Friday, September 28, 2012

Mind Numbing

Today's Friday Fantasy Scene was inspired by my sister-in-law's brilliant new Youtube video here, where she does a cover for the song Glow. The original can be found here. Enjoy!

The overcast sky grumbled, trying to decide if it wanted to rain on everyone. Holly dropped her hood over her head, not giving it the chance to drench her. She walked unseen through the crowd of sullen people.

A hand grabbed her shoulder, and she whirled toward her attacker, but it was just Micah. She slumped. "Oh. Hi."

"Holly, I'd been calling your name. Didn't you hear me?"

She shrugged.

He pursed his brow. "It's happening to you, too. The mind-numbing. We have to get out of here. I know we have nowhere to go, but can't you see? Anything is better than this, this dampening of everything."

"I'm fine. I'm just tired."

"No, you're not. That's what they all say. Then they stop saying anything at all. I can't let that happen to you."

She turned her head. "I'm going to be late."

"To what? Nothing ever happens here! We have to escape. We have to get you free so you don't lose yourself. Don't you remember being happy, and having the sun shine on your face?"

Holly did remember, and the memory of that light broke through a barrier that had settled around herself. She took Micah's hand. "You're right, I'm sorry I didn't leave with you sooner. Let's go."

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Critiqued Excerpt from Scarfar

For this week's Tuesday Critique we have a reader submission! Paul Horsman, who is already a published author in the Netherlands (with the novel De Schadew van de Revenaunt) and soon to be published in English, can be found here. And check out the cover art for his book!

Beautiful! I want to know why American covers aren't more like this. But it's time for my critique, from a story he calls Scarfar. Here we go:

Creaking, the old beech came loose from its roots. The earth trembled as it came down and snow flew everywhere. By "the old beech came loose from its roots" do you mean "the old beech was parted from its roots"? This is passive, which critics like to identify and warn against. The order of the words during "the earth trembled as it" makes us think "it" is the earth, but then we keep reading and discover it's the tree. It's also a compound sentence, so place a comma before the "and".

‘That's five.’ Harald Enske placed his ax hard into the still bleeding stump. Placing something, while not defined this way, has the connotation of being gentle. Try "lodged his ax into". This way, you don't need the word "hard". How is the stump bleeding? With sap? Do beeches do this? (Obviously I need to know more about tree anatomy.) With the back of his hand, he wiped the sweat from his face. ‘Enough for today.’ The old karl looked around the group. ‘Well done, men.’ His eyes rested on a face rest. This doesn't make sense. Did you mean "his eyes rested on one of their faces"? ‘You too, Muus. We’ll make a real Nord of you, one of these days.’ The freedmen roared with laughter.

Muus forced a smile, but he said nothing. Highlighted word unnecessary. As a child slave, he’d all too often been the butt of crude jokes and hard hands had taught him not to show offense. Comma needed at the highlight. Now, every stupid remark strengthened his silent resolve to run. This sentence might flow better if it read "Now every remark". We have gotten that he considers their words stupid. No need to say "silent" since it's understood that he wouldn't tell people he's resolved to run. His mind wandered to the countless escape plans he’d made and rejected. To run was one thing, to run and stay alive was quite something else. Thegn Alman would mobilize the whole kingdom to recapture him. That he didn’t look like a Nord was no help either. The previous two sentences don't mesh well as they stand. Try "Thegn Alman would go to any lengths to recapture him, and he looked nothing like a Nord". Also make sure to tell us soon why he's so important to capture. Once he’d seen himself, reflected in a pool of water. Switch the highlighted words. He’d seen his thin, pale face, half hidden behind unkempt black hair. Not a Nord’s face at all. Besides, every fucking Nord was half as much taller than he was. In addition, every woman. Dammit, even many of the children were bigger. Does Nord imply man? These sentences could be streamlined, for example "Every Nord, man or woman, was half as much taller than he was, and many of the children even were larger than him." Who is your target audience? Most people don't care to read two cuss words so close together, nor so close to the beginning of the book. Let the reader get to know the character, learn to love him, before he falls into such foul language. Therefore, he waited and nursed his longing for freedom.

(I added a paragraph break here. It was too long, and the theme changed.)

