E_W_Hemmings

A seventeen year old writer/feminist/rock 'n' roll nerd.

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There's nothing else quite like this!

First of all, sorry this review took so long: I've had science mocks recently and then when I came to read this, I made notes to put in the review like I usually do... but then I deleted them. Well done me. As a result, this review is a bit more general than most reviews I write, but hey ho, let's get on with it!

The combination of horror and humour is going to be a good one, in my opinion. The contrast between the first scene where TJ was pretending to be Musashi (your writing in that scene was excellent, by the way!) and then the scene in his back garden was great - not to mention hilarious! I don't know if you've given your story a bit of an edit since I read it, but the humour itself seems to have a lot more polish than it did, as I thought some of it was a bit crude. Finally, your writing style was masterful throughout, especially in the more horror-ish bits.

I would've given a bit more constructive criticism if I could.... but I kind of can't. So well done on getting that reaction out of me, and keep writing! :)

- Em

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Beneath The Skin

I make notes as I read the stories that I review. I will add more feedback to this review as I read more of the story, so keep checking back!

CHAPTER 1
- The first line is a little awkwardly phrased.
- 'Excrement of a jackal' sounds too wordy, which takes away the effect of the insult. If you don't mind being a bit profane, I would use 'you piece of jackal shit' perhaps?
- Start a new paragraph with the line 'Shakti O'Malley went to the girl looking her over'.
- I love Shakti as a character. She sounds so strong and fearless, and is definitely a character I could emotionally invest in. :)
- 'The street was heaving with life' - nice!
- 'He watched and viewed and collected with his irises' - I would just use one of these descriptions, you don't need to say the same thing three times with different wording.
- Lovely, very vivid, multisensory descriptions.
- 'His eyes were fixed, his sense blinkered to everything but the girl'- this seems contradictory compared to the vivid descriptions before.
- 'He was a monochrome man' - ooh, I like this!
- The ending to the chapter is brilliant!

CHAPTER 2
- 'Everything that is cloth, white, everything that is wood is painted white' - I'd cut straight to the point and say 'Everything is white' .
- Typo: 'bran new'
- 'the harsh light spangs off it' - I don't think 'spangs' is a real word?
- 'The flick of a switch sends light screaming its whiteness into every crack, crevice and corner' - nice!

CHAPTER 3
- 'She liked Dalit' - could you try showing us this rather than telling us, even if it's just in one sentence?
- 'snipped the shiny-headed man' - I'm not sure this really works as a dialogue tag.

CHAPTER 4
- 'He killed Pierre because Pierre was stupid, a nuisance, he got in the way' - expand more on why Pierre is such a nuisance, and in more serious terms than 'he was stupid'. I'd understand if he were an obstacle that needs to be removed, but how?
- I'd refer to Pierre as 'the body' or rather than by his name once he's been killed; it seems weird and over-personal otherwise.
- The sections in Paris get quite hard to follow because it's all in one big paragraph. I don't know if this has been done for effect, but I'd prefer to have them broken up a bit.

CHAPTER 5
- 'His brown stare unyielding' - I don't think this works in a one-line paragraph.
- 'his clothes were rent' - I'm not sure this makes sense.
- 'Stalls selling milk sweets wafted their sugary aroma' - I'm not sure this makes sense either :/
- Tense error: 'he rent at his hair'
- 'faint tang of iron' - nice!

CHAPTER 6
- 'This man was a chauvinist' - I'd really drive this home by adding more sexist comments before you say this.
- 'The air was like glass' - nice!
- 'Dew sparkled like tears on his coat' - I love this!

CHAPTER 7
- 'Patrick O' Malley, was he your father?' I'd rephrase this so it's more concise and direct.
- I like your use of an Indian related metaphor to echo Shakti's culture.
- The Paris scenes, by this point, are getting a little repetitive. Being more sparing with them may give each murder more impact.

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Beautifully written!

