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43 Crew Leader

About lizbusby

  • Birthday January 17

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    Bellevue, WA
  • Interests
    reading, writing, long-distance running, yoga, knitting, video games (especially Legend of Zelda)
  1. Having not read the first version, I did enjoy this version. I liked that you could really tell this was a different perspective from the language choices. Still not tons of comments as I'm trying to get my feet under me in the story, but here goes: p. 3 - I wasn't sure who did the initial name-calling at Mor. The previous sentence made it sound like it was E since she was the last referred to. p. 6 - I'm wondering if it's in character for everyone's weapons to be identified in only a second, especially when she's also diving for cover. I would assume M knows a lot about weapons from this. Don't know much about her, so I can't judge. p. 7 - She can identify guns, but not tell what the flash/smoke bomb is? p. 8 - “Where’s my robot?” she demanded. - This is another part when I was confused about who "she" is. There is more than one woman and Eve was the last mentioned. I guess a more familiar reader would know the robot belonged to M, but it still couldn't hurt to say "M said" instead of "she said." "finished dispensing a pill to each of them then waved them into the truck." - Where are these pills coming from? I could use some description. p. 9 - The paragraph where they discuss where to go was confusing for me. Why is he giving them the choice? And the initial sentence threw me off as I didn't figure out what they were discussing until the end of the sentence. p. 10 - "When the rust came down, adults either freaked out or looked for a drink; maybe both. She had no wish to try it again." - This was unclear to me until I read the next sentence. I think it's because the antecedent to "it" is unclear. Clearly it should be alcohol in general, but the last thing referred to is "both" which referred to "freaked out" and "a drink" which isn't exactly the same as alcohol. I understand after reading the sentence after these, but I think this needs reworking. If M hasn't ever really drunk alcohol, would she really know/care about the identity of their drinks? I know as a tea-totaling Mormon with zero alcohol experience, there's no way I would remember/care about the names of drinks people ordered. I'd describe their color, maybe. But that's me, and I don't know the character. p. 13 - " If it’s digital," - If what's digital? This sentence was unclear. I didn't quite get the emotional jump that made MC flip out and reveal his identity. It did not land for me. p. 14 - "The curfew; we’re exhausted" - I don't think a semicolon is the right punctuation choice. This sounds like a trailing off sentence, in which case I'd go with ellipsis or em-dash.
  2. Now working to catch up on this story, though coming in the middle, I'm not sure I'll be of help. p. 3 - "grasping the handle as unbearable pain lanced his shoulder" - seems like the pain should come first so we know why he's grasping the doorknob. "scintillating" - I use/have seen this word mostly used as a synonym for "fascinating" as is "scintillating conversation." This use of the word struck me as odd. "Ignorant to the fact it wasn’t food, tearing at synthetic flesh" - sentence fragment, though possibly intentional? I couldn't quite tell, so thought I'd point it out. p. 4 - " two, three, four pistol shots made him wince, wince, wince." - Three winces for four shots? I couldn't figure that out. "hoody" - Generally I see this spelled "hoodie" and the google docs spell check agrees. p. 5 - I was also tripped up by the pronoun switch. Couldn't tell what triggered it. You should make this very clear, as I at first came to the conclusion that we were discussing yet another person. I also got confused over the takeover of the android. I wasn't sure if xe was talking to Eighty or another android that came in with the team. But could be a "new reader in the middle of the book" mistake. p.6 - I was confused by the hospital/shipping container description. Maybe it's my unfamiliarity with the situation, but why is their medical facility in a shipping container? Or is this just a metaphor? I am confused. p. 11 - You mention that getting a line out will cause E to strip the flesh from its fingers, but then you never show the android actually doing that. Did it happen? Did people wince? Not many comments on the rest as I couldn't follow the logic of the case, being new. I'm going to keep trying to understand before commenting on it.
