Ernei

Reading Excuses - 9.26.2016 - Ernei - Mistfold (ch.1&2)

24 posts in this topic

It's a book I've already finished. It targets YA audience, mostly female, I guess. It's still just a draft; I haven't done a proper revision - TBH I'm not even certain how to do it - just reread some parts for grammar/spelling mistakes. Still if there are some, please let me know (it was a few weeks ago, and my English seems to constantly improve) - especially grammar or odd words choice.
...
Be blunt! <waiting for the inevitable> ;) 

 

Also, I'm tagging @M.Puddles - you mentioned that you wanted to alpha-read the book. If you still want to after the first two chapters, I'll send it to you :)

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Overall

For the most part it is well written, with only few typos here and there. My big issue with it is that its, well, boring. The hook doesn't come until the end of chapter one, and then chapter two doesn't even touch the murders at all. I'd suggest upping tension somehow, especially early on in chapter one. You need a bit more zip in the story to keep the reader engaged. Nice writing overall.

 

As I go

- page one: I don't really associate tendrils with mouths unless we're talking Cthulhu

- page two: getting a strong Mistborn vibe here.

- page two: I don't think memory works the way you describe. I could be wrong. Might want to check the science on that.

- page three and still no hook :( If I were skimming this in a bookstore I'd be putting it back now. You need some tension early on, or some other thing happening to hook the reader

- page three: It was a mansion is where I would suggest starting the narrative

- page four: Mistborn meets The Secret Garden?

- page nine: ah, the hook is at the end of the chapter. That needs to come much, much earlier

- page nineteen: too many character introductions. Names are blurring

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- Right off the bat, I'm a little worried the title sounds a bit too much like Mistborn.

- I agree with kaisa - I don't really see tendrils having a mouth, but I do like the description of the mist swirling around the vehicle.

- I'm not an adoption expert, but do they really sign on delivery of the kid, as Jasper seems to do?

- i agree with Kaisa again - nothing really happens. There isn't too much to draw the reader in save for the stinger at the very end. It might be better to slip in more foreshadow of what kind of story we'll get in this first chapter.

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Guys, thanks a lot for reading and critique (as always, but I will repeat myself :) )

@kaisa & @rdpulfer, since you say similar things - I will work on the description, all right. Also, I admit that I have drawn inspiration from Brandon Sanderson, although I hope I changed it into my own thing. Cassie's memory is extraordinary - I guess I should write it outright in the book. But the hook is actually supposed to be the town, the mansion and Jasper themselves - "Mistfold" is supposed to be mystery, with a bit of horror and thriller (with magic, but still). The fact that Cassie's parents were murdered doesn't play any vital part in the plot, although it's important for her motivation later on. Do you have any suggestion how I could make it clear? There is going to be a person murdered (the end of chapter 5, though there is other plot development in chapters 3 and 4, foreshadowing magic), how can I foreshadow it? Should I? I wanted to set the scene and show a bit of normal Mistfold before there's paranormal stuff and the murder, so that the reader could try to guess who's the murderer on their own; can I make this part engaging without "spoiling" the moment when it turns out a person is dead?

Also, I don't know about signing, I just thought it would be logical - you know, so that if anything happened, the driver could show the paper and say "here, I delivered her safe and sound". But if it's not how it's done, then it won't be difficult to cut this out from the text.

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On 9/26/2016 at 10:36 PM, kaisa said:

Mistborn meets The Secret Garden?

I would read this! :D

The Mistborn vibe started to fade as I got further into the story.  In my experience, mist doesn't usually have tendrils, except in Brandon's books... :P so not describing it with tendrils will, at least in my mind, help distance your mist from his.

21 hours ago, Ernei said:

mystery, with a bit of horror and thriller (with magic, but still)

This sounds great.  I didn't get that vibe from the chapters yet, especially chapter 2.  I agree that finding a way to up the tension would be helpful.  I think the mansion and the mysterious uncle are good and interesting, but maybe we just linger there too long without anything else going on.  I'm also concerned that it's not clear yet that we have magic in this book.  If the magic is supposed to be a surprise, watch out for Dan Wells's problem.

Here's a few in-line suggestions:

  • The light of the setting sun diffused in the tiny droplets of water, painting them bright red.
    I've never seen mist turn red from light before. I'm thinking this is part of the magic.
  • Just what could make mist so dense hover above/in only such a limited space?

