JWerner

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  1. Quick run down: Same story as last week, but with feedback edits. Most are focused around the ending. For those who haven't read it yet, be forewarned: the story contains a suicide. Right, if you haven't read it yet, I hope you enjoy it. If you have, I hope you find it improved.
  2. I would also like to submit my story's additions/revisions for Sept. 21, pleas.e
  3. Note: Every time you have a paragraph break, make sure the first paragraph after that is aligned with the left margin, not indented. Also, in instances where dialogue is cut off by an n-dash, I'd replace those with m-dashes. Also, Jaisom's dialogue could use more contractions. If you're trying to make him sound stiff and formal, then I'd remove them altogether. The mix is somewhat distracting, and makes his dialogue seem unnatural. I really liked the sensory details of your world. It feels quite lived-in. Everyone else's advice on your portrayal of politics is something I think you really ought to listen to and consider. Notes below, corrections in bold: Pg. 1: Rain poured down from a sky painted in a million shades of grey.—How many E.L. James sequels is that? People placed odd little creations...cascade of sounds.—Loved this detail. Pg. 2: “And she has more hair on her head than a horse,” P berated for incompetence, stripped of her position and demoted. Pg. 4: Small glass beads were sewn here and there to give a sensation of water droplets.—I'd replace 'sensation' with 'illusion.' Had her nerves not been getting the best of her—I'd reword this as 'If it weren't for her nerves' ...she would have definitely found.... Pg. 6: I can quiet them, but I would really not like to.—I'd italicize 'really', because this bit of dialogue feels stiffly worded. I gratefully accepted it and—Removed comma. Pg. 7: ...sparkling with prosperous olive trees of jade and polished wood...—Huh? Are they fake olive trees? Nearly-translucent—Note: It's grammatically incorrect to add a dash after a word ending with 'ly' Pg. 8: He was dressed in flowing midnight blue silk, imported from half a... Instead, he turned his golden eyes to the stage, to see the wonders of music, dance, and poetry.—Since this is the BK's POV, I would not mention his eye-color. It feels weird that a character would mention their own physical traits. Also, I haven't read much else of this story, but be careful about gold/yellow eyes. Take it from someone who's been guilty of this: if your character isn't Scut Farkus-levels of evil, it's a Mary Sue flag. Pg. 9: ...but instead her jaw was set like someone who knew what they had to do and wanted to do it perfectly.—Deleted comma. Pg. 11: The success of the S of R burned like a lantern inside her.—I'd replace with 'torch.' A lantern isn't exactly supposed to burn that brightly. Pg. 12: "Sounds perfect. Should I bring anything?" I thought. “A cask of wine?” “I can do that.”—I like this dialogue. Feels natural. Pg. 14: ...and the larger the gathering, the more the fun to be had... Pg. 17: ...how playing a twelve-note ocarina was similar to the pendant ocarina. ...from T by the fifty-mile wide... Pg. 19: J said, equally strongly—Replace one of the last two words, so that the sentence isn't ending with two words that end in 'ly.' Pg. 21: …” he said, “but I know..." But he takes creatures trying to overthrow him with deadly seriousness.—Removed 'like' Pg. 22: S doesn’t exactly stay calm when it comes to the matters of this country!—I'd reword this dialogue to make it sound a little more natural. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have taken the bait. I'm sorry I didn't listen."—I don't think he should apologize that quickly. It doesn't feel earned. “They’re risk-takers.
