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Silk last won the day on September 20 2012

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577 Dakhor Monk


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  1. This is how it works! Thanks! I'm looking forward to it and will report back.
  2. Well, folks, I'll be traveling the next two Sundays, and completely off-grid in between said Sundays to attend the Writing Excuses retreat at Capitol Reef, so I won't be able to check the forums. Govern thyselves accordingly! Hopefully you won't need to do too much shuffling to figure out submissions
  3. @Bondsmith-Edgedancer tagging to make sure you see this, as I am very late. But I exist! Sorry about that. There have been many deadlines. P1 “…usually the more mellow type of guy.” This piece has been pretty modern in tone so far, from what I recall (Sorry, it’s been a while since I read the last two chapters) but this stuck out even so. There seems to be a LOT of concern about the end of the world, but not a lot of things happening that look very … end-of-world-y. We’ve already been threatened with the failure of the narrator’s father’s spell, which then ended up being … not so big a deal, as far as I can tell? So I’m not feeling the threat from these soldiers coming through. The narrator seems to be preparing to punish J and his army for something as they come through, but I feel like I’m guessing at his (? I don’t think we’ve actually established pronouns for the narrator yet. Sorry if this is WRS) feelings. Also, depending on how important this is going to be, it might be worth setting up in earlier chapters. P2 section starts out by saying the army wasn’t even going to arrive tomorrow, but then they’re suddenly here, so this probably needs to be adjusted. P3 “I really hoped they didn’t try to inflict physical harm…” Is that not the point of the narrator picking a fight? P5 “What are you talking about?” Didn’t R already tell Z in the first coupe chapters she was leaving? P9 I don’t get the jibe here about firebears at all. P10 I think some dialogue tags are needed here, as I’m not sure who is saying what. Also consider looking at the paragraphing, because it feels like the person doing the action in any given paragraph may not be the person who’s doing the speaking? Worth taking a look at. P12 “We’re running our morning drills.” Isn’t it nighttime? Or is this the soldier being obtuse? Overall: I think the thing that is missing most right now is a sense of forward motion. The narrator is getting into conflict, sure, but he seems to be drifting from one thing to the next without purpose. I don’t know why he is getting into fights with the soldiers, for example, so the fact that he is getting into fights with the soldiers becomes less meaningful. Five chapters in, even short chapters, we should have a clear inciting incident – what is it that propels the narrator into the rest of the story? It could maybe be the conflict with the soldiers, I’m not sure, but if so it needs to be moved up. If it’s the failure of the spell, then that needs to galvanize the character to action some how. And as we get farther in, we should be getting more an idea of where the conflict is going to lead and how different items – like the soldiers vs. the failing spell – are going to become connected. The worldbuilding didn’t get a chance to shine quite as much in these sections but I still think it’s a major strength of the piece, and maybe somewhere you can look for inspiration to drive the character and the plot forward. Keep writing!
  4. Hah. This is a familiar strategy.
  5. The quiet streak continues. Any one for tomorrow?
  6. It's been a quiet couple of weeks! Any takers for tomorrow? (Still behind on crits, still planning on catching up in the very near future, well before I start submitting my own stuff in July...)
  7. All right! Any takers for this week? By the way, sorry I've not gotten to last week's submission yet. I'm staring down the barrel of a couple important deadlines that mean I probably won't be able to pick up critiquing again until middle of next week or so, but I do plan on catching back up.
  8. We usually only do multiple slots if someone is working towards a professional deadline (contest/submissions deadline, publication schedule, etc) because we find that giving people a breather during the quiet times is important. But you can certainly have one!
