Mandamon

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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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About Mandamon

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    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Birthday May 26

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    North Carolina
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    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. I thought this was a really good chapter and finally got to things we've been waiting a long time to see! There are some interesting tidbits with how the village is set up and how much these people are actually magical vs. just isolated. I'm looking forward to seeing what's real and what's not. There were some good parts on how they came there, and whether they took native land just as much as the rest of the US did. Sounds like they may just be a bit more like the Amish than truly cut off from the rest of civilization. I really like that things are moving now, but all this definitely needs to come sooner. It feels like this is getting to the heart of the story, and it's 16 chapters in. Notes while reading: pg 3: "and that took a whole engagement timespan to pass" --It took that long for them to accept her? Unclear. bottom of pg 4: B's name is spelled differently pg 6: "doesn’t have the genetic marker for Huntington’s" --wait, what? Where did this come from? I think I'm missing something. pg 7: "Secrets within secrets within secrets" --how long is the book supposed to be? I think no matter how long, a lot of this should start popping up earlier. pg 11: Interesting to see the "Fey" people, and now I'm really wondering how much they're actually magical and how much they're just sort of Amish-like
  2. I agree with @Sarah B that the second one is the winner. I think especially since Q's personality is one of the driving factors of the book, a mental state is required. That said, I do like a lot of the voice and brevity of the first one. It reads a bit better, so if some of the direct thoughts were cut down in the second one, that would make it more streamlined. So maybe a combination of the first and second, with some of the brevity and wit of the description, but also the added mental remarks by Q that show us what he's like. Notes while reading: Opening 1: You don't mention Q's name until the third paragraph. Moving it up a bit might help. pg 2: "he noted a family portrait wedged..." --I thought this was a room at the airline or a hotel. Why would there be a family portrait? pg 2: "a full two minutes at the mirror" --That's...a lot of time staring in the mirror. Q is fairly vain, but after a point, you run out of things to look at. Opening 2: This one seems very overwrought, though I'm assuming "call me Q" is a reference to Moby Dick? Regardless I like the extra thoughts adding more character to Q, but maybe indirect thoughts rather than direct, so it doesn't break up the flow as much? pg 4: The part about his past is much more informative here. I think that's a good thing to have in the opening few pages. pg 4: "These homely touches, reminders of distant family," --yeah, still confused about the picture. Is he using crew's quarters? How did he get in here? pg 4: ", but still there was nothing even close to an answer there" --at least this answers some of why he was staring into the mirror. Opening 3: Don't like this one. It strips out everything that's the soul of this book. It's about Q's journey and seeing from his eyes, so not having his thoughts or headspace takes a lot away.
  3. Sorry for being late! This week got away from me. 1) I was a little confused on what the police officer was doing in front of the rich guy's house (and also how he hasn't been report for being a total creep, but also I have seen some of the terribleness of the US police force...). I was also a little confused on when E moved to this house and where he was before? Maybe that's something earlier in the story I've forgotten. Otherwise, I thought this was a good chapter. 2) Some really good development with W and N, and something I'd been waiting on for a while. E's allo/ace conversation is a little strange, as @C_Vallion says. It's good for representation, but could probably be cut down to make it stand out less. Interested to find out how the new players fit into the story. Notes while reading: pg 1: “Ah. It’s not like the cop is here for an investigation. Sorry for not making that clear. He’s.” --bit of an awkward sentence... pg 1: "At first glance he looks like the prototypical police officer, but I have met this person before" --So isn't he still a prototypical officer? Recognizing him hasn't changed that. pg 2: “You are quite a fascinating person, you know." --so, like, report him for harassment? pg 2: "I’ll leave your little… acquaintance alone." --report for harassment part 2? what was he planning on doing, anyway? pg 4: The whole using taekwando on bullies thing sort of rubs me the wrong way, though W at least mentions how wood doesn't fight back. pg 5: Also, if the creepy police officer is hanging around in front of this mansion without invitation he would DEFINITELY be called out and reported. Rich people have very little tolerance for law enforcement getting into their business. pg 9" “Not that I was around for any of this,” --I thought E lived here? Why was he not around? bottom of pg 9: Should that be "E says," not "N says?" pg 11: The allosexual section is interesting information, but E's been in relationships before he came out as ace, right? He knows what goes on. He's acting like he has no idea how to act in an allosexual way. pg 14: good conversation on anxiety and feeling needed. This adds some good depth to N's character.
