Sarah B

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About Sarah B

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

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  1. A pleasant read as usual! A few things that caught me: W's dialogue with her mom reads a little formal and stilted for the situation. 1st sentence after the break is missing a subject. 2nd sentence after the break: double "early" reads awkwardly. "Hippie Forest Commune" this line made me pull back from the MC a bit further. "I don't think it's relevant information." This sounds more like W than A, but it seems like A is saying it. Overall my interest waned a bit in this chapter. I'm in it for the flowers more than the romance, but I say that as someone who never reads romance. Any romance, from classic to current, so that doesn't reflect on your writing in the slightest. I'm still in it to find out what is going on with N and those flowers! Thanks for sharing
  2. Hello and welcome! I like the MC. Not rabidly, but I do like her. Particularly her zero drama tolerance. I want to see how her suborness plays out when she's up against something. The setting is creepy. I like the slow development of strangeness. It reminds me of "The Girl With All the Gifts" (book, not movie) in the sense of the adults all being in on it. If you'll forgive another comparisen, the tone of the setting reminds me a little of "The Lottery" the modern gothic short story in the sense of a mostly ordinary town where something is very dark and you don't know what it is yet. My interest waned a little by the time C was starting the fire, but picked up again when her father is described. I probably would keep reading, but I would be waiting to see what the main conflict is. A couple things that stood out to me: C is described as being smaller than her friends, but then GM is described as the smallest. If no one comes or goes, and it's small enough that there are only four children of school age in the whole town, that's not a very deep gene pool. If the curse has been going on for generations, that creates some issues. As the others said, your writing is very smooth and easy to follow, thanks for sharing!
  3. @kais I hope everything goes well and we have you back soon!
  4. Still loving the world building in this story. I do have to agree about the female character issue. For me, the main problem is that both female characters cater to the male characters around them with very little of their own motivations except to take care of everyone else. I like S, but she feels a bit needy with her eagerness to please C. S and the ship taking orders from the Captian doesn't bother me. Everyone on a ship takes orders from the captain, but how the female characters interact with everyone else becomes that much more important. "C had his doubts." Repleated line, multiples within a few paragraphs. "Thank you." C said. "I think." Read strangely to me. Maybe because "C said" interrupts the thought? "New guy" sounds modern The rope split into four: I think you mean visually it looked like it split into four? Litterally splitting even a large rope into four seems like a very bad idea. If you want to go nautical here, the four smaller ropes could be spliced onto themselves into loops and then shackled to the larger line. Or use tackle. Both were very old world and are still used. "A few buckets were scattered around the room, holding rolled up maps within them as well." (As well as what?) I was picturing barrels here, but I have to agree that this does not seem like a good long term storage plan for paper maps. Are they paper? Leather is another option. Maps were incredibly valuable, good maps decided battles. I can't imagine the aero pirates leaving a treasure like that. "The sky wasn't cloudy that day." POV shift I like the grumpy captain, the ship and I want to like S. C still feels a little blank to me. He feels so very much like "this is the hero" but I don't feel drawn to him. You brought up LOTR in earlier comments, to me C feels like Strider/Aragorn but without the danger and mystery when he was first introduced in Fellowship. I don't doubt for a minute that C will do the hero thing, in a heroic way. And right now there's nothing really in his way. Perhaps that's why I'm having a hard time connecting with him. He's not unlikable. Very ready to read about an airship battle! Here's hoping the peace talks go poorly :-) Thanks for sharing
  5. @Silk Best wishes to you and your loved one! I hope everything goes well and that we have you back soon! No offence intended to your assistant :-)
  6. Nice work leading the reader to the answer! Admittedly I got pretty lost in the tech/and explanations but dispite that just a little bit after you led me to "why don't they fly toward it then?" S does just that. That is some fine word craft, well done :-) I got a little bogged down in the "what is a planet" and cellulose explanations. It might be one of those things that is familiar shorthand for someone whose read the previous works but is hard to follow as a newby. "Kkk" I'm not sure what to picture when S is making this noise or how she does it without a voice. "...if the anomaly wasn't specific, without bodies." I thought it would just pull the cellulose from their bodies, does she mean if it wants any biological matter? Or just they will die? A bit confused here. Again, nice work! Thanks for sharing
  7. Nice chapter! Seems like everything has been covered well already. I like B reflexively and the contrast that she gets to be the hero O is trying so hard to be. This is also the most I've liked O so far. One line struck me as hard to picture: while O was being carried and B waves her hand while still holding O in her arms, but it sounds like that has been resolved already. Thanks for sharing!
