Sarah B

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156 Cobalt Guard

About Sarah B

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    Pacific Northwest
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    Scifi, hard sciences, medical science, boats and sailing, most things hand crafted and or nerdy.

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  1. Congratulations! Aside from echoing the others about some parts feeling redundant, I don't have much to comment on. My favorite of the multiple send offs was C chasing Ir around and their dialogue. I would love to see that stay or at least referenced :-) It would be great to see Ir be a more independent and decisive woman here at the end rather than leaning so hard on everyone else's opinions. That being said, I understand her impulse. It's hard to be a little selfish when it comes to family. The only line that stood out to me was, "harsh" which read as modern slang to my ear. To jump in on this topic: Clockwork Orange had the whole last chapter cut off by the publisher or editor and no one but the author noticed. We writers just hate saying goodbye I guess :-) Thanks for sharing your story! It's been a pleasure to read
  2. Much easier read! I have to agree that the conversation between Ne and K is a lot of information still. It seems strange that Ne would be sharing all of this personal and apparently painful information with someone she has an adversarial relationship with and pointedly doesn't like. Non-existent toilet: well... at least they have trees. "So close Ne could spit on it." Great line for keeping viewpoint in character. "With gold... racing stripes, maybe, along" I get the point of this sentence but it reads a bit garbled to me with all the punctuation breaking it up. Thanks for sharing
  3. It may still be a little info heavy, but it read so much smoother this time. On a first read, I think I would have been able to follow most of the hints and details. Granted, I would forget any that didn't come up again in a chapter or two, but it's in there :-) Yay tea mug! You've won me over by adding the MC's reasoning to add depth. "Took another bite of breakfast." What is she eating? Bread? Fish? Delicate pastry? Shakshuka? Cold beef? "Took another bite of..." Brandon Sanderson talks at some length about using specifics to add meaning without adding more words (wood or birch). I think this might be an opportunity to show off culture without exposition. Per writing excuses, food is a huge window into culture. If this isn't a western European nation, you can show us here. Or if it is, guide us towards which one to deepen context. Just a thought. The phrasing struck me as very general in reading. Sorry for digging in there, not much else for me to critique so I fixated a bit :-) The MC doesn't seem to have much motivation to me either. She seems smart, and likable but I have no idea what her specific goal is. The mother seems to be the most driven character so far, and also the one in a position to do something about it. Right now, she steals the show for me. R definetly carries the 'I'm a villain' vibe and I like the tension he adds. If you do decide to remove meeting him per other suggestions, maybe the feelings of seeing him could be transfer to the banners? Does she dread seeing the next banner go up because of whose it will be? That's what I had thought, until it was explained in the next lines. I felt a little let down that she is immediatly 'relieved' because it won't be hers. Might be just me though. Thanks for sharing!
  4. What do you think of a new thread specifically for what you're reading and what inspires you about it or what you intend to do or avoid after reading it? It might be useful to compare notes on good examples for different writing skills. I know I've gotten some great suggestions already when the topic comes up in other threads. The idea just hit me while reading The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K Le Guin. Little things she does in her prose are just SO GOOD. Its Intimidating and inspiring at the same time. I don't know how I've missed this book until now.
  5. It really feels like the end now. I have to agree with others that some mentioned of the family's interaction with S or some reason for her decision would be helpful. Or even just hanging a lantern on it and having Ir be shocked and suspicious of the choice because S was so adamant when they spoke. A few small things: "Whipped her hand out of L's urgent grip." Ripped? "Not only was I scared..." this sounds like J had more feelings than fear and is about to say them. Maybe instead: "I wasn't the only one who was scared." "L would cease his jokes." This may be WRS but I didn't understand why this would help. It seems like that would make Ir feel worse, not better to have her friend stop joking with her. But I don't remember L being harsh or biting in joking, maybe he was? Yet another fun read, looking forward to the next one!
