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Silk last won the day on September 20 2012

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  1. @kais it looks like we only have 4 slots so far with you, @RedBlue, @C_Vallion and @aeromancer for Monday so I think you're okay.
  2. Hmm. A while ago I read The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone - about Elizabeth Friedman, who was a codebreaker during the WWII era, if you think that might be up your alley?
  3. Yep, good to go. (Thanks for the tag @RedBlue!)
  4. @Snakenaps and @RedBlue it is!
  5. We're a quiet bunch this week! Any takers for Monday?
  6. LOL I keep telling her to take it easy. I think I've mostly convinced her... if only so she doesn't have to hear me say it anymore.
  7. Thank you! Things are going really well so far. Nobody has any right to be zooming around like that after a knee replacement. And gosh, but she's keeping me busy.
  8. Twist my arm, why don't you... if you're willing, that'd be great! Thank you!
  9. Hey folks, I am spending the next couple weeks caring for a family member who just had a major surgery (everyone is fine) as well as juggling a couple project deadlines I'd li;ke to get ahead of. I may be slow, or unable, to crit for the next couple of weeks. Apologies.
  10. Good to go. Three slots taken for this week.
  11. Just @aeromancer and @kais so far. Any other takers?
  12. I think all of the above to a certain extent, but especially two and three. The detached narrative is definitely reminiscent of older stories (when you submitted the very first chapter I honestly felt like I was reading a Henry James novel!) and that combines with, in particular, the noticeably formal way the characters tend to speak to one another. Not necessarily! There's nothing wrong with leaning into the areas where you've already got some strengths. And it's definitely good to try and shore up areas where you know you aren't as strong, of course, but you're not obligated to do that with this story if you think the "lean into the tropes" advice will work better for your project.
  13. Overall: This chapter does a couple of things quite effectively: it establishes W’s position on her relationships and what she feels like she’s lacking, and it establishes the paranormal aspects of this romance. What it doesn’t do is move the story forward. I feel like I am at the same place at the end of the chapter as I was at the beginning. How does what’s happening in this chapter drive W to action? What happens in this chapter that actually changes things for her going forward? Once you’ve figured that out, I think the chapter can be condensed around what’s really important. I can see the outline of the emotional beats you’re going for here and I don’t think any of them are out of place, but it felt like just about every scene in the chapter went on for a bit too long. I think honing in on the arc of the chapter will also help you amp up the emotional content; I can definitely see what you’re going for but don’t think the tension and emotion is as strong as it needs to be. Your questions: 1. Points of engagement? Points where your engagement wavered? Most engaged when W is talking to her Amma. That relationship is really working well folr me. 2. Any major shifts in how you view characters? No, nothing major, though my dislike of A is solidifying the more I see of her. 3. Do you feel like enough happened in this chapter, or did it feel like there wasn't a clear advancement of the plot? Mostly covered above, I think. Stuff happened but in a way that felt very slice-of-life, rather than driving towards a purpose. As I read: I wonder if this first paragraph would be more effective if the connection was more explicitly drawn to the present possibility of W’s mom being sick again. “Seems like lingering on exes is a full-time job.” Hah. So is W actually preparing for a tae kwon do examination, or just trying to distract herself into falling asleep? It is fruitless to ask where glitter comes from. Glitter comes from everywhere and nowhere and once you have used it once, ever, it will be with you forever. “Nothing like that…” So is E being weirdly possessive here or? I think I would be more invested in this weird tension between A and the boys if a) I knew what was causing it and/or it was actually driving some kind of action, as opposed to everyone just ignoring each other in polite silence. “And I listen to E give his fun fact…” Admittedly it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been in high school, but it keeps striking me as weird that W’s high school is apparently this, uhh, regimented. Especially since this is W’s third year of high school, I imagine most folks would know most everybody else by now. “...and watch for people looking intimidated.” As someone who boxed throughout high school, man I wish I got this reaction a few times! Although boxing doesn’t really have a “black belt” equivalent. “I don’t want to be the one who makes that smile drop from his face.” Ahah, this is starting to sound a bit more like romance. “...the least I can do is hold it over him.” To be fair, I’m not in the habit of spelling my name for people either. It so rarely comes up! “If your flower does anything cool…” Kind of surprised that W doesn’t wonder about this a little more. It’s a rather odd thing to say! I zone out every time A starts talking about popular kid politics and her very calculated plans for getting into so-and-so’s friend group. I’d be more invested if A actually seemed to care about this or any of the people she’s reportedly trying to be friends with other than in the apparently-intellectual pursuit of popularity—I’ m not particularly attached to her as a character, but at least I could care about her as W’s friend. And, since this whole drama with B is all happening off-screen so far and apparently mostly there as a foil for W’s own relationships, I think it can be a whole lot simpler. I don’t think I had either E or especially N pegged as at the top of the social food chain, but okay. “But I don’t know anything about romance…” I mean, he doesn’t appear to actually be trying to romance W yet. Oh, these flowers are tabloid-level notorious? I thought they’d cropped up as a relatively recent phenomenon, not an established mystery.
