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Robinski - 171226 - TMM Extract and Submission info - 5035 words (L)

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Hey everyone,

This is an isolated scene, and most likely it will mean more to the few who have read the whole story previously, but I also would welcome anyone's comments as to whether it is entertaining.

The scene (which follows the submission info at the front) is designed to give Moth more agency and play a bigger part in the story. For those who don't know, Moth is 14 year-old, and Eight is her android companion.

The info at the front is the material I need to submit to Angry Robot, and I would really appreciate comments from those with submission and publication experience on how this does. It's Draft 1/2, but I don't have much time left to rework it.

Finally, Merry Christmas everyone!! Or happy alternative winter festival, for those who don't do the MC thing.

Best, Robinski

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I took your advice and skipped the first part, went straight to the story. Here's my notes as I read through, and some thoughts at the end.

- The name of the story, specifically the second word of the title, just feels weird. I can't really explain it except to say that I would skip past it in a bookstore. 

- P's dialogue about Complicity reads in a complicated manner. Like a person wouldn't construct their dialogue in that way. That could just be how P- talks though. I wonder too as I read more that sometimes I lose the sense of a character in the dialogue. Like Quirk sometimes seems too formal - that could just be me. I don't have this problem with M- however.

- There are two odd P- names on the first page that I confused as the same person initially. I would consider changing one of them, only because a casual reader may make the same mistake.

- “Officers are on their way. They need cooperation and a base of operations." maybe? I notice P- speaks like this often, like "I speak to him now.” instead of "I'll speak to him now.” Is that intentional? It stands out.

- Love the sport analogy when P- stands up.

- M-'s dialogue and POV is full of foul language, and I think that works for that character. But as a personal preference, I avoid isolated curse words because they stand out too much, like the use of "rust" in the first two pages. They read like the word has been capitalised and in a bigger font. I don't really know why, but it leaps off the page. It's a personal thing though, so. 

- "She realised she’d started tapping her foot. Unprofessional. Control your emotions, M!" She had just sent a text message where she abbreviated many words like a modern day teenager, so the use of unprofessional here to describe her tapping foot sounds odd.

- Love M-

-There's some odd formatting issues with the text messages later in the piece. Should be easy to fix but it was confusing.

- The thoughts in parenthesis seem strange, not consistent with other ways to denote thoughts. 

- What is M- doing when she get's into P-'s office? The manner in which she rattles off what she see's doesn't seem purposeful? Unless I missed something.

- The time! Idiota! Talk me through this, why does she say Idiota instead of Idiot? Are we meant to feel M- is off the wall?

Obviously reading just an extract from something I have not read before is a little strange. I don't quite get why we have the beginning with Q-, but maybe I need to read the whole thing to get it. I also don't quite get what is going on either, though I was happy to run with it.

M- has great potential, and I get a lot of hints at it here, I am sure she's a delight in the full novel. It's a well written piece, though at times I felt there were some unnecessary tangents like M- describing everything she see's (see above). It could just be I needed more than an extract, so take that with a grain of salt.

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Hey, thank you so much for reading, toomsta. I really appreciate you jumping into something like this, and will be fascinated in your reactions to things like character and style when you essentially will be able to totally divorce them from plot and setting.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

The name of the story, specifically the second word of the title, just feels weird. I can't really explain it except to say that I would skip past it in a bookstore.

Interesting. I'm trying to decide what to take from that, as the title seems to achieve attracting attention but then, ultimately, fails.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

Like Quirk sometimes seems too formal

That's just Quirk really, and I'll take it under advisement on the basis that you haven't had the chance to 'read into' him through the story, as it were.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

There are two odd P- names

Fair comment, and I can see how it would be problematic dropping in at this point. They don't spend much time 'on screen' together but again, I'll think on that further.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

I notice P- speaks like this often

It is. It's intended to be pigeon Slavic. Rather mannered, I know, but I was trying to distinguish the voices. I didn't get too many negatives from the full submission.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

Love the sport analogy when P- stands up.

Excellent! You're the first positive for, I think. I figured it would land for some and not others. I reckon it only really works if it's taken way too far :lol: 

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

I avoid isolated curse words because they stand out too much, like the use of "rust" in the first two pages.

