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Critiques Needed: First pages of Project Styx

The first pages of a sci-fi/fantasy book I'm working on

By K. KocheryanPublished 3 months ago 16 min read
Top Story - January 2024
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Authors note: I would like constructive critiques on the first pages of a sci-fi fantasy book I am working on. I would like to know first impressions and things that need to be worked on. This is so I can get an idea of what an agent or editor might think. I also know that this is long—no need to read the whole thing, in fact, tell me when you lose interest.

Project Styx

Hera watched as the emaciated boy made his way toward the Styx—a large glass box in the middle of a large concrete room with no windows, no visible vents, or even thin cracks on the walls. Hera wondered, as she watched him how he could stand so tall and walk with such power while looking as if he came straight from the underworld. Hera wondered until she reached his eyes, and then she realized it wasn’t something physical holding him up. His eyes bore into the woman who stood in front of the Styx. And Dr. Anna stared right back with a smile on her onyx lips.

“He’s thinking mean things,” a little girl said, who sat to the left of Hera.

There were three chairs about ten feet away from the right side of the Styx. Hera sat farthest to the right, to the left of her was the little girl, and next to the girl, a now empty seat.

“Shh, Lily, that picture you made this morning was so pretty,” said Sandy, Lily’s Caretaker—a tall woman with long brown hair pushed back with a pink, glittering headband. Sandy’s voice was soft and low; Hera wondered if it had to be.

Hera glanced at them and saw Lily’s glistening eyes staring unblinkingly at the boy.

“Thank…you…Sandy. You can keep it,” Lily mumbled. She opened her mouth to say something else, but paused, clutched her stomach, and said, “He’s so hungry…and sad and angry.”

Caretaker Sandy, standing behind her, leaned her head down next to Lily’s. “Shh, what if you make another one? You can use purple this time or green or blue or red.”

“Maybe—um…red.”

The back glass wall of the Styx opened, sliding down into the floor with a click. The boy, who still didn’t break his stare—nor did Dr. Anna—walked in without hesitation, worried look, quick breaths, or purposely slow steps. Hera had never seen that before. She started to pick the skin around her nails.

The glass wall came back up and trapped the boy inside.

Dr. Anna raised her hand and gestured for someone in Hera’s direction to move up. The boy’s Caretaker, a lanky man with tribal tattoos on his arm, walked forward and stood next to Dr. Anna. She whispered something in his ear while the Caretaker stayed emotionless.

Dr. Anna took a step forward, her nose almost touching the glass. The boy did the same. She still had that smile, one that Hera had never received.

“Mine’s gonna get an overdose today,” Hera heard Freda, her Caretaker, say behind her. She could feel their hands grab onto the back of the chair.

“How do you know?” Caretaker Sandy asked.

“Last time, she didn’t flinch. Triple dose.”

“Oh, I heard that, but I couldn’t believe it. I mean, that’s not possible.”

“Complete truth,” Freda sighed, and Hera could feel it on her head. “Though, she didn’t do anything, so no Tier. First to be immune is what I’m guessing—but how about your kid, Sandy? Heard she could be God Tier. Youngest one.”

Hera could feel eyes on her. She turned her head and saw Lily staring at her. She could see the whites of her eyes covered in thin red string. Hera looked away. Most of her kind needed eye contact, though Hera wasn’t sure if Lily was the same.

Sandy took a sharp breath. “Oh, r-really? Is that what they are—”

Dr. Anna clapped her hands once.

“Think it’s time,” she said. “I suggest we put on some music for this one.”

Soft violins took up the empty cold space. Dr. Anna broke her stare from the boy and grabbed a chair near her, sitting down in front of the Styx. She slouched down, leaned her arm on the back rest, and spread her legs.

Dr. Anna spoke to everyone. “First up is nineteen-year-old Donte. His Caretaker, Clarence, has informed me that after his time in the Styx four months ago, Donte has the ability to survive without eating for long periods of time.” Her voice was calm, laid back, but there was a sternness to it, like water held by steel. Dr. Anna looked toward Hera’s little group. “Which is pretty cool, but we all know that the first Occurrence is just a taste of what’s to come.” Dr. Anna looked at Hera. “All of you here are in your second or third Styx run, meaning that this day might just change your life.”

Dr. Anna looked back at Donte. Hera thought that if his eyes could create fire, he would have burned the room to ash. Hera couldn’t remember a time when she was angry. Maybe frustrated. Maybe annoyed. Maybe more, but whatever Hera was trying to think of was blurred and bound too deep inside her mind.

