JMHarvey

History Major, Mother of three. Aspiring Author. I would love some feedback. I am considering posting incomplete novel also. Please enjoy.

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Great work in progress

There are some really great things here. you have a great plot and hook. The The characters seem really interesting. I think you need to slow down. fill in the gaps. its not a movie, there isn't a two hour minimum. Suspense and tension is created in movies by fast moving cameras.. but in books it by slowing down and not giving the reader all the info at once.
For instants.. I might an interesting idea to NOT tell the reader why she is hiding. Or why she is back.. Just start with her thinking about coming back and how things haven't change.. even when she see edwards... don't explain what happened... have her think about what he looks like, how they use to play. what their relations was... how much she misses him.. how she secretly wishes they were still friends, and that she wishes things were different... wait till he shows up at the door to even mention that he won't recognize her face.. that she looks different. also don't skip her panic attack.. that is drama that is action just describe her fear and if you are not sure what a panic attack is like from the perspective of the person, there are people that can help and give you insight to that. I would wait until she wakes up and they are having their conversation for them to instead of getting along have a little fight... He is made that she didn't trust him and wait for him to help her, she is made because he didn't stand up to defend her.. so on and so for... and then have on of them blurt out something like.. "I know you didn't Kill HER... or I am not a Murderer!.. like that.. it would be a big shock to the read.

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Review:

So when I am looking for a review, I am not looking for someone to just tell me. "its great, or I love it." Even if they do I want to hear where I can improve. So that is how I give reviews.
I haven't finished reading it, but I will continue. I wanted to give a review sooner rather then later. I will update my review when I have completed the chapters.
The overall story is very interesting and has an very dramatic theme. As romances go it has a good hook and all the important points for the romantic formula have been met.
That being said; When writing romance its hard to use a first person perspective. Because there is no allowance for reader to know something the character doesn't. One of the strongest tools for romance novels are that the reader can see where misunderstands occur before the characters due.
I also think that some of it feels rushed. and at times a little contrived.
For instance.. it might helpful, to slow down and take the time to flesh out Adrian. he seems very two dimensional. Why is it that he doesn't sleep with Cher? is he religious. What is his relationship with his mother? Why is he so devoted to Cher? Is his behavior normal? He doesn't seem to like anything she likes? what do they have in common. What do they do together. Is she only dating him because he is so devoted to her? Does she understand that she is using his love?
If he never gets angry or tells her what to do, why is she so calm when he tries?
If he does it all the time and she is use to this kind of argument.. maybe hang a lantern(point it out) with her thinking about often they have these kinds of issues.
If its a culture difference between them maybe point that out in one her thoughts, or in the dialogue between them. This will help with their believe-ability and making both characters seem more life like. There are some really great descriptions of the food and she talks a lot about how lovely a place this is. Walk us through it. Let us live it with her. Instead of telling us..
For example/ "there were piles of delicious tarts just like the ones we make every year." instead bring us into the story with.. "my mouth water, as my stomach growled. I watched steam rise off the golden glistening edges, of crusts, surrounding the shining red succulent raspberry jelly filling at the center of the worlds most delicious tarts. The scent of butter, sugar and vanilla swirled with the tart snap of the raspberries tantalizing my taste buds with memories of tarts over the passing years.. They dared me to find out if these met expectations, I was eager to put them to the test."
Its ok to go into details; to help bring us into the world more. And if you want to keep it first person, then it really helps us know what things she find important.
What are the details she notices... Does she focus on the food or the has she notice how her mother has a a few extra gray hairs now, and more creases on her face. is the apron beginning to fray at the edges.
Maybe she notices how NOTHING has changed.. or that things are amazingly in good condition despite the passing of time.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with your style. It is very easy to read and moves things along very quickly. but the faster things move the more suspense and tension you lose. I think this story would benefit from some build up and tension.
I do like the characters. I just think they deserve a little more development and the story is good enough to deserve the extra time for tensions and description. I have never been to France.
I have no idea what it looks like. Please describe what it looks like. What are the roads like. What is the weather like. Are the bakery different then in america? what about Cafe's are they different.
Libraries and bookshops are Very different were I grew up and I am an avid reader.
I will continue reading and Update my review as I go. I hope this is helpful. and Continue writing. You are doing great!

