industrialistDragon

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  1. Tor.com to open for new novella submissions on May 1. https://www.tor.com/2018/04/17/tor-com-publishing-opening-to-novella-submissions-on-may-1/
  2. If she's 13 or 14, you're edging out of the middle grade age bracket and into teen age bracket. About as old as you can go for mg is 12. 13/14 is a ninth grader and a teen. I was picturing her as a 10- or 11-year-old, which is kind of the sweet spot for mg.
  3. No matter how short you make him, he's still going to be at least 130 pounds of shifting, moving, leaking human, and the terrain is still going to be as difficult as you've already described it.
  4. I think at this point it's safe to just assume that So is reading as a believable 17-year-old. So has always been more believable as a 17-year-old than they ever were as a 20-something, even in previous versions, and now that the age is canon, it's even better. Trust that if something's not right it'll get pointed out. end bit-ch2 -- seems a little odd that So is on a road heading to town and then randomly hares off into the jungle .... to get to town. Wouldn't it be easier just to take the road? ch3 - So does a lot of running now. I agree with @Mandamon with regards to this portion. ch4 - Mandamon has also pinged most of the inconsistencies I noticed about ch4 as well. So easily carrying a full grown man makes So seem ...very strong. Like, I could never, even at my most fit, carry 130-pounds-or-more of leaking, slippery, awkwardly-shaped human anywhere, much less in a weird grip, over rough terrain, while holding a conversation, for close to half an hour.
  5. This is much improved! I'm a little sad the genki vibe is almost completely missing, and to me, she's veering close to a sort of generic "spunky kid" archetype, however this version is a big improvement over the previous one! (and I'm still snickering at "cloud layer" ) Much, much more. She has more of a personality and an opinion on the things that go on around her. She's still kind of reacting and commenting more than doing, but it is chapter one, so hopefully that change. Getting close to generic "children must snark" tropes for me, but it's only one chapter, so there's still time. Still reading fairly androgynous to me. I don't think any gender would be put off Much moreso than the previous version!
  6. I had some trouble with this section. I'd forgotten entirely that it had been through here before and was reading it like all of it was new material. In that respect, it unfortunately felt very slow and repetitive to me. I agree with @Asmodemon with regards to ch6 and the timing issues in ch5. I agree with @Mandamon regarding the pacing of ch5 and the driving scene. I found the scenes in the car very slow and overly specific to the point where I just gave up trying to follow anything. The repetitiveness comes from the feeling like we are being yet again introduced to the town, and to a lesser extent the characters. As I go. I don't think the muscle soreness needs to be capitalized. The acronym gets capitalized because it's an acronym, but when it's spelled out, I think it's just all lower case, since it's not really a formal name of something, it's just a description of symptoms.... So... like... these first four pages really feel like they need to be in chapter 1, and I think it's more tone and focus than plot. There's a sentence about it being snowy in Canada, and it's not bad, but I feel like that was something to include in the introductions and not here when we're trying to get to the meat of the plot? I am also confused by "self-drive cars. " maybe something along the lines of "manual control" would be clearer? non-automatous? I also agree that the driving scenes are confusing and don't feel particularly necessary to the mystery or effective at establishing the character of the town. They also run on for quite a while. I like the phone conversation because that's Mo taking initiative. It's also one of the few things in this chapter that isn't a description of a car ride of one sort or another. I thought a couple chapters back Q turned down a missing person case specifically because he didn't empathize with missing person cases? And now he's saying he takes them because he empathizes? "“How would you know, Dad" I'm confused why this is so cutting? Weren't he and M bantering about "if I was your parent" at a diner scene earlier? Didn't they already take the case, like, twice, a couple chapters ago? I'm really confused. "more in pictures than anything else" wasn't rather a lot of stuff burning or exploding by the end of the last book? Also, didn't the art-guy have a fireplace at the beginning of this one? I've lost all semblance of the ability to keep any of these "x days earlier/later" headings straight. They just fill me with dismay at this point. M feels like a cartoon villain, complete with shadowy overboss, and i'm completely uninterested in him or his actions, nor am I interested in the apparently immanent collapse of the company they work for.