  4. Hmmm...I have...issues with this chapter, which probably stems from the quick rewrite. I feel like this is focused on the wrong character. We get N's reaction at the beginning and feeling something bad will happen, but the rest of the chapter is taken up by the characters talking about the bad things that happened to N, and NO ONE ASKS WHERE OR HOW HE IS. A lot of the focus is on B, who is an interesting, if not totally believable, character. We've seen a little side of this before, but she's got a very weird speaking pattern and keeps making not the usual connections. I think she can be an intriguing character (more so than A), but we're going to need a lot of setup to get here, so much that I wonder if it's going to get in the way of the N/W/E connection. I think looking through my notes below shows what I was more connected with in the chapter. I feel like a lot was going on but none of it addressed the issue at hand. Notes while reading: pg 2: "“I think you’re right.” His voice is quiet. “And I don’t think that’s going to stop me.”" --good line. pg 3: "Then he started seeing someone else who could be cold, distant, irrational, and rude. Me. Is that a coincidence?" --*rolls eyes at W.* pg 4: "“Seriously, would it kill you to be direct?” I say." --Uh yeah. In fact, wouldn't the administrator just spit it out? I don't think he would stand for a kid getting beaten up on school campus. pg 5: “So what does this have to do with me?” --Shouldn't W be saying "Is he alright?" or "can I go see him?" pg 5: "I’ll make sure to keep that in mind for future assessments of boys to associate with.”" --uhhhh...thanks B. pg 6 "but I believe her." --I...don't? Why is no one going to check on N? Where is he? pg 6 “But they’re going to get suspended for this,” B says. “It’s a stupid decision.” --yeah, no. I don't believe a high school Popular Girl thinks like that. pg 7: "Then, after a second, she lets out a chuckle." --about N getting beat up? What is wrong with these people? pg 8: “Do you think… maybe, there’s a chance we could be friends again?" --Do not care about this now. I'm a lot more worried about N and wondering why none of his supposed friends are going to check on him, especially considering how empathic he is. pg 8: "I lost control and the polite mask fell off." --I don't think anyone talks like that. pg 9: "I… was curious how he cultivated that image.” --Again, not sure high school students talk like this. pg 10: "When B puts it all on the table, I don’t need to fear resentment hidden in the shadows." --the conversations in this chapter are exceedingly weird. pg 10: "N getting shoved to the ground, punched, kicked, and still not wanting to inflict that pain back." --this is yet another time where W should be finding out where he is and going to check on him. pg 11: “Which means he didn’t cheat on you.” --really don't care about this thread now. pg 12: “You’re making it hard for me to want to keep myself under my usual tight control when you take me seriously either way.” --really, who talks like this? pg 13: "Perhaps it’s time for me to stop making excuses and stand up for myself." --I feel like this whole chapter is focusing on the wrong person. pg 13: "N is at E’s place,” B says. “Should have led with that, I realize." --*facepalm* Why did no one ask this???
  5. pg 1: "The movement and the rhythm speak to something deep down inside him, like scratching an itch he never noticed he had." --I still didn't ever understand what this was. pg 2: "Their argument does not reach a conclusion." --I'm not sure how necessary this aside is, as these weren't main characters and we know everything that's happened here. pg 3: Similarly with A. We know generally what happened to him. By the way, I was having trouble remembering what he gave up. I know he was stuck to his chair. pg 5: Ah, good. I was afraid we wouldn't find out what happened when they left. (Edit. See below. I wonder if it's better not knowing?) pg 8: "they see shoots of grass poking stubbornly out of the ground" --cool! pg 9: Hmmm...so the ending. Didn't V. fly for a week or so and not find anything? I was honestly expecting them to have to drive further to get outside the curse's influence. Three days of driving could be achieved by a provisioned person over a couple weeks, so I'm surprised someone from the town hasn't succeeded before. There's some mention of the town being timeless. Is this hinting at some sort of force the stove projects to stop airplanes from flying overhead or something? Otherwise I wonder how this little town hasn't been found or disturbed before now. Overall: I really enjoyed this story. I think it's quite unique, and with a little editing, can be a compelling story for kids and adults. Reading the epilogue, I wonder if it might just be better to end with the driving out of town? I don't think it really adds any information we didn't know except the radius of the curse, and I think that brings up more questions than it answers. We start getting into the intersection between "our world" and the world in this book, and I wonder if it might be better to leave that line blurry, in keeping with the mysterious nature of the rest of the book. If you do want some sort of epilogue, I think I'm more interested in where the stove and the ashen came from, rather than how far they are from another town, or where the curse ends. But that's just my opinion. We'll see what other people say. Great job, and congrats on getting the whole book through the forum!
