JWerner

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  1. Also very good point from @kais. I think this would help with the lack of tension I felt at the very end of the chapter. I actually wrote this exact scenario initially, but I wasn't quite able to make the ensuing verbal confrontation work. I'll give it another go. Model 3 Surveillance Lenses—zeroed in on the diggers." --Is this the same tech level as in the first chapter? Superior. C tech is top-tier sci-fi kinda stuff. Rifle-bows, not so much. Thank you both for your critiques! I might send in a revision for next week, depending on what other feedback I get.
  2. Hi all, I just completed chapter 2 today. I apologize if it comes across as rough; this is not original to the first draft, unlike chapter 1/prologue 1 (I decided to just call this chapter 2). Writing this chapter was part of my goal to make some of the characters and their objectives a bit more fleshed out and clear-cut; they weren't as much in the first draft. Let me know if I succeeded or failed. As always, feel free to tear the bloody thing to ribbons, and I will take the feedback and use it for chapter 3 (which I am 95% sure I won't have to make from scratch). In chapter 1: Ranchers J. and her Uncle D went out hunting for a hydra that killed one of their herd. Using a Channel—a drink that gives humans animal attributes—they find the hydra, only to discover it's been killed by a man belonging to a feared outlaw band called the BRs. The R kills Uncle D, and J kills the R in turn using Channels. Doing so, however, takes a dire toll on her body. P.S. Sorry to all who received, I forgot to put 'Reading Excuses', the word count and the content ratings in my submission e-mail. I apologize; it just slipped my mind. P.P.S.: My avatar is this chapter's POV character. P.P.P.S. And SOMEHOW I ended up posting this twice! All I did was hit 'edit,' and a second thread popped up! I clicked 'hide', but I don't know if that hid it for everyone else. So in case anyone still sees the duplicate thread, apologies, and if anyone has the capability of deleting it, please do so.
  3. Ditto, I'd like a spot too, please. I might submit late Monday, though.
  4. Hi Kraken's Daughter, For some reason, when I transfer the doc from my e-mail to my Google drive, the format gets really messed up. So the pages are in printer order. Overall, I liked this story, and am looking forward to part 2. I think you make pretty clear from the start what A (cool name, by the way) wants by showing her going around to the different pubs, listening to stories. Even if it's just research, I like the idea of a character collecting folklore. Her motivation is solid and believable, and the dialogue is fairly snappy and clear-cut. I think some of your transitions are a little abrupt, though; without any paragraph breaks, suddenly falling into these stories gives a slight case of whiplash. Sorry, brief critique. Liked it muchly. (page 1): -"There were a number of taverns in the city of A, ranging from upscale establishments where nobles sipped fine wines from crystal glasses, to dockside taprooms where sailors swigged beer from chipped mugs between brawls."—Added a comma. (page 2): -Every children's storybook talks about sea serpents.—Moved the apostrophe. Childrens' is used for when you're talking about a specific group of children. (page 3): -She ambled over to the group, acting as if she'd overheard them by chance.—This is my own personal suggestion for replacing 'trying to act.' As Yoda says, 'do, or do not. There is no try.' Saying she's trying implies she's failing. (page 4): -“You already heard the story—don’t think I didn’t catch you eavesdropping."—Is it really eavesdropping if she was openly listening? (page 5-6): I would either separate the story with visible paragraphs or tell it as ordinary dialogue, for flow's sake. (page 5): -She couldn't get a good look.—Who's the she in this case? The captain or the night watcher? (page 6): -A raised her eyebrows at the captain's wistful tone.—Has he been identified as a captain by this point? If so, I've missed it. (page 9): -He pushed past P—Careful! That's a Wheel of Time character name. (page 13): -A supposed a hardened sailor like Tandil would laugh at her for sneaking into the galley in the middle of the night, looking for willow bark to chew.—Added a comma. (page 15): -"And what makes you think I'd go along with you asking us to do something different..."—Not sure why he's saying this. She hasn't asked anything of him yet.
  5. Ich kann schwören Zählt das? Mit anderen Worten, nein. Es tut uns leid. Fair enough. I apologize if I came across as ignorant.
