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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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About Mandamon

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    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. Awesome!
  2. Well..I didn't write anything down as I read! I think you caught all the little bits and pieces we found last time, and the switch from revenge to horror is still quite shocking, even though I've read it before. I think the texts with her mum are spot on now, and ending with that last one gives the story a weird vibe of hope in the middle of the horror--I really like it! And, that's pretty much it. I reiterate that this one definitely need to be submitted somewhere. I think it's some of your best work.
  3. Well, I was trying to put together my thoughts on this one, but @kais has really sized things up well. You can count me as a second on basically all the comments above. This exactly. I'm wondering what it all was for. Uh. Yeah. Pretty much all this would be a fantastic story. especially shade from the aunt. I had a lot of problems with E basically beating up an old lady to win the day. I think the physical side of this is the part that isn't working, and developing the social side will help a lot. Notes while reading: pg 2: "The pieces of the suit hissed as they came apart " --why would E take off the suit? It seems kind of dumb while they're in a war zone. pg 2: "She’s always been bitter about losing heirship" --hmm...unless she's become a whole lot more suspicious at the beginning, this seems like a big jump. And if she is that much more suspicious, I wonder why E didn't say something about it while they were on alert from the mouse bot. Wouldn't Aunty be the primary suspect? pg 4: The parent's deaths are much more jarring this time. pg 4: "What did I miss? How did I not see this coming?" --Wouldn't they be raging against their aunt, who has seemingly murdered her sister? pg 5: "They plowed ahead towards U’s main chamber" --Why are they doing this alone? pg 6: "paying homage to evidence that their sister didn’t hate them" --something's not right about this, but I don't know what. Maybe that they're stopping to have this realization now? pg 6: "The scent was strong enough so that at each fork or split" --that's some strong perfume. pg 7: "The sequins on his toga reflected what little light there was in the tunnel." --a little confused on the blocking. Wouldn't E's eyes have adjusted by now? Also, if just the sequins reflected the light, how can E see his face? pg 7: This is a really large tunnel in the back of U's bedroom... pg 8: "could probably down the tunnel." --Missing a word. pg 9: I'm not really feeling the deception with Aunt E. I'm not sure of the reason. Maybe because U is acting too sincere? She's not trying to fight or give E a warning? pg 11: “Wouldn’t you take power back if you had the chance?” --Eh, this is a pretty generic reason. Maybe the queen did something to her and she's been holding a grudge? Or she really likes the castle? Anything mroe creative than this. pg 11: "after a few minutes, E. had El. pinned with a blade to her throat." --Yeah, not working because it's not specific, and way too short. You might read the knife fight from the end of Dune. It's very tense! pg 11: "Please let her stand trial.” --I assume there's some larger justice system in place than their now-deceased parents? pg 12: The end is a bit of a let-down. Everything is wrapped up, but I want some better resolution with E and U. Maybe something about what E saw in U's rooms?
  4. Thanks to both @shatteredsmooth and @kais! I don't remember this, either. I realized I hadn't set this up. I've included a bit about him studying portals in the first few chapters. Interesting comments. I get the feeling of people wanting to read on, which is good, but also being frustrated with going to a different POV every chapter. So is this good frustration that makes you read on, or bad frustration that stops the tension building? I'm hoping the first, especially when I have the other issues taken care of. I think this is good. I more wanted the fight to come off as Re figuring things out when everyone else was too concentrated on the moment... Nak. and one of the maji are both house of grace. They're the ones who stand off face to face. But no, it hasn't had as much focus on it. Yeah, I really wanted this too, but got tied down by some timing intricacies in the plot, which will become apparent near the end. I think I need to change things around so he does make the portal here. It would keep the tension up better.