  9. Congrats on your first submission! I think I'm pretty much in line with what the others have said so far. To the comments! “I’d thought it would be easier to conjure up something good…” I like this, very revealing. “…like many in the line the Arcs call…” this feels a little as-you-know-Bob, like everyone in attendance should already know this. I think you can get away with the rest. P2 “I had finally reached the uncomfortable part of the speech.” Good timing. We’ve got the setup, and so this feels like a good time to get to whatever comes next. … except nothing seems to come of the “uncomfortable” part of Z’s speech. They sit down, nobody reacts, the next person speaks, things continue. A bit startling as I felt we were being primed for an inciting incident right here. P6 “Depends on how quickly you get my field covered..” not sure whether we’re supposed to like G. The narrator does and respects how hard-working G is, but this makes G seem more like an overseer than someone who actually does the hard work himself (aka the thing the narrator respects him for). P7 “It was his own fault nobody liked him…” Heh. But wait, if they hated him enough to prevent him from entering the afterlife (originally I had thought this was done for ritual/religious reasons, but this makes it just seem like dislike), why have a funeral at all? “…get your lazy sternums…” I know this is supposed to be read as a joke but it’s definitely solidifying that I don’t like G. The narrator seems like they’re… drifting a bit. They wander between jobs, and I’m not sure why they’re trying to make small talk with G. What’s the narrator’s aim here? A little more direction would be helpful. Ooh! Screams! Inciting incident! Yes! P7 “K, go check it out” isn’t the narrator’s name Z? C is an old man? From “older than he looked” I had the impression of someone fairly young. I think for the reveal to have an impact we need a bit… more. More description/emotion, more understanding of what the implications actually are. Is this the thing that was mentioned in the prologue? Because in the prologue they were expecting it to fail and then it didn’t. So if this is the same thing why is it a big deal now, years later? P9 “and through the insanity…” This seems overstated since we’ve only seen one person get somewhat angry at the narrator. The jump from Ch1 to Ch2 feels abrupt. We go from dire predictions about the end of the town to the character entertaining people in a tavern. I really don’t know much about R aside from the fact that she’s friends with the narrator, so I’m not super-invested in her leaving. I think for this to work we either need a lot more characterization so that we as readers feel there is something to mourn—rather than Z just telling us he (I think?) is mourning—or we get the sense that this departure kicks the narrator into action somehow, that it’s an actual change for Z, more significant than just missing a friend. Overall: There is an interesting setting for sure and what seems like the makings of an inciting incident -but it’s not yet totally clear what the inciting incident actually is. The failure of the spell seems like it should be it but it’s not entirely clear why that affects things or how immediate the threat is, since it seems like these chapters stretch over a long period of time without really changing. I’m also wondering about need for the prologue. I thought it mostly worked on its own, but it seems to cover a lot of the same ground as the first chapter, so there’s probably some opportunities to consolidate here. Also, general grammatical note: Once you’re ready for line-level passes make sure you check your grammar and punctuation around the dialogue (generally a dialogue tag is considered part of the same sentence as the dialogue it’s attached to, and is capitalized or not accordingly).
  10. The confrontation between Ag and Ph feels almost a little too quick. The strain in their relationship has gone mostly unspoken and has actually only appeared on screen a few times, so Ph’s comment here feels like a lot. Especially since it’s the first thing he says to her. Having said that, the bottom of p6 makes this feel like almost like a rehash, an argument that the two of them have had before (even if we haven’t seen it). Maybe worth hanging a lantern on if that’s the intent. P9: The emotion here is good, but yeah, definitely solidifying my thinking that we need more from Ph/Ag on their relationship before this. “And now I’m with the Vs and we act as a family” whoops. Toxic workplace alert. I mean, uh… “With this, she might have room for something else.” Nice. P13 “It was no wonder the Ads had holed themselves up…” Not sure this is a problem that needs fixing, but this made me realize that I don’t really understand where the Vs stand in relation to the building Ad/Gen conflict or how sympathetic they are with either. P17 “…whatever Ch did to keep everything flowing smoothly.” Heh. P18 “But you didn’t read the brief, did you?” Heh. Again. Is bowing a thing in this culture? I don’t think we’ve really seen it before now. P24 “It was inevitable, as it had with every other species…” This paragraph is properly ominous, but also grammatically broken. “As it had with every other species…” has no antecedent and I think that’s what tripped me up here. WELL. That’s a fantastic endcap. Overall: First things first – I know you actually finished drafting a while ago, but it’s always worth saying. Congratulations on the completed draft! In terms of stuff happening, I thought this felt like a pretty good endcap. There are a couple of places, specifically the argument with Ph and the bit with Dr. H at the end, where I wanted a bit more sense of finality, but instead felt like we were actually opening up new conflicts. Obviously they are setting stuff up for the next book and that’s fine, but I also wanted to feel a bit more like we were winding this book down. For the Ph/Ag scene I think that’s more about getting the build right in the sections leading up to this, rather than the scene itself; I just didn’t feel sufficient build up to that point to make this section feel like an ending, rather than a beginning. For the scene with Dr H… it’s a bit tough to articulate, but I think it needs to feel more like it’s about J rather than the new weapon. Her arc so far seems to be “burgeoning despot” and that aspect of it just feels a little understated. Hopefully there is something in there that is at least somewhat helpful. And, worth emphasizing, I really have enjoyed reading this draft. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product! Yep, feeling this too. I think I've mentioned it in earlier crits.