  6. Hi guys, First off, thank you very much for critiques! I appreciate them muchly. Going forth into the edits and revisions, I will try to mesh the Old West vibes and Greek Mythology aspects better. @kais mentioned BSG, and while I don't have the time to re-watch the reboot, I'll keep that world in mind. Thank you all for the recommendations for Silver on the Road! I'll see if I can get my hands on it, but it might have to wait until I finish The Gentlemen Bastards. I will also try to put some more detail to make the world and characters more vivid. Couple points of clarification: The rifle-bow is functionally a crossbow. Aesthetically, it's a Henry repeater combined with a crossbow, and can be assembled/disassembled in two pieces. It's long and narrow. I will try to describe it as such in revisions. The setting is supposed to be far into the future. Very far. There's magic (the Channels), technologically advanced bodily enhancements, hovercrafts, etc. I think the best way I can summarize the world is Firefly, but just on Earth. 'Stack of books' is meant to imply the extent of Uncle D's gastric protrusion. In others words, he's got a considerable gut. Thank you all again!
  7. Hi Alderant, You have some pretty big problems here: the prologue is deliberately vague to the point that I have no idea what is happening, the dialogue is stilted, and the use of time and space leave me wanting. To sum up my answers to your bullet-point questions, I implore you to give us a better picture of what the characters (especially P) wants and why, without being so deliberately vague. I would also like a better sense of where and for how long events happening outside the room were happening. And the dialogue needs an overhaul; to me, it felt like the characters spoke almost entirely in clichés. I would try to make it seem more militaristic without having to resort to exposition and medieval-like speech. How do you feel about the conflict? Why?—I was indifferent to it. There were no clear stakes, I had no idea who was fighting what, where, in what amount, with what weaponry and tactics and magic. Is what I’ve written interesting? What about it (if anything) is interesting to you? If not, why?—The one thing I found myself interested is in Descending; what it is, how it works. What questions does this makes you ask (if any)? If the answer is no, why?—I just kept thinking to myself, 'What the heck is going on?' Is there anything you feel I do well? If nothing, how can I improve?—Please make things clearer. I want a cleaner, sharper picture of what is happening and why. It is obvious that you are holding back a lot of information here, and that does not motivate me to want to keep reading. It is frustrating. Is there anything you feel I do poorly? If nothing, what can I strengthen?—Please make your characters' intentions clearer. Also, I had little sense of time and space; how far away was this battle taking place? How quickly were the monsters approaching? The world did not feel tangible. Most importantly, does this intrigue you enough to want to continue reading?—Honestly, no. It did not. But I think it could, with revisions. My notes are below: (page 1): -...he studied the blue-tinted, holographic map—Okay, but what's the map of? -Red dots abounded the image, each one a critical that could not...—A critical of what, exactly? The Ws have seized the binding points as ordered. They hold, though their fight is desperate.—This dialogue feels awfully stilted and medieval for something taking place in a world with holograms. (page 2): -He pulled on it, zooming it in to a surface level and revealing a lone W being overrun by the monstrous horde of D.—Since we don't know the scale of this map yet, it leaves me wondering just how precise/imprecise this map is. -They’ll seize the very lifeblood of this planet and use it against the innocent masses.—Some narm-heavy exposition here. It feels way too over-the-top to be natural. (page 3): -“Fighting where the situation is most dire, more than likely,”—Why doesn't V just give a direct answer? (Page 4): -The door opened with a loud groan as a battered-looking W pushed their way through the heavy, reinforced door of the S.—Why not just identify her as the P now? It's pretty obvious who she is. -Tried to force her, I’ll bet, P thought with some measure of amusement. Novice mistake.—Italicized P's thoughts. -“Why did you call me from the defense?” the P asked, her weary voice tinny from inside the large helm that obscured her face.—Deleted 'the' and 'feminine.' -"...you sorry lot will find out just how terrifying these monsters can be.”—But I'm not getting much sense of danger around these monsters. -“But there is a matter that requires your attention…as FW.”—So is P or A the First Warden? It's not clear. (page 5): -To his left, E gasped.—I feel like this should be before 'The P' cocked her head to the side. -The tall, armored woman flinched. Visibly.—I'd just say 'The P' instead of 'tall, armored woman.' You've already established that about her. Also not sure 'visibly' is necessary. -"She would see all of humanity, the civilians and both of our peoples, fall to the creatures you so valiantly fight."—Pretty sure the P already knows she's fighting them. -“She is at direct odds with the best interests of humanity, and so I invoke the FW’s Oath.”