C_Vallion

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About C_Vallion

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    Writing, board games, reading, sewing, quilting, woodworking, video games
  1. Hello All! Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US. And a more general happy mid-November to all One more chapter to go in Part 2! One retconned detail to mention for this chapter. Planning to shift Ali's earlier focus to have more involvement in the court’s social events. I haven’t figured out where exactly that will put her early goals and motivations yet, but I think I want her arc to more clearly start at being frustrated with her family, then stepping up toward trying to hold them together. Other notes for this chapter. I made some adjustments to it that required some changes to the timeline of this section, but haven’t carried those through yet, so there may be further retcons in the next few chapters adjusting who learns what here. Content Warning: mild language Questions: Anything coming across as confusing and in need of clarification? Do the characters’ actions/motivations/thought processes seem to fit? Any particular spots where the emotional through-line is especially off? I know my first drafts are always a little lacking on that front, but knowing what specific spots don’t seem to be hitting right is helpful. Points of interest or engagement?
  2. Should anyone else check in to read: I have a revised version (~5700 words) that I can send over if you want to read the most recent version.
  3. Not this week, but next week. I'll confirm that next weekend, but want to at least verbally commit to it now to give myself something to be accountable to as a deadline.
  4. Hah. I actually meant to go back and change this before submitting, as one of my other readers had a similar response, but I'd gotten stuck in the "But Mrs. Grade-#-English-Teacher said to never use snuck!" ditch. I hate those words that just never sound right... usually I just reword the entire sentence to avoid worrying about it... Thanks for your thoughts!
  5. Hooray! Thanks! Correct. Should probably make it clearer that her goal at the moment is just to get away, and to figure out how to get back again later. There should be a clearer indication in the previous chapter that this isn't the case, but the thought should probably at least cross her mind. Even if she then calls it out as a vain hope. Good to know. I know I was doing a bunch of trimming and moving things around there to get the horse switch detail across without losing the pacing. I'll see if there's anything obvious that might be making it unclear next time I go through it. I was wondering if this would be an issue. Like with the horse change, I was trying to make sure I didn't cut too much of the pacing by stopping to go super in-depth on descriptions. I'll have to look at leaning more toward description next time. Or possibly change the obstacle entirely to make it more obvious. Ultimately, she's not expecting to get away entirely by going under the tree, but just to buy herself a few extra seconds. So, it's a big tree, but mostly just enough of an obstacle that he'd have to slow down to clear it or go around it. As always, thanks so much for the thoughts!
  6. Hi, All! I’d been aiming to get this down to 6k words, but there were too many places where I was worried about removing details that would be necessary for preventing confusion. The title is still a disaster, but it’s better than the previous one. Trying to find something that gets at the main focus of the story but isn’t super confusing at the start has been a challenge. I used a lot of the feedback from April to tighten things up, and am curious to see how those changes come across. The first scene was trimmed back a bit, and some of the worldbuilding/political background details that had been in the middle scene got shifted to the front so that there was a better picture of “Why we’re here” at the start. Some of that is then delved into a bit more in the second scene, but I could use feedback on what feels necessary there, as I still need to do a decent amount of word-cutting to get it down to where it needs to be to submit for class. I also tried to make the transition between Scenes 1 and 2 smoother, but you’ll have to let me know how that’s coming across. So. Questions. What is confusing? What can be trimmed? I tried to err more on the side of clarity to make sure I got the points across, so I’d really appreciate having anything that feels repetitive or like it’s delved into too much pointed out. Is there a better sense of what’s going on starting out? And does the first scene transition into the second more smoothly? Thoughts on the way the spoken language ambiguity is presented at the end of the first scene? Overall thoughts/opinions/engagement level? Thanks!
  7. I'd like a spot for Monday. It might be slightly long, if that's alright. I'm reworking my dieselpunk short story from March/April, but I'm not sure where exactly the word count will end up. Hopefully no longer than 6k words.
  8. Hello All! Sorry for another slightly-late submission. It was just about set to go, then a sad kiddo with a head cold took priority for the day yesterday. This is another chapter that had some major trimming (I think it was near 7k words when I started edits). So there may still be some lingering choppiness from cutting out big sections of text that I'll need a little more distance from to catch. Content Warning: Violence and Gore Questions: Any confusing bits? Especially any spots where blocking and scene layout might be unclear? Do the characters’ actions/motivations/thought processes seem to fit? Points of interest or engagement?
