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1,729 Rambleman


About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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  1. Hey, finally got back here with some comments. These are the highlights. The whole thing is emailed back with LBL's (I'm afraid you need to read here and there, and not all comment are in one place or the other <sweatsmile> (page 1) I don't think you can just lift a Marauder's Map from Harry Potter. Either I'm not picturing that correctly, in which case more description is needed, or I am, and it's pretty much a straight copy. [Edit: later on, some detail emerge that make it clear this map is slightly different from an MM. I think that should be shown on first showing the book.] I've got a big issue with the reveal that Ae has been spying on Bre for weeks. So, Ae has been keeping this knowledge from Per for this whole time. But there is no reason for that, so I feel cheated that I'm only hearing this now. "I couldn’t just tell you out in the open" - Okay, but no I still don't but that. There was no single occasion when Ae could have whispered something to Per? (page 2) "there were a lot of fae who would prey on a human simply because they could" - I feel there is quite a bit about the world that is not explained in the earlier chapters. I don't really understand the world or its rules, and when a rule crops up, I think it really needs to be explained at that time, in a suitably subtle and non-expositiony way. (page 6) There are a lot of long, rambling sentences* with many short words. I know it's a draft, and it's all part of the process, but I find them difficult to read and hard to interpret what the message is. Especially around here, but somewhat generally also. "willing to follow xir out into the castle" - I think there is a confusion about the land in general and how it works, but in particular, I'm confused about the dos and don'ts. Dangerous to go out in the woods, but it's also dangerous to go about in the castle? Is anywhere safe? "kidnapping of some random teenagers" - This line brings home to me that I don't actually care about the stakes. I don't know these kids; Per doesn't know that kids. The person that does know the kids is not involved in the scene. The more I think about the setup, the more I think that it's the human teenager who should be the protagonist of this story. Per's only personal stakes are their relationship with Ae, but that doesn't really drive any of the plot, it feels to me like set dressing for a plot that is happening to someone else. I think in the story generally the plot needs to be much more compact and personal. I think it needs for either the teenager to be cut (they are very little on the page at all), or Per and the teenager to be combined. (page 7) * (from above) - "One would think that there would have been some kind of grinding sound" - 'Per imagined a grinding sound...' This is exactly my point: I've read so many words by the time I get to the object of the sentence that I've forgotten what it is. Also, the use of 'one'; I think there are plenty of instances where this form could have been used before in the narrative, but I can't recall it being used before, certainly only rarely. I don't think it's consistent with the style of the narrative, which is much less formal. Therefore, I think it sticks out in a bad way. Lots of ways to reword this. I know, it's Draft One (right?), but I think I got to page 7 before dropping some pedantry! "things humans were squeamish about" - I don't accept this as a generalisation for all humans, so I guess it just reveals Per's character. It feels quite unreliable, as narration goes. (page 8) "xe probably wouldn’t be helping Per find the missing kids" - goes to my earlier point about how this doesn't feel important to Per at all. (page 9) "you were unique and fierce" - absolutely nothing Per has done or said so far makes me think they deserve this description. Conan is unique and fierce; Wonder Woman is unique and fierce. Per...not so much, IMO. I don't mean to be flippant though, I mention this because it brings to mind a more serious issue. Per has no agency. They are a passenger in the story the way it is at the moment. Certainly in this chapter, and I think in the last couple, from what I can remember. "Now they were more like a zombie" - Okay, it goes on to call this out, but it still leaves me with a character who themselves think they are like a zombie. I don't find that very engaging. (page 10) - this is really unsexy, IMO. "Xir body was firm and flat" - Xir body was...flat? "Don't forget about that dessert(!!!!!!) you were hunting" - Another example of how terribly passive Per is. I really, really want them to be fierce and unique, to have any attitude. I wanted this line to be "Don't forget that dessert you promised me." "walked on without saying anything." - Are they not holding hands now then? I presume not, but maybe if he "walked away" that would be clearer. "By the time they got to the kitchens, Br was long gone."- Bit of an anti-climax, but it was unexpected, so that's good. Overall comments: I think I've left them pretty much above. Not much to add overall. I like the characters well enough but--at the moment--I don't think Per is a strong enough character to carry the story.