  • Cassie memorized the sight within the few seconds
    This paragraph feels tell-y.  I bet you could sprinkle this information into her viewpoint for better effect.

  • But, well, at least there was no traffic jams...
    You tell us later that Cassie never drives (and most people in NYC don't) so I'm surprised she would even think about the traffic in New York.

  • but elderly and preoccupied with Grandpa’s health problems.
    "Preoccupied" implies that someone is focused on something that they shouldn't be.  If Cassie really thinks her grandparents shouldn't be focused on his health problems, then it makes her sound like kind of a jerk.  But I think from your next few sentences that this is not the connotation you're going for.

  • The driver parked there, then got out with a grunt

  • It was the middle of October, so the flowers weren't in bloom or weren't blooming

  •  It didn’t take long before the door opened

  • A man hastened down, nearly ran. He was lanky...
    I like the intro to the uncle.  It sounds like he's going to be a different take on the "cold, uncaring, rich old guy."  I don't have quite a handle on him from just these chapters, but my current theories are that he could be mildly autistic, or in a sort of trance, or really nervous about something he's hiding.

  • Adoption - I'm pretty sure (though I've done no research) that in the States, you have to appear in court before a judge to adopt someone.  I can understand papers being signed at the door, but at this point Cassie and Jasper should have already appeared in court together before a judge.

  • She would better do something about it.

  • She had known this man only for about five minutes.

  • I like Wayne.  He's nice.

  • "School’s great.” She couldn’t believe she actually said that.
    Love it!

  • “Your things are there already,” he said, then hesitated. “They are there, aren’t they, Wayne?”
    I like his dependence on Wayne.

  • When I get to the end of Chapter 1, I'm surprised by the murder revelation.  I would expect that Jasper, or the driver, or even Wayne would have said something to Cassie like "shocking" or "tragic" or "who ever heard of such a thing."  Or that Cassie would have had thoughts that hinted that her parents hadn't died in a car crash, or from cancer, etc. since murder feels so different than those things.

  • Chapter 2 is not nearly as interesting as Chapter 1.  It seems to "normal" considering where you want this book to go, and considering the events in Chapter 1.  Maybe school drama holds more interest for your audience, though.

  • a middle-high man barely in his thirties
    Not sure what you mean here.

  • there had already been an even number of students, so she would have to sit alone

  • She was a bit puzzled by Emma – she hadn’t thought someone would try talking to her so quickly.
    At this point, considering the principal's odd behavior and Emma's odd behavior, I'm hoping something really weird is happening in the school.  Maybe there is, but the rest of the chapter didn't show it.  I still hope there is something weird happening though!

  • Our turn,” Emma said

  • “It all changed two years ago, when Jasper suddenly took over."
    This paragraph sounds very "adult."

I'm excited to read your next few chapters!  It sounds like the conflict really picks up there.

ETA: Wow, that was long.  Hope it's not too long to be helpful!

Edited by Hobbit
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21 hours ago, Ernei said:

Guys, thanks a lot for reading and critique (as always, but I will repeat myself :) )

@kaisa & @rdpulfer, since you say similar things - I will work on the description, all right. Also, I admit that I have drawn inspiration from Brandon Sanderson, although I hope I changed it into my own thing. Cassie's memory is extraordinary - I guess I should write it outright in the book. But the hook is actually supposed to be the town, the mansion and Jasper themselves - "Mistfold" is supposed to be mystery, with a bit of horror and thriller (with magic, but still). The fact that Cassie's parents were murdered doesn't play any vital part in the plot, although it's important for her motivation later on.

It sounds like you might have to look at the promises you are making to the reader. The murder of her parents is the last line of the first chapter, so it sounds like it's going to be very important. You might want to make sure you even need that part if it's not a big part of the plot. 

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On September 29, 2016 at 11:25 AM, Ernei said:

Do you have any suggestion how I could make it clear?

I don't understand the question. What are you trying to make clear?

In terms of the parents. if their deaths don't matter, then it shouldn't be the closer to a chapter. 

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52 minutes ago, kaisa said:

I don't understand the question. What are you trying to make clear?

In terms of the parents. if their deaths don't matter, then it shouldn't be the closer to a chapter. 

