julienreel

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29 Pahn Kahl

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  1. Overall: I enjoy your writing style, it's easy to follow with a good dose of humour and whimsy. I think the pacing is better in this version if only for the sake of the MC's motivation. I guess my only criticism is that I want more to happen. It's not really even criticism because I would still continue reading and I'm still curious enough about this story. 1. Yes this version's better. 2. Can't say I feel very connected to C yet. I don't get a real sense of trouble for her, though there is an oddness about the way things seem to slip away from her. For some reason, I don't get a solid sense of how troubled she is about what's happening. She says she's troubled, but I'm not given enough to believe she's troubled. 3. Yes, I think it's plot-hooky enough. We want to know if the odd things that are happening to C are indeed from a curse and also what the heck is up with this weird town. 4. Don't have many issues, a couple of missing words here and there but that's about it. Good work. As I read: pg 1 - Good start, still as solid as last time pg 2 - I like that C has a clear attitude and motivation in this version. She seems more courageous and curious, which I think is good for this type of story. pg 3 - “Are you sure about this idea?” T asks. I think "Are you sure about this?" would suffice. Adding the word idea makes the sentence feel stilted. pg 5 - "There’s a thought won’t let Constance go: that she hasn’t proven, one way or the other, whether the curse is real." Besides the lack of the word "that" this is a great end to the scene; we clearly see the MC's motivation and basically the central conflict of the story. And it didn't feel like it took too long to get there. I don't really have any more notes because the story plays out almost exactly as it did in the first draft from that point on. I guess the major change was introducing the MC's motivation and central plot hook, which is good. I really liked the first draft too, so I think this is a great revision.
  2. 1: I would keep reading this. I'm curious enough about the magic system, the politics, the uniqueness of the world, and how I- fits into all this. 2: GOST... haven't heard that term before... I'll have to keep it in mind. I would say the stakes are clear for I-. The goals, obstacles, and stakes are clear for the sister. But I don't really know what I-'s goals, obstacles, or tactics are. I imagine she wants to keep the status quo and avoid getting caught in the crossfire of the rebels and the powers that be. So in a way, I guess I could see a goal there, but I'm not sure that's it. I didn't get a profound sense that I- plans to do anything at all about her sister or the war effort. So in that sense, it's also hard to fathom the obstacles for her. And the tactics aren't really clear for anyone. What Ir has to lose is obvious, and yes it feels real enough. Though it seems strange that her sister would bother trying to get her family involved in something so obviously zealous and dangerous. It just comes off as short-sighted. But yeah, the dangers are also clear. 3: Reader promises... I think this book will contain Ir- reluctantly fighting in this war somehow. More exploration of the magic system and goals of the rulers. More clashing with the fey and the intelligent creatures. That sort of thing. Overall: I like the world, I like the characters and the situation. It feels like a good lead-up to some epic stuff. My only problem with this chapter was so much dialogue and expo. One could argue that it's necessary and good. Personally, I don't mind too much expo, but it just felt so conveniently placed. And there are a lot of names to keep track of. But those aren't big issues, I'm still invested in what will happen, so good job. Also the characters felt quite natural and the writing was smooth. As I read: pg 1: Solid opening, I liked how you did that bit with the knife. pg 2: I- shook her head, reaching for her bowl of stuffing. “Something must have happened at the docks... She swallowed hard... Maybe it's just me, but I find these sentences clashing. I was under the impression that I- wasn't perturbed by the absence of tuna based on the sober assumptions she made about what happened to it. But then she seemed very disturbed by its disappearance. I dunno, just feels like a clash of attitudes. The last paragraph on this page made my head spin. The restaurant is L-shaped and there is a patio within that shape, which is clear to me. But how does the kitchen jut out? And all these different names is a lot to take in all at once. pg 3: So far, you've done well to sprinkle in elements of worldbuilding. pg 4: This would be easier if she could create light in the palm of her hand, like her mother, instead of the rather useless magical ability to know anyone’s name. lol this is a funny and intriguing introduction to the magic system. ...despite the constant food shortages, rising prices, and constant threat of enemy dragon fire and bombs... The word constant is a bit repetitive here. I'm also a bit confused; didn't I- go to the cellar to look for tuna? It seems like she isn't looking at all and deciding to immediately figure out alternatives. Maybe hang a lantern on the fact that she couldn't find any. pg 5: So I like how you mix in the expo with the action of I-, but I feel like it's a bit much. Every couple of sentences we get some expo. I'm not opposed to it, but I think it lags whatever plot is occurring. Also, there are so many names and terms that are so foreign, it's hard to keep track of. That being said, the positive is that we get a clearer picture of what's happening in the world. pg 10: Alright, not gonna lie, this conversation is going on a bit long and feels like its main purpose is for "plot." I'm guessing the sister is a revolutionary. Oh wait, she just said it now. pg 11: I like the clash of sisters here. I'm definitely siding with I- on this one. pg 12: Definitely gets the ball rolling. I dig it.
