julienreel

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About julienreel

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  1. I liked this submission, and would definitely read on, regardless of what the genre is. 1. Definitely engaged, good tension and mystery. 2. Well, I was confused about what B is and hoping that it would be revealed by the end of the chapter. 3. I don't think the prologue is necessary, but I liked it. I think that if what you're doing is setting up the main antagonist and source of conflict, I think you could rework it. I kept thinking about Game of Thrones, how the prologue introduced the White Walkers and was thrilling, but then jumped back to the main story. I think if your aim is something along those lines, then we should clearly see that the POV is an antagonist, not only a jerk. In this current prologue, it makes me think I'm going to be reading an action thriller where the line between good and bad is hazy and that the POV will be the MC. 4. Dunno what you're talking about. 5. Yeah I'd read on, I enjoyed the style, what with the suspense, tension, mystery, etc. Overall, I'm not sure what to add; I liked it, but I would feel tricked if the story jumped to a plain romance. I'm sure there would be elements of action, but maybe not enough for what it feels like this prologue is setting up? But I dunno, I'd have to see the next chapter to make that call.
  2. Can I have a spot for next Monday please?
  3. Y'know, I definitely agree with what a lot of people are saying. Overall, I was curious enough about this world to want to continue reading. I think there are some very cool concepts here, solar-barge-tech-ladies, elemental powers, post-apocalyptic world. Possibly a water-world-esque vibe going on here? So, on that side of things, I'm invested, but as for the plot and characters, I'm leaning towards what other people are saying. There's a lot of little info-dumps that I don't particularly mind but can distract from the pacing of the plot I think. Like, we know that S doesn't want to become an ambassador and get wrapped up in that world, because you told us, but I want to see S show that. Maybe an interaction with the mom or even an elemental? As for what convinces S to actually join the NUNEs, I felt it was a bit limp. I guess it's like what Kais said, we don't get a sense of what S cares about so it's difficult to believe in their choices. As I read: pg 1: Like the intro; mysterious and compelling. The invitation is interesting, but I fail to see why S would represent their mother or how S really feels about it, besides mild irritation. pg 2: I'm torn about the info-dumping, it makes me curious, but it feels forced and slows down the plot and characterization. Also would've liked to see E play a bigger role in this. pg 3 - 4: I enjoy reading from the perspective of a non-binary person, but I feel the use of their can be confusing at times. I thought E was S's brother on this page when you wrote, 'like their mother would.' Don't really get a sense of S or E's concern about Amba-F, or that there should be any concern. Like the idea of the solar women living on barges. Still, too much telling and not enough showing for me to get really drawn into the flow of the story. pg 5 - 6: stop doubting. Stop avoiding us. Your survival depends on it. I'm listening. I enjoy the description of the boating, but I think the name of the boat, the explanation of it being an heirloom, etc. was unnecessary. I like that we get to see the use of the magic. pg 7: elementals be scary. pg 8: Why does Amba-F just seem like a crotchety old dumby? I feel a bit bamboozled that he wasn't even in trouble. pg 9 - 11: So the threat is that war could break out between scientists and mages and then the M would kill everyone. I don't get why the M would kill people over killing each other. Pollution, sure, defacement of natural resources, absolutely, but why killing each other? I think this is the turning point of the story, the impetus for S to accept the Hero's journey, but I think what's lacking is the sense of urgency or conviction. Amba-F seems like a silly old man, but I don't feel threatened by him. S has good values, but I don't feel reassured by them. pg 12: I feel like that was an abrupt end to the chapter. Okay, so S decides to go. Why is the mom retiring? Why should we cheer for S? Why would anyone listen to dumb, old Amba-F? I think there could be a better inciting incident to lead S to the NUNEs. All in all, I like the concepts, I dig your descriptions (most of the time,) and I'm looking forward to seeing where this story goes. But I also feel like info-dumps are bogging down your story, as well as lack of conviction/emotion in your characters, and the sense that the stakes aren't really that high. You can tell us they're high, but I won't believe you unless I see it. Cheers, Shatteredsmooth, looking forward to more of this story My critique pointed out what I saw were flaws, but on my first read, I could mostly look past the typos and clunky bits, and was engaged enough to want to keep reading.
