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Everything posted by Mandamon

  1. I'd like to submit again on the 18th, with the beginning of the Seeds sequel! New and improved.
  2. Thanks to @shatteredsmooth and @kais! Glad to hear this works better. Yay! Good points on the blanket of air. I wanted to include this to have a pointer to the general audience to show that L is autistic, especially since they might be more familiar with some of the associated comorbids (thanks for the word, kais!) from "Hollywood autism." I think it's working? Can definitely pull this out more. I think it was in my mind, but didn't get translated to the page. Thanks so much for making these observations. This really helps me with writing this character. I intended him hitting the wall to be a reaction to the others urging him along when he wasn't finished with the equations yet. L is using that input to help calm down from the stress of having to leave his room, if I understand stimms right? O has always been a sort of gray character. He does what he wants even if that sometimes isn't what's best for everyone else, so from the comments, I think this is getting across correctly. Thanks again for everything--I think I can clear up the little stuff with a few words here and there.
  3. One more time around and thanks so much to everyone for helping to pull this into shape in such a short time! I've included the whole piece again, but you don't need to read all of it. I've grayed out the sections which haven't changed much. It's still 5000 words, but a lot of that is also the same, so feel free to skim. Mainly I'd ask you to focus on: 1) Even more motivation in the beginning, and O's desire for recognition a few paragraphs on pgs 1-3, 239 words 2) L's scenes / K's unfamiliarity with males: pg 19-24, 1487 words pg 32-33, 387 words pg 34-35, 271 words 3) O's reaction to killing pg 26-28, 889 words 4) why the mother didn't sing when threatened pg 29-30, 546 words 5) sticking the landing at the end pg 38-42, 1186 words
  4. I think this is definitely some of your best work so far (and I see @kais agrees!). I got sucked into the story, even though there wasn't a whole lot of plot going on yet. As kais says, this is a great beginning for a novella or novelette. I think I have a higher limit for description with a lack of momentum, but I'm looking for something big to happen at least in the next chapter, whether it's between A and P, or with the magic. Speaking of which, it sounds more like magical realism to me, but again, the magic hasn't really been explored, so it could go either way. It does sound very much like the pitch, so I don't see any problem there. I didn't have any problem with the pronouns either. Notes while reading: pg 1: "further onto that little strip of land that belonged to no one" --Some confusion on this. Has the land been sold or not? If it's been sold, then A is trespassing, and that they haven't spoken to family in a while makes me think the land was sold against A's wishes. pg 2: "land that someone else technically owned" --ok, so it has been sold. pg 9: Ok, P's a little intense...
  5. Overall, this wrapped everything up, but I definitely think there needs to be more with the separation ceremony and less with the coronation and sitting around beforehand. You could probably cut some of the first two pages of this section to give you more words to work with. My main problems were: 1) Blocking. I didn't really get what was going on where in the ceremony and the separation. 2) The separation: This is the whole point of the story. The ceremony really doesn't even matter except for the (somewhat plotful) reason they have to make the glass there. There's also no explanation of how M. made this giant sleeve, or a description of it once made. I was having a very hard time visualizing it. 3) Emotional reaction from M and O after the separation. There really isn't any. Notes While Reading: pg 1: "She held two round loaves of bread and three thin glass jars of juice in her hands" --on a tray or something? pg 2: "spend the blank note " --I think I got a little lost along the way. M sent it? But is it her money? And it's just for whatever amount? If she isn't actually the princess, then where did it come from? pg 3: “So the glass?” --This is a weird non-sequitur and threw me out until I realized what was going on. I though they were talking about the glasses of juice again. pg 4: "killed livestock and little kids" --I feel like these shouldn't have the same emphasis. pg 4: "a dwarf komodo someone hadn’t thought to leash properly" --so it is just wandering around eating people's toes? I find the culture which lets these obviously dangerous animals run free kind of suspicious. pg 5-6: I had to read O's bluff several times to figure out what was going on. I think we need some indication of what's O is going to do, because if it was me, I'd just let the guards seize O. pg 6: Maybe it's just me but I'm not picking up what O is selling...He sounds ridiculous. Maybe because I don't know of any customs that would support this? pg 9: "threw pot after pot at the cooling sleeve" --wait, why is this happening? I think I need some blocking to know what's going on. The whole throwing pots section is confusing. pg 10: "O rolled to xir back" --I though xie was standing straight up in the sleeve? How big is it? Need some description. pg 10: "Blisters deflated. The red faded from xir skin." --Are the dandelion seeds magic, to heal blisters? pg 11: “It’s done.” --hmmm...yeah far too short here. Needs some more emotion, or reaction, or something. pg 12: "Perhaps they would eventually make one that brought O and M closer than xie and B." --like lovers? I didn't really get that from O and M.
