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5/9/2023 c4 3Ser Quicksand
I get that Malcolm wants to prove himself as being every bit as capable as all the other people and Kelly, but...I don't believe I can think of any situation where trying to take selfies in front of a bear is anything close to a good idea. Honestly, if Kelly and Alysha weren't around, someone would've had to scrap up whatever was left of him from the mountain.

Also, I wonder if Alysha has a tiny bit of resentment or even jealousy, when it comes to suggesting Kelly try to go and get herself promoted until she's eventually as out of danger as one can be in the military. I don't mean with any sort of ill-intentions, I just mean it's sort of like it seems Kelly might actually be a little better at letting herself separate from her army service than it seems, instead of just more than Alysha. It's also interesting in that sense because even if that IS the case, she still clearly has a lot to sort out on where she wants to go from here, even if she does seem to be looking forward to her upcoming job. Curious if that holds up for her down the line.
9/13/2022 c14 JaveHarron
Okay, a family drama with a grim ending, but a few thoughts. While the initial premise and setup was intriguing to me, and the foreshadowing was there from the first few chapters. I did think the pacing was good at first, but a few problems crept up towards the end. One was the monologues went on for a very, very long time, both the protagonists and antagonists. While politics and family radicalization were major themes of the plot, they could have been paced better. Besides, the main character and her squad did not seem to use much in the way of tactics. For example, less focus on suppressive fire, flanking, and the 3 Fs (fix, flank, finish), or the idea of a spectrum of force (non-lethal or less-lethal captures of some potential figures of interest). IRL non-lethal or less lethal weapons, like flash bangs or baton rounds, are not perfect and can be nasty, but they do not simply kill outright. The main character and her squad may not have access to such things or be able to improvise, they seem like something a professional soldier and combat veteran would know. Tactics aside, other problems included a good amount of spelling and grammatical errors, which detracted from the action, speech, and flow. With some deep polishing and revision, this could end up being solid, but it requires substantial revision in its current form.
9/10/2022 c1 JaveHarron
Okay, you've set up a classic concept: a returning soldier finds peril back home. I like the take being it's a female soldier in a western state. I think you set up each of the main characters and their personalities fairly well, giving each a distinct voice. However, one thing that might increase immersion is a bit more description of the place they live. Is it overgrown? Is it smaller or bigger than she remembers? Changes over time are something many returning military personnel note. Looking forward to where this goes.
7/11/2022 c3 Ser Quicksand
I have to say, it's interesting seeing Kelly already trying to readjust so soon by going in for an interview about a school position as a phys ed teacher and coach. It makes me wonder if maybe she's trying to keep herself busy so that she minimizes the amount of stress or anxiety she feels from having to remember her time in the service. That being said, it looks like she's not having nearly as much of a successful time with it as she'd have liked in any sense of it, unfortunately.

Seeing her still have flashbacks from things is a bit rough, as is having it be revealed that she still bears a number of scars from the years, both physical and of the emotional kind. I'm not sure her seemingly trying to brush it off to her mom and some others as mostly a result of jet-lag is the healthiest thing for her though, and I worry at some point it'll boil over. Also, I like the idea of her feeling guilty over not being there for her brother with the years that she was away overseas and her fears that he resents and hates her for it. Nicely done, and I'm curious where this goes in the future chapters.
1/18/2022 c1 40The Youngest Mistress
Nice start. There is a big bundle of grammatical errors; those can be fixed with Grammarly; but hey, cool start. I'll be sure to check out the rest of the fic! I just uploaded a new version of my story, 'The Boy With The Green Eyes', right now!
10/9/2021 c14 7Eytha
Reached the final chapter and a very long and unnatural epilogue, which is your habit at this point. This needs to be significantly shorter if even necessary at all, as an epilogue. You can just make a normal chapter and leave behind the epilogue baggage all together. It don't really think in this story it is doing you any favors. It's more that you feel a book needs one and you make the final chapter one regardless or whether it makes sense or not for it. This should just be wrapping up loose ends.

