Beautiful Broken Lies
Chapter 1 - Review
Get ready, because this is a long ass review. It literally took me forever, I’m sorry. But at least it’s very detailed.
- These are just suggestions. Just because I don’t like something/think it needs some work doesn’t mean it’s wrong or you have to change it. It’s your story, feel free to do what you think is right!
- I’m a perfectionist, so some things I say probably won’t even be noticed by other people – they’re just tiny details.
- Apologies in advance if you find any grammar mistakes. I’ve been writing this since yesterday and I’ve read it over a million times, so I might’ve slipped up somewhere.
- The cover is simple yet appealing. The character’s quality could be better though, and shouldn’t she be doing the same animation as in the mirror? Or was that on purpose? It’s still a cute cover nonetheless.
- The title conveys beauty, tenderness and vulnerability. It’s delicate, I like it.
- The description is a little cliché (with the whole “mean girl has a seemingly perfect life until a tragedy happens and everything changes” thing) but there’s still a wide variety of ways to spin it and make it unique by adding your own twists. I’m low-key intrigued.
Plot and storylines
- Once again, the intro makes it sound cliché, but nothing too drastic – I still want to know what happened to Elena.
- I liked the “let me take you back to the beginning.” Now you have my attention.
- I hope you’ll approach the whole “Are you trying to make me fat?” thing later on, how girls are constantly held to certain beauty standards and how this affects the main character(s).
- I noticed a bit of heteronormativity. “All the guys want to date us all the girls want to be us”, the mom and principal having a crush on each other, Elena liking Jake, Cassie flirting with the teacher and Lydia drooling over any single male she sees. I’ll give you a few ideas on how to improve this throughout the review.
- Jake and Elena seem to be heading towards being extremely cliché. I have a few suggestions in case you decide to take this route:
• Make Jake bisexual. Bisexual males are incredibly unrepresented!
• Don’t shove them into a relationship, let them have their own separate character development and become more than the popular mean girl and the captain of the football team stereotypes. Make us fall in love with the characters separately.
• If you do decide to hurry them into a relationship I suggest eventually breaking them up amicably (not cheating), and once they’ve developed individually, get them back together.
• Get rid of gender roles. And this doesn’t apply just to their relationship. Let’s stop the whole “guy takes the first step, pays for everything, gets her gifts, picks her up” stereotype. Give me a girl getting flowers for her man!
- The dialogues seem unrealistic sometimes. They sound too shallow/superficial. I get that’s what you were going for in some occasions, but it doesn’t have to be straight out of a Wattpad Story. Some things they say/do are not portrayed in the same way they would happen in real life. For example: Elena and her mom interacting or Cassie’s first scene. If worded differently they would’ve sounded so much better. Try phrasing things more realistically. Don’t write what you think they’re supposed to talk like, write how real people would! But, overall, I enjoy Lydia and Elena’s conversations.
- I’ve noticed some grammar mistakes, especially missing comas after referring directly to the subject. For example, it should be:
“Let’s go, bitch.”
“About that, Jake…”
“I’ll be there, bitch!”
At first they were small mistakes, but it carried on throughout the Episode and it made the conversations sound less credible, if that makes sense.
- The word slut: I hated Elena calling Cassie a slut because it came across as if she was slut-shaming her rather than just insulting her. If this was the case, I hope this subject (slut-shaming) is also talked about and if not – try using another word, like the typical “bitch”. Slut just doesn’t have as much “passion”, if you will (lmao). But this is something extremely small and irrelevant. I just think this sounds better:
“What should I do to this bitch?”
“When it comes to that bitch/cunt…”
“Because she’s an asshole/a bitch/cunt"
Also, in order not to repeat the word bitch so much in the banter between Lydia and Elena maybe try using hoe as well (or other synonyms)? (I can’t believe this is a “tip” I hate myself lmao)
- I hope we get a reason behind the characters’ actions! Elena and Lydia are the popular girls. How and why did that happen? What’s the deal with Cassie? What about Jessica? What’s her life like? I really want to see her getting E & L out of trouble.
- I really like the characters names and last names, I don’t know why; it just doesn’t seem like a combination I’ve seen before.
- Lydia makes me laugh. I really enjoy her character, but sometimes her dialogues make her character seem superficial; she needs a deeper backstory and better lines. The "what are you looking at, bitch? Do you want my fist in your face?” part came out of nowhere and made no sense. I get she was upset, but still, it sounded weird. It should’ve had at least a little bit more build up. We also need to see another side of her, like the stuff with her mom. You should talk about her insecurity as well – I don’t know if it was intentional, but her getting jealous of Cassie the second she showed up displayed her need to be at the top, to have some sort of validation - perhaps the one she didn’t get from her parents?
