Silk

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Posts posted by Silk


  1. On 4/29/2021 at 8:18 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

    Hey, does anyone have any nonfiction reccomendations? Specifically biographies and historical stuff

    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?

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  2. 1 hour ago, sniperfrog said:

    It's been several months since my last sub, but I think I am finally ready to get some more of my work out there. I have been doing a lot of work trying to iron out my timeline and calendar so that my characters are at believable ages for the actions they are taking, but I think I might have finally gotten it right. 

    I just realized I might be too late for this week. If so, I would like to get a slot for next week instead, just let me know. :) 

    Yep, good to go. (Thanks for the tag @RedBlue!)

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  3. 8 hours ago, Robinski said:

    Oh. Even if it feels good, she still could be damaging the work. Is it just the painkillers that are keeping her going. My Mum had her hip done and you really gotta rest it to make sure it 'sticks'. (I mean, they don't stick the bones together, but you know what I mean ;) )

    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.

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  4. 11 hours ago, Sarah B said:

    @Silk

    Best wishes to you and your loved one! I hope everything goes well and that we have you back soon!

    No offence intended to your assistant :-)

    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. ;)

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  5. 2 hours ago, Robinski said:

    Hey @Silk, if you need me to crack whip and sort the wheat from the chaff for the purposes of submitting next week, I am totally pleased to do that. Obviously, there will be a mad rush of submissions on Saturday, and we'll need to run some sort of drawing digital straws and such, but why don't you leave it to me, so you don't have to think about it?

    Twist my arm, why don't you... if you're willing, that'd be great! Thank you!

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  6. 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.

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  7. On 3/19/2021 at 2:18 PM, julienreel said:

    2. Is my writing archaic because of the word choices? The sentence structure? The detached narrative? A combination of all the above? I think I've read too many books from the 80s and before haha.

    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.

    On 3/19/2021 at 1:30 PM, julienreel said:

    But it also feels like a cop-out in a sense. Since I obviously have an issue with writing serious prose involving serious characters, I would rather try to remedy that issue.

    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.

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  8. 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 B) 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.

     

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  9. 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?

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  10. 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?

    19 hours ago, kais said:

    The longer arc here should be Ori coming to terms with not being able to really rescue Ata, or things continually getting in her way. This should start establishing that though whether it does so well remains to be seen. 

    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. 

    6 hours ago, karamel said:

    “Just assuming that everything would work out” wasn’t Or like paralyzed on the floor? How could she get help?  I guess i don’t know how long she was on the floor for so this could be a valid thing for B to say.

    Yeah, I kind of wanted to tell her to lay off... 

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  11. On 3/13/2021 at 1:01 PM, kais said:

    Ah, but she's never met the beach balls! She was out of the Systems before they came in. So she's been limited to a few spaceports and then just the bipeds of the CS. But this would take sooooo much backstory to get to that I figured I let it ride, unless it's a major stumbling block?

    ah, okay! I didn't realize that the beach balls were that new to the Systems (WRS maybe?) I'd agree, not a major stumbling block, no need to get through a bunch of backstory to try and explain it. But perhaps a throwaway line about how this was the first time she'd encountered aliens that didn't remind her of the aliens from home, or something to that effect? 

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  12. 1 hour ago, Ace of Hearts said:

    My worry about this is that the adoption isn't a major focus of the story, even though W and her parent do continue to have interactions. Do you think that will be a problem? 

    I know I'm not the one who was tagged here, but if you frame it similarly to  how you already have it and move it up, I don't think it's going to read as setup for a focus on adoption. It's more about grounding us in W's relationships with her family and giving us a connection we can invest in, which it does--but I agree with the others who say it should come sooner.

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  13. Overall: I had a number of minor logistical quibbles, as you’ll see below, but beyond that I really don’t have much intelligent to add here. This chapter went a long way towards grounding Ori’s perspective in the overall timeline for me, which was definitely much-needed after her previous perspective (that I otherwise much enjoyed). I am having a hard time deciding whether the Angry Toucan Sams (this is the image my brain gave me and I cannot unsee it, now I am giving it to you, you’re welcome) gave her up/let her go a little too easily. Maybe some earlier hint that Sw is a bit more sympathetic than the other bird aliens would help here. And either a bit more reasoning on why they decided not to try and sell her, or more clarity that this wasn't something they were going to seriously pursue, as I had initially thought we were gearing up for a more extended escape plotline. 

    As I read:

    Your descriptions of how spaceports smell are always horrifically visceral.  

