Barbara Ivusic

Berlin

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Painfully true

I really loved this poem. Perfect use of imagery to outline the digital age. I loved the image of the olive branch and how it is posted for all to see but no one can touch it. Everything you describe is so true that it has become common knowledge yet no one acknowledges it anymore. I look forward to seeing more of your poems.

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Jumps off the page

The tone of this story is sarcastic and bitter; it is also clever and funny. I wasn't sure if I should dislike the protagonist or like her; she is unmistakably raw, unapologetic, crude but plainly hilarious. She doesn't hold back with her language or her observations. She is unafraid to offer her opinions about her mother and her co-workers. She has no shame and I think this is great. The reader is automatically drawn into this story because it is so 'in your face' and I couldn't help but wonder what will happen to her and what lessons she will learn. You marked the story as thriller/drama so it intrigues me what you will do with the plot. The first chapter shows the main character's life; her relationships, her work place and her attitude towards everything. You have done this well by adopting a conversational diary-like tone which borders on Bridget Jones' Diary with themes from Absolutely Fabulous. I am wondering if this is a novel or short story and I would love to see what you will do with it.

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Setting the Scene

This story has an interesting beginning. The author's style of writing is descriptive and vivid. Cathy's past is slowly resurrected paying attention to the subtle hints of memory. I am a fan of Victorian and Gothic literature so I was immediately drawn to this story. I would love to see where it leads and I look forward to watching the plot develop with the use of characterisation to enhance the scene - I also wonder how you will treat longer dialogue, and if you will keep it to a minimum or if you will use it to speed the plot-up. I am interested to see how the characters will interact once the story moves forward.

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Immediate Action

The writer sets the scene vividly and the plot moves forward quickly. The action scenes are well described and well informed. The depiction of violence is convincing and the story fits well into the Action genre. I look forward to seeing how this plot develops further.

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Well Written

Very interesting concept. The style of writing immediately drew me in. The tone is conversational and honest; the themes are raw and absorbing. It fits well into the Young Adult genre and the narrator's tone is convincing. The theme of mental illness is suggested upon in the dialogue between the narrator and the voice from within which is almost demonic. I very much look forward to reading the rest of this story.

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Well written

I like the beginning of this story. It immediately sets the scene and attracts the reader to become absorbed in the plot. The writing style is sophisticated and balanced; each new paragraph adds a new idea and theme, and drives the story forward. I like the build-up of mystery througout. I look forward to reading more.

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An enjoyable read

I enjoyed this story and I am interested to read more. It had a good opening and I liked how the characters evolved. The pace of the plot was well executed and directed. I liked the tone of voice the narrator adopted which made the story flow easily.

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Suspenseful and well written

I really enjoyed this story, especially because it reminded me so much of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven'. Wonderful play of words - you managed to build up the suspense till the very end and keep me intrigued. Loved it!

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Keep up the suspense!

I liked this story. The beginning caught me immediately with the narrator's conversational writing style that is suited both to a YA and Adult audience. The violence against the main character at the start sets the scene of her nightmare as the reader travels back into her past to uncover what happened to her. We quickly learn that she is from a foster home and that she has had a terrible childhood, but not everything is revealed. Slowly the plot develops as the reader receives small pieces of the puzzle surrounding her past. Plot-wise, I felt that the first chapter was very good as it was gripping and it plunged into the story quickly. The narrator shows us her home and her school life, with remnants of her past. The second chapter, I felt was very long and could have been split up into shorter chapters; each ending with something mysterious or unanswered at the end. I feel that the reader would be more engaged this way.

The scenes at the school were drawn out and I felt they could have been cut back so as not to reveal every single detail. For example the fight between the two guys, the aftermath of the fight, skipping classes and Acacia running away from Jaxon would all work better if the plot was stripped down to the essentials so that the reader is kept interested and on edge. I think you have the basis of a really good story here which is engaging and interesting, but I feel that some plot elements could be looked at more closely.

I am also interested to see Acacia in another environment other than the school and her home. I wonder how this story will evolve and I am intrigued to find out what really happened to her and the link between her past and her present.
Well done!

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Mystery and Intrigue

The story is well written and I was immediately transported to the landscape of the New Mexico desert. I wondered if you used this barren landscape to symbolise the internal state of your main character - as there is definitely more to her than what is presented. I absolutely loved the tone of the story, it is conversational and flows well. You introduce the mystery early which kept me wanting to read more. If you do plan on expanding the story, I definitely think there is lots of potential.

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Great Potential

I loved the use of 'recordings' to tell this story. I think the style of storytelling in this narrative is very unique as the recordings allow for a diary-like as well as a professional tone. We learn about the main character and his life. We also learn about the outbreak of the virus they are calling the Van Gogh Disease which is affecting people, making them bite and infect others.

I can't believe this story is complete as I feel there is so much potential to expand. I also feel that the theme of the bacterial virus doesn't necessarily have to be about the undead and can apply to any virus that is slowly affecting humanity. I think the pace of the plot is good, but I felt that at times too much was revealed too quickly. I wanted it to be drawn out and for each chapter to end on a cliffhanger - as I felt like that is where you were heading by ending each chapter with a tease to keep reading. There is so much room for expansion and I would suggest slowly drawing out the discoveries and the investigation rather than having it all end so quickly. I would also create a bit of mystery around the central character and make the reader question if he is mad, affected by the virus, imagining everything, going crazy or if he is really doing this investigation. I would make readers trust him throughout the story, but then as the end approaches, the reader loses trust in him because they realise that there is something wrong. This will create an air of mystery and intrigue whilst adding thrilling elements to the plot.

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Great characterisation

I liked this story; it immediately drew me in with the descriptions which were sharply drawn and set the scene. The characters are introduced slowly and I liked the contrast between Elise and her energy as opposed to the nonchalant tone of the narrator who is still deciding if he is to cave in to Elise's wild ideas. The dialogue is convincing and well-written in that it shows the contrasting personalities of the characters. I look forward to reading more of the story.

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Very Absorbing and Disturbing

I really enjoyed this story. Your use of point-of-view to convery what the doll is thinking and feeling was done cleverly - the doll's personality really shone through via the internal dialogue. I liked the way you showed the doll getting close to her owner because she gave her a name and started calling her 'Jessica'.

Your description of the setting, the characters and the plot is well constructed and absorbing. It was disturbing when you described how the doll was found on the pile of broken toys in the room - for it is in scenes like these that a real sense of terror is conveyed. The opening was great and I liked how you inspired a creepy sense of fear in the reader as you describe the doll watching everyone with a 'slight tilt of the head', especially because the little girl is completely unassuming of what is really happening.

I look forward to reading more of this story once you have posted it.

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Interesting and unique

I really enjoyed this story. It is well written and absorbing. I like how you have appropriated the story of Snow White and gave it a whole new meaning! I think readers will respond well to the twist because it is original and the story of Snow White has been given a new perspective.

I loved the symbolism of the apple and how when she throws the core down the cliff - and likens it to the death of her father - she is also throwing away her innocence in some way.

I think you can do so much with this story and I am so interested to see where it goes in terms of plot and character development. Well done!

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