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Messages - Dennis Chekalov

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing & Beta Reading
« on: April 19, 2018, 10:37:11 AM »

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 12, 2018, 03:11:13 AM »
We don't use the Oxford comma in Russian.

Using the rhino example:

We invited the rhinoceri, Washington and Lincoln.
In Russian, this would mean that we invited four or more guests (several rhinoceri and two dead presidents).

We invited the rhinoceri Washington and Lincoln.
This would mean that we invited two guests.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newby Needs Help
« on: April 10, 2018, 01:19:23 PM »
Is there a particular plotting method you ascribe to?

I believe that a good story is a good story;
any plotting method is good if it works for you.

What would you charge? MS is approx 88k.

You can see my rates and testimonials here:,191207.0.html

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newby Needs Help
« on: April 10, 2018, 12:41:49 PM »
Dennis, based on the sample work I've had done,  it has been impossible to judge plot or structure assessment based on 1000, 3000, or 5000 words.

Well, a free sample isn't about plot evaluation.
A free sample helps you to decide whether the editor is right for you.

Do you do manuscript assessments?

Yes, I do. What do you need exactly?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newby Needs Help
« on: April 10, 2018, 12:08:25 PM »
It's difficult (both for the editor and me) to evaluate with such a small sampling.

Why? Usually one chapter (~1000 words) is more than enough.
You can ask for a a plot/synopsis critique as well.
Or you can use a milestone payment.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newby Needs Help
« on: April 10, 2018, 11:38:08 AM »
Most editors and paid beta readers offer a free sample edit.
You can send the first 1000 words of your manuscript to several editors
and/or paid beta readers, so you could compare prices and services.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 07, 2018, 04:40:28 AM »
Why do some people who like [something] get so crazy about it?

It's because they are people.
The subject itself doesn't matter.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Questions about creating a fake Russian name
« on: April 05, 2018, 12:58:12 AM »
Here's a list of the real Soviet militaries who were killed in the WWII:
(It's the web-site of Vladimir City, all militaries listed were from this town).

I am now uncertain if this kind of artistic license is also "okay" or prudent.

I'd say, it's absolutely OK.
This genre is called alternative history.
Or maybe you could call this alternative history light.

Moreover, this is quite plausible version (for the alt-history genre).

(1) The Tsar could have a third sister (large families were normal in Russia).
(2) His sister could be opposed to the monarchy.
It's absolutely believable considering the situation in Russia.

Nicholas II was not himself a brutal man, but a gentle family man

Actually, not.
He was a sadist.
Among other things, Nicholas II enjoyed killing cats.

And that's how he dealt with his own people:

I'm Russian; this topic is well researched in Russia.
Yes, there are people who like to think that Nicholas II was kind, but weak person.
However, this legend was convincingly refuted.

I like your character's name.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb help please
« on: March 16, 2018, 09:56:19 PM »
I like the very first variation.

Young Zena Ezrah always dreamed of becoming a space soldier. But, the problem is, she's a slave, she's a woman, and she's gay.

In a Starlight Galaxy, ruled by Linus Saros, the High Priest, women have no rights, and homosexuality is a capital crime.

Zena must [do what?] to [achieve what?], otherwise [something terrible will happen.]

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb critique, please :)
« on: March 14, 2018, 09:17:02 PM »
Using this two paragraph method implies the two females are the romantic leads with one another.

^^ This.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Series relaunch: advice needed!
« on: March 14, 2018, 10:55:16 AM »
a continuous plot without actual 'endings' for the individual books

^^ This. People usually don't like it.

the first ebook unfortunately contains 100K words worth of build-up, the plot doesn't really kick off until the second ebook

^^ And this.

to merge the two first books into a duology and make this duology the entry point to the series

This will not help if you have 100k words of build-up.
80k is an average book today -- the whole story is 80k, and you have 100k of build-up.

I'd say you could re-write it or just drop it for now and write something new (and not-so-large).

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb review
« on: March 14, 2018, 09:56:40 AM »
I liked the very first variation... :(


Life's tough for an Elf girl in Earth's realm.

