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43. Shreds of Dusk - BadassJem (In Progress)

 

#39

Dec-Dec 25th/2016

Your cover is seriously awesome. I love that the title fits exactly inside the moon and there's a weird red light zooming across the night sky. It's a perfect cover for the summary you've provided and appeals to the reader. The summary is also intriguing, because you're left wondering if this'll be an alien story or a story where a man is slowly going insane.

 

 

Well that's an interesting way to start the story! We have mutilated sheep, red glowing lights in the sky and now and abduction. Okay, not gonna lie when I say it's a bit spooky. Especially since I see enough fast moving lights in the sky above my house. (We're talking way too fast for it to be some kind of government aircraft. Unless it's that really fast one they're working on, but they're in Nevada....I'm in Illinois.)

Aside from my inner babble, I think it's a great start to a story as it leaves readers wanting to know what happened to the character. While still causing some goosebumps based off the descriptions of the mutilated sheep. 

 

I think we finally found our main character! Now, I'll admit it was hard to wrap a mindset around what character we were reading. At first I thought it might've been the parents discussed in the prologue. It wasn't until he noted his girlfriend and I realized he quoted the summary, that I gathered he must be the main character the story is wrapped around. It was only confirmed later in chapter when the man from the prologue is introduced as his patient. 

A part of me keeps thinking back to that x-files episode, where the kids have three moles on the back of their necks and the aliens use them as puppets. What if that's the fate of our prologue character? 

 

George! It's aliens! Get your act together! Ay dios mio. What makes matters worse is that he has insomnia so hallucinations are legitimate. So even though he's actually seeing these things, he can't be too sure because of it.

Aside from my getting way too caught up in characters, this was a good chapter. You get to see George deal with his 'aliens' for the first time. But because his insomnia is still intact he has that inner battle of 'did I really see that?' creating the tug and pull needed to add mystery.

 

This was an interesting chapter. If I'm to get anything from the title it's a continuation from the prologue. But I'm a little curious as to how he's walking about just fine when in the MC chapters he's in a coma. I guess time will tell and eventually he'll reach that point. Or he's in a coma and his mind is the only thing wandering. Now that, would be really  great writing.

I wonder too why the aliens dropped him off to a new area. Checking to see if he could return? Testing out experiments they've conducted? Hmph, they say we're the abnormal creatures.

 

Honestly the only think that stuck out in this chapter was the many run on sentences. But aside from them we actually do learn a lot in this one. Like the fact George isn't the only one who's seen the red lights. Or how Robert has finally woken up and can explain how he got there.

We learn a bit more about George's character as well. Like how his insomnia seems to be getting worse instead of better. Or that his lack of interest in silly antics has shut him off from people and severed friendships.

I'd like to say too that after reading the whole thing I understand why it's called Brainfreeze. But that when I first started I felt 'Inertia' was better suited. Especially when George was trying to drag himself to work. 

If I had any criticism I'd say maybe a little less information in the beginning. Like maybe cut out some of how he spends his day and night. It seemed to make the chapter drag unnecessarily.

 

You brought him in, killed him and have now brought him back. Is he based off someone you don't like? That's the only reason why I would think you would torture this poor character so. 

In all seriousness though, poor Robert. Not to mention poor George for dealing with all of this whilst having no sleep and his own inner demons. This chapter certainly draws the reader in and keeps the suspense there.

If this were an actual novel it'd be what the critics refer to as a 'page turner' because that's all you want to do. Keep reading on to figure out what the hell is going on. It raises more questions than answers but it's only the beginning, certainly more is in store.

I'd like to note that I enjoyed seeing Leah in action with George. The two are very cute and it's obvious he depends on her very much. Even though he doesn't always admit it to himself.

 

This chapter to be perfectly honest, felt like a filler. (I've written some in my travels so I should know.) Aside from the conversation between him and the doctor, nothing changed. It's actually almost a complete replica of the ending of chapter 4.  