First of all, sorry the beginning of our beta-read 'swap' has taken so long! I've had quite a bit of schoolwork and other feedback reviews to do as well. But anyway, you've certainly got a brilliant foundation to your story. Your writing style is particularly excellent, and some of the descriptions are beautifully done as well. The concept is interesting as well for certain, and it's certainly unique, and I love the world you've created.

I make notes as I review, so here we go...

- The first sentence is a bit clichéd in my opinion.
- 'His wings outstretched...' - I would change 'outstretched' to 'unfurled' which makes more sense.
- 'grey like ashes from hell' - nice!
- ' "Your place in hell has been made, hell will have you!" - I would change this as you're effectively saying the same thing. I'd just use 'There is a place in hell for you' or something like that
- Tense error: 'Lucifer stretched his wings'
- I would omit the 'but' in the first sentence after the chapter break as otherwise it doesn't make sense.
- 'her face was a mixture of pain of loss and tiredness'- I'd put this in a separate sentence for this to make sense.
- 'tolerate-able' - I think the word you're looking for is 'tolerable'?
- The conversation between your narrator and Willemijn ends quite strangely. First she calls him mad, but she still ends the conversation politely? If I were her, I'd feel quite weirded out by the situation.
- I like how you describe the 'reeking arrogance' of the mountains.
- The last paragraph is described beautifully.

Well done on this great first chapter! I look forward to reading more, and to hearing your thoughts on Page 105!

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There's potential

While I don't think you have the full product quite yet, I definitely think that with a bit of practice, you have the potential to be a great writer. Your writing style in itself flows quite nicely and there were some particularly nice descriptions to be found in here too, and the concept definitely shows promise; it's certainly a commendable idea. However, I got confused in a couple of places earlier in the story, and I would recommend giving the reader the details of Alex's background a bit at a time rather than all at once otherwise we might not remember everything. I'd break your paragraphs up a little where you can too. Finally, I think you could do more with Alecia's character, At the moment, she seems a bit too vapid and objectified - expand more on it! Give her humour! Make her unique!

I hope this feedback is helpful for you! Thanks for the swap, and keep writing! :)

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I'll add more to this as a I read more

I write reviews chapter by chapter for longer works like yours, and it also means I can provide more detailed critiques.

CHAPTER 1

I'm really liking what you have so far! You display a clear amount of writing skill, it flows really nicely, and the world you've created sounds really original and interesting. (They sound like really clichéd comments, hahah! It's true though). The first line in particular was actually one of the best first lines I've read in a while, even if it maybe was a bit too long, and that's really the only criticism I have.

Anyway, sorry I couldn't be of more help! I look forward to reading more of your story. :)

CHAPTER 2
I might as well give you all of the notes I made in one hit!

- I would take the word 'puzzled' out of the opening sentence, we can kind of gather that Ink is puzzled from his sentence.
- Tense error: 'she is holding'.
- 'The only blessing you'll get by going here...' - LOL!
- Tense error: 'as she swallowed a mouthful of her saliva'
- I loved the paragraph beginning 'People who barely have enough food'.
- 'One thing, and then two and then three and not for long it'll be too many to count' - I like this!
- 'Excuse me, she replied. appalled' - again, you don't need to mention how appalled Rebecca is, we can gather this from what she says without the need for the telling.
- I've notice you actually have really rather good dialogue; it sounds realistic and flows beautifully.
- 'Eris!!!' - don't worry about using three exclamation marks,

CHAPTER 3
- This is just a little nitpicky thing, but I'd put the poem in italics to ensure it's separated from the rest of the story. That's what's traditionally done in books.
- The line beginning 'Behold' has a slightly clumsy metre that doesn't really fit with the rest of the poem.
- I liked the way you transitioned from background information to the action of the story.
- 'no more than the size of her palm' - do you mean 'no bigger than the size of her palm?'
- Grammar error: 'nobody else have it'
- 'there was one other family in Maskerville who also had an Etherean lens in their possession' - SPOILER ALERT! XD If I were you, I'd actually hold off this information for now. It makes more of an impact if you don't reveal this till later.
- The banter between Rebecca and Ink is so sweet, and it's very realistic. Well done on that!
- 'Lord Fillias said, annoyed' I mentioned this earlier, but I don't think you need to reinforce that Lord Filias is annoyed.
- 'allow his face to give into pain and contort his face like he can't get enough air' - the repetition of 'his face' makes the sentence sound a little like it doesn't make sense, but I like the description.
- The last two paragraphs are gorgeously written.

