Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Oh my god, this excerpt. EEE, I love it so much! I honestly have no idea where to start. For one, your descriptions of Carol and her chaotic interactions with other characters in the bookstore were on-point and seriously hilarious. From this brief excerpt, I felt like I had already gotten a great introduction of Carol, and now I'm practically dying to read more about her! And for another, the sarcastic humor in this piece is astounding. I'm all for it, and I've spent several minutes reading and re-reading my favorite parts and hyena-shrieking.
Carol is such a vivid character - I feel like she's exploding out of my screen and into my face. Your hilarious descriptions of her appearance, and her interactions with the kid and Aimee at the service desk gave me this fantastic connection. Carol wasn't just floating around, doing her own thing, but she was actively interacting with other characters and solidifying her existence. Considering how impactful Carol's first introduction is, I don't think any additional details are necessary! To the contrary, while I wouldn't like to encounter Carol Mackintosh in real life, I'm extremely excited to read more about her in your full novel.
The progression of action in this novel excerpt was superbly written. If you were a movie director, I'd say your camera work was amazing. The narrator's camera panned really nicely over the scene, and I felt like I was right in on the action and meeting Carol face-to-face.
It's honestly super hard for me to find any faults in this piece, but I would suggest varying your sentence structure and clarifying some bumpy sections to make this excerpt even more impactful. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved your sentences. They were well-written, uproariously funny, and gave me the sense of whirlwind action. However, a little variation in structure and length can go a long way. I've highlighted some paragraphs to give you a better idea of what I mean, but the key idea to remember is "Spice things up!" A favorite analogy of mine is cupcake decorating. Imagine you have a bunch of sad, boring, bare cupcakes just begging for decoration. While a uniform line of vanilla-swirled cupcakes is delicious, and very aesthetic, which would be more interesting - a wacky lineup of rainbow, glittery cupcakes or a identical lineup of white ones? The rainbow cupcakes, for sure! As not to bore you with cupcakes, try applying the same mentality to your sentences. Consider switching up sentence length (i.e. short, long, long, short, short, short, long) and sentence structure (start one sentence with a participial phrase! throw out a short, screamed sentence next! end a sentence with an assortment of phrases!). There are a ton of possibilities, and reading your piece aloud can help you determine whether a paragraph is too monotonous in structure and needs some spicing up. Reading your piece aloud can also help you find any grammatical errors, missed punctuation, or typos you might have missed. I've pointed out a few minor ones throughout your piece, and I'll leave it to you to find the rest. Best of luck, and happy writing!
I was never lost while reading this excerpt - rather, I was so bombarded with imagery that the mere act of reading turned into a fascinating 4D movie of sorts. From the beginning, I immediately grasped that Carol had just waltzed into a bookstore, and was ready to wreak absolute havoc in there. I don't think you have to add any additional detail about Carol and her mischief (it's stupendously vivid as is), but I would suggest fleshing out the surroundings a little to match. For instance, when you mention Carol's gothic attire knocking over displays, I'd love to see a teeny bit more of that action. Shelves clanging? Books scattering on the floor? How does the floor look like? Clean tiles unfortunately defiled by Carol's grubby Nikes? These are just suggestions though, and you totally don't have to follow mine exactly, so take it away!!
This excerpt was like a chaotic rollercoaster ride, and while I'm not one for actual rollercoasters, I'm always down for a literary one, and this piece was so well-written at that. I'd absolutely love to continue reading this novel, and I'm sure whole hordes would too! If you ever feel unmotivated or stuck or discouraged, just remember that writing a novel is tough work, and it's okay to feel a little down. Take it easy on yourself - have a break from the keyboard, put down your pen, and snack on chips frantically or whatever meets your fancy. Novels aren't meant to be perfect from the first type, and writing them is a process that takes time, effort, and lots of breaks in between. Keep hacking at it, keep writing!
I hope this review was helpful, and if you have any questions, just ask me. I'll be happy to answer them! Best of luck in the competition!!