industrialistDragon

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  1. I think @Mandamon has pretty much covered most of what I have to say on this. It's very good to finally be getting to the objective that was stated way back in ... chapter 3? 4? But it is yet again more travel. Tense travel, to be sure, but I feel just so DONE with the "getting there" part. I am getting close to done with the "arriving just to be shot at" parts, too. The pregnancy ruse does feel a little hackneyed, but then it is Q, and that feels decently on-brand for him. Ref says, I'll allow it. However, the two checkpoints back-to-back feels a little superfluous, no matter how accurate it would normally be. Maybe one can be summarized, so that there's only one that has "reading time" spent on it? I am also slightly unclear what Q wants with Mor at this point, other than to kill the man himself. To double check the information on his son that the voice gives him? But then, why would Mor tell Q the truth? Corroborating a untrustworthy source with a less trustworthy one seems a little pointless to me.. I am also still fairly flummoxed by how all the businesses fit together and where Q fits (used to fit?) into all of it. ". He needed neither flippancy" -- Well SOMEbody's feeling a little threatened, aren't they? lol. I like D. i also like his joke here. "I’d have though you want" -- I'd have thought you wanted? I've have thought you'd want? I'd have thought you'd have wanted? Okay, yes, did someone's eight-year-old name those flying piranha? It's a weirdly cutesy note to end the super tense life-or-death gunfight and race-to-save-two-women-from-an-evil-meanie-murderer chapter on, so it really stands out.
  2. Email received, but it was in my spam folder again. That's probably my weird email provider, though. I need to poke at its whitelist function some more...
  3. Hello and welcome! I love flash fiction. But, flash fiction can be difficult because the space is so constricted. Flash fiction makes you consider every word, how every phrase is put together, because there's simply no room to sprawl, even a little bit. I feel like every part of a flash fiction story should point towards the goal of the story. Here, I can't really figure out what the goal of the story is, and thus, how the rest of the story points towards the goal. Like @Mandamon said, I am unclear what the "fault" at play is. To my mind, having a physical disability (such as an inability to speak) is no fault or flaw to be overcome, it is part of who the character is. Just like my asthma isn't some failing or fault on my part, but simply the way my body works. When i want to do an activity that aggravates my my asthma, I take appropriate steps to allow me to do that activity. That's not overcoming anything, that's just doing what I have to do to exist in my body. Likewise, here, to me, it doesn't appear to me that the inability to speak is any kind of fault, at least as how I understand the word. Anyway, the protagonist's ability to speak would not have saved them from the bullies in this situation; the bullies appeared to me to want to pick on somebody and the protagonist just happened to be the easiest target in range. That would still be the case if they could talk from the beginning, so I am confused as to what fault is being overcome. The bullies I don't think count as a "fault" of the protagonist's either, for similar reasons. Being picked on by bullies is no failing of the bullies' victim. If anything it is a failing of the bully to control their impulses. From my reading of the text, however, I don't believe the bullies are the protagonists in this case, and in any event, they don't overcome their "fault." Being afraid of speaking (in public or otherwise) is something that I feel like could be considered a fault, and using a surrogate to get around that fear would be overcoming it, however, I'm not sure that is really happening here. The protagonist doesn't seem particularly frightened to me (of speaking, that is. They are afraid of the bullies, clearly), and doesn't seem to feel anything related to the ability to speak through a surrogate (they feel triumph over the bullies, but that to me isn't so much related to their newfound ability as it is on their tricking their attackers). I think, maybe, the issue is that the idea of a "fault" is something that is internal to a character, and what the protagonist faces and overcomes here are all threats that are external to them. The bullies, the inability to speak, they're framed as external obstacles for the protagonist to triumph over, but I feel like the idea of a "fault" is something requiring an internal struggle and tension, where success might not be as clear-cut and easily-discernible-from-the-outside as escaping a dangerous situation, but more to do with internal revelations about the character themselves. As I go: "failing. Poorly" -- if something is failing poorly, does that mean it's succeeding? I also stumbled on the "magical realism or not" aspects of the talking cat.
