Melody Hallows | SparkaTale


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  • Joined 11/08/13
  • Last login 11/14/13
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Melody Hallows's Bio

Melody Hallows

Profession: Aspiring Artist and Writer

Gender: Well, my name is Melody, so I'm assuming I'm female, unless my body is hiding something from me.

Age: I'm officially 18. Woot.

Writing Style: Um, sorta like an amalgam of sci fi, fantasy, humor, action and suspense, I like to pull techniques from my favorite works (ie: my favorite plotlines come from more serious works, whereas my favorite dialogue comes from humor books, so my writing style tends to mix the two) Oh and I like big words.

Home: Somewhere along the borders of Sanelessness and far past where you should bother with.

Stories In Progress (though not necessarily posted): A Dreamgiver's Tale and The Whispering Tree Series: Sensa Nome

Stories on the Drawing Board: Dreaming of Alice

Story Ideas: Past the LabyrinthThe First DreamThe Whispering Tree SeriesA Simple Game of ChessMercy: A ChildhoodThe Bard QuintetThe Muse QuintetFallen, BloodlustSpell for a Staircase, 56 Ways to be a HermitDear MirabelleEchoRagdollThe LibraryGhostingThe Lonely Treehouse, and Circus of the Blind


In A Dreamgiver's Tale: Aisling, Cyrus, Lilith, Poltergeist, Skylar, Sage, Arianna, Emblyn, The All-Seeing Eyes and all its incarnations;

In Sensa Nome: Alice Marie Pendragon (Alice), Rozalia Tobias Pendragon (Tobi), Leviathan Blynder (Levi), Ethil Pensworth (Ethil), Lucien Romali (Lucien), Mary Trytte (Mary), Markyl Pendragon (Markyl), Joshua White (Joshua), Zachary Castellan (Zach), Theodore Castellan (Teddie), Lady Amelia Pendragon (Auntie), Natsu (spirit), Horrace Rafel (spirit), Skimble (spirit), Fisgig (spirit), and Sylphie (spirit);

In Dreaming of Alice: Alice Blackborne, Lacie Blackborne, Whit Britabe, Carwyn King, Mattie King, Time, the Dormouse family, Jasper Blancknight, Queen Bernadette Merrillheart (Queen of Hearts), Queen Willow Whittspade (Queen of Spades), Queen Valerie Wolfred (The Red Queen), and Queen Gaelle Mosswhite (The White Queen);

In Past the Labyrinth: Aisling, Poltergeist, Cyrus, Lilith, Skylar, Sage, Arianna, the All-Seeing Eyes and all its incarnations;

In The First Dream: Vivian, Skylar, Cyrus, Lydia, Kateke, Aisling, Lilith, Poltergeist, and Dreamer;

In A Simple Game of Chess: Evaine and Arius;

In Mercy: A Childhood: Mercy, Nathaniel, Natalie, Ninrys, Mylinda/Spider Mother, Althea, Grunt, Pepin and Mamie, and Gahraela;

In The Bard Quintet: Cadence, Gareth, and others yet unnamed;

In The Muse Quintet: Gareth, Cadence, Lyvia, Oliver, Olive, and others yet unnamed;

In Fallen: Lilian, Lucifer, Mammon, Leviathan, Belphegor, Beezlebub, Asamodaes, and others yet unnamed;

In Bloodlust: Raini, Wyvern, Victor, Leo and others yet unnamed;

In Spell for a Staircase: Annemarie (Little Eisley), Jack, Peter, and others yet unnamed;

In 56 Ways to be a Hermit: Pan, Pepin, and others yet unnamed;

In Dear Mirabelle: Mirabelle, Rune, Naomi, Annie, Jake, and others yet unnamed;

In Echo: Echo, Boris, and Natalie;

In Ragdoll: Ragdoll, Tobie, and others yet unnamed;

In The Library: Kitani, Ryu, Kyoko, Keith, and Natsu;

Personality: to put it short: why are you reading this instead of my stories? I don't wanna write this I wanna write my sttooorriees. Go read my stooorrrieees!! To put it even shorter: read A Dreamgiver's Tale: Lilith reflects my brain nearly directly with the exception of her back story and the fact that she ships AislingxCyrus (I don't), and yes I did the order of that pairing correctly.