Moving on though, it's extremely odd what's going on with Robert. Again, it brings me back to that x-files episode. (Which now I'm wondering if you've seen it.) My initial thought is that those 'red lights' are signaling him back. Because clearly no human could jump from a window on the fourth floor without help. 

I'd also like to say that I loved how you made him wake up. I could actually see what the doctor was describing and it intrigued me so, making me want to skip to the end just to figure out what's going on. 

George's dreams might I add, are extremely sci-fi. Why hasn't he even contemplated the aliens might be sending him messages? I'm also glad you added in names and such when it was just dialogue because without them it would've got very confusing.

 

Gahhh I love this chapter!! I'm honestly not even sure why. But it's like that part in a horror movie when the main characters have finally been seeing what you learned early on. So when all the pieces are put together it's like 'Yessss!!! Now we can focus on the bigger picture here!' it's a beautiful thing.

Now the only thing they should be focusing on is the aliens. Which if I'm to get anything from that ending sentence, he's about to do. Hello mom and pop Ellis, herreeee's George!

I'd also like to point out that because there was a lot of dialogue in this one too, it was hard at times to figure out who was speaking. The only time I could put anything together was because I knew that George was the only one who called Leah, 'lee'. But I got confused as I said because she was looking at Jamie, so I thought he was the one talking.

 

I wonder why the aliens are sending these people off on adventures. They never end up anywhere useful. Or maybe it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe they keep waking up before the aliens can get them where they want them to go. That's a thought.

But if that's the case then where are they taking them? Ugh. Aliens are so confusing.

I'm also a little miffed with myself because I completely forgot about this woman, it only dawned on me at the start that the Ellis' live two hours away. Shows you how much of a dolt I am when I'm too immersed in a story line.

Truthfully I'm kinda glad Leah didn't make an appearance. She's starting to get on my nerves and I'm not sure why.

 

Can I just say that I love how you built up to the final act? The whole bit with the lines from the phone call and him seeing it happen with Harriet, love it. 

But George was driving me nuts, though I'm trying to convince myself that he was just shocked. I'm referring to when he couldn't remember the boy's age or name when talking to the operator. Then later remembering it all when he saw Harriet. Like, seriously George? Make up your mind.

I really hope Dylan doesn't wake up again...

I'm also secretly hoping Leah will somehow be abducted or die because her drama queen act is pissing me off. (Ahem. Sorry not sorry.)

 

I understand what you meant now when you said this was your first action chapter. It clear in the style that you haven't wrote in it before. Not that it's a bad thing, but it feels like you were trying to hold onto the old style while retaining the new.

When writing anything with action it should just be about the events happening. If you try to get too descriptive or draw attention to anything else, it takes away from the intensity.

I loved how you made George's thoughts separate from the paragraphs. Especially considering they were contradictory to his hope. I'm also already calling it that the reason why she never wanted him, was because eventually, he'll end up just like her. 

The brains though. My God, the brains. I cannot fathom what that would actually look like, nor smell like. .....I might get sick just thinking about it.

 

 

 

 

Prologue:

'and, when seven o' clock finally arrived, I was got up and did my chores as if it was just another normal day.' The first comma is unnecessary and the first 'was' can be vetoed.

'he was damn lucky to have a son do the work for him, but then again,' This feels like a run on, I would suggest ending the sentence where the first comma lies.

'as always, when I arrived at the fence.' Remove the comma.

'rang out clearly in the desolated air, and the faint sound of an owl' After 'air' I feel you can end the sentence and make a new one from there, obviously vetoing the 'and' at the start.

'in a thousand shades of glittering blue, and that night' This is another long sentence that I feel could be broken in two, starting with ending it at the comma.

'I know it wasn't sleeping because sleeping sheep are white, and this one was red.' Remove the comma.

'inch of it's white wool and,' Place the comma before the and as opposed to after.

