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. Just a clarification on the length. It's best to stick to the 5000-word limit, especially if there are a lot of entries, like this week. If there are only a few submissions, it's usually alright to go over, but it's also good to ask permission in the submission thread. These chapters dragged a lot more than the first one, probably because that one was action-based. This one didn't seem to move the plot forward much. B getting healed and signing up for training, and R explaining some magic could probably take place in one chapter instead of two. There's also a lot more about the world in here, but I don't understand what's going on yet. Mostly people are talking about the world, but no one is offering any explanation, so the reader is lost. The same questions as for the first chapter might help out here. Why is B doing the things he's doing? What do the tables mean to him? Why does R want to take him on? Adding some motivation will give us a lot of answers about the world. Notes while reading: pg 3: there's a lot of information in these first few pages, not all necessary for the current situation with healing B. pg 4: Yes, good info, but I think the first few pages could be edited down. pg 5: "The boy placed as many tablets as he wanted" --I don't remember this happening last chapter? I think this was partly from the lack of motivation. pg 6: "I think he may be onto something" --This is the more interesting part of the story for me. What is he trying to do? pg 7: N has some good intuition! pg 7: "Can’t the crew collect the tablets without him" --I feel like we're missing some information on the main plot. pg 9: "It was just another promise he intended to keep." --I'm...not entirely sure what was going on in this chapter. N and R talked a lot about things happening, and I don't know that any of them were covered in the first chapter. pg 13: There's a lot of talk and descriptions through here, but nothing's really moving in the plot. The last two chapters have both dealt with the outcome of the first chapter and we haven't really moved on yet. pg 15: "t’s kindness" --The t was kind? pg 15: “It is your choice, B. Train or abandon those tablets.” --we still don't know what B wants out of this, or why he's working with R, or what the tablets do. Adding some of this explanation will help. pg 17: I think we need to actually see the settlement or at least hear about it before discussing its political matters. pg 18: "How much was several months or even years of his life worth?" --setting the first chapter up with these sorts of questions will help.
  2. Congrats on your first submission! Like @ginger_reckoning said, please take all criticisms as constructive. We've all been there, and it's a really good idea to have other eyes on your story. I think Ginger did a great job on addressing some of the technical details, and I agree on all counts. I didn't really mark any of those because I was more focused on the flow of the story, but I did notice a lot of sentences that were not complete, usually to make a point, however, often they are just distracting. I also agree the assassin and M's POV's aren't really necessary to the intro. We can glean what the assassin intends, and M literally doesn't affect anything that's happening. As for C's POV, I think editing down the description a lot will help. Many sentences are in passive voice, which makes the prose feel sort of dreamy and disconnected. You might try putting her actions into declarative sentences to see how that affects things, and if you can then remove a lot of the surrounding description that becomes unnecessary. I'd also strengthen the end of the chapter with a definite hook--more than "she has a plan." What action will she attempt? What is her next move? What is the impetus for the reader to go on to the next chapter? I think there's potential for a strong scifi story here! Notes while reading: pg 2: Interesting intro. It's keeping my attention. Glad to see some scifi! pg 2: It's a little strange to go into a dream from out of POV, and then go into that person's POV after. pg 4: "Suddenly the sound of glass shattering burst into the silence." --there's a lot of words and description to get to this point. The tension was starting to ebb before this. pg 5: "In his left hand he held a blade signifying his occupation and goal." --These sections have a lot of description where we're waiting for action. I think cutting it down a bit will lend more urgency to the story. pg 5: "She knew it would be aimed straight at the targets head, and this should have been the end. Except the target was not there." --this sort of thing could be cut down to: "Moving with miraculous foreknowledge, the wraith shifted out of a projectile shot straight at its head." There's a lot of passive tense right now. pg 7: "A fire of instant fury rose within her. She would make him pay for his moment of curiosity!" --this sort of phrasing makes the story sound more like a romance somehow than an action/scifi story. It's got a very dreamy quality, partly from the passive tense, which reduces a lot of the tension. pg 9: This is a very long death scene... pg 11: M's whole interlude is very devoid of emotion. That might be how the character is, though. pg 12: C's investigation is all reported in passive tense. pg 15: There's not a call to action or a hook at the end of this chapter. C sort of floats around, and then has a plan. Showing some action would help, rather than telling about it.
