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Everything posted by Silk

  1. New edit: Minor updates to the rules to better reflect current practices, and an update to the FAQs.
  2. Correct, we don't usually do double submissions and generally only make exceptions to this for external professional deadlines. However, you can certainly a plan for a regular spot on the 11th.
  3. Sounds good! Shoot me a DM with the link when you have a chance and I'll give it a read
  4. Hey @karamel, I'm trying to catch up on subs and was going to give this one a read. But before I do, I thought I'd ask if you have a revised version you'd rather I read instead?
  5. Nicely done! I’m very on board with this sub, and thought it was a solid start to a new novel. The level of worldbuilding was appropriate, the hook is there, and I have a reasonably good sense of W as a character. I say “reasonably” because I don’t have much sense of W’s interactions with the crew or who they are, and I think that’s the one missing piece that could tell us a lot about him. The focus of this chapter is pretty narrow and I wouldn’t expect to see a ton of it here, but the fact that we get absolutely none definitely colours my opinion somewhat; I don’t think W is necessarily a bad person but definitely have the impression that his connection to his crew is only utilitarian rather than having any sort of relationship with them. Having now read your post – also not troubled by the fact that the captain won’t be the MC, though as others have noted, I’d hope he sticks around in some form. As I read: First line, “it’s” should be “its” “during the wars a century early” earlier? “Like clockwork, the crew followed…” I’d be curious to get a sense of reactions from the crew, since W at least seems to think this is dangerous. “Belay that… no sense in letting it go to waste.” Seems to contradict himself here – I took from the second sentence that he’s quite willing to attempt salvage, but that’s not what he said to the deckhand. It’s interesting that none of the crew have been named or seen any focus. It gives the impression that W is not particularly attached to his crew. POCKET BLUNDERBUSS I think there are a few places where the prose could be trimmed back, definitely, but figured it was too early to get into LBLs.
  6. Thanks for another sub! As far as tone goes, I didn’t have any issues with it – it certainly seemed like a very modern tone but there is precedent for it in otherwise medieval-esque fantasies and it seemed consistent. Dialogue I think I’ve addressed in my “as I read” comments below. My biggest issue with the combat is actually an issue with the sub overall: it lacked tension. For one thing, C seems pretty competent, so his safety never seemed truly in question; for another, I don’t have a real good sense of the characters or the stakes. There are two sides fighting, but why? Who am I supposed to feel sympathy towards? What happens if one side loses? I really don’t have a good sense of why what’s shown on the screen matters. Even the apparent conflict between C and his father isn’t all that interesting, because C says some things about it, but I so far don’t have the sense that he’s particularly emotionally invested in that conflict. The thing that has most kept me engaged so far is the C/A relationship – it seems to be something that C and A both believe in pretty strongly and I get the sense that there’s an interesting story behind it, so I’m interested to know more. As I read: AH seems like a very modern name. Which is fine, except that it’s at odds with the other names we’ve seen so far (C and his sword). P1 “C gave a grunt of ascent” should be “assent.” Spellcheck won’t catch this one. Okay, since you asked about dialogue, I think one of the things to consider is how modern you want your dialogue to sound. In the first couple of paragraphs here, A’s dialogue sounds fairly modern, but she’s not using contractions at all, which fantasy often uses to signify a more formal/archaic setting. Another thing to look out for is unnecessary dialogue tags. Especially like in this first scene, where you only have two people talking, you probably don’t need as many of them as you think you do. P2 “...when killing needed done” should be “doing” “...blade sank deeply into the saddle” so what is the horse doing? Details like this can make the combat feel more believable and potentially add to the tension. P3: at the very top of p3 C seems to be trying not to kill the assassin, but a paragraph later he casually beheads her. While the narrative notes that this attack was fiercer than the first one, I haven’t gotten the impression at any point that C is in particular danger, as he’s being presented as a fairly powerful character, so this is a surprising about-face. The phrase “one of the boys” is being used an awful lot. I’d imagine people would be using ranks/positions etc as well. P5 “I lost my horse back there…” not making any attempt to recover it? This suggests that this group is VERY well supplied, which is not the impression I’d gotten to this point. P6 here’s “The boys” again. This definitely seems to be a military situation, and while there certainly might be a level of informality in day-to-day operations I have a hard time imagining quite this much. Re: the medallion and reveal: why did C wait until the scouts were back to have this conversation? If A is his closest confidant, wouldn’t he have asked her about the medallion much sooner? “You don’t know what you’re dealing with…” I’d be more willing to believe this if C hadn’t dispatched the first assassin with such ease. For that matter, if the assassin wasn’t for C, why didn’t she just run instead of engaging with someone who was clearly not her target? “He knew he couldn’t say the words.” Why not? A says it immediately after. Okay, so eight pages in, we’re engaged in combat with this other military group now, and I have no idea who they are or why they matter. This far in, I really should. “ he began shouting orders” All indications still point to C’s outfit being a military organization, in which case, surely there would have been other officers about giving orders. If not, and the organizing attacking them is military at all, this would become a rout real quick. “Three blows.” Why three, specifically? If this isn’t some sort of magical thing then this makes no sense to me. “ripping the flesh ever wider” this seems like a very detached way to describe something that must be extremely painful.