  3. Finally caught up on this story. I felt like the creative ways of using the Symph to hinder the creatures were good, but it kind of felt like they came out of nowhere. I mean, this Speaker has been gathering maji from all over and none of them could think of a way to use magic to stop these guys, then our heroes go and find 3-4 ways to do it within a few minutes? It makes it seem less amazing and not really very hard. Then again, on page 10, M says "few could do what you did," so maybe some did manage to fight back? I need clarification on the direness of the situation. I also questioned why the Speaker sent an old and scared servant into the city to look for surviving maji. Shouldn't you send someone who has a chance of running away/defending themselves? This gave me the impression that the Speaker was cruel or unfeeling, which didn't seem to be a point you were trying to make. And the way he first spoke to them made me think he'd been sent specifically to look for them, rather than maji in general. This becomes clear later, at the end of the fight, but I was baffled as to how he knew they would be there. I also felt like the emotional reactions in the battle scene were a bit muted. In chapters 1 & 2, everyone got super emotional about everything, and now R is barely slightly worried that her lover might get eaten because he's slow? I just don't get a sense of urgency or worry. More like they are spit-balling at a problem. I felt like O's suggestion on page 15 that they are going after complexity seemed like a bit of an unjustified leap. Living beings could equal complexity, but it could also equal movement or many other things. It seemed to be jumping to conclusions for the sake of the plot. This whole debate needs to be either cut, or fleshed out so that the arguments feel like real people arguing. You could also give them something to do during the discussion, perhaps eating or playing a card game, so it's not a talking head scene. The image of an "irrate apple masher" on page 6 made me laugh out loud. Not sure if that's the effect you were going for, but I found it hilarious.
  4. Not as late as me, @Robinski! I thought the characterization & dialogue in this chapter was much better than the previous three chapters. I actually started to get a hold of these aliens as opposed to chapter 3 where I couldn't picture anyone. The exception was the narrator, R, though I'm going to assume established readers get her already. I enjoyed the descriptions as well. Finally we got a (very) not white box scene. Yay! I couldn't really picture what the servants were doing bringing in those cylinders though. Were they trying to make benches or just alter the physical landscape with shapes? I couldn't decide, but maybe that's the point--it's weird and based on some priority their species has that the rest don't. I didn't think the discussion in this chapter was a problem. I would probably add more actions, but not action per say. If they have just escaped a stressful situation and haven't slept for two days, they might do more than stand around drinking pink drinks. I'm thinking food and rest. But that's just me. Also, you say the pink drink was tasty, but what did it taste like? Tastes are hard to describe, but it seems lame to just say "tasty." When R first realizes she can't talk to HD, I was really confused since the Net had been translating for her two paragraphs before. A better explanation came two paragraphs later, but just know I was lost for a bit there. The one thing I didn't understand in this scene was why K was so keen to find their apprentice. Presumably, everyone knows someone who is in danger from this threat; why care about this particular one? I also didn't understand why they thought they would find more information about what happened at the Spire. I was under the impression that the E that appeared were completely novel. What kind of info are they expecting to find? It seems that research is every chapter's answer to the problem so far, but I don't understand why people think this research exists. That said, this could be a new reader mistake.
  5. Obviously, we're starting with new characters, so that confused me as a new reader, but nothing to be done about that. But this chapter didn't do much to give me characterization of them. Most of the lines are really generic, not revealing much about the characters or their relationships to each other. I didn't get a clear picture of anyone. Again, I felt like some of the exposition was placed strangely in the middle of action scenes. It made things seem slow and clunky to explain some background about politics or the magic system when they are supposed to be fighting something. I agree with everyone else about being confused as to why they just sat there and let the creatures escape. I'm not sure about the background of the group, but it seemed like they should have been more organized. Also, I wasn't sure whether or not the two people who chased the slugs kept chasing them out the door (which, it makes sense to me that they would) or just stopped when they didn't overtake them immediately. It seems that even if you can't immediately catch them, you could at least see where they go. This felt amateur and passive. I also thought it strange that they never came up with a name for the creatures, simply calling them "it" or "the orange and black creatures." Most people would come up with a shorthand to refer to them pretty quickly, especially since they are a main topic of conversation. I liked the description of them as a "land predatory fish" but you've used that very distinctive phrase at the beginning and also the end of the chapter. It felt repetitive to me. On page 8 & 9, the group refer to things the Eff said to them. It felt confusing to me, as they hadn't talked to the Eff on screen. I assume maybe it was from the previous book? Anyway, I found it confusing as we were just talking to a (different?) Eff in the previous chapter and these characters weren't there. All in all, this chapter was kind of a slog for me as a new reader. I wasn't sure what was motivating the characters to move from one place to another. It seemed like they were wandering around, just following whatever idea crossed their minds. Surely they came here with a purpose; that purpose should be more evident.
