A writer/feminist/rock 'n' roll nerd.

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This is an opening with masses of potential. I loved your opening paragraph in particular and thought it was a particularly nice, not to mention original, way to draw your reader into the story. Your writing style has some lovely original lines, one of my favourites being 'he seemed to have a notion to stroll under their shade as if reaching our destination would mean the end of his life' and flows very well. Alexander's characterisation is particularly strong too, particularly with the way he called your MC 'Shorty', which was quite funny.

I can only really think of two things to improve your story as it is at the moment and they're pretty small. Firstly, if a line of speech doesn't end with a ? or ! and it's not at the end of the line it needs to end with a comma, not a full stop. Secondly, the Great Wall the only thing keeping me from the outside' is quite a redundant phrase and you can probably cut it.

Well done on this, anyway! Keep writing! :)

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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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Caged Soul

Firstly, sorry this took a little while for me to post as I've been a little busy with schoolwork.

I believe the premise of your story has potential, but I think there is quite a bit with your story that you could improve. Firstly, I'd say that a general proofread might do your story some good as some sentences didn't really make sense - 'it doesn't even worth remembering' was one of these early in the novel. Likewise, some of the speech marks were the wrong way around.

Writing wise, there were a couple of quite nice lines such as 'many invisible daggers were thrown at us' and 'at least my reflection feels sorry for me', and it would be great to see more of them. I don't believe, however, you need so many lines in capital letters as it sounds overly hysterical. Caroline isn't really appealing to me as a character either as I find her a little petty.

Sorry if this review came across as a little harsh! Keep writing, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Page 105!

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Lioness Rising

Firstly, sorry this has taken so long! I've had quite a lot of schoolwork to do whilst doing this swap.

There's no denying you can write; your style flows beautifully, it's professional and concise, and you have some lovely original descriptions here and there - 'his eyes simmered with black anger' is one I particularly like. I thoroughly enjoyed your fusion of slight dystopia with a vampire story; vampires have been done to death, but I liked how you made it original.

Before I move onto my typically nitpicky notes (XD), a couple of things popped up quite a few times that I thought I'd just address now rather than constantly repeating them. First, just a small thing, but every time someone else speaks, start a new paragraph - without this, conversations were a little hard to follow. Secondly, just a pet peeve of mine - the word 'orbs' instead of 'eyes' I don't feel is necessary and is kind of clichéd. What's wrong with using the word 'eyes'? XD

Alrighty, here's my other thoughts..

- The paragraph beginning 'Then his mouth was on her' at the start is brilliantly written and so creepy.

- 'before they died' - I would phrase this differently as eyes don't 'die'; perhaps I'd say 'before the life in them died'

- 'it seemed she could feel her heartbeat underneath her eyelids' - nice!

- 'with a far less quantity of wounds' - I'd just say 'with fewer wounds' as it gets more to the point.

- Grammar error: 'far more softer'

- 'she grit' - this doesn't make grammatical sense and I don't believe this really works as a dialogue tag.

- 'A week slowly passed, worming its way around the huntress's intense workouts' - I like this!

- 'Her being trapped in the water seemed to go on for ages' - this is quite clumsily worded, I'd recommend altering it to 'She seemed to be trapped in the water for ages'

- 'the feeling of becoming numb started to fill her' - you can easily shorten this to 'numbness started to engulf her' or something.

- 'To her pride, she hadn't given in yet' - I'm not sure 'to her pride' makes sense.

- This might just be personal preference, but I wouldn't use 'greeted' as a dialogue tag. It just sounds a little odd.

- Start a new paragraph with the line 'Punishment for what?'

- 'she came to terms with the fact that her legs would not support her weight up the stairs' - could this be shortened? E.g. 'She realised her legs were too weak to get her up the stairs'.

