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Caleb's story, chapter one



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Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:51 pm
psudiname says...



Caleb yawned. He was getting bored with simulations and games. Putting down his plastic AK47, Caleb walked to the intercom and asked in Russian for his butler to get him a milkshake. Like everything else in his life, his normal snack of rich cheeses and exotic juices was becoming bland and mundane.


You see, Caleb lived in a penthouse on an island off the coast of soviet Russia. He had cooks, servants, and a butler at his command, but ultimately he had to answer to his trainer, Anton. Anton was a harsh man, who was very demanding of Caleb in training, but Caleb liked him nonetheless. He was the only other person on the island besides the servants, and was the head overseer of a very special project. A project to turn Caleb into a super soldier.


In 1987, Caleb lived in Alaska, and neither him nor his parents knew how special he truly was. That was the year the missiles launched, and all hell broke loose. When the Soviet Union and America entered a nuclear war, the whole world held their breath, thinking that the end had come. As a surprise to all, however, it didn't. having hyped the amount of nuclear warheads that they had, both countries built up their defense systems so well that only three warheads struck America, and only four hit the ground of the Soviet Union. The ones that did fall however, hit hard, and with over a million deaths in both countries, the two entered a brutal war on the battleground of Alaska and other bordering lands.


This is where Caleb's story starts. When he was eight, the Russians invaded his town, killing civilians and destroying property. When a team of soldiers entered his house, Caleb killed one with his bare hands, and shot two others before he was subdued. The soviet sergeant, seeing that this boy would make the perfect soldier, contacted chairman Gorbechev and received permission to train Caleb in secret, after assimilating him into communism.

"Caleb! Look sharp!"

"sorry sir," responded Caleb in Russian, standing perfectly strait.

"first a lesson, then we train," declared Anton.
Caleb nodded in accordance.

"who is our savior and protector, our valiant leader and the benefactor of all men?"

"chairman Gorbechev."

"right. Who would threaten our perfect way of life, with their poverty and evil?"

"the capitalists sir, those American scum."


If there was anything Caleb hated most in the world, it was Americans. In fact, he was ashamed of his ethnicity, and often wished he was a Russian like everyone else. Having few memories of the people he grew up with, all he really knew of Americans was what Anton told him, and from what he had heard, they were evil people. While the rich bathed in money, the poor starved and died, and the government did nothing about it. Not only were they oppressing their own people, but they wanted to spread their evil ways across the globe, and take the soviet union, where no one was poor, and everyone was happy. Caleb's main goal was to go to war, and finally get a chance to drive back those horrid capitalists in the glorious name of the motherland. Naturally, Caleb was grateful to have been taken in by such a wonderful country, for as he had been told, his own parents had been about to sell him into slavery.

"you have done exceptionally well my son, and soon, I'm sure they will consider sending you to the front."

"but I'm fourteen, I want to go now. I hit all sixty targets, and broke seven boards with the butt of my gun!"

"trust in the wisdom of the elders young Caleb, they have their reasons for holding you back."

"ok," Caleb said dejectedly.

"on a happier note, because you have done so well, I have granted you a pass to the other island this weekend."

"Yes!" cheered Caleb. His favorite place in the world was that island, and he only got a pass to it if he performed well in training, which he almost always did. Caleb laid back on the sofa and sighed contently. There were many people on that island, a few of whom he was friends with, but only one he thought about constantly.


When he had first gone to the bigger island, he had played with a plethora of kids, and made some friends, but mostly enemies, because of his looks and his accent. Over the years though, Caleb grew to like a girl named Eva, and soon learned that she reciprocated his feelings. Now they anxiously awaited every weekend, looking forward to the time they would spend together.


When the ferry arrived at the island, a bunch of teenagers were already playing capture the flag, and reluctantly agreed to let Caleb play. They resented him partly for being so athletic, but mostly just because he was American. Often, the boys used to make fun of him for it, but Caleb gave a few black eyes, so they stopped. Besides Eva, there were only several who actually liked him, and only one or two who would call him a friend.