  4. Thanks Karamel, your comments/notes about POV, wordiness, and pacing are very helpful! I think I'm guilty of rushing the story at times when it's not necessary and forgetting the importance of suspense. I have an idea of making the count more reasonable and charming in the revision, so I'm happy to see that sentiment mirrored in your review. I'm taking everything everyone's said into account, and I'm excited to overhaul this chapter! thanks a bunch for your input
  5. Thanks Ace of Hearts for commenting Yes, definitely I need to spend more time on the characters, and show what's happening through them rather than tell. It's great to see my story from other perspectives to note what needs addressing. I did get carried away with the descriptions and I didn't even realize! So that will be trimmed up. I've got some ideas about making the whole dinner invitation and scenario more realistic and to better show who A is and his motivations. The whole fat evil person trope is not something I did for the sake of having that trope, I can see that it doesn't land well so I'll change that for sure. Really, all I was thinking was what sort of body type could a giant demon hide within, and that's what I landed on. But I'm sure there's some subconscious cliche action going on there. I appreciate these things being pointed out, so thank you. Definitely agree that A should come off more worldly and understanding of adult matters than he does, which gives me some ideas to work with. Funny you say that about the eating human flesh thing, that was my intention in the beginning, but I was too lazy to see how that could fit into the story so I nixed it haha. I'll have to create a better reason for the dinner. As far as the family's concerned, he's inviting them to dote on their excellent wine and perhaps propose a business venture. In reality, he just wants the daughter to send to his master. And speaking of which, spoiler alert, in actuality the reason they're collecting the girls is not for anything explicitly disgusting, they're searching for potential priestesses according to their prophecies. And I did a pretty myself a disservice by making the C overly evil, because I want the whole 'good guy, bad guy' trope be much more gray where the readers lean towards the 'bad guys' just being bad, but later in the novel see that they're not evil, maybe lacking empathy, but they have their own idea of what's right that they're striving for. The sister going missing won't be a damsel in distress, much the opposite in fact, though A thinks that's the case. And the whole staying the night thing, I'm going to change that somewhat, thanks to comments from other readers. These are all great points that I'll be able to clear up in a revision. The prison is over the top, I would say it's even unnecessary. I think doing something more like in Bram Stoker's Dracula would be better, in which the Vampire basically tells the MC that it's too dangerous to leave his home due to wolves and the such, but gives him the choice to do as he pleases, and then the imprisonment escalates from there. It's not actually imprisonment in that story, but the looming threat surrounding him is enough to create a sense of imprisonment. In the revision, I'm going to nix the importance of A to the count, in fact, I should like it if A is almost irrelevant to the count. I'll do away with that whole feeding on despair element as well, I'm sure I can create something much more interesting. Also introducing G earlier is something I've seen recommended a few times, and I think it's a great idea. And you're right, probably commoners would be more inclined to believe the count is a demon rather than educated types. Hey, thanks so much for taking time out to read my story and comment on it, it's been very helpful.
  6. Thanks so much, Mandamon. I will definitely put more consideration into my tagging for the next entry, I was much too blase about it. It's always good to have the problems reiterated from different angles,so thank you for taking the time to jot down your thoughts! In the revision, I will change things up to lend more credibility to the choices of the characters. I don't want a black and white bad guy, so that's going to change. As well, M will play a big role in this story, so I'll put more effort into characterizing her early on. Thanks for the advice on comparing the characters reactions in other similar stories, I think that's a great idea.
  7. Thanks, C_Vallion! Yeah, I did mention that it goes in more of a YA direction, but that's not my ultimate intention lol, which is why I wrote this part of the story. In the first draft, there's really no gothic vibe to speak of, or any sense of horror, but because I know further down in the story i want it to become more like that, I thought I'd set that expectation for the reader immediately. I know I'll have to do a major overhaul of tone for this story, but I'm still uncertain of which direction to go in: more gothic, or less gothic. Your comments about the wordiness, characterization, pacing, and all that is much appreciated. I'm definitely taking in everyone's feedback and will put it to good use. Thanks again!