That's what I meant, thanks :) 

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@Hobbit Don't worry that it's long, it's was all very helpful :) I guess I will send the next few chapters soon, although I will try to revise them first, since writing "Mistfold" was only half outlining and half discovery, and I find that some things are there for no reason (for instance, I didn't need the scene with the principal in chapter 2; I'll get rid of it). I'm glad you liked some things, maybe there is some hope for the book (I kind of think it's the best from what I finished so far - doesn't necessarily mean it's good, though) :) 

Anyway, revision season started :D 

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On 30/09/2016 at 4:52 PM, Hobbit said:
On 27/09/2016 at 3:36 AM, kaisa said:

Mistborn meets The Secret Garden?

I would read this! :D

I must admit, I'd rather just read The Secret Garden, great story.

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Details below, but more general comments here. I must admit, other than the fact that there was some mist, I got no suggestion of any Mistborn vibe at all, quite rightly and reasonably so. Although the story has mist in it, this is probably the only forum / critique group anywhere that would liken it immediately to Mistborn. The title is the real issue.

Chapter 1 - I thought it flowed well, had steady delivery of new information to keep me interested without getting bogged down in backstory. The setting is eerie, but I don't think in a cliched way. There are other stories set in big, mysterious houses, but that's fine. I find myself asking plenty of questions about the people, which is good, even before the punchline at the end. I would certainly read on. I'm engaged so far. I want to learn more about Cassie, about her uncle and no about the murder. The first day at a new school carries tension. There have been many first days at school, but that's because they work so well, I think.

Chapter 2 - So, the trip around the school and introduction to various characters. Some work better than others, I think. As a set up, it feels very much in the vein of YA, and stories that I have seen or am aware of, like Mean Girls; 10 Things I Hate About You; Twilight; etc. I guess from the discussion on Reading As Writers this is what you are going for, fewer (none) of the magical aspects at the beginning, which renders the story like a high school drama. It's not immediately exciting, but I'm interested enough to keep reading.

I do think I prefer to Arcane, on the opening anyway. There are aspects that I am interested in and questions I am asking, like about the uncle mostly, although expecting to see Cassie's Magic fairly soon.

<R>

--------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 1 (details)

- Tendrils are long and thin, like feelers, whereas maw is the mouth, so one is not like the other.

- I like the opening, the description puts me in the place and I've driven in such low visibility, but you explain that there is more to it. I'm interested to know why looking at her hurts him.

- "At 'that' moment, the car..."

- I see a few typos, but nothing desperate, the narrative flows well, I think. If you'll forgive me, there are some 'second language' phrasing points that I won't go into full LBL on, although I'll mention a few, but a grammar pass is one of the easiest things to come back and do later.

- "like calling a blockbuster a video" - I guess this analogy is supposed to place the story in time, rather than making it sound dated?

- "six year-old brother"

- "drove in as and as the gate slid to open" - drove in as the gate slid open.

- not an alley (a grotty backstreet), I think, but a driveway up to the mansion.

- I've got no problem with the family background itself, but it feels a bit info-dumpy the way Cassie delivers it. Like she's just thinking it for the reader's benefit. There's nothing new in what she thinks, so why would she think it? I think there would be a way here to give her a stronger reason to remember her family background, like her uncle asking her about some part of it.

- I don't understand the line about 'unnecessary shades' from the furniture.

- "The first pancake is always spoiled" - I've never heard this expression, and I don't really understand what she means by it in this context. Is she referring to the first meeting being spoiled?

- You use the word 'alleys' again, when I think you mean streets, possibly roads. Alleys has a very specific meaning, I believe, and I tend to doubt that Mistfold has many alleys, except maybe in the centre of town, behind shops and tenements.

- 'clung' would be less strange-sounding then 'clenched' (to each other), I think.

Chapter 2 (details)

- "but she didn’t usually wake up from them" - this line seems odd, she must wake up every morning, but I get the sense that the nightmare of her parents death stays with her. But then you say 'didn't usually wake up' which implies she is free of the nightmare today.

- The awkwardness of the breakfast is reasonable enough. I thought that she took against her uncle a bit too quickly in the first chapter, so I'm glad she acknowledges that in her own thoughts. There are phrasing and grammar issues here, but nothing that could not easily be tidied up.

