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Everything posted by Mandamon

  1. I think your characters are enjoyable to read, and have good motivations, but I'm having trouble following a lot of the plot of the story. For example, I keep being surprised when high-velocity vehicles are mentioned, as most of what we see is in a camp with relatively low technology. I'm also not sure if they're a space-faring people, or if this is warring countries, or even cities. This chapter we finally get a connection with B to some people in power, but I still don't know what they do or how the world works. Having a chapter near the beginning to help lay out what people do and what sort of lives they lead might help. Notes while reading: pg 2: there seems to be a lot of import happening here, but I'm not sure what it is. pg 3: "the later they would remember they had an audience." --is she hidden in some way? how did she get into this meeting between heads of state? pg 3: "if they even remembered she " --ok, so they know she's in here. Does she have some invitation? There are only four people in this room total. pg 4: Ah, finally some connection! So B is the nephew of some sort of ruler? I still don't really understand what's going on in the larger picture. pg 5: "You must have had a long journey" --Ah, so L is there for some reason. Having some hint of this before now will help. pg 7: “I have a few questions about M" --I'm still really hazy on all the people names and places. I think they need to be explained more so the reader remembers them.
  2. Hi all. There was some discussion of getting feedback on full books (pacing, plot holes, character and story arcs...) rather than just the chapter format submitted here. This would be something that does not compete with the weekly submissions, but takes place over a longer time, where volunteers can read over a full first draft of a book and offer critique. Resources: This idea came up before, and resulted in the creation of a Reading Group A, listed in Silk's Welcome post. There is a dropbox shared folder under JamesW. Not sure if we need his permission to add more people/if he's still around. I can set up a new group if needed. The problem we had before was that people would put things into the shared folder, but there wasn't any notification, so no one has kept up with it. I propose we keep this thread going as notification for those that are interested in reading/having alpha readers for complete books. These critiques would be less about chapter edits and grammar errors and more about the flow of the whole book. We should probably also have a time limit or certain range that is available for alpha readers so 1) the shared folder doesn't get cluttered and 2) the author can gather all the critiques at one time. So far, myself, Robinski, and akobel are interested. At least two of us have books going through final edits that will be ready for alpha readers shortly. Thoughts?
  3. Similar comments to the others. I'm not quite sure what either of these chapters add. There's a whole other society here not related to the plot we've seen so far, and I don't have a good enough grasp on the characters to know what they're doing. I can tell there's a lot of great worldbuilding going on behind here, but I don't know people's reasons for what they do. Focusing on the characters first and bringing out a little more of their wants and goals will help tell the reader how the worldbuilding fits in. Notes while reading: Ch 2: I'm not sure what was changed here, but I'll keep reading and see what pops up. pg 7: ok, so I see how this ties in with the prologue... pg 9: It seems like a large secondary story is being introduced here, when I haven't quite got the gist of the first story yet. pg 10: There's a lot of new tech and places/people going on here. pg 13: I'm not quite sure what's happening here. There's a lot of walking around and trying to get into places, but I don't know who L is or what her objective is. pg 15: So the end reveal doesn't really work here, because I don't know anything about these people or what the title means. He's some sort of important person that is helping another person into a chamber, but the people and places are so different from the rest of the story I'm confused.
  4. Similar comments to the others. I think the biggest thing lacking here is the big push into the second act. A has been pretty passive, and that continues with his meeting with O. He's concerned about getting hurt, but then nothing happens. He's given a chance to act freely in the city, but I don't really know what he would do. Having something big that he's aiming for will help a lot with the second act. pg 1: probably WRS, but was C mad at A? Also, I'm still not sure what they're going to do with the chickens. pg 7: "when they talked about tools and pawns." --I think the poppy growing was a good demonstration, but I'm starting to get a little lost on what the objective is for this chapter. Taking A to this place seems a little disconnected from the rest of the story so far. A thinks he might be in danger, but it's just a demonstration of his powers. pg 8: “You’re not hurt, are you?” --I think if there was a more salient threat in the meeting, this would resonate better. pg 10: "She is the best we have, so you don’t have to worry about being found out.”" --Ah, this is where this is going. It think it needs a little prefacing near the top of the chapter that A is concerned about going out, or being used, or something. pg 11: "He was certainly putting up with a lot to achieve his goal." --Which is what exactly? pg 13: "It was odd, trusting a relative stranger with information that so far he had only told C" --This seems odd, telling someone about a powerful secret that is the key to his uniqueness. Doesn't he need to keep this silent? pg 14: "And he did. Miracles flowed through the city like water onto dry, cracked ground." --so is his goal just to heal people here? I'm missing the larger picture of how this will affect the story in the long run. Especially as this is going into the second part, having a stronger objective will help. Edit: Not sure why this was marked as a spoiler...