  2. Hi, sorry, I'm too far behind on pretty much everything to be starting again with something. I will however put up comments on the 'new' chapters subbed, as I'd like to read on.
  3. I'm not seeing a lot of traffic, so I'm sure you are clear to go ahead.
  4. If I wasn't up to my eyeballs, I would do it, but...I'm up to my eyeballs, sorry! My own MS for Quirk & Moth Book 2 is due back with a certain publisher by mid January. Don't tell him I'm running a bit behind my projected rate of progress
  5. I'm not going to catch-up read this, I think. I'm just going to sit back and wait
  6. Hey, sorry I'm so late, still trying to get caught up with recent weeks! (p1) - Great first line, so casual but promises what feels like the entire story (p2) - "only one way to be beautiful" - missing word. "heard a voice as be boarded the ship" - typo. (p4) - "since it was extremely difficult to use their abilities to appear younger than you were" - There's a pronoun disagreement here: either 'your abilities to appear younger than you were', or 'their abilities to appear younger than they were', I think. "The unspoken rule" - Nice, implies a good deal of background. (p5) - "official army business" - I thought they were city guard? I know there are no capital letter here, so neither term really is formal and official, and one of these things can be part of the other, of course. Not really an issue; I just felt that maybe there was an opportunity to be a bit more definitive about the background/setting of the story. Not a big deal. "thanked the woman" - is he not showing an unduly close interest in this subject? If he's trying to remain hidden, I wonder if he must at least flag up to himself that he's running a risk even showing an interest in the 'm'? (p6) - "A openly scowled" - again, he seems to be revealing sympathy for the 'm' here, which might be unhealthy? I don't know: the woman seemed sympathetic too. Not sure I have quite got a grasp of the place the shifters have in society, not an accurate picture, anyway. Not yet. "hoped that his expression hadn’t been too obvious" - Oh, good. I'm glad he called himself out on this. "give him something else to think about" - What about the wife comment? Would the others, or at least B, not expect him to react more to that. Would B not expect that A would press him to know what had happened with his wife? (p7) - "went to fetch another" - Okay, this opening section was interesting, and conveyed quite a bit of information. The prose too was smooth and easy to read. My general comment would be that I think the emotion could be turned up higher, and that I want to feel more of the stakes. What is A's mission? What is the job? This is a piece of information that is missing and, since he's employed on the job, I think it would be entirely reasonable for him to consider internally what his goal was. I think that is important for the reader to become properly invested in the story and the character in particular. Repetition of the word "ground" closely in the same sentence is awkward. "but what could he do?" - Hmm, this is a bit weak of character, does not endear him to me. Okay, characters have to do what they have to do to survive sometimes, and of course this can be a good source of conflict, but I think it's highly likely that A was giving his client an alibi while the guy went of and confronted, possibly even murdered, his wife. If that's the case, and A knows about this 'sort of thing' happening on his watch, then this is potentially a much darker story than the tone so far suggests. Tone, now, is an ongoing issue for me. (p8) - "putting a target on each of them" - maybe there should be a target on them if they are basically criminals. "He couldn’t think about the implications of that right now" - I'm pressed that, once again, something I was concerned about also is of concern to the character. It's satisfying for the reader when that happens, especially when the reader gets there just before the character does. I maintain my concern that maybe A is not filled with sufficient cold dread that he has just aided a murderer. It sounds like this is the sort of thing that happens around the 'm'. "me not turning you in to be the other half" - Good note. I want to see more grit, more hardship, more anger, fear, etc, in the story. As I noted earlier, I'm not sure that the tone quite matches the subject matter and direction of the plot, yet; for me, anyway. (p9) - "After a few seconds of adjustments" - (a) What happens to his clothes? (Yay! It's the old Hulk conundrum!); (b) if it takes several seconds, why does the older man just stand around and let him do it? Surely, he's not stupid, and must realise that A is going to resist him in some way, possible even attack him? "The man frowned at him, considering" - I'm just not quite sure why D stood around while A turned into him. Might need to call that out somehow? Dunno. (p10) - "D considered" - He already considered a couple of lines earlier at the bottom of page 9. "and roughly handing the money" - suggest 