Mandamon

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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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580 Dakhor Monk

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About Mandamon

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    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Birthday May 26

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    Male
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    North Carolina
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    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. Hmm...not completely sure. Thinking about it more, it may be less about the aliens and more that the ending doesn't have a real resolution. Everyone goes off to search for...something, but there's not a clear direction, so it seems like it's going to lead into another section of story. Not sure if that helps anything...
  2. Welcome back to submitting! I think this is some of your better work. It kept me engaged the whole time. There were a few minor plot points that could be clarified, but easily fixed with basic editing. There's also a couple points where it looks like you switched from third to first person. However, I would like a little more to the end. You could make it slightly longer, and give at least some resolution to whether they lived or died, or found their families. You might be able to tie this in with a little more backstory to the MC. You told us he wasn't respected, but never really showed how it happened. I'd also like to learn more of what the aliens were, but I think not describing them at all also works. They rest of the story around the lack of definition just needs to be stronger to make up for it. Notes while reading: pg 1: "I moved a hand to my sweaty brown skin and wiped sweat beading down my forehead." --"sweat" twice. Also, calling out brown skin here reads a little too authorial. pg 2: "Before, me, I just had to worry about getting intentionally shot" --extra word pg 3: “If this is a dream you won’t taste anything,” --ehhh..I'll accept this, but it's a weak argument. pg 4: "Frodo nickname" , "now in command of the platoon" --how did he get the nickname from being in the Forward Operating Base? also, if he's the new guy, how is he in command? pg 4: "not the least of which was his own" --my own? pg 4: "The hot California skin beat down on my already dark skin as I lifted myself out of the Humvee I’d been napping in" --this is a better callout than the first line. there's a reason for it. Also, was there a jump here? When did he start napping? pg 6: "“The commander gave you an order,” Porter broke in after a moment of silence. " --Can't remember which one is Porter. Why does he earn more respect? pg 8: “Team four actual,” I said, as I radioed Porter. “We’re Oscar Mike.” --I'm not sure what this means. How does this connect to what Mejers found? pg 9: "smiling with his mother" --my mother pg 10: "because none of us are think" --missing word pg 12: “But if we’re in danger of being overrun, we need to run about it.” --Repeated "run," also not sure what the last phrase means. pg 14: "firetime" --?? pg 17: "nothing I got from Detroit lasted more than thirty thousand miles,” Wright chimed in. --Lol pg 17: California and Detroit was “hostile" --California and Texas? pg 19: "when you were indecisive and near-useless?” --When was this? It would be good to get a brief flashback on this.
  3. Hmmm...is there a website somewhere that would tell me the rates? Then at least I would know what they are.
  4. The first two paragraph are just description of a robot. I'd rather have action or character definition to draw me into the story. pg 2: "you want to send a ** twelve-year-old into enemy territory? I’m not going to sign off on a ** child soldier!” --you could probably start here with a much bigger impact. pg 8/9: a little too much infodump on the switch in morphology. Maybe cut it down by a paragraph or so. (I didn't have a problem with "morphology" as a concept. Might be from reading more military SciFi? dunno.) I agree with the others that the structure felt a little off. I was ready for it to end around page 18, but then it kept going. I'll also second that putting the development with D should go first, to show that relationship. Right now, the first half of the story is almost only descriptions of violence. I was almost ready to skim when I hit the much more interesting part about R's development as a person. I think if you condensed the beginning a little, and let R and D's relationship show through, this would be a really strong story.
  5. As some others said last week, I'm still not finding a lot of content. I'm waiting on a main plot of some sort, but aside from some bandits and a coming-of-age story for Pet, I'm not sure what it is. Pet displayed some special powers, but after that, the writing hasn't engaged me as much. The main idea I got out of this chapter was that L find out his nephew might be a candidate for a high-profile position. I'm still not sure what the Palidars do, so I can't fully appreciate why that's a good/bad thing. 