shatteredsmooth

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About shatteredsmooth

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    The Meowditor's Human (They/Them)
  • Birthday 02/28/1988

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    https://saracodair.com/

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    I love speculative fiction, dogs, and cats. Aside from writing, swimming, hiking, biking, and kayaking are my favorite activities. Sometimes, I get ideas about triathlons and never follow through with them. I like growing my own food, but fertilizer feeds the toxic algae I want to keep out of the lake, so my garden doesn't always do that well.

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  1. I think there was too much all at once. I found myself loosing interest and focus in the scene in the office with the mother because there was a lot of information being introduced, and like you said, there were two different points of conflict. Can you just stick to one for this chapter and save the other for later? As a reader, I don't need to know every thing up front. I get the sense that this will be a traditional epic fantasy with magic and complex politics, centered around a young royal who isn't an heir. Specifically one who is a little rebellious and adventurous but also rather grounded and studious. I am also assuming it will be more politics and intrigue in the castle than the mc going off on an adventure. I'm not sure what the mc's personal wants / needs are. I don't know what the central conflict for her is going to be. You introduced some conflicts in the world, but not anything specific for your mc or how they really affect her. I also don't know what the stakes are. And these are things I want to know if I am going to keep reading. I don't need to know all the big political conflicts right away, but if I am going to buy into the story, the characters wants and goals need to be clear along with the stakes and a conflct that is clearly connected to her. A lot of this goes back to my answer to your third question. There was too much information about the kingdom and not a clear enough introduction to your characters wants/goals/needs and what's at stake for her. There wasn't enough about how the political conflicts were going to get in the way of her wants or goals. As I read: Showing I leaning out the window to see the hawk was a nice character moment, but it took a while to get there. Could the part about the God's blessing be trimmed? "You're at the wrong window" I didn't understand this until the maid made a comment about omens and A. The interaction with the maid did show more character, but it was also a little trope-y / cliche. Sometimes cliche's are okay though. You keep mentioning a ball, but I don't really know what it is for. IT has something to do with the sister. But why is she having a ball? Later you do mention it's a birthday, however, I think the first time you mention the ball, you could be a little more specific about what it's for. "...child who'd been shoved into a fabric cloud" I love this line! The character's voice and personality shines here! "Now that Al would be 17..." The way you explained the ages was very confusing, but I skimmed down the comments and saw you are already aware, so I won't go into detail about what confused me. "...sweaty tournament gear will enough to loose them?" LOL another place where her personality shines. But in the conversation around the above line, I did get confused. She seemed to want a political marriage and to discourage suitors at the ball, but wouldn't the ball be a place to network with potential allies? I assume balls are places where there will be suitors from various duchies and kingdoms and whatnot, and they were as political as they were social. I get she wants to be selective and make a careful marriage, but the comment about trying to loose them, while fun, also made me think she didn't want to marry at all. Later, when I got to the scene where I was talking to her mother, I had a hard time following along for two reasons: 1. Too much information dumped all at once. 2. I and her mother sound very similar when they talk and I was having a hard time keeping track of who was saying what. "darker accusations involving his fathers magic" Is this referring to the prologue? Overall, I like this character, and am interested in reading more, but if I had picked this up in the store, I'd be on the fence about whether to keep reading or not. Great advice! 100% Agree. I feel the same way. Other than getting another round of readers, I'd say you could pick a novel or two comparable to yours and re-read it. Make notes every time a piece of key world-building or political information is revealed. You could create some kind of an outline or just put notes in the margins. Then, when you have a good handle on how these other authors paced things, try to do the same thing with your own writing. This also might be a good point in the revision process to fill out some kind of beat sheet for the story. Even if you did one in the planning process, you could revisit it. Also keep in mind that in the first chapter, the most important thing is to introduce your want/goals, conflict, and stakes for your main character. The only things we really need to know in the first chapter are bare minimum to help us understand those things about your character. Another good point. I feel the same way.
