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About shatteredsmooth

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    Recovering Grammar Anarchist
  • Birthday 02/28/1988

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    Lake Attitash
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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. The tension in this chapter was through the roof! The scene in the jail cell was more tense and easier to follow. It had more emotional depth from M but still had plenty of her snark. I loved the line about Q's words being a "stiletto" between DM's ribs. "That's what she would pick for..." I adored how M was terrified, and naming each kind of gun that DM had. In this whole section, the emotion and the tension was ramped up. When DM pointing the gun at M was used as a tag mid evil villain speech, for a second I thought he might have been pointing it at E, but that was clarified almost immediately after. Still, I kind of wanted M's reaction the second the gun was pointed at her, not after he finished talking. I stumbled a little on the transition from the cell to the bar, around wen M asked for the robot and E asked K where they stood. Overall, the tension felt missing from that scene, but I didn't feel much relief either. When M was asking for her android, something was missing, much of the tension and emotion she was brining in the previous part of the chapter was gone, but I didn't exactly feel relief either. The emotion came back when she leaned on Q. For a stretch, that dialogue felt a little too matter of fact. Right now, that little stretch is quick, mostly tagless dialogue. Can you drop a few lines to keep the tension / emotion going to carry it through? And at first, I was also confused as to whether there had been some time jump, or if K was just saying screw the rules and sneaking them out in the chaos. Later, there was a line confirming the later, but throughout the chapter, I kept wondering what the stakes were for K now. How much trouble could he actually get in for this? Him taking a risk to catch DM felt in character for him throughout most of the book, with the exception being that chapter where Q & M had been rescued by helicopter. I'm not sure how much that chapter changed, but in that one, K had seemed hell bent on killing Q, and going from that to this is almost too big a swing. Between getting to the bar and getting to the serious after dinner talking, there were at least two X amount of time later type things. Is it possible to make it so there is just one of those? I liked the tired getting pulled along by the grownups feel from M's POV, but I also felt like I was stumbling a little. The reveal about MC was a BIG CHANGE from the other draft. I had suspected the son was in Gen... from early on, so I find this reveal satisfying, assuming it is true. Overall, there are a few little wrinkles to iron out, but otherwise, this was much better.
  2. This chapter had fantastic tension at the begining. I wasn't entirely certain that they were all going to make it out of the city, so when they did, it felt a little more earned than the victory in the M chapter. I did like seeing how the different people took different approaches to fighting these things, and now, maybe for the first time, I am hoping to see R's group and M's group meet up, though that will be a lot of characters all at once if they all come together and not just some from each group. I liked the idea of everyone working together in the symphony, though I did have a slightly difficult time picturing what they were doing. Right now, I'm literally picturing something that is a cross between a mostly invisible deflector shield and a piece of a soap bubble that is shiny and reflecting different colors of light. After that, the chapter was a little less exciting, though maybe necessary. The last R chapter had ended with talking and planning, and now, after a brief spurt of action, we are back to talking and planning. How much of this do readers 100% need to see / read? I have a limited tolerance for large groups of people just trying to figure out what to do next through dialogue... even though I probably have written plenty of those scenes myself. I don't mind it so much when it's just a small group where I'm more invested in the characters, but this didn't have much emotion in it or another layer that I noticed. I was starting to loose interested a little when it ended. The end of this chapter probably would have more punch if I had read Journey. I'm not sure what you changed about book 2, but there was a brief mention of that other species there, and if I recall, it felt kind of out of nowhere. I'm not sure how I would react if I had never heard of this species at all. I did like that in the chapter, O did mention S and the twins. That is making me think that the next chapter will go back to one of them. I'm looking forward to that!
  3. I also started out grumbly about another bar scene, but was also won over. I loved the little moment between Q & M. If that was in the other ch. and not this one, I'm sorry. I just read them both straight through. There was a lot of good information. There was something about MC having previously mention TOM's involvement in the election. It's probably WRS but I didn't remember happening before. This might also be WRS, but I forgot how much E knew about TOM. I always feel like I'm missing something in the flirty scenes, even though they're entertaining. I did have the strong sense that at the end of this, they had a plan that was finally going to be carried out. I loved the timing of the curfew announcement! It raises the stakes. Ifeel like this ended with a good last line.
  4. To an extent, I agree with this, but also was forgiving of a lot of it while I read because all of a sudden we were in M's POV which completely distracted me from all of these problems. As much I did enjoy seeing this play out from M's POV, I'm not sure that is enough to redeem it in the big picture, especially since they don't just spring to action chasing DM, but go to a bar to drink and plan. On another note, I wish we had a little more of M's POV throughout!
