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Review #6: The Rhythm of My Heart

This novel is by @Kowhai_belle here on Inkitt. It's ongoing, but go check it out if you want!

Anyways, on to the review:

I haven't seen a romance novel like this before on Inkitt. You blend her culture well into the novel, like through her narrative voice using certain words in Spanish like 'puta', which obviously means bitch, when she was pissed at Samantha after the whole Oliver debacle. I also like your elevated vocabulary in certain areas, those uses really help lift the story up. Stella is so sassy and so confident, which I absolutely love. Plus the fact she refused to put up with Oliver's bullshit. She deserves so much better than him. Perhaps Max. . . Colgate, sponsor that man!

Another thing I like is the fact Samantha doesn't flaunt her wealth. Even with her success, she's still so humble and kind. Also the fact that she mentions the dark sides of such things like wealth, debuting as a debutante, and other things that come along with that coveted status is so well done and shows, how with Oliver, things can seem gorgeous or glamorous on the outside but are brutal once you dig through it.

Now, I know this is an ongoing first draft, so it hasn't been edited yet, but there's quite a bit of errors whether it be grammatical, punctuation, or formatting.

Your biggest thing is run-on sentences. Run-ons are where two or more complete sentences, whether they have relation to each other or not, are strung together by commas and sometimes also conjunctions. In many cases, these would work better on their own, very rarely would they work better with a semicolon.

Like:

I stand in the doorway for what feels like forever still completely unseen by the pair as they continue to grind against each other and just as I can tell he's about to finish I make my presence known with a cough and knock on the door, I keep my rage in check but Lord knows it was beyond difficult not to start throwing shit from the get-go.

For one thing, a sentence should not look like a paragraph. Commas should be used to seperate things like clauses, before conjunctions among other things. A sentence is complete when there's one subject - a noun like I - and one predicate - a verb like stand. Two complete sentences can be strung together by a conjunction like but with a comma before it.

That paragraph sentence turns into:

I stand in the doorway for what feels like forever, still completely unseen by the pair as they continue to grind against each other. Just as I can tell he's about to finish, I make my presence known with a cough and knock on the door. I keep my rage in check, but Lord knows it was beyond difficult not to start throwing shit from the get-go.

Aside from run-on sentences, there was a severe lack of commas. Like in the fixed example above, the comma is used to seperate clauses along with before conjunctions that fuse two sentences together. Other times commas are needed include renaming nouns and also to emphasis who is being talked to among other needs.

Like:

"Hey babe! You missed out on an awesome class today, I hope you're feeling better!"

Since 'babe' is who the 'hey is directed towards, there should be a comma seperating those two words. The next sentence, the comma should be taken out for a period. With exclamation marks, like adverbs, they need to be used sparingly. Providing emphasis on words by italicizing them and also using dialogue tags like 'he shouted' or showing the person is in a situation where they would be shouting like they're in an argument or walking in. There should be maybe one exclamation mark in a dialogue, and one or two every chapter or so. Let your words and narrative do the talking.

This turns into:

"Hey, babe! You missed an awesome class today. I hope you're feeling better."

Another big thing I saw in your story was the use of text talk, mainly 'wtf'. If you're going to imply she's saying "what the fuck" then type it. Text talk and abbreviations make it look childish. Another thing I don't recommend doing is caps locking the shouting portions. You can put emphasis on certain words that naturally do when you read it aloud or read it in your head with italics, and again, let your words speak for itself. It's easy to tell when someone's angry through their words and if it isn't, then rework the dialogue. Another thing to use is narrative around it to explain such. Also, try not to use two question marks at a time. One works fine and two makes it look amateurish.

With dialogue, the proper formatting is crucial.

Like:

"Hasta luego, Máximo".

This isn't the right way to do it. Also, if you use any foreign words - Spanish included, they should be in italics.

It turns into:

"Hasta luego, Máximo."

With a dialogue tag, it should be in the same paragraph as the dialogue and follow after the dialogue. For example: "I went to the store," he replied. Notice how the period is replacing a period and is inside the dialogue tag. The only time a period or such isn't immediately following a word is when ' is used to name some small text like a song or short story.

You have a few instances where the dialogue tag isn't in the same paragraph as the dialogue but also instances where you put the period or comma outside of the quotation marks, which also shouldn't be done. Plus places where you omitted the period in dialogue.

With thoughts, they need to stand out if mentioned. Don't just have them in the narrative followed by 'i thought' or something along those lines, it can get confusing, especially with first person narrative. Usually, try having them in italics followed by 'i thought' like it's a dialogue tag. Don't use the ', at least in my personal opinion, I don't think it flows as well.

Another thing to watch is the way you worded some sentences. Some were worded weird and it can not only confuse your readers but it disrupts the flow of the novel. Also, try to show a little more than tell. Large info dumps can become tedious and bore the readers. Instead of just saying someone has black hair, show so by having their 'long, black hair flow in the wind.' Some places suffered from such while other things, like your setting, is lacking. Setting description is big with world building. World Building helps your reader picture what's going on in the story. Other things that go into such is also showing places that show significance like in your novel the dance studio and parents mansion. You need to describe things like what they look like and what's inside because we as a reader can't see inside your mind or insinuate what it looks like.

A good editing tool on Inkitt is Helpful Hints by @TheGreenShoes it really helps and covers so much with examples and practice.

Overall, I've really enjoyed it so far. It's a cute little story and can't wait to read more. You've got a great start and it can only get better! Keep writing!

Hope this helps any. If you want your story reviewed honestly in this guide and are okay with honest feedback, let me know in the comments. New interview coming out this coming week. This week's interview with Jordan Elaine is already up, go check it out in the Writer's Spotlights/Interview section. Happy Reading!

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