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Review #5: The Silver Lining

For the fifth installment in this series, it's a review of The Silver Lining by new author @holliefur here on Inkitt. I'd suggest checking it out if you're interested in mystery-thrillers.

Anyways, before I talk myself into another tangent, onto the review:

I'd like to start bidding you a congrats for deciding to write and upload this story online. It takes a lot of guts to do so, especially with your first novel.

The beginning is gripping. The first line pulling you in as you lead into the mother's death. Finding out your father is potentially a serial killer is traumatic even if it's proven false. You do a great job playing off that and building the horror and suspense aspect well. Your dream scene is well done, the suspense real. For being a first time author, your ability to build such is astounding. Your attention to detail well done.

Now, your blurb is well done through the first half. The second half when you deviate into more so an author's note is unnecessary. You can have that as a sort of author's note as its first seperate chapter or have it as an introductory author's note at the end of the first chapter if you want the readers to know such.

Since this is an ongoing novel and most likely a first novel, it's going to have mistakes, and everyone should know that. But there were a few repeated mistakes like not properly formatting the dialogue.

Like:

"I'll be there with your favorite Starbucks order in less than half-an-hour." she declared.

First, take away the hash marks between 'an' and 'hour', it's unnecessary. You're also missing the word 'a' between 'than' and 'half'. But what I'm focusing on is the period at the end of the dialogue. When your dialogue is followed by a dialogue tag and ends in a period, the period is swapped with a comma. Later on in your story, you have moments where it's right, but through most the chapters it's not correct.

It should be:

"I'll be there with your favorite Starbucks order in less than a half an hour," she declared.

One thing your story is lacking on is world building. I have a whole chapter on this if you struggle with this topic. Your world aside from mini scenes are more of a white blur, a story killer. It's key to your reader conjuring the photo but also realizing some little nuances and putting things together. No one knows where this story is taking place except for a few moments when you explicitly state hospital, house, and her parents home. There were many moments when you described scenes well like the whole dream scene. World Building can be done through weather, wove through the narrative, and sometimes when the time fits, it's also told where it's set at like Georgia in the case of the book Love, Simon is based off of.

There were missing commas like when you're talking to a person, a comma should be in front of their name or after it like in one dialogue set:

"How well do you ever really know a person though Viv?. . ."

Since she's talking to Viv, there should be a comma in front of her name, which turns it into:

"How well do you ever really know a person though, Viv?. . ."

Another area where a comma is required is when you name an object but also define it. Like with the scene of her cat:

As if sensing my upset, Barney my cat, leapt onto my sofa and curled up against me purring.

Not only is the first part of the sentence a little robotic feeling, but since 'my cat' is renaming 'Barney' then there should be a comma separating it.

It should be, not fixing the first part:

As if sensing my upset, Barney, my cat, leapt onto my sofa and curled up against me purring.

Another thing that needed work was there were many instances where you told the reader what happened or such rather than telling. Some parts of telling are needed in writing, but the vast should be showed. Like instead of saying "I'm sad" rather show through a knot forming in their throat or a tear falling from their eye. Now, this is just an example, not necessarily from your story. But there was a huge info dump when you introduce her best friend, Viv. Some of those things you say about her could have been shown through action, like she brushed a strand of hair of hair out of her face and you slide in her hair color.

Also, watch your actions. Sometimes it felt like it needed some more action, though it doesn't take any way from how well written it is.

Three things to watch when you write are adverbs, exclamation marks, and the 'to be' verb (is, was, are etc.). Adverbs and exclamation marks are supposed to be used sparsely.

With exclamation marks, one of the rules I heard was once or twice a chapter but not close together. With both, there are ways around using it. Like adverbs can be replaced with action verbs, specific nouns and also some adjectives. Another way to show exclamation marks are through your word choice, using italics for emphasis and also your dialogue tag. With both, there are places you can't avoid it, but it should still be done sparsely.

With the verb 'to be', there are instances where it needs to be there. But there were some sentences in your novel where it could be replaced or not needed at all. A way to help show is through the use of action verbs like 'hollered' or 'jogged' and also using descriptive nouns like 'VW Beetle' instead of simply saying 'the car'. Now, you don't always have to specify it's a Beetle if you've already stated it in the paragraph or recently, similar to the rules for using someone's name, you can call it 'the car' that way you don't overuse its name.

A great tool if you need help editing is Helpful Hints by @TheGreenShoes here on Inkitt. It's a wonderful tool. And if you have any topic you want covered in my book, also let me know. If you have any questions in general, let me know.

Hope this helps and happy writing! You're doing great.

Like i said in the review, if you have any thing you want covered in this guide, let me know, and if you want your book reviewed and are okay with honest feedback, also let me know. Hope this helps and happy writing!
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