  3. Thanks for submitting! I have similar thoughts to the others on this. I think it can be a really good hook to start, but I think we need a lot more information about the world. Right now we're told the MC has powers, and keep getting new ones through the chapter. We also don't really know what the government is doing and why, so when she got offered a job I thought we'd learn more about them close up. But then she decides to go to the resistance that we only hear about just then. I think putting a lot more motivations up front will help. Why is she scared the government will find out? What's so urgent that she has to use her powers just then? How does she regard her powers? Are they something other people have? Notes while reading: pg 1: There's a lot of description about the bookbag on the first page, some of which could probably be cut down. We don't have very high stakes for why the bag has to be fixed, and why with magic, right now. pg 2: "points to the teacher's desk" --She didn't even check to see if a teacher was present? She doesn't seem like she would last long hiding her powers... pg 3: "Teachers are supposed to report even the smallest of things." --Yeah, I don't understand why she would use magic out in the open. pg 4: “Did you erase her memory?” --wait, what? I'm not sure at all what kind of powers she has. pg 4: "don’t check the records...If they connect her to me" --I'm not sure what they're connecting, by what records. pg 5: “Don’t tell me the government is getting their noses up in our school business again.” --I haven't really got a solid idea of what's going on in this society. This seems to be a dystopian setting, but then the MC is concerned about getting in trouble because of doing magic? Maybe a hint about why that's something punishable? Is magic common? It seems like it isn't, or the teacher's account wouldn't be discounted. pg 7: There are a lot of vague threats of punishments through here. Can we get some sort of rule on what happens and why? pg 7: "What are the odds we’d just happen to make eye contact twice?" --not sure. I don't have enough information yet. pg 8: "I’m back in my own horse " --eh? House? pg 9: "certain talents you possess" --Ah, ok, this brings everything together. I think having something like this on the first page would really help. She's scared of being drafted by the government because she has powers. pg 11: “Join the resistance, they can protect you, and you in turn can protect them.” --ok, we need some more context before this, because from what I've read, she's just been offered a priveledged job with the government. Is that not the case? I mean, obviously they seem bad, but wouldn't her working from the inside be beneficial? pg 12: "your teleportation?” --what now? I feel we really need a primer on what the MC can do.
  4. Similar thoughts to the others on this one. I think the chapter by itself is decent, but there's too much in the way of description and new faces. What is this achieving here? I'm not really sure of the arc in relation to A and the rest of the story. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was much shorter with a very strong ending that tied directly into what A is doing. I do like that we see another god in action and how trained magic-users work, but I wonder if we need some more preparation in the world before this chapter? Notes while reading: pg 2: "His other apprentice, the teenaged V. girl" --lots of new names through here. Is she different than the serving girl in the previous paragraph? pg 2, end: getting a little lost on names/powers/deities. pg 5: I think if we new a bit more about the world before this interlude, this would be clearer. pg 7, end: I'm not really following the history through here. pg 8: "So that was where H had been last night." --Ah. H was that pyromancer. pg 10: I feel like there might be too much description through here. I'm getting lost on details that I don't think matter to the plot, at least yet. pg 12: "his true purpose was to sleuth out..." --I thought his true purpose was to find H? pg 14: "The beast shall smite the tiger on the head..." --I though he didn't know what the prophecy meant? pg 15: "It was said to work even on the Supreme C" --side eyes in foreshadowing...