- more language stuff throughout, but nothing a good edit wouldn't sort in a jiffy.


 

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@Robinski, thanks a lot for reading and critique :) I kind of expected a punch in the face, so I'm actually relieved it's not this bad this time XD

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Details below, but more general comments here. I must admit, other than the fact that there was some mist, I got no suggestion of any Mistborn vibe at all, quite rightly and reasonably so. Although the story has mist in it, this is probably the only forum / critique group anywhere that would liken it immediately to Mistborn. The title is the real issue.

Hmm, I must admit I like the title :( But I'll think about it, maybe I'll come up with something else.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "but she didn’t usually wake up from them" - this line seems odd, she must wake up every morning, but I get the sense that the nightmare of her parents death stays with her. But then you say 'didn't usually wake up' which implies she is free of the nightmare today.

That was my fault entirely. In the very first version I had a scene of Cassie waking up in the middle of the night, after a nightmare. Then I began rereading about a month ago and decided to cut it out - but I didn't go any further with my revision and forgot there was that reference. I will reread the next chapters before submitting, so there should be no such silly mistakes (I hope) ^.^'

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Hey Ernei, I think the version I read (that you sent me this week) is a revised version of the one the others have critiqued above. Overall, I liked this. I'm a big atmosphere guy, and the first chapter had plenty of that for me--not just in the setting, but in the interaction of the characters. I felt like I was in a Lemony Snickett landscape, and that's a good place to be. I like the title and don't see much in terms of connections with Sanderson's stuff, so I say go for it. I liked chapter 1 a lot; the school scenes bored me a little in chapter 2. You have placed three or four solid hooks (a mysterious town, parents' murder, the uncle's strange behavior, a strange comment by the butler guy about the school), and I am curious to find out more. I ended up adding some comments to your document and tracking changes I will send that to you now. Hopefully it won't take me two more weeks to get around to chaps 3 and 4...

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3 hours ago, Coop said:

Hey Ernei, I think the version I read (that you sent me this week) is a revised version of the one the others have critiqued above. Overall, I liked this. I'm a big atmosphere guy, and the first chapter had plenty of that for me--not just in the setting, but in the interaction of the characters. I felt like I was in a Lemony Snickett landscape, and that's a good place to be. I like the title and don't see much in terms of connections with Sanderson's stuff, so I say go for it. I liked chapter 1 a lot; the school scenes bored me a little in chapter 2. You have placed three or four solid hooks (a mysterious town, parents' murder, the uncle's strange behavior, a strange comment by the butler guy about the school), and I am curious to find out more. I ended up adding some comments to your document and tracking changes I will send that to you now. Hopefully it won't take me two more weeks to get around to chaps 3 and 4...

I will read the e-mail as soon as I'm back from university, but I already know from my previous experience that it will be a lot helpful. Thanks a lot :D  And don't worry about the time, I take it that everybody is a busy person, and I'm grateful that you read my submission no matter the date :)

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Hi Ernei,

I'm sorry this is coming so late.  I started this at work, and it did 75% of it and left it in my clipboard which I misplaced and found again last week. 

I didn't do a complete line by line but I did do a few pages.  I read the whole chapter and have some thoughts for you.Here we go:

 

Quote

Mist swirled before the car, its tendrils reaching out like the maw of a beast, ready to swallow the vehicle.

 

Don't go from specific to vague.  Go from vague to more specific.  Vehicle to car.  It enhances understanding and flow. You may wish to go more concrete than car and vehicle too.  

Mist swirled, before the car, its tendrils reaching out like the maw of a beast, ready to swallow the vehicle.

Quote

The view lasted just for a second, and then the car plunged into the churning cloud.

I wouldn't call looking at droplets as looking at a view. 

 

Quote

We are there, aren’t we?” Cassie asked.

People tend to speak using contractions.  Especially teenagers. 

Quote

“Nearly,” the driver, a grumpy man she didn’t really know, said. “There’s always fog at the edge of the town, or so I was told.

 

Too many beats in this sentence The last part indicates a physical distance since they can't see it and it also suggests the driver doesn't know the place too well.  Why wouldn't the driver have introduced himself.  If she didn't bother to pay attention, I would try to convey that. 