“Donte, before we begin, is there anything you would like to say?” Dr. Anna asked.

Through clenched teeth but a soft, still voice, Donte asked, “Where is the real Caretaker Clarence?”

There was a pause between them. Eyes searching. And it seemed like everyone else in the room froze.

Lily whispered, “There never was one. Only name and skin.”

“Shh,” Caretaker Sandy breathed.

Hera didn’t understand what he meant; the Caretaker looked like himself, well, from what she remembered. She had only seen him a handful of times in the hallways or when Freda chatted with him. She’s seen Donte less so, only twice; once at lunch and this time.

Dr. Anna gestured at Caretaker Clarence behind her. “ He’s right here. Are you feeling okay? That’s kinda a strange question.”

Donte tensed. “He tried to feed me, and the next day he was gone. That stranger taking his place.”

“Your evidence?”

Slowly Donte said, “Don’t play with me.”

Caretaker Clarence looked down and then back at Donte.

“I see…” Dr. Anna said, nodding. Her eyes glazed over, looking at nothing on the floor. It was silent for a moment before another voice, which sounded far, interrupted it.

“Donte,” Dr. Williams said, coming out of the shadows created from the space underneath a higher section of a wall that protruded out a room-sized cement square, “some side effects of the Styx or even just an Occurrence does have some mind-altering properties. Memories might change. Short-term hallucinations. Paranoia.”

Dr. Williams is a tall man, broad-shouldered, and to quite a few people whispering about when he walks by, handsome. But for Hera, he was the feeling of a roach crawling up her legs.

“His eyes see wrong things,” Lily whispered. Hera looked at Lily, who looked back at her. Hera quickly looked away again. “Wrong things see him too.”

“Shh, Lily.”

Donte’s voice rose. “That. Isn’t. Him.”

Dr. Anna came out of her daze, “You aren’t the only person who has questioned their Caretaker. He is as he has always been.”

“Not when he looks at me.”

“It’s time to start, Donte. Afterward, if we can, we will send you to the counselor if you still feel this way. Right, Caretaker Clarence?”

Caretaker Clarence said, “Of course.”

Donte rolled his eyes and walked to the center of the glass box.

“He doesn’t like the dark. So, the dark will never come,” Lily whispered.

“Shh, I think cookies sound good today. Choco chip or oatmeal?” Caretaker Sandy brushed Lily’s hair back with her hands.

“Can someone be good and bad, Sandy?”

“Golden flowers. Puppies the color of a rainbow. Like pink. You like pink. What’s seven plus sixteen again? Twenty-three. Today is the twenty-third. I think we will have pasta for lunch, what do you think? Oh, and you have a playdate today in the evening. You said red earlier—what about violet.” Caretaker Sandy’s slow way of speaking almost made things sound like a song. Freda’s voice never sounded like a song, more like a general on their day off.

Lily looked down, her eyebrows scrunched together, mumbling words that repeated Sandy’s or replied. Hera wondered if she could be like Lily and the others. Would she be able to handle the constant stream, or would she drown?

“Alive, fifty creds,” Hera heard a deep voice say behind her.

“Nah, not this time. Kid’s been starved for months,” another voice said.

Freda chimed in. “Alive. Definitely.”

Two guards stood in front of the metal door entrance to the Styx room, which was located behind Hera’s group. Their names were Fox and Deer. Not their real names, Hera guessed, but one of the few people she knew the names of because they were always around. Whether they talked to Freda or hung around at lunchtime or free time, you could always see them together in their all-black uniforms. The other guards weren’t as visible, almost like shadows, so Hera didn’t pay them any mind.

A square panel of the floor of the Styx opened. There was a low mechanical sound, and a metallic arm with three syringes, like fingers, moved toward Donte’s back. Two fingers extended; one stopped in the middle of his back and the other at the base of his spine. The third was level with his neck.

Prick.

Quickly enough to miss if the afflicted person didn’t flinch. The arm went back through the panel on the floor faster than it came in. The square panel closed.

Hera could see Donte’s thin, olive arms twitch.

Lily whimpered.

“Shh”

Donte’s body trembled. His hands began to jerk, and he tried to control them by putting them into tight bony fists. His eyes were still on Dr. Anna, who watched him intently.