"I hate my voice," Caleb complained later.

"but Caleb, I like your accent."

"well I don't. why can't I just be Russian like you."

"Caleb you should be proud of who you are, just because your parents were Americans doesn't make you one. We know you're Russian at heart," consoled Eva, laying her hand on his back gently.

"yeah ok," Caleb said glumly.

"I think I'll feel better once I get the chance to prove myself; once they let me fight in the war," he said, proceeding a period of thoughtful silence.

"you don't need to prove anything to anyone, especially not me. I like you Caleb, so why don't you?" asked Eva

"what? like myself?"

"yeah."

"because every time I look in the mirror I see the enemy. I don't want to ever be like them, but I'll always have to look like them." the anger and resentment of both himself and his enemy was evident in his voice. Eva didn't know how to console him, but wished that she did.

They both sat there for a moment, staring off into the setting sun, with their feet dangling over the edge of an eroded beach. Finally Eva leaned over and kissed him on cheek.

"you'll never be one of them."

---if you liked this, be sure to check out the next chapter, linked here: topic73742.html ---
Last edited by psudiname on Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
if anyone wants a review, post on my profile and I'll get to it in a couple days.
  





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Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:34 am
WaywardBird says...



Ug, I can FEEL the potential in this story, but I'm afraid there are two points that bothered me. 1: I don't think Caleb could have an accent if he couldn't remember his parents, and therefore, what an American accent sounded like. Babies can speak any language in the world, but our vocabulary of sounds decreases dramatically if we can't hear them. 2: It's only Grammar, such as capitalizing and all that, no big-e. But other than that, fantastic! I really can't wait until the next part
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Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:03 am
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psudiname says...



yeah, about the whole accent thing, my thought was that he was eight when they took him, so he still had the accent, but because of stockholm syndrom and assimilation into soviet culture he kind of just forgot about how american culture was. yeah i know its pretty shaky, but if you have any suggestions about like changing the age he was taken or some other convenient plot device i could use, I'd be happy to revise and edit so that it's more realistic. after all, its still in the brainstorming stage.
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Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:18 pm
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TPak says...



Hey Psudiname, T here. So to start off I say I was therally impressed on your history and the background of the story that made it extremely belivable (The third paragraph). You really did some research! Anyways, I had only a few nitpicks.
"sorry sir," responded Caleb in Russian, standing perfectly strait.

Just like the previous reviewer said you need to capitalize the first letter of a sentence even if it's in quotes.
"ok," Caleb said dejectedly.

If you are using the word "ok" you either spell it out, okay or you use the abreiviation OK.

I was a bit confused when you started saying that he answered in Russian when he, thoughot the story, never spoke another langue. I suggest that you say that they taught him to speak Russian after taking him from America so it isn't so choppy and confusing for the reader.

Otherwise, this was a grand story that you used a lot of your brain power to create. I can't wait to read the rest!

Keep writing!
-T
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Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:19 pm
StoryWeaver13 says...



Thanks for reviewing my story! And now, why not return the favor?

Well I thought this was a pretty good beginning. But you have no idea how much the lack of grammar is affecting the impact of this piece. Starts and stops in speech (or lack of) really influence the tone of the speaker. Not to mention, run-on sentences can be pretty tedious. Other than that, I don't have much to complain about. Keep developing your character. I'm interested to see where this goes.
Keep writing,
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Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:30 pm
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HIGHWHITESOCKS says...



Your good friend HIGHWHITESOCKS here, buddy!

Let me tell you right now, I'm speaking to you as a fellow author, with best possible feedback and experience I can give, as in all of my reviews. So please don't be sore if I'm brutally honest! :)

I like the premise. It seems a little used, but you definitely can't tell when reading the story. It manages to pull you in pretty well, but I think if you used a little more description, (the physical qualities of the island, where Caleb lives, Caleb himself and the people around him, a little about the passage of time, etc.) it would be a thousand times more effective.