Quote

 

The driver didn’t respond, his watery brown eyes fixed on the road. Well, at the moment it was understandable, as the mist reduced visibility to barely several yards, but the guy had been this way for the entire ride. As if talking to, or even looking at, Cassie hurt.

 
 

This part is awkward.  

When you write 'barely several yards' that is more abstract than it needs to be. 

Quote

 

She stifled a sigh and looked out the side window, folding and folded her arms. Just a bit more. A Just a few more minutes, perhaps?

 
 

As a whole, teenagers don't use the word 'perhaps'. 

Quote

She could see a faint outline of herself in the glass – not that she needed a reminder of how dull she looked. Too sharp features and pale skin, common brown hair tied in a side tail. The only thing that could distinguish her a bit were her green-gray eyes, similar to those of her Mom…

 
 

This is contrived.  Try to connect emotion to the scene.  Show us how she feels about her look through word choice:

She frowned at her limp hair.  It was dry and full of split-ends.  

Quote

 

Stop. Cassie clenched her fist until it began to hurt. damnation the driver and his taciturnity! Just when she needed some sort of distraction, she ended up confined in this tiny space with a guy who said so little. The only attraction available was gaping at the grayness outside.

 
 
Quote

At the moment the car finally broke free of the fog. The sunlight hit Cassie in the face, forcing her to blink and shelter her eyes.

 

When the car broke free of the fog, the sunlight hit...

Quote

She turned back, leaning out to get a good view, earning an annoyed ‘tsk’ from the driver.

Looking back.   What was she leaning out of? 

Quote

Cassie ignored the guy him – serves him right – and just watched as the wall of mist moved away on the car’s speed.

 
Quote

 

The view was bizarre. Just what could make mist so dense hover about only such a limited space?

 
1

The way you write this paragraph causes it to have trouble connecting to the next one. Try: The thick mist just hovered in place? 

You are overwriting.  You show that she is facing forward when you describe how the driver is focusing. 

Quote

Several days back, when Cassie tried to picture Mistfold, she imagined just a few small houses, perhaps gathered around a square with a fountain place hardly bigger than your more stereotypical village. She was wrong. How can she be wrong at imagining something she did not see? As the car proceeded down the road and past the outer buildings, she found out that Mistfold was actuall Hwoy a large town. True, there were lots of single-family houses with small gardens, and the street didn’t seem busy, but they went on and on.

 

I will have to finish the rest later.  

Edited by M.Puddles
Not done- Comp Crashed
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46 minutes ago, M.Puddles said:

Hi Ernei,

I'm sorry this is coming so late.  I started this at work, and it did 75% of it and left it in my clipboard which I misplaced and found again last week. 

I didn't do a complete line by line but I did do a few pages.  I read the whole chapter and have some thoughts for you.Here we go:

Hi, @M.Puddles :) Thanks a lot for commenting :) I must admit, I was pretty surprised when I saw someone commented on this old threat.

And, uhm, that's the thing, I'm afraid. I mean, this version of the chapter is old; most of it got edited already. And, don't get me wrong, I really appreciate your work, and there are still comments that are very helpful (like the one about "perhaps" - it's difficult for me to judge which words are actually popular and used, and which are not), but I don't want you to waste your time even still? It's... hmm, how should I put it. I feel like "Mistfold" kind of closes a certain stage for me in writing, and I basically hit the point in it at which the need for rewrite was so big that I decided it would be probably easier to write completely anew... some other day. As you said, this was way overwritten, and all too often more "tell" than "show". I still like the general idea, but I guess I'll maybe use some of it in later books, and now I'm absorbed in a different project :(

 

Nevertheless, I'm still eager to do an alpha for you (you see, I remember!) :) I don't really have anything to read like now, and Christmas is coming, so... You know, you can send me whenever you're ready, if you're still looking for someone :)

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I completely understand.  I do have another 10 pages of notes thought, if you decide you want them though-this was one page.  I'm sorry that this came so late.  

I would love your for you to Alpha read my book.  But I have to warn you that a lot of it is rough.  The first two chapter are OKAY, then it gets rough and progressively gets better.  I will send it to you but I completely understand if you would rather not. :)

 

 

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6 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I completely understand.  I do have another 10 pages of notes thought, if you decide you want them though-this was one page.  I'm sorry that this came so late.  