  3. Overall: Great! A definite improvement from previous submissions. I'm more engaged, connected to the characters, and generally invested in this story. My only nitpicks are: the setting was somewhat confusing at the beginning, it took away from my engagement. It went on a bit long. And there were almost too many characters to keep track of. I mean, probably getting rid of ol' N is the first character I think of that is basically irrelevant. As other people stated, the contrast of battle and politics feels a bit strained, but not really a problem for me. The fact that I truly cared for V's plight leads me to congratulate this story. Great work C! As I read: pg 1 - This first paragraph is pretty jarring to me. I feel lost from the get-go. Also the description of the mech does little for me, all I get is that it's big. "Strange, jointed legs..." I don't know what I'm supposed to imagine here. Honestly, I'm leaning towards a giant spider-looking mech. "He’d rather they not see the things he’d done tonight." Good use of navel-gazing for this whole part. pg 2 - I get a good sense of the MC's voice, which is great. "The man had been so mad with rage that day..." I feel like this part would work a lot better if we had a better idea of what was going on. The first time I read this, I don't think it even registered in my brain. It would be good foreshadowing, but I think because we learn what's going on later, this part may be unnecessary. Good tension at the end of this page. pg 3 - "His knees still worked." Dem knees! Don't want to ruin them too soon. pg 4 - I'm confused. Did the mech that V was right beside explode? Wouldn't he be dead? It must be another mech, but did he plant other explosives? Blocking issue? Yeah this whole page left me confused about the layout of the place. I assume there were other people with V and P planting bombs? pg 5 - I think I would like to know generally how many people were chasing after V and P. pg 7 - I brushed over this part the first time I read it, like yeah something about an informant? It became clear later, but if we had a better idea of what happened, maybe focusing more on the parley, M, and the people taken away, this would have a heavier impact. pg 10 + - I'm definitely more invested in this story now that we get a picture of what's going on. Sprinkling in some of these facts earlier could help the initial few pages. I get that we see the devastation of war first hand and its toll on the villagers, but since we don't really know the villagers or the stakes early on, it's hard to feel the impact of the death of P say for example. pg 12 - I'm glad that V and M are both fleshed out enough to have understandable motivations and make very human choices. It helps with the suspension of disbelief. The rest is great. Nice denouement. Good climax with the conversation. The scene where V meets up with the sister and children hit me right in the feels.
  4. Overall: Your writing flows well and is engaging to read. I have some criticisms about your story, but part of my wants to withhold all of them until I see how things play out. I guess my biggest criticism so far is how quickly the tone is changing. It started off as mysterious and slightly off and now it's full-on absurd. For your questions: 1. The pacing was alright, nothing felt too slow or quick considering the word choice and sentence structure. I think the introduction of absurdity with V was a bit too quick for my liking, but I'll reserve that judgement until more of the story is revealed. As I said, I think the tone shifted too quickly, but maybe I never had the right sense of tone anyway. 2. I wasn't too confused by anything happening. I feel like the naivety of C was somewhat confusing but it's still early. 3. No, I have no idea where the story is going. I could guess, but it's pretty open so far. I'm secretly hoping that it's C's descent into utter madness, but somehow I doubt that. All that being said, I still really like the story. As I read: pg 1 - "She wouldn’t know a real diamond from a magical one..." are we equating the curse with magic? Perhaps you could reword this to reinforce the possibility that these diamonds are connected to the curse rather than there being a stand-alone magical occurrence. pg 4 - I don't mind absurd things happening in stories, but I feel like this V character is a bit much. Turning into a raven? Alright, it's not an issue, it's not going to stop me from reading the story, but there is a selfish part of me that wanted to see the slow decline into absurdity. This is a bit jarring. pg 6 - "...I suspect it may be a subtle precursor to the unveiling of my latent Chosen One abilities." lol great. "C is pleased to find out that her new friend has special talents." For someone who is evidently weary of the proposed curse on the land, C seems awfully unphased by V. pg 7 - I'm getting mixed messages about C's relationship with the other children. I thought they were all friends and now it feels like they're ostracizing her, and it all happened rather quickly but C seems to not pay much mind to it? Though I am intrigued by G-M being worse for wear. pg 9 - I'm a bit annoyed by how naive C comes across as. She reads like she's on anti-psychotic medication like she's dulled down somehow.