  2. I've got mixed feelings about this chapter. It definitely starts out strong, and has a lot of emotion and beauty in it, but in the middle or the later parts, it drags on a little. Granted, it can't be dragging too much because I didn't actually make a note of where it felt like it had slowed down. This had last chapter vibes, but when I got to the end, it was clear that it wasn't over yet. There was a lot of emotion in the scene where I told her family about S. I loved seeing C's back together, and wanted to spend a little more time there. The line about the city needing to heal and it's people needing to co-exist made me think of some of Biden's speeches. If the BK is leaving, does that mean his court musicians are going to ? I have a feeling I is going to take the job. Looking forward to seeing what comes next. I think it might be a good idea to zoom in more on the moment when I hears S chose the mines. Maybe the reason I thought it was dragging was because parts of it flowed like a montage without digging in enough to certain events. Interesting suggestion. Now I'm second guessing my advice to expand the restaurant part. To be honest, I expected her to just accept the offer at the end of this chapter and that would be the end of the book, but her being uncertain about the offer is what made it feel like it wasn't over.
  3. So she specifically sent L here. Am going to explain more clearly when I revise. Makes sense. I think I am either am going to change a few things about A or change the way the relationship between the two of them evolves over the story. I haven't fully decided which. It keeps going up, though @Robinski suggested I not make it end in a 9 every time, so I might mix it up a bit. Makes sense. I think I am going to bring W in earlier and go from there in terms of making decisions about whether to set up more history or remove the mention of it. J's mom sent her but the plan went slightly awry. It gets revealed just after where I cut off this sub, but it needs to come sooner. Much sooner. I'm going to streamline and shorten all the background so hopefully it will work better on the next version. Thank you for the critique!
  4. Yes, though I think I'm going to take it out and the other allusion to JJ having issues with suicide ideation. In hindsight, something about the tone and the delivery makes it feel to crass and insensitive. It's not the right story for it. This almost unconsciously creeps into a lot of my stories, and I don't think I want it in this one. Thank you for the critique! Everyone seems to agree on this so I will try to trim some things out.
  5. This is like the increasing number of hells. It's not meant to be taken literally. a This confused everyone. I will change it. exactly!! Based on the crits, it looks like there is going to be enough cutting and rewriting that it's not necessarily ready for line edits yet. And some of the others did catch a lot of my typos and tense slips. But thank you for offering, and thank you for critiquing!
  6. I definitely need to work on Lily's reaction and characterization. I think I am going to move and completely rewrite the way she tells her story. I am going to trim this back a bit. There is too much about the mom and it is distracting and/or detracting from the narrative. Being ace, I usually really struggle to write certain kinds of attraction, but I think I finally got something right in this story, which is kind of funny because it wasn't actually what I intended to do. I'm hoping if I cut back on the backstory about the mom and the village, and bring what I keep in sooner, then I can wrap the story up a little quicker. If it gets rejected for the anthology (which is likely since they are only filling two spots from the slush) I can always expand it into something longer. Thank you for the critique!
  7. That depends on whether or not I can figure out how to get from where I left off last night to the end, and then trim all the parts that are just me rambling and stalling while I try to figure out what is going on.
  8. Your concerns are definitely valid and things I will address when I revise. I'm glad you noticed and pointed them out because I was getting too caught up in other aspects of the story to notice them. Thank you! This definitely something I need to dig into more. Good point. Maybe that was something I needed to figure out for myself, but doesn't fully need to be in the narrative as I intended the story to be more about hiding L for the day. Not giving as much detail about that will also save me from having to get too into how the fungus or whatever organism I decide to blame works. I think when I was writing, this might have happened in my head, but that would be a completely different story. One I'm filling aside as something to maybe write in the future. Thank you very much for the feedback!
  9. So I have each of the 3 WIPs I've been going back and forth between in different fonts and formats, and I find it helps me sort them out in my head. Like the short story is Courier New single space / block format, my novelette is Georgia 1.5 space, and my novel is Times New Roman double space. I've heard people say changing the font can help with creativity or getting past blocks, and changing it to Courier New for that short story seemed like it helped me with voice and tone in some way.
  10. That was a typo. I kept flip flopping with A but ended up settling on they. I was picturing them leaning forward and whispering in JJ's ear, but putting their face a little too close in the process. Maybe it should say "their cheek brushes against mine" I would absolutely freak out if anyone did that to me, but I generally do not want people touching or even within a few feet of me. OK, with the pandemic going, I don't want anyone except my spouse within 10 feet of me. That is a good question. I should probably pick one. Spell check wanted it to be Lily. Thank you! I can definitely trim some of the wordiness when I edit.
