kais

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About kais

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    Master of Cellulose (they/them)

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  1. I caught poison the first time, yes, but only by the chapter after it. Not from the first exposure. It's a much cleaner intro and I understand what is going on. But I still don't have clear, larger book goals or stakes for her. Not ones that really feel like they could carry a book, anyway. It is getting better, but now our MC needs to really expand her world, needs, and emotions to be book-worthy.
  2. I've already seen this chapter, so I'll just echo @Mandamon's comments that this needs A) EMOTIONS and B.) actual motivation for our lead that motivates both her and the reader. What does she want? What is her arc? You explained it in very long chapters to me in an email but I want to know it, intuitively, from reading. I want to get it from her actions and her emotions. I don't want to have to ask, I want to just know.
  3. Overall Much improved! Well done! It still reads pretty tropey and like you're writing a satire, but I'm enjoying it so not much bothered. The only place I really hung up (other than the mother who is still barely two dimensional) was at the end, where we learn about the brother being 'special' but no one really emotes on it. Agreed. It's better, but still very much reads like satire. As I go - I think your epigraph would be more powerful if it was just the quote and not the bit before it - pg 1: I think my confusion could be helped if you spent a few sentences describing who was in the carriage (the 'they' referred to early on). Otherwise when you mention M, we have no idea who she is. Right now as far as I know there are two people in the carriage - much better with the sister! - LOL 'I could live in such a house' I love her - pg 4: I still don't really buy why they are going to this dinner when there is every red flag in the book. I think we might need a bit more motivation if this isn't just tropey satire - pg 4: To the best wine in the Southern Fold <-- ahh okay. Maybe just a little bit more discussion around this on the first page to really get it through our heads? - pg 5: again, the mother comes from absolutely nowhere - pg 6: it seems very weird that he would be allowed to use a privy where he could potentially hear someone in distress - pg 9: so they got invited because of wine, but the count wants the daughter. How did he find out about her? I think a line or two about her helping with the wine, or how she came to the count's attention, would be nice - pg 11: ah much better with why they stay the night - pg 12: there is a lot of telling, and sometimes showing and then telling. - pg 14: This is no ordinary brat <--this seems like a giant understatement. Why aren't they more concerned? Also introducing a chosen one trope is...it clashes with the vibe of the story. I was on board until this, and now I feel unmoored.
  4. It’s all in the first post in this thread. Just read through and follow the instructions
  5. This used to be three chapters, which were condensed to this one and then a shorter one (that follows in two weeks). As such I think it still might need cuts. It was always meant to be more of a character investment chapter, as we don’t yet have much backstory on Yorn and Nick as we do on Sal and G4. It was also meant to be a fairly major arc for Sal in terms of taking charge, but her character is so mild that I’m not sure that comes across (especially for new readers). All thoughts welcome. If you’re bored or if you feel like it doesn’t properly arc or push the plot, I’d like to know that, too. Thanks!
  6. Would anyone mind if my sub is a touch over limit this week? It's at 5662 right now. I'm going to see if I can skim it down but thought I'd ask, just in case.
  7. Thanks everyone! Confusion as to why G4 doesn't know what happened in the previous books. I tried to hang a lantern on it with this; Romance between O and A: If it is going to bother people, I can tone it down. However there are plans... This is my fault. I added what you're asking for into the previous chapter and then didn't include the little niblets so you could all get up to speed. I edited the flashback chapter to really hit O's dreams being the one to find Ar and then get off Ne to prove herself. So she was going to ditch the Guard first chance she got and take any old job on And just to be someone. My goal is to run O and A fairly parallel in terms of end goals, but with very different desires to get there. A wants to change Ne by proving Ar exists and it's all just science. O wants to find Ar to get notoriety and do something amazing with her life. At wants what is best for her people, O wants what is best for her. O then has to change that mission after she fails to keep A from being exiled, and wants to make up that failure by rescue. Any tips on how better to bring this dynamic out would be much appreciated. This is the added paragraph I've put in to try to just very blatantly draw the parallel
  8. I'd like a spot for Monday, pending space
