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  1. The unmistakable scent of burning flesh rushed through his nostrils having been carried inside by the newly opened door. The burning flesh catches my attention. I am confused though by what's being carried (the scent?) and how a newly opened door can carry a scent. Can you instead say something maybe about the "scent wafted through the open door"? Something like that. A trio of papal enforcers entered in from the tower’s staircase. I think I need more of a scene set. Right now there's a door, and a tower, and a room? Is the room inside the tower? Is the room at the base o
  2. As part of her recent nightly routine, Alex Mercer watched from across the street as Henry Shen stepped out from his doorway with his briefcase and firmly locked the door behind him, oblivious to her shadow across the street cast by the streetlights. I got confused by what seems to be a POV hop. Alex seems to be the one whose viewpoint we're following, but when you throw in "firmly" and "oblivious to her shadow" I start to think we're hopping from Alex's POV to Henry's. Adding a "seemed to be" might help like "he seemed to be oblivious to her shadow across the street…" so that we can stay
  3. Your beginning is very good, gets my attention right away. I like this line as an explanation to her feelings: Why am I not freaking out? A wave of hysteria should be hitting me like a wrecking ball, but for some strange reason, it’s not. Normally, I have a panic attack by lunch. However, I notice this same explanation comes up several times in this same chapter. "Why am I still so calm about that? Trying to parallel park normally has me short of breath, blood pounding in my ears. Maybe that's it: no blood, no anxiety." "that was always one of my biggest fears, yet I'm pict
  4. Hild was reminded of stories of desert tribes and unmarked paths across dangerous territories, but only warriors leave Buclaminta, and only the best return. Hild sighed. I'm not sure why you changed tenses here "only warriors leave Buclaminta." It reads better to me to keep it in past tense. "only warriors left Buclaminta, and only the best of them returned" something like that. Also, I get from reading your opening that Hild is sighing because he is not a warrior but a slave and therefore cannot leave (is that right?) but I don't think that comes across alone. Could you put here somethin
  5. I was confused by the first paragraph, too many new names and new places, Lydia, Marcus, Forum, the Theikos. It took me a few re-reads to realize that Lydia and Marcus were investigating the Forum because the Forum was being noisy in a new way (since marketplaces are usually noisy this wasn't an easy concept to follow). I think you show what the Forum is and why Lydia might want to investigate it in a much better way with your second paragraph. Would it work to go from your first sentence "Lydia stopped…" straight onto a second sentence "People were crowding the city square, pressing up agains
  6. Hello, these are the first 500 or so words of my novel/my first scene. My goal is to set the scene and introduce my main character Yoonis. --- The feather was blue, bright blue, as blue as the sky on a clear arctic day. It gleamed against the red and gold-turned grasses of the tundra, outshining even the lakes and ponds that pooled up every summer on the treeless plains. “Look,” Yoonis whispered to her daughter, pointing to the feather. “What, Umma?” Jayu asked. “A firebird feather.” “Really?” Jayu breathed. “A firebird?” The awe in her daughter’s voice echoe
  7. Assignment 1: Story Statement Mayah works to discover why the serfs took her as a baby. Was it to rescue her from the fate of being an oppressor, or was it to kidnap her to use as a tool for their Uprising? Assignment 2: The Antagonist Lady Nari is both extremely violent and extremely principled. She lives her life for one thing only: the good of the serfs. The daughter of a castle serf, who in turn was raised by a Matterist prophet, Lady Nari comes from a long line of resistance fighters. None of her ancestors, however, had her single-mindedness. It was Lady Nari, and La
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