'Now that I was standing directly in a pool of sticky blood' Based off the rest of the sentence, what if you wrote it:

'Now that I knew I was standing directly in a pool of sticky blood' the italicization isn't necessary it's just to emphasize the new words.

'score played in the background, and' Another run on I feel. You could end it at the comma and start a new one. The 'and' could be vetoed to read smoother but I'll leave that to you.

'All I was introduced to, as the red light grew larger and larger and closer and closer'

'All I was introduced to, as the red light grew larger and larger, closer and closer' 

 

Chapter 1:

'It was three o' clock in the morning, and the sky behind the stars was washed with violet' Remove the comma.

'when he laid down to sleep five hours ago; now' Another run on, make it into two by ending it at the semicolon.

'Playing poker was, as he knew, neither a healthy obsession nor a cure for his insomnia, which' Run on, end it at insomnia.

'closed the lid of the computer, and then' Remove the comma.

'and walked over to the window, and' Run on, end it at the comma and start a new one. 

'Sleep didn't come for another hour, though, and when it did, all of his dreams were painted red.' Remove the first comma.

'Leah sighed, rolling over to look towards the window;' You can end the sentence here instead of the semicolon.

'as usual, George felt cruel for waking her up,' You can end the sentence here too but that's up to you.

'Just when he thought he was rid of it all, though' Remove the comma.

 

Chapter 2:

'The night was clear, and ' Remove the comma.

'had read the book a thousand times before, and' Remove the comma.

'George had read the articles about the phenomenon, and he'd watched the news' Remove the comma.

'He wished he hadn't, obviously;' That could be a sentence end.

'In fact, he'd spent the first two or three hours of the night reading news stories of animal mutilations;' End sentence.

Also you mention something about that's the reason why he's a vegetarian. But it doesn't read clear enough. What makes him a vegetarian? Knowing animals get slaughtered?

'but they stood out so cleanly against the night that they resembled chunks of liquid copper zipping at breakneck speed across the sky.' This runs a little long, why not add a comma between 'night' and 'they'.

'distorted the line into an oval;' Another sentence end.

'Tonight wasn't going to be another one of those nights, though.' Remove the comma.

'at the field opposite his house;' End sentence.

'George only glanced up at them briefly;' End sentence.

'that he was wearing his slippers, and' End sentence at the comma.

'flash over his head;' End sentence.

'to twist and lurch;' End sentence.

'hillside, but' End sentence.

'in the sky; following that' End sentence.

'of any kind of explosion;' End sentence.

 

Midlogue:

'For now, though, I had to focus on where the hell I was, and how the hell I could get home.' Remove the first and third comma.

'reading timetables, and repelling' Remove the comma.

'the query over and over again;' End sentence.

'to plague me yet again, but' End sentence.

'of the story distinctly, but the more' End sentence.

'Then, all of a sudden' Remove the comma.

'clung to the blue fabric' End sentence.

'sympathetic or sarcastic, seemingly' End Sentence.

 

Chapter 3:

'make up for, but the more' End sentence.

'to twitch; at that moment' End sentence.

'one eye, and yet' End sentence.

'in the sky, the red spark' End sentence.

'after UFOs, and he wanted' End sentence.

'almost every night' Add a comma after 'night'.

'sleepless nights, and if' End sentence.

'just her smile, and tell her he loved her.' Remove the comma and end sentence.

'he watched her leave in silence' End sentence.

'George knew,they needed to fight to keep their eyes open;' Remove the comma and end sentence.

'When George was tired, though,' Remove the first comma.

'to keep them shut;' End sentence.

'for some reason, than' End sentence, I realize this'll leave with a wonky break but I have faith you can fix it.

'eyes open, letting his' End sentence.

'fatigued muscles, and started' End sentence.

'without realising, watched' End sentence.

'looking at, and then' End sentence. 

'starving himself' End sentence.

