shatteredsmooth

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About shatteredsmooth

  • Rank
    Recovering Grammar Anarchist
  • Birthday 02/28/1988

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    https://saracodair.com/

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    Other
  • Location
    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 think I need to go back and re-read in order to give you helpful feedback because after one read, I was very lost. This wasn't the type of story I could pick up and read for fun before bed. It's more something I need to work to read, at least right now it is. I didn't mind jumping right into a fight scene. I understood there was some type of sabotage going on. I liked the gills. I didn't quite get the other devices. I think the biggest thing that tripped me up was the talk of the fight itself being broadcast. Was it staged? Was it a real fight? How quickly was some kind of news media turning this fight into entertainment? If everyone knew what one company was doing to the other, why would it work at all? Was this a real fight? Or was this actually just being staged and recorded for entertainment? I might be able to answer some of these questions myself if I re read slowly, maybe with a pen and paper instead of a screen. However, this was not the kind of story my brain will digest as something to read for fun. If this were a lit mag or podcast, I probably would've stopped after a few pages. If the others aren't confused like I am, than ignore almost everything I've said in here. If I do get a chance to do a second read through, I'll post new feedback.
  2. I was enjoying this chapter up until the flash back part. I got completely lost in that. I wasn't sure if it was a POV change or not, and even within it, I struggled to keep track of who was who. I also felt like it had more detail than was really needed. I'd be tempted to tell it through dialogue, but there are disadvantages to that. Even with all the flash back detail, I'm having a hard time getting a sense of the mom as a character, and about what her relationship with Z was like. There was talk of her in earlier chapters, but it mostly centered around her being gone, and the relationship with the father is so well done that it overshadows what little bits there were about the mother. I was also very surprised to find out the dad knew she was alive, and if he knew, why couldn't Z know? I couldn't picture Z telling anyone, though maybe I'm not quite reading Z right. I didn't stop to think a whole lot about it while I read, but @Mandamon makes a good point about the power play between the teens and the mom. I think I can kind of see what you were going for, but I'm not sure it quite landed right. I could see the mom being skeptical of the kids. I still don't trust M to actually be Z's friend, so I can see the mom also being skeptical. This feeling is definitely being colored by my own childhood struggles with fitting in with kids at school, so take it with a grain of salt. This chapter did make me more interested in the world and how the turn of the age affects the society. As I read: "Most women gave birth..." So M must be getting close to old enough for the breeding program, right? "...was misery catching up to you" I'm a little confused by this line "Began to climb down, not using her broken leg" I was struggling to picture this. "Oncoming train" I love the end of the chapter!
  3. I'd like a spot too if that is okay.
  4. Well, I'm aiming for about 45K words for draft 2. For adult, that would be a longish novella, but for middle grade, that's a typical length novel (at least based on my research), but I don't know the actual word counts for a lot of the middle grade books I've been reading. I need to work on developing the antagonist more. I'm not good at that when the antagonist isn't a POV character... I took this out along with later instances where I spend too much time on bathroom breaks. Like the one two chapters from now where I think I spent a couple paragraphs describing an outhouse... Also took this reference out. There aren't actually vampires in the book, so talking about them at all is misleading. I'm on the fence about the kit from chapter 1 though...it would be easy enough to swap it out for something else when it is used (not against an actual vampire) but I am kind of attached to it as a way for the mc to question whether or not the supernatural exists at all...and because I've seen actual vampire hunting kits in an antique stores. But I can see how even that is misleading... Yeah. Though now I'm thinking I might actually make it so the trunk is gone next time I revisit the scene. Originally I had intended to imply they disappeared into this air, but now that the car is missing, I'm not implying that. mile My nine-year-old cousin does ten + mile rides on bike trails and old carriage roads. That distance felt long to me at nine, but at twelve or thirteen, it was okay, though I'm sure I rode slower then than I do now. And I'm not super athletic. I can shorten it. For someone like D who is very serious about cycling, it isn't far fetched, at least according to forums I was reading. I think my husband started doing rides like that when he was a little older than D and his mom let him ride alone. But like you said, to someone who isn't into cycling, it may seem like way too much. I just want to make it far enough that is is a challenge, at least for E, and that they can't just ride home after. I haven't actually named any real towns yet, so I'm yet bound by any actual geography. Maybe I'll adjust it so the shop and the town are more like six or seven miles apart, and the mill is more like twenty or twenty five. I'll try to remember to stick to spelling out numbers. The numerals are a hang over from being a reporter for college and small town news papers. You are right that most styles guides, other than AP, have you spell out the numbers. Glad to hear it! We're getting into the section where I feel I struggled most with tension, so it might get worse before it gets better, even if I am revising the chapters before I send them out. Thank you very much for reading. This is actually set in a fairly rural area. I'll have to work more details about the setting in as I revise. I have to think about this. I'm not picturing the dad as a bad dad, but E is definitely closer with their mom and doesn't quite understand their dad. So he might look worse through E's eyes than he actually is. I could add more, but I'm not sure how relevant is will be to the plot. He does show up near the end. Glad to hear it! Thanks! Thank you very much for the feedback!