  6. Yep. This will have the entire updated story, with most of it grayed out. Just change everything to a regular text color to read the whole thing. Thanks!
  7. Hello again, and once again apologies for the length on this. I of course added some words to the second half with revisions, so it's now a whopping 5900 words. I have included the entire story in the submission, with the first section grayed out. If you scroll down to the big headline text that says READ FROM HERE, that's the starting point for the new stuff. If anyone wants to take a look at the changes I made in the first part to address O's and the Council's motivations, and O helping in the first battle, those changes are on pages 1-4 and page 11. You definitely don't need to read this if you don't want to, but if you do have any comments I would be eternally grateful! Same questions as last time: -Is it enjoyable? -Is the magic system and worldbuilding clear? -Are the characters engaging? -Does the story make sense? -Anything else you think of (even down to grammar and line edits, if you want. I'm not picky.) with the added question of: -Is the end of the story satisfying? Are there any promises you don't think I fulfilled?
  8. I'd like to do one more read-through on Monday on the problematic parts of this novelette
  9. Thanks @shatteredsmooth! I did some first edits last night to show L as more of a person than a stereotype. The toys and childlike aspersions are gone, as are many of the Hollywood autism symptoms. Hopefully I'm heading in the right direction.. Good point. I think I'm going to stick with autism, as that will be easier to recognize in a shorter work--assuming I can get it right. Thanks so much to you and @industrialistDragon and @kais for calling me out on this. I'm learning a lot, and if it's alright, I'd like to run the more problematic sections by you one more time to see if I've taken out all the offensive material. If it just doesn't work, I'll have to change L's character away from that. Thanks for pinning down where the reaction was flat. I'm planning to work on this section today.
  10. @kais Great information! I'll have to check those out. Of course, I've tasked myself to get this novelette out by mid February, so we'll see how far I get...
  11. @industrialistDragon, that's sort of the impression I got as well. The show has to dig into him being autistic because that's the premise, and that develops him as a person, but then when it does so, it makes him a caricature of sorts to play against the neurotypical people on the show.
  12. Thanks for the comments, @industrialistDragon. That helps a lot with pinpointing what I need to change. I was definitely going for the neuroatypical being the normal for their gender but obviously missed the mark. I'll do some more research (thanks for the links) and take another stab at it. Out of curiosity: my spouse has been watching "The Good Doctor" lately. Are you familiar with the show and do you think it has a bad or good treatment of autism? It's not where I got the idea from, but it's been on in the background while I was writing occasionally, and I think some things seeped into my brain.
  13. Thanks so much @kais! I was going for autistic-like tendencies (brain wired differently) more than what we would recognize in humans, so I think cutting back to Sensory Processing Disorder would work a lot better.
  14. Good thought. I'll work on this especially to mirror the first part more. Yes! Hopefully it came across alright. That's the tradeoff for the males--they're all on the spectrum, but are very good at organization and scheduling tasks. Ugh. This is actually bulked up from what I first wrote. I'll give it another go. Warriors if the other mother takes over. If the engineer mother grows a new organ it will depend on her temperament at the time. I'll see if I can highlight this a little more. The others all know exactly how much time it will take for the mother to convert the warrior to their side. I'll try to bring this out more. She's naturally tapping into what the Symphony does, though she's not a majus. I've had this aspect floating around for a while and finally got to use it! Yeah...not sure. This came out as I was writing and I decided to keep it since it makes the culture a little more alien. I'll see what everyone says. Thanks @kais!
