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467 King's Tester


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. Oh, I get this. I totally get this. And the trick is to keep trying until you find that perfect sweet spot. And I totally think you're going to find that. Mostly because you keep trying and aren't giving up. I'm going to take the next ~4 weeks off critiquing to do some heavy revision. When I return to critiquing, if you want to throw me this chapter and see how far you've come, I'm totally willing to. It'll be enough time for me to settle back into cold read territory.
  2. The important part is that you recognize this, can beat your brain into submission, and write a killer first chapter. And, just as importantly, you're open to discussion with us, so we can hopefully help you and make the journey a little easier.
  3. Dude, this is clean. I keep trying to puncture holes, look for any nook and cranny. So I'm just going to do a checklist and see if anything comes out half-baked. Hope this helps. Plants: check, minor foreshadow that new readers aren't likely to catch. "minor wilt had turned to major decay." Look, me and plants! M's P: check, given type of shuttle N and her species: All fingers present. Exile: check, including method of and why, and her desire to return (stakes). Plus, why she is unique outside of planet N. Piloting skills: check, try not to burn out any more thrusters XD Feeling sticky: check, mildly telepathic Planet: they sure do love their wood Religion: trees be holy. Don't go messing with fairy tale planet. Uncle is obnoxious. Past: Guard place dropped, mother's sickness hinted Name drop: check Y: check, particularly loved this line: "started to vocalize some emotion that would have made them both uncomfortable, shut his mouth" R, their company, their building material, and their role: check, check, check, check, check Journey Youth: both that it is indentured servitude and that it is for two years, plus the age requirements World + Spaceport: check, with hints at a larger world with minor introduction/mentions of different species Name drop of Title: check Book 1 Easter Eggs: R mad Neck tingles and cellulose tingles Tree telepathy Guard: check Planet A: check, plus books and religion President: can I kick him in the gonads? G4: toeing the line, shows she wants to join forces (foreshadows her involvement). Shows N's childhood adoration. Pg 13, "He knew how much the Youth Journey label rankled" Confusion: does he mean referring to himself as an adult but not her or did you cut a label I forgot? Pg 14, " this tiny little island kept consuming other countries." I still can't stop laughing at this. Pg 20, I just want to go home,” Missing first quotation mark Pg 23, "She was never going to step foot on her homeworld again."
  4. Points for smoothing things over, giving a little polish! Wax on, wax off! Considering there was so much information dumped on me in the first edit, I felt almost like this was a cold reader because I had to relearn all the everything. I fear, however, that there is still too much for me to hold onto. It's like you keep handing me shiny objects, and I want to take each one going, "Ooooh promising!" but my hands are already full and I'm going to drop something. Or, alternatively, I'm this dog and you just offered me another ball: I'm still stuck on what story you're trying to tell here. Right now, this chapter feels like multiple things: 1) a young girl sees a potential omen from the gods 2) Politics over breakfast 3) Compromise talks with the queen/the duke And I'm not sure how they all go together right now. (which, btw, is the hint of a lack of arch, something I am terribly, terribly guilty of, eh @kais?) I know that all of these are important at some point in the story, but I'm not sure what part I, the reader, am supposed focus on that is going to be vitally important in the next few chapters. Like, if the next chapter is the Inciting Incident, the Invitation...I'm not sure where that will come from. Which is both good and bad: good, because I don't know what will happen next, but bad because I also don't know the stakes. She fears losing...her sister? Her family? Her country? I'm not sure at the scope I should be focusing on here. For instance, if the country C attacks G, then I need a bunch of this political information immediately but probably nothing about the Duke, right? But if the next chapter's incident is all about harm coming to the sister, then I might need to know that C hates G but not all the full details, because the focus needs to be on Is and A's relationship to make me hurt. The scope zooms in, right? And if the inciting incident is Is getting engaged to the Duke, do I need to know about C at all? Instead, I'm back to being the poor juggler you keep tossing rapid fire balls at before letting me get into the groove. It might be worth taking a look at what information Is and the reader (me!!!) need to survive the next five chapters, and then slowly sprinkle everything in rather than all at once. Oh man, I love me some similes and metaphors. Let's have another: imagine for a moment a book is a meal, okay? In this chapter, you keep giving me all these super tasty dishes all at once without giving me time to admire, take an Instagram photo of, taste, and relish each one. Instead, you keep piling on the dishes instead of doing a course here, a course there. So not only do I not know which one is the main dish, some of those super tasty extravaganzas are growing cold and forgotten in the corner. The thing is, your prose is strong and your story is promising. I want to eat your dishes, you fine chef! I just don't know which one I'm supposed to be eating as my appetizer, which is my soup dish, and which one is my entrée. Feed me! In the proper order, please I made myself hungry Does that make sense?
