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6/22/2014 c3 leaht
I'm actually a little confused as to why the village(?) is being attacked. And where is everyone else during the interaction with Chloe and the men? What was going on around her? Was her area already that deserted?

You did a good job with the description of Jeb and Scott. They were disgusting and terrifying.

Ma's death was somewhat predictable. I wasn't particularly saddened by it. I feel bad for Chloe, but I feel worse for what I know is going to happen to her at the mercy of these men.
6/3/2014 c2 leaht
Hi! I'm Leah.

I saw you in the forums asking for reviews, so I decided to stop by. You are clearly a practiced writer. First chapters, especially the very first few paragraphs, are extremely important. And while this wasn't exactly an action packed beginning, leaning more on the slow side, I found myself intrigued nonetheless because of the way you formulated it: by not giving everything away. There is a mystery behind Chloe's past; though we've been told what some of it was, we don't have everything. That's good technique in keeping readers interested. Good job!

You paint great pictures through description without over-doing it. I have a good sense of Chloe's character already. There is quite a bit of backstory, but it does seem necessary to put it here in order to get a sense of the world Chloe lives in. The part that doesn't make it too much is that you left out several key bits of information about Chloe's experiences in this new world, as a stated in the last paragraph. That's wonderful. If you had told the reader everything about what she suffered along with the backstory, it would've been a huge info dump. We don't want that. You are able to make this world convincing, and I, myself as a reader, am intrigued enough to keep going.

I do want to bring up a few things I noticed:

I actually chuckled a little when Austin was described as a crater in the desert. I don't know if you mean it was always a desert and now there's a crater there, or if it is now a desert because of the destruction it experienced. I'm hoping for the latter, honestly. Texas is misconstrued as being a big, dry, scorching desert with a bunch of cowboys, but that's not true. I live in Texas, and yes there is a desert here, but it is nowhere near Austin, or even where I live. It's mostly in the southwest I believe.

I have no idea where Chloe is in the US. Unless I missed it. I know she lives near water and in a village, but I don't know where. I know this is a repost after much editing and revising, and your previous readers might know where she is, but new readers like myself don't.

I noticed that your point of view changed in certain areas (the paragraph about Austin for example). You do really well in staying in third person past, but sometimes it slips into present tense. Though, some of my favorite books have switches between past and present, especially when giving description about the past and how things are in the present. But it kind of jars with my focus.

Also, I don't have a sense of when, as in year, this is taking place. I'm guessing in the future. On a different note, I tend to avoid using numbers in writing like this, unless it's a year like 2014. Writing ages as numbers just looks amateurish, and I've never seen ages written as numbers in any fiction book I've read. So practicing spelling out numbers, specifically ages, is probably safest, especially if you want to get published one day. Spelling out years, however, is ridiculous lol.

I also want to say that I absolutely-I can't stress this enough-love that Chloe is not white. Or at least not fully white, since I don't know what her father looks like. I'm not bashing anyone; I'm white myself, but I love reading about all kinds of people. :) Thank you for that!

I'm probably going to review each chapter. If I wait till the end of what you have, then I'll forget things I wanted to bring up in the beginning. Hope you don't mind. XD

Anyway, I really like what you have so far, and I am definitely excited about the pirates. :) Off to chapter two!

Leah
9/7/2013 c2 62YFIQ
Guess bad memories can still live in your nightmares. Wouldn't be surprised if that relevance returns later in the story.

Good work!
9/7/2013 c1 YFIQ
Apocalypse anyone?
8/11/2013 c2 5Alias Blue
Hello! I'm reviewing you from the gossip forum!
Here are my thoughts as I was reading:

Could use a little more hints of the surroundings - you described the dark sky and ocean, which made me think she was in an apocalyptic void - then you mentioned the bakery - without any mention of the street or town. You could just detail the town a little.

There's a little discrepency in the tone of writing - e.g you use 'obsidian' which is quite lyrical and form, and then use 'fixing to be' which is informal. They don't sound right together. I think it's because some of it is the author's writing voice and some of it is Chloe's character voice - you need to pick which one to write in.

