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About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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    Glasgow, Scotland

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  1. Awesome, thank you @kais. I'm rolling with a particular option for this draft and will see how it plays out. I'd love to think that you guys will get a read as far into TCC sometime to see how it plays. (Edit: Bah, sorry. Weird double post due to internet shenanigans.)
  2. Yay, I'm so pleased I asked a half-way sensible question! Exceedingly helpful reply, thank you ID. In writing the scene that I'm working on, I sort of went out of my way to put myself in the position of needing such a term as a challenge. Actually, M-o-t-h is addressing a corporal in the NAF National Guard, so 'Corporal' is most certainly the correct and conveniently gender-neutral response, but I want to learn 'my' new word now, dang-it! p.s. I happened to hover over your profile preview, and notice that you joined on this very date in 2017. Happy anniversary!!
  3. Ooh, I've never posted here... I hope this question has not been asked and answered (I don't see it, although I've looked through various of the links above). I'm looking for a term of formal address, the equivalent of Sir / Madam. I'm using xe and xir for this side character. Maybe Xir is the obvious choice, but then it's the same as the replacement for the standard accusative ('her'), so I didn't want to use that. Would Xadam, becoming Xa'am, be weird and/or out of step in some way I'm too uneducated to see? Opinions welcomed! Thank you.
  4. Something to add that I didn't cover and should have in my notes (since it was the first thing I noticed!), I thought this was solidly your best reading piece to date (that I've read) in terms of style, flow, pacing and just general readability. I thought the characters were the most believable and identifiable (as opposed to identifiable with). While I in no way followable to the technobabble (more on which below), I believed that the characters understood it: thus it was convincing. Also, I disliked the m/c sufficiently to stop reading, so you thoroughly convinced me of his unlike-ability / psychosis
  5. Always a pleasure
  6. Hi @mandamon, can I clarify that you are going to re-submitted an updated version of the story you've put up over the last two weeks. So, I should go straight to Monday's submission?
  7. I'm always intrigued to read one of your stories. I see there is some 'traffic' above, but I'll go back a read the comments after I've read the story. Page 1 - "J’s logic trains were second only to my own" - Second in what? Speed? Accuracy? There's no qualifier to explain how they are second. Okay, I'm always up for a time travel story. The bar is pretty high. Page 2 - Okay, whatever. I started out trying to follow what they were talking about, but quickly stopped trying to have it make sense and just read the words. That's not meant as a dig, it sounds semi-plausible enough for me to accept that they know what they're talking about, even if I don't. Page 3 - "Less headaches" - Fewer headaches. Yeah, okay. M/C a riding really high on the smug curve now, and that's not an attractive quality in terms of rooting for a character. Also, at almost 20% of the way in the story, I'm now sure what it's about. What is the plot, the conflict, the M/C's goal? Page 4 - Ugh. he just got even more smug. Now I'm hoping to see him fair, painfully, which may be the point. The flavour of the sandwich? "The energy consumption would be even worse under those circumstances" - This doesn't ring true as something s scientist would say. I get that energy consumption can be a problem, but it's not really bad, surely it's just higher than desirable. Page 5 - "to filch your time travel notes" - Lol, I like that line. Page 6 - "I’m going to test..." - I feel like it's really quite late in the story to be fed the 'inciting' incident (not really the right term, but...). I feel like the five plus pages before could be streamlined to get to this reveal sooner. "Grandmother" - Gaaaaah... Okay, I think maybe I see the logic here on a scientific level, but as the basis of a fictional story, I don't think this is justifiable. For me, it's not about whether the science is sufficiently rigorous (Is the argument that, if he killed his grandfather, his grandmother might still have conceived him by other means? That seems tenuous to me. Maybe that's not it.), it's about the superficial headline message that such an approach sends. Page 7 - "It’s no different from slipping someone a contraceptive" - Eh? No, I'm done.
