Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 5

It’s been a while so I’ll jump right into the fray. My friend Kim has continued her quest to edit my book, and these are the notes that she left for me in chapter five.

First we have Captain Ecks arrive at the pyramid via helicopter where he meets up with a mysterious stranger on the roof.

  • Scanning the empty grandstands encircling the area, he spied a domed curve covering a wide flight of descending stairs.
  • Kim – In the empty grandstands encircling the area. We already know he spied, don’t also need scanning.

I was going to argue that scanning is different from spying, but omitting one word does make the sentence more concise. And I love concise. Off to a great start!

  • “A captain of the police,” the man in the long coat stated.
  • Kim – This is weird dialogue. Can’t you just say something like, Captain Ecks, I presume. From your name tag I can plainly see. Or: His eyes flickered to the name tag. “Welcome, Captain Ecks.”

You think that’s weird but saying ‘From your name tag I can plainly see’ is normal. You goof. And Ecks wasn’t expected to be there so Tyle wouldn’t be welcoming him.

I do like your ‘eyes flicking to the nametag’ line though. I’ll put that in there.

  • The man in the overcoat put a hand on his smooth, dimpled chin.
  • Kim – Smooth and dimpled? How does that work?

Um, ya got me there! How about “The man in the overcoat put a hand on his chin: smooth, save for a dimple stuck square in the middle.”

Yeah, that works! And I get to put another colon in! Yes!

  • The man in the overcoat moved, a low roll sounding under the hem of his coat.
  • Kim – Not sure what this means. Is he on wheels?

Sheesh Kim I thought you read through the book once. Did you miss the chapter where Tyle rolls around on his wheel firing a rifle all over the place?

And if you didn’t then you’re supposed to wonder about the noise. It’s a mystery, like the mystery books you yourself write!

  • “That’s my name,” Tyle confirmed, taking a backward glance at the captain.
  • Kim – Name this man earlier so we don’t have two pages of “man in overcoat.” Why doesn’t he just introduce himself to Ecks?

Because he’s Tyle friggin’ Dhaston, heir to the Dhaston company. He’s arrogant, and he just expects everyone from Jesice to know who he is. And I think I’ll push his name reveal back even further just to annoy you!

Then again I’d rather not wait ten months for your next review so I think I’ll consider your wise advice.

Next they enter the hex door that leads to the pyramid’s interior. Parlay and Dring are waiting for them there.

  • “Mr. Dhaston, welcome to the Imperial Pyramid––I’m Parlay.”
  • Kim – Why are they calling him that now instead of Tyle? Is his name Tyle Dhaston?

Yes. Fine. You’ve convinced me! I’ll have Tyle do his whole “I’m Tyle Dhaston!” shtick up on the roof instead of waiting ’till chapter seven. There will be no sense of mystery or suspense, just endless introductions!

  • “And my name is Dwing!”
  • Kim – Need names earlier. Why doesn’t he introduce himself when they enter the room?

Because Parlay is his boss and he doesn’t want to speak before he does. Because his lisp keeps him from saying his own name correctly and he’s shy. Because I think you can wait ONE PAGE before someone tells you what their name is!

  • “Be quiet,” the captain growled.
  • Kim – Second time he’s growled recently.

Hm, I can’t find any other time he growled. Maybe he just needs a snickers.

  • Tyle rolled his eyes, snorting, as Parlay pushed himself from the desk and stood.
  • Kim – New sentence, new paragraph. Try to keep your beats paired with the dialogue.

This is something Kim already taught me, but I’ll put it here as an example of what not to do. These actions aren’t related to each other so there’s no reason for them to be in the same sentence.

  • The captain backed into the office wall, facing all three, nodding with his stern face.
  • Kim – Up to (not literally into the wall)

Oops, I didn’t even think about that. Why did you cross out his nodding though? That’s what police do right? They nod like “yeah you’re busted now.”

  • Ecks stomped forward, taking one hand from the gun to grasp at a chain running across Parlay’s exposed neck. In one swift motion he tore the necklace away, then placed it around his own head; the locket fell below the armor’s olive neckline. “Now you have no choice––the captain commanded, “show me how to use it if you want to be healed.”
  • Kim – he fired with two hands?