  4. First off, I'd cut down on the use of the word 'slime.' It shows up over 20 times in this chapter. I'm not sure it's wholly necessary to keep reminding the reader of it. The fragmented dialogue is enough to remind us of its presence and its effect on M. Also, I think the dialogue could use another pass. Reading how these characters talk, very little of it seems to me like how actual people would talk. It's somewhat stilted, and could use some more flavor and personality. I didn't see much difference, if any, in the way that A and T talked. I recommend looking to the real people in your life, listening to how they speak, and seeing if you can apply their patterns and vernacular to your characters. To answer your questions, yes, it's obvious that M's was affected by her fight. But I don't know why she's gravitating towards A and T. Neither of them seem all that particularly interesting. I'm not sensing any chemistry. At least Mi seems to have an interesting past. (Though bear in mind, this is only the second chapter of this story that I've read, so take that thought with a grain of salt.) Notes below. Corrections in spelling and grammar are bolded. Pg. 2: "The trail tilted until water..." Pg. 3: “You’re hurt. What happened?” She reached for his pocket. Didn’t move to touch her shirt.—I'd personally leave out 'move to' Pg. 4 “M, you hate parties. That's why you didn't come to begin with."—I'd add that there's some kind of note of disbelief in his voice. Otherwise, dialogue's expository nature is noticeable. Pg. 5: "Not really, but I'm safe. I think."—There are subtle changes in M's dialogue here and there where she becomes more articulate. Why? I'd note this at least once. Might be interesting. "What did you say?" Mi gasped, face turning pale, white-knuckled grip on M's phone.—I think this reaction needs to be toned down. It's a lot of tropes in sequence that comes across as overdramatic. Pg. 6: "Dark energy your scanner picked up."—Your cell phone bill, the Jedi Council will cover. Mrm? No critique, just wanted to make a Yoda joke. "I walked to my car and somehow made it here without getting pulled over for speeding and running red lights."—Why is it important that he walked to his car? Pg. 8: "People hurt me because of it. Broke me."—This is more telling than it is showing. Perhaps consider putting more emphasis into his body language? Pg. 10: "...her body temperature ran a few degrees hotter."—If she doesn't want him to know that, why hasn't she pulled her hand away by now? Pg. 11: "She tightened her sweater..."—What does that mean? How do you tighten a sweater? Maybe it wanted her to kill herself from trying to burn all its slime from her head. M glanced up, letting herself get lost in the depths of T' blue eyes.—I would heavily consider replacing or rewriting this. It comes across as cheesy instead of romantic. Pg. 13: "...they meant rocket-powered grenade launcher." Pg. 14: "M, I'm so sorry."—Considering what M just told her, this seems like a muted reaction. In this instance, you can totally afford to go big with your character's emotion. "I don't like cops..."—This comes across as expository. I think something like, "I'm not calling any f'ing cops" would get the idea across without having to explicitly tell. "They probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway, and arrest some innocent person."—Dialogue here feels somewhat mechanical. "Arrest somebody innocent" sounds more natural, in my mind. Pg. 15: “But it might be good to make an appointment with one of the school therapists soon. Your body might be okay, but things like that are traumatic."—Dialogue seems mechanical here. T’s lips were pressed together and her eyes narrowed. “Something like this happened to you?” T nodded.—Looks like A got replaced by T by accident here. Pg. 16: "Maybe there is more to reality than science can explain."—This comes across as mechanical. “After,” M muttered.—Unnecessary paragraph break after this line. Pg. 17: She synched her breathing with A’s. Let the beating and swooshing fill her head and soothe her. T held the phone to one ear and covered the other. ...it was like cotton laced with Novocain was stretched through her brain... Pg. 18: "If you take advantage of her, I will find out and you will find out how mean my uppercut is. Then I'll report you."—If she's honestly concerned he'll do that, then why is she letting M leave with him? "...If you need a reminder of that, we can spar after breakfast.”
  5. Glad you all liked it! 1) That's fair. 2) Also fair. (But...but how else will I show off my middling knowledge of the American Civil War?!) I'll consider condensing it. They weren't actually knives, I failed to make clear that it was the monster's fingers were coming through the gate to try and get S. The ghosts possessed O and killed the creature. I'm going to be annoying and claim that that was intentional. But I'll definitely give the hook another look-over when I go back to the story. Well, OBVIOUSLY—I'm going to need to go back and fix the ending up a tad so it's not confusing. Thanks for the feedback everyone, I will take it all into consideration and see if I can maybe make some additions/edits for next week. Especially the ending, since that appears to be the largest point of criticism thus far. Yes, I'd like to submit this to a magazine. I was planning on submitting to Dream Foundry's contest, but their website is currently kaput, so who knows what's going on there.
  6. Here the thread. Warning in case you didn't see it in my follow-up email: this story contains a suicide. Mostly looking for thoughts on story's language and atmosphere. The lack of characterization and world-building was intentional.
