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About kais

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    Master of Cellulose (they/them)

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  1. Overall There were some great emotional beats in here, but it sagged in some places, too. I think cutting it down (again, I know) will help it be more dynamic. I like the iron hints, and the emotional arc of our MC a lot. There's some repetition in dialogue that slows everything down, but a bit of streamlining will fix it right up. As I go - good opening line - pg 1: I love that she is doing tae kwon do in a dress - pg 6: I was engaged at the start, but the narrative lags through here. Might want to shorten this part up - pg 7: If I need to have this argument one more time, my voice is going to go hoarse. <-- it's repetitive for the reader, too. No plot progression - pg 8: this is lagging a lot through here. They need to pick an activity and get on with it - pg 9: the iron conversation is interesting! - pg 9: Well, I say that this guy’s real tragedy is that he can’t find a postdoc <-- I laughed so hard I woke my kid up
  2. YAY I AM SO EXCITED. Also we got the orange Amazon banner for #1!
  3. Aside from our lead not being freaked out about N being empathic, I thought there were good emotional beats in this. The ending was great and I felt like I connected to our MC for the first time since this book started. Unlike the others I didn't have issues with the self-pity, but I think mostly because I've already seen so much of it from her that it just seems on-brand. At least here there was some plot progression, and N is really carrying things so it all worked. And the end, again, really hit home for me. As I go - uh, is she not freaked out that N is empathic? There needs to be an emotional reaction there somewhere - aww, I like the end
  4. Overall Unfortunately I wasn't engaged through any of this. The first chapter started slow and again, just when it might have taken off (with spellstones and sideways looks), it didn't. Then the next chapter with the king was functionally the same. I think these chapters could be condensed to one, maybe five pages long, and then some plot progression added in. No more teasing with spellstones, something needs to happen that is dynamic, as just talking heads does not do great things for holding attention. I know this is romance fantasy, but I still would like the B plot to move along a bit more, since the A plot (the romance) is taking its time. As I go - pg 2: Not a dynamic start. I'd like for the chapter to start on plot movement, not checking in on a moderately to lightly wounded princess - pg 2: I think a good start place for this chapter could be As if she didn’t owe him far too much already. Where you name A directly. That sets up a solid emotional beat for the chapter - pg 6: I want the spellstones to be interesting but they keep doing just really mundane things and it isn't interesting - pg 9: the spellstones might be getting more interesting? It's just hard to stay focused when they're talking and rehashing and not doing anything. Or emoting. I need them to move or emote, one or the other, or I just skim and then skip over potentially interesting spellstone hijinks - is there a reason we can't just start with her walking to meet the king? - pg 14: so much talking and so many names.
  5. Late again Overall The first part was really snappy and dynamic, and then I felt the tension drained bit by bit with each continuing beat. The end fell flat for me, because V already said he couldn't find an end to the wasteland, and now C wants to leave....but G-M's idea to burn the town down seems much more A) reasonable and B.) interesting. Again, I want to go with G-M, not C. I think you're walking the line again of C not being a dynamic enough character. But that mayor. Nice! As I go - while I don't normally like random additional POVs, I liked the mayor's a lot! - the interlude with C and the bird boy doesn't seem to advance the plot much. I wonder if it could be cut? - pg 13: the narrative is starting to lag through here. I want faster movement! - pg 16: I think the T recap section isn't necessary. It is just rehashing what we already know - 'we have to go' isn't nearly as dynamic as 'burn down the town'
  6. Catching up... Overall Once we got to page eight, it moved at a better clip, but the start was slow. I think you could delete at least four pages from the start and nothing would be lost. To keep the movement of the plot, the chapter starts need to be a bit more crisp, especially if you want people to stay engaged to the Big Reveals. But, as always, your writing continues to improve! As I go - it's four pages in, and I don't feel like the plot has moved at all - pages five and six I am moderately engaged, but it is still hard to not skim - by pg 7, it's too much backstory. I can't focus anymore - pg 8: ah, the purpose! I think in order to keep the reader engaged we should have maybe four pages before this reveal, at most. Eight is too long to get to the meat of a chapter - pg 9: ’We’ can’t do anything right now <-- hence my frustration. We discover A Thing, but nothing can happen, so the plot stagnates - once we get to the princess and the dialogue it moves much better