Freedom, the word brought vague memories. Personally I would make the comma a period and capitalize "the". Round huts on the banks of a sparkling river, surrounded by green hills. Children playing, of which he was one. Fog over the river and drakkars with grim boar heads, cutting through the white shrouds. Lose this comma. Panic. People screaming. Blood and fire. A muscular arm in hard leather, dragging his six years old self to one of those terrible boats. "Six-year-old" if this is how you want to word it. I would prefer "dragging him as a six-year-old" so the man dragging and the main character don't get confused. Endless days of storm and raging seas. A rainy marketplace in a harbor town full of people who spoke in strange tongues. A place where children were sold like sheep. Children like him. You need to vary your sentence structure/length more. This paragraph feels bogged down from repetitiveness.

(I added a paragraph break here. Don't mix memories with present in the same paragraph unless the memories are contained in one sentence.)

Then, his thoughts far away, he almost walked into a tree and yelped. Cut "then". Why would he yelp if he almost walked into a tree? Either he almost walked into a tree and glanced around to see if anyone noticed, or he did walk into that tree, which would cause him to yelp.

‘Ya dreamin’, slave boy?’ Orn, a warrior with a long reddish beard, grinned his rotten teeth bare. Put commas in highlighted spaces. ‘Y’are a maid then?’ He licked his lips.

Muus’ face flushed and he blessed the polar dusk that veiled his shame. Add comma in highlighted space. For someone to call him a girl was naming him unmanly, a mortal insult. With another Nord, this would’ve been a fighting matter. However, he was only Muus. A thrall. He had no honor and he couldn’t defend himself. Add comma in the highlighted space.

Orn grinned and gave him a poke with his elbow, so that he almost tripped. Almost tripped or actually tripped? Harald acts like he tripped in the next paragraph.

‘Watch where you’re goin’, you,’ said Harald Enske without looking.

Muus clenched his fists and hurried to the fore. Stinking, brainless pig. And what made it worse, that slob Orn was one of Kjelle’s toadies. Thegnling Kjelle, whose body slave Muus wasThis is worded awkwardly. I would say "who owned Muus."

Final thoughts: Yikes, that's a lot of red! But it's all easily remedied things. On the whole I like it. In these few words you've given us setting, background, a glimpse into character (though I would work on making him more likable, being the underdog alone is not enough), and tension. English may not be your first language, but based on this short excerpt I would guess that your grasp of how to tell a story is solid. I look forward to reading your other works.

Sorry for making it so long with my red additions. What do you think?

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Quick Post on Agents

I have now (finally) amassed a list of 58 agents who represent fantasy. Statistically speaking (very rough statistics, mind you), if I sent my query out to all of them right now, I might land an agent! If my manuscript were finished.

I recently took on a very drastic rewrite of it, though, and while I think my book will be the better for it in the end, it is once again delaying any serious querying. Now I'm ready, though. I got excellent advice from Matt here on my query, which has helped me revamp it to something I'm much more satisfied with, and I have my list, with complete notes on specific submission guidelines, and little stars by the ones I think I'd like to work with most.

I'm excited. How about you?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scene of From Halvmane's Shore

This Friday fantasy scene could be considered fiction, since it's only a dialogue. I'm behind on a rewrite of my book, so I wrote a scene I needed to instead of one that perhaps would have stood better on its own. So sue me. Without further adieu:

"You should return home," Andren said. "Your wife surely has need of you."

Ivar paled. "I won't disobey your brother, sir. I'll stay with you until your trip is over."

"But I have no idea when that will be. I've decided to go on the Wandering."

Ivar seemed for a moment to be on the verge of yelling before he got control over himself. "Then I must go with you. It's better for my wife for me to be gone however many months than for me to anger the king."

"Alrik is not my nursemaid to tie an attendant to me. I let you come this far so as not to put you in a hard spot with him, even though I wanted solitude to quiet my thoughts."

"I'm sorry to have been such an inconvenience. It wasn't my choice to be your attendant on this last-minute trip, one without a point, when I have a pregnant wife at home."

Andren ground his teeth. Ivar was obviously loyal to a fault, and he would get nowhere in further debate.

"Sir, what I said was out of turn."

"No, you're right. I'm sorry to have been such an inconvenience to you." Andren turned and stalked toward the room he was staying in. He would pack his things and leave while Ivar was distracted elsewhere. He would continue his trip, alone.