  7. Hello, may I please have a Monday spot?
  8. I agree that the interview could be cut down. I also think that this chapter has too much expository dialogue; people are being told things they already know for our sake. While I can see the purpose behind it, it all comes across as more of an info-dump instead of actual insight into I's life. See if you can cut down on that and introduce information a bit more organically, as opposed to characters telling each other things we are supposed to learn about. Page numbers correspond to how I read them in Google Docs. For future reference, I can also send you individual JPEGs marked up with digital pen, if you prefer. Pg. 1: I stared into the bathhouse’s bronze mirror, trying to fluff her hair from its limp strands. Biting her lip, I tried to part it to the side, before giving up and letting her hair part right down the center of her head.—You already included her name in the first sentence of the paragraph, so I don't think it's necessary to repeat in these subsequent sentences. At twenty years of age, Ireen had only finished her apprenticeship five years ago. In those five years, there had been one year at C's third...—I'd replace the bolded section with 'she'd spent one year at...' Pg. 2: The local restaurants weren’t hiring, as they were barely afloat as it was.—Consider replacing the bolded part with a semicolon. C was unforgivably tactless—Why is being tactless unforgivable? Pg. 4: "The smile on my face was as bright as the sun, according to my Pa."—Reads kinda stiff. Might I suggest "My Pa said my smile blinded him," or something in that vein? It was also around this point that I started feeling that the exposition was bogging the pace down. Pg. 5: “Three. L, who’s ten; N, who’s sixteen; and S, who’s twenty-four.”—I don't think anyone in a job interview would start introducing their siblings to their potential employer. “The war must have been hard then.”—This feels like a detached sentiment, and a bit of a no-brainer. War is usually hell for anyone involved. I followed suit and was led to the shop door. Pg. 7: It was hard to make the case with G towering at over six foot tall, not including the curving horns. “Of course not.” Pg. 8: “You know the deity doesn’t affect fate.” I know he's referring to R, but it feels very detached in how he says it. Can he refer to R directly? I humphed, knowing he was right, but she not in the mood to acknowledge it.—Original sentence made it seem like G was right and not in the mood to acknowledge it. G paused from analyzing the different loaves, stroking his hairy jaw in thought. Everything she had ever thought was solid stone.... "I do not know if I want to live under the rule of a warmonger." "There has been a coup and two wars in the last nine years..." More exposition. "..had weak monarchs more interested in their full stomachs and the gold in their purses."—I feel like G ought to have a bit more emotion in how he says it, because it doesn't sound like he holds them in high regard. Something like calling them gluttons, weak, or another insult. Pg. 9: G had noticed her nose wrinkles and wincing sips, and had laughed.—I'd change bolded part to 'wrinkled nose'. Also, you can delete the bolded 'had.' You could also probably delete most instances of 'had' after using it once to denote something happened in the past. "You told me that the best wine is the not most expensive or the rarest."—Since this is in response to a question, I think you can delete the bolded part. “Would there be a goblet of wine included?”—This doesn't sound natural to me. "Will there be wine?" would be a lot more succinct. It turned out that being unemployed with little savings, unmarried, living in one’s parents’ home... Pg. 10: In fact, one of the bankers had eaten at C's, and was regretful that it had burnt down. He had liked their stuffed mussels, he said.—Deleted the other two instances of 'has'. Both of them had been pushing her to tell C the truth, and no doubt they would deliver the same speech again tonight.—Added a more active-sounding phrase. S was sitting on one of the kitchen benches, wringing his hands, when she entered.—I'd add the bolded phrase to the beginning of the sentence. “I, I don’t know what is going on."—Using a contraction then using two words that could be made into a contraction feels kinda off to me. I suggest going all in on the contractions, or abstaining for consistency's sake. “What!? Me!?” S nodded. I dropped her bag, mouth open in horror. “Why!?”—I'd hold back on the !? 'Mouth open in horror' is sufficient in letting us know she's freaked out. “Sparks, I don’t know!”—Is that a curse word? I'd delete it here. People generally don't speak that way. He looked equally pale.—Compared to who? I? How does I know how pale she looks? “Do you think I’m in trouble?”—Their prior dialogue seemed to indicate so. Pg. 11: Yanking out claws, a hundred lashes of the whip—That would probably kill you, so if that's what you were going for, I'd replace it with 'death by the whip.' You know us, if you were in trouble, we’d save you.—After 'us', I'd either replace the comma with a semicolon or a period. There was a wobbly “N would make the guards fall asleep with his long, poetic descriptions of the girls he likes.” “Be kind to your brother.”—I don't see how the previous sentence is unkind. I mimed talking with her hand. S pretended to swing a hammer with one hand. Pg. 12: The words tasted hollow in her mouth.—What does hollow taste like? "I love your mother, but she is not a professional cook."—Pretty sure I would already be aware of this.