340k words is really long, and could actually be a trilogy of books in itself. I appreciate you've got a lot of locations you want to establish, but I would ask if, going in cold, the reader is going to care anything about the location if they aren't yet connecting with the character. establishing so much at the beginning just means the reader is going to forget the character/location if it doesn't pop up until 100k words later. Along with @Robinski's suggestion to work with shorter stories, you could also take this whole story and condense it into a 2-page summary. When you have to do that, it's very easy to see what's important to the story and what is excess. Anyway, hope some of this helps. I do want to find out what special powers Pet has! pg 5: "his ankle length vestments jiggled about his body" --I think you need a different word than "jiggled." Springs and jello jiggle. Vestments don't. pg 7: "L reported on the events leading up to the rescue of the brother and sister. " --Might be WRS, but I don't remember this. (edit: this was originally rescuing the girl, right?) pg 7: "downplayed P's involvement and injury" 1) why 2) was this the bit where P rescued the girl? pg 8: “I feel as though they know we’re coming. The traps I set are little more than exhausting camp outs.” --I'm not sure what this is referring to. I'm a little lost at this point. pg 9: "The Sue-Vicar’s lack of reaction" --not really a lack of reaction--he asked a question about it. pg 11: "“A good thought, Pal" --wait, wasn't L silent? how was that a good thought? pg 16: "He’s the best candidate we have to be the next Pal.” --I stil don't really know what a Pal. is pg 17: "I see this news comes as a surprise to you." --Why is this a surprise? I don't know what the position entails, so I don't know to be happy or sad that Pet is tagged to be one.
  6. I read through both of these. I'll respond in the newer thread with my comments.
  7. @Robinski just thought of something that might work--if you want to do a "pledge without a reward" for the amount of whatever level you want, I can make sure you get those rewards, and figure out the shipping separately.
  8. Yeah, USPS was the best choice I found, but still horribly expensive for a 2 lb/1 kg package.
  9. Yep--I knew overseas shipping was going to be an issue at the beginning. I'm going to try my hardest to find some service that's got better prices. If anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears!
  10. I think the others have covered this pretty well, so I'll go over the points that most stood out to me: 1) Length. I also think this needs to be just a little longer, with some more try/fail. The solutions work, but are accepted very easily. Giving up sight/hearing is a big thing, so maybe they could consider less drastic measures first? 2) Sex vs. love: I'd also get rid of the more over sexual references. As I read it, this is about the love of many years between two partners. While that can contain physical sex, I read the theme of this as working with the love of two personalities who've come together. The sex references dilute that theme, I feel. 3) Subordinate woman: This is a lot better than the first one, but as @industrialistDragon says, this is sort of saying "oh hey, a woman can do this!" I think you could get a much better effect focusing on how T and L work as a pair, and will continue to do so, while adjusting their relationship to accommodate the changes that happen as we age.
  11. @Robinski it adds in the shipping automatically, so it will add that extra cost on whatever I do. I think I can finagle things after the kickstarter is over, though (?). I'll have to look into it. Anyway, up to you! I'm also trying to find cheaper shipping options--I had someone from Australia already ask.
  12. Late, but finally getting caught up! I'm not completely sold on the interludes yet. I'd want to see more and how they tie in with the story, however, I do like that that introduce M earlier, because more M is always good! pg 2: “There are lots of bad guys, and kidnapping, and rapes,” --maybe too grown up of a topic? (edit: I see the comment above, but that still seems like something kids might not talk about?) pg 2: "“You alright?” I asked, confused as to how I had hurt her." --seems too grown-up a consideration for a 9yo pg 3: "“Like this.” I finished the knot and stood back to admire my work." --What did it look like? pg 5: "The guildhall has been closed for almost three weeks" --I was under the impression previously that the grandmaster had just died... pg 5: "Demand isn’t what it used to be, for any of the guild wares." --interesting. Why? is there another source, perhaps industrialized? pg 6: "Apparently Mother had never explained my absence when she continued visiting the queen without me." --good to see more of these consequences. pg 6: "the idea of Mother kidnapping the queen. That didn’t make any sense. They were friends. Old friends." --Did this ever get explored? What their relationship is? At the end of the book it seemed more queen and subject than friends. I'll agree with @Robinski (as usual) that the end of the chapter could use a little sprucing. In fact, I think the whole chapter needs a little more wonder. S and M haven't seen each other for years, and they go right into banter pretty quickly. It be nice to have a little "oh what have you been up to?" in the middle. It could also be a good place to set up some of the industrialization problems and what else is going wrong in the kingdom.
  13. I’m back from the WX cruise/WorldCon! It was really great, as usual, and met a lot new writers, many from Europe. I’ll put a blog post up about it in the next week or so. I promise I'll get back to critiquing soon, but I also wanted to let everyone know that the Kickstarter for The Seeds of Dissolution is live! Yaaaay! There are Early Bird levels that have limited backers, but are less expensive. Also, fair warning to overseas folks (ahem @Robinski) that international shipping is pretty nasty, but I’m going to look into some other options. There are also electronic-only rewards available!
  14. I'm still alive, but no time to critique (for now). Had a great Writing Excuses cruise, went to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, and St. Petersburg. Stayed a day in Munich and seeing Neuschwanstein, Hoenschwangau, and Liderhof castles! Here's a picture of Liderhof... WorldCon on Wednesday!