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review

ON the Positive side, you pace is excellent, and it is an easy read. The scenes move quickly. You give enough detail to paint the picture but don't get bogged down in details. You have excellent dialogue and I like the natural flow you have with people talking, there were some confusing moments because of spacing that it was hard to tell who was speaking. Your description of the more elicited scenes was very well done and steamy. That can be very difficult to write so well done.
Suggestions and to work on.: I feel like you might be able to do more character building. Since you are writing in first person it might be advantageous to give us some insight into what Anne is thinking or feeling. Why has she had this crush, if she is a virgin why is she willing to let some strange boy lick her.? Its important for the reader to care about the characters. When I right first person I try and have them think about things that give some idea of what kinda of person they are.
Where are the parents? Does Danny own the house? Who cleaned up from the party? How long as Anne know Brogan and Danny? Does Brogan know about Anne's crush?
The draw back of a fast pace is that things that make a worlds more believable get left out.
All in All I enjoyed the read, and I am interested in what happens. I hope Danny turns out to be a sweet heart and not a D.H.. His behavior seems very erratic; Perhaps having a moment when she is thinking about what he was like before he was in the fraternity. for example.. "he used to be so thoughtful, or easy going. Now he is always putting on this persona for his friends. it makes it hard to know what he is going to be"

Once again, I enjoyed reading. I think you did an excellent job. I hope this has been helpful and I look forward to reading more of your work. .

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review

Review: I haven’t read everything, But I felt it was such a good story and there is so much good here in the opening I really wanted to touch on it.
Disclaimer: I give the types of reviews I want to receive. I don’t just say if it’s good or bad, I look for things that I think might help the writer improve or alternative methods. So please always take the review in the spirit it is intended.
I enjoyed reading this chapter. Your plot is interesting, and your main characters are relate-able and have some nice layers. There are a lot of interesting twists here. I think you will have a very Dynamic and dramatic book here.
Things to consider: … Absent cold abusive father, angry fed up callous mother. These are good plot devices and conflicts but are a bit cliche. Be sure they aren’t too stereotypical and two dimensional Maybe instead the father is absent…but does care, just can’t get away from work because it is what covers the expensive therapy and medication bills. Or perhaps they have their own mental illness to cope with, since some of the reactions seem disjointed and don’t make sense. Mom is fed up and angry… because she is frustrated that nothing is working, and the school is threatening expulsion and he won’t graduate because of the ditching; which is how most school would react to someone just running off campus. They might be overbearing about where he is because they are worried about his safety and him having an attack with no one to help him.
Exposition. There is a Great deal of exposition. It’s OK to allow the reader to discover things as they read. I think you lose a lot of drama and tension when the character explains everything up front.
Most of the time it is much better to let the reader experience instead of explain. For example. The panic attack at the beginning. I think you lost some of the punch there because we aren’t in the moment with him.
My Step-son has been having panic attacks since he was 5. I am not saying there is only one way to have a panic attack. Obviously each one is different as are the people having them. If I were going to try and write his panic attack from his perspective I would do it like this.:
*Pennies… I can’t swallow the penny. Mom was talking… stupid penny… I don’t know mom… am I alright Why is it so dark? My hands hurt. Fists… stop making fists. I am breathing mom!.. I don’t want to breathe with you. This is stupid. I hate this. DON’T Cry… WON’T cry… Why… I hate pennies. FINE mom… FINE… Just stop talking. NO... don’t’ stop talking… Swallow… Breathe in…. Breathe out… her hand is warm. Mom is so calm… how? Breathe in….. Breathe out…. Breathe in…… Breathe out…'
I hate my panic attacks. I hate the things my body does when they begin. I hate that my mother stops everything and holds my hands while speaking in that practiced even calm tone. I prefer her voice with its cheerful bounce and light high tones. Her Too loud laugh and girly giggle. I even prefer her angry growling voice and full belly shouts. I hate her ‘calm down’ voice.