  15. We're getting more into the plot. I'm glad M finally showed up, and I like the twist with her. However, I had some problems with the complexity of the plan and with the worldbuilding. Worldbuilding: I really like the dragons as beasts of burden, but everything you show about them makes it clear they are a terrible choice, especially when the colony evidently has pigs, and maybe other mammals. Either you could hang a lantern on it, or maybe change it? That whole section pops me out of the story. Plot: I didn't really understand the whole glassblowing ritual. I think it's the same problem as the dragons. I'm missing some piece of why this is a thing. We've mostly seen tech, and now this magic pops up without much explanation. I like the characters in this a lot, however. The whole discussion in the carriage is good, though if you're looking for places to trim, you might be able to take some of the traveling time out and get them to the dock sooner. Looking forward to the rest! Notes while reading pg 1: I like that the maybe princess is also a glassblower. pg 2: The timescale of the dream works better. I still think you could deliver quite a bit of information in 30 second bursts over 20 years, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief for this. pg 2: I do think O could have a better reason for turning down M's proposal. Xie doesn't really have anything to lose if xie accepts, and also gets to sell at the larger market. pg 2: "branchwood" is sort of a weird name for a wood. Sounds redundant. pg 3: “Do you care? Okay I mean, clearly you do, but should you?” --I'm more interested in why O cares so much. pg 3: “You and I worked for rich people long enough already." --they did? Was this mentioned before, or is it WRS? pg 4: "We travel out of End, which opted against figurehead royalty during colonization " --Aha...this gives some explanation. I think you buried the lede here. pg 4: “Yeah fine. You’re not wrong.” --ok, then O capitulates rather easily. pg 5: do the dragons routinely eat people? That seems like there would be a lot of legal problems. I'm wondering why the two are so convinced they'll be eaten. pg 6: "One of the soiled dragons went down under a powerful jaw" --Really? And they're still used to pull carts? I would think they would find some alternative...I mean, we know they have pigs at least. pg 7: I'm not sure juice poured over pig droppings would accomplish much? pg 8: good end to the chapter pg 9: "from the grass and juice" --grass? pg 10: "had also almost been eaten by dragons" --which were the ones tied to the coach M came in. Again, if you can't even pick someone up without potentially getting them eaten, it might be better to walk... I like the humor of the situation, but it's popping me out of the story too much. pg 10: "how many hours had they spent together overall?" --mathing...about 60 pg 11: "Wait, you share your mind with a princess? It’s not just me?” --lol. Nice twist. pg 12: “You know, that’s really a grey area if you think about it.” --ok, starting to like M more pg 14: This picks up a lot once they can have a conversation. pg 16: "I need a bigger flame to make the tube" --I have no idea what's going on in this paragraph. pg 17: "It indicated disastrous consequences for the person inside " --I'm still not sure what's going on. I assume they're talking about how to perform the ritual, but it feels like I missed an explanation at the beginning. pg 19: "we have crash the coronation to even get access to the fire" --I think I missed something else here? What's so special about a flame? Wouldn't M be able to make the right kind of flame if she's a glassblower? pg 20: Intrigued by O's idea, but I'm having trouble with the complexity of the plot.
  16. Once again running (very) long for next week at around 5900 words. Hopefully no one minds terribly much as I think we only have two people submitting?
  17. I'd like to submit again on the 4th. Apologies in advance for the length, but this will be the end of the novelette. I should have a revamped Seed sequel in a few weeks!