Caleb seems like an interesting guy, I want to learn more about him. His past is vague enough to make you want to know more, but he as a character seems just a mite too vague. What were his parents like? What was his hometown like? Has he been given a Russian name or kept his American name? What's his favorite method of training? Just think about answering some of these questions maybe. The first chapter of a story is one of the most important, so I'd really like to see what you can do here!

The conversation between Caleb and Eva feels bland in the way it's written. I feel almost like they've had this conversation so many times that it's lost all feeling. Just a tip for the future here, only about 20-30% of your meaning comes out in the words that are spoken. But the majority comes from the tone and other actions of the speaker. Your sentences are all structured very monotonous, and seem almost devoid of emotion (might Caleb get a little more animated when he's talking about his heritage? Angry? Sad? Ashamed? Disgusted?) I realize they probably aren't meant to sound that way, but they do from this author's standpoint, mainly because all you seem to tell is what they say. Talk a little about how they say it. Give Eva some more emotion too, really convince people that she has feelings for him.

Just what the heck is Anton like? If you're going to say he's one of Caleb's most important contacts, he should be explained a little more in-depth. (I do like the questions he asks Caleb though, really drives home his loyalty to Russia. Once again, other description is your friend here! Is Caleb happy to sate his views? Is he groaning that he has to go over this again?)

All and all, you have my attention, which is good. I'm going to read chapter 2 next and see how it compares. I'll like review that one as well. Keep writing! You have a good idea, so don't lose it!

- HIGHWHITESOCKS
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Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:25 pm
Sins says...



Heya! :)

I'm here to review this as requested. Hopefully, I'll be able to get the three reviews all done pretty close(ish) to each other... but we'll see. I shouldn't be too busy these next few days, so hopefully, I'll be able to do so.

The one thing I like the best about this is the idea as a whole. It's certainly very interesting, and could go anywhere. I hope Caleb becomes less bitter towards the Americans as well! Your grammar didn't seem too bad, and with a bit more practice, it could be completely fine. This story definitely does have potential, and all that you need to do now is to really squeeze it out of this story.

The first chapter of a novel is the most important, in my opinion because that's what draws us readers in, making us want to read on. You've done an alright job at this, but I do think you could push it some more. There's the wonder of what will happen Caleb in my mind, which makes me want to read on, but there's not much else. I think there's a few reasons for this, and I'll try and explain them to you the best that I can.

I'll start off with a minor nit-pick actually, before I kick into the deeper stuff. This has already been mentioned, but it's bugging me a little. If Caleb was taken out of America at eight years old, he wouldn't really have an American accent, but a Russian one. My cousin moved to America from Britain when he was nine. He's been there now for about three years, and he has a clear American accent. Caleb is fourteen now, so he would have been in Russia for six years. It's possible that he'd have a bit of an American accent, but the Russian in his accent would certainly overpower it.

To be honest, the him not remembering American life doesn't bother me because the Russians could have easily dug a load of lies and stuff into his brain. You could have him maybe remembering small parts of his old life, almost wondering if maybe the Russians have lied to him, but then shaking the thought out of his head and deciding that he was just being foolish or something. Because he was eight or so years old though, I would expect him to remember some of his old life, even if it extremely vague.

Holding that thought, that's a problem I've found in this. There's an awful lot of details inhere that are vague. You're giving us the outline of a story, but it's lacking a lot of detail. I mean, we don't really know Caleb. Who are his real family? Are they dead? Was he scared of the Russians at first? How did they take him from America? What is Caleb's personality actually like? Also, I'm really unsure of who he lives with... Right now, it kind of feels like we're getting a birds eye view of the story, but not delving in deep. It's a little hard to explain. I hope you kind of get an idea of what I mean. A kind of distant feel, I suppose...

One of the reasons I think that the above is happening is because you have a tendency to tell and not show. You're telling us that Caleb hates Americans, you're telling us that Anton is a harsh man, but we're not seeing it. This is partly giving me the distant feel of the story, I think. To avoid telling, you need to include plenty of descriptions, and most importantly, plenty of details. What you shouldn't do though is just slap down those details, doing so in a fashion that feels like telling. Show us the details, describe them to us.

