shatteredsmooth

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About shatteredsmooth

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    Recovering Grammar Anarchist
  • Birthday 02/28/1988

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    https://saracodair.com/

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    Lake Attitash
  • Interests
    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 just read through this, and didn't make any notes while I read. I don't necessarily have specific suggestions in mind, so I'll just share my reaction. M seemed very tired and a little numb. His age and exhaustion seemed to be what set the tone for the chapter. If that is what you are going for, then you got it! If not, then you may want to work on it more. I liked having the two M chapters back to back. It's keeping more engaged than the rapidly switching back and forth. I liked the thought progression regarding how M came to figure out the portal thing. I don't remember exactly how it played out in the old version, but I definitely like this better. I also enjoyed his attention to detail when studying and describing the El.
  2. I think I wondered how the princess didn't hear the drive yell "attack." If M can hear the princess through the carriage, then shouldn't the princess also be able to hear some shouting outside it?
  3. WRS on my part then. It definitely had M's voice. One a second or third read, it was clearer, but on my first read through, the placement of it made me doubt it so I had to go back and reread. Personally, as a reader, unless it is a conversation between just two people, I like some kind of tag or action associated with the words, just so I know 100% sure who is saying what, even if the voice is distinct like M's.
  4. Sorry I'm late commenting! This is definitely an improvement from last time. I no longer feel so overwhelmed and I was a lot more engaged with the story. However, I think you went from telling readers too much to not giving them enough. I don't need big paragraphs of text explaining things, but little details interspersed throughout the chapter would be nice along with more dialogue and description of the setting to give us a better sense of the character. "Ma... stood at the ready...." Much better opening line! I'd work in the details about the family sword when Ma is studying how Mu is holding the sword instead of where you have it. Just wait another paragraph before you start giving us backstory. "...take it seriously" A sentence or two about what is at stake might be good here. Why is it so important to take it seriously? The duel would be one place you could add banter! It would give readers a better idea of the characters' personalities and make them care more about the duel. "Ma... knew he couldn't give approval..." Here, you add a line or two about what this means. "wash...and change..." You don't necessarily have to skip this. A scene of dialogue with some description of the room could be a good way to reveal some information about the characters. Just keep it short and make sure it has a clear purpose that moves the story forward. When you get to the history class, I'd some description of the classroom and the other students. Think about what kind of details your mc would notice walking into the room, when getting bored by the lecture. When we get to the place they eat, again, add more imagery, more about the sounds and the smells and what is being served. I love food description. While doing this, weave in dialogue and world building. One thing I try to focus on in revision is giving each scene a beat. What is the purpose of this specific scene? What does the character want in that scene? What happens to stop the character? Do they get what they want? How? How does that move the plot forward? As we get closer to the test, give us a little more about approval and what it means for M, just in very small increments. More description of the instructor as Ma approaches would be good. I didn't make any comments during the last fight scene. I was engaged with it, excited to know what happens next. Overall, this was much better, but I think you took out too much. Very purposefully incorporating a little more relevant description and world building will go a long way. Just keep it in small increments and try to avoid big batches of it all at once. When I revise, I tend to fall into patters of overcompensating, either taking out to much or adding too much. Sometimes I zigzag a lot before I find the right balance.
  5. I agree with most of this. I get the feeling we haven't see the last of N, and if there isn't more of him in this book, then I'll be expecting it in the third one. As for TOM, yeah, he was in the background always but never present, unless he is going to make an appearance in the next chapter. Re the criminal charges, I'm assuming that will be dealt with in the last chapter? Other than being left with these questions and the feeling that this isn't over yet, I did like this chapter. There was a lot of emotion, and I loved how it resolved some of the tension between Q & M. There were some cute moments between them here. As I read: "Her blue crime scene garb." is something missing? This feels like half a sentence. "This was a rust-show and no mistake..." Who says this? Sounds like M but not 100% sure. "Our job is to get you out of harms way.." Did the feds even know they were down there? That were injured? My first impression was that the feds were rushing in to arrest them, but then they already seemed to know people were inured. Maybe they were watching on a camera N hadn't disabled? "...a terse email to..lamentable thermal properties...boxers..." This line made me laugh. Nice touch of humor to lighten things up a bit. "He sniffed. 'Well, you got me there.'" This ends a very nice moment between Q and M. I'm looking forward to reading the final installment, but I'll miss Q & M when this is over.
