kais

TCS - Chapter 'Youth' - kais 02/19/18 4569 words (L)

6 posts in this topic

Draft zero. Please abbreviate all proper nouns. All comments much appreciated, especially related to the ending. This is the last character background short, so it would be nice to know if it sets up book one well.

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Hey, I get to be first!
Definitely a draft zero. Nick was pretty inconsistent through this, waffling between super genius and an actual teenager. He's set up much more toward the latter at the beginning, and that made me more suspicious when he became a lot smarter toward the end.

I thought the ending was fine, and sets up book one well. It's more the events leading up to the ending. I made a comment somewhere in there, but there's a lot of re-introducing N (species and planet) that doesn't need to be in there if we've had N's stories before this point.

I really liked W. at the beginning, but she felt almost overdeveloped for this story, like they were going to team up and do a buddy movie before Nick found Y and N.

Still enjoyed it though!


Notes while reading:
pg 1: that second paragraph...Yes, N is very excited, but it's like listening to a squirrel on speed.

pg 2: “I was just thinking about biology.”
--lol. I don't know if it's sadder that he admitted this, or that he's actually thinking about biology.

pg 4: "W giggled, but the humor didn’t reach her eyes. "
--this is a strange reaction.

pg 5: "Tramp transport? Did you put in for that?”
--This is separated by the question by about two pages, and I forgot that's what W was called for.

pg 5: W is really pushy. What's her deal?

pg 9: "Had to be a N. then"
--Nick knows a lot about them. In fact everyone seems to know a lot about the N even though no one ever sees them. I wouldn't think Nick could figure out her species just from first sight. All the other description comes across as an infodump.

pg 10: "It was the plot of at least four B movies back on Earth."
--why doesn't anyone care so much about the N? They just sit on their planet and don't do anything.

pg 10: N's intro to Nick is probably enough to know about the N species by itself, especially if this will be in the same book as the rest of the stories. And how does Nick know so much about the N, but not that they all use the species name?

pg 13: "Nick has to suppress a laugh, because while N’s face looked like she meant to physically harm someone, the captain’s merely looked amused."
has -> had
also, why is that funny to Nick?

pg 14: "A funny tickle ran down his spine and he scrunched his shoulders."
--I don't get the significance of this. N has to be touching for telepathy to work, right?

pg 15: "Earth’s valedictorian for 2059"
--that was not what I gathered the first time around...might want to mention that earlier.

pg 16: “Do you have to talk so much?” 
--that's rich, coming from Nick.

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Great effort for a first pass. There are things I liked in here, despite being someone who doesn't read much young adult whimsical space opera (that's how it came across to me, so congratulations if that's what you're going for).

Here's my moment by moment experience:

P1

  • Terran reminds me of Star Craft
  • 'Journey' ? What's that? A ship?
  • Wow, the year 2020 sounds unrealistically soon for that to have happened
  • 'Youth Journey' - I cringe slightly...it's wearing it's genre on its sleeve in a way I find a little twee

P2

  • Description of Minoran sounds like the author is figuring it out for him/herself. 
  • I like the bit when he reads the bio-film job post...gives me a sense of adventure and possibility... I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.
  • Minoran sounds extremely human, reminds me of a grizzled american detective 
  • Watchara is a cool name... and adds a touch of realism / otherworldliness to this futuristic setting

P3

  • Mmm...hoping for a medical assignment is she? Tthe female medical officer feels cliche to me, like the female white mage
  • Her skin was a warm, tawny brown and she had soft features and wide eyes. Definitely pretty. He'd never tell her that.   I like this. Tight third person putting us in the mind of the protagonist. 
  • Taste for live insects - I like it. Different. Otherworldly. Adds immersion and realism. 

P4

  • She grabs him by the shoulder...that's a bit familiar isn't it? They only just met
  • Biped bathroom - I I like it. Adds a touch of realism and therefore makes me a little more immersed in the story.

P5

  • So the Minoran have multiple languages... this underlines the weirdness of that Minoran speaking in a very human way... not just human, but like a lot of American male characters in their late forties I've seen countless times on TV
  • Anatomically compatible... I like this bit, and his reaction to her
  • Enthusiasm sliders... interesting. 

P6

  • 'I just want to be in space, you know?'  I like this. I understand it. Feels realistic and holds within it the desire for adventure and exploration which is a massively deep part of what it means to be a human, and does it in an economical, realistic way which makes me like him more. Feels honest and sincere. Lacking any pretentiousness and gets to the heart of it. 
  • 'All within the bounds of the law though, of course.' Is he actually law-abidding? (In which case I like him less)..or is he covering up, in a whimsical, self-aware manner, for being someone liable to break the law (in which case I like him more).