  5. I agree with @kais and @ginger_reckoning on this one. There's way too much going on in this prologue that isn't useful to the rest of the story so far. I couldn't keep track of the names or events, and I feel like if I read this first I'd be very confused going into the rest of the story afterward, wondering where any of these people were. I'm interested to see what's in the next chapter that requires this, and whether this could be introduced in the progression of the story, rather than requiring a prologue. Notes while reading: pg 2: I had to check which book I was reading. This is a LOT different than anything in the other submissions. pg 4: This is interesting, but I'm not recognizing anything from any of the other submissions... pg 5: the Presence supposed to be in a different font? I thought it was just an error. If so, I'd use something else to distinguish it. pg 6: There's a lot going on here. I'm having a little trouble following for the military plans and the A's story, and I'm also wondering how this connects at all with the rest of the story I've read. pg 6: "They were a race of Runic artists without quite knowing it." --Ahh. Here's the connection. I still don't really understand enough of the world after 5 chapters to understand how all this plays in, however. pg 7: "He had to get the Presence out." --I thought this was a telepathic connection or something, but it seems to be a physical thing to? I'm not really sure what it is. pg 7: "it would be as simple as following the length of a hair to find a skull." --Usually if I find a hair, it's not still attached... pg 13: So this was a cool intro, but it seems like a completely different story. So much so I wonder if this prologue is necessary? Or if things get into this later on, could they just come up in natural progression?
  6. Similar thought to @kais on this one. I think the first chapter is pretty heavy and infodumpy, but the emotions in the second chapter are excellently conveyed. I wonder if we could have a little of the revelation in the first chapter the first time N goes to the village? Then maybe this one won't be so heavy. There's also a lot that seems like it's continuing a conversation, but I'm pretty sure these characters haven't spoken in a while. Notes while reading: pg 1: F's expounding over N is a little weird. Have they not seen each other in years or something? I'm still not sure who she is in relation to N. pg 2: “Since I have no idea how those eleven years would have turned out" --So he's gone from here eleven years? Except he came back a couple days ago... pg 3: A lot of new names here when describing the accident. I'm a little confused why all this is coming up now, when N seems to have lived fairly close to his village. pg 3: "the cold iron sword" There's a lot of new stuff coming out on this page, and it's all in description. Putting it in conversation will make it more meaningful, and maybe address why it's all happening now. pg 4: “It’s more about your family, actually.” --So this whole chapter so far seems disconnected. What does all this have to do with the rest of the plot? It's all coming out as a sort of infodump, and I'm not familiar with most of the names, so I'm not that invested with them. pg 4: “Did you ever wonder how I ended up adopting C?” --Not sure what any of this has to do with anything... pg 4: "A chill runs down my spine. Changelings." --Yeah, this seems to be veering far away from what we've read so far... pg 5: “A twin sister." --I feel like I'm reading a different book in this chapter... pg 7: “I made you some of the special bread you showed me how to bake." --This seems random... pg 8: I think my issue with this chapter is all the characters are talking like they're continuing a conversation from the day before or something, when most of this information is new and N has been talking about how he's been estranged from the village. They're also talking about killing people and keeping kids from crying in the same breath... pg 9: So I wonder if this chapter should be split up into a couple or spread out a bit more? There's a lot going on here, and a lot of it is completely new revelations about characters we don't know much about. pg 14: I like this chat between W and A. It clears the air of a lot of things and shows good development for W. pg 16: Also good stuff between N and W here. It's good for both of them. pg 18: The last half of this submission is really good. I love the way you show emotion. The first half is pretty information dense, and could probably have some of those revelations dropped in piece by piece.
  7. I agree that's part of the genre, but maybe it needs to come later? We don't have a deep enough grasp on the MC's reasoning for things yet, and also in this section it wasn't really tied in with the plot. It might be better to add this sort of thing in when she's looking for the warehouse? Basically, I think there needs to be a plot element involved, not just "hey, look at the city."
  8. I agree with @kais on this one. I was sort of lost for most of the chapter and got a big squick from R's observations about N. I feel like we don't know enough about the dynamic between the characters to really get all the subtlety of what's going on. I thought R was concerned about B being attracted to N, not K. Cutting this down a bit a focusing the conversation on the specific plot and character points may help tighten this up. Notes while reading: pg 2: "How snug that dress had become in places that were loose before" --There's a lot of male gaze here, and I'm also not sure why R feels so protective of her, even if he does see himself as her surrogate father. Have there been problems in the past? pg 5: I'm also not sure where all R's resentment of B comes from. We haven't actually been shown anything so far. pg 8: There's a lot of talk about plants here. I'm still not sure why the crackle grass is important. pg 9: "We can’t keep avoiding the topic" --what topic? I'm not sure of the subtext here. pg 10: Wait...K is the one interested in N? I thought it was B? pg 13: I think I was on the wrong foot for this entire chapter. I was thinking it was R being upset that B was interested in N, but it was about K. Maybe some introduction at the beginning will help set the tone?