—This dialogue needs attribution. Also, why doesn't the P ask for proof? She just takes him at his word? Why? -It was the only check on the Council’s authority—The ONLY check? This does not sound like a stable governing body to me. (page 6): -“When A kills E, both of you Descend and bind her. If our plan is to succeed, A cannot be allowed to escape.”—First off, why is he saying this out loud where she can hear, even if she is distracted? Also, don't V and H already know this? Why does P have to remind them? -When it finally came off, she hunched forward and vomited across the ground.—In my experience, 'ground' is always outdoors and 'floor' is always indoors. -she was caught by surprise as one of her arms suddenly flew to the side—I would replace the bolded 'she' with 'P' -"Release me! I must return to the fight!”—How did she get back from the fight, anyways? (page 7): -“I know you view the Ws as your children,”—Obvious exposition. -Her eyes went wide with horror. “You bastard. You’re going to kill everyone!”—I don't see why she doesn't just refuse outright immediately, even if she has no choice? -Could no one else see how dire things were?—I don't. (page 8): -A deafening boom filled the chamber moments later.—From what? The realm of life, a reflection of the planet’s own soul.—Sounds like the lifestream from Final Fantasy VII. (page 9): -He raised his hand, the blue-green key glowing in his palm,—Wait, what? When and how did he get that? (page 11): -P turned to the other two, the only survivors of the D assault on their city.—Added 'the'. I absolutely believe you can improve upon what you've already written, and I look forward to reading it again if you re-submit. Please do so!
  8. Hi hawkedup, Apologies for the delay in my critique. My notes are below. Overall, I'm glad to see you incorporated feedback from the first chapter regarding the portrayal of the military commanders. I'm not finding myself all that particularly invested in L, though; her end-goal is still too vague for me to get a solid grasp on what she wants. I liked the ending twist, though, if nothing else because it moved the plot along. I'd really like to know soon what L wants and why. (page 1): -“They’re like your lists,” L had said, with all the pride a child could muster. “Like the ones you make when you have an attack.” “Yes, my dear,” J had replied. —Added 'had' to indicate that this is dialogue is from the past. -As a result, L now had a plan for almost every situation.—I don't quite see what lists have to do with plans. (page 3): -She felt a prick of searing heat that immediately spread to every appendage of her body.—I would delete the bolded part. What other appendages would you be talking about? -He got his off arm up but otherwise hit the ground face first.—This is awkward phrasing. I think it would be clearer to just say if it's his left or right arm. (page 4): -He nodded at the shed and L ducked, even though they couldn’t see her.—Added comma. -I was just here to water and feed the mother when… when I heard you coming.”—I could be wrong here, but I don't think that W needs to be capitalized. -J’s eyes climbed General C like a mountain.—I would say his eyes climbed 'the mountain-like General C.' It kinda reads awkwardly, otherwise. (page 5): -“No, sir.”—Shouldn't he be saying 'yes' to affirm her point? -"Before you answer, keep in mind that if you’re lying, I’ll have the good general here tear off your arm.”—But how can she tell that he's lying? (page 6): -she took a knee before J—I would say she took a knee 'beside' him. 'Before' implies a reverent action. -He clutched at his leg, which bent the wrong way, and looked up at her, red-faced.—Added comma and n-dash. -She held her off hand up above her head; the turquoise gemstones on her rings were very green in the morning light.—Added semi-colon. Also, again, please consider saying right or left instead of 'off.' -J eyelids drooped and his torso wavered.—Why just his torso? -“Shh,” General Y said. “I know.”—Added an 'h.' 'Shh' typically has at least two h's. -Every child in the Empire knew all 360.—Closed up space between '360' and the period. Also, if the invocations are all as long as the epigraph, I don't buy that any kid could memorize that many. I'm not sure I would even buy 100. Assuming they're all around the same length, that's around 14,000 words. That's almost half of The Emperor's Soul! (page 7): -“I’m glad, too. I hate having to kill kids first thing in the morning. I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet.”—You're trying way too hard to tell us this woman's bad. I would replace this dialogue with something more subtle. -She poked her head around the hedge wall and watched as Generals C and Y and Captain V disappeared through a set of tall doors at the back of the main keep.—I would replace the bolded part with 'the three officers' for brevity's sake. (page 8): -Theoretically, releasing a spell after or a day or a year shouldn’t take more energy, but she had heard horror stories about spectrals who died because of less.—This sentence confuses me, and that's mostly because of the phrasing. I don't know what time scale you're trying to establish here. -then crouched down, and with a practiced movement hooked a bucket on either end.—Added a comma -She grunted with effort and almost blacked out once she was in an upright position again.