  8. Hoo-haa, is it February already? Erm, I'll just try and sneak this in here and hope nobody notices it didn't land a month ago. Page 1 - I'm engaged enough at the start. Grumpy can be engaging. I tend to write grumpy, so I don't mind reading it. The quest the dog to take a rust, then shitting in a bush is a mild turn off for me, as I'm not a dog person. I like dogs, and they seems to like me, but our relationship works best at one degree of separation. Some of narrative is a bit lumpy, doesn't scan all the smoothly in places for me, partly because of punctuation. Page 2 - 'weres' I'm happy enough with as a concept and basis for a story. Registration is a pretty strong central idea to build a conflict around. Sure, X-men has that covered, but I can't think of many (any) other examples off the top of my head. Page 3 - Them being married seems to come quite late as a mini reveal. I thought it felt like it was trying to work as a surprise, but why would it be a secret, not delivered up front? M might have thought or said to the neighbour that the husband was waiting. "someone else's table" - Lol, I totally hate that too . "lack of words" - This is an example of my finding the narrative a bit clunky in places. For me, it would be smoother by being simpler, like here, where 'silence' would replace there words. Page 4 - Confused. Is E the manager? A didn't say anything about the food being late. That encounter seemed rather pointless. Was it only to make the point about him not liking M? Felt very, very abrupt. 'Prospective' students, not perspective. Page 5 - I don't quite get why M is all stressed if she's not actually late for the testing. Just because she's cut it fine? Also not entirely convinced by the reaction of the people waiting. If the place doesn't open till 9, why expect to get let in early? Itching to do LBLs, but resisting! Page 6 - I have complete sympathy with M be this point. Although M's manner is brusque, her position seems entirely reasonable and all those carping complaints have no basis. Rules are rules, and made to be followed. I'm not keen on 'failure to afford', that's awkward phrasing for me, compared to 'inability'. It's not really her failure, i.e. her fault, if external forces combine to defeat any attempt to afford meds. Page 7 - M said buster was a little guy, now he's putting paws on M's shoulder?! Clearly, one of these statements is misleading. I suspect Buster is actually a large dog, but we don't know that when M thought of him as 'little guy', so I took that at face value. I would say 'the feel of his soft fur calmed her', it's not like the fur itself intervened and talked her down. I like the interplay with the dog and how it assuages M's tension. Page 8 - I just remembered that E from the bar is the next door neighbour. Still don't know it he's the manager of the bar. I sense the undercurrent of M being rather paranoid that she's being spied on, observed and judged, and I detect the hints about how canine some of her behaviour is. I like that it's at that subtle level. I presume it's going to ramp up and she is in fact a 'were', or someone is. That's my assumption at this point. I like the length of the sections: there's no fat on them. I like how you cut out early on her thought about making a donation. We don't need to know her conclusion, just that she's having the thought. Page 9 - The encounter with the student is nicely done. Short and to the point. Page 10 - I like the description of writing the letter to politicians. It feels important and useless even before it's sent, and M's thoughts about editing (watering it down), add to that effect, I think. I've been waiting for the tension to take another step upward and here it is in the form of the official visitors. I'm starting to think now that M's growling and other canine embellishments are misdirection, and that it will be A who is the 'were'. Page 11 - "then nearly froze as she abruptly came to a halt" - Umm, are these not the same thing? Page 12 - See 13. Page 13 - Hoo boy, the urge to LBL was strong in that one (page) - numerous typos, but "Would they force her if she refused to go?" - They've just said they're arresting her. I don't think she would ask this question, she already knows it answer, it's been made very clear to her what's happening here. "she decided that it had been worth every penny of raised taxes and every minute spent arguing with idiots at the town meetings to get the budget for this approved" - Confused. It sounds like the intention is for irony, but actually the statement makes perfect sense, so it sounds more like e genuine thought. "It took twelve hours to process the results" - This sounds like you're jumping to the results, and so it threw me to read the next bit. Suggest saying 'It would take twelve hours...', which will keep the timeframe straight. Page 14 - Okay, this LBL I get to have "were wolf" - 'Werewolf' is one word all day long . "...some cold, forsaken part of Canada where there are more trees than people" - So, Canada then? (Sorry, but I get that joke because my wife, daughter and son-in-law are all Canadian!! ). I'm a little put out that there is a new character being introduced 78% of the way through the story. I see a way around that in having the young woman from the testing centre be the one who is arrested and jailed with M. Just a suggestion. Page 15 - "a good 15 minutes passed" - Nope, not having that. Why use a numeral here? There are no other numerals in the story, I'm pretty sure, or I would have flipped out already. it's incredibly jarring for that reason, but than I would say numerals are always jarring, especially in dialogue. Don't remember Gandalf ever saying "Here we are, the 9 members of the fellowship." Page 16 - Ooo, the kind of epilogue thing through me there. The sudden change of pace is quite jarring. I am glad to learn what happens