  7. Congrats on your first sub! This reads more like a Chapter 1 to me than a prologue, at least partially because of the length, but I thought it was a pretty reasonable start. I will admit I was a bit let down when the disaster turned out to be from a mis-cast/interrupted spell and not something bigger, though I think that could be mitigated by giving us a better sense of stakes. What I struggled with most was understanding the stakes, because clearly the stakes are there, but they’re buried under all of the world building. Obviously this incident has significant political implications for B’s duchy, but readers don’t have enough information to understand most of it. It’s important for us to know that there seem to be some ethnic/national tensions between B’s duchy but we’re getting minutiae without really understanding the broader picture. Same goes for the judicial system – probably even more so, as we’re getting caught up in details about who cast what spell or was responsible for it misfiring (still not entirely clear here) and what politicians want to blame whom for what… but we don’t really have any sense of big picture for most of it, so we’re left guessing as to why these details matter. The one thing that sticks out for me is the bit about T enacting the judicial system himself and putting his soul at risk – that’s helpful because it has an immediacy and a sense of danger for our POV character. As for the rest, I get the impression that you’ve thought it and I suspect there is a lot of potential there, but it doesn’t mean much to me as a reader right now. I also, pretty much constantly as I read. wondered why the castle seemed to be so dreadfully under-staffed. This felt like a long chapter with the latter half around politics and judiciaries and such dragging out a bit. I suspect some trimming is in order here. I think I’ve mostly answered your questions organically at this point, but as far as what the prologue set me up to expect: Based on the first few pages, I thought we were being set up for an action narrative, but the last half or two thirds suggest a story of political intrigue rather than action (I know those two things are not mutually exclusive, but I say “rather than” very deliberately here.) In terms of the magic system, I actually don’t feel like we got a ton of information about it, other than “mis-cast spells are bad” and that it’s tied into the judiciary system somehow. As I read: p1 “the lack of human outcry in its absence” redundant phrasing here “a massive blue-silver sphere” is this object usually here? If not, the way it’s mentioned here and in the next few lines seems understated. “locked in with the duchess’s body” if this orb is protecting people why is T assuming the duchess is dead? Edit: A couple more paragraphs in, I’m now assuming this is what one of the disappeared lines on T’s arm means. “Where’s the healer?” So, yeah, I have been wondering why this is something that healer would have apparently been able to warn about (first line). Definitely wondering why T and R seem to be the only people attending to this disaster. Even with guards preparing to ride out with “news,” I don’t imagine they’d leave the castle un-staffed in normal circumstances, and this kind of disaster should bring people swarming back. I’m confused about who was casting the spell that caused the problem. It seemed to be the duke, but then Dw says otherwise. P12 “Not where he might hear.” Who is “he” in this case? The duke’s son? “We can have the midwife called before…” I’m definitely having trouble following the discussion here. The midwife apparently interrupted a spell that may or may not have been cast by the Duke, and depending on how the kingdom’s laws and politics work I could see the midwife being held legally responsible for that, especially if it was to shield a political figure from blame by blaming a working-class person instead (although that is apparently not what is expected to happen here). But how does her interrupting a spell by accident imply that she’s acting against the Duke’s son?