  7. I really enjoyed this chapter! I like how it feels like the story knows where it is going and it feels like it is making progress towards that goal, even this early on in the story. One place I did feel like things got a bit muddy, though, is the scene around the manure pile. Like the others, I found it uncharacteristically ambiguous, and wondered at the purpose of the scene. She then goes on to act alone that night/early morning, so why is L introduced there again? I like him a bit better in this incarnation, at least, and I prefer her tepid and a bit calculated responses to the squicky romance from before. Does it have to be romantic love or coldheartedness though? That distinct either/or? I got the impression that while she does genuinely care for him, she didn't reciprocate his romantic feelings. But because she cares for him, she doesn't want him to be unhappy or sad, so she keeps trying on the romantic feelings to see if they "fit" or "work." It'd certainly be easier if they did, and would avoid a lot of sadness and conflict, and avoiding conflict at all costs is something some people, women particularly, are trained to do. I think that's why I'm more sympathetic to her stringing him along -- I can totally see where she's coming from. Granted, she's being pretty heavy-handed about it, and none of that precludes a certain ruthless desire to maintain a close ally inside a town that is actively hostile towards her, especially when the romantic feelings make said ally more likely to take her side in otherwise risky behavior. Both of these things can be true at the same time. While the scene is confusing, I think calling it a con is making her out to be more sinister and heartless than is actually happening. Again, it is possible to care about someone without wanting to bone them AND still be straight. The mere fact she is wishy-washy about having romantic feelings for a childhood friend does not automatically mean she must be asexual. Are you maybe thinking of the previous version, that had a much more straightforward (if disquieting) romance? I've been working off the assumption that this is a rewrite of that...
  8. Now that the boat ride is gone, I think I'd like a little description of the canoe. Not much of one, this is a much better chapter without the long ride, but a bit of an idea about the boats would probably help. or, maybe that's just because we spent so long defining it before. I like the fruit vendor interaction better than the boat one, but S leaves it abruptly, and the tag-less dialogue at the beginning had me a bit confused. S just gets distracted, starts going on about other vendors when we've seen none, walks away and, while that's probably realistic, it's not particularly good for the narrative, I feel. S so far has been serious and reasonably focused, and this just seems flighty and shallow, out of character. Also S might need a more direct or obvious mis-gendering to run from, because this looks to me like panicking at having a regular conversation and not panicking from gender-related anxiety. While not as bad as last chapter, the logic skips around a bit, and I think that might be due to the edits you've done to streamline things. It's much better this way, don't get me wrong! S is much better 17 than 25 or whatever. Much, much better. But I think it needs a pass to sand down the edges between where cuts were made, to make everything a bit smoother. Interlude is still interlude-y. There're a couple line-level logic inconsistencies, but otherwise it's okay.
  9. Was T a POV character before? It's a bit of WRS that I can't remember, but also I think it's a bit of POV overload, too. We had the overboss lady, the middle-boss lady, and the scientist, right? And T is the... scientist? So, she wasn't a POV last chapter? I'm really confused why we need four (if we're counting the shadowy politics guy?) POVs in the B-plot of this M&Q story. It is still M&Q's story, right? Have you ever thought about doing the story in some kind of omniscient format? It's not done as often nowadays, but having an omniscient narrative would allow all of the various POVs that seem to be happening here... I'm not sure I quite believe the strength of her reaction, or really, the consequences. If the company is okay with same-sex relationships, why would they fire anyone for having a same-sex relationship? If this is the sexually-liberated future, why would anyone's career or standing or research be in jeopardy for having a same-sex relationship? Or maybe I just don't care about T. She seems nice enough, but I'm wondering why I need to be in her head for this, or, conversely, if she's the important one, why I needed all the others last chapter. "This was her problem." -- er, how is evidence of an affair NOT a problem for all the participants, like, minimum? "She had to trust him" -- Well, no, she doesn't. The alternative, an alternative, one of many, would be to go public herself before he could and admit it, and then bring him up on claims of blackmail and coercion. All of the bad-publicity reasoning would work there for him, too (plus blackmail and coercion is, y'know, actually criminally illegal in a way that an affair is not. He even gave her the evidence!). Sure she might have to go through some of the "so you've been publicly shamed" rehab steps, but from her reactions, it seems like marriage counseling and some kind of future PR life coach are small prices to pay for getting out of whatever he has over her. This is so much coercion, extortion... practically duress with the way she keeps talking about suicide... I just don't care enough about T or her circumstances to really believe she'd do all this with one short convo and a sex tape. As is becoming very clear with modern politics, one sex scandal does not automatic career annihilation make. Especially when you add in the extortion surrounding this... Overall, I'm not sold on this chapter. I agree with @Mandamon that the slip and fall was a little too much. I'm also unclear why she thinks going along with her own murder is her only option, and then why she tries to hide what she's doing. From the flip side of things, I don't understand why M, if he clearly knew he had this kind of ironclad hold on someone, didn't A) use it earlier, and B ) use it much more often. He could have just as easily co-opted an IT-guy or one of the androids (since it's demonstrated he has control of them) to do what he had T do (push a button), and now he's down a highly-placed asset. M feels almost like a cartoon villain at this point.
