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About industrialistDragon

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  1. The only problem I foresee with that, is that by making D more prominent in the story, it'll just make her eventual fridging more prominent as well. To me, she's more of an abstract concept right now, the compassionate female teacher archetype, and while her death resonates less, the fridging she gets doesn't bother me much: she's barely real to begin with. I feel like her lack of dimension puts more emphasis on R's eventual attempt at self-determination.
  2. First off I want to say this is an improvement on last week's version! However, I agree with @Mandamon and others that there is still very little to connect this chapter to the previous two, and not much to catch or keep a reader's attention. I'm wondering now if maybe the first part, the introductory bit and the bit with the medallion, couldn't be moved to later on, after we're more invested in Paladars in general and L in particular. Right now, at ch3, we've been introduced to P and have connected with him. Switching POVs at this point sets up the expectation that the new POV will provide some kind of added info relating to P and his situation, info that is somehow unavailable by sticking with P alone. L's request to get a sword for P fits this expectation, as does the added info about bandits (that's not to say these parts shouldn't be slimmed down either. A lot of the good bits of story are diluted in a bunch of stuff I'm just not invested in right now. I need more concentrated good story bits ). I know it can be frustrating working so hard just to get the same feedback every time, but you are making progress! Keep at it!
  3. FedEx and UPS are both more expensive than USPS from what I remember of my research, though I *think* UPS offers international tracking. EMS uses one of the others domestically, if I'm recalling correctly, and isn't really saving any money (especially if you don't live near one of their dropoff locations or are shipping lightweight things), but does ship like literally everywhere.
  4. I enjoyed this submission! I feel like it is one of the better ones you've shown us so far. That said, I did feel like the denouement went on a little long and robbed the end of some of its impact. You've got a nice twist that, while telegraphed, was handled pretty well and the main character's realization about it seemed believable. Having only one female in the entire piece, though, does kind of give it away in a nice, big, brightly wrapped package. The evil Colonel is a bit cheesy, especially at the end where he drops his mask of political correctness. He worked better when he was not twirling his villain's mustache at the protagonist. Some parts could probably use some clarification, though which bits in particular are likely up for interpretation. I had no problem with gleaning the meaning of "Approval" from implications in the text, but it took me a while to figure out "morphologies" and that confusion did knock me out of the narrative a bit. The ramp up with the general at the beginning could also probably be more concise, since it more sets the initial tone than has much to do with the overall plot. If this was a longer work, I'd definitely want to see more of D, but since this is short and she's ultimately more plot-important by her absence than her current or past actions, I'm okay with not seeing any direct interaction between the two. "The eerily half-colored face " This is easily my favorite line. It's evocative and does a great job of showing how much the main character identifies with the robot body. Keep up the good work!
  5. It's been my experience that shipping stuff INTO the States is much MUCH easier than shipping stuff OUT of it, unfortunately. I feel awful every time I have to give a shipping quote to someone for some collectible that's like "$5 for collectible + $22 shipping + whatever duties your country will apply AND I can't offer tracking because USPS doesn't do that for international orders (even though they can update OTHERS' tracking just fine, grumble)"
  6. Overall, while this is no longer overtly problematic and it hangs together better, I think the through line is getting muddled in the mix somewhere. I'm also confused by why the element of coercion is necessary for what is otherwise a good, healthy, loving relationship. So, no overt slavery, but the woman is now apparently only with the man because she would have been sold into slavery otherwise? And then somehow she indentured herself to an abusive relative of his? I'm a little unclear about that part. And then T "rescued" her by forcing her into another marriage where he only acquired her for housework? It doesn't take coercion for a beautiful young woman to marry an older man. Desire for stability, security, prestige or status, or yes, even plain old love are all reasons someone would marry someone else twice their age. But all of these reasons are centered on the woman, and in a story this short, I'm not sure they're even necessary for the tale you're trying to tell. Does it truly matter why they're together, or just that they have a long-established partnership? If it's trying to convey something about the woman, it's one of those things that're getting muddled up and lost in the mix. The magic hangs together better and I don't mind the gibberish as much in this version. "She was not too old" Why couldn't she just be a widow? I thought in these sorts of situations that once you were married the first time you were either "damaged goods" and no one would want you or your status as a widow meant you had some degree of autonomy. Unless she really is just chattel, in which case her ownership would revert to either her previous owner (the uncle?) or her birth family, if any male (i'm assuming) relatives could be dug up. "and every day in the garden, at the river, in the market" the way this sentence is set up, it's kinda saying they're, uh, pretty sexually adventurous.... "Certainly, those with reason to be there" So if women can be in the mens' halls "with reason" already why do they both have to cripple themselves to sell the ruse? Are ALL the women allowed in the mens' halls deafened and blinded in order to be there? Wouldn't a scribe or secretary shtick work as well? A large part of the twist in this story seems to be "a woman can have a good idea" and I feel like that's part of the reason why it's falling flat for me. Up until the twist, L doesn't do anything except be ogled and revered by T. She's less a character than an egoboo and a flat thing to bounce dialogue off of. If she's all that T thinks she is, give her some plot beats in addition to the twist. To reiterate, confusing implications aside, this isn't overtly problematic story anymore. It has much more internal logic, and doesn't feel as gimmicky as v1. I think it's still several yards shy of the goalposts, however.