What do you think? Does it make sense without context?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gari the Sorcerer

So, not a lot of people looked at my first Friday fantasy scene, and no one commented on it. Perhaps it was too long. The problem is, I'm not sure how to have a shorter story arc than the one I portrayed while using fewer words. Anyway, today I'm going to do something I think is cool, but then the things I think are cool end up being lame, but I don't know it. Thus the phrase "kill your darlings," right? Anyway, it's basically a query format (I've had query-brain recently), but from first person POV. Here we go:

Hi, my name's Gari. It's short for Valdtjugari, but you can't call me that. I'm a mage.

Not the wimpy dress-in-robes and use-a-wand kind. I wear normal street clothes and use a rod. Okay, maybe it's more of a club, but it shoots just fine and it's more handy in a brawl. Most sorcerers have trouble winning against things that can resist magic and can land a decent punch. Meaning they have trouble beating me.

Did I mention I'm a contracted mage silencer?

That's right. When magi start making trouble, the government calls me to make them stop. It was a sweet gig for a while. Still is, money-wise. Except I've realized now that they've been sending me after any mage they find, good or bad.

I no longer kill the magi they send me after. I do silence them, but by telling them what's going on and convincing them to come hide out in my basement for a while. When there are enough of us, we'll take down the people who are trying to wipe us out.

And after that, I guess I'll have to find a new day job.

What do you think? Was it cool, lame, or somewhere between? Would you rather my Friday posts be this length, or Gladiator Ring length?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Linked from You Tube

So, I have a quick, extra post today. A lot of blogs were recently linked to from a You Tube video of a video game walk-through. Mine was one of them. Apparently, most of these bloggers are annoyed at having seven more visits because they're "spam" visits, and they're throwing a fit and trying to have that video removed from You Tube.

I'm personally not sure why they're so angry. Their blogs got extra hits. Isn't the point of having a blog for it to be read? Okay, the people looking at their blog from You Tube might not be reading it, but it's still boosting their Alexa rating, which is a good thing. Isn't it?

Apparently the most common complaint is a violation of privacy. That makes me laugh. If you are blogging, you are putting your opinion out there for all who want to see it. You are giving up your right to privacy on whatever you say.

Curious to know more? Here's the video in question. See you for my regular post on Friday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Critique of Spirit's End Excerpt

For those who don't know, I love Rachel Aaron. She's a brilliant new author who's about to release Spirit's End, the fifth and final book in her Eli Monpress series, on November 20th. I discovered her during NaNoWriMo last year, when she linked her famous How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day blog post. Since then I've read all the Legend of Eli Monpress novels and her novella Spirit's Oath. And just recently, the four-chapter preview of Spirit's End. So here is the first page of it, with my remarks in red:

At age thirteen, Eliton Banage was the most important thing in the world, and he knew it. Great hook. It shows Eli's character perfectly in one sentence, and the reader wants to know why he's so important.

Wherever he went, spirits bowed before him and the White Lady he stood beside, Benehime, beloved Shepherdess of all the world. In the four years since the Lady had found him in the woods, he had wanted for nothing. Anything he asked, no matter how extravagant, Benehime gave him, and he loved her for it. The highlighted commas are not completely necessary, but that's a matter of opinion. Loving someone for giving him things is not the most sympathetic of traits. What about how she treated him? We don't get any of this until when things change between them (starting right at the end of this excerpt).

She took him everywhere: to the wind courts, to the grottoes and trenches of the seafloor, even into the Shaper Mountain itself. All the places Eli had only dreamed about, she took him, and everywhere they went, the spirits paid them homage, kissing Benehime’s feet with an adoration that spilled over onto Eli as well, as it should. He was the favorite, after all. Great world-building here. I'm thinking someone who hasn't read the other four books could probably pick this one up and read it without any problem, without being so long-winded as to annoy your loyal readers.

For four happy years this was how Eli understood the world. And then, the day before his fourteenth birthday, everything changed.

It began innocently. He’d wanted to go to Zarin, and Benehime had obliged. It was market day and the city was packed, but the crowds passed through them like shadows, unseeing, for Eli and the Lady were on the other side of the veil, that silk-thin wall that separated the spirits’ world from Benehime’s. As usual, Eli was walking ahead, showing off by slipping his hand through the veil to snitch a trinket or a pie whenever the shadows of the merchants turned away. He was so fast he could have done it without the veil to hide him, but Benehime had ordered he was never to leave the veil without her explicit permission. It was one of her only rules. The third sentence in this paragraph is pretty long with lots of commas, try to see if you can break it in half. Had he ever asked her permission to cross the veil to try his luck? It seems like the thing he might have at least considered.

