Robinski

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About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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  1. Hi, sorry this is late, but not as horribly late as I though: less than two weeks!! I'm in catchup mode, so nothing fancy, just immediate impressions as I go. Strictly no LBLs. 1) The epigraphs are a bit formal in style for a journal entry, I thought. But I don't know Lucy, so maybe that's how she is all the time. I just thought it sounded like someone writing a book, rather than private jottings in a journal. 2) The start of the chapter reads somewhat like a summary of the book so far (from what I remember). But, surely the reader knows all that, having read the book? So, I wonder if it won't sound a bit odd to the reader. (As in, 'I've just read all this stuff happening, so I know it already.') 3) "love… square" - LOL!! 4) Mom's advice strikes me as odd. As a parent, you want your kid to be happy, but I'd say parental advice tends to be more general rather than prescriptive advice about who to kiss. Unless maybe Me has already expressed that she doesn't want to be in love with Mi, in with case Mom is just supporting a decision Me has already made. Also, Mom's voice in the dialogue here does not sound like the voice of the woman who wrote the journal, although I appreciate people can apply difference 'voices' to difference situation. 5) I'd like to think it goes without saying, but, of course, it doesn't. So, grammar, typos like, all over the place There are some other things that normally I would tag, like telling and narrative jumps (or holes), for example, which are what prompted this comment. 6) I have to have this one. Arm gauntlets, they're just 'gauntlets'. 7) I like the text speak. Not 100% convinced on the formatting, but it's very in keeping with the setting. I think I would ditch the italics. Or........would I? I use italics for the other half of phone conversations in the Q and M books. Which feels right to me. Maybe it's because the Name: is in standard text, that I think the comment also should be in standard text. I don't think the two parts should be in a different format. 8) Hmm...pressure from Mom to initiate sexual activity; interesting. I'm still struggling to find some consistency in Mom's voice. 9) Yeah, the text chat it delightfully suggestive, and it works really well seeing the two other parties messaging back-and-forth while Me reads. However, I don't buy Me grinning. She has just been wracked with doubt about her orientation, but suddenly she has a grin splitting her face? I think that is worth at least some self analysis in terms of, 'Oh, if I'm having thoughts like this then perhaps that's all I need to know.' 10) I just can't stop myself, because I loooooooove discussing the detailed mechanics of writing. Viz: "“Grandpa” flashed across the screen" - No wy Grandpa should be in quotation marks: it's not dialogue. Single inverted commas if you want to draw it out as a label, IMO. Sorry, back to ignoring LBLs. 11) Back too the subject of narrative consistency, I did not get the bit when Mom left the room. There was messaging then suddenly (I may have missed it, of course) Mom was coming back in, but I don't recall her going out. Yeah, see, Mom says "Call him back" but she doesn't know who 'him' is, because she was not in the room. 12) "Do you know what they could’ve found?" - This line struck my unbelievable. He's just mentioned paranormal to her for the first time (right?). Why would he think she could answer such a specific question about the people he's dealing with? I'll admit that there have been enough changes to the story that I'm kinda losing track of who knew what when, but there it is anyway. 13) 60 seconds of silence is too long. Sit there are time it. There's no way Me is going to stay on the phone for that lone with nothing being said without interjecting, asking if he's okay. 10 seconds of silence is a long time, 20 seconds is an eternity. 60 is enough to write a first draft of some (probably bad) flash fiction. Overall Yup, I like the rewritten chapter. I still really feel Me's frustration and 'heartache' at potentially missing the party, but, I'm now think this will work out differently, if I remember various discussions in the interim. I like how the conversations by different forms of messages and calls come thick and fast, and there is lots of emotional 'action' in the chapter. Good job, but still issues to be dealt with, IMO, but smaller ones I think
  2. She's never summoned a demon before! I took the impression that she did it all the time, because she had the powder, and knew exactly what to do. I got none of that. We really need to know this on the first page, because it's N's whole motivation for doing what she's doing. So, how are you going to write it when the time comes? Is that a dare? And yes, I agree this is totally an improvement on the first version.