  4. I still remain confused by the motivations and goals in this story. Was the goal to kill a witch? To investigate a problem? To show the duplicity of Z's world view? To have a philosophy debate? I'm just left very confused by what I read. There was worldbuilding and it seemed interesting, and there were characters that seemed interesting, but I didn't really see those things interacting much with each other, so I don't really know what I'm supposed to have understood or gained from reading the story with them both together in it. As for T, he is still amusing here, and I still like him, but his use by Z leaves me dissatisfied. I think it is well-established that T is an animal and was acting according to his instincts. Z on the other hand, I feel like has more culpability. If you swim up to a hungry shark and get chomped, that's on you; but if someone else knows you just cut your hand and leads a hungry shark to your blood trail, I don't believe they would then be justified in claiming the shark nomming on you is your own fault, even if you got the cut doing something bad or illegal. I don't feel like the text really set up Z to be the sort of "distasteful protagonist who is still sympathetic" that his actions and reasoning around using T make him out to be, so I am left feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with this end. The fact that T ended up being used as little more than a tool left me feeling a bit dissatisfied as well. I thought that he was one of the stronger characters in the piece, the one with the most connection to the world. As I go: "statures of All Cracked Hollows" -- statutes? "Flavored like tar" -- I like the phrase here, it's very evocative, but it seems a little uncharacteristically flowery for T. Maybe it's WRS, but I feel like he's mostly just named emotions before, not described them "appease your conscious" -- conscience? It feels odd to me that this story seems to be hinging on depth of knowledge of S's character, when it feels to me like he was treated as little more than a plot device during his introduction. The lack of any concrete details of N's crimes makes me feel like P and Z were simply planning on killing her all along. This makes me want to root for N and makes me feel like I was mistaken in sympathizing with P and Z. I'm afraid after N loses her arm (which was very amusing), I started skimming. This feels like a kind of moralizing that I do not care for, and I don't believe there was much in the earlier sections to hint that it was coming, so it makes me feel a little bit frustrated that it is suddenly here. @Mandamon went into this in detail so I won't belabor the point. If this sort of message is desired in a work, for me at least, I feel like I need more overt support for it early on in the story. Referencing psalms brings with it the real-world associations to the real-world religions that created them. If the desire is just for religiosity instead of a particular religion, then I feel like maybe writing "psalm-like" original phrases would be better, since they could be more closely tailored to fit the specific in-world religion and wouldn't come with the outside associations actual psalms do.
  5. I liked this chapter a lot, it had some really good character beats... but it is still more travel. They arrive at a place, meet their traveling companions and agree to travel some more. It is... frustrating? sort of, to be annoyed by the good travel parts like this. It makes me feel a little sad, too. I want more time with this set of characters doing things than the travel that I've received in the earlier parts of the book. "You can shatter skulls with a lever" -- oh, this is a very good set of lines! "Maybe that could have been me" -- Is it really a crazy conspiracy theory if it turns out to be true? This part going forward is nice and hinty; add a bit more chances for me to form/confirm my theories in-text in the beginning parts of the story and this'll be really great, meaty reveal. "I’m treated no better than lab equipment" -- hmmmm... My money's still on son as mystery voice but all of these allusions also fit wife, so I can't rule her out entirely. otoh, son has been confirmed to be more than "flavor" and a detail for Q to angst over, but the wife really hasn't. Wife would be an interesting take on the woman-in-a-detective's-past-that-causes-him-pain, but son has far more in-text hints, and would pair better as a foil with M. Hmm! Put me in the "feeling rather let down by the MT's debut and subsequent disposal" camp as well. They were built up as being so intense and scary! They're not even treated to a fun description block from Q's POV, they're just summarily executed with a couple of shotgun hits, not even from E (whom we know and would cheer for), but from a random dude who's just appeared, and then everything moves on. I don't have a problem with E picking up some local help, especially with your stated intent to show good samaritans giving aid, but it does make him seem a bit convenient to have him be the one the text focuses on for this part. I am also slightly confused why E needed Q to help her scare off the dinos. I don't mind that the dinos are making an appearance to remind us they're out there, but it's just striking me as odd that they react to two shotguns when one didn't faze them. I don't know.
  6. This has more action than the first part, but many of the same issues. Once again it feels like there are a large number of names and titles thrown around without much to anchor them to the story or the characters. I never got a clear picture of the town or the sewer so it felt very disjointed to me, like the characters were floating around talking to each other rather than interacting with their environments. I am still confused as to what the story is. I did get a better sense of the characters and their personalities this time around and the action is well structured so that I knew what was going on physically for most of it. The centipede is appropriately creepy. I agree with @Mandamon and @Lightbringer in that I think the structure could use some adjustment to help anchor the story better in its place and provide a clearer direction for the progression of the plot. @Silk has the right of it when she mentions the lack of groundwork. It seems like things tend to appear only when they're needed and disappear when their use is through and while some of that is inevitable, too much can make a story feel disjointed and overly convenient. Highly visible town landmarks, for example, I feel like could be introduced when the town itself is introduced, and then gone into more detail when they become relevant to the story. I think some of my problems here are also due to my inability to figure out which pieces of information are the ones important to the story. There is a lot of information and worldbuilding already here for sure, but it's all treated similarly by the characters and the text, so I can't figure out what to prioritize and end up getting lost. "my guardian does no sleep, nor does he slumber" -- I did not understand this phrase, either. To me, call-outs and references work best when they make sense within the story on their own without the extra associations, and don't confuse people who don't know the reference. Since I don't know the source of this quote, it looks to me like this is talking about T acting as a "guardian" to Z, or some reference to an unknown guardian of the order Z is a part of. Nothing comes of it, the characters in the story don't react to it, so I'm left very confused by the meaning and feeling distracted by trying to figure out why a "guardian" was mentioned, why no one reacted to the statement, and how a "guardian" will figure into this story at some point later. "Rodents of Unusual Size" -- I feel like this is a little on the nose. Like the other reference, if I didn't know Princess Bride, or didn't remember the rats, I'd wonder why he was using this extra capital letters and odd phrasing. It would distract me and keep me from following the action as closely. I like that T has limitations and I feel like this will be important later. T is definitely my favorite character so far.
