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Everything posted by kais

  1. I'm in for the upcoming Monday.
  2. Overall While I enjoyed the reunion and some plot details, this chapter had a somewhat wandering arc. I think the first eight pages could be cut entirely, and the end trimmed, to make a very powerful reunion scene. The emotional beats don't fall quite where I'd like, especially at the end, but I've flagged the stuff that really bugged me. I think basically what I'd like in this chapter is more forward plot progression, and less standing around talking. I like dialogue, a lot, but I'd like it in conjunction with either emotional growth or plot growth (ideally both). As I go, from IRELAND! - these first three pages I'd like to be in Z's head a bit more. This is her long-lost mother, and while I don't expect a barrage of overt emotion from her necessarily, there should be more thoughts in her head I think, especially if her expression of her autism has changed as she's gotten older, which is fairly common - pg 4: I still have a hard time with the 30 mile walk in a day, from teenagers who don't routinely walk 30 miles in a day - top of page 5 needs some dialogue tags. I had to read it three times to figure out who was talking - pg 7: I feel like there is a great deal of plot convenience happing in this chapter - pg 8: there is a ton of dialogue through these pages and I'm not feeling any real tension. We might need more actions with the talking, more forward momentum of the characters, to keep the dialogue working - pg 8: I think this dialogue and emotional arc, here, is where the chapter really starts. You could probably cut everything before - pg 11: It's weird to me that a place that really really wants women to have children would allow hysterectomies (assuming that is what you mean by 'the surgery') - pg 13: getting antsy. Too much talking and not enough forward movement, even though we are getting plot elements now - pg 14: why doesn't the mom have more questions about the egg? It doesn't seem like she knows more than the kids so wouldn't she be... shocked? Surprised? Curious? Horrified? Especially if her daughter is mixed up in it? - pg 15: it weirds me out that the mother is so surprised that Z has friends. It's a weird beat, and I wonder if it is from an older draft? - pg 16: and then her mother relents just because Z has friends? This doesn't ring quite right
  3. Hey @Silk should we maybe not do sub this upcoming week since half the board will be at OUR VERY FIRST RECon????
  4. Overall I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one? I think I have heavy WRS right now. I do miss Q's bi-ness, so I don't know if that's something you removed or it just didn't make it in this pass. Some thoughts on it are below. I liked the general premise of this chapter, but it felt a little wobbly, like the chapter was escaping from its jell-o mold in places. I think it needs some tightening and a few logic checks, but otherwise it progressed the narrative nicely and I did enjoy it. M, as always remains a delight. As I go - pg 4: do we know who Old Man is??? I thought it was Q's dad but... the antagonist mentions him too so now I think I've missed something entirely - pg 8: Q wondered if M was a friend or sweetheart; wife or daughter. Is Q still bi? Because if so, I don't think he'd hetero default like this - pg 13: I think something is missing in the scene where they get to the airport and get into the woman's truck. I feel like it happened too quickly, like there was a logic jump I missed, but I can't quite put my finger on it. How did they know their client was in that plane? I think that's what I need to know, and maybe feel a bit more emotion about it too, from Q - pg 14: If Q is still bi, then I think we should get a smidge more detail on the 'strapping sheriff' since we did get he was 'strapping.' A bit of his clothing, perhaps, to balance with our car driving lady - pg 17: so The Old Man is the ex-father-in-law, but is The Old Man referred to by M the same then? Yes?
  5. Overall Some good tension in places, and the emotions are a lot better. The voice age of the characters is also better. I think the biggest sticking points for me continue to be the dog (why is it part of the narrative? It just slows the pacing every time we get to it because it doesn't not appear to be a leg of the story) and the easy access to plot information. I also don't want a change of location at all. I love the antique store, and you spent so much time building the atmosphere of it in the front chapters that it almost feel like you set a reader expectation that the showdown would happen there, and now we get a new local. As I go - pg 1: I'm still wondering what relevance the dog has. It seems like it gets more screen time than almost any other character other than the main one, but doesn't seem to have a purpose - pg 3: so I was moderately on board with the library research exposition, but now on this page it reads just like a giant info dump. I want to see the character really work for the information, not just have it handed to them, then more or less handed to us, the readers - pg 5: every time vampires are brought in, and now gods, the story looses focus. I'd prefer one, maybe two elements. Otherwise it just feels like the story lacks focus and lacks a clear antagonist. Ditto on the aliens - pg 6: I no one creeped out that the doll is moving around!!?? - pg 7: emotions are definitely a lot better here - pg 10: there was some really good tension at the start of this chapter, but the doll offering an explanation so blatantly really shot it down. I wanted them to come out of the shadows or have the two kids wander around the store and find the mannequins weirdly propped in a corner with a tea set or something. The atmosphere is set for the antique store. I'd much prefer we stayed there - pg 11: I was pretty excited when they left the dog at home but now they're bringing it along? Don't they have to go back to the town or whatnot to get it?