  5. Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! I see @Alderant has already given this a good going-over, but I'm happy to see you can take criticism well and are making improvements. I'll add in my two cents: Overall, I actually like the theme of this book so far. There are pretty standard fantasy tropes, but those are easy to subvert, if you do it right. What I do like is that this seems to be a fantasy kingdom meets Mad Max adventure and I am totally there for that, especially if one place has magic and the other has tech. Totally agree. Quite honestly, this is not in a state where professionally editing is going to help. You seem to have had a lot of unhelpful beta readers, so hopefully we can make up the difference and give you some better feedback. There are some power-user tricks in Word to find and automatically convert italics, so yes, this will be time consuming, but maybe not as bad as you think, You could search for some combination of quotation marks followed by italicization, for example. But on this subject, yes, it is incredibly confusing. I've made some comments about it in my notes, but I would definitely change this back to regular text. There are also conflicting explanations, like she's speaking, but not speaking, and something else is involved? If this is big a plot point, just tell us what's going on, or at least have P comment on it so L can explain it. Like I said, I enjoy the mad max meets fantasyland aspect of this, but @Alderant is correct that there's not a lot to grab you at the beginning. I also mention this in my notes, but starting with a fight scene is not actually a very good way of introducing someone. We don't know anything about L, except that she's willing to slaughter a band of obviously inept bandits. She's not really likable, and I am much more interested in P's story, who has the gumption, while being confronted by a fierce one-armed warrior, to escape the bandits who forced him into their gang in order to learn more about the world! Notes while reading: pg 1: "write this account to you" --so I guess a captive, but with writing privileges... pg 1: "She tensed her one remaining arm whilst wiggling her fingers, readying her hand to snap back and draw her sword." --It's better to relax before moving quickly than tensing. Tensing makes you move slower. Also, "one remaining arm" sounds like she might have had more than two in the past? pg 1: "The empty, tattered left sleeve of her the shift" --ah, you can actually get rid of the whole "one remaining arm" phrase because this sentence *shows* that she's only got one arm, after you've *told* us that. pg 2: "shirtless and tattooed in wild, intricate patterns" --is this an indicator of marauder-ship, then? Maybe they're just local tattoo enthusiasts! ;-) pg 2: “Can we kill her boss?” --needs a comma, unless they're talking about L's employer... pg 3: I feel a fight scene coming on...honestly, with all this posturing, she could have walked away by now. pg 4: hmmm. I love a good fight scene, and this one is well choreographed, but coming so soon to the beginning of the book doesn't let us know the participant well enough, especially since this one is rather gory. L might just be a psychotic murderer and purposefully walked into this trap. We already know at least one of the gang doesn't stand a chance, so the big guy with the knuckledusters is actually more sympathetic than L at this point. It doesn't matter how good she is, if we're not already rooting for her. pg 5: "alongside the other two, faded scratches...reminders of how many corpses she’d made" --so she's only killed two others? That seems unlikely, considering what she just did. pg 6: "she looked to the last remaining marauder" --wait, there's someone left? And she's doing post-battle checks? --ah, it's the big guy. Might have her notice in the fight that he'd surrendered. pg 6: Wait, why is she talking in italics? is she psychic? pg 9: "One s." --except he just "said" it with two? pg 9: "afraid of even looking at it, like it would make the injury more real" --If she's a seasoned fighter, I would think she'd be adept at taking care of wounds until she got proper treatment--seeing as she's still alive. pg 11: "keep herself from ‘screaming.’" --ok, very confused. She references saying things out loud, but talks in italics. Is there something weird with how she speaks? If so, why hasn't P noted it? pg 14: At this point, I'm almost convinced this is a prologue and this is P's story, not L's.
  6. Yep, it reads better. I think the equator/M camp/colonist relationship still needs a little more work, but I'm willing to wait another couple chapters to learn more. It still nags me a bit that Queen is the only place that would accept E? Especially if there's a planet literally just for old people to have fun on. If it's because of biology, I'd think there would be at least one other place with lower restrictions/prejudice. Notes while reading: pg 2: much better to bring up the nickname message at the beginning. pg 4: good expansion on the colony layout. pg 5: "N was certain the woman would mummify in her office before retiring" --lol pg 5: “There’s better ways to spend your anger.” --Is this in reference to kicking the chair? With the extra text, it's not related as clearly. pg 7: “Flyers can’t take the extreme temperatures that close to the equator." --okay, this helps define why the M are camped out there. pg 8: "had carved a penguin into the front of her door" --Is there some significance to a penguin? pg 9: "Panic, at the least, since botanists didn’t grow on trees." --Ha. Also, I don't really get why this planet is so underfunded compared to others. Does Earth only send the outcasts here? pg 10: "fleakers" beaker-flasks? pg 12: "body semantics were weird to talk about when you had only a second-hand frame of reference" --this helps with potential reasons Dr. S is there. I assume he's trans? pg 14: "Not without freezing the computer.” --So it's freezing at the equator?