Well, if you have them already, and it's not too big a trouble to post them online, then why not? :) I'll definitely read them, and possibly still learn some new things :)

6 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I would love your for you to Alpha read my book.  But I have to warn you that a lot of it is rough.  The first two chapter are OKAY, then it gets rough and progressively gets better.  I will send it to you but I completely understand if you would rather not. :)

Got the e-mail :) I'll read it, though it can take me some time (a few weeks, I guess). Just to clear things up, you expect me to write a kind of a long review, with answering your questions and whatever else comes up my mind? Not LBLs? I'm asking, because if it's this more general opinion, then I can read it on my phone, and should be able to finish it faster.

I admit, I've never done an alpha before, but I'll try my best! :)

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No LBL are required.  Just a general overview.  

You are receiving my draft and I will be focussing on the major issues in my first pass at revision.  Thanks so much. 

 

 

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My work laptop is frustrating so I will need to proceed here.

Quote

she imagined just a few small houses, perhaps gathered...

perhaps is unnecessary

Quote

a place hardly bigger than your more than a stereotypical village

Quote

As the car proceeded down the road and past the outer buildings she saw found that Mistfold was a actually a large town. 

Quote

There were lots of sing-family houses with small gardens, and the street didn't seem busy, but they went on and on.

Confusing sentence.  Try: Single-family homes with small gardens stretched for as far as the eye could see. Fortunately the streets wasn't busy...

Quote

The view eventually changed as they neared the town-center. Here tenements and a handful of higher...

I would take the opportunity to show her reaction to the change.  In the next paragraph you mention that she memorized the sight...Without showing why this is important, it doesn't  make sense for her to do that. 

Quote

She was well aware Her visual memory was....

Quote

She could typically recollect whatever she had seen, and if she gave it a conscious thought she could memorize the slightest details 

She could recollect whatever she saw even the details. It didn't work that well with texts or math formulas, only with visuals.  

Make a point of emphasizing the limitation on this ability.  

Quote

The car continued forward, passing by the following sets of tenements. 

Repetitive. 

Have to take a break here. 

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I am sorry for the way this has gone.  If I try to edit my post like I do on other sets...all the formatting options are absent.

Quote

Cassie kept gazing around, trying to figure out what this place is like. place she woudl have to liev from now on.  Even if It was bigger than expected but it still felt dull dull and calm.  Too calm.  But well At lest there was no traffic jams-that defeinitely was an advantage a definite advantage over New York.

Quote

About ten minutes since they had passed Ten minutes after they passed the main square, the driver pulled up before a gate accompanied by and the G.P.S.'s voice announced: Destination reached.

 

Quote

Cassie needed a few seconds to realize which building exactly they stopped before, and her jaw dropped open.

AH...Time for Star Wars.  More later. 

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It wasn’t a house, or rather, calling it a house would be like calling a blockbuster a video – technically true, but it just didn’t give the right impression. It was a mansion, old-fashioned, but finely preserved, surrounded by a vast garden and a high fence.

 

 

It wasn't a house, not exactly...I think I would refer to it as Blockbuster video store.  Give younger readers a clear indication of what it is. 

It was a huge, old-fashioned but finely preserverd mansion, surrounded by a vast garden and a high (type) fence. 

Quote

It would be Cassie’s new home, unless there had been some kind of mistake.

 

Show Cassie's thoughts through her emotion here. 

Quote

Cassie would have ended up with her grandparents from the her father’s side – a very kind and loving couple, but  elderly and preoccupied with they were old and Grandpa’s had health problems.

 

 

 

This phrase is clinical and a bit cold.  Do you mean for Cassie to feel that way/come across that way?


Quote
 

she just wished she knew something about him.  

Quote

Apparently there was no mistake, as the driver double-checked the address, then shrugged and went to call the intercom. He returned a minute later, keeping his poker face, then simply drove in as and as the gate slid to open.

 

Apparently, there was no mistake.  The drver double-checked the address, shrugged, and went ot call the intercom.  He returned a minute later, face impassive, and drove in as the gate slid open. 

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They went up the alley, which led to a small yard right before the front entrance of the mansion. 

What alley?  I thought it was a road leading to a big house?

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The driver parked there, then get out with a grunt, gesturing for Cassie to do the same.