  9. @Silk I'll take a spot for this week if that's alright
  10. 1. I think my biggest question in this regard is where you want to focus your effort. If continuing to submit through this takes time away from a project (or revision) you're more excited about, I think it makes sense to put your primary focus on that instead. That being said, I think continuing to submit through this could be helpful just from a learning process—to get more experience and practice with editing under your belt— even if a good deal of it gets scrapped in the end. Especially if there are themes/character archetypes/tone/etc. that will carry over between the two and some of the feedback there on this will be helpful carried over to the other. So ultimately, my not-super-helpful input is that I think it mostly depends where you want to prioritize your time and focus. I'm glad to continue to read through this to the end or to read through another project (similar or unrelated) if you start submitting it instead. 2 & 3 (though, mostly just general commentary, since there would be a lot of overlap between the general comments and the actual question answers) Arch- showing up really threw me off. Especially when some of the conversation there seems to imply that he shouldn't be able to get there on his own, and no one ever really answers the question of how he got there now. I like the grandmother character, but her argument with N goes on a little long, and begins to devolve into a sort of bickering that takes away from her mystique. I also feel like Ao is a little harsh when N is clearly involved in the community if he's bringing things for the kids and running off to visit as often as is implied elsewhere. The conversation between Arch and N/Ao also feels a little exposition-dump-y, but I still don't have a clear idea of what they're talking about. There's a bit of a non-sequitur feel to them all standing there arguing shifting to N and W going off into the woods. I know W has been intentionally distancing herself from N, and realizes she wants to change that. I like that she's intentional about that. But I feel like the kissing scene is a huge jump when I am pretty sure I remember W not having much relationship experience? I'd expect her to still want to move things forward slowly, even if she has intentionally made the decision to move them forward. Or to have some sort of some awkward moments of "I want to be closer, but what does that mean? Where do hands go? Do I just kiss him? Do we hug first? How do these things work?" They seem far less concerned/affected by the fire than I'd expect. If it's engulfing the area, wouldn't they have more difficulty breathing? Also don't see why Ao seems convinced that they have something to do with the fire. Or why she seems to imply that they brought Arch- there on purpose when the guy clearly doesn't like N or W either.
  11. I guess in my head, the "I'm not responsible for M's decisions" is his way of doing that. Good to know it's not hitting like it's supposed to. It's not so much the pride/stubbornness as the emotional distancing and avoiding accountability. Because if he accepts responsibility for his choices, then at least some of his circumstances (along with the family's frustrations with him) are his fault. This would also be an inaccurate perception, but he hasn't allowed himself to see any middle ground between the two. All of that does still need to be brought out better, though. Hah. This seems to be the common opinion. I guess in my conflict-averse mind, fights are almost always silly things to get involved with, so why do we need grander consequences, when clearly any fighting is a bad idea? Clearly, I was wrong, in that everyone wants to see R fight someone and needs to be convinced that there are some reasons he isn't already Yeah. I need to find better ways to make that work better... If it was a book, I feel like a map labeled with relevant titled nobles would be helpful, but that's not really something that makes sense here, and there has to be a better way to make it more intuitive in the text. Maybe even just leaning into Al's lack of knowledge about court social customs to have someone explain to him why R calls him "Tra-" at some point early on, so that the reader knows to pay attention to it? I'll have to think about whether that might work. I wondered if this might be an issue, since it's been quite a while since we've seen her. I'll have to give us some extra grounding details here at the start to make that clearer (something I'm often lacking at the beginning of scenes anyway). My current full draft has 50-ish chapters, though chapters are shorter through the second half (and who knows where renumbering will end up once we get that far). I don't know how that measures up with what you're expecting. I should probably make sure there's more visible progress in this direction as we go, though. Yeah... I haven't figured out how much of this is a big problem that needs a whole overall concept change or how much of it will flow better once I've fixed Part 1 to reflect more active, measurable goals for Is and Al. At the moment, a lot of the intrigue-y parts there aren't nearly as engaging as they need to be because it's not obvious how the pov characters are interacting with what's going on. So I think fixing a lot of that would help the overall impression a lot. It certainly needs some overhauling, but I haven't yet figured out if it's the overhauling I already have in mind or if it's something different altogether. At least I can always rely on R to be engaging
  12. I'm not sure if this is WRS or my failing to explain aspects of the magic system (you know...because I've never done that before...oops) or both. Ultimately, it's not a "I have moral conflicts with this because of my religion" situation so much as a "If you use magic to kill people, you're condemning yourself to the worst corner of hell, and potentially getting yourself violently struck down by the gods if anyone calls you on it on the way." There was supposed to be a line here about wanting to keep him alive for questioning, but that seems to ... not be there. I assume I planned to move it from one paragraph to another and it got lost in the process. I was hoping that the end of the previous Is- chapter would begin to imply the tonal shift, that things were about to get more intense, but that was also...more than a month ago. And probably not as clear of a shift as it should have been. Good to know that this seemed to hit hard as a mentor death equals hero's journey. There are probably components of the hero's journey arc, but those run through the length of a trilogy arc, and not just this book arc. Not sure how other multi-book stories split up those sorts of things... I'll have to look into it a bit.