  8. Hi Valerie, Congrats on your first sub! I had very little in the way of line-by-line edits. The prose was solid and easy to read and I had a good sense of character all the way through. The thing I tripped up on most was the relationship between M and her daughter. The daughter seems quite alarmed when M starts talking about being visited by aliens, which is reasonable, but maybe not enough to actually do anything about it (“should I come down?”) which struck me as a little weird. The conversation doesn’t seem that tense on M’s side, but then she “slams” the receiver down as if she’s angry. Little details like this can be hugely helpful but here I’m getting just enough to make me feel like I’m missing something. I don’t think this is the type of piece that needs to end with a big bang (so to speak) but the end isn’t quite doing it for me yet, I think because I don’t have a strong enough sense of what M is leaving behind. Is this bittersweet, a sacrifice to get something she wants? Is it a triumphant departure? What is it that she’s actually getting out of running off with the aliens? You don’t necessarily need to answer all those questions, of course, or do so explicitly, but those are some ideas for things that might increase the emotional resonance of the ending. Question 1: I didn’t have an issue with the length, per se. It didn’t feel like it went on too long. That said, it certainly feels like an appropriate story for flash, and you may have better luck placing if you can wrangle it into a flash-appropriate word count. I think it is possible to pare the length back without losing too much content. I’d be inclined to take a good hard look at the dialogue as a first option for condensing, if that’s the route you decide to go. On questions 2/3: I actually didn’t read any of the questions until after I’d read the full piece and encountered your explanation of the symbolism at the end, so I think I ended up colouring my thoughts a little too much to have a helpful opinion here. That said: I don’t think the messaging is too in-your-face (it rarely is).
  9. I think that's because you actually have two emails on the list... @Valerie I got yours as well - I can confirm that I got all the subs this week if anyone else is wondering.
  10. So it looks like we are at four slots tomorrow with @C_Vallion. @Snakenaps, @Valerie , and @sniperfrog submitting.
  11. I've threatened to make him new ones on several occasions. Apparently, I need to stock up on d8 silicone molds.
  12. So it looks like we have @aeromancer, @ginger_reckoning, @Snakenaps, and @kais for tomorrow. @kais it looks like we just have room for the double-slot, so we are full for tomorrow! For our new members - this isn't something we do often, usually only when someone has an external deadline or very occasionally when someone has something that it really doesn't make sense to split.
  13. We don't typically take a formal break for the holidays, although things naturally tend to be a bit slower. Looks like we have @shatteredsmooth and @ginger_reckoning for Monday.
  14. Welcome, @Moshi! Glad to have you on board. I am, personally, completely hopeless at drawing, but we have a few artist types on here so you are certainly in good company there. As for writing, well, you're preaching to the converted on the joys thereof As a critique group we're mostly geared towards revising for publication but you are absolutely welcome, of course, to submit your stuff. When you do get around to submitting, feel free to let us know where you'd like us to focus our feedback and we'll critique accordingly! And, I don't think we have you on the group mailing list. Whenever you want to hop on that, send @Robinski and myself a PM with your email so we can add you, as that's what allows you to receive others' submissions and participate in the group. No obligation to critique while you're not submitting but it IS a useful way to get oriented to the group.
  15. This is why we have the "WRS" acronym! I suspect that's a large part of it, yes. Did we have his last name in the prologue before? If not, that might help. I think that as an introduction to the character, what we see here works just fine. It pretty much gives me the information that I need to know: he's a powerful character, he's kind of insufferable, and he's proooobably (I say probably because if I'd picked this up off the shelf, I wouldn't be able to just message you with "I'm allowed to hate him, right?" XD) an antagonist. So, I don't think we're losing anything in terms of seeing G as he is now. What we do lose from the prologue is the sense of transformation. So sense of transformation is important, for the character for both G and J, or for the social/political milieu of the world in general, and can't be gotten across in other ways, then the prologue is more worth keeping around, IMO.