  7. Congrats on taking the plunge for a rewrite! That's not an easy thing to do. However, I agree with @kais and feel like this was more of a lateral shift. I found it very difficult to stay engaged, and did not understand what the beginning of the chapter really had to do with then end of it. My first question here is why are you describing in book 1 something that's going to appear in book 2? We're in book 1: describe the thing to the extent it's needed in book 1 (even if that's just a quick 3-word mention in passing). When it's book 2, then go into the detail necessary for book 2. I guarantee you I will not remember details given in bk1 by the time I get to bk2. I barely remember if I've put on pants in the morning by the time lunch rolls around. It might feel repetitive to you, but putting info in when it's needed is a nice reminder for a reader. Same thing for characters. If they're not needed in bk1, then leave them as unnamed backgrounders. When it's their time to shine, then name them and describe them. Bk2 readers can go back and find those bk1 background easter eggs and be delighted, but bk1 readers don't need the additional info slowing down their introduction to your world. There's a bunch of guidance out there for doing rewrites. From Writing Excuses, there's the MICE idea. Here's s6ep10 that explains what it is: Mice Quotient Podcast (but they've talked a lot about this idea). It might be good to go through chapter-by-chapter and figure out what part of MICE each one is. Once you do that, then anything that's not germane to the MICE story structure becomes something that can be cut from the chapter. If a part is needed elsewhere, it can be added back in where it's needed. Author Holly Lisle has her How to Revise a Novel and One-Pass Manuscript Revision essays (these are also longer classes, but since they're not free I'm not going to link them here). I like Holly's classes because they are very clear and methodical. They come from the position that ANYone can write a good story, even if they're not supposedly the "creative type" or think they "don't know how to write." That said, she doesn't sugar-coat, doesn't try to be funny, and she doesn't pull punches. Even if you end up not following her methods, Holly always poses good questions to ask yourself about your work -- Is it necessary, does it matter, have I followed up on the promises I made? It's good stuff. For a more profane take, author Chuck Wendig has a goodly number of books and essays on the craft of writing and revising. The stuff available for free tends to be more generalist, but it's all solid, amusingly-written advice (for values of "amusing" that use curse words every other word. Just a heads up. I love him, but he's a pottymouth). Here are a few: 25 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT REVISING AND REWRITING HOW TO KARATE YOUR NOVEL AND EDIT THAT [thing] HARD 25 STEPS TO EDIT THE UNMERCIFUL SUCK OUT OF YOUR STORY SOMETIMES STORYTELLING IS JUST RESOURCE MANAGEMENT His blog isn't tagged, unfortunately, but his essay collection ebooks aren't that expensive. Most of all though, don't get discouraged! You're not alone.
  8. It's gonna be a looooong time before I can fill that jar to the point where it will start to help with travel costs... >_>;
  10. Well, I made it through all 3 books I ordered of Cordwainer Smith, and while I thoroughly enjoyed other parts of them all, there's only so many times I can credibly believe the day was saved by the beautiful, pure, innocent girl's beautiful pure innocence inspiring our manly hero to new heights of manliness (and then they fall in love because he's the hero and she's so pure. yeah, right). Man had a formula, is what I'm saying. :/ Out of two large short story collections and one full-length novel, I can maybe count on one hand the stories that deviated from it. I'm glad I read this piece of scifi history, but it's not something I'm going to be adding to my bookshelf, unfortunately. More happily, my copy of "Gates of Tagmeth" by PC Hodgell arrived a couple days ago and I blazed through it joyously. As dark and gothic as this series is, I love the dry humor that sneaks in, and I laughed out loud and a few well-placed lines. Things are finally starting to happen in the series, which gives me hope. The previous two books were a little rough going (though I'd read Hodgell's rough stuff over others' polished pieces any day) and I was considering relegating it to my library-only reading list. I'm so happy I don't have to! As the author has aged, this 8-volume meditation on honor, justice and religion has gotten more and more nuanced, and while I miss the bright action of the first couple books, the story is so much richer now. I have a couple more library books to get through, but then I need to go do that series re-read of this that I've been promising myself.
  11. As I go: Any relation to the Des from the previous one? That name really seems a bit on-the-nose. Ah yes, I see it is. "Sickly girl dying of an unspecified illness who coughs at appropriate moments" is not a great trope... I am very very confused by this talk of magic and focuses on page 3/4. Some of it is I think grammar-related, but not all of it. At this point I stopped taking notes. I made it all the way through, but it was a rough go. If these are short stories and not chapters out of a longer novel, then they need to be mostly self-contained, information-wise. Having callbacks to previous things in-universe is fine (such as the Destiny mention), but each story needs to be able to stand on its own without support. I don't feel like that's possible with this piece here. There are too many core tenants left unexplained and it goes beyond just merely being serial series background surprises. It might seem like it makes sense when the whole universe is inside one's head, but all the reader has is what's contained in the story. If these shorts are intended to be submissions to anthologies at some point, then there's no guarantee more than one will be in a collection, let alone every collection so that readers can accrete background through sequential volumes. There are so many things alluded to and left unexamined or unexplained here that it is very difficult for me to have any kind of sense of what's going on, why it matters, or even who these people are. The writing is, as ever, solid and the action is clearly described, if not logical from where I'm standing. It can be really difficult figuring out on paper the balance between explaining too much and not explaining enough, especially when it makes so much sense in thoughts, and the only real fix is just to keep practicing, so please, keep at it!
