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This is a great opening to your story, I can't wait to read the rest and see what the story is about. Here are some suggestions.

projectiles crash with tremendous force into buildings, demolishing them

I would omit 'tremendous force' as this is evident if they are able to demolish buildings.

There had never been any comfort for little Alaina Guerra

I know that this is intentionally in the third person but it comes across to me as too melodramatic. If I were the narrator, I would not speak about myself in the third person.

No one tries to escape, because, although the fence itself is high enough to leap over

I think that 'low enough to leap over' would work better.

Also, the verb tenses should be looked over in a few parts. I noticed this a paragraph or two after the dream ended in particular.

Hope one of these is helpful my friend.
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Senior Member
Thank you, and those tips were was helpful, but two things: I wrote that in third person so I could introduce the name and gender of the main character. Also, I couldn't find any errors in the verb tenses, but maybe that's just me, because I'm used to writing in past tense. Perhaps you could provide some examples?


Senior Member
Willthriller - First, you need to lose the disclaimer. Let the reader approach the piece without that. You can put a tag at the end saying this is the introduction to a novel and there will be more to come, but avoid telling people what they must do.

Second, learn the difference between drama and melodrama. Drama leads to the creation of images in the mind of the reader. Melodrama has all the images on the page, so there's no need for the reader to create any images of his own.

You need to weed out the redundancies. Near the end, for example, you have '...lined up neatly in a row' If they are lined up, they are in a row. And if you say either that they are lined up or that they are in a row, then we understand that the arrangement is neat. Best would be to say they are lined up, losing 'neatly in a row'.

You also need to lose such expressions as 'Suddenly, a horn rings out'. Horns don't ring, and the expression is too close to the cliché 'suddenly a shot rang out' to be of any value. 'We hear the horn signal the arrival of the guards' would work.

The tense issues are caused by the narration being in present tense. That's difficult to maintain. For example, 'I give him a half-hearted smile, but then sighed'. Here you have started the sentence in the present tense, then shifted to the past tense. Shifting the narrative to the past tense will solve a lot of problems for you.


Senior Member
Where was I "melodramatic"? Also, I tried changing it to past tense, but it compromised descriptions that I didn't want to remove. Other than that, thanks for the help.


I really enjoyed this. My only concern would be the way you start with a dream sequence. I have no problem with it but I have heard that many agents feel otherwise.