Silk

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Silk last won the day on September 20 2012

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  1. It was very noticeable when I saw it written out, and then I promptly forgot about it so I'm going with "no." He definitely set off my spidey senses!
  2. Overall: The prose is pretty solid (though once you’re ready I’d suggest a pass for some tightening as I think there’s some opportunity there) and we have a fairly solid sense of the characters. As for your questions: I had no problems with the POV switch. I do think that J’s voice, in particular, needs a little bit of finessing, which I touched on a bit below. It was clear that J was being controlled by some power beyond himself, but I wasn’t sure if that was Ch or the spell the general was casting. I would say that your concern about taking too long to get to the inciting incident is on the money, and by the time we do get there I still don’t really have a good sense of why it matters—they’re attempting to overthrow a government that I’m not really sure I’m supposed to sympathize with, for reasons that I don’t understand. For this fight to really matter, I think we need to know that the sides are and their stakes in it, other than that the POV characters are currently in charge and will maybe go to prison if they loose. Is this a divine right of magic users situation? Are they being tyrannical about it? Is there a reason other than personal gain they want to keep their positions? What about the other side: what do they hope to gain by ousting the current government? As I go: P1 JK’s name sounds way too much like “curmudgeon” and I’m trying really hard not to judge him for it, but I can’t help it! P1 The phrase “full-grown man” strikes me as a little odd. So… this world’s governing body of magic-users allows eleven-year old children voting and decision-making power? I think we’re taking a little too long to introduce the world and the characters as opposed to the conflict. At the top of page 3, the only real conflict we have so far that G doesn’t want to go to a party… but we still don’t know what this party is or why it’s important. We do have the information that A carries a lot of responsibility, but we don’t know what she’s using it for or what she’s struggling against. By this point I think we should be getting a better sense of the stakes. Okay, just after I made this comment I read the next couple paragraphs about something dangerous. That helps, but we still don’t know what it is. Random monster attack? Rioters? I’m also wondering how real this threat actually is. It could cause an evacuation, but A is willing to bring apprentices, one of whom is 11 years old, and not tell them about the threat, and worries more about polite words and politics. I think the section with J’s POV needs a little finessing to really establish the voice. Right now it’s leaning heavily on signifiers like “bounced” (which comes up several times) and italics and feels like it hasn’t quite settled yet. The conversation between G and J on p7 – so obviously there is some context that I’m missing here, and this early in the story I wouldn’t necessarily have it all, but my first thought is that “establishing a new government” doesn’t necessarily mean throwing the old government in prison. That this is the first place G’s mind goes makes me wonder what these characters have actually been doing with their positions of power. That, especially along with G’s comment about not knowing how to run a country properly, has kind of tanked the sympathy I felt for these characters. Also p7, the general’s speech – I’m coming back to the fact that our understanding of the stakes and the conflicts is still pretty bare, and this speech seems like a good opportunity for some exposition, but the POV character isn’t paying attention because he’s bored. It feels like the narrative is withholding information unnecessarily. P8, as J is thinking about the magic systems: This is the first time I’ve realized that “A...o” is not a person. “...the screaming, glowing child was better than nothing.” Hah. “Luckily, his connection to C gave him some protection…” what about all the people that he was supposed to be evacuating? Did they ever make it outside? We don’t actually see them leaving, we just see J leading them in the direction of the door before backtracking to confront the bad guys, and I’m assuming it would take some time for all those people to file out. And a little later you reference the crowd shying away from him, so it definitely seems to me that they’ve not all made it out. Bottom of pg 11 “where all adult parties” should be “were’ Back on page 12, J is trying to get people outside again – but now he’s trying to go through a grate. Are they still in the building? Did he follow them outside and if so why are they trapped by a grate? P12 – the dude in the white cape. This dude is totally thanking J because J somehow did things exactly according to the Evil Plan, right? Agree. Yeah, the outcome of the fight was not in doubt. When the evacuation bit started, I thought maybe there was going to be a bit describing how these characters' powers could easily be used for violence but not other things, but then the evacuation itself didn't seem very difficult either. Agree. It felt like a major purpose of the chapter was to showcase all the uses of the magic system, but as a reader I'm not really looking for a demo; I'm looking for characters and stakes to hang the magic on. I mean, it's fine to have figures whose pronouns are fluid, but as @kais has noted, using "fathers" or any other gendered word is not going to accurately be able to convey these beings as genderless. And if the pattern was that delicate, standing openly in the middle of a crowded, chaotic room to do it seems like a poor plan to actually accomplish your goal, since there's no telling whether the chaos will land on you even if it's supposed to be focused elsewhere. I mean, the society that we live in tends that way as a rule, but if you're building a world you can build it however you want. If their religious icons are genderless, then having an idea of how that shapes their language and their thinking could potentially be a powerful tool for grounding readers in the world of the story. Definitely. This was one of the things I was thinking of when I commented about tightening up.