  6. This was definitely better than the previous iteration of it, and the timing is also better. I was ready to move on to a new POV and get to this facet. As for this chapter itself, the pacing was good. Defeating the El felt earned. There was a good balance of chaos and a sort of distant calm. However, M did seem a little numb to all the deaths. It looks like the others have already addressed this though, and I see you are planning to work on that. I also like the changes you made with the Ell. If i'm remembering correctly, the only chapter they spoke in was E's. It's interesting how their words seem to contradict their actions and that the E seem to disappear with the victims now. This is a little different than what happened with Eff P, right? It's been a while since I read, so I'm not sure. It makes me wonder if they are actually killing them or just transporting them to another universe or facet. Though it is clear that P is dead, so unless they are doing something with these people than they did with him, I'm assuming it is murder and not transport. I noticed the others didn't bring this up, so maybe I'm over analyzing or letting my imagination run too far with speculation. Looking forward to more next week!
  7. I liked this chapter much better! I's voice is more distinct here. I was very invested throughout the chapter. I enjoyed the description this time. It felt relevant and connected to I and what was going on in his head as he walked through the Ari neighborhood. I loved how linked it was to his memories and emotion. If I step and look at the big picture, the whole narrative from C. 1 to 3 feels much better now. It no longer has that indecisive back and forth feel but a sense that the characters are moving forward somehow. As I read: "Even smells like out parent's wagon" This line and everything around it really brought me into the moment. "the pronoun used for leader" Is there a missing article? "He suspected Ari... presentation of gender tied strongly into how all..." You said something very similar to this in the previous paragraph. It's getting a little redundant now. "Welcoming without words, even as they saw..." Still lots of buy in for me. Still feel well immersed in the world and emotions. :-) "Quite handsom, in a dragony, catlike sort of way" I love this! "Surely he had told someone...I found his boyfriend's hand..." Another nice moment. I like how it translates from I's internal thoughts about Eff P to reaching out to S.
  8. LOL No, I think the people who got the most secret snarky replies aren't actively posting in the group right now.
  9. When I was new, I read books and articles about the craft of writing. I'd do writing exercises. But I felt like I hardly learned anything from it. In theory, I knew what I needed to do, but then I would write and it wouldn't actually happen. However, when I started getting feedback from other people, then I figured out how to implement the things I could learned and wrote better stories. I think of writing as a long process. The first draft is for me. I can do whatever I want, and no one ever sees that draft. I've heard some people refer to this as draft 0 or a zero draft or something, but I don't like calling it that. The second draft I revise based on what I know about story telling from reading and research. That is the draft I let people see. That is the draft that gets torn to pieces. I'm okay with that, because the final version I'm working towards isn't for me. It's for readers. When I write, I do so assuming that a lot of what I write is going to get moved into my file of misfit lines and replaced with new content. I assume certain things aren't going to make sense to people. I assume that I might start and end in the wrong place, that things I love might bore other people. For me, feedback and revision are the most important part of the writing process. Being told I've done something wrong doesn't mean I'm a bad writer. It's just a necessary part of the journey from a messy first draft to a polished story people will enjoy reading. When I was new, I did find it very overwhelming with longer works. Starting with flash fiction and then working my way up to short stories made the process more bearable. As far as actually implementing it goes, it took me a few months to figure out a good way to do that with feedback in the format I get it from this group. I copy it all into one word document and print it out. Then I take colored pens and write all over it. If someone says something I don't like or that makes me mad, I can write snarky things near their comment and they'll never see it and I'll feel better. I circle or underline the changes I need to make, cross out the ones i'm rejecting, and put question marks next to the ones I'm uncertain about. Next, I make a list. Then I save my original document as a new file and start making the changes, checking things off of the list and the circled comments as I go.