  9. Overall The prose is solid and I had no issues reading. I think there are some large logic flaws, some of which I've noted below. Mostly I just don't believe this interaction. I am a professor. In the sciences. If someone came into my office and started with this, even if I was a magic person in hiding, I'd tell them to get out and when they didn't, I'd call campus security, then yell until a bunch of people came into the hallway and made the person so uncomfortable they left. Especially if they were threatening my family or treating me less than human. Professors go through a lot to get those PhDs and we know how to handle BS. Even if our lady here isn't really a prof, she's around enough of them to know how they act. The chapter is fairly short, so I think you could spend a few more words giving us meat. What, specifically, is the guy looking for? What kind of magic? What background does the woman have? Right now I just hate the man and think the woman is a very confusing professorial caricature. I think the bones of this are great, it just needs some reorganization, a bit more meat, and for the woman to be a bit more realistic. Nice job on a first sub! Your questions 1. General reactions (were you engaged?) More or less. But the prof really threw me out of the narrative 2. Is it clear what A thinks B is? Do you think this should be clearer? Less clear to preserve the mystery? I have no idea and that bothers me. I'm not sure I'd keep reading if I picked this up in a store 3. If these characters show up partway through the book and Archer starts causing problems after what's been mostly romance, do you think this prologue is necessary to prepare you for it or for it to not be jarring? (I understand if it's hard to tell at this point) If this is a prologue, I think it definitely needs more meat and potentially a resolution of some form. Other than that, I don't think I can answer this question. I think I'd rather see A as random background noise throughout the book and then have him start making trouble. 4. Is the "kill your queers" a problem here? It doesn't count if the queer is dead when the narrative starts. Signed, A Queer I'd caution though, if the prof is trans, then you might want to tone down the language at the start with the primate comparison. It's too easy to mistake the MC for being upset over trans, versus magic 5. Would you be interested in reading more of this? I know all genres are welcome but I also don't know if straight teen romance is super appealing for this group. We do romance! BRING IT ON. I think the prologue isn't going to work mostly because of the age of the characters. If this is YA, it needs to have its protags front and center. Teens may drop the book otherwise. As I go - good opening line, though I think rearranging the clauses might make it a touch less awkward to read - after paragraph 1, I do not like M.A. - if 'professor' is part of a formal address, it gets capitalized - pg 2: as a scientist who does genetics work, 'plants' is an entire kingdom. A professor is highly specialized, so likely she would do genetics work on maybe, at the widest, a phylum. Likely just a few genera. So I'd have her response be much more specific, like 'unless you want to do genetics on bracken fern varietals...' - pg 2: And I’m sure you’re busy as well with all the profiting off the opioid epidemic you’ve been doin <- maid and butler here. But I think if you reworded it, it wouldn't be. Could be as easy as cuttingthe 'you've been doing' - pg 3: the taunts here are the same as we've already had. He already implied he had the son's genetic info. No need to repeat - pg 4: I am incapable of healing people through supernatural means.” <- I'm at a logic stop. If she wouldn't use her magic to save her wife, why would she do so, under duress, for her son? Like why does this guy think he can strong arm her into it, when clearly the death of her wife would have tempted her much, much more? I feel like he needs some other thing to hold over her. Like 'I'll give the disease to you and everyone you love and then you will HAVE to use magic or watch the world burn,' etc - pg 5: If she really didn't have magic and was just a regular human she'd have called security the second he accused her of magic. I think he needs to have this thought, that he is clearly on to something because she isn't just demanding he leave her office because he's spouting nonsense - I'm mostly confused by the ending
  10. Overall Unfortunately this chapter has all the same issues as before. It does not have a defined arc and does not seem to progress the narrative at all. Our MC exists and the narrative attempts move around him. He is unfazed by a minor thing and so we also do not care about it. The most emotion comes at the start with the jewelry gift, and that is really the meat of the chapter. I'd say you could cut this whole chapter out, and stick the beat with the jewelry somewhere else. But this chapter does not give the reader anything to grab onto, nor does it have an arc or plot progression. Again, the writing is just fine. It's never an issue to read the sentences. I just need the narrative to move and engage, and it continually tries to feed me information I don't want and get me to care about things that the MCs themselves can't be bothered to care about. As I go - I was more or less on board until page 3. The hook of the jewelry spellstones is nice and makes me think she will still get one with magic in it and it will end badly. So hook. But then they go walking and I clock out - pg 4: I don't care how he slept. I'm trying to sort out what the chapter arc is - I think pg 5 is unnecessary and you could cut the whole thing. Potentially also page four. Walking and talking does not keep my attention. Also still trying to look for the arc of the chapter - pg 6: He would miss his desk, <-- here is where I start to check back in - pg 7: by reconnecting with the Baron <-- aaaand back out. Too many names I don't care about - pg 9: Why would anyone waste time on such a mild inconvenience?” <-- this pretty much sums up the issue. Its a mild inconvenience, so it can't carry the plot. It's so mild it does not grip the reader. The MC does not care, so I do not care.