  13. I definitely have to fix this in the next round of Part 1 revisions, as the "R as irresponsible party boy" image shouldn't be coming across as strongly as it is in this round of revisions. It hits that note strong at the start because Is is frustrated with him at the tournament, but I need to push their relationship more in the direction of R and Is having a near-sibling relationship, where they get on each others' nerves and know precisely what buttons to push when they're irritated with something the other is doing, but do ultimately love and respect each other underneath that. They just wish the other would come over to their side of doing things (Is wishes R would buckle down and follow the rules, and R wishes Is would relax a little for like one minute. And they both know the other is probably right to some extent, but all involved are too proud and stubborn to be the first one to admit it). T does see more than most, because she knows him well and is less willing to let him get away with his stubborn pride than most of his family is (Ali excluded, in general), but their relationship dynamic needs to be brought in earlier as well...considering that she literally doesn't even appear until Part 2 in this version. Ultimately, this exchange should be pushing things in that direction, where Al recognizes that there's more to Is and R's relationship than they let on, and T just wants him to shut up because this isn't exactly a time that R might be receptive to acknowledging that. But without the groundwork for that set out earlier, it hits the wrong notes... And as is often the case, in order to avoid being too heavy-handed about such things, I'm probably not clarifying the implications enough. Al- "Is that wise?" R- “You sound like Is-.” (reflexive, defensive, slightly drunk comment) Al- “Good. She seems like someone you might listen to.” ("clearly, you respect her opinion") T- nervous. “You've never seen them interact, have you?” ("Not a good time to bring up Is, Al.") Al- confused, but gets the point. “So, there’s nothing to keep you from taking good advice from me that you’d be too stubborn to take from her, then?" ("Fine. I also think he's being unwise.") Good to know and good points Ugh. Realizing now that by cutting out the actual fighting, I cut out some of M's gloating in this direction. It should be implying that she's angry that he's going out of his way to blame other people for his choices instead of being accountable himself, which tended to be Grandpa's MO. She's calling him out on the same blame deflecting that he does above when he's refusing to acknowledge his sense of regret. But that may need to be called out better. Another thing I need to get straightened out earlier. Both Al and Ali need more concrete/visible goals in Part 1 compared to what's there now. More things I need to find a way to clarify without being too heavy-handed. I think R acknowledging his regret as such is a little more self-awareness than I generally picture him having, especially when there's alcohol involved. After all, regret (to some extent) requires an admission of guilt. And since T has already acknowledged that he's being ridiculous, he shouldn't have to take that extra step to admit to it. R avoids acknowledging his faults by deflecting by pretending he doesn't care (hence the party-boy persona). Is avoids acknowledging her faults by being the best at everything within her power (hence the stubborn refusals to ask for help. Just like dear old dad). But they're both too proud to acknowledge that their methods of dealing with the world are a problem. That comes to a head down the road, but ideally, the reader should be aware of those character shortcomings at this point even while R and Is refuse to acknowledge them. Any thoughts on how to get more of that across early on? I feel like it fits in with @RedBlue's comments as well. Hah. Yeah. The lack of self-awareness is intentional at this point, because character arc. But if that hits everyone the wrong way, I may have to reconsider some aspects of how that's presented. Thanks so much for your thoughts!