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for The Ghost Writer Final Version

12/15/2012 c2 839538
Writing is great, and the character narrating grows steadily more intriguing. The whole psychic, automatic writing is interesting, as are the small snatches of foretelling. The description of a court in session is realistic, though little brief. The beginnng is quite enigmatic (obviously good, as this is a mystery) and a good introduction to an interesting mystery.
Keep it up.
3/3/2011 c7 Serenity Richards
It’s been a while… I don’t know if I should bother typing this out since I pretty much dropped off the face of the world, and my feedback probably isn’t needed, but I can’t resist.

Anyway, I figure you aren’t posting here anymore since the last update was a while ago. (And, it also looks like fp dropped their copyright tag.) I thought I would leave a comment, though, since I’ve finally had some time to actually read all the posted chapters.

I promise to keep it short; just some praise.

I’ve really enjoyed the rewrite of GW. I think the chapters fit together more than in previous versions. I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense; it looks weird when I type it out, but the flow is pretty fantastic. This is probably the best paced version of GW, and the character development is very good, too.

Of course, the character development is good in the other versions as well. Just a question, though, I distinctly remember the detective being female in one of the earlier versions—is that true or am I just going crazy?

Mm, if I thought there would be more updates I’d say “hope to see more soon,” but as the case is… Any chance this story is in a publishing process at all? (I know I’ve been ungodly slow with the reading, but I like this story and curiosity gets the best of me. I had to ask.)
1/10/2011 c5 authorA
"One thing though, when using a dialogue tag, I'm pretty positive that if the dialogue follows a comma from a tag (eg. Jane said) then the actual dialgoue should be lowercase. (eg. Jane said, "bibbidy bobbidy boo.") There are a few of these errors in this chapter but it isn't severe."

That's incorrect. B.J. has done it correctly.
1/10/2011 c7 6notveryalice
Hi B.J., sorry about the delay in getting to this chapter. My manuscript deadline looms... Please forgive me!

1. "Finally she shares, "No messages from Jack.""

I'd make this a full stop, because "to share" doesn't exactly count as a dialogue tag. So either, "Finally, she shares. "No messages from Jack,"" or "Finally, she shares. "No messages from Jack," she says."

2. "That's probably why I've had so many headaches this past year. I wasn't able to save that boy. Avoiding takes energy."

Lovely stuff.

3. "Today, we have a man who used a baseball bat to strike a woman three times. She died almost 24 hours later, buried alive."

I'm not sure we need this recap. I think the last sentence, "Obviously I need to know more, or I wouldn't be here," would work better tacked on to the end of the previous paragraph.

4. "I've only been inside once before although I've driven past dozens." - "I've only been inside once before although I've driven past dozens of times."

Or something like that. The number reads oddly on its own.

5. "I feel a flash of warmth in my hand"

I don't know what you mean by this. I assume it's a psychic thing, but this sentence doesn't really make that clear.

6. "The sun beats off the pavement, as I pop a couple quarters in the parking meter." - "The sun beats off the pavement as I pop a couple quarters in the parking meter."

I reckon it reads better without the comma.

7. "My hand, palm flat, hovers over the litter. I sense heat, as though they are still smoldering."

Aha! OK, now I get it. I'm thinking just a little extra hint in the sentence before would do it.

8. "Because I never use the "fame card"; frankly, I don't consider myself noteworthy."

Semicolons are pretty unforgiving. The first half of the sentence is a fragment, so you can't use a semicolon here. My suggestion is to use an en-dash instead (forgive the double-hyphens, FP doesn't like dashes): "Because I never use the "fame card" - frankly, I don't consider myself noteworthy."

9. "More words and reasons are exchanged"

This sounds a little like a cop-out, sorry to say. What words? What reasons?

10. Hm, there's a giant block of bold text in the chapter. I'm assuming it's a mistake...?

Another excellent chapter. I hope you'll be posting more, although I have a suspicion you won't due to publication. I hope this is the case! Let me know and I'll foist a zillion copies on my friends and family.
10/8/2010 c5 Themory
"Bailey takes great care pulling into the driveway and returning the keys to me." It sounds like it's missing an "in" between care and pulling.