  9. I think cutting this chapter down significantly would help. I didn't feel much connection or movement in the first section as most all of it is in A's head. There's not much movement in the plot or the characters here, and a big history dump from M in the middle. I want more reasons to care about WHY M is so weaselly and acting strange. Otherwise, yes, it seems like a lot of this is repeated information. The second part was better, but again, there's not a lot of direction to the plot. Stating at the beginning that C is looking for information about M will help direct it. Notes while reading: pg 2: “How many times do you think you could pull this off?” --meaning taking G's place? I'm still not entirely sure what the plan is with the chickens. pg 3: "After some time" --These first few pages are pretty slow. I wonder if they could be condensed down to a few paragraphs? pg 5: "I’m not going to help you." --Still not sure what they're (not) helping with. pg 6: I'm surprised L doesn't ask more questions. pg 6: "they had made good progress" --on what? pg 7: Is something else happening at the same time? This a lot of internal monologue from A, but not a lot that's affecting the plot. pg 7: "could feel the material." --Not sure what material pg 7: "there was about twenty-five pounds of the stuff, --what? What's going on? pg 8: "it has only been one day." --I thought it had been a couple? pg 10: "That’s horrifying," This is good conversation, and at least we have two characters now, but the whole chapter has been in A's head. Can we have some description of movement, or what's going on? Is he still just sitting at at table? pg 11: This might actually have been too much history? We don't have reasons for knowing this yet, so I fell like it's going to lead to a lag in tension later on. pg 11: "was perhaps not the most noble or righteous of gods" --*cough*understatement*cough* pg 12: Ok, I think what I find strange about M is that he says he's a god, he does god-type actions, but he speaks and acts like a sort of confused human. I keep expecting him to say "yeah, I touched this weird rock and got my god powers. I'm as clueless as you." Pg 13: I think this whole section can be cut down a lot to just the essentials. What moves the plot forward? What changes the character? pg 16: "they realized they had no idea what, exactly, they were to do here. " --I feel like this is sort of a running theme in this chapter. I'm not completely sure what's going on. pg 17: "This was going to take a while. " --So they do know what they're going to do. Maybe stating this at the beginning of the section, or how they're suspicious or something to direct the arc.
  10. I thought this was a good start to chapter 2, but I'm not sure it's finished yet. The end of the chapter one is better, but still has a disconnect to me. Now her parents are talking about the resistance and she's thinking something completely different, but we don't really see that interaction. I was not expecting her to just go to the government. I think it could be a good twist, but we need to see more of what's going on in her head with that decision. The second chapter, I mainly wondered why no one was stopping a girl wandering around a government campus. How did she randomly find that room, and what was going to happen? I feel like the arc of the chapter still needs a conclusion as to what she's stumbled into or why she hasn't been stopped. Notes while reading: pg 1: "The talents I possess are most certainly my powers" --pretty obvious. pg 1: Watch out for comma splices through here. There are a lot. pg 2: "This could all be a ploy to get you to go willingly” --have we heard about G before? If not, it would be good to have some prior knowledge to make this a threat pg 3: “Join the resistance," --again, this is pretty sudden. pg 3: "You’re going to the resistance, and that’s final.” --this doesn't quite seem right. It's not like "go to your room" or "you're grounded." The goverment is literally coming to take her away, which is a higher threat than her mother's commands. pg 4: "you’ll want to leave for the resistance " --there's still a big disconnect between what the MC is thinking about how it's not a bad idea, and mom telling her what to do. There's no acknowledgement that she's thinking something completely different. pg 4: "it’ll let me keep in touch" --I'm assuming this is like a phone? In a dystopian world where the government is watching everyone? pg 5: "let them pull me away." --Does...she know where she's going? pg 6: oh, wait. So she's just completely ignoring her parents? Not even trying for the resistance? I did not get that from the last chapter at all. pg 7: "Maybe I can fix my headache the same way" --fabric backpacks and complex biological computers are very different things... pg 8: “I’m your superior," --Is this supposed to be B? pg 9: "My job was to river you, not to babysit you.” --Drive? Also, this is the government. There is literally a person for everything that happens. pg 11: "A pile of cards lies forgotten" --and then what? This doesn't seem like a full arc for this chapter. I'm also wondering that no one stops a young girl who is wandering around a military base.