  16. One of the things that the original prologue did well was invoking the trance-like feeling the character was experiencing and her breaking out of it. This chapter feels much much more detached emotionally. “Every time, she was awakened to the horror…” “She was about to go go back to carrying her rock.” So I was good with her waking up out of the trance in the prologue because it seemed so clear that it was very brief before she was drawn back into whatever was happening. That doesn’t seem to be happening here, so I’m wondering why waking up into this hellscape doesn’t seem more distressing or surprising to her, and if she’s no longer whatever mental compulsion the trance imposed on her, why is she still considering going back to her duties as if nothing was amiss? I would like a little more description of whatever is happening with the golden people. This all feels very sparse and I don’t have a good picture of what’s going on. “This is my chance/this was her chance” repetition at the top of p2 “...with miniscule blond hair” not sure how to parse “miniscule” in this context “That’s not possible… she must have been here” So a lot what J is saying here feels info-dumpy, very “as you know, Bob” type dialogue. “On a sadder note this may be…” I think you can do some playing around with remarks like this to make the POV character’s perspective much clearer. If it’s really the first time she’s had a drink without ash in it she probably wouldn’t have the framework to appreciate that it’s said. It seems more likely to me that she would try it and be startled by the fact that it was different and better. This could be a fun and useful way to play around with what she does and doesn’t understand as a result of her telepathy, because I’m still struggling to figure out what comes from her telepathy and what comes from her perspective. Top of p 5 “the spot her pierced her bleeding” can’t quite parse what this sentence is going for, but it needs to be revisited. It is very strange to me that the group is having this conversation in front of her. It shows a pretty blatant disregard for her as a person, which might be deliberate, but the level of detail in their explanations about her powers also still feels very “as you know Bob/maid and butler” to me. Also a little leery that we seem to have another Extremely Special person with Extremely Special abilities on board. And since I don’t understand what any of these things actually mean, it’s not giving me anything to get invested with in terms of the context of the world. P8 “How did you know that would work?” Also curious as to what suddenly resolved her (very reasonable) hesitancy. Also, my understanding is it takes skill to properly give someone an injection, it’s definitely not as simple as just breaking the skin in the right spot. “We normally give freed slaves number nicknames…” This seems unsavoury. So J is just kind of a jerk, yes? So W says both that where T goes is up to her, and that she doesn’t have much choice in joining them, directly contradicting themselves. I also don’t have a ton of sympathy for the “we freed you from slavery and now you have to do what we want, but it’s okay because you’re better off than if you went off on your own” argument. Which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, but I’m certainly not invested in the success of this revolution at the moment. “I know what it is!” Yeah, okay, I’m here for T yelling at her rescuers/new captors. Overall: I think there’s an interesting character idea here in terms of T having absorbed some stuff through telepathy but otherwise having had her personality and experience etc. suppressed, but more work is needed to really nail the voice. We get a ton of worldbuilding in this chapter, to the point where I had trouble following all of the terms, etc floating around. A couple of suggestions as far as worldbuilding goes: I think it needs to be more spread out so that we don’t end up with a couple chapters whose primary purpose ends up being just to explain a whole bunch of things about the setting, and I think it needs to be a little less focused on the details of MH and all the rest of it and give us a bit of a broader picture. What does it mean that she has … whatever abilities these are? The details can come after we have some pegs to hang them on. I still don’t have any sense of where the overall story is going, and this far in, it’s needed. I certainly don’t need all the answers, but what is the central conflict and how is this connected to it? Is the central conflict the revolution? If so, what does the character from the first few chapters have to do with it? Who should I be rooting for? Etc. Seconding both of these. I would have been fine with this, I think, if we hadn't already gotten so much of it in the form of all these characters talking over her. It's brief and reasonably set up. But because we've already gotten a bunch of it, I did do a bit of an internal groan at this. Agree. Seconded on all counts. Edit: It's worth noticing, I think, that my "overall" comments would look a little different if this were a first or second chapter. In that case, tune down the infodumping and nail the voice/perspective and you've got a pretty strong Ch1 or Ch2, and "there's a revolution" would probably be enough in terms of central conflict to keep going. But because we're 11 chapters in, I definitely need more than "there's a revolution" to keep me going.
