Good evening Terrio,
I’ve finally made the time to review your submission- thank you for sending it, and for being patient with me the past few months.
I should start by saying that I’m declining to publish “Favor of Ares” with Vivid. I’m sorry to disappoint. I would still like to help you bring the title to readers though- it’s a potent book, tons of cool supernatural action! So please send me news on when it becomes available, so I can retweet and spread the word on social media. I think a lot of readers would enjoy it, and I’d like to help them find it.
I have some feedback too- so here we go. 8 ) I hope it comes in handy- as with all feedback, just follow the rule of thumb: Use anything that makes your story better in your eyes, anything that helps you continue and improve, and just ditch the rest.
I like the opening- within the first page, you establish that this is going to be a different kind of book. Most supernatural books are aimed at a young teen audience, and veer away from graphic detail. But describing the crime scenes not only sets the tone, but tells the readers this is a more gritty, more dangerous book.
In fact, I almost wonder if switching a few paragraphs might step up the first page? I think the most gripping sentence is “The autopsy reports reveal…”
What if that was the very first sentence? And the exposition about the setting and background situation could be layered into the scene after you hook the readers with that eye-opener. Every book needs exposition- but it can be very tricky feeding it to the reader in a way that catches their interest. As you continue writing, you’ll find your skill at weaving information into events growing more subtle and captivating.
Your skills are already impressive in some areas- I love the rich, visual descriptions you give! You do an excellent job at highlighting key details in a tangible way. Colorful, dynamic, and fun.
One note I would submit for consideration is the introduction of the characters- giving the readers seven brand new character names and descriptions within a few pages is a lot for a reader to remember. In movies it’s easier, because visuals help make recognition faster. But in a novel, the reader has to hold everything in their head. A long list of important information is difficult to keep track of, and confusion risks readers putting the book down.
I think the chapters that went with each character individually were really strong- that helped cement the reader bond to the character in question, and get their empathy working.
It reminds me of a Dean Koontz novel- where he introduces all these separate characters, with in-depth chapters. And then at the end of the novel, they all come together.
I’m not saying you should take that approach, but just wanted to give caution about introducing too much to the reader too fast. They need time to digest and internalize sometimes. I think as the book continues, it does great in this regard- introducing layers of the powers, and the plot involving Persephone unravels nicely, layer by layer.
One of the highlights of the book is how much flat-out cool concepts are in the mix! Mythological beings, psychic powers of different varieties, dryads- it creates for an imaginative and powerful mix. That’s one of the greatest strengths of the book in my opinion- it tackles all of these concepts with energy and enthusiasm, and throws them into a unique mix.
I would sound one note of caution though- readers can appreciate a lot of cool content, but it requires a foundation of plausibility for them to get lost in the reading experience. It varies from reader to reader, but just something to keep in mind- otherwise lots of cool ideas run the risk of appearing arbitrary.
I think you do a good job of explaining how the psychic powers work, why they have the effect they do, and how it affects the characters. I also like how the different powers have different ramifications for the personality of each character, and the seven deadly sins angle is a nice addition.
In summary: I think you’ve got a strong start! Most people never finish a book- but you did. And what’s more, you’re going through the work of redrafting it. I hope this feedback lends encouragement to your efforts. Keep reading, writing, and learning as you go! Thank you for sharing your work with us- best wishes for all your endeavors- and stay in touch!
With warm regards,