He’d just pulled a really good snatch, a gold-and-enamel necklace. Grinning, he turned to show it to Benehime, but for once she wasn’t behind him. Eli whirled around, necklace dangling from his fingers, and found the Lady several steps back. She was perfectly still, standing with her eyes closed and her head cocked to the side, like she was listening for something. He called her name twice before she answered. He ran to her, giving her the necklace, and she, laughing, admired it a moment before throwing it on the ground and going on her way. What color enamel? So much of your description lets me imagine scenes clearly, but this needs a little more detail. How did she answer? Did she look at him, say "Yes?", or something else?

This was how it usually went. Benehime hated everything humans made. She said they were like paintings done by a blind man, interesting for the novelty but never truly worth looking at. Eli had long since given up asking what she meant. Still, she liked when he gave her things, and making her happy was the most important thing in his life. Great way to ease the reader from "beloved Shepherdess of all the world" to seeing her true nature. She shows a disdain for humanity as a whole, and even though she likes Eli giving her things, she tosses them to the ground.

She stopped twice more before they made it to the main square. By the third time, Eli was getting annoyed. Fortunately, her last pause happened only a dozen feet from his goal—the Council bounty board. I'm confused about how many pauses she takes. Perhaps word it more like "By the last time she paused, Eli was getting annoyed. Fortunately, it happened only..."

“Look!” Eli shouted, running up to the wall of block-printed posters. “Milo Burch’s bounty is almost a hundred thousand now!” He stared at the enormous number, trying to imagine what that much gold would look like. “He’s like his own kingdom.” I can just imagine his eyes open wide and twinkling as he gazed on in admiration.

Final thoughts: there's really not a lot here to improve on. The voice here is strong and well-done, and the hook is planted. You're an incredibly impressive writer!

What do you guys think? Did I miss something, or do you disagree about anything?

Don't forget that I'm accepting submissions for my Tuesday critique!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Query Critiqued

Okay, so I didn't think to do something that's probably pretty standard courtesy. My friend Matt over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment critiqued my query here, so now I'm linking you all over there to check out his awesome blog. Thank you, Matt!

For those of you who are interested, I posted the updated query in the My Novels section here.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Polish

For those of you participating in GUTGAA, you know what this is. For those of you who aren't, you're looking at the pitch for my novel, along with the first 150 words.

From Halvmane's Shore
Adult Fantasy

Perhaps once he changes the course of history, Andren can let go of his self-loathing.

In the recent past, Prince Andren fell victim to a curse that turned him into a monster. Fortunately he'd already won the heart of Eiva, a canny sorceress, and she lifts the spell. Choked by the evil things he did during his transformation, he flees to the mainland. What he finds there are different races and nations all living in poverty and fear, victims of their ruthless dragon emperor.

Andren is outraged, and he makes it his goal to unite the nations--who so far have been bent on quarreling with one another--in war, and take out the most powerful being in the known world. At a time where guns are being invented and dragons are losing their magic, perhaps Andren can end the dragon age and start the age of man.

First 150 Words:

Andren smiled politely for the hundreds of guests, being the good prince he was supposed to. They cheered, but then of course they cheered, they were drunk. That and they didn't know what he'd done, no matter how much they liked to think they did. Blood was on his hands. His smile faltered, but no one noticed. They kept cheering. He took a drink from his silver goblet to give himself an excuse to break eye contact with the crowd.

“Hear, hear,” cried Alrik, who was standing next to Andren. He took a drink as well, and everyone else in the dining hall followed suit. “Yes, we're all very glad he survived. When the Fallen took him a few months ago, I was grieved that I'd lost the last of my family. I thought surely Deus had cursed me, that I would live alone. But with the fall of the Fallen he has returned my brother to me, and I am eternally grateful.”

If you want to know more about my novels, check out the My Novels tab above. If you want another taste of my writing, you can check out a short fiction scene I wrote here, or the Excerpts tab above. To see how I got my query to this point, check out the critique I got for my previous one here.