  6. Overall I thought this was well done. Z's characterization is still quite solid, and the autism points are landing really well. The and she lied part almost made me cry. Total gut punch there. A few minor comments below but otherwise, I think for the age group you're going for, this hit all the right places. As I go - pg 2: and she lied <-- oh wow that line is powerful - pg 9: I'm in disbelief that they walked 35 miles in one day and aren't completely destroyed. That is a lot of walking, especially if you don't walk that far normally, and I don't think it has been established that these kids do like, 15 mile hikes routinely - pg 12: the innocence of these children is fantastically portrayed in their thoughts on the god king here - pg 16: It might have been a killing blow had she held the blade horizontally. Instead, her blade cut a decent gash in the demon’s chest but did not go in. Pain unlike anything she had ever felt before shot up Z's right arm, but she held onto the knife. <-- blocking is confusing here. She cut the demon and then she felt pain? Or did it slash her while they were fighting? - pg 17: If the first kid made the mistake of a battle cry and Z knew that, why would she then make one as well? This time it feels plot convenient - love the end!
  7. A quick demo. (straight) Male gaze: Her hair was long and lovely, piled on her head with wisps that curled around her heart-shaped face and helped hide the start of the crows feet near her eyes. <--- objectification. Reviewing characters as sex objects, objects to be desired, youth > experience (straight) Female gaze: She had long brown hair that was falling out of her ponytail. <--- hair coming out of a ponytail is irritating. Character empathizes. Character is not attracted to other women, so would not notice the same things a straight male would Lesbian gaze: She had thick brown hair that curled at the tips. Gathered on her head, the falling strands framed her face. My eyes lingered. <--- although this can vary wildly depending on the character, generally lesbian gaze in SFF shows attraction without a deep objectification. Character being gazed at is a person, simply also an attractive person. Lesbian gaze may show objectification, but it is generally very easy to pull from male gaze. Male gaze brings standard baggage, flavors of the patriarchy, disdain for personhood. Lesbian gaze usually brings objectification through connection with the humanness of the character.
  8. Overall Assuming you are purposefully coding L as a lesbian, I am pretty engaged with this story. The undercurrent of sexual tension keeps it moving when the world is somewhat slow and there does not seem to be an inciting incident yet. With that said, there are some definitive male gaze issues that need addressed, and whether you want to delete them or turn them into lesbian gaze will depend entirely on your story objectives. I'm on board for another chapter, for sure. This also pinged for me. I don't understand the society at all. Women led but still all the same problems as a patriarchy? Historically I don't think that's how that works. If your lead is straight, then yes, this is very objectifying. I read it inherently as showing interest (there's lesbian bias there) in the squire, because it's very 'I am interest in your physical attributes.' If our MC IS a lesbian, it just needs some tweaking. If she isn't... you'll need to do a pass for authorial voice and male gaze Looks like @Mandamon and @industrialistDragon have a lot of the same concerns I do, so I'll not belabor them. As I go - pg 2: men slumped while women shopped.... this raises a yellow flag to me - bottom of page 3: It kind of reads like L is crushing on A a bit. Here for it - pg 4: smothering a slight pang of jealousy beneath <-- no longer subtext. You have my attention - A woman’s legs aren’t supposed to be seen outside of the <--- men get hauled around shopping but there's weird skin restrictions on women? The world doesn't make sense right now - You’re not some Order priestess!” <-- confused. Is this a patriarchal society with prostitutes? Or a matriarchal one with women in chosen professions?? I'm so confused - I do like that the little boys wear skirts, too - and just another reason in a long list of reasons why L liked having the girl around. *coughs* - her middle-aged beauty <-- red flag for male gaze while in a female POV - She was ordinarily a lovely woman, with warm chestnut skin and shimmering golden hair that she kept tied in a bun on her head, her utilitarian blouse and skirt only serving to heighten the appearance of a diligent and studious worker. <-- second male gaze red flag. Unless you want to really out your MC as a lesbian. If so, these could work, but they'll need to be coded differently. Lesbian gaze and male gaze are very similar, but code differently in writing and have different roots (and different ideas on consent and such). If you do want to show lesbian gaze, let me know and I can help you with the rewrite - pg 19: mention of goddess. Matriarchal society then??