  5. Honestly? Like looking down from a cliff going, "Wow, look how far I've come!" Before turning around, looking waaaaaay up the mountain I still have to climb, and going, "Shoot." Oh well. Just keep climbing, step by step. Thanks @Ace of Hearts ! I really need to get these last four chapters fixed because right now this book ends as anything but satisfying. I appreciate your insight
  6. I definitely knew this (I want to take these last four chapters and get them down to two if I can), but I couldn't pinpoint why or what. Thanks for shedding a LOT of light of where things are bumpy. I've got the gut feeling that tells me "something is wrong here" but not yet the experience to tell me what or how to fix it. Thanks @kais !
  7. It is...THE END. This is my first completed anything that I've submitted through Reading Excuses since I joined on February 25th, 2019. It's been nearly a year. Sometimes, it feels like I just joined yesterday, and other times I feel like I've been here forever. So, to keep it short and to the point, whether you've been reading NotK since the start way back in April of last year, or hopped in any time in between - thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I firmly believe that the reason that my knowledge, abilities, and confidence has grown so much in the past year is because of the support and experience of this group. Thank you so much for continually tearing apart NotK despite my habit of reading but not necessarily replying to comments. I promise I've read and cherished every single one of them. Thanks to you all, Draft Four won't have minor changes. I've come up with a game plan that I'm incredibly excited about. I'm going to take this next draft to a level I didn't previously think I was capable of. I'll be taking a short break from critiquing after this week while I hyperfocus on Draft Four. If you need me, though, feel free to PM me anytime. Thank you all so, so much. Katie
  8. I'm fine with it, personally.
  9. May I please have a slot for Monday, January 25th?
  10. Thoughts as I go: Pg 1, " messages from the gods in strange coincidences." No flights of crows marking the births of kings then, eh? Pg 2, "her mother wouldn’t be pleased if she lost a finger." I'm struggling to grasp how old Is is so far. This could describe someone who is ten or a youthful eighteen. Pg 2, " shielding her from the gust that its wings blew over her." Hopefully it didn't smell like bird armpit. Pg 2, " tried to hide her shakiness," Shoulda thought about the drop before sticking your torso out, chickie. Is the shakiness from the potential drop or being caught? Pg 4, "older than thirteen" Oh, this is the character that is nineteen. Pg 4, " sweaty tournament gear" Confusion. Does she mean that the men will be more attracted to sports than her, or that the men will find her unattractive in the tournament gear? Pg 6, " her cousin’s banner," Confusion. Isn't A her sister? Is the king not her father? Who is this cousin? Pg 7, "It had been his voice that she’d heard." Hold up, does this mean A will not be Queen with a capital Q? But R will be king one day? Or will A and R get married, as cousins used to in the past? Pg 8, "their own continent." We got a lot of characters, the hint of a mage war, birthday concerns, political marriage concerns, cousin concerns, and now geography. I worry I'm not going to be able to absorb all of this before you toss more at me. Pg 8, "The news arrived this morning." See, this was my concern above. Pg 11, "The fire spell and the sleep spell" Overall: The great news is, your writing is on par. You've got grammar, you've got flow...I wouldn't say there's a strong voice right now but that is largely because I can't get a grasp of Is. But I think that is going to be something you'll develop quickly. 1. Thoughts on having two rather significant conflict points introduced in the second half of the chapter? Does it feel like an overwhelming amount of information to introduce in one chapter? And is it painfully info-dumpy? So far in this singular chapter, we have: Learned about a birthday Learned about a religion Learned about political marriage concerns Been introduced to the MC, her maid, her sister, her cousin, her mother, her father, her uncle, two dukes, and a duchess. Plus the goddess. That's ten people in twelve pages! Learned about three monarchies and a castle Learned about the politics of kings, uncles, cousins, and a duke Learned that mages are no-no, but not super no-no Learned about mom's research Learned a bit about fashion with dresses I feel like I need to keep notes to keep up with this story, which is not something the average reader is going to do. What's going to be the most important straight off the bat? I can't even tell. The political marriage? The politics? The mages? The angsty cousin? 