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Silk last won the day on September 20 2012

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  1. P1 “even though I’m only a year older than him…” I actually had been reading H as the older one. Also, and it’s very possible that this is just a result of me living outside the US, but the term “freshman” here made me think everyone is in college, which puts everyone at older than I thought they were. P5 “Your mom’s awareness isn’t a bad thing…” not sure why, but I stumbled on the word “awareness’ here. P7 “…he makes flowers bloom…” wait, have we seen this? Because I feel like we should have seen this. Or at least hints thereof. P14 “Do you regret it?” I think this is actually the first time it’s been spelled out that Br is one of H and N’s moms (I forget which one is mom and which one is ma). I still think having a few more hint and/or an explicit “who’s who” in the earlier chapters would help. Also… this implies that the fey have gene sequencing technology? Overall: My thoughts on this sub are pretty similar to the last one, I think. I’m still not necessarily concerned with N being off-screen, but—moreso in this submission than the last one—I don’t quite feel connected to the overall narrative. Setting the chapter up as its own goal to make H talk about his feelings helps a little because then we do achieve that goal by the end of the chapter, but I’m still not totally sure why it’s important in terms of our overall progress. With A, it worked better because they have an established prior relationship that has already affected the narrative, but with H it feels like W’s doing it almost as a way to pass the time. I accidentally took a three-ish week break between starting and finishing this critique, and coming back to it with fresh eyes, I think part of what’s giving me issues is that it feels like each of the two chapters in this sub is only one thread. There’s the “get H to talk about his feelings” chapter and then once that’s out of the way we start progressing the fey plot again—but they’re both very sequestered to their own chapters which might contribute to the feeling that the plot isn’t moving during the chapter with H. I wonder if giving W a secondary goal that’s more related to the plot, even if she isn’t going try running to the rescue of N and her amma (which is unusual, and fairly well signposted, and overall I like!) would help with this. This is very much a “throwing things to see what sticks” suggestion, but maybe she decides she needs a better grasp at MA’s role in all this, so that she can better help N et al once he rescues himself, and can keep working away at that. Then maybe A gives her some information during their heart-to-heart that she wouldn’t have had otherwise. Then H says something in the next chapter that makes it sound a little more sinister. Then when G, B and company show up in the next chapter, it’s this huge relief because they’ve gotten out from under something terrible. Or something.
  2. Please do! Any other takers?
  3. You're on for tomorrow. Any other takers?
  4. Also a bit late, but please do
  5. Doing my call for submissions a little early... because on Sunday I'm heading for the Writing Excuses retreat! So my activity will be a little spotty. Although I'm not looking forward to hours of airplanes and layovers, I plan to make good use of the time and turn you all into my entertainment catch up on submissions during the trip out. So, any takers for this upcoming week?
  6. Sorry for the late reply! You’re both good to go.
  7. So we have @kais up for a submission this week. Any other takers?
  8. Sounds good, though I'll confirm the full roster a bit later in the week.
  9. Hi! So, this critique may feel more like me thinking out loud than usual. Sorry about that - I am having trouble articulating some of my thoughts, but hopefully there's something in here that is useful. I'm not quite sure this chapter gets me there, at least not yet. It feels like maybe this happened too easily or that the scene is missing a beat. Some of that might be down to needing a bit more specific setup, a bit more on that in my LBLs below. But right now it feels a little like we resolved a try/fail cycle without the actual failure. I'm also wondering if the "bringing W closer to N" thing is too much of a focal point in this chapter. Which is, admittedly, a weird thing to say for a romance. But whether or not N and W are getting closer, or whether they both want a relationship, is not really in question - it's been made pretty clear that they both do. The things that are keeping them apart, at least from this reader's perspective, are whether N can escape his fey relatives, his feelings about his village/existence/whatever putting W in danger, and W's own feelings about needing to improve parts of herself that didn't serve her well in her last relationship. Since this chapter is about the last of those three, I wonder what would happen if you reframed it to be specifically about W, rather than N becoming some sort of almost-mystical guiding force for her. LBLs are short this time, but here we go: “…he saw the worst parts of me while we were together.” Yeah, I do think this needs a little more setup. We actually don’t get a whole lot of specifics on W and A’s relationship, and I think if this is something W wants to work on, we should know what specifically she’s trying to improve. “I can message G to keep me updated.” It does feel weird that this is the first solution W gravitates to, like she’s not all that concerned about trying to keep her cousin from doing something stupid. I wonder, what if you flipped these two things, so W tries and fails to get ahold of G and then moves on to problems she actually can solve? P2 “…blowing up at him for small annoyances.” Ooh, yeah, so this is telling me what I want to know, but I’d love to see it explored a little more. Right now we’re getting a summary but not seeing the dynamic in action. This doesn’t have to mean flashbacks – it could be W saying something or stopping herself from saying something and A reacting to it, that sort of thing. P4 “Babysitting is exhausting.” LOL. P7/8 I love that W is pushing A to talk to her mom, but why is being so cagey about it? I feel like “my mom is ace, maybe you are too, have a chat about it and see if it resonates” would be way more straightforward…