So what do you think? Let me know, I have a thick skin.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gladiator Ring

The doors opened in front of Kaden. Sunlight reflected off the sand and stung his eyes, blinding him for a moment. He stumbled into the ring, squinting until he could make out the field. Four stands of five spears were placed around the arena. He trotted over to one, swiping his glaive around him as he ran, provoking cheers from the spectators. Grinning for them, he whirled it again. Might as well hype them up now, instead of trying to flourish his movements once his enemy was around.

The doors across the arena creaked open. The beast they revealed was large, and Kaden could just make out men behind it, prodding it. The monster yelled and stepped into the light.

It was a centaur.

Kaden swallowed and took a second look at where the stands were. The spears were a gift and a curse--it was hard to catch up to a centaur, their horse legs carrying them almost three times the speed he could go, but centaurs tended to be particularly gifted at throwing them as well. And the centaur could replenish his supply faster than he could.

The centaur charged. Kaden swung his glaive, hard, sundering the spears on the stand next to him, then ran for the next one. The centaur got to the stand nearest it and picked up the first spear. He hurled it, but Kaden rolled. He came up with his glaive ready and rent the second spear stand. Another spear glanced off his chain shirt.

He stumbled to the side but recovered himself, heading for the next stand. The centaur grabbed his three remaining spears and galloped for the last stand, loosing one of his weapons as he ran. This one whooshed just behind Kaden. So there are seven left.

They were close enough to each other now that Kaden could see the sweat bleeding down the centaur's taught muscles. For the span of a heartbeat he felt sorry for the beast. It hadn't chosen to be here in this death match as he had. But what choice had he, really? His family needed to eat. With that thought he slammed the shred of empathy out of his heart.

They were three yards from one another, the stand of spears two yards from each of them. The centaur raised another spear to throw.

Kaden swept his glaive up--pole first--just in time to toss the spear to the side. The centaur skidded to a stop by the stand and brought his last spear in hand to bear, pointed straight at Kaden's chest.

Kaden got just within range of it before stopping, stabbing at the centaur's front leg. He needed to injure it, so it couldn't flee with all its new ammunition. He'd gotten lucky so far, but he knew he couldn't count on luck.

The centaur reared, putting his strength into a jab of his spear. Kaden tried to duck to the side, but it caught in his chain and yanked him down. He planted the butt of his glaive on the ground, trying to stabilize himself. He felt bruised, but he managed to stay upright. As the centaur drew its spear back again he slashed its ribs.

The beast cried out, grabbed three spears in his off-hand, and galloped off, leaving a splatter of red behind him. The crowd cheered at first blood. Kaden dropped his glaive and took up a spear, and he and his opponent each tossed one at another. Kaden's slit the centaur down his flank. At first he thought the centaur's had missed, but as he grasped his last spear, he glanced down and saw the truth. His leg was impaled, his leather skirt unable to deflect the direct hit. Blood was seeping out of the wound at a rapid pace.

He tossed his spear in a whirl of panic, and before it left his hand he knew it would never land. He was going to die.

By some miracle, the centaur's next spear came short, skittering to a stop at his feet. He picked it up reverently, caressing the shaft of his final hope. If he didn't kill the centaur with this spear, he would bleed out. He leveled it, leaning all his weight on his good leg, took a deep breath, and sprang. All in one movement he expelled his breath, leaped forward, and extended his arm. He toppled over, his wounded leg buckling, and lay prone. The crowd went wild. Probably anticipating my death, he thought.

After what seemed like an era, a shadow loomed over him. That would be the centaur coming in for the final blow.

The shadow lifted Kaden onto a stretcher. "That was the best throw I've ever seen!"

"Right through the heart. What a comeback."

"Let's get him to the medic. Wouldn't want such a champ to die on us."

Kaden was weightless, floating over the arena floor. He frowned at the two men holding him up. They didn't look like angels.

I hope you enjoyed my first Friday fantasy scene. Please comment and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Critique of Twilight

Nobody has submitted anything for me to analyze, so today I'll be critiquing an excerpt from everybody's favorite source of sparkly vampires--Twilight! I got this off of Oprah's website. I know Stephenie Meyer will probably never read this, it's merely an exercise.

