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501 Son of Honor


About Snakenaps

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    I Need a Nap
  • Birthday February 17

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    Northern California
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    Reading fantasy/sci-fi/historical fiction, writing fantasy, worldbuilding, painting and drawing, DnD, dragons, horses, snakes, Breyer model horses

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  1. Just finished the first four books (novellas?) of The Murderbot Diaries by Maggie Wells. Highly, highly recommend. Each are about 150-200 pages, so very short compared to *hem* Sanderson. It's about an anxious, socially awkward, sarcastic security robot who (rather accurately) nicknamed itself Murderbot after it hacked its governor module and became independent. Except, what does Murderbot do with all this new found freedom? Well, it isn't really sure. All it knows is that it keeps having to save the dumb, fragile humans when all it wants to do is watch soap operas. Never thought I'd connect so deeply to a robot. Fantastic, witty thrillers that are so easy to inhale. I read the four my library had in four days and am now waiting for the fifth one on hold.
  2. Slowly Catching Up on Critiques: Pg 3, "She’d missed finding her people by days." My heart hurts. Pg 4, "We can access just enough to be dangerous." I am assuming you mean that the knowledge is dangerous, not S and Co. Pg 4, "HAS MANY PENDING MESSAGES FROM ME." At's voicemail: Pg 5, " I think it needs those trees to reproduce." Makes seeds? Like a coconut it unleashes into the ocean of space? Pg 6, "But that would break at least seventeen laws of ph-" Like Ard ever cared. Pg 9, "intestines ripped apart by migrating cellulose." I know they are going to survive because book but I am stressed none the less. Pg 9, " it had to come out, right?" As a new baby planet, right? Pg 12, " swallow them in darkness." Ugh, I hate cliffhangers!!! Tense chapter. I kept waiting, waiting, waiting for S to just snap have a breakthrough and...nope! Not yet! Like, I should have logically known she wasn't that far enough character development wise, that it was too early, but I kinda forgot while reading. I just wanted to know what was happening. I had to reread the exposition about the cellulose a couple of times, but that's pretty typical of me trying to follow heavy worldbuilding logic in any book. The important part for me was that I came out the other side understanding.
  3. I picked up a strange book today. Ashlords by Scott Reintgen, YA fantasy published in 2020. Admittedly, I picked this up at the library because of the cover. It's a flaming horse. I love horses. It's billed as Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races, two books I enjoyed (lies, I love the Scorpio Races). Anyway. It has three POV's, not special for a YA. Except one of them is in second person. I'm on the third chapter and not really snatched yet (The Scorpio Races might have spoiled me), but the second person POV threw me for a surprise. Hopefully it will be good. If it isn't, I picked up the Murderbot Diaries I have heard so much about. EDIT: 50 pages in and I'm setting it down. Couldn't get into the characters, despite the interesting second person. Where were the horses???? I hit page 170 skimming with no horses and the race not starting and have come to the conclusion this is not a book for me.
  4. Considering my own memory shortages - I've been there. I get it. Only now you owe me one. So next time I forget something, you have to remind me
  5. Ah, yes, the "teachers" that are actually glorified babysitters...I know that type. I feel like that is what my district is trying to turn us into, since they have been putting money and politics over the kids and their education. Also, I don't know if you know this (I assume everyone knows nothing, it is simpler that way), if you put an @ in front of a username, it will tag us black and send us a notification. It doesn't always work, but usually does. Otherwise I might have missed this, since you hadn't quoted me (another way notifications are sent).
  6. Hey, I'm late to the party (shocker there). Do you want to email me the newest draft? I'd be happy to take a look at it. See if I have the same/different reactions than everyone else. Let me know
  7. I don't have a whole lot to add that hasn't already been said, but I did do a little research: You might find this fascinating: According to this, a whooping 62 of 472 characters are female. 18% of all characters. That is not a good reflection upon your marketable audience. Out of curiosity, I did a bit more research to figure out where we land today. This is about movies, but still, you might find it interesting (I personally find it depressing): I also highly recommend listening to Writing Excuses, Season 11, Episode 22. This isn't to say that you have to make half of your cast female (although, as a woman, I'd be appreciative if more than 18% of your cast is female ). But it is worth thinking about that, if you have a limited number of any sex/ethnicity/culture/etc, you really need to make them count. In the vein of "it's a retelling, you are free to change things up", @shatteredsmooth once recommended me Once and Future, which is a sci-fi, female protagonist, LGBTQ+ retelling. It's still sitting on my "to be read" pile but I'm still on hold at the library to get my hands on a copy. Popular book! I mean, hell, how much does Cinder reflect the originally Cinderella story? You've got great worldbuilding, so I vote run with whatever makes you happy. The inconsistency of her having an accent and then it getting dropped, back again, etc, has been driving me nuts. I'd definitely work with Robinski to get this ironed out. My internal voice fluctuates horribly. You've got a fascinating world and I'm curious to see how this continues to go. Keep writing!
