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Silk last won the day on September 20 2012

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  1. No worries! A few of us have fallen into the habit of, essentially, quoting as little as possible to get the point across, but it wasn't actually in the guidelines, and that's on me. I've updated the guidelines now.
  2. This is much better! As @Sarah B said, this version feels much more to the point. I think switching the ending from “TOM’s fixing the election, what can we do about it” to “TOM just succeeded in staging a coup” is a much more effective way of highlighting the aspect of political intrigue in this chapter. It no longer feels like the chapter spending a lot of time and emphasis on something readers already know. I think the one thing I wanted was a little more sense of the emotional stakes from Q. I know he’s trying to distract himself, but well, that usually doesn’t work as well as we want it to, does it. In particular, the scene between Q and M feels like a missed opportunity (although I don’t think it’s the only place this could happen). I definitely don’t think you want to lean too hard on it or you risk taking away from the scene between Q and M themselves, which is lovely, but I think a judiciously light touch here and a few other places throughout could be very effective. As I go: I like “Don’t you like him?” much better than the original line re: the stuffed animal. Nicely done! Last line of page 5, there are some odd things happening with the italics. Pg 6: “he sneered in no mood for this” should be a comma after “sneered.” Also, nitpicky but sneered strikes me as not quite the right verb here. Snapped, growled, etc., something that conveys a little more anger rather than condescension or contempt. Really surprised Q didn’t pursue E’s “failed experiment” theory farther. If it were me I’d have all sorts of questions – even if they were distracting from the matter at hand. Bottom of page 8, “pleasant or complementary” should be “complimentary” in this context, I think “ far above my paygrade a telescope couldn’t see...” nice. Bottom-ish of page 9, “bar tender” written as two words where it should be a compound word. Good end to the chapter. This made sense to me, as E speculating on who (within Gen) MC could be without knowing exactly who, even if she has a theory. Speaking of her having a theory, if you're wanting to plant a few last breadcrumbs for readers who haven't cottoned on to the fact that MC/N is indeed the failed experiment, we could always get a reaction shot of E in the last chapter as MC is talking and E starts to form her somewhat-horrifying theory. I don't know that it's essential, but it could lay a bit more groundwork for the conversation that Q and E have in this chapter. I don't think this is wrong, but I honestly didn't notice it while reading. It could be that having read the previous version is making me more forgiving about this draft, but for me this chapter really was more about the emotional stakes.
  3. So @kais, @Mandamon, and @Robinski for Monday. Any other takers? Is Monday really going to be the 27th of January already...?
  4. So @Mandamon, @kais and @Robinski for Monday the 20th.
  5. Your work days clearly look very different than mine do, both of you. At least this explains the secret of @Mandamon The First! Also, I ended up revisiting the rest of the comments in a separate post above, in case you didn't see it.
  6. I didn't feel the same way (about it being too much, that is). M very much strikes me as the kind of character who will take things personally even when they happen to be aimed at friends/associates, rather than at her directly. I mean, going by the book, Kr would/should absolutely be treated as having broken the law, because, well, he has. He might not be here, because the thin blue line draws together and all that, but I don't think that Ko tracking the truck--which, by the book, he should absolutely be doing-- necessarily positions him as helping DM, especially not since the dude's just shot him (I mean, I very much doubt that this is the case, but the man could very well be dead given the information we have at the moment). "The cops are not always your friend, even when you're on the same side" is kind of a thing in private eye narratives, I think, and it's certainly been a thing in this one. All of which is a very long way of saying that I didn't experience this the same way @Mandamon did. I was a little bit confused at first too, but sorta read it as intentional. Yeah, I wonder if one of these could just straight-up be a new scene? Yes! This seed was planted very early on and it's super-satisfying to have it finally come to light. Bug, or feature?
  7. Yeah, I got pretty much what @Mandamon said, that she was setting her son up for success. Possibly/probably with her own agenda in mind, but certainly not in any way evil. Hm, yeah. The only alternative I could think of was "game face" which is a whole lot more modern. Hmm, okay. This definitely didn't quite come through in the moment. I think it might be because I at least didn't see the wizards as a threat; they came across as self-important and pompous but not really terribly competent, which is definitely an archetype when it comes to politicians in stories. I wonder if amping up the sense of menace we get from them, just a little, might make this come through clearer without getting into a lot of worldbuilding stuff that, you're right, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for. This is the way I was leaning, but wasn't quite clear. I think it might have been the persistent repetition of the word "sisters" more than anything that through me off. I think the thing that threw me here was that she seemed pleased when the first girl came into the picture that the prince finally had a suitor, so I didn't know why she would change her opinion when there were two. This maybe comes back to the discussion about the wizards. Oof, sorry to hear that. hope things are indeed on the upswing soon!
