FreydisMM

20 years old, Danish/Icelandic student and feminist with an undying passion for literature.

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Strong plot led by interesting characters

Oh, those four chapters flew by! I was really intrigued both by the plot, the characters and the world. But I'll . start with some constructive criticism first, which I hope is helpful:

- I thought the paragraphs were too often separated. It made it harder to get carried away by the story when the paragraphs were cut short so quickly (although they can of course get too long).
- You use adverbs a lot more often than you need to. The rule of thumb that I've found among writing blogs is to never use adverbs, although I personally think they can serve a purpose. Most of the time, though, they fall flat when you're reading – that's because usually they compensate for a lack of description, or they are made superfluous by sufficient description. Even if they do sometimes work, it's a fun experiment to make a hard no-adverb rule because you're forced to find other ways of conveying whatever you're writing.
- In the same vein, you start a lot of sentences with "yet" or similar words, and you always sometimes repeat words close to each other/repeat actions done by the characters.
- I sometimes missed descriptions, not so much in the flashback as in the rest of the story. Without descriptions of the surroundings or mood, it can be hard to follow the story.
- Lastly, I felt like the flashback didn't need to be divided into two chapters. Since it's a flashback, I feel like it'd be easier for the reader to have it all in one chapter, but that's of course a question of taste.

Ok so that was a lot of small points of criticism, but it's important to note that they are small. The story had so much else going for it, things that are much more important. The plot fx was interesting from the get-go, you had an interesting start that didn't feel predictable, the flashback was nicely done, the world seems fascinating and the introduction to it is slow and keeps the reader in suspense, but not so slow that it gets boring or confusing. The characters seem sympathetic and interesting, and especially the bond between MC and Vera was nicely executed. It felt very tender and loving.

For all of those reasons, you get 5 stars for plot. I wish there was the possibility to rate stuff like world building or character development, because that'd be 5 stars, too. Really good story, and I enjoyed reading it!

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A unique story full of potential

After reading the first two chapters, I was struck by some things that prevented me from becoming invested in the story in spite of your writing being good and full of potential, and in spite of an emotionally rich and complex main character. So I have 3 pieces of advice that I hope will help you become an even better writer than you already are:

First of all, I feel as though I've been searching for a plot without being able to find one. I can't help but wonder why you being your story at the start of the first semester, then spend a few paragraphs in her home (which could as well have happened three years later) before skipping to the end of her BA. This is something that I've done (A LOT) and the advice I was given was to start the story where the story begins. Start with action, excitement. The reader needs to know what the story is in order to invest themselves in it and your characters.

Second, and somewhat connected to the first point, you rush the backstory a bit too much. Your MC, as mentioned, is really interesting and rich in emotions, but the reader needs to get to know her organically, with the plot. It's a really common advice to writers (that I've received so often and still don't always manage to follow) to "show rather than tell". The reader doesn't need to know everything about you character in the first chapter (in fact, they usually like the suspense), and what'll keep them reading is the story.

Third and lastly, you have very vivid descriptions of the surroundings, which is good. Your writing style flows easily and it's easy to get caught up. However, I feel like you cut yourself short, setting the scene only to move on to somewhere else. Or when you described the front lawn in Ch. 1., it felt as though some of the words you used were a little strange (a "huge" lawn, fx). It's actually really good writing, but a little more patience (or just editing) would make it beautiful.

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Great voice!

I really, really liked the first line! It really threw you into the story, which was amazing.

However, I was a bit put off by the next few lines. I was confused about what was going on, and add to that the unknown names and characters that were introduced. I found myself needing to reread some lines to fully understand them. There were also some forgotten quotation marks and it's always a good idea to put direct speech on a line of its own - separate speech and action, so to say.

That being said, you have a strong voice that carries through the chapter. The small technical issues that kept me from fully enjoying it can easily be remedied and you'll have a great story on your hand!

Keep writing, and good luck in the competition!

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An intriguing and original read

Death Sentences didn't feel predictable or unoriginal once. The imaginative plot is definitely one of the primary strengths of your writing.

