Good First Draft. Needs Work.
“New Earth” is an exciting adventure book about refugees from Earth, who have traveled to an unknown planet to set up a colony. Most of the passengers have been placed in suspended animation, to be woken when the planet is reached. The book begins with one of the sleepers awaking, and she then narrates most of the story. The initial part of the book, where she describes the catastrophes on Earth that caused the refugees to flee, is excellent. The story has many twists and turns, interesting creations. I was always kept wondering what would happen next. I certainly never guessed the ending. I would recommend it as a read to those who like fantasy-adventure stories, but it needs work before it can be published. We post our stories on this web site so we can get reviews of them, that tell us what we have done right, and what needs to be improved. (I would love to get an honest review of my book.) Thus I hope Shianne Jeffers takes my comments as wanting to help her improve. The book is written in the first person. This can add excitement. When something happens to the narrator, we can feel the adrenalin pulsing. Yet we can only learn what she feels, and what she is told. She overhears two traitors plotting to enslave all the passengers. She is spotted, and runs off. Since she is the narrator, we can not learn what are the feelings of the traitors after they realize they have been overheard. What are their reactions, how does this affect their plans? After the excellent initial opening, the narrator describes her suspension and awakening. This is good. She sees herself in a metal wash basin in the recovery room. Thus we get a description of her looks, but that is about all. We learn her name is Scarlet, and her father’s name is Henry Smith. So is her name Scarlet Smith? We never learn her age. From the bubbliness of the narration, I gather she is in her late teens. Yet she is accepted as an equal by the officers of the ship. The age could easily have been given as she is waking up. “I wondered what my age was now. I had been 18 when I boarded. Since I had been suspended, was I still 18, or had I matured into a 20-year old? Suddenly I laughed. I had just remembered that this planet took 10 Earth years to revolve around the sun. Here, I was only 2 years old. My whole trip here had been but a season on my new home.” Her father is on board because he was in the US Army. There must have been a million people who had been in the Army. Why was he selected, what was his special expertise? After the opening, action takes over and the writing deteriorates. Sentences are short, simple, with limited vocabulary. The story jerks from one thread to another. While Scarlet and her father are discussing traitors, an alarm sounds saying they are going to crash. They rush to the safety area. We have the crash landing and the aftermath, and then the search for the traitors continues. When the alarm was raised, I wondered if it were real or if the traitors were trying to get the people together where it would be easier to capture them. I thought Scarlet and her father might ignore the warning, and race up the corridors trying to find those who were sabotaging the ship. No such idea enters their heads. The story threads can overlap, making the writing much more fluid. We also lose descriptions, which set the scene, and explanations, which make the story believable. When the traitors are found, they say that they have reached an agreement with some of the creatures living on the planet? How? At that time, the officers have not made contact with anyone. It would have been an interesting story to explain how these people managed not only to contact these unknown creatures, but even to negotiate a deal with them. This story is an excellent first draft, mapping out the storyline, and contains some very good writing, principally at the beginning. However it needs work. I wish Shianne Jeffers every success.
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