Gracie Qu

Hi, I'm Gracie! I have just graduated from College. I've won Scholastic writing contests since middle and high school, but I am still working to improve my writing every day!

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An Intriguing Story

You've got yourself something really fun and exciting here. When the first twist came in (won't mention because it's spoilers), the plot really picked up, and I found myself turning chapter after chapter to figure out where it was going to end. My one critique for you is that your beginning is quite weak in comparison to the rest of the novel. There were grammatical errors sprinkled throughout, the pacing felt a bit off at times (sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow), and there were a lot more tell moments instead of show.

However, as I continued reading, the writing got IMMENSELY better, but unfortunately, the beginning is one of the most important parts of a novel. I wish I had suggestions on exactly how to improve it, but the only thing I can think of is read it out loud to fish out the grammatical errors. Then have someone else read it to you to hear the parts that are too much tell and not enough show. Physically hearing your novel either through your voice or someone else's does wonders!

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A unique story from a unique perspective

I've read some of the other reviews, and I would like to reiterate with them: this is a very unique story. The protagonist is not someone that's typically a protagonist (a much, much older man), and the plot is very different from typical romantic fantasy novels. The one thing that's getting in the way is grammar. It's not so much sentence structure as it is capitalization. I've noticed that you sometimes capitalize the pronoun/noun at the end of a ," dialogue.

For example (not taken from the novel): "This is really good," He said.

The H in he is supposed to be lower cased in this situation. It's not a consistent error though. Sometimes it's correct, and sometimes it's been capitalized incorrectly again. I think that's the biggest thing you'll need to watch out for here.

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Vampires done right

I think you had one of THE best first person narrative I've read on the site thus far. I could hear Scarlett's voice and tone, I can imagine her personality, and everything shone through. First person, to me personally, is much harder to write because there's a line of "ranting/describing through everything monotonously through a character" and actual personality, and you CLEARLY see that line and stayed far from it. Bravo!

Here comes the critiques: the beginning I think is your weakest part. Granted, beginnings are also MY weakest when it comes to writing, but it definitely started out a bit cliche, especially with the teasing girl talk between her and Lillian and Nick, Mr. Polite Good Impression Guy. I also wished there was more conflict between Lillian and Nick after the surprise twist of him attacking her. I just thought that was, overall, too quickly resolved and just wanted to see more overall bad blood before the two resolve to work together again.

But I STILL gave you 5 stars regardless of those critiques. Because I freaking love the characters. I love, love, LOVE Scarlett as the protagonist. I root for her wherever and whenever, and I just love her sense of humor, and I'm so curious about her backstory. And Lillian was an absolute treat. I think for a storyline industry that's unfortunately saturated (thanks to Twilight's introduction of vampires), unique characters are so important, and you nail that 100%. I was happy to have read your story!

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An Intuitive Look at the World through history

I think you did very well with the plot and the characters. War was written very realistically, and strategies were incredibly well thought out. My critique could honestly be something completely of opinion, so it is up to you to take it seriously or to disregard it. I liked the chapters where poetry was interjected, but the sudden switches between first person and third person was really hard for me to digest. I actually remembered one chapter where I couldn't figure out for the first few paragraphs of dialogue whether it was going to be in first person or third person. I suggest changing the name/format of the chapter title for the switches in POV just to warn certain people of it. Once again, that is something really opinionated, so it's up to you to take it! Overall, I think you did very well.

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Here's to the first book and more to come!

I was fascinated by your story. And the critiques I have are honestly so trivial (and mostly to do with formatting), that it honestly doesn't detract anything from what I really care about - the characters and the plotline. I absolutely commend you for the female characters you've written. They're real, they're powerful, and they're independent all in their own unique ways. I honestly haven't seen such good handling of characters in fantasy stories for a while now. But that's not to say the male characters weren't good either. I absolutely loved Jacob as the naive, honorable noble, and surprisingly, Halvar was one of my favorite characters despite the antagonistic situation he finds himself in with Jacob.