  11. did I know that was how you were going to end that video...
  12. Yep, it's quiet this week, so if you're comfortable jumping in go right ahead.
  13. Congrats on the last sub! Any other takers for this week? (Sorry for the late reply; apparently I only hallucinated hitting the "submit" button this morning...)
  14. “Fortunately the mobile fungus hadn’t had time to grow” have we actually seen this yet? THE MYSTERIOUS FLING SERIES I LOVE THIS Wait, so how are these books actually being produced? Did they bring printing press technology? Have they adapted it to use resinplast sheets or something? It seems G is writing/selling books at a pretty big scale. “Worst of all, G might stop… selling him books.” As a writer, this is hilarious P4 “…only to realize someone had turned off a faucet” I really stumbled over this at first. Eventually I figured out that the reference to faucets must be a reference to the squealing sound, but at first I just wondered why on Earth And was sleeping in the communal baths. I’m not feeling a lot of tension in this flame-out scene—it feels very routine—but I’m not sure I’m supposed to be? Right now the little discussions of And and G are enough to keep me going. P6 Oh, there it is. “…trying to free the screaming V” even with the description of the bear trap thing that comes after, I can’t picture what the Vs are actually doing here. “Arms pinned, sir” – she seems very calm considering she’s been screaming. Unless she just yelled the once? I was picturing like an ongoing horror situation. Which, getting some elevated emotion at this point of the scene probably would not be out of line. “It was obviously impervious to fire…” We just saw this in the last section – it may be new to And, but it’s not new to readers, so And wondering how this happened doesn’t have a huge punch here. I wonder if this is part of what’s behind people’s comments here and there about not feeling forward motion with some of the sections – these points where it feels like we’re rediscovering things with different characters rather than discovering actually new things. P8 “He took off his helmet…” bad idea, dude. “stenographers, recorders, reporters, and upper managers…” This definitely caught me by surprise; do they even have the population for this? Or are these all Ads and already part of the “haves” crowd instead of the “have nots”? P9 “self serving bas…” Okay, that’s pretty funny. “First we’ll have… But first,” close repetition of “first” in J’s dialogue here P10 “Vs were dying… and would need to be supplemented by Gens.” Again, we’ve seen this in previous sections – but keeping it and hanging a lantern could possibly add to the sense of dysfunction here… P11 “Where were they going to put old Gens who were a drain on the colony?” Well this is very revealing. Certainly got my hackles up. Well done. P13 “Do not apply [fungus] to injuries. There is no telling what might happen.” I mean… The Ads do know about D, right? They have a pretty good guess. Why not just say that? Also with the book-specific words weeded out, “Do not apply fungus to injuries” is probably just good general life advice… Wow J’s thoughts about C having a crush on her are extremely off-putting. I mean it’s fine, I was already convinced she was a villain, but if there’d been any doubt this scene would have resolved it. I do like the way this scene is set up though, with her set to basically manufacture consent from the Gens about whatever her aims are here. It feels like we finally get to see her do something instead of watching her froth impotently so she can summarize what’s happened for us. P16 “A deep-voiced older man” should be lower case “a” here Mixed feelings about this scene with J here. At first I thought you were setting up to manufacture consent for something objectionable out of the Gens, which was pretty cool because I was excited to see her actually do something. I was fine when that went over like a lead balloon, because it turned out she was manipulating the Ads rather than the Gens… but I’m not sure what she’s manipulating them to do, because “marginalizing the Gens” is already pretty status quo, so I’m not sure why she still needs to get them to agree to it. This Al/K scene is a delight. Well done. “Ch didn’t have a lot of friends.” P32 “She thought it would calm Ph down a bit… but then she’d lost two crew members” I think the implication is that any bonding she got with her son was undone by her having to spend a bunch of time at work dealing with the fallout, and not that the fungus killed two people in front of the kid and traumatized her son forever? Because the wording seems a bit ambiguous. P38 “Any exposure of interior parts of the creature to outside atmosphere” It’s a good thing I’m working from home today, because I’m reading this on my lunch break and I just guffawed. The fact that it’s so dry makes it equally horrifying and hilarious. I love it. Overall: Nothing that I didn’t already highlight in a few spots in my LBLs. The human interest scenes, for lack of a better term, are fantastic, but I’m starting to get antsy for some forward motion in more plot-focused ones. I keep expecting the pace to build and increase as we approach the end of the book, and it doesn’t really feel like that’s happening yet.