  17. So we have @kais, @Snakenaps and @karamel up for Monday,
  18. You're most welcome! I hope it was helpful! I actually like this idea, on its own, it's the combination of the counter-culture/cult thing with a character who happens to have a mental illness, which happens to manifest as violence. I shifting C's intrusive thoughts to something non-violent will help a lot here. And, if there's room for it, possibly setting this this religion up a bit more so that it's clearly counter-culture as opposed to a cult. There's a distinct difference there, but not clear from the little information we have which one applies. have my sincere apologies. Oh yeah, him! Well then, I will go ahead and pat myself on the back for disliking him all along. And I get to continue to do so! Hooray!
  19. Overall: I’ll echo the comments that I found these two chapters way more engaging than the first few you submitted. Voice was clearer, the sense of personal stakes was there, and while the big-picture sense of stakes maybe wasn’t quite, I think there’s probably an easy fix – see my comments about the finance bit below (and the fact that we’ve skipped several chapters is likely contributing as well). My biggest struggle was reconciling what seemed to be a chapter with very scifi-feeling tech with previous chapters which seemed to be standard Renaissance-ish period fantasy. It may be, again, a product of missing some of the earlier chapters – maybe A and S were just in more remote areas? - but there needs to be some more setup on what level of technology is available, how common it is, and how magic and technology interact. Female POV critiques: I didn’t notice much that was “off,” to be honest, though the devil is always in the details on these things and I freely admit that 10 months of pandemic-sized workloads seems to be affecting my ability to do close readings. I’ll second all the specific instances that others have called out (including “friendzone,” ugh). If you really had to call out someone’s lips specifically, perhaps “full” lips would be a less awkward descriptor? And yes, as someone pointed out, people who suffer from anorexia often take great pains to hide it. Signifiers that others have suggested such as fatigue, baggy clothes, etc. might help cue an astute reader that something is amiss but it’s certainly not something you can identify at a glance. C might think this of course, and I think that @kaishas the right of it in thinking that your POV character can be fairly blunt about her perception of other women and their physical features, but it’s most likely not going to be in a sexually objectifying way. The comment about making sure she’s looking at other genders in the same level of detail is a good one too, though of course the specifics of what she notices are going to chance depending on a bunch of things. Worth keeping in mind, too, that the specifics about what your characters notice and how they handle body image will be different if you’re portraying a culture where body image doesn’t have the same cultural currency that it does in most Western cultures today. Religion: No real comment here. I agree with those who’ve said it seems mostly Christian-like in scope. Mental health: First I need to note that I do not have lived experience in this area. I haven’t done much research on the specific thing you’re portraying, and the research that I’ve done in other areas is somewhat stale. So, grain of salt definitely needed. That said – this landed better for me than it did for some of the others. It was immediately clear to me that this was someone experiencing intrusive thoughts, along the lines of some people’s experience Obsessive Compulsive Order. (Please note that this is very distinct from sociopathy or psychopathy, which refer to an inability to care for or tendency to be downright destructive towards others, and incidentally used to be classed as different disorders but were I think folded under one cluster of symptoms in the DSM-V. Not that the DSM-V is at all perfect, either!) My understanding is that these can be violent, can come more or less out of nowhere, and can be very difficult to stop thinking about. But I don’t feel qualified to comment what’s portrayed here other than that I understood the intent. And … @shatteredsmooth makes a very good point. This is going to be a very tricky line to walk because there is such powerful stigma associated with mental illness, in no small part because we’re saturated with media that portrays people with mental illness (as if it were one thing we could just lump together) as violent and dangerous. I understand the difference, academically, between intrusive thoughts and much more common things like anxiety and depression, but not all readers will. To the extent that this worked for me, it was because it was clear to me that her thoughts were unwanted, and because C did not act on her intrusive thoughts or seem particularly likely to do so, except for when