  7. Playing catchup Overall I thought it started strong, but then fizzled at the end. The chapter didn't appear to have an end to its arc, likely because it got lost in the GM showdown, that went on too long and I think wasn't very directed. It looks like other people had similar thoughts so I'll just leave it at that and say I am still very much enjoying the story! As I go - pg 4: maybe WRS but who is 'that green boy'? - pg 6: the whole beat with the intruder confuses me. What is going on? - pg 7: I don't find G-M to be a terrible person at all, so that line strikes me as odd - pg 8: this fight with G-M is going on a bit long and stalling our plot progression
  8. Overall I was really hooked for the first six pages, after which I felt like things fell apart. I'm not sure the ending really made sense, and it didn't give me a sense of completion. I think the middle dragged. I think I'm on the same lines as @C_Vallion and @Mandamonthat if we got more emotions and more backstory on the suicide it might make this journey with the demons make more sense. Your writing, as always, is solid, and a pleasure to read. I'd love to see this short cleaned up and submitted somewhere. I think the premise is really strong. As I go - pg 6: she takes that demon news in stride. I expected more emotions about that - pg 8: yeah, I really fell out of the narrative with how well she deals with demons actually existing. Up to this point I was well hooked - pg 10: I feel the narrative is starting to wander. What is the arc? Where are we supposed to be going? - pg 12: yup, lost forward motion in the narrative. I think a lot of this area could be cut to streamline things - pg 14: I don't understand why the matron was upset. Didn't she want our MC to hold back? And then out MC does and the matron is upset? - pg 17: been ripped apart by my mother’s suicide, my father’s cowardice, and the whole uncaring mass of modern civilisation that wanted to squeeze every drop from my soul and discard my body in landfill. <-- authentic as they may be, this is over the top for me as a reader. I need more lead up to this, also it seems like a lot. The mother's suicide is, for me, enough trauma to drive the narrative, especially with the father's internet problem - I don't think the narrative loop closes sufficiently
  9. Overall I agree with @Mandamon and @C_Vallion that this is great, that it is neat to get answers, but that we need more sprinkled before. This is just surprising, not 'surprising yet inevitable.' But generally this was a sound installment and I had a blast, so I won't belabor the other points. Previous posters covered them well. As I go - pg 2: this is all great. I'm hooked - pg 4: AWESOME first beat. - pg 8: That seems like kind of a bum deal for the ashen people, even if it is 'luxury' - also I still don't understand why the ashen people don't leave. I think I need a better reason or hook for why they stay. Just 'luxury' without social interaction can't be worth it - pg 9: ah I see. It's addressed now. Excellent - pg 10: the energy bit is confusing - pg 11: does a kid want perfect clarity though? This seems like more of a hook for a scholar than a pubescent girl. I don't buy that its a hook for C - aww, I love the last line. Very kid
  10. Overall There are some good components in here, but a lot of trimming is needed. I also am just not connecting with A the way I want to. I actually really like the king and his verbal snares, and I like the spell stones. A...I think needs his emotions amped to like 11 in this, because he is way too calm for being interrogated by the king. Aside from that, I'd say your writing is improving. This needs far fewer cuts than earlier chapters, and I did see the arc and narrative progression despite some 'fat.' So well done there! As I go - the first sentence isn't a very strong lead in to a chapter - the first page does not compel me to keep reading. Too much talk of boredom and menial tasks and such make me feel bored, too - pg 2: the 'good morning your grace' seems to just be the first page repeating itself - pg 3: I think you can cut the entire first beat. I don't think it progresses the plot in any meaningful way that couldn't also be accomplished in one or two sentences - pg 4: I'm confused with all the new capitalized words - pg 6: tension really starts building here. I think maybe a page lead up to this is all we need, then wham onto the tension of page 6 - pg 11: they're talking about treason so I feel like I should care more, but I don't. There's...there's richness missing I feel like, from the story--potentially from reactions or emotions, that I think would make this feel more whole. right now I can tell important things are happening, but I don't yet care about any of them - pg 12: ah, the line of questioning is clearer, but I think the connection to the poisoning should be sooner and distinct enough that the reader can at least guess it is coming. I felt blindsided instead of 'surprising but inevitable'