  7. Maybe... it could be described differently? Like, Q rolls under a truck first (and literally), and so when I see "rolls under a truck" that's what I think about. M didn't roll under a truck so much as be run over by one from what I remember, so I get confused when M is described using words used previously to describe Q's actions. if that makes sense?
  8. I have not. Neither in spam, nor in regular inbox.
  9. This is good action and good plot, but yet more travel. 19 chapters of travel feels like a very lot, in a book that did not make itself out to be a travelogue. I am glad that it looks like they will be landing soon and maybe getting to start taking action finally. As I go: Wait, when did M roll under a truck? I thought Q was the one underneath one? I like the interior of this helicopter. It's a good use of dialogue and actions to showcase the tech without using an infodump, and it's some more nice character interactions between Q and M. "Towards his son" -- yeah, I'm with @Mandamon This feels like it is coming up kind of out of nowhere to me. I remember mentions of a son existing and mentions of some intense feelings about said son from Q, but I'm not recalling anything that really ties son to YK, or why Q would know son was behind the Gen helicopter from, apparently, the existence of the helicopter and its destination. Like, I know I tinfoil-hat-hypothesized that son was either the caller, the black box creature, or both, but that was wild speculation based on genre-savvy and too much television. If the son is anything more than a bit of his past Mor and that faction uses to push Q's buttons, I feel like it needs a lot more foundations actually in-text. I also feel like maybe the reveal with the mystery caller and TOM is also coming from nowhere a bit. Especially with the text itself helping with the deception in the form of the actual-TOM POV sections, this twist doesn't really feel earned to me. Like, I-as-a-reader never really hand a chance to figure this out on my own, sort of? It's awfully convenient that only now Q is noticing vocal oddities, when he's exhausted emotionally and physically, and suffering from blood loss and ...probably, like, low blood sugar to boot or something. Those are things that I wouldn't normally associate with being aware and on-the-ball enough to be able to pick out small discrepancies in an accent over a telephone line.
  10. I agree with @Mandamon that there was a lot of telling and not much showing going on with this story, and I agree with @kais in that I had trouble figuring out what was going on, or even where the story was supposed to start. The world does seem interesting, and if the apothecary is what the story is about, I am interested to read more about her. However, by the end of this sections, I am still unsure what the story is or is about. It felt like a lot of half-starts to stories that didn't go anywhere for me. It appeared to be about the wolf, S, but then it was not. It appeared to be about Z traveling, but it was not. I thought maybe it could be Z going to the town because he had heard of a problem, but it wasn't that either, since he is given an apparently completely different problem to investigate once he arrives. It could be a story about problems within the guild, but it is not. I was left with a great number of things it is not, but very few that the story felt like it actually was about. I was left wondering "is this the inciting incident" so often that I was never able to be fully invested in the story or the characters. The protagonists are distinct from each other, but I did not get a good sense of their personalities beyond that. The side characters had a bit more going on, but that made it more difficult for me to figure out what the protagonists were about. Many of the characters seemed more interested in naming things and listing professions, skills, and abilities than interacting with the environment. With so much information being provided in lists, without much character interaction to ground it for me as an important piece of information, I had trouble telling what was important to the characters or what they cared about. As I go: At first I thought the silver/Ea was the wolf, then I thought it was another person calling to the wolf, but it's a planet? A moon? I also stumbled over bright/light similarities I am not getting that much sense of personality from this wolf. He seems to be more interested in explaining his abilities than in interacting with his surroundings. All of the things he explains are good things to have thought about as an author, but I'm wondering this early on why I need to know them as a reader. Some things, like a wolf's vision and sense of smell, I'm sort of wondering why they need to be remarked on at all, if they're not any different from what we'd normally expect from a wolf. I am confused as to how many animal companions Z has at this campfire scene. It seems like two or three to me? There are a lot of named jobs and concepts being thrown around here and not a whole lot of relevant information to attach to them. If S is a wolf of a single particular type, and Z is a single particular profession, why do I need to know about all of the other professions that exist and about all of the other types of wolves that exist, especially right here at the beginning? So this problem with the town apothecary is the main part of the story? It feels to me like a lot of the first eleven pages could be slimmed down to get to the purpose of the story a little bit sooner.
