H.I.S Archivist

Aspiring writer crafting "Heaven's Truth," a dark, low fantasy novel blending ancient era Eastern and Western lore. Seeking honest, detailed feedback to refine my vivid, character-driven narrative.

Overall Rating
Plot
Writing Style
Grammar & Punctuation

A critical review of developing prose

Hello,

Firstly, let me commend you for the remarkable creativity and effort evident in your chapter. It's clear that you've poured a lot of thought and passion into your work, which is the cornerstone of great writing. Your concept shows a lot of promise, and I'm genuinely excited to see how it evolves. Now, let's dive into some feedback, which I hope will be beneficial as you continue to refine and enhance your story.

First Impressions:

Your book, from its cover to the title "Manumitt, Book One – The Wandering Tempest," immediately piques interest. However, there seems to be a slight mismatch between the title, summary, and cover, which can be a bit perplexing. The title and subtitle are captivating but don't seem to connect directly with the summary focused on Marcus. A suggestion might be to expand the summary to more clearly link with the intriguing world of Manumitt, thus drawing readers into the mystery you’re presenting.

Regarding the cover and content warnings, there's a noticeable contrast. The artwork suggests a teen/young adult dark fantasy, yet the 18+ rating and serious content warnings might not align with initial expectations. It's crucial to balance being truthful about the content with not overwhelming the reader right from the start. Perhaps consider limiting the content warnings to those pertinent to the early chapters, thus maintaining reader engagement without misrepresentation. At the moment, opening and seeing the number of warnings for such a short chapter is off putting.

Positives:

Your vision for the world you're creating is vivid and full of potential. There's a sense of direction and a desire to build intrigue, which are excellent qualities in a writer. This foundational strength is something to build upon as you refine your work.

Introduction and First Line:

The first line of your book, "A man opened his eyes and discovered a new world," although a significant beginning, can be refined for greater impact. It's essential for the opening line to immediately engage your reader and give a taste of your unique writing style. This line, however, leans towards telling rather than showing, which can be less engaging, and, as the reader is opening the book and discovering this new world, a bit redundant. Consider revising this to more actively draw the reader into the experience of the character. For instance, you might describe the character’s sensations and initial reactions to the new environment, allowing the reader to feel this sense of discovery alongside him.

In the second line, the repetition of 'dreamlike' and 'fever dream' in close proximity weakens the impact. Aim for more varied and precise language to maintain the reader's engagement. Additionally, the phrase 'couldn’t be explained as anything else than' is a bit awkward. A smoother alternative could be 'couldn’t be explained as anything other than.' It’s important that the language flows naturally and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

The initial sentences of your first paragraph are somewhat long and convoluted, which might make it challenging for readers to engage with the story immediately. A more effective approach is to start with shorter, punchier sentences that convey your meaning clearly and concisely. For example, the opening could be rephrased more succinctly while retaining its essence: "The world around him was reminiscent of a fever dream, alien and unfamiliar." This not only reduces wordiness but also enhances clarity and impact.

You need to perform this sort of surgical analysis of your entire opening. The next line is over 50 words long and very wordy. Make every word fight for its place on the page, that is the hall mark of good writing.

Pacing and Character Development:

The story's pacing feels quite brisk, which can sometimes leave less room for character development. Spend more time with Marcus, your main character. Delve into his thoughts and feelings as he encounters this new world. Show us, rather than tell us, about his physical and emotional changes. This approach not only deepens the reader's connection with Marcus but also enriches their understanding of the world you're building.

Consistency in Perspective:

Your narrative style of third-person omnipresence is a good choice for the kind of story you're telling. However, be cautious about shifting perspectives too rapidly. This can sometimes lead to confusion. A consistent perspective helps in maintaining a smooth narrative flow and allows the reader to stay fully immersed in your story.

Appropriate Language and Metaphors:

Be mindful of the language and metaphors you use, especially in a fantasy setting. References like ninja costumes, children’s braces, and specific real-world racial terms might feel out of place. It's essential to create a world that's internally consistent. Think about what metaphors and comparisons would be relevant and understandable to the characters in your world.

Show, Don’t Tell:

The principle of 'show, don't tell' is vital in immersive storytelling. For instance, instead of stating that a character is wearing a 'ninja outfit,' describe the outfit's details in a way that conjures up the image of a ninja without directly naming it. Similarly, instead of telling the reader that a character is fearful, describe their physical reactions to fear. This approach draws the reader deeper into the story, engaging their senses and imagination.

In summary, your chapter has a lot of potentials. With some careful revision focusing on showing rather than telling, improving pacing, and ensuring the language fits your world, your story can become more engaging and vivid. Each word should serve a purpose, either advancing the plot, deepening character development, or enriching the world-building. Keep honing your skills, and your unique vision will undoubtedly come through more strongly. Remember, writing is a process, and every great writer continually refines their work. Keep up the good work!

If your thinking of reading, I would give the author time to conduct some revisions and refine their prose. There may be an interesting story here with a few months of work.

Read the story now
Overall Rating
Plot
Writing Style
Grammar & Punctuation

An Intriguing, Somewhat Original Concept That Slides into Tropes

The author of this story has embarked on a creative journey with a commendable effort. Their opening gambit, focusing on ancient gods in a modern setting, is not only intriguing but also treads on ground that hasn't been thoroughly explored in literature. It is not entirely unheard or completely original, but it is a concept that presents a wealth of potential, allowing the author to carve a unique niche in the genre.

However, it's noticeable that the narrative soon shifts gears, moving away from its original and more distinctive premise into a familiar territory marked by a love triangle featuring somewhat stereotypical one-dimensional vampires. This transition is a bit disappointing, especially considering the opportunity for the main character to emerge as a more proactive and inspirational figure. Instead, she leans towards a more passive role, which slightly undermines the strength of the character as initially introduced.

In terms of writing style, the author demonstrates clear potential, although it's evident that the prose could benefit from further refinement. Issues with paragraph structure and a tendency towards verbose sentences and rushed pacing are present. The dialogue occasionally lacks the desired impact, which is a common challenge in writing, to be fair. Despite these areas for improvement, the narrative maintains a level of clarity and coherence.

For aficionados of adult fantasy or thrillers, the current iteration of the story might come across as somewhat predictable and leaning towards a younger demographic. A repositioning towards teen fiction could be advantageous, appealing more directly to an audience that might be more receptive to the themes and style of the narrative, and whose expectations might not be so high.

With dedicated revision and a focus on harnessing the originality of its premise, the story has the potential to evolve significantly. While it may not reach the iconic status of works like 'Buffy,' with a few years of dedicated work and refinement, it could resonate with fans of series like 'Twilight' or 'Winx Saga.' It's encouraging to think that with continued development and a willingness to revisit and enhance the narrative, this story could find its place and audience. The journey of a book, especially for an author aspiring to launch a series, is often long and iterative, and this work has the foundations to grow into something more impactful and resonant. In summary, cut the vampires, focus more on your supernatural god like beings and give Rachel more agency.

Unless you really, really love vampire love triangles to an obsessive degree, give this a miss and let the author spend a few years refining their craft.

Read the story now

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