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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. This half did have some more action, and generally things connected and flowed, save where I made notes below. However, like @industrialistDragon, I'm not empathizing with any of the crew. Overall, the job is too easy, and they're stealing this manuscript and killing a pretty dumb, but generally harmless guy to get it. Do we ever get a reason? I'd love to see something bad, or even just a setback, happen to one of the crew to give this a little more tension. Notes while reading: pg 1: "I couldn’t have done it, obviously because I’m here.” , “I’m willing to bet you’re only here to have an alibi.” --all this is fairly obvious. pg 2: “Well played. It seems you’ve won against the thief.” --Lord E still seems pretty dumb. He's claiming whatever he can, no matter how it works with the evidence. It makes following all this a little confusing. pg 3: "Finally, after minutes that seemed to be hours" --they just stood there for minutes? pg 3: "Always prepare for the worse" -> "Always prepare for the worst" pg 4: "Am I really that predictable?” --sort of. pg 4: "but they were just jeweled objects, no actual history behind them" --eh? Some of the most stories artifacts in our world are jewels. I guess these people don't like shiny things? pg 6: "But I cannot simply reveal my hiding place. If you could leave, I shall be with you shortly" --wait, didn't he bring A here to show him the manuscript? pg 6: “Calm yourself.” “Wait, what does he want?” --Lord E once again proving denser than stone. pg 7: “Twelve – that’s a designation, isn’t it?" --why do these people keep insisting on giving away any disguise they have? pg 8: "Stanford, at your service, occasionally known as Six." --seriously? Why not give out his address and phone number, too? pg 8: "I don’t have it. You came too early, fool!" --getting more annoyed by Lord E. pg 9: "What was the point of undergoing your ridiculous training if this is going to happen to me.” --huh? Maybe do better next time? Or have the obviously better person at climbing do it? A doesn't seem the type to blame training on his own inadequacy. pg 10: “We got lucky that the manuscript was here.” --This seems a very poor plan. pg 10: "I take it this means that he wasn’t willing to cooperate with us?” --is he talking about Lord E? or J? pg 11: "“I apologize for bringing an abrupt end to this evening’s meeting" --what were all these people doing while E was goofing off with A? He's also explaining a whole lot, and confirming his security is not foolproof to the people buying from him pg 12: "we can’t let it be known that we were the ones who stole the manuscript." "From there – the solution is obvious.” --I'm still not getting what they're doing. pg 13: “What you do not feel is iocane extract. " --Lol. If only he'd spent years building up an immunity... pg 13: "Julius was in the crowd tonight, but that was out of disguise" --what? pg 14: You can't see it, but I'm squinting my eyes at J's explanation pg 14: "You decided to inform the whole underworld of something that needs to be kept secret from the public." --ok, I'll give him that. Lord E is a dumb as a bag of rocks. pg 16: "reclaim that which was took" -> "reclaim that which was taken" --also, introducing a new magic system on the last page of a short story is perhaps not the right place. pg 17: Hmmm...I don't know if having Dark Eye be there is really necessary. The heist is done when they get out of the tunnel. I don't care about the secret boss.