  14. 1. Do you get the sense that the plot is moving forward with this chapter? Definitely moving forward, but in many places – most, honestly – the events felt too easy. It didn’t seem like the characters encountered any real opposition, any place where I at least really believed there was a possibility they might not make it, until they got to the city and D didn’t want to help them. 2. Is the dialogue less stilted than it was in my past submissions? It felt about the same, I think – improvement towards the end with Mr G and D snipping at each other – and the narrative tone is still pretty archaic in many places. 3. Are you at all invested in Aurelius as a character (his plight etc.)? A little more than in previous installments, but not as much as I need to be. He isn’t a particularly emotive character (partially coming back to that old-fashioned, somewhat detached narrative voice – I called out one or two specific lines below as an example). I’ve just gone and skimmed through some of the other comments, and I agree with those who’ve mentioned that if you’re going to draw that heavily on tropes you should be subverting them in some way. Humour is definitely one way of doing that and I think the archaic narrative voice that seems to come naturally to you could lend itself very well to that. It would also be an obvious way of modernizing the book because I could definitely see it being a barrier to marketability if it's not there for a reason. As I read: Right off the bat, I think the appearance of Mr. G is going to need more foreshadowing than it’s been given; I know it was mentioned that he disappeared, but this still seems abrupt (and A still seems to be taking things way more in stride than I was expecting). In the previous chapter, rather than just mentioning the fact that the teacher disappeared, I think mentioning that he was outspoken against the count and that people who are outspoken against the count have a tendency to disappears, possibly in different parts of the manuscript, would do more to make the teacher’s appearance here feel earned. “A looked up… anger in his eyes” reads like third-person omniscient It’s a little less overt in this draft, which helps, but the introduction of supernatural abilities being apparently relatively common seems a bit abrupt here. I think a little more setup regarding how common these types of abilities are and how they’re understood in the world before this point would go a long way. The count seems generally more reasonable in this draft, but sticking them under the privy is still kinda cartoony. It COULD work as a kind of character-building still, I think, suggesting the count is kind of a coward who’s only outright cruel when he’s absolutely sure he can get away with it (not entirely bought into this idea yet, but could see it working) so depends on whether that’s the kind of characterization you want to go for. “Then you go and I’ll catch you.” This might go SOME way towards breaking A’s fall, but if he’s high enough that the fall is dangerous, then he’s high enough up that the fall is dangerous even if someone else catches him. I would like to see A be a little more active when encountering M – that’s been his goal the whole time, after all! - even if it still results in him falling form the window. Could be WRS, sorry, but has the count actually been revealed to be a demon in this draft? If not, Mr. G’s comment at the bottom of p6, “the Count C I knew,” may be a holdover from the previous version. “...and then receded into the distance.” I wanted a little more tension at some point during this chase/escape scene, and this seems like one missed opportunity to amp it up. Do Mr. G and A leave a trackable trail? Is there really only one way for them to go? What can happen that brings their pursuers a lot closer to catching them then they seem to get here? Right now, the outcome of the scene does not really seem to be in doubt. “...was the city of V.” Is this the city where A lives? The way it’s introduced makes it sound like that’s not the case, but they can’t have gone far enough that there are many cities waiting conveniently at the bottom of picturesque hills. Entrance into the city: No gates or guards? Nobody looking suspiciously as at the battered guy covered sewer as they make their way in? The city seems suspiciously empty. “Hopefully I’ll stink less with this” … wouldn’t he stink about the same, just while also wearing a blanket? I am delighted that D seems to want nothing to do with G and A because it’s the first