I'm not making sense, am I? x3 Sorry... I hope you do have an idea of what I mean though. So far, this looks good. With a bit of editing, I think that it could be really great. It has bucket loads of potentail. I'll get to the rest of the chapters as soon as possible!

Keep writing,

xoxo Skins
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Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:15 pm
ArcticMonkey says...



Here to review as requested! Hey 8)

Overall Impression:
You’ve paced this quite well, the beginning is a bit bland, however your ending is quite exciting. The characters are quite consistent and you’ve used some interesting words. I’m going to go into more detail now.

Spoiler! :
Putting down his plastic AK47, Calebhe walked to the intercom and asked in Russian for his butler to get him a milkshake.

He had cooks, servants and a butler at his command, but ultimately he had to answer to his trainer, Anton.

With lists, you don't need a comma before your last word. So basically, the comma isn't needed after servants.
"Caleb, you should be proud of who you are, just because your parents were Americans doesn't make you one.

Rememer the comma after Caleb.
With your dialogue, I think it's been mentioned that you lack capital letters at the beginning of your sentence. You need your capital letters!


Character:
Caleb: Caleb is a unique character. I like how you haven’t fallen into any cliché’s yet, and I hope it stays that way. Everyone is asking why he would still have an accent if he moved when he was eight. I disagree with that because it’s what you learn when you are younger that stays with you more than what you have learnt when you are older. I hope this makes sense. I know this is the first chapter, but I’ve actually found out a lot about Caleb, which I like because some people like to pace it out throughout a story. Remember, it gets exciting when you find out something about a character that you didn’t know before.
Eva: I’d like to know more about Eva. I think that she is a very nice person, but don’t fall into that cliché of a really nice person who helps others and hardly thinks of herself, which I’m sure you won’t. Sorry, I keep going on and on about cliché’s, but I used to use a lot before, so I’m just making sure that nobody does what I did. Haha, make sense? No, that’s okay 8) I don’t really have more to say about Eva, I hope you develop her character more.

Plot (so far): Generally, I was interested with it. I’d definitely carry on reading, it’s a bit hard to judge plot when you are talking about a novel. Like Skins said, the first chapter is the one that should really grab someone in, and unfortunately, even though I’d read it, it didn’t pull me in. It’s probably because of the genre, so I just hope the next chapters will explain more. I’ve never actually been good at finishing stories, but with YWS, I shall make the exception ;)

Wording and Pace:
Pace? Personally, it kind of went a bit slow. I found it weird how you were describing Caleb’s back story, then you went into a conversation between him and Eva, and the layout was a bit weird because of this. I thought you’d just describe Caleb’s back-story, but I understand that not all reader’s would be excited without some dialogue, especially the last line. Wording? Most of the time you’ve used interesting words, remember the thesaurus is your best friend. And make sure you show and don’t tell!

Well, I hope I helped!
~Tamara :) x
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Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:30 am
Wolf says...



Here to review, sorry I'm a bit late!

Like everything else in his life, his normal snack of rich cheeses and exotic juices was becoming bland and mundane.


I'm not sure why, but I feel like this sentence would sound better as 'Much like everything else ...'

You see, Caleb lived in a penthouse on an island off the coast of soviet Russia.


This part seems kind of condescending. I think it's unnecessary, but it's up to you.

Anton was a harsh man, who was very demanding of Caleb in training, but Caleb liked him nonetheless.


I think this part should just be "very demanding of Caleb in training".

having hyped the amount of nuclear warheads that they had, both countries built up their defense systems so well that only three warheads struck America, and only four hit the ground of the Soviet Union.


Just a typo - should be capitalized.

The ones that did fall however, hit hard, and with over a million deaths in both countries, the two entered a brutal war on the battleground of Alaska and other bordering lands.


Reword this first bit: However, the ones that did fall, hit hard.

"sorry sir," responded Caleb in Russian, standing perfectly strait.


Should be capitalized. & 'strait' is a typo; it should be 'straight' ;)

"first a lesson, then we train," declared Anton.
Caleb nodded in accordance.