2. What sense do you get for the scope/tone of the full story from this? Political intrigue with magic. However, I'm unsure if this is going to be: 1) A YA fantasy, where Is falls in love with Duke of T who isn't like everyone says, all while she fights for her kingdom and finds out the mages aren't so bad. 2) An adult fantasy, where Is is going to save her kingdom with misunderstood mages against her evil cousin. I think. *shrugs* I suppose at this time I have unclear reader promises of exactly what this book is going to be about. I'm curious to see how off I am. Either way, I don't think it will be GRRM-grimdark fantasy, which I am all down for. I don't need the blues. 3. What information does it seem like we’re missing for an opening chapter? Umm...I wouldn't say what is missing, I'm thinking narrowing down what is important. Although right now I'm picturing the typical English fantasy, but the under the breasts ribbon makes me think Regency-style dresses. 4. General thoughts on ways to improve this as a first chapter? I know openings are not my best thing, and it doesn’t help that I have been making both major and minor adjustments to the first few chapters for a long time. At this point, I have very little sense of how it comes across on a first read, and need some direction on what it does or doesn’t do that a first chapter shouldn’t or should. Oi, if you've been rewriting these chapters forever, kick them to the curb and finish the rest of the book first. I can't remember if you have mentioned if you have or not. But you don't want to be one of those writers who spends three years revising five chapters. No bueno. First chapters are your introduction, right? So pick the absolutely most important pieces and make them shine. Make it very clear to a reader that this is going to be about a young girl finding love through an unexpected political marriage, or about a princess challenging norms by helping bring back mages and magic, or about a princess trying to keep her family afloat during politics and war, or a princess who takes over her mother's research despite political drama. Because right now, any of those are possibilities, because I'm not sure what story you are telling me. Give me some sign posts. Wave some flags. Say, "Hey, if you stick around, I promise there's going to be XYZ!" I personally think one of the reasons why Is doesn't leap off the page yet is, besides the falcon, she's just interacting rather than influencing (a situation I myself am prone to writing, cough cough). There is such an info dump that poor Is is drowned out by me trying to catch all these ping pong balls flying at my head. New character! New geography! New political situation! Like whooooooooa. I can't get to know her, like many have said. For me, a "getting ready for the ball" scene immediately tells me I'm in a YA novel primarily aimed for those of the female persuasion. Which is great is that is what you are going for, and not ideal if you are aiming for something different. Ideas that have worked for me, but not in any particular order: 1) Set your book aside for 4-6 weeks and then return back to it. 2) Make a checklist (kind of like what I did above) to see what you have introduced. Is it relevant to your goal(s) for the chapter? 3) Make yourself a website or WikidPad or something to put all the worldbuilding stuff on so it is still out there but not bogging down your story (me, so me). I'm at 156 pages on my website over four years, so don't go overboard like me. It's pretty much all I did from 2016-2018. I get bad worldbuilders disease. But there's a free version of WordPress, which is a handy skill for when you decide to make yourself an official Author Website one day. 4) Make a graph/outline/a stack of index cards to track where each character/plot point comes in. Have too many on one chapter? You got an issue. 5) Yammer at someone until their head spins and you realize exactly where you lost them. Alternatively, look for frustration points in critiques. Example: confusion on cannibalism and talking animals :/ 6) Revise in a different font. Alternatively, read your work out loud. Or sentence-by-sentence backwards. 7) Take a favorite book and track how quickly information is introduced. Example: Harry Potter. When do we find out about how wands work? About how spells work? Magical creatures? What happened to Harry's parents? Voldemort? Animagi? The Ministry of Magic? What books shove on too much too fast (The Way of Kings, because if I hadn't had faith in Sanderson, I never would have made it through the first 400 pages. Another example is A Song of Ice and Fire, because I can never keep track of all the characters and their motivations)? Hope that helps! Keep on truckin'! You've got this!