I do tend to agree. Because of the nature of M (and I'm so pleased she works for you), I have steadily replaced almost all cuss words that Q uses. I just feel it would be unrealistic to remove them all. This said, they need to work in context of course. Maybe Q's last few will go in the end too.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

so the use of unprofessional here to describe her tapping foot sounds odd

Yeah, take your point. There's a theme in M's internal monologue of her trying to treat her new position as embarking on her first career, so this sort of thought makes more sense when you've read with the first 22 chapters!! :) 

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

The thoughts in parenthesis seem strange, not consistent

Err, that's a note to self. Why put that in text instead of as a tracked comment, all of which I removed for submission, I do not know!!

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

What is M- doing when she get's into P-'s office?

Fair point. I'm hoping to get other critiques from those who have read the whole story, but that doesn't mean it will be any clearer to them! It's one of my main failings to assume that the reader can read my mind, or rather will jump to the same conclusions that I do. Alternatively, it probably just needs a little more explanation at the start of the scene.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

why does she say Idiota instead of Idiot?

Moth is Italian, but how would you know that? :) 

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

Obviously reading just an extract from something I have not read before is a little strange. I don't quite get why we have the beginning with Q-, but maybe I need to read the whole thing to get it. I also don't quite get what is going on either, though I was happy to run with it.

And I appreciate it all the more that you did. Thank you again! I just subbed the whole chapter, but the Q bit is the continuation of the previous scene.

9 hours ago, toomsta said:

M- has great potential, and I get a lot of hints at it here, I am sure she's a delight in the full novel.

@kais, @Mandamon and @industrialistDragon--I think--would willing to vouch for this :lol: 

Thank you so much for reading, toomsta, I really appreciate that. It's so valuable to get a fresh perspective at this point, even if it's hampered by you only getting a snapshot at Chp23 out of 33! Tangents are sort of my Achilles heal, so that's a fair point. Thanks again! :D 

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Just saw you're subbing tomorrow. Hope these comments help!

 

As I go

- I think your one sentence synopsis is too wordy, and that wordiness makes it lack punch. I'm pretty certain if I use the spoiler function the search engine won't pick this up, but I can delete later if you'd like. My edit suggestion is below

Spoiler

Freewheeling detective Quirk prefers an uncomplicated life filled with nice things--nice people, nice suits, nice booze--and definitely does not enjoy the company of fourteen year old orphaned Moth, with whom he must cooperate to stop an android before it kills again, and before Quirk and Moth kill each other.

 

Which is still wordy, but has more flare and more specific stakes.

- don't include what edit it is. 

- 'Mankind' should be 'humankind'. I prefer to believe sexism is dead in 2099

- tense change, paragraph one! 'Was a shill', 'is trying to', etc. Keep it consistent

- Callan's paragraph could be much tighter. It wanders. Suggest:

Spoiler

Miner and terra-former Gregor Callan was left paralysed by an accident on colony G 34A. Andrn’s synaptic mapping software to bring highly profitable quality of life to the world's disabled might be the salvation that he craves, but for now he's merely a lab rat with a temper. When the synaptic mapping software goes awry and damages Callan's brain, he snaps and uses the android he’s inhabiting to escape after killing Andrn’s chief researcher. 

- More tense changes. 'He's going to' needs to just be past tense, like everything else. Keep it all past tense

- wait, missing critical info. Why is Quirk and Moth's survival now tied to the company? Transition missing

- spell out numbers

Overall

I feel like the synopsis misses a lot of the Q and M interaction. It might be nice to call out at least once instance of M's resourcefulness to show the relationship between the two, since that is really the strength of this book. Otherwise, good start!

- on book two, you need more specifics. Face to face with a past he left behind is too vague and doesn't tell me anything. Need more specifics!

- Oooh, the third one gave me chills! I like that one a lot! Good stakes there.

- bio looks just fine

 

To the extract!

- all sports metaphors are lost on me

- I adore Moth's messages. Much laughing

- oxygen isn't a proper noun

- LOL! Love 'shut up mode'

- font change, page 16. But you'll want to standardize all your fonts to TNR, per AR guidelines anyway

- Mary has a pikachu mug? Excellent!

Overall

Ooh, that was delightful! Loved the bits about the parents, which helps show why Moth 'hates' the woman. Good flow, good tension, and of course, love Moth. This was great!