'even finishing it' End sentence.

'to the east, but the' End sentence.

'yet again, and' Remove the comma.

'the last light, it was easier' End sentence.

'felt before, but his heart' End sentence.

'it anymore, and he' End sentence.

'however, was the fear' Remove the comma.

'stepped outside; he' End sentence.

'his muddy slippers, after' End sentence.

'for walks, since it' Remove the comma.

'through the field, but that' End sentence.

'through the grass, he realised' End sentence.

'previous night, but the' End sentence.

'different direction and wove' End sentence at 'and'.

'shape of his foot, was actually' End sentence.

'wasn't searching, but couldn't' End sentence.

'to the trees, so it' End sentence.

'the pavement, and he' End sentence.

'else's voice; the woman' End sentence.

'shaken from-the fact' End sentence.

'red lights or the' End the sentence after 'lights'. 

'her land like a' Add a comma between 'land' and 'like'.

'clinical smell, imagining that' End sentence.

'he was trying flush' I think you're missing a word here.

'normal night (which, of course' End the sentence after 'night'. 

'other nurses; failing to' End sentence.

'The chart was massive;' End sentence.

'Eventually, though,' Remove the first comma.

'when, randomly,' Remove the first comma.

'as before, that he' End sentence, another wonky break but I have faith.

'the field; her off' End sentence.

'nearly a week' End sentence.

'slapped himself; he'd been' End sentence.

'in his thoughts' End sentence.

'to forget all about the unconscious man less than a foot away.' 

'He'd forgotten all about the unconscious man less than a foot away.'

'in the confusion and' End the sentence after 'confusion'.

'George's chest, fingertips' Remove the comma and replace it with 'his'.

'the man's eyes before' End the sentence after 'eyes'.

'three days, and we' Remove the comma.

'never know his name,' End sentence.

 

I feel like you're going to be appalled at how many of these there are. I honestly do apologize. This isn't meant to make you look stupid, it really is to help you. But you have a tendency to write out run on sentences. You try to break them with commas and semicolons, but it should be two different ones.

Just remember: A sentence can be as long as twenty to thirty words. Any more and it's a run on or an eyesore.

 

Chapter 4:

'in half, but it' End sentence.

'an early night, but, firstly,' Remove the first and second commas.

'George didn't really know how to sleep' End sentence.

'The pain wasn't unbearable;' End sentence.

'the hell out; he wasn't' End sentence.

'wasn't sure why, and he' Remove the comma.

'his composure, but when' End sentence.

'his mind, but the' End sentence.

'his skin, even though' End sentence.

'of death, and the' End sentence.

'And now, apparently,' Remove the first comma.

'over the bed; he'd somehow' End sentence.

'them herself; this obviously' End sentence.

'George, meanwhile, had gone into auto-pilot;' Remove the second comma and end sentence.

'invisible fists, and he' End sentence.

'his life; it was his job' End sentence.

'threw at him; he never' End sentence.

'his own work, though,' Remove the first comma and end sentence.

'was blindness, but that' End sentence.

'as well; they were' End sentence.

'Pretty quickly, however,' Remove the first comma.

'without noticing; his hands' End sentence.

'inside his head, but the' End sentence.

' "Clear!" yelled the trainee doctor,' The word outside the dialogue should be capitalized.

'arched his back, but the' End sentence.

'onto his skin, but he' End sentence.

'sheer willpower, but all' End sentence.

'shouts and sounds, but the' End sentence.

'behind his eyes, but that' End sentence.

'for support, glaring at' End sentence.

'spinning in his head' Add a comma here.

'great job in there, so' End sentence.

'leave work early, but as' End sentence.

'run over, and as' End sentence.

'out the words, holding his' End sentence.

' "That's weird, though,' Remove the first comma.

'from his phone; at first' End sentence.

'bossiness, but,' Remove the first comma.

'She was, quite obviously, scared' Remove the first comma.