CHAPTER 4
- This was another really nicely written chapter, and I love the way you're bringing in the differences between Ink and Rebecca's characters and exploring the way it shifts the dynamic between them.
- I wouldn't say you need to detail why Lord Filias hates dogs, it detracts from the rest of the story.
- 'Lord Fillias quite satisfied by how the night turned out'
- Why is Ink suddenly shouting at Rebecca? It has no explanation or build up, and it seems irrational. The way he expresses his resentment for the Ethereals is relatable and well presented, but I don't think he has a need to take it out on Rebecca.
- Tense error: 'when Rebecca climb his back'
- I'd also say that there seems to be a lot of variation in your tone in this chapter. Sometimes the writing is really sophisticated, sometimes it's quite colloquial, and maybe it would be an idea for you to make this a bit more consistent.
and 'she meet today'

CHAPTER 5
- 'His long hair never moving out of place' - I'm not sure a continuous verb works too well as the only verb in the sentence. I'd attach this onto the sentence before it.
- 'held unto the animal' - do you mean 'held ONTO the animal'?
- Tense error: 'He would sprung from one branch to another'
- 'The prince was simply having to much fun that he didn't even notice the white-ash rich pumice falling from the sky like snow' - this is a slightly clumsy sentence. I'd recommend rephrasing it to 'the prince was simply having too much fun to notice the white ash...'
- Tense error: 'he's starting to get more anxious'
- 'It wasn't dragging its limbs - it was being dragged' - I really like the ideas of contrast in this line.
- 'their mangled child' - a) I'm not sure 'mangled' is quite the right word, and b) I think 'child' should be 'children'.
- 'The volcano was like a ticking time bomb' - could you express this a different way? It sounds a little clichéd.

CHAPTER 6
- 'they should be called Masker-villains' - nice! I like this little observation.
- 'It lived a very lonely life - solitary life' - I would only use one adjective for the creature's life, otherwise you're saying the same thing twice with different wording.
- Grammar error: 'he manage'
- He already had enough bottled anger and distress and distrust to the whole world' - nice!

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PROLOGUE

(I review work on a chapter by chapter basis so you don't have to wait as long for me to do the whole thing before you hear my thoughts).

- The beginning of the prologue sounds more like a blurb that the beginning of the actual story. I would recommend actually using it as a blurb perhaps, and properly starting the story at the chapter break.

- 'Destined to be anything but ordinary' - this paragraph is actually fairly clichéd, there are plenty of stories out there starting exactly like this, and it's the basis of most stories out there. You can probably get away with cutting this completely.

- You can probably put the paragraph beginning 'One who was taking in this lovely scene' and the two that follow it into one.

- You don't need to repeat what you've just said after the chapter break; your reader is already fully aware of what's just happened!

But anyway, from what I can see, your story does have potential and you have a decent grip on the basics of telling a good story - with some revision, it could be really good. Just watch how clichéd your descriptions are - if making a living out of writing is what you aspire to do, originality is probably the most important thing.

- 'crying tears of sadness' - we can already gather Milo is sad, so there's not really a need to state it again.

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I see potential!

I've only read the first chapter of the story so far, but you do have the foundations of a good story here. Your world sounds pretty cool as well, and I praise your originality with it, and although your writing style could do with a bit of work it definitely has lots of potential.

