An indepth analysis of the first chapter.
First off, I've gotta say, this is the most notes I've ever written for a review ever, I was reading it and going back and forth constantly adding things, because there was so much stuff that was great but I felt needed a tweak. Ok now into the real review.
Read the story now
The opening flows really well, it pulled me right in perfectly, I was right there watching the whole thing unfold.
Something I got criticized for recently was unloading on people with descriptions of new characters but you handle it very well, you sprinkle it in very subtly giving people feel for the character without going overboard.
My first criticism is; It’s a little wordy, a little verbose, but well written. There’s a little too much telling and not enough showing. I found it a little cringey when you introduced Mike as Alexander’s ‘lifelong friend’ it just seemed a little out of place there had to be a better subtler way of introducing them as really good friends.
The description of the murder is nice, it’s not too over the top and it hits home nicely but I think there was a little too much build up. Reading the blurb, you know what this story is about so you know almost as soon as its brought up that Bella is missing that she’s dead. I don’t really see why we need to change perspective twice. I mean I like the fact you’re working in so much characterisation into the first chapter and it makes it feel like a lot is happening but it makes the first chapter a little choppy, I felt myself losing focus and I felt like I was everywhere at once and there wasn't much atmosphere building. I think you can do a lot more by not showing someone something than just laying it right out for them to see.
If this was a movie, it would just focus on Alexander waiting after he told everyone to search and then he’d hear a scream. I think if you cut out the bit with Nora entirely it would make for a punchier first chapter. As it stands her part just seems to belay the point that everyone already knows i.e. Bella is dead. Then you can work in her characterisation later on without it feeling a little shoehorned in.
Also, I think finding her body should be the hook to end on, that would drag people into the second chapter, as it stands Alexander finds her dead and then it just sort of drags on and it takes away some of the punch. If you want the end of that chapter to be punchy you should just have her body lying there and then move his thoughts on the matter to chapter 2.
As it stands it makes her death almost a footnote, she’s dead, now that's out of the way let's get'er solved, you see what I mean?
It just sort of starts, there isn’t a lot of build, as much as there should be really. I know I'm contradicting myself because I just said there was too much build up to her murder. What I mean is either have the murder right at the start and work back or set up the cast of characters and the back story and have some foreshadowing and then discover her body at the end.
This feels like we're having our start and main course side by side when we should be savouring our starter and then making room for the main course, if you get my meaning. The story shouldn't just start the first chapter should be a summation of the whole story, almost a story in itself, this is clearly the start in earnest to the whole story.
There’s just something structurally wrong with this, the first chapter is too long, it drags on and it weighs down with a lot needless information too soon, like the handcuffs, it just seems like a lot of telling, not a lot of showing and you're loading us up with a lot of stuff too soon. Giving away too much too fast.
Alexander's intentions aren't really clear to me, why does he feel it his duty to solve the murder? It doesn’t really make a lot of sense but I’m sure it will make more as the story unfolds.
I can’t help reading it and thinking I would have done it completely differently. I think if I structured it, I may have started where you did but then jumped to Alexander grilling Nora but keep it as vague as possible so the audience doesn’t really know what they’re talking about then save the body reveal until the end of the chapter.
The chapter just sort of ends, it's very anti-climactic. There’s not really a cliff-hanger, it feels like the chapter used up all its momentum somewhere in the middle and then just trundled along.
Overall though, I loved it, the story is great the characters are very distinct and very good. The dialogue is perfect. I can't see any mistakes in the grammar or spelling. Could do with more paragraphs. But the style is there, the skill is there. It was fun to read. I just think it has some structural problems in its delivery which are easily correctable. It's not perfect but it's definitely deserving of a high score for the obvious effort and talent that went into making it.
I wish you the best of luck with it in the future.