Bailey stands up and says, "Get some sleep" = shouldn't "Get" be lowercase?

The opening was short and attention grabbing. Even though I got from the summary that there was a killer on the loose, it still got me interested in reading the rest of the chapter (as well as the chapter before to find out.

There's something I was wondering about the writing. It seems to be in present tense, am I correct? There's nothing wrong with that of course, I was just surprised to read a story like that on FictionPress.

All in all, I liked it! Admittedly, I wasn't too comfortable reading the present tense words but that's just because I'm used to past tense. There wasn't too much description and dialogue so the chapter was enjoyable!

One thing though, when using a dialogue tag, I'm pretty positive that if the dialogue follows a comma from a tag (eg. Jane said) then the actual dialgoue should be lowercase. (eg. Jane said, "bibbidy bobbidy boo.") There are a few of these errors in this chapter but it isn't severe.
10/3/2010 c6 notveryalice
1. " "I'm gonna get you," I growl to the unseen killer, staring into the blackness of the room around me."

Brilliant. I love this. Hale is exactly the kind of hero we can empathize with.

2. "I find myself leaning against the kitchen door jam,"

That last word should be "jamb".

3. I haven't the foggiest what's going on, and that's good. I just hope Hale doesn't get arrested for being a killer... I dunno, those kinds of "hero being persecuted for a crime he didn't commit" things are kind of... well, it's quite a well-used plot.

I always feel kind of useless in these circumstances because I want to be helpful but you've got it all sorted out already. Nothing else to remark on, other than good job, as always.
10/3/2010 c5 notveryalice
1. Mustang is a company name, so it should be capitalized.

2. "Dark and ugly, it makes me hesitate to get inside his head more than I have to."

I'd change this to, "It's dark and ugly, and it makes me hesitate to get inside his head more than I have to."

3. "You're gonna talk to me now…Right?"

Change this to, "You're gonna talk to me now…right?" It's the same sentence.

I keep getting the sense that Bailey is going to be in trouble later, and this worry makes for some great tension in these chapters.

I like his neighbour, and I especially like the detail of the cat playing with the flashlight beam. Mine does this all the time and I thought it was wonderful in this chapter.
9/26/2010 c4 Lady Darkness Diamond
Wow! This chapter is so well done!

I'm a big fan of revisions as there is almost always something that could be improved.

I haven't read the first version but this final version of your story is perfect. There really isn't anything else to improve on at least in my opinion.

I like the opening of the story and certainly understand it. There's nothing more frustrating then someone who just grunts and points out what you need to fix doesn't exactly build your confidence as a writer. That's something most everyone here on Fiction Press will understand so you made a good choice using that to open.

The paragraphs are evenly spaced with plenty of conversation to keep things going, but not so much that the descriptions suffer or take a backseat.

The call between Hale and Ben was my favorite part. Even if your just jumping into the story it easily captures your attention and makes you want to keep reading and see what happens next.

This is going to be a great story to read when it is published and it's definetely something that I myself would buy!
9/20/2010 c4 notveryalice
*, short chapter.

It's a very good sign when I look at the slider on an FP story page and rejoice when it's near the top.

On to the corrections:

1) type written - type-written

2) "Hum," she mutters again flipping a page. - Either ""Hum," she mutters again, flipping a page," or"Hum," she mutters, again flipping a page."

It all depends on what you want her to do again. Without the comma, it's ambiguous.

This chapter is full of hints and portent. I love it, especially the ominousness of his cravings for something sweet and fruity. Sorry I can't be more help here, but this chapter is ready to go in my opinion, apart from those two tiny things and the fact that I want to read more. The chapter's not too short, no worries - I'm just being petulant.
9/19/2010 c1 notveryalice
Style Edit: "the murder trial is about to continue" is, I think, unnecessary here. We pick up that it is a murder trial from context, so you don't need it here.

