Apparently my writing is "formulaic."

I don’t mind at all. I have been alpha-reading for another at the moment, and am currently editing my own finished (first) novel so my eyes are like a hawk’s at this time.

Take all of this with a grain of salt and a spoonful of sugar as 80% of these are of no real consequence. Your work is not materially affected by this and many (I dare to say most) readers won’t even consciously notice this. Some will simply be my personal preference. Others perhaps genuine items fit for correction.

I'm also conscious you never asked for this, so please keep in mind I'm not shitting on your work - on the contrary I really like what i read. As a fellow writer I'm excited for you having just published your first work and wish you best of luck with your writing career.


Grammatical Errors

Two days passed slowly; the monotony of the green flatlands rolled out in every direction, whilst beautiful, became mind-numbing, and the horizon was rarely…

“rolled” should be rolling, otherwise the meaning of “whilst beautiful” is deterred away from the rolling hills and it becomes a problem with tense.

..and listening to the stories they told, of home or battle, it mattered little.

Using passive “listening” hear, coupled with the last comma, seems to imply that listening mattered little. But what I think you mean is he listened regardless of the subject, and therefore the sentence should read:

and listened to the stories they told, of home or of battle it mattered little.

…dismantle the following morning, and, secondly, because the supply wagons carrying the tents…

(Style choice:) The second comma after “and” isn’t required. Arguably the comma after “secondly” could be done away with too.

In a flash, his father was stood above him, shield raised, and the blade rang off steel.

Stood should be standing, right?


Rogue Commas

buildings blackened by fire, and short narrow streets smeared with the blood of its inhabitants.

Technically the comma where it currently sits is unnecessary. Also between short and narrow one could argue a comma should be there (style choice only).

The lieutenant saw the flash of a sword blade behind them, and caught a glimpse of the small figure wielding it.

Comma not required.

His thin, exhausted frame was wracked with quiet sobs, as the lieutenant called two of his men forward.

The second comma shouldn’t be there.

The soldiers nodded, and between them half carried the child out of the stinking wreckage of his village.

There either needs to be a comma after them, or no commas and “half” should be removed.

He had, at first protested against his orders.

Should be a comma after first



The world had changed, he thought, wrenching his sword from the chest of the last of the raiders. Since he was a child, at least. He wiped the flat….

This middle sentence could mean 1) the raider was a child, or 2) protag is a child, or 3) in relation to protag’s previous thought – the world had changed since he was a child, or 4) that the sentence is incomplete i.e. at least he’s a child, therefore he though XXX…. I assume option 3 above is the right one. However the intention is not immediately clear and therefore my immediate interpretation as I first read this was option 4, and even upon re-reading I still can’t reconcile this issue. I think, essentially the first and second sentence here are one thought – and therefore should be joined via punctuation other than a period. Or the second thought should be combined with the first. “Since he was a child, at least” is not really a sentence on its own.

The sword came up as Galarus neared, and the lieutenant halted, raising his hands to show he was unarmed.

To be honest the pronouns are confusing and, with these commas where they are, I’m not exactly sure who’s doing what.

The horde turned to meet them; they would not be enough to stop the rage and ferocity with which Galarus and his men threw themselves into the fight.

In this sentence I’m having an issue with tense. It goes from close past (turned), to past (would not be), and then to present (threw)

…knocked him to the sodden ground and felt his boots crush over him.

I assume you don’t mean Galarus’s boots were crushed. So I think the word is supposed to be crunch


I do think your comma finger might be a little trigger happy. I actually have this same issue and have been trying to stamp it out of my own work – I guess this is why I’m hyper-conscious of this at the moment. But, keep in mind, half of these things I’ve mentioned could be argued as just being my personal preference, and in the end, I am no expert. Hope this helps.

How are you going with the sequel?

ps. added you as friend on goodreads :)

/r/writing Thread Parent