  10. The telling, definitely yes; the lack of personality, definitely yes; the specifics.... "Awesome Crystal Beetle Drill" -- cute, but I don't know any real kids who do this that aren't directly quoting a shonen anime... "How do they reach high shelves?" -- again, a bit twee. Surely she's seen by this point how people cope with being different sizes? ". Mom said we had to ration them," -- how old is this child that she barely understands the need to ration food? Surely a kid who idolized their parent as much as she does will have read up on how to survive a camping trip. I feel like she'd be more likely to be pointing out all the ways the shortcuts experienced adults do differ from best practices she's read about than be amazed they have to take supplies to go camping. "what Mom called " -- hero worship is fine, but apparently her mom is the only one who knows anything? again, this is just feels like an adult assuming this is what kids do. Kids are sponges for cool random factoids. they absorb them from the air, practically, and sometimes they're hardpressed to tell you where they heard it. friends, other adults, some rando on the street, schoolbooks, TV, radio, other family members, everywhere... "and I didn’t want to make a bad impression" -- this section actually works. "approximately as big as a house" -- this feels like an outside observation, if she is an E. If she's an E, wouldn't another E just be... normal? regular? right-sized? Plus, she's already demonstrated with the stairs remark she can't understand how other-sized people work, so why is she making a comparison to something outside her experience? "and fumbled at the knot " why can't she do this? The mom thought she could and was almost perfunctory about telling her to. This fumbling and running feels like generic kid energy, and not like someone who would be very likely to have read about ballooning knots or whatever, if she idolizes mom enough to know the type of balloon mom uses to travel in. "We’re really moving! I’m on an adventure with Mom!" -- this feels way more like the start of the novel than all the build up to this point. "people who didn’t like us" -- this is what you tell, like, a toddler. The simplistic language she uses and accepts as satisfactory explanations from the adults around her is partially what's making her seem generic. Kids pick up on when you're holding back info. I know I sure as heck did. "How much longer? We’ve been rising for hooooours" really? ... Really. "I thought they were part of the basket" -- again, somewhat straining credulity for a decently-aged child with as much hero worship as she has NOT noticing fuel tanks. Kids notice dang near everything. All the things adults notice and don't pay attention to anymore 'cause we've seen them for forever. It's been my experience that what kids lack is not missing that there is a hole, but more the ability to differentiate between a hole that is merely wear to a nonstructural joint no need to notice, and ZOMG A HOLE THAT IS GOING TO TEAR EVERYTHING APART COME LOOK COME LOOK IT'S REALLY COOL ARE WE ALL GOING TO DIE (and also the reverse. Since that hole was unimportant, I just ignored this one too. what's the big difference?) the bathroom bit is also a bit twee, but probably more kid-appropriate. "But it’s so far away" -- again, how does she not know at least the basics of how distance works? and also what @mrwizard70 mentioned about mom being the protagonist. N isn't really doing anything. She's just there being a fangirl and getting in the way. She's barely even reacting to what's going on around her.
  11. Talking about the "cloud layer" is giving me a real minecraft vibe. Is the cloud layer 127 measurement units from the bottom? :3 I would say, honestly, that this feels a little simplistic for a MG child. It's also an awful lot of telling, despite how energetic and enthusiastic the protagonist sounds. It also feels a bit explain-y to me. Like, why is she thinking all this basic stuff to herself? While MG books in general have scaled back vocabulary, sentence structure, and some less complex character motivations, this by no means makes them simplistic stories, or precludes them from having complex plots.This has the makings of a decent kid's adventure, but I think right now you're giving young readers too little credit. Honestly not that much. She's certainly energetic, but she reads like an adult's idea of an archetypal kid, and not a child in her own right. Also, she strikes me as closer to a 7-year-old than a 9-year-old or any older. i would say, it needs to be more hers, and less gee-whiz-golly generic kid. Either way, right now, since the primary thing differentiating her from a boy is the pronouns used in the text. You could trade her out for Ash Ketchum or any other kid-protagonist and not really notice a change. I could, probably, but I read MG and YA for fun pretty regularly. As-is right now and based only on one chapter, I think you'd be pushing it for adult enjoyment. Error: Insufficient data. Never read any Verne, still a noob on your universe. Sorry.
