Review of AlicoleChronicler’s The Alicole Witch and the Demon Prince  

Hey guys this is a review of an amazing online book that is linked at the bottom of the article. Writers can request critiques to be posted on the blog or forums as done here. Fellow writers, use these writing critiques as a chance to learn and improve!

Review of AlicoleChronicler’s The Alicole Witch and the Demon Prince  

As requested, this review is leveled at harsh. Thus, this review is going to be very sharp and cutthroat. However, I want to preface with this: 

Your writing is very good so far. You do an awesome job of setting up the scene and providing details around the world and setting. I can gain a really clear image of what is happening and going on.  

With that being said, here is the biggest issues I noticed:  

Notice there is one trend between all three of these book excerpts. Take a close look. It’s run on sentences. Run on sentences, galore. While you are pretty skilled at creating a scene and setting the imagery, you have to be very careful with those run on sentences. If you are not, those same beautiful details will not read the same way you intend it to.  

Take for example, let’s take a look at the first screenshot. 

Since I can’t copy lines from Webnovel I’ll just refer to screenshots and occasionally type down the quote.  

Examine here: 

The wind brushed Alika’s tear-stained face, her long fiery auburn hair whipping across her back, the seagull’s cries filling the air. She wiped her cheeks with the back of her sleeve and allowed herself one last sniffle before biting down on her lip to stop any more of the tears from rolling down.” 

This i first line in the book, and don’t get me wrong, it’s great, it’s amazing. I love how it sets the scene perfectly. It also gives us a hint of who Alika is, and why readers should sympathize with her. But the major issue is, this is the first line in the book, and it reads like a mashup of images, rather than flowing sentences.  

See here the suggested edit: 

The wind brushed grazed [suggestion: wind cannot really brush skin since it cannot physically move the skin. It might be more accurate to say it is touching or grazing skin] Alika’s tear-stained face, and her long, fiery auburn hair whipped across her back.  

In the distance, she could hear the cries of seagulls filling the air.  

Sniffling, she wiped her cheeks with the back of her sleeve and 

She allowed herself one last sniffle before biting down on her lip to stop any more of the tears from rolling down.” 

Notice the generous use of periods, commas, and paragraph spacing. It is good practice and habit to make a new paragraph line every time a character changes thought, when you change a scene, and when someone new is speaking. It is also good practice to separate the paragraphs to make for a cleaner reading experience. Especially since most readers are now reading on phones, it’s important to use that space bar in good balance.  

But, back to main focus of this suggested edit. Notice how each of these individual sentences have completely different images. When it was mashed together before as run on sentences, there were images about the wind against Alika’s face, her hair, the seagulls, and then her cheeks, etc. etc. It was a lot of images to get lost in for just two sentences.  

I would say this is probably the biggest issue I noticed. You write quite wonderfully, and there are very few other grammatical errors, but those run on sentences show up quite a lot. They mostly show up when you are describing things in great detail. I would say you aren’t alone with this issue. A lot writers often struggle with keeping a balance between detail and the length of a sentence.  

Take a look at this sentence from the published book, Atonement by Ian Mcewean.  

Only when a story was finished, all fates resolved and the whole matter sealed off at both ends so it resembled, at least in this one respect, every other finished story in the world, could she feel immune, and ready to punch holes in the margins, bind the chapters with pieces of string, paint or draw the cover, and take the finished work to show to her mother, or her father, when he was home.” 

This whole excerpt is ONE WHOLE SENTENCE. I have not edited it, or changed anything. This is a single sentence.  

Those are the types of lines you want to avoid. I would say the easiest way to work on this is making sure to pay attention to how long your sentences are 

First impressions:  

There is way too much blank space between the text. I don’t know if that is a formatting issue from Royal Road or if that’s from you using the space bar too much to make up for the wordcount. 

Also, on first read, Seth Francis Haro sounds like a grab bag of names smashed together without reason or context. Is Seth American? Or is he French as indicated by the Francis? How about Haro? That sounds like a name of Asian Origin, but overall, all of these names feel abnormally placed together.  

The full name bit is also a little cliché. As a reader do I really need to know the entire name of your main character? Does it have any significance to the story? If it does, I don’t know, you didn’t tell me. And, if anything, it’s making me confused, because I now have 3 names to remember all are from the same character.  

The character introduction of Seth doesn’t give any interesting information, if anything it makes me feel like I’m reading Seth’s bio on his social media page. When you are doing a character intro, it’s important to remember that you want the character introduction to be memorable, interesting, and tell us readers ONLY what we need to know that is important for the plot or characterization.  