  5. Overall: I get why this battle happened and its natural occurrence in the story, but I think it was too much at this point. It went on too long, and at only chapter 3 of the story, with no clear idea where the plot is going, it didn't do a lot for me. I will give you props for making the battle play out pretty cleverly, but on the first read, I was pretty confused as to what was going on (blocking.) On the second read, it made more sense and I could enjoy it more, but we need more to latch onto; to get invested in. I'm not invested in any of the characters, I only vaguely know their motivations and circumstances. I'm not yet invested in the plot either because I have no sense of global stakes and only a little sense of personal stakes for the MC. Right now, the story is held up solely by cool stuff--airship battles, mechanical knights, badass fighters, etc. But if I'm not invested in any of the characters or the story itself, then cool stuff isn't going to be enough. I want to add that I think this story is really cool and shows tons of promise, but we gotta get to the plot. To answer your questions. 1. I don't think any of the combat was too over the top. 2. I think the whole battle was too long. I don't know how you would shorten it besides taking out a couple of try/fail cycles, or maybe reducing the number of enemies. The problem is just as you mentioned, we're at 10,000 words and the plot hasn't really started. The try/fail attempts of the MC and his allies would be a whole lot more compelling if I cared about any of them. 3. I don't think there was much characterization at all in this chapter. I think you did a good job with captain V, but he's no more explored than he was in the previous chapter. S is kind of just a vague, dark badass character. I- the machine spirit, I think probably was explored the most in this chapter, seeing as you show it being sort of detached and machine-like. The MC is observing what's going on and we can see how his though process works, but I don't get any sense of his personality from that. As I read: pg 1 - “Stand down and allow inspection. My men are...” I find this line is a bit out of place as a first interaction. I feel like the patrol would question the captain a bit more before telling him to stand down and allow them to search his ship. Or maybe declare themselves and mention why they're going to search him before demanding that they search for contraband. pg 2 - Why is the kingdom captain so mad though? And why would C draw attention to himself? pg 3 - The kingdom captain is a tad cartoon villainous. pg 4 - I would like to get a better impression of how many people are fighting on the ship. pg 5 - "...yanking the man forward and flipping the man over his own shoulder," bit repetitive. "...crippling it for the fight and turning back towards the fight." Could probably exchange one of the "fights". pg 6 - "One of the exploding shells hit an engine, creating a massive column of fire in the air, and the other sunk into the body of the ship before detonating, blowing out the ship’s hull." If we're still talking about the one ship that exploded, then I think this is unnecessary. It's enough that we know one of the patrol ships got hit by some exploding shells and was taken out. pg 7 - "There was a sharp click as Captain V’s blade extended, the blade extending and then swinging outward as if on a hinge as the hilt slid out, such that the weapon now resembled a pickaxe." This action was difficult to imagine, and really only the part of it resembling a pickaxe made sense to me. “You lot aren’t even worth salvaging.” Haha classic "the other two Imperatorian ships shot forward, swooping around in a wide arc, moving to bring their own weapons..." a lot of blocking issues in this battle. It's hard to imagine the scenes going on, and I feel like attempting to describe them in detail only serves to make them more confusing. I think sticking to the key ideas and leaving the details to our imagination would make the scenes less confusing. All we need to know from this part is that the ships maneuvered to avoid the J H's weapons while also lining up the J H with their own. pg 8 - "and the ship slowly pulled out of the drop, slowing down until it was hovering" You could cut out the repetition of the word "slow." “...ninety percent capacity of standard capacity..." Could just be ninety percent of standard capacity. pg 11 - Alright, I don't know if it makes sense or not, but I like the cleverness of the coal dust; the problem is that this fight is going on far too long. It can start off as exciting, but all the blow-by blows and clever maneuvers end up boring if they go on too long. At this point, I'm just skimming through, hoping that the story starts going somewhere. pg 12 - “We’ll try the gorge. Dive down, take us below the bridge if you can.” What gorge? I'm having trouble keeping up with the setting as they move around. pg 18 - 19 - Alright, finally getting to some plot. I'm really curious about this A character that C keeps mentioning. That's definitely enough of a mystery to keep the story interesting. But otherwise, I don't feel like the plot progressed much at all in this chapter. It was a very long fight scene, that though exciting and compelling at points, lacked weight because I'm not really sure what the stakes are at this point. There wasn't any emotional involvement.