  6. My thoughts on this chapter: This chapter felt very flip-floppy to me, making me mad at the plot decisions. I felt like the things that happened weren't really being driven by character so much as plot necessity, and so they felt empty. The beginning of the chapter essentially reverses the decision made last chapter as they decide to stay. Then the decision reverses again when Sa is suddenly willing to leave on his own. I don't understand what makes him willing to leave so suddenly. Wouldn't he want to stay and learn about the culture of his girl/boyfriends as well? I know I would. But he expresses no desire or curiosity to do this, just says, "Ok, I'll go." Is it forbidden in some way? I'm not sure what makes him suddenly okay with splitting up, which is exactly what was proposed in the last chapter and made him freak out. I enjoyed seeing how the symphony worked, but I felt that it could use less technical explanation of what was possible and not possible. The flow of the description kept being interrupted by hypotheticals ("if she left these notes here, this would happen. If not, this would happen.") Having it happen once is fine, but there were several descriptions like this and it pulled me out of the moment. The characters all feel very same-y to me too. Everyone talks in the same reasonably polite way of conveying information. I don't get different emotional reactions from anyone. Even M is able to quickly dismiss his amazement at finding two maji, something that was literally thought impossible. This should have a longer emotional impact. I also thought the sudden collapse of the leader at the end should have been foreshadowed by her behavior in the scene.
  7. Interesting that you say memoir-like. My writing background is definitely in memoir, and I leaned heavily on that here. It's definitely more of a dreamy, magical realism type of feel I'm going for. Thanks for the comments, everyone!
  8. Trying to catch up on old submissions here. Overall Impressions: As a new reader, I started to get a hold of what was going on after a while in spite of all the jargon. There's clearly a lot of backstory and it would be helpful to have a more clear summary of what happened. As it is, you refer to what happened but don't really tell it. At the top of page 10, the summary of all the events and who summarized them was really boring. I would maybe have them retire somewhere with the promise to tell everything to the ruler, then jump-cut and have the ruler summarize everything she heard in a clear paragraph that sets them up for decision making. The dialogue doesn't read with a lot of realism. People would say "Slow down" when someone had hardly said anything, or seem to change sides in an argument. The argument about what to do needs to be extended into more back and forth. I felt like each option was brought up in one line and then immediately dismissed in the next. I wanted more back and forth on it, especialy before En blows up at her brother. It seemed to come out of nowhere when they'd barely started talking. Speaking of that, I felt a bit confused by the characterization. Everyone seemed to get shouting angry and subside very quickly. Maybe you need a less strong emotion word than "angry." And Sa seemed unreasonably possessive, like creepy. Who gets mad at twins whispering to each other? Maybe tone it down? Or maybe they just need to have a DTR talk before they decide on their course of action.I was also confused by the power dynamics. Why does Sa and his friends, all of whom seem to be random kids if my impression is correct, have the authority to decide on the plan for saving the world over the teacher and the apparent ruler? Why don't they need to listen to them? The decision ends up being a compromise between Sa and E and I, with almost no input from those in charge. Either they should have this conversation somewhere away from authority figures or the authorities should push back a bit more.As others have noted, visual descriptions of things beside people need to be enhanced as well. Everyone was just talking in blank boxes the whole scene. I wasn't sure either if this was a place they had been before or somewhere new.Also, my impression is that En is suspicious as all get out. Because all of her comments and Sa's view of them seem to point to her being a double agent/traitor in my mind. But maybe I'm lacking in background, so take that for what it's worth.
  9. This opening scene actually happened to me and was the inspiration for this story, but I do admit that my kids are advanced speakers. Haha.
  10. How do you mail a pie? Do tell