  9. overall These chapters suffered from the lack of emotions of some of your previous characters, and I had a hard time connecting even though I liked our MC originally. I also thought there was a lot of lag in the start, once we meet the psychic things are better. The doll ghost's voice seems very discordant with the narrative, and every time A spoke I was yanked from it. Might be something to look into there. Generally, I thought tension was lacking in these chapters, as well as emotional buy-in. The plot is interesting though! I agree with this! As I go - is that recap in the first sentence of chapter three needed, since we're coming in right off of chapter 2? It seems redundant - pg 2: the MC is taking this mannequin thing VERY well I feel like - It was pink, my least favorite color, and had ponies all over it, <--- AHEM - pg 5: I wasn't particularly hooked at the beginning, and at this point things are dragging. We got a ton of info about what is being packed but there's no tension from any of it. It seems very matter of fact, with the MC not really super concerned or afraid and so it makes it seem more like this happens every day, or they were expecting it - a lot of time is spent on the dog. It makes me think the dog will be plot relevant as a familiar or something - pg 8: the bit in the library was good, but now we are back to moving around and describing things without any real tension. MC needs more emotions, I think. This is all so matter-of-fact - pg 9: oh, the end of this chapter is excellent! - pg 12: Ma is mannequin that turned my mom and Mx. R to mannequins. <-- was this confirmed? I thought it was just implied? When was the decision made?? - pg 12: wouldn't our MC have asked A to confirm they were the same A? I'm so confused - “No one’s asked me that before. No one ever gave me to the option to not be she or he. I didn’t know there were other choices, but in my bones, back when I had bones, I knew I was neither boy nor girl.” Al’s purple lips pulled back into a grim smile filled with crooked green teeth. “I’ll try they.” <-- this does ping me as out of place. This kid died a while ago, right? This would be a harder concept, at least in terms of neopronouns. It also doesn't sound like a kid talking. This section threw me hard from the narrative. It's too on the nose, and too in the now, for the tone of the story and for the kid in question, I feel - And D is... perfectly fine with the ghost of a murdered child? Emotions? Anywhere? - pg 14: A's voice is in such deep contrast to their age and the other kids. It's really jarring - again, strong ending
  10. It was there, I remember it. I didn't comment on this because I didn't think I needed to. But noting some other comments, coming from another enby, I thought the whole thing read fine on that front. Blatant where it needed to be, unassuming in others. Zero issues.
  11. Overall Although I like the general narrative, I felt like both characters were over the top in this installation. M is a giant mustachio villain and T has a lot of panic and I don't know why, not really. I thought you did the homophobic slurs line beautifully, and there was some great dialogue in here! As I go - pg 3: woah. I had to read the 'five minutes later' paragraph three times. Because she's in that giant sweater and nothing else, and his reactions, there is some implied violence there and yet there isn't actually any and that's some pretty damnation fine writing even if it does make me squirm - pg 3: the 'inhumane coercion' line is a bit over the top and melodramatic - pg 4: oh wow there M. Pull out all the slurs. My favorite part though is that it is narrative refuted right there in the sentence with the addition of 'every other color of the rainbow.' That's excellent villainy writing, that is - pg 5: 'face-sucking cold' is a perfect line - pg 10: So.... is it that M is just threatening to expose her relationship E? Is that all this is about? Because it seems like a LOT of self hate and depreciation for a little infidelity. Not that I'm a proponent of infidelity, but I don't think I'd release monsters or whatnot over it, either. So if that IS what's happening, I might need more why. - pg 11: I feel like I'm getting lost. I'm still not clear what she is doing, and I'm getting antsy - I think the start of M's POV is a little too tell. It sucked the tension away.