- Grammar error: 'any free humans didn't have any sort of luxury like this' should be 'no free humans had any sort of luxury like this'

- 'Her hands stung from the bite of the blade' - nice!
- Typo: 'She hoped [hopped] onto one of the tightrope wires'

- 'it was her that got her ass whooped' - do you mean 'whipped'?
- Tense error: 'A heavy sigh is what stirred Lex from her restless sleep'

- 'Days blurred into weeks' - I love this idea

- Word error: 'she was baring the storm' should be 'she was bearing the storm'

- 'Blue orbs pinpointed on where she would hit' - this is quite an unnecessarily awkward sentence, and see the point I made earlier about 'blue orbs'.

- 'the molten eyes that swirled with hunger' - I love this!

- I would maybe omit the phrase 'damn it' as it detracts from the seriousness and the fear of Lex's situation; it's just a bit out of place.

- Typo: 'for you too [to] see'

- Typo: 'the bottom of her back [pack]'

- 'she was even smaller than she was' - add the word 'now' at the end for this to make more sense.

- I wouldn't use 'threatened' as a dialogue tag in the run up to the sex scene as it sounds out of place in a scene that's supposed to be consensual.

- Should Alaric have more of a reaction to the memory of Lex having sex? You could get some dark comedy out of that.

- Typo: 'your feather demands your presence'

- Missing word: 'a part [of] her'

- Tense error: 'she plead'
- 'as fragile as an ant' - I think 'as fragile as ants' would sound better.

- 'Her eyes finally trained on Alaric' -I'm not sure this makes much sense and 'trained' isn't really the right verb to use.

- I wouldn't use the word 'altercation' at the start of Chapter 20 to describe what happened between Lex and Alaric' that's used more to describe something violent.

- 'his eyes simmered with black anger' - nice!

I hope my feedback is helpful, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Page 105!

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There's potential!

You've given yourself quite a difficult task - how to freshen up two very common plot threads, one of which is pretty hard to get right? I think it's the element of the music classes that makes it work, and maybe this is something you can build on more in the blurb and make more central to the story. While I don't think you have the finished product quite yet, I can definitely see you have some good writing skills, especially with the hints about Natasha's background being dropped in, and I like your touches of humour too. The main things I think you need to do to improve this is to give us more, in essence. Develop your characters more, particularly Jazz and Amanda (it may also help to spend longer introducing them, as I thought that was too brief). I also believe you're a bit of an underwriter (I once was too, welcome to the club!), so extend your descriptions as they feel a bit rushed, and it'll bump your word count up loads too. Finally, give the story a bit of a proofread as there were quite a few grammar mistakes.

Well done with this, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Page 105! :)

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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!

- 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!

- '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!

- '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.

- '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.

- '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!

- '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!

- '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.

- I'd join together the first two sentences of the paragraph beginning 'Shakti tended her mother's garden' as the second one doesn't make sense on its own.
- Same thing for the second and third sentences in the following paragraphs.
- The descriptions in the paragraph beginning 'She smiled at her daughter' are lovely.
- Both Shakti and her mother sound strangely childish when they speak and she tells Shakti that she is part god. This could probably be an area to edit.
- 'exposing raw flesh with gaps like a peach with bites taken from it' - oooh! So creepy, but so original. :P
- 'If patience is a virtue, then he must be the most righteous being' - nice!
- 'She tasted like rain, like spring time, like clouds' - nice!

- 'Everyone ceased immediately, their talking and their actions' - this sounds a little strange and doesn't make sense. I would say 'Everyone froze' instead.
- 'Lifted her again and headed off' - I'd join this sentence onto the end of the one before as it doesn't make grammatical sense in isolation and sounds a little isolation.
- It might work better for you to include Lakshana's speech as dialogue rather than reported speech to fully showcase how captivating her words are.
- 'Shakti made as if to pull away' - I'm not sure this makes sense.
- Missing word : 'it snapped off immediately she thought it'
- "I believe Paris is lovely this time of year' - a nice link to the Paris sections of the story! Now we're going places! And it completely covers up the sinister side you've written about before... good one :P

- I love the contrast between the joy of a party and a sudden arrest.
- Have the questions in the paragraph beginning 'There was uproar' as spoken dialogue to add more realism.

