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How Do You Plead: Prologue

by CaptainJack

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.

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154 Reviews

Points: 2390
Reviews: 154

Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:35 pm
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4revgreen wrote a review...

Hi there!

You probably saw that I review a later chapter, and I was really enjoying it so I decided to read the whole thing from the beginning. I'll try keep my reviews short as quite a few people have left reviews before me, obviously, and probably said most of what I'll be thinking as I read it :-)

This was a really interesting interaction. We're straight away introduced to Winslow and assume he's lost someone dear to him. I liked the dynamic between Reginald and Winslow and we can tell they go back a while.

I'm excited to read the rest now :-)

On the second day of September in the year of 1945, Captain Winslow A. Smith of the OSS sat in a small cafe in a mildly damaged portion of Berlin, sipping at a cup of tea while listening to radio reports of surrender.

Whilst I love the image that this opening scene creates, it is quite long for an opening line. Maybe the part about 'sipping at a cup of tea...' could be a separate sentence? That's just my opinion though. :-)

as the commanders feared the Japanese government would make a last suicide attempt against the Allies

I think 'one last suicide attempt' would be more impactful here.

I can go home and be free from this shit hole and from this goddamn war.

I'd stick a dash between 'shit' and 'hole'

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760 Reviews

Points: 31996
Reviews: 760

Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:57 pm
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ExOmelas wrote a review...

Hey, I saw you say something about needing reviews for your latest chapter the other day, so I thought I'd try and catch up :)

Nit-picks (let me know if you don't want these in future):

“Maybe you should lay off the sugar in your tea, Reggie. Even the furniture is starting to notice.”

Winslow looked up at the man in front of him, giving a quick wink before moving focus to the goons that surrounded the agent.

It wasn't enormously clear who said this at first, since I didn't know who Reggie was. I checked the top of the page to make sure what the main character was called, that like it wasn't his middle name or anything. Especially since he'd been the one drinking tea. I got pretty quickly that it was Winslow talking, but it disrupted the flow a bit, so might be worth adding a dialogue tag here, even if it's just putting the first sentence of the next paragraph beside the dialogue.

Reginald waved them out of the room while asking, “Aren’t you at least going to give me a kiss on the cheek, Winslow?”

This seems kind of specific? Idk why but I feel like someone would just say "Aren't you going to give me a kiss?". Also, I'm unsure why Reginald would bring the goons if he was just going to dismiss them as soon as he was asked.

He took a match from the book on the table, lit a cigarette and dropped the piece into a waiting ashtray. Very little hot air was added to the room, but it was quickly filled with smoke from the Camel. To combat him, Winslow took one from his own pack of Chesterfield’s

iiiiit happened again. I thought the "He" from the first sentence was Winslow at first.

While watching the tears run down his friend’s face, Winslow took Reggie’s hand back in his own and tried to comfort him.

I think I'd have liked to get to this point more gradually. They were arguing/flirting a moment ago but now it seems like he's already been crying for a while.


So, I'm unsure about the stakes here. I like their reactions to him not knowing whether to take the job or not, but what I don't really understand is what will be the consequence of either option. The job was stated as "command post". First of all, I don't know what Winslow's current role is. I know he's a captain, but what does that mean in terms of what has been asked of him during the war? And what will a command post entail that is significantly different? My guess is that it will get him out of the field, but if that's the case why is he so opposed to it? It's a least a change from what's gone before, which he clearly doesn't like, so what is it about not being in the army at all that would be so much better than being removed from the front lines?

Secondly, why is Reginald the one telling him this? What is Reginald's position? Also, from the start it seemed like Winslow was irritated by Reginald, until they started flirting, but I was imagining a horrible boss, so readjusting there was a bit confusing.

Basically, the point of these two paragraphs is that I could do with a bit more solid context. Not necessarily historical background (I did high school history, I remember the League of Nations) but setting the situation up as a prologue. Who is Winslow in the context of the army? Who is Reginald? What are they to each other? Obviously it's fine to leave some of these as question marks. Like, I get wanting to be mysterious. But I think this could do with some signalling towards those questions to acknowledge that they're unanswered (in terms of who they are to each other. i like the idea of that not being clear at first).