  12. It's not great. Sorin might need a line lampshading it. At least, it looked a bit like editing errors to me.
  13. The internet is giving me either something along the lines of a "dugout-style" canoe or a "pirogue" which is apparently a sometimes flat-bottomed, small, lightweight river craft (but is associated with louisiana for people in the know), or a "long-tail boat," which sounds much cooler in thai and appears to be similar to your descriptions (?). I'm not sure a longboat does what you want, either, since it's so easily confused with a Viking longship. (also modern longboat racing is apparently a thing in some places) (video!) Either way, it needs more description. just leaving it at canoe only brings to mind the tiny aluminium things from summer camp, I'm thinking, and that doesn't fit with what this is. River canoe, ferry canoe, wodden-hulled passenger canoe, dugout ferry, ferry pirogue (though honestly, i only know that word from wiki, so it'll need describing at first), ferry raft, dugout raft (i know it's not a raft, but rafts come with connotation of different construction than canoes, so it might help), long-tail ferry/canoe/raft (which is fun and fantasy-seeming but would need describing because i don't think it has that many connotations associated with it)... Be wary of riverboat, because that's got tons of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens Mississippi River associations with it. It wouldn't hurt to add that the captain is directing around obstacles in the river (also a description of the river because i certainly don't think of them as having obstacles that are so hidden and so dangerous to a craft that they need a spotter to call out for them) EDIT: Aha! I knew there was another name: pilot. On boats on the Mississippi, another broad flat river full of dangerous junk, the guy who called out snags, directed and controlled the boat was the pilot, and the dudes who sounded the depths were leadsmen. EDIT2: More links about longboat racing, because it's cool. (also long-tail boat racing which is crazy awesome scary nuts) Also, I dug up this picture of a really long one, just for fun.
  14. Hello! Welcome back! Just a small formatting niggle to start with: please remember to double space your submissions. 1) it's in the guidelines, and 2) for people like me who have trouble reading on the screen double spacing (or even 1.5 spacing!) is massively helpful. Moving on... This is very well done! It moves along briskly and much of the action is clear and entertaining. However... I don't mind things starting in medias res like this, but I felt like I needed a bit more background to really get into the action. I have no clue why R is breaking in, what a Shade is, why he (or his employers) needs it (is he employed or is he doing this on his own?), or even what city or country or kingdom this is. By the end I still don't know anything about any of those things, and have merely been told it's in a politician's keep. Are these city-states? what's the weather like? Why are politicians apparently assumed to have walled keeps with their own security force? Is this in a city? It seems weird for there to be walled and privately-guarded keeps inside a city, but conversely it also seems odd for a thief to be in the country and musing about union (?) guards. I don't need everything in one go, but I need something to hang my hat on in order to get invested. The action is good but the world feels sketchy at best, which leaves the scene feeling untethered to me. Why are the guards wearing veils? This random tidbit seems to pop up too conveniently, and sounds like a pretty egregious violation of the Evil Overlords List. It also seems a little odd that the veil is lined, but that's a really minor quibble. I'm a little skeptical that this guy could manage all those acrobatics and fisticuffs after taking as much damage as he did. It makes his eventual take down seem arbitrary to me. I loved the bit about pole vaulting! And while I totally believe reeds could be used for such a purpose, their use in all the other things has me a bit skeptical. As for the locks, youtube has a bunch of tutorial and explanatory videos. Here's one and a couple of websites I pulled up with a cursory search: The basics are that one piece of a lockpick set is used as a lever to turn the lock while one or more other picks are used to jiggle the lock pins out of their "locked" position.
  15. This is very well done again! Technically it is well put together and the characters are distinct and interesting. However, the first thing I noticed about this piece is the number of times the narrator goes off on a tangent about a bit of information, then sums it up with something along the lines of "but that's not important." So then, I have two things I think of: first is "if it's not important, why is it in here," and the second is "He said it's not important. I need to absolutely remember this for later." Five pages in and I'm getting overwhelmed by the amount of "not important" important things I'm trying to keep track of. I really feel like this piece could use some condensing. Not just cutting irrelevant parts (and it could probably do with a trim), but reworking parts so that the events in them happen faster or are said more succinctly. The details are great, the characters are good, but nothing much is going on and by the end of this segment I'm still waiting for something to really grab me and make me say "No, I won't go to bed yet, I have to finish this story." Right now, my feeling is sort of ho hum. 15 pages and barely even a hint of the meat of the story. It's not quite stagnant, but it's definitely sluggish.