"there's a minefield of silence" - excellent

"Mr. Marcum has admitted he's not a professional psychic accustomed to this sort of work. The court is entitled to know what initiated his contact with the police in this case." - so we're assuming that psychics are on the payroll as standard practice for police forces in this universe.

"I can smell the garlic on his breath." - excellent details like this and like the unexpected withdrawal of the attourney's question earlier is what makes this manuscript (?) so easily readable and enjoyable.

I adore the little "parlour trick" between the narrator and the defense attourney. It's really well-executed and it pulled me right in to this story. It's a big shiny gold hook just lying around in the middle of the first chapter, because it ensures that your readers automatically side with the narrator and feel a deep sense of glee when he wins the altercation. Classic technique of what I would term "addictive" writing - you look up and you've read 2/3 of the book and you had to be somewhere an hour ago. Plus, you've managed to include another detail in there (her nail polish) that changes our image of the attourney smoothly and naturally. It's not jarring because even though we didn't expect it, it fits with her existing character the way you're written it. We're discovering her personality along with the narrator. Keep it up.

Great chapter. I went straight to the next before reviewing it, which is why I've reviewed it now rather than before.
9/12/2010 c1 4jakette
While I’m not entirely clear on the premise due to reading out of context and far past the usual rate of explanations, I do believe I like the idea. Oddly, I’ve been reading many ghost stories lately but this seems a bit more complicated – in a good way, however. It’s interesting and I’d love to see where you take it.

Also, in the scene where your main character (I honestly do not recall his name; was it used and I happened to skim over it or not at all in this chapter?)encounters, I didn’t feel much suspense there – maybe a bit more of a build-up but only a bit; I’m glad the scene wasn’t drawn out but I feel as if there should be more… steps. Or something. I’m visualizing something in my head to explain it but it is not helping.

I like the relationship between your main character and Bailey. It’s refreshing to see a brother/sister dynamic that isn’t hell-bent on killing each other; even in adulthood its common in stories. Even if the brother isn’t so happy to have her around at the moment.

I must add, I’ve a soft spot for first person, present tense; and it’s odd, ever since I got into it, I seem to be running into it everywhere. It has so many uses and whatnot but moving on, I don’t want to ramble. I like your use of it here; for some reason, it stuck out to me from what he said and what he thought, for example the event with his sister:

‘God, I hate that word. I can almost envision all my characters running for cover, huddled under newspapers trying to avoid the rain. "Yeah," I mumble, "that's the cure for what ails me."

She doesn't wait for my witty comeback, which is good because I really don't have one.’

I quite liked that. It's on the subtle side but there.
9/12/2010 c3 6notveryalice
1. "I've known you for years Hale." - "I've known you for years, Hale."

2. "Much the same as yesterday the jury is seated in the box."

If you want to keep this exact sentence, I'd go with "The jury is seated in the box, much the same as yesterday."

This sentence is filler. Why wouldn't the jury have been in the jury box yesterday? It's like having your main character observe, "The judge wore a robe, much like yesterday." Yeah. And?

3. "Like a chastised child I sit with the others as part of the audience." - "Like a chastised child, I sit with the spectators - as a part of the audience."

You need the comma; the other changes are style edits, to make the sentence more concrete and less awkward structurally.

4. "Nick Leone the defendant is at one of the front tables."

Whilst you can leave the sentence as it is, I'd recommend putting commas in there: "Nick Leone, the defendant, is at one of the front tables."

5. "There's a guard close by, but other than that he's alone with the seat beside him conspicuously empty."

Perhaps: "There's a guard close by, but other than that he's alone, and the seat beside him conspicuously empty."

6. "Most of what you saw Hale isn't admissible."

This needs to be changed so your readers can parse it. ""Most of what you saw isn't admissible, Hale." Or: ""Most of what you saw, Hale, isn't admissible."

7. "Who know?" - "Who knows?"

8. "The car interior warms up quickly now that I turn off engine." - "The car interior warms up quickly now that I turn off the engine."

This is the kind of mistake that makes me think you speed-read when you proof your work. Slow down, check everything - get it right before you submit.