Donte’s lips parted. Teeth grinding. Eyes wild but focused.

He dropped to his knees. His hands trying to cling to the metallic floor. Hera could hear his panting, Lily’s light little whimpers, and the music that floated around the room.

“He can turn the lights back on,” Lily said in a quivered whisper.

“Shh, Lily.”

Donte stood up in one motion. And in the next one, slammed himself into the glass wall.

He did it again.

And again.

And again.

Lily started to cry, and her mumblings were quicker, words impossible to catch.

Donte screamed. But it didn’t sound scared. It was confident, just like his eyes. He screamed again. Bared his teeth. Tried to get through the glass wall.

Donte lifted his fist and punched the wall. The quickness of this action and the cracking sound caused Hera to flinch. Did his fingers just break? Or was it the glass? Hera started to turn in her seat to face Freda behind her, but when she looked up, she caught their eyes. Freda shook their head. Hera turned back to the Styx. Though, she kept her eyes unfocused.

“Williams, how much force in his strikes,” Dr. Anna asked.

“Human, but impressive in his state,” Dr. Williams answered, looking at his tablet.

Dr. Anna cocked her head. “I wonder if the aggression is hiding it. Last one with intense aggression?

“Six months ago. Age 26. Enhanced strength and reflexes. Died of a heart attack.”

“Ah, right.”

Dr. Anna nodded slowly while tapping her fingers to the music. Her eyes seemed to glaze over again. Was she thinking of giving him an overdose? From what Hera knew, she was the only one to get one. Freda once muttered under their breath that Dr. Anna was reckless with her compared to the others. But at least Dr. Anna never starved her.

Donte closed his eyes and stopped moving.

He stood there for a minute, frozen.

When he opened them, Hera could only see the whites of his eyes.

Donte leaned his head back.

Hera squirmed in her seat.

“He’s fighting the dark,” Lily whispered.

As Donte swung his head towards the glass, Hera looked down at the floor.

Slam-crack.

Goosebumps covered Hera’s body. She glanced at Lily, whose hands were through her hair, glittery nail polish shining through the strands.

Caretaker Sandy leaned down to Lily while her eyes were still glued to the boy in the glass box, and asked, “Shh, what toys will you bring on your playdate today? The bear or the blocks or—”

Slam-crack.

Hera peeked without wanting to. She saw Donte lean his head back again, and she quickly looked away towards Lily.

Lily whispered, “It rained. Raindrops covering everything—”

“Shh—”

“I want my headphones.” Lily turned towards Caretaker Sandy and tried to dig into her pockets, but Sandy gently grabbed her small hands and held them.

Slam-crack.

“You aren’t allowed to have those in the room, remember?” Caretaker Sandy whispered.

Lily’s face twisted into a cry, but as soon as her eyes began to water, her face untwisted into a blank stare. She turned back around and sat still. Freda’s hand came into Hera’s view; it gestured for her to look back at the Styx.

Dr. Anna stood, putting her hands in her pockets. “With how hard he’s hitting his head….”

“Should be unconscious,” Dr. Williams finished.

“Interesting…I’m not sure that he is conscious.”

“Want to see what I’m seeing on that data?” Dr. Williams said, fiddling with his tablet.

“Not yet, I want to watch this,” Dr. Anna replied. “I want to try something.”

Dr. Anna stepped forward and looked toward Hera’s group. “Can one of the guards please come up and enter the Styx?”

Silence.

Slam-crack.

“Oh-uh, I’ll go,” Fox said.

“You sure? I got it,” Deer interjected.

“Nah, it’s okay. Stay here.”

Fox brushed past Hera, jogging to the Styx. He got to the back of the Styx and waited for the glass wall to go down. Hera peeked at Donte again and saw red on his face and on the glass. She looked back at Fox.

Slam-crack.

Fox took one step in the Styx, and Donte’s head snapped at him. Fox hesitated, but when Donte didn’t move further, he walked in. The wall closed behind Fox.

“Shit,” Deer whispered.

“He’ll be fine,” Freda said.

“Always together,” Lily mumbled. “That’s how we’ll get through.”

“Shh.”

This was new to Hera. She hadn’t heard or seen anyone have a guard join them in the Styx, but by the way the guards reacted, the hesitation, maybe this never happened. At least to these two. But Freda said he’ll be fine, so it must be safer than Hera thought.

Fox and Donte stared at each other for a long while.