  15. In which I pick at you about little things, apparently. Sorry. I think these last few scenes go some ways toward addressing my comments last week about not being sure what holds all these scenes together as a section, but not all the way. This sub helped ground things, but it still feels a little like we’re going back and forth between “things going well – things going poorly” without an overall shape. I think you just need to lean more into the feeling that you want more in the endcap throughout – even if things change along the way. As I read: P1 “…who she thought of as her adopted son” this stood out considering the attempt so far to avoid gendered language—and, unless I’m misunderstanding, gender isn’t assigned until someone makes their own decision. Unless P is just precocious and has chosen his gender already? Edit: I see this addressed later on, so nevermind! P2 “…when the had dinner together and Ji gave P back, which wasn’t as often as she would have liked.” The dinner or the handing P back? Maybe both? I wasn’t sure if this was ambiguous on purpose. P3 “literally crawling” welp “growing from the very center of the rplast” WELP “There was a spare ‘thrower…” Starting to get the impression that Ji is the only one who’s noticed this infestation? That doesn’t can’t be the case, surely? “More construction workers were showing up…” Ah, here we go. Maybe a reference to her getting there between construction shifts or whatnot (early for her shift doesn’t necessarily mean nobody’s around). It just seems odd that nobody has noticed a building literally crawling with fungi. P4 “…as it seemed every third or fourth day was… before Ji left for the day.” Within these couple of paragraphs I wasn’t sure whether it was a summary of them defending against a long fungal incursion or this was all happening in the moment. I think this is all happening in the moment, but “every third or fourth day” at the top of the paragraph was what made me wonder if we were going into montage mode. P5 “but I’ve seen this before…” Oh. I thought this was something new, in line with the “time to stop passively observing” bit from earlier in this section. “They can, but they won’t be happy about it.” premature close quotes here as the dialogue continues P6 “If you hadn’t noticed [it] tunneling through…” I stumbled here, because I thought this was really obvious, enough that Ji spotted it from a distance. And the foreman made a point of asking her to check the rplast, isn’t this what she would be looking for? Also… is this just the fungi drilling through the rplast sheets, right? If it started sprouting spontaneously that’d be a really big deal – which seems kind of understated here. Edit: Ah, this is addressed a bit later on. Maybe just a bit more of this anxiousness from Ji sooner to remind us that this really is A Problem. P8 “He’d known it would happen eventually… he’d assumed he would have five or ten years…” Given how aggressive this stuff is, WHY would he assume that? Maybe just a bit about his reasoning, if not here than in an earlier section. Because before it was (as I recall) presented as him being pretty confident about it – which you’d need to be given the aggressiveness of the fungi – so hearing this now just sounds like he’s been taunting fate this whole time. P10 “…he would need to prepare as if it was the second option.” Oof. I do not envy F right now. “…Ad would take all the Gens would give. And F was about to add to that problem.” I get the intent but the wording here is awkward enough that I stumbled. I think because “that problem” doesn’t, technically, have a clear antecedent here. Maybe “that burden” instead? would smooth this out without changing the rest of the sentence? P11 “F also knew…” I don’t think we have a corresponding “F knew” before this line. “It was like he’d never worked in R&D before…” lol P12 “After more bickering and infighting between Ad and scientists, Ad and Ad, and scientist and scientist…” My first thought here was “I actually want to see this.” “I don’t want to voluntarily expose more measures that the biomass might evolve around” ooh, I like this added danger. Is it worth foregrounding this a little more maybe? “…implement when it happens” – missing the close quote right at the end of the scene Oh good. It’s fireproof now. P17 “D’s name wasn’t on it…” Didn’t D get involved in a different disaster than the Kh one? The Kh disaster was the one really early on where Ji was hurt, right? P18 “But Mommy Ji works too” Oh no “he and Ch were fast friends” should be capitalized “He” “Just as soon as she could.” Heh.