HAZAAH Honest Book Critiques 1 (Closed )

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#1

Hey, It’s crazy ole elf here offering (for the present time) a limited number of spots for honest book critiquing. If you’re like me and hope to one day be published you might have come to understand the harsh world of query writing and literary agent rejection. Most agents request a solid short summary of your work and the first and second chapter of your book. I need practice writing queries and I find the best way to learn is through experience and examples. So with that said this critique thread will take on a different role than the ones you might be used to.

I will be your literary agent. I will tell you what I am looking for and what I expect to see. You will submit a “query” to me and I will read your query and the first two chapters of your book. I will then give you a response on what I liked, what I did not like, and how some parts can be improved. I will also rank your query on certain points listed below. I want this to be a fun and informative thread. HAZAAH

Now for payment. I’m not asking for much. You may either give me a permanent follow or comment on my books in the same fashion (summary and 1st and 2nd chapter). If you are feeling generous, I would not be opposed to both. The books I’m seeking advice on are Mirror Me (Mirror Me Series Book 1)-- a YA Fantasy, or Merry Sister Mary and the One and Only Killer-- comedy/ murder mystery. I need help too. Please keep in mind, I am between jobs and will get to what I can in due time. Be patient. I will update this thread periodically.


My name is Crazy Ole Elf. I am an agent currently seeking fantasy (adult or YA), horror, paranormal, sci fi, dystopian, mystery, or comedy. I am not looking for fan fiction or romance. I love strong female leads that break the mold. Please no quiet tough brunette who suddenly knows how to wield a sword type of character. Give me real world main characters with problems and room to grow. Minority characters are a blessing and lgbtq characters are a wonderful inclusion.

FORMAT

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title:
Genre:
Summary:
Your writing experience; about you:
Link:

GRADING SCALE (with comments)

Summary __/10
First Line __/10
Readability __/10
Grammar __/10
Characters __/10
World Building/Setting __/10
Total Score __/60


THE LIST – Updated Periodically
1: @JuniperWinter - review complete
2: @Hannah_Janine -review complete; added to book reviews
3: @AverySummers -review complete; added to book reviews
4: @Orumeena -review complete
5: @NickfEast -review complete
6: @hatefuls33 -review complete; added to book reviews
7: @ModernWaterRider review complete; added to book reviews
8: @MMicheleWilly -review complete
9: @AnneMcKae -review complete
10: @Never_Fail_Yourself -review complete
11: @TheMCOfficial -review complete; added to book reviews
12: @YoItsYeau -review complete
13: @CatharsisKingdom -review complete
14: @JJohnson-Pitter -review complete
15: @another_xreaderx -review complete
16: @iHateMilks -review complete
17: @wandering1234 -review complete; added to book reviews
18: @MisterRabbit -review complete
19: @laynejodi -review complete
20: @DonatelloCreates - review complete; added to book reviews
21: @jgrace2197 - review complete


#2

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: Mabel and Sebastian
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Summary: “The fog settles in, seeming to seep into the cracks in the pavement, stifling the air. Pierce feels as if the weight of the heavy night atmosphere is crushing him into himself, stripping him of his exterior and laying him bare.”

During the night, all of humanity’s sins are on full display. Sebastian Bowers believes that we are all either day people or night people: uncomfortably dull or deliciously layered. The night is a time of lust and love, sin and passion, thrill and mystery. While predators lurk in the night, Mabel Goodman makes it her mission to find them and fix them.

This book is an intense psychological thriller and is recommended for mature adults only, as it deals with some heavy themes.
Your writing experience; about you: I just recently joined Wattpad, and I’d love some feedback on the success of this story’s “hook”, AKA the first two chapters. Brutally honest feedback is the best kind, so don’t go easy on me! This is the first book I’ve ever published, so I just want to know what I’m doing right and wrong. Thanks!
Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/168824439-mabel-and-sebastian


#3

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,

Title: The Core of Us

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: The souls of Skille are only known to be completely good or completely evil. The only one ever known to be both is named Reve Statera and he is infamous among the badlands. At birth, it was prophesied that Reve is destined to save the world or to destroy it. Reve’s only wish is to outrun his destiny, but unfortunately, destiny has a way of catching up to you.