- Lovely opening lines.
- 'She moved like oiled silk over a blade' - nice!
- Typo: 'soft base thrumming' - do you mean 'soft bass thrumming'?
- 'His hands and forearms a network of tiny scars' - I'd join this onto the end of the sentence before as it doesn't really work on its own.
- I'd go into more detail about the two events causing the injuries to Torben and Deepak.
- I like the phrase 'andpissingandshittingandbreathingandlivingandlivingandliving'
- 'Mr Punch, who smiled down at him, inciting' - 'inciting' doesn't make sense here, and I'm not sure this word means what you think it means if you used it there.

- Typo: 'bran new'
- I liked the twist at the end of the chapter! This is the variety in the second half of your chapters I wanted to see!

- Typo: 'Capitain'
- 'She felt all the colours had drained from her world' - nice!
- 'Butterflies from a foreign place in a land of blues and greys' - I like this image, but I'd say 'Brightly coloured butterflies' so it makes more sense.
- 'Ma cher' - I think 'ma cherie' is used more commonly in France
- 'His favourite time. The cusp of what was and what was to come' - nice!
- 'drawing him like the proverbial moth' - this is a little cliched.

- The paragraph beginning 'Shakti felt a huge swell' is brilliant!
- I'm a little confused regarding Shakti's relationship status. I initially thought she was with someone... and who was giving her a crazy orgasm ten chapters ago?
- Join together the first two sentences of the paragraph beginning 'They walked in silence' as the second one's beginning doesn't make sense on its own.
- I like Shakti's observations about the smell of the air at the end of that paragraph.
- Typo: 'a faint light'

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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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The New Keeper

First of all, I'm sorry this review took a little while to get to you; I've been quite busy as of late. I'm really pleased to tell you that you have the beginnings of a really lovely story here. I really enjoyed your writing style in particular for both its simplicity, its detail and its creativity; it reminds me a bit of Lev Grossman's (if you're not familiar with him, he wrote a trilogy called The Magicians and he's a great writer - I'm reading the first book at the minute). It flows really well too. You also do a great job of writing your action scenes - the one from the first chapter I thought was particularly dynamic and exciting.

I have a couple of suggestions for you to make this story even better. Firstly, in terms of the beginning, I reckon that starting with a character waking up in the morning is a bit overdone and because you've started the story in that place, it takes a little while to get going. You could try starting at a point closer to the big action scene to get the story off to a more dynamic start. Also, I like that you're touching on Alessandra's survivor's guilt, and it would properly enhance the story if you expanded on this and gave it more detail.

I hope these suggestions are helpful! Keep writing and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Meaning of Live. :)

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Needs a bit of a polish, but not bad so far!

I think you do have plenty of potential as a writer; you know how to build tension and create intrigue for definite, which is absolutely vital for a story like this. The brief moments of humour, particularly in the awkwardness of the first chapter and some of the lines like ' 'It's not my fault she got her teaching degree from a cereal box' - I'd quite like to see more of those as they bring something fresh to the story. Speaking of which, I'd probably say this is where you can improve your story the most, particularly in your writing style: while it flows very nicely, there were quite a lot of clichéd expressions - 'my heart sank', 'my mind span;, 'I went weak at the knees'. etc. which I'd avoid like the plague (see what I did there? XD). I'd dig deeper into Hannah's emotions too. The trope of a hot, mysterious new guy in town is a little clichéd too, but I like the idea of Hannah finding her adoptive parents, and perhaps I'd make that a bigger part of the plot to tie into more of the fantasy element, which is a little ignored in my opinion, especially in the first half.

I hope my feedback was helpful, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Page 105! Keep writing! :)

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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.


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. :)

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,

- 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.

- 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'

- '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.

- '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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(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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