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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. Similar thoughts to the others. I think the first 5-6 pages are good for developing character, but it goes on a bit. Could be cut down to get to the point of the chapter. S taking command is...questionable. It seems more like she's putting everyone in danger and then refusing to tell why or what she wants, and everyone's fine with it. Why are they not asking more questions? The parts with the computer are funny, but I also question why a computer would be set up to spread files all over the place. Seems like it wouldn't be useful for getting information Once the ship started getting sucked to somewhere else, I got very interested. I think cutting down on the comedy with the computer and having S give at least one reason for what she's doing will drive the reader to the hook better. Sounds like this will be a fun ride! Notes while reading: Pg 1: I like the epigraph. Good costs. pg 2: “Did you have to fly your spaceship against gravity both ways to attend school?” --this is awesome. pg 2: "ever" -> "every" pg 3: "There almost to" -> "They're almost to" pg 3: "had it play ‘I am unhappy’" --lol pg 5: I like the banter, but it's maybe getting a bit long. pg 7: "YOU SAID I WAS A PRIORITY" --hmmm, yes, but does that extend to kidnapping a 1/3 of the rulers of a planet without asking questions? I mean, maybe allow a few for that much. pg 8: "You’re allowed to have secrets" --yes, but again, when it starts to affect 5 or more people, maybe a little pushing is relevant... pg 9: "Do we have clearance for this?...N stopped talking." --hmmm...having some believably problems with S. continually asking for no one to question her. For most things fine, but she's potentially endangering people and breaking into classified documents, which could have serious repercussions. I think questioning that is pretty important. pg 10: "Text fragments of news reports..." --why would opening files be so chaotic? Wouldn't the computer system know to display them in an orderly fashion? pg 12: "Better not be pivotal plot points." --lol. Meta-Y. pg 17: "turning the tongue into a miniature laser pistol..." --this is a very strange computer system. pg 19: "The yellow line was a parabola" --sooo...did S pull them somewhere strange with that telekinetic pull?
  2. Then: 1) Take out the point about the whiny cousin, or sideline it. It's not the important part of this. 2) Make the part about being poisoned VERY large in this chapter. Right now I completely missed it. If this is what's supposed to drag readers in, it's not working right now and needs to be greatly expanded, and take the place of less important conversations.
  3. I think this is a much better place to start the story, but the current motivation just doesn't work to draw a reader in. A whiny cousin and his idea of her political place is absolutely uninteresting. If you want her world to be challenged, a much better place is something exciting, like magic going wrong, or the discovery of an unknown talent for magic, or near death in the tournament (with consequences like loss of a limb, or place in line for the throne, etc..)
  4. Wait, there was actually poison?? That was meant to be a facetious remark. I didn't get at all that there was any poisoning going on.
  5. I also think this is much better than last time! We still get a heavy sense of dread and tension, but not so much overly dramatic gore and the female characters even get some lines! The dialogue is probably the weakest point. This is hard to adjust because it's a hearing thing. Maybe read the dialogue out loud and see what you naturally want to say, rather than what's written on the page? The count is much better presented, and still threatening. The females are still the weakest part of the story. This almost reads as if it should be in M's POV, because she's the one who the count wants to take. By focusing on the son, we get the trope of the male rescuing the "weaker female." Probably need a few more chapters to see the true aim of the book, but that's just my impression from one chapter. Overall, a very good improvement! Notes while reading: pg 1: would be good before M. come sup to mention who's in the carriage. pg 2: I like that the tutor gets a mention early, but the intro is going on a bit too long now. If it's only a page or a page and a half before they get to the castle, I think that would work better. pg 3: the dialogue is still a bit stilted. You might try reading the sentences out loud and seeing if that's something you would say. pg 6: “May I use your privy?” --I think I figured out what was bugging me about this. Wouldn't they all have gotten refreshed after a long carriage ride? THEN it would be odd that he's asking for the privy at dinner, if they'd all just freshened up. pg 7: There's not really a point to the dinner. They have it, there's maybe suspicious ham, and there's not really any conversation. pg 8: "You can’t possibly believe him, can you, father?” --is there some reason he wouldn't believe him? Yes, the Count is suspicious, but does that mean being a priestess is rare? Is it strange that they are looking for priestess volunteers? pg 9 “But he won’t even give you a name!" --ah, this was missing. Make this part stronger pg 9: "I don’t trust the Count." --why not? Giving some examples or reasons here would help. pg 10: The count getting rid of the driver is great and is a great example of why not to trust him. pg 11: Good tension in drawing the baths and getting ready for bed. There's definitely something wrong, but we don't know what. pg 13: "but you did not eat the meat." --Aha! Nice. pg 14: Good end to the chapter. Makes me want to read on to find out what's going on.