  11. I think I was also missing some of the emotional connection, but I'm not sure it was because of the half-chapter. The beginning seems a little long, and I'm not sure what P's intro does here as the focus is on the check-up and discovering the factory. Other than that, and enjoyable read. Grandma is...just no. On the plus side, she make me hate Y less, so that's probably good. Making Y a necessary addition by remembering things is a good way to up the proactivity/capability scale when the sympathetic one is down to the floor. Notes while reading: pg 1/2: the banter is fun but maybe a little long through here. pg 2: Was P introduced before? Can't remember. I feel like we're getting a lot of new characters through here, but none of them are the client. pg 5: “I haven’t really thought about it" --she was literally just thinking about it...
  12. I have it on the default. It does miss a few things, but picks up a lot more errors like numerical matching or comma placement.
  13. I also enjoyed these chapters! 1) Generally agree with the others that it's a good chance to develop the relationship. No problem with a slower chapter, though the science bit could be trimmed down. 2) Cara is...sudden. I think the abusing portion is right, but the reactions are very swift, and violent. A little more explanation or motivation would be good so the reader actually sympathizes with H beating her up. Either that, or back off on the violence. Right now, the reaction is not proportional, even though we can tell C is awful. Notes while reading: pg 2: "I don’t want you to feel pressured to hear me vent.” --This comes up a lot in your writing. Characters are very careful around each other to ask permission and ensure they aren't giving offense. This isn't a criticism, but something I keep noticing. I'm also not sure how much this is a feature of a younger generation and/or autism vs. me being out of school for 20+ years. Anyway, take from this what you will! pg 5: “He told me that they value people who are reliable and show up every practice.” -- I mean, coming from a martial arts background, "I need to do a service by helping someone study" is also acceptable. pg 5: “It’s a thing for autistic people. We tend to be straightforward and appreciate when others are the same.” --So, question. Isn't N also autistic? Because he seems coded that way to me as well. Obviously a different type from W. pg 7: "Even grumpy ol’ H says that my cooking is good.” --Is their mother home? I'm assuming not, or there would be questions. Probably good to mention it. pg 9: “Sorry. It’s one of my special interests..." --This is good characterization (and as much as I love science news) this section can probably be cut down to the essentials just to show that they're having fun talking together. pg 12: "That’s all we ever wanted" --Eeek. yes, multiple red flags. pg 15: "that she’s bleeding from her nose" --that's...not what I was expecting... pg 16: "If you don’t turn me into the Taekwondo instructors for attacking someone..." --okay, yeah, I was wondering about that. pg 17: “Sure, if you don’t mind.” --yeah, Willow is definitely chipper for having just seen someone beat up. pg 18: "I can’t use words to run away from the way I hurt people." --I think this line in itself shows how messed up N is. I'm coming around on having his POV. It gives him a lot more sympathy, and it sounds like the village is a much bigger aspect this time, so it works.
  14. I've used prowritingaid to catch edits before I finish a book. It's good at finding long sentences, UK English vs. American, repeated words. If you really want to edit down a book to take out all the fluff, it does a good job. Just takes a while! As for simple grammar, I'd pay attention to Word's suggestion (the blue and green underlines), if you have a more recent copy. It does a pretty good job.
  15. Generally agree with @Ace of Hearts on this one. I think it can be a good chapter, moved to after we know these characters. There's some good character building with the two of them, but editing this to be on the subtle side would help. There's a lot of "oh, I see my words have changed you" spelled out that can be shown a lot better with actions. It would also be good to place this in the story where it has some meaning. Right now I don't know how them creating a bond helps anything. If we have impactful events, then later it might be really good to know how they met. Notes while reading: pg 1: "having arrived unnoticed" --if he's unnoticed, how is C describing him? pg 1: "His thoughts right now' --Oh, this is a POV switch. pg 2: "her little rebellious moment" --do we get to know what this is? Might help to understand her. pg 3: "Absolutely nothing like the enormous gyms " --good description and character building, but I don't know where we're going with this yet. pg 3: "Nothing like the typical generals." --Is this higher or lower? pg 5: "but in your anger, you have rubbed my fur the wrong way." --this is a bit awkward. Good character building through here though. pg 6: "Today’s incident happened..." --again, if we know what it was, that would give us a lot of information. I'm still not sure where this is going. Showing how the princess found a trusted aid or something? pg 7: "A young stranger, a romantic walk, and a stolen kiss." --ah, this is much different than what I expected. pg 7: "“Well, I am just average in looks, and I am too tall and lanky." --there's bits of this conversation that seem very stiff and awkward, and I'm almost certain no 16 year old girl would ever say this, especially to an older man. pg 8: "Her self-awareness surprised him" --You plan to move or rewrite the chapter. I think it could be a good chapter for the story, but we need to have a solid relationship with both these people first, to tell how they met. pg 10: "She had just made a determined alteration within." --stuff like this is a too much on the "tell" side. We want to learn along with the characters and be shown their actions, not told they are changing.