  9. Well, this was a good kick in the teeth if ever there was one. I will mea culpa on the lack of knowledge. The only birth I have ever experienced was my own, and I confess that my recollection of it is more than a bit hazy. Also, I don't know a whole lot about infants. Aaaand I did no research, so there's that. Bad! Bad Jordan! Overall, this is all fair criticism. If I do revise, it's gonna be much later. I have other stories I need to slack off on. Couple replies: Probably. I added that after I got lectured by a judge about stories having a beginning, middle and end. It originally just ended on the nose comment from L's end. I thought this would add some finality. Well, yes. It's there to get L back to fighting shape and that's about it. Also, just to clarify something: "I'll give you all of me come sunset". Obviously, I failed to convey this, but the sunset in question is figurative, not literal. The idea was that the moss would consume her whenever she died, and it just happened to be a couple minutes later. Thank you. There's no novel. This is it. (For now.) Thank you all for the teeth-kicking! It's always appreciated.
  10. Right-o. First things first, I'd recommend doing a Google search or two on hyphen usage, because it looked to me like you were using them when you shouldn't and not using any when you should. Secondly, my pages probably won't line up with yours in Word; my Office Suite subscription ran out, so I wrote my notes in Google docs. Q & A: Are there feelings? Does M seem to connect with both potential love interests on some level? Somewhat? M knows their names, that much is clear. I'm not sensing a whole lot of emotional connection, and it's hard to tell what's supposed to be genuine if they're both drunk (assuming I'm right on who the romantic options are supposed to be). Where does my logic cease to make sense? I feel like the threesome scene stretches believability a bit. I have a feeling that anyone interrupted during sex by a roommate who tells them 'pretend I'm not here' would be ticked off at the very least (volcanic at the most). I don't buy that everyone texts the exact same way. Some variety in how your characters text would add some good flavor; add some abbreviations, acronyms, emojis. You asked not for much in the way of grammar corrections, so I skipped that. (Though if you're fine with it, in the future I can send the file back to you with proofing marks. Same goes for anyone else if they're cool with that. I have the equipment.) My last general note is that your dialogue is somewhat patchy; certain conversations feel fairly natural, others are mechanical ("My friend is A. We met in calculus."). I'd just recommend reading your dialogue back to yourself, or speak it aloud, to gauge whether or not you think it might actually come out of a person's mouth. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, try adding a drunken slur when your sloshed characters start talking. Notes are a little light, I'm afraid. I hope they're helpful regardless. Pg. 1: I would kill for a flashback or a fleshing-out of this Enterprise v. Millenium Falcon argument, as there are multiple factors you can go into: which Enterprise is being discussed, the fact that you can transverse the Star Wars galaxy at the drop of the hat, but the Milky Way takes 75+ years without wormholes, et cetera. Pg. 3: "I could ask you the same thing.”—Cliché line. Might wanna consider changing it to something else. Why is a specific number the best kind of number? "It was a lie but it was packed with truth."—I'd changed to edged. I've never heard a lie packed with truth; if there's so much truth within the lie that it can be packed, isn't more truth than lie? Yes, I'm absolutely being pedantic. “I guess I can stay a little."—Well, she was convinced pretty quickly. I feel like she ought to at least think it over for a second or two. Adding "She paused" would go a long way. Pg. 4: He frowned, and inhaled slowly. “Because I know what can be done with that type of data.”—That's a pretty common reason, and I don't think it needs that dramatic of a pause. "I'm bi...what happened to A?" I like this whole interaction. Feels natural. Pg. 6: Her heart raced, and her phone buzzed again and again and again.—I wasn't sure if she was being called or texted, because phones tend to have different rhythms of buzzing to indicate different functions. I think right off the bat, you should just say she's being texted. M stepped away with the sinking feeling she was running from one bad idea right into another.—I think 'situation' would be more fitting than 'idea.' It was a storm of injuries. The bruises were dark thunder clouds and scraped red lightning and wind.—This metaphor feels overwrought to me. I can almost see it, but I have no idea what wind is supposed to look like as an injury. I think you can just leave it as 'a storm of injuries.' Pg. 7: ...walked up to the building both their dorms were in.—Does it have a name? You could also just call it 'their dorm building.' He was the best at toasting marshmallows while telling stories.—The best compared to whom? How many marshmallow-toasting storytellers does she know? T closed the door, which made it feel small.—I'd replace 'it' with 'the bathroom'. Otherwise, it looks like M thinks the door's size depends on whether or not it's opened or close. (Insert Schrodinger's joke here.) Pg. 10: M closed her eyes calling up memories of the attic and typed with her eyes closed—You can delete the reminder that her eyes are closed. Pg. 11: ...that door made M’s cheeks flush before fru—Your sentence cut off here. Pg. 12: She pulled a shift of her draw—She whudda wha? Pg. 14: They’d taken solid, cylindrical pieces of wood—As opposed to watery wood? Again, I'm probably being pedantic, but I don't think you need to tell us wood is solid.