  5. I agree that being introduced immediately to someone's gender characteristics can be jarring. I think I have a better idea of where you are coming from now and why I reacted so strongly to parts of your initial comment. Maybe part of why I got so confused and reacted so strongly is because I don't always associate pronouns with people's gender characteristics. Two people can use the same pronouns and have very different gender characteristics, or use different pronouns and have similar gender characteristics. When pronouns are used in introductions, I almost equate it with exchanging names, not defining gender identity or characteristics. I get very uncomfortable when people associate physical characteristics with pronouns, so when I saw a comment that I thought was equating pronouns and anatomy, I got very defensive. Outside of certain circles on the internet, being demi (I think, I'm still trying to figure out if this is actually the right label) and nonbinary, is something I mostly have to either hide or constantly defend it, so there are certain phrases I react rather strongly too. I didn't mean to make you feel stereotyped or attacked. You just use certain phrases that evoked a very specific reaction from me.
  6. Thank you for clarifying. I didn't understand that from your initial comment, and it completely changes how I would've reacted.
  7. You know, while I was reading the Man. chapter, I had a lot of questions that the R chapter answers. However, by the time I got to the end of it and into the following chapter, I liked how it worked out. Getting answers to the questions I had in that manner was satisfying. The line about the room being "more pleasing to the eye than his robes" made me laugh. :-) It was a little planning heavy, but my bigger concern was that the planning seems like it might lead them back to where they came from. Granted, I hardly noticed this while I was reading. I was very caught up in all the descriptions. Good sense of wonder here. I did stumble a little bit in the part where R accidentally spilled the twin's secrets. I had a time hard following the dialogue, I have never had a hard time keeping track of the pronouns and what not, though I can see, to an extent, it being overwhelming if this is a readers first introduction to it. It was introduced in a much more gradual manner in Seeds. That would strip away so much of what I love about this book. And having it do that would assume the nether is working for only one specific type of reader and not the diverse world it lives in. Doing this would pretty much undermine the entire beautiful complex world the author created. Who said anything about genitals? That was kind of a big jump there. No one needs to know what anyone's genitals are unless they're planning on sleeping with each other, but people do need to respect other people's pronouns. It's not just about being pc. It's about showing people respect. And this book models something we need more of in real life.
  8. Just to let you know, I just read 2, 3, and 4 all back to back and I'm left wanting to just read the rest of the book and not go chapter by chapter. I really enjoyed this one too and how it connected to the chapter that follows it. I felt like most of the other people in the group were just background except for M, G & K, and even with the other ones that spoke, I didn't know much about them and had a hard time keeping track of them. If you want one of them to be more significant, then you could spend a little more time on whichever character that is, but if none of them are important, then leave them as background. I was surprised by how easily the evil slug of doom was defeated. I was expecting more of a fight and maybe society casualties or injuries. However, in the end, I loved how M defeated them, but the pay off would've been better if it had taken more fight to get to that defeat.
  9. Before I read everyone else's comments, I want to let you know that I really enjoyed this. I was highly engaged through most of it, and absolutely loved seeing Sam through I's eyes and then seeing I and E work together with the symphony. I got a little annoyed on the going to the wall then leaving it, but on the other hand, what happened there worked well. The only part I struggled with at all was maybe the first page or two. I got a little confused with who was saying what and had to re read just to double check I was on the right track. This has happened before. I think it just partially has to do with your dialogue style and is maybe my problem as a reader, not yours as a writer. I liked the nonbinary Ari. I think I especially liked them because they were nonbinary even though they were from a species and culture that had a binary understanding of gender. Having species that have more gender diversity is nice, but I don't connect to it like I do when I see nonbinary characters that come from more binary cultures. There was one typo I noticed: "There are simply to rare." Did you mean "They're or They are simply to rare?"
  10. I was pretty engaged all the way through this chapter, though I did feel like it would help to have a tiny bit more description going from the house to the jail cell. I had a hard time keeping track of where everyone was. I agree with the others that just as the characters are finally making progress, just when things finally feel like they are really moving, they get caught, again. I'm excited to see neo pronouns, but I do have some feedback about how that was introduced here. p. 4 "As her squad went about confiscating their weapons, Corporal D... (according to her name patch) removed her tactical glasses. Q recalibrated his assessment of the NCO. Xe was short," What made Q recalibrate his assessment of xir? How did xir appearance tell him what xir pronouns were? And why did xe just automatically assume everybody else's gender? Just because people look like their assigned gender doesn't always mean they're cis and their pronouns are obvious based on their appearance. It's one thing for Q to automatically categorize most people into binary genders, but sometimes people who are not cis tend to be less inclined to make assumptions about genders. Nothing is universal, but it is something to think about when you go back to the scene where xe starts calling people gendered things like sir.