'roughly handing more money to A". "He felt a sense of pride at his accomplishment, however small, however petty" - Yes, okay, but the word 'accomplishment' bothers me. I say again that A is basically a criminal, but the tone of the narrative, and A's interiority doesn't seem dark enough, wretched enough, to reflect some acknowledgment of what he is. "grim satisfaction" - Yes, more of this sort of thing, IMO. "thinking of something" - Nah, we're in his mind, I don't think you get to be this vague. This is a 'nothing' word. Even something a bit more substantial, like 'as a thought occurred to him' is still weak, just extra words that do no work, IMO. "just as ignorant as he had been this morning" - I've got a problem here. To me, this is a new plot strand coming up at the end, and not something that is satisfying, but something that doesn't seem likely to me. Presumably A had to walk to work on the docks? In that case, he must have walked past a bunch of posters, must he not? Surely members of his kind also would be about in the city, like the girl at the docks, and also could be expected to have known about the posters. I'm not sure that this line of plot holds together under scrutiny. "He set off towards his home" - I'm not compelled by this as a motivator for forward plot movement. I think it's too vague, unspecific, and doesn't seem to hold that much in the way of stakes personal to the main character. Also, sounds like the 'm' are criminals, and as I say, I'm really not sure that I'm invested in their plight in the way it's written at present. I should feel sympathy for them because... why, exactly? I get that sense that the city guard are reacting to the criminal activities aided and abetted by the 'm', and in doing that are attempting to clean up the city. I'm okay with reading about a protagonist who is morally grey, but I don't think the tone of this chapter really supports that sort of character, at present, as it sets up the 'm' as being oppressed. I'm just not sure how well that comes through. Will say again though, very well written in terms of form, and very easy to read. Some neat description in the beginnings although that falls away a bit. Some good characters and murky goings-on. Nice work
  7. I was unsure until I heard the whole thing, then I got it.
  8. I see what the other comments are getting at in relation to the disconnect between "I'm... ...nobody's perfect, but mine." I did not get that at first, true. I think it's possibly because you don't hit "I'm" all that hard in the first verse, and it sounds a little like "Ah". I think it 'it' was more clearly "I'm" each time, or certainly the first time, that would address the issues, for me.
  9. 1) They do to me. 2) Yup, they dow with me 3) I don't see a great issue with it. 4) See above. I DEMAND a harmonica solo!
  10. Okay, this is going to be reeeeeeally unhelpful, but, I wouldn't change a thing. Lyrics are such a personal thing, and with 12-bar blues (indeed most forms of music, I think) you can pretty much fit the words to your melody and tempo as required. With this in mind, I think you have a great tune here. It's a bit short, maybe, but it would be entirely appropriate to have a instrumental break in there, if not two, which probably would take it to 3 some minutes, which I think is perfectly reasonable. Do you play the harmonica? Wee harmonics break in there somewhere would be perfect, IMO. Thanks so much for sharing
  11. Comments! (p1) - "low to the ground" - LOL. "It’s almost as rank as the Queen" - I don't understand. How is the town "worthy"? I don't follow. "manmade bridges" - What the kind of bridges would there be, in this context? "half the charm" - LOL. "freakishly huge arachnoid" - Was this in Chapter 1? Probably WRS, not sure if I'm supposed to remember this. (p2) - "had the money for it too" - Money for what, getting here? Not entirely clear, IMO. "clutched each other from dark corners" - what, as in pulled each other out of hiding? Not clear. "slung her musket off her shoulder" - 'unslung', IMO. Slinging would be the act of putting the musket on the shoulder. "whether she had theft insurance" - It seems vanishingly unlikely to me that any kind of insurance exists in this world. But, I'm still struggling to get a handle on what kind of setting this is. If there is no financial services industry, I don't think you can make jokes about insurance. And, if there is a Fin Serve industry... what on Earth kind of world I this? Did the guard tell them her name in the last chapter? That's weird, and now they're shaking hands? I don't understand why the guards would take any interest in them after their guarding (and bribing) was done. (p3) - Surely Q knows whether it's the talisman or not, doesn't she? "on her belt" - Whose belt? "She gave him a sarcastic grin" Bess did? "She jumped at the sound" - Is this Q? I think there's a change in who the unnamed female is in this sequence, which is a bit confusing. Also, the premise that the boy would "sneak" across all that open ground... I