OK. I had a look at it.
Is this a first or very early draft? Depending on where you are in the editing process you'll need different kinds of advice.
It's pretty decent all in all. There is the solid groundwork for a good story here and you really know how to build up tension. Starting in the middle of chapter 2 you build up a feeling of danger and urgency and even manage to pull of a jump scare of all things in written form. This is really the strongest part of the story.
The most problematic bit that I see here is the pacing of the story. It starts out slowly and then without much build up there is a little exposition explosion regarding the wife of our protagonist. And a little bit later we are already in full escape mode.
While you are killing it with the tension, I think that the story would profit greatly from a slower start that shows us first of all who the protagonist is and who his daughter is and what kind of people they are. You don't have to add a million chapters of backstory but just a bit more context so that the reader gets to know and like the protagonist. Right now I really don't know what kind of guy he is. The same goes for his wife. I understand that her sudden breakdown came out of nowhere for the protagonist but we still need to get to know her as a ‘normal’ person first to also feel surprised and horrified by her sudden violent actions. Seeing how the mother is actually mentally ill it would also be interesting to know what happened after she was institutionalised. Did the protagonist try to keep contact? If not why? If yes what happened between the two? Actually this is a really interesting situation full of possible drama that you can milk to great effect.
Also it is not really clear how much he loves his daughter. Also the relationship to the sister in law is not really clear. He helps her out (which is fair enough) and the daughter seems to love the dogs, but why exactly is he helping her out? He does not seem to be a fan of hers. It's perfectly OK for him not to like her but it needs a bit more context.
Your writing style works well and your descriptions are nice and clear and with a bit of polish you can make it shine. If this is an early draft there is nothing here that can't be easily be improved during editing. If you have been working on these three chapters over and over for a long time it'd be best to just keep writing the story just to clear your head and get some distance between you and the text as obsessive over editing often has the effect of weakening the prose instead of making it better.
Something I really liked is that it is a father who is protecting his daughter as the cliché tends to go towards only mothers caring enough about their children to protect them.
If you keep on working on it I’m sure that you have a really gripping story here, which right now could turn into everything from a thriller to a horror story or something else entirely.
sunjumper 3,490 posts
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