Your writing experience; about you: I have written stories since Middle School, which were at first very atrocious because I didn’t learn how to read or write until around third grade because I have dyslexia. I have always loved telling stories and that passion is what has brought me here. I have been a member of the Wattpad community for around five years, and since then, I believe my writing has improved quite a bit.

Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/168124581-the-core-of-us


#4

Hi! So I actually have my story on wattpad, but the more edited version is on docs. I’m okay with doing the payment, but do you mind doing the review on docs? It’s public, so you only need the link to access. Thanks :slight_smile:


#5

PM me the link and I will see what I can do.


#6

#7

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: The Convention (Ab)Use

Genre: General Fiction/Short story

Summary: Wes has just returned to the town and country of his birth, Sarpari, India. He lets loose on a night of adventure with his friends. It ends up becoming one long night of horror, rather political horror. A night which drags him and his friends into something they were not prepared for.

Two separate but related incidents lead Wes and his friends into dealing with powers that seem unstoppable. The friends encounter the ugly side of diplomatic immunity. Now they have to seek for some justice.

About me: Writing stories is still a relatively new endeavour for me. I have been writing poems and lyrics longer than I have been writing stories. I am yet to incorporate such experience into my prose. I write as a means of escape and because it keeps my brain working. I tend to read more than watching the TV.

Link:https://www.wattpad.com/story/139989526-the-convention-ab-use


#8

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: The Last Philosopher
Genre: Fantasy/attempted comedy
Summary: Before there was everything, it’s assumed there was nothing. However, what if the only difference between nothing and everything was in the philosophy of how little one cared?

The planet Huom has been under observation by numerous forces for longer than should be possible. The primary watcher being a bitter black-hole, who is excited to see that there is finally a proverbial Darkness at the end of the tunnel.

On the continent of Sojurut. In the cold, mountainous sorcerers’ nation of Empris. The oldest living sorcerer is having devastating nightmares. At the same time — in the sandstone desert of Zenon — a weird man is escaping a prison filled with weirder men.
What does all this have to do with, arsehole Gods, hairy Dwarfs, frustrated Afreets, curious Gnomes, lizard-women, and nude Áettar? Perhaps Nothing, perhaps Everything, but the real question is; ‘why can’t it be both?’
Your writing experience; about you: I’ve been writing little things for years, but ‘The Last Philosopher’ is my first attempt at writing a big thing.
Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/50361540-the-last-philosopher

Also, thanks and sorry :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

The link works. Thank you


#10

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,

Title: The Voice

Genre: mystery/thriller

Summary: The Voice is going to strike soon.

In order to mute it forever, compelling, interesting, catchy stories must be told. There’s no room for failure. This is why eighteen young men and women are locked in a grey, dull house where they have to accomplish this task, or else they’ll be wiped out of that place, one by one.

In midst of that, deadly secrets, heart-wrenching lies and unexpected surprises are complicating these people’s journey through words and imagery even further.

Your writing experience: I actually started writing on Wattpad in 2014, but my writing was quite poor. I struggled with grammar and punctuation. I can say I’ve improved after since, but there’s still room for yet more improvement. I try to put as much effort as I can to finish stories.

Link: https://my.w.tt/qQ17RGYVhS


#11

Struggling with the Wattpad app for some reason. It won’t connect to Wattpad. Would have done the payment since.


#12

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: Dragon Rider In The Modern World
Genre: Fantasy
Summary: Valerie is a Dragon Rider. The catch is that she lives in 2018, where everyone thinks that they are just mythical/fictional creatures, so it is impossible for her to get help to train Isaldrí, her dragon, and must be careful not to let anyone discover her secret. What will happen the day her best friends figure it out? Is it possible that there are other Riders like her out there?
Your writing experience; about you: I’m a young writer, and have only been writing seriously since this year. I do intend to get published some day, so critiques like these really help.
Link:https://my.w.tt/RZ76DLwhiS

I already followed you some time ago, so that’s the payment.


#13

You asked for an honest harsh critique so keep in mind all that I say is meant to be constructive.

Review for Mabel and Sebastian

Summary 4/10
I found the summary to be very short and lacking in some things. First, a quote is ok to start with for online reading sites and if it is not left apart from the summary itself. I would be wary using a quote for a professional query letter (advice for far in the future). You mention the name Pierce in the quote but that is all I get. It leaves me high and dry. Otherwise, in paragraph two you introduce our main protagonists which is good to do. While I am unsure if both share the protagonist role, I would like to see either a clearer distinguishing line between them or the introduction of the antagonist. Give me more characteristics, conflicts, and goals of the characters. Make me want to dive into their story without revealing too much detail or plot points. I advise you to approach it like the back of a book. You have three paragraphs usually to impress the reader. Make it your most enticing writing yet.