My first critique is honestly really mild. You have a longer novel at hand, so I suggest you actually cut some of the chapters up into smaller chapters. Though that doesn't seem to have an actual effect on the storyline, there is a psychological effect on the reader when they're reading and they're like "Wow, the chapter's still going" versus "Whoa, that's the end of the chapter. NEXT!" B/c it can become rather fatiguing when a chapter doesn't seem to end, and it's completely psychological in this case.

My second critique is the dialogue. For me at least, when you cut up a dialogue into paragraphs, I actually lose track of who's speaking and sometimes had to scroll back up to check the conversation hadn't shifted to a new character. I would suggest that either give a single paragraph of dialogue to each character that speaks or find a way to replace the dialogue with narration instead.

However, as I've said before, my things have nothing to do with the actual story written, and I loved every moment of it. Just something to note: the first chapter did start out slightly cliche with a noble boy not excited about the prospect his father had laid out to him etc etc, but that's not an issue with me because I love reading books that start cliche and become something different (which is your novel). However, I know some people not agree with me as happily, so I just thought I'd give you a heads up on that was all.

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Lots of potential

I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology and any sort of mythology honestly, so this was right up my alleyway. I think what you really need to do is finish the novel, take a break, reread, and prepare for the second draft. What I got from reading is that you have a clear vision of where the plot is going to go and where it should end. However, at the same time, I can tell you're very excited with getting the plot to move forward. As a result, the beginning went by too fast. She was told she's the daughter of a Greek God, and then off she goes to the new school, and then she meets her "soul mate". I didn't really have enough time to grasp the big ball drop of Greek gods existing, and then things have changed and the protagonist has moved on. There are also grammatical errors sprinkled all throughout. I will commend your tone in first person. I think one of the biggest pitfalls for writers who do first person is that the narration becomes a lot of ranting instead of actual narrative, which I did not feel was the case at all here. In summary, I think this is just the beginning of something that will turn out really good!

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Good plot and characters

Honestly, I think the biggest thing you need to work on is the grammatical errors, because your plot is very interesting and your characters are very likeable. My favorite part is SPOILERS FOR NEW READERS when he actually died and the prophecy was fulfilled. That wasn't something I saw coming, and you continued with your plot twists throughout the novel. The grammatical errors, however, can become very distracting. You have run-on sentences, missing commas, and just several other errors sprinkled throughout the entire story, and unfortunately, it is enough to distract me even though there's a great story right in front of me. If you have trouble with grammar, I suggest finding someone who's SUPER nitpicky about grammatical things to clean it up. Once the grammatical errors are gone, I'm sure many people would flock to this story because you do have something great.

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A very good start

I commend you for choosing and writing first person. I struggled a lot with first person, because either I make the main character sound too much like me or robotic. You've managed to largely offset that with the permeation of the character's personality in the narrative, and I commend you very much for that. I honestly think right now that you're on the way for a next draft. I know, I know - I hate rewrites myself. But I had to learn the hard way that rewrites are actually necessary, my own novel rewritten 3 times. But there's just multiple small things (grammatical, awkward phrasing here or there) that aren't quite fleshed out yet, that you would be able to eliminate if you read your story out loud (OR have someone read it to you) and then rewrite afterwards. As horrifying as this notion sounds (I was suggested it by my editor and then mulled over it for 3 months before I finally gave in), I promise you that you will be happy once you've finished rewriting.

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Painfully and Wonderfully done

I can feel the emotions emitting from the words in the short story. The language is extraordinarily smooth, and it's overall very well written. It's a short story of course, but I still wish we had a little more background on the protagonist to connect with her even more. Other than that, excellent job.

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A gripping story that leaves on a cliffhanger

I have to say I really love the world and plot you set up. Having something as scary as the "unwinding" really kind of messes up your schedule in life, and I keep forgetting that middle school years are considered basically in 30's in these people's minds. I can DEFINITELY tell you got more comfortable in your own writing as the story went on. The writing style got progressively smoother and smoother, and the grammatical errors less and less. I think it's just the first few chapters that needs some rewrites done! My suggestion: reread your last few chapters and compare it to your first few. I think you will see a clear difference in language as well as fluidity. Keep the necessary plot points but apply a new "layer" to the writing like you did in the later chapters. It'll help with keeping the readers sucked in in the beginning, and keep the pacing nice and smooth. Overall, good job!