  6. I was engaged through most of this chapter, and to answer the third question, I think some of this can actually come sooner. Even though it's not "main plot" it is emotional development for the characters, which is important to a good story. I'm still generally annoyed by W, but gave a couple examples of places where you could spend a little more time exploring her way of thinking to give her character more sympathy. The second half of this chapter she does a lot better. I'm not sure what changed, but she seems to be acknowledging what she is feeling a lot better. E's development here is great, and explained very well. It helps shine some light on W's parents as well, and give his character arc some depth. Notes while reading: pg 2: “I don’t know. Whenever something doesn’t go well, I think it’s my fault.” “You know, that might be the most relatable you’ve been to me so far.” --It's nice to see N vulnerable and with issues as well. He's been portrayed as almost without fault the whole book. pg 3: “I… don’t do as well around other people’s parents as you do." -like, she runs screaming? Starts throwing punches? Unpacking things like this will go a long way to showing W's neurodiversity. pg 4: "I try to ignore any self-doubt in my mind about whether it’s playing the game with me that makes her excited, or if it’s seeing N again. I almost succeed." --This is another place to unpack. Why would she doubt affection from her own mother? Or why can't she be excited for both? pg 6: "But compared to the way B is prepared to see me as an enemy, any conflict between us was nothing in comparison" --between E and W? Unclear. Also, if so, that...pretty bad. I mean, E&B's relationship is messed up. pg 9: "And like that, we’re back to a normal, happy couple. Almost" --UGH. W, stop making drama! pg 14: “I mean, oh wow. I had no idea. I’m glad you’re trusting me with this-” --funny, but can N say this as he can't lie? The last half of this has some really good growth for all the characters, and W stops being quite so...W...for most of it.
  7. Glad we get more into the magic stuff here. I have no problem with how it's presented. Nothing wrong with soft magic systems. In this case, the mechanics of the magic is not pertinent to the plot, so it doesn't really matter what type it is. As you said, there's probably a largish rewrite of the early chapters to get this moving earlier. Getting to a couple of these answers in maybe chapter 6 would go a long way to letting W and N have more meaningful discussion, and hopefully also stop some of W's worst tendencies. Honestly, W is really annoying me as a character. I love E and N however. I think delving into this and giving some reasons behind W's actions would go a long way to making her a more sympathetic character. If we see her reacting in a certain way and there's any sort of acknowledgement, rather than just W not engaging, that would help. The most frustrating part here is there are clear and easy opportunities for her to solve problems or at least address them, and she takes none of them. She's a smart character. She's faced with a willing person who literally can't lie and does nothing to find the truth of the situation. Have any sort of explanation for why she doesn't take those steps would be very helpful. I was really glad to see E pounding some sense into her, but right not all her solutions are forced on her by external sources. With just a little introspection, W can be a much more proactive character as well. Even if she can't apply the solutions, just seeing that some exist would help. Notes while reading: pg 1: "Which means I’m catching him off guard, and he’s breaking down under the pressure" --Looking forward to seeing N off-guard, and some of his flaws. pg 1: "Not much of it has value. At least with how practiced I am." --does this mean he's good at it but there's no value? Or that he hasn't practiced enough to use his magic? pg 2: "I should have seen this coming from a mile away" --er, yeah. This is one problem I have with the setup so far. W just plain asked him if he was human and he told her. Why is this only ocurring in ch 12? pg 2: "My boyfriend is a fairy" --Lol! (for all the double and triple meanings here) pg 3: "down the trial" --trail pg 3: "What was I supposed to say?" --hmmm...don't quite believe this part. Both that W just stands there and doesn't do anything, and that N just walks off after all this time spent chasing her. Doesn't seem consistent with his personality. pg 4: "But then I remember the flowers sprouting around his body, all at once like a time lapse, and I picture him dragging me into a world of forest magic where I’ll never be able to leave" --As a reason to be uncomfortable with someone, being good at music and being able to grow flowers is not really on my list. I think that's why I'm just not convinced. pg 4: "call me a bad person" --He didn't. He said N was better. Not that W was bad... pg 5: “Is there more to this than him being a fairy and a cop being on his trail?” --I feel like both these things need to come earlier in the story. pg 5: "Nobody cares about our conversation, W. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all boring people.” --Ah, I forgot how much I liked E. pg 6: Ha! I love the breakdown of not-quite homo sapiens. pg 6: “He can make powers that plants grow.” “So can I, with enough time.” --Exactly! pg 7: “I asked him if he was going to do it. He said no.” --good point, and something W maybe could have done earlier, or N could have suggested. pg 7: Er, at this point, with what W has done to N, and how E is questioning her, I've really lost all sympathy for W. I'd almost rather see a story about E and N getting together and having to avoid whatever's up with the cop, at least until W can pull her head out of her backside and act like a decent person. pg 8: "I shake my head. Is it really that easy?" --yeah, this. I'm getting pretty annoyed with W. "Here's an easy solution to your problem." "No, I refuse to do anything to help myself." pg 10: "Every time I talk to E I realize I hurt him more than I thought" --I think this might apply to many people W has met.
  8. I think the other two covered the points I wanted to. I think this is really well written, and I think the cleaned-up version of this is going to be a great story! Setting up the mayor earlier to be the villain, or at least showing more of his manipulation of the town will seat this final showdown better. I actually really like the simplicity of his defeat here, showing T's can-do attitude still at work, through the fan. Moving GM more slowly from antagonist to part of the group will help her cooperating here not to seem so sudden. Very much looking forward to the epilogue, and if the crew finds anything outside the town It certainly seems like others could have made an attempt before now, with all the ashen items around. I'm wondering whether they will find anything. Eagerly waiting for next week! Notes while reading: pg 1: I'm wondering why they didn't just drive the plane away from the remains of the fire? Why leave it, now they have everyone together? Can't they pick E up on the way? pg 2: That toolbox might be the most important ashen thing I've seen. I wonder what all it can fix? pg 2: Wait, what happened to leaving in the airplane? I thought they were going to fly out of the town? pg 4: "even through her lack of people skills" --stating this seems a lot like "tell" instead of "show" pg 4: "Then they see it." --aha. I was waiting for something. Good tension building up to it. pg 8: "Bad guys are defeated by hitting them really hard" --best advice ever. pg 9: Well! Interested to see what comes of this!
  9. First off, I really like the romance at the end of this chapter. It's sweet and awkward, and very enjoyable to read. Plus it's tying into the magical side of the plot, which helps to tie the characters to that side of the plot more. As the others have said, the first few pages just seem to be W being all moped and emotionally needy, which drags things down. I think even more of this can be cut in the next draft. I didn't have a problem with the overall length of the chapter, because the rest of it was very interesting. On the magic plot, yes, it's a bit too little too late. I like the way it comes out here, but something like the encounter with the police officer can happen in chapter 4 or 5, not 11. As @RedBlue says, It's odd that W hasn't asked any of these questions yet, especially considering N can't lie. She's smart, so I would think with the associations with iron, sweets, not lying, and a secret village, she'd be getting a strong fairy vibe. Looking forward to finding out some more about N! Notes while reading: pg 1: "That I should explain to him that I feel terrible and it’s not his fault and even his hugs can’t help me now." --Yes, lets stack more anxiety on N. Sometimes I just want to smack W. pg 3: "I’m playing a board game called Wingspan with my mom." --I love that game. (although @C_Vallion has a good point) pg 5: "I can see that they’re a coyote." --Odd pronoun. Usually animals are "its." Especially since the officer refers to the coyote as "he" pg 8: I'm glad to finally be getting some more hints of magic with N's village and the officer. Seems like that part of the plot has been a long time coming. pg 11: "“You don’t have to lie to me, N.” --he's already said he literally can't lie. pg 12-14: great romance scene! pg 15: also glad to end with some more movement into the magical part of the book.