    ANGRY BIRDSONG

    “It’s awake.” Well that’s not promising.

     So were the angry Toucan Sams restraining her or?

    Oh no, I was guessing this was not going to end well for her settee, but

    Given how common and varied aliens are (beach balls!) I’m surprised that Ori is this weirded out by bird aliens. I suppose this could be a sheltered Ne- thing? But then she seemed to do okay visiting other aliens from around the J system.

    “Ard religious propaganda…” So was Priutcu as insular as Ne was about that sort of thing? Interesting. (I’m guessing they’re not referring to sending Ori back to Ne, since that planet is … as far as we know… not in pieces.)

    Actually, if they have access to all of Ori’s files—and presumably the tech on her ship is very different than the tech available on Priutcu—why are they assuming that Ori is from Priutcu?

    …so this is all leading up to a moment where Ori gets to give them some kind of severe beatdown, right? Please?

    “The Prus of the B Plane…” So does Pruitcu exist on more than one plane?

    P6 “we can make a month quote” quota?

    Ah, yep, there’s the multiplanar thing.

    Okay, I like how this encounter with the angry Toucan Sams turned out, but I have questions. Shouldn’t the laser have made a sound? If they have to account for laser charges, won’t Toucan Sam Sw- have to explain later why they didn’t fire the gun?

    “…and considered her options. Screaming seemed juvenile.” Mmmyep. I have this problem more often than I’d like to admit, Ori…

    Okay, in walks the Ke (I am assuming this is the same Ke we met before given the way she’s described) and I have more questions again. The Toucan Sams were just casually interrogating her before killing her and someone else could have just casually walked into the room at any point and seen this go down?

    …now I want invisible pockets…

    GG nail polish aww yeah!

    On 3/8/2021 at 10:30 PM, Snakenaps said:

    Pg 5, "little Pru-Pru?" Awww, is little Pru-Pru in pain? Does little Pru-Pru want a nappy?

    You're making me want to murder them again and I didn't get to see them murdered, stoppit. 

    On 3/8/2021 at 10:30 PM, Snakenaps said:

    Pg 11, " Her eyes were dry from holding the lids open," How did she do it for a count of 100? I blinked after ten.

    I mean this WAS rather impressive.

    On 3/9/2021 at 9:47 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

    I don't know if it was just what you were going for, but O seemed more annoyed than in danger.

    This is a fair point! 

    On 3/10/2021 at 3:31 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

    It's fine for O to be out of her element and get rescued near the start of her story, but I want to feel like that's setting up for something and exposing weaknesses in her that she'll need to address later

    Oooh, yeah. Given what we've seen of her and the weight she puts on being a hero, I think playing this up more makes a lot of sense.

    9 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

    If I could get my hands on some invincible nail polish, I might even bother to paint my nails.

    Right?!

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  14. 15 hours ago, julienreel said:

    Heya, can I get a slot for Monday? I need a deadline to get my butt in gear lol.

    That's why we post these requests publicly! ;) 

    I don't usually formally approve until Sunday morning just in case there's an explosion of requests and I need to ask somebody to hang back, but I suspect you are probably good to plan for this. 

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  15. Overall: Off to a good start! I thought the chapter's structure was pretty sound, though I do think there is room to trim some of the conversations, etc. that happen over the course of it to get us to the end.  I’m not totally bought into the characters yet—I felt a much stronger connection to the captain when he was the POV character in the prologue than I do to C here, and S seems … a bit odd. I’m not a hundred per cent sure her portrayal is working for me, but I can’t put my finger on why. That said, I’m not unwilling to spend more time with them.

    I think the biggest thing that was missing for me was a greater sense of the overall stakes. As framed, the chapter seems to be presenting C’s relationship with S and maybe the wider crew as the most important thing. C doesn’t seem to have a goal or direction quite yet, he doesn’t seem to think that anyone will come after him, and there doesn’t seem to be any tension inherent in trying to recover the maps, so I don’t have any sense of what’s next when I read the next chapter. Obviously I don’t need all the answers but a general sense of where the next conflict might come from would be helpful.

    As I read:

    “his bed suddenly pitched wildly” Is this supposed to signify that he’s still on a ship? Because it makes it sound like the bed is moving independently. Also, OUCH.

    P2 “sat on a chair by the room’s only door, sitting” some repetition here

    P3 “You thought you were dead?” I’m not entirely sure how she came to that conclusion? It’s not the impression I was getting from C’s POV either.