  5. Hi All, Here is the next installment of Junk Junction. I made some changes to the end of the previous chapter. A no longer zips out of the doll to tell J and E the mannequins might be in the mill. E & do a big search of the shop and find a message from M. I was almost going to resubmit it, but I'm still making some changes to it. I decided it would be most helpful if I just kept moving forward. Like with previous sections, I'm open to just about any kind of feedback, but I'm not ready for editing/grammar stuff since this is an early draft. Thanks! Sara P.S. I am changing A's pronoun and related backstory, but I haven't quite ironed out all the details yet. A isn't in this chapter much. Unless I missed something, the only pronoun should be referring to the doll as "it" but not A's ghost form. Last time: Ch. 1-2: E's mom gets turned into a mannequin in an antique shop. A haunted doll helps E's and the shop dog escape the same fate. Ch. 3-4: E gathers supplies from Junk Junction and does research in a library. Then they venture out to find food and a psychic. They meet D, a 13-year-old psychic whose mom is missing. They think D's mom's disappears is related to E's mom and Mx.R getting turned into mannequins. Ch. 5-6: E & D do research in D's mom's office. D tells E more about the circumstances surrounding her mom's disappearance. In the morning, the two kids return to the shop, only to find the mannequins gone and the phrase "come find me" spelled out with teacups.
  6. Mother twist was interesting. It works, and I think it was well set up, even if it seems to follow a trope that happens in a lot of other fantasy stories where a parent dissapears . Tropes can be good. I like the fuzzy feelings Z is having. I also liked the moment when they realized that the demon the general was after was not the one they had. There was some nice character building while they walked and camped, though at times, with three people and exchanges that didn't all have tags, I did occasionally loose track of who was saying what. As I read comments: Page 2: "If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he was frustrated." Why would she think he wasn't frustrated? Why they "if she didn't know any better" ? Page 3: "The guard wore the same boring gray uniform that every man, woman and child was issued at the age of ten when combat training first began." Has the combat training come up in the narrative before? This detail caught me off guard, like it was something I should already know. This alone would be okay, but it feels a little planted or too convenient because later in the chapter, that combat training becomes very important when they have to use it to fight a demon. Page 7: “I wish that I could, after what I’ve seen...” Is this Z? Page 11: "There was an unspoken “However…” hanging in the air between them," I'm glad to see some doubt about the GK. Page 12: “But the woman in the message. She said she was the....” Again, I am happy this is finally coming up. “That actually makes me feel better...” Z's reaction is a little unclear to me. I want to know a little bit more of what she thinks or how she reacts to this. Is she really buying M's explanation? Page 15: “It comes!” Who says this? And why is there a scene break right after it? Anyway, it was a great chapter, and I'm sorry I'm so late with it.
  7. If we resume subbing next week, I'll have something ready for Monday the 19th. If not, I can wait until the following week.
  8. I trimmed a lot this yesterday. I went through and removed the vampire, alien, and god references. I alluded that there might be something more powerful than an average ghost, but didn't say what it was. That will reveal will come later. I took the sage out. I also didn't use the word "agate" and am just describing the necklace as a dark stone. It's not super significant to the story. Your explanation of sage was interesting. I get very fed up with google very quickly when I'm trying to research metaphysical stuff. I'm not sure how much of it I am actually going to keep / use in this manuscript because I'm more likely to get it wrong than right. Sometimes when I write speculative stories with a contemporary setting, it's easier to just have made up tools when it comes to the paranormal. I'm thinking about ways to reorganize the information in the chapter. If I do move things around, I'll try to get to this right away. Yesterday I went and trimmed that so they get into the store much more quickly. Thank you all for reading! Your comments were very helpful.
  9. Don't worry about it! I wouldn't be able to focus on reading submissions if someone I knew had disappeared like that. And I still need to read yours.
