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1,084 Stone Shaman


About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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  1. Okay, Chapter 1 - I don't know what's happening. There is a lot of flowery language going on here and it's rather purple. I get the gist that, he's delirious, or suffering a PTSD episode, I think. It's hard to get a handle on what's happening. Or rather, I can trace the simple events that are occurring (He's told to calm down; he asks to be released; he says he can't pay), basically the things in dialogue, but the narrative is difficult, confusing. - The line the doctor says about the glasses: how do they know that? How can they know that? I don't understand. - The interweaving of the castle imagery and the medical discussion is, frustrating to me. I'm passingly interested in the conflict of the man getting out of the hospital, but the castle narrative is getting in the way for me. - Clicks, guns, saws and chains. Too much for me, too purple. Like ivory writs and sapphire dams, it's clever if a bit obscure, and it's not really engaging me. - "He swings at her" - this is hateful. This is where I stopped reading. I've bee unable to invest anything in this character because of his anonymity. I'm deliberately kept at a distance from him by his lack of identity and the other things I mentioned above. Here, however, he goes beyond blankness in a way that I find distasteful. Okay, he's not responsible for his actions, I suppose, because he's suffering from mental illness, but I'm not interested in reading about a character, responsible or not, trying to violently assault hospital staff who are trying to help him. Not to mention the verbal abuse which he was dishing out before he became physically violent. I skimmed though to the end, but I don't see anything that changers my view expressed previously. This is not a story I would read any further with then maybe the prologue, if I had picked it up in a bookstore in search of something to read. Another thing, and it's important I think. What genre is this story in? There's nothing to tell me that. There's nothing obviously fantastical or SF about it. If it is either of those things, you have to show that on the first page to confirm to the reader what kind of story they are reading. There's some good writing here, I don't want that to go inside. There is obvious developing skill here, but I think it's pointing in the wrong direction in various places in this extract. The absolute central element of any story is character. You can have a brilliant setting, plot, explosive dialogue, etc., but if you don't have a character or characters that engage the reader, and make the reader root for them your going to struggle to find any kind of outlet for your stories. My advice as someone who has finished 6 novels, 2 novellas, 3 novelettes and 13 short stories (one long-listed for an SF award), is to go back and think about character and how the engage the reader rather than keeping them at a distance and putting barriers between the reader and your character, which is honestly what I think you are doing here. I wish you the very best with this project. Nothing in writing is easy; nothing. I think this is 'better' (by which I mean more accessible and more interesting, imo) than the play of yours that I started reading last year around this time. I think it's worth pursuing, and I gather you have a whole idea behind it, which is great, and I'm sure deserves to be developed. Good luck!
  2. Okay, I'm reading. Prologue - The POV bothers me a bit. I guess this is omnipotent present. I'm not a huge fan of omnipotent in the first place, but more so here, because you're dealing with a main character (I'm presuming he is) who is blind, and yet we get to see every reaction and sign and sight. For me, this diluted the impact on the story of him being blind. - The prose is written well enough for the most part, flows fairly well in a somewhat formal and rather style tending towards dry. I was less keen on the dialogue, which comes over rather stilted, I thought. It's not bad, imo, but it's not all that convincing as a mode in which real people would speak in this situation, it seemed to me. - To home in on the prose though, there are some word choices and some phrases that did not come over well for me. E.g. "so unremarkable that... of a truly depraved mind" - Why? I don't follow. Is this intended as humour? If so then irony, clearly. The trouble is irony is difficult to get across in narrative, I think, especially if its humour value is on the low side to begin with, which this was for me. Humour is such a subjective thing. The way you find out if it works is to have folk read it, of course, so well done on that score - The description is good, for me. I like the level of it, not too much, and when it's there it's convincing, like when he pukes, for example. I get a reasonable feeling of being there, which is good. - When he starts wondering around, where did the dog go? Why doesn't he think about the dog? The dog has been his whole window on the world. I don't think it's likely he would completely forget it, even with this revelation. - I don't buy the cannonball strike. If the soldiers are standing close enough to splash him in gore, but the cannonball is too high to hit him, it just be dropping very steeply. I don't think that would happen. There is a limit to cannon trajectory, which would be flatter than that of a mortar, which throws projectiles in a high are to drop down on the enemy. - Another thing to mention, I don't feel any great connection with the man, because he is anonymous. We've go no name, and we don't have a great deal of access to his thoughts. We get some sense of emotion, sure, but no deduction, no analysis, no motivation. This make the story feel very impersonal, imo, which is not an engaging position to be in. My hope is that (seeing Chapter 1 coming up), as would be the case with most prologues, we will be transported to the story propose, where there is an inner monologue (or outer dialogue) that I can connect with and invest in at a character level. Okay, my day just kicked off. I'll need to come back to this later, but at least I'm on the board!