  8. Late as usual, sorry! Does it feel like romance? Based on the relaxed pacing, focus on interpersonal relationships, and the included history of the ex I would assume this was either romance or drama. From this chapter, I wouldn't have assumed there were any paranormal elements to come, but that's not really my genre. Since the only motivation/ future action the MC speaks about is finding a new boyfriend, I would assume that's going to be the main through line. Characters: I like the mom, but I feel like she's going to die or nearly die based on the set up. This makes me reflexively draw back from her character. The MC seems fine, but read to me as a bit 'superior' based on how they interacted with their friend. That can be done really well, but as a reader I need something to justify or balance it. Am: Didn't really stand out to me personality wise. They have interesting things about them per narration, but their dialogue and mannerisms didn't really grab me. The red head feels like he is being set up to be a big interesting character. He's the most interesting hook so far to me. I see from the other critiques that the flowers were a bigger thing that I caught on my own reading. That might be from my lack of experience in this genre. My bad. Thanks for sharing
  9. Nice to see this story again! I agree that the dialogue goes on a bit too long. I don't dislike the wordy banter, I think it has a solid place in the right context, there is just too much of a good thing here for me. A few things that caught me as I read: "It sent him back aches" at first read it seems like any movement makes only his back ache. "Now he has his goal" tense shift "S introduced herself" not really needed since we get this from the dialogue. Taking his pulse: the wirst or his neck would be a much better place to check than his forearm, especially if his "vitals are weak". It also takes a good 30 seconds to a minute to get an acurate pulse. I'm not sure how far you want to go into medical here since it seems from his actions that your MC is just fine aside from some bruises and dehydration, but I'm happy to help if you want any info on basic assessments or symptoms. "Just C" felt a little awkward compared to the usual verbose replies. "His expression was locked into a more neutral tone." Feels like a POV shift Highlander. Great title, but I will be picturing Adrian Paul swinging a sword around to music by Queen every time I read it :-) That's just a personal problem though, symptomatic of the 90's. I really like the flavors your are developing with your world building, thanks for sharing!
  10. Late again! From your earlier comment, it looks like most of the things I noticed have already been fixed :-) A couple things to add: I'll echo that the first paragraph or two the POV felt a little off. I loved the start and end of this chapter, but I caught myself skimming durring the parts describing how they were searching for files, while S was detailing all the times she tried to contact the others, and reading the files. I'm sure this is all good and important stuff, but as a new reader it didn't click for me. "What is a plane?" Didn't get this line I liked the part where Y eats the glass. This may not have been the point, but it made him seem to me like someone who is travel worn and has learned better than to waste things. Aggression talents: this seems interesting, I'm happy to read that you've added explaination for it. Thanks for sharing!
  11. I agree that this feels like a good place to start. As someone who struggles with action, I really appreciated how you handled it. What was happening was discernable and there was some tension in there. The issue with using students armor that @Silk brought up bugged me too. More for the idea that a princess wouldn't have her own gear, especially if tournaments were a regular occurence. Up until the 'rental' conversation I assumed that she would be wearing something passed down in the family, or made for her with the family crest and all of that. I suppose tournaments made me think jousting though :-) It seems like if it was her personal armor that smelled funny, that might give a bigger clue that something is wrong as well. In terms of prose, there were a couple places were you have close repetitions of words: "She wasn't looking forward to dealing with...(deal/dealing)" After the match, the phrase "the servant gave" and "she gave the servant" gets repeated a few times in a short space. The only think I really felt was missing without the earlier chapters was more explaination for how the visiting duke is tied to magic, if that's going to be central to the plot. Thanks for sharing!