  8. Congratulations on your first submission! You'll notice that I normally critique on I'm almost always late to the party. However, if you ever revise midweek, let me know so I can read the most recent copy. Thoughts as I go: Pg 2 - I like your narrative style. It's unusual, but easy to read. I don't get to read much loose third person limited present tense. It's almost third person omniscient, but not quite. Pg 3, "would feel bad for making the teachers wait," Teachers plural? I'm surprised. With four kids, I could easily teach them at the same time, even if they were different grades. If I can do thirty 1st-3rd graders, I could do four kids. Although, granted, I did go to college for teaching, and I sincerely doubt a town of four children has a college. Not to sound crass, but I'm surprised there are only four kids. I mean, in a place that tiny, even cursed, I'm surprised that there aren't more children from people boning out of boredom. Not much to do in that small of town. But maybe people are more careful because, you know, they don't want to spit out children in a cursed down. (I don't think your target market would probably wonder that) Pg 5, "Everybody knows that one person can’t be fully qualified to teach all of those subjects" *cough* how old are these kids? I have a multiple subject credential and I can teach English, math, science, social studies, art (including visual, performing, and music (I wouldn't trust me on the music one, though), and physical education for kindergarten through eight grade. That's up to fourteen years old. Again, granted, I went to college, but I have plenty of friends who can prove you can teach multiple children without having a college degree in education. My friend has eleven children and has homeschooled all of them through high school (well, at least the ones who have been old enough to get into high school. Her eldest just graduated nursing school and her youngest is, like, four). Pg 5, " She is a strict, fastidiously dressed woman" If nobody comes in or out, do they make their own clothes? Pg 5, "like a ruler," A teacher's hair is perfectly straight like a ruler - I like this. Great wordplay. Pg 6, "Something is wrong." She's cursed! Pg 6, "The back row snickers." You mean, her other three friends? Is it G-M? Pg 7, " the newer copies were bought" Bought where? Unless they have a printing press, they won't be getting anything new, City of Ember style. Pg 8, " the garage that is reached after passing by all those other things. " Ooof, had to read this sentence twice. You lost me in the middle. Pg 8, "the Wood Stove." Based off of the title, I think the capitalization is purposeful. Ergo, this stove is Important. Pg 10, " Gold-Nugget" I'm very curious about the surnames here. Pg 11, "Is she going for more of a punk-rebel look, maybe, to show that she is growing up?" How old are the children? I feel like it bounces between 10-12, which would solidly put it in middle grade. 1) What do you make of the MC? The narration style makes me feel distant from her. I feel like I'm not in her POV but slightly over her shoulder. She feels like the "everyman" protagonist, which is fine. I suspect that story is going to be less about C and more about everything that happens. 2) And the setting? I'm having a hard time grasping the time period this is set in. For some reason, I'm picturing 1960's. Flat screen tv's with wood stoves are possible (my friend has both in his living room) but they don't seem to belong together. I'm stuck on the worldbuilding aspect of how large is the town before the cursed land begins, because I keep thinking about supplies. 3) Does it make you want to read on? If not, what do you think the issue is? If so, what specifically is drawing you in? I'm curious. It's creepy. There's something wrong going on here. Gives me the same heebie-jeebies as Welcome to Nightvale. I'm glad you're trying breaks. I'm going to give my teacher perspective on breaks/chapters. IMO, this is solidly middle grade. Your protagonist simply isn't old enough to appeal to 14+. Essentially, your target market is the age of your protagonist minus two years. So, if C is 12, then your prime target market is 10-12. This is a general rule of thumb, not a hard-and-fast rule. Middle grade kids need obvious breaks, which is why chapters work so well. They need a clear point that says "you can rest here." It's a clear signpost that says "something new is going to happen here" so that their brains can be ready to make the switch. It's all about those arcs, which have been mentioned by others (if you need an arc checklist, I have @kais's that I can pass you a copy of). Chapters are really handy as a teacher, because you can tell the kids "Okay, today we are going to read chapters 4-6." You can't really go off page numbers, because different editions will have different margins. Trying to read Tuck Everlasting and mentioning a quote on a specific page turns into a nightmare when you have four different editions in one classroom. Something to keep in mind, from a marketing standpoint. I'm not sure of your longtime goals here. If you've never read any of the Discworld novels, I highly recommend you pick one up. Pratchett doesn't use chapters, only breaks, but it is never confusing and his books flow wonderfully. Might be interesting for you to study.