  12. And hey, if it comes to it, you can always use a random generator to give you seed ideas. There're about a million of them out on the Web, and I go through fads with one or the other. Right now, this one is my favorite. It's D&D-themed, ridiculous, and very, very profane, but the more you look at its prompts the better they seem. Otherwise, this one (also D&D) seems decent enough. The things the generators come up with aren't really finished novel or story characters on their own, but generators can give you a bit of a boost if you're drawing a complete blank.
  13. I am! Definitely interested in any kinds of deals I can get, too. In reality though, it's going to be contingent on my finances, which, thanks to the gig economy, are not very stable over time. So I don't know what 2019 will look like for me, yet.
  14. There is, very suddenly, a lot going on in this section! I would really have loved to have all of this information -- the powers, the prince (and why he's "murderous"), the dragons, all of it -- much earlier in the story. Right now, it's interesting, but I feel like I've been cold-cocked with an entirely different story than the one I had been reading up until this submission. I like this story better than the previous one, but I'm still suffering from quite a bit of whiplash. Mostly, I am just left with an incredible number of questions: Why does A suddenly have magic powers? Why does A have to keep her powers secret? If this is such a small town that 2 weird looking guys will be talked about for generations, how are the townsfolk not, like, watching their every move? How can A (or A's parents) not know they were coming to see her? How do these two people know she has powers? Shouldn't a real wall-of-fire be causing real grass fires? Why isn't everything in ashes around her after that display? Where are her parents? Shouldn't they notice giant walls of flames, even if they miss the screaming? Isn't A a minor, or at least, barely and adult? Why is she being kidnapped by people we're supposed to care about? When was she talking to the horse? How can a horse be "too loyal?" Why is a prince of the realm out on his own with only one bodyguard? Why is a prince of the realm called "murderous" by one of his subjects? Why is a price of the realm, who can be identified by his magic, using his magic so flagrantly? Why is a fire-mage igniting grass in a forest without taking any kind of precautions? Shouldn't he know that that's like a massive forest fire risk? How have things gotten so dire that a prince of the realm has to kidnap an innocent girl to talk to a figure from folktales, one they're mostly-certain doesn't exist? Why have things gotten so dire, and yet apparently A has no knowledge of any of it? Wait, they're the enemy? How did no one know this? But then why is the prince "rebellious?" Is this a civil war? What is going on? Why aren't they in disguises? Why, if this is an infiltration, are the two men behaving in a way that is sure to make them noticed? By kidnapping a girl and throwing around magic willy-nilly, they've basically guaranteed the entire town will comes after them, it seems like. Moreover, if their looks are so distinctive, how did no one in the town notice that they resembled the town's enemies? Shouldn't that make the town suspicious? Even without imaging media, descriptions get around, and I'd expect the townsfolk to at least know the general "look" of their enemies, if nothing specific enough to ID the prince as the prince. ... I would have a better grasp of things that are happening right now, if the previous two chapters had worked in some of these concepts straight from the beginning. Some of these questions are answered in the later half of the submission, however I feel like they are mostly just stated as facts and not incorporated into the story. This has the makings of an interesting story, but getting hit with what feels like 3 chapters' worth of plot points in under six pages of text has left me dizzy and out of sorts.
  15. Oh, I really enjoyed this! I feel for W and the way the elders crushed her dreams. The main thing that stuck out to me in this section was the way that the elder's reasoning for why W was fey and untrustworthy confused me. I don't have a problem with them seeing her as dangerous, but I feel like their logic needed to be stated a bit clearer or more plainly for me to understand what was going on. I pieced it together later, but I feel like the scene would have had more impact if I'd been able to follow what they were saying better at the time. Looking forward to reading the next part of this!