kais

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580 Dakhor Monk

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  1. Okay so this crit is ridiculously late but I got here eventually! Overall I'm having a hard time connecting to the characters. Every time I start to get interested, the chapter and POV change. The voice is so similar between the characters too that I have a hard time remembering who is who. I think the characters are really intriguing, but their world seems fairly cliche and I can't seem to get invested in the short time given. Maybe extend the chapters to give us more time with them? I'd also suggest not character swapping every chapter. Basically every agent I've ever interacted with has talked about this, too. VWR seems to come from nowhere but I could get behind it if it was foreshadowed a bit more that this world had that kind of tech. I'll third this. Too slow a start. As I go - golden retriever: neither word is a proper noun - away is one word, not two - page one: random tense changes. Is this supposed to be present or past? It jogs. - page two: the discussion of binder vs. corset bugs me a bit. They're both incredibly uncomfortable for some people, and incredibly comfortable for others. They serve similar purposes. The discussion makes the MC come off as really snobby and elitist when I don't think that was the goal. If the goal was to showcase some mild body dysphoria, I think that could be played a bit more directly - The two B names are way too close together. Suggest changing one up - while the dog intro makes a lot of sense, for someone who isn't into dogs (me), it wouldn't have hooked me in a bookstore. Not that that means you should take it out or anything, just noting - I don't think the voice is distinct enough yet for multiple first person narratives. There needs to be more distinction, because if I ignore the chapter headers I can't tell the characters apart. I had this same issue with Supermoon, an f/f sci-fi romance book that recently came out. Multiple first person POVs are hard to pull off. - page seven: 'lole'? - I think the premise of this might be relying a bit too much on those that have seen It's a Wonderful Life - 12: these people seem really nonchalant for talking to an angel!
  2. I'm for it, mostly because a random romance writer or horror writer could be a fun change of pace.
  3. I don't mind it being in there, especially if it helps make the board more welcoming for newbies. I know sometimes the 'published author' thing can be intimidating.
  4. Writer's Critique Group Aspiring Writer's Critique Co-Op Super Awesome Writing Group of the Shard Sharders for Better Drafting ???
  5. Wow, I haven't been a first poster in ages. Overall I remain confused as to the purpose of this story. What is the item our protag has to get? Why does it matter? What happens if he doesn't get it? Why do we care about these games? While parts of the narrative were entertaining, I think it would do better rearranged to run chronologically. I also found the end highly anticlimactic and would have liked more of a 'battle', in word play or otherwise, after Luck was caught cheating. There were a bunch of typos and such that I didn't flag, but be aware that they are there. Overall though, much better than the first time around! As I go - wait, what tense are we in here? You're flirting with several versions of past tense and it's making it hard to read - pg 1: the narrative said the room was happy with him, but then at the end of page one they're mad? When did the transition occur? - I think you mean 'several scars on,' not several scars around, unless they're floating around him or something - page three: the narrator appears to be a character in this story. Is that what you're going for? POV is the narrator? - I find N's manner of speech really draining. The bravado makes me want to punch him. The narrator's voice is fun though - pg 12: I would have enjoyed the first part more if it came after the second part. Nella's attitude was very off-putting, but I'd have been much more amiable to it had I know it was a ploy. Is there a reason you didn't lead chronologically? - page 15: I was game for the first dozen or so pages, but I'd really like a through line at this point, I think. Why does J want to play this person? Why does it matter? What are the stakes? These should be defined by this point. - 16: side eye at a woman being warned about letting her emotions rule her - 19: it's hard for me not to skim through the game stuff since I don't know what the stakes are or why I should care. But I'm also not a gambling person so I don't know if I'm your target demographic either - 23: she visibly cheated and just... laughs when caught and concedes? That is really anticlimactic
  6. Overall My main concern is the number of POV characters so early in the book. I know all the characters of course, so it's not as jarring as it could be, but I still find myself wanting to immerse with one before switching. I wouldn't mind a few chapters with Sam to get world footing, then bopping to Mand for a chapter, then R. That may just be me though. In general I am thrilled to be back in this universe! As I go - V is still alive? Oooooh. - Is she remembering his rough hands...fondly? I'm not sure how fondly I would look back on that memory. - I do enjoy the Mand sections more now that I've read the short. - 4: so wait, why start the society again? Doesn't R or O hear two houses? They're not discriminated against anymore, right? So why start the secret two house society again? - Aww, I love Gom! That transition scene was well done