  2. Agree. We're here for the heist, and too much buildup takes away from it. Also agree! This reads even better than the last one. I would say you can probably keep some of the information before pg 11, but there are a lot of asides for infodumps scattered throughout. They could probably be cut down quite a bit and still get the same information across. I wasn't as bothered by the POV switches as the others were, but you could easily limit it to J and A. I don't think the others are really necessary. E's intro is largely infodump. There are some technical plot problems that popped out to me. I've noted them below. Perhaps some of them are tied up in the second session, so I'm eager to find out! Notes while reading: pg 1: "matters of his clothes, his cups" --his cups were expensive? Do you mean his choice in alcohol? pg 1: you've lost me in the second parapraph. All this is a dry infodump on someone we don't care about. pg 1: paragraph 3 is the start of the story. It shows most of what was told in the first two paragraphs... pg 3: I guess E isn't as familiar with wine as he thought? pg 5: “Is that so?” A. gave an eerie smile. A sudden chill went down Lord E's spine. “I have heard quite differently.” --E is getting less and less competent as the story progresses. A was said to be bad at social interaction, but he trips up the lord who's been involved in sketchy business for years? pg 5: "The book A. was asking about was indeed..." --There's a lot of extra words here. I got the gist of the book very quickly. pg 5: "Perhaps our usual arrangement would suffice…?” --This backs up the comment above. They've done this dance before, so why would E. be cautious about A knowing of illegal books in his library? pg 7: "sneak his dark figure" --Sounds like he's sneaking a dark mannequin. pg 7: "G. stabbed the top" --I don't think you can stab glass, even with a diamond knife. pg 7: "The thief fell twenty feet." --this seems...extremely problematic, and very likely to break bones, even if he goes into a roll. pg 9: "The layout was gotten for him previously " --awkward pg 10: the confrontation between J and E is pretty blatant, especially in front of a room of people used to shady dealings. Calling J out like that would probably lose E customers... pg 11: "not quite worth the asking price at all." --Really? I guess he doesn't care what he makes off the auction? pg 11: "he was quite glad his wine had been correctly identified. At least one team member was in place." --okaaaay...this is a very complex explanation, but I'm willing to read on. pg 11: "will be randomly given to someone in the audience." --Ok, there is an explanation for this, but the auction rules keep getting stranger... pg 11: I'm wondering if J is driving up the prices just for fun, or if there's a reason. pg 13: "someone with a left black eye and a right blue one. It was an odd look..." --We already know A knows J. This is unnecessary. pg 13: "That seemed a bit low for the final item, but nothing else could command the price" --This seems inconsistent. It's not the final item, so we don't know what it's worth. But E seems to think J has gotten a good deal. So something else can command the price? pg 13: "the item will command a price of..." --Why is E revealing this? Won't think make people underbid to get a good deal? pg 15: "it’s something that you’ve never heard of" ... "So it seems that it wasn’t a myth." --Some more inconsistencies. A said one of the things he'd heard of was a myth, so why does E assume that isn't the thing he's auctioning? pg 15: "as would benefit a scholar" --unneeded. pg 15: "and I shall retire with the money made from the sale" --uh, yeah, he really shouldn't have stated the expected price, then. pg 15-16: I have some problems with the "gotcha" moment here. First, E should be well aware of the technical niggling J is doing, if he's adept at all about auctioning illegal items. Second, J's accusation comes out of nowhere. We don't know he's an agent beforehand, so it feels like a deus-ex-machina. Third, why ever would J just give away that the item has been stolen, and give away the thief's name??
  3. Getting on any panel will be fun. I was on three at the last WorldCon. As long as you generally know about the topic, and provide some entertainment while not hogging other presenters' time, you'll be fine.
  4. This ties in a lot to what I'm talking about below. If this is going to be more M's story, then I think the setup and the conversation with E fits better. It just wasn't jiving with my impressions the story the first time around. The world is clearer, certainly, but you might need to separate the information out a bit more. Right now it's all clumped at the beginning. Notes while reading: pg 1: "Most people called her M." --I like the intro to the world, but it's a bit of an infodump. We don't get a good hook into character until this sentence, but it's a non-sequitor, coming after everything else. pg 2: "the steering where" -> "the steering wheel" pg 2: The whole first section is very infodumpy. If this is intended to be a companion for the book, I can see how it would be a reminder of events, but here it just reads as off. Depends on who you intend the audience to be. No other real issues technically, but unless E. is going to be a player in the rest of the story, having a chapter than focuses so much on them with M might be misleading. It ties into the book nicely, which leads to the same question of whether this is supposed to be read only by those who've read the book, or who are going to read the book. It's a good setup for M wanting to act, thus the rest of the story, but we don't see anything from B's POV, except for a few stray thoughts at the end. I'll have to see more of what you've changed. It does get me into the world better than last time, at maybe the cost of infodumping.