I think you do physical description well, as I think has been mentioned below. It definitely has a feel for the mid-1940s, in mood as well as appearance. I get a sense of the two characters as distinct, even if their dialogue is fairly similar. I also even if I don't understand the stakes of the job offer, I think your pacing of the offer being made, then when Winslow gives his decision, is about right for a prologue, so structurally this seems solid.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)

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Points: 273
Reviews: 16

Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:40 am
Lionhero333 wrote a review...

Something I think is very important (in any piece of writing really.) But mainly in period works like historical fiction or historical nonfiction is setting the scene well describing those little details like dust in the sunlight or character tapping his or her glass can really go a long way in setting a scene and the mood of the story. From paragraph one you did a wonderful job at doing just that.

I'm really wondering what will happen next, and especially whether Winslow is going to change his decision, and the effects of it as well.

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31 Reviews

Points: 2299
Reviews: 31

Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:44 pm
promptlyby12 wrote a review...

Hello wolf!
One thing you should know about me is that i love stories about the world wars( especially the second one), so as soon as I read the first line i knew Im going to love this. You started by telling your readers what year it is, which is great, but I would recommend maybe not telling your readers that, and giving a description of Winslow's condition, or of the world around him to indirectly tell your readers what year it is, and what's going on. And if the exact date is an important aspect of how the story will progress, you could sneak the date in (maybe adding some dates of events in the war to the file, and progressing from there).
I believe the whole thing is well narrated and is the perfect blend of descriptions, dialogue and prompts(that's the word I use to describe things in a story/poem that make the reader think).
Im really impressed by Winslow's character dovelopment, and you have done a great job constructing this character. Reggie's character is also well constructed.I loved some of his dialogues, like "even the furniture is starting to notice". That was quite unusual but really added a lot to Reggie's character.
I see some contrast in both these characters. They both seem to have suffered equally (we obviously don't know their backstories yet but that's what's been given out at this point) but have very different reactions. However, I think there is much more depth to Winslow's character and back story which led him to this decision, and loss is just something he's giving off.
I'm curious as to where Reggie's character is going to go from here on, and what importance its going to be given. I hope to see him as one of the main characters( i like him!).
I'm really intruiged and and already starting to figure out what's going to happen next, and especially whether Winslow is going to change his decision, and what's going to cause that.
Overall, this is just wonderfull. I loovvveed it! One last thing: could you please notify me when you upload the next part, I would love to read more.
Thanks for uploading. Have a great day/night.

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392 Reviews

Points: 34125
Reviews: 392

Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:15 am
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EditorAndPerks wrote a review...

Hello there C: I figured I would stop by and give you a little feedback on this novel that I've been very excited to get to read!

Since this is a historical fiction story, I like getting some instant background - the year is helpful, the month is interesting, and the setting really helps place this! For the story to start right at the end of World War 2, I'm quite curious as to what kind of role fighting in this war could have on Winslow, and the kind of life he had been living and what kind of life he's now going to live.

As far as going over the characters, Winslow seems like a well-developed figure. He's definitely got some wit to him - ("Even the furniture is starting to notice") that was an unexpected comment, but funny nonetheless. The contrast between Captain Smith and Reginald is quite interesting - Smith does appear to want to follow the rules/laws as close as he can and to simply get out of the war area once the war has finished, and he seems hopeful despite his past losses. Reggie has an understable opinion about their futures as well, but it's hard to dissuade someone from wanting something better than their current circumstances.

Also, I like the underlying themes of like love/loss already in this prologue - from the name "Peter" mentioned one can assume that both of these characters are a little less straight than the typical person in 1945 might claim to be.

The agent reached his hand across the table, carefully stroking Winslow’s fingers, and bringing them up to kiss the tips gently.
This line though, like, hmm, I wonder if Reggie is going to be hanging around for later in the story! I guess I'll have to wait and see.

For a few notes, I would mostly just say to kind of try to pinpoint how you want these characters to be seen/portrayed as - obviously Winslow has some backstory to him, to go from calm to sad to angry-ish then back to sad then determined in barely a few lines. Not to mention I assume Reggie definitely cares a whole lot towards Smith since he shouts in the middle of an otherwise mundane conversation.

This was quite an interesting start to this novel! I'm quite curious to see what will happen next c:

Despite everything, it's still you.
— TobyFox