  8. Definitely agree with all this, thank you. I've been given a tonne of inspiration for my next revision thanks to all the helpful comments made by this community. Your idea of building up the middle more is especially appreciated, and of course, building up the other characters more. The trope about the count being fat and evil wasn't entirely intentional, I made him fat so that it would make more sense that a massive demon could be hiding within the skin, but I'm sure I could do this some other way without getting too cliche. I know now, from you and others, that these are all key aspects that need addressing. More interaction from the daughter, some more unique motive from the C, less on the nose about the whole situation. I was actually thinking A being a vegetarian would fit into why he was spared, but I sort of brushed over it without any thought, so I'll flesh that out in the revision. I'll cut out the last POV, clearly it's irrelevant, I guess I was just hanging a lantern on the fact that no authorities were actually alerted of A and G's escape. Yeah, and trimming the heavy use of adjectives. Yes, I like the gothic vibe, I'm in part inspired by Book of the New Sun and also the manga, Berserk; both have a clear gothic/fantasy tone. See, when I say the rest of the story is more YA, it's just an unfortunate situation, I have no intention of making the story YA, I want it to be more adult fantasy/gothic. But my first draft was very much YA style, and I kept to a majority of that story line, which I think you'll see doesn't fit very well, but with everyone's help, I'm sure I'll be able to smooth it over. I'm caught in this training montage style arc where A goes to a magic school to realize his true powers, but the main plot (his sister's been kidnapped,) sort of gets brushed over until the very end. I could see that being annoying for the readers, as a side plot takes over from the original, main plot that the readers would expect pursued. We'll see how I can consolidate that. I'm sure I could have the magic school and still fit it into the gothic vibes by adding and subtracting certain things, but wow, haha I get to realize how far this story needs to go before it's at all good. Thank you so much for your input.
  9. Yeah, this version is much better than the previous versions IMO. It still took a bit to get to an engaging point, but near the end, I was definitely intrigued and invested in what happens next. I think that if we had a better understanding of what consequences there were for using spells, esp for Is, then I would be more invested in the whole situation. Like, yes, most spells are outlawed, only basic spells are allowed, clearly Is- is fascinated in magic and will probably take things too far, but what would the consequence be for her practicing the fire spell? Is there one? Because if there isn't, then why is she being so secretive about it? Perhaps there is a stigma or sense of prejudice towards those who wantonly practice magic, even legal magic? You do say that it garners suspicion, but to me, that's just not enough consequence to be worried for Is or invested in her choices. Just an idea, but what about changing the order of events here? Like, Is practicing magic could happen first, and then when she goes to put the lightbulb or whatever thing back in the sconce she can have her fall and her father can come in. But anywho, I liked this version, there were moments of confusion with the names, but I was intrigued enough by the politics and magic to want to continue reading. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
  10. Haha thank you for your feedback, it's great to have these flaws pointed out. Unfortunately, I'm not trying to write a silly trope book lol, nor is it specifically a gothic horror. I wanted to illustrate the darkness of the story; in my first draft I didn't have any gothic elements, but I'm wanting my story to have more adult themes, so I thought I'd start it off with more horror so that readers know what this story will contain. The rest of the story is more like an innocent YA fantasy book. So there's a clash I'm looking forward to having torn to pieces. Probably doesn't help that a lot of my inspiration comes from comic book-type stories. Great stuff! Absolutely having more depth M at least and giving the mom a name shall be done. Sorry, there are no vampires lol. Great advice on avoiding the dumps and doing it through the character interactions. I suppose my first job for this chapter is to make it less tropey and more reasonable. Hahaha, yeah pretty cartoonish. I'm thinking now about how I can make this less cartoonish. I think I was reading Dracula when i wrote this, maybe I should draw more inspiration from that. Because that getaway at the beginning was great. Hmm, lots of work to be done. But yeah, I should make it more clear that the mom is present there, I thought I had her say something near the beginning, but probably didn't have enough substance to be remembered. Wait, I know what happened. I only referred to her as the Mrs. L, which could have been confused as the sister. Truuuue. I appreciate this, I could do a better job of introducing the tutor as missing earlier in the chapter, which would add to suspense too I think. Yeah, a lot of the characters talk like cartoons you'll see and have seen I'm sure lol. Making the subtle tweaks to dialogue was going to be a later task in my editing process, but it is duly noted as a glaring weakness. I did not have a tag, I wasn't sure where the implied rape fit in, but you're right, it's unnecessary. I'll add an S tag and remove it from the next edit. In my mind, the reason the tutor waited two weeks to break out was that he had to carefully time when he would chip away at the wall to make his notches and eventually climb out. He had little strength and sustenance too, which I could demonstrate better. Yeah, I think that adding a scene where A tries to go back for his family but Mr. G stops him would make sense then them just leaving. Like, why would A believe Mr. G that his parents are dead? (spoiler, they are.) Phew, thanks so much for your feedback Kais, it's given me a lot to think about.