—Moved 'again' -Luckily, the doors were propped open. The East Tower housed political delegations who were in the city temporarily, but who were too important to stay at an inn.—Added commas (page 9): -She momentarily contemplated using the dumbwaiter for the water, but decided she trusted her legs more than her arms.—Moved 'momentarily.' In its original meaning, it looked like she was considering using it only for a moment. Added a comma -The woman had a white scar along the side of her face that splintered off into smaller scars that spider-webbed their way down her cheek.—Added an n-dash. -L had seen scars like that before--a demon scar.—How is it demonic? -A short sword hung at her belt with a dragon hilt with blue glowing eyes.—I need more detail here. Is it dragon-shaped? Made from dragon? Why are the eyes glowing? Are they actual eyes? Gemstones? Is it because of magic? -She had rehearsed this response in her head on the way up.—Does a response that simple need to be memorized? -“That explain why you’re sweating like a rift chaser?”—Deleted the s at the end of 'explains' (page 10): -M’s face broke into a grin and then she repeated a fact L had heard from her a dozen times:—Deleted 'no fewer than' (page 11): -The shadow lay on a four-post bed with red silk sheets.—Added an n-dash -“a messenger was up here earlier, maybe an hour ago. Wanted to make sure she--” Despite the bluecoat’s earlier proclamation, she never looked directly at the shadow. “--was ready for a formal visit—There is no reason for this dialogue to be broken up this way. (page 12): -L hoped with all hear heart that she wouldn’t have to kill her.—Replaced 'the woman' -Afterwards, she walked to the bed and took the shadow’s soft hand in hers.—Added on to first word -I know how much you like eating breakfast a bit earlier so you can watch the sun come up.”—Could you re-tell this information in another way? It comes across as expository. -all while explaining her run-in with I earlier.—Added an n-dash (page 13): “I know I’m not supposed to, but today is an important day. I need to rest... my eyes… Just for a minute? Just… for…”—This makes her look shockingly incompetent. She's going to risk her plan to take a nap? She just said it's an important day! Is there a better way to transition between scenes than this? (page 14): -L’s heart raced as her eyes fell on Prince G who was also fourteen years old—Deleted the n-dashes (page 16): -C opened her mouth, but closed it without saying anything else—Added a comma
  9. Yeah, I clearly see now I need to go back and fix the tattoos first; I really don't want my work to have any kind of negative racial undertones. I don't know where you got 'swarthy' though; I never used that word. The only word I've used to describe skin tones thus far was 'pale.' I always envisioned this story as being post-apocalyptic; they are ignorant because there's nobody left alive to teach them. C's Point is pretty much an island in an ocean of nothing, apart from the S, which they attack on the regular. Though I did a poor job of conveying that. Thank you for your critique! I appreciate it, because I really don't want to release crap into the world.
  10. Hi all, This is the prologue to my second novel (the title of which is tentative), which I finished a first draft of a few months ago. I plan on revising the characters and plot somewhat. I would describe this story as a YA sci-fi-fantasy western, and hopefully it will come across as less opaque than The Scarlet Saber. Yes, this is prologue 1; there are two prologues. But let me reassure you that they're not supposed to be vague and esoteric. They're each supposed to show inciting incidents in the main characters' lives before a one-year time-skip. With that said, I hope you like it. And if not, please say so.
  11. I have less than an elementary understanding of Scrivener's compiler function. That's definitely something I ought to pay more attention to. I can see that. It's something I tried to do in my second book, which is more grounded. Real-world slang for diarrhea. I didn't convey well enough that this was a half-hearted attempt at a joke on his part. This has been a re-occurring criticism, so I obviously need to amend it. I'd explain the joke, but then it wouldn't be funny. Hence, the joke sucks. Will amend. Yup, I'd agree there wholeheartedly. I'll take yours and everyone's criticisms into account—on the mechanics, pacing, characterization etc.—and use it to improve this chapter and the next. Though a lot this has me thinking I probably ought to re-edit the whole draft (mostly for mechanics) but also for story-related elements. My revisions to chapter 1 caused me to rewrite a lot of the plot in this chapter (95% of the third scene was written in the week before submission) and chapter 3 will have to be pretty much entirely rewritten, because the original has a fight scene that I don't buy anymore, and I'm positive the rest of you won't either. Therefore, I might take some more time to edit this and make it more interesting, and in the meantime submit some stuff from my second novel, which has a basis in real-world mythology and history that I think will be a bit more relatable—character and setting-wise. I might change my on that mind on that, but for now, thank you all for your critiques! I appreciate them, because I finally feel like I belong to a group that has insights on how to improve my work.