  7. Overall While I think there's story potential here, I don't think it really started until page twelve or so. The pages before seemed like the wandering plotting I do when I do a first draft of a book (and the stuff that generally gets cut). There were a lot of typos (some of which I noted below), which should be easy enough to pick up with an out-loud read through, but what really got me was the lack of narrative through line. I think it's supposed to be keep the person from suicide, but thus far all the actions by our half angel person seem contrary to that goal. I also have deep reservations about multi POV in first person, especially in a novella. You have to have outstanding voice for that. If I had to pick I'd say series, because I feel like it's relying on information the reader should already have. And since I do not have said information, I'm lost. I'd toss the entire first ten-twelve pages and start with the chapter with the dogs, which is where the hook is. As I go - pg 1: so the issue with 'they' as a pronoun is that you have to be careful to not use it too close to plural they, so as to avoid confusion. The paragraph about Erin's dreams gets really muddled and even I (and I'd like to consider myself pretty on the up and up with pronouns) had to reread a few times to figure out which they referred to what. The sentences like this either need to be rearranged, or you might consider neopronouns. - at the end of page one I'm left with no clear direction as to this story. E has prophetic dreams? And who is our narrator? - page 4: still unclear on narrative direction. Protag wants to save B from suicide why? Some sort of redemption arc? - pg5: ahhhhh multiple POVs in first person is just... you have to have really distinct voices for the characters to pull it off, especially in a novella. I think we need more on both of these protags before the POV switches. Otherwise this is going to go the way of Supermoon. - you've got tense changes on pg 5 that are inconsistent - pg 7: unless I missed it, the first person to have their skin tone described appears to be a POC. Suggest checking the white default - pg8: 'Cooper's a stroke', where the 'a' appears to be a typo - pg8: why is this angel person running? Why didn't they help C? What was the purpose of going to the house if they weren't going to do anything? I am so confused - pg9: okay but... this person is suicidal and it didn't occur to the angel person that maybe saving this person they care about from the stroke might help? - 9: there are pixies? The world confuses me - wait, the pixies work for the grandfather? And...why are there pixies? This world needs to be set up much more distinctly from the start, I think, because it's late in the game to be changing the genre from depressing contemporary to urban fantasy - 9: you've completely lost me at 'grandpa is a demon hunter' - 11: this is a terrible idea. One that might actually work... an idea for what? Keeping the suicidal person from killing themselves? But I thought they were already on the bridge? - 12: I think the narrative arc actually begins on pg12, at this chapter. It's the first time I've had enough to connect with the characters, been able to get the stakes, and see a narrative path - as far as I know, dog breeds are not proper nouns - and sunk into his own paw wholes. I assume you mean holes?
  8. I'm the opposite. I love Sam and would love a whole book in his POV. I think he's a very compelling character.
  9. Hoorah! Excited to read the end! Overall I loved the end of the fight scene! Very satisfying. I think the end of the last chapter could use a bit more punch though, since I don't think we know enough about J's family to know if C being invited to tea is a Big Deal or not. Some of the blocking in the fight scene was confusing, but I think could be easily cleaned up in edits. I'd like more information on C’s battle, too. This is a good point. It does assume a male default. You could keep the line if you mentioned the person had, say, a beard or something else heavily masculinizing as a trait Yes this! As I go - 118: he's crying and then laughing? I'm confused. I liked the crying over the broken mandolin, but now the laughing and the "I deserved this' part has me confused. WRS? - 122: power anchored in cold? Is there elemental magic too? - was either a graceful smith or an effeminate butcher. LOL I love this - this is a really awesome moment: But burning wasn’t everything, I was learning. Might wasn’t everything. It couldn’t be, because some people didn’t have it, and yet they knew how to prevail - 126: I feel really removed from the action here because it's C that's experiencing most of it. I think we might need more description of what's happening to her in tandem with the stuff from our MC - 128: AHAHAHAHA spoon to the eye is excellent! - 130: well that was a very satisfying end to the fight scene - not sure the very end has as much punch as it could
  10. There's only really four of us on here routinely, and we usually read and comment on everything. So were you just wanting non-regulars to comment? I didn't make it through the first page last time, so I'll see how much farther I get this time. Overall I can't tell them apart, as their voices are too similar. I don't know enough about any of them to care, right now, and the bits of information I have been given I couldn't pin to any character, outside of one is a woman and also a Jew, and apparently that makes her look like a dog. This is my disapproving face. Yes. I'm not clear what the inciting incident is. It reads like Main Character saw two Side Characters and they just followed him on a quest of unknown direction, because he is Perfect. There is a war, but I don't yet care about it at all. My emotions about the piece right now could best be summed up as somewhere between 'distinct discomfort' and 'rage.' I was also confused by this. At first glance I was willing to give it a pass as worldbuilding, but after all the other stuff that gets thrown at her, this reads like (however unintentional) authorial voice instead of character voice. And that is not okay. Heartily seconded. Very not cool. If you're going to do this, you have to be very careful. Your narrative will have to refute the opinions put forth by these characters as basically every turn. You have to be very sure that narrator voice, authorial voice, is very clear that their opinions are wrong. Otherwise, you might as well be saying those things yourself. And even then, marginalized readers seldom want to read stories where they are further marginalized as a plot device to advance the evolution of a non-marginalized character. Think of the Halloween campaign: My Culture is Not a Costume Now let's turn this for writing: My Marginalization is Not a Growth Point for You (otherwise read as 'do not advance or evolve white, cis, male characters on the backs of the marginalized and their pain) So in general, it's not