"who is our savior and protector, our valiant leader and the benefactor of all men?"

"[u]c
hairman Gorbechev."

"right. Who would threaten our perfect way of life, with their poverty and evil?"

"the capitalists sir, those American scum."


In all of the underlined cases, it should be a capital.

In fact, he was ashamed of his ethnicity, and often wished he was a Russian like everyone else.


I think you should change this to "like everyone else he knew", since not everyone in the world is Russian.

"trust in the wisdom of the elders young Caleb, they have their reasons for holding you back."


The comma should be a semi colon.

When the ferry arrived at the island, a bunch of teenagers were already playing capture the flag, and reluctantly agreed to let Caleb play.


You can get rid of the repetition by saying "... and reluctantly agreed to let Caleb join in".

Often, the boys used to make fun of him for it, but Caleb gave a few black eyes, so they stopped.


I think you should reword: The boys used to make fun of him quite often, but stopped once Caleb gave out a few black eyes.

Besides Eva, there were only several who actually liked him, and only one or two who would call him a friend.


This seems rather contradictory - you might consider changing it to 'only a few'.

"well I don't. why can't I just be Russian like you."


Should be a question mark

"you don't need to prove anything to anyone, especially not me. I like you Caleb, so why don't you?" asked Eva


Should be a period after 'Eva'.

____________________________

1. Things I didn't like:
• a lot more telling than showing
• the dialogue needs work
• there is little description so I can't picture it too well in my head as I read

2. Things I did like:
• the plot is interesting
• Caleb is a believable character
• I want to know what happens next

I'll definitely be taking a look at the next chapter! :)
everything i loved
became everything i lost.


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Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:18 am
Rosendorn says...



Hello. Here as requested.

I will be blunt and say I only read the first two paragraphs, plus a sentence. I didn't want the review to be too long.

To start, let's look at your opening paragraph. The only vaguely interesting line mentioned a "plastic AK47", but the rest left me wanting to roll my eyes.

A beginning should provide some sort of hook to a reader. Give them a reason to read the story past the opening line. Your opening line/paragraph doesn't do that. I'd suggest you take a look at this article, which explains more in-depth.

Now, onto your telling. As Skins mentioned, you use a lot of it. Your second paragraph, and getting into your third makes this pretty clear. There is no mystery at all in what we're about to read— which removes the reason to keep reading. By telling us the amount you do, there's no room for subtle backstory. Readers are no longer wondering what's going on, which is often the thing keeping us reading at the start of a story. You also switch person at the start of paragraph 2, which breaks the fourth wall and made me roll my eyes. "You see" preempts a long explanation, which can be viewed as lazy; you're simply telling us everything instead of taking the time and effort involved in crafting scenes that will show this information, and be much more interesting in the process.

As for what you are telling, that is where we start hitting major problems.

First, there is a little problem with your MC. Right off the bat, he comes across as a Marry Sue. Ie- a character who is perfect. You even give him an excuse to be perfect, in the form of training to be a super-soldier. His life being perfect doesn't help, and him being bored with life makes it worse. He comes across as a spoiled teenager who is skating through life. No hardship, nothing to make him sympathetic. Considering most people would love to be in his position, him complaining about it is a great way to alienate the reader.

Speaking of his mentality. He is being trained as the ultimate killing machine. These people react much different to situations than the average. They are trained to not feel emotion at killing, and generally have very good emotional control. They are also very hard, only focusing on the task at hand and usually not having/having suppressed emotions such as caring, love, ect. They've often been through so much hardship they don't express those emotions often. They are also very determined, with a low tolerance for incompetence or anything that would endanger the mission; they would know exactly what it would be to endanger the mission.