couldn't find it amusing because it just didn't seem plausible. (p4) - "Q shouted" - (a) use of a exclamation mark and 'shouted' is pretty heavy; (b) I'm not invested in Q's sudden horror. She's come over pretty hard-nosed up to now, and suddenly she's losing her sh1t over some random urchin? "end of the universe" - meh. I don't think meaningless exaggeration is up to much as a comic device, not on its own. "Enjoy your stay... miss Sch...." - Miss Sch - the title is part of the name. "for maximum warning" - Okay, I'm going to bleat on about accuracy of phrasing for a bit [Press 'SKIP' to continue]... I think some phrases are enshrined in the English language to such a degree that the brain expects to 'hear' the phrase as soon as the first word falls, because the context is right, or maybe the first couple of words are in that form. So, here, my brain sees 'for maximum' and expects the next word to be 'effect'. When it's not 'effect', the brain (I really don't think it's only me) rebels. This is compounded when the replacement word doesn't really fit grammatically, and probably is squared by the fact that the same word has already appeared in the sentence. I've gone on at this length because there are various instances I think where this occurs. "Flies on food"... Okay, I can see that that works, but the "more likely" expression is "flies on sh*t", so again, my brain stops reading for a microsecond and thinks, 'Huh, that's a bit weird'. "didn't expend too much brain fluid" - There's another. (a) I'm expecting to hear "too much brain power"; (b) pretty sure that fluid on the brain in any form is a bad thing; (c) I doubt the brain expends any fluid in conscious thought taking place (because, b, above). I think humour needs to be internally consistent, or logically inconsistent. So, 'about as much use as a chocolate teapot' is funny (people seem to think, more often than not) because you could make a teapot from chocolate and then pour boiling water into it, it just would not be a very good idea, and we can all imagine the hilarious result ensuing from the attempt; (d) F is a necromancer, so he should know enough about the human body to know (b) and (c), ergo, my issue is compounded by not believing that the character would say this. Sorry to blether on. It's a subject that I am very invested in: how does comedy work. I think a lot of people who make comedy approach the subject with a significant eye for detail, because there are factors involved that can be studied and understood. "two-fingered salute" - This could mean a variety of things, as the available range of emojis indicates. "Or that they were being tailed by" - suspect it's a typo: "weren't". The first thing she's checking is a negative, so he second needs also to be a negative, in fact, I think "or" should be "and". What is she nervous about? I'm feeling an inconsistency in Q's emotional reactions. "Close." - What was close? Don't understand. (p5) - "lack of trigger discipline" - But I thought that the other guard shot the crossbow on purpose to warn off the kid? "In somewhere you’ll never reach" - Suggest cutting "In", duplicating 'somewhere'. "help me figure out where" - What does it matter if he figures out where? That's not the point of the threat. I don't know why he would ask that. The important point here is that she's (mock?) threatening to shoot him. Surprised that he seems to ignore that. I think last time I had an issue, here and there, of there being banter for banters sake, and this feels a bit like that. I'm not keen on banter displacing story. "parlour furniture" - LOL. (p6) - "stuck his fingers in his ear" - coins usually come from behind the ear, and there is a good reason for that, you can't get more than one finger in your ear. This is a touching moment, but I'm thrown out of it rather by the obvious logistical issues that could so easily be addressed. Also, Q sticking the finger in too far... not convincing, because why? Has she so little control over her own body that she can't look down an alley and regulate finger movement at the same time? I don't think so, from the woman who can pick the pocket of two guards while having a conversation with them. "whose inn budget just went down two shiny pegs" - 'had just gone down' "When Q was asked to do a review of Qw’s gladiator pit, the first thing she thought was, “Aw, shite" - 'her first though was...' - shorter, better timing of the gag. "Qw was the kind of name you gave a city when it has had no actual..." - tense agreement. Why have we gone into present tense all of a sudden? (p7) - "turning around and marching straight back to B" - really though? "possibly owned by racists" - I don't understand how she reaches this conclusion. "scraped the new grime off of her face" - suggest 'from her face'. I'm convinced any worthy editor would say that was better form. "We'll lodge here" - I thought they had already decided on the inn: this feels a bit like we're going backwards. (p8) - "to room with some priests who were passing through town" - how