  18. Thanks @industrialistDragon! Interesting take. I think I've fixed the problems with the Council, but not the basic question of why O is there in the first place. I mean, on the good side, this is what I intended for his character, so I think I've got that. But some readers have problems with connecting with him. He's supposed to be putting his foot in a problem that's not his own, and deciding he can fix another species' problem because he's that arrogant. I'll have to ponder on how I can show that in the first few paragraphs.
  19. Hello all! Apologies for the length. I'm trying to get this story finished up by about the 10th of February and it's about 11,000 words. This is intended to be an introductory novelette into the Dissolutionverse (my book series). I'll be offering this as a free download to my newsletter list. What I'm looking for is: -Is it enjoyable? -Is the magic system and worldbuilding clear? -Are the characters engaging? -Does the story make sense? -Anything else you think of (even down to grammar and line edits, if you want. I'm not picky.) (One other point I forgot before) -Would this make you want to read more of this series?
  20. I enjoyed the characters. O seems rather hopeless, but maybe meeting up with M finally will help. I also liked B as the roomate. He adds a much-needed foil for O. Lol, I was doing that as I was writing this up! I think there's some problem with the setup, saying they haven't been able to trade information in the last 20 years. I think what was happening was O was disoriented and couldn't get across any information? If so, that could be clarified. One minute might be too long as well. I'd sure as heck figure out a way to transmit information in that time, especially if I knew it was going to happen every night. The sequence goes on for three pages as well, so I think it could be cut down to really show how quick it is and why O isn't able to give any specific information out. I don't mind the pronouns. I like Xie better than They, simply because it stands out a little more. I also thought the setting was more medieval in the beginning, until they started talking about plastics and colonies. A few words here and there could place it quicker. Note while reading: pg 1: "one minute was just not enough to get any information across." --My scientific mind immediately goes to planning out an information exchange in that time and how much you could transmit in 20 years...unless there's some inhibitor to their natural function while they dream. pg 2: “Ridiculous. I don’t even know where you live. I don’t even know your last name.” --Again, I'd think they would have at least traded this information over 20 years. pg 4: Oh, that sales pitch...oh my. pg 4: "version of the blood" --Wait, what blood? "dandelion blood" --oh...instead of sap, I guess? pg 5: "Latex from lion fern, sir.” --That's a very egotistical dandelion... pg 6: "like their brain was peeling from their skull, settled in." --pronoun switch here. pg 7: "had made no sales today and the crowds stubbornly remained slow and thin." --Ugh. I hate bad sales days. pg 10: "If it’s M tell her to shove off until we get the order finished.” --Eh? How does this work? Does B know about M? But O doesn't have any information about her... pg 12: "I take electronic communications and carrier pigeon, if you prefer.” --lol. pg 13: "O pointed to xir forehead." --Cool custom. pg 13: Did O not twig to the lady's name? I did... pg 14: “Maybe M is trying to get me to Met.?” --Again, I think we need more information on how much O knows. "Think about it." --Ok, so at least O got that part.
  21. Ah--I may change this to a bug eating greens. I wasn't really happy with that analogy. Good reactions here. I was trying to show that the Council did have reasons for not getting involved, but I think I did miss out that some faction of the Pixie's asked for help. I'll clarify. This part has been greatly expanded. Yes. I'm just not using the word. Lol. Exactly what I was going for! Thanks @shatteredsmooth! Glad you got into it more as it progressed. I'll keep working on the beginning.
  22. @Truthweaver and @shatteredsmooth, this is a reference to Seeds, where he's much older and does have a mustache (which is made of feathers, yes.) This might be too much to include. Behind the scenes, this is about 10 years after the society closed, and O would have been young when that happened. Since then, the members have gone around hushing things up, so it's not really a big thing anymore...Which is hard to put in a novelette.... K makes a couple comments, though. @kais, I've been doing some edits on the story tonight and I did end up including a few more sentences on this, as well as addressing your other notes. I think this might be what I want. He's about 25 here (vs. in his 60's in Seeds), so I was trying to go for naivete, with the arrogance to get him stuck where he shouldn't be. I can certainly do this to spice things up a bit more. Hopefully the bit I added tonight makes this a little clearer.