  10. Any takers for this week?
  11. P1: Okay, this is almost certainly WRS, sorry, but where did she los her shoes? “And given how you look like sh—” okay H is growing on me. It’s telling that H seems completely unsurprised, but I’m curious how else he feels. I think because he seems to accept this from W rather easily – obviously he knows about the supernatural stuff already, but I’m more thinking that he goes along with her proposed solution here without questioning it. And there’s no payoff for W ignoring his earlier warnings to stay away. P3 “…nothing is scarier than her advisor…” lol. P4 “…how weak she is right now” – this reminds me, I don’t know what the status of the magic healing potion is right now. I’m guessing it’s running out, since mom isn’t doing so well? “…not telling the full story…” no kidding. Mom is taking this very well Does she have any idea of any of this supernatural stuff, and if so, does W know that she knows? “…after being raised by an overbearing mother.” I’m still not tracking exactly what H and N’s family situation, and I’m getting lost trying to follow the conflicts H is relating of characters who have so far been relatively peripheral to the story. “…at least he doesn’t lack self awareness?” LOL. I was about to make this very comment. P8 “…this is something I have to do without him.” As a character moment, I like this a lot, and her decision to not get involved in the fey realm where she hasn’t been able to help makes a lot of emotional sense. But I can’t help but wonder what specifically it is that W plans to do – if she even knows it yet. I’m definitely eager for her get to do something proactive. P15 “And you’ve gotten so big” – this landed oddly for me. It feels something you’d say to a much younger person. W’s mom really is taking all this vey well. I would have many, many more questions in her shoes. Overall: Similar thoughts to @Mandamon on this one. I enjoyed the read, it definitely felt like a getting-things-ready to gear up the next act sort of statement. It was also a bit weird to me that W is collecting secondary characters, but maybe not a problem? The one I struggled most with – and I know W didn’t collect her exactly, since she went away after delivering A and G – was B. I just wasn’t quite sure why she was doing what she was doing. I actually really like the idea that idea needs to work on herself and her friends before getting back to the romance part – though I wonder if it needs to be a set up a little more, i.e. what specifically W needs to work on about herself (whether she knows this or not). Not having N in the chapters certainly changes the dynamic, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing, necessarily. I agree with Mandamon that a check in or two with N would probably be useful, since this is a romance, but I do think you can get away with them being separated for a while if we can see the characters working towards each other. Aside from the fact that W’s parent has been captured, I don’t have a very good sense of what the plot is going forward or what the overall threat is (what threat does the village pose? What about MA? What role does Aeg play in this?) or what Ws role in that is (or what she thinks that is), and by this point in the story I probably should. I wonder if building up that sense of the bigger picture might help with that feeling of being “stalled” that your other reader mentioned – it will probably be easier to feel progress once we have a better sense of where in the overall story this new sequence is going to fit. I also wonder if the magic medicine subplot needs a little reminder or two of where it’s at in the chapters leading up to this one. The last I remember seeing of it, N had just picked her a bunch of flowers so it almost felt like a solved problem.