You switch to present tense here: "Almost all of the East Coast is under water now."

The style and mechanics of your writing is very competent. The syntax and flow of the sentences is lovely to read.

The world you're creating is great - very realistic and interesting. You're building the information and the world's history well, but it is a bit of an info dump in the first chapter.
It is hard to believe that Chloe would be thinking all of this explanatory information when she already knows it.
You could open with more action, and could reveal each bit of history when it is needed to explain something that is happening in the world, rather than all at once.

"spilling a cup of flour" this was out of the blue because you didn't describe what she was doing/ the surroundings.

"At the mention of her birth mother, Chloe smiled." - this emotion seemed out of place to me. At such a sad memory - smiling seems sadistic.
" take out her frustrations on the wad of floury dough" - Like this! Dough is great for getting out frustration! :P
"You look just like your mother," Ma confided." - some of the dialogue feels a little unrealistic - like this seemed too blunt to me. Also why does Ma come and work at 3am, rather than being irritated at being woken?
you used 'stomach writhed' twice.

"This bakery was her mother's dream and carrying it on in her stead was both exciting and upsetting." - you could show this rather than tell. I think showing would help establish Chloe's character more.

"Numbly, Chloe stumbled forward" - you could cut 'numbly'.

The ending of this was excellent - very high drama and gripping & I like how you brought the song in - very clever.

Main points in this chapter: It was great for detailing the history, but was a bit heavy for the first chapter - first of all you want to hook the reader - THEN you want to explain. I don't get much of a sense of Chloe's character - she's a bit numbed. The best way to show her character is through her action and interaction with others. Despite my nitpicky comments, I did really enjoy reading this. Your writing style is very smooth and great to read! You use some lovely language and some really choice phrases, like "it was gashed open by wild flames that licked the open wound like snake tongues". The world you've created is very intriguing and definitely makes me want to read more to see what happens in this world. Excellent! I like this!

- Alias x
8/9/2013 c8 VelvetyCheerio
Ohai, an update! :D

Oh man, I loved Ty in this chapter. He was pretty harsh, but I thought it was pretty awesome. He's captain, of course he can't let emotions or bias affect him. He has to run this ship. I think his unrelenting nature and the way he closed off his emotions made for really good conflict between him and his brother. I was pretty shocked myself, haha. I was sure Ty would side with his own brother! I really liked the way the Captain came out of him in an emergency situation. Very realistic.

And haa, the way Jeb just gave up. xD I loved that scene. But I feel pretty bad thinking on what Jack mentioned about Jeb not really having anyone else besides Scott. But, ugh, that's the humanitarian in me. I hate to know others are suffering, even if they cause suffering to others. If they just could have been helped before it all went down the toilet...! ._. Unfortunately, we can't save 'em all, and once they get to that point, it's pretty hard turning them around.

Jack is such a kind heart. I wonder if he'll employ Benji's help at any point. The boy is obviously deeply attached to the well-being of these three women. Again, this is just something you might want to consider if you ever think about a revision process. Benji seems like he could be a really promising element to the story, but so far, I don't recall him ever uttering one word. It's going to be really difficult for me to adjust to him if he does remain a part of the plot. So I'd just suggest focusing on him enough to build his character. Let him have conversations. Let him teach the girls games. Show it happening. Spend a chapter (or three) on the relationship be builds with Lexi. I like Benji, I like what he could provide.

I really wish I could beta for you. ;-; Unfortunately, I'm in job training right now. I should be done by September though, and depending on how my first week goes, I might end up shooting a PM your way. ;D Also, sorry this is anon but I'm too lazy to log in, haha.

Here are some things I found/thought about while reading:

[It was messed up, if he thought about it, that he did nothing to stop Scott from hurting dozens of people over the years] To me this reads a little awkward. Perhaps "that he had done nothing..." or, I also suggest taking out "dozens of people over the years" and just leaving it at "people".