  3. Opening line works very well! Second line, not so much. I stumbled on it, I think due to all the ancillary verbs. Not normally something I would harp on but after the first line, I really wanted to just be dragged all the way into the story. P3 “a way’s away” just “a ways” I’m getting mixed messages about how dangerous it is to go off alone. The initial narrative makes it seem like this journey is incredibly dangerous, then D takes S and leaves O alone for an hour (I mean, bathing is important, but still), O yells at S when she gets more than 10 paces ahead but later nobody stops her when she wanders off into the woods by herself… p4 “...able to rile up D…” I mean, I get it, but this makes O seem like a bit of a jerk. p “...and it never saw fit to grow” nice description here. P 7/8 Was surprised to find D apparently standing outside the house during this encounter. I had thought that she had gone in with O and S. P10 “...less than a w eek to forget what D sounded like” well that’s properly horrifying, in a terribly mundane way. Nice detail here. Uhh why did the kid get the gun? P15: “two blink’s” should be “two blinks’ pass...” p16 “...lumber towards the gate.” Isn’t S already through the gate by this point? My assumption would be that this thing can’t pass through, since the implication is that S herself must be let through, and therefore no longer poses a threat to S on the other side, which unfortunately diminishes somewhat the major sacrifice O makes to, apparently, stop it from getting to her. Overall, I didn’t have much in the way of comments. The prose is really solid and the pacing appropriate. I’ll second that I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for O or D, but I also didn’t feel like this was needed for the piece to work. No dialogue can be a pretty tricky proposition to sustain over (almost) an entire piece, but it was well-done here, and created a feeling of distance from the narrative that I thought worked really well. Nice work.
  4. Unless this is indicative of more political meddling, or maybe N altering the message to suit his weirdo desires, I’m having a really hard time swallowing the idea of a government being lauded for blowing up a building. I thought “q...k” was an odd word to use in the context of this election polling update, so I’m glad Q picks up on it right away. And I like that we have a hint of what might be coming with N leaving coded messages. I’m not sure the political subplot is wrapped up quite satisfyingly, since I don’t think we ever quite understood the stakes beyond the fact that somebody wanted to win an election for Reasons, and now they have. P4 “convivial with a bullet” not sure why this is italicized? Does E have the background to work in law enforcement? I’m fuzzy around how the whole US deputizing process works, admittedly, but this is stretching credulity for me. It is most certainly not how things would go down in the current RCMP. Relatedly, and I know I’m harping on this, sorry, but it’s been what, less than a month since the events in Gen went down? That is an awfully quick investigation to clear Q and M of the rap sheets they’ve accumulated, and most likely police would press charges first and drop them later. Plus, what about the charges that weren’t cleared? “We’ll just buy her a new plane” probably satisfies the person making the complaint, but it doesn’t necessarily make the criminal charge go away. Unless law enforcement has shifted drastically towards restorative justice in the year of 2099. “After a short battle with deductive reasoning…” I love the line, but it seems more in keeping with Q’s voice than M’s. M would be likely to be much more direct, I would think. “Now, give our friend W a tinkle…” Oh M. Never change. P9 “it’s loud, gruff” should be “its” Oh yeah… Ei. This seems a little understated. In light of M’s (entirely reasonable) comments that getting a new android wouldn’t be the same, I do like that we’ve made this a new character and not another incarnation of Ei. But, this doesn’t seem to be a surprise meant for Q as much as M getting a gift for herself. Those last few lines. My heart. Yeah, I'd echo this too. The suggestion of having N hijack Ei's body could be a gut-punch and potentially a fun idea, but that's more for a future book than this one... I believe there was a line somewhere earlier in the narrative that suggested this, or at least this reader is convinced that I encountered it somewhere, so personally I had no trouble with this. Yes to both of these comments. I'm agnostic on the "why do they work" question. Q certainly seems like the type to want to keep working, but they have been through some really traumatic stuff. the thought of just retiring doesn't cross their minds? At all? I suppose that money is properly M's, but still. Would it be silly for me to congratulate you on finishing the draft months after the fact?