  3. Hey, sorry it's taken me so long to get back here critiquing. I hope that these comments are still of some help. (page 1) - The first line confused me somewhat. I thought the story was third person at first, because the first line starts with a name, but also contains 'my'. (Edit: I guess this is a first person POV remnant.) - The apartment does not look like the interior 'of' a magazine but an interior in a magazine. I know, quibbling, but precision in language makes a difference to the effect created, and to standing out to industry professionals, I would think. Or maybe not standing out for the wrong reasons. - Suggest 'old and shedding coach', otherwise it sounds like at ‘shedding couch' is a special kind of couch, IMO. - The references to the photographs of Nova: I feel it’s a bit odd she’s got photographs of herself on the wall but not with family, by the sound of it. Maybe it’s meant to seem odd. Also, tense issue with the phrase ‘would be taken’: these pictures are already on the wall so they’ve already been taken. also, the green screen thing and photo shop seems a relevant doesn’t add to tension it’s a distraction, IMO. Not sure it’s a thing. I’m not familiar with this concept. It raises a question that it doesn’t answer, IMO. - Question: why is there a wooden cabinet against the window? Surely that blocks the light? Oh, is that the point? If so, maybe just state that to avoid reader confusion? - Detail: surely she’s already standing on the carpet if she is in the room? If it’s a rug, then okay. - Good detail about the child. That makes me think about the character. However something about N makes me think she is young. So, her having a 16-year-old child threw me slightly. I think it’s the description of the flat how untidy it is makes me think teenager for some reason. (page 2) - The Celtic knots: I don’t believe there is enough baby powder in the bottle to form these patterns. I have a little experience of baby powder as a father, and the bottles aren’t that big, in my recollection. Question: how does she get baby powder on her hands if she is pouring it from the bottle? - The couch: surely this is her couch and she is familiar with it. Why would she put up with a couch in such poor condition? How can she sit and watch TV expecting a spring to stab her at any moment? Doesn't seem likely. - I like the moment the smoke starts to appear. Nicely played, low key, letting the weirdness speak for itself. - "N began to see flashes of fire inside the pentagram." - I think describing the MC seeing or otherwise sending something is distancing. It's something that bugs my consistently, because, if this was 'Flashes fire lit up in the pentagram' (for example) it's much more immediate and puts the reader in the moment, rather than sensing everything the filter/lens of the character. Everything is through that lens, it doesn't need to be stated. - More nice description of the manifestation with sparks and smells, nice. I like the fire extinguisher line - "And left only a demon in its place" - What function does 'only' play in this sentence? I can't see any value for it. Is it supposed to be ironic? Doesn't work for me. - Like the double eyes very much. I think the description of them could be more effective, pack more punch. How are they configured? :: or .. ..? What is the quality of the blueness? Okay, baleful, but what does that look like? (page 3) - Another POV remnant slip. - "bathed in... every morning" - LOL. - You start calling it a devil on Page 3. I'd stick with demon or devil: mixing the two seems vague to me. These are different things, surely? - "massive beringed taloned hand" - awkward phrasing. I think you need a comma between the adjectives, or maybe 'and'. - How can a pattern be 'awful'? I don't get this, don't know what to picture. And...'a cork'? Confused. - "reminded her of a tsunami crashing on a rocky beach" - I'm pretty sure a tsunami doesn't crash (or break) on the beach. Isn't that the point, it runs way inland? I don't make a habit of watching tsunami vids--too scary (shudder)--but I think it's worth checking this. The more accurate the language, the fewer readers are thrown out of the narrative. ALSO, how does N know what a tsunami sounds like? - "She droned on, and began to let her mind wander as her mouth recited" - I do not think one lets one's mind wander. I think it wanders of its own accord, before one realises it. I'm presuming she's trying to concentrate on the ritual, so the wandering happens without her 'conscious permission'. - "whole litany takes a few minutes, and She began" - tense error and typo. - "obey the spirit and not the letter" - I like this, I like that you've thought about sneaky alternative interpretations of instruction. In passing though, surely it's necessary for the demon to obey the spirit and the letter? - "His teeth extended from it’s mouth" - I think this is another drafting remnant. If the demon is a 'he', it should be 'his mouth', of course. Notwithstanding that, it should also be 'its' not 'it's'. I know you know these things, but I feel obliged to mention them when they crop up in a submission. (page 4) - "Do you stuff empty compliments down the throat" - Whoa! This got smutty really fast. - "cursed myself for giving R personal information" - But she didn't really. The friend's name could be any number of names starting with 'Sa...'