Dr. Anna cocked her head. “Raise your gun up at him, Fox.”

Fox glanced at Deer behind Hera’s group and then back at Donte. His eyes never left him as he slowly took his gun out from his waist holster and raised it to aim, but as soon as it was on the starved, thin boy, and not a second later, Donte ran towards him screaming. Fox flinched but didn’t shoot. Instead, he held his arms over his head and chest, bracing for impact.

Donte attacked the guard any way he could, punching, kicking, scratching—but there were quick moments of pause. Forgetting or realizing. Fox noticed; he tried saying his name, being gentler than he probably should have, dodging him, and at one point, leaving himself open just to see if Donte would stop the aggression.

“It’s okay to defend yourself,” Dr. Anna said.

The skeletal boy tackled the guard in a lunge and bit down on his neck. Fox yelled and grabbed Donte’s face, pushing him off, but Hera could see Donte taking something with him, spitting it out. Hera could hear Deer behind her, taking steps with sharp words under his breath.

Dr. Anna looked over toward Hera’s group, and she shook her head.

“Fuck,” Deer whispered.

Fox leaned on the wall that could open, holding his neck, and yelled, “Let me out.”

“No,” Dr. Anna replied.

Donte charged at Fox again, but Fox kicked him away. Donte barely staggered. Donte charged again, and this time Fox growled as he pushed him away.

“Think it’s coming to an end,” Freda said.

Hera eyes focused. She could see all the blood on the glass and the floor and on Fox. She took a glance at Donte’s face but didn’t linger. She looked at Dr. Anna and saw eyes wide, trying to catch everything. It’s coming to an end.

The end, this is what it was all for. The end.

Every time the boy charged, Fox pushed him away. He was lucky that he was much taller and bulkier than the boy, but the Styx floor was turning red, and Fox was getting slower. Hera wondered why he hadn’t tried fighting Donte with the gun, but Lily spoke as soon as the thought went through Hera’s mind.

“Fox hates the sound.”

Fox was limping, dragging his body while avoiding Donte’s attacks. The only time he would get a fraction of a break was when Donte paused. But time was dragging its minutes, dragging itself towards an outcome Hera couldn’t predict. Almost everyone outside of the Styx watching, wanting, waiting for it.

Donte paused.

Deer yelled, “Get it over with!”

Donte came back.

Fox glanced at Deer, then leaned forward, legs strong, body tense. Donte charged. Fox took a deep breath and pushed the boy with such force that Donte stumbled over to the other side of the Styx. Donte’s back now facing Hera.

Fox aimed his gun.

Donte screeched so loud Hera’s ears popped.

Bang!

Donte’s head slammed into the glass, and he slumped down.

Hera and Lily had both yelped at the shot. The music stopped. Everyone now watching the lifeless body. It wasn’t until Fox put his arms down and walked over to the opening of the Styx did anything move or make a sound. Once the glass door slid down, he walked out, breathing heavily, holding onto his wounds.

That was the first time Hera heard a real gunshot. And the first time she saw someone die by something other than the Styx.

“Medic?” Dr. Anna said calmly.

Hera stared at the body. Her heart was finally going back to a normal pace. It was as if Dr. Anna, who was now walking over to the other side of the Styx, prepared him for the inevitable. Once inside the glass box, she knelt beside the body and stared at him. Onyx lips in a thin line. Dr. Williams walked up to the Styx and knocked on the glass. Dr. Anna looked up, and Dr. Williams held up his tablet, pointing at it. Dr. Anna nodded.

Hera looked at Lily. Her eyes were wide open, mouth agape. Tears trickled down her cheeks. Caretaker Sandy had her hands firmly on her shoulders. Then Lily mumbled under her breath, and Hera could make out “the last one” before it went back to whimpers. Hera wondered what Freda’s face might say, but she knew it would probably all just be stone.

The room’s entrance door slid open, and two medics, wearing white uniforms and holding a stretcher, passed Hera. They walked into the Styx, picked up Donte’s limp body, put it on the stretcher, and placed a black sheet over him. As they quickly passed Hera again to leave, Hera could see a thin, veiny arm sticking out.

“Keep your wits,” Freda said. “This isn’t the first time.”

END

Authors Note: If you got through the whole thing, holy crap, thanks! Truly, truly appreciate it.