  12. I was being goofy. You've set up a quintessential power dynamic, which is like the backbone of lesbian romance fiction. I was just calling it out in the narrative because A) hot and B.) HOT
  13. Heeeeey everyone! I've been in contact with Chaos and Silk these past few weeks, having good chats and whatnot. I've had some time to cool off and recuperate my 'spoons'. I've asked to be put back on the mailing list and I'm ready to emerge back on the boards again as well. With that said, I do think the lounge is a nice place to have, because as @Hobbit said, there really is no off-topic in writing, since the world informs our work. I thought a fresh slate might be in order, so to speak. SO... WELCOME TO LOUNGE II. Herein we can discuss writing related and writing tangential things, and anything else that doesn't have a topic home (while still being sensitive to the marginalizations of others). To kick things off, I'll start. *deep breath* I sent ATD to my editor this week! Eeeee! I also got accepted as a supporting author at GayRomLit and finished drafting TWD. Whew! I also, somehow, miraculously, made it to season 12 of Writing Excuses so I now feel marginally caught up with the rest of you. Anyway, that's me. Now please fill me in on what I've missed here!
  14. Psssst.... 'wasting' paper keeps me employed! Overall Good tension with the adults turning into mannequins, and good sense of wonder overall. My only real issue is that it felt like the wonder/tension was all over the place. I'd rather see more generalized fear of the paranormal than the specific call outs, because it felt like I was being led all over the place and then wham the mannequin transformation. And not wham in a good way, but more a 'wtf is happening' way. It'd be a relatively minor fix to streamline the tension/horror scenes, I think. Generally though this was a strong entry and I am very interested in our MC and her goals! As I go - pg 1: how does the outhouse line fit with the rest of the first paragraph? - pg 2: My t-shirt and cargo were Cargo pants maybe? - pg 5: I love the realization that the mannequin thing is probably bunk, but the kid is going to keep playing anyway. So cute. Much buy-in. 12 is such a great age for stuff like this - Antiquing was like a treasure hunt. Most of the stuff in the shop was actually junk, but there might be something on a shelf for twenty dollars that mom could sell for two hundred, or if we were really lucky, two thousand. We already know all this so this whole paragraph could easily be cut - pg 8:I think the chapter would end stronger if it ended on mom maybe trailing off with something like, "Do you think those things are real?" Mom just smirked and walked away. Right now, the end seems like.... no tension. No arc. If you backed it up just a bit and left Mom's reaction ambiguous, that would lead some tension into the story and the mannequin thing - pg 12: I feel like at this stage we're being teased with too many potential supernatural elements, and that promises to the reader are already being discarded. If the idea is to have the kid believe in generalized magic, then I think some of the specifics of vampires and mannequin stuff should be left out. If the doll is going to be possessed, then maybe a generalized fear of being watched or something? Right now I feel pulled in three different paranormal directions and it's distracting me from our MC - pg 14: wait, the mannequin game is mom's and not the MC's? Did I know this already?
  15. Overall This chapter is fairly solid, and the MC has decent voice in it. The parts I'm still really struggling with are buy-in (I don't have any yet) and the Random Proper Nouns that keep being presented without description. I need more concrete worldbuilding before chapter four, I think, and some deeper tension, to really be engaged with where the narrative is headed. I'm not even sure what threat the town really has ATM. As I go - pg 2: I just read the previous chapter yesterday but I'm still not clear on what is going on. The villain here seems to be from a comic book, and the way said villain talks is more like comedy than anything meant to build tension - pg 5: J's internal rambling here about wanting some revenge continues to fall flat because I do not yet care about J or her struggles. A temple exploded, but I don't care about the world yet, either. I'm reading and searching for an anchor, right now - pg 7: 'manhunter registry' would have more impact if I knew what it was. I feel like this is a fairly common element here in the story. We get given a Proper Noun without context and are expected to use it as a hook without getting any information - pg 10: I still wish I knew what a Blacknight was in relation to why it should be driving fear and tension. The narrative keeps saying be afraid but I don't know why or of what