  6. This is a lot more interesting that the previous chapters. Nice to get some action sequences! I don't feel like I'm missing any information that couldn't be rectified in 2-3 sentences total (see notes below). I think this is the biggest drawback to the chapter. I don't really get ANY feeling from Is. She notes thing happening, but there's very little emotion. Especially when she gets wounded, I would expect a LOT more reaction to the pain and discomfort if this injury is big enough to keep her from fighting again. There was so little reaction from her that I didn't understand she was really injured, and then she just curls up at the end of the chapter. Is her reaction to Ro supposed to be the defining point of this chapter? Because I'm much more interested in her and Duke A. Ro just reads as a whiny cousin and she defeats him. Fine. But I'm waiting for the actual arc and development of this chapter. WHY is she fighting? HOW does she feel when she gets injured? Does she want to fight Duke A.? Right now, the tension is a lot better here because there's no giant discussions, but I'm still not getting anything that's pulling me into the story at the end. What does Is want? I feel like this was missing in the first chapters, and it's still missing here. Notes while reading: pg 1: Just from the first paragraph, this seems like a much better place to start the book. That paragraph draws the reader in. pg 3: If this is going to be the first chapter, the only thing I'm missing so far is WHO is fighting. Just one sentence about that would help. pg 4: "will have to miss training" --Unless this whole section about 12 vs. 14 year olds training is important, it could be cut. It's just confusing. pg 5: "rooting against her or R in the final" --Wouldn't the winner between them be fighting a different person? pg 6-8: the fight could be shortened up a bit it's got good tension, but just a little too long. I'm waiting for the point of WHY the fight (as in what the character reactions are), not looking for a blow by blow. Getting it down to a page or a page and a half will keep the tension up. pg 8: oh, wait. I've been Reading Re. and Ro. as the same person. They both seem to have the same sort of sarcastic personality. Maybe change one name so they don't both start with the same letter? pg 8: "Are you alright?" --but...she wasn't even hit, was she? She ducked under the slash because Ro hadn't realized the round was over. I'm not sure why they're so concerned about a last swing. pg 8: “That might have cost you an arm in a real fight.” --except, again, she successfully dodged it, so no it wouldn't have. pg 9: "A cheap shot" --but it wasn't, was it? She was using the weapons allowed in the fight. Ro might SEE it that way, but if that's the case, showing us more of Ro's reaction would be better. pg 12/13: why is she talking about forfeiting? She has a cut. People get minor injuries all the time in tournaments and keep going. I'm also unclear why they thing Duke A. is going to kill her just because she has a cut. Some reaction from Is. on the severity of her injury would be helpful. pg 15: "that she realized she was lying on her side" --wait, what? Cuts don't just get worse on their own. Was the sword poisoned or something? Yes, there's adrenaline wearing off, but I think we need a good description of the wound if it's this debilitating. We don't have much reaction from Is. on anything, so it's hard to tell why she's reacting to things. Pg 15: And...the chapter just sort of ends. There's some good tension throughout, but I'd like a lot more WHY for this chapter. There still isn't a complete arc of anything. I'm waiting for some resolution between Is. and Ro, or Is. and Duke A. Right now she just gets injured after a match and...that's it.
