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About julienreel

  1. Enjoyable read! I particularly liked the pacing, the mystery/intrigue, and the intensity of the scene; I really get the sense that the stakes are high here. I do have a few minor critiques about points that confused me on the first or second read, and then some preferences of wording. You start with E running towards a dune and then she's going down, so was she on top of the dune already, or did she run up it then down? Or is it like a hole? I couldn't really figure it out, though the point gets across -- she's getting sucked down to her death. And like Mandamon mentioned about the use of jackknifed, I also have no idea what that might mean in this context. I only understand jackknifed in relation to a truck and trailer lol. Also, when you say her thumb was out when she punched, I imagine it's sticking straight out, which is completely the wrong way to throw a punch. I only now understand that you meant it was on the outside of her clenched fist. "Ember kicked like she was clawing her way up from a dive off a diving board" It took me a few reads to understand the simile here. I got what she was doing, so that's no problem, but for the first couple reads I thought you meant she fell off the diving board and was trying to climb back up lol, I might be the only person who thought that though. The last thing is you go between capitalizing the M to leaving it lowercase (the name,) I haven't read the first chapter so maybe there's some reason for this, but upon the first read I was very confused as to what the M was. Like I had no idea it was a different character until the action beats started happening. But those are minor issues, some phrases I enjoyed: "E ran towards the woman, towards the tree, towards the dune and death." "T’s name did not belong in the m's mouth. Her name didn’t belong in the scalding wind of the desert..." The last line was great too, a lot there. Some phrases I raised an eyebrow at: "The ground no longer swirled like a budget funnel cake..." "The m kicked at E's shins while she thrashed like a flipped turtle..." "...then E wouldn’t be playing whack-a-m on the uninhabitable sun-side of a planet that was so red it looked like it was perpetually on its period." All that being said, I enjoyed the chapter and I look forward to reading more!
  2. I should preface before I critique, that I'm jumping into the story just now, and I'm very confused, even with the summary. And first let me just say as a Canadian, why did you choose that setting? Maybe you answer that early on, or maybe it's part of the vibe you're going for, either way it's not a serious question That being said... my expectations were twisted in a good way. When I hear about YK or NWT a significant part of me turns grey and shudders out of sheer boredom. But this scenario isn't boring. I guess that's because it takes place in the future, and it's something of a mystery. I would love to read the first chapter if you'd send it my way. Of course there are some things I didn't like, and other things I liked too, and then things that are more neutral based on grammar and word usage. I'm going to start by mentioning the aspects of the story I want to see more of--the things that interest me and draw my attention in. And of course this could be because I'm wandering in so late lol 1: In the first scene, E is looking for M, who in your plot summary we know is basically a bad guy who ran off. At the same time, E is doing what she can to control the damage that was/is potentially going to be caused by the company she manages*(?) I found myself getting drawn in to the desperation of E, but I found myself losing interest when the expositions kicked in. For example: Pg. 4 + 5 E fought not to run across the lot. She nodded gravely to the two uniformed men at the door then bustled across the foyer. On the top floor she burst into M’s office to find it empty, again. “rust!” However, perhaps his absence was the only explanation for how she had been able to bluster her way into the building. This is a scene that shows E's urgency to get a hold of M and bring light to the confusing mess she's in. But then immediately after we have nearly a page and a half of exposition in which we sort of reside in E's mind. That's not a bad thing. It can work for characterization, and it certainly serves the purpose of exposition. But the way the scene goes from a little action to a bunch of exposition keeps me from getting fully drawn into the story. And I'm not sure it's necessary for the story. One writer who does this a lot, and who i adore, is Arthur Conan Doyle with his Sherlock books. He'll go on and on with his exposition of events and facts but it always feels like there's an 'aha!' moment at the end of it. Or, we're left just as curious as the characters are for having heard it. 2: In this second scene, for some reason I was expecting more romantic undertones going on. I felt like the sudden embrace was great, I really believed that moment. But then it ended so quickly, it was like, "well go to sleep now." "Ok then, I will." haha, no offense, I was really into the scene from an emotional and character point of view, but yeah... And then the sudden call, yeah I dig that, you're creating the expectation and promise of a mystery and that's exciting. 3: This last scene. I'm not getting a lot of strength from this one. It was interesting to me because I wasn't aware someone was chasing Q and M. And it raises some curious mysteries that grabs my attention. But again, there's a lot of exposition, and I find exposition disengaging. That might just be me. I'm listening to The Book of the new sun series on audiobook right now, and I find myself constantly confused and uninterested to what's going on. Even though I can appreciate how beautiful the prose is, the large swathes of exposition takes me out of the reading experience. It's necessary of course, to have that exposition, but it feels like it requires a careful balance. But anyways man, great work! Writing isn't easy and to juggle so many characters and plot lines and mysteries... I raise my cup to you, kudos.
  3. Write two short stories that highlight each magic system, maybe not in depth, but as a demonstration. Then go ahead and share that with some friends or readers, and ask them what questions arise or what they like or dislike. I find that it gives you a more 'on the ground' perspective of the application of your ideas. You can do this with any trope really, without the commitment of a whole novel. And yeah, what everyone else said -- there's good, sober advice in this thread (but who am I to say.)