  6. Overall: As usual, you do characters good and the flow of your writing is easy to read (for the most part.) There are a couple of sentences that could use brushing up, but it's an early draft so they're not major issues yet. My biggest problem with this chapter is the lack of plot progression. In 8 pages it feels like only one element progressed briefly, and that was the relationship between W and N. I feel like you sacrifice too much plot development for the sake of fleshing out W. She doesn't need that much fleshing out each chapter. I'm no authority on balancing plot and character, but I think you could sacrifice some of W's introspection for the sake of the plot development. I have no idea what the action plot is at this point (assuming there is one with the flower and Am and the woods-commune people.) Knowing that there is a fairly villainous character from the prologue makes me think that the plot is lagging. To answer your questions: My engagement comes from the mystery of the flower and N. Look, I don't know much about romance stories, but I'm a bit of a fan of sappy films. My unsolicited perspective is that when I watch a romance, I usually am rooting for certain characters to get together. So far in this story, I'm not rooting for anyone to get together. Maybe it gets to that point later on, but it just feels like I have little to sympathize with these characters in the romance department. I can sympathize with W for her familial issues, but with her last relationship, I'm siding with E. There's nothing stopping any of the characters from getting together besides their own awkwardness and lack of desire. If lack of desire and awkwardness are the only blockades, then it's not very compelling. I'm just one perspective, probably flawed at that, so take what I say with a tablespoon of salt. Can I say what I think is compelling in romance? 1. Forbidden love. Romeo and Juliet for example. 2. Characters who are down and out but deserve something nice in their life who meet the love of their life but there are obstacles along the way. Notting Hill for example. Uh, that's all I can think of right now. But the bottom line is that we're rooting for the characters getting together because we like them and they deserve happiness and there are a tonne of legitimate obstacles stopping them from being together. In your story, W is not all that likeable and N is alright, but it's just not enough. That being said, the mystery of the flower and so-forth are very interesting. I would read on for that alone, but there's so little progression of that plot. I don't really know what I'm saying and I wonder if it's at all helpful, but that's my 2-cents. How do I feel about the characters? I understand them, they make sense, and they're somewhat relatable. W is more fleshed out than anyone else (naturally.) N is more endearing in this chapter, which is good if he's going to be the romantic interest. An is meh, I get why she's there, but she's not really helping. We don't see much of the other characters. Mom is still cool mom status but doesn't really do anything here. I still think that for the sake of the romance genre, W and N (assuming he's the romance) need to be much more likeable. I hope my criticism doesn't come off as too harsh. I like your writing style, you do a lot of things well, and these are just my opinions. Hope this helps in some way. As I read: pg 1 - Wait a second, I thought the reason N and E were sitting with the girls was that there weren't any more available seats anywhere else. Haha jk, it's not important. "Seeing him uninterested in me quashes the tiny part of me that still loved him." - To join in with what others are saying, I think this could be re-worded for better effect. It's a statement that makes W appear shallow and immature. Which might not be a bad thing depending on what angle you're going for. But even rewording the last couple of words could make W more endearing. Random crappy alternative: ...quashes the tiny part of me that still clung to him. “It’s sweet of you to pretend that you care, though.” This doesn't read well. As Kais said, it sounds passive-aggressive. I think you're still doing a fantastic job of making the characters 3-D, though. pg 2 - "A flower cut off from its roots gets to thrive past its time, but my mother gets worse by the day without a discernable cause." Great line. But I feel like we're doing a bit too much navel-gazing. It's great for exploring the character dynamics, but in this case, it takes away from the plot moving forward. "I’m starting to see why so many people imagine the void of uncertainty as a friendly face." I don't quite get the relevance of this sentence. If it has to do with W's ritual of worrying about the uncertain, then wouldn't it be a familiar face? pg 3 - This whole situation is strange, and I’m wondering if I should keep him and the flower close to keep an eye on them or run far, far away. This is difficult to read. Though I have to admit that things seem to be picking up a bit on this page. pg 4 - Good, things are moving forward. We have a bit of mystery and a sense of progression. pg 5 - Yes! The romance plot is moving forward, great. pg 6 - “Cute” and “nice” are two words that I don’t usually get called. More often it’s “good at math,” “doesn’t smile,” and “intimidating.” lol In this version, N is coming across much more endearing than in the previous chapters. Maybe it's just the natural progression, but good job. pg 8 - Not a very strong finish to the chapter. But I'll go against the grain and say that I don't have such a poor impression of An. She's not the most likeable character for her personality, but I think it's understandable that she'd be defensive and hostile towards N based on the info that we've been given so far. It's not the most mature quality, but it's not the worst either.
