kais

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Everything posted by kais

  1. I'll also be at a con this weekend hawking books. I wish you many sales and excellent costumes.
  2. I didn't have any as I go comments. I think the make out scene did add some needed tension, and the magic reveal after it made sense. I still think this feels like a short, and would work very well as one, since now that the tension is building I expect A to harness their power (of love? aheh) and go get their property back. Like this could wrap up very nicely in another chapter or two and be a solid short, especially for the anthology. If it were novel length-however, I think I would feel adrift, knowing that the tension wouldn't amp up fast enough and I'd be caught in a sort of middling tension the for hundreds of more pages. But as a short I would be very excited about it. It remains one of your best written pieces to date!
  3. Okay, so no as I go since its a trial piece. Generally, it paced along well until about page four, when the head villain showed up and the dialogue fell into bravado and almost maid-and-butler back and forth. The fighting of the minor villains was interesting, but I didn't have enough feel for the world to be engaged in a larger boss battle so early in the book. I need more grounding before I'm ready for a pages long dialogue-and-fight. I also think the primal reveal comes too early. Maybe that should be more the focus of the book, with our MC finding that out at the end? Starting off with a chosen one trope where the choosing has already happened doesn't lend a lot of tension. For some comp reading, The Blade of the Poisoner is an older MG novel with this same sort of talents vs. elemental feel, and does well with tension around the chosen one issue. You could read it in like two hours, if I am remembering correctly how short it is. Your Questions Concept, power, and limitations The gun parts are entertaining to me, as I generally like guns. The magic system as it were I think could use a bit more mystery in terms of elementals being revealed so early. I have more thoughts on that above. As far as limitations, it already appears that our MC is The Most Powerful, so right now I don't have a sense of tension about his harm. I do enjoy E the powerful flower vendor, however. Read more? I'd be wary due to the boss battle already and the reveal of Super Power, but I'd give it another chapter to see if E develops. Fights within a flower store could be really fun to read. It's a good start for a draft, and I think with tightening it could be a solid novel start. It is definitively urban fantasy, so your grounding is firm.
  4. Overall This read pretty well, and I don't have a lot of comments. I do feel like S has regressed a lot, and we're back at the start of book one. I'd like to see a bit more growth on him, even as we recognize all the horrors he went through in book one and how they affected him. Even if it's just a bit of introspection about how he could go out if he had both the twins, but not without one, or something akin. I expect him to be reeling from what he did, and losing his memories is a great touch, but I also want to see some touchstones of his growth over book one, too. I remain, as always, very excited for where this book will go! Dramatis personae I generally love these, although the format of yours is much longer than I've seen before. In sci fi I feel like they're usually species, age, gender, some identifiable characteristics. The ones you have given are probably too long for people to read at first pass. I'd suggest cutting them down. As I go - pg 5: a lot of redundancy on 'what was the sound?' Suggest switching it up to things like 'did you hear that?' and such - the 'new house' is more or less a reveal, even for your seasoned readers. I'd suggest leading more with that idea, like S contemplating his new house.
  5. Chapter two of the short that has grown into probably a novel. No longer constrained by anthology limits so anything is game. Flow and buy-in comments specifically welcome.
  6. Final installment! Edits since last time:1) Methal is now a heavy magic-using kingdom. Magic is banned in E but there’s still a black market2) MCs no longer do poo battle with dragons. Now they just get pulled into the carriage after getting damp butts from the sedge3) Methal has a large magic library, from which Met stole a book written by the original colonists about early magic, and how early colonists kept ending up in other people’s minds. Book has a way to stop it but one of the people has to die. Other than that, events are all basically the same. I have about 500 words to play with and I wouldn’t mind using them on these last two chapters, especially the final separation scene, which might be too brisk. Any thoughts at all are welcome, but especially if the ending hits home and if you think the separation magic stuff needs some work.