  9. My pleasure! Also, I recently started reading Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass. He uses pretty archaic language in this, but it flows really nicely. I thought of you when reading it. Might be interesting for you to take a look at. I got it on Libby for free.
  10. Oooooh, I like this. I feel like High School Me would have assumed his parents were hippies, if I met him in real life. Dude's definitely, like, an evil glittery dryad or something.
  11. Thoughts as I go: Pg 1, “I have things under control.” Pg 2, " now was definitively not" Definitively or definitely? Pg 3, “I…am neutral on polishes.” Can't say I am. Five stars. Pg 5, "an orange paste that jiggled of its own accord" Slime mold? Pg 6, "She slid" Used slid in the previous sentence. Synonym? You know, it's a good thing B saved Ori and not me because I wouldn't be able to pick up anything larger than a child for anything more than a moment if my life depended on it. Pg 10/11, "You have internal bleeding, broken bones, and various torn membranes" Really polite of the birds to pump her up with so many drugs she can't feel she's dying. Makes not-flirting with the cute lady easier. On the other hand, it makes it hard for me to feel any actual danger to this. Pg 11, " pay off grotesquely inflated medical bills." Rest of the book is Ori scrubbing dishes. Pg 14, "she would say on a call to the gods of Ar" Honest to God, the fact that Ori missed the last three books (and a collection of short stories) never ceases to make me laugh my rump off. I can imagine how this is going to go: "Hello, Ar? Do you actually exist? This is a N, modifier G4." "G4? G4? Like, the G4? Ahhhhh - This is At...ummm, but you knew me as Exile." "Uhhhhhhhhhhh-" Except worse. Ten times worse. I love reveals. Have I ever mentioned that? Because one of my top ten favorite things are reveals that I know are coming that I just have to wait for. Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.
  12. I know last time I made note of any grammar mistakes, but I'm not going to today as I don't have time at this moment. Thoughts as I go: Pg 3, " every time I get annoyed at my body for being awake I know I’m keeping myself up for longer" Ooof, this hit me hard. That's me. Pg 4, "Guess some social codes are universal." Uh, yeah, homeschooling doesn't prevent you from being able to recognize emotional/physical cues any more than public school. You don't even need to know the same language or culture to recognize discomfort, let alone the same schooling. Pg 5, "Thanks, budget cuts." As a teacher, ouch, this rings true. Pg 8, " He certainly doesn’t act like someone who had no exposure to mainstream American culture until this year." For the most part, homeschoolers don't live under rocks. So, you have one of two options ahead of you: 1) Hang a lantern on the fact that N comes from one of those hermity clans of nutcase homeschoolers and that homeschoolers in general aren't like that or 2) treat N just like any other character. Pg 9, "he’s only being nice to me because he wants something from me" Which I totally believe. $5 says N is actually a wood nymph, not a homeschooler from the woods. Or some evil wood spirit. It drives me bonkers that you switch between capitalizing Am and not, and that Am is usually capitalized but mom isn't. Pg 11, "Magic can be scientific?" Reminds me of the saying "It's only science fiction until it's science fact." 1. Points of engagement? Points where your engagement wavered? Your writing has an easy flow and keeps me interested even when there isn't a whole lot of plot moving forward. I don't feel like I've learned anything new, but I wasn't bored. 2. Any major shifts in how you view characters? I like An better, I still think N is suspicious as all get-out. I'm willing to bet my shoes he isn't human and/or knows magic. Either way, the dude has an agenda. The real question is is if Am's non-transparent flower means he has control over them now. I wonder if the non-transparency has to do with Am liking N and W not? 3. Do you feel like enough happened in this chapter, or did it feel like there wasn't a clear advancement of the plot? I'm not sure what the overall goal of this chapter was. I already thought N was suspicious, so that didn't change. I like An better, but that might be because she reflects me as an artist. The only part that really caught my attention was the flowers changing/not changing and the continued promise of magic.