    P4 “I wonder if the two of them are related.” This seems like a huge leap to make based only on red hair.

    P4 “if he’s awake enough to have a conversation with you” It doesn’t necessarily follow that he’s awake/uninjured enough to walk to the bridge. Based on this comment, the first mate seems like a bit of a jerk.

    P5 “I warned you.” I feel like an actual warning would have been along the lines of, you know, “It’s really bright outside” :P

    …I somehow did not realize that the ship was an airship from the prologue. I thought it was, you know, a … water ship?

    Who is Ir?

    Edit: Actually, I think this might be WRS. The ship spirit, right?

    P8 “Wind charts? I know where some are.” I’m finding a lot of C’s interjections to himself a little clunky – they often seem to be there for clearly for explanatory or foreshadowing purposes rather than feeling like a natural evolution of his thoughts. I think it might be a case of over-emphasis.

    From this conversation between C and the captain, I’m having trouble determining how common giant mechs are. From the captain’s words, and also the prologue, I get the impression that it’s not very, but C is explaining it like it’s common knowledge. I do have a hard time imagining how something like that could be kept secret.

    P10 “You’re quite good at evading my questions…”  By saying that he doesn’t know how to answer them?

    P11 “Suppose we found such a spear and decided to leave it behind…” Feel like there’s some contradictions happening here. They can tell he’s alive by using the spear, but it doesn’t have enough value for them to go back and look for it? Wouldn’t that information be valuable?

    Since the airship has an independent power source which allows it to fly, why are they so dependent on the winds?

    P13 “I was joking… I meant with your thoughts” I’ll admit she got me too, I just had to delete the sentence I wrote along the lines of “shouldn’t they just tie their stuff down better?” :P

    “She’s the first mate, right?” Wait, I’m confused. C’s met the first mate (ish, heard their name anyway) and this isn’t them.

    “She’s a plant in her spare time” I don’t know why, but I love this.

    I’ve noticed it a handful of other places as well, but a few of the lines in the last few pages feel read as though they’re not necessarily from C’s POV – that is, they could be coming from an observer as easily as C himself. It’s clear there hasn’t been a POV switch, so it’s not confusing, but it’s something to look at if you’re going for a tight third-person limited (which has been my overall impression).

    On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

    He's a knight. He didn't save the lady. Quest for redemption.

    This could certainly work as a motivation, but I think for it to propel us forward we need to have some idea, fairly early on, of how he's going to do it. 
     

    On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

    That said, I can certainly have S give a proper medical diagnosis.

    This would help. He seemed to go from "very injured" to "recovering quite quickly" and I never quite figured out exactly what was going on. 

    On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

    As he explains, he's not used to them appearing quite so human.

    I think moving this explanation up in the conversation would help. 

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  16. 1. What (if anything) caught your attention/engaged you? Do you expect the story to continue to expand on the points that interested you? 

    There were definitely points during individual scenes where my attention wandered, more below, but the only specific plot point that I wasn’t interested in was E’s relationship with B and N, which our POV character is not a part of and E seems to be making an effort to ensure she doesn’t get any of it on her, so to speak. I can only assume that this will change down the line but right now I didn’t’ have a good idea of why I should care about it.

    A few specific things I’d expect to see more of are: mom’s illness, some resolution of the tension between E and W, the evolution of some sort of relationship between N/W, some sort of magical thing with the pond/flowers. Though it’s worth noting that the latter assumption is as much because of the cut prologue as anything actually in the ms.

    2. What's your general impression of the characters?

    The dynamic between W and her family is the most interesting so far, and I have a pretty good idea of how it works and they take care of each other, which I like (though I’m hoping that mom doesn’t turn into some variation of a manic pixie dream girl because she definitely seems like she could head in that direction). My impression is that mom may be mostly there to drive interior anguish for W while Am may be more of an active player.

    I don’t have particularly strong opinions about any of the other characters yet, none of them stick out for me so far.

    3. Are there enough hints that this will be romance? Or are there too many/are the hints too heavy-handed? 

    I don’t read much romance so will defer to those who do, but my own two cents: I think I would pick up on the fact that this was romance if I just picked this book off a (mysteriously unlabeled) shelf, but I’m not entirely sure. The hints are there, but insofar as they’re maybe not doing enough I think it’s because they are all coming from sources external to our POV: they’re her friends teasing her about romance, or encouraging her, etc. We’ve got nothing really coming from the protagonist herself aside from the fact that her last relationship didn’t work out. Does she secretly long for another one or even to repair what she had with E? Or is she even absolutely really sure that she definitely doesn’t want romance at all, so that the story can then become about her finding it anyway? I think we need a better sense from W herself about she wants or does not want romantically before we can buy into a romance for her.