real obstacle they’ve had this chapter. “… I don’t believe this is the Count C I once knew.” Ah, there is the clarifying remark on p10. Maybe hang a lantern on Mr. G’s earlier comment, then, since I think that does make that the first time in the revised version that this idea comes up. “It’s been twenty years since I last saw him.” This… didn’t seem to be the case from the way D greeted them? And I’d like a much stronger sense of desperation if that’s the case. This comment is the first indication I’ve had that this is a desperate move, but “it’s been 20 years I’m sure everything’s fine though” is definitely desperate. “...possibly expect to get through the gate.” Second time the gate is mentioned now that they’re in V but there was zero mention of them having to get through a gate to begin with. “Don’t go flapping your lips” okay D and G both trust each other way too easily But other than the occasional moments of “But WHHHY are you even trusting each other” I think the conversation between D/G is the strongest part of the chapter. So… that cart’s gonna smell like sewage now, yes? Since they never bothered/were never given the opportunity to clean up?
  15. Overall: Again, I thought this chapter was pretty tight! The biggest thing for me was to more clearly telegraph the seriousness of O’s injuries, about which I felt I was getting mixed messages. She’s obviously in pain and can’t walk, but a broken leg, say, isn’t necessarily life-threatening, and O’s mind seemed relatively sharp throughout all this except towards the very end. I think this will give you more opportunities to play up her naivete/denialism, too, because that has the potential to be an interesting character note, but as written I think it is mostly just contributing to the confusion around how injured she really is or isn’t. I love how much of a thing the nail polish is in this chapter, btw. Other than that, I made a few notes below about clarifying the general acceptability of casual murder in this spaceport. You know, minor details. As I read: “O caught a glimpse of Ex’s distorted face…” Are they heading towards O’s settee then? I thought they were heading away from it? “Pleas for help were very anti-hero…” Since “anti-hero” means a very different thing than what O is trying to get across here, maybe “not very heroic” would be better? “A useless biofilm from a useless ship, piloted by a now-useless Ne.” oh, ow ☹ “…or the drugs she’d ben given” wait when did that happen? I know you hung a lantern on this, but I’m having a bit of trouble wrapping my heads around the bird aliens being so blasé about killing people in a crowded spaceport. Also, was the bay Ori was in entirely empty once the birds left? I just had a bit of a “whoa, where did all these people come from?” moment. And … literally none of them notice a Ke hauling around an injured woman? I’m also having some trouble trying to figure out what B is trying to prove waving O’s fingers around. She’s trying to make people think O is a Ke instead of from Priutcu? I guess Ke have more fingers than Ard/Priutcuans? I think my stumbling block for both of the points above, actually, is buying into them relies on the spaceport being thrown into at least some amount of chaos by the explosion of Priutcu, but except for the encounter with the birds themselves, the spaceport as described doesn’t read as any more than “busy airport” chaotic. P10 “trying to pay of” should be “pay off” P12 “she did feel lightheaded…” I think it would be helpful to get more of this sooner. “You have actual coordinates?” this has kind of been referenced glancingly with “everyone has an Ard story,” and I realize that not every Jo Blo alien is going to have the coordinates, but how did O get this far without establishing that the planet is not only incontrovertibly real, and that some species are capable of calling it? It felt very much like a minor note here, which is honestly fine this early on. My impression on where Ori's at with this is that she sorta feels bad intellectually about her failure, but hasn't really internalized it yet. Which, again, is not a bad thing, but she definitely needs to kind of hit the bottom before she can start clawing back up and it doesn't feel like she's done that yet. I'd assume this to be a slow-burn arc that would become more prominent in later chapters and that is probably fine, but if you want it to feel more prominent in this chapter it's not there yet in terms of feeling like a major plot point. Yeah, I kind of wanted to tell her to lay off...