This is because the training is very intense and downright brutal. No such thing as having everything available to them— their physical punishment and mental training (from both torture and lessons in strategy) is insanely harsh. Spartans, renowned for their army, would have trainees bathe in blood to remove their squeamish tendencies. They would also be whipped till they dropped or died. And that's just the start. Shaolin monks were another renowned for their fighting skills; they would chop at piles of leaves to deaden the nerves in their hands and get beaten with bamboo canes to increase their pain tolerance. This training would usually start very young, between the ages of six and ten. They also train a very large amount of hours, and the amount of exercises they have to do makes it unlikely he would have "free time." In order to reach peak physical capacity, he would be pushed to his limits and beyond. Constantly.

This leads me into your reliance on Stockholm Syndrome for his current attitude. Considering what is required to make a super soldier, and yes, some sort of brutal training is required, and what is required to put Stockholm Syndrome in place is a lack of abuse from the captors, the likelihood that this will show up is very low. There's also how Stockholm Syndrome only comes up in 27% of captives, which made it unlikely in the first place. Brainwashing/being broken to the point of being mouldable from the training is more likely. Actually, they would probably make his training worse at the beginning just to break him; he would then be rebuilt as the perfect Soviet soldier, and an ultimate killing machine. Nowhere close to the bored-with-life teenager we have now.

Overall, this was too inaccurate for me to get past what I read. I ran this by a friend of mine who is very familiar with the military, and will go into military school soon. She solidified what I already thought about his situation and added a bit.

I'd highly suggest to rewrite this from a believable standpoint. Right now, this is completely unbelievable. And I haven't even read much.

PM me if you have any questions/comments.

~Rosey
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Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:56 pm
koinu160 says...



I do enjoy this story. I especially like the fact that you have given it a slight spin off to the events that took place during the Cold War. It makes a person think, if the events were as followed in real life, what would the world have been like today. This is one of the reasons you hooked me on this story.

I do enjoy Caleb's character but I would have loved to learn more about him in the first few paragraphs when you are describing him. i.e: his persona, his temperment, how he carries himeself, how he feels towars his mentor (emotionally). Things like that.

Make no mistake I did enjoy this. I look forward to reading more of this novel
  





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Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:19 pm
GrenadeCatcher says...



I think this is a good story so far, but why does he have a Russian accent if he's American?
Make sure you capitalize the first word in every sentence! You seem to be forgetting that when you write dialogue. They're sentences too! This is how you should do it:

"Hi! My name is Sally!" she said cheerily.
"Hello. I'm Bob," he said not so cheerily.
"What's wrong?" Sally asked.
"I stubbed my toe," he replied.


See how they're all capitalized. And I'm not sure if you did this or not, but even after you put a ! or ? the next word is LOWER CASE!

Hope I helped a little!
GC
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Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:22 pm
GrenadeCatcher says...



Rosey Unicorn wrote:Hello. Here as requested.

I will be blunt and say I only read the first two paragraphs, plus a sentence. I didn't want the review to be too long.

To start, let's look at your opening paragraph. The only vaguely interesting line mentioned a "plastic AK47", but the rest left me wanting to roll my eyes.



To comment on this, not to be rude, but I feel it gets better later on. There's a little bit of action, romance, and introduction of characters. If you had kept reading, you might have gotten some of this. As me and my friends often say, I'm just sayin! ; )
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Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:19 pm
Tigersprite says...



Tiger finally here to review! Sorry for the wait, but over the next few days I plan to finish your reviews (and maybe review the other chapters, too).

psudiname wrote:Caleb yawned. He was getting bored with simulations and games. Putting down his plastic AK47, Caleb walked to the intercom and asked in Russian for his butler to get him a milkshake. Like everything else in his life, his normal snack of rich cheeses and exotic juices was becoming bland and mundane.


You see, Caleb lived in a penthouse on an island off the coast of soviet Russia. He had cooks, servants, and a butler at his command, but ultimately he had to answer to his trainer, Anton. Anton was a harsh man, who was very demanding of Caleb in training, but Caleb liked him nonetheless. He was the only other person on the island besides the servants, and was the head overseer of a very special project. A project to turn Caleb into a super soldier.