[Maybe it was the make him feel a little less shitty for never helping anybody else.] I think a word is missing here.

[Regardless of some unknown motivation, he heaved Scott off the girl before Jack could change his mind.] This sentence also reads awkwardly. I'd suggest taking off the first half of the sentence and replacing it with "Before he could change his mind..." and then the rest. That way you don't have "he" "Scott" and then "Jack" all in the same sentence.

[Jack took her by the shoulders and told her to breathe and for a few agonizing seconds he thought he was too late. Then she drew in a ragged, wheezing gasp and her knees buckled.] I understand that this is the part that happened in Chloe's chapter from Jack's perspective, but I feel like it would have more of an impact if it wasn't summarized. I think if it was actually laid out as it was happening, with the dialogue and all, it would feel more in the moment.

[Her breaths were gasps and coughs like she was choking on air.] I think you could change this so it's just "She gasped and coughed...". The original sentence is passive.

[Scott roared an obscenity at Jack] I feel like actually having the dialogue is better than saying he made a comment.

[he rumbled a guttural growl, becoming a monster before Jack's very eyes.] This one is kind of nitpicky to me, but I don't particularly like this sentence. Or at the very least, the monster part. It just doesn't feel like a very effective way to express to the audience that Scott is being monster-like. Besides, this whole chapter pretty much sums up how much of brute Scott is. I think dropping the word monster is overkill.

[brandishing the bite mark, "That whore is gunna die," his eyes latched] The commas in this sentence should be periods.

[it was probable he wanted nothing but to cause pain and didn't care upon who it fell.] Probable isn't a bad word, I'd suggest possible, but that's a suggestions. "...didn't care upon who it fell." reads awkward to me. I'd suggest moving "upon" to the end of the sentence.

[then turned his head to the side and spat blood. H] Misplaced letter.

[Jack reflected that he had no idea where Scott even came from and he was sure Ty didn't either.] I feel like this bit of information might have been better suited elsewhere. Again, that is probably just me being nitpicky.

["But you'll take Scott's word of that of your own brother?"] *over

[Before Jack could reply, his brother afforded him disproving look] Missing "a"

Really glad I got to read this chapter! I'm enjoying it! :) Good luck with all your writing and keep it up!
8/2/2013 c3 3mango-fetish
So we've already gotten to the action. Awesome! That was a really good fight scene with just enough description to keep it from being bare, but also the right amount of action. Well done. I was right there with Chloe wanting to punch those awful guys who destroyed her mother's bakery! I'm really siding with this character and it's only chapter two. I'm not much for cursing, but that might just be my young and sensitive ears talking, but I did really enjoy it.

Can't wait for more.
7/16/2013 c3 2Murphy Chapelwood
This review is for the first two chapters. I just picked out some examples of technical things that I noticed from each. There are far fewer than I am used to seeing.

Chapter 1

"...she was only human, after all."

"He brought the country to her knees..."

"...saw right through her."

These strike me as stock phrases. Things that spring up during automatic writing. As a writer, we are supposed to come up with these phrases, not use what's already out there.

"...and let the warm night air in."

I hesitate to mention this, but since it's in third person, you should try and not end sentences on prepositions. You're really good about it from what I have read, so that when it happens I find it jarring. The easy fix, "...and let in the warm night air."

"...cut all ties the United States may have had with other countries."

I am always reluctant with words like maybe/almost/perhaps/etc. during narration. As the writer, you know one way or the other, and those words leave a reader without a clear picture. The example above stems from "may have had." I don't know why you really need the "may" in there at all.

"Ma mused as she stoked the coals in their brick oven."

This is a pet peeve of mine. Separate action from dialogue. I know people can say, well what if they're talking and doing the thing at the same time. Then just remove the verb carrying the dialogue. As in for the above example, dialogue and then "She stoked the coals..."

Chapter 2

"The man who'd been addressed as Jeb caught her in an equally as unsteady gaze..."