she approached the automaton. That said, do C’s intrusive thoughts need to be violent ones or can they be something else? If you feel strongly about moving forward with C’s intrusive thoughts in their current form, a few suggestions: It felt like the intrusive thoughts C was feeling, aside from mostly having violence in common, were a bit of everything and the kitchen sink. I don’t know if this is a common experience so more research would definitely be required before implementing this, but I wonder if her having a specific thought that repeated, or had some recognizable permutations, would make her read as less indiscriminately violent. Relatedly, make sure you’re clear on what experiences you are and are not portraying. I noted a few comments from the others along the lines of “this seems more like…” and while co-morbidities certainly happen – I’m not a fan of the overly clinical language but it’s what I have – lumping too many things together is not going give you a respectfully portrayed character. Keeping the difference between mental health and neurodiversity top of mind is a good call-out too. Can you assign her some specific coping mechanisms that can demonstrate that she is in control of her actions? Content note on the next two bullets for discussion of self-harm: My initial read of V-ism that it was fringe and maybe even kind of cult-y. The scene between D and C at the service makes me wonder if maybe that's not correct, but immediately having the impression that the character with mental illness was part of a cult definitely contributes to mental health stigma, IMO. Sounds obvious, but research will be very important here, and not just around the actual experiences of people who live with this type of thing, but make sure you are very aware of the tropes regarding characters with mental illnesses in fiction, and make sure your character doesn’t fall into them. As I read: Start of this sub is giving me a considerably different impression of the time period than the previous subs did. “Human trials” and – funny though it may sound – “clipboard” were very jarring to read as I suddenly felt like I was in a much more modern period than the previous subs. Is there some setup that happens in the chapters we didn’t see that provides some ground work for this? P3 “The engineers screamed and…” this description is hitting me a bit oddly. I think because it presents the folks in attendance as very uniform in their panic. Very minor, but a stumbling block nonetheless. So I would not except a reanimated automaton to be able to talk or reason, but nobody seems surprised so far by the fact that that’s what this one appears to be doing. Bad assumption on my part? P4, again, finding what seems to be a sudden transition from period fantasy to Evangelion-style scifi to be somewhat jarring (even though I’m assuming that the suits are powered by magic). Definitely needs to be some setup for the level of technology in the world, and how magic and technology interact, before now. “...begin to redevelop its original personality.” I think the time to get this information is probably before automatons started running around having opinions about things, to provide more context around people’s reactions to this. And… is this common? If so, why was it allowed to happen in the first place? Is our impressively-dressed friend who just burst through the ceiling the sinister caped guy from the prologue? I’m getting bad-guy vibes again. And he shut the automaton down, so... “Check the finance department” feels like a bit of a let-down, tbh. At least all on its own. I really hope this mech didn’t come back to life just to warn me that Joe in Accounting was skimming 5% off the top. “She knew he was only thirty-five…” Can I hit him? Please? (I am rooting hard for this guy to be an antagonist.) So I had originally had the impression that C’s religion was fringe whereas D’s religion was fairly mainstream. If that’s a good assumption, though, it seems unlikely that C would be quite this ignorant of a more mainstream religion that people in her own family follow. To the extent that it feels info-dumpy, it was because I started with that assumption that D’s religion was a mainstream one and I couldn’t understand why C didn’t know most of this. I think I was also mentally coding it as Christian, and assuming some of the cultural ubiquity that comes with it. As a conversation between two people, it actually reads fairly naturally.
  20. Hmm. I definitely think starting with the outbreak could be more engaging, and give us something to get invested in as we see what changes. That said, it definitely feels so far like the story that's been promised is a plague/cure narrative, and and I think it's right to worry that starting with the outbreak might might underscore this. If the story is more about the unexpected consequences that happen after the vaccine, what happens if you skip ahead to when those political changes start happening?
