Not following anyone yet

No followers yet

Overall Rating
Writing Style
Grammar & Punctuation

You're off to a good start

This is my first critique on this site. It's not a good site for critiquing because you can't do inline critiques, which I find the most helpful. I did an inline critique on MS Word which has my specific suggestions so that you can see exactly what I'm referring to. I'd be happy to email it if you think that would be helpful to you. Furthermore, pay no attention to the stars, I don't like them and don't use them.

I made a few suggestions. Take them all with a grain of salt and ignore anything you don’t agree with. You know best how you want your story to read.

You’re off to a solid start with Chapter 1. It’s technically pretty clean. It’s mostly free of passive voice, adverbs, and unnecessary adjectives. The first chapter is not too long. It does its job of introducing us to the main character. Although nothing else happens, it’s enough. You can do several things to make Chapter 1 even better than it already is.

First, eliminate some of the unnecessary or repetitive words and phrases. This will sharpen your prose and give the story more weight by keeping your readers focused on the important elements of the story.

For example, the paragraph at the beginning the starts with "Everything screamed at me." I struck out about half of that paragraph to streamline it and give it what I felt was more punch. - Everything screamed inside my head as soon as I realized I was holding a dead person’s hand. I turned to look at the heart monitor and my stomach lurched when I saw the flat line .,

Also, I noted how you used the word screamed too much. I wish I could point out the areas where I made suggestions, but it's just not possible in this crude format.

Second, some of the situations didn’t quite make logical sense. Cleaning up those small areas will also improve the quality of the story. Anytime you read something that doesn’t quite add up it takes you out of the story because you have to think about it. As writers, we don’t want to do anything to “break the spell.” These small gaps in logic are easy fixes.

For example, "The way he held my hand was like his love had died too" Since he’s dead, he can’t hold your hand, you’re holding his hand. There’s a big difference.

"I turned to look at it, and my stomach lurched when I saw the line dropping to the bottom of the display and running flat." If he’s dead, then the line wouldn’t be dropping, it would already be flat.

" his fingers still, stiff, ashen." Since he just died would they be stiff and ashen already?

You mention Rosalie running and she hears a mother in labor. In a hospital, Maternity would be on a separate floor, so she wouldn't be able to hear that. There are many more instances where I pointed out things like that for you to consider, but I can't list them all. Furthermore, if I'm wrong about them being gaps in logic, then they're written in such a way so that it's not clear, so either way those areas need to be ironed out for the sake of continuity.

Third, it would help your readers identify with Max and Rosalie more if you gave us a brief description of Max. We know nothing about him other than that, he’s dead. What were some of the qualities that made Rosalie love him? Knowing this would make her grief more powerful.

For example, "He always looked so beautiful when he was sleeping," Consider describing what he looks like. How old is he? - He always looked so beautiful when he was sleeping. I loved the way his brown hair fell across his forehead and his dimpled cheeks almost seem to smile as though he was dreaming something wonderful. Etc. You know your characters so you'll knock it out of the ballpark. I'm just giving you a rough idea.

Fourth, Chapter 1 ends on a rather bland note, try to end the chapter with a question that needs answering, or with an unexpected twist or with a cliffhanger of some sort. You want to give readers as much motivation as possible to turn the page and find out what happens next.

For example, "Nobody knows grief like I do." - I look up and see someone in the back of the crowd. My heart stopped, it can’t be, you’re … Try to end with a surprise of a twist. You’ll be able to think of something a lot better than that, but you get the idea.

Since Rosalie can talk to the dead, I’m going to guess that we haven’t “seen” the last of Max. Now I wondering what the story’s conflict is and who’s going to be the protagonist.

Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading chapter 1 and once you’ve revised it, it will be that much stronger. Good luck and keep on writing.

Read the story now
Overall Rating
Writing Style
Grammar & Punctuation

Good first chapter with excellent world building

You have a very interesting concept for a story. Dead people in Districts, "living normal lives," who can apparently die again at the hands of Demons from Hell that live next door to their Districts. Chapter 1 is off to a good start with solid world building, but you can do several things to make it even better than it already is.

First, you can make sure all of the verb tenses remain consistent. There were several instances where one sentence would have one tense and the following sentence would have a different tense or you'd have two different tenses in the same sentence.
For example:
-"My name IS [is - present tense] Kirie." That seems to be the only thing she could remember at the time. Everything else IS a blank. Where she LIVED, [lived - past tense] people she KNEW, anything. Her name IS the only thing that comes to mind.
-Lost in her thoughts, she didn't see that Mary had STOPPED to talk to a couple of kids. Mary GRABS her arm, and PULLS her close.

Second, you could streamline sentences by eliminating many of the things that are redundant or implied. I did not list all the examples.
For example:
-That question came as a shock to Kirie. SHE IS VERY BLUNT ABOUT IT. [This is implied by the fact that she's shocked, so you don't need to add it.]
-"Well, I got all the things I needed to get, and I have a little extra money. Why don't ya pick somethin' out for yourself?" SHE OFFERS. [is unnecessary because it's implied by the fact that she offered.]
-"This is Kirie. She's new to the District. Kirie, this is Noah and Anna," MARY INTRODUCED. [This is unnecessary because we know who's speaking]
-"Now, if I may ask. What is your name?" THE WOMAN ASKS. [This is unnecessary because she's asking]

