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Robinski - 180226 - TCC Chapter 1 - 3466 words (LSr)

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So, I swithered for a while about whether to submit this first chapter again, because it's more of a prologue, and you've read it twice before. I submit it then on the basis that some folks might not read it again, and that's totally fine. What I'm hoping is that a new reader or two might pick it up.

Genuine question for those who have been on here submitting and who haven't read my stuff before: is there something that puts you off? The rating? The language? I'm just indulging in some market research :) 

L - for mademoiselle potty-mouth;

Sr - for sexual references, nothing heavy, barely deserves the rating, imo

Any comments welcomed, but I'm interest to know if certain things that snagged before are fixed, or not...

Thanks for considering, <R>

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This is very close! Just a couple comments about the M sections. Q's part is good for me.


Notes While Reading:
I don't know if "6 weeks later" works when starting a book, unless you're a meg-bestseller and this is the continuation of a series. Since there's only one book before this one, we can assume it's later. Does the exact timing matter?
--yep, you mention that it's 6 weeks later on page 4, so I think the title could be used to convey something more intersting about the chapter.

pg 4: "Long story.", "Same long story."
--M isn't telling this to anyone, just thinking about it. What does she care how long it is?

pg 4: "rabbit started tickling her grave with a feather."
--This is a bizarre saying...so much it pulled me out to try to figure out how it was supposed to work. Does it come from somewhere or did you make it up?

pg 5: the explanation for the wolves flows a lot better now.

pg 5: "who they called Eighty—for obvious reasons"
--I don't think "for obvious reasons" is needed

pg 6: Lol--love the math formula comment about M's height. Glad to see those statistics courses coming in handy...

pg 6: One question on the wolves. Were they cyborg, or android? You mention both. If they're android, wouldn't they stay standing, rather than collapsing? The metal (I assume) joints would just lock, rather than fall over. Or maybe some would fall over, and some would stay standing.


pg 10: "regarding its pray"
--prey

pg 11: “And borrowing is the sincerest form of daylight robbery"
--lol

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Overall: It's getting better all the time, but I think some judicious adjective pruning might be in order this time around.  Some of the sentences felt very ... stuffed. I got confused a couple times, trying to keep track of the sentences. Plot-wise, still a little wobbly around the wolves, but the ending of this chapter has always been, and continues to be, great. 

 

As I go: 

I too am thrown off by that "6 weeks later" right as the first thing I'm seeing in a book. It makes me wonder if I've gotten a factory defect and pages have gone missing or have fallen out... Factory errors in books happen more often than you'd think... 

 

"long story" -- who's M talking to? Maybe if the sentiment needed to stay in, then something like "that whole mess was too kittening confusing to even think about" or just... something that's more M talking to herself? "(it's a ) long story" is usually addressed to someone other than the speaker themselves, so it stands out in an internal monologue that's not breaking the narrative fourth wall. 

So she's directing the "long story" comments to god? That really didn't come across until the end. If that's what she's doing, I feel like maybe she should start with something to point it out, so readers know she's in "telling someone else" mode and not just a regular internal monologue.

 

"real wolves do not behave this way" -- thank you for that. :) 

The scene with the robowolves is getting a lot better, however, I think some of the bits describing the 'bots and their movements got cut somewhere along the line. They go from "what are these distant grey shapes" to  "5 robowolves surrounded her" and I don't know what they look like or how they got near enough for her definitively say they're wolves. ... I think I'm just a little confused by the blocking in general with the wolves, but the description and the logic of it go much better. Mo also shows more emotion, which I like.

 

"gnarled apple, black tree branches" -- Gnarled, black, apple tree branches? Unless they're a species of black trees...  

 

" the deep indigo fabric of his olive-green pinstriped suit" -- This is confusing me pretty badly, I'm afraid.  I did a quick poll of some friends to make sure it wasn't just my extra, fabric-related expertise messing me up, and while everyone understood it eventually (indigo ground, with thin green lines on top, the lines running in parallel to each other), they all had some problems with it.  It's just a lot of very specific adjectives to work into one small clause, especially when the rest of that sentence is added into the mix. 