  7. Overall: I quite enjoyed this. The prose is smooth, even though I'm not a huge fan of books with a present tense, I have to admit they do a good job of putting the reader in the scene unfolding. Some things didn't make sense logically, but we can ignore that because it's a middle-grade story and it's fun. There's good humour, the characters are well put together, and there's enough mystery to keep me invested. What I had issues with were the lack of an inciting incident. The last scene is almost an inciting incident, but it's just not enough for me to keep reading to the end. What I mean is that you'd have to work hard in the next couple chapters to keep my invested. As it stands, this chapter is mysterious and interesting enough to keep me engaged, but just barely. The characters aren't super deep, but they don't need to be for this story I think. It's a middle-grade story with children as characters. The adults are distant enough to not need deep characterization and the children have enough little quirks to make the unique. All in all, I think you did a splendid job congratulations on your first submission to RE! As for you questions: 1. I didn't make much of them tbh. They seem to fit the role of a vaguely naive child who knows well enough when something's wrong. I get a small taste of their personality when they're thinking about other characters but for the most part I get more of a detached description than any strong character narrative. Which is fine for me. I'm invested in them insofar as they're a child in the middle of what appears to be a very strange and spooky place. 2. The setting is pretty neat. It's mysterious and bizarre which is always good. Personally, I don't want detailed descriptions of the setting, so I'm happy that we get just a general vibe and the basic details to know where we are. 3. Yeah, I'd keep reading. Though if you decide to keep this story chapterless, then I might not. If you at least had sub-parts to your main 3 acts, then I would be happy, but if a story just keeps going and it's up to me when to stop, then I'll probably put the book down one day and never pick it up again. It's a matter of personal taste, but I find that in a reading session, I want to have a sense of completion (like the end of a chapter) and then continue later with the retention of what just happened encapsulated in a chapter format. But I digress. What made me interested? Mostly the strange dynamic with the adults and the children. How strange would these people be, having lived in this town seemingly all their life, never leaving it, never having anyone new come. I don't suppose we'll ever get a detailed report of the history of the town being that the story is middle-grade and all, but it's probably the most interesting aspect to me. I know there's a mystery there and how it unfolds is enough for now. If the story continued to unfold slowly, then I might be inclined to stop reading, but if things really pick up and become tense (even for a moment) in the next couple chapters (scenes?), then yeah, I'll be hooked. As I Read: pg 1 - I really like this opening. I think it's a great hook. Though I agree with Kais that if you re-worded it slightly it could be even more effective. "the leaves long dropped and rotted away," I think this is slightly clunky, but no big deal. "In most small towns, people would drive somewhere else to find work..." I think this part is unnecessary. The fact that no one comes in or out already doesn't make any sense, I don't think you need to even hang a lantern on this idea. You could just say something like, no one comes and no one goes. Probably something better than that, but you get what I'm saying. pg 4 - So far there's nothing wrong with the story, maybe some sentences could be re-worded, but very solid. My issue is that I'm not getting enough of a foreboding sense. I would want to see like an old man yell at them or something a little more spooky than the branch breaking to get the story rolling. There is some tension and suspense, but it's not enough to hook me completely. pg 5 - I really like the opening paragraph. pg 6 - this is interesting. I'm invested in this concept of C losing her thread of thought with this mysterious hero that she doesn't seem to remember much of at all. "C might not be good at school, but in normal, mundane ways." This is a bit confusing for me. I get what you're saying, but it lacks clarity considering how seemingly important the rest of the paragraph is. pg 7 - Okay, C's last name is awesome, you get a lot of bonus points for that. pg 8 - This has happened a few times, and it might just be my personal preference, but some of the descriptions go on a bit too long for my liking: the fire for instance. Or the book being handed out to her earlier. I feel like we're getting further from the actual plot when this happens. It does a fine job of setting the scene and the dreary sort of tone and there's nothing inherently wrong with it... it's just that an inciting incident is neglected. I have to admit that there is a lot of good humour in this story. Like C wasn't sure whether she was named after the town or the stove, brilliant. pg 9 - Okay, I have to alter my critique about page 8. I think it's good that you bring our attention so directly to these items that will probably have a grave purpose later on in the story. But I persist in believing that there needs to be an inciting incident sooner. I have to say you do a great job of presenting the POV of a child in contrast to the mysterious behaviour of adults. I don't know if you're doing this on purpose, but there's often a very humorous line at the end of most pages. pg 10 - There's one line where we're in the voice of C and she mentions her mother by name which I find odd. But I don't know that much about the rules, so don't mind me. pg 11 - 12 - things are definitely picking up here. Something is definitely not right and I'm definitely curious to find out what. Though I've never read the book or watched the movie, this story reminds me of Coraline. At least what little I've heard of it and the trailer's I've seen.