I can finally swallow the penny taste and I whispered “I am calm now.” Mom's voice goes back to normal as she wipes my cheek. I am half a foot taller than her now but she smiles up at me.. “That was good… You did really good.” I know she means it, and I hate it.
“Do you want a hug?” she asks with arms wide. 'NO, I'm not ten anymore MOM.' I am too old for this. I have to curl down to rest my head on her shoulder. 'This is for her so she won't feel bad,'

Something like that. Obviously everyone experiences anxiety differently, but that is why it’s important to take the reader into the moment with him so they can feel it with him. Exposition creates distance from the read and the character like with a narrator.
I know it was long but I hope it helps and gave some useful tips.

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Interesting.

Before I begin, I want to explain that when I review, I don't just say 'its good' its' this or that." I try and provide something that can improve your work. not because I didn't like it. I don't bother writing reviews unless I think the work is worth it. I think this story is really interesting and I like it. But as a writer I always want to know what people liked about my work, or what I could have done to make it more believable or realistic. its always brave to put you work out for someone else to look at. I commend you for your effort and enjoyed what you wrote. Please take this review in the spirit it is intended. I hope it helps and I look forward to reading more of your work.
So I read all your current chapters. it is a interesting plot line. I think there are a number of ways that it can go. if you are more interested in turning this into suspense or mystery. If that is the case then it would be good to slow down and take more time to describe the scene from her side. I think your characters are interesting. But you don't have to tell us all about her up front. Let us discover it as we walk with her inside her mind. This helps build the tension. if you are going for more of a romantic but mysterious than it might be better to switch from a first person perspective to a 3rd person focused on her only. one of the keys to romance is the reading being able to know things that the main character doesn't.
I do find the main character funny but I found some of her reactions and behavior confusing. If she is the type to run away from an unseen threat or sound... Why is she searching for him? why is she trying to 'bring him to her roommate?" If she is the type who refuses to be intimidated and won't be treated like a dog.. why is she begging him at first. We are inside her head... So it would be simple to explain these contradictions. Also her friends all respond to her telling them about someone trying to MURDER her.. very blase. Either they are not very good friends or she is known for being overly dramatic. Even if my friend sounded like she was having a fevered nightmare about men flying attacking her down a hallway.. I would listen and try and find out what the heck was wrong with my friend. So maybe some additional explanations about why people are reacting the way they are. For instance.. She see him in the hall and she chases after him. Tells him she is going to send him to jail. She doesn't act at all like someone afraid or threatened. His behavior is also very odd, but since he is suppose to mysterious it makes sense. Though I am not sure why he is so angry. 'Ninja' are more historically unemotional, heartless cold as ice types. I will say I really liked how you described the movements of his attacks. and her confusion and not being able to see his movements. That was EXCELLENT. there should be more of that. I would really like to have a clearer picture of the world around them..... I don't tend to try and critic grammar or anything like that because I am terrible with it. But one of the things I have always been taught in writing is that you should never use a word more once to twice close together. Unless there is a specific word you are trying to illiterate. For example. "quickly' you use it often and more then once in a paragraph. This is very repetitive and takes the reader out of the action. So just use other words, like swiftly, in haste, rapidly. etc.
As a writer I find it very helpful to make notes about the characters.. like a profile, with things like favorite color, habits, places they have been, special physical traits. for example if they fidget, do they make noise when they are nervous, whats their favorite kind of food, or are they afraid of something, like spiders etc. I also make a timeline for each character so I know where everyone is at the time of events. Not for the reader to see but to help me add in detail.
I hope this was helpful and please feel free to read and review my Story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed yours.