  11. Overall I think there are two issues at play. A) lack of GREATER stakes B.) arc not established at the start So for the first, I need more about why she races. Fame? Fortune? Love of flying? What happens if she doesn't win this race? What are the actual stakes? There are minor stakes (like if she gets injured she can't fly) but what does flying MEAN to her? EMOTIONSSSSS For the second, it looks like you're trying to set up a shift for our lead from MUST WIN RACES to FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT. The issue is that I don't see the start of the arc in the beginning of the story. I'd like more maybe of her dismissing her friend because MUST WIN or something, to make the end of the arc work. It's well written! And nice to step away from your other work. And I can see the end of the arc, just not the start, and I think you need to up your stakes. For titles....urgh. SHAMBLES OF STARLIGHT RACE IN PROGRESS not very helpful. I'll keep thinking on it. Nice work! As I go - it isn't the most engaging start. I think it could be tweaked to be more dynamic, since it's the start of a race - pg 1: Small sponsors decorated her sleek sides, but one day Z would see household names there. <-- had to read this several times to figure out what she was talking about - pg 1: was their last planet <-- I think mentioning its a planet spaceship race would be best in the first few sentences. It's a good hook - pg 1: above average height could mean anything - I think the whole first beat here (pg1) could likely be cut and the important parts reintegrated later - ah yes. The first paragraph of the second page is MUCH more dynamic. Start here, please - pg 5: I've started wondering about greater stakes. Why is she racing? What happens if she looses? I know if she gets injured she might not be able to fly again, but is that all we are working with here? I'd like (and I'm searching for) something beefier - pg 7: yes, I need greater stake development. She wants more sponsors because... MOAR MONEY, or family security, or she has to save Mars. Whatever. Without a real grip on those stakes I have no urgency. Win? Lose? Meh. Don't much care. She seems fine either way. What are the BIG TERM CONSEQUENCES of losing, other than her copilot losing his stomach? - crying on the end of page 9 but WHYYYYYYY - pg 12: they just...got rescued? I am let down - does not appear to have an arc that was set up at the start
  12. Overall I think my main issue is lack of investment and engagement. S doesn't emote, and therefore I don't care about them and their struggles (though as of yet they do not have any other than being obstinate and not wanting to do something they're being told to do. This is how my six year old acts). It's fine to have a slower paced inciting incident like this, but if you aren't going to carry investment on DANGER! ACTION! MORTAL PERIL! then we need emotional investment and an emotional arc. We mostly just have talking here, and the smallest hint of an arc at the end. I need S to react and emote more. I want to experience the world through their emotions and reactions. I want to care the way they care. If they do not care, then I can't, either. As I go - I find that first chapter not as dynamic as the second one (where the invitation is in the pocket). I know you don't want to mess with what your editor liked, but I think it would be a much stronger start to begin with 'The invitation had not been in their pocket when they..." - pg 1: and dropped the card on the river bank, almost certain it would find its way back into their pocket and stood This could be a lot more direct and dynamic. Have them drop the card on the river bank, reach their hand into their pocket, and find it back there. - end of page 2 and into pg 3--info dump. Suggest removing or better integrating. I'd also much rather SEE S use those powers than be told what they are - pg 4: Around here, I find myself bored and wandering. The elemental powers are an okay hook but I don't really know anything about S. The boy they hugged has emoted more and I'm more interested in him at the moment. I know about the world but I don't care about the world because I really have no feeling for S's goals or the direction of the narrative, other than that S is being made to do something they don't want to. But since I don't have a foothold in the world and stakes yet, being made to do it doesn't hook me - pg 7: the way the wind spirit 'talks' seems comic book tropey-silly and takes me out of the narrative - - pg 8: why does S want to rescue Ambo F? I had to go back and reread and it still seems like a slim thing to hang an opening chapter on. They need to meet...because they're suppose to have a meeting. Ambo is late. S goes looking. No real stakes here. I feel no danger. I don't think Ambo is in any trouble, or that going onto the water puts S in any trouble. I also still don't know why S doesn't want to do THE THING other than just not wanting to do what they are told. I am not invested. - I am getting kind of reading tired of 'unnatural women' in fantasy and sci fi. I just really want to move beyond it. This is of course, a personal issue, and likely because of the book I'm currently reading which REALLY leans in to it - pg 10: In old books, they’d read about all kinds of horrible things people used to do, from murder to hating people based on who they loved or how they looked. <-- I know this is often done in MG, but it also bugs me. I read for escapism and when things like this are discussed it muddles the real world into my escapism, and ruins my engagement with the narrative - pg 10: the killer was fertilizer for an apple tree. <-- and then @Mandamon wrote an epic fantasy about it - pg 10: We didn’t even need the rope <-- no danger. No tension. - pg 12: But the thought of travel didn’t excite Se like it would’ve days or even hours ago <-- it doesn't excite me at all, because my excitement would be built on S's excitement, and they don't have any