'or how, or why, so' End the sentence after the second comma.

'why he walked away, but she ended up following him anyway, so it ended up not mattering anyway.' Remove the first comma and remove the second 'anyway'.

'the other end and' Add a comma between 'end' and 'and'.

'back to the phone, which was' End sentence.

'not going to believe me, and God knows' End sentence.

'the other end, but even' End sentence.

'in his head, the floor' End sentence.

'to catch him, and everything' Remove the comma.

 

Chapter 5:

'above his head, and then' End sentence.

'the hospital anymore; he was' End sentence.

'fighting back, and around' End sentence.

'Then, his body was torn in half,' This isn't necessary but you could end the sentence here to make it more dramatic.

'be dreaming, because even' End sentence.

'was smothered, and his' End sentence.

'The nauseating tug' This sentence and the ones that follow after it can be a whole new paragraph.

'from his bedroom, and dizziness' End sentence.

'setting sun, but it' End sentence.

'His sweat was cold,' End sentence.

'In fact, if anything,' Remove the second comma.

'At least, now that he was awake,' Remove the first comma.

'beneath his feet, and nobody' Remove the comma.

'He didn't actually need to use the bathroom, though,' Remove the first comma.

'the cupboard, since one' End sentence.

'kitchen counter, with a' End sentence.

'the stairs, and every' End sentence.

'His phone wasn't still on the bedroom floor,' I feel the 'still' in this sentence is unnecessary. You can also remove the comma.

'he fainted, but as' End sentence.

'to his ear, but he' End sentence.

'out of bed;I'm no expert' End sentence.

'the next room, but when' End sentence.

'Leah and George said together.' There's an unnecessary extra space between 'Leah' and 'and'. You could also write it out as,

'Said Leah and George in unison.'

'We'd actually already' There's an extra space between 'We'd' and 'actually'.

'with an answer, actually' End sentence and remove the second comma after 'actually'.

'felt heavy, and even though' Remove the comma.

 

Chapter 6:

'one red spark, swimming in' Remove the comma.

'itself shut, and every time' Remove the comma.

'hideous chorus of sounds; sirens' End sentence.

'screeching noise that was solid one moment,' Move that comma to in between 'noise' and 'that'. You could also veto some of the 'and's at the beginning of this sentence and replace with them commas.

'both his hands, and gravity' Remove the comma.

'rooted in one place, but he' End sentence.

'splitting headache, and some' Remove the comma.

'energy than usual, but he' End sentence.

'look more old than the wretched' I feel the 'more' is either placed in an inappropriate spot or can be taken out. But I had to reread the sentence twice to realize it was that word that made it sound off.

'police officers; the group of four' End sentence.

'Yeah, Well, I mean, not really' Either the first comma should've been a period or you need to lowercase the 'w', but you need to fix one.

'less than two hours, and in that time' End sentence.

'heart stopped, and a freezing' End sentence.

'out of the sky, and then' Remove the comma.

'before leaving, but more and more' End sentence.

'hurricane of needles, but he' Remove the comma.

'with his thoughts; he was lucky' End sentence.

'the day had gone, and why' Remove the comma.

'dripped onto the clouds; part of' End sentence.

 

Chapter 7:

'in the fence, tangled' End sentence.

'onto the front step, but before' End sentence.

'two days ago; in the' End sentence.

'she looked, quite simply' Remove the comma.

'nearly black, and their' End sentence.

'my original question: what do you want?' The 'what' should be capitalized. Any word after a colon is capitalized. (This does not apply to semi colons.)

'door on him; George meant' End sentence.

'completely clean; her mouth' End sentence.

'in closer, keeping her' Remove the comma.

'on the ground, and the' Remove the comma.

'and, somehow,' Remove the first comma.

'by the coat-pegs; shoes in' End sentence.

'the wooden surface, but even' End sentence.

'from my home, and my son' Remove the comma.