Third, there are more than a few instances where it would be helpful if you put some sentences on a new line. I did not list all the examples.
For example:
-Kirie sits there for a moment, puzzled and confused. "You're saying, I'm dead?" She couldn't help but laugh at such an asinine thought. VERA NODS HER HEAD. [Put this on a separate line]
-"Hey, you must be new here," says a voice from behind. KIRIE TURNS HER HEAD to see a girl with long black curls. [Put this on a new line] One hand rests on her forehead to shield her eyes from the sun, [It’s not clear who is shielding their eyes] while the other hands holds onto a basket. Kirie nods at her, NOT WANTING TO SPEAK TO HER [Is implied by Kerie nodding, so you don't need to add it]
-"Well hey there! Welcome to District SIXTY!" she {greets}. KIRIE SMILES HER WAY, but says nothing more. [Put this on a separate line] Furthermore, as a rule of thumb people use the numeric symbol for numbers larger than ten. Moreover, when using a dialog tag it's best to stick with said and asked because they're considered "invisible." Other dialog tags tend to be distracting.
-Mary kept going on and on about how everyone knows how they have died. When she isn't talking about that, she questions Kirie about everything and anything. SHE SIGHED, and tried to answer everything she knew to the best of her abilities. [Put on a new line ]THE MARKET WAS FULL of stands with merchants selling different things. [Put on new line] One side of the market, has fruit, vegetable and other foods for sale, while the other side sells miscellaneous items. KIRIE WALKS UP and down the aisles, browsing everything that is set out. Countless merchants are shouting, trying to get her attention to make her a deal. [Put on new line]

Fourth, with the girl Mary, sometimes you have her speaking like a little girl and other times she speaks more like an adult. Keeping her "voice" consistent would improve the readability of the chapter. There are other instances. I listed two.
For example:
-"Nonsense! Think of it as a 'welcome to the District' present."
-"More than a little, we weren't even in the same universe for a moment there. You alright?"

Fifth, there are some instances where you could take an opportunity to show instead tell. This would draw readers into the story more.
For example:
-She sits down on a tattered old couch. [Describe the couch - The cushions were lumpy and torn. The arms were frayed and the fabric was faded and had food stains. etc.]
-Those thoughts send chills down her spine. [Show, don’t tell - She closed her eyes. wrapped her arms around herself and shuttered, something along those lines. Of course you'll do a much better job than I did, but you get the idea]

Sixth, Some of the descriptions you use would benefit from a little rewording so that they read more smoothly.
For example:
-The girl slowly comes out from behind the boy. She wears a little blue dress with a few stains and TEARS SCATTERED ABOUT. I was confused by this part. Did you mean the dress had a pattern in the shape of tears or actual tears that were cried?
Her hair is red, and perfectly matches her olive toned skin. A blue bow is clipped [Passive voice] TO THE SIDE OF HER HEAD TO MATCH HER DRESS. [Consider rephrasing this - She clipped a blue bow to the side of her head that matched her dress]
-She helps Mary unpack the food she had bought at the market, THEN WAVES HER GOODBYE. [then waves goodbye to her]
-Vera was nice enough to set out clothes for KIRIE [for her]
-It was easier to see her now that the light was out of Vera's view. [Whose POV is this? & who's being described Vera or Kirie? Consider rephrasing.] She HAD blonde hair, PINNED up into a white ribbon, with a couple loose strands hanging at the side of her head. She WEARS - wore [keep tenses consistent] a grey dress, with a couple stitches SCATTERED all over the dress.[I not sure what that means, consider rephrasing]

Seventh, consider shortening the chapter by editing out or shortening some of the scenes because not much happens to move the story forward. After a while it began to feel a little repetitive especially the parts where Kirie can't remember how she died, and that everyone else in the Districts are dead, and she's the only one who has no idea how she ended up there. Not every chapter has to have action. You can develop narrative through character development too, but we don't really learn much about any of the characters, so distilling it down to the core elements would strengthen it tremendously.

Eighth, the chapter ends on a rather flat note. It would help if you could find a way to end it with a twist, or a cliffhanger. As writers we want to do everything we can to motivate readers to turn the page.
For example:
Thoughts scrambles around in her mind until she is finally able to silence them long enough to fall asleep. A scream pierces the quiet. Kirie jumps up. Her eyes wide open "What was that?" Now your readers will wonder what that was, and they'll want to turn the page to find out. You know your story, so you'll be able to come up with a much better example that I did, but you get the idea.

Something that confused me as I read Chapter 1 was Vera's reaction to Kirie showing up in her home. She wasn't the least surprised or curious about it. I know they're dead and it's a different world and everything, but her reaction, or non-reaction seemed implausible. I think it would help credibility wise if you had Vera address that somehow, especially since I didn't get a sense that this happened all the time.

As I was reading the chapter, I found the POV somewhat confusing because it has a very detached feeling to it, especially by having the MC referred to by Kirie all the time. It felt weird to me, but of course POV is something that's entirely subjective. It might just be that the characters are dead so that detached feeling reflects their other worldly existence. I don't think I've ever read anything with a Third Person Omniscient before, if that's what it is. I'm not authority on POV.

You did a good job of establishing the element of danger to come with the foreshadowing of the Demons. You have me curious about the Districts, especially since no one seemed that concerned about the Demons. I wondering if it's because they're dead and they don't have the same kind of emotional reaction to things that the living do. I also find it fascinating that people have jobs in the Districts. Something I don't understand is where did Mary get money, does she have a job, and why is she allowed to live alone? That's why we read, to find out the answer to those kind of questions. I would imagine that when Kirie becomes a Guardian Angel she'll become a Demon slayer of some sort. Since you invested so much time in the Mary character, I'm going to guess Kirie saves her life.

Almost no one writes a perfect story in one or two drafts. Quality storytelling usually requires multiple revisions to iron out all the wrinkles and get everything just right. The more you revise, the cleaner and clearer your story will become. You're well on your way to having a dynamite story. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing how it evolves after subsequent revisions. I have no doubt it will shine and be everything on paper that you envision it to be in your head. Good luck and keep on writing.

Read the story now

No reading lists yet

Followed Reading Lists

No badges received yet

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.