P7

  • Learning and figuring out adulthood.. Feels on the nose and unrealistic 
  • There is a perfect lack...or amount of speaker markers on this page ('said Nicholas') which makes the dialogue flow nicely
  •  Corieus' capital... ah.. so they're not on a ship like 

P8

  • Last paragraph feels a little clunky / strange to me...It was more like when his parents argued about some trivial matter, like his father’s inability to see the crumbs he’d left on the countertop

P9

  • Mostly decent, quite engaging writing.. only thing that sticks out is 'crusty space captains' as a cliche
  • Description of the Neek is good. Different and specific. Bit weird that she has strawberry blonde hair, but I don't mind as long as it's different and specifically described.
  • 'cause' at the end of -9 is over slangish for me. Would maybe feel ok if this was first person.  

P10

  • Their planet was really important to the Systems, regardless, since....etc    I'm glad there wasn't further explanation here. Just a single sentence. Feels realistic for character's thought process...doesn't overload reader with unneeded exposition
  • Neek talks more like an alien, less human - I like it.
  • Plot of four B-movies... Hm... self awareness is good but this breaks immersion for me. 
  • Neek's dialogue on last paragraph sounds different to her other lines.... now she sounds more familiar and human. I like this less.

P11

  • We're not a comedy show.    Are you sure? Is this trying to be a comedy? As I'm reading it, I'm trying to figure out the tone...what it's trying to be. 
  • “You… you do have a name though, right?”   - Hm - hasn't she already explained this to me? 

P12

  • Youth Journey  - I just can't get used to this. 

P14

  • Nic's passion for technology is cool. Enjoyed reading this bit
  • A funny tickle ran down his spine and he scrunched his shoulders. “  I like this. Absence of no further explanation makes it intriguing and keeps pace flowing.

P15

  • Hmm... if his passion for techology is like our modern obsession with smart phones, I like it less.
  • This page feels to me that's dominated with a long and redundant paragraph about his thought process, which I already understand. Could be done in a line of dialgoue or a single sentence of thought process / physical description. 

It's a great start, please keep writing!

One thing that felt missing to me was a sense of place. Perhaps a little more description of setting would work. Was a little confused as to exactly where they were. Thought 'Journey' might be a ship initially. More vivid description of the setting could also improve it for me. A single vivid detail might be all it needs to bring it to life in my mind. 

 

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So, eh, all my comments are in LBLs that I emailed back to you, but I think they are fairly similar to Mandamon's and some of Fox's. 

Nick was kind of irritating at the start, and I too wondered what W was off doing once or twice, as she is the more engaging character of the two.

 

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Argh! I am SO BEHIND! Life is just... ugh. I dislike juggling two careers. Anyway, on to addressing comments!

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

but it's like listening to a squirrel on speed.

LOL! I kind of love this.

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

and I forgot that's what W was called for.

Good call. Easy fix.

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

W is really pushy. What's her deal?

Er... she's mad because she's a side character with no actual arc?

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

All the other description comes across as an infodump.

Check. Cutting now

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

why doesn't anyone care so much about the N? They just sit on their planet and don't do anything.

I was working off the idea that they were the butt of jokes. The N planet probably has the strongest economy of anyone, but they just don't do anything except stare all moon-eyed at the sky and wait for A to return. 

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

And how does Nick know so much about the N, but not that they all use the species name?

Good point!

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

also, why is that funny to Nick?

Argh. Because I forgot the back end of the joke.

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

N has to be touching for telepathy to work, right?

Correct. Changing this.

On 2/20/2018 at 8:28 AM, Mandamon said:

might want to mention that earlier.

Good call.

Thank you, as always!

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On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

despite being someone who doesn't read much young adult whimsical space opera

LOL, thanks! This was an interesting place to jump in, because while this is space opera, it's neither YA nor whimsical. This short definitely is though, so at least the tone is correct.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

I cringe slightly...it's wearing it's genre on its sleeve in a way I find a little twee

Fair. It's on the nose on purpose, but is really on the nose if this is the only thing in world you've read.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

hat's a bit familiar isn't it? They only just met

Unsure. They're teens. Is this really out of place? I'll have to mull this.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

but like a lot of American male characters in their late forties I've seen countless times on TV

Good call. I may need to revisit the dialogue here in the next pass. The M's tone wasn't planned in drafting.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

Is he actually law-abidding?

Yes, but it's a book plot thing.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

crusty space captains' as a cliche

Oh Y is alllll trope.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

Neek's dialogue on last paragraph sounds different to her other lines.... now she sounds more familiar and human. I like this less.

Hmm. Okay. Editing.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

Hm - hasn't she already explained this to me? 

Yup. Redundant. Will edit.

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

Could be done in a line of dialgoue or a single sentence of thought process / physical description. 

Will revisit

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

It's a great start, please keep writing!

Thank you!

On 2/21/2018 at 4:57 AM, Majestic Fox said:

One thing that felt missing to me was a sense of place. Perhaps a little more description of setting would work. Was a little confused as to exactly where they were. Thought 'Journey' might be a ship initially. More vivid description of the setting could also improve it for me. A single vivid detail might be all it needs to bring it to life in my mind. 

Sorry about this. This is about a quarter of the way into the fourth book in a series. Definitely lacking larger descriptors. I'll see if I can put in a few more items earlier on.

Thank you so much for the feedback!

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