  7. I think that helps a lot. Having the backstory in a previous chapter will go a long way to setting this one up. Ok, yeah, with THOSE plans, I think hints of romance here are entirely appropriate!
  8. Much cleaner version! Which of course makes it easier to find other problems... I have two new concerns with this chapter: 1) I feel like O's backstory needs a little more oompf. "I want to be a hero" doesn't really do it for me as to why she'd be stuck in a ship for six years (see notes below for more musing). It also sort of sets her and A up for a romance, which I don't think is the intent. This leads into the second issue... 2) The timeframe seems off here. I presume this is after the trilogy, and O has been actively searching for information, but doesn't know about several of the largest events in the chartered systems in years? I feel like there needs to be a little more explanation for why she hasn't found anything until now, if she's been searching while all this stuff was happening. The interaction between O and the K is much better, and makes me want to see the two of them meet up again later. Notes while reading: Pg 1: Always like epigraphs! pg 5: "It wasn’t like she was going back to the Guard." --Do we have any reason for her leaving? pg 6: "FILLAMENT" -> "FILAMENT" pg 6: "Heroes didn’t do macabre." --maybe one or two more sentences on why O. wants to be a hero? Or maybe that will come later in the chapter. pg 6: "this mission" --which is? Find P? Finding A? Something else? pg 7: "It was a picture of..." --Aha. Here is the explanation. So is this not present day then? Since we know from the other books what happened with the planet A... So she's trying to bring A back to N. Fine, except this mission seems very similar to why A left the planet in the first place. Basically, prove Ar is real. Not sure exactly what I'm flagging here. Maybe O needs to have a slightly more enticing reason for leaving? Like, this is currently reading as the beginning of a romance between the two, and this is contradictory to the story already told in the trilogy because A got her HEA. pg 8: "It had found..." --I think you could cut back on some of this. We've already got a good idea of what's floating around, and this seems repetitive from the last section. pg 9: "laying down row after row" --sorry, quick 3D print rant. This bugged me last time too. Is this saying it's laying down the liquid as well as the solid? That just seems like you're going to have a big puddle when it's finished. Wouldn't it make the glass and then pour the liquid in? pg 9: "which she’d be passing by in another half hour at her current coast" --That's a quick coast... pg 10: "Stellar ship name" --pun intended? pg 14: "Another head floated past" --was that the "head"ing change? I'll show myself out... pg 14: "six years in a settee" --So I'm guessing the story is that O has been searching for this long and hasn't gotten information about the events of the trilogy. But if she's been gathering information, how could she not know about it? I would think news like that would travel a long way. pg 17: the tow line snapping works a lot better. Much higher tension. pg 17: "fail this spectacularly" --also wondering that. Seems like she'd have heard something. pg 20: Good ending.
  9. Well, @kais said exactly what I was going to! No surprise there. I think you have a false promise at the start of this story. It's going to be A Race! With Excitement! Hairpin Turns! Thrills! And instead the whole race is cancelled after the third page and we don't get any resolution to that plotline. Bigger stakes needed. WHY are they running the race? What happens if they don't finish? Does L have a down payment on the cybernetic implants and they'll be repossessed if he doesn't get prize money? Second, there's no real "protagging" at the end of the story. Z makes an effort to get L settled and not completely dying, tries to go outside to flag down help....and gets scared by a crocodile