. - "take you up on the offer comptable" - What word it this? (page 5) - "Only his deep blue eyes remained the same" - all four of them? - "need a shaeding license" - what is this word? Confused. (page 7) - Okay, there are lots of grammar issues, tense slips and things, and I'm getting distracted by them. I'm going to stop mentioning them at this point, since I've got a way to go in the sub. I'm enjoying it, but the drafting is frustrating. - I like the easy camaraderie between the two. It has reduced the stakes after the fear and portent of the summoning, but if R is going to be her sidekick that's probably okay. BUT, at Page 6 in the story, I need some stakes. What is the plot? Where is the tension, threat, conflict? What does the character want? These are things that need to be up front in the story, Page 1 or 2, IMO. I need something to buy into, to really engage my curiosity, and all I've got is this oddball relationship. It's good, but I need plot and motivation. - "quaint, narrow street" - doesn't tell me why the street is quaint: what does quaint look like? - The entire Maryland what? - stucco: cliche. I don't know how many buildings in modern Mediterranean cites and towns are stucco (although I have been to Italy and South of France multiple times), but it's very few, I think. I totally accept this description applies to quaint little villages and the historic parts of modern cities and towns, but I think this makes everywhere in the Med sound like it's 300 years old, which it's not. I know this could be seen as nitpicking but it was my reaction to the line. - "It was manned by a man who was dwarfed by the huge apron he wore" - I don't actually know what size the man is. The apron could be exceptionally big. - "Greek folk music" - "I already know what you want." - How? Private joke that I don't get. - "man who looked like he should live in the restaurant" - What does this look like? Nobody lives in a restaurant, so I've got no comparison. (page 8) - "You told me in your letter that you’d tell me why you wanted to eat with me." - I think this is the first line of your story: "N opened the mail one day and found a letter from a demon inviting her to lunch" or something like it. It creates mystery, introduces the main character as someone interesting enough for a demon to invite to lunch, and of course the fact that there are demons in this world. That is basically all I know from the first seven pages of the story so far. I can't think of anything else significant in terms of plot, but all the details can follow. I know it blows the reveal of the summoning scene, but this illustrates my point about the opening, and hitting the reader with something that gives motivation. - "We’re not eating yet, jeune" - This is French for young, but it's an adjective. If he means 'youngster' it would be 'enfant' (child), or 'petite file' is little girl, or, if he's going for a term of endearment, 'ma petite chou' literally is my little cabbage, but it is used as a term like 'sweetie'. - Really, really don't need to use the guy's name twice in the same sentence. If there are only two people in a scene, and one is male, the other female, once, twice or three times on the page is enough in terms of name use, IMO. Don't take my word for it though, consider in whatever novel you're reading at the moment* how often the author uses character names. (*assuming it's major press, professionally edited / published) - "An older man caught Nova’s eye, glanced at Raphael, then winked conspiratorially. Then he froze." - I've got no idea what happened. I don't understand the wink, or why the old man froze. - I like him implanting thoughts is huge wealth in her head. I totally bought her reaction, and was going to complain about money as a motivation, but the timing was really nice. Well done. Also, N looks competent because she read the situation. - "In N's research..." - Yes, this is good, the kind of thing I want much earlier. What is N? What does she do, and why? It's back to character motivation, which is closely linked to one's profession (usually). Not necessarily the whole demon description--which works here because they're in the restaurant--but an earlier indication of what N's motivation is. So, in this scene I've learned