  13. Thoughts as I go: Pg 1, " was imprisoned for so-called propaganda." Polite that he's not dead. Does the Count have a plan for this educated man? Pg 3, " the common privy." All I can think of is that a jail under a toilet is a really bad design flaw. For one thing, where is all the feces and urine going? They are obviously not swimming and choking in the stuff. Is the Count polite enough to build a jail cell under a toilet and then clean it out every day? My problem is, I guess I'm used to the privies like the illustration above so I'm overthinking. Pg 3, "My skin can become as hard as stone," How??? Did I forget that magic is more commonplace than I was thought? Pg 4, "meant to kill your parents, they would be dead already." I feel like if the Count was going to kill anyone, it would have been A and Mr. G. Pg 5, "I’ll catch you." And either break A's bones when he lands on a rock-hard person, or break Mr. G's bones when he has a 150 lb-ish guy fall into his arms. Pg 6, "They fell from the edge and landed on a patch of heather" My brain was so confused. I was thinking cliff. Like, deadly cliff. Brain goes, "Ahhh -- oh, wait, heather. Huh." Pg 6, "The Count C" The previous fellow, I would assume? And not this particular Count? Pg 6, “Let’s hope they think we fell to our death,” Or they'll look down, see a buttload of crushed heather and go, "Ey, I think they survived. I don't see any bodies." Would heather even be enough to break your fall? Pg 8, "Hopefully I’ll stink less with this," Shoulda rolled around in that heather. Pg 10, “And you’re sure his hands were glowing? You weren’t just dreaming it?” Mr. G turns his skin as hard as a rock to no-one's surprise, but somehow this is unbelievable? Pg 13, "[Dang] straight," This completely yanked me out of the story as this is so modern compared to the usual more archaic language. Pg 13, "they reached their destination some hours later" I'm surprised no one smelled Mr. G, and A isn't puking from having to be within close quarters with Mr. G for hours. Do you get the sense that the plot is moving forward with this chapter? Yes. There isn't great feeling of danger because so far everything has gone to plan. Adding a miniature try/fail cycle to this chapter might help, but I'm not sure. Is the dialogue less stilted than it was in my past submissions? The punctuation is sometimes off, which throws off the rhythm (" But I’m retired now [dang it]." should have a comma between now and dang). I personally don't have much of an issue with the archaic sounding dialogue. It reminds me of R.A. Salvatore sometimes, particularly The Highwayman, for some reason, but I'm not sure why. Are you at all invested in Aurelius as a character (his plight etc.)? What is keeping me interested right now is the Count. I want to see what dastardly deeds he is up to. A is...fine. He's there. Mr. G does all the action, all the thinking. A follows around like a lost dog for the most part. Outside of wanting to save his family, M particularly, I don't get much of a sense for his character. Let me introduce you to my favorite friend TV Tropes. You rightly pointed out the Damsel in Distress and Haunted Castle. You could say you have Aristocrats Are Evil with the Count. Mr. G is leaning into the Mentor Archetype and it wouldn't be difficult to push A into The Hero archetype. At least he isn't a Farm Boy. One way to look at tropes is to take a peek at who did them well. Consider Star Wars: A New Hope. If I counted TV Trope's list correctly (please don't make me do that again), this singular movie uses 339 different tropes - and yet is a smashing success. It has its Farm Boy who hears the Call for Adventure to go on The Hero's Journey. He is joined by the Mentor/Old Wizard/Wise Hermit and the Loveable Rogue and his best friend to go rescue the Damsel in Distress. They have to figure out how to destroy the Doomsday Device with the Achilles Heel. Another great example is The Princess Bride, a classic. Who uses tropes well if they are a new reader, and terribly if one is well-versed? May I offer up Eragon? (finally, a book example!) Who turns tropes on their head well? One of my favorite examples is from Ever After, where Prince Henry is supposed to save Danielle, the Damsel in Distress...but she doesn't follow everyone's expectations. It's also worth looking to see who did something similar to your story, and see how you can do it differently/better. "I slowly chipped away at the wall every day for the last week." For instance, this line immediately reminded me of The Count of Monte Cristo, where young Dantes and the educated old man dig themselves out of the prison (although in their case, they used spoons, if I remember right). However, for The Count of Monte Cristo, it takes Dantes fourteen years to escape, and the original escape plan that he works on for years doesn't even work. The book is from the 1844's and while it is horribly boring and slow for the most part, the prison scenes (Sparknotes says Chapters 10-12?) might be worth looking into. If you know exactly what audience/genre you are going for, it will help you lean into/avoid/twist the most common tropes. Here is TV Trope's list of common Horror Tropes. Whether you mean to or not, right now your work reminds me of Gothic Horror.
