Robinski

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About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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  1. Lots of questions: 1. Is it clear what’s happening while the spell is going wrong? - I thought so. 2. How is the pacing? - Generally good, l although issues with the first few pages, IMO. 3. Does this seem like a helpful setup for understanding from the start that Most magic is illegal. - Clear enough, I thought. Although a smidge confusing the some is but some isn't. Magic can go horribly wrong. - Yup. Al’s family history is …complicated. - To a point. Not sure it's quite clear how it is complicated, and everyone's family tends to have some complication (or is that just me? I doubt it!!). 4. Are there additional questions/expectations set up here that you feel haven’t been addressed yet or should have been addressed already? - A prologue should be posing questions and making promises to the reader, but should not IMO be answering anything. 5. Any confusing/boring things? - See critique comments, to summarise: too much background in front, still, IMO. 6. Thoughts on characters/emotional connection up front? - Difficult because (as I understand it) with Br dying and not being in the book, we're not in the POV of any of the story's main characters. So, no real lasting connection. I guess the retainer will still be in, but we don't get much sense of him, other than being told he's capable, and seeing some evidence of that. I suppose I can form some bond to him as 'dependable retainer', but that's not an emotional connection. 7. Points of interest/engagement? - Honestly, not much. Al is orphaned: sad but not rare or especially engaging. Magic is illegal, but actually it's not, some magic is permitted, by some people, at certain times? Bit confusing and therefore not so much engaging. I think that strand could be clearer, and simpler would be clearer. Definitive statement at the start, something like 'All magic is illegal unless you are a court appointed mage.'
  2. So, sorry for the delay. I hope there is something useful in the following comments. - Nice first line: I've got smuggling, and mages, and an injured mage (presumably). Decent amount of tension to keep me reading. - “little time to grieve one lost child” - But surely you just do it afterwards, as you would if anyone dies in childbirth? - "prune back one generation" - So, if there twins, everybody dies? Seems unlikely, but that's how I read this line. - “If he let too much power funnel through, it would stop her heart entirely…balance of the spell.” - This passage has tension, and good personal stakes, but it's too far from the start of the story. For me, the first page is quite dry, factual with background that does not engage as much at the start as a passage like this one. - Double space between sentences is archaic, IMO, a remnant of typewriters, I believe. Publishers / editors will excise all of these. Best to do it yourself, even if at the end, before submitting it anywhere. - "leave Al to fend for himself." - This is very low key, IMO. Like a kid havng to get their own lunch because their mom is late home. Not like both his parents dying. - The two/three pages before the POV break are urgent and exciting. I think this is much better than the first version in read. The opening few pages are still slow for me though, a lot of background much of which isn't relevant to the prologue. It doesn't sweep me away into the novel, which is what the opening should do. It's better, without a doubt, but I think this first few pages are still an issue due to their being quite 'dry'. - "Then darkness." - This is the second fade to black in the prologue. I think that's two too many (as it's a cliché), but at best, I'd go with one, as two is...repetitive. I think you could cut this last line, or even the last two. Personally, I like a line interupted, like "A moment later came noise, and--" Overall I think this is a good improvement on the previous version. I think it still could be streamlined more, especially the first few pages, but as a whole it is pacier, more direct, and the change of POV to Br is very effective. Classic application of WE's advice of putting the POV in the head of the character with the most at stake. Good job There is quite a lot of language stuff, for me; little details and wording (in some places) that is vague, noncommittal, hesitant, when it would be much more engaging to (have the character) commit to a particular thought or idea. That's all editing detail and craft fine tuning, which can come in later edits, of course. I still think there is scope to cut more background from tis prologue, only bring in details when they are absolutely needed for story or character reasons, which much of the background in the opening pages is not, IMO. I'm not sure I agree entirely with the following quote from M. John Harrison, but it's interesting food for thought, no mistake.
  3. Go ahead, @Ace of Hearts. That's two for today
  4. Not peeking at the comments, just a quick note to say I've started reading this, finally
  5. Hi folks, Wow, I had pretty much forgottwn how to do this. Do let me know if you don't get the emaikl, of course. My novel TMM has been through here before some time ago. I'm going into a major edit as I have the prospect of it being published in the next few months, all going well. Actually, it was Reading Excuses that prompted me to review and revise the beginning, which I have significant doubts about in terms of being strong enough, or maybe rather tight enough with respect to what constitutes an engaging opening. So, here are three versions of the original opening, each taking its cue from one of the three styles of opening discussed by Dong Won Son on Reading Excuses. I would love to hear your thoughts and preferences. As noted, if you have something specific that you’d like me to read other than just your last submission, do let me know, otherwise I will browse through the recent subs, and maybe go back to the first in the project, or cover a few recent ones. Cheers, Robinski p.s. Gentle reminder, please do not use any original names in the comments. Thanks!
  6. So, heh, I would like a slot for Monday, please. Given that I have a backlog longer than the old Mississippi, and assuming I get a slot, if y'all want to tell me what you'd like me to read that would be fine, else I'll skim through previous subs and critiques then on the latest
  7. One tentative spot, coming up
  8. Five slots still free
  9. Looks like @Ace of Hearts and @C_Vallion for tomorrow. Three spots remain available
  10. Thank you One of the most satisfying things about the project is how much of a collaborative team effort it was. Immensely satisfying.
  11. Ha-ha, remember this thread? Well, here is an excellent, and thought-provoking article that plays directly into what we do here*. https://harpers.org/archive/2014/11/spare-the-darling/ (* Yes, I know I haven't critiqued in a while. I think I'm about to dive back in soon.)
  12. Heh, so here's a bit of a squee moment. If you want to read me taking about my experiences with Reading Excuses, flowing into the Distant Gardens anthology (thanks to @Mandamon for setting this up, and endorsing the topic), there is a link on Writing Excuses to Mary Robinette's site and My Favourite Bit...(squee). https://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/my-favorite-bit-robin-c-m-duncan-talks-about-distant-gardens/
  13. Check. One for Monday, August, 9th
  14. Thanks, oh Dwarfy one :O)