I wanted to draw those particular parts to your attention. You're basically saying: He is training to be a super-soldier, and has a harsh teacher. Only his teacher and a servant exist on the island with him. You then go on to say that he regularly indulges himself on nice foods and it is implied that his butler does pretty much anything for him. This contradicts the 'super-soldier' training. He would be on some sort-of strict diet, and I doubt that he'd be able to play games all day and have a butler who pertained to his every whim (via an intercom, no less). If Anton is harsh, then you should show us this in the limitations he's placed on Caleb, you shouldn't tell us it and expect us to swallow.

And you said that only Anton and the servants were on the island with Caleb? But then you mentioned cooks and a butler. If they are servants, instead of 'He had cooks, servants and a butler' write 'He had many servants, including cooks and a butler.'


In 1987, Caleb lived in Alaska, and neither him he nor his parents knew how special he truly was. That was the year the missiles launched, and all hell broke loose. When the Soviet Union and America entered a nuclear war, the whole world held their breath, thinking that the end had come. As a surprise to all, however, it didn't. Having hyped the amount of nuclear warheads that they had, both countries built up their defense systems so well that only three warheads struck America, and only four hit the ground of the Soviet Union. The ones that did fall however, hit hard, and with over a million deaths in both countries, the two entered a brutal war on the battleground of Alaska and other bordering lands.


This is That was where Caleb's story starts started. When he was eight, the Russians invaded his town, killing civilians and destroying property. When a team of soldiers entered his house, Caleb killed one with his bare hands, and shot two others before he was subdued And he got the gun from.... The Soviet sergeant, seeing that this boy would make the perfect soldier, contacted chairman Gorbechev and received permission to train Caleb in secret, after assimilating him into communism.


Eight. Really? An eight year-old was able to subdue and kill with his bare hands a trained, armed, murderous soldier? That is completely unrealistic. And as a result of this, the sergeant decided not to kill him? He ignored his bloodlust, forgot to avenge his comrades, and recruited the boy? And why did a team of soldiers enter Caleb's house? If they town was being attacked, are you telling me the whole team went house-to-house together, without ever breaking up into pairs to just wreak havoc in the town? Really?

"Caleb! Look sharp!"

"Sorry sir," responded Caleb in Russian, standing perfectly strait straight.

"First a lesson, then we train," declared Anton.

Caleb nodded in accordance.

"Who is our savior and protector, our valiant leader and the benefactor of all men?"

"Chairman Gorbechev."

"Right. Who would threaten our perfect way of life, with their poverty and evil?"

"The capitalists sir, those American scum."


If there was anything Caleb hated most in the world, it was Americans. In fact, he was ashamed of his ethnicity, and often wished he was a Russian like everyone else. Having few memories of the people he grew up with, all he really knew of Americans was what Anton told him, and from what he had heard, they were evil people. While the rich bathed in money, the poor starved and died, and the government did nothing about it. Not only were they oppressing their own people, but they wanted to spread their evil ways across the globe, and take the Soviet union, where no-one was poor, and everyone was happy. Caleb's main goal was to go to war, and finally get a chance to drive back those horrid capitalists in the glorious name of the motherland. Naturally, Caleb was grateful to have been taken in by such a wonderful country, for as he had been told, his own parents had been about to sell him into slavery.

"You have done exceptionally well my son, and soon, I'm sure they will consider sending you to the front."

"but I'm fourteen, I want to go now. I hit all sixty targets, and broke seven boards with the butt of my gun!"

"Trust in the wisdom of the elders, young Caleb; they have their reasons for holding you back."

"Ok," Caleb said dejectedly.

"On a happier note, because you have done so well, I have granted you a pass to the other island this weekend."

"Yes!" cheered Caleb. His favorite place in the world was that island, and he only got a pass to it if he performed well in training, which he almost always did. Caleb laid back on the sofa and sighed contently. There were many people on that island, a few of whom he was friends with, but only one he thought about constantly.



"Well I don't. Why can't I just be Russian like you."

"Caleb you should be proud of who you are, just because your parents were Americans doesn't make you one. We know you're Russian at heart," consoled Eva, laying her hand on his back gently.