  21. I’m definitely somewhat curious as to why these people are wandering about through what appears to be an apocalypse, but I think there needs to be a much stronger sense of urgency to really pull me through this chapter. By the second or third page I was already getting antsy to get some sense of stakes, whether that’s a sense of external danger or emotional stakes or whatever it was. The first few pages read as very reflective, which isn’t itself a bad thing, but as very detached, so I’m not as pulled into K’s world and situation as I would want. My sense of detachment increased as I kept reading – K and N seem to be potentially afraid of this woman as they contemplate running from her, but again, the visceral sense of fear or danger isn’t really there. I judged the characters a little bit for their first reaction to be think about running away rather than helping. That could be a pretty telling detail, but the way this woman is not presented as particularly threatening, and the fact that the characters have seemed pretty detached, makes them look like they are not the best people. The fact that they agree to kill this woman definitely adds to that. They don’t put up much of a fight about it and the focus seems to be on the emotional wounds much more than the physical ones, so it’s hard to swallow the apparent line of reasoning that this is in any way necessary or laudable. I’m wondering if the detached feel is a deliberate effect – it certainly feels like it could be a way of expressing trauma or loss or what-have-you. But if so, I think we need to feel that trauma or loss a little more deeply than we do to make it work. Right now I’m having trouble caring about the characters because the characters themselves don’t seem to care about anything. Zombies! Okay, so now there is more conflict which is good, but I think the zombie story and encounter with M in general comes too late for an inciting incident. If this is the moment where things change, we need to get to it sooner. Also… is this thing about zombies new information to K and N? I had the impression that yes, it is, but they don’t seem to be very startled by it. On the other hand, if this is NOT new information then they are awfully cavalier about all these dead bodies. Overall: I think there is an interesting start to a story in here, for sure, but I need more emotion from the characters to buy into it and really even to understand the context in which they are wandering through an empty wasteland full of dead people. I think a little more information about what happened and why the world is the way it is would be very helpful too. A couple writing things I’ve noticed: the tense seems to shift frequently between past and present. This chapter is a bit overwritten – there are some really great lines and clear images, but also a lot of adjectives. An example of one I actually stumbled on was “small sun faded houses” but it’s mostly that there’s a lot of them.
  22. It’s been a while since I read the original trilogy, and I’ve gotta admit I have not yet read book 4 ☹ too many things happening! But with that caveat out of the way, the tone seems consistent to my view, I’m enjoying S’s POV and interacting with N and Y in from that perspective, and yes I would definitely like to know more about why this planet just up and exploded thank you. There was only one paragraph that struck me as a little infodumpy, which I have duly flagged below. Comments are light because draft zero and I’m dreadfully behind, but as I read: “three planets had repeated mention, and P, the most,” draft zero and all but I stumbled on this sentence. “…buried under news reports” Uh, does a planet hosting nine sentient species just up and exploding one day really get buried? I love the way you name your ships. “She shouldn’t have been poking around in archival records” that’s the fault of whomever left the restricted records open for people to poke around in, I’d say. “He had five fingers and toes…” is… is S a bit of a xenophobe? Because that’s the vibe this comment gives me. “Survived several wars… and the perpetual smell of Y’s coffee” hah. “When they’d all managed to return to A…” this is the only bit of recap that strikes me as a little infodumpy. This “OH HAI I SAW YOU IN THE DATABASE” has me envisioning this secret database with Google-Docs-style notifications of who is viewing it. I am suspicious of the timing of this message. I know S was in the database because of the explosion, but this seems to me (from what we’re getting) to be information that P could have provided at any time. SUSPICIOUS I say. I am getting an absolute kick out of N being described as so … pretty. I couldn’t tell you why, exactly, but I am just delighted with N and his midnight blue ringlets. Bottom of p7 “galactic incidence” should be “incident” The (I’m assuming) yes/no tongue clicks made sense on the comms, but now that she, N and Y are all face to face, surely S has more sophisticated ways to communicate than being stuck with yes/no questions? On the other hand, I do love this “we’re at the ‘wordless communication’ stage of our relationship” dynamic that comes across so very clearly in the last page or so. I... I kind of assumed this was code for drugs, for some reason. Should I have assumed this was code for drugs? This is a good call, I think. Obviously my opinion is coloured because I've read the first trilogy, but I think this is part of why that one paragraph struck me as infodumpy: how much do we actually need the information we got? I'm not sure this makes you uncultured...