  16. Good hook. This absolutely needs to be in the first chapter. We also need to know why this is done and how it fits in with the culture in this book. This chapter is a great place to expand on that. This chapter is also easy to read and had some good banter, but I'm starting to want more knowledge of the world. We're getting dos and don'ts and how to recognize people from different lands, but I don't even know what kind of society this is. Why do they hunt T? Is this an important part of their culture? What do the people who don't do this do? Do they have a religion? A ruler? A tribe? This is an excellent place to add in a little worldbuilding to flesh out the chapter a bit and give it more of an arc of why B is doing all this. Notes while reading: Pg 1: Who's K? Possibly WRS, but would be good to have a reminder of who he is. pg 4: good banter through here, but I'm starting to wonder what the arc of the chapter is. pg 4: "wave commands" --what are these? pg 5: "The grammar was simple..." --I thought they didn't talk on the heists? is this all sign language? pg 5: "report every word they had exchanged" --is there some punishment he's expecting? pg 6: "“You are from D!" --There's some good description through here, but I don't know anything about the world. I don't know why this is a surprise. pg 6: "prods to engage in politics" --we also haven't seen and don't know any of the politics. It's been referenced a few times now but I don't know how it works. I don't even know what kind of society they operate in. Hunter gatherer? Do they have cities? Kings? Councils? pg 8: "he understood enough of social etiquette" --but we don't yet. I'm not sure what to expect from this dinner.
  17. Just a clarification on the length. It's best to stick to the 5000-word limit, especially if there are a lot of entries, like this week. If there are only a few submissions, it's usually alright to go over, but it's also good to ask permission in the submission thread. These chapters dragged a lot more than the first one, probably because that one was action-based. This one didn't seem to move the plot forward much. B getting healed and signing up for training, and R explaining some magic could probably take place in one chapter instead of two. There's also a lot more about the world in here, but I don't understand what's going on yet. Mostly people are talking about the world, but no one is offering any explanation, so the reader is lost. The same questions as for the first chapter might help out here. Why is B doing the things he's doing? What do the tables mean to him? Why does R want to take him on? Adding some motivation will give us a lot of answers about the world. Notes while reading: pg 3: there's a lot of information in these first few pages, not all necessary for the current situation with healing B. pg 4: Yes, good info, but I think the first few pages could be edited down. pg 5: "The boy placed as many tablets as he wanted" --I don't remember this happening last chapter? I think this was partly from the lack of motivation. pg 6: "I think he may be onto something" --This is the more interesting part of the story for me. What is he trying to do? pg 7: N has some good intuition! pg 7: "Can’t the crew collect the tablets without him" --I feel like we're missing some information on the main plot. pg 9: "It was just another promise he intended to keep." --I'm...not entirely sure what was going on in this chapter. N and R talked a lot about things happening, and I don't know that any of them were covered in the first chapter. pg 13: There's a lot of talk and descriptions through here, but nothing's really moving in the plot. The last two chapters have both dealt with the outcome of the first chapter and we haven't really moved on yet. pg 15: "t’s kindness" --The t was kind? pg 15: “It is your choice, B. Train or abandon those tablets.” --we still don't know what B wants out of this, or why he's working with R, or what the tablets do. Adding some of this explanation will help. pg 17: I think we need to actually see the settlement or at least hear about it before discussing its political matters. pg 18: "How much was several months or even years of his life worth?" --setting the first chapter up with these sorts of questions will help.