  5. It looks like we have @ginger_reckoning and @JWerner up for this week.
  6. I'm not late, you're late! Ahem. Really didn't have much in the way of "as you go" comments this time (and I'm guessing most everyone else has probably caught them and you've made those edits already), except that E seems to be doing awfully well for someone who has found a girlfriend in not-very-good shape and just watched a friend die. I thought the payoff was pretty good, but I'm a little conflicted about not seeing TOM appear at all. He, along with Mor, was a huge boogeyman at the beginning of the book so to not have him mentioned here at all seems a bit weird. I'm okay with not getting a final showdown with Mor, since we got a pretty good boogeyman in replacement, but not getting something with EITHER of them is maybe a bit off-putting. Similarly - and maybe this is something that is mentioned in the remaining chapters so I won't spend much time on it here - but the election plot has not been remotely resolved. The last few chapters have had a much narrower scope, understandably so, but it would be good to understand how those two things tie together. Also, to be honest... I know you hang a lantern on it here, but Q and M probably should have been arrested the moment somebody decided they didn't need to go to the hospital, or barring that, as soon as someone figures out who they are. Love final lines, though! Can't say I was expecting this per se, but if you wanted to make a bit more of N's death here, you could potentially show a little paranoia: Q half-expecting to get locked into the building, that kind of thing. That's kind of the opposite of "victory" and "punch the bad guy" though but we definitely need a little more emotional impact around this. Yes to both of these. Yeah kinda wondered about that too. I think T was in pretty rough shape at the time and can therefore kind of write this off, but I agree that it was emotionally pretty understated.
  7. As I read: I like the opening. This is a very evocative description of M's mental distress. Wait, how did Mi manage to track M down? Okay, a few pages later Mi says he looked at her phone before she ran off, but maybe WRS, when would he have had the chance to actually do that? P7 I get that M is feeling pretty awful and why, and I think “slime” is an evocative description, but while the repetition was effective at first by p7 I’m definitely getting tired of seeing it. Bottom of p8, “told someone named Maxwekk…” those should probably be lls? I know spellheck is gonna catch this, I really just wanted an excuse to write MAXWEKK As I read, it occurs to me that M’s father came to her once before after she was hurt. I realise this isn’t a physical injury, but still, she’s in enough distress that I’m starting to wonder why he doesn’t again. Questions! I think it’s pretty clear that M is Not Okay. Not sure that I see this as pulling away from Mi though. For one thing she’s not really choosing Mi over A and T – he’s showed up to help her this time – and the chapter is still bookended with M's interactions with Mi. I do think that this is one of the chapters where M’s actual attraction is clearest, but the fact that this comes after a major trauma and while M is so messed up also detracts from that. Which doesn’t mean the scene is bad, but I think given the context it’s not enough to support her attraction to A and T on its own. If we got this feeling sooner and more often I think I would read this scene differently. Plus, it seems pretty normal to be worried about A & T after the last chapter. I didn't find the chapter difficult to understand, but it definitely felt like Mi (at the very least) appeared by magic. A and T a bit too but they were in a crowded setting already so it didn't stick out as much. M and Mi ARE pretty forthcoming with each other in this chapter and neither of them really question it (I know M's not thinking straight, but still). If they were a little more reluctant to share with each other, maybe that would create some tension between them that might also make the Love Rhombus (tm) a little more palatable? I was a bit miffed with Mi on this front as well, tbh. Like, if M freaked out when he suggested it, maayyybe. Asking nicely while also agreeing that she can hardly stand up? Not so much. It does, and I was a bit surprised to see it, never had the impression that T had much interaction or a particularly high opinion of Mi. Yes! I meant to mention this one! Yes, very much this. Edit: If you want it to feel a bit more like M is choosing A and T over Mi, you could have A and T and Mi both insisting they'll take her home, and M deciding to go with A & T instead of Mi?