Your suggestions about what to omit here are good, but yes you fire guns with two hands.

I probably need to add more details here now that I think of it. Like the shell being ejected so you know it was a real bullet.

  • Parlay stood, his unblemished skin visible through the tear the bullet had made.
  • Kim – unblemished? Didn’t he get shot? Or is that the reveal?

Yeah it’s the reveal that Parlay wasn’t hurt from the bullet. Do I need to go all “anime” with this? Have Ecks shout “You’re not hurt! But how!? That bullet should have pierced your skin!” Then Parlay dramatically steps out from a cloud of smoke:

Yeah, that works!

  • “Our world?” Ecks uttered, backing into the wall.
  • Kim – Didn’t he already back up to the wall? He’s doing it again?

I wrote that Ecks stomped forward two paragraphs ago so of course he can back up again! But yeah maybe I can have him do something else to indicate panic.

  • “I didn’t want to scare Dwing when I first met him,” Parlay said, cornering the captain as he strolled forward.
  • Kim – How can one person corner another?

Because there’s a corner there? Maybe it’s a metaphor and Parlay’s imposing presence has ‘cornered’ him. Or it could be a zen riddle. “How can one person corner another?” My book is so deep.

And now that Ecks has realized that his pistol is useless against Parlay, he calls for the helicopter remotely to fire upon the room that they’re in.

  • “Oh geez,” Tyle uttered, inching back to the hall again. “They have a staccato?”
  • Kim – He doesn’t seem that panicked about it. More mildly concerned.

He should also be mildly fascinated since he uses it later while rolling around on his ball.

  • Tyle Dhaston wrinkled his dimpled chin at them.
  • Kim – All this time calling him man in overcoat, and this is the first time we get his full name together. Have his full name at his intro. Not all the way down here.
  • Also from Kim – How does one wrinkle their chin at someone?

It’s like One Piece, Kim. First we get a silhouette. Then maybe a few chapters of being called “that strong guy.” Then a month later we get a full page that features the character in detail with their full name and title.

But I already promised to change all that so it doesn’t really MATTER NOW DOES IT.

And if you press your lips together your chin will wrinkle. I’ll go back and describe it happening in such glorious detail that you will stare at your monitor with eyes open and chin wrinkling.

  • He shuffled forward, his heavy boots slipping a bit on the rug as the smacking became quicker and rhythmic.
  • Kim – Floor. Wouldn’t really slip on a rug.

Huh? The rug is sitting on top of a hard floor and Ecks is wearing armor. Even my little Shih Tzu Samson could make a rug slip if he was moving fast enough.

  • “The ignorant die: it’s the sad truth on this world,” Parlay said, watching Ecks whimper and claw at his chest.
  • Kim – can’t really watch a whimper

For the love of–what am I supposed to do then, Kim? Have Parlay listen to him whimper and THEN watch him claw at his chest? Do you really think that the reader is going to stop here and think “Wow! Parlay can see sound waves!”

I also saw your note to get rid of the colon. I think it fits though.

  • The captain rocked his head backward and screamed, his arms jerking out to the side as the noises inside of him slowed and ceased.

Kim wants to change “rocked” to “flung” and put “slowed THEN ceased” instead of “and.” I’ll let you finish with a win this time, Kim.




Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 4

In this chapter Tome reveals the horrible truth about Droldragia and the wicked monster that was sealed within. Only one man can venture back into the zone to face the beast! That’s right! It’s Darklord! And just to make sure I know it, Kim has written his name in the margin of her critique countless times!

Yes, every time I call him “Dark” in the narration Kim reprimands me with a note that reads “Darklord.” I still don’t see a problem with calling characters by their nicknames but Kim got this idea somewhere and she is NOT letting me forget it.

But let me get to the critique highlights. Kim hasn’t sent me a new chapter in a while and I don’t want her to get scared off by my endless whining. Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 3


As we reach chapter three I see that Kim seems to have little problem with Tome and his long monologues of exposition. He explains everything about how magic works and Kim doesn’t get furious with me at all! Of course I’d like to attribute it to the fact that I saved the information until after the reader was hungry enough to digest it.