 

Good luck on your sub!

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Hey kais, I really appreciate the comments.

New sentence...

Spoiler

Freewheeling detective Quirk likes the finer things in life—good suits, rich clients, polite companions—fourteen-year-old convent brat Moth is none of the above, but they must work together to catch a murderous android before it destroys Lunaville, and not kill each other in the process.

 

7 hours ago, kais said:

tense change, paragraph one! 'Was a shill', 'is trying to', etc. Keep it consistent

Yeah, should have been 'had been' - thanks.

8 hours ago, kais said:

As I go

I think I've gone through all of these. Most helpful. If tightened up the synopsis, and filled gaps. I'm going to print it, read it, beta it, then edit again :)

8 hours ago, kais said:

I feel like the synopsis misses a lot of the Q and M interaction. It might be nice to call out at least once instance of M's resourcefulness to show the relationship between the two, since that is really the strength of this book.

I've tried to add some references. Still just within the two pages!!

8 hours ago, kais said:

Face to face with a past he left behind is too vague and doesn't tell me anything. Need more specifics!

Got it. I've edited it fairly hard. Hopefully more engaging now.

9 hours ago, kais said:

Oooh, the third one gave me chills! I like that one a lot! Good stakes there.

Excellent!! I actually dialled it up a bit more. I'm going to PM it to you :D

9 hours ago, kais said:

oxygen isn't a proper noun

gotcha

9 hours ago, kais said:

Ooh, that was delightful! Loved the bits about the parents, which helps show why Moth 'hates' the woman. Good flow, good tension, and of course, love Moth. This was great!

Well that's just excellent!! Mission accomplished. It's the biggest addition in any one place, but I have tried to dial up Moth's involvement and agency in key locations, plus putting down some groundwork (hurrah for foreshadowing) for future episodes.

Super-helpful comments. Thank you so much.

:) 

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Bit late--hopefully I can still add some comments before you submit!

Your newest summary in the last post works a lot better. I was going to comment that the original was a little fuzzy, but then read your back and forth with @kais.

I'd also agree you need more of the relationship with M and Q in the synopsis. There's a lot in there that can be cut while still keeping the feeling of the story.

Agree with kais about the book2/3 summaries. I think the third one is very cool. Needs some description of the big bad in the second one, to show what the conflict is.

pg 3, the end of the synopsis: "the might permit" --> "that"

 

As to the actual chapter, I thought it was a good addition, and I love how it ties in with the messages M sent. You might even include the text of one just to confirm to the reader that they're the ones Q gets in the previous scene.  Dunno, might not be necessary.

"shut up mode" is great. M has some great lines here, and hopefully has a larger part in the rest of the story now too!

So did she actually get any information or help in any way here? Seems like she tried to get info to aid Q, and failed. I'd hope she becomes more integral in the full story.

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

hopefully I can still add some comments before you submit!

Always! I was just doing edits from a critique of the 1st 180 pages from Mrs. Robinski. Almost ready to go... except really not ready at all!! :wacko::blink:

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Needs some description of the big bad in the second one, to show what the conflict is.

I've printed all the front end stuff out to do an out-loud reading, and will pick that up.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

So did she actually get any information or help in any way here? Seems like she tried to get info to aid Q, and failed. I'd hope she becomes more integral in the full story.

There's a payoff at the end. I forget now that you guys probably have not read the scene I inserted.

Thank you for those most helpful comments :) 

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Sorry for the late reply, lots of Highly Formal Family Rituals happened the last week-and-change, and I had to spend most of the time that wasn't recovering from pie preparing for Fancy Ritual Dress and Rites. 

 

Kind of late to the party here, so... hope it went well? Good luck? I'm glad Mo is out doing more things in these later chapters.

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Sorry for the late reply, lots of Highly Formal Family Rituals happened the last week-and-change, and I had to spend most of the time that wasn't recovering from pie preparing for Fancy Ritual Dress and Rites. 

Hey, no worries. 'Real life' is about to recommence for me as I go back to work tomorrow after the holidays, ergo, I can relate! ;) 

(...and my daughter got married in May. I did not make any pie this year, I did eat some though...)

Edited by Robinski
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