is this any cheaper than him rooming with her? "she twisted her key into the lock" - "in the lock", surely. How do you twist the key into the lock? "paisley quilts" - Quite telling that she finds a room like this questionable, it's very well equipped compared to the tent the kids in the alley were sleeping in. Also, I think "Paisley" usually is capitalised, as a proper noun. "She started at the sound of F’s voice" - Why? He's been talking in her head since the start of the book, why is this time any different from any other time? "he was doing this again" - What? I don't understand what's different here from the last 20(?) pages. "Making him telepathic in the first place" - I don't think we've been told why she did this -- the telepathy, but also the transformation itself -- and therefore references to it are mildly annoying, to me. If we have been told that's maybe WRS on my part, but a reminder would not go amiss here... if we've been told. "First, she'd imagined him..." - Oh, that's quite brilliant. I don't mean the concept, I mean the timing. When I read "she'd made sure of that" I'm immediately thinking 'I wonder how she did that', and then bam. Nailed it... if you'll pardon the expression. (p9) - "her so-called sisters" - wait who is this? This feels like a teasing piece of some of the background that I'm missing about the nature of the world. "to this day undisturbed." - I know I'm quibbling a lot (as it might be described, although I take back none of it, details are important) but that's a good thing. I've established over 10/12 years of critiquing that me commenting at greater length and digging down into small details is a sign of how good I think something is, and how I'm a bit frustrated that it's close to being really excellent and keen to try and help the author improve it. This paragraph here, for me, is just perfect in ever way. "The fathers have taken to discussing" - Oh, WAIT, I've got why she jumped, it's because he's not in the room with her? I didn't get that. Might need to hang a lantern on it? These two have been together every step of the way, in every line, and just because it was stated that she'd rented separate accommodation for him, I did not immediately assume that he was in that accommodation now, because it was not stated (I think). "sans in the view of men of the cloth" - grammar: suggest "sans the presence of men of the cloth", because 'sans' is French for 'without', therefore reads as "without in the the view of men of the cloth" "vomit out rust-red water" - fabulous description. "almost a whole minute" - doesn't seem all that long. Would take at least that to run warm in many modern homes. "wasn't even hot" - right, but is it warm, stone cold? What is it? I once heard on a writing podcast guidance against describing what something is not, which stick with me as being eminently good advice, for this kind of reason. "chattering like a nervous dental patient" - Hmm, why would a dental patient be more likely to chatter than any other kind of patient? (p10) - "freezing her b** off" - Description implies that the water is colder than the air in the room, so, is she not more likely to remain freezing by staying in the water, and to find that it is warmer out of the tub? The use of the phrase here bothers me, because it's not an instantaneous thing, freezing the b** off. I feel like usually it's used as a description of a continuous state: "I'm stuck out here freezing my b** off", as opposed to this sort of "as soon as the window opened, J froze their b** off" form. "put her dress back on" - confused: why did she put the dress on directly after renting it from the woman, when Q knew she wasn't clean, and would know she'd need to take it off almost immediately? "to give Q her clothes" - Oh, wait, so the inn-keep took her clothes to wash them? I don't think that was explained before. "Off she was to the Cr, then" - I don't know what this means: is the Cr a place? That's not immediately obvious: "Off she went to the Cr" would be clearer. "Just didn't feel like it" - As character motivation and interiority, this is... it's not good, not compelling and engaging, makes her sound like a privileged d**k. I still have a clear image of the starving kids in the alley and the moment she tried to buy off her conscience. "in her jacket’s inseams" - I don't know what this is. Is there a compelling reason not to just say "seams"? " entire building" - another perfect paragraph (IMO): sets up a question, answers it clearly, then provides a very satisfying and surprising illustration. "plus the soul of a necromancer" - Bah, you've lost me here. This smacks of the writer twisting the character around to react in a specific (very unlikely) way in order to illustrate a necessary point. This is a rare thing, it requires the soul of... not just any person off the street, but a necromancer to build, and she is contemplating using it BECAUSE SHE CAN'T BE BOTHERED WALKING?! Just screams 'not believable' in my reading head. "F started singing" - back to my point about