  12. P3 “She knew she was in trouble” Maybe WRS, but why? P4 “…there were still bits she wanted to keep private.” Such as? I don’t have a good enough sense of R to know what she wants to keep from her mother or why. Spelling it out might help. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the relationship between R and her mother. In the last chapter she felt like an abusive parent, in this chapter I didn’t get that impression – either from the way her mother acted or the way R reacted to her. P7 So did the bits that we jumped over include a meeting between R and K and/or R agreeing to get them into the Library? I feel like we skipped that part. P8 “took F’s neck in his hand” this reads, um, somewhat more violently than I suspect was intended… “How long has she gone without protection…” Uh, this seems like a jerk move from Z here. But I do like where it leads with F revealing something he didn’t mean to. So the curator also knows R’s being guarded? This is starting to seem like a pretty open secret. P10 “If they find out he’s just a student… I’m going to be in trouble.” My first thought was, so why do it? The “you owe me” line would work to explain this, except that it seems that R seems to have already agreed to have done this before Z heals F. “I have a docent working with him…” If she’s already suspicious of K, and just his being there could get her in trouble, why isn’t she keeping more of an eye on him instead of leaving him to random library staff? P12 “Why am I missing a day of studying” – wait, but I thought Z was done his last lessons. At first I thought the Regent was a random noble off the street and was confused as to way the library guards were taking orders from him, but I think that that may be WRS. Also, the fact that this stuff is happening as part of a political struggle seems fairly transparent, so it may be worth either dialing back or hanging a lantern on that piece. P15 “It’s lost forever” do they not label their books? This sort of thing could happen by accident too, so I can’t imagine they don’t have some sort of system in place to mitigate this risk. P16 “K is also a student at the HH” … wasn’t this supposed to be a secret? Overall: Not much to add that isn’t already in my LBLs. I think some more emotional cues between R and her mother would really help in terms of understanding the relationship between them. I’m thinking of the burgeoning relationship between Z and K as I write this, where their mutual* attraction was pretty clear without being stated explicitly. * obligatory asterisk to note the possibility that K is manipulating Z to get what he wants, possibly only to fall actually in love with him later, though I’m sure those things would never happen… Speaking of Z and K, you’ll see from my LBLs that I spent a lot of time wondering why R—and Z, really, since it’s clearer now that the topic makes him personally uncomfortable as opposed to just being a rule—are going along with K’s wishes here, and why it seems they’re not trying all that hard to keep what he’s doing a secret. Playing up the need for secrecy here might be a fun way to ramp up the tension. All that said, I’m liking the library politics subplot and the creeping pests. I know you’re heading back to book one now, so I’ll look forward to seeing this whenever you’re ready! I agree with this. It'd be great to see her applying some of her research skills t o the stuff she's doing - whether that's her search for her own heritage, her clients, or even helping K (which, not to get overly prescriptive but I could see that adding all sorts of fun wrinkles). I think this is a good call too. Right now it's clear someone is trying to discredit the library, but I have no idea who or why, which means I also have no idea how it ties into any of other plots except it happens to be where R's physically located right now.
  13. P2 “We have to run.” I’m not sure why, but I was surprised that N’s mom seems to be on his side here, I guess I figured she would be more on the side of the fey. “Then a vine shoots out from the staff and grabs onto my mother…”Again, surprised she didn’t go for A first. Edit: Ah, explained a couple paragraphs down. P3 “Full moon.” I. uh. I was not expecting this. I guess this is maybe what the weird interaction with the wolves was about in the very first scene, but a bit more foreshadowing leading up to this moment would help. P4 The two paragraphs of reflection on C and W are nicely juxtaposed, but taken together it makes it feel like N’s standing around thinking during a fight scene. Maybe something a little more specific to break up the scene and draw his attention from C back to W? P6 “I hear her running off without me…” Wasn’t N right in front of her? Why is she not in his line of sight? “Both A and F stand in between us…” Again, it feels kind of like people are standing around waiting for our attention to be drawn back to them. Are A and F not trying to capture N and W? Where did C go? And, maybe WRS, but is F the given name for N’s mom or grandmother or they unaccounted for too? P7 “Well, the werewolf thing was a shock” LOL P8 “by their tall statue” should be “stature,” spellcheck won’t catch this one P10 “We can’t be friends.” Good reversal here, but again, a little more foreshadowing may be helpful. P11 “Instead of worrying about me and your parent…” Yeah, I’m surprised w’s going along with N’s “I have to do this alone” thing considering their parent’s caught up in this. P12 “…save my community.” There are a few people who are obviously threatening people N cares about, but I don’t really understand what the threat to the community is. Since MA and the Aeg have been looming threateningly in the background this whole time, I assume they have something to do with it, but that threat isn’t really concrete yet. Overall: I enjoyed this chapter overall – lots of good reversals and reveals. There were a couple things, flagged in my LBLs, where I was totally off-guard and suspect a little foreshadowing would go along way, but I think in terms of what’s actually happening and when, things are coming together nicely. Aside from my previous comments about wanting a bit better understanding of who’s who and what’s going on in a bigger-picture sense, my biggest struggle with this chapter was blocking. I couldn’t always track of who was where, and it felt like folks often vanished from the scene and stopped doing things when the camera wasn’t pointed directly at them. I'd also echo everything @Mandamon said. This feels like a very "end of an act" scene to me. I'm not quite sure where the story goes from here, but looking forward to finding out.