that he's paying her, but I don't know why, so I still don't understand her motivation, despite thinking I was going to learn it here. (page 9) - What kind of restaurant is this that you have to get your own food? I thought it was a nice, sit down, table service sort of place, but it's basically a cafe? Not even a diner, where there would be service. - Polish: I guess this is an early draft. I've stopped pulling typos and things, as I noted before, but I think it's worth a comment about the prose in general. Wordiness is an issue, and that can be polished down in later drafts, and through practice of style and economy of language. Smoothness of the reading experience is important to engage readers, but absolutely vital to progress to publication or representation. e.g. this sentence "Since the occasion had called for something special, she had ordered salmon fillet, which was more expensive than what she normally would have ordered." I don't know why it's a special occasion, so I'm on the back foot to begin with, but set that aside. 24 words in this sentence. I'm thinking something like 'This occasion deserved something special, so she'd pushed the boat out, and ordered Raph the salmon.' The point is flow, avoiding repeating words, going for style and author voice (whatever that might be). We're all trying to find it, but it's something worth searching for because it can set any author apart from other and make them stand out. - (1) His portion is somewhere a lot and piggish - Nova had (2) ordered him a double helping for him. She cut him some slack. (3) He was seven feet tall and looked to be solid muscle. (1) What does this mean? (2) repeated word (typo, I guess); (3) But he doesn't, he's appearing as a podgy older man. - Confused. Do they both have salmon? It's not clear, I think. She has a plate and he has a bowl, but it sounds like he only has salad? (page 10) - "R readjusted his teeth so that he could fit his fork" - Excellent! I love these very deadpan little demon details that remind the reader he's a demon and can do weird, gross and scary stuff, like this. - "wiggled to a better position, pulling it out of her back pocket" - great description of this action, which everyone will recognise. Good job. - The phone looks drab, but it's pink? Drab and pink are opposites. This description doesn't work for me. (page 11) - How would his gaze bind her with lethargy? I thought greed was his thing, not sloth. - "Several hours of work should be plenty of time to extract the information that she wanted from him." - This seems to be the motivation, part of the plot, or something like it, but I don't understand. It's not clear. As the reader, I want a clear explanation of what is going on, what she does, why and where the story is going. The characters are pretty engaging, and there are some really nice lines, but there is still no tension, no plot and no character motivation. Wealth in itself is not a valid motivation, certainly not entertaining anyway. (page 12) - James? Michael? Confused. - "paid...at the turn of each century" - excellent, love that. - "people swore to R" - not quite sure of how this whole process works/adds up, but it's very interesting. Well done, although I have a growing concern about how this will make me feel about N. - So, are Michael and James vassals that live in 'hell'? I'd consider carrying the names, from an ethnicity perspective, to be more diverse. - Why has she not asked R these question before? I figure she would know these details if she is what I recall you said she was. (page 13) - "There’s nine layers" - 'They are nine layers'. If R can speak French, he should blooming well speak English properly - "all of this new information" - Nope, I don't buy this at all. The story is set up that she's been acting for R for a spell before the story started. She knew him, has numerical data in his operations. These are newly question, and I think they are there solely to acquaint the reader with these details, But I feel this does not work logically. - So, the layers are not actual layers, like strata. Also, there's...........weather? Huh. Who'd have thunk it. (page 14) - Ah!!! Well done. There is nothing quite as satisfying for the reader, I think, as when the main character asks the exact question that the reader does. - Earth needs too be capitalised. Otherwise, it's just dirt. - "D is female" - Of course she is. N should know that, IMO. Dina Washington, Dina Carroll, Dina Meyer, Dina Asher-Smith: it's pretty clearly a female name, IMO. I don't think it's worth making it an issue, drawing attention to it. - I think you run a finger across columns. When the finger runs side-to-side, it's more likely to be following one from across a number of columns, I think. - "She resisted the urge to change her shirt" - What?!?!?! She cannot