  8. Overall: I like this story a lot. I only wish I had a better background of who S is, who any of these characters are really, and why they would get themselves in such a ridiculous predicament. I mean, I do understand, and it's comedic enough to work, but there are a lot of terms that confuse me. I think a glossary would help haha. But still, even without knowing what's really going on, having only read the first couple chapters of this book, I'm not that confused. The chapter stand on its own two feet. The humor and character dynamics are strong enough to carry it forward. Not to mention the excitement and impending potential doom. I'm assuming we'll find Pruitcu on the other side of this wormhole thingy, which is an exciting prospect for sure. Great work, I can't see any flaws to point out, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cheers. As I read: I haven't been keeping up-to-date with this story as I feel like I needed to know more about the previous stories you've written to grasp the magnitude of the plot unfolding. That being said, I find that I can enjoy this chapter for its good humor, character dynamics, and excitement levels. pg 2: I love how Y is reading out the report. Feels very natural and unique to their character. I kept reading, trying to find something I could point out, but honestly, this story is too good for me to critique. It reminds me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in a way. It has similar humor and hand-waving, and it all works.
  9. Overall: The writing flows well, the characters come off as mostly natural (barring that interaction with Sh and C in the mining town,) and there is enough tension in these scenarios to want to keep reading. Great work! I think the main issues come from moments of pacing where it feels like the characterization is unnatural in the scene. I had a few nitpicks about why certain things were the way they were, but no major issues. I'm definitely engaged with this story and look forward to reading more. Though I agree with other commenters: As I read: pg 1: While this first paragraph is funny and descriptive, I was tripping over the prose a bit and had to read it twice. pg 2: Don't really get why C needs to be wary. Because S is imposing? Haha, love S. Though, I find it a bit strange that C would ask who exactly S is. pg 3: I don't see why Sh thinks S is threatening C. It didn't sound that way to me. Just sounds like S is sort of a jerk. Ah good, at least C doesn't see it that way. Disregard my comment. I feel like I missed something here. Is I- the machine Sp-? She accepted a small gun with a large barrel Haha I love this visual. pg 6: You lost me at the apologizing fest. Why are they apologizing then? I could see it making sense for the characters, but does it help the story? pg 7: Wait, does C actually think Sh has a cheerful personality? I think it's sarcasm, but hard to say. That's not what I got from Sh at all. I was more reminded of a character Carrie-Anne Moss might portray. pg 9: Apologies if I missed the answer to this question. But why are all these important maps in this abandoned mining town? pg 10: Has this Ag- character been mentioned before? I feel like they must be C's mentor of sorts, but he mentions the name to Sh like anyone would know them. 11: Okay, so we find out who Ag- is. Forget my earlier comment. 12: I don't get why Sh would go so far as to ask the captain to turn back for C after only knowing him for a few days. “Did you just…?” Sh- blinked as she registered the comment. “That’s the strangest timing for advice I’ve ever received.” “Shall we leave, then?” C said, holding up his wind map. This interaction feels strange and unreal. 13: I like the captain's response to C randomly mentioning this Ag- character. Feels much more natural. It's not necessarily a problem, but the captain already saved C's life. Why should he feel compelled to offer C any extra help? 14: I like the worldbuilding with the Queen, that definitely hooks me. 18: haha I liked that ending line. Definitely left off in a situation that wants to be explored.
  10. 1. Yeah perhaps the time scale is too long. My idea is that the count was away for that time, delivering Maria personally to his boss. A is more of an afterthought that he has to deal with when he gets back. But I can probably reduce the time to something like a couple of weeks or whatever. And I'm sure the escape could be more clever. 2. Yeah, I'm struggling to think about what makes A unique. I have a vague understanding in my head about his personality, but I don't have any unique experiences that would set him apart from any other generic character with those personality traits. He's more of the spontaneous, thrill-seeking type. He's selfish to a degree, but he'll sacrifice himself for his values. He doesn't think far ahead and prefers to live in the moment. As I said above, he's rotting away because the count isn't even there at the time and left loose instructions to keep A alive. I suppose I'm focusing in on that moment just to characterize A and show that he's keeping up his strength. But you make a good point, I could make it more of a turning point and that could be more powerful. Good point, I could take more time with the guard approaching and glowering and the such. Yeah, I had him as a bit of a bragging type. I'm going through this process where I'm trying to make A unique but also sort of unlikeable. I need there to be some things likeable about him, but I want there to be a maturation process as well. This is something that I thought of too. Would the count really care if A gets out and tells anyone what happened to him? I ignored that thought for plot convenience, but you're right. Yeah, I think you're right about pg 6. I was having my doubts while editing it too. Like with A punching the wall, I wanted to portray how emotionally driven A is and how much it affects his decisions. I'm not saying it's a good trait, but it's something I suppose I'm more personally familiar with. I think the insertion of a plot shift is necessary as well. It is hard because he's stuck in a cell, but I'm sure it can be tweaked to allow a plot shift. Because, as Kais said, there needs to be global stakes as well as personal stakes. This is a great point that I didn't put much thought into. It's a good opportunity to show how messed up A's life has become and is going to become. I'm sure I could use better descriptions to showcase that. At the time, I just wanted to give the sense of how quickly the scene was progressing for A. It was a rapid series of actions and it was all about speed and movement. Thanks for all your helpful comments, Ace!