  3. To cap off this instalment from my POV, I've found this chapter really challenging to edit. I guess that's inevitable, because the core of the plot is in here and it is quite convoluted. I want to get a good hard edit on this chapter in, maybe an out-loud read through too, before I progress to Chp.5. So, apologies if it's a day or two before I get on to the next feedback. Again, thank you very much to you all. I could do it without you, but it would not be very good, nor as much fun as it is. Y'all make this so much better
  4. Hey ID, thank you for reading. I always appreciate your viewpoint on these things. That's good. That seems to be the view on average, provided I can explain what needs to be explained effectively somewhere else. Okay, I think I've tackled some of this, and will give it another go in the whole-chapter edit I'm about to do. As noted, E is the manipulator, rather than T, so I'm less worried on a WRS level T expresses the thought in relation to her assistant, when using is log in, that he probably has an alibi. The same thought applies to the interim, I would think, in her mind, although it's not explicitly revealed. Fair enough. I understand your concern. Here's what I said to Asmodemon on this point. Thank you for those comments. Very helpful
  5. Hey Asmodemon, thanks for reading! I understand your concern about POVs. I'll say that, having got the establishing scenes done, we're going to resolve into three main POVs from this point. In terms of mystery, well yes, the inciting incident isn't really a mystery, but... well, I don't really want to say any more But I accept showing this happening is a risk. I guess the other way to go would be to have people disappearing in YK and nobody know why. Believe it or not, that was going to be my approach to this plot initially, that BR was neighbouring the Gen plant and Q and M came to investigate the disappearances. My concern was that it's a pretty vanilla missing persons/monster plot, and I wanted to try and do something different. Also, Book 1 (TMM) isn't a mystery either, as the reader see GC breaking down and killing people. Your point about our heroes not being on screen much also is true of course. I'm hoping to a degree it's WRS. So far we have Q and M in Ch.1 and 2, then E and T (and M) in Ch.3 and 4, and now we're going back to Q and M for three chapters up to what is nominally the end of Part 1 (Ch.7), so Q and M will have been in the majority. I'm hoping that momentum will carry people through Ch.3 and 4, which I'll trim down tight. Do you mind if I ask how you feel about that? It seems to be dividing people a bit. That's great! Fair point, and others have had the same issue. I've introduced something that M can take away from her, something that her family needs, which I think is better than purely blackmail, as you say. Good point, I feel I have answers to this, but if you're thinking it, then those answers are not coming through and I need to work on clarity and motivation. See above I was trying to show that in the last line. TOM cares nothing for M, or anyone on the ground, he just wants the mess so that PM L can send the troops in. I appreciate your comments, they really challenge me to get this stuff as right as a I can. Thank you
  6. Okay. Yeah, clearer would be good. It's just the odd little reference that confused me.
  7. Hey, thanks for reading, HU. Rolling my sleeves up here. So, you're not alone in having a reaction along these lines. I've woven another strand in, attempting to increase T's stakes. Quite possible not, but as I say, I'm seeking to up the stakes for T a bit. Noted. I'll admit that liking is not really what I'm going for. It's more a case of sympathy (or not) in reaction to the way she is treated by M. I'll bear this in mind. Hmm, okay. Seems like this is working for some, but not others. That's always going to be the way, I suppose. I'll take this under advisement and see how I sit when I've been through all the comments on this chapter. Well, for what it's worth, I'm only doing it once, and it's within the same chapter. Unreliable narrator, as we know, is an established tool in fiction. I think in the worst case scenario this is withheld for seven pages. I'll see how it plays out for the other folks and review very shortly! Okay, noted. The bottom line essentially is that he was told in Chapter 3 to enact this plan, or rather to achieve a certain end result. With that in mind, I'm not averse to clarifying M's goal in this chapter [Done.] which I will seek to do. Fair enough. That's a line edit thing which I will pick up next time around. Thanks for noting. Sorry. Don't take that LOL as me poking fun: it's pure relief! I was expecting a bit of the negative dump in the summation, so this took me by surprise!! Thanks for the approbation of the chapter overall. I think I've tackled some of the issues already through the earlier comments, but I'll certainly take a look at the points you've raised. Thanks again for reading!