  7. Hey Silk (unsure how to tag), could we maybe get this pinned for a bit? I think it's a discussion that needs to happen. So heeeeeey everyone. Here is your place to discuss all things pronoun related, gender related, maybe a dash of #ownvoices or QUILTBAG dynamics in writing. This is a safe place for questions, but expect honest answers. Debate is encouraged, but be respectful of those within marginalized communities. So, if the use of 'they' or 'it' bugs you, post about why. If you are having problems understanding why non-gendered or non-binary characters would be written, ask it here. If you write these characters and need guidance, post away! If you want to share stories, or offer your own expertise, please do so! I'll start this off. I write both agender characters and non-binary characters with some frequency. I struggled for a long time with pronouns, but found this very helpful: http://nonbinary.org/wiki/Pronouns#Id , especially as I am non-binary but do use a female pronoun (cause gender is complicated, yo). There's been a strong movement recently in the non binary community to move to 'they', which, as a collector of languages, I'm not a fan of, but I can see where it would be an easier transition than introducing a new word entirely. What does irritate me is the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss new pronouns because they are 'hard to read'. If we dismiss everything that we find uncomfortable, we never broaden our worldview, and, whether intentionally or not, discriminate against underrepresented voices.
  8. There's some precedent for using xie/xir in mixtures in SFF. I have seen 'xiefriend' for girlfriend/boyfriend and X. in the place of Mr. or Ms. You can of course, avoid the honorific issue by giving the nonbinary person a title, like Dr., but we have Mx. for that, too. Personally I adore the xie-additions to normal words, but I don't speak for everyone in the community, either.
  9. Ahh good call. I've changed so much in the beginning it doesn't make as much sense. I have edited it heavily Check. I've tied it back into the magic versus nature thing I put in the edited beginning. I think it makes more sense now This is partly WRS and partly bad blocking. Will fix. Have fixed sleeve description and O's problematic blocking Yes. This got played up a lot more in the early parts so it isn't so shocking now Have expanded! Ehhhhh. There's like three lines about it scattered throughout. I'll reread and see how things are coded now. It may or may not stay. Thank you so much! One more read through and this thing is off to the editor!
  10. Your questions Yes, it sounds like your pitch. I don't think the pronouns were a problem. I think my biggest question is how long were you planning on this running? I don't think it has enough 'thickness' for a full novel, but could make a great novella or short of some other form. Overall This piece I think actually would work really well in the anthology we are both in. I'm not sure how it will fare as a longer piece, as there's not enough tension to keep me invested. It was hard to keep reading in that last chapter as I was waiting for something to kick off, or some inciting incident. Overall though I think this is the best piece of writing you've submitted to the forum thus far. It has a lot of heart and great characterization. With a little bit more forward momentum it'll be a great piece. As I go - pg 3: trespassing is one word, not two - end of page three: while I had been enjoying the ambiance, it's dragging on way too long at this point. I need either a plot development or some tension - ch1: I'm not sure how I feel about the first chapter. From a technical writing standpoint it's solid, and I like the imagery. I think it might just not be my genre, because I don't sense an immediate threat, thereby don't have any tension. I also wonder at this point how A can save their old house when they have failed to follow through, it seems, on a number of prior things (like PhD, etc.). I think I might need a reason for the failures and some show that things have changed and this is the turning point in A's life. That might help a lot - pg 5: as an academic aside, if they went right from undergrad to PhD, I'm not surprised they didn't make it. That's hard. - pg 9: Is A purposefully coded as bipolar? - I enjoy the A&P interaction - aren't all wines fruit wines?? - pg 12: ah okay, so definitely bipolar
  11. Overall Much improved and I think almost set to go. I made a few notes below. I do have a question though. Are we meant to see that Ori is pompous but the council is also bullish and pig headed? Is it sort of a both sides are grey deal? Because I want to get behind Ori at the end but his reasoning prior is problematic. Not sure how you were hoping the piece to land. If the stimm gets better explained, I'd feel comfortable saying he falls within a recognizable yet still accurate band of autism behaviors. Depending upon how much more you want to do, @Mandamon, you could show that Ori really understands by seeing the need for pressure from hitting the wall, and then deducing the blanket pressure of the air (which I think is implied, but could be pulled out more, too). This is a grey area because stimming is not inherently autism related. It generally comes from SPD, so you're weaving in a (very identifiable) comorbid into the equation. But the general population doesn't know how to tease those apart, and many autistic people do also have SPD so it makes sense. (As an aside, so many autistic people also have SPD that my kid's therapists insisted she must have it too because they'd never seen autism without it. That was a lot of fun. Ahh, small towns.) As I go - intro rework: ahh, I get a much better picture of O now! Yes, the pompous comes through. - pg 21: the hitting the wall while writing-- you've identified the stimm but not the cause. Since he enjoys the equation he presumably doesn't need to stimm from that. Is it a reaction to their presence disrupting him? If so you might want to add something like 'when they'd first come in he'd just been writing, but now he stopped every so often to knock his hand rhythmically against the wall." or something. A stimm, generally, is a way to calm down from too much input, or to give input when too little is available. As you've presented the equation as enjoyable and what he prefers to be doing, reading the section had me immediately go back and search for the disruption, since, to me, knowing what inputs he likes tells me a lot about the character. - I'm still confused as to why Kr doesn't know how to help La. If all males in the species are like this, shouldn't all the women know more or less how to help? Or is it just Kr, specifically, that doesn't know? If so might be worth a line with her indicating that everyone else seems to not mind but she's got places to be, or something. - I like the part where Ori considers diving into the equations. Shows us a bit more about why he is the way he is