A lot of this dragged on with speeches, back and forth debating over the message of your book and general delaying the end of the story. The entire debate it just forced and feels like you're trying to soap box your message rather than letting the story speak for itself. It's getting into preachy territory and you don't want that. This is already a message normal people know without reading it and that crazy people that you might be trying to change aren't going to be listening if even reading this. So you don't really want to be preachy to the choir at this point. Drop everything with the debate and just leave it some open question if she accepts the possibility of an offer.

I do wonder if Kelly and her team would have had to face legal charges of some sort in the rea world. I don't know the limits of a citizen arrest and even saving the day, I feel like there's consequences to actions that are circumventing the legal system, especially given that there was murder or self-defense involved.

Overall, it's definitely an easier story to edit, however, it is massively behind in that department. The amount of spelling errors alone is distractingly high. The dialogue still has the same grammar errors as before. You change between present and past tense often. You heavily tell rather than show. You're still too wordy when you get down to confrontations. You seem to have a deep love for the word maverick, as it made an appearance here as well, and literally no normal person says that and your usage is wrong anyway. Several characters, specifically younger ones come off really unnatural, almost cartoonish or anime version of children and not realistic one. You've got B plot with the self defense that literally goes no where. And the ending is an 80s action movie complete with consequence free violence and murder. Things start well enough, but I don't really think you stick the landing as the final 4 chapters are go off the rails into a completely different genre unnecessarily.

This is going to be easier to edit to get ready to publish. Though I don't even know the audience for this. So I don't even know if this has a market that'll be interested in reading this. It's probably a hard sell.
10/8/2021 c13 Eytha
Reached the end of the climax at this point now. It did go full 80s action movie at this point now. It goes off the rails at this point and completely descends into action with all sort of silliness and excuses for why this was even an action scene. It really stands in contrast harshly with the rest of the story. Even if everything is well researched and grounded, it all just felt out of place, unnatural and unrealistic.

It really did not need this big action set piece to end things. You just didn't know how to end it any other way. Smaller scale things would have served your story far better than what you wrote here. This is a character drama and it should have the drama be the focus rather than an action scene.

Tucker at this point really just felt like you inserted your Troy or Steiner model in and called it a day there. Especially once they got talking, it all just felt like the exact same things you had them saying. It didn't feel like it had any nuance probably because they had too many similarities with other characters you made.

You also made some attempt to try other redeem the brother or deal him back a little at the end. Given that he's just dead, it didn't really like you knew what was going on. So it felt less like he was regretting anything and just had a line he couldn't cross despite his words otherwise. So I don't know if the intent is trying to redeem or not, if it is I don't believe that worked.
10/7/2021 c12 Eytha
It hasn't gone full 80s action movie yet, but it's tip toeing really close in a few moments. But this seems to be the climax and the ending approaching. This is quite a long chapter for very little occurring and a lot of that is due to the heavy conversation that took up I think half of the chapter. it makes sense that Kelly is going to try to talk down her brother. That's not really an issue. It's a little odd the rest of her team is so willing to engage in conversation with them rather than do what they've all committed themselves to doing, which is stopping them when it was clear things were only going one well.

This is literally a trained team of military killers sneaking into a poorly defended encampment. Obviously they're not trying to kill, but still this should be quick efficient and merciless, as their military training would have beat into them. Breach and clear. They had the complete advantage and did nothing with it. This feels like it's getting dragged out in something that realistically shouldn't even be a blip on their radar. Cold and calculated, everyone in the brother's group should have been unconscious before this chapter ended and the climax resolved. Anything more feels like it's been artificially created in an unnatural way that makes supposed highly trained and competent soldier look like idiots.

And the whole conversation between Kelly and her brother went on longer than necessary. Your overly chatty nature and habit really came to shine in this part where everyone's got something to say, when honestly the soldiers should be taking them all apart without effort. I'm guessing things end next chapter with there being an epilogue. This whole thing feels really dragged out.
10/6/2021 c11 Eytha
Well this took yet another turn. I feel like I'm reading a 80s action movie starring Arnold now. I guess I'll see how the remaining chapters play this out, but this went far past just shutting down the brother. It's descending to a full on action movie finale at this point. It really feels like you didn't know how to end things in a way that didn't involve action and relieved on that because that's what you know and are comfortable with doing. Which I really think is hurting the narrative now.