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  • Carriers

    Alright, so... let's get started. I can honestly say that the writing here is pretty well done, and your premise is certainly interesting. I'm sorry if this ends up being shorter than my normal comments, but as I'm tired today and I already don't have much to say on this chapter, I can't guarantee that I'll say too much. Anywho, let's get started.

    1. Your chapters are long, or rather, this one is. Now length is not so much an issue and this chapter's word count definitely isn't an issue [I know a person who has upwards of 7000 words in each chapter], but length becomes an issue in the absence of a strong tone. Now this isn't to say your story lacks tone, because it's definitely there, however your tone stems from your character and your character is bored, thus your chapter is 4000+ words of droning. That's when it becomes a problem, when your character is so busy trying not to fall asleep that combined with the *slight* disconnection that third person limited perspective creates in the readers makes the audience want to skim, quite like I wanted to when I got to the second half.
    2. Descriptions, to say it simply. Your descriptions aren't bad so much as they are... misplaced. I know you want people to know what your characters look like, but the paragraphs to describe each of your main protagonists elevate the urge to skim significantly when considering that you halt what little action there is to insert them. Also, I think it worth noting that some of these paragraphs are short life stories, telling you everything you need to know about a character before you get to see it for yourself. That really takes me out of it, honestly. I'm not very fond of direct characterization for relationships and personalities, so just straight-up telling me that Katrina is a trouble-maker, or that Carson is one step away from full blown narcissism, or that Laylia looks at everyone like they're diseased--it just bothers me. I'd prefer you to show it, not say it.
    3. Some of your descriptors are... too pc, is one way of putting it, but that's not quite the problem. The problem is that descriptors like "not-exactly high cheekbones", "lacked an attention span of great length", and "wasn't the skinniest girl in the world" are not only *technical* direct characterizations, they are also direct characterizations that more or less completely avoid telling the reader what these characters have in lieu of the traits you've said they don't have. If Shay doesn't have high cheekbones, then what do her cheeks look like instead? If Shay doesn't have a long attention span, then is it insanely short or is it just not long enough to pay attention to the tour guide? And if Laylia isn't "the skinniest person in the world, [to put it nicely]<----(by the way, remove this)", then is she on the chubbier side, or simply full on obese? You can't just decide not to say these things straight, they're decently important descriptors.
    4. Dialogue tags. You've outright avoided "said" from what I can tell, but I would suggest that you add it back into you palette. There are times when your used dialogue tags simply don't fit how people would generally imagine the line to be spoken, and I have no idea whether or not this was intentional, but I doubt Shay snapped at her mother about needing to get to the bus, as snapped is a rather harsh response to such a simple reminder.
    5. Something I noticed at the very end of the chapter that sort of bothered me…Katrina is blamed for the infection in its entirety, yet Katrina was leaving with Shay when *Owen* decided to step inside a mysterious glass box [because everyone knows nothing could go wrong with that], and *Kyleigh* had the bright idea to get nasty and shove *Jaycee* after Shay told them not to touch anything, and conveniently into the panel that started the sequence. So, correct me me if I’m wrong, but the infection isn’t Katrina’s fault, nor did Shay snap at the right person. Kyleigh is responsible, you’ve already made it clear that no one in the room likes her, why is nothing said to her?
    6. I gotta admit, I’m having trouble believing the infection sequence. I’d imagine that despite a teenager’s curiosity level that they’d actually be stupid enough to step into a strange glass box in the middle of a secret closed laboratory even if there was a stack of fresh pizza in the middle of it. I doubt this scenario entirely, and I’d suggest making the infection an accident more along the lines of their not even being aware of it.
    7. Jaycee, to put it bluntly. I don’t approve of Shay referring to her as a “goth” just because she associates with them, that’s not how social scenes or style work. I associate with “goths”, but that does not make me a “goth” and I’m a little put off by the characterization of Jaycee as something she doesn’t look like just because of who she hangs out with [that isn’t a deciding factor]

    I suggest editing this quite a bit: first, make the chapter shorter to accommodate the fact that you can’t engage a reader well with a bored protagonist.  Second, introduce the defining traits of your four main characters as you go along instead of all at once. Third, use indirect characterization instead of direct for relationships and personalities, and do not describe your characters ever by directly telling us what they aren’t. Fourth, rearrange the infection scenario, or in keeping it, have Shay blame Kyleigh, not Katrina. Fifth, replace a few of the dialogue tags with said. Otherwise your concept is strong, and your characters seem very developed. Keep up the good work ^^

    P.S.—What’s a CDC? The meaning of the acronym is never mentioned and I’ve never heard of one before so I have trouble connecting this to anything.