  10. Thank you! I hadn't see that one yet. I'll check it out. I hope your relative is found soon.
  11. I'm not there, but I'm also okay with skipping the subs.
  12. I'm having a hard time finding the right words to say what I want about this chapter, so bear with me. I'll try to make sense. I almost feel like I am reading two completely different books. I know that the stuff from the other POVs will be related to Q's case in some way, but right now, all I have to go by is my trust in you as a writer and a few snippets here and there describing the election / campaigning. Both before and after those chapters, when you described the election stuff, I felt like you were throwing a spot light on it. Before the POV switch, I felt like you were saying "reader, you must pay attention to this, it is important and you will learn why, but I'm not going to tell you yet." After, it was "Reader, do you get it now?" And both times, something about it felt forced, though I'm not sure there is a way to make it not feel forced. And right now, as far as I can see, this is the only thread connecting the two, the only obvious hint, other than the fact that these chapters are happening in the same book, that these stories will cross paths at all. I love your writing, so I trust you to make the connection happen in a meaningful way as the book goes on, but if I had never read your work before, I'm not 100% sure if I would want to keep reading or not because the narratives feel so jarringly different and disconnected. However, since this is a 2nd book in a series, I'd guess anyone reading it would be invested enough in the characters and/or trusting enough in you as a writer to keep reading. Maybe part of my problem is that I came in expecting Q & M to be the main characters, but so far, the other POV characters have had all the action and high stakes. We opened with Q & M wrapping up a case, then they had lots of quiet time to pick a new one and talk to each other and eat food that really made me hungry. It's not until the end of this chapter that things that to get moving for them. I am also a little confused about this. I haven't read book 1, and I feel like I am supposed to know certain things but I don't know what they are. I had this feeling too. Part of it, at least for me, was because so little happened with Q & M before a whole lot happened to other people, but that isn't all of it. As I read: Page 4 You are making me want breakfast. "R arrived today, and Q knew..." I completely forgot who R was. However, this might not have happened if I read the whole book over the course of a day or two. Page 9: "Creston ideal for practising with real drivers, being remote enough that most people still had U-drive cars." Something about this sentence is confusing me. On the end of 9 going to 10, I feel like the narrative is throwing a big light on the election, begging me to understand that everything I just read from the other POVs will be connected to Q, even though I have absolutely no clue how. Page 11 Because of all the description of election related things, when I saw the flashing lights, I thought for sure Q and M were driving into the scene we had just left from the other POVs. Confession: I may have skimmed the time/date stamp at the begining of each chapter. Maybe that would have been enough to tell me whether or not they actually could be driving into that scene. I was almost disappointment and felt a little mislead when they didn't. Page 17 "He’s called the Old Man because he is one hundred and sixty-three years old. He was born in nineteen thirty-six. He’s a truly despicable human being." I liked how this not only gave me a sense of how old the character was, but also really grounded the setting for me. Aside from that disconnected feeling, I did enjoy the chapters. I love M, and thought their agreement to swap information about each other was fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing how it all comes together.
  13. Good point. As I reread more of the ms, I'll rethink how necessary or unnecessary this is and revise accordingly. The story is currently about 35K, but for the genre and age category, it should be closer to 45K. I have notes about a chapter in the middle I may or may not add, and everything that happens after the moment they turn people back is summary (which I will change before sending it to the group). The "hidden content" is kind of an explanation of the story being complicated, but it is a spoiler, so feel free to not read it unless you want to. felt like slime... maybe this isn't the best simile. Thanks for the feedback! I hope you have a good time at WorldCon!
  14. Yay! Good catch! I think your comments are spot on regarding where the voice seems too old and where is age appropriate. You're not the only one who brought this up. I definitely need to reassess what information is revealed here and how it is revealed. This might be a detail they learn from A, not from some document. I agree with you and the others that I did not handle that reveal right. I appreciate your insight on it. More breathing room is definitely required. LOL I'll revisit this. I have the version of word for Mac that the community college I teach at gave me for free. It may not do everything it is supposed to. The program as a whole is a little glitchy and might be made for an older OS than what I'm running. Google actually caught things Word didn't. Thanks! It might get rocky in a week or two because we're getting close to a point in the manuscript where I have as many questions and notes written for my self as I have story, but then it gets better again Scooby Doo vibes are totally appropriate. This story is a hodgepodge of paranormal tropes and weird things I made up as a kid. Thank you so much for reading and critiquing!
  15. Hi All, Sorry this is a little late. Last week, I thought it was ready, and planned to proof read it Monday morning after not looking at for it a few days, but instead of proof reading, I made a bunch of big changes that may or may not improve the chapters. This morning, I read through it out loud and ran both Google Doc's and Word's spell check. There are probably still plenty of errors that I missed, because this is me. Please don't waste time correcting them in case the content feedback prompts me to rewrite or delete sections of text. I'm curious if the characters sound more kid-like in this section, and if I did better with emotion. I tried doing a scene related exercise from a writing excuses podcast, but I had trouble staying focused on the exercise, so if the scenes are still a problem, I'll try again on the next revision. If there seems to be some overlap between the research in the library and the research in this scene, it's because I might to trim the library scene a little and add a little more emphasis on feelings about Mom and not getting in trouble with the librarian. I'll probably be tweaking the balance of information between these two scenes for a while. Thanks! Sara Last time: Ch. 1-2: E's mom gets turned into a mannequin in an antique shop. A haunted doll helps E's and the shop dog escape the same fate. Ch. 3-4: E gathers supplies from Junk Junction and does research in a library. Then they venture out to find food and a psychic. They meet D, a 13-year-old psychic whose mom is missing. They think D's mom's disappears is related to E's mom and Mx.R getting turned into mannequins.