  5. I was basically going to say that as my assessment of this chapter. I like it, I think it's interesting, and A is a complex character. But we're also 6 chapters into a story about W's family and her meeting N, and I'm not sure where this fits. I'm not saying it doesn't, but maybe the next couple chapters are a good place to start tying things together? W's story is basically non-magical except she knows about the medicine, flowers, and N's village. Everyone else seems to know a lot more than her, so she's sort of drowning in the story where she has no ability to find out more information unless someone tells her. Usually the main character is the substitute for the reader learning new information, but in this case it's almost reversed. The reader is finding out how the world works and the main character is not. Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about this, for what they're worth. Still enjoying the story! You write very real characters. Note while reading: pg 1: "It’s safer for both of us if we remain acquaintances and nothing more" --maybe a little more elaboration on this? We know some about what is happening, but does W actually feel unsafe? pg 1: "With enough medicine, my mom’s body will get strong enough to withstand cancer treatment." --does she know this? It doesn't seem to be doing so yet. pg 3: "It’s possible this J, is manipulating her" --that's a big jump from just learning all this information. pg 5: so W had a whole thing with A, right? We get a mention of it in this version, but shouldn't she at least be aware of A's relations? pg 7: “And if I refuse?” “Then I am under no obligation to continue giving you gifts.” --I mean, that's pretty obvious. pg 7: "Guess I’ll be seeing more of N after all." --I'm not sure what I'm missing, but it feels like there's another show to drop in this chapter and I'm not sure what it is. M.A. obviously has a scheme, but he's acting pretty beneficially for now. pg 7: "he knows he can get something out of it.” --maybe this is it? I don't see what's bad about what he's getting out of it, and W hasn't asked. pg 9: “Bringing a human into the mix.” --aha...maybe this is the shoe. Is this saying A and M.A. are the same as N? pg 9: So B. is J's daughter? pg 12: We get a good assessment of what A is thinking, but I'm also wondering how his POV ties in with the central plot. Is he going to be a continuing character? Basically, we're 6 chapters in, and while I'm enjoying the story, I have no idea where it's going.
  6. Yep, no problem. I'll point out what I see in the story as well.
  7. Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! For someone new to writing and with English not as a first language, I think you did an awesome job. Generally I agree with the others that there is motivation missing in the first chapter of why they're hunting the T. Also why is B along here? We don't really get any explanation and it will add some more tension (though you do have a good bit with the silence and creature attack) My main concern was not understanding what's going on with the magic system. I think I figure a little bit out by the end of the chapter, but I was having some problems with sound/frequency/rhythm being confused. I think it's a really fun system, but there either needs to be more or less explanation in this chapter. Right now, there's just enough to mke me confused as to how it works. The ending also fell flat for me, as there's not a definite ending to the chapter. What happened? Were things resolved? Right now, we're just held at a moment in time with no indication what will happen. Looking forward to another entry! Notes While Reading: pg 1: Good hook! pg 1: confused on the third paragraph. Who's stopping their heart? I don't understand the sentence about cancelling sound waves with respect to the previous sentence. Then B has stopped his heart mechanically? Sounds very uncomfortable. I think this paragraph needs to be unpacked a lot, probably a bit later on after we know what's going on. pg 2: "Only a hand that shot out and caught him by the shoulder told him these were not rocks" --I'm a bit confused by B's relationship to the rest of the crew. Is he the new member? He sounds young, but also as if he hasn't been trained to be on the crew, which I would guess is the case if he's on his first outing. pg 3: "The realization sent shivers dancing madly along B’s spine. Noise, if the t were inside…" --Is his spine making noise? Not sure what this means. pg 3: "Seeing crackle-grass like this was like watching the sun go dark. " --huh? Confused. pg 5: "The waves he had sent" --I"m also a bit confused by the "ts" indicators. I'm imagining a "tsk" sound, which would be far too loud. Is this an actual sound? A directed vibration? I'm struggling to understand how this works. There's also a lot of counting involved. I'd hate to be fighting and have to differentiate between 15 and 16 vibrations. pg 5: "could see why his uncle disliked the man so much" --not sure why the leader chastising a crew member who made a mistake in a deadly encounter is out of line. Seems practical to me. --This is supported by the next couple pages. The leader seems like he's doing his job well. pg 8: Having a little trouble with the description here. So the T is threading it's own strings around hooks on its body like a serpentine violin? That's the image I get. But I'm still stuck on the "ts" and what the numbers mean. Is this an amplitude? Frequency? Is the wave something heard, or a pressure, or what? (I'm a mechanical engineer by training, did a focus in vibrations, and also play classical violin...this is why these parts trip me up) pg 9: "like some scaled hateful harp" --Ah, this lines up with what I was thinking. Might move this description earlier? pg 9: "Each man added his own rhythm." --Being slightly pedantic, but rhythm, or volume, or frequency? pg 9: "It was the resonant frequency of several vital organs in the human body" --interesting. So "Ts" is a measure of frequency then? pg 10: "Tum-tum-tum-tum-tum" --but this is five, not seven? pg 10: Er...so what happened?