A jaguar shifter approached me in a dark alley, and told me about an ancient blood-magic statue. The thing is powerful enough to blow holes in reality. Its owner was murdered, the statue disappeared. Only an Elf can track it down, and I'm the only Elf available.

Enter stalker werewolves in a black Mercedes, a powerful mage leaving a calling card on my doorstep, and hordes of demons attacking the Pentagon. And some of them are really rude.

Being rude was a capital crime where I came from.


1) I'd keep the first line from the first blurb.
2) The backstory is too interesting, and it distruct us from the main plot.
3) The shifter's appearence is a good plot hook. It would be good to add that she is she.
4) It's worth to tell us about the statue.
5) I liked the first variaation (stalker werewolves in a black Mercedes, a powerful mage leaving a calling card on my doorstep, and hordes of demons attacking the Pentagon -- it's much better than just "Werewolves, blood-mages, Vampires, and Demons").
6) And I liked the first variation of the closing line. It's personal. It's about your character, her world and her personality.

Just my two cents.
Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Struggling with book title and genre
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:44:25 AM »
The book is to be about collecting animation cels from Japanese shows and films.

The title: Collecting animation cels from Japanese shows and films.
The subtitle: Tips for beginners.
It's long, but it's OK for such a book.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Which SF cover?
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:40:51 AM »
I prefer the second one, but make the title much bigger and your last name smaller.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Testing to see if this cover hits the mark
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:38:07 AM »
Urban Fantasy (a girl and shifters).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Premade covers...
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:35:29 AM »

Writers' Cafe / Re: Premade covers...
« on: March 12, 2018, 01:22:02 AM »
High and heroic fantasy.
They are always impossible to find.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb help please
« on: March 02, 2018, 08:38:57 PM »
Another member here once said that the blurb "lives" between Acts 1 and 2 of the story

Lummox JR.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb help please
« on: March 02, 2018, 04:33:40 PM »
1) Who is the hero? Sam was a mechanical engineer on Mars. Now he is in an android body.

2) What does he want? He wants to save himself and his hew friends.

3) What is the conflict? The corp and the goverment try to kill them.

4) What must the hero do? Escape from Mars.

5) What is at stake? Their lives.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb help please
« on: March 02, 2018, 01:34:39 AM »
Android AIs battle corporate mercenaries across the freezing sands of Mars.

Not sure. On the one hand, it's interesting.
On the other hand, it's a bit too long and a bit too Hollywood-like.

On March 3, 2457 at 1532, Mars local, Sam Macluski died.

Good, but too much information. Maybe you could make this shorter.

Three months later he was revived and found his mind uploaded to an android body

Good, but maybe you could make this shorter.
Three months later he was revived and found his mind uploaded to in an android body.

alongside a sentient Artificial Intelligence.

Is (s)he his sidekick? Another protagonist?
If (s)he is, we want to know more about her.

Sam discovers a conspiracy where corrupt government officials intend to kill him.  Again.

Now you should raise stakes, not start from the beginning.
When MC discovers a conspiracy -- it's a new beginning. We don't need it.
Raise stakes.
Sam died. He became an android. Now the government wants to kill him.
That's it.

To preserve his memories

We don't need it.
We know that bad guys want to kill him. It's all we need to know.

and prevent other innocents from being killed, he must find a way to escape from Mars.

Who are these innocents?
Some civilians? Other androids?

When Sam, and six other androids with no human component, begins the flight to freedom, they discover that Earth Fleet is after them too.

Too complicated.

Sam died. He became an android. Now the government and the almighty E.V. Il. Corp. want to kill him.
To save himself and his new android friends, Sam must escape from Mars.

Now, Earth Fleet wants to capture the androids for their tech while corporate mercs are bent on total destruction.


What neither adversary has considered is the combination of a devious human mind coupled with the massive intellect of a sentient AI.

Make it shorter. Something like this: But a human mind and a sentient AI are a killer team.

Facing corporate espionage, military spies, murderous black ops agents, and marine dropships, can Sam escape Mars?

Choose one tagline, not both.

Just my two cents.
Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Tag line for A King Ensnared
« on: February 26, 2018, 09:47:18 PM »
And what was the former tagline?
Maybe something like this:

Prince. Prisoner. Avenger.
Can he become a king and not become a villain?

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