though. Page 17 - It's a nice touch that the were is associated with Eddy. I really thought it was going to be A. In a way, that would be more satisfying, as it's a character who has been in the story the whole way through. "his grandfather had accused someone to keep suspicion off of him" - See, I would say 'divert suspicion' which is cleaner and shorter, but I appreciate that is not the tone of the story. But I still hate 'off of'. Also, I'm not sure I see E's logic, because it reads like he's brought the cops into the neighbourhood when they weren't there before. You did say there were sightings, but I think the ending would pay off better if we saw cops cruising the neighbourhood at some point in the middle. I like the story. I think it's well done (and begging for a good proof read!). The message is maybe a bit heavy-handed, but I don't think it's ay less powerful for that. I like the way you showed things in society getting worse as we progressed through. I would read another version for sure, but only if I got to do a proof read first Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year! <R>
  9. Hi there, glad to read another submission from you and sort these comments are so late. Hopefully they are still of some use. I remember reading this story when you submitted it before. I remember it being interesting, but posing a lot of questions. - I like the first paragraph, and that you put us right at the point of discovery of the problem. Feels like 'in late' to me (as in 'in late, out early'), which is good. I get a decent sense of destruction, and also start to get a feeling for the character in that they seem fastidious and perhaps a bit fussy. - I'm not completely clear on the Gifts, I think that first explanation could be a bit smoother. I would not add detail too it though, because I would say you don't want it to sound like exposition. It's about clarity though, around combination. - Don't adults imagine the power? Not quite clear on that. - Here's a thing. Shy is a woman, so sometimes you'll want to say 'she', but she and Shy sound awfully similar. I would think that would be quite jarring if she is the main character through the whole book. - I like that we get a very clear and unambiguous character goal on the first page. I think that makes it easier to follow a character for a whole story. I would not mind her frustration/anger coming through a bit more strongly, but maybe it will from this point. - It's a little odd at first that, having just accepted a personal goal, she thinks about distracting herself from it. - I'm struggling a bit with the logistics of the stone. (1) As an engineer, bocks falling out of the ceiling bothers me. I would be concerned about the integrity of the ceiling, but no one seems to be bothered that the whole thing might come down. (2) The size of the block (about a metre thick, depending on her height) seems incredible for a ceiling. (3) Biggest problem, if you are estimating the size of something, 'a foot or two' is a massive range of error, too much. No one would guess at something being more than 100% one way or another. Imagine it as guessing the height of a person. 'He was maybe 6 or 12 feet tall.' - To me, a pouch is a small thing, not large enough to carry a bunch of sandbags unless they are very small. Thus, I don't have a clear sense of how much D is actually carrying. - How does he know he's going in the right direction if the sun is directly overhead? Surely he would need to know the direction of movement of the sun. - I'm not convinced by D's situation. For me, it does not hang together in terms of the time frame. He's 20 miles out to start, maybe he's only walked 5 miles, then he said only a few more steps, which clearly it cannot be, as he can't even see the city, then the timeframe changes suddenly and the sun sets an moons rise seemingly instantly in narrative terms, but there's no real sense of progress or effort. And suddenly he's running?!?! But he could barely put one foot in front of the other before, it seemed. I don't get this at all. Is there magic at work here? If so, it's not hinted at, it just seems incongruous to me. - Deserts at night (I gather) are incredibly cold, but there's no reference to that, so I don't really feel the environment. I got a better sense of the heat during the day. - I've got no sense of the spider's size, so it's hard to picture, but if he is able to stab the legs without missing they must be tree-trunk trick, which would mean the spider is what, ten feet tall, more? - Do spiders' legs have carapace on them? I've always thought of carapace as covering the body. Also, do spiders even have carapace? Maybe they do, but I've always heard it and thought of it in terms of beetles. Maybe this is all kosher, but that's the way my thoughts went. The fight seems, I don't know, a bit underwhelming. I've got no sense that D will be in any real danger of death, since we're right at the start of the story. What would be truly surprising would be if he died and someone else came past to win and they were the main character, but then that would be another p.o.v., and that would be a problem. Oh, okay, he's in real trouble it sounds like. Everything goes black is a bit 'meh', but it does leave my asking questions. It's a cliffhanger, I suppose, which can work, but I don't think you've earned it for this character, yet (see below). - D leaves me a bit cold, I get no real sense of character from him. Okay, you talk about him being competitive, but I don't think that's particularly shown by what we see of him. Everyone will be similarly competitive, presumably. We learn nothing about his life, his position, or what it means to be chosen. - You mentioned going too fast. So far, I would rather have spent longer with S who seemed a more interesting character, and learned more about her. It's good to have an