  8. Generally agree with the others on this chapter. Overall, I thought it was good, and I like that we're getting to some of the deeper conflicts in the city. I think this is just fine. Especially over the past few years, we've all been exposed to seemingly irrational hate. I don't think you're calling out any one group. Like @Silk says, I'm mainly confused on the lore in the first half of the sub and what the deal is with the chickens. On the one hand, I like that M is just talking smack about the other gods like everyone should know what's going on, but it also does leave the reader confused. Maybe just a little more explanation form A on who is who? Second, I have no idea what they're doing with the chickens. Why does touching the coop matter? I C planning to float it out later? Are they going back? Not sure. Still enjoying the story! Notes While Reading: pg 1: "planting their foot on the street as it rushed by and pushing themselves once again. " --Are they taking backstreets? Because if seeing someone fly gets they conscripted, seeing them leap ten meters at a time will probalby do the same. pg 1: "But in this part of town everyone knew not to confront a c" --Ah, here's the explanation. I might still be worried about the people they passed giving information to the army. pg 2: "Our kind wronged them, just fifteen hundred years ago" --I do kind of like that the gods are just forgetful old people bickering. We might need some reminders about who's doing what, though. I don't think I know who the keepers are. pg 5: "he didn’t know any other places that were guaranteed to have m he could help" --I get how this is a logical progression from his task, but I wonder if we need more thought before this point on how A hopes to heal all of the M. pg 6: what's the significance of the coin again? pg 6: "They then set out to touch as many important objects as they could" --what is this for? Are they going to float the whole chicken coop across the city? pg 8: "I just feel really strongly about this" --interested to see what this is. pg 11: Good description of the fight through here! I like how M is guiding him. pg 13: This chapter definitely takes a darker tone! But I think it lends some good substance to what A has been seeing. I want a little more information about C's plan with the chickens though. I'm not sure what they're doing.
  9. Similar thoughts to the others on this one. It's unfolding a lot faster than the last version, so that might be what we're all feeling. If it's going full magical that quickly, that's fine, but I do agree more reaction from W will help that feeling. Right now we've got a lot of new characters and facts thrown at us over two chapters. If they're going back to the village, or dealing with it in some way in the next few chapters, I think this can work. But if we're getting hints now, and then most of the book will be about W/N's relationship, the revelations might need to be scaled back. I am really enjoying the story though! Looking forward to the next part. Notes While Reading: pg 1: Something weird in the second sentence... pg 2: "though it does line up with my amma being evasive about those flowers." --I think cutting the amount of exposition in the last chapter might actually help the reader accept this. If amma is vague but sort of skirts around "magic," then W here can say it's weird two people have brought it up in two days. pg 2: ah, so the flowers are mentioned. I was expecting more surprise or push back here. W just accepts that G is conveniently talking about the flower a person happened to give her. pg 3: “This is about the color it should be,” --I'm not sure why diluting it in water is the "right" color? pg 4: "I can’t believe I’m about to try this." --I like that we get into the mystery behind this super early, but it does seem very convenient with everything else that's been happening. pg 5: "now I know that using the flowers to turn that energy into physical healing" --Now I'm wondering what happened to the water in the vase. Hopefully mom didn't pour it out! or is the magic in the liquid used up too? pg 5: "I didn’t put much of the magic liquid in" --oh, got it. I thought she used the whole thing. pg 6: "I don’t have to get involved with whatever mess " --Aren't the flowers just growing out by the lake? Can't she just pick more? pg 9: "I hope I’m not making a mistake." --some great interactions here between W and N. Sets up a good tone of suspicion as well. pg 9: "I try to force H’s words" --I forgot about him! Surprised W didn't ask N about his brother. --Oh, didn't realize there was a POV shift here at first pg 10: "I still hurt her." --hmmm...Not sure how I feel about being in N's POV. I wonder if it's better to kep his actions mysterious? Then we wonder about his reasons for his actions. Here, he gets to explain them. pg 10: "pass over to the world I came from" --ah, that explains a lot. pg 12: Hmm, okay, I'm warming to N's POV. There's a lot more revealed early on than there was in the last version! If this is going full magical right at the beginning, then I think it's less of a problem. pg 13: "but she let me help her. Right now, that’s enough." --nice ending.
