Originally Posted by Barrelracingllamalover View Post
Ok, fellow author here.
The first thing, it's got a very good plot. The basic overall design is awesome.
Second thing, you are definetely lacking in details. What color is gambit? How are Liz and Natalie connected? Trainer /student? Aunt/neice? What kind of facility is the story based out of? Boarding stable? Breeding facility? What breed of horses are they dealing with?
Third, your characters need more development. This is something I struggle wit also. You need to sit down with a notebook and describe your characters. Bold? Hardheaded? Shy? Grumpy? Serious? Just write down a list of characters, then write down what their personalitys are like. Then every time you start to write about on of them, make yourself stop and think " ok, does this reflect so and so personality?" If you don't set out definete personality traits, all your characters will run together with the same personality. Normally, they all end up with your personality.
Just personal experience. My first book is in the process if getting published. I hope this helps you and doesn't seem to harsh.
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I love you for that! Prepare to be pestered. The reason they don't describe Gambit's color is because she is covered in crap and every bone is visible, so a brush would probably hurt, and a hose could scare her. I'll need to remember that about describing the facility more. Keep in mind this is just a first draft- no editing past word check.
“Hope you guys don't mind apple juice with this, cause I have it out the ears.” Liz called, and Avis nearly ran to sit down at the table. Liz was a great cook, Natalie not so bad herself. Combine that with a well stocked kitchen and magic happened. She wasn't disappointed. There were three juicy barbequed pork chops, put into perfect halves, and a casserole dish that looked like it could swallow a loaf of bread whole, full of cheesy scalloped potatoes. Hearing no complaints, Liz came out with tall glasses of cold apple juice, and a basket of dinner rolls. There was a moment of silence before they started eating. Avis inhaled the food, roll after roll, potato after cheese after potato, until she came to the meat, which she sliced into small bites and ate slowly, savoring it. Natalie ate neatly, even cutting her potatoes before eating them, leaving the rolls till last to mop up the cheesy sauce left behind. Liz watched them eat bemusedly before shaking her head and neatly eating her porkchop “Love how you guys take more delight in the 5- minute scalloped potatoes and biscuits than the focus of the meal.” she stated dryly. Natalie shrugged, scooping out more potatoes and grabbing another roll. Avis waited until the meat was mush to swallow “Nein. I ate the rest first so I could savor the meat.” she informed her, taking another bite. Liz almost choked, on her beer “So lil goth girl does have a polite side.” she laughed softly to herself, and Avis took a sidelong look, trying to decide whether she should get upset or not. A look from Natalie combined with the inviting smell of the meat convinced her to shut up and eat. Even though she ate slow, she ate an entire pork chop, in addition to four rolls and a large pile of potatoes. Even though she was full to bursting, she was eying the leftovers like a hawk “Jesus Natalie. No wonder you're so light. Eat more. Moar!” Avis ordered her, and Natalie made a valiant effort, clearing her plate, not that it was saying much. Liz just watched them in amusement, until she was done “Time to hit the hay you two. I'll clean up.” Natalie led the way to the upstairs bedroom, where it was painfully apparent she was only a temporary resident, the walls adorned with many different halters, bridles and lead ropes, and saddles underneath. Two stacked tack trunks with a mirror propped on top served as a vanity, where Avis stood to take out her piercings. First her lip piercing, then the eyebrow, then the two studs form her left ear, then the rainbow stud from her right ear. She rubbed her lip where the ring had been, and turned around, seeing movement in the mirror. Natalie had already gotten ready and claimed the wall spot of the king sized bed “You little rat-fink!” She scowled, but Natalie just wrapped herself in blankets. Avis shook her head, sliding down the ladder without touching the rungs to get ready. After she was up, she telescoped the ladder, pulling it up before closing the door underneath it. She looked at Natalie “I hope you have your critter with you, because I don't want to be the substitute.” a rustle, then Natalie held up her teddybear. Before she could withdraw it, Avis' hand snapped forward, grabbing and chucking the bear across the room “AVIS!” she screeched, diving after it reflexively.