Now, to be fair, I've always wanted to do this. That is, make this book bleed red. So excuse me if I have a little too much fun with it. *Giggles.* Here we go:

"You know Bella, Jacob?" Lauren asked—in what I imagined was an insolent tone—from across the fire. That's a lot of names all in a row. There has to be a better way. And the POV character is saying she imagined the speaker's tone was insolent... Why not say "in a tone I thought sounded insolent." The current wording is awkward.

"We've sort of known each other since I was born," he laughed, smiling at me again. People don't laugh words. Try it right now. It was super awkward, right? Either replace the comma after "born" with a period and capitalize "he" or word it "he said, laughing, and smiled at me again."

"How nice." She didn't sound like she thought it was nice at all, and her pale, fishy eyes narrowed. Fishy eyes? I kept reading it as "fleshy." By now you're bogging the reader down in too much stage direction during the conversation, interrupting the natural thought process.

"Bella," she called again, watching my face carefully, "I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today. Didn't anyone think to invite them?" Her expression of concern was unconvincing. Is this the same "she"? Why did you put a paragraph break between this and the one before it? Again, too much stage direction. I know it's in dialogue (and therefore doesn't follow the same rules as other writing) but the sentence "I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today" is super awkward, and could be streamlined a great deal. Try "I was just saying it's too bad the Cullens couldn't make it today."

"You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen's family?" the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren's irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep. Here you're telling us that Lauren is irritated, when the POV character doesn't know that's the specific emotion going through her. She may know that Lauren grimaced at his reply, or shot a glare his way. I personally find it irritating to have the POV character backtrack and correct herself after she'd already moved the thought process back to Lauren, and give too much description during a dialogue exchange. Does it matter what exactly his age is, or what his voice sounds like, at this instant?

"Yes, do you know them?" she asked condescendingly, turning halfway toward him. More over-stage-direction.

"The Cullens don't come here," he said in a tone that closed the subject, ignoring her question. I'm not sure what a tone that closes a subject sounds like, having never really heard one myself. I've had people say things with a serious expression on their face, and after a moment of staring turn away, but the tone in itself could just be taken as angry or stern. Right here it's just more over-direction. And it's obvious he ignored her question--he didn't answer it. Don't treat the reader like they're too dumb to pick that up on their own.

Tyler, trying to win back her attention, asked Lauren's opinion on a CD he held. She was distracted. Telling instead of showing. This should read more like "'Hey Lauren, what do you think of this CD?' Lauren turned to talk to him instead."

I stared at the deep-voiced boy, taken aback, but he was looking away toward the dark forest behind us. He'd said that the Cullens didn't come here, but his tone had implied something more—that they weren't allowed; they were prohibited. His manner left a strange impression on me, and I tried to ignore it without success. He's a boy again, I see. His tone is extraordinarily specific and multi-tasking. And wouldn't the last sentence be better if it read "I tried to put it out of my mind, without success"? Ignoring something takes time, whereas putting something out of your mind you can fail at withing seconds.

Jacob interrupted my meditation. "So is Forks driving you insane yet?"

"Oh, I'd say that's an understatement." I grimaced. He grinned understandingly.

I was still turning over the brief comment on the Cullens, and I had a sudden inspiration. It was a stupid plan, but I didn't have any better ideas. I hoped that young Jacob was as yet inexperienced around girls, so that he wouldn't see through my sure-to-be-pitiful attempts at flirting. If they'd known each other for so long, how does she not know how Jacob is with girls? And why is she calling him young here? And why does she decide to flirt with him and call it a plan?

"Do you want to walk down the beach with me?" I asked, trying to imitate that way Edward had of looking up from underneath his eyelashes. It couldn't have nearly the same effect, I was sure, but Jacob jumped up willingly enough. First sentence out of dialogue would be better as "trying to imitate the way Edward looked up from beneath his eyelashes." It's more streamlined, less clunky.

Overall thoughts: I was not impressed. At all. Aside from what I wrote above, this scene is completely un-engaging. Every page of your book should have tension, to draw the reader forward to the next one, but the only thing keeping me reading here was to get through the critique. I know you're a big sensation like Brittany Spears was ten years ago, but I would recommend listening to advice of more experienced authors like Brandon Sanderson and create more engaging characters and plot.

Well, what do you think guys, was I too harsh? Do you disagree with anything, or would you add something of your own?

Please feel free to submit your own writing for the chopping block!