do that in the middle of a restaurant. For one thing, she doesn't ave a spare shirt, but that is not the main reason. (page 15) - "War may be a très bien opportunity" - This would be 'tres bonne'. Tres bien means 'very well'. (Maybe this is the point at which you tell me you're French, and that R is being deliberately incorrect. But I did study French for five years, and have visited France about 10 times. I pretty confident about these comments.) - I'm not following the comments about the numbers. Look into the seven? Sure thing. (This means that 993 of his vassals behaved normally, right?) But why five out of seven? (page 16) - I don't believe that R would not notice the man watching her, and might be likely to ask about him. (page 17) - R talking about work is clunky. He uses the word 'work' three time in three lines. - "With beggars, they barely had a choice" - This sounds like she's buying to to his philosophy. (page 18) - Although it doesn't do anything to push the story forward into the next chapter, I kinda like the ending and the world continuing beyond the glass. OVERALL There are plenty of points on the writing itself in terms of wordiness; lack of clarity; hiding information from the reader; etc, as mentioned, but there is definitely the basis of a good story here. I really like the idea. I'll come back to what I think are the most important things. At the end of the chapter, I still don't know what motivates N to do what she does, and that has to be up front in the story. Also, plot. What is the plot? Okay, we've got talk of another meeting, but we just had a meeting that didn't really push the story forward into the next chapter, I guess there is the mysterious man, who I presume it going to talk to her now, but there is nothing in terms of plot filling me with a need to keep reading. Sometimes, I think we follow the 'rules' of writing, or at least the guidance that we've soaked up along the way, too slavishly. I think this chapter could do with so more telling of information to the reader to help the clarity. Just tell us what N's goals are (New apartment? Pay for her mother's heart transplant? Cast down the evil demon?), or give her a clear mission from the demon (like, find out who is swinging me or I will take your soul). Writing Excuses do say that though that there is a time for telling, and sometimes it's in the only effective way of getting certain information across to the reader. I hope this is useful.
  4. Hey, remember me? I'm sidling in here sheepishly to leave some comments in the hope that are still of some use. Trying to get back into the swing of critiquing. I've emailed LBLs back to you. I've extracted key comment below, and expanded on them a bit from the notes in the Word file. (page 1) - Opening two paragraphs: I'm not really interested in the description. Honestly, it's not that compelling and does not 'wow' me, grip me, drag me into the story. I'm interested in character. Start with character, IMO. Compounded by which, I found the description a bit confusing, hard to picture the scene. - "crystal goblets and swirled them" - Everyone did? Bizzare image. It's kind of a cliche in the first place, but for the all to do it seems weird. (page 2) - "He ignored them." - And yet clearly he didn't he paid enough attention to notice how they all reacted, and then he reacted to their stares. Okay, he ignores them now, but it rang odd to me after their reaction was described. - "The SK's search for the gods" - Sounds Wagnerian to me!! - "He knew his old master well" - This is a theme for me in the style. I feel there are several instances of comments that are obvious, and bring nothing to the story. In this instance, if you say it's his old master, the reader will presume he knows him well, at the very least, so this is just extra wordage that adds very little. I'm not saying don't say it, but it needs to be compelling, a surprising metaphor, a clever simile, or conveying backstory or plot or something. Every word needs to work as hard as possible. There is no room for deadwood, even in a novel, especially not in the first chapter. - "revesc..." - The word is used more than once in the first page or two. I have no idea what this word means, and there is no context, I can't deduce if it's magic, science, local tradition, spiritual. I'm not saying insert a definition, I feel I need something. It does become clearer on Page 2, as the word is used several time. As an example to help me explain my rambling, the first reference might say 'silver mail, created by rev--essence (if that's the word for it). - Description: some of it is quite bland. e.g. "The mixture of colours which composed the scene below changed" Compare that with "sword as he speared it into a phantasmal enemy’s midriff." I know all work needs polish. This is something