    4. Do you have a good feel of who the love interest will be? If not, does that bother you? 

    I’m guessing N just based on the narrative significance allotted to him, but I’m not getting any particular sense of attraction from W, which I’d expect from a romance (even if she clearly doesn’t realize it or can’t admit it to herself yet). It did cross my mind to wonder if she’s an ace character, which of course is all well and good but in that case I’m not sure about what signifiers are common to signify a romantic arc.

    I think answering those questions covers off most of what I wanted to raise! The only other thing I wanted to mention was I think the whole chapter could use a good tightening. I think some scenes just went on a little too long, in others it wasn’t clear what was driving the conflict (the scene with W/An) or why the conflict should matter (the discussion between W/E about B). I also wanted more tension in the scene between W and E particularly: I’m not fully bought into the argument about B, as I mentioned, and if anything I want to know more about what happened between the two of them. But also they had this extremely rational discussion about what was apparently a very painful situation and I just wanted a whole lot more emotion in that scene.

    …okay, so maybe that was two things :rolleyes:

    As I read:

    Is “three months later”? a holdover from the prologue? Otherwise it has no referent since this is chapter 1. Which doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t include it, if it has a purpose that will be come apparent later.

    …Are soprano parts terribly common in heavy metal? I guess maybe if it’s melodic metal.

    Having a hard time so far pinning down how old or young the narrator is. “First day of school being a big deal” skews younger but the character doesn’t read all that young. With the comment about being an engineer… first year of college?

     Edit: Ah, high school. “Mellow teenager” works, I suppose.

    “…plenty to worry about in your own life.” I mean… one’s mother being sick WOULD be something in my own life to worry about. I’m surprised that W doesn’t seem to find that comment upsetting.

    My attention is wandering by the time we finish the first scene and get into the second. The second scene in particular feels like it’s establishing some things, but not actually moving the story forward, whereas the first one I think just needs tightening up.

    The introduction of the heart pond was noticeable in that it didn’t really feel like a natural evolution of the conversation from the earlier bits. Since it seems like the pond is going to be important later (and also since this is, unless I miss my guess, our first introduction of a fantastical element) I wonder the scene and conversation should actually start here, around this point of interest, with some of the other details at the top of the scene slipped in while they react to it.  

    “Why is he back in town?” The sudden introduction of a “he” confused me. W’s previous relationship has been danced around, but not mentioned specifically up to this point, so this feels abrupt.

    “Just don’t ask me to ID fungi or lichens…” HAH, you very narrowly avoided summoning @kais and invoking their wrath expertise just now.

    I’m assuming E is the ex, and given W’s comments about him so far I’d expect him to occupy a LOT more of her attention than he does… although maybe that’s because N (I’m assuming) is the new love interest?

    “Do I want to be alone with E?” N showing Am where the flowers are doesn’t necessarily leave the other two characters alone together…

    Since we’ve only just met N and E, and B is only referenced a handful of times but doesn’t appear on the screen, and this whole drama appears to be Entirely Not W’s Problem, I’m not really invested in it.

    “So she’s just like me…” This goes a bit of the way towards explaining W’s anger, and maybe if it was apparent sooner that this was a painful reminder of W’s own relationship with E, I might be more invested in it.

    Edit: Having skimmed the comments, I'll agree with the others that the "amma" explanation needs to come earlier, and so does some hint of supernatural something if that's going to be a part of this book. Otherwise, I'm being primed for a realistic/contemporary story. 

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  17. 7 hours ago, julienreel said:

    TBH, I went into this with the intention of having pretty archaic prose, but it hasn't been well received, so I'm trying to change it but clearly it will take some time.

    It definitely depends in part on what the story's going to look like in the end, IMO. One of the reasons I didn't comment much on the archaic prose or dialogue in the first version was because it seemed to fit with the old-style Gothic narrative that I thought you were going for at the time. Current fantasy tends to sound pretty modern. There's nothing necessarily wrong with making a stylistic decision that goes against current trends in regards to your prose or your dialogue (though archaic is one thing; I agree with the comments so far that the dialogue could use some work, whether or not you keep the older style), especially if helps emphasize some aspect of your story, but it may create an additional hurdle in terms of the manuscript being saleable at the end of the day, so keep that in mind.

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