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Even better than the first

Seriously. I finished this waaaay faster than I expected. Oooh boy, this was intense, and I'm like guiltily happy that SPOILERS Kitty broke it off with Alex because I'm just not a fan of her (sorry. Hope that's not insulting, but I do have character preferences XD). But the stakes, I felt, were much, much higher in this novel and I was all for it. And not at the same time because it was painful to read. But very much for it. Can't wait to read the third one!

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A lot of Potential

Before anything, I apologize in advance if I sound brutal. I try my best to remain as honest as possible with critiques. The story has potential, but it still has some distance to travel before it's ready. The biggest reasoning is the pacing. I often find myself unable to concentrate on the story because I get so distracted by what had just happened before and something has happened again, leaving me no time to catch up. Give time for transitions and time for things to calm down a bit. I also think the first chapter could hit the readers with a bigger punch. Even though the first few paragraphs intrigued me, when it immediately cut to two girls doing laundry, the questions and excitement that had built up died down. My biggest suggestion for you is to actually read your story out loud. I think that'll flesh out all the areas that goes too quickly, and you can quickly edit them to pace smoother.

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Bewitching love story

It actually does remind me quite a bit of bewitched, but not in the bad way of course! In fact, I really like Bewitched, so that's more of a compliment. I think your writing style in first person is well done. It's clean grammatically, and personality comes through very nicely through the voice of the protagonist. I also really liked the world of witches, the magic, and the lore that went behind it. The world you built is very interesting and complex, and I constantly wondered when we would get to see/explore more of it.

I've noticed one other person who noted this, but I also didn't find myself too in love with the love story between Fitz and Hadley. It wasn't that I DIDN'T like it, but rather I find myself more and more disinvested in it as time went on. The main reason why is that there wasn't any true conflict that seemed to crop up in their relationship. Which is ironic, because the last thing I'd wish on a couple in real life is for them to have troubles in their relationship, but unfortunately, we look for conflicts and troubles in stories. And since their love story is such a central theme to the entire novel, that is why I think it's so important you throw some more wrenches in the way.

Other than that one critique, I liked all the other things you've done with this novel!

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Not too much to read right now, but intriguing all the same

There isn't enough right now for me to give a complete and honest judgment, so I'm just writing on what I've read so far. I think the story and the concept of Elites is very fun and interesting, and I'd def be interested in reading more. I also like how you wrote the dialogue - it really adds color and flavor to the world. Since it's still being written, there's grammatical errors and certain areas where the words don't flow as well as others, but I know those will be filtered out once you've completed your novel.

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Dude Smith

This was really different from what I usually read - mainly because it's rare to actually follow a protagonist from when he starts off as young to much older. The relationships are complicated and dark, and I think the point of this story is to not celebrate the beauty of romance but the struggles that it brings along the way. The protagonist is definitely very unique, and I think it will take some time for some readers to get used to him, but I'm assuming that is what you were originally going for. Aside from a few grammatical errors here and there (we can never seem to catch ALL of them), I can see you put a lot of work and effort into it.

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Dialogue that flows

I liked your story, and I liked the characters. However, my only critique is that it actually reads more like a script than an actual novel because of how dialogue heavy it is. Like I can see it perfectly as a script. Even the descriptions in between dialogues read like scripts as well, due to the factually stated description of facial expressions and environments. Hopefully that explains my slightly lower rating of writing style!

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Absolutely excellent

Gosh, that was just so incredibly well written. I was absorbed immediately, I loved all the characters while screamed in frustration at the others, and there wasn't a bend in the novel that disappointed me. I honestly had no clue on who to trust and who to believe (I was just as suspicious at Celia as Hanu with my heart pounding). The writing is extremely mature, and it's the perfect length where it's not too long or too short. In fact, I didn't even see any grammatical errors, but it could be I was too absorbed in the story. Great job!