I always harp on streamlining prose. There aren't many places to improve, like with the prepositions above, but when I notice it it is disturbing. Here, for example, it is really a little too wordy. I think it really could be cut down to, "The other man, Jeb, caught her in an equally unsteady gaze..."

As for the story so far, cool-cool. I liked it. I was shocked by what happens to Ma, especially so soon in the piece. I approve of it happening off screen, and even think that you don't need to have Scott and Jeb describe it as much as they did. Leaving things to the readers' imaginations is one of the oldest tricks in the book to inspire horror/squick.

Also, when she was looking past the two of them at the ships and boats in the water, I thought they were refugees escaping from the destruction, like hope was slipping away from Chloe. I thought that was poignant, but when I read the summary it came to me that they were probably the attacking pirates returning to their ships. Which is it?
7/13/2013 c3 TaeminYuu
Hello from the Roadhouse! I've only read the first 2 chapters (If I wasn't rushing out in a few minutes I'd have read more) so here's a review on your work so far!

(I'm going through the parts you say you specifically want feedback on first)

So Chloe's characterization. I still don't know her all that well yet, I take it she is a very very deep character, I Just get that impression, but so far, her actions seemed very real. From the second she meets Scott and Jeb, everything is fight or flight reactions. You can tell she is genuinely grieved at the loss of Ma, but that because of the danger she finds herself in, she is unable to afford the luxury of grieving (it sounds bad saying luxury and grieving in the same sentence, but in her situation it would be preferable to have time to mourn her loss instead of fleeing the very monsters who killed Ma).

That said, yes, she is very believable, though I still don't know much about her yet. She seems strong to come through after such a tough past, I have a feeling she won't let herself become the tragic hero or the damsel in distress. She's going to stay strong and steadfast instead of sitting around recalling her past and wallowing in self pity. Yes her past haunts her, but she doesn't sit idly and whine or complain about it. It is because of this that she reminds me just a little of my own character Vincent, he ran away from a violent past, only to find it catching up on him. I think Chloe is stronger at this point though, than my own character was, he was more self pitying than she is. Its really refreshing to see a strong young woman.

Jack and Ty I haven't met yet so I can't comment.

Scott and Jeb ... they are quite sick beings, the slang/dialect that they use really strengthens the characterization of them. The way they don't use polite proper pronunciations (they speak a little like hillbillies if that is the correct term, I am not American) . It makes them sound a little under-educated, so I can see why they turned into thugs instead of productive citizens and the way they talk really supports this. I don't like them, they leave a bitter taste in my mouth they are villains its their job to unsettle the reader, and they are doing that.

It seems a little strange that they are just killing random people though (though I get the impression it is not entirely random since they are working for someone). They seem to be smart enough at carrying out the crime but not totally insane. It seems like Ma was killed for the sake of Ma being killed. I think it would be slightly more realistic if she'd been caught in the fire as opposed to stabbed, but that would lose the impact that it has on Chloe. The fire would be more realistic in my view but then you wouldn't have had that scene where Chloe meets the killers and has to see Ma's blood on their hands, that clearly has a profound impact on Chloe.

So it is like flipping sides of a coin I guess. I think later on as the reader gets to see more of Scott and Jeb this will make more sense. We still don't know how barbaric they are, murder aside, their attack on Chloe is genuinely gruesome enough.

I didn't notice the Elvis chapter titles, but I don't listen to music in English (I just write stories in the language) so I wouldn't have known, but its a nice touch. I liked how in the first chapter she listens to Elvis records, its small touches like this that really personalize the story, little gems like that signify a good writer in my eyes. It's one thing to write a story with a solid plot, good characters etc, its another to do that, and add these little flourishes that readers can relate to and almost really see, hear or feel. It changed the tone nicely. The record for me sort of symbolized Chloe leaving her nightmares and finding comfort, it was a nice transition as opposed to "Chloe had nightmares, but then she just ignored them and moved on etc etc". I liked it.

The flow is good, I do love the way you described the sky and the scene at the end of chapter one. You use very eloquent language that is thoroughly enjoyable to read and well put together.