"Worsted" isn't capitalized when referring to fabric/thread/yarn (also, if it's on a chair and wool, it better the heck be worsted, lol.) 

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Posted (edited)

This is the best piece of writing I've read of yours. Significantly better than the dark urban fantasy I remember giving you feedback on a few years back. Great to see that you're improving.

It got better as it went a long for me. Started off as mildly intriguing and became funny and charming (Q's part especially). The writing has style and attitude. I laughed three or four times when reading it. There are some great lines in this. The description is specific and the characters are distinctive. Well done!

Moment by moment:

P2 (first page of story) - Mm, good description. I feel mild intrigue. Like the juxtaposition between specific science/technology language and the luminous descriptions of nature. I think this is something you could bring out even more (see comments at the end). 

Kodak Worldview thing...interesting but feels like naked exposition, partly because it has it's own sentence. 

 

P3 - Feels like there's a sudden shift in the writing style in para 2...M's attitude enters the writing forcefully...the change feels abrupt

E_____ - that's a cool name. Makes me warm to the story a little. (Wow, the author can come up with cool names like that? What other cool rust must be in here?) 

Skip, tip-toe, creep etc... didn't work for me. I imagined Q saying it to her and it felt really odd to me. 

Even the Moon was warmer - I like this. And I like how she's being associated with the moon. Makes me think of 'tag words' (Did you watch that Jim Butchter talk?)

 

P4

Stifles a sob... Hmm. I know she stifles it, but a sob still wanted to come out. I don't like that I reacted this way, but my honest first reaction was 'She's a bit weak then.'

Love how she has a reconstructed leg. Makes her more distinctive.

The movement of a patch of grey darkness against the brownish darkness of the wooden fence beyond the tree. - This feels too cerebral and precise...like how she might reflect on it, rather than her direct experience of it in the moment. 

Tickling her grave with a feather? Don't get it. 

 

P5 

. But she didn’t, she only had a stupid N.... Zap-the-storm out of android operating systems. Strictly law enforcement issue only . Strictly not for the use of Milanese convent girls - This feels a little too much like tech exposition for me... is there a way to show this instead of telling us so directly? 

As the threat of danger emerges I find myself wondering who M is and what she's doing here. What does she want? What does she care about? I don't know who she is. Why should I care about her? I feel like we're often told as writers that we should lead in with action, start with a bang, but action scenes bore me unless I'm invested in the character. 

0___a E's name - that's funny. I like it!

Unleash the L__ of R____... hahah! You're on a roll.

 

P6 - Pretty good. 

 

P7 

Great opening description of Q. Immediately gives me a strong impression of who he is. This is a great contrast from M struggled in the cold.

'Lauch pad' of his limb confused me.

Q disliked looking up at people - hahah. This struck me as odd in a charming way. 

The Inuit know how to respect a herb - What a great line. 

 

P8

Is he flirting with me? Good grief, the man has no sense of timing and, if I had a type—which is a ridiculous notion anyway—it wouldn’t be him. - Good. Enjoying this. 

Soup strainer? Confused.

The last paragraph made me think... Is the author subtly weaving in clues that this G an android? Either way, I'm engaged.

 

P9

Q had done his research, or rather the increasingly capable M had, a month of it. This is excellent. Gives us plot, character and interesting insight into their relationship in a concise, stylish way. 

Such was the view of the museum at least, and hence they had engaged The Q. Agency - Ah! That's why they're here. Great. I'm glad to know this. Might help to drop some hint early in M's part though. 

 Great art always seemed to need to be rescued from something - Another great line. 

“I’m not here to drink your gin, G." Snapped Q. - For me, him snapping like this makes it too obvious he's trying to divert the guy's attention. I think it can be easily solved by losing the word 'snapped' for something a bit more subtle.