the discontinuity in blocking (IMO), i.e. F not being in the room. A simply fix is to hang a lantern on it both in the original instance where he did not follow her to her room, and then again here with something like "Somewhere in the building, F started singing." (p11) - "given into that temptation" - "given in to...", IMO, because she had 'given in' (surrendered). "...bridal shower" - Bwah-ha-ha-ha. That's brilliant How can a town be misshapen? it's whatever shape development and topography dictates. This line makes no sense, IMO. It's a good idea, I think, but it has to make logical sense to work as a gag, IMO. "butter-soft ripples of twilight" - fabulous, just fabulous. "they used that river to their advantage" - who is they? "gators and flesh-eating piranhas" - For me, this is another of these annoying hints at a background to the setting that is being is being withheld from me. (p12) - "resumed her human form" - Well, as noted, nothing has happened to dispel my earlier opinion that this was a massive waste of a valuable resource. It just makes me question (and tend to dismiss) the character's judgement, and therefore start to turn against her. She could have walked that in, what, five minutes? "it ended up being locked" - logical of wording: it has been locked the entire time before she got there, so it doesn't end up being locked just because she finds it, which is how this reads to me. (p13) - "a good idea to familiarize herself with the route" - acht, this feels like reverse justification to me. In fact, it even heightens my dissatisfaction with her wasting the MacGuffin, because it didn't occur to me at the time of my original complaint that she would have to walk back! So, I feels to me like she's just destroyed a Faberge egg to save a Über fare. Feel like her though process in this aspect has been really weak. "A half-hour walk later" - Still not worth a Faberge egg. "the DD of U the E" - ROFL. Oh, oh, "flicked the DW off down the hall" - that's fantastic. I don't really understand that threat though. I'm trying to remember, did F possess the artefact in question? I though he did, so why would he waste such a powerful artefact just to make a threat like this? I am not at all sure I understand how it's a threat, either. "didn’t look like they’d been pilfered through" - Same concern as before, I'm confident this grammar is 'unconventional' and therefore disturbing (to me anyway, and maybe to an editor). (p14) - "in case the actual parchment was poisoned" - Nice detail. Nice bit of tradecraft there. "Red Lady" - Is she a redhead? Not sure where this epithet comes from. Maybe it's me who has forgotten. "never see him again" - Oh, this is brilliant. Already feels like a twist, not what I was expecting at all. Nicely done. "the priests F had been rooming with" - Which she put him in with, essentially. "Free at ------- last!" - LOL, not the reaction I was expecting.* Therefore, a nice double-take moment, but (*) I think there is a a bit of a disconnect here. I mentioned before that I don't think it's been clarified why Q turned him in to an ostrich. And setting above, below or within that particular detail, I am unsure what drive their relationship. Yes, they have excellent banter (sometimes a little overmuch that dilutes any suggestion of plot), but I don't understand the emotional connection between them, and that hampers my investment in things like this, her reaction to his kidnapping, amongst other things. I don't understand the emotional setting of the story, and I feel that it's holding me back. There is hints, like her mentioning battles with her father, but I feel like I'm taunted with these details, but not given enough to truly immerse myself in the story. Oh. But I don't understand. The whole basis of the plot is F competing in the arena. That has just been removed, replaced with his kidnapping, but there is no suggestion of what she's going to do, or even really how she feels about it, beyond an initial emotional reaction. I've gone from having a tenuous plot, to have not plot at all, or rather next to no character motivation at all. Summary Argh. I'm frustrated by this, because I love loads of it, but there are some big pieces missing, for me. The main character's emotional landscape is missing. I don't really know how Q feels about... pretty much anything. I don't know her past, and I know very little about her present. There are odd hints: hatred of father; sympathy for urchins; antipathy towards F - but I don't understand the basis of any of it, or what her actual motivations are. Writing an article for her job is not a motivation, not enough to carry a story. This seems to me like a case quite a lot of stuff being withheld from the reader for dramatic effect, but that doesn't work (IMO) when it leaves me all at sea without a basis to connect with the character. After being quite slow for much of the chapter, things happen in the last few pages, which is good, but again there are issues holding me back from engaging that are quite frustrating.