  8. Congratulations @killersquid!
  9. As I go: “...She’d gone as far as blurting out the truth…” I really think we need to see this scene (as well as some of the exclusion M is experiencing from A and T before this, probably well before). It’s objectively a pretty dumb idea, and hard to swallow when we only get a single summary line. I could much more easily believe that M is making stupid, emotionally driven decisions if we actually see the scene and the emotion that drives her to do it. Plus, I wonder about the fallout of that scene. Surely it’s not just as simple as A and T thinking M is being “sarcastic” and not including M in the “cuddling”? If they’re angry enough to exclude her from that, are they angry enough to, say, leave the room when she walks in? Might they instead, or also, be worried that M is ill? That she is hiding something more serious from them that they should be concerned about? Etc. Also, it still feels like Mi is getting some of the most important moments, and M trusting A and T to reveal something intimate to them could be a good counterweight to all of the emphasis Mi is getting. Ahem. Moving on. So… is M still mad at Mi after storming out in a huff the other day? Because that little tiff doesn’t seem to have affected their relationship at all. P7: “So were some men.” Ha! The dinner with Mi is nice but I wonder if it would even out the love triangle/square thing a little more if we saw A and T interrupting some discussion that wasn’t just companionable silence. P7 “Taking the subway would take too long…” Maybe WRS but does M still have her car? Top of p12: “In the background, M noticed two other people approaching…” Are in the background of the livestream, or in the background in M’s actual location? P15: This scene of M “downloading” memories etc is cool, but how on earth does she have this much time? 200% Not gonna lie, I had the same reaction. I might be somewhat biased, though. I don't think you need to take out the sexy chapter. It might not be a bad idea to have them get mad at M for ditching in one of the earlier instances, though. They've been pretty forgiving of her so far. For sure. This was the only thing that deflated the tension of the chapter, for me. If the narrative needs A and T to be okay for a few more chapters, can we at least get some sort of plausible bluff out of the demon? Yes. Yeah and if we only saw the very beginning of that, it would still be pretty alarming, and then we see the demon acting and being thwarted, rather than just deciding not to for some reason.
  10. As I go: P1: This may be because I didn’t read the prologue (sorry!) but I don’t understand what r-mail is. Later in the sub it becomes apparent that it’s a fantasy product, but at first I thought it was just a typo. “They were all peacocks…” I like this description. P2 It’s kind of interesting that Ata is apparently entirely willing to have this conversation in the open, in front of a bunch of people. I guess that it’s not very secret or controversial. But since we have those other people nominally in the scene, it might be interesting to see their reactions to give us a sense of how this mission, artifact, etc, fit into the context of the world. Why does H keep saying “ward”? P3: “Waitress” strikes me as something of an anachronistic word. I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge deal on general principle, but the style of the chapter so far seems to be leaning fairly heavily into the slightly older language that some fantasy stories use, so it is noticeable here. Why is Ata giving this young man a drink instead of the waitress doing it? P4: “He killed his mother…” this line of dialogue feels a little as-you-know-Bob. This might be a little too particular, but I think it’s often hard to get qualifying information into dialogue without invoking that feeling. I could see “his mother” OR “the king’s aunt” being believable, but squeezing both in there is harder. Also, I was getting “did something reasonably scandalous” level of contempt for Ata, not “matricide.” I think this comes back to not having a very good sense of what the other people in this scene are doing. Next scene. At coming onto the scene just as he happens to hear a scream feels a little coincidental, especially since At then happens to be rescued in more or less the same way as he was attempting to rescue E. I can buy Ath having followed Ata, though I’m not remotely clear on why, but having it happen twice in the same scene is a bit much for me. Since E apparently works for Ata, you could perhaps alter the scene to have him discover them in their place of work, or whatever, rather than hearing someone scream in the street that just happens to be someone he knows. P8 “… Ata moved to stand between him and E.” Why? Wasn’t that the whole point of getting someone to help? “…who grinned and nodded…” I’m confused as to why grinning, nodding, and whistling is appropriate here? For someone who was fairly insistent on talking to Ath, he now seems fairly intent on paying more attention to his transcription than the person he wants to question. Overall: Generally speaking, I wanted a little more sense of the emotional word of the POV characters. There are some instances where this comes across very well, but it’s usually in specific lines like a piece of dialogue; otherwise, even when discussing what seems like something that should colour the characters’ opinions of what they’re doing, the narrative feels very matter-of-fact. The other major thing I wanted was more of a sense of what the characters around the POV character were doing. Generally the narrative felt very focused in on the POV and whoever the POV happened to be talking to at the moment, and the world around the people “in focus” felt mostly non-existent.
  11. Sorry for the late reply folks. @shatteredsmooth, @Snakenaps, and @JWerner for today.
  12. Hi! I would like to join the Reading Excuses group. My email is [email protected] Thanks!

  13. @shatteredsmooth, @Snakenaps, looks like you're both good to go.
  14. Augh. Yes! Sorry!