  10. I thought this must be close to the end! It's not boring, and it's nice to see things coming together. Using the ashen items helps them move around a lot. It might be better to at least sprinkle a few references to them nearer the beginning of the book so that using them doesn't feel quite so sudden. I was a little confused on why GM was being nice near the end. Just because she's given up? There's even a callout to how strange she's acting, so I'm wondering if there's another reason for it. I really loved all the items working together at the beginning, but it might need a little more description to place the TV and game console so they don't come out of nowhere. Looking forward to the ending! Notes while reading: pg 1: "Her gaze lands on the games console lying underneath the television" --I like how this is set up, but there might need to be more blocking on the game console suddenly being in the cockpit. It's a bit deus ex. pg 2: "T doesn’t care about any of that." --I'd argue T creating this way to control the plane requires the insight she gave up, but I'm willing to read along and see what happens. pg 3: "He’s so very, very glad he managed to get this all straightened out in his head" --Is it straightened out? He's just saying what's wrong with the town. pg 5: “Do you still have that old mini-van?” --interesting...
  11. I enjoyed reading the D&D play, but I think it probably did go on too long. This may be one of those "kill your darlings" things, as I'm not sure how much it's going to add to the story. It was fun to read through a D&D play session and N is precious. I think that's what put me off W even more. Everyone is having a great time except W, because she's manufacturing drama again. So I think, since that's already a well established part of her character, this chapter doesn't add a whole lot and just made me get angry at her more... So...I enjoyed reading it, but not sure it's necessary. Notes while reading: pg 1: "she devotes an unholy amount of time to preparing the game" --a good DM! pg 1: “I don’t sweat, I sparkle,” --lol. I need one of those! pg 6: "but it doesn’t stop the pain from her joy relying on N instead of me" --Really? can't she just appreciate that everyone's having fun? This is the part of W's character I really don't think. She tries to create drama where there is none. pg 6: "I choose not to go with him because—hello—suspicious as hell" --okay, now W's just playing badly. The group always needs to stick together! pg 7: "but that doesn’t change how I feel." --yeah, I don't get W's deal here. pg 8: “Should I be worried about how quickly you left me to my stupid plan of getting ambushed and killed?” --yes.
  12. Good twist at the end of this chapter, but I feel like this one is still lacking an arc just a little. GM's revenge seems to come out of nowhere. I don't remember any fascination with fire, but I could be misremembering. I guess this would come under #2, as GM isn't completely making sense to me. I feel like the story is losing some direction here, because we've switched between trying to escape, to V going to the ashen house, to Gm starting a fire here. Still a very interesting story, and I think the second editing pass will really bring this all together. notes while reading: pg 1: GM is starting to sound like a pyromaniac pg 2: "She has wanted this for years. This is her revenge." --She's wanted to burn down the workshops for years? Did we know this before? GM's part seems a little plotful, as I don't remember hearing about her pyromania. However, the E section has some good character building to it. I'm glad to see E finding some courage. pg 8: The "ashen things can't burn" revelation is a cool twist!
  13. I agree with @C_Vallion for the most part on this. There weren't any boring parts, but I think it's taking too long with getting ready to leave, and it looks like they're not going to make it at this point. However, I also don't think V's decision really lands either. He's been mostly out of the story for the past 8-10 chapters and there's not enough development for him to reject the call to adventure. He tells us he's conflicted in this chapter, but up until now, he's been upbeat about what he's doing. Showing him realize that he's a product of the stove, and that his drive to be a hero is all fabricated would go a long way to rationalizing this decision. Interested to see what happens now that it's just C, T and the grandfather. I'm wondering how they get E and GM back! Overall, I'm still greatly enjoying the story. A second pass with some editing for flow will really get it close to perfection! Only one note while reading: pg 3: "V switches back to his human-like form" --Is this an instantaneous thing? Did we ever get a description of it?
  14. *arm flail*