Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Message to Readers
This is the beginning of my Camp NaNoWriMo July project this year! I'm hoping to publish it after all of it's edited, hopefully traditionally. Leave a comment if you want me to continue posting it here, and feel free to review! :D
i'm completely captivated by this first installment of the story. you've created a prologue that's charming, intriguing, and creative. i love riley as the narrator––she suitably tells the novel while also maintaining a personality and an important role in the story. this prologue is also very well-formatted; the narrator eases the reader into the story in a masterful way. i love the traditional crime scenario, and the following more explanatory yet equally interesting dialogue. i can't wait for more content on this interesting premise. this is lovely!
there were two things that i noticed were of lack in this piece: description and explanation. i noticed that scenic description was often missing in key places, such as the crime scene scenario. i love the idea that you've set up there, but it could use enhancement––it's a crime scene, so it should be as specific as possible. for example, don't say "they were carrying armloads of stuff", instead, go for the longer approach––"they were hauling mounds of valuables––everything from diamonds to portraits––in their sweaty arms, stumbling under the immense weight of the treasure as they carried it off to the car, which glinted ominously in the darkness". obviously put these types of things in your own words, but you get what i mean. don't be afraid to elaborate and describe the events that are important to the story. instead of saying "it was evening", talk about what the evening was like. the prologue gets essential points across, but it doesn't dress the ideas up in a descriptive sense. i would consider adding more sensory images. the other thing that could improve this piece is sufficient explanation for the actions of the characters. i mostly noticed this in the second half of the prologue. as i was highlighting the later part of the chapter, i was often tempted to merely comment, "this needs to be longer" or "why did this happen?" a few important parts of the story are missing: how did dad feel about joining a gang? what did he do there? why did he want sierra, of all people, to be his partner? why did he need the family to help him? how did this crime work shift the family dynamic? what exactly do the kids do? have they ever been caught? etc. etc. i understand that these things will be better explained in future chapters, but the prologue feels a little unsatisfactory in its unexplained factors. what you have here is the skeleton of a chapter; add some meat.
i'm so excited for this novel. it has real potential, especially with such an interesting premise. you make a great teaser here: i instantly want more! be sure to read the highlights for my specific suggestions, and the questions for broader thoughts about the piece as a whole. keep working on this great idea. i look forward to reading revisions & future chapters. make sure to notify me when such pieces are written!
if any of my comments were vague or unclear, feel free to ask for clarification. i have a lot of highlights and i'm not sure if i got my point across in all of them. you can check with me if you're unsure about something.
great work :)