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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

Mandamon had the most liked content!

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About Mandamon

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    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Birthday May 26

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    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. Overall a pretty smooth chapter, but I think it did get a little tied down with all the talk about cars. I guess I'm not sure whether leaving town really is the plan, or if this is setup for something else. Didn't V fly around for about a week and not find anything? Will they get much farther with a car than (literally) as the crow flies? I feel like C is grasping at straws here, while her deduction about what to do with the town is sensible, after that the story meanders a bit into what to do. A strong ending here, either finding a driver, or starting on the trip, or something stopping them, might make a better arc. Notes while reading pg 5: Nothing so far! I'm enjoying the planning for a quest, but wondering where the story is going next. pg 7: not quite sure what is going on with V. pg 12: lots of time spent on starting cars, here. pg 13: "If the people around her would only make sense." --I feel like there are a lot of good thoughts in this chapter, but not really a complete arc.
  2. Ok, finally reading through this. Last week was A Lot. I apologize in advance for maybe more critical remarks that usual. I think, like @C_Vallion, I bounced off of this one because of all the teen angst. That by itself would have been alright, but I think this chapter still has some disconnects. My biggest one is I don't understand why W would refuse N at this point. The whole "people you care about helping you take care of others" is a central tenet of most human culture, so this comes off to me as seeming like a plot contrivance why W and N can't be together. That added to W's constant self-doubt makes me want to shake her, just a bit. Playing up on the extreme weirdness of N having some sort of reason why he needs to be with W would be a much better angle to me for why W would want to reject him. I though the mother was going to ask for something other people wouldn't want to do, D&D. (Full disclosure, I am the person who reads all the manuals). Notes while reading: Pg 1: Not really on board with the discussion on the first page. It seems very...overt. N asks what W's thinking about and it goes into this whole thing about Feeeelings of stuff that occurred last chapter. I don't think we need this quite yet. pg 1: "I’m sorry again that I couldn’t dance with you.” --also covered this. A lot. pg 1: “Don’t you remember me ignoring you..." --also not needed, I don't think. This was like five pages ago, right? pg 2: yeah...I just...don't get why W is making Drama over this. pg 2: "If we were to try a relationship" --Wasn't that what they were doing already, with the date and everything? pg 2: “With everything going on, I don’t think I can be in a relationship,” --huh? why? Because her mother has cancer? Wouldn't another person helping make that better? pg 3: "but there are factors at play I can’t talk about. Factors wouldn’t understand." --1) missing "you" 2) now it seems like N is going all creepy again like he was at the beginning. pg 3: "“I know it’s not going to work for me." --I think I mainly don't understand this because W hasn't given any reason things won't work. pg 4: "see if you can fall in love with someone prettier and nicer.” --UUuggghhhhh. W. Stop it. pg 4: “In my community, when this happens we’re expected to be close and comforting." --uh, yes. Also, you know, in all cultures. pg 6: "Going to Taekwondo becomes a chore" --again, W doesn't seem to understand human interaction. I've taught martial arts for over ten years and students routinely come when they're having problems at home as a place to de-stress. pg 6: "“We decided he can join us when I’m trying to spend time with you,” I say. “Since that’s normal for his culture after all.”" --What culture is W's family from? I feel like theirs is the strange one. pg 7: Top of the page I don't know what's going on. What decorations? what about old texts? pg 7: “I wanted to run a Dungeons and Dragons game.” --oh horrors. I don't know if your geeky teenage children would ever want to do that... /s
  3. Yep! It will come out a little later because recording is just now starting.
  4. Hey @Ace of Hearts, I haven't forgotten about you! Got absolutely swamped this week between work and finishing formatting for the upcoming anthology. I'll try to get to a read through tomorrow or on the weekend.
  5. Hey folks! Just wanted to brag a bit here and show you what can happen with a dedicated writing critique group: @kais, @Robinski, @shatteredsmooth, @Silk, and I have been working on an anthology since the middle of last year and today is the cover release! The book will be going through my imprint, so I guess I'm officially a publisher now... This book is a labor of love by the five of us, and would never have been possible if we didn't have this group to put us all together and make all our drafts bleed. So without further ado, here is Distant Gardens, an anthology of lesbian-centric, inclusive stories about spaceships, fairies, fungus, tentacles, and strange plants! Available here for preorder. Official release is August 3rd: Thanks to everyone on here, past and present. It wouldn't have been possible without you!