  16. Overall Well I am pretty much blown away by the changes in tone and voice in this chapter. You've cleaned like 75% of the issues I had with the piece, and the addition of really solid autistic narrative brought up the tension and buy-in for me. Like, if just reading this chapter in a bookstore I would hands down buy the book on spec. So yeah, nice work on this! As I go - pg 3: That tone was worse than Expression #37 <-- I adore this - pg4: Papa used that gesture sometimes when Zu felt overwhelmed or her sensory issues kicked in and she couldn’t calm down. I'd rather be shown this first, then get the gesture explanation. Right now it's just telling, I think, more than anything else - pg 5: I can't remember, was lying to the priest hard for her? It makes sense that lying to her father is, and that's another one of those fairly common autism sets that I'm not sure if you're trying to edge to the autism side, or just keep as a neurotypical response. It's sort of half and half right now - pg 6: "This is insane!" While the words 'crazy,' 'insane,' etc., are just starting to really come under fire in the writing community for being ableist (and quite frankly I'm not even sure where I fall on that line), in a book with a neurodiverse character, they might be too on the nose. - pg 9: oh wow that whole 'you told me to be normal so I did' section is excellent - pg 10: Ahhh, hanging a lantern on ableism! YAY! - pg 11: there are no other autistic people in the whole town? I kind of side eye this since it's so prevalent historically, but this is a fantasy so hey, maybe things are different - pg 11: Let’s not get crazy now <-- since you called out ableism directly, I'm thinking these words should definitely not be in there unless you explain why they'd persist in the vocabulary of a man who just realized he was being ableist - pg 13: Someone like you, she noted.. WOW that's a gut punch - pg 15: I think M is my favorite - pg 18: the ceremony section is fantastic
  17. Overall I think this chapter might have gotten a bit long in the tooth there at the end with the description of all the hybrids. With that said, I loved the T/E interplay so no complaints from me. The tension from the relationship kept me well engaged. I think the ending needs a bit more snap because I'm unsure what the arc of the chapter is, but generally I was quite happy. Love the work you've done on the lesbian/bi set, and the bit of love triangle mixed with power dynamic. That's quintessential lesfic right there. You've got me well hooked! Re: the bi line - I offered an option below. I think it is in-character from what we know of her thus far, so I'm not super bothered by it, but I do think it needs softening. You've got three f/f pairings here, more or less, so at least one needs to be pretty on the up and up. Representation and all that. But if you want one to use sex to get stuff done, hey, that's variety! Especially if she has Very Secret Feelings going on, too! Lesbian Redemption Arc - also classic lesfic. Hit all the tropes. DO IT. As I go - pg 5: oh I forgot there were lesbians in this! - "mooning over some girl in a suit." Look, this is a deeply relatable line. I feel called out. - pg 6: the number of POV hops is a little much but I'm following okay - gahhhhh okay shiver at the dyke word, but in character and narrative refuted so yes, carry on. Still. Ick. Mor here well established as... what will the forum let me use. Arse? - pg 7: Was E always this cut throat? The 'B' word seems harsh. I have no issues with the oral to get ahead but adding in the 'b' word makes her less sympathetic, and I know what's coming... - pg 8: ohhhh she's having a dalliance with a married woman! THE PLOT THICKENS - pg 8: I moderately hung on the 'decided to be bi' part, but with the 'b' word dropped earlier, I think it might be consistent with her personality. I think what it might be lacking is adding a "And that was how she knew what she felt for T was real, and maybe she wasn't actually just pretending the whole bi thing." To soften it just a bit - pg 11: I'd put 'friend' in quotes because she's already admitted to herself that this woman is more than a friend - pg 12: The unspoken addition: T is into E because Lesbian Power Dynamic is a real thing - hmm. The ending seems to lack a finish
  18. Overall For reference, this is on the revision, not the original. Overall I was... confused. What was the arc to this chapter? What did it add to the forward momentum of the story? Was it just a backstory/info dump chapter? I felt like there was too much dialogue and not enough tension. The tension that I think was supposed to build in the temple never did because I didn't have enough buy-in. I think if you cut maybe half of this chapter out, that would help. Then perhaps some streamlining of the worldbuilding with a specific look at tension elements. I think the story is in there, it's just too padded out right now to be easily accessible. I deeply agree with this. Also Greek culture was very, very gay, so I'd expect to see elements of that everywhere. As I go - pg 5: Leading with 'you have nothing to worry about' doesn't seal any tension for me. I'm trying to figure out why we are getting so much discussion about things we don't need to worry about - pg 5: 'Blacknight' doesn't mean anything to me so again, tension isn't building - pg 8: the chapter is wandering. I can't figure out what the arc or the through line is. It is hard to keep from skimming - pg 15: still unclear what the point of this chapter is - pg 19: it looks like the inciting incident starts on page 19? Wait, no, it doesn't seem to lead to anything else
  19. Hey @Asmodemon, you want one of our RECon t-shirts we are getting? If so I need to know size and if you want straight or fitted cut. They'll be about $25.
  20. Uh, everyone? Registration is open!! If you're new, we maybe sort of decided to do an in-person get together at WorldCon 2019 in Dublin. It will certainly be nothing like the first meetup of The Guild. Everyone is welcome. I AM SO EXCITED! ETA: SO EXCITED AND NOW OFFICIALLY REGISTERED!