Before I get into my notes, a small complaint I had with the story was that the chapter was pretty overlong, and you didn't need to stuff so much into it. I would recommend putting the detail about the Novas in a prologue and the switch in POV in two chapters after that. I'm quite a nitpicky reviewer if I'm honest, so here are the little things I picked up on as I read (there are good things here too, don't worry) . I hope these help!

- I really like your unique first sentence.
- I'd separate your second sentence into two - 'There it was again. That feeling in (this works better than 'at') the pit of my stomach'
- Start a new paragraph at 'This world wasn't made for people like mine'
- 'I'm being kicked in my side' - rephrase to 'he kicks me in the ribs' as it's less passive and more direct.
- 'the more punishment I receive' - maybe 'the more he punishes me' would sound better?
- 'With weak legs' - you've just mentioned that she's weak, so I wouldn't recommend doing it again. I'd maybe say 'Legs shaking, I make my way' instead.
- You could probably get rid of the sentence beginning 'One foot at a time' and put 'slowly' into 'I make my way to the bathroom' actually.
- 'Both my arms, my stomach, my legs, I can still see all the colours' - this sentence doesn't make sense. Maybe try 'I can still see all the colours on my body'
- 'Maybe because it's the way I feel' - do you need this?
- 'Her voice groggy' - this doesn't make sense, I think you're looking for 'Her voice is groggy'
- 'her face covered in black and blue' - this doesn't make sense either. 'Her face black and blue' will suffice.
- 'They'd be tainted, cursed' - just one word will do fine.
- 'The paint long gone from the wall' - there is a word missing here.
- 'and the prettiest. With her piercing blue eyes...' - join these two sentences together.
- I like your repetition of the heartbeat effect throughout the story.
- PARKER IS HORRIBLE!
- This chapter is pretty overlong. I'd recommend putting the switch of POV and the information about the worlds in a second chapter and a prologue respectively.
- 'I like bothering her, getting under her skin' - just one of these will do.
- Sentence beginning 'Opening her locker...' is not really needed.
- Describe Crystal slapping Parker instead of writing just 'smack'. It's slightly lazy storytelling.
- 'I can't believe people come here for' - this sentence probably needs an ellipsis so its effect is clearer.

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There's potential here!

The first thing I have to say about this story is that the concept of this story is a clever one, and that's what intrigued me enough to click on it. Although the more detailed feedback I have for you now seems negative, don't get too down about it, because you do have potential as a writer and with some redrafting and a good ol' edit, this really could be great.

Chapter 1
- I would tweak the bit where you mention that Alina's father 'panicked if he lost sight of her for more than a couple of hours', as it seems a tad unrealistic. I'd say 'he panicked if he lost sight of her for more than fifteen minutes'.
- 'her father was like a god' - I don't know if you'd agree with me on this one, but I'd apply this metaphor more to someone hot. You could tweak it, but it might be just me (hahah!)
- In my opinion, the first half of the chapter, when you tell us all about how Alina's mum died and what happened afterwards, could be told in a more imaginative way. I feel like at this point, it kind of burps along like anyone else would tell a story in real life, and by making it more imaginative, you turn it into YOUR story.
- Typo: 'Her legs felted weak under her'.
- 'I'm going to the supermarket to buy food and stuff' - this feels too informal for Alina's dad, and to be fair, you don't really hear a lot of parents saying'stuff', eh? Change simply to 'I'm going to the supermarket'.
- 'the father of the blonde' - just use her dad's name! (I forgot what it was, sorry).

Chapter 2
- Spelling error: 'The hours past'
- 'He was the boy of her dreams'. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! INSTA-LOVE! CUT! CUT! CUT! (Sorry about that, but think about it: I'm pretty sure nobody has ever found their soulmate just by looking at them once, unless you know anyone who can prove me wrong, ahah!)
- Despite this, the chapter ends nicely. I like your choice of the final sentence.

I would've read a bit more of this if I had time, but I've been up to my eyes in school work recently and I have quite a lot of other feedback to look at. Well done, and keep writing! :)

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