  12. Yep. Agree. Sorry, Sara, that I went in a bit hard about wording: of course it's a rough draft, and it's pretty good for being that! And yeah, again, really need the rules to be explained early on, and for the fear of death to but put into the character (C), and the reader!!
  13. Hey, I'm getting there! (p1) - There are some brilliant ideas in this. I LOVE what only blank books can do! And later, the furniture... it's something I've seen before (might even have used in DewD, I can't remember!), but it's really cool. (p2) - There are various reference in text to 'they', and sometimes I don't think it's clear which 'they' is being referred to. Similarly, there are references to 'the guard', but I think it looks like reference to one particular guard, and that reference to the Guard (as an organisation) could be capitalised for clarity. (p3) - There are quite a number of locations throughout where I found the narrative confusing and wordy. I've sent LBL comments through, and I appreciate that it's a (first?) draft, but there are numerous places where one well-chosen word can replace a handful. I think I need some clarification on who the missing children are. Do we know that they are friends of C's or are we just assuming that? I want to know more about that relationship in order to be able to invest in the central premise, which is getting these kids back. What are their names? Is related to any of them? Any attachment? Maybe it would be interesting if C didn't like these people, but felt obliged to rescue them for some reason. Maybe some of this is WRS* and some of that information is provided earlier, but I think some repetition / reminder in each chapter (maybe?) would be good. It doesn't need to, and indeed shouldn't, be a complete retread of the detailed explanation of all their names if that is given earlier, but I need to be reminded who we're looking for some. (* For those not familiar, Weekly Reader Syndrome - the effect of a reader forgetting (because of the week's gap between submission) details they normally would remember by reading a book with smaller gaps between chapters.) "if we die trying to find them" - I'm struggling to invest in the threat here. We have not seen the baddies being bad, or any results from their work other than taking the children. "how cruel the fay lands could be" - Again, not invested. I'm being told this without being shown it. I know show don't tell is a total cliché, but it's a truism because there is truth to it. "stay put once the sun set, per the rules" - Huh, what rule is this? Don't think we've been told about this. Finishing a scene on a point of new information is... undesirable, IMO. Unless, I've forgotten this, of course. (p4) - "didn't know how far into the patrol they already were" - How could he have been talking to them if they were already out on patrol? They would have needed to be a the palace for hom to talk to them, would they not, but they were "into the patrol". (p5) - I don't understand the relationship between P and A, so lines about them sharing the bed don't land for me. Were they together and then not? Again, I'm held back from investing in the relationship because I don't know what it is. I know it was touched on earlier, but I don't think it was explained, and it's really hampering me investing in their relationship, leaving any romantic tension kind of flat, IMO. (p7) - At first, the sunlight is described as golden-red light. That sounds different from orange to me, which then turns to red: wording is a bit confusing on this point. (p8) - Kinda weak last line, for me. It sounds like it's expecting more words to follow. I think scene last lines do a lot to propel the reader through the story, and I think it would be worth looking at most of the last lines and scene-closing lines to make sure they are powerful and portentous as possible. SUMMARY I find myself getting bogged down in some fairly scruffy sentences that tend to hamper my progress through the story. I felt that there was some repetition, and often the wording could be more direct. The search for the kids, I know, was in the last chapter, but this results in not much happening in this chapter. The only thing that really happened was the talk with the guards involved in the patrol, and it was over very quickly. This chapter feels insubstantial to me. I bet you could put this together with the last chapter and, with cutting repetition and wordiness, could end up with one fairly tight chapter. There are good characters here, but I would like to know more about their relationships and their emotion in order to become more invested in them and their cooperation. At the moment, I think maybe there is a lot of person stuff that is not there on the page that should be. I mentioned that of C and her friends. There's no substance to that relationship, they are just friends, full stop. P and A have a past, that's all. We don't know what it is, but are asked to accept that it motivates each of them in some way, but we are not sure what way. The goal of finding the captured children, IMO, is not enough to fuel a whole novel. I need more personal goals/motivations, and higher level societal goals/motivations, I think, for the story to feel more involving, more substantial. I hope all this is useful