In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

just beginnings but feel I'm on track with the Rose Trail

Here's my latest review from www.youwriteon.com which is a peer review site for writers. You do a review and get a randomised one in return. Reliably very honest!

Excellent story by an expert writer

Let me start by saying that, for me, this story was the easiest one ever to rate. I am giving you all 5’s for this story, one of the best I have read on YWO. You are clearly an experienced and responsible, thoughtful and hardworking writer. Your story was a joy to read.

I loved the opening line. Immediately this drew me in and I was able to empathise with Fay instantly.

Furthermore, by the time I reached the first conversation with Persephone, the narrator had me hooked. The gentle, tilting and humble tone, perfect pace and clever but simple intricacies of language were a pleasure to read. Fay quickly developed into a lively and endearing character that I would happily follow all the way through the book. Then, the hint at something mysterious at the end of chapter one gave me the plot hook that I needed so that I knew the direction the book was going in.

You have a great talent with language, making it work hard. Lively, active word choices and intriguing, precise short descriptions that really allow the reader to feel and experience everything and be part of the journey.

I think the first two chapters are a bit on the short side. I couldn’t really see why chapter one and two were separate – apart from the fact that there’s that delicious hook at the end of chapter one. But the end of chapter two is equally enticing and if this was my story, I would combine these two chapters. But then what do I know, I have yet to write something so accomplished. Chapter three, I think, is perfect in length. Short, sharp and enthralling.

I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into character description and the tone that divided the historical with the modern scenes and I think all your hard work has paid off.

One of the most poignant lines I’ve ever read: ‘He envied little Elizabeth the safe cradle of her mother’s arms about her tiny, still body.’ This is such a strong line, very powerful. I did wonder whether the following line was required (Half of him wished it was him lying there, peacefully wrapped up next to the one person who had really loved him.). For me, this weakened that very powerful image of Elizabeth that you give just with the one line. This first line tells us exactly how Will is feeling, and how strong his relationship with his mum was. And it says it all, without the next line.

Not sure if you intend on keeping the chapter headings (i.e. Present day but the same place) but I don’t think they are necessary. The writing is very clear without the headings – no easy job, but you’ve mastered this perfectly, good for you.

I just have one minor niggle, it’s more of a personal thing really and that is that I kept tripping up over the name Persephone. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce it but however I did, it just sounded stilted and out of place. I’m sure you have good reason for this name, and in all honesty there’s probably nothing wrong with it, it’s just that it’s the only thing that caught my attention in a negative way. You don’t have to take any notice of this, just thought I would mention it.

As much as I hated to get to the end of this extract, I was left with this wonderful feeling of having something to think about – how two worlds so far apart might collide. A great achievement with such a short extract - this story is bigger than itself - and I expect that the consequences and resolutions will be equally thematic.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful story, an exciting subject, but what makes it really shine is the writing. I would love to read the whole novel, it sounds intriguing and I’m sure it’s complexities would be worthy of many an audience. I think you’ve done a brilliant job here and have no doubt about your skills as an extremely competent writer and master storyteller. I wish you all the luck in the world with this and all your writing. I’m sure I will be picking up this novel from a bookshop in the near future and will relish doing so.

Happy writing
Sarah

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