  7. Hello everyone! Another Re chapter this week. I know he's not everyone's favorite, but hopefully this one will help a bit. As usual, all comments are welcome. Previously: E coaxed S out of his room after a strange chime went off. The maji are interested in S's new house. R got some information from a source, and M wants to restart the Society. R reveals the location of the Coalition's headquarters, but can't get there, and everyone is called to the Assembly, where the Coalition unveils an ancient being. E and R discuss the revelation, S visits the Eff in a private audience, and M continues recruiting. Re manages to meet with the coalition, learns E and I's true species, and confronts E. E trades herself for I and S takes I in. The rest of the cast gathers at the wall, and meet the Eff. They learn some new things, then the chime stops as something comes through the wall. We go back to E, who discovers the Coalition's headquarters, and meets some new, strange friends. Back to S and Co at the wall, who finally find out what the chime was all about. We drop in on M, who showed the new two-house recruits what's he'd been doing. Meanwhile, S and I go through the wall with WW, and find out what's on the other side. E learns about her species from the others, and fends off an assault.
  8. Fair enough. I'll put something in there this time. *waggling eyebrows* Also, yes definitely. I think this is going to be a big sticking point for me to get just right.
  9. They were introduced last chapter with E. Hopefully just WRS They're made out of handwavium... I didn't mean anything quite this far-ranging! It's a good idea, but I don't think it would work with how things are structured and what's going to happen. Still, I know I dropped the ball on a lot of I's development for this book, so I may be able to add some variation on this back in. Thanks! Hopefully correcting this now. I'm working on the first few chapters of the book. Interesting. I'll give you it is a bit plot point-y, but the corollary is coming up next chapter, so I'm also using it as a time stamp. Still, I'll look at trying to clear it up. Thanks @Robinski!
  10. Also on for Monday, if you'll have me. Getting close to finishing this thing out!
  11. I do remember this one from before, and from what I can remember, this one is better. However, I was pretty confused for the first few pages. I really liked the middle, then was confused again at the end. My main gripe is that we don't get the answer to the big question in the story: why/how did the NEU get switched off? As far as I can tell, everything goes back to normal at the end, so I assume he won? What happened to M? she disappears in the elevator, and then we have to assume she's ok from the last sentence, minus an ear. The other big question I have (and I'm aware this sort of invalidates the premise) is why can't the NEU just update him on what happened the day before? I like the effect in the story, but at least giving some handywavy explanation will help me stop questioning it as I read. So in summary, I did enjoy reading it, especially the middle part, but I'm left with a lot of questions, and not in a good way. I'd like to get a little more resolution at the end, and potentially some more explanation for the device. I know that's really hard in a first person POV with an unreliable narrator, but maybe there could be a question from someone else, or he overhears a conversation or something? It's not like anyone needs to keep silent around him, since he'll just forget everything the next day. Notes while reading: pg 2: "Shuffling, pony-tailed man pushed his garbage cart" --got caught on the opening sentence. I think you mean "pony-tailed man" as a surrogate name, but I had to read it a couple times. I'd say "the pony-tailed man" to avoid the reader stumbling on the first sentence. pg 3: the interlude here is from technological interface, I assume? A bit hard to get through so close to the beginning, but I'm willing to give it a shot. pg 3: "The kernel whispers, reminding me I'm a policeman" --ah yes, I do vaguely remember this one from the last time you submitted. pg 5: "There’s a protocol because when I wake up, the last thing I remember is the day before they fitted the..." --ok, starting to get the hang of this one, but it's a deep dive in right at the beginning. pg 5: Did not understand the brief interlude on this page. pg 6: "I like to keep them guessing " --current question: was this something voluntary, was he pressed into service, or was there brain damage that caused the device to be fitted in his head? pg 6: "I wonder if the NEU has its own eyes, watching me, seeing what I see." --sooo, what exactly is it, then? I was thinking it was a bionic interface, but this makes me think it's remote, somehow. pg 13: "unhurriedly ease" --unhurried? pg 13: "shred the low buzz of travel" --what is "the low buzz of travel?" pg 13-14: The blocking here is a little scattered. I suppose that's for the effect of the fight, but I'm not really sure where anyone is. Are they in a hallway? pg 15: "They’re cutting a hole" --who is cutting what hole? Blocking is still kind of confused here. pg 17: "we all know what it is as the captain returns. M’s earlobe bloodies his fingers. --he's holding Marie's earlobe? it somehow got cut off because that's where the tracker is. Took me a minute to get this. Could be clearer. pg 18: "He glances down at the piece of M’s ear in his hands." --so does this mean she was in the coffin? I thought the girl from the beginning was. pg 18: "Without the NEU, I’m no more use to them than a Citroen full of backup." --There's a lack of a question here. We still don't know why it switched off, and he's not even questioning it. Seems like he would be freaking out a lot more, or asking the Mor. if he knows what's going on. pg 19/20: What leap of logic possessed him to rip up a street sign? Is he going to hit someone with it? But then he drops it and has a gun again? Confused. pg 20: He seems to be actively loosing his memory again, but we never got the mechanism for why the device was installed. Did he have brain damage?