Avis quickly dove under the covers, taking the wall spot while Natalie retrieved her bear. She pouted, looking at Avis, who was unrepentant “Could you get the lights?” she asked innocently. Natalie sighed loudly, flicking the nightlight on and the normal light off. “Thanks schatz.” she murmured, yawning as she began to curl up. Natalie scowled into the darkness, inching back until she hit the wall. “I thought you had your bear?” Avis sleepily said, and Natalie replied with “you know I need to have something behind me to get to sleep.” Avis sighed, but didn't push her away. Avis was the first to fall asleep, and she started to inch forward. Natalie was dozing but jerked awake when something hit her hip. She held up the covers and peered down; yep, it was Avis' arm. Natalie rolled her eyes, waiting until Avis was cuddled up against her back to try to sleep. Avis always said it was her , but she lived in a nice river in Africa. Avis woke up slowly, stretching. She looked down at Natalie affixed to her chest “angeschissen.” she grumbled as she tried to free herself. Once she did, she looked around for the bear, knowing that if she took too long, Natalie would wake up. “Leave it, Avi. I need to get up for haying anyway.” Natalie sighed, twisting her back until it popped. Avis meanwhile went to the hodge-podge vanity and considered the piercings she had taken out. Natalie tried to get out, getting caught up in the covers, she fell, and began swearing in German while freeing herself. Avis wondered if she should watch her language more as she kept a careful eye on Natalie. She put her earrings in, ready to help if her tone went from annoyed to frantic. It didn't, and Natalie rolled free a second later. Natalie grumbled a second, kicking the covers back onto the bed before grabbing her brush and beginning to brush out her mid-back length hair. “Think you could do a french braid for me?” she asked Avis, who took the brush from her in response. Despite her long hair, Natalie hated to braid it. She dealt with enough of that at the barn, thank you very much. Despite her short hair, Avis loved to braid. It worked out well, as she put the hair tie on tightly. The braid hung tight to her neck- perfect for work with a large, sharp blade. Avis went down first, making sure the trapdoor was out of the way before grabbing hold of the ladder and throwing it down before grabbing the sides and sliding down. Avis then took off to the table “I wish you wouldn't do that, Avi.” Natalie sighed as she went down it normally before pushing the ladder up, hooking it onto the ceiling with a little bit of a struggle. Liz looked up from her coffee, surprised, but not unpleasantly so. “I was about to go get you up. How does pancakes and bacon sound to everyone?” Avis nodded her head furiously while Natalie yawned. “...Excellent. I'll have them ready in a jiffy. Natalie, You're helping.” Liz ordered, and Natalie was moving before she even asked. Natalie washed her hands before pulling out the ingredients. Avis watched, somewhat puzzled “I still don't get why you don't buy the premixed stuff.” Natalie shrugged, mixing the batter before moving off to get the bacon. Liz started making pancakes “cause it's a ripoff. 'Sides, we're making breakfast for you. Are you really going to complain?” She asked, looking over her shoulder as she expertly flipped the pancakes. A plate piled high with the first pancakes and bacon was slid in front of her “Nein, cher.” she stated sweetly before digging in. Liz waited until both girls were sitting and eating before saying “So, what do you think? Best morning after?” Liz smiled impishly as they both started to choke, with Avis recovering first and stabbing a thumb towards her left ear, where the white and black studs were. Natalie just shook her head at her antics, a heavy blush on her face. They both ate fast, Natalie out of knowing when Liz ran out of coffee, it was time to work, and Avis because it was her only setting. Liz sat her mug down with a note of finality, and Natalie sprung up as if on cue, leaving Avis. Avis shrugged, spearing one of Natalie's pancakes. Natalie returned a second later, wearing jeans tucked into leather boots, leather gloves, and a grey wife beater shirt. “what are you waiting for?” Liz asked Avis “Go get dressed!” she ordered as she took Avis' plate. Avis pouted, making grabby hands, but got dressed in the same thing as yesterday- an all black no skin showing outfit. Natalie winced when she saw her, but a look from Liz froze the comment in her throat “C'mon you two. Take this cooler out by the hay field while I get the horses ready.” Natalie grabbed one end while Avis took the other, and they carried it out, each struggling for the heavier end. When they passed the quarantine, Natalie dropped her end, running in to make sure both animals were fed before picking her end up again. Avis wasn't amused, and asked her “What was that look for earlier?” Natalie hesitated “We're going to be in the sun all day.” she told her, and Avis frowned “So?” she wore this outfit every day when she was in the barn, and no one ever said anything, but Natalie just shook her head. A few minutes later, they made it, and Natalie steered them toward a small lean to that had a water trough and a tying post. “Now, you'll probably be running animals out and back, and sharpening blades.” Natalie informed her as they