Thank you so much for your review of Warbler! It's brutally honest, and more than fair-and I will absolutely take several of these into account. (And you've brought up several inconsistencies/omissions that need to be addressed within the story, or haven't yet. I've included a couple of questions/comments about some of your points below in case you have the time to respond because I really have found them to be highly insightful. Once again though, thank you.)
1. Hyphens. Yeah, I overuse those. A lot. I'm aware of this, and working to fix it. (I also think I've finally figured out to get an en-dash into Weebly, which should help treat some of the symptoms, if not the problem.) Hemingway, however, looks like an excellent way to help weed those out.
2. Narrator Commentary. Oh, well yes, that is absolutely what that looks like. It was NOT intended that way, and in fact, I hate that sort of fourth-wall-breaking commentary. I will absolutely go back and revise that. (I think it may have something to do with the fact that I do actually use 'read as' as a figure of speech.)
3. Yep, that particular device is actually from a cut plot thread. (There's one in one of the backstory pieces, which most people don't read.) I'll take that out in editing, and be more vigilant about any similar artifacts. (My writing process unfortunately lends itself to such errors, however.) Thanks for alerting me to this.
5. There's absolutely a reason for this one. The first three Episodes were uploaded all at once. In retrospect, I should have used them as a buffer, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. < It's still a bad pacing choice, and thank you for pointing it out.
7. I clearly need to hang a lantern on a couple of things here, like the fact that yes, they have a massive nepotism problem in their military. This was thought through, but clearly not addressed clearly enough in the text. I will absolutely hang a lantern on this.
And Hemingway just looks beautiful. I've already run the current update through it, and it does seem to help. I'll have to see what the reaction to it is, as it does change the style of the writing, but it looks like it will be an amazing help. Thank you so much for pointing me towards that resource!
And just thank you so much in general. Your two-star review has done far more to actually help me develop my writing than any of the 4.5 star ones.
I... have thoughts about the Hemingway editor. More specifically, I have beef with the Hemingway editor.
My beef with the Hemingway editor is that it starts with the assumption that long, complicated sentences are bad. Well, they ARE bad, if you prefer reading/writing short sentences. But sentence length is a preference, not a goddamn immutable law of writing. If your preference runs long, meandering sentences, then you're going to piss off people who like short, punchy sentences. If you like short, punchy sentences, people who like longer sentences are going to complain that your writing is too simplistic and childish. Things like Hemingway try to "fix" in one direction, but it's not a fix, it's a stylistic change. Making a stylistic change is fine, as long as you're clear on what you're doing, but be clear on what you're doing.
Aside from that, there's also the adverbs thing. It flags adverbs -- ANY adverbs -- and then tells you to "aim for 0 or fewer adverbs." I know "don't use adverbs" is one of the more modern writing fads, but it's one I find laughable, to say the least. My specific thoughts on that will likely get me banned from WFG forums for violating the rules of conduct. There's not a single thing wrong with adverbs, and anyone who tells you otherwise may be ignored. Don't overuse them or anything. Also don't overuse: nouns, pronouns, verbs, gerunds, and every other part of the English language.
In summation, I am not a fan of the Hemingway editor.
@ubersoft: Hemingway Editor is a tool. I don't know anybody who uses it that changes every sentence until they're all nice and tidy and unflagged. But it's a great tool for ensuring that sort of cruft is kept proportional to the text. Weirdly enough, everyone I talk to who dislikes the Hemingway Editor seems to treat it as if the only way to use it is to aim for not a single word/sentence flagged. It's a guide and a tool, not a holy writ in stone tablets. And it has value in my writing process.
@JPV1000: Thanks for taking a hard review with good grace. My co-writer Keith and I discussed your work for quite some time before I pulled the trigger on the review. While the thoughts are my own, I ran them by Keith beforehand to see if my critique felt fair, and he said it did. He flagged on many of the same issues, and I'm glad to see you're willing to use the feedback as intended: To improve a story worth improving.
If you're interested, drop me an email at [email protected] and I will send you my (considerably, uh, rawer) review notes that I used for my own memory while reading. They're a fair bit more brutal, but if you want to see what was going through my mind as I worked through the initial few chapters, it's a good place to see the raw bits that I summarized in the review.
Looking forward to seeing more from you, JPV!
@Ubersoft: I agree with Patrick that it's an awesome and powerful tool for seeing when there's some cruft. Obviously I don't do everything it wants me to--it literally flags several of my characters names as adverbs. It's an automated editor, which means that on a certain level it will fail. But it sucks far, far less than any of the others I've seen.
@Patrick Rochefort: Like I said, while it's always great to hear that people are enjoying your writing, it's far more useful to get constructive criticism. And honestly, if no-one ever left bad reviews, they would all become meaningless--it's part of the system. And yes, I would love it if you would do that-I'll drop you an email as soon as I have a chance!