Your specifics aside, I've pretty much said all I needed to say already. Good story, its very very tangible, from the smell of the dough and the sea water up to almost hearing the crackle of flames and feeling warmth on the back of your neck! Lots more room to develop the characters farther, I like them so far but there's still so much further to go with the story so we can learn more about Chloe (and the villains), this (in my opinion) is great because no one wants a character laid out in front of them 100% developed straight away, its fun watching them change and grow and finding out odd quirks about them deeper in the story.
7/6/2013 c4 A. Nonymous1234
Gosh, poor Chloe. How many bad things are going to happen to that poor girl? The Hawaiian terminology was a nice, simple touch to the story. It adds a little bit more background to Chloe's character, thus making her all the more real it seems. The introduction of these two new female characters is also a nice touch. They add two very different personalities to the mix, which makes for an interesting read. The cast of characters in this story are very well done.

I understand why this story has an M rating now. I must ask, will there always be a kind of 'fade to black' before the poor girls are violated, or will we be there reading about their suffering. It's not like I'm going to shy away if there are scenes of the nature, but I must simply ask.

Another good chapter- I think I've covered briefly most of what you requested for a review. I'll review the remainder when I get time, as I quite like this story.

-From the roadhouse
7/6/2013 c3 A. Nonymous1234
Oh lord that got dark quickly. You requested certain aspects my review to cover, and I really do think your realism on Chloe is near, if not exactly, spot on. I could imagine meeting her in person, even though I'm not that far into what you have yet. My reaction to this was... holy shit. The way they talk really is another positive point of realism to this story. You got the accents pretty much spot on. I can't find many grammar or spelling errors, and what there are I'm not going to nag about.

One last thing-
"Chloe had known light in her life. Significant portions, really. But she has also known darkness. She's touched it. Tasted it on her tongue and felt it with her fingertips. It has rubbed up against her and she knows it's texture. It's been around enough that she knows it by scent."

This paragraph is brilliant. Just brilliant.

(I'm not far enough in to cover my feelings for the main villains yet, but I'm pretty much hating them already now, so good job there.)

-From the roadhouse
6/29/2013 c2 3mango-fetish
Good God, I love this story. I really, really love this story and I've only read on chapter! Firstly, I have to say that your prologue was amazing. Just one quote, but it spoke volumes. I love that book, so it really struck a chord. This chapter was so full of fantastic descriptive languag. I bet your English teachers love you! Seriously, though. It sounds kind of cheesy, but you really painted me a picture with words.

It seems dystopian, but for now, not overwhelmingly dystopian. What I mean is that in some dystopians, the writer can't seem to stop describing the world and how much it currently sucks. But you focus on your individual characters, less so then their world. Though I trust there will be tons more elaboration. The end is suspenseful and the character believable. Ma's not an angel sent from heaven, but I love their relationship!
6/28/2013 c2 1Animel
Gonna review as I read so it's chronological, and because otherwise I always forget things.

Ooh, great first line. That’s so important, either reels me in or doesn’t from the get-go and this one does. The past tense doesn’t match with the rest of the paragraph being present, though, so I’d change the “was” to ‘is.’

Introducing Chloe by connecting her to these kinds of broad questions that we all address from time to time makes her immediately relatable, very human. I’d prefer the flow if you removed the phrase “but it wasn’t because she was cold” which over-explains what is already implied by the fact that tremors are responsible and will be further clarified by the rest of the paragraph. Removing unnecessary repetition can really help the overall flow and feel of the story. I feel like you have some really powerful lines in here (e.g. “she finally decided to move on with it”) and it’s just working on all the little connections in between them that polishes up the whole. Another example is the word “nightmares” standing alone as a sentence, which could go since the next sentence is clearly about nightmares and it’s brought up again a moment later, too.

Let in the warm night air, instead of let…in. This is so nit-picky, it’s a dumb grammar convention that nobody follows, but it always bugs me.