9. "My sister isn't exactly Julia Child so I enter the kitchen with a touch of trepidation half expecting the walls to be splattered and the air to be scorched." - "My sister isn't exactly Julia Child so I enter the kitchen with a touch of trepidation, half expecting the walls to be splattered and the air to be scorched."

10. "God, I hate that word. I can almost envision all my characters running for cover, huddled under newspapers trying to avoid the rain."

I love this section. It's really wonderful.

11. "Eager to get started she abandons the lunch dishes on the table." - "Eager to get started, she abandons the lunch dishes on the table."

I'd rephrase for better flow: "She abandons the lunch dishes on the table, eager to get started."

I'd be willing to beta this entire book for you just to find out what happens. Great start!
9/12/2010 c2 notveryalice
I hope you're amenable to minor, nitpicky corrections of your final draft. I don't know whether you've been accepted for publication yet; if not, I hope I can be of help to you before you submit.

1. "Leaving the courthouse I hadn't intended to be waylaid by anyone."

You need a comma here:"Leaving the courthouse, I hadn't intended to be waylaid by anyone."

It's probably better not to use the passive voice at the beginngin of a chapter, so I'd suggest: "I hadn't intended to be waylaid by anyone as I left the courthouse."

That being said, nobody ever *intends* to be waylaid, so the sentence doesn't really mean anything.

2. "even in three-inch heals" - "even in three-inch heels"

3. "Stylish and sophisticated she'd be an even match for a uniformed officer."

You need a comma, so: "Stylish and sophisticated, she'd be an even match for a uniformed officer."

Also, in what sense would she be an even match? I'm not sure how her being stylish and sophisticated makes her an even match for a uniformed officer either physically or mentally. If you just mean in the fields of style and sophistication, then why are you comparing her to an officer, particularly?

I know these questions seem puerile, but the sentence trips me up, and it's because I don't know what comparison you're trying to make, or why.

4. "Anyone willing to drive two hours to fight a ticket deserves to win."

I guess?

This makes me think that perhaps the reporter is a Grisham heroine: lightly touching on the Bond Girl but "spunky". The reason I think this is because the main character (and possibly others, although I don't know yet) seems to put a positive spin on something she's done that I'd normally think is a bad character trait, and backing it up with a sentence that makes the reader think he's always admired such a trait, and the reader should too.

If she's a reporter, she doesn't have four hours (there and back) in a working day to spare driving to a courthouse for a traffic ticket, and if she does that's not spunk, that's crazy.

5. "Does that include little Tommy Martin." - "Does that include little Tommy Martin?"

6. "A couple cups of cappuccino later and we're sitting at a table."

This sounds like they had two cups of cappucino on the way to the table. Either it's really, really busy in that Starbucks or they stood around for a while. Either way, it sounds odd.

7. "You are a mystery Mr. Marcum."

Need a comma. "You are a mystery, Mr. Marcum."

8. "She's close minded." - ""She's close-minded."

I'm really getting into this, and I can see it keeping me company on a long train ride or on a plane. It depends on where you go with it, but I think it's got a lot of potential. Good work.

I'll go back and see if I can spot anything in Chap. 1.
9/11/2010 c2 4lookingwest
I liked the way you built up the foreshadow that comes into the second part when he does have the automatic writing experience because the whole time, once you frame about his past experiences with it, it's awesome to actually see how it works. I also liked the dialogue with Baily, and especially in contrast to the one with Nadiya. I liked the one with Nadiya in the first part the most, I think, it really carried the chapter, and I thought you worded everything in a realistic sense-the conversation was very natural.

I found no problems with spelling or grammar, and no style edits either, so all around well written too! Like the developments from the first chapter too.
9/11/2010 c3 16Serendipitist Swan
One quick thing:

"Lunch will be ready in about 20 minutes. Why don't you go get cleaned up."

I think it's supposed to end with a question mark.

When I think brainstorming, I think of a storm of brains. Yeah, I'm so original.

Personally, I think brainstorming is pointless.
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