and then they just get rescued. I want them to escape (literally) from the jaws of defeat! Better yet, I want to see more race, with other daring and villainous pilots. We don't see other ships here, and we don't even get a good description of the titular one. I actually like the title, though it's not very informative. But you learn it's the name of the ship on the first page, which again promises that this will be about the race, not about a crash and a canceled race. A good start, and I want to see it again with everything turned up to 11! Notes while reading pg 1: "mushing her curls" --throws me off because I'm expecting "smushing" pg 1: good first paragraph. pg 1: "likely have a low enough time" --took me a couple reads to get this. Maybe "short enough time?" Dunno. pg 2: “Two hundred loose six..." --Can't decide if I like the jargon or if it's too hard to decode. pg 2: "They were weaving too fast..." --good tension. She has to rely on L to guide her and she's flying blind. pg 3: "The g-forces pushed Z and L into their seats" --I for some reason thought L was guiding her from somewhere else, but looking back, he's definitely in the ship with her. I think it was from saying cyberntics can't fly that I assumed he wasn't present physically. pg 3: "balanced on the right wingtip." --Two questions starting to rise up at this point: 1) What does the ship look like? Small, large, enclosed, etc? I'm almost imaging podracers from the context, but I'm suspecting it's a bulkier ship 2) Is L just reading off instructions from running the course previously, or is he relying on sensors? If it's premade, how is he compensating for speed and air changes? pg 3: "They had to eject!" --this feels too early to me. They just started and haven't done much to correct for the issue yet. pg 4: "Pain laced up her left leg" --Wait, did they crash? Definitely need more in here. Also, this would be another good place to give some description for the ship. pg 4: "the sky to the left and black water on the right" --more description of the course would be good as well. I was Imagining a canyon run or something, but now I'm not sure. pg 4: "Judging from the water level outside of the window" --So were they flying over water? How did they get there from the canyon? pg 5: "didn’t have a breathable atmosphere" --the hull was breached, right? So I assumed they were both in full pressurized suits. Is the oxygen because of a leak from L's injury? pg 5: "less than four feet wide" --finally some description! pg 5: "didn’t seep through her shipsuit" --I should hope not, if it's airtight! pg 6: "he looked so young" --I had assumed he was older than Z... pg 6: "or because of the worsening weather" --if the weather was bad enough to ground everyone, why didn't they delay the race to start? I'm sure the control tower could see if coming... pg 7: "the respirator system wasn’t operating" --aren't their suits self-sustaining? --ah...I think this is answered by the next few sentences. pg 7: "then I get your chair" --not sure what this means. Is he getting to higher ground? pg 8: "before settling her weight into her right leg" --there's been a couple comments about her leg, but no reaction. Did it support her? Does it hurt? pg 8: "the canyon wall and a small island" --again, where exactly is this course? pg 9: "If her foot hadn’t been broken before, she was sure it was now." --definitely need more reaction here. pg 10: "That was when she remembered she hadn’t reloaded it." --hmmm..this almost seems like a cheat. Nothing was said about it before now. pg 10: "righten" -> "right" pg 10: "If only she had managed to attach that flag" --yeah, I'm not convinced a person with reactions used to split-second turns would have thrown a flag that was supposed to save them at a creature... pg 11: "now entirely submerged" --like...over his head?? pg 11: "his oxygen levels were still strong" --buuuuut...isn't he the one with the hole in his suit? pg 13: "“I’m taking K to Earth." --Who's K?