Don’t need to say “Texas” Austin is as recognizable as the other two cities so it sounds weird to have that one only include the state. Typo right after that with just the word “California” hanging out by itself. Don’t need to keep repeating United States. You can just say “the population” for instance.

“Nobody knew her…Ma” is a run-on and the ‘but’ doesn’t make sense because the two parts don’t have any contrast. You could say “Nobody knew her real name, if she had one; everybody just called her Ma.” or something.

A comma instead of a semicolon works after “This was the sky…”

Maybe “Dammit: instead of “damn you?” Just seems odd to be directed at Chloe.

Great ending.

Overall I think you have a great voice and it’s telling a story I want to keep reading. The editing I would do would be almost all removing. There are a lot of superfluous words or phrases I’d take out, but that’s a lot better than having key things missing.

Looking forward to keeping reading!
6/28/2013 c3 4lookingwest
from the Roadhouse

You mention at RH that you wanted feedback on the chapter titles - honestly, I think it works great. Since I've only started reading and read the RH bit first, I didn't have a chance to "notice" as much. But I think it kind of has a Fallout theme - old 50s/60s music seems to pair well with the apocalypse in sometimes very creepy ways. Like Hills Have Eyes stuff. Anyway, I think it's a fine decision!

The opening describing the men and the tension of horrible things coming reminded me a little bit of Cormac Macarthy's The Road. I thought you built up the suspense really well.

When Jeb shrugged and spat black tobacco juice on the ground, the first man advanced on her. [This paragraph is fine, but it needs to be "entered" in doc manager so that it's in its "own" paragraph, if that makes sense. Just check it out, haha.]

"...Came at me with a shotgun, but I stabbed her 'fore she could cock it." [Maybe "could cock and load it" might work as well, this is just another nitpick. If someone needs to cock a shotgun, that means it's out of shotgun shells, so she would've had to have paused to reload. That being said, maybe you already know that, lol, sorry to nitpick if so!]

I actually think you could get rid of the last line. Too often, the fade-to-black is used in action scenes, and I think you could get away with leaving it out and just starting your next chapter wherever with perhaps the implication that she "eventually" passed out, just between the transitions of the chapters.

On RH you mentioned you wanted to know if readers disliked Scott and Jeb, and I can say that in my opinion, yes, I disliked them. I found Chloe's reaction to their advances very realistic, and had no problem following that. Her fear carried well. The death of Ma is something I saw coming from the last chapter - and I think perhaps what you might want to do is cut out maybe some of the backstory/detail you give her in the opening to speed things up since she doesn't last very long. Not a big thing, but an option for your opening chapter.

The descriptions of the action were good and easy to follow. I thought you did a good job with the pacing. I liked the bit with Ma's wedding ring and how those assholes got ahold of it. It's interesting that Ma's death happens "off-screen" as it were - I personally would've had an urge to show it, but then I like the unfolding shock that you show from Chloe when she finds out, and I'm glad you went with that route. Well done!
6/28/2013 c2 lookingwest
from the Roadhouse

Big fan of the Book Thief, like the epigraph!

California The resulting tsunamis and earthquakes around... [I think this is missing a sentence or at least missing something after "California"]

She flipped on the record player she... [Not sure if you own a record player or not, but I do, and I think maybe "dropped the needle on the record player" might be better. You can turn on the stereo, but you can't really "flip on" a record player. Nitpick for sure, but something to think about.]

I thought the strongest part of this was the ending. The description of what I can only guess is perhaps a nuclear explosion or a firestorm was well done, and I think since you don't name exactly what it is, it helps the reader want to continue reading to the next chapter to find out. The opening, however, was a little slow for me. I'm almost thinking you could start with the actual scene where she's baking and then go from there somehow. Describe the actual blast more and slow things down in that regard. But I also liked the opening description of the black ocean, that was unique and very poetic. So far I'm interested to see if Ma will live through this, and how Chloe does. Again, your ending was very strong! And the premise of the story sounds cool too.
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