Nice little character details also blossom amongst the dialogue. "Dad had to stoop slightly whilst my sister was almost on tip toes as she gripped his index and middle fingers" It's adorable! They say when you're good at something don't give it away for free. And here, we are utterly spoilt, and often we can't appreciate the nuance any more. Gourmet dishes are small so that each bite is somewhat important, it means something to the overall dish. Keep the tastiest. It sucks to lose stuff. Character defining, beautiful stuff (truly). Cut and paste it. Keep an outtakes document, a directors extended cut if you will. Some might even get into later chapters. Some might even get into other stories. If it never does, developing a character is never a waste of time. Keep the separate document, and treasure the progress. That's my best plaster for the cutting.
Second, mornings. Honestly, I haven't read many morning routines better than this. It's the most entertaining, rich but not thick-paragraph description morning. I mean it. I love the little thing with his name, the background of his parents naming him and his mum getting to win all arguments. And 'Prior' engagement? I'm feeling it. :) And writing mornings is instinct (I've been there). You wake up in the morning, the day starts in the morning, getting ready, school routines, why not the story? The day establishes as the story does. It's chronological. It makes sense. You already know where I'm going with this. And the reader already knows that something is going to go wrong from the opening. We know it from the summary. Then suddenly the hook is gone, without anything worrying woven into the chapter to remind us why we're into this. You already know one of the key things that inspired you to set this loving opening up - you know about the conflict that is coming. This gives you the patience to write other world building details that unavoidably ignorant readers might, alas for your lovely characters, not have (as much) patience to read. For -you-, amusingly, the tension is always there, because you know what's coming. Phrased that way, does it seem so unnatural to weave in tension to the opening for the readers? Allow them to feel your tension, to share some of your motivation.
Alternatively, sections like this (if you don't want to use them as part of conflict setup) can work very nicely as flashbacks mid-story, or as a trickle of smaller flashbacks to cause bittersweet nostalgia/lulls of comfort and quiet relief. Imagine the dad dies. 'She reaches up to hold her father's fingertips. In only a week, unbeknownst to her, those fingers will not be there.' (you see this style a lot on FP in intros) vs. 'Her father passed away last week. She reaches up as always to hold his fingertips, but they are not there.' You have 'damn that's sad' (author is feeling it offscreen) vs 'damn that's *real*' (reader is experiencing the loss onscreen).
This is a super long review and got rather general and less story specific. I'm a little sorry *awkward shuffling*. And yet after all that, I want to say not to let this bother you much as you write (write freely, write for yourself, edit later, edit for readers), and don't worry about paying it too much mind right now. The most important thing for writing has and always will be that you enjoy writing. I'm mainly leaving this for reference. You write well, and it's why I'm invested. These things work themselves out the more you write. I'm just addicted to paraphrasing because my inner beta never shuts up (no beta-me, no, don't switch tabs to my own writing, beta-me, noooo).