  10. Going to hold off on critiquing this one for now, as I'm just starting reading through the first book. Looks like you got a lot of good feedback, though!
  11. Nope! I think it's just right.
  12. Glad to read this one again! I enjoyed it the first time, and this already seems like a big improvement. I also had the biggest hiccup with amma giving too much info in the middle of the chapter. It enough that I want to know what else they are hiding and why, rather than getting me into the story. Maybe not completely forbidding W from seeing N, but expressing distrust and a few details will act as a better hook? Or maybe a mention of magic or something connected to the wolf cubs? I can tell there are things out of the ordinary here, but I don't think the setting is completely solid as paranormal fantasy yet. Looking forward to the next one! Notes while reading: Pg 1: The first paragraph is a little awkward in format. I'd maybe start with the second sentence and then explain with the first? Also there's something missing in the last sentence of the paragraph. pg 3: This captures my attention more than the first draft, but I'd watch your sentence structure. There are a lot of times where the sentence isn't run-on, but is still very long. for example: "His t-shirt, jeans, and hair all have specks of glitter in them that sparkle under the light as he walks forward." could be something like: "Glitter sparkles on his t-shirt, jeans, and hair as he walks through a patch of sunlight." pg 5: great interaction at the top of this page. It shows off their personalities well. pg 8: Chapter 1 is great. You describe characters very well through here, and N is much less creepy and more wholesome this time around. pg 10: Great explanation of autism through these pages as well. pg 12: "we got caught in the crossfire, and your uncle didn’t make it.” --I like that you're setting this up right off the bat! --however, since "crossfire" literally refers to firearms, it makes it sound like the uncle was shot. Is that what happened? pg 13: The aunt going missing at the same time might be a little plotful in this case? I'm not sure why amma would keep that hidden either. If she's been gone that long, are the police investigating? I don't know how it would stay quiet. pg 14: "I’ve already told you more than I wanted to" --I'm wondering why they won't share more information if they know it? Wouldn't knowing more convince W to stay away? pg 16: Ah, so this is N's brother! pg 16/17: Something about this conversation is weird. Like they're both talking around some other issue. pg 17: "It’s a shame I don’t want you getting close to my family, or else I might ask to spar with you more outside of practice.” --I think it's the sentences like this. I can't imagine a teenager actually saying this. pg 18: Great hook! But now I'm wondering who knows that G's mother is missing. Does she assume W knows?
