Review for The Farm (tentative)

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I think the characters are somewhat interesting, but could be more engaging/relatable. I don’t really feel much atmosphere of unease. I think the story has a lot of potential, although I feel like I don’t have an indication of which way this story is going, which is something I look for in first chapters. What promises are you making the readers? What are the emotional stakes for Sarah? Yes, her bro has jaw cancer, but I feel like you could draw out her feelings a bit more. What else is she stressed about? What other factors are at play in her life that aren’t on-screen here? You almost hint at that toward the end, but I’d like to see more of that sooner. What is Sarah worried will go horribly wrong?

* Personally, for asides, I prefer em-dashes (Alt + 0151 = — ) rather than parentheses. Parentheses don’t create enough of a idea break for my brain.
* When Brandon gives the pain scale, I’d flip-flop the phonetic and the quotation phrases, because Sarah’s interpreting the sounds for the reader.
* I’d refer to the smileys as “it”s rather than gendering them, since the wall chart doesn’t say it’s a guy smiling.
* You use a lot of words ending in -ly throughout the story. I think they bog you down some, and would cut at least a few +/- rework sentences to reduce the number.
* You also have a lot of exposition/infodump between the dialogue bits, enough that I forget there’s a conversation going on. I would consider trying to work some of the info into the dialogue, with the intent of the conversation driving the info reveals forward.
* There is a lot of past perfect tense (“had been”, “had seen”, etc.) and passive voice (any form of the verb “to be” – is, was, are, were, etc.). I think you have room to rework some of the sentence structures to make them more vivid (i.e., “had moved Brandon” to “moved Brandon [X weeks ago]”, etc.

Hope this helps, thanks for sharing!

Premise 3.0
Authenticity 3.0
Characters 3.5
Dialogue 4.0
Details 5.0
Pacing 2.5
Theme 4.0
Clarity 4.0
Word Choice 2.5
Grammar 4.5
Spelling 5.0
Dread Factor 2.0
Helpful? 0 0

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