P10 

Great. Tension. Conflict. 

Hahah - I like how he insults his disguise. 

I'm engaged. But I don't get his 'class action' joke. Maybe Q's just smarter than me.

 

P11 - Decent so far. Still engaged but it's a bit evil villain-ish how G. is explaining how he's going to kill Q. 

 

P12 - . It is Worsted. Nice weave: beautiful combing. Hahah   : ) 

P13 - I like M's line after she crashes in dramatically. Would love to see Q's reaction to it, since for me the most engaging thing about this story is their relationship.

 

This would be even stronger is you made M more distinct from the outset. What's working for me is the juxtaposition between the scientific/cerebral part of M that knows about gravity and specifics of technology and the way she's experiences the nature (it has a touch of poetry - the way the moon and the tree and fairy dust snow is described gives me a sense of depth and connection to nature in her). I like how she has a reconstructed leg - simple but makes her more vivid in my mind. Consider mentioning this sooner...it could help to create a powerful first impression of M.. As it stands, my first impression of her wasn't that vivid or distinct (perhaps 6/10 where as Q got 8.5/10).

Great work. I felt like you enjoyed writing this - especially Q's part?

 

 

 

Edited by Majestic Fox
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Hey, Man, thanks for reading, as always, comments much valued.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

I don't know if "6 weeks later" works when starting a book,

It's gone. I'll save it for when I'm a mega-bestseller :lol: 

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 4: "Long story.", "Same long story."
--M isn't telling this to anyone, just thinking about it. What does she care how long it is?

Yeah. This was an experiment in casting back to TMM, but if she has no-one to speak to, it doesn't work. Gone.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 4: "rabbit started tickling her grave with a feather."
--This is a bizarre saying...so much it pulled me out to try to figure out how it was supposed to work. Does it come from somewhere or did you make it up?

You've heard the one about rabbit running over your grave? I tried to make it funny.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 5: the explanation for the wolves flows a lot better now.

Thank goodness. This is the 3rd or 4th go at this. Glad it's coming around.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 5: "who they called Eighty—for obvious reasons"
--I don't think "for obvious reasons" is needed

I'll try it without.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: Lol--love the math formula comment about M's height. Glad to see those statistics courses coming in handy...

Oh, shoot. Did I forget to take all the comments out? Ah... I tend to leave comments through my text, but usually delete them all from subbed versions.

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: One question on the wolves. Were they cyborg, or android? You mention both. If they're android, wouldn't they stay standing, rather than collapsing? The metal (I assume) joints would just lock, rather than fall over. Or maybe some would fall over, and some would stay standing.

I like this. I think I'll play with it. Thank you :) 

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 10: "regarding its pray"
--prey

<thumbs up>

On 26/02/2018 at 8:31 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 11: “And borrowing is the sincerest form of daylight robbery"
--lol

:D I feel like every time I get a 'lol' an angel gets its wings.

Thank you for those excellent comments. Glad I subbed this again :) 

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Posted (edited)

Hey M-fox, many thanks for reading.

On 02/03/2018 at 0:23 PM, Majestic Fox said:

Well done!

:D Well, shucks, thank you. This is the most true to me and my personality, I think: take what you like from that! I guess on that basis it's the closest I've come to 'write what you know'.

On 02/03/2018 at 0:23 PM, Majestic Fox said:

Kodak W-view thing...interesting but feels like naked exposition, partly because it has it's own sentence.

Interesting. I've combined the sentences. I"m not I saw the issue, but I don't see the harm in changing it :) 

Quote

Feels like there's a sudden shift in the writing style in para 2...M's attitude enters the writing forcefully...the change feels abrupt

Hmm. I'll go with it just now. That is who she is. I'll keep this in mind for the next edit.

Quote

Eighty - that's a cool name. Makes me warm to the story a little. (Wow, the author can come up with cool names like that? What other cool rust must be in here?) 

:D Awesome.