  12. I'd like to submit on Monday
  13. Happy to have another read through.
  14. Any and all edits welcome. Changes since last time include: the visits are now only 30 seconds long and they come with a lot of nausea and unfocused vision.
  15. So this has me thinking about media that has good autism rep, which is hard. The saying is of course that 'if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism' because the spectrum is SO wide. The Accountant (a movie with Ben Affleck, who is clearly not autistic) was pretty decent, in my opinion, in showing a well-rounded autistic lead. He has some comorbids in there, especially Sensory Processing Disorder, so if you give it a watch know that that is a separate issue. The needing to complete things is, as far as I know, more part of the general autism package. You might also consider reading 'Asperger's Children' which is a fairly new book but looks at why we think of autism on 'high functioning' versus 'low functioning,' which is utter hogwash, and how that kind of thinking came from Nazi Germany. It gets into the nitty gritty of how autism is defined and how we relate it to children. The other thing to consider is sex differences. Things like ADHD and autism manifest differently in girls than in boys, and no one is quite sure why that is. For decades people literally thought girls couldn't be autistic, that it was just a boy thing. There's some neat areas of research that look at autism and the brain--looking at autism as a sort of 'masculinization' (since we equate analytics with masculine thought). The theory (and it's only a theory) is that since girls are socialized more, the masculinization of their brain simply moves them closer to a non-autistic boy brain (and in fact, brain scans show autistic girl brains looking very much like neurotypical boy brains!) and that for boys who are already socialized to be more analytical, it moves the brain into such a deep analytical plane that social skills are left behind. It's just one theory, but I think it helps contextualize understanding autism, and sex differences in autism, and why so many autistic people are on the queer spectrum as well. I think if you read that book and watched the (very different) movie, it might give some starting points. So I guess... happy homework?
  16. I think the issue is that these two things don't play well together. You're (unintentionally) implying that autism = childlike, which is squicky. I suggest removing one or the other to avoid those Unfortunately Implications. A quick primer on autism as well, below, if you're unfamiliar. I think it's a bit muddled in the narrative, because it isn't really defined. Autism, itself, is not a disability so much as just a different wiring of the brain. It's the comorbids that can come with it that can create disability, such as sensory processing disorder (doesn't like loud noises, needs loud noises, doesn't like the way fabric feels, can't eat certain foods, etc.), ligamentous laxity (super loose joints--why some autistic kids walk kind of funny), speech delays, etc. Autism itself is really more the brain prioritizing analytics over social. I could see this working in a hive sort of situation, especially in an engineering Pixie domain, but I think it might need to be brought out a bit more... like he can't leave his blueprints because he's not done with them yet, darn it, and O keeps trying to get the guy to look at him so he knows he is listening, but the guy won't because he can hear O just fine, why does he have to turn his head and listen? But you could also just throw some of the comorbids at him and not have the autism at all. You can definitely have Sensory Processing Disorder without autism, for instance, which might be easier to write in a short because it has such well defined parameters. Happy to answer any follow up questions. I'm not sure we have any autistic members on the forum anymore, (or if we do, any that want to chime in), but my kid is autistic so I'm in this world, if only tangentially.