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About the Creator

K. Kocheryan

I write, delete, write, and on most days, delete again.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (12)

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  • J3 months ago

    I cannot wait to buy this book. Love the greek myth and Divine Comedy references, and the way you let the characters' behaviour describe them. I do second L.C. on the lag at the beginning, as well as both of Scott's points, particularly regarding environment building. Word economy is key in being able to squeeze enough detail in as possible while maintaining the fluidity of the scene, and in keeping the sentence structure from feeling clunky. It's easier to naturally immerse oneself in a space when we know how it feels, rather than what goes where, so maybe try spending some time weaving the fabric of your environments in with your characters' actions, especially through sensory descriptives ("Was it the coldness of his eyes or the dampness in the musty air that made her shiver", etc). I find it helps to imagine it as a shot in a film: If I pan over to this area to show the audience a specific bit of dialogue, will focusing the camera on where the chairs are during that dialogue add or detract from what the characters are doing/saying? Is it symbolic in someway that one is on the left, or does the fact that they're both seated provide enough context for us to understand where and who they are? If so, leave the rest up to the readers' imagination. We want to place ourselves in stories, and being able to have some small say in what a scene looks like in our minds lets us do that, which connects us more deeply to the space, the story and its characters. That being said, there is some profound imagery and emotion here that definitely warrants delving further, and the way you keep creating new questions as you answer them makes it super easy to lean into this narrative. I'm honestly already hooked, please keep it coming.

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    I struggled slightly with the first couple of paragraphs, but after that I was hooked all the way to the end! This might be a personal bias, but I wouldn't open with an "as" sentence, or have that structure twice in the first paragraph. I'd also split that paragraph to make it two smaller ones. I think this would make it more readable. I agree with Scott, don't over-explain where things are. Beyond that point, it's easy to read and compelling for me. My main takeaway is that I want to know more, and that's a good sign. I want to know more about the Caretakers. I'm assuming they aren't actually relatives. It's raising questions about where the actual parents are, and what kind of dystopian hellscape am I visiting, that removes children to experiment on them. I'm also wondering about Clarence. So many questions!

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    I would focus the beginning on the eyes, and work down from there. Congrats on TS.

  • Scott Christenson3 months ago

    You're on the right track to open your story as an interesting situation between characters, with a lot of questions the boy and what's happening! I like the premise of the story. 1. Insert more commas in any natural place you might pause when speaking aloud. 2. Don't overly describe the positions of things, the part below felt awkward. I guess its asking the reader to think too hard to picture who's on the left and right,etc. instead of positions, you could have a few words about their appearance, gestures, or expressions. If you scan any YA scifi you can see the prose is continuosly sprinkled with little gestures and emotion cues. “He’s thinking mean things,” a little girl said, who sat to the left of Hera. There were three chairs about ten feet away from the right side of the Styx. Hera sat farthest to the right, to the left of her was the little girl, and next to the girl, a now empty seat.

  • Brin J.3 months ago

    Yay! I can imagine your excitement about starting this journey of writing a novel. I'm happy to share that excitement with you and help wherever I can. First off, you can rest easy knowing my feedback won't be a lot or brutal. In fact, I have many good things to say, but I'll start with the things that I think could be improved. (feel free to disregard my advice, as I'm not a professional, merely an enthusiastic reader, especially regarding Sci-Fi) The opening was dry. I can feel your writing style (or voice) has a certain detachment, which I don't have a problem with, but it doesn't stay that way throughout the rest of the story. Only the opening paragraph. The slight inconsistency was noticeable to me. An example: When you Describe Caretaker Sandy: "said Sandy, Lily’s Caretaker—a tall woman with long brown hair pushed back with a pink, glittering headband." You could do without the dash. Maybe rephrase it to "said Sandy. Lilly's Caretaker seemed taller than usual beside the young girl, her long brown hair pushed out of her face with a pink, glittering headband. (Once again, you don't need to go to this extent, but the dash just seemed so... off. Like you weren't talking about a character, but rather describing a tool from out of a manual. I'm sorry if that was harsh. You didn't do this again, which is why I'm pointing it out, because it doesn't fit the rest of the story and how you describe things. Same goes with the opening: "Hera watched as the emaciated boy made his way toward the Styx—a large glass box in the middle of a large concrete room with no windows, no visible vents, or even thin cracks on the walls." I hope it's okay that I reworded this too... "An overstrung silence suffused the air of the dark Observation Dock, as if the room were holding its breath. Stark and unyielding, the chamber offered no vents to whisper secrets through, not even the slightest fissures in its walls. A tomb more than a room. Alone in the center of the expansive windowless den stood a towering glass container, an inexplicable monolith known as the Styx. Hera's eyes tracked the frail figure of a young boy as he cautiously approached the translucent wall of his enigmatic enclosure." Now I know it was wordy- again, you don't have to listen to me- but I (personally) feel it adds a bit of suspense that draws the reader in. And it also sets apart the Styx and chamber. I thought they were the same thing at first until I read a little more. Also, sensory words do wonders for bringing a story to life, and you should certainly add more! It suffuses depth into your world and makes it more engaging. Okay, now that the nitty gritty stuff is out of the way, time for the positive's! Where to start? I guess with my favorite aspect, your dialogue captivated me. You said so much with so little, and it prompts the reader to continue reading to understand what's happening. I love that you didn't spoon-feed your audience everything. You let your story breathe and speak for itself. Bravo! That's pro writing abilities in my opinion! Pacing was *chefs kiss* wonderful. You nailed that flawlessly. You gripped the reader's (me) anticipation with Lily's ominous words, Hera's actions of looking at anything but Dante- expressing her discomfort without ever saying so- and the morally deplorable system in your world. We obviously find it wrong, yet you made the Doctors and other Caretakers respond to the situation as if this was totally acceptable, from Sandy's calming words to everyone's inactiveness and indifference. Hera's clearly the protagonist, but is she going to destroy this inhumane program, or is this acceptable to her? I'm honestly intrigued with how you plan to move forward. You've conquered the set-up, and I can just tell it leads to a juicy twist.