Quote

Skip, tip-toe, creep etc... didn't work for me. I imagined Q saying it to her and it felt really odd to me. 

Okay. I'll use one of my lives here and say 'I don't care, I'm keeping it ;) 

Quote

Even the Moon was warmer - I like this. And I like how she's being associated with the moon. Makes me think of 'tag words' (Did you watch that Jim Butchter talk?)

I haven't watched the JB link you sent me yet. I'm going to set it up in a window right now, so I don't forget. (Sound of receding footsteps. Somewhere, a creaky old window is unlatched and pushed open). Hey, what do you know. Jim Butcher is Harry Dresden, but shorter. Where am I? Oh, yes... M's line derives directly from the first book, but glad it works on another level :) 

Quote

Stifles a sob... Hmm. I know she stifles it, but a sob still wanted to come out. I don't like that I reacted this way, but my honest first reaction was 'She's a bit weak then.'

I'll give you that one. I changed it to grunt. Heroes grunt, they don't sob :P 

Quote

Love how she has a reconstructed leg. Makes her more distinctive.

Disabled, not flawed. All connects to WE :). Actually, not disabled either, of course, due to the wonders of modern medicine in 2099. 

Quote

The movement of a patch of grey darkness against the brownish darkness of the wooden fence beyond the tree. - This feels too cerebral and precise

I like this point. I've tried a slightly simpler version of the wording, while retaining the words 'grey' and 'brown'.

Quote

Tickling her grave with a feather? Don't get it.

<sigh> What is it with you people? Have you heard the phrase, 'rabbit ran over my grave' representing a (random) shiver? If not, then I guess the line will fall flat on its face (again).

Quote

But she didn’t, she only had a stupid NEMP... etc. - This feels a little too much like tech exposition for me... is there a way to show this instead of telling us so directly?

No doubt there is. I'm gonna think about this.

Quote

As the threat of danger emerges I find myself wondering who M is and what she's doing here. What does she want? What does she care about? I don't know who she is. 

Okay. I'll park that for now, on the basis that I've never actually heard of anyone reading the second book in a series first.

Quote

'Lauch pad' of his limb confused me.

His hand brushing off his knee like an F/A-18 Hornet off the flight deck of the Nimitz.

Quote

Q disliked looking up at people - hahah. This struck me as odd in a charming way.

That's Q right there, odd and charming.

Quote

The Inuit know how to respect a herb - What a great line. 

Well thanks, and I'm pleased you didn't feel the lack of an 'n' (as in 'an herb'--shudder).

Quote

Soup strainer? Confused.

Slang(?) name for certain types(?) of moustache; for obvious(?) reasons.

Quote

Either way, I'm engaged.

I'm really pleased with this, given that you haven't read the first book, whereas Mandamon, Kais and ID have, so it's kind of 'welcome back' for them.

Quote

Such was the view of the museum at least, and hence they had engaged The Q Agency - Ah! That's why they're here. Great. I'm glad to know this. Might help to drop some hint early in M's part though.

I think I can do that with a word or two, also noting your earlier comment about M

Quote

Great art always seemed to need to be rescued from something - Another great line.

This is the line I had first, before anything in this chapter. Carried it around in my notebook for a good 6 months before writing this.  Notebooks rule :) 

Quote

“I’m not here to drink your gin, G" Snapped Q. - For me, him snapping like this makes it too obvious he's trying to divert the guy's attention.

I'm not emotionally attached to 'snapped'. I've changed it to 'countered'.

Quote

I'm engaged. But I don't get his 'class action' joke. Maybe Q's just smarter than me.

I guess one needs to know what a class action is. So, there is the one stolen picture that Q

Quote

Decent so far. Still engaged but it's a bit evil villain-ish how G. is explaining how he's going to kill Q.

What may or may not come across by the end of the chapter is that this first 'scene' is a stand-alone (re)introduction to the characters: hence the action, and the quick resolution. For that reason, I think having G as a pantomime villain (somewhat) is okay.