  11. Overall I definitely don't think there is too much going on. I think the number of events are pretty reasonable, however I feel like they were mostly teases, which upset me as a reader. The tension would build (the fight, the spellstones, the poison transfer) and then nothing would come of it. There are three major tension events, but no tension outcomes, which leaves me feeling like reader promises were not kept--especially with the spellstones. I think there's a missed opportunity here to have A have effects of the spellstones or the poison cloud his hearing or equilibrium or something during the king talking (which was Plotful but not very dynamic) which would give much-needed tension to the info dump beat. It's getting better, and A does feel like his own character, interacting with the plot now. Now I'd like the plot to deliver on reader promises, and maybe spend less time getting info dumps from A's thought process. I think mostly I'm grumpy because I really loved the part with the spellstones and was expecting BIG TIME SHENANIGANS. More spellstone trouble, please. As I go - pg 1: this page has all the makings of a good, tense chapter opening, but is bogged down in words and, I'm not sure how to describe it...turned phrases that bleed out the tension. An example: - pg 2: This is a critical line: Two days in, and he’d stumbled into a royal assassination attempt. Goddess preserve him. That I think gets lost with all the mental musing before it. - pg 6: through here is just very internal, a lot of musing and thoughts when I want there to be more movement and action and talking. I think that's why its so hard for me to stay invested in A--he's really internal even when he's performing actions - the part with the fight where A realizes the other guy 'couldn't' have done it is nice - pg 11: I got excited that the spellstone was being lied about but then nothing came of it, which was disappointing. - pg 13: yes, very disappointed in the spellstone section. Now he's just talking to the king. We had all this good buildup and then just...fizzle. Same with the fight, though at least they fought - pg 16: I'd be far more engaged with this chatting and political stuff if A had been spellstone poisoned or something and was struggling to stay away while it was going on, so the tension was continuing up - I'm not sure that last beat is necessary. The part about A having poison on his clothes could easily be moved to an earlier scene and cause him to actually faint or something, which would increase tension
  12. Overall Generally, a very engaging chapter! I read right along with very few notes. I think the ending needs punched up a touch, and there's some wordiness at the start of the chapter that could be tightened, but overall I think this has a great arc, solid characters, and forward tension. Nicely done! As I go - that first paragraph is wordy in places. I think cutting down some words would help give it stronger impact - pg 1: Frustrated and feeling a growing rage <-- I'd rather see this than be told - through page four here I'm very engaged - pg 5: I'm confused. I thought G-M wanted C in trouble? So why is she now trying to burn down the hall to save C? Motivation switch I don't understand - pg 10: despite her feeling of present danger, she really wants to know what’s going to happen next. <-- LOL kind of meta but I like it - I think the end beat is off just a bit. It was building to a Big Reveal, and instead leaves us sort of dangling. I think a shock at the end might work better, like a teaser of what she sees (someone who looks just like her?)
  13. It’s longer than I’d like for a chapter, so if you have thoughts on what could be cut, or where/if it should be broken into two chapters, I’m all ears. There is a LOT of plot movement in this, as we are hitting the ramping up section of the book. Thanks again for reading!
  14. I'd also like a slot for Monday if there's space Edit - just did a word count and its 6,400 words. Anyone mind if I go over this week? I'll try to trim tomorrow before subbing but its a fairly event-heavy chapter
  15. Overall Some decent movement here, though it lagged during the dinner in a few places. For the most part I was fairly engaged. I still don't care for our MC much but this chapter did finally start me on a path to having some empathy for her. I do like the mystery of N and how get more about he's clearly a fairy. I completely agree with the above. As I go - I don't understand the parent exchange. One parent gives some fairly solid advice. The other says it is pessimistic. Then the first is pretty rude to the second. These two are married aren't they? Do they like each other? - pg 3: Take care with your words if you wish for more pastries in the future <-- This is not how teenagers talk. This is so stuffy - pg 6: it was moving at a decent romance clip until the interlude with asking the parents if they want to eat dinner with them. It's sagging through here. Suggest either cutting or setting up situational comedy/drama by having the parents popping down every so often to chat or get something or aggressively vacuum, etc. - pg 7: I’m capable of being attracted to anyone our age <-- surely he has crushes on movie stars and such who are older? - what is a jumpscare? - pg 7: You had better not say whatever mascot glitter companies use <-- huh? - pg 7: honestly the lines in the bottom half of page seven are not making any sense - pg 8: Where are the parents? Also I'm wandering with the singing stuff. I think it's going on too long without the plot really advancing or the date advancing - pg 12: I re-engage around the sunburn stuff - Aww, cute but sad ending