  11. My email appears to have stopped receiving stories from this group after the end of December. I'm guessing that's because I haven't participated here in a while; I'm worried I won't receive the batch of stories for this week. Is there something I need to do on my end to make sure I receive the submissions?
  12. I think I would like a spot for this upcoming Monday, please.
  13. I'm sorry! I didn't mean to upset you. And please don't think by making errors, that makes you unworthy of being a writer; if that held true, nobody would write in the first place.
  14. I'm there with everyone else in saying that the world doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but @industrialistDragon has pretty much covered every possible square inch of that issue, to the point that I have nothing more substantial to add. Your prose is good, and it's nice seeing some straightforward fantasy (though I hope you'll avoid the pacing problems that plague WoT, if it's a main influence). I'm in agreement that you need to go back through this and make some edits for the sake of your world-building to clear up inconsistencies on why a matriarchy has the societal problems it does. There's a lot of potential here, but it needs some tweaking. Notes below. Notes without annotations are just corrections: (pg. 1) -her shoulder clanking as its objects jostled within.—I'd replace objects with 'contents' -“It’s my armor, after all.”—Italicized 'my' for emphasis (pg. 2) -“Come on, then. The blacksmith is only the first of our stops.”—If this is in answer to A's question, why doesn't L just say 'The blacksmith'? -Not all parts of the body looked or smelled nice (pg. 3) -the glowposts were built from a shimmering white marble that sparkled during the day and shone with brilliant golden light at night.—Ooh, I like this image. -“It is. It’s right over there,” she said as she pulled her attention away from the glowpost—Bold text added for clarification (pg. 4) -A blinked, her lips parting in a half-smile, half-I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that look of horror.—This line is indented at 'half' in the doc. Not sure if that's just a problem on my end. (pg. 8) -It was an absurd argument to be having, anyway, and one she’d get nowhere by having, since she seemed to be the only one in the Queendom who thought so.—Repetition of 'having' (pg. 9) -Children’s skirts were never weighted, and to help keep them from stepping on them only came down to their knees.—I would change this to a simpler "Children's skirts were knee-length and never weighted, to keep them from tripping." (pg. 13) -You don’t become a knight by lollygagging (pg. 14) -Fort A—I would not use this name for the fort; as far as fantasy names go, it's pretty common. -gratuitous number of arrow loops throughout the walls of the lower levels (pg. 15) -with a sobbing story—I'd change sobbing story to just 'sob story' (pg. 16) -“Mommy’s helping wif the Queen,” A said with a smile. “She told me to wait faw you and bwing you to the capin.”—This kid sounds like he's three, at most. Not four or five. -S, one of the other boys who was his friend -She loved children.—If she loves children, why did she sigh when A showed up? Sighing makes it sound like she finds him annoying. (pg. 17) -A led them through the keep -Though all three women were different ages and statures, and all three wore different outfits, all three wore matching expressions of dour consternation. At their entrance, all three women’s heads snapped up.—Repetition of 'all three.' Three times in one sentence is two too many. - L said carefully stepping further into the room—Did she say something carefully or did she carefully step? Add a comma to clarify. (pg. 18) -The prince is very knowledgeable (pg. 19) -The M nodded, accepting L’s apology—Well, that was easy.