  8. Uh-huh. I guess when we stop having ideas is when we really need to worry
  9. Ah... right, hence my confusion. So previously, she was fighting in the war, and would go on a tour of duty, then come back home? This makes me wonder how long a tour was. Less than a year, I guess, other wise this time (her being away for a year) wouldn't seem that different from her being away fighting at the front. So, maybe 3 month tour? Whatever the case, I guess Z would have been used to her mom being away a fair bit over those eight years.
  10. Yeah, and then you and @kais pinned me to the wall about W&S!! They're 'stacked up to Newark' to use an air traffic control analogy. (I've heard a line like that in a movie, can't remember where.)
  11. Hey, thanks so much for reading, really appreciated. Right. I'll collect up all the comments on this chapter and see where I stand, but tagged for review in the edit in any case. Awesome! I really appreciate that. Can I get "Does the homophobic slurs beautifully." as a cover quote from you? You had to read it three times... because it was good?!?! Phew, that's awesome. Gone. I am so damnation stoked that I'm starting to get such things right sometimes now. Testament to the patience and generosity of certain folks on there. Fair comment. I'm trying to convey that there is more than one strand to it (a) T is not out, so there's that aspect. Not being a socially confident person (which I've tried to convey), she is scared of that and how her family / colleagues / scientific community will react; (b) the infidelity angle / impact on her family, i.e. (i) her husband / marriage; (ii) her relationship with her son; (iii) the reaction of her parents / in-laws; (c) the impact of the exposure on E. The reader, from E's POV, will suspect (I hope) that E would say 'Eff it' and would take on all-comers, but T may not be so confident that impact on her friend lover would play out that way. So, maybe I'm not convincing enough on the burden/pressure that T feels to keep things under wraps to keep her life together as it is. It's not to say that she's right. Without stating it, I envisage society here as being more accepting of LGBTQI+ issues and realities, and that acceptance of diversity in all aspects of life has progressed (continued to progress?) so that the haters and unbelievers are in the minority, but still present (e.g. M). I guess I'm not hitting that mark yet. I shall sit quietly and consider what to do about T's motivation here. [Edit: I've added an element to her motivation. Something concrete in her life that M has the ability to take away from her, and her family. I think it's stronger, but won't no how well it fits until I read this chapter through again post edits.] Right. I've tried to clarify. I think it's better. Thanks Yargh. Right, I think I've watered the telling down a bit; I hope. Great comments, thank you. Some really good fixes there.
  12. Hey Mandamon, thanks for reading. Here's me replying 3+ weeks later!! But, I'm inspired now by your dedication and have redoubled my writing efforts post-WorldCon!! #thenewrobinski This is a good point, and I will seek to insert some reference to systems, or system being circumvented by M. [Done!] He could have, but disabled their destruct system. I need to better highlight what M does to the MTs, and the fact that they need to be seen out in the town [Done!], which doesn't come over clearly in this chapter. I agree there are some contradictory details in there. Awesome! I'm going to provide slightly clearer tags. [Done!] Nope, he's standing in the open doorway to the control room. I'll tidy this up [done!]. Essentially, T is closer to the MTs, and therefore is the first course. I could have him close the door at the appropriate moment (him on the other side), but I think I'll do that first, for clarity. Agree: trimmed. The system was disabled. I'll maybe restate that near the end [Done!] here. It was mentioned earlier: it's the company Barry R works for. I'll hope it's WRS and leave that one in for a complete read through to catch, or not. Really appreciate that comments. Thanks
  13. Good point. T might be more savvy with office politics, and the politics of science, but when it comes to blackmail, not so much. She's fairly quiet and not outgoing or confident, which I think comes across in the previous chapter, BUT, I think you make a good point here. I'm going to give T another thought or two about what the turnout with M might be [Done!] in this situation. (a) Excellent ; (b) fair comment. For the most part, I'm not that bothered about the reader understanding what's going on in any great detail. The reader being a bit (but hopefully not too) confused at this point, I don't think (and I hope), is not to big problem, as I hope there is more than enough to concentrate on locally and more directly than the overarching plot. Awesome! Fair enough. There's really almost nothing to connect them at this point. I accept that. I hope it doesn't trip the reader up, but it's my job to keep them interested long enough to make a connection, of course. Okay. If you want, I can send you the first couple of chapters (I presume you read Chp.3 in E's POV, without going back to check, sorry.) Fair comment again, and I guess I won't come out and tell you what happens, but I do take your point. I'll need to just let that ride at this point, and see how thing go down overall, reader reaction-wise. Thanks so much for reading, Ace; much appreciated!
  14. Ah, right. That was too subtle for me!! #wordmachine
  15. I'm sure there was a line of M's about mama's name being on the wall behind the bar (or some such) as a hero who had been fighting at the front, or maybe I misunderstood that reference.