Seth lives with his dad. Okay. How does Seth feel about that? This is in first person pov right? Is his relationship with father estranged or tense? Does he like his dad? Did the death of his mother give him emotional scars and trauma he’s fighting to deal with this day? Tell us a little about this because right now as a reader I don’t have a reason to care about Seth. Considering he’s the main character, you don’t want a reader not caring about your main character, you should want us to be interested by your main character within the very first few pages.  

“Walking to the way to the Roosevelt Franklin School[.] 

What is this line? Is it dialogue? Is someone speaking? Is this what Seth is thinking about? Please remember that dialogue 99% of the time should be in this format: 

Double Quotations “” + Dialogue (what is being said) + Punctuation (periods, commas, question marks, etc.) + Speaker Tag (aka he said, she said, they said, etc.)  

EXAMPLE 

“What’s up, Danny?” Sarah asked.  

**Note: The only time you see the speaker tag dropped is when readers KNOW who is speaking. See example below: 

EXAMPLE 

“Nothing much, Sarah,” Danny said, giving her a smile. “How about you?” 

“Doing cool.” She nodded. “Did you see Katie yesterday?”  

“No, I didn’t. Did you?”  

“Nope.” She sighed. “She hasn’t been coming to school lately, and when I went to her house, her parents said she wasn’t home. I’m getting a little worried.”  

Danny shrugged, and continued walking the normal route to school with Sarah following close. “Why are you worried?” He adjusted his backpack straps. “She’s probably with Will.”  

“I hope so,” she said, frowning. “I really hope so.”  

**Note: In this example, I did my best to try and show the difference in grammar for different types of dialogue types because I noticed many beginner (and sometimes even professional) writers make similar mistakes with the grammar for writing different dialogue types.  

Okay, now back to your story.  

“Making [a] right at the corner.” 

Making what a right at the corner? I don’t know where we are. The setting and scenery haven’t been told to me. I didn’t even know Seth was walking. All I see is a blank image and I have no idea where you want to be imagining I’m at with Seth.  

“Grandpa said that after my mom died, dad went through a lot of depression [try the synonym grieving and/or tears] [.] (this was a long run on sentence. Also, you may want to consider including the word I highlighted in yellow. This is because you cannot really go through ‘a lot’ of depression. It is a clinical disorder. It might be better to say that he went through a lot of grieving and tears. But that is just a suggestion) and [He] never looked for someone [anyone] else[.]but When he looks into my blue eyes, he sees mom and that’s why he works so hard for me to become someone [Someone what? Someone special? Great? You tell me]. I won’t [don’t want to] let him down.” 

 

I raise my head. 

 

I thought… 

Suddenly stopped with a shocked face.” 

What is going on? I am not sure where we are and what is even going on. Give me some detail about the setting and why Seth is thinking about his grandpa and his parents. I know I don’t suddenly think about my past while I’m supposed to be walking to school (that is if he’s walking to school because I’m not really sure), so why is Seth thinking about his whole life story right now? 

Also, what is ‘Suddenly stopped with a shocked face.’ Who suddenly stopped with a shocked face? Stopped where? And what does his shocked face look like?  

“…that my lover, Aleesha Ria Zhang would betray me with one of my best friends…” 

Again, with the names smashed together? Also, why is Seth saying his lover? This is in first person who is he talking to? He makes it sound like he’s speaking to an audience. Seth knows that is his love, so why would he describe something he already knows?  

“Forced brakes sounds” 

What are forced brake sounds? I don’t know what that is supposed to sound like because it was not described to me. And, don’t be afraid to use Onomatopoeia, that is, writing sounds. See example below: 

EXAMPLES 

1. Bang! Bang! Bang! She shot her gun.  

2. “Woof!” The dog barked.  

3. “AHH!” The man screamed.  

4. WHOOSH! A burst of air came out of nowhere.  

**Note: the difference in grammar for each sentence. Dialogue tags only go on sounds when it is being spoken by someone either a person or an animal.  

Overall Thoughts:  

I think what this story would benefit the most from is just the addition of descriptions. It’s a typical rebirth/reborn in another world story that has the potential to be interesting. However, from the first chapter alone you haven’t given me as a reader, a taste of that interesting world. As a writer, the first few chapters are so critical for you hook me onto to your story. I know the latter half of the first chapter started to peak up steam, but the beginning alone did not hook me to the story. You could also benefit from some editing because there are some weirdly worded sentences and while the grammar is alright for the most part, there are some areas I noticed were just iffy.  

Overall, I hope this review wasn’t too harsh, I just wanted to be as clear as possible so that in the long run you can benefit and improve your work for long-term success. In end these are all just my opinions and suggestions and you can take them with a grain of salt.  

Best of luck, my friend. 

Check out their book here at: https://www.webnovel.com/book/alicole-chronicles-unexpected-quest-duo_23694955706605105###

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