Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Message to Readers
Any sort of feedback will do. There is always room to improve
Wow, this novel excerpt was great! I loved the terrifying vibes you sprinkled throughout the excerpt - this overarching threat of a armed killer in a ghost mask, students murdered on their senior school trip - eee, Halloween, and I'm all for it.
I love how you used first person POV to make it seem like Aubrey's consciousness is actively communicating with the reader. You detail Aubrey's experiences and inner thoughts in a way that made me feel like I was wearing a mind-reading colander and really getting in on the action. In this way, you make Aubrey a really vivid character.
The "running consciousness" approach can be a great way to introduce characters to readers; however, I would suggest being a little cautious with its use. A lot of similarly-structured sentences stacked together can become a little monotonous and confusing to readers, and sometimes, it can detract from grounding descriptions of scenery and setting. I've also noticed several sentences throughout this piece that might need a comma or two, and some paragraphs where tense was a little inconsistent. Since the beginning introduces Aubrey fleeing the scene (present tense), and the rest of the excerpt explains the backstory of how she got there (past tense), I recommend checking your tenses to keep things consistent. I've pointed out a few of these errors, and you can find the rest for yourself by reading your piece aloud. You don't have to be a narrator on Audible or something, but just read slowly and naturally, and I'm sure you'll be able to catch any grammatical errors or awkward sentences.
I would suggest varying your sentences a little more, and sprinkling in a few descriptions of scenery here and there. For instance, try varying sentence length (i.e. short, long, long, short, short). You don't have to follow this exact formula, but the key idea to remember is to keep things interesting for readers. Instead of having a paragraph of very short sentences, consider interpolating those sentences with longer sentences, or combining a few into clearer, lengthier sentences. I've highlighted a few paragraphs to give you a better idea of what I mean. I would also suggest breaking this excerpt into separate paragraphs to make it a little easier to read.
I love the idea of a terrifying killer donning a Ghost face mask, and it would be fantastic if you could provide a little more background info. I understand that this is a novel excerpt, and you might be explaining later in your novel, but the transitions and sudden appearances of the killer were very immediate. Consider adding a few sentences to explain what's going on - I'm dying to know (uh....pun unintended).
As I've mentioned in the last section, I had a great sense of who Aubrey was as a person, but I missed out a little on the scenery and setting. While you incorporate varied sentence structure, try sneaking in a few more sentences about the surrounding scenery. For example, when Aubrey and her classmates were on the bus, you suddenly introduce the masked killer, and transition to a lovely description of the camp. It would be awesome if you expanded your description of these events to match your description of the camp. I'd love to see a little more description of say, the road outside the bus! If you frame this description in a creepy, ominous way, you can build up tension leading up to the appearance of the creepy mask. How about gnarly trees with winding branches in the darkness? A cold wind whooshing through the gaps in the bus windows? A gray, overcast sky? Totally up to you to explore!
This novel excerpt has amazing potential, and I cannot emphasize how much I love the idea of a mask-wearing killer wreaking terror on a school camp trip. Novel writing isn't easy, and I know that. Take it easy - have plenty of breaks, and don't worry about writer's block. It happens! Feel free to explore, create, and innovate!
Keep up the awesome writing! I'm excited to read more from you!! If you ever have any questions, just reach out to me, and I'll be happy to help. :D