But we aren’t here to discuss what I did right now are we? Let the literary spankings begin! Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 2

In this chapter Mean and Dark meet Mackaba. He’s an enraged police officer that has something in common with my friend Kim: They both start off calm, but if something sets them off–watch out!

Ha,ha, I may joke around about Kim’s harshness, but let it be known that I’m the one that invited it upon myself. It’s just like those anime shows where the friendly rivals duel. They’re always saying “I won’t accept anything less than your best!” And I know that in order for my writing to improve it must be forged in the flame of a thousand blazing Ka-me-ha-me-has!

Now, Kimberly! Come at me with your FULL POWER! Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 1

As Kim continues to critique my book, you may be wondering: Why would Brad ask for her help? Does she even know how to write?

The answer is yes! Kim wrote a book and I’ve read it. And she’s working on, like, twenty others. But as I read her novel Caged I noticed that her style differs from mine. Her main character’s thoughts are often expressed in italics every once in while. This helps clue the reader in on the protagonist’s thought processes and motivations.

And while it fits my friend Kim, I do not like to do this. I want the reader to wonder about characters’ motivations and come to their own conclusions. I also want to try to create a moment of Fridge Brilliance. That is, something that appears as a mistake at first. But, upon further reading or during a ponderous trip to the can, turns out to be justified after all.

So let’s find out: will Kim be fooled by my tricks? Or will the mistakes be legitimate? (I’ll probably have examples of both.) Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Prologue

As you can no doubt tell from the graphic, my friend Kim took me up on my offer to critique my books. And she’s pulling no punches. Her daughter drew this picture to embody the furious judgment her mother is administering to my unworthy tomes.

I wish you could see it. There are words stricken through, punctuation highlighted with fierce disapproval, and comments in the margin as far as the eye can see. These comments shed some light into her critiques, so I’ll put the best ones below along with my responses. Will Kim’s critiques be acknowledged? Or will they fall on deaf ears? The roasting begins! Continue reading

Castlevania: the Netflix Show Review!

Zounds! I’m back! My friend Matt told me my blog was getting stale, so of course I ignored him for three months before doing anything. But the time has come to post here again!

Now, don’t assume I’ve been doing nothing. I have been working on the third draft of Abandonment Party 2: Beyond the Abandoned Party (Working title subject to change.) I’m on the last chapter, even! Unfortunately, the changes I made to the draft weren’t quite “blog-worthy” as it were. Swap a word here; move a sentence there–super uninteresting discussion-wise. So let’s talk about the new Castlevania Netflix show instead!

Continue reading

Star Trek Beyond and Chekhov’s Gun


That’s right; there’s no chapter this time! It’s all review and discussion for the latest Star Trek film! And that would be Star Trek Beyond: the third installment with the rebooted crew of the NCC-1701 Enterprise. Zounds, what a glorious future of storytelling we have in front of us. I can’t wait for reboots of Picard’s crew, Janeway’s crew, and Sisko’s interstellar baseball team. Continue reading

Warcraft and Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 29 (First Draft)

First Draft


Looks like the first draft of Abandonment Party 3 is done! You know what that means! Time to talk about Warcraft! That’s “Warcraft” the 2016 film–and like my books it also takes years of delays to see the light of day. So let’s discuss it! Or just watch me discuss it with myself!

Spoilers Continue reading

Monsters from Nowhere and Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 28

First Draft

Today I want to talk about something that can happen at the end of a story. Well, it mostly happens at the end of video game stories. It might have happened to you: the final stage has been conquered! The antagonist that you’ve been chasing for days has been defeated! But zounds–what’s this!? A new foe has appeared! Some giant creature that no one ever expected! Some horror that wasn’t even hinted at before or ever explained!

Over at TV Tropes it’s called “Diabolus ex Nihilo.” Or “Giant Space Flea from Nowhere” if you’re talking about a video game.

So let me give you an example from a video game. Of course. Like I’d read a book. Here come spoilers for Final Fantasy IX. (Now out on Steam. Dang, I should have put it on my birthday list.)

Spoilers Continue reading