    Commented on: November 13, 2013

  • Gifted

    Warning: I am bluntly sarcastic and I review everything I see in the composition and concept. I will praise what I love and point out what I think needs work.

    Now then! Let's start with the biggies, shall we?

    1. The first thing I noticed upon reading this chapter was an inconsistency that stemmed from your summary, the rebellion, and what has been shown of the Gifted. First, your summary claims that this custom of taking away gifted children has been going on for thousands of years and that the rebellion has only just started after that passage of time: sadly, by only a quarter of the way through your first chapter, I'm already not buying it. Why? Hmm.
      • People's loyalty: fear can spawn bravery among some people. quite like you've shown with Janelle. If all the government has used to qwell the people's disagreement with this custom is fear for thousands of years, a rebellion would have already started. And for that matter, it would have way more than two to three supporters.
      • Assessment day: you managed to strike major inconsistency with this concept in the last few paragraphs of the chapter--gifts can appear after infanthood. A system that has been in place for thousands of years would be aware of this and would take up the practice of multiple assessments over the course of early childhood and adolescence [not to mention that adolescence is traditionally when traits such as "magic" start to appear]
      • Janelle's reasoning stems from her sister being taken, but if her sister had been taken as an infant, she probably wouldn't have been so determined. Either make it her daughter or change the system in which assessment day is run.
    2. Your rebellion, rather simply. Two people strong, huh? I sincerely don't think Janelle would have hope for a rebellion against a long standing tradition with only the help of a quiet female swordsman. Add more rebels, find more secretive hideouts, maybe even give this rebellion a history.
    3. Now about Carey and the poor family...they own a farm, yes? One, they'd have a bigger house. Two, they wouldn't hope to get the younger children apprenticeships. I don't know whether or not you have a big family but as the number of children increases, so too does the necessary income, and an already poor family isn't going to hope that the children still in school will be better off when chances are they'll have to go get jobs or help around the farm as well. It wouldn't have gotten too much better when Carey and Wesley got jobs because in all honesty, the income necessary increases with every baby born. That or the need for food does. Chances are that the farm would get much more attention with all the children coming out of school, and the three eldest wouldn't get to have jobs because they'd spend too much time tending to the crops and animals.
    4. I know that with the things I capitalize in A Dreamgiver's Tale, I shouldn't nitpick on this, but I feel that the capitalization of the word "taken" as referring to the Gifted is truly unnecessary
    5. "...what about that guy who sells rugs at the market?"<---so says Wesley. You have a small island, your setting for Carey and Wesley is obviously a small village. This vendor would have a name and Wesley would know it, no ifs ands or buts. Also, what is with the extremely large families? I get that it's an olden day setting but not every person had eight or more kids [not to mention the reason for large families back in the day was to procreate in case of disease or war, thus, dead children were much more commonplace.
    6. Muggings are common because people lose their homes if... they offend the Gifted? I'm sorry, I call bull. That's a level of corruption that would cause rebellion, not muggings. Secondly, if offending the government caused their citizens to become poor, the government would suffer as well.
    7. Your descriptions tend to pause the story. You stop the action long enough to describe what you need to and jump back in. This isn't so much bad as it is disorienting. Instead of combining your descriptions with the action, the separation means that one moment you're discussing the hard work or how Wesley and Carey don't even look like siblings, and then the next, dialogue ensues and the drama of the present is discussed. I'll admit that flashbacks necessitate a pause in the action, but sometimes [like when you stop to describe Carey and Wesley] the pause could easily meld in between the dialogue and cease to disrupt anything at all.
    8. Um, the paragraph one before Carey nearly gets kidnapped sounds like a summary and could safely be axed in its entirety. Also a few of the concepts [like the Gifted seizing crops. Seriously? Would not happen] are less then believable and might be safer to ax as well.