  11. Found your new story prompt: "A Californian man who was "scared to go home because of Covid" lived undetected in Chicago's O'Hare Airport for three months, according to multiple reports." Forget The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and kids living undetected in a museum. Time to go with man living in an airport.
  12. You sound like my sister. This is...a really good idea. I'm not turning 180 on anything, sorry if I gave that appearance. Let me be more specific: 1) Ir influencing the BK: I don't want the BK suddenly getting bowled over by this little chef out of nowhere. But on the other hand, I want her to be proactive enough that he takes notice. Example: W and the vineyards. Ir helps without being forced, which surprises the BK (which was not the case in the first draft). Instead of him always going, "Hahaha, exactly according to plan!" I want to add just enough that Ir becomes trustworthy/handy enough to be involved with stronger plots along the way. Simply making her more proactive and influence the plot more should solve this naturally. 2) The Revolutionaries won't be taking over the story. They won't even be the true antagonists (that be Ms. Sue). But at the same time, I want them to be enough of the threat that when the climax comes, the reader actually feels like the Revs have a chance in winning this one battle. To return to current events, it's like the Portland rioters or the recent Capitol Hill insurgents. Where they ever in danger of taking over the entire city, let alone the entire country? Nope. But did both groups have the ability to kill, and therefore need to bring in the National Guard? Yup. I suppose, to keep comparing to recent events, what would have happened to Biden if he had just so happened to be at Capitol Hill that day and been unable or unwilling to leave? That's the BK, in the wrong place, wrong time. The question is not if the Revs can take back the city, but rather if they can hold the palace long enough to kill the BK. The Revolutionaries are, to a degree, delusional, and don't realize that in the resulting chaos of killing the BK, the neighboring country Cr that has been helping out the Revs would have instantly attempted to take over. And they would have had the ability, unlike the Revs. Sorry if I made you think that I was suddenly going to swing the opposite way. I suppose my entire focus for this draft is to shore up any holes (government, world, proactivity) and then strengthen and focus everyone so that there's, again, no holes. Not make everything fight for the spotlight, but rather make the small parts (like the Revolutionaries) add more light onto the parts that are important (Sue). Does that make sense?
  13. Stoked to hear what you think! Thank you @karamel!
  14. Thank you everyone!!! Agreed. I worry that I've got a tension drop in the last four chapters, and so I'm eager to see how much of it I've managed to rectify and how much I still drop the ball. You aren't late. I have incorrectly set up the BK three times now. It's something I'm continually warring with. Frankly, I don't think I'm talented to pull off a Zuko-level redemption, which is I think the only way to spin her back to the "light side." And thank you for your LBL's! I need all I can to get all the wrinkles ironed out. This was me writing it, honestly. This chapter hurt so much to write. It doesn't cut it, at all. Ir is terribly passive, which is something I am trying to fix. I want the BK reacting to her, not the other way around. gasp Logic, in this draft? Whaaaaaaat? I thought about this too, but some of the news stories of late highlighted how some of the men who stormed the capital said goodbye to their families and didn't expect to come home. But some women were SHOCKED they got tear gassed. So maybe S's reaction is in fact very spot on. I'd still like I to like hard core call her on it. Great comments here, and I agree with a lot of this. I'd still like to see the revolutionaries get close to killing the BK. Like, a crossbow bolt winging him, getting him in the shoulder, something like that. And also, as noted here, I'd like to see the revolutionaries building towards their attack, for example just a handful if little vignette paragraphs here and there of some Rev who is a crack shot with a crossbow. Maybe the Revs have even hired them in or something. Doesn't need to add a whole lot of words, or even another character because they could be quite anonymous. Something to really ramp up that tension at the end. It really is weird how well timed this chapter was with current events. It's also kind of uncomfortable how...not necessarily spot on, but right I got S's thinking compared to the extremists out there today. Especially how little this scene has changed since I wrote it in 2019, before I had such experiences with rioting and such. I think I can really look back and see how I can stabilize S's character with my own experiences this year. The Revolutionaries are absolutely getting pumped up straight from chapter one. They are going to be a force to reckoned with. I want the reader to feel fear for both the BK and for the city from these insurgents. Thankfully, I have some prime examples to pull from last and this year.