  6. The references to the ball didn't bother me. I don't read fantasy though, so everything seems new to me as I'm not familiar with the norms. It did catch my eye that it's a tea mug instead of a tea cup. It seems discordant with big parties, fancy dresses and princesses. The politics: I think it could be pared down, but I didn't have any trouble following it. From reading through it seems like there are four important points. 1 threat from overseas, 2. An uncle with a healthy problem and ties to magic 3 a vocal and ambitious cousin set to inherit the throne. 4 the prequel characters are set to arrive. The conflict about the party and the MC warrior princess doesn't seem like a main arc or problem. From that, I assume she is about to fall for the wrong person if this story has a romantic overtone. Or she is about to go Mulan, Zeena, or 'Brave' and become the warrior princess if the main line of politics holds. I only mention this in case its helpful, I have a hard time with promises and foreshadowing so I always want to know what I am promising in a story. I enjoyed the tone you set and your descriptions of setting. I also like the queen being an active part of the kingdom's affairs as an academic. Thank for sharing
  7. Being later has it's benefits I guess, I had both parts available :-) Forgive me, but is this book YA? This sub carries that vibe. Not in a bad way, but in overall tone and MC interactions as the younger and less experienced character surrounded by 'adults'. Everyone has gone into such depth... I honestly didn't catch that much to critique. "Floated in darkness..." "sudden change" These two statements seem to contradict eachother since it sounds like the floating has been going on for a while. Coma: could be, but 'unresponsive' is less medically threatening if you want to play it safe. Coma usually denotes some pretty heavy problems or serious medicating. This is scifi so super healing tech is always on the table (hahaha, I kill me. Oh how I would love a bio-bed and a tricorder though!), but people don't usually pop back out of unplaned comas unscathed. At least in our time. World building question: If the Ens are all linked on a telepathic plane of some kind, and served the previous ruler on all the worlds he (it?) controled, why is there a question of how many worlds are out there and where they are? Wouldn't the En know? I loved the chart, by the way! Looking forward to reading more.
  8. I missed that the MC had needed to crawl into a space to reach the Duke. In my mind, he had laid down to lift the statue up but was in an area where he could stand. That's why it seemed strange that when help came he just kept laying there and waited to be pulled out too. If the space was that small, and he's facing the Duke, how was the MC able to lift off the statue reaching straight forward? Still a bit confused. Maybe I started off with the wrong image of the layout in my head. I would reread it to clarify, but I don't save subs after I have already critiqued. I hope this helps!
  9. I enjoyed the MC's voice much more this time. I like how you cut out a lot of the negative self talk but still got the point across. "W's squarish..." Missing noun? Glasses? "Last term he hacked by tablet." My tablet "Could probably melt my brain if I got too fed up with it." With what? I assumed life in general but specifics would be good. Ms. Gregor. Takes me back to Peter Rabbit stories with McGregor. And- species name. As a treky, I keep reading this as Andorian which is a species in those series. Not a problem, just thought I'd let you know. "But anyone can walk in her" here "Skipping would've been an option since I haven' done" haven't "You can top layer off." Take the top layer off? "Ar reaches for his tablet..." also 'him' in next sentence. I think everywhere else Ar is they/them. This version grabbed me much sooner, looking forward to reading the rest.
  10. Much Improved! The descriptions of the room were so much clearer this time around as well as the character introductions, well done! A few small things I noticed: "The silence ahead provided a terrifying..." Might be stronger as: "The silence was terrifying." The sentence after, "T hated the man then." Has some confusing his/he due to two males being involved with neither named. "T flinched as the body next to him..." I thought this was a corpse next to the Duke and T at first. "Hands closed on T's ankles and pulled." This part I have a hard time with. Wouldn't it have been easier if T just got out of the way so the other stronger man could just pull the Duke out instead of making him haul two people? I don't recall any reason T had to stay there, or why the other guy couldn't have fit in the same place T had been. Dragging a two man chain over an uneven surface would be incredibly difficult it seems. I still don't quite get the "blood pr" mechanic, but maybe I don't need to. The rest of the world building seemed pretty clear. I do want to say that I liked the way you addressed the injuries. The MC doesn't understand them, so you don't go into any detail. So often as a nurse, this is what kicks me out of a story. Well done again! Thanks for sharing
  11. Really coming down to it huh? I have to say, there was some really nice tension built up for this confrontation with S. The kind where I don't want to read it but I HAVE to read it :-) A few small notes: In the second prayer "them" is the only word not in italics which looks a little odd. It calling her mom and dad by their names made me question for a minute if I had somehow misunderstood their family structure. It seems strange given how stressed she is that she would mentally call her parents by their names when she is so close to them. "Sorry won't bring T back Missing end quotes The beginning felt a little disjointed, but I assumed that was intentional to reflect Ir's mental state. The meeting with the BK is the only part that left me a little cold, I guess because their conversation was what I had assumed would happen? It seems like in the past every meeting with the BK has been a big pivot point, and this time was just a friendly 'carry on'. But then, you wouldn't want to steal the thunder from talking with S. Probably the right move :-) Looking forward to the next piece!