  14. Thoughts as I go: Pg 1, "ballistae bolt" Pretty sure this should be ballista, no -ae unless it is plural. It follows the 1st declension feminine noun rules from Latin. Pg 1, "he has his goal back on his mind again" Since you just said "his mind" in the last sentence, I'd mix it up. "Now that he was reminded of his goal again" etc Pg 1, " An infirmary?" Well, hopefully not an evil laboratory for experiments. Pg 2, " there was an elaborate leather belt with a holster" slung over her shoulder as well, or around her waist? Pg 3, " we’re no ferryman to the dead, no sir." 10 points to you for a smashing voice for S. Very distinctive. Good job! Pg 3, " salvage right now. - You're missing a quotation mark at the end of this sentence. Pg 3, " something kept him from it" You know, I feel like I'd be a lot more maniac finding out I was alive after some kind of battle that involved ballistae and giant robots. They might as well be having tea here. I'm missing the emotional response. Pg 4, "you heal fast." Magically fast? How long was this guy out for? Like, he hasn't even mentioned anything past the first paragraph on how he feels. Pg 4, "it’s the same color as C" Red hair must be really rare if he's wondering this. Pg 5, " just use me as a brace" No crutches in the infirmary? Pg 6, "The ship was a beautiful airship, triple masted." Getting Treasure Planet vibes and I am down for that. Pg 7, ", he must be welled traveled" Welled? Pg 8, " it's been slow going." Pg 10, "for him to tell over to the captain" Odd phrasing. Pg 13, " escorting our guess back" Guest Pg 14, "a few days" Dude's been out for a few days and he hasn't been crazy hungry or thirsty or having to pee like a racehorse? The whole multi-day coma may fall into the "convenient coma" trope. "No matter how long the coma, a fictional character who awakens from one will usually be up and about and walking normally by the next episode, perhaps getting tired more easily for a short time. In real life, muscles atrophy, tendons contract, and a patient may need years of rehab and surgery to be able to walk again, or even to sit up on their own or use a wheelchair." Pg 16, " I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow may bring" Pg 16, "to breathe since you woke up, so I suppose it's fine" Pg 17, "coughed discretely." Discreetly Pg 18, “Is she… um…?” Do you mean "he"? Pg 18, "He is not dead" Pg 19, "Having an understanding of human thought" Pg 20, " ser knight" Sir? I'm not going to comment on the dialogue since it appears, reading through everyone's comments, that you have already noted it. I'm suffering from a lack of emotional connection to C currently, but I like S. Although it appears her accent comes and goes? Either way, totally pumped for this world. IMO, 70 pages to get to stakes is way too long. However, that doesn't mean you can't add in small stakes until you reach the Big Boy. You already have two stakes: C getting found by the people who want him dead (which you solved) and that they are off-course (although they are aiming for maps). You could set up two small stakes right now, probably decently simply, one internal, one external. Example: External: The J has to get back on course asap otherwise she isn't going to make her quota. Internal: C needs to hide information from the captain, because if he is found out, the captain will dump him off in the middle of nowhere. Stakes tell the reader which way the story is going and gives a signal for why they should keep reading and what they should be tense about. Having a lack of stakes is a lesson I have learned the hard way...
  15. Luckily for you, I tend to be very blunt and honest on this forum. There's three things I have strong opinions towards: horses, model horses, and homeschooling. If you mess up on one of those three, I will loudly let you know. If you ever need help with anything in regards to homeschooling, message me. Door's always open.