Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Message to Readers
This is my first draft for the contest this month. I have to cut down on some of the word count.
I would absolutely LOVE some feedback! Anything--comments, or even better, reviews, are greatly appreciated. Thank you so so much!
Also I am looking for title ideas!
The sentence "She knew someone was following her, but it did not give her a sense of danger." As soon as the reader knows she's being followed, the stakes raise. Yet the familarity lends itself to backstory and hints at something important. And then, when the reader finds out who it is, and the story unfolds through dialogue... well, I love historical adventures. Personally, pirates appeal to me, so that helped. Also, when I decide to sit down and read something thoroughly, I usually get hooked. From the setting, the concept, the strong yet kind female character, and the charming Tallis, it all creates a magnetic pull.
Ladell feels like a "living person" in the small details: seeing her thoughts, her nickname, her actions like dropping her sack, and dialogue that reveals a young woman who is both fierce and compassionate, and loyal above all. I want to know how old she is, how she got into pirating, her family story, her adventures with Tallis, what her ship, The Manta, is for, who her crew is, and how they all came to be together.
I wouldn't recommend expanding, sadly, because I know you need to cut the word count already. If this was turning into a novel, however... I would say more small setting cues. The balance of action and description is fairly even, so I wouldn't say anything needs to be turned into a new scene in this excerpt. Using dialogue to do that was a smart move.
Absolutely! The first sentence lures me in with the crowded market, which immediately lends itself to a historical setting. The overseas mention also adds to the intrigue. I just love this kind of genre/concept! The actions also hint a time period: cloak, knife, ships, crewscaptains,reefs, thieving.
Your ideas are simply brilliant! This concept, this time period, this setting... it's a little sailpunk, a little pirates-of-the-caribbean, and everything creative and action-filled. I think I'll head over to your other story now... Traitors and Rebels!
Ladell and Tallis immediately provide both intrigue and a sparkling friendship (and maybe more?) as well as mentions of other crew members and the ominous Captain Colborne. Great name, by the way.
Overall, I actually am in love with this story. I'm glad it's a piece that I really do have interest in, because it would have been much harder to review something that didn't intrigue me. But this genre, this style, and just the pirate-y element drew me in. One question: is this set in the "real world," an alternate world but without magic, or an alternate world with magic? And what time period are you imagining?
I'm not fantastic with titles either... sorry. I'll think about it, though, and let you know if I come up with anything!