waited for Liz to come back. She looked out over the field, noting the state of the grass- boot stage. Perfect for the first cutting. Liz's whistle pierced the morning, and Natalie scrambled over. Patch and Mystic were hooked onto a sickle-bar mower, with Liz in the fore cart “He's playing with the big boys now.” She remarked, patting Patch's neck fondlywhen Natalie climbed up into the cart. She started mowing, leaving Alis sitting and watching. Patch and Mystic weren't the traditional work horses, Patchwork coats standing out against the green of the grass, but they settled into it easily, walking much faster than Avis thought was possible with their load, coming past once, twice, thrice, before Liz came back, with Dream hooked to a wagon “These are the blades. When we need to , we will come and switch them out. You shouldn't have to sharpen any.” she told her, unloading the blades, before departing once more. Avis sighed loudly, and Natalie shot her a sympathetic look. After only twice past this time, Liz joined in with Dream. Avis watched them go, looking completely disinterested. She knew that if Natalie was in her position, she would be looking at how the horse works to determine what part is stressed the most, but Avis just saw a fun activity she was being left out of. When Liz looked up, she saw Avis looking like she was about to fall asleep, and pulled Dream over. Confused, he resisted for a second- 'What are you doing? The grass is over here!'- before relenting. Avis picked up the smaller blade “4' blade right?” she asked, voice dull. Liz waved her hand dismissively “Drop that and climb on up here.” Avis didn't give her time to reconsider, and was sitting next to her by the time Liz had the lines back in her hands. Liz steered Dream back to his spot, and Avis was entranced by watching the grass flow like water to the ground after being cut. She , and bombarded Liz with questions that were easily fielded. “This whole farm was passed down for three or so generations. Some of my equipment is from that time, mostly refurbished of course, but still working as well as the day it was bought. This field used to be the upper cotton field. It's maybe 30 acres? Anyway, we're hoping to get half of it cut today, and failing.” she gave Avis a sidelong look, and she returned it eagerly “Here, how about you try driving? He basically knows what to do, just requires a bit of steering on the corners.” Liz watched her navigate her first corner, then bailed, which freaked Avis out “Wait, are you sure I should be-” Liz continued, ignoring her yelling. “Doing this?” she finished softer, watching Dream. Being left in control of the prized stallion was a honor in the highest degree, and she spent a few minutes tense, waiting for him to act up, before relaxing a bit. He was definitely plodding along in that gait that all work horses learn eventually, but it was a rather fast plodding. After turning the far corner, she saw Liz in a shiny new cart pulling a large mower with a four-up team, that is, two by two. Avis soon realized it isn't even half as fun as it had appeared, roasting in her clothes. Liz took pity on them and signaled for them to take a break. Natalie and Liz worked quickly, unhooking the horses and letting them drink and nibble on hay through a large hay net while the humans were in the shade of the tent. Liz popped the cooler open, pulling out waters for all of them “Well, we can hook Lucky with Dream and slap a bigger bar on em and the three can pull it no sweat. Last year two of the Gyps pulled it all day, and they weren't even conditioned.” they watched the grass sway in the wind, sipping their waters, and munching on palm sized pancakes. After a goodly amount of time, Liz got up and started hooking the horses back in, 2 and 2 and 3. Liz hooked them up and helped Natalie into her cart, but Avis refused the help. “Now, I put Luck on the inside, so if he tries to not turn, Dream will force him to turn, but if they give you any trouble, just stop and unhook the blade from the back. Don't need a 7 foot bar running around.” Liz joked, but Avis blanched at the thought of a runaway blade. Liz took no notice, mounting up on her cart easily “At this rate, we'll be done by noon.” She noted cheerfully, before they started again. The once seemingly exciting task transformed into drudgery, the only somewhat entertaining bits the corners. The next break came much quicker, and Avis was even sweatier, and in a foul mood. Liz nor Natalie understood the long German phrases she sprouted, but it was obviously nothing good. Liz shot Natalie an amused look “Give her the shirt.” she told her, and Avis froze as something sopping wet, but deliciously cold hit her face. She unfurled it, and realized it was another grey shirt just like Natalie's. Her modesty was mostly forgotten as she stripped out of her burning hot shirt and into the cool one.
(This post makes it 8k words. My biggest issue, other than the characters and description, seems to be consistency. The book up till this point was written like it was for kids, then at this point it was all bam! Beer and sexual innuendos! Its supposed to show how, despite not cursing and making a concious effort to be 'nice', there was a reason Liz didn't have children. I think it came off more like 'It's 11pm and I'm trying to reach my word count so screw consistency!' What do you guys think?)