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NORTHERN HEART

It’s . . . thorough.

By Donna Sirianni, editor

Dec 28, 2008: I originally read this story back when the original chapters were up and I have to say, the writing’s vastly improved. No more copses of doom. (To those wondering, since I never reviewed this story on this site, it counts as a first review. This is a rare technical exception to my "I don’t read rewrites" rule.)

I’m glad the author’s writing has improved so much but I’m a little disheartened to see that he’s still focusing on "Look how much I know!" as opposed to progressing the plot further. I found it similar to The Foundling by D.M. Cornish. It’s not a bad story per se, the world is quite interesting, but the author is more concerned about dumping as much knowledge of the world as humanly possible onto the reader while letting the main character and what exists of the plot slip aside to be lost in the shuffle. A balance needs to be had. Are the step-by-step instructions on how to erect a military camp really necessary to the immediate plot or is it simply acting as filler because the author wants to make sure the readers know just how much he knows on the subject? If the former, then leave it in but make it relevant. Large blocks of dialogue in voids is nothing more than an info-dump. If the latter, take it out. Sure, it’s good information to know but if it doesn’t serve the plot, it shouldn’t be there.

One small technical aspect that really bugged me was the closing quotation marks on blocks of dialogue (or any dialogue, really). Punctuation rules dictate that if it’s only one person speaking and their dialogue is broken into paragraphs, the ending paragraph doesn’t have closing quotes if the following paragraph is the same character speaking. Closing quotes indicate the following paragraph not to have words from that character’s mouth. It was confusing at first but I got used to it. Doesn’t make it not be consistent improper punctuation, though.

While I certainly didn’t miss the writing of the original beginning chapters, I did miss the exposition. I think the story could have been much richer if we got to see Allen adjust to this new world instead of just being there and already acclimated. I hope the author digs those chapters back out and rewrites them to the quality the story’s currently at in order to add insight to the MC’s current status. I found the story all the more intriguing because I already knew that information. New readers are unfortunately deprived of it.

Like I said, I don’t think this is a bad story per se, the writing’s definitely improved, but it favors heavily on the knowledge of the author into the world than on plot. The plot is interesting and I left off at a rather tense spot but I’m just not one for slogging through bombardments of information that don’t appear to be important to anything or anyone other than the author. Yes, the information makes the story richer, gives is a greater depth and has an excellent attention to detail, but it doesn’t make it necessary on the page. The thing is, I know a lot of people that like that, especially the military stuff and I know they’d like this story. If it didn’t have all of that unnecessary information, I’d probably be all for reading more.

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