First Line 9/10
A very well done first line. It sets the mood and gives me a haunting outlook to the rest of the book. My only critique there is the color red and the word, darkens. Unless its a dark red I can only visualize a bright sunset. Perhaps word it, “The sky darkens, a growing deep red against the bright city lights.”

Readability 10/10
So far the book reads very well. For the most part there is good transition between scenes and character dialogue. I thought it was quite powerful in some instances and lacking in others. It does end with a good hook each time which I like to read at the end of each chapter.

Grammar 9/10
I don’t find many issues here. Just some wordy sentences that can be cut down and still have the same effect. Other than that, very solid. Stay away from using that word “seeming.”

Characters 7/10
My first thought. Pierce and Mona were lacking in the summary besides that quote. I was thrown into a world with people I was not expecting to encounter first. After reading further, I came to see Mona as a naive girl filled with dreams. And Pierce to be too ruled by emotion and lacking in common sense. By the end of part 2 I felt a little sympathy towards Pierce, but all that happened to him was entirely him making a series of bad decisions. Maybe I missed it but if Pierce is really important, I could use some more descriptions of his character. I had trouble envisioning his exact look. All in all. Good characters.

World Building/Setting 9/10
Very well crafted world. I could see much of what was happening in my mind. I would like to know the year this happens. You mention Uber once but the book gives off a more futuristic dystopian feel than modern. That is easily my opinion. The bar and bedroom scene were superb. I got fully immersed very quickly.

Total Score 48/60

I enjoyed the read. Left you a few comments on the places I had trouble. Hope you continue doing well.


#14

Done! I followed you, please let me know if you need more.


#15

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,

Thanks so much for your offer to all of us :slight_smile: I would absolutely love to hear your feedback on my story!

Title: Bearheart

Genre: Fantasy/adventure

Summary:
Far in the Frozen North live the Rogalanders, excellent smiths, worshippers of the water, and the so-called “bear-people.” Every year, the devout who are coming of age receive a tattoo - a Mark of Endil, which reveals to its bearer the destiny laid out by the gods. The day of Hala’s marking, originally supposed to bring with it joy and celebration, is ruined by an unexpected tragedy. The subsequent arrival of a woman from a rival nation forces Hala and the other newly-marked believers on a dangerous cross-continental mission, during which they discover an international conspiracy. In the face of betrayal and death, the young Rogalanders must grapple with the answer to one question: how much are you willing to sacrifice to protect your country?

Your writing experience; about you: I always liked English classes the best, but I have anxiety about sharing my writing. My New Years resolution this year was to embrace some of the passions that I had forgotten about as an adult and I finally worked up the courage to start writing again in August. This is the first piece that I’ve shared with anyone else.

Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/166762806-bearheart

I have given you a follow! I’ll try to start reading the Mirror Me series when I get home from work today, too.


#16

IMPORTANT QUESTION: Does the “first two chapters” include a brief 1,000-word prologue? Because I feel my piece really needs the prologue + the first two chapters in order to get a good feel for the story :sweat_smile:

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: Haunted Rayne
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Summary: I have a short blurb and a summary.

Blurb:
A young murderer with amnesia enrolls in a reform school exclusively for wealthy teens. This steep tuition pays to clean records and erase evidence of heinous pasts. There’s only one problem: The campus is haunted.

Summary:
It’s been one year since Rayne Foster killed a young girl in the middle of the street, and after months of endless therapy, she still doesn’t remember it ever happening. The psychiatrists at Aurora Hospital approve her transfer to Maria J. Westwood Correctional, a glorified reformatory school for the wealthiest teens in America. The steep tuition pays for a fresh start, wherein students can graduate and receive forged diplomas from blue-ribbon schools across the nation. Clean slate.

But now, students and staff are disappearing. Some, are even committing suicide.

Shadows haunt the campus grounds, whispering in foreign tongues. Rayne is one of the only students on campus who can see them, and she is quite possibly the only person who can put an end to the grisly murders that terrorize the prim hallways of this clandestine upper-class reform school.