  18. Congrats on your first submission! Like @ginger_reckoning said, please take all criticisms as constructive. We've all been there, and it's a really good idea to have other eyes on your story. I think Ginger did a great job on addressing some of the technical details, and I agree on all counts. I didn't really mark any of those because I was more focused on the flow of the story, but I did notice a lot of sentences that were not complete, usually to make a point, however, often they are just distracting. I also agree the assassin and M's POV's aren't really necessary to the intro. We can glean what the assassin intends, and M literally doesn't affect anything that's happening. As for C's POV, I think editing down the description a lot will help. Many sentences are in passive voice, which makes the prose feel sort of dreamy and disconnected. You might try putting her actions into declarative sentences to see how that affects things, and if you can then remove a lot of the surrounding description that becomes unnecessary. I'd also strengthen the end of the chapter with a definite hook--more than "she has a plan." What action will she attempt? What is her next move? What is the impetus for the reader to go on to the next chapter? I think there's potential for a strong scifi story here! Notes while reading: pg 2: Interesting intro. It's keeping my attention. Glad to see some scifi! pg 2: It's a little strange to go into a dream from out of POV, and then go into that person's POV after. pg 4: "Suddenly the sound of glass shattering burst into the silence." --there's a lot of words and description to get to this point. The tension was starting to ebb before this. pg 5: "In his left hand he held a blade signifying his occupation and goal." --These sections have a lot of description where we're waiting for action. I think cutting it down a bit will lend more urgency to the story. pg 5: "She knew it would be aimed straight at the targets head, and this should have been the end. Except the target was not there." --this sort of thing could be cut down to: "Moving with miraculous foreknowledge, the wraith shifted out of a projectile shot straight at its head." There's a lot of passive tense right now. pg 7: "A fire of instant fury rose within her. She would make him pay for his moment of curiosity!" --this sort of phrasing makes the story sound more like a romance somehow than an action/scifi story. It's got a very dreamy quality, partly from the passive tense, which reduces a lot of the tension. pg 9: This is a very long death scene... pg 11: M's whole interlude is very devoid of emotion. That might be how the character is, though. pg 12: C's investigation is all reported in passive tense. pg 15: There's not a call to action or a hook at the end of this chapter. C sort of floats around, and then has a plan. Showing some action would help, rather than telling about it.
  19. Thanks for submitting! I have similar thoughts to the others on this. I think it can be a really good hook to start, but I think we need a lot more information about the world. Right now we're told the MC has powers, and keep getting new ones through the chapter. We also don't really know what the government is doing and why, so when she got offered a job I thought we'd learn more about them close up. But then she decides to go to the resistance that we only hear about just then. I think putting a lot more motivations up front will help. Why is she scared the government will find out? What's so urgent that she has to use her powers just then? How does she regard her powers? Are they something other people have? Notes while reading: pg 1: There's a lot of description about the bookbag on the first page, some of which could probably be cut down. We don't have very high stakes for why the bag has to be fixed, and why with magic, right now. pg 2: "points to the teacher's desk" --She didn't even check to see if a teacher was present? She doesn't seem like she would last long hiding her powers... pg 3: "Teachers are supposed to report even the smallest of things." --Yeah, I don't understand why she would use magic out in the open. pg 4: “Did you erase her memory?” --wait, what? I'm not sure at all what kind of powers she has. pg 4: "don’t check the records...If they connect her to me" --I'm not sure what they're connecting, by what records. pg 5: “Don’t tell me the government is getting their noses up in our school business again.” --I haven't really got a solid idea of what's going on in this society. This seems to be a dystopian setting, but then the MC is concerned about getting in trouble because of doing magic? Maybe a hint about why that's something punishable? Is magic common? It seems like it isn't, or the teacher's account wouldn't be discounted. pg 7: There are a lot of vague threats of punishments through here. Can we get some sort of rule on what happens and why? pg 7: "What are the odds we’d just happen to make eye contact twice?" --not sure. I don't have enough information yet. pg 8: "I’m back in my own horse " --eh? House? pg 9: "certain talents you possess" --Ah, ok, this brings everything together. I think having something like this on the first page would really help. She's scared of being drafted by the government because she has powers. pg 11: “Join the resistance, they can protect you, and you in turn can protect them.” --ok, we need some more context before this, because from what I've read, she's just been offered a priveledged job with the government. Is that not the case? I mean, obviously they seem bad, but wouldn't her working from the inside be beneficial? pg 12: "your teleportation?” --what now? I feel we really need a primer on what the MC can do.
  20. Similar thoughts to the others on this one. I think the chapter by itself is decent, but there's too much in the way of description and new faces. What is this achieving here? I'm not really sure of the arc in relation to A and the rest of the story. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was much shorter with a very strong ending that tied directly into what A is doing. I do like that we see another god in action and how trained magic-users work, but I wonder if we need some more preparation in the world before this chapter? Notes while reading: pg 2: "His other apprentice, the teenaged V. girl" --lots of new names through here. Is she different than the serving girl in the previous paragraph? pg 2, end: getting a little lost on names/powers/deities. pg 5: I think if we new a bit more about the world before this interlude, this would be clearer. pg 7, end: I'm not really following the history through here. pg 8: "So that was where H had been last night." --Ah. H was that pyromancer. pg 10: I feel like there might be too much description through here. I'm getting lost on details that I don't think matter to the plot, at least yet. pg 12: "his true purpose was to sleuth out..." --I thought his true purpose was to find H? pg 14: "The beast shall smite the tiger on the head..." --I though he didn't know what the prophecy meant? pg 15: "It was said to work even on the Supreme C" --side eyes in foreshadowing...