  13. Similar thoughts to what the others said on this one. There are some good parts, but not a cohesive structure to the chapter. I think cutting parts of this and pulling the next event in the story sooner will help that. We get some good development with how A is perceived now, but then we need another reason to keep going. Notes while reading: Pg 1: Shows well why A would be distracted! pg 2: "macca-whatevers" --not sure what this is referring to. pg 3: "You’re right. I apologize," --This just doesn't seem like something a god would do... pg 3: "Particularly, you must consume much flesh, bone, and blood." --that's ominous. pg 5: “Why exactly are they here again?” --he? pg 7: could probably cut the last page of the meeting down even more. pg 11: Can probably cut this middle section down a bit as well. It's starting to drag as they keep talking about chickens. pg 12: "They talked about keeping an eye on me for now. Make sure I’m not a liability.” --That line could be stronger. There's a big difference between "keep an eye on someone" and "set an armed guard on them" pg 13: "doesn’t go by ‘she’ anymore. They go by ‘they’ now,” --I don't remember this being a point before and the M mostly use "they." Is this important to the plot? pg 16: "There was work to be done" --I think the end of the chapter could be stronger. It sort of fizzles out after pg 11. Maybe tie in the next even that will happen to keep up the pace?
  14. Nice hook! Page 11 and on is pretty smooth reading, but I think the beginning still takes too long to get going. Detective stories start with the brunette walking into the office, and this one takes 4 pages to get there. I'd move all the explanation about previous jobs to later in the chapter, or break it up. When D is recovering from the allergies would be a good time for some explanation as well. I think it's good information, but not needed for the consultation with the woman. Notes while reading: pg 1: Great intro. pg 1: "pleasure-turned-murder weapon" --pleasure weapon turned murder weapon? Something off about this phrase. pg 2: Pacing on this. The first couple pages are her going over things that happend in the past. Why is she looking at the first murder weapon? Is there a reason she's remniscing now? pg 3: Maybe a little slow on the first couple pages. pg 3: "Back to the cabinet then. Back to the real world. The new pink d" --this says it's new, but on the first page it started her career. --Also, the theme here seems to be looking at the past, which isn't a great way to start a novella. We haven't yet seen what the story is about. pg 4: So it's only at page 4 that we get the brunette walking into the office, which is the promise in the chapter title. What if we start with the brunette walking in, and get the explanation about the cabinet and "trophies" later on? pg 6: getting into lots of adverbs in the first few paragraphs. pg 9: great end to the interview. I still think the beginning drags too much. Maybe put some of the history into the interview, or have a little bit after the break when she's eating pizza? pg 11: "Her nose tickled, threatening another sneeze." --nice hints, and this works well with the brunette getting over a cold. pg 13: "Still, an allergic reaction gave her a solid data point." --I'm still not completely sold on her reasoning here, but she does address it at least. --Also, while she's waiting it out would be a good place for some introspection and "how did I get here" with some of the text from the first couple pages. pg 14: "They were polite, and friendly, and helped her with her groceries on occasion, but they still hadn’t needed the full frontal" --excellent line. pg 17: "a gigantic house on a postage-stamp sized lot... " --I think I've been to that house... pg 18: The end of the chapter is excellent and chugs along. The beginning needs a littel tidying up, I think.
  15. I had a similar reaction to @kais on this one. There's not a whole lot of movement, even with missing chapter 4. The conversation with Me. gives a little more clarify, but most of the concepts happened in the first conversation already. I wonder if this one could be edited down to the places with movement--talking to H, getting chickens, talking with Me. about being a champion--and combined with the meeting in the last chapter? Notes while reading: pg 2: "He looked to his right" --Lots of looking around and thinking so far in the chapter. Not a lot happening yet. pg 2: "had let C leave as they pleased" --Were they under guard? I'm not sure why since A basically just saved everyone. --oh wait...I went back and read the summary. pg 2: "It was a well-known phenomenon that con. often changed after they received their powers." --and some more good explanation. pg 3: "what is Evil, my child? Is it to disobey the laws set by the Keepers here in their pathetic little city?" --hmmm...a bit worrying. pg 5: Good conversation, but I feel like we've gone over this before. pg 8: "You can’t impersonate another m! They’ll banish you!" --Can't remember if we knew this before. pg 11: Hmm...Even missing a chapter in between, I feel this didn't move a lot. It's mostly dealing with A's decision to act, but he already started to when he healed his parent.