  12. I'm pretty late to the party, sorry about that! Detritus is used absolutely correctly, but I had to check. To me detritus relates to debris from decay, so freshly unpacked things didn't seem to match up. Since I'm the only one who snagged on this, seems like readability of that sentence is still high :-) The lack of tension struck me as well. I liked the releif the MC felt when he didn't get any strong feelings from the room. I would have liked to see some interaction with his mothers jewelry or maybe some sense of loss from not feeling anything? It seems like the MC genuinely feels nothing, rather than just putting on a brave face. Very readable though! I could see curling up with a nice long book in your writing style on a rainy day. Thanks for sharing!
  13. Hi! So sorry I didn't see this had a due date. Since my critique is waaaaay late, I'll just say: Great job! I hope you write more scifi in the future!
  14. Ch 2 I love the opening paragraph, nice tone. Fishing boats loaded with bait - and nets. I'm not sure if you have a specific kind of fishing in mind, but most fishing methods that I am aware of that involve nets don't require bait. Or were they different boats, some with bait and some with nets? M works outside all day, I have a hard time seeing him keeping 'pasty white' skin. I suffer from that complexion myself, and eventually a tan and or freckles will stick. Or the freckles connect into a psuedo-tan like my dad sports year round :-) "If these monsters realized E was like the person they killed..." this seems like a huge assumption and leap of logic from what E overheard them say, which was violent sounding but general. I have a hard time buying the pirates losing their balance and falling in the water when the fishing lady jumps. Based on their description, I assumed these were seafarers who would be used to standing and walking on swinging/bucking docks and dinghies. Also not clear if she is just abandoning her boat? I like E and his voice is this chapter, I'm not sure what to make of him as a character though. He felt like the designated love interest in chapter 1 if the story was a romance. In chapter two, he's the protagonist but doesn't seem to have much going on outside of his current situation to pull him along in the story, aside from concern for S. I can't say I'm curious to follow E and find out more about the jerks on the docks since their motivation is clear and they don't seem very threatening compared to the river or other elementals. Chapter 3 Parts of this seem to be repetitive world building from chapter 2, primarily the descriptions for the groups of antagonists. One or the other makes the point well enough I think. The explanations in chapter 3 also seem to steal the thunder from whatever E may learn. It kind of feels like seeing the monster too early in a Godzilla movie. In closing: At this point, I am much more interested in the mechanics of the world than what's happening. The political gathering is there, but I'm not particularly excited or concerned about it. I'm more curious about the apparent personalities of the elementals and what tech is coming back into the world. It seems like if S's concerns were valid, there would be elemental vessel puppets roaming around and acting directly for them all the time (startrek Borg-like). Or maybe I just watch too much scifi :-) I was wondering if all the people on the solar barges were women, or if that was a generalization! Question answered! Thanks for sharing
  15. Interesting concepts! I like the smash up of tech and fantasy elements. I'm afraid I also had a hard time getting attached to S. Part of the issue for me might be that I find characters who want to do something more sympathetic than ones who are driven by not wanting to do something. I also had a hard time picturing S. Aside from hair length and relative height to E, I didn't catch any other descriptions to help me picture them or how they move. Someone else mentioned this but I had a hard time following the blocking durring E and S's conversation, everything felt just a little broken up. E and S's voices seemed very similar to me, but that could be explained by both being of similar age and the same home town. Yay barge women/science amazons! I am always up for a flotilla at the end of the world :-) Thanks for sharing!