Mandamon

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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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762 Wyrn the King

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About Mandamon

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    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Birthday May 26

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    North Carolina
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    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. Well, I have free time while coming back from WorldCon, so you get an early critique! My writeup is below, but specifically to your questions, I had trouble following the clues, and had no idea, really, where the story was going until the end. For a mystery like this, there needs to be a very clear setup at the beginning (a painting is missing; there are three suspect, or something like that), so that the reader knows what puzzle they need to solve. I think this has the core of a good mystery, but the setup is missing much of the information we need to be able to "solve" the mystery along with the detectives. I had no idea there were three suspects until the end, and that would have made things a lot more interesting. There's also a strange tone in this between mystery and 4th wall-breaking comedy, and it doesn't mesh well enough yet. That can be fixed with more editing passes. I also had a big problem with the way the ending was presented, which I detailed at the bottom. Basically, with case notes, we have no emotional investment, so the payoff doesn't work. Definitely potential, just needs some more passes! Pg 1: I'm strugging a bit at the beginning. I'm not sure if this is breaking the fourth wall with the storm, or someone has shown whoever is speaking the storm, or what. Especially for a first paragraph, we need a little smoother introduction. pg 1: "I’ve never seen the fascination with nicknames" --I'm still not sure who's here. There are three people, right? one's the museum director, and another is tall? I think some dialogue tags would help. Also, as a joke, this falls flat because the director explains the joke after the quoted line above. pg 2: "“That … could’ve been wrong a thousand ways.” Arthur sighed." --Who's POV are we in? The art director? Omniscient? pg 2, bottom: Ah, we've finally gotten to the point. I think the reason they're all standing around in the lighting should be right at the beginning. That was the source of a lot of my confusion as to what they were doing. pg 3: "It was a lesser work, but it was the finest." --The finest lesser work? or a lesser work, but the finest of the collection? This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. (edit: clarified in the next paragraph, but could be clearer) pg 3: "Stealing is wrong. Or something." --Is this going for humor again? Because you've just tanked my confidence in the detective, and up until now I thought he was the most experienced one here. pg 4: "It’s a simple matter for an experienced pick-pocket to pinch a pretty pittance..." --This is a big leap in logic. I'm losing confidence in these detectives by the second. pg 4: "“Back to square one.” Arthur sighed." --Ok, I figured out what's bugging me about this. Why is the art director participating in the detectives work? Shouldn't he be showing them the scene of the crime, then getting out of the way so they can work? pg 4: “No janitor, especially one of such a vaunted art museum such as this, would dare forget to clean the glass.” --These detectives are just making wild assumptions now. I have very little confidence they can solve the mystery. It's like they're Sherlock Holmes' inept younger cousins. pg 5: "“This isn’t some complex novel." --I think this is the second swipe at the fourth wall and I am very confused as to the tone of this story. pg 5: "Therefore, the soot must have been placed there.” --again, jumping to conclusions. I don't think Y is a very good investigator. pg 6: "I forgive you, just don’t misspell my name when you pronounce it again.” --The jokes still aren't landing for me, especially the next couple paragraphs after this. pg 8: “Just say who it was.” --Wait--this is the end and it goes to a set of case notes? hmm...the case notes have the same problem as explaining rules to a game. I gloss over it, when this should be the big reveal. By the time I got to who did it, I didn't really care, and was confused by the explanation. This is why Sherlock Holmes has a whole reveal to Watson with questions, and corrects him all the time. If Sherlock just stated how the criminal did things, we'd find it boring.
  2. Well, I just happened to stumble on a panel to submit ideas for Dublin, so I told them our ideas and they wrote them down. Still not guaranteed we'll get in, but hopefully it will help.
  3. @shatteredsmooth if you do want to go, we have some resources to help you plan. for @kais, @Robinski, and @Silk, I've been talking with the other WX alumni here at WorldCon and there's some others who do in-person critiques. One of them was interested in a panel as well. I told him to submit to the form online, and maybe we can set up sister panels with critiquing online vs. in person.
  4. The booth is mainly to raise awareness that the WorldCon is in Ireland. I don't think they're doing any panel planning yet. Sounds good about the one-line bio. Can you do a DM with those of us who are participating so we can send you the bios with more personal information? Also the DM will send me an email so I know when people reply if I'm running around (since yes, I'm across the US from home at the moment).