- Elena’s behaviour should be differently when she’s at home! Her acting the same at school and at home with that “mean girl” attitude seems too one-dimensional. I want to know what Elena’s really like. When she’s alone we should be able to see more of that vulnerable side promised in the cover/title. She’s not at school anymore; she doesn’t have to put up that act in front of everybody. I get that the tragedy hasn’t happened yet, but it shouldn’t have to in order to see her “human” side. Characters are complex; she can be bold and still have feelings. Showing emotion won’t make her any less of a bad bitch or a mean girl.
- Loving the friendship between Lydia and Elena! They’re an amazing duo. What about Jessica though? Let’s get to know her more.
- It’s probably just me (I can see the gay in everything lmao) but Cassie gives me major lesbian vibes. I would LOVE if she ended up discovering herself throughout the story and dating a member of the cheerleading squad.
- “They’ll ruin your life” What did the girl mean when she said that to Cassie? What have they [E & L] done to other people? Are they just bullies? Were they [the “victims”] innocent?
- “Cassie, watch and learn.” I LOVED that. Lydia and Cassie HAVE to become frenemies! But not out of the blue – gradually, giving Cassie a chance for character development. This dynamic could be very interesting and entertaining if approached correctly. Maybe Cassie eventually starts dating Jessica and then they have no choice but to be amicable to each other.
- Carter – we know basically nothing about him yet I already like him. I hope we see more of him.
- I’ve noticed the characters are standing far left or far right when they should be in the center. You usually do this to make room for a third character that’ll soon be on screen. I suggest using zoom in conversations to fix this issue and using the over the shoulder template, which makes it look much more professional.
- Nice establishing shot at the school. Those background characters, though. Oh my God, that looks like so much work. I hope that was a template, for you guys’ sake.
- When they walk towards someone, they end up way too close to the character, covering them a bit. And it gets more noticeable when they’re doing an animation. For example, when the principal calls her mom Elena’s all up in his face. And sometimes the characters are too far away with a huge gap between them, for example, Elena and her brother. Try to fix this in the future.
- The way Elena got up from the bed was a little weird. Try using the stand_up animation.
- When Elena’s punching Cassie, Lydia is just standing there in the middle when she should’ve moved. Also, I’m not an expert at directing but I think it’d have looked better if that moment was zoomed in.
- I saw some small mistakes when it comes to the layers as well; one character that should be behind/in front of another character. This is noticeable when, because of an animation, the character’s shoulders touch. But it’s nothing major.
- You should use the speech bubble instead of the narrator one when a character is off-screen.
- Zooming out needs some work. Experiment with the focus tool in the director helper!
- I liked the texts between E & L.
- Sometimes, characters keep doing a talking animation after the speech bubble is gone/start doing it before the speech bubble appears and it look a bit odd.
- In a few scenes, when a character finishes performing an animation and another one starts talking, they’re just left in that pose and it feels like something is missing. I suggest adding some animations here and there of how characters react or what they’re doing when someone is telling them something. (This isn’t in every scene though, I’ve seen that when it comes to others, you do add animations to the other characters)
- The splash at the end should’ve maintained the aspect ratio when being resized.
Here’s what I mean by this:
• Let’s say I have to resize this picture:
• Here’s how it looks like if I don’t maintain the aspect ratio:
• And this is how it looks like if I do maintain it:
• See the difference? You don’t need any complicated editing software to resize an image correctly – there’s a bunch of pages online that allow you to do it, Or you can always ask anyone in the forums (including me) to do it for you!
- Why give the reader the choice to do homework or prepare for the party if she’s going to end up doing the exact same thing anyway? Here’s a little draft of what I would’ve done:
• Do homework: she’s only doing it because she knows her mom is still home and she might come to check in on her. She carefully waits until she leaves and then texts Lydia to pick her up. Everything goes smoothly.
• Prepare for the party: Her mom starts work later than usual that day so she catches her getting ready and now Elena has to find a way to get her mother off her back! She’s probably gonna be late to the party and texts Lydia, who ends up not picking her up after all.
- That way, even if the choice doesn’t affect the story in the long run (or even throughout the Episode), it makes the reader feel like it does matter. (You’ve made it clear that other choices do matter, though, so it’s not a big problem, but it’s a little annoying to give someone a choice that isn’t a choice at all).