  17. Overall For a short I think it works pretty well. The ending might need a bit more punch to it, since I think it won't land for anyone who hasn't read your entire back catalogue (I have learned the term is 'completionist'). Particularly, I think O's chat with the council should be a bit.... stickier? More dynamic? Show him really breaking away from them or something akin, so this launches into Tuning. Your Questions -Is it enjoyable? yes! -Is the magic system and worldbuilding clear? yes, but I'm old hat at it now -Are the characters engaging? Well, more or less. I still don't get much of a sense for the Pixies as a whole. O is more O in this installment, and less doe-eyed than in the first one. I don't know if that's good or bad. I liked him naive but this feeds better into the main books. -Does the story make sense? yes -Is the end of the story satisfying? Are there any promises you don't think I fulfilled? As below, I think you need to really hit the nail on the head with the council. Really show how O takes the council's dismissal and how he resolves to interact with them in the future. Make it sting. That would make a nice, sharp ending. As I go - Is L autistic? Is that why O gives him the pressure and the schedule to focus on? - he recovers pretty quickly from killing someone - so if the offspring won't be engineers, does that mean they'll be warriors? Yes? - I don't understand the reveal in the 'make choices quickly' paragraph - pg 32: The 'finally, recognition' part is VERY O. - pg 34: so does the Hivemother use the Symphony through singing? or is that some other thing she is doing to get the soldiers to genuflect? - pg 36: there's a strange disjunct between calling L's items 'toys' and having him be the mother's mate. Is this meant to show the infantilization of the men?
  18. Ahahah typo. Urp. I've pulled it out a touch more in the first chapter. I just don't have the space to really drag it out. Since it's not super plot relevant it may just need to stay subtle. I LOVE IT All little things and easy enough to fix, especially since some of it was dealt with in edits to chapter one. Thank you!
  19. Lantern it is! This is my perpetual problem with this anthology piece. I have a hell of a time writing future magic systems. I'll see how I can build magic into the world earlier.... and looking into this just now, it looks like I put a bunch of it into chapter one when I rewrote it after last week. Aheh. WRS and some vagueness on my part. Will punch up. LOL. Okay, good info to have! I'll get this all smoothed out. Thank you for the comments! Hoping to get to yours today.
  20. Oh that's fine then. Exactly what I was going for.
  21. Second attempt. So this… thing I have here is just over 12K, which is the word limit (submitting in 5K chunks, of course). Hence I’m all ears for any crit, but if you want me to add something I’m going to challenge you to also suggest where/what I could cut to get it in. The first page, in particular, I think could be cut down. My goals for this piece included the following: a) trope-filled b.) fluffy and fun LBLs or generalized comments welcome. I’m especially interested on thoughts on the neopronouns and if you would prefer a different set, or even they/them/theirs. I’m not married to the ones I used, and this is going in an anthology where pronouns are expected to be different, but I haven’t settled on which set works best yet. Thanks! (and warning for @Robinski - there's a market scene. Please forgive me!)
  22. Also up for the 4th
  23. This was intentional. I liked the idea of a slow world reveal but if it bugs people I can always change it. Gay cliche or market cliche? yup! Can you tell O has had like four different pronouns at this point? This is a relatively easy fix to do that I don't think should add too many words. Check. Gendered greetings are so standard in many parts of our world that it seemed... not quite right to ignore them on a colony planet. Who knows what culture colonized it first! Thank you for the feedback! Will get to the LBLs tomorrow likely. Ah, I was wondering about this. I've clarified that there's disorientation and nausea for a good part of it, and have shortened the time to thirty seconds. I've also made the first interaction a lot more rushed. Hoping that helps. Okay, that's two votes for this. I've stuck in a mention of solar farms early on. Might do another little thing as well. Probably about 400 more of those, too, since I keep going back and forth. Ugh. Why are pronouns so hard? Hey @shatteredsmooth can we call an enby conclave and just vote on a standard set, please? Thank you as always, @Mandamon! Good edits to hit.
  24. LOL that'd be me. I've frequently gotten the feedback from agents that you need to give readers time to get invested in a character before you swap the POV, otherwise they leave the book. I have to say that over time I've come to agree with it, as sometimes I get so mad at POV swaps that I skip the sections with the new character altogether and then get frustrated and chuck the book, whereas if I get a few chapters with a character I'm a bit more willing to put them aside for a moment for someone else.