  11. Thank you for your feedback! I definitely agree that M needs more character development, and as Kais said, I should explain more of what's going on through character dialogue rather than telling. Tbh, it's sort of that but also not. Honestly, my grandiose plan probably fails the readers' expectations. This story is meant to be something of an epic fantasy spanning 3-5 books and basically, the rescue mission gets skirted around and delayed because of the circumstances A finds himself in. Also, in future drafts, I plan on making POV chapters from M's perspective to help develop the plot and motives of the characters. Absolutely agree. I will definitely beef up that whole event to make it more realistic and understandable. Haha yeah, I've never heard of the sexy lamp test, but this is terribly accurate. I guess what my plan was with writing this draft was to get the plot down and then go back and flesh out the characters. I know that it's not good practice to have the plot dictate the characters, which is why I started with generic, vague motivations for the characters that I can beef up later. Really grateful for your feedback, cheers! I think this story will definitely disappoint you lol, but I think with your's and others' help, I can shape this clump of dirt into something worth looking at.
  12. I am also very late to this party, but wanting to tag along for the entire ride. I enjoyed this chapter, the writing was engaging and interesting, not too flabby or confusing. I like how you paint a picture of the setting and characters with the minimal expo required. One thing that confused me is why Y would go along with S and her desire to go and do who knows what with his ship. pg 1: "...instead the data inserted themselves into the transmission feed, were recorded, and promptly buried under..." this sentence confuses me a bit. Is the data an organization? Is the data sentient somehow? Maybe it's because I'm new to this world. I don't have much criticism to make, it's snappy and compelling, and I understand S's motives--clearly, she's trying to understand where she fits into the universe.
  13. I've finally decided to get more active in the community in conjunction with sharing the book I've been working on for the past couple of years. I know I'll make many more revisions to it with everyone's help and advice. So at this stage, what I'm most interested in having critiqued are the broader aspects of the story -- the plot, pacing, character development, etc. But really I'm open to anything. What did you like? What didn't you like?
  14. I've read through the comments and I feel the same way; I crave to see some conflict or inciting incident. The thing is, I like the writing, it feels smooth and natural, but the problem is that it doesn't engage me. Nothing significant happens. It feels like you're slowly building up to a major incident, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as a reader, I would want a lot more suspense then, but there isn't any. Otherwise, as other readers said, you can afford to cut out many of the details (especially about the dresses.) Bearing in mind I have absolutely no clout as a writer, but I think that the amount of expo you have is not inherently what takes away from your story, but the lack of action. The ratio is off. I wish I could be more helpful, but I think other readers have offered awesome advice already. I'm looking forward to see how the plot moves forward. I came across some advice from a writer that really struck me, it may have been Orson Scott Card -- he said that every scene should either progress the plot or the characters or both.
  15. Hi, would it be possible to get a spot for next Monday? This is my first time submitting anything to reading excuses, it's the first chapter of the book I'm working on.