  5. Sorry for being out of the loop! I (gasp) forgot to check the site for a couple days since there were no submissions. I just talked to the Dublin organizers table but they just directed me back to the site, so not much help there. I love the description you put together, and think that really covers everything. Honestly, at this point, I think they're just looking for ideas, so we should be way ahead of the game with such a thorough description. Has everyone submitted their name to be a panelist yet? If so, I'd just note on the full writeup who we all are and say we've all submitted to be on the program (rather than doing bios). They can cross reference our names. Whoever submits would need to use the names we submitted under, so that's probably a better subject for a DM. I'll keep checking while I'm here and see if I can find anyone who will be an organizer for next year.
  6. Thanks for the tip, @kais! Just filled mine out. Now to go catch a plane!
  7. I'll try to keep up with this as I can (since I'm leaving for California tomorrow), but @Silk has some good points. Plus, I'm going to be on some panels at WorldCon 2018, which hopefully should grease the wheels for me being on panels next year. They'll have a table for Dublin at this WorldCon, so I'll make sure to drop by, and see if I can talk to them about our group and what we'd like to do.
  8. Hope things are going better for you! A quick read, and sheds some light on things. First, though, where is C? I thought she was with J? Second, P is making a lot of unsubstantiated claims. I feel like he's using some gullibility power on J, because his claims don't make a lot of sense and he's obviously creepy. Maybe some more reaction from J, or at least mental questioning? Notes while reading. pg 93: "You came seeking aid for your family," --I see a nice connection here with the beginning of the story. pg 93: "Her race have followed a different path," --Have-> has, and also I'd maybe steer away from discussions of race. Maybe substitute "people?" pg 94: "The wild and dangerous creatures" --I'm not quite getting how the creatures are a danger to W. The adepts would have to invade, and bring bones of the creatures with them. And as far as I remember, there was no threat of invasion. pg 95: "C’s power is difficult to master, but having tasted it once I believe that you will have much more success a second time." --But it's not C's power, is it? It's the power of animals that happen to also be found in the place where C was born.
  9. This is definitely shaping up, and I'm really starting to enjoy the story. Looking forward to more! I like the inclusion of Bacon. they help to drop plot-specific information without things feeling info-dumpy. There are still lots of typos, and I know this is the rough draft, but sometimes there were enough to make comprehension hard in sections. Notes while reading: pg 59: I read the first few paragraphs thinking "Al" was "AI" and was very confused when the "AI" said they couldn't fly the ship. Hopefully not a problem if I had read the previous changes. pg 59: "black energy-absorbing vest" --Like laser weapon proof? Or just very black? pg 61: "The void that forms to my left indicates someone died, bleeds into the gloom and makes it a little heavy" --This sentence is awkward. pg 62: Good tension on the fight with the cockroach thing. Reminds me of Men in Black... pg 64: hm...so more tension in this section, but ultimately, it's still just D. walking (through dangerous terrain), pausing because the fuel is not available, then walking back. Does this serve a plot or worldbuilding point? We know already that Oomph-users are persecuted. (EDIT: I see above you say it sets something up. Noted.) pg 65: "Fake breast saving my head from slamming into his bony sternum" --Ah, I didn't catch before that Z was going full drag queen, just that he liked wearing dresses, etc. Maybe some more description about the characters would help? pg 70: "The closer to the city we get, the heavier the traffic in the sky lane." --I'd like some more description in here, too. How close are they to the ground? What is the planet like? How many ships are there? etc... pg 72: "one of them is wearing a patched up yellow coat." --ok, so I'm hoping this connects back to D's outing earlier. pg 73: "Usually, I prefer to appear wholly in between genders..." --This is a cool paragraph, especially for someone like me who doesn't have as much experience with this. I like the description of how gender is hidden. This also starts to get into D's head, which has been lacking sometimes. pg 74: "The medbot has done all it can" --Is there more interaction with Bacon and the medbot in this version? (Now I'm wondering about AI's interactions when humans aren't around) pg 76: "Maybe if we make it to wildspace, I won’t take suppressant." --Good last line, and I'm glad to see D experience the difference between being suppressed and not.