"Yeah ok," Caleb said glumly.

"I think I'll feel better once I get the chance to prove myself; once they let me fight in the war," he said, proceeding a period of thoughtful silence.

"You don't need to prove anything to anyone, especially not me. I like you Caleb, so why don't you?" asked Eva

"What? like myself?"

"Yeah."

"Because every time I look in the mirror I see the enemy. I don't want to ever be like them, but I'll always have to look like them." The anger and resentment of both himself and his enemy was evident in his voice. Eva didn't know how to console him, but wished that she did.

They both sat there for a moment, staring off into the setting sun, with their feet dangling over the edge of an eroded beach. Finally Eva leaned over and kissed him on cheek.

"You'll never be one of them."


...Let's break this down.

Grammar and Spelling

Bad. Very bad. There's barely any capitalization (especially at the beginning of dialogue, a big no-no), commas are not used properly in some places, and in regards to spelling there are some serious mistakes.

Realism and Originality

I'm sorry to say, but I can see very little. An eight year-old being able to kill a trained soldier with his bare hands is unrealistic. His being recruited into the Russian force (or trained by them) because of that is unrealistic. Him forgetting anything about his life seven years prior is unrealistic. If he was being trained as a "super-soldier" by a "harsh" teacher, and yet he was allowed to eat and do whatever he liked and the distraction of other teenagers, that is also unrealistic. Heck, you say he was trained in "secret", and yet everyone on the other island knew him. Yet he had servants, which indicate at least 10-15 people were aware of his existence and training. Were they all sworn to secrecy?

On the other island, do only teenagers live there? Is there no port, no immigration authority the must pass? Or they just ride over on a boat, and the moment they land some kids are playing capture the flag?

And in all honestly, it doesn't feel as if Caleb has been raised in Russia, or trained harshly. He comes across as a whiny, spoilt brat. He has all the mannerisms of an American teenager, even using such words as 'Yeah' and 'Okay' (he says both a number of times. In fact, it doesn't seem like any of characters who have dialogue in this chapter know how to say 'Yes').

Caleb remembers nothing of his past. He speaks Russian, has lives amongst the Russian, is being trained by a Russian; this has gone on for seven years. But he has an accent?

And about originality (and I wouldn't bring this up if the story was realistic, but so far it's not), the super-soldier thing has been vastly overdone. In fact, it's almost become (dare I say it) a cliché. That's just how much it's been over-used. And Russians versus Americans, I think everyone knows that's been overdone. Add that to the lack of realism, and your story seems a little bland.

Info-Dumping

The moment I started the second paragraph, this chapter turned into a giant info-dump. It did. You started talking about Caleb's background, then the Russian-American war, then more background, then s'more, and then there's an info-dump about Eva and the other teens and we finish off with an info-dump of Caleb's angst. It's...tiring.

Show, don't tell. Yes, there are times when telling is necessary. This is not one of them. At all. We still haven't a clue what Caleb is like, we know nothing of his personality (except, of course, that he is whiny and despite thinking he is an awesome soldier, hates himself). You've given us a load of information which is completely unimportant. It won't make us care for your story. It won't build depth. And perhaps worst of all, in writing it you forget to give us a description of anything.

Tenses and Scenes

These are all over the place. All over the place. You start of in simple past tense, then make your way into past perfect, then you turn to present tense, and then it keeps changing from there. And you jump from one scene to another often. When the story starts, he's in his penthouse asking for a milkshake. Then he's talking to Anton (is that a Russian name, by the way? It doesn't sound too much like one, same as Caleb), then there's some correlation as to why he travels to the island then, all of a sudden he's sitting on the edge of a beach (how does one do that, exactly?) with Eva. A lot of jumping, anyhow.

All in All

This needs a lot of work. With the help of this review and the others you've gotten, I'm sure it could be a whole lot better. A whole lot. But KEEP WRITING!

Tiger

P.S. I'll get to the next chapter soon.
"A superman ... is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men. He is not liable for anything he may do."
Nathan Leopold
  








Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
— Francis Bacon