  23. @Truthweaver, He's more of a bird/humanoid. Glad you enjoyed it and that the story wasn't confusing! Good point. I was trying to go for O being an arrogant *insert word* like he usually is and putting his nose into something he doesn't understand. I'm not sure that really came across in the battle. Maybe I can put in something with him trying to help and only making it worse. This might be too much to include. Behind the scenes, this is about 10 years after the society closed, and O would have been young when that happened. Since then, the members have gone around hushing things up, so it's not really a big thing anymore...Which is hard to put in a novelette.... K makes a couple comments, though. Cool. I can add this in. I didn't want to infodump, but I may have gone too light. And now I have research homework... ;-P Thanks @kais!
  24. This. I noted the same below. I think @kais had the same reaction I did to your questions, so you can take most of my responses as the same. I can see where the story should be going, but there's not enough emotional reaction throughout, to J's arm, to the parent's death, to the triumph over the aunt, to the fear of the M.N....etc. I also think you need to keep the beginning, but you can slim it down. We really need a lot more interaction between the siblings. That's the core of the story. I'd also like to see a lot more description of the M.N. Why are they scary? What do they do? Is someone controlling them, or are they controlling themselves? My impression was that they don't emote enough when they react. I was fine with the action scenes, but I need more explanation to event. I'd rather have most of the divide in the original setup, as Kais suggests. The middle of the story is fine to add some more, but we need hints to start. I was pulled out by the alternating tenses. as you note at the end, the aunt needs a LOT more setup. I think it could work, but we need more to get that sense of victory at the end. Notes while reading: pg 1: "the wall rapidly rising around the castle" --Was this something that came up last time? Otherwise it's a little confusing to introduce it here. pg 2: "E activated their com, calling P" --I would think they would run to J to help? pg 2: "A door just malfunctioned and J lost an arm.”" --Is J screaming? Flailing around? I want some more reaction to this and from E. pg 2: "The purple energy field deactivated. The M.N. dropped into the castle. The energy field closed." --I was sort of ok with this quick description for J losing an arm--sort of a flash of something happening, but this feels like it's missing some description. pg 3: "E inhaled, digging their fingers deeper into the dirt" --is E inside or outside the wall? pg 4: “The M.N. are sealed in the castle, along with everyone but me,” --Ok, answered that question, but I missed where E was outside. Was that when the arm got cut off? pg 6: the change from present to flashback was a little jarring. I think it needs some separation there. pg 7/8: "they could reverse the electricity inhibitors. Access Denied flashed across the screen" --I had to read this twice, as there's no mention of anyone accessing the screens. pg 9: "J looked back at the other five guards" --Other guards? I had to look back several pages. You do say there were six guards when J is first introduced, but they're not mentioned after that. I was envisioning just E and J and some bots. pg 9: "afraid that if they looked back at the people voluntarily marching to what was probably a suicide mission." --Unfinished sentence. pg 10: "That was the act of a human assailant, not giant robots programmed for mass destruction." --How can you tell? And are the nine programmed for mass destruction? Also, need more emotion here. pg 15: Some misgendering of E in the fight with their aunt? pg 16: "confirming that the M.N. powered down" --Hmmm...along with the parent's death, I don't really feel any emotion here. No sense of triumph. The M.N. are never even explored, so I don't know what they've avoided. I'd really like more set-up with the aunt though. She's one of the most interesting characters. pg 16: “I never wanted to be an heir,” --Ah, here's the story. I want to read this one. This makes E seeing the pictures in U's room a lot more meaningful. Some more set up before this point would help. pg 19: "U used to seem so fragile, but she was stronger" --I'd like to see more evidence of this.
  25. Would anyone mind greatly if my submission for this week (and potentially for next week) are both around 5500 words? I'm trying to get this novelette finished up quickly, and it's about 11000 words total.