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An interesting world

I really like the plot you have planned out and especially the world. In fact, I didn't see a lot of the grammatical errors that people complained about in previous reviews (or maybe I'm just that bad O.O). That being said, I think the thing that bothered me the most were the extreme chunks of time that italics would take over. I understand that they're usually flashbacks, but I think on a more technical level, when you have italics for so long, it hurts the eyes and makes the readers have a harder time of concentrating. It's up to you of course on whether you want to keep it that way though!

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It all Comes Full Circle

I think you have something really great here. I enjoyed the biblical elements, mythological elements, and how it blends into real life. I think there was a glitch when your novel got uploaded onto this website. There were sentences where there's a huge blank box instead of, what I'm guessing, a symbol of some sort. You might want to go through all your chapters to fix those quickly before finding your next reader. As for personal thoughts, I think you could break up some of the paragraphs. Having a huge chunk of words makes it harder for the reader to concentrate, and I definitely found myself reading a lot faster and smoother when the paragraphs became smaller near the end of the novel. I actually wish you could've explored the home that Evelyn came from a little more. I had a lot of questions about it, and I thought it was really interesting, so I think it could definitely benefit with a bit more stories there. All in all, I really liked it!

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Hard Issues Explored

I think Anna is my favorite character of all the characters being seen. As my title states, there's a lot of issues in the real world that's being presented and challenged in this story, and sometimes it can be hard to read because of the truth of the matter, but it's worth it in the end. This might be a little slow for those who seek for the action and thrill in regards to plot, but those that are a fan of realistic fiction won't be disappointed.

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A heart racing story

Dystopians always make me feel as if the world is doomed. That being said, this is an interesting plotline with an interesting world involved (I like that there are two sides instead of just one evil government). This could be something REALLY awesome, and I only wished that the protagonist's feelings could transition a bit smoother. I remembered in several chapters that she would jump from being pissed off to being remorseful to being shy to being dull and pissed off again, and I just think you could add in a little more description or thought process to smooth it out. I think that would also help with the development of her relations with the people around her - specifically Grey, Kern, and most importantly, Adrian. The world is well developed, and you got all the details of the plot fleshed out. It just needs a bit of finetuning is all!

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A Dark Twist on a Dark Theme

I really enjoyed the premise and the narration of the protagonist. There were a few grammatical errors here and there, but I think that's just fine comb editing (annoying editing) you need to go through. The only critique I have, and this is personal preference, is that sometimes Diana's thoughts could go a little too trippy. I know there's a particular effect you're going for, but at a certain point, it became hard for me to concentrate on exactly what was going on. However, as I said, this is just personal preference so take it with a grain of salt.

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An Excellent Piece on an Important Subject

This was an awesome read. The subject is so, so hard and often so rarely talked about, but it's so important to be discussed. I can tell the author put a lot of work and time into this story researching the legalities behind it, histories, and maybe even personal stories to make it as authentic as possible. Grey moral areas were introduced everywhere, and it left me even unable to pick a side to go with. The only thing I wished I could've seen more of was Adam's interactions in his foster home, and maybe less of Micah in the beginning when he was first getting into the subject. I was much more absorbed when Adam and Roger showed up in the novel, and I think it'd help the readers too if Micah's focus came more in the middle. Other than that, it was absolutely incredible reading this novel.

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Even Better than the First

At first I was shocked to see it was in first person, but much to my delight, I actually preferred first person over third! I think it does a much better job of getting into your protagonists' heads and seeing the description from their eyes. I only wished you could've put "Sophie" or "Suzette" at the very beginning of each chapter to reflect whose POV we were going to read. Yes, it was obvious enough to figure out, but just in case people get confused, I think that'll solve the problem. I have one suggestion that might...be drastic, so feel free to completely ignore it if you don't agree! SPOILERS (for anyone else who's reading this): I would have preferred it if you didn't hint there was more to Hertha. I think the shock factor of how evil she (or "she") is becomes a lot more impactful if the readers are led to believe the entire time, even by Sophie, how nice and welcoming she was without any suspicion. But other than that, bravo!