The driver parked where?  

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Perhaps two hours’ journey wasn’t exactly what most people would call long, but she was unaccustomed to sitting for so long without a break. Her parents rarely had money to afford a far-off trip, and back in New York she would usually go by subway.

 

Two hours wasn't exactly what most people would call long...

I would show her stretching and feeling sore here.  

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The driver strode to the door, but Cassie lingered, glancing around the garden. It was the middle of October, so the flowers didn’t weren't in bloom and most of the trees had already lost their leaves, (End sentence here) but  She could almost imagine how wondrously wonderful the place would look in the spring and summer. She would probably want to draw it – provided she would really have the chance. was going to draw it.  She wanted to draw it.  -Select the one you want based on whether she is planning on being there a while or not. 

 
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She shivered and hastened to the door, climbing up the short, marble steps to the grand entrance. 

Does she see more than one? 

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It didn’t took long before the door opened, pulled by a middle-aged man with gray hair (passive), aquiline nose and neatly trimmed beard. Tall and lean, he wore was clad in a fine, black suit, and had a very dignified air about him.

 

It didn't take long...

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A man hastened down, nearly ran. He was lanky, wearing another set of fine clothes – navy blue this time – but it didn’t fit him as well as it did the elder man. In fact there was just something… disheveled about him. His hair, perhaps? Longish and wavy, in a shade somewhere between blond and brown, it trailed down loosely along his narrow face. 

 

You're going to lose your reader here.  Make this more concise and fluid.  

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There was also awkwardness in they the way he moved; it wasn’t exactly that he staggered or seemed clumsy – rather than that, it was as if he wasn’t certain he just didn't know what direction to go.

 
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“Yes, yes.” Leverton nodded absently, though he did actually read the documents before signing them. Then he handed them back with no further comment.

 

This would have been done before now, no?

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As it shut behind, Cassie finally came to full realization that she was stuck in this place for at least two years, with a man she didn’t even know.

 

behind what?

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She would better do something about it.

Needs rephrasing. 

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“I’m Cassie Brighton,” she said, reaching out. 

reachign out?  Abstract.  Make it concrete.  

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He still held her hand. 

He held on to her hand/He kept ahold of her/His handshake lingered...

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 the way Dad always called her – conceived at the age of eighteen. 

when she was eighteen  Her father didn't accept the child.  (the child is her.  do you mean for Cassie to dissaociate from herself?)

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We shall ensure you have everything you need.”

 

This comes across overly formal.

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Well, at least he behave like a normal man. Or, well. close to.

 
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“But I will remember your words.”

Formal.

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It seemed that the mansion used to be in the outskirts, 

outskirts of what?

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The sun was almost completely gone by now, and Cassie noted mist curling up in the distance,

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So it didn’t restrain itself only to the edges of the town.

 

This seems like an inner thought.  

I thought it unusal that Cassie didn't show signs of shock or mourning.  Interesting twist though. 

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The next day Cassie was profoundly unnerved to saunter into the dining room and find Jasper inside. He hadn’t come for dinner the day before, so she hoped… 

 

profoundly is an odd word choice

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. He didn’t took the head seat for a reas

He didn't take the head seat

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She would rather take one by the other end, but it would seem too awkward. 

Awkward is awkward.  Hard to be too awkward. 

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His eyes lingered about the walls and windows as if distracted, but despite that, he ate with quite a grace – probably far more so than she did.

 

I am sorry this took so long to get finished.  November and December are insane times of the year for teacher.  

 

In recap,

I like your character, and the premise of your story.  Have you thought of an elevator pitch for the story? I"m curious to hear what it woudl be.  The ending of chapter one has me questioning everything.  Yous said you were abandonning this project, is that still the case?  Seems like it has potential.  I'd consider a revision instead.

Matt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

In recap,

I like your character, and the premise of your story.  Have you thought of an elevator pitch for the story? I"m curious to hear what it woudl be.  The ending of chapter one has me questioning everything.  Yous said you were abandonning this project, is that still the case?  Seems like it has potential.  I'd consider a revision instead.

Matt

 

Abandoning, yes. I won't say "never", but if I try to write it again, it'll probably be a very different story, with some elements reused ;)

 

Nevertheless, thanks for critique :)

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