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Life is more dramatic then fiction

I left a bunch of comments. Hope that isn't a problem. I am a fiction writer. I think I lack the courage to write so openly about myself. So let me just commend that aspect. Also you did an excellent job of being concise without any blaming or making excuses. ALSO not an easy thing. I think you should be proud of what you have written. If you want writing tips on how to bring someone into a moment and write fiction, I will gladly work with you. I think you have amazing potential. I have some friends that in recovery and many of the people I love are veterans with PTSD or other serves related disabilities. So if you ever need outside or additional support or prospective drop me a line and we can connect you to more people. I read all the way till the end. For the last chapter a suggestion for the title might be... "Forward.. or Road ahead." I am glad your story doesn't end and I look forward to see what else you write.

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Full of Potential.

. I enjoyed reading this. I found the story complying and I would love to watch this movie. I Hope that this is more helpful than anything. I try not to give just glossed over "It was good'' reviews. Also I am just one person. KEEP writing. its good.

I can see that this is written in a kind of stylized screenplay. Which gives it a very fast pace. It also makes it very easy to read. I am sure this makes it very popular, However I feel you lose the chances for character development and connection. it creates a distance from the scene and the characters.
You have excellent set of scenes and plot points. I think you would gain a great deal of depth and punch if you lose down and instead of telling the reader show the reader. For example.. instead of.. 'it hurt to bend down.' write something like; A grimace twisted his face as creaking and popping noises echoed from his slow bend to the ground.' etc.
If the screen play style is intention then obviously you are doing very well., It might be helpful to do some research on the symptoms of liver and lung cancer in the later stages. I worked in the medical field and with military veterans and I found some of the actions and dialogue a little disjointed and inaccurate. For instance, his military service, What war was he active in. If he was in another country, what language were they speaking. Why was his state on his back? What uniform was that? Who was attacking. I realize this is a brief flash back, But for those of us who have served or know about those that do, it is jarring and leaves questions. Air Force does not usually deploy ground troops. There are many resources for this kind of research, It will make the scene far more believable and help with suspension of disbelief. Also the scientists;,why are they so young? Have they used the serum on themselves?
It may be helpful to make a timeline for you characters. creating Profiles and bio notes helps keep track of who was where and when they grew up. As well as personality traits and habits.
There is A GREAT deal of potential here for some really interesting and in depth characters. A journey of this kind is all about reconnecting to his younger self, rediscover of life and people. So who he is internally is extremely important, as well as who he was and how he changed over time. The wonderful thing about books instead of movies is there is so much MORE inside a book then can ever be put on screen.
Don't be afraid to put in the details. It can help the reader visualize and connect. Instead of seeing it on the screen they live it themselves.

Hope this helps and please feel free to take a look at my work. I would love to hear you thoughts on my dialogue I know it needs work so your advice would be appreciated.

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Historical

First of all, I would like to point out that that a piece set in the past does not inherently make it a historical piece. If you put 'historical fiction' in the description you will get readers like me. I am a history Major. Your piece is NOT historical. It is a stylized fantasy. Which is fine, but I like historical accuarcy. It sets your reader up for disappointment.
The action was good and the story was fun. I would recommend if you are going to remain in first person shift to 1st person past tense.
I think with ninja specifically a 3rd person one perspective focus would be better. So there is more mystery to the main character.
Don't be afraid to let the characters develop. My daughter told me once Ninja like pie too. Even a character that comes from a stylized mold on a theme genre should have some quirk or trait that makes them different or special that way you invest in the character.
As a general rule never use the same word three times in one paragraph... At the beginning you use the lesson....to much... Find other words to use..insight, teachings, observations, sermons. Morn is not a substitute for morning. I had the same problem with thru... Now I never use it. The only other advice I have is think about dialogue. If most of the characters speak in old traditional sense then it makes the person who doesn't stand out.. you should point out it is intentionally. "What's up" is slang. It's modern slang. If you want some good examples for older speech watch some historical movies (not fantasy) or movies film in the 50s and you will see a difference.
Remember you a trying to take the reader somewhere else...

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