  13. I just realized its a bit over, but last week's was way under so hopefully you'll all forgive me. The flashback to little At and young Ori is now officially chapter 2. Chapter 3 (Ori finds Pruitcu) is now chapter 3 (this chapter). It has been edited per the last round of feedback, and the Keft player is now a different character. Same basic idea as before, but I’m hoping the execution is smoother and you are all more invested in Ori, and that I have appropriately differentiated her from Ata. Also note that in the previous chapter I really hit the ‘Ori wants to be in the Guard because she wants to be a HERO, not because she necessarily enjoys flying. She wants the glory of finding Ard, then wants to leave the Guard and go work on Ard and do something really big with her life. So that line should carry into this chapter pretty well, I hope. In the document attached, you’ll also find epigraphs. I’ve finally started writing them for the book, so I’ve shoved the three that have come before at the very start of the sub. You’re welcome to crit them or not as you like, but the backstory they give will probably help in interpreting the events. Thanks all!
  14. Also up for next week if there's space
  15. Welcome to RE and congratulations on your first sub! Overall Hm. I'm not sure whether you are trying to write a silly trope book here, or actually want to write a gothic horror. If it's serious, then it needs work. The villain and the tutor sound like comic book characters and the plot is convenient and bland. If it's meant to be a parody or trope book, it's on a good path, but needs a lot of tightening and more showing (less telling). Either way, it's brave to start subbing! Good on you. As I go - oooh. Chilling start. Gothic? - that first line is adjective heavy. I'd cut a few - the father has very stilted language that makes it hard to take him seriously - why does the daughter not have a name? - also the father just sounds like a comic book villain - pg 6: the sweetly feminine and demure daughter, <-- ah she does have a name. Probably should give it on page one when she is introduced. Also...is this book very tropey? Is that why she's being described like she's going to fail the Sexy Lamp Test? - pg 2: if there aren't vampires here I'm going to be very disappointed - pg 3: at this stage I'd really like to know why they agreed to this dinner. Just a line or something about how if you turn down an invitation you become dinner or whatever would work fine. - pg 3: come alone, but the Count made a special request for the entire immediate family to join them.<-- ah, we get it here, but too late. This should be page one. But also that paragraph is very much a dump. I'd rather get a lot of that from character interactions and movements. I feel like we are being told a ton of things, especially atmospheric things, that could be much better conveyed through description - pg 4: I'm still really baffled why the family would come to a demon's place for dinner. He's a cartoon villain. Surely they can tell this?? - pg 4: privy dungeon. Of course. Though again, why would they visit if they know this was a thing?? My ability to suspend disbelief is waning. Though if you want to sell me this as a fun trope book, I'd be okay with it. It's over the top otherwise - pg 6: "There's nothing to fear. I clearly brought you here to die, like Hansel and Grettle." - pg 6: moved to his parents bed <-- blocking issues. I'm so confused. He's just with his dad and sister, right? Where is this other parent? I have not heard from another parent nor had one named. And were they all in the same room?? - pg 7: In the cell was his family. His parents hung from shackles <- wait, what? So he noticed sister was gone, but not the unnamed parent and the dad? And this is....I mean this is very cartoon. OF COURSE they all got kidnapped. What did they think would happen with a dude like that in a castle? - and A can't even hide properly. This family deserves to die - pg 7: he is a demon wearing a human disguise <-- the audience has known this from the first page - pg 7: the wife appears but does not have a name. Soon to be a fridged lampshade? - pg 8: little late to be introducing a tutor. Very author hand plot convenient - Mr. G. also speaks like a cartoon - pg 9: sources that young virgin girls are being rounded up and sent in hidden caravans from the kingdom <-- did this story have a tag for implied rape? Also gross and unnecessary trope. Sexy lampshade indeed - wait what? A breakout? No need to rescue the family? WHAT IF THE MOTHER HAS A NAME??? - if the tutor knew how to break out, why did he wait 2 weeks to do it? - pg 11: the brother has like 0 concern or angst that he is leaving his family to be eaten and sold