  11. JJ has not settled on a specific pronoun. I'm toying with the idea of having A use a different pronoun every time they refer to JJ. The anthology I want to submit this is too is queer YA set in the future, so I think it would go over okay with that audience as long as it remains clear that JJ uses multiple pronouns and isn't being misgendered. I've been discovery writing this and am pretty sure I figured out the reason as I was writing it. When I first wrote the janitor's closet scene, I had not yet figured out why she needed help. You can probably tell I am not used to writing in present tense. Next time I'll do a search for "was" and "ed" before I send it. So they went in the gym then they went under the bleachers. I'll add more description. hmm so this is supposed to be the "false victory" of the story where they think they got away easy, but it's not over. However, I'll give it some more thought. I'm happy to hear this. :-) Thank you!!
  12. I agree with all of this. Honestly, if following @Silk's advice, you could get this down to 2,000 or 2,500 words, that would be ideal. However, you don't necessarily need to do that right now. It might be easier to come back after you've done a pass on the whole book. If I were in this situation, I'd set the prologue aside, focus on other things, and then come back to it with fresh eyes later and attack it then. Agree. I agree with this too. This time, I was able to understand everything much better than last time, but I still felt like there was a lot and the prologue isn't necessarily the best place to dump so much world building. I think prologues are good if you want to reveal information about an event the mc might not know, but I don't like it when they are a main source of introducing me to many key pieces of world building and politics. I'd rather that get dosed out through the first couple chapters.
  13. Yes. I was able to picture what was going on for most of it and it was a lot easier to follow. The first couple paragraphs still make feel like it's an attack on the palace. I would feel a lot more grounded if a birth was mentioned in the opening paragraph. You did a great job clarifying everything and writing a closer POV. As a whole, I still think it could be a little shorter though. The scene with the rubble moving and getting the duke to the other room still dragged a little bit. I found myself getting impatient wanting to know what actually happened, even though technically I knew from reading last time. No. Adding more would take you back to the problem of having too much too soon. It's hard to say specifically what information could be trimmed since I haven't read the rest of the book. I felt like all of it could be streamlined more, which probably isn't very helpful. In last week's thread, you had mentioned that one of the reasons you wanted the prologue was to show what really happened that day. My suggestion would be to focus as tightly as you can on revealing that and more of the world building for future chapters. As I read: "...garden..." Opening paragraph still made me think I was in a siege. I would feel more grounded if the birth was mentioned in the first paragraph. "...her during the birth from view..." Glad the birth is at least mentioned here "...furniture. There was a faint sobbing..." This whole scene is much, much easier to picture. :-) "After a moment of silence..." I felt like the pace was starting to drag here. I was getting impatient and wanted to just know what happened. "Swallowing, T stepped closer to the bed..." Pacing still feels slow. I wanted to know what happened pages ago, but I felt a little frustrated while reading more than I felt in suspense. I didn't make more notes after here. I was interested when the whole cause of the damage was revealed and when they were discussing what to do about it. I did think it trailed off a little too the end. Like the part where the mc was getting the chair and feeling like was intruding.
  14. I definitely engaged with this story and character, and looking forward to reading more when you do get more written. I enjoyed seeing literally lost floating in the dark and then figuring out where she was. At first, I liked how she fumbled with her interaction with the thing in the stone, but I got frustrated with her interactions with them. She didn't really try to learn anything about them and jumped right to wanting to go home. And when it was obvious the way she was talking wasn't the right way to communicate, she didn't seem to even make an effort to adjust. I get she was scared and caught off guard, but I would've liked to see her have a little more agency or be a little more curious. When she was in the e space, I liked that she did do something, but I the tyrant part didn't make any sense. Saying she and the rebellion are no the A was fine, but in he following paragraph, I don't really get how pretending to be just another tyrant would lessen the blow. Did people from other planets actually like living under the old A's rule that she is aware of? How aware were they of a revolution even existing? Three ends on a nice, suspenseful note. You are very good at doing that. I wasn't a fan of the POV switch in Ch. 4. The narrator felt a little more distant at times (when focused on information about the fallout), though not for the whole thing. It seemed like some of the information got repeated when E came into the room. I am more interesting in seeing how E processes the fall out and what she is thinking when she offers to step down. It was interesting seeing her from a different POV, but I think I would've preferred to just stick with her. The chapter didn't seem to have much of an arc with the new character , but it certainly would've for E. However, you did mention this chapter wasn't over yet. Perhaps the unwritten part would change my mind about this. Also, with Ch. 4, I wasn't sure I understood the hostage part.
  15. That's fine with me. The fungi isn't essential to the story if there isn't a way to make that concept work. If I need to, I can come up with a different reason for L to be on the ship. Valid point. Yes. Antidote is not the correct word since that usually refers to poison. I think I meant Dr. Mom was developing some kind of anti-fungal medication to get the fungus out of people's brains. Please. Thank you! I will also do some googling. Thank you very much for the feedback!