  21. I was basically going to say that as my assessment of this chapter. I like it, I think it's interesting, and A is a complex character. But we're also 6 chapters into a story about W's family and her meeting N, and I'm not sure where this fits. I'm not saying it doesn't, but maybe the next couple chapters are a good place to start tying things together? W's story is basically non-magical except she knows about the medicine, flowers, and N's village. Everyone else seems to know a lot more than her, so she's sort of drowning in the story where she has no ability to find out more information unless someone tells her. Usually the main character is the substitute for the reader learning new information, but in this case it's almost reversed. The reader is finding out how the world works and the main character is not. Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about this, for what they're worth. Still enjoying the story! You write very real characters. Note while reading: pg 1: "It’s safer for both of us if we remain acquaintances and nothing more" --maybe a little more elaboration on this? We know some about what is happening, but does W actually feel unsafe? pg 1: "With enough medicine, my mom’s body will get strong enough to withstand cancer treatment." --does she know this? It doesn't seem to be doing so yet. pg 3: "It’s possible this J, is manipulating her" --that's a big jump from just learning all this information. pg 5: so W had a whole thing with A, right? We get a mention of it in this version, but shouldn't she at least be aware of A's relations? pg 7: “And if I refuse?” “Then I am under no obligation to continue giving you gifts.” --I mean, that's pretty obvious. pg 7: "Guess I’ll be seeing more of N after all." --I'm not sure what I'm missing, but it feels like there's another show to drop in this chapter and I'm not sure what it is. M.A. obviously has a scheme, but he's acting pretty beneficially for now. pg 7: "he knows he can get something out of it.” --maybe this is it? I don't see what's bad about what he's getting out of it, and W hasn't asked. pg 9: “Bringing a human into the mix.” --aha...maybe this is the shoe. Is this saying A and M.A. are the same as N? pg 9: So B. is J's daughter? pg 12: We get a good assessment of what A is thinking, but I'm also wondering how his POV ties in with the central plot. Is he going to be a continuing character? Basically, we're 6 chapters in, and while I'm enjoying the story, I have no idea where it's going.
  22. Yep, no problem. I'll point out what I see in the story as well.
  23. Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! For someone new to writing and with English not as a first language, I think you did an awesome job. Generally I agree with the others that there is motivation missing in the first chapter of why they're hunting the T. Also why is B along here? We don't really get any explanation and it will add some more tension (though you do have a good bit with the silence and creature attack) My main concern was not understanding what's going on with the magic system. I think I figure a little bit out by the end of the chapter, but I was having some problems with sound/frequency/rhythm being confused. I think it's a really fun system, but there either needs to be more or less explanation in this chapter. Right now, there's just enough to mke me confused as to how it works. The ending also fell flat for me, as there's not a definite ending to the chapter. What happened? Were things resolved? Right now, we're just held at a moment in time with no indication what will happen. Looking forward to another entry! Notes While Reading: pg 1: Good hook! pg 1: confused on the third paragraph. Who's stopping their heart? I don't understand the sentence about cancelling sound waves with respect to the previous sentence. Then B has stopped his heart mechanically? Sounds very uncomfortable. I think this paragraph needs to be unpacked a lot, probably a bit later on after we know what's going on. pg 2: "Only a hand that shot out and caught him by the shoulder told him these were not rocks" --I'm a bit confused by B's relationship to the rest of the crew. Is he the new member? He sounds young, but also as if he hasn't been trained to be on the crew, which I would guess is the case if he's on his first outing. pg 3: "The realization sent shivers dancing madly along B’s spine. Noise, if the t were inside…" --Is his spine making noise? Not sure what this means. pg 3: "Seeing crackle-grass like this was like watching the sun go dark. " --huh? Confused. pg 5: "The waves he had sent" --I"m also a bit confused by the "ts" indicators. I'm imagining a "tsk" sound, which would be far too loud. Is this an actual sound? A directed vibration? I'm struggling to understand how this works. There's also a lot of counting involved. I'd hate to be fighting and have to differentiate between 15 and 16 vibrations. pg 5: "could see why his uncle disliked the man so much" --not sure why the leader chastising a crew member who made a mistake in a deadly encounter is out of line. Seems practical to me. --This is supported by the next couple pages. The leader seems like he's doing his job well. pg 8: Having a little trouble with the description here. So the T is threading it's own strings around hooks on its body like a serpentine violin? That's the image I get. But I'm still stuck on the "ts" and what the numbers mean. Is this an amplitude? Frequency? Is the wave something heard, or a pressure, or what? (I'm a mechanical engineer by training, did a focus in vibrations, and also play classical violin...this is why these parts trip me up) pg 9: "like some scaled hateful harp" --Ah, this lines up with what I was thinking. Might move this description earlier? pg 9: "Each man added his own rhythm." --Being slightly pedantic, but rhythm, or volume, or frequency? pg 9: "It was the resonant frequency of several vital organs in the human body" --interesting. So "Ts" is a measure of frequency then? pg 10: "Tum-tum-tum-tum-tum" --but this is five, not seven? pg 10: what happened?