  6. Good chapter, but I still thought it had some fluff to it, so glad it's already 1.5k shorter! There are a couple exchanges over movies and dress customs that drag on a bit, and I think the whole first page can pretty much be cut. Aside from that it's a good resolution to what happened last chapter. I still don't really like W as a character. She seem to self-destruct any time anything goes wrong, which I suppose is a realistic trait, but not one that's very sympathetic. I don't understand why she can't have a relationship with W and care for her mom at the same time? Aside from that, I enjoyed it, and look forward to the next installment! Notes while reading pg 2: "Ten minutes to get myself into working condition" --this whole intro section is still pretty long and disconnected. You could probably sum it up to the last line and maybe a sentence about punching and kicking pillows. pg 5: Ok, I'm not unhappy with this turn of events. N staying around even though they miss the dance gives them some good time to connect. pg 6: Although I'm not sure the discussion on dress and makeup needs to be this long... pg 9: "“Do you have something against iron?” I say." --Interesting. And now I'm wondering if N has had any problems dealing with everyday objects that may contain iron. pg 10: "If I have to swear off relationships..." --Oh my goodness this again. This is where I dislike W intensely. The self destruction as soon as something goes wrong. pg 10: "Why is he still showing me affection?" --this as well. Does W struggle with understanding affection because her parents are ace? Dealing with a sick parent would be helped by having someone else to draw strength from... pg 12: "But if I say that, my parents will tell me to pursue what makes me happy instead of worrying about mom." --Porque no los dos? Seriously, I don't understand why W can't have a boyfriend in her mother is sick.
  7. This is better than the last version, but I have some of the same concerns as the others regarding W's self-pity and how the plot plays out. I like that we get a little more explanation for why N likes W, and that he does have some inner anger and isn't all just rainbows an sprinkles, but at this point I'm also having trouble seeing why he's still going after W. Same feeling as this. I'm just getting stuck on this part in the plot if W has spent the whole book running from N, finally opens up, and the immediately turns away again the second a similar trouble to what they'd been disusing comes up. I feel like we just got to the top of a mountain, and rather than seeing an easier slope down the other side, we now have another mountain to climb up. Might be good to submit the next chapter instead or reworking this one again. I'm interested to see how the two navigate this and how it plays into the larger plot. Notes while reading: pg 2: "The fact that the doctors have no idea what’s going on" --interested to see what it is this time instead of cancer... pg 5: Glad to see N has a dark side as well. Although W is really pressing hard. pg 6: "she and my mom" --oh, I think I missed this before. Is one "mom" and one "mama?" pg 8: "And the doctors supposedly don’t know what’s causing any of it." --Ah, so this is what W's parents are telling her. That's...a really bad lie.
  8. I like that we're starting to fill in the gaps here, and the kids are beginning to come to a plan. I'm eager to see how it turns out. I think overall this chapter is good, but like @C_Vallion says, there is a bit of repetition and it could be trimmed a bit to make it more streamlined. One of the main questions I want to see answered soon is the why. We now know how the stove works, but we still don't know why the town is continuing like it is and whether other attempts have been made to stop it .We get some good hints, but nothing yet. Still very interested in the story--this is one of the more original concepts I've seen in a while! Notes while reading: pg 1: Good to see some of the behind the scenes in the mayor's POV pg 1: "She must not be allowed to stop until she is truly ugly." --interesting. So there are degrees to which one can give up the intended sacrifice? pg 2: "keeping the cursed land from creeping forward" --so I guessed this is what the stove was doing, but I'm still not sure how sacrifices keep a certain amount of land from dying or becoming cursed. Does the stove metaphorically "heat" it or something? pg 2: "Soon, there will be no fresh people" --I've been wondering about this the whole time. I wonder how long this has been going on. pg 3: E's sacrifice could turn out to be something really big... pg 8: Aha, that's where V. went. pg 9: Is V in bird or human shape here? I can't picture how they're talking. pg 10: “I don’t understand about this rhythm dance energy thing,” --you and me both, E. pg 13: I think there's a slight disconnect here that no one asks HOW burning things keeps the town alive. There's no visible change except to the person afterwards. pg 15: “And they should have made me burn my spite.” --Ha! GM is a great character. pg 18: Aha. That explains where V comes from. pg 18: Good hook for the next chapter!