  8. I’m with the others – this is much better. There’s more tension and, more importantly, we’re starting to get some payoff. Donning my “cop’s kid” hat again for a moment… The very beginning of the gunfight doesn’t sit quite right with me either, but I’m coming at it from a slightly different angle than @Mandamon or @Sarah B. I’m pretty much okay with Kr putting the pieces together and realizing DM is a threat (although it’s still not clear why they let him down there to begin with. Even if Koo didn’t know what DM was, he probably shouldn’t be letting people wander into detention cells willy-nilly). Koo following his lead and drawing also – in other circumstances I’d at least expect him to question it, but DM has a gun drawn and that changes a lot. The thing that’s getting me now is that this is effectively a hostage situation, which means that the police should be working to de-escalate the situation. I know, I know, in an ideal world where cops always behave as they should and they ALL have training as hostage negotiators and no panic responses, but these are also secondary characters whom you’ve had playing a relatively idealized role, and I can’t be the only one who reads this and thinks “that’s a terrible idea.” Anyhow, hopefully that perspective gives you something else to play around with as you work up to the firefight. As I go: Bottom of p3, “his gaze locked on Q” – not sure exactly what this statement is doing here, it seems unnecessary. Suspect you could just delete. Top-ish of p4, now DM is also using TOM abbreviation. It’s not out of the question that DM would come up with same abbreviation Mo did, but he doesn’t seem the type to use cutesy acronyms anyway. Given DM’s reputation, I would have expected him to fire on Mo as soon as Q said “no.” Barring that I would have expected him to fire as soon as they all heard the door open, before Chefs K and K could actually get downstairs. “If Q could make things up, so could she.” Good, but I’d like to see DM actually take the bait in some way, or this becomes a throwaway line. Could be as simple as DM maybe narrowing his eyes or something, but he could also demand that Mo elaborate. This might be a good way of stalling him, too, until the Chefs arrive. P6 “ears ringing like the Duomo” nice. Top of p9, “loath” should be “loathe” since this is the verb form of the word MC shrouding R’s digital footprint helps explain why DM hasn’t found them yet, but if MC’s position’s been compromised wouldn’t the effectiveness of whatever technique he’s using to shroud them be somewhat suspect? Could be mentioned explicitly to inject even more urgency into the situation, perhaps. If MC has video, couldn’t he send the video to Q and company without needing them to come into Gen first? True, that’s one less reason for Q to go into Gen in the first place, but Q seems unlikely to just walk away knowing there’s someone that needs his help, and MC seems to have Q’s number in this regard. Even before the reveal that you’ve written into this chapter later. Last paragraph of the sub “actually managed a smiled” should be smile. I see a couple of things in other's comments that I want to respond to, but it is now 8:01am and I'm supposed to be working. Watch this space and I'll update the post when I get a chance.
  9. I would be lying if I didn't say I kind of love this mental image.
  10. I’m pretty sure this is a reader problem and not a writer problem, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read that first sentence as “corpse-studded pastures.” Middle of p2 “wonderlingly” should be “wonderingly” Bottom of p2 refers to the prince as a spellcaster. This was a minor stumbling block for me but a stumbling block nonetheless, since “spellcaster” is a word I associate much more with D&D and similar narratives than fairy tales. Might be worthwhile to swap it out for something like “magician.” I like the clear twist on our expectations here, with love at first sight not actually referring to the prince. I didn’t initially assume that the horse could speak either, but there were a couple of points early on where, in my experience of the story, it became reasonably clear that the horse’s choice to not speak was indeed a choice; specifically, where it was noted that the horse had a unique perspective on the prince’s passion and where it was noted that the horse did not disabuse the mages of their misconception. Both on page 3. The way the paragraph last paragraph of p3 seems to be leaning fairly heavily on the dramatic irony also helped clue me in. Then again, it’s certainly not what I would call explicit, and I seem to be very much in the minority in this regard. P5 repeats the line that the queen didn’t intervene – this time it seems to be in reference to the sisters’ deception. I don’t understand how the queen discovered it (which I don’t think matters much) or why it’s important to her (which feels a little more important). Bottom of p5 notes that the prince loves the girl and her sister, which was wording I found slightly confusing since we’ve just been told the prince doesn’t know of the deception. The POV is what I might consider limited omniscient—knows more than a strictly third person limited would, but less than a fully omniscient narrator—but since we’re more or less in the prince’s head here I would expect to refer to the girls how the prince knows them at this particular moment, which is as girl and horse. Middle of p7 “the price had wondered” should be prince As for your questions: -- Anything that you didn't understand or that I wasn't clear about. The relationship between the sisters; I wasn't sure how literally to take "sisters;" that is, is their relationship a really close friendship that resembles a familial bond, or is it a more intimate relationship that's framed as sisterhood because