However, there are things about the execution of the plot that could be better. I have two main criticisms that you can work on:
1. Your writing style is very confusing at times. There were sentences that I had to read multiple times to fully understand them. I think it's primarily descriptions that you need to work on; I missed patient, simple descriptions of the characters and their surroundings that would allow me to immerse myself more deeply in the story. They were either very simple (like describing four characters based on their hair color alone) or a little over-the-top and confusing (like when you described the blood from the biker in chapter 1).
2. An important thing in any story is sympathetic characters. I feel like your MC is very sympathetic in his internal dialogue, he's an intriguing character who is obviously dealing with some heavy stuff. However, it's a little heavy to go through an entire book with an MC who doesn't seem to like anything. Fx I didn't get the feeling that he likes his friends or his brother from their interactions. That can be fixed by spending more time thinking about what his friends are like, making up backstories for them that don't necessarily need to be told to the reader, but it'll give the feeling that the protagonist knows them because, well, the writer knows them. Even if he doesn't like his friends, maybe an appreciation for nature, literature, etc.?

These two points of criticism are the primary things that I can point at that would make your story better. As I said, the plot is very imaginative and your main character is interesting. Your dialogue and interactions between characters in general feel realistic, and you manage to build suspense through the first few chapters. All in all, a very enjoyable read :-)

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For everyone who likes vampire romance, this is perfect

This story is perfect for people who enjoy vampire romances and sarcastic female main characters. I'm going to start off with a few points of criticism:

- You start your story basically by giving away all the mystery of the first few chapters. Chapters 1-6 are about everyday life and meeting Aiden, who I assume will be the male romantic lead, but there's no suspense because we already know he's a vampire.
- While the plot in its basis is compelling (woman meets mysterious new guy and falls in love), there's a lack of sympathetic relationships to build the plot from. I feel like your main character's sarcasm topples over into just being hostile a couple of times, and it does't seem like she likes her best friend very much. It's hard to sympathize with her.
- The introduction of the vampires felt a bit anti climatic to me. They were introduced all at once, which is hard to keep track of, and while it's clear they're supposed to be beautiful, I'm not sure why. I would've like some more description of the features that made them beautiful. (Also, why are they all in the same class if they're different ages?)

And now for some positive points:
- The friendship between Mari and Sage works really well when Sage isn't thinking bad things about Mari. I liked the scene where Sage describes Mari's hair. I also love that the emphasis is on Mari's bravery (cutting and coloring her hair) rather than her just being beautiful, which is a tendency in YA fiction. In general, I like Mari.
- I like that you manage to weave some comedy in at times. That's really hard in written form because you don't have tone and sound to work with, but you convey tone very well and so the comedy works.
- It's fun how Sage and Aiden keep running into each other without really having conversations. It seems pretty realistic that they wouldn't just start talking all of a sudden. It'd be interesting to find out how they finally get to know each other.

All in all, a solid YA romance with a lot of potential. All the best to you and your writing!

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Great writing, but something missing

I'm going to start with a good thing: since this story, your writing has really developed for the better.

I think you had a tendency to brush over things that needed to be focused on more. Like when the little man is discovered, it seemed strange that Houndal would just accept his presence as something real -- much less accept his offer. It felt rushed to me, and that's my main point of criticism. That's the reason for the pull down to 3 stars in plot (I didn't want to take another from writing style because your style is actually really nice).
I couldn't see a deeper meaning to the story, other than, of course, stick to your end of the deal. But it was a very fun little story that I thoroughly enjoyed and which kept me interested throughout.

I loved the incorporation of traditional myths (I would've liked that you delved into the Narcissus stereotype more, but that's just me being in love with the Echo/Narcissus storyline) and the setting was really well done. Even though you never explained the bar, I could still *feel* it somehow. You were good at getting from one scene of interest to another. And, like last time, your grammar is near flawless!

Keep writing!

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Loved the writing style!!

Even though the plot was simple and relied heavily on pathos (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just don't tend to like those kinds of stories) the writing style swayed me. You have great technical skills, you start out in the middle of the scene, which is amazing for catching readers' attention. All in all, it's a great story and I would recommend it to anyone who is in the mood to have their heart broken :)

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Public Reading Lists

2nd Place in Harrowing
StoryPeak Top 10%
Got 100 Readers in the StoryPeak Novel Contest
Got 100 Readers in the StoryPeak 2 Novel Contest

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