  9. I thought this was a really good followup to the last couple chapters. We get C, GM, and T's reactions to the changes. V's disappearance is ominous. I was a little surprised everyone knew about him, but I think that makes sense from everything to this point. Also had this question. Agree with @C_Vallion that the argument can be trimmed. I think GM overplays her hand a bit where she keeps trying to manipulate C even though C already called her bluff. Makes it seem like she's not actually that good at manipulation after all, but we know she is. Looking forward to where this goes next! Notes while reading: pg 2: good reaction to the events from the last couple chapters. pg 4: "That green boy took years to show up." --what now? I thought C made him? Or was he from T's parents? Might just be WRS on my part. pg 7: "Also, I live in this house now.” --well, that's standard GM! Although I don't think T or her grandfather would really object. pg 7: "I need to be the monster." --very nice. Shows an interesting progression for GM pg 8: "when the room stops tilting?” --why is this? pg 9: "I win games that you don’t realise you’re playing. I’m good at it, and you’re not.” “I’m getting the phone.” --for all GM says she's manipulative, and she is to some extent, why is she saying this when C has already threatened to cal Gm's parents? She's not helping her case. pg 10: "stumbling down the cracked driveway" --what is wrong with GM? I thought she burned her beauty, not her sense of balance.
  10. I really liked this, and didn't have a lot of comments while reading. There were two main parts that I had a little bit of an issue with, similar to @C_Vallion above: 1) There was no backstory or anything to address who the recipient of the letter was or why the MC was writing it. Had something changed in her life to write this story now? The ending suggests she's lived many years after the story's setting, so I wonder what is changing 2) I want a little more emotion from the MC as she tells her tale. In the action is very poignant and moving, but then we don't get a lot of resolution for how it affects the character. I think this ties in to the issues @C_Vallion brings up with the suicide aspect. The MC never really deals with that part, and doesn't pause on the greater affect it had on her life. She just keeps moving farther into the yokai realm. The end gives a little more description of how this affected her life, but even though she said it's not something that would "heal" her, it's not clear what effect it actually had. More just an acknowledgement that she had an inspirational moment. All in all, I really liked this. It drew me in and didn't seem as long as it was while reading. Very nice story! Notes while reading: pg 6-8: the imperfect English mostly disappears when the MC is speaking with the owner of the yokai establishment. It threw me out a little because this is in an epistolary format, so I was expecting it to also be transcribed imperfectly. pg 9-11: the pace drops some in this section, and I think there's probably some explanation that can be cut down to make this flow better. pg 13: I really like the revelation with the mountain yokai, but because of the way this is told, it sort of sucks the emotion out of the moment. I would have liked a little more revelation after this encounter but it mainly just describes the physical and monetary effects. pg 18: the theme of acceptance is really good in this story, and I like that it does get turned back on the MC as a "final confrontation."
  11. I can definitely tell this is the halfway point. This almost feels like the beginning of an epic fantasy, vs. the MG/YA feeling to the first half. There's a lot of tension in the first chapter, and I feel not as much in the second. I think it's because T is really in danger of losing something, but it doesn't feel that way for C. Yes, she'll get stuck in the house, but I think if you really play up that she CAN'T survive there and will waste away, or whatever, with just the void for company. That might help. Lots of answers here, and it's frankly a relief. We're changing from "the monster in the shadows" in the first half to "chasing the monster" in the second so we get to see behind the curtain. I think you might be able to make it better by sprinkling just a few more hints in the first half about what's happening so the smartest readers might figure it out and the other readers really get a sense of "surprising yet inevitable" when they get to this part. I liked the reveal with burning "edges," for example. More like that would help. Looking forward to the second half! Notes while reading: pg 1: "The past generations’ contributions have already been consumed, and are of no further help. " --I would think it would be greatly helpful to see what past contributions changed into. pg 2: "and were left with some vital part of themselves missing. T can’t afford to do that. " --Sounds like the stove needs something important or vital to burn... pg 2: "who picked ‘edges’" --well that explains that... pg 4: "or protest the loss of the records" --oh, she's BURNING the records. I did not get that before. pg 4: "She will not be able to connect the dots" --oh wow that's a terrible choice. pg 5: "old people who were falling apart from the inside out," --Are there any of the grandparent-generation still in the town? All the children have parents, but I haven't seen grandparents. Makes me wonder if they die off early. pg 6: "The creations that come from the Wood Stove" --so he's saying C was created by the stove and not born? --Ah yes. clarified later. pg 7: “T’s parents!” --I really don't remember anything happening to T's parents in the story. Also, that answers my question about grandparents. I forgot T lived with hers. pg 8: "He could take what he wanted, do as he pleased" --yes, the people are all missing something they burned, but I wouldn't say they're helpless. An ashen could be overpowered... pg 9: "A third person wouldn’t be able to get in." --eh? Why not? Seems very authorial. pg 11: void garden is cool. Ah. But cursed.