  10. I agree with this completely. Definitely.
  11. I haven't had a to chance to give it a second read yet, but I have given it a little more thought. Part of what I didn't like was that N did a lot villain talk. But I've also become very invested in the other characters who have been very prominent throughout the book and they were pushed to the side lines. I get Q is the mc, but the other characters have been very prominent, and Q alone with N and his thoughts wasn't the same as Q with M or Q with everyone else. D's death didn't quite land right either. He's probably the character I'm least attached to, so if someone has to die, I'm fine with it being him. However, something about it didn't have the right impact. It happened so quick and most of Q's reaction was swallowed by more of N's monologue. N's monologue had some interesting concepts in it and Q 'sf deep, sad, feelings were poetic and beautifully written, but I found myself lacking buy-in. But this all may just be a subjective thing. Maybe it's not what I was hoping was going to happen, so I'm getting grumpy about it. There have been countless numbers of times where I've bought a book, read it, loved 80% of it, and disliked the last few chapters. I'll be curious to see what the others who have been following this from the begining seem to think.
  12. I was disappointed with this chapter. There was some beautiful writing, but something about it just isn't quite working for me. N talks a lot. Maybe too much. Mustache-twirling is a term I hadn't really heard until I joined this group, and maybe it fits here. I also was really disappointed when the VelR's obeyed the programming. I had completely expected them to turn on N. There were definitely some places where Q's emotions were beautifully described, but I still didn't have the same level of buy-in and engagement that I did your other chapters. I'm not quite sure what, but something is missing and off about this chapter. I'll think more about it, and come back if I can find a more concrete way to explain it or why I think it. It is after midnight here. Maybe in the morning I'll think of something more specific.
  13. So this reminded me a lot of the opening from Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. MC robs the LI's carriage in the opening of that book, though with a slightly different motive. I got a fantasy vibe, sort of. It seemed like it could be a sword and sorcery setting, but nothing seemed to really indicate magic existing in the world, except for maybe the tea, but I assumed that was science. Regarding character buy-in: Yes. J is the one I saw the least of, but I already like him. I am very curious about the alleged princess. M is an mc I can root for. For the most part, I think this works fine as a first chapter. It's tropey. It clearly sets up who is who in the romance arc. The characters' motives are clear. It leaves me wanting to read on. There are a few things that could use a little clarifying. I mention them in the notes I made while reading. As I read: P. 1 "Blackberries had a way of finding ..." I loved this line, and loved how the blackberry imagery and metaphor carried through the whole chapter. "Her brother J... had forgotten that..." Maybe I'm being too literal, but I expected him to be getting cut by the raspberry bushes, not sleeping. "The fewer people they had to impale..." Okay, but this would also make a great opening line. P. 3 "“Attack!” screeched the driver." This indicated the driver knew they were being robbed. “I lost my peanuts,” berated the woman" If M can hear her, how come she couldn't hear the driver? P. 4 "J couldn’t breathe ... worried about peanuts. " This made me think in that moment, J couldn't breathe, but nothing else made it seem like he was having trouble breathing right then. I'm guessing you meant in general, he struggled to breathe, but stopping to figure that out pulled me out of the story a little. “Mosquitos,” the driver called ... vicious this time of year.” I feel like I missed something. Did tell the driver to say this? P. 5 "An absolute toadstool..." This must be the love interest! Love it. There was some good tension in the interaction between M and the princess. At that point, I was engaged enough to stop making notes about the little things. I'm really curious to find out how they know each other and why M doesn't remember or recognize her. P. 10 "Her insides felt like she’d swallowed blackberry stems." I love this line and how the blackberry thread is still going. P. 13 "She had more than clothes ... I’m sure of it." I didn't quite get this from the interaction. Maybe I was too focused on other aspects of it. The last line sounds exciting, but I feel like I'm missing something, like I don't really have enough info to grasp how whatever might be in the trunk will let M "crush a queendom." Overall, I think it's a good first chapter. Good character buy-in and tension. But it needs a few things cleared up.
  14. I vaguely remember that being clear, but it has been a long time since I read Ch. 3. This might very well be WRS. When I read books for fun, I tend to read them over one or two days, so it's a completely different experience.
  15. I think I agree with this. The situation or relationship with M and his son isn't really the kind of hero/villain dynamic that I associate with this line. Like if it were TOM, it might work. But Q and his son haven't had any kind of on and off interaction over a significant period of time like Sherlock and Moriarty did.