  10. I have a similar reaction to the others. I don't get a clear enough picture of what the purpose of the story is. This first chapter wanders a little bit. It starts out with S and E, and I thought I would be about them, but E is sidelined for the rest of the chapter and S goes out to rescue (why is she the one to rescue people?) Ambassador Morgan Freeman. There's some conflict with people getting taken over my elementals, but not a lot, and the Ambassador MF seems to just be shaking his old fist at these kids (women) and their technology. I didn't get the impression that there was anything that could start a war, but that might change in later chapters. Overall, I'm interested in the story, but I think this chapter could be tighter and a little more exciting. Is this Fruits? I have not read that yet. I need to. Lol. yes, this is Fruits. Turning dead bodies into fertilizer is just so convenient! *looks around for FBI descending...* Notes while reading. pg 3: "made them trail" --not sure what this means. pg 4: "they thought ambassadors were religious zealots" --who does? The women living on solar barges? pg 4: “Maybe I should go check on him,” --starting to get lost here. Do they think Ambassador F is missing now? I thought he was only delayed until dinner? Are they the rights ones to go search for him? pg 5: "before the floor" -> "before the flood" pg 5: "A sloop loomed ahead of them" --how did they know where it was? pg 7: "one of their duties was rescuing people who were in trouble in rough water" --I think this might be good information to have before now. I've been wondering why S is the one to do this. pg 7: "I would make that man leave my waters instead" --makes sense. But then that still begs the question of why S is the one to help. pg 7: "but she wanted S to see him." --okay, that makes more sense, but this is a "tell" not a "Show." Would be better if we could find this out during the story. pg 8: "he looked old enough to have been alive before the flood." --That is definitely Morgan Freeman. pg 8: "the boat lurched, spun around, and shot towards land" --soooo...why was it necessary for S to come out here? Maybe if they saw the witches, that might be worth it. pg 8: funny that the witches are the ones that use technology and everyone else uses magic... pg 10: "They were pretty sure they got all the information A wanted them to..." --you might be able to cut this. It's pretty clear from context. pg 11: "and the elementals had decided..." --so the elements have shown they have no problem with the witches. If they are controlling the population so much that there are no murders, I'd think they can make it clear the witches shouldn't be disturbed. pg 11: "If humans waged war on each other again, She would kill them. --so is this is, like, a test or something? pg 12: "The sky was darkening. A storm was coming" --I don't feel like this is "a storm is coming" type tension. This is more "old man has a problem with the kids and their newfangled technology" tension.
  11. These are my "overall" notes from the last time this chapter came through and I think they still stand: "...It's getting better, but there's still so much exposition that nothing is actually happening. There are some hints of magic, but I'd much rather see a practical effect (in essence, showing and not telling about magic) to get the same effect across. Maybe A touches the sleepstone and falls asleep? I don't really know how the magic works, so I can't say. ...We keep getting to parts where something exciting could happen and then...the characters have a long discussion about politics. I want more from the characters so I can follow along with how they will react to exciting circumstances. pg 16: So this chapter seems to mainly be "In Which The Young Duke Contemplates A Piece of Jewlery and Tries to Change Rooms." As in, there's still really nothing going on. We;re back to talking vaguely about politics and a few more pieces of how magic works, but not really enough to tell me anything. I don't have a good connection with A and more than I did with I. I'm looking for any hook to pull me into the story and I haven't found it yet." The fact that I can put them in here verbatim and they still address the problems in this chapter tell me something deeper needs to change to make this a more engaging story. I think the others above had some really good suggestions. I took a look through Part 1 of your outline, and if that was something I was outlining for myself, the entirety of Part 1 would be one, or maybe two chapters. I think that's the problem you're running into. There are just long stretches that don't add much to the story. @Robinski's suggestion to try out some short stories is a good idea, and it will give you a different viewpoint from staring at the same story all the time. For this forum, I really don't think it's necessary for us to critique sections we've seen before until there are larger changes. I'd be willing to look at a new chapter, but from your outline, I'm pretty sure I would have similar comments to the above until it's severely compressed and moving a lot faster. Sorry to be a downer on this, but hopefully this helps.
  12. I agree! This prologue is definitely not YA paranormal romance! On general principles, I would question if that's the correct approach, since you'd be throwing the reader for a loop when they've picked up the book wanting a specific thing, but I'd have to read more to get more context. Questions: 1) Yes, engaged, though I personally don't like present 3rd POV. Descriptions come across as jarring to me. 2) It seems pretty clear B is some sort of magical Fey that cannot lie, or connected to them, since she dances around that part. The denial works well to keep my interest and keep the mystery up. 3) I would want something with at least one of these characters mentioned in the first couple chapters. Not knowing who the main characters are (maybe the son and the girlfriend?) I'd have to read more to see. 4) I think it's more of "a queer has died" that "killing your queer," if that makes sense. What stood out more was that B had been in a queer relationship (and is possibly trans?) . I was wondering the whole time why she didn't cure her wife if that was possible, but I'm assuming that will be part of the plot? 5) Definitely! Notes while reading pg 1: The present tense, especially with 3rd POV, is a bit jarring, but then that's a personal preference for me. pg 2: "if this noble university" --"IN this noble...?" pg 3: "A single nervous twitch that most people couldn’t catch." --Why couldn't they catch it? People are really good at seeing body language, especially if they're trained. pg 3: "Magic that can be used to cure any disease." --which is odd because her wife died...but maybe something's coming about that. pg 7: "The boring part about being able to shape the world to his will is that he always knows what’s going to happen" --Confused. Is this because he's rich and powerful, or has some magical ability? I can't tell from the context.