  12. @Robinski Thank you for sharing that! It reminded me of something Mary Robinette said at SiWC this year durring the writing group pannel. (Paraphrasing from memory) on the topic of accepting critiques and advice: Your story is a perfect thing that lives in your mind. It's yours and no one can take that from you. The novel is the tool that lets you share that story with the world, but the novel won't be perfect. That's how writing groups can help. They can't see the perfect story in your head, but they can help you refine the tool that let's you share it.
  13. I'm coming in a bit late, but jumping in: Combat: The scenes were very clear, but felt a little flat to me. I think part of the issue might have been wanting more sensory information. The descriptions seemed to cover what happens, pain, reactions and that's mostly it. Some other senses (per writing excuses advice) might be a good boost. The horse: I was wondering what happened to C's horse when he demanded a new one. Agreed that horses are a valuable commodity. ("My Kingdom for a horse!") The narrative clips along at a good pace for me, but I did get a bit bogged down in several wordy sentences and repeated he/his sentence starts in a row. "I was part of a cell" This feels like a modern usage of this word. Cell in this time period (I'm assuming based on horses and swords) meant a small room. Yes, I do: The wound: I was not clear on exactly where C's slash wound was, or how deep. Since A mentions that it missed the organs, I'm going to assume it went through full thickness of skin and into fat and muscle, possibly nicking his ribs. If I'm wrong and it's not that deep or very long, some of my comments bellow are irrelevant, sorry. Placing stitches: First, yes, absolutely you must clean the wound. Even the booze they keep drinking would be better than nothing, even though it would not feel great. Rinsing a wound with clean water would help shed the debris, especially if its bleeding. Mentioning a needle and thread makes me imagine A is getting out a regular sewing needle and cotton or wool thread. She would need a hooked needle to puncture down and then turn back up out the other side. Its tricky and slippery work, she would need easy access, and probably to have him lay down to do a decent job of this. The thread would need to be coated, hopefully at least waxed, to pass through easily without leaving fibers in the wound given the materials at hand IMO. If I was stitching someone's side and they kept talking (moving target), they would end up with some extra holes and some pretty crooked stitches. But a combat medic I am not. "The needle tugged." Great detail here. Dressing: binding a wound with a poultice would be time period appropriate I think. At least covering it to keep the dirt and grime out would help. The stitches popping: I'm glad you mention them coming loose, my only critique is that with how much he is reaching and moving around, they would have popped much sooner. For an experiment, you might put peices of scotch tape/cheap clear tape in a long row along where C is suposed to be injured and then try moving around. Any time you feel the tape pull, that's pain and bleeding. If it peels off, you've torn the skin around the stitch. Even walking or taking deep breaths would be a problem, depending on their location. Long slice wounds heal nicely if left alone, but tend to split back open when given the chance. I liked how you anchored the world right away with descriptions of the scenery. The sword commentary was fine for me, it makes me wonder what it would be like in a fight between two wielders of that kind of sword. Thanks for sharing!
  14. My bad, I thought the thread for buisness of writing and publishing was for editor/agent/querying only. I'll post writing craft questions there next time. Thanks again!
  15. As someone who doesn't read much fantasy, I can't speak with any authority about if the magic system works. It seems like the blood oath is non magical? It seems like just a normal oath that she can break later, or did I misunderstand? The bands were a fun touch, and I liked how you slipped the explaination of them in. For the Judge mediated ones, I don't quite see how that would happen if magic is illegal. Are the judges the only ones allowed to use magic? Are they a hidden sub culture? Maybe I am suposed to be asking these questions as a reader though. A few small points: The first three sentences read as choppy to me. The sentence starting "A muffled scream from within..." is a long and information packed sentence, might need to be broken up or simplified for clarity. "And what had he done here?" 'Here' seems unnecessary. The introduction of the name B and the Duke of T together was a bit confusing. I wasn't sure if this was two different people or not at first. "Is there a gap between this thing and the wall?" I had a hard time picturing what was happening with the debris and the sphere from the descriptions. I liked your dialogue a lot. My only issue was that at times it was challenging to know who was speaking, especially wen dialogue was embedded deep into a paragraph. Well done! Thanks for sharing!