that ran through the sub, I think. There were some really nice lines, but I think the style and (authorial) voice are, intermittent at the moment. (page 3) - "The artefact only reacts..." - I'm on Page 3, and I'm not really grabbed by the premise or the character. I've mentioned the weakness (IMO) of the opening line and paragraph, but even three pages in I'm not grabbed by the story, or the MC. I'm not expecting the novel to open with a sword fight (please, no). Imagine me sitting in my chair: I want something to grab me, give me a good shake and make me turn those pages. I just don't feel it's there at the moment. The opening scene is two men talking. There's little tension in that opening scene. There's a bit about Ata being reviled, but I don't think it really lands, not sure the reader has enough to latch onto it. A problem I've had for a while (which I'm working on), is not giving the reader enough. There is a time for telling (in a creative way), and the opening of the story is somewhere the reader needs enough info to be gripped. Also, the artefact is not mentioned till Page 2, but it's the MacGuffin that the whole book revolves around, is it not? I'd look to get it on Page 1, up near the front, and really sell the reader on its significance, the dark portents, the implications for the world: this could change everything, it could rock the church, topple the monarchy, whatever. As noted earlier, grab the reader, drag them right into the heart of the character and his motivations. - Style: I'm not really getting much in the way of character voice. I'm looking for Ata's personality to shine through and engage me, make me interested in him. Maybe he's a bland sort of chap, without great personality, which doesn't bode that well for the story, but I'm looking to be able to feel his spirit, get the flavour of his emotions, which I'm not getting much of. The people around him are more expressive and therefore I'm paying more attention to them. Also, his motivations. I don't think they come through especially clearly. What drives him? There are hints about resenting the church, but what does he want? This is what I need wright up front: What does the M/C want (and why)? - Confusion: I think there is some confusion in small details describing the movement of the people. e.g. "reached out, snatching up a goblet before the waitress moved away" - Why would the waitress move away when someone (Ath) has requested a drink? She's going to move torwards the new guy, surely? Ata's intervention seems strange to me, illogical. - Names: Why do the names of the M/C and the chap that (later) seems about to become his sidekick, have to start with the same two letters? This is confusing and I will be likely to confuse who is speaking or acting. There's no need for it. (page 4) - "Nobody else in this LT would ever do that" - The staff would, and do, every day. The performers do. I dislike this superior, and out-of-touch fop already. - Excellent description of the woman who chimes in, and this tends to highlight other areas where the description is weak. BUT the majority issue here is that she drops a bombshell about Ata, that he's a killer, and it's completely brushed under the carpet for the rest of the chapter. This for me comes into the bracket of other things that are not really dealt with in any depth, but mentioned then skipped past: the artefact, the 'magic' system (rev--essence), now the M/C's background. I think maybe what's missing is the M/C's internal monologue, he is emotional reaction and motivation towards these various thing. We barely here his voice, his mind, at all. It's mostly dialogue which really doesn't reveal much at all about him and his motivations. - "Tell Har I've left" - Ah, now, I remember this from a previous version that I read, when Ata opened up to these two complete strangers in the bar, telling them all sorts of stuff about himself. This is not as problematic as that scene was, but still...Why would he ask a complete stranger to give a message to his mentor? It makes no sense to me, doesn't seem believable behaviour., and leads me to another theme that I trouble me. I feel there are several instance of plot convenience. This if the first one. It feels to me that it's an odd thing that happens because the plot needs it to happen. Is it there for Ata to give Ath the card (which appears later)? It feels clunky to me. - Confusion over details: "open the doors which had separated him from the city streets" - Another example of this. A theatre like this, I doubt completely, would have one set of doors straight out onto the street. Apart from anything else, I thought he was on a level up in the air, and the performers were below the level that Har was on? So, it's a long way down to the street, is it not? Or (had a quick scan back at Page 