'swallowed solidly; a few' End sentence.

 

Chapter 8:

'When George opened his eyes, he was' Remove the comma.

'redder than hell, and then' Remove the comma.

'mangled beyond repair, but somehow' End sentence.

'And, finally,' Remove the first comma.

'blue-and-orange muddle' The line indentations can be removed and you should end the sentence here.

'farmhouse across the road, but' End the sentence here for dramatic pause.

'Again, his slippers' Remove the comma.

'it struck something solidly' Should be 'solid'.

'of the doorframe, keeping it stuck open' Remove the comma and separate door and frame.

'lying limply on the ground, was' Remove the comma.

'eyes were closed, and he' Remove the comma.

'pyjamas; he had' End sentence.

'open door, he'd been' Remove the comma.

'the crashing sound; Harriet's son' End sentence.

'around the house, but was' End sentence.

'small living-room, with two' End sentence.

'weird design;after all' End sentence.

'long as possible, until he' End sentence.

'dressing-gown, but a' End sentence.

'blacking out, and the' End sentence.

'was red, but the trickles' End sentence.

'needed to be done, he stood' End sentence.

'crimson puddle, though,' Remove the first comma.

'in her sleeve, peeling back' End sentence.

'of her wrist, but it' End sentence.

'stricken wrist, though,' Remove the first comma.

'during that time, he could' Remove the comma.

'the hallways; Leah still' End sentence.

'to console her when he' Add a comma between 'her' and 'when'.

'on his fingertips; without thinking' End sentence.

'mud and age, and besides' End sentence.

'back at him; her cheeks' End sentence.

'at all; he assumed' End sentence.

'wipe away; now' End sentence.

'living-room; Leah gasped in shock, and' End sentence and remove the comma.

'the armchair he saw her' Add a comma between 'armchair' and 'he'.

'stand with her; together' End sentence.

'yet colourless, void' Remove the comma.

'only one side, of her' Remove the comma.

'stripes of black, and her hair' End sentence.

'the image away, and then' Remove the comma.

'For once, though,' Remove the first comma.

'beneath it, but her' End sentence.

 

Chapter 9:

'think straight, but for now' End sentence.

'with her foot, but she' End sentence.

'against the wall, but she' End sentence.

'through the air, and sprung' Remove the comma.

'Harriet's jaw; the impact' End sentence.

'were whiter, even, than' Remove the first comma.

'instantly, and' Remove the comma.

'grab something, anything,' Remove the second comma.

'of her hair, but, to his horror,' Remove the second comma.

'and locked, with Harriet' End sentence.

'the door, but they' End sentence.

'followed, and George sighed' Remove the comma.

'gone in, and he was' Remove the comma.

'and, when he turned' Remove the comma.

'sturdy bone, but Harriet's' End sentence.

'over his shirt, but he' End sentence.

'been white, and when' Remove the comma.

'face Harriet, who was' End sentence.

'to the left, sinking' It's not necessary, but you could end it here to add a dramatic pause.

'as he hugged her and' End sentence after vetoing the 'and'.

'in the way, and' End sentence.

'have worked, too, was it not for' Remove the first comma and change the 'was' to a 'were'.

'of her hair, too,' Remove the commas and end the sentence.

'a grunt, which was' End sentence.

'from his face, and if' Remove the comma.

'her chest; her blood' End sentence.

'it was self defence' This should be spelt 'defense'.

 

*Please note that whenever I state 'End sentence' it means for you to end it at the comma.

 

 

In all, I actually really like this story. Which is surprising because I'm not an alien story person. (But I said this about pirates too, and I'm addicted to Hoist the Colours...soooo.) The only problems you retain are grammatical and they can be fixed. The suspense and character information are properly placed that it reads smoothly. But you don't add too many new or complex things at once that leaves the reader struggling to keep up. It's a great read and I can't wait for the next update! 

P.S. Happy holidays!!

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