Quote

I like M's line after she crashes in dramatically. Would love to see Q's reaction to it, since for me the most engaging thing about this story is their relationship.

Fair comment: I've sort of addressed this, but without going too heavy-handed, I hope.

Quote

I like how she has a reconstructed leg - simple but makes her more vivid in my mind. Consider mentioning this sooner.

I've tried that on the first page. It may well help previous readers reconnect with her more quickly too.

Quote

Great work. I felt like you enjoyed writing this - especially Q's part?

Big style :D. As I said, it's closer to my own personality than anything I've written before, and I made a conscious decision about that when I conceived the idea. I said 'I am going to ret to write what I love to read the most: (a) sharp, funny dialogue; (b) totally character-drive story; (c) futuristic setting, but not too much, so I can poke fun at things in the 'real world'.

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Great comments, very comprehensive. I've got some good edits don there,

Cheers!

Edited by Robinski
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Oh, and @Majestic Fox, I know I didn't mention it in the blurb, because I've lost the habit, but can I ask you to abbreviate the characters names and unique words in reviews, please? If you can be bothered editing your post here it would be very much appreciated.

:) 

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2 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'll park that for now, on the basis that I've never actually heard of anyone reading the second book in a series first.

Hahah! Fair point. 

 

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Oh, and @Majestic Fox, I know I didn't mention it in the blurb, because I've lost the habit, but can I ask you to abbreviate the characters names and unique words in reviews, please? If you can be bothered editing your post here it would be very much appreciated.

Ah, of course. Sorry. Think I've got them all. Let me know if not. *Types 'etiquette' into RE keyword search*

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3 minutes ago, Majestic Fox said:

Think I've got them all. Let me know if not.

You're a gentleman. Thank you, Mr. Fox - totally fantastic.

I actually missed a couple in the quotes :) 

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Posted (edited)

.

Edited by Robinski
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thumbs-up.jpg.9856afebb8a7289c9204269f1f381b16.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Alright, let's do this!

Overall

Loved it! Few comments per below, but generally, I found it snappy, engaging, and M as charming as ever. Nice work!

 

As I go

- page two: LOL at 'wintery hell'. Feels very authentic!

- page three: dying about Canada being colder than the moon! Tell M to never go to upper Michigan or Minnesota!

- page four: rabbit tickling grave with a feather? Is this a figure of speech?

- page five: It should be Homo sapiens, not Homo Sapiens.

- on behalf of ecologists everywhere, thank you for pointing out that wolves are not the 'bad guys'

- page six: that is some impressive math in the comment there

- page six: I LOVE M!

- page eight: I thought Q was more in tune with his bisexual-leanings? Him thinking about having a type being ridiculous threw me a little

- the ending.... can't...stop...laughing...

Edited by kais
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Posted (edited)

Hey Kais, thank you so much for reading again.

14 hours ago, kais said:

rabbit tickling grave with a feather? Is this a figure of speech?

This seems to be just me. Have you heard the phrase about someone walking on your grave? Well, there is a version based on a rabbit walking on your grave. I think you're the 3rd person to question this, so I will need to cut it.

Quote

It should be Homo sapiens, not Homo Sapiens.

Much obliged. Now changed.

Quote

on behalf of ecologists everywhere, thank you for pointing out that wolves are not the 'bad guys'

:) 

Quote

that is some impressive math in the comment there

Meh, simple proportionality, but thanks, Teach ;) 

Quote

I thought Q was more in tune with his bisexual-leanings? Him thinking about having a type being ridiculous threw me a little

Yeah, it's not you it's me. Inconsistent from Book 1. I have edited this line.

Great comments. Many thanks, Kais. Glad this is still working for you.

:) 

Edited by Robinski
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Hey @mrwizard70, thanks so much for the comments. Very helpful to get a perspective from someone not having read Book 1. I can see how that hampered things, but very pleased that Q's section worked so well :) 

Thanks again.

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