1) he's up on a higher floor, on a platform? He doesn't come down any stairs before going outside. It confused me, anyway. - Pronoun confusion: There are several instances (tagged in the LBLs) where I think the use of 'it' and 'he' create confusion about what is being described (it), or who is talking or acting (he). I think as a rule 'it' or 'he' will logically apply to the last entity named. This led me into confusion on a few occasions, mostly in scenes between Ata and Ath, and who was talking. (page 5) - "irregular vein of sunlight" - Because there was a theatrical performance going on, I assumed it was evening, this threw me for a loop? - Plot convenience: I felt his assistant being mugged was HUGELY convenient from a plot perspective. In a whole city of people, a person intimiately connected with him is mugged at the very moment that he happens to be walking close by? It felt really forced to me. Does it need to be his assistant? If it's a stranger, the whole scene is transformed into something plausible. Also, does it need to be a woman? We're verging on knight-in-shining-armour cliche territory here, I feel. BUT, maybe the problem is actually that we don't get any internal monologue (referred to above), which is important to help the reader process confusion by the MC asking questions, and maybe answering them, even if the answer is wrong. So, in this example, Ata's assistant gets mugger. This sort of thing would have helped me: 'What was she doing here? It made no sense. Had she come to find him and been waylaid? Had they kidnapped her and come to threaten him?' This is brought and ready, but just trying to illustrate my point. (page 6) - "They obeyed." - Nice line. Well done. I like how it surprised me. - "his mother's kiss" - Eh? No idea what this is about. Without context or explanation, I just have to ignore this. (page 10) - "Okay. I will help." - Annoying and presumptuous. This cements my dislike of Ath. OVERALL There is lots of interest in the story, in this version as in previous ones. I think because of the issues I had, this reads more like a later chapter than an opening one, and that it needs more depth to be compelling as a first chapter. Maybe more depth, more character, expansion of the important details and expulsion (to later chapters) of the details that don't add to the opening.
  5. Aw, crud. I was going to skip Draft 4 and come back in at Draft 5, but some of these updates sound really interesting. I may have to reconsider my previously stated position.
  6. CONGRATULATIONS!* (Capital letters are mandatory in this situation.) Baaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha. Sorry. I don't mean this in an unkind way, I mean it in a totally positive way, but normal just got up and left the room. My daughter is 26 and she and her husband just bought their first place after 5 months of looking during which her husband got fired, got a new job and she got promoted. There is no more normal. Kids change everything. What you are seeking now is the new normal. Best of luck!! Yay. Never give that up it's such a flexible and constantly-evolving dream, still completely valid when your knees have 'gone' (for example).
  7. ROFL. That's fantastic. Furniture restoration, double LOL.
  8. I am sitting looking up at that particular mountain. I've only been away from nine days, but had gritted for some days before that. Well done, you have my admiration. Yup. Awesome!! Hah-hah-ha...ha...
  9. Lol, sign me up.
  10. Lol. I think sometimes we all need someone to say 'You can't do anything else but write for the next four hours, or else!'
  11. Good luck, @Turin Turambar. We'll still be here when you get back, if you are in fact away, or whatever, it's fine, go do what you gotta do.
  12. Hi @Mordecai, I don't think the problem is with the use of swords--although I totally support those who have said be specific about the type of blade, which will open up more possibilities to diverge from the standard tropes and language--I think the problem is that most fight scenes are not well written. They are boring. Switching to another weapon might help a bit, but it is not in itself the solution to writing a good fight scene. You need to give the reader something they have never read before, surprising them with a move they've never imagined or seen on a screen. Maybe our hero trips on the carpet. Maybe they're cleaning their sword and their hand it all oiled, the hilt slippery; maybe the blade breaks during the fight; the opponent manoeuvres them so they're blinded by sunlight. Maybe they're fighting knee deep in a flowing river, or in mud. Or, they're fighting in a darkened room, on a rooftop. There are dozens and dozens of things you can do to make sword fighting interesting and novel, that's the challenge of being a writer.
  13. Cool.