  10. Your very liminal messaging at the end there convinced me... Yesssss....
  11. I think there's still a bit of confusion going into this from last time, so it took me a few pages to catch back up. There's still very little information on what happened, so I'm having trouble drawing conclusions. The part in the cellar felt slow to me, mostly because I've never been on board with J+C. I need some more emotion here to make it work. After that, it picked up a bit, and the ending is surprising, but not yet inevitable. I think with some more work on the beginning, it could be very good. Notes while reading: pg 79: "I… was caught in library" --still don't know if J remembers what happened. Also, missing a word. Also also, isn't anyone chasing him? pg 79: "This place at high doh " --?? pg 80: "But what if I had another attack?" --so he does remember? I need some emotional context to know what he feels about it past just "What if I killed someone." Was there any physical change? Does he feel different at all? Was he in control at all? pg 80: "Perhaps the incident would be put down to and angry tenant" --didn't they see him? I still don't understand why there isn't a horde of people running after them. pg 80: "our former fellow inmate point." --pointed pg 81: "Heads turned and startled or angry faces tracked us" --didn't anyone try to stop them? pg 81: "heard the contact of metal and pictured the mechanism. I knew what each tiny sound meant." --Eh? Is this a power or J's natural skill? Also, can you pick a lock with a belt buckle? pg 82: "Before my last awareness ran dry" --ah, so it was magic. I'm not fully on board with "awareness" doing this. Maybe a little more explanation? pg 82: "Lying to her " --how much does he remember? pg 83: “Will she do right by us?” --who? D? pg 84: Still not getting the connection between J and C. I think the chemistry's just off to me. pg 85: "Can we just get through this?" --get through what? It feels like they had a big argument and I just missed it. pg 85: "but with nothing better to do I had been mulling on this for long minutes, and had reached a point where I was done with her." --Yet we've been told nothing of this until now. pg 86: "it was a long, long time since my performance" --does this matter? pg 86: "popped it open" --the door, the belt, or his awareness? If the door, how does his awareness help that? --also, I didn't get that this cellar connected to the kitchen. pg 86: "My hump bumped a table" --hip? pg 87: "My awareness fed me nothing" --he still has that on? How long does it last? pg 88: "Awareness would not penetrate this" --why? I still don't have a good grasp on how awareness works. pg 88: "drew on heat" --how many reserves does he have and where did he get them? WRS? pg 88: "P. stood up from the desk" --ok, that's cool. pg 89: "private army of casters?" --Do what now? Did we know this? pg 89: "what human marrow might do" --aha...so now we know. pg 91: So the last line means C has been holding out??
  12. Ah. well then you have succeeded! I just wasn't...expecting that to be the point? I mean who roots for the trolls?
  13. Is the voice consistent? --Yes, reads like an instruction manual. Did it make you laugh? --not...really. Made me a little uncomfortable thinking anyone might try out these tactics (I don't know who would actually do that, but who knows) Where are they typos and missing words? --Noted below What could I do to make it better? --I think more whimsy about hunting trolls would be better and less specific instructions about how to engage trolls. I think what's getting to me is that the "role model" in these instructions (the fairy) is the one with the poor internet etiquette, so it sort of spoils the point of the satire, to me, especially if you are trying to call out poor behavior. In fact, I just realized the trolls are technically not shown doing anything wrong! I think the politics are relatively neutral, though. Notes while reading: pg 1: "addresses (The Snowflake Fairy Guide " --See the Snowflake...missing a word. pg 1: "reveal the beings " --reveal the being's pg 2: I know this is satire, but I'm still a little uncomfortable with instructions to: "Engage in a debate with every one of them. Do not be afraid to escalate the argument by calling them names and using annoying eomjis" (emojis misspelled) and "make similar posts every day, some tame, others more extreme" it just sort of begs for people to be idiots. Same with "attend protests in public while wearing your human disguise. Tweet your plans to attend, and post plenty of image tweets while you are there" "amount" -> "number"
  14. @Robinski great idea! They're probably not soliciting panels yet, since this year's WorldCon hasn't happened yet (and especially including the schedule fiasco that just happened). However, I think this is a great idea--I haven't seen a lot of panels on critique groups, and especially not ones that have been around for 10 years! Definitely need to include some POC on the panel as voices--otherwise it's 3 white people talking about diversity, which can lead to eye-rolls (and worse), but I really like the idea.