  12. I had a lot of confusion through this chapter, I think because some of the terms haven't really been defined yet. I think you could definitely cut a lot of this and get the meaning across clearer. The wrangling with O and the doctor can be cut down to essentials to get to the rest of the chapter. I also don't really know what's happening between pages 7 and 12, with activating the mirror. Things get really trippy, but I thought going through the void was switching planes, not the mirror, so I got confused. The interaction between A and O could also be cut down. It's a great "what if," but I think exiting the scene sooner will help it be more poignant and get across just the plot information you need to. Overall, at this point in the story I'm unclear on: 1) plane vs. void vs mirror. 2) what the birds actually control (planes? planes and time?) and which universe they're from. Notes while reading: pg 1: oh, that's much better than a tadpole... pg 4: "You’re just going to loiter in the lobby." --I love the interchange between the two, but I'm starting to get a little lost on what's happening. Because the doctor is feeding little bits of information at a time, I can't really understand the whole picture. O was going to the void, but then isn't actually going through. Won't that be suspicious? pg 5: "Loitering can get a being shot" --didn't they specifically say TO loiter in the lobby? pg 5: "Maybe she’d linger just a little" --I thought she wasn't going through? Confused. pg 6: okay, so O went through the void. Was she in this plane or the new one to start with? I feel like she was in the original plane is going through to the place where S and co ended up. pg 7: "Activate mirror? the words read." --also not sure what the mirror is. She went through a portal between planes, right? So what does the mirror do? pg 9: "Step three." --okay, very very confused as to what's happening and where O went. pg 10: "Voids. Mirrors. She must have entered by mistake" --still not sure what happened and what the difference is. Is she dreaming? pg 11: I love the names for the birds. Please keep them. pg 11: "incase" --not sure what this means. Encase? With what? pg 12: I'm not sure how she overheard the birds? Nor am I sure where she is. pg 12 : "There had to be rules about interacting with someone in a mirror plane." --but where is she? pg 14: "opting to look back at the birds above" --wait, the birds are above her? On the planet? Very confused. pg 14: "just reported a temporal breach." --now we're throwing time travel in with a mirror and a void? pg 16: Still love the bird names. pg 17: "I don’t have a brother." --huh, that's weird. But also explains why she's here! pg 19: "it puked half of it back out and destroyed most of the system" --seems like they should have run a few more analyses first. pg 22: "At least her neck had stopped itching when the timer ran out." --I guess that's part of the transfer? pg 22: "Scratched the back of her neck for good measure," --okay, what IS going on with that? pg 24: good ending!
  13. This chapter has some great revelations I've been waiting for since the beginning of the book. As I said below, I think shortening up some of the earlier chapters, as well as the beginning of this one, will get us to this essential spot sooner. I'm really eager to see what's in the house, but as @kais says, maybe give a hint of what's in the house to make us keep reading. I like that GM and C are mostly working together for a common cause now, and that we've discovered the motivations for what's been going on with GM. I'm hoping there will be more of them playing off each other. Notes while reading: pg 1: "to find a good hiding place" --ah. I was confused what she was prepping for. pg 4: "The folds of his skin drip with oil" --ick! pg 4: "… daughter" --is this saying C is not their daughter? pg 4: "the creation of the green bird" --okay, so everyone is aware of V. I was wondering about that. pg 5: "No. Do you?” --Yeah, I thought this question was weird, as there are horrible repercussions threatened, but there seems to be no precedent. pg 7: “Her beauty,” --huh, Okay, this is a welcome explanation. pg 7: "It is that energy that keeps the town of C going." --ahhh...I've been waiting ten chapters for this. pg 8: "the late Claimjumpers," --what now? Isn't this T's parents? Did we hear about this? pg 10: Very nice ending. The last couple chapters have been very engaging. I wonder if the first few chapters can be cut down a bit to get to this point sooner?
  14. I think especially since W's gone through it before (as I recall), the symptoms are pretty clear. She should at least suspect. It's pretty hard to hide the tiredness and look that comes from going through radiation therapy.
  15. I really liked this chapter, and didn't make many notes. (I was also riding back in a car from the con this weekend, so...) I thought all of this was needed information to get us into the other plane. It's very strange and I have a lot more questions, but looking forward to getting them answered. Generally, I was engaged as I read because there was always another thing popping up to give information. Notes while reading: pg 3: "Being here, having traveled so far, so fast..." --This is definitely WRS, but I don't remember what S knows about Prit and it's fate. pg 3: "Where were the space pirates?" --Where there space pirates? I guess what I can't remember is the original inciting incident that made S come here. pg 7: "per Apo guidelines." --like, they put planets in orbit around stars? --okay, evidently yes. pg 9: "It sounded like you requested..." --Lol pg 11: "the free tourist guide" --Why are they not taking the thing that gives them information about what they've been asking about? I assume there would be some history in the tourist guide. Overall, good discovery chapter. Lots of new information, so not a lot to comment on.