  5. Holy crap that was long...
  6. Same here. I got mine last night, so I'm going to look at it today.
  7. I had a bit of trouble getting into this section, but I think that's more on WRS than on any fault of the writing. There is a bit of a disconnect between the end of the last section and the jump to this one, so if there's a break in reading, it would be easy to get confused. I think my main concern is that this is the real meat of the character arc for the book and it's basically just a crib from the movie. B goes through the same realization Jimmy Stewart's character does, so it seems like the impact is lessened because we already live this this story as a part of our culture. I'm also not sure what else needs to be said after this section. It reads as the end of the story to me. B wraps it up pretty well at the end, and as a reader, I'm convinced they won't be any danger to themself, at least for now. Notes while reading. pg 1: "This place looked exactly like Mary’s Eats did before it got renovated" --But then you say B. is in Mary's Eats. Why is this a surprise? pg 1: "Was this some kind of nightmare?" --I am similarly confused. pg 2: "That ruled out time travel." --yeah, I have no idea what's going on. Probably half due to WRS, since it's been a few weeks and I don't remember the end of the last chapter. --edit: ah, you give a recap next sentence. Good. But I'm still not sure what's going on. pg 2: “That store closed a decade ago." --oh yeah, now I remember. We're doing the "It's a wonderful life" thing with VR. Back on board. pg 3: "If I drank all the tea" --I think this sentence reads correctly. pg 4: interesting test of whether it's a dream... pg 4: "the town forest" --is this a thing? "Instead of selling the land to the town, my grandfather kept it" --Ah. Was this explained before? pg 6: also forgetting who J. is. Is she one of the neighbors? pg 8: "My death date was three days after my birthdate." --So this is pretty much an exact rip-off of the movie? Would B. Recognize the pattern? The rest of it reads well. I assume M and M unhooked B from whatever they did to them between the two chapters. This is not the end? Because it comes to a pretty definite conclusion.
  8. I flipped it around a bit to be more active. How does this sound? "A writing support group for all genres and skill levels of writers. Trade critiques with others who intend their work for publication. Beginners encouraged." One note--how much are we for all genres? Most here are primarily SFF. I mean, I will critique anything, but I prefer SFF.
  9. Similar comments and concerns to @kais on this one. It's a lot better, but still drags. This is definitely in my demographic, and I also thought the numbers weighed down the story. And if I'm not the demographic, then who is? few people will enjoy a story that doesn't have a good/climactic ending. This is the heart of the story, and I think it needs to be brought out more. it has nothing to do with the actual rules, since they're both cheating. So show us instead their emotions and how they're going to one-up each other. I'd read the heck out of that. Original writeup... Overall, this is a lot better than the first version, and you've got some good emotional tags with the game, but the whole thing runs long. It could probalby be cut down to half or 3/4 of it's length and still achieve the same effect. Also, are you planning to tie this in with something else? I like that there is visible worldbuilding in the background, but there might be a few too many calls to something outside the story. It makes me wonder more about those things and if they're more interesting than this story. Last, I'd really get rid of all the numbers, or all but a couple. I don't really care what the numbers are, as I don't understand the game. I had no idea what happened when they rolled at the end, but you got the point across that the lady cheated, and J found her out. You could do that with taking out all the numbers, and just show the dice roll where she influenced it. Then the story is shorter and snappier, but we still get the same emotional impact. This same thing happens in most of the story. I still enjoyed it, and kept reading it, but if I came across this story "int the wild" I'd probably skim through the rest of it once I got to all the game description. Notes while reading pg 2: "Ah, a lost" --loss? pg 3: This intro is a little long for a short story. It could be cut down to get to the inciting incident sooner. pg 4: "what his foe had maneuvered him into doing" --technically true, but this is kind of weak, and makes me like N even less than I already did. pg 5: "But you’ve already lost the riddle game" --huh? He has? pg 5: "shown a violent shale of pale blue" --I have several problems with this statement. Can blue be violent? Do his eyes change color? If not, then do his eyes always look violent? pg 7: ‘The single tense of ‘agents on assignment’ is ‘dead man with no backup’ --cool line pg 8: "The tale of a fee was fiction, the emblem was what counted" --why? Are they and the concierge both in on it? Why this facade when there's no one else around? pg 9: "falling to the floor to regain her balance" --that's...not how you regain your balance... pg 9: "not make that" --now pg 10: I like the banter, but I'm not really sure what's going on, and I'm almost halfway in. pg 11: "turning his two blue eyes to his natural heterochromatic mix of blue and black" --Is this where the violent blue eye comes from? I'm assuming J is going to become N... pg 11: "Our job is to bait him.” --okay, but I'm still not sure of the objective of the story. pg 12: Wait, we're back in the first timeline now? There needs to be another ellipsis. pg: 12: "I would hang you, and then cut off your head" --okay, this explains why they said he lost, but why didn't they stop after the first riddle, then? pg 13: "My name is J" --so why all the pretense to start if he's just going to say who he is? pg 16: "Why is it that I got stuck with him" --I thought we were in J's POV? pg 16: Why were the dice appropriate? pg 17: lots of numbers in here that don't really matter to me. pg 18: I'm glad you cut the description of the games short, but I'm still skimming over the numbers you throw out to tell who wins. Can you describe the winning situation without using numbers but emotion, thus making it more exciting? pg 20-22: I'm basically skimming any description of numbers to get to the part where you show what it means for the players. That's the part that's interesting, and it's done pretty well, but diluted a lot by listing all the numbers. I think you could take them all out and get the same effect. pg 24: The ending is fine but I'd rather just hear the story rather than being taunted with it.