As for the chapter it self, the students oscillate between being semi believable to cartoonishly unrealistic. Which is something that you battled with through the whole story. And the conversation with the mother and Kelly felt like she gave up more than she would have. I mean it happens in every story, you tell someone that knows nothing go do this thing if I don't return, but they do it immediately because they're curious or concerned. She already trying to protect her mother and not risk tipping off her brother, it seems like a mistake that she would not make.

This chapter really felt like it should have been three chapters. And most likely the end probably belongs in the next chapter. But it's still your bad habit of grouping too much together into a chapter. You need to be more comfortable with breaking things up when there are natural story beats. I think doing an outline and treating each point on the outline as a chapter is a good place to start. It won't be perfect, but it'll likely give you better writing habits. It'll also make your pacing feel better.
10/5/2021 c10 Eytha
Sorry for the delay, but I'm back on task once more. This chapter rapidly escalates the situation to an extreme. Not sure why Kelly felt letting her family go off to the movies was a good idea than just explaining things on the spot. Seems like a rather important matter that doesn't get delayed. Being military, you would think she'd be swift and fast to act especially given the dangerous potential she felt.

The entire confrontation with Dale went on a long time. It felt a little padded out and a little repetitive much like with the brother. Could do to bring it down some. As for the actual plan, feels like you went unnecessarily big scale. Did it have to jump to presidential assassination as the plan? You could have kept it a lot more small scale and down to earth and still got what you wanted. The core issue is that the brother went off the deep end. What those circumstances shouldn't really be the focus point of the story.

The focus point is on the family and what happening to it, keeping things a more internal and personal conflict rather than a really big external conflict. It felt like you didn't know what the climax should be and fell back what you knew, which was leaning on action. I don't know how much will carry into the final chapters, but I think it would be fine if things stayed almost just conversational. Maybe he's caught stealing something for his big plan and that's the moment rather than an large act of homeland terrorism.

While not impossible, it seems really convenient that he just happens to have a cage to lock her up in. And might be a terrorist? More or less is with the plan that they have. Shouldn't really be sugar coating things and doesn't seem like she would, especially after what she went through.
9/28/2021 c9 Eytha
The eventual confrontation finally happened in this chapter. And it went down about how I expected apart from Kelly not being more aggressive about keeping him from leaving. But the plot required him to leave. Though the circumstances of the event was a little odd. Because he was burying drugs to hide them. Why did he need to hide them, he clearly was carrying them on him without anyone knowing any different. Why did he suddenly feel the need to bury it when wherever he pulled them from he could have put them back there until they left. Very odd choice that seemed more like him making a poor decision so the plot could happen.

More scenes of the self defense class and waiting to see where this sub plot is going. Hope it is paying off in some way. It's also a super short scene, which is good, but also feels really out of place with the rest of the chapter. It sort of felt unnecessary or that should just on its own in a different chapter.

The entire argument between Kelly and the brother felt like it went on a really long time. It did better than the one with the gun sellers, though you still run into some repetition and cyclical conversations with the two. So you could do to trim down on the talking.

At this point, there's not a lot of chapters left, so I'm guessing things are moving towards the end point. There really doesn't feel like there's been a lot happening. A couple of events and escalation. Everything moved quickly off the cliff. Which I guess might be fine. But I guess it's going to depend on how the remaining chapters play things out, but it doesn't really feel like the pages have been used well for delivering your message you want. Going to guess there's going to be another one or two times. But there's quite a lot of just tangential things happening.
9/27/2021 c8 Eytha
This chapter definitely pushed on the plot and action. Though I'm wondering what the self-defense sub-plot is going to be about. You're spending too long on it for it not to lead to anything. It's not even character building at this point because Kelly's well established that it's not really needed. So I'm guessing things will intersect with the brother, given the girl's anger is focused there.

This chapter also has the issue of being two chapters in one. So they need to be split up. Especially with there being two different points of view now. Though I do wonder if there is any need for her b rother's point of view. This is a story about Kelly learning about what her brother is up, rather than a story about the reader learning what he's doing. So you may not even need the brother sections.