old(er) person as an m/c, that feels different to me. I think she showed more character than D, but still not as much character as I would have liked. It's possible to drop in little character notes and details subtly, without taking a paragraph to describe each feature, and it makes them more rounded. You could hint at character habits (not more then one, prob), or flaws (maybe she smokes or drinks or has a secret of some sort), just something a little more would have been good in the opening. - Why would the 'S Lords' use anything other than sand? Strange through she has there. - Capitalisation: I'm a firm believer that the more you capitalise the less use it is and the less impact it has. I don't see why you've capitalised 'aide'. An aide is just an aide, not someone important enough to deserve capitalisation. Further, I don't see any need to capitalise Master if you are not referring to a particular master. If it's a non-specific master, if would suggest no caps. With a sea of capitals, I think the reader loses sight of what is a name and what is just a 'thing'. So, the really important names and people actually because less distinctive. - Why does S have to win K over? I don't sense any difference of opinion between them yet. - Why was the dead master guarding the stone, and why was the number of guards reduced? - I've got a problem with the end of the meeting. How is it that nothing is decided, or, if it is, how is it that S just zones out and doesn't hear the conclusion of the meeting? I find it strange that all the important people in this world can't come up with the strategy. It's really not believable. That is a big problem with meetings like this. So many stories have council meetings in them, and in most of these story meetings, the so-called important people at the table are almost always largely ineffectual, and wait around for the main character to lead them by the nose. But it's just not credible. These people should be trying to control the situation, they should be full of energy and anger and ideas, disagreeing over different courses of action, debating and arguing. Or, they should all agree on the course of action, but what I would expect is that they all would want to have their say, because they are important, and because they are representing the people that put them on the council, and should be trying to show that they are being effective. - 'D span in a full circle' - I think you've done a decent job of describing the carnage. I get pulled along through this section. I would say some of the description is a bit bland, and could be more evocative and emotional if it were more colourful--I think--but I still think the pace a delivery of this section is good. I feel D's emotion on the discovery of his father. it's the most interested I've been in D so far. One thing I would say "This couldn’t be happening" is a kind of nothing phrase, a cliche I think, a very commonly used phrase. It makes me think of the advice from Writing Excuses about low-hanging fruit. Don't always use the first word of phrase that comes to mind, that's the one that everyone uses, go past and use the second one you think of, or better still the third or the fourth. I think you'll find you end up with more colourful narrative. - "Underneath was D's father" - now I'm interested. - Isn't he still in the location where he dropped the sand bags? Can't he just find them lying nearby? Or, has something else happened that prevents this, like sand blowing in and covering them up because of the amount of time that's past? - I like that the section (chapter) ends with him crawling, although I don't like the last line, it's underwhelming, not much punch to it, I think. Overall, I quite enjoyed this, I think it's better than the last time for sure. The improvement is clear. The hopping around p.o.v.s is a problem, I think it's very bitty and I would tend to put the two like sections together so that the reader gets two separate p.o.v.s in the chapter. Other than that, good job. I'm hoping we get to see some more of this story, and that you keep going instead of going back to rewrite, which just completely kills any momentum you get from submitting. Thanks for charing <R>
  10. Hey MrWiz - hope you're well. This is a very interesting point. My first reaction was, surely this makes you even better equipped to write characters, because you know what the stress and strains on families and individuals would be at a given time, what the big issues were for society, etc?
  11. Really good question, and I think others have answered it already better than me. I think your post begs follow-up question like (a) should you try to employ or develop a different voice if you write in two different genres?; and (b) What happens to your voice when you write in different modes (1st Person, 3rd Person, etc.). I think it would be a very interesting exercise to ask those who read your work what they think your voice is (the major facets of it), or where they think it is heading if you're still developing it.
  12. Hurray! Quite right too. It's a shame that's she's had such trouble with this. In the Scotland, where I'm frae (there's some Scots for you, free of charge, meaning 'from'), it's really typical to have an accepted Christian name as a surname. My name is Robin Duncan, and I get hailed as Duncan quite a bit by mistake (usually professionally, by people who don't know me all that well). It's annoying, but here in Scotland and the UK we have a saying which I think is also used in other parts of the world, which goes "I don't give a...[insert preferred oath here]". I'm glad she's Mary-Robinette again. We 'Robins' have to stick together
  13. Exsqueeze me?! The end?!?! Never!!!!
  14. Wait, where is this? I can't find it in the document The line is "before a quint---pod, or the heat" - I just botched the pasting / quoting