  10. First off: interesting to read this now I'm almost finished with Power Surge. It's cool to see M from her POV. Overall, this certainly had less of the other worldbuilding aspects creeping in than the first part. The first few pages could probably be slimmed down. I wasn't really that interested until J showed up again at the end. Character-wise, I don't really believe the interaction between B and J. More details below. Plot-wise, the whole elaborate plan seems a little over-complicated. Couldn't M just telepathically transmit the new story into B's mind while they were out of it? Is all the VR stuff needed? Notes while reading pg 2: Between "Broady," "Baily," and "Brandy," I'm having trouble remembering who's who. pg 5: The meeting at the end of this section is missing something, but I'm not sure what. Maybe it's because there's not much explanation for why J is standing around outside the shop. It might also be WRS, because I didn't remember that B had been married until it was brought up. I don't think it's been a big issue, so this popping up was a little strange. The connection between them also seems off. I guess J came there to show off her new look, but B doesn't respond, then collapses after J leaves. I find B's love hard to believe, if they haven't even been thinking of her. pg 6: Soooo...M has succeeded in her task? --edit: reading into the next chapter, I guess not. pg 8: "The fact that after all that time, she hadn’t filed gave me hope" --Yeah, I think this needs to be much bigger if it's going to be a driving force. pg 10: Ok, now I'm just confused. How would such an elaborate deception by M keep B from committing suicide? pg 12: okay, the explanation of why helps some, but I still think there could have been a better way to handle that. pg 13: is Mi. misgendering B intentional?
  11. Great points, @industrialistDragon. I've got a better idea on how to reorder this... I think I just need to combine POVs so there's only one for the first few chapters. Yep, as @Robinski says, this is a good way to put it. I'll work on clearing this up. This is, unfortunately, what I'm leaning toward as well. I was sort of thinking about having M and G pop up at the end of every few chapters and slowly build something throughout the book. It may be better to just give them a whole chapter here and there instead. Great comments from everyone! I think I may skip posting next week? Dunno. I have a con to sell books at this weekend, so I may not have time anyway.
  12. Great comments as usual, @Robinski! R's always been more emotional where V is concerned. Though I think this leads into what the others have said. I think I'll need to separate each of the sections into a whole chapter, maybe attached to a later section. Or maybe this whole section will be cut and replaced by something else. Hmm...good points. Again, I thin I either need to expand this or cut it. I figure that out on the second draft. Good idea. I like moving it to the end of the section. Yes, probably. I'll have to figure something more plausible for their separation, or play up the secrecy aspect. This gives me a whole lot to think on, and will come in very handy when making edits. Thanks!
  13. Ok--based on multiple feedback looks like I need to flesh out the early parts into separate chapters. Honestly, I'm not completely sure where I'm going with this plotline, but I really wanted M in this book. This will probably be subject to a lot of 2nd draft editing. Thanks! I'm glad I handled this well enough, based on you and @shatteredsmooth. I was a little concerned. I'm actually in the middle of taking a Writing the Other class on Trans and NB characters, so that's helped as well. Thanks @kais!
  14. Thanks to @mrwizard70 and @shatteredsmooth! I think a lot of the confusion comes from this being book 2. I'd like to see if some of the others who have read the first book have the same confusion. correct K is supposed to be an AI, based on a previous personality. I think I can clean this up some more to be clear. The society is a little different. I think I need to put in some more explanation about this. Ha! Oh, that's terrible! I'll be sure to put in some more description... Interesting! It's actually more the opposite. You'll see in the next chapter. In any case, great comments about where you're getting confused. This will help me clarify these scenes.
  15. Got it. I can work on this.