  12. Guten tag Kais, Sorry, kind of a light critique. I think this revision is most definitely an improvement. E doesn't seem like she has a hair-trigger temper anymore, and her interactions with A feel a lot more organic, including the retained "U of F. You" line. Some of the expository stuff, even though it's been cut down, still tempers the pacing. Though you've established that your prose is loose and your dialogue is a bit more stiff, I some of it goes beyond being stiff to sounding cheesy. Especially the romance-related stuff. I would at least reconsider some of the interactions between characters and try to revise the dialogue to make it seem more natural. Notes below: (page 2): “I hate time."—I'd leave that out. E sounds like a little kid. (page 4): Right now all E wanted was to get off the T funeral barge.—Ooh, I like that line. She should have been with her family There—You have a missing period there. (page 5): sex talk made people damnation uncomfortable.—What part of that last paragraph was sex talk? Yeah it started—Missing comma (page 7): made great concrete but was—Missing comma (page 11): “T didn’t give a damnation about any of you.” —I don't believe that this would kick off a fight, but I find it at least more plausible than the 'good will' line from the last submission. With her head still spinning she shot up—Missing comma “You have no right to anything of hers, not even her memory.”—I'd leave out the memory part. I can't imagine a real human being saying something like that. (page 12): Don’t follow. Don’t what-if. I just want to live like this, in you, forever.—I don't buy this line. It feels evocative of Twilight to me. I would consider replacing this with something that sounds more real-worldly, something actual couples might say to each other. (page 15): probably very wisely—The very is unnecessary.
  13. I would also like a slot, but if there's someone who hasn't gotten to submit for a while, I'm cool with waiting a week.
  14. Hi Hawkedup, I definitely liked this more than the previous submission; it's a more clear, concise and overall enjoyable entry into your story. Z serves as a better gateway character, with a simple motivations (she wants to see the meeting) to help ease us into the story. I have never read a Latinx fantasy, so I'm definitely intrigued on how you continue telling the story and building the world from this particular thread. Mechanics-wise, I noticed you have a problem with run-on sentences—you have a lot that are in desperate needs of commas—and you tend to have single-line paragraphs that are not dramatic enough to warrant being such. I'd pay close attention to both from here on out. Notes below: (page 2): -“You know how picky your family is about their posole. If you mess up the red chile, you’ll never hear the end of it.”—But aren't they his family too, if he's her father? Confusing. -She loved the way it warmed her on a cold night—Added an a. -There were always leftovers—Corrected was to were. The day started out great.—I don't think you need to give us an indicator of impending doom. It suggests an omniscient narrator and saps some tension out of the story. (page 3): -providing enough light to see by—Corrected provided to providing. -A fire burned in the iron stove for warmth—This is what I mean regarding single-sentence paragraphs. This is not important enough on its own. “E,” Señora E said. “I’m glad you’re home.”—I'd change Señora E to 'the woman' to give P saying her actual name a bit more punch. Though I suppose if Z already knows her name, that wouldn't make much sense. Up to you! “Señora E,” P said, stepping to the side and gesturing for the woman to enter—I would change 'the woman' to 'her.' (page 4): “Also, I’ve asked you to call me A, at least when we’re not at the farm."—Can you reword this? It's clunky exposition. Señora E was one of the few people in the pueblo who was still outwardly kind to P and Z, which was strange since her kid was an cremhole.—I don't see how the kid being an cremhole has anything to do with her own treatment of them. (page 5): and even though most of the the pueblo—Extra 'the' (page 6): I’ll find you after the council meeting is over, tonight, and we’ll spend all day together tomorrow if you want to. I promise.”—If he survives the next couple chapters, I will be genuinely shocked. (page 7): “Oh, great, it’s the orphan girl.—Cheesy line. And as already pointed out, the insult isn't very good, either. Is there another way you can portray animosity between these two? (page 8): The friends Z had turned on her—I'd change to 'Z's friends turned on her' (page 9): “Oh my broken heart,” Z said. “It’s a deal.” Z checked the knot.—This should be one paragraph. (page 10): The rope on this side went taught—'Taut' (page 12): had walking staffs or cains—'canes'