that I think the story has bad bones. I just would encourage you to consider whether you want to take on the burden of properly couching the racism and sexism of your characters. It's hard to write a book like this well. It's very easy to write it poorly. We can help, but I'll be real upfront that there's only so much anti-Semitism I can take before I just check out. As I go - the first page already holds together much better than the last one - 4: I'm unsure what the stakes are right now, or why I care about this war. I think that needs clarifying much earlier on - page five: this far I'm not sure who is who. Yes, they have different names, but they all have the same voice. One is a woman, which I only know because you hung a lantern on her. But even then, I can't tell when/if she's speaking because the voices are so similar. - 7: why are they considering traveling together? Where are they going? Why are they going? - 9: why has this guy just been made a leader? I'm confused. I don't know what is going on other than a very long conversation about packing - I actually think this chapter should start here. This is the first hook line with clarity I have seen: “So what will we do once we get to Molbul and get enlisted?” A pause. “Will we be fighting the Zelodowvi?” - 10: 'Gene'? If this is a stand-in for 'Jew,' tread very lightly. This is my dubious face - 13: WOAH. You.... just compared a Jewish woman to a dog. Nothing in the narrative is refuting this blatant racism. This is not okay and it is triggering. Like, super triggering. Suggest you start tagging these subs RS for racial slurs
  11. Hoorah! Glad to be back in this world. Overall I'm not convinced that there was sufficient inciting incident here to get S to leave the apartment. The emotional buildup is great, and I'm well hooked there, but I thought this fell flat in the last two pages. I think a bigger event is needed, or some type of sneaky bribery, or something, to compel the reader to want to leave the apartment with S. Generally though, as a first draft I really enjoyed this! How are things with Ninestar going??? As I go - a new house? Really? Hooked! - so, I recently read SEEDS, and I don't remember the new house being revealed. Yet in this first chapter its fact. Did I miss something in the last book? - pg 2: you've got a 'does' instead of 'did - pg 2: I'd suggest expanding on the consequences of the Drain movement here. Dropping a line about killing his own parents would be a killer hook (harharhar) - pg 2: well you're just going all out with the emotion hooks in this, aren't you? Lips on necks? You have my full attention - 4: his anxiety has moved into self mutilation? He and Sorin should never hang out. - "You aren't being helpful now, S." Oooh, burn - 7: the sudden vision seems plot convenient. We haven't had any foreshadowing that A can do this as a species, right? It's very random. It might just need to be introduced earlier in the chapter before it actually happens
  12. General As you'll see as you go below, I didn't make it past the first page. Jew*** is one of those words that can be really problematic, and is generally only appropriate for use by Jewish women. It's the same for words like 'queer.' You see them in use, but 'queer' can only really be used (in the USA, anyway), by the queer population. Now, it is entirely possibly that you are trying to use the word to showcase a character's problems, or showcase a time period. This is, of course, your right to do so. Without more warning or prefacing for that, however, seeing something like that in a book will get me to put it down and walk away every time. This goes back to a conversation we had on the board a few weeks ago, over on one of @Robinski's threads. How do you write a racist character without writing a racist narrative? The discussion there was really good and I think might be worth having a gander. I'm happy to field questions, of course. I think I have answered this. Aheh. Yes. This would be an excellent idea. As I go - birch, alder, and yew do not grow together as trees. You can have birch and yew together with alder that is basically a shrub, but it wouldn't be a tree - the path goes OVER a sea? - confused how a path marches - I do not suggest using the actual names of gods in a story unless you practice that religion. 'Jew***'? Nope. I'm out.
  13. I was in transit yesterday coming back from Houston and the gate right next to me was filled with a bunch of Writing Excuses people who had just come off the cruise! I chatted with one. Such a fun coincidence! Oh, also, I have an agent!!!!
  14. Hi! Welcome back. I'm sure others will say this too, but prologues aren't fashionable anymore. If it needs to be there, it's chapter 1. Otherwise cut it if you're thinking of someday sending this to an agent. If you're writing just for you, then go for it! Overall So as backstory goes, I think it's fine. I think you could easily integrate this into your main chapters, however, without losing anything. Right now its fairly cliche and needs something to make it really stand out. But as a draft goes it's got reasonable bones. I think edits will really shine it up. As I Go - These first three paragraphs have a lot of generic stock movie phrases in them. This is reading a bit more like a D&D campaign right now than a novel. But first draft, so no worries. You can clean it up later. - page 2: I'll caution the on the overuse of women for 'mercy' type roles, and men for 'aggression' type roles. Unless there is some reason you have assigned the characters this way, I'd suggest switching it up. - page 2: random aside, but in the Highlander TV series, the villains names predominantly started with a 'K'. That was the first thing I thought when Kyper showed up here - gods reborn as humans is a fairly common trope. Not that there is anything wrong with it! Just note going forward that you might want to see if you can turn it on its head a bit - Fallani only wanting to provide support and healing is another fall into the 'women are nurturing and men are aggressive' fallacy we've got going on. Once was an eyebrow raise. Twice is a frown. Three will get you a Marge Simpson grumble. - I think the apple imagery with the trickster might be a little heavy handed with the Adam and Eve parallels