  11. I'm going to add my voice to @kais and @Mandamon -- this is good action, but it's still basically more travel. It's also pretty clear to me that the sheriffs aren't the main threat, so there's not too much tension for me, either. The action is good and I enjoyed reading it, I just wish it went more places with the plot, sort of. I sort of feel like all the plot threads are just inching towards each other by half-life, and they're never actually going to cross... As I go: I like the return to urgency in the opening paragraphs. I am going to assume it's been edited back into some of the previous chapters that lacked it, otherwise, I feel a but like it's coming up out of nowhere. The beanies I get (hipsters, right?), but I'm confused at the implied dig at other ethic head coverings and hairstyles... Are there other identifiers that could be used? "earbuds for patrons use" -- Augh, using things that have been in other people's ears is just so squicky to me, sanitizing liquid or no! I know it's just me and people do this all the time, but I don't want anything near me that's been snuggled inside some stranger's moist, oily, wax-filled ear canal for who knows how long. euaugh... So, that mystery voice... I'm torn between mystery voice being Q's son and Q's son being the unidentified human-based chimera critter in the blackout lab enclosure from E's first walkthrough way back when. Though, I suppose one or the other could also be J... I suppose, playing mind games with Q sounds most reasonable to me as a thing an angry son would do to the estranged father who rejected him, which would leave the aberration of modern science as the lost, but beloved, wife -- for maximum emotional impact of course. Unless... Do they give secret human-based chimeras telephone access? Could they stop one if it did want to call out? Okay, I'll take off my tinfoil hat now. The xir refers back to the unnamed informant Q was chasing in his flashback yes? If so, then I had no problems with it. if not, then I am obviously confused. Awesome possum is an interesting choice for a catchphrase, especially since I think this is the first time it's come up in the text? But, I'm unsure why M told the android to make up one. Is it just a non-sequitur to get him to shut up for a while? The switch to under the truck was a little confusing and I had to reread it. I don't think it needs much, just maybe some little bit more to really land the "Q is now under a truck and has stopped moving" switch. It feels a little convenient to me that K doesn't manage to look down just then, but the rest of the action was good. I had a little trouble here and there, especially once Q clears the truck and starts running for the street. There are a lot of moving bodies there, and I wasn't sure what was going on with the helicopter. I also thought it was for the police. I really enjoyed jumping on K's back. That made me smile. I also appreciate that this was a little bait and switch for us there with the train.
  12. Singular "they" is now officially good APA style: Welcome, Singular "They"
  13. Costume fun fact: googly eyes make amazing rivets and fake stud earrings for oversized masks and other things like that and take spray paint and opaque markers really well! They're waiting to be spray painted for a day that isn't doggone snowing...
  14. I finally had some time to work on my doll kit today. I should probably not have done as much in one sitting as I did, but it was hard to stop once I got going. ^^; Rather than do the smart thing and turn on a video tutorial to follow, I continued my DS9 100% rewatch and just used my vinyl girls as a rough guide. Instructions? who needs 'em! (Me. I do. *ahem!*) The hip sockets were the easiest to fit together, though the screws were the toughest to install. The rest of the screws behaved, but I think I stripped just about every screw I put in. The tolerances were so tight I couldn't hand-turn any of them and had to use my electric screwdriver (which doesn't come with mini driver heads). Even scraping out the hole and liberally applying grease, getting the upper elbow post into the shoulder assembly was nearly impossible. I have no idea how people managed it without scraping and I'm super glad I drilled the air pressure holes one tutorial mentioned. and of course, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to make my dolls more weird, so I picked up the limited clear shell. I really like how the dark frame looks inside it! This was probably a good four or five hours...
  15. Pretty much what @kais said. If the goal is to sell, don't vend at a con proven to lose you money. Since you're going to be there anyway for a panel, there are some things you could look into. Does the convention have a less-expensive vending area? I've seen some conventions have as many as 3 different tiers of artist/merchant tables for sale, with different table sizes and arrangements in each tier. You might have to put up with a seating lottery or other restrictions, but it might be worth it if the price is right. Is there an official (or well-used unofficial) chat channel for con attendees? Artists with smaller set-ups (or more money issues) will advertise for table shares or sublets (depending on your con rules). It's not as good as sharing with friends, but random splits can work out and do save money. Is there an art show or charity auction? Donating a book or two, or putting together a small display of your work might be a way to increase your visibility for a relatively nominal expense. Or, I mean, you could just go and enjoy the convention. Not everything has to be about that hustle, despite what capitalism wants us to believe.