  23. Hooray! Action and tension! This is definitely a welcome and needed change to the pacing so far. I think my biggest hurdle is swallowing some of the character motivations, especially S’s decision at the end of the chapter. More below. As I read: “…every inch a dangerous Revolutionary” We haven’t seen much in the way of action, let alone military action, from the Revolutionaries so far, so this reads more like S romanticizing what they’re doing. Which is fine and good if that’s what you’re going far; S certainly seems like the kind of character who might have stars in her eyes about this sort of thing. Why are they still distributing pamphlets? Isn’t the job more or less done now? “the shipyard echoed with gunshot” no calls to surrender, intimidation tactics, etc? Also, gunshots are not a great way to employ non-lethal force. Also: This is a rather quick response from the BK’s people. Since this is not a military action which might have been more likely to give the game away, it seems a bit weird that they are so quickly met with military force. This may be a deliberate reflection of the Revolutionaries being actually rather naïve, which they definitely seem to be and which I’m now fairly confident you’re doing deliberately, but even in that context S wondering why the BK’s people would want to capture rather than kill them seems like the answer should be really obvious. I am having … some kind of feeling about T and S so easily abandoning their kids to do more seditious things, and I honestly can’t decide whether my suspension of disbelief is actually suffering or whether I just like them less. Regardless, I do think this kind of decision could be built up to have more impact than it does. I think it’s lacking some punch because S has been mostly a secondary character up to this point, and has functioned more as a foil for Ir than as a family character, if that distinction makes sense. P6 “Despite their different upbringings…” but he was just thinking about how their upbringings were similar because they both grew up in proximity to the fey. P6/7 “…remember meeting much younger…” missing word here p7 “among gore” should probably be “amidst” “W gazed softly…” I don’t know how to parse “softly” in this context. The BK seemed much calmer and more in control the last time we saw him on screen. I’m definitely enjoying watching him throw a temper tantrum, but curious if this is unusual for him or not since he’s not been presented that way up until now. Neither Wo nor the general seem to react to him randomly throwing chairs around, though, which suggests this is normal. I’m not entirely sure what it is that’s throwing me off, but I keep reading this scene thinking General W is the POV when it’s actually Wo. “I refuse to let the Revolutionaries take B back before…” Okay, I’m loving the before and that we’re finally getting hints of the BK’s actual aim here (though I think we should probably have more by now). But I’m also wondering if it’s that plausible that the BK might lose the city. There are protests/riots, but the only remotely military actions we’ve seen so far are the revolutionaries attempting to defend themselves after distributing the flyers, and the assassination attempt at the beginning. Little confused by the last scene with S and how it fits into the one that starts on p12. Is this immediately after the first scene with her this chapter or is it later? She and T joined the protest, but are also somehow slowing down the soldiers going after the revolutionaries? Part of it may be my general confusion about the last scene and where it exactly falls in the narrative, but S seems to come to a very momentous conclusion in the last few pages of this sub based on not… not a whole heck of a lot. Unless I am really misreading, the riots were literally part of the plan, so it can’t have been a surprise that the BK’s army/law enforcement arm would come in to quell the resistance. So I am really having trouble understanding how we got from this being, presumably, part of the plan to “this is not working.” Did some part of the Revolutionaries’ plan get foiled somehow? If so, I need a better understanding of what actually went wrong. Is this S having a rude awakening to what it means to be a revolutionary? Or alternatively is this her zealotry, which we’ve gotten hints of, rising to the fore and making her a truly radicalized character? If it’s a character piece, I think we need more setup of S’s arc early on to help swallow this, because especially juxtaposed with General W being presented as pretty reasonable and level-headed, it seems like quite a leap. On the other hand it DEFINTIELY makes for a nice dramatic end to the chapter. I'm just not quite bought all the way in.
  24. You did, but if I'd acknowledged that I noticed, I wouldn't have been able to give you a hard time about it.