we Don't Do That in fairy tales and we're supposed to read between the lines? If the latter, it's probably worthwhile to be a bit more explicit because it's going against the same tropes that other aspects of the story are leaning heavily on, especially given that the way the prince figures into this would be another subversion of the prince-and-princess trope. I'll also note that I didn't immediately get the transformation of the mages--I had to go back and reread a couple of paragraphs for it to fully sink in--but I seem to be in the minority there. -- Anything I might have hinted that would happen but didn't (promises I made but didn't keep) I touched in my comments above on the one thing I wondered about: the way the narrative implies that the queen does not approve of the sisters' deception. It's never explained why or, perhaps more importantly, what she does about it. She seems to be a puppet master who is nudging the prince towards marriage, but this particular implication doesn't seem to have any impact on the story in the end. -- Is the queen okay? Pretty much covered what I wanted to say about the Queen above. As a character, she's fine. -- How much do you hate those guys? Not a lot, to be honest? They clearly got what they deserved, and I certainly winced at/disapproved of their plan to sacrifice the horse in pursuit of knowledge and/or power. It seems fairly clear that the story is presenting their single-minded pursuit of either ore at any cost as a Bad Thing. But for me the story worked almost entirely on an intellectual level, rather than a visceral or emotional one, so I don't feel particularly strongly about them. I hope that distinction makes sense. For the record, I didn't experience the lack as a problem, just as a function of how the story works. -- Am I bashing around too much with the clue hammer at that one point? I could guess at I think two different points that this question might be referring to, but that's because you asked. There isn't a whole lot that's explicit in this story, so it's fine to emphasize the most important points. Repetition tends to to function as a stylistic feature in fairy tales and it's certainly doing so here, so I think it's fine. Me too. This worked for me. I felt like I knew exactly what was being conveyed. Also, @Turin Turambar, FYI I just edited your post to remove the middle sections of each of the bits you quoted so that somebody reading the thread can't just plunk them into a Google search. Same principle as with the unique names - protects intellectual property by making it less Google-able should a story be published down the line. And which, come to think of it, is probably not actually in our guidelines at the moment, so I'll amend them when I get the chance.
  11. So we have @Mandamon and @Robinski for tomorrow. Any other takers?
  12. As I go: Wait, there are FTL ships? Huh. The setting is pretty firmly grounded in near-ish future and I think this is the first mention of the existence of, for lack of a better term, space opera technology. It’s a bit of a stumbling block, but I expect it could easily be swapped out for some other, more feasible piece of space-faring (or whatever) technologies. “I need you at the top of your game…” which is why he’s had four gins? I wonder a little if the scene with the stuffed animal is a little too infantalizing (aren’t most 14-year-olds a little beyond being asked if they’ll cuddle a toy?) but it’s good to see the android mentioned here, plus we get the lovely little character detail of “He’s watching the door...” “If she makes pee-pee, I’ll know.” Speaking of infantalizing. This strikes me as … unnecessarily creepy. P6 “… hardly fair after what she’d been through. ‘I’m sorry” – needs closing punctuation and quote marks. P7 “I can think of a couple of candidates…” but she only names one. I was half-hoping she would pull a big reveal on Q here (however inadvertently). Given what you mentioned about upping the personal stakes for Q in the last chapter, maybe she could at least say something that makes it harder for Q to avoid formulating his own suspicions? “…or Mor knows about it.” Well that might help address some of the concerns people have with MC calling from inside the house, so to speak. Bottom of p7 “I’m bang out of prospects I’m my sector” should be “in” P9 “I’m a Belter…” Just noting the same term is used in Corey’s The Expanse. Also, this conversation is telling me that the space colonization programme is a lot bigger than I’d believed; until now I thought it was just the moon, but it seems that isn’t the case. P9 - “TOM” - Q and M have been using this between themselves, but I don’t think E would have heard it? P12: “Matt black” should be “matte black,” I’m guessing? It’s a relatively minor issue and one I’m almost certainly going to be in the minority on, but I’m still experiencing some cognitive dissonance over the amalgamation of Canadian and American governmental institutions here. I’d pretty much managed to reconcile the use of the term “president” with your fictional NAF, but then in this newscast we have PL addressing the audience as “fellow Canadians,” specifically, and it’s weird again. (See also terms like “Democrats” in reference to Canadian politics.) Especially since you have the detail of PL making statements from Victoria (which is the home of the BC Legislature, although Parliament, of course, is in Ottawa). I think, especially given the relatively low visibility of the political plot and related worldbuilding, it’s just hitting that weird spot where it’s different enough from how things work that I want to correct it, but not different enough that I can just wave it away as a fictional construct. I acknowledge that it is entirely possible that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here, and the