  24. Generally agree with the others on this chapter. Overall, I thought it was good, and I like that we're getting to some of the deeper conflicts in the city. I think this is just fine. Especially over the past few years, we've all been exposed to seemingly irrational hate. I don't think you're calling out any one group. Like @Silk says, I'm mainly confused on the lore in the first half of the sub and what the deal is with the chickens. On the one hand, I like that M is just talking smack about the other gods like everyone should know what's going on, but it also does leave the reader confused. Maybe just a little more explanation form A on who is who? Second, I have no idea what they're doing with the chickens. Why does touching the coop matter? I C planning to float it out later? Are they going back? Not sure. Still enjoying the story! Notes While Reading: pg 1: "planting their foot on the street as it rushed by and pushing themselves once again. " --Are they taking backstreets? Because if seeing someone fly gets they conscripted, seeing them leap ten meters at a time will probalby do the same. pg 1: "But in this part of town everyone knew not to confront a c" --Ah, here's the explanation. I might still be worried about the people they passed giving information to the army. pg 2: "Our kind wronged them, just fifteen hundred years ago" --I do kind of like that the gods are just forgetful old people bickering. We might need some reminders about who's doing what, though. I don't think I know who the keepers are. pg 5: "he didn’t know any other places that were guaranteed to have m he could help" --I get how this is a logical progression from his task, but I wonder if we need more thought before this point on how A hopes to heal all of the M. pg 6: what's the significance of the coin again? pg 6: "They then set out to touch as many important objects as they could" --what is this for? Are they going to float the whole chicken coop across the city? pg 8: "I just feel really strongly about this" --interested to see what this is. pg 11: Good description of the fight through here! I like how M is guiding him. pg 13: This chapter definitely takes a darker tone! But I think it lends some good substance to what A has been seeing. I want a little more information about C's plan with the chickens though. I'm not sure what they're doing.
  25. Similar thoughts to the others on this one. It's unfolding a lot faster than the last version, so that might be what we're all feeling. If it's going full magical that quickly, that's fine, but I do agree more reaction from W will help that feeling. Right now we've got a lot of new characters and facts thrown at us over two chapters. If they're going back to the village, or dealing with it in some way in the next few chapters, I think this can work. But if we're getting hints now, and then most of the book will be about W/N's relationship, the revelations might need to be scaled back. I am really enjoying the story though! Looking forward to the next part. Notes While Reading: pg 1: Something weird in the second sentence... pg 2: "though it does line up with my amma being evasive about those flowers." --I think cutting the amount of exposition in the last chapter might actually help the reader accept this. If amma is vague but sort of skirts around "magic," then W here can say it's weird two people have brought it up in two days. pg 2: ah, so the flowers are mentioned. I was expecting more surprise or push back here. W just accepts that G is conveniently talking about the flower a person happened to give her. pg 3: “This is about the color it should be,” --I'm not sure why diluting it in water is the "right" color? pg 4: "I can’t believe I’m about to try this." --I like that we get into the mystery behind this super early, but it does seem very convenient with everything else that's been happening. pg 5: "now I know that using the flowers to turn that energy into physical healing" --Now I'm wondering what happened to the water in the vase. Hopefully mom didn't pour it out! or is the magic in the liquid used up too? pg 5: "I didn’t put much of the magic liquid in" --oh, got it. I thought she used the whole thing. pg 6: "I don’t have to get involved with whatever mess " --Aren't the flowers just growing out by the lake? Can't she just pick more? pg 9: "I hope I’m not making a mistake." --some great interactions here between W and N. Sets up a good tone of suspicion as well. pg 9: "I try to force H’s words" --I forgot about him! Surprised W didn't ask N about his brother. --Oh, didn't realize there was a POV shift here at first pg 10: "I still hurt her." --hmmm...Not sure how I feel about being in N's POV. I wonder if it's better to kep his actions mysterious? Then we wonder about his reasons for his actions. Here, he gets to explain them. pg 10: "pass over to the world I came from" --ah, that explains a lot. pg 12: Hmm, okay, I'm warming to N's POV. There's a lot more revealed early on than there was in the last version! If this is going full magical right at the beginning, then I think it's less of a problem. pg 13: "but she let me help her. Right now, that’s enough." --nice ending.