  11. So I really like this chapter and am having trouble coming up with things to critique about it. I think it had a good balance of humor, action, and some seriousness. Death sparkles. Yes. That name is perfect. I admit, I rolled my eyes at the mention of Tom Brady and comebacks, but this is purely out of personal bias as a New Englander who does not like sports and after one aforementioned comeback got so sick of hearing about Tom Brady. I suppose people will still remember him in 80ish years. I had no clue who the other sports player was, but that was okay, because obviously Q didn't either. I loved the line about chivalry and distracting a beast while Eve put a slug in it. I loved that M got a shotgun. I found one typo: "...would betray than to any..." Re your note about it/he for the kid mirroring the droid: I picked up on that without seeing your note. The son was some kind of clone, right? Q is questioning whether or not that counts as human?
  12. He did seem to come out of nowhere. That seems like something that should've been set up in one of E's POV chapters. Yeah. This chapter feels like, not a begining, exactly, but not quite what I'd expect when things could be getting wrapped up, either. Like if all the travel in-between was trimmed, and this came sooner, it would be great. Granted, I've been reading over a lot of weeks, and have taken a few breaks than played catch up, so it may just feel more stretched out to me than it actually is. I kind of the same way, but this was also making me think that Q's dad was locked in that room or cell or whatever that no one was allowed to open... Same. I've got kind of mixed feelings about this. The people being evacuated made me think that there would beasties in town. I didn't see the MTs alone as the device but more the start of a chain of events, and I think if they were a lot harder to defeat, then the death toll would be higher. I feel like either this is the right level of fight and they are in town, or if they are harder to take down, then maybe they shouldn't be so close to town. (assuming the level of fight was the same in the new version I read than the one you originally sent) I kept feeling like something was missing from the first meeting with Q & E. Maybe it was this. I got tripped up in this whole exchange between the two of them, because it was like he was telling her he wasn't straight and she wasn't getting it. It's also that kind of read-betweens-the-lines-metaphor-speak that I never get the first time I read it because I take things way too literally sometimes. After reading it a few times, I I was waiting for her to reply to his eating out metaphor with one of her own, especially since in an earlier chapter, I swear she said she said she was bi. But this could be WRS. I feel like having her reply in the same metaphor would've helped me make sure I "got it" too. It looks like you took this out of the version you sent me, which was a good choice. OK, so I guess I didn't really add anything new, but other people had already kind of said what I was going to. I liked this chapter, and liked that things are happening, and people are coming together.
  13. I thought this was a great follow up to the action packed chapter that followed it, and had some good moments between Q & M, though M's outburst did almost seem a little out of nowhere. The reveal about mystery caller being Q's dad and not TOM makes me wonder if he is just impersonating TOM to Q or also to DM. The "Towards his son" line did confuse me. There hasn't really been much mention of Q's son actually being present anywhere near yellow knife. Regarding the moments between Q & M, there was one point where I was shaking my head at Q, thinking "you don't get it, buddy" which I am guessing is probably the exact reaction I should be having? It was cute. I think was when he thinking he wasn't worthy of being a parent figure in her life. I agree with Silk here. OK, this could help, because I completely forgot about the son being in YK.
  14. I am very excited to be back in this word and find out what happens next, especially since the last book ended with such a cliff hanger. However, my overall reaction to this was that not much actually happened. It was characters standing around talking, trying to decide what to do, but it wasn't until the very end of the chapter that action was taken. I'm not entirely sure I needed to read a chapter of Sam and the twins warning the other facet and then arguing about whether to stay or not. I think focusing more on the Ari as @kais would definitely make this more engaging and give it a better purpose. Even having read both of the books that came before this, I still felt that paragraph was a bit dense. I feel like if I had finished the second book and picked this one up immediately the next day, I might not have had as big a problem with this chapter, but the only readers who will experience that are the ones who will start the series after the full thing is out. However, even just having taken a few months off, I was having a hard time getting into this chapter as it was. Some little bit of action, or just trimming the chapter and shifting the focus, might help. On a more technical note, I noticed there were a couple lapses into first person, and a line of two that sounded like it might have been dialogue but didn't have quotes. "Look at me, determining that the ruler of this..." Was this supposed to be dialogue? Or was this a lapse to first person? "As soon as I can, I'll ask her." Same here. I wasn't sure if this was a lapse to first person or if it was supposed to be part of the dialogue. I'm sorry I didn't have more positive things to say about this one, but I looking forward to the next chapter!
  15. agree. There was a lot I didn't get about the police behavior in this scene.