With help from her new felonious friends, and even help from a man, quite literally, from her very dreams, Rayne is determined to unlock the secrets of the school to save her peers, whilst uncovering the secrets of her own past as well.

Your writing experience; about you: I am a twenty-five-year-old freelance copyeditor, but I have been writing original short stories since high school. Haunted Rayne was the first full-length story I ever tried to write ten years ago. I just picked it up again three months ago, and I am determined to finish it this time.

Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/161858036-haunted-rayne


#17

Please remember all my comments are meant to be constructive and are not a representation of your as a writer.

Review for The Core of Us

Summary 7/10
While the summary is short it does hit a few good points. I get the setting, the main character, a little bit of conflict, and a goal. I would like to see this expanded some. Reve seems like an interesting character unique to his world. Give me a little backstory. What lead him to the point to outrun his destiny? There is a cliche moment here which I am guilty of many times and that is to outrun destiny. We all know destiny is near impossible to outrun and that is where you can break the cliche. Is there a possible way to outrun destiny or change it. It’s a good summary, don’t get me wrong, but I need a little more.

First Line 8/10
The first line is your best impression on readers and agents. It is the defining moment in all stories to nab the feel of your whole book. To me it is the most important line of any story. Your first line in the prologue is good, not great. What makes it good is we have a family standing before a king, not just a person. It gives me a sense of dread, a feeling something bad is about to happen to this family. With that said, I feel it can be improved with a little bit of description. A family of what? A family of theives, a family of murderers, a family of what did they do!

Readability 9/10
The fact that I only really have a prologue to read makes it a bit hard to judge, but from what I did read, I thought you have a great exciting start to a revenge themed book. I felt the parent’s love and their fears. I felt Reve’s pain and even his bizarre acceptance to their passing. There was enough hook to keep me interested. Now post more so we can find out what happens. As for the glossary at the beginning. I see it is a work in progress. Very few books out there include them, but I always enjoy them when I see them.

Grammar 6/10
The problem with your grammar lies with your sentence structure and the juxtaposition between thoughts within the sentence. The elements are there and I hope my examples of rearrangement help. Also watch out for character actions. If one is being extremely confident, they can’t also be nervous in the same thought.

Characters 8/10
My only negative beef with the main character so far is his lack of dimension. I know it is just the prologue, but I would have liked to see what you said in the summary be hinted in this first look at Reve. What makes him different? I do see him filled with emotion and trauma as well as a vengence, but give me that extra special something that will set him apart. I know the parents were only side characters, but they gave me much realism. The king seems a bit flat. All I see is evil. I’m sure he will develop into a complex character later on.

World Building/Setting 9/10
I do like how you stayed true to a small setting here. Many people make the mistake in fantasy books by trying to explain to much or show to much of their world so early on. I like how it focused on the throne room and the execution. I did not feel overwhelmed. Because I don’t have another chapter to see the world expanded, I have to give you a nine for now.

Total Score 47/60

Very good opening. Full of action and emotion. I left you with some comments regarding some troubled sentences, nothing bad, just room for improvement. I see this working out well if you bring the uniqueness forward in both character and plot.


#18

I will look into it. I don’t mind including it.


#19

Dear Crazy Ole Elf,
Title: Holding on to you
Genre: Adventure / sci-fi

Summary: We are Inferiors, protected by the Supreme.
When two siblings, Erin and Silas, find a ring of a Supreme hidden away in their home, Erin warns Silas to throw it away. Not listening to her advice he keeps it and tries to sell it, but gets caught. The two siblings are torn apart and with only a few months until Erin receives her medicine.
Will she see her brother ever again?
And what will Silas find out when he finds himself surrounded by Supremes and discovering more about himself and the country he’s been living in?

Your writing experience; about you: I published a book when I was 15 but in Dutch and this is the first time that I’m uploading a book on Wattpad in English, which is my third language. I read a lot of English books so I hope mine isn’t poorly written. I tend to be mindful of my grammar. I know my synopsis isn’t all that great, or maybe it is? I don’t know. I’m also not sure in which category my story belongs, what do you think? I’ll take a look at your stories know!
Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/162357326-holding-on-to-you


#20

Thank you everyone for your patience. I’ve posted two reviews so far. I will be getting to the others very soon. HAZAAH!