  12. Well, I had a better reaction that @kais, but I do agree with the comments, especially on the E getting the mark for a purely self-defense killing. If that's a requirement for the rulers, then they would be assassinated pretty quickly because they couldn't ever fight back without abdicating. I wasn't particularly looking for magic in this story. Is there supposed to be? Overall, this reads much better than last time. E and U's motivations are a lot clearer, and I really like E's power armor. Some confusion on how the "castle" is delineated from "not castle" in regard to where the walls go up and how guests were on the other side. I also like that the M.N. are just bots here. They have no agency, so there's the mystery of who's behind them. It gives us a good obstacle that E can fight, while trying to figure out the real motivation. It's a good separation for the problems I had last week with the M.N. vs. E and U's relationship. Notes while reading: pg 2: "“Quiet,” barked E, pulling a tiny blaster out of their sleeve." --why are they shouting now? I'd think this would come with the raised hand earlier. pg 3: "By the time E arrived on their sister’s heels, out of breath with their heart thundering, their team had converged on the cart, blasters ready to vaporize hostile intruders. The dented door creaked open. " --Looking ahead, this doesn't seem to matter as much now the walls rising aren't a big obstacle. However, I'd like to see more detail on where they are and whether the gate is inside or outside where the wall rises. What's the separation between the castle and the rest of the city? pg 4: U speaking is much more effective. I like that she's working with E in an emergency. pg 5: "metal shield walls rose out of the ground around the castle." --I think this is where I'm confused on the walls vs. the castle. How spread out are the guests that they need to be escorted back inside? I thought most everyone was at the dinner, at the beginning of this section. pg 5: "bot clamped combat gauntlets on their arms" --cool. pg 6: “I am not dedicating my life to...politics.” --Much better motivation for U, and why she created the first attack. As @kais says, this does need some more support, but I think that could be seeded in the first section so it doesn't drag down the tension in this section. pg 7: "And that’s why it’s better for you to rule than me or some potential child..." --Who is speaking here? Needs a tag. pg 8: "E picked up an energy cannon" --I love the combat armor. pg 8: "A volley of no echoed all around E." --Is this people speaking out loud and not through microphones? Needs some clarity. pg 9: The entrance into the secret tunnel reads a lot better as well. pg 10: "It hadn’t muffled U’s screams three years ago." --great line. pg 12: "fifty-kilogram teenager" --Again, on the moon. She'd be a lot lighter. pg 14: "the children of Mother’s youngest sister." --Wouldn't E just think of them as their cousins? pg 15: “Tell me when they bucket is full!” --which bucket? Is this some power buildup? pg 16: "“Full” echoed from the other guards in the room" --So they're all charging some energy bar? Needs some more explanation.
  13. Yeah, I realized this was pretty bland when I read through it again. I'll try to add a bit more. also working a lot harder on the relationship this go around, and how emotions are affected when they change. Heh...this came out more everything than I intended, but I think for the better. Agreed. This is something I'm paying a lot more attention to this edit. *grin* Thanks @kais and @shatteredsmooth!
  14. I was thinking about that while reading. The snow threw me, but I figured the M had done something to hide it so I wasn't really bothered. If this chapter comes before we know E is safe, that would certainly ramp things up.
  15. Ok, so you know I love multiple POVs and worldbuilding... This section didn't thrill me, for some reason. I do like N as a character, but a lot of the worldbuilding in the first few pages lowered the tension rather than raising it. It also feeds the confusion of why the M are attacking when we already know the colony is on the edge of collapse and the M are also trying to make the colony succeed. I think because the first few chapters established the world so well, and we know where E is at the time, it's hard to get into this new section. I'm much more invested in seeing what's going on with the space ship rather than following people who are going after someone we know isn't in any trouble. I might change my mind if we spend another chapter with N and Dr. S and they come across some equally wondrous thing like E has, but right now a lot of it feels redundant. Notes while reading: pg 2: Wait, Dr. S. is male? Pg 3: While there's a lot of good worldbuilding in the first few pages, it's bordering on too much, with no real tension. pg 3: I'm wondering about the juxtaposition of the M saying they're trying to make the planet better along with damaging the water pipes. Why are they terrorizing the colony? (I'm assuming we will find out more...) pg 5: "Q was the only planet that would take E." --why is this? Do we know yet?