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Fascinating premise and fascinating worlds

I love, love, LOVED the fantastical element of your novel. Just thinking about diving into paintings and discovering new worlds sent a chill up my spine (and the good kind). I can't wait to read about the different worlds still to come in this series, and it's just overall such a good premise to a story. I only have a few teensy critiques that could be seen as nitpicking, but I want this story to go FAR, so here it comes! 1. I think you can actually cut down on the descriptions. No, the worlds are perfectly described and I basked in being able to picture them. The descriptions I'm thinking are "Caleb saw them as little sisters" - little things that readers can infer without being told about it. It'll make the novel less wordy and even easier to read than it is now. 2. I almost wished you had a prologue of some sort. The first chapter was pretty slow until the end, and from my own experience of editors and agents (my mom actually being one when she was younger), if the first few sentences don't catch your attention - they scrap it. I'd hate for that to happen here, so I wish to get some oomph for the first few sentences or even paragraphs. 3. Very small grammatical errors. I can tell that you've edited this before, and that they were likely small things that missed your eye (which are annoying of course). Overall, great job!

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A Great Read

I REALLY enjoyed your story! You did a great job on not only making it authentic as possible with the dialogue, but setting up plot twists and action (and yes, my mouth did drop on a certain one I don't want to spoil for future readers). The way it ended, I'm assuming it's part of a series? At first, I thought there was a lack of character development to my personal taste, but since it sounds like a series, there's plenty of time for that sort of development. You just have a few grammatical errors here and there, mainly to do with dialogue commas and " instead of '. But honestly, on the whole picture, it matters little aside from just finetooth editing. You've got something great here!

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Second Draft Review

I think the world and the plot itself is intriguing. I honestly love mercenaries/assassins and would read anything that has them in it. I think the biggest issue right now are grammatical errors and pacing. Even though some people tend to have a problem of dragging their plot too long, you like to make things happen a little too fast. Often, I find myself having to reread certain sections because so much has happened that my brain couldn't process it fast enough. Slow things down, take moments to describe things a little more. The grammatical errors are mostly things regarding commas, but I think once you go through it again, you can find those easily.

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Review of a draft

I always have a hard time giving specific stars for a story that's obviously still being written/not completed as I like to make my final judgment at the end of a whole story. So please keep in mind that this is for the potential of the story and likely not my final score when you finish! :) ~~~~~~~~~~` In General: I think you might need to rewrite the first couple of chapters when you're actually done writing the novel. I can tell through the reading that you got more and more comfortable with where you wanted to go and where you want the characters to go as the writing got inexplicably smoother and easier to read in the later chapters. I've had to rewrite my own first few chapters several times when writing as the beginning (to me) is always the roughest part, so don't think of this as a bad sign! ~~~~~~~Plot: I think you can introduce us to the plot earlier. I remembered at one point that I see all these conflicts happening at once (Rose being a lesbian, Amaris' illness, Meredith and whatever evil plans she seems to be plotting), and I wished you could've spread them out a bit more. They're all interesting problems for the plot, but you want the reader to get introduced to them one at a time instead of a huge wave. If I had to critique one of the conflicts, I'd have to do Amaris' illness. Even though it's something dire, I never feel the urgency of it, compared to the others introduced, because I never got to see Amaris' condition suddenly become frail or fragile. My suggestion is to start the first chapter with a punch of Amaris being in trouble, but that's just my opinion. ~~~~~~~~ World-building: Describe your world a bit more! I realized they're on an island, but it still leaves a bunch of questions for me on how the wolf packs operate, how the witches operate, where are the cities, etc. Because I definitely want to see this fantasy world and how it works. ~~~~~~~Characters: Fenrir/Radley is probably my favorite b/c I love duel personalities/characters. Honestly, I don't have much complaint for them aside from show their relationships more through dialogue instead of just telling us what they think of each other. Adding inner thoughts in italics would also help with that. ~~~~~~~I'm sorry if this sounds rough haha. I think there's a lot of potential for this story, and I know this is definitely still incomplete, but I hope this helps! XD

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