  • Carminum3 months ago

    Others can give better feedback on the story itself; since I myself appreciate if someone points out typos and grammar issues in my writing, I took the liberty of pointing out some things I noticed. So these are just a handful of “technical” and stylistic things that I hope are of use in editing. ––– My main stylistic feedback would be: 1. I like your frequent use, later in the text, of snappy part-sentences, moving the story along. In general, I like the pace of your storytelling. 2. With a few of your longer phrases, I would break them down with more commas, or otherwise polish their flow or rhythm. If you read the phrase aloud, you find what works best. ––– “Hera wondered, as she watched him how he could stand so tall . . .” I think there’s a comma missing after “watched him.” ––– “Hera thought that if his eyes could create fire, he would have burned the room to ash.” This phrase might flow/sound better as “If his eyes could create fire, Hera thought, he would have burned the room to ash.” ––– “She’s seen Donte less so, only twice; once at lunch and this time.” Should that be “She’d seen” instead? The previous phrase uses “had.” ––– “ He’s right here. Are you feeling okay? That’s kinda a strange question.”” ^Typo (extra space) ––– “Dr. Williams said, coming out of the shadows created from the space underneath a higher section of a wall that protruded out a room-sized cement square,” That phrase is a bit crammed/long; maybe break it down into smaller pieces? ––– “Dr. Williams is a tall man, broad-shouldered, and to quite a few people whispering about when he walks by, handsome. But for Hera, he was the feeling of a roach crawling up her legs.” I think you use past tense throughout, but there are a couple sentences, like the one above, in present tense. ––– “But Freda said he’ll be fine, so it must be safer than Hera thought.” ^This also reads to me like switching tenses. Hope that helps.

  • Jeffrey Allison3 months ago

    I loved it !!!!

  • Natasha Collazo3 months ago

    Congrats on TS!!!!

  • Dana Crandell3 months ago

    I read it all the way through and would definitely buy this book. I found a few minor stumbling blocks, but it held my interest. As an editor, I wouldn't need to spend a tremendous of time on markup here, but would have a few suggestions on phrasing, etc. I like the fact that I can see the need for some forthcoming backstory. That adds to the intrigue. I think you have the beginnings of something with a lot of potential.

  • Natasha Collazo3 months ago

    Side note: I became more interested as I read on. Great work!

  • Natasha Collazo3 months ago

    I like this, I would buy this book. The little mind-reader girl adds to the eeriness. My only critique is reading it through the first time I tried to imagine and worked to piece the setting and characters together without knowing the synopsis of the book, but then when I read it the second time, it all made more sense. I think that's how it is with most books though...figuring things out later on. Hera seems like the main character. I really enjoy her, and her normalcy adjacent toward all the oddities. If you publish this book I'll be the first in line at the bookstore, or on amazon. I'm encouraging this journey 100!

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