  11. Oh no this was very clear and helpful, thank you very much for taking the time out to offer me these lessons
  12. Thank you, Karamel. I wanted to make A unlikeable and immature in the beginning so that he can develop maturity as the story progresses. But I suppose he should have some clear, good qualities about him. I like what you mentioned about something to latch onto. I'm glad you're sharing your opinion so openly! I need to know that you don't care if A dies (lol) and that you probably wouldn't keep reading this story based on what's going on so far. It informs me of what needs to be changed, which is the whole point of this forum I think. Yes, thanks for this tip. Like others said, I go into too much detail about things at points and it's unnecessary. Haha I can imagine someone like Hugh Laurie saying it in an overly-comical way. It is sort of the intention for him to come off as delusional. He's basically going mad and gripping hard to the smallest glimmer of hope. But yeah, it's not the most convincing or necessary way of portraying that idea. Well, there's only one jailer because there's only 1 prisoner and they're not very concerned about him escaping seeing as he's securely locked up. The jailer is really there more to feed him and check up on him. As I mentioned before, the reason why the count kept him there for so long is because he was away from the manor with Maria and just got back. He wasn't very concerned about A, but still wanted to avoid killing him if possible. Yeah, hello jailer is a bit silly. Honestly I'm wondering if the whole prison escape scene isn't a bit too soon for this story. Seeing as we don't really know what's going on in the world or why we should care about any of the characters. Hmm... Well, thanks for all your helpful comments! I feel like I learn so much every time I get these critiques and when I read the other submissions.
  13. Definitely needs to be more clever, and you raise good points that I overlooked in the changing of certain elements. Thanks so much for your comments! This is a great lesson, thank you. You taught me something about using past perfect tense that I didn't know. I think I had A mouthing off because of a prideful devil-may-care attitude towards his situation. Knowing that though he could be beaten down, he couldn't be broken. But you're right, it doesn't really make sense in any actual scenario. The realization is that the stone dust must have come from the stone being chipped or scraped away. I mean, it doesn't make a ton of sense, and I'll probably change up that sequence. Though I do want to keep the sharpening of the spoon into a shiv. He's trying to get along with the jailer at that point because he sees hope which requires his full strength. Before then, he was hopeless and bitter and fueled is self-pity by antagonizing the guard and getting beat up. This is great and I honestly didn't think of that. It makes total sense that a formal execution should have a purpose. It's true too that why should the count need so many guards? I suppose he wouldn't need any in actuality. Which could make for more opportunities for A to escape. I'm thinking of a combination of ideas here. Perhaps E could be sent by the count to slit A's throat (having also acted as the jailer) and then A can stab frail, old E and escape through an open door. But then again, would they risk sending E into the cell with a boy who has proven fairly robust? Decisions, decisions... Yeah, I could probably use some help in the religious world-building side of things (well at every aspect of writing if I'm being honest with myself haha.) In my head, I got as far as there being a sort of powerful, almost enlightened leader (or multiple leaders) that sacrificed themselves in order to save and protect the kingdom thousands of years ago. Then I supposed a similar religion to Christianity would spawn from that, but I'm definitely out of my depths in that area. The jailer and guards think he's a criminal because he attacked the count and E in chapter 1. The parents waltzed out of there brainwashed and the guards are just lied to by the count and E about A's situation. Though I can see how many problems with logic these guards are producing now haha. Well he's going through the prayer as an excuse to get on his knees, bow his head, and secretly cut the binds on his ankles. As @RedBlue pointed out, it doesn't make any sense that his legs would be bound in the first place haha. Unless he was being carried. So I can probably get rid of that whole part. Ah those are good points. Since the religion is loosely based on Christianity, I just reworded an actual prayer from that to fit in my world. I suppose I should chat with you about what's a good alternative to the religion in this story haha. I certainly don't want to offend anyone's religion by mistake. I would have written sprinted, but from my experience of running up mountains, it usually devolves into a jog pretty quickly if the hill is steep enough haha. Yes, they're partway up a mountain, on the foothill of the mountain. That was a last-minute change to suit the new plot developments--making the manor on foothills to a mountain rather than a stand-alone hill. He's fleeing in general away from the manor and into the mountain range. I was thinking of doing an out of the fire into the frying pan sort of thing there. But it's all pretty half-baked since this story is going in such different directions than the first draft I wrote. They haven't lost him. The count ordered them to stop. He decided to send one of his wolves after him. It all sounds silly when I write it down like this haha. No, I think I'll need to create a more clever escape for A. Thanks for all your feedback! Are you taking a break from uploading chapters?