Speaking to the brother's section, it's very long and the conversation drags on long past the point of it doing what you're needing. It's a long cyclical argument between the two groups that devolves into violence. It's really strange that the moment they got insulted that they didn't just pull guns on the brother and group. There was a lot of talking with high tensions that just never amounted to anything and it became the deal that broke things down. The whole thing felt really unnatural and awkward.

I'm seeing a lot of flashes of Steiner and Troy in the brother and his friends. And some of the word usage from both sides felt a little out of tone with them. They all ended up feeling awkward part because I'm being reminded of them, but also because their tempers flared just to the point to insult each other for several minutes, but never to throw a punch or anything. They were the most restrained violent extremists I can imagine.
9/27/2021 c7 Eytha
The chapter is mostly just fallout reactions to the previous quitting work and a little more bits of details about the brother that Kelly finds. Given that there is very little that this chapter is doing to move the plot forward you probably want to see about trimming it down. This is the half way point now and the plot has only really start to move. It's a lot of time spent to build towards the blow up at the end. And at this point the extremist ideas of the brother are no longer a mystery in terms of how far it goes. So it doesn't necessarily need a huge deep dive into with a long conversation.

As for the chapter itself, probably could do to separate the school and lunch part from the dinner drama and be two chapters. They're largely distinct events that don't have to be in the same chapter. The students still come off a little awkward in their dialogue, sounding older than they are.

Given that things are half over I am wondering how fast things escalate at this point. Because there's not a lot of time remaining in the story at this point. And It's unclear right now how you plan to resolve things, if it'll be talking or action. Guess it's going to depend on what you end up doing. Worry that with the pacing you have it might be rushed, unless whatever he plan is will be the climax, which is really quick. But may be the only option you have to end things before words run out.
9/26/2021 c6 Eytha
This starts to dig into the plot proper, between the stakeout and the dinner visit, I think does the same and more to explain a lot about the people around the brother and the brother themselves. Given that, you probably don't need as much up front time devoted to trying to establish them since this does that job quite well. You give hints or peaks at it before as though the whole scene's point is just to show that hint. Given the time you wait to get to the plot, you probably can be do without as many of those hints or work to make them more concise, since this does the job you're looking for.

You don't want to remove them all, but you still need the underlining mystery and awkwardness. But having the airport scene as fleshed out as it is probably is enough. And then condense down other parts. Probably leave the camping as the other scene and just remove or scale down really hard on the others until you get to here.

This chapter is probably one of the stronger ones you have. I still feel like you probably should split this up into two chapters. You have a bad habit of seeing things in arcs or everything connected being together, so you end up with a case of chapters that have two parts to them. You need to be comfortable to more variable chapter size and more comfortable with having shorter chapters overall. You have to remember that in print the length of this on pages will go between 50% to 100% increase in size. This is nothing wrong at all with a 10 page print chapter if that's what makes sense.

You still run into a little of your habits with dialogue here, but they are more restrained. So things do flow better. Though you still have a lot of grammar issues that need to be resolve. I am wondering where your habit of quotations came from, since that wasn't present in the first book of Zilos, but is now everywhere in your writing.
9/24/2021 c5 Eytha
This chapter seems to be engaging more with the plot, though it does take until the end to get there. And at least at this point it's not clear that it will be any different than any of the other minor bumps in his personality that are clashing versus something large for the entire narrative. But I'm guessing this is the starting point of something more revealing.

The whole chapter devoted to her first day on the job looks good on paper. That it becomes the possible turning point for things is an unusual place. Though it does overall sort of over stay it's welcome with just some generally overly chatty conversations and possibly even some that are not really necessary. The kid that had family member in the military just sounded unnatural for a teenager, a lot of the people tend to feel a little off being overly military and hero focused. But that seems a little more plausible from adult than a teen that likely doesn't care, especially in the current age when military isn't really a glamorous sort of position anymore.

And the girl Kelly talks to at the end sounds like a sort of college student anti-establishment anarchist, which also sounds really weird and more like something you'd see out of book that isn't trying to be grounded with their characters. It smoothed out at the conversation went on, but first impressions were a little weird.

It also felt like you should left all the bear and camping stuff in the previous chapter or split the chapter up into two. This should just be focused on the high school. Might also help to not make this chapter feel so long with it having two different things happening in it.
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