  25. Overall This read more like the back end of a short and if I look at it that way, it has good potential. I still want to see that party scene so I can get more information on the world, characters, and sibling interactions though! Your Questions How does that backstory work as a reason for the divide between Ulsa and Enzi? I did not feel there was sufficient backstory and I still don't know why they are divided. Cutting the ceremony out is part of the problem, I think. Is the middle of the story an okay place to reveal this? I'd prefer upfront, because otherwise I lack emotional buy-in How confusing was the way it alternated between past and present? I assume you're referring to the flashback? If you fix the tense issues I don't think it would be an issue. After page 8, I think E reacts more than they act, the story gets two internal in the one section that should be more action driven, and I am certain at least one of the two reveals in the end was poorly set up, though the set up will change anyway when I rewrite the first part. If you do read this part, am I right about the problems it has? I didn't mind the action scenes. The reveal needs some work but most of my quibbles could be resolved by more buy-in work up front. I detail more below. Which scenes might be worth keeping in some form? I vote: * intro: we go right to coronation, see some conflicted emotion on sis' face, E is paranoid about security, we get some dialogue about 9 * mid: ceremony ends fine, then bubble comes down. OH NOES! Attack! * mid2: FIGHT * end: sibling reunion and plot twist that makes sense due to inclusion of intro As I go - pg 1: you've got tense changes throughout here - pg 1: if the nine don't show up, as you noted, then telling us about the protections doesn't serve much purpose here. I'd suggest moving it to later. By leading with the party line, I want a party! - wait, a door closed and cut someone's arm off? From the first few sentences it sounded like we were about to camera zoom to a party. There's a disconnect between the first few lines and the rest of page one, I think. - E is pretty calm about this lost arm thing - J lost an arm, yet J isn't screaming? E is calm? MOAR EMOTION pls and thank you - Okay wait so now the nine are here, but the opening lines said they didn't come? Are the opening lines meant to tell us that the party already happened and the nine didn't come? I don't know if I care for that. The hook was the party, and we got more of a bait and switch, which leaves me grumpy. - pg 3: not getting any tension from the nine as I don't know anything about them. E's panic doesn't hit home and I'm mostly still concerned about J losing an arm and no one seeming to really care about it. J is bleeding out! Where's the tourniquet? Medics? - pg 3: this plan is nebulous and since I know nothing about it nor am I invested in the stakes (which I think are SAVE EVERYONE?), I'm having a hard time caring. At this stage, I need: * backstory on the nine * to know if J is okay * what the plan in * why I care about the party people - pg 4: the code phrases don't really need explanation. I think it's clear from the text what they are - I don't know enough about R to care about him yet - pg 5: goddess statue is cool! - pg 6: this tense hopping thing needs to be cleaned up before and in the flashback. After a few paragraphs I didn't know if I was back in the main story and they were being attacked too, or if I was still in the flashback - pg 7: the nine are in the bubble thing, but the beginning said they hadn't shown up? Confusion - pg 10: at this stage I want to know the story of the castle and the people. Without it, the liberation army here doesn't resonate. Who am I supposed to be cheering for? Who are the nine? Why do they hold the castle? What do giant robots have to do with anything? - pg 12: why would E's sister hate them? The going through bedrooms part is nice and I appreciate the worldbuilding, but I don't know enough about the sibling dynamic here. - lilac isn't a proper noun - the goddess curses still sound clunky. Maybe do the full version the first time and then shorten it? People always shorten things. Maybe first time it's DURN GODDESS BLESS THIS RUBBISH TRASH HEAP (the site won't let me use the words I want) and then the short form is 'ess forsaken' or something shorter - E is fighting Eld but I don't know who he is or why I care about her yet, making it hard to get into this fight scene - pg 15: this info about Eld should probably come sooner - pg 16: 'puppet ruler' has no context because I don't know anything about the world - pg 17: this 'don't want to be ruler' twist would be so good if we got to see the ceremony and some sibling interaction first! - pg 17: the parents disapproving line--probably should clarify that's not gender related since I think the anthology doesn't want that sort of stuff? Or possibly I made that rule up in my head. Feel free to ignore - pg 19: the reveal of sis not wanting to be ruler is dragging too long now. It would make a great end to the story, but not with the extension it has OR with more plot to talk about beforehand. In general though I personally don't care for these 'let's discuss everything to death' endcaps. I'd prefer the story speak for itself, but since this is a discovery draft I totally get how writing it out here is helpful for reformatting the front end.