Reviewed [Be] Week 200: Her Name is Beatrice - Feedback

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swaswj

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Staff member
Feb 18, 2008
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#2
Copy-pasting from my comments to Urm:
Sorry this took so long. It's been something of a busy week for me, still getting caught up after the wedding trip.

First a request: please post wordcount near the top. I'm often working in my reading in-between other things, so I like to have a good estimate of how much time I need. 1000 words? Twenty minutes should be enough for a read-through and some commentary. 3000 words? A little longer, half an hour to forty-five minutes. Writing commentary can be the long part, and when you're giving feedback, you never want to speed-read. If you post the wordcount near the top, it saves me (and other readers) a step. Think of it like the thickness of a book. A little paperback you can fit in your pocket? That's reading for breaks and waiting rooms. A three-inch thick hardback? That's your week's nightly "just one more chapter and I'll sleep, really this time" fare.


I'm still in mechanics mode, so the first thing to jump out was the opening sentence being a run-on.

A laicar child walked with high steps along the bustling city streets, on her forehead a beautiful hairclip made sure that her long blond hair did not get in her yellow eyes and flowed freely behind her, she wore a dress with a floral pattern, occasionally turning to look behind her.​

You can edit it as follows:

A laicar child walked with high steps along the bustling city streets. On her forehead, a beautiful hairclip made sure that her long blond hair flowed freely behind her and did not get in her yellow eyes. She wore a dress with a floral pattern, occasionally turning to look behind her.​
When listing two features -- "flowed freely behind her" and "did not get in her yellow eyes" -- you should put the 'negative' after the positive. That's why I flipped those around. Other than that, it's just adding periods and commas.

Besides that, no real complaints from a mechanics standpoint besides a few small typos. Moving onto the story itself, I like how this turned out. There's still room for you to flesh out the character and add definition, but this immediately sets the tone that this is a very young child who has gone through a very traumatic experience and isn't taking it all that well. The transition from present to past was also done fantastically. I didn't even realize at first, thinking that the voices were in her head and the entire scene was a play in her mind up until the gunshot.

The mention that it's a family of four was interesting. Is Judas a brother? Uncle? Given the unfortunate name and the fact that we haven't seen or heard of him, I'm led to believe he's the shooter... but it's also possible he was already killed and somehow instigated the attack (drug deal gone bad, borrowed from the wrong people, witnessed something he shouldn't?), or he could even still be alive and be Beatrice's reluctant tie to reality, somewhere between a friend taking care of her and a foe trying to force her to face the truth.

There's a lot of intriguing possibilities here. I'm looking forward to reading more.
 

Dysney

Staff Member
Dec 30, 2012
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Murica
#3
Hey, Thread
This was a compelling chapter to read. There was a lot of groundwork laid for future story with a girl walking around with her resurrected parents. I do enjoy the moment where Beatrice yells at the vendor selling candy, it shows how despite her bright demeanor, Beatrice is very affected by the condition of her parents. It implies that the trauma is under the surface and lets the reader know that something is very wrong. You don't outright say her parents are reanimated corpses, but you make it very clear using details like the lingering smell, the bandages, and all the embalming stuff in the house.

One small thing: the transition between the flashback and the present is very abrupt and a bit confusing. If you don't want to do a written segue, you could use a line break, spacing, or italics to indicate the shift in perspective.
 

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