Chapter 1 for Critique

Since you just asked for general impression, I'll try to focus on that or on my general thoughts and not go into the technical writing details (I think other people have already done that on the document, which should help if you want it):

It's okay.

I'm not particularly hooked, BUT I will admit that I generally don't read fantasy/fiction that starts off this brutal (I read the slow build-up stories), so it's just a difference for me and you should take it into account that I'd probably not be your target demographic.

Now, I know you said you didn't want any proofreading/grammatical impressions, but to me, how the sentences flow is important. Overall, I think you've got some good sentences, some that really pop and stand out, and you also have some that feel like they could be cut. I'm sure you'll get to all that in the editing stage. Right now, it wasn't enough to take me out of the story, but I'm saying this, too, just to bring it to your attention.

But I am intrigued as to the choice to flip between first and third person. I think that it's an unusual tactic and could be a very interesting read because of it. I'd be very interested to see how the writing melds with the story in this case, probably more so than in other stories. It's definitely intriguing. It's a bit weird at this point (considering you had two third-person POVs and then one 1st-person) but could be done really well at the end (preferably, I'd like to see it come together at the end with a more meaningful reason than "I just felt like writing first-person here now").

After the section with the father, I was more intrigued. Not exactly sure why. As I said, I just generally don't read dark fantasy, or any type of literature that starts off immediately grim (which is ironic because I will admit to writing grim in my beginnings). There was a lot of telling in the beginning of this section, but it was something I didn't mind, and I think you made it work.

There are some awkward phrasings, but again, I'm sure you'll get to that in editing. I thought it very cool to have this protag that was famous, but I'm still not exaclty sure how she got there. Because it seems like a small, one-time moment of fame, but considering how big its gotten, it feels like its lasted a few years already. While I could make the safe conclusion that she has continued her art and she's just well-renowned now, I'm not given confirmation on that. But also, it's very interesting and I really liked that. I'd be more interested to see what type of art she makes and how it gains her this attention, why she hasn't been able to keep any friends, if she makes money, how people view her, and her internal struggle. I loved the throwing parties explanation and how she thinks about others and has her secret desires (Of course, my type of story would focus on this section and not the rape, haha!)

General questions to ask:

  1. Why is the blanket still blood-soaked? Since you had the scene earlier with the father, it makes me think it's the same one (it may or may not be for all I know - PROBABLY is but yeah...). But I'm really curious as to why it did not get washed... Or just plain thrown out... Personally, if I were a mother/guardian, I probably wouldn't just save a blood-stained blanket (just an example, you used "blood soaked part" so after years it would have hopefully dried - unless the mother finally tossed it in the wash like a sane person! Just an odd choice in words to me instead of saying "bloodied" portion or "rust colored portion" but that's word choice). ANYWAYS, it seemed a bit... unsanitary? I mean, I guess it's okay for visualization, but the person in me is like, "WTF? Why?" (such a minor thing that you could probably ignore it, weird quirk type thing, but was a distractor because I didn't see a reason why someone would keep a bloody blanket as is).

What she says afterwards is intriguing. Because I'm not exactly sure what she's talking about. So that is good mystery.

Some of the dialogue felt unnatural, though.

Now... I suppose onto the next part.

I will preface that I have never gone through this situation (any type of rape situation), so some of my questions may just be from naivety, but I thought I'd ask just to point out my general thoughts.

  1. Does Lisa experience this reaction every time while showering? It seems like after four years, she shouldn't have such a traumatic experience EVERY time while showering, so I was curious to know if there was some sort of trigger. This could also be playing into those fantasy elements you mentioned later on, or some other explanation or other, and so it may make more sense to me later on if I were continuing. ALSO, though, it would be a very interesting thing to imagine - a famous person avoids showers to avoid the memories... AND... that somehow affects how others think of her, the media, etc. It could raise a lot of questions so now I think about it, it may not be a big deal and now I sort of want that to happen. Does Lisa try to hide this by wearing a lot of perfume all the time? Does the media constantly hound her on this? What type of struggle is there? Would she eventually blow up at them and reveal her secret? I'd genuinely be interested in this (yeah, as you can see, I'm probably not your target reader).

Now, yeah, the next section, it was okay. Not my cup of preferred tea while reading, but I guess it was fine. Kids can definitely be cruel, but it was a bit hard for me to think this cruel (though I'm not THAT naive that it wouldn't happen - there are rough kids out there). It's just something I prefer not to think about. Same with the violence/name-calling against someone that's gay. A bit much for me, and I prefer to have sexual relations of any sort portrayed in a positive light but I understand that to do that could also be a disservice, as these things do/have happened. So I didn't have a question on that - just, yeah, it was a dark scene, I guess. I also thought it interesting you chose this section for first-person, which gives me some thoughts, and could be interesting to see how that unfolds.

  1. So, this groundskeeper... He seemed like he cared. I know several 12-years-old girls would be completely traumatized and a responsible adult would immediately take over. Since you mention cops, I know that they are there. So... He sees a bloody girl (bleeding from the abuse done to her), seems concerned, and then... "Oh, no, I'm okay." Yeah, if any kid said that to my parents, even if they weren't theirs, they're going to be like, "Bitch, no you ain't. We're going to get this sorted out." Authorities would be called, parents notified. I can understand the shock he'd probably be in and may not know what to do (you know, just randomly seeing this, he may not be able to connect the dots, I TOTALLY understand that), but you wrote him as caring and really wanting to help, and I don't understand why he'd listen to this little girl (which, I think her reaction was fine - a lot of people try to keep that quiet and that was normal, probably, to refuse his help) but still it was a bit weird to me that he listened. "Welp, guess she told me. Guess I'll go over here now." (Which, of course, could be answered later on in the series, I'm just letting you know that at this point that part read a bit unrealistic to me with the way you currently wrote him, but it could be normal in your world for all I know).

Overall, it's probably fine for your reader-base, story-wise. I can't exactly tell where the story is going (I don't feel I really need to know right now though - that's what the whole story is for! :) ).

It has a strong opening (what I mean by that is that some sort of "big event" happens) and seems to be one of those stories that has a lot of "big" events that happen in them. I think people that like those stories will probably like it. Whereas those that prefer slower, less bombastic stories may feel overwhelmed.

Pacing seemed fine.

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