    Alright, so beyond what I've mentioned, this is written well. The dialogue is natural, and the concept, while similar to ones I've seen, is unique enough to float. So far, I like it, and I can't wait to read more :) 

    Commented on: November 11, 2013

  • Sensa Nome

    xD no worries, you still figured it out. Thanks for the comment!

    Commented on: November 10, 2013

  • Guardians of Light

    Alright, so -claps hands together- I think I'm gonna preface this entire chapter review with a warning, and that is that I critique everything that sticks out to me, good or bad or neutral, and I am chronically sarcastic and blunt without mercy, so prepare yourself ^^ Let's get started.

    Now my first thought upon reading this chapter is that it could be a very interesting book concept, however the exeution is very lacking. I've seen stories like this in the past, stories with amazing and intuitive concepts that would soar in the published world if only the execution was on par with the plot's brilliance. So as it stands I should warn you that besides a few minor tweaks, you should keep your concept for this chapter. Otherwise, as to what you have written, I would scrap it and start anew.

    Now first problem: length. There's absolutely no problem with your word count, heck, I'm pretty sure that I have chapters shorter than this in word length. The trouble, however, is the content. You've condensed enough information in one chapter to take up five chapters, and at that it's even further condensed into five paragraphs. This chapter, while relatively well written, reads much more like a summary on cliff notes than how the actual chapter would pan out. It is in major need of expansion. 

    Second problem: time span. You may think this connects to the length but in reality, it doesn't. Time spans vary for all authors, some people like myself prefer to depict chapters with a time stream that moves along much in the way we experience our daily lives, whereas others prefer to write more like J.K. Rowling and have whole months pass over the course of one chapter. Suffice to say, your condensed time span moves a lot like certain parts of the Harry Potter series, however the trouble is that unlike the Harry Potter series, your time span is not written clearly. Your first two paragraphs give no date, no time, no season, just thoughts, but then the third paragraph's first sentence starts with "Later that night" and your reader questions what time it is, what time it was in the first two paragraphs. This is a trouble because it makes everything floaty and disorienting. Your reader is trying to connect with a story and timeline they can't grasp, so it gets confusing a lot.

    Third problem: the description, or rather, lack there of. Simply put, your descriptions have no weight to them, while I'm reading, I have no idea where anything is at any given moment, I have no idea what your character looks like and I have no grasp as to what the world even looks like. This is very disorienting, and I would really work on developing not only the visuals but the actual feeling: the temperatures, the sounds, the smells, anything that connects your reader to the setting, put it in. And with your character: add in hair color, eye color, skin tone, the works.

    Fourth problem: Development. You have five paragraphs here, in the first, the situation as it has been for quite some time is explained to us, much like a prologue would. In the second, you expand upon the setting and Ally’s ambitions by depicting the place she loves to be alone in. In the third, you tell us of a dream that your main character gets every night for a week. In the fourth, you tell us that Ally has decided to try leaving in secrecy. And in the fifth, she succeeds in this feat. Your readers have been given absolutely no time to get used to the situation your character is in before you throw her into a new one. This ties pretty closely to the length, so I won’t go on too much about it, but sincerely there needs to be more detail. Plenty of readers much like myself are boiling over with questions that might not be answered and at this point, you just need more than what you have.

    Now before I get to my ultimate suggestions, I’ll pump out the minor nitpicks: Generally speaking, unless it is a year or otherwise a very large number, actual numerals are not used [ie: it isn’t “5”, it’s “five”]. Otherwise, you have a typo where you didn’t capitalize Ally in the second paragraph. Now, you’ll note that I said scrap this chapter… you have five paragraphs here that are fantastic summaries of a preface and four chapters, so expand upon each until they can stand independently of themselves. Design the villages more, and expand upon your protagonist’s dreams. Give me more idea as to who or what the elders are. As to the life Ally leads, show it, perhaps you could depict it in the first and second chapters. Add dialogue, and characters that live in the village. Give the situation weight before you push us into a new one, okay? So… -scuttles into usual corner with grape juice and crayons-

    Commented on: November 9, 2013