  13. Congrats on the first Sub to RE! I think the others pretty much nailed the problems with this. You have good pacing, and by that alone I was kept interested in the story. However it does read as almost a satire of Gothic stories. Haha thank you for your feedback, it's great to have these flaws pointed out. Unfortunately, I'm not trying to write a silly trope book lol, nor is it specifically a gothic horror. I wanted to illustrate the darkness of the story; in my first draft I didn't have any gothic elements, but I'm wanting my story to have more adult themes, so I thought I'd start it off with more horror so that readers know what this story will contain. The rest of the story is more like an innocent YA fantasy book. So there's a clash I'm looking forward to having torn to pieces. Probably doesn't help that a lot of my inspiration comes from comic book-type stories. Yeah, if I was picking this up blind, I'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop in the next chapter where we find out this is a satire of Dracula or something where the women are intentionally sidelined and the protagonist has no personality on purpose. You definitely have the horror down, but I think the lack of character reactions is what's making me go to satire. If we don't emote with the character, then horror turns into comedy. It's a fine line. You might try watching some movies like Dracula Dead and Loving It (comedy) vs. A Vampire in Brooklyn (comedy/horror), vs. Shadow of the Vampire or Interview with the Vampire (horror). (I'm picking vampires here instead of demons because it's easier, but you get the picture). See how the characters react to the situations in the movies and then compare to how your characters react. Also, for future entries, if they have this level of horror, I'd definitely tag to make sure people know what they're getting into. Notes while reading pg 2: "He cursed as he righted himself on the bench next to his daughter," --oh, there's even more people in this carriage... pg 2: "the Mrs. L" --is this the daughter, or a wife, another person in the carriage? pg 2: "had these thoughts as the gate swung mysteriously inward" --Don't really need to label them as thoughts. Also, definitely getting a vampire-y vibe from the castle. pg 2: "diverging the driveway --splitting the driveway? I don't think this is the right word. pg 2: "“Welcome, the affluent Mr. L..." --that's...a weird appelation? pg 3: "emphasized his cruel demeanor" --welp, no mystery there! pg 4: "the entire immediate family" --I'm still not sure how many people this is. Is there a wife, or just a daughter? pg 5: "how pretty she is.” --ick. pg 6: "Did the Count C keep tortured slaves in some forgotten dungeon?" --and...the privy opens into the dungeon?? pg 7: "his parents bed" --okay, I guess there is a wife? She just doesn't get a mention? pg 9: "His parents hung from shackles" --so.....why? This seems to be very gothic, and is pretty tense, but I'm not quite sure what's going on yet. pg 9: "a monstrous creature emerged" --okay, well the story is consistent at least. pg 9: "but their eyes suggested they’d seen this form before" --eh? If they knew this, why did they come? pg 10: "His despair must be entire.” --again...why? pg 10: "He’d disappeared two weeks ago" --and he's just stepping out of the shadows now? That's not suspicious... pg 11: "“I have sent her to my master." --I thought the count was pretty much the top of the heap. pg 12: "I am one such augmented" --okaaay. I was not expecting superhuman powers for some reason. pg 13: "The guard’s arms flew apart." his body? pg 14: "In C Manor, the captain..." --oh, this is a weird POV shift. Usually there's a break to show what's happening.
  14. I'm pretty sure all the Ne got upset in book 3 when the forests were burning because they could hear the tree screams. I think this is canon? Yep! I remember this now.