  14. Thank you, Kais. You are so right on about this story needing more of a global arc. I know what it is, but it's injecting it organically in these first couple chapters that I'm struggling to do. I'm glad the gothic tone has dropped away because I never intended this story to be entirely gothic. I'm happy that you think this is an improvement! That's all I'm really going for at this point, making each revision a little better than the last. Clearly, I need to make A more complex and the situations more unique. Somehow I need to get away from the stock, conventional tropes that are so ingrained in my brain haha. I think that cutting out some unnecessary lines and scenes from the prison will diminish the feeling of things dragging on. That first piece of advice is something so seemingly obvious but that I need to be reminded of haha. The first line needs to hook the reader. Yes. Haha, maybe the training montage needs to be more nuanced. Though Rocky is pretty legit. Yes, I can see how much redundancy there is, I could exchange a lot of the words and phrases for elements that help move the story forward. I suppose he's directing that sentiment to Ercole more so, which he sees as somewhat less evil than the count and more just blindingly subservient. But you're right, obviously the count and Ercole wouldn't give a crap about the law. Well, it's not entirely western European post-christianity fantasy, but it's something along those lines. @C_Vallion made some great points about this. I had it in my mind that this world is sort of a post-apocolyptic earth that had to start from scratch. I also had it that Saint Gabriel was one of the founders of the Four-fold Kingdom and a powerful mage. He and his siblings sacrificed themselves to seal a power under the kingdom while simultaneously creating a barrier around it. But Gabriel and his siblings over the years have been conflated into one Martyr that the Southern fold worship. It's sort of a half-baked idea, and I think it would help tremendously if I changed the character's name to be less overtly Catholic, seeing as there's the Archangel Gabriel. I agree the escape could be much more clever. I'll need to get back to the drawing board to consider how the escape could be more clever, the jail scenes less lengthy, an added element of global stakes, and less 2-dimensional motivations for the characters. Thanks for all your helpful observations!
  15. Thanks, RedBlue, I appreciate it. Yeah, you raise an excellent point about A escaping by just running away. Other people have commented on that too, it's not very clever or realistic. I'll need to think of something better than that. Definitely a great point about A's attitude and motivation. I agree that it's pretty shallow/tropey/2-dimensional to have his driving motivation be revenge. I need to address what a more complex set of motivations could be. I had A be so defiant and hot-headed as a flaw of pride in his character, but it does feel like a bit much now that y'all mention it. I want A to be sort of shallow and willful at this stage so that he can realize how pointless and immature he is later on when more bad than good comes of it. But I'm sure there's a more nuanced way I can portray this. Thanks! Yeah, I'm not sure either haha. I was basing the escape loosely on actual escapes and imagining that if someone were to use a spoon to get through stone, that you would only end up scraping minute layers of dust from it while also destroying the spoon in the process. I think I need to reconsider this whole element. I like that he eventually just tries to hone an edge on it, so I may be able to fandangle around the prospect of actually digging out. It was not explained, but it will be explained to some degree/altered. No, I don't think it's normal for the count to keep prisoners for extended periods of time. It's not part of normal law enforcement. I was thinking it was more of a private place that the count used for his own reasons beyond the scope of normal law enforcement. I need to hang a lantern on the idea of past prisoners that I haven't put much thought into (not gonna lie.) The reason A is kept there for so long is because he wasn't there to make any executive decisions on the matter. He was more concerned about Maria and getting her to his leader. Thanks for that though, it helps with refining the story. He doesn't completely make the connection. The reason why it's easy for A to resist is yes because there's something special about him that will be revealed later. As for the binding, you raise an excellent point. I think I got confused in my head about thinking of people's ankles being chained together but then went for rope for the convenience of being able to cut through it. Now that you mention it, I don't see why his ankles need to be bound at all. That would also eliminate the illogic of A cutting through the rope so easily. Thanks for all your helpful comments!