molehill is currently buried under the accumulated results of three snowstorms in as many weeks, so… Overall: Most of my big-picture comments are the same things that you’ve been hearing ad naseum for a while now: Q&M need to go finally kick some butt, etc., etc. I'd also second the comment from others that I enjoyed this chapter more than I expected to, given the general "are we there yet?" reaction you've been getting from me over the last few chapters. I am also going to leave the phone call between the two sheriffs alone because this will probably change now that the rewrite of the last chapter has DK acquiring a new and exciting lead-based piercing. There are a couple of things in this chapter that seem to be meant to bear a lot of the narrative tension, and they’re not quite having the impact they could. One is the revelation (for the characters) that TOM is fixing the election. It makes perfect sense that the characters are only putting this information together now, but it’s something that the reader has known for a long time. For this to work as a dramatic revelation, the readers have to get something that we didn’t know before. This could be a greater sense of the actual stakes—what bad things happen if TOM gets to fix the election?--which there is maybe an opportunity to do with the conversation between Q and E on the very bottom of page 8, although given the way the worldbuilding has been presented so far that’s probably a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down. Maybe there is a way to turn this information into something actionable for the main characters. The other is the newscast from PL, which even aside from the space it takes up is given a fair bit of emphasis. Given that the town is already under some fairly extreme measures and people are already leaving under their own steam, I’m not sure why the total evacuation seems to have struck WK—pardon me, the Chef—as so ominous. Granted, “free rein to shoot anything that moves” is pretty dang ominous in any context and it certainly raises the stakes here in a way that I appreciate. I’m just not sure why the evacuations, in particular, would have convinced WK to think that shenanigans were afoot. I KNOW. We should just add this to the T-shirt queue. Yeah I don't think I emphasized this enough. I really did enjoy the moment, it's just the one bit of dialogue about the stuffed animal that struck me as a bit odd. I'm also going to second @Mandamon's comments about consequences re: the election fixing. It's actually something I think we could use a bit more of earlier, too.
  13. ...well, shows you how much attention I've been paying,yikes! Take everything I've said with majority shares in a salt mine, apparently. Or just blame WRS and let's move along, nothing to see here Fair enough, though it'd be a great piece of worldbuilding if you could find a way to leave it in there. It's something I've been low-key wondering about for a while. That makes more sense, tbh! Nope, it was about time for a little reminder, I think; this particular aspect of things has been fairly low-key until now. It's certainly somewhat melodramatic, but that seems to be entirely in keeping with MC's character so far, so no concerns from me! Love it. Exactly, yeah. Right now the issue is that I don't understand what the book tells Q&M that Mor couldn't find out otherwise. I shall henceforth refer to him as Chef WK. Or maybe just the Chef. On a micro level, I think this will definitely help with some of the issues people have expressed with that scene, and will probably make some things in the next chapter go down a bit easier as well. On a macro level, I think it's worth pointing out that this could end up being a bit of smoke an mirrors; it's now a gunfight instead of people talking, so it feels more active, but it's still going to serve the same function as the version of the chapter we just read, which is to keep Q&M from getting to a goal that readers are very eager to see them arrive at. Even knowing that you've done some pretty significant trimming of the earlier chapters, if the current structure remains mostly unscathed, I think this will still be an issue to some extent. So, I wonder: maybe you've taken care of this already, but could something happen to make us feel like the plot is actually moving forward in some way? Mor could reveal something, deliberately or inadvertently (heck, this chapter is from Mo's point of view; it could even be MC's identity, since I could easily see Mo cottoning on before Q does), or our heroes could inflict some kind of setback on him for a chance; he could be injured, or they could feed him information that actually sends him in the wrong direction (which I I like better, but I am of course just throwing suggestions at the wall here).
  14. Ah, I see. I actually find that the pronouns can be a helpful cue when introducing a new character, as it gives me another memory peg to hang a particular character on until I can learn a little more about them.
  15. Yes, knowing someone's pronouns versus knowing their genital configuration are are two very different sets of information. I think that artificially having the Net streamline this into a gender binary would actually undermine a lot of the worldbuilding that's been done, since it would effectively erase a component of the identity of many of the species depicted, humans included. It's certainly going to increase the learning curve for some readers coming into this world, but this is going to vary a lot - and xie and hir are already becoming relatively common neopronouns, so there certainly are folks for whom this won't be new at all. If anything, I would second the suggestion of having a few more reminders of the different species' appearances in places to help readers distinguish them in our minds.