I think that the weakest part is the dialogue, it definitely needs some work. As for the directing - it needs some improvements too but it’s your first story so, apart from the points I’ve mentioned, it’s nothing to be worried about; you’ll get the hang of it soon. Work on this two things and you already have a good, solid story.
However, in case you want me to give you some tips about how you can make it even better:
- The plot, it’s not the most original thing I’ve ever seen but with some fresh, unseen subplots and unexpected twists it looks promising.
- Your story has potential, just don’t be afraid to try new things! Don’t stick to the “safe” option, give us something more original (This is about the highschool teenage drama which we’ve all seen before)
- Additionally, if you want, you can use any of the ideas I gave you to create some subplots. You have room to touch on a bunch of interesting topics!
Will I continue reading? Probably, yes. I want to know what the tragedy was, and for you to show us more of the mysterious side of the story. (Also I want to see if you take any of my tips lmao)
Chapters 2, 3 and 4
- I enjoyed the way you presented the clothing/hair/makeup choices within the story. I enjoy when other than the outfit, you also get to choose the hair and lipstick. However, there’s so many hair and lipstick choices that it gets tedious. That wasn’t the case here, since there were only three choices for each one of them. It was simple and smooth.
- I didn’t really like the whole “mean girl all over my crush” cliché. Elena isn’t dating Jake, he isn’t “hers”, she hasn’t even confessed her feelings! And how is Cassie to blame here? Sure, she’s a bitch, but she’s free to talk to/flirt with whoever she wants. That doesn’t make her a slut. I’m really done with the slutshaming. Hope you approach this subject in the nearby future.
- I still have hope for lesbian!Cassie. Maybe her flirting with the teacher/Jake was not just about proving to everyone that she can get anyone she wants because she’s the “queen” but also attempting to prove to herself that she is into guys! This also applies to her kissing that random guy. Her struggle with her sexuality would explain why she’s acting out.
- I really want to see Elena growing as a person, which I’m guessing will happen after the tragedy. She can still be a bitch without being an entitled brat.
- Like I previously mentioned, you really have to work on centering the characters and fixing the way they get up. Try using the template and animation I talked about earlier.
- The characters are really coming across too shallow, especially the thing with the video of Cassie kissing that dude – it was a reach. I get that he’s a “nerd” and all, but it’s not that deep. Hopefully you’ll polish up the characters and their actions so they feel more realistic.
- Props for the directing at the party! That must’ve taken some work. Other than what I’ve pointed out so far, you manage yourselves fine with the directing.
- For a second, I thought Jake and Cassie were going to be a thing. Thank God you didn’t do that, that would’ve been the ultimate cliché and extremely predictable.
- I want to see Jessica and Cassie become an item, even though they haven’t even spoken to each other lmao.
- I love Phoenix already! I can tell he’s gonna be interesting. I don’t want him as a love interest for Elena though. But I imagine you’ll let the readers choose, so it’s fine. Just don’t make him the typical bad boy please, he has so much potential.
- The story had a promising start with chapter 1, but plot-wise, chapter 2 was a bit of a let down.
- I love how you always make sure there’s background characters. That shows dedication.
- I liked the zoom when E, L & J were talking.
- I appreciate that you’re using zooms more often, but you should improve the focus because sometimes the characters’ heads get a little cut off.
- I don’t like how Lydia treated the nerd. It seemed too unrealistic – try rephrasing!
- I understand why Jake is upset, if it was the other way around no one would question it… They slept together and then she just took off, he has a right to be mad.
- I just came up with an idea! In order to add a little bit more suspense, start adding some flashforwards, giving us a glimpse of what happens in the future and keeping the mysterious aspect present.
- Once again, the spot directing needs some work; getting up still looks weird, and after Cassie locked the door she just disappeared instead of walking away. Furthermore, sometimes when they walk to spot it’s way too fast, for example Elena walking towards the window when they were spying on Cassie.
- YES. Finally more Lydia! It was a pleasent surprise. I did not see that one coming with her mom and Cassie’s dad.
- I loved the ending! That’s the kind of thing that gets me hooked on a story. Who was the creep at the house? Does he have something to do with the guy in the alley? The mysterious side of the story is the one I’m personally more interested in.
- I really want to see Elena and Nate as friends!
- “Sit your ass down.”
• I’m in love with this duo as well. Just make Nate a part of the squad already!
- Loved the directing in the scene where Jake and Cassie where in the café!
- Again, choices that aren’t actually choices – I chose “play it cool” but she ended up trying to make him jealous anyway…
These are kinda short and more plot-focused because I already covered most things when reviewing Chapter 1.
End of review
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