  21. Overall I'm conflicted on this. If this character won't appear again, then the prologue is useless. However the backstory gives me so much of what I have been missing in the chapters that I'm loathe to suggest you cut it entirely. The soul lanterns in particular make a ton more sense and I have a greater feeling of stakes. With that said, I'd like to get more fear from the demons/things attacking the people, and why they matter. Right now that is still blurry, and I didn't get a ton of tension from the lantern-less girl, either. So basically I think if you could really tighten this (not make it longer, mind, but tighten), it might really work as a prologue. And I hate prologues, so that is saying something I think. Also, you landed the brown default this time. Nicely done. I agree with this as well. You could scrap this prologue and put the good stuff in other places, if desired. The prologue isn't really vital, though this particular one doesn't bother me all that much. As I go - pg 1: AHAHA yes to brown default. Working excellently here - pg 3: 'Creep' seems very bland and also poorly defined so I'm having a hard time drawing tension from it - pg 5: I would have liked the consequences of losing one's lantern to be maybe discussed in dialogue rather than in thought. The narrative lost tension here - pg 6: should 'turn of age' be capitalized?? - pg 7: I think you'd have a stronger ending if you ended on 'Move out!" The last page doesn't add anything
  22. What's the writing street cred in your in-person group compared to this one? That might help weigh the feedback...
  23. As always I assume, better late than never Overall The pacing is much improved in this rewrite, though I feel at the expense of characterization. M and Q don't leap off the page as much in this version, and Q seems a lot more bitter than usual. He's very down on M, who doesn't get much of a chance to shine. Pacing wise I thought this was great atmosphere and set up and have zero issues with it. I'm engaged in the story would happily keep reading in a book store. I do miss M, in particular, but only because I know what she is capable of. I also miss our man-flirting Q, because that was always hilarious! I remember this issue last time. I think it's better now, but still there. I understand why they're not taking the other jobs, but that doesn't stop me from wanting them to. As I go - pg 3: I feel like Q's note on the android's body was a missed opportunity for some Q homoeroticism stray thoughts - hahahaha he's finding lost dogs. EXCELLENT! - pg 10 Q's pretty hot under the collar in this section. With the 'crazy' remark he's really been kind of rough with M for new readers. I think she might need to hard core fire back to even things up - pg 11: Honduras cellulose worm Oh. My. God. I love it
  24. I'm generally fine with flash fiction, but I have no idea what the arc of this was. I get there are two timeframes but... how does a kid being taught to burn blood play into the first and third parts? I've gone through it now three times, and on the third time I got that the MC is under the control of the wizard. But what does the MC have to do? Why is it bad? I think stakes are missing, mostly. I don't mind the shortness or the content, really, just need things to be clearer. I think a number of the sentences could be cleaned as well, since it seems a touch purple where brevity would be useful. I think this is where I am at, too. The middle was very strong, and parts one and three confused me. Part one would be fine if part three was more definitive.
  25. Well, I'm ridiculously behind, aren't I? Overall Ah, this is much better than round one! Very nice pacing through the start and I was much more engaged with the story. The fight still bored me because I didn't understand why it was happening, and I think the chapter went on a bit long, but otherwise I think this was a really solid rewrite that really launches the next chapter! As I go - pg 2: scientists would not use the word 'eons.' A scientist would be very, very specific. - pg 3: I don't think grad student gaze would be that descriptive or about 'stuff.' Grad student gaze would be more, "Oh crap, she's the grant money, isn't she? GOD LOOK BUSY ALREADY!' Although in this case it might be, "Huh. Police. Meh. Hey Sally, did you do a diameter check on that last molar? Want to compare to the three I found this morning? Samir has the centrifuge and we can sort by dry weight once we powder them later, if you want. Oh, hey, why is the fuzz still here?" - would she really chuck a coffee mug when they're in the boonies? That seems like a waste - pg 9: okay there are too many words I don't know that I need introduced. I'm into the storyline and the pacing is fine but I don't understand the magic system, as it were, or some of these proper nouns that keep being thrown around - pg 10: okay wait what? I thought the magic guy knew someone at the dig site? What is going on? Why are they fighting?? - I skimmed the fight because I had no idea why it was happening. Pg 13 and we are getting stakes and plot and I'm back in - pg 15: I think you need like, one line more after your first sentence on this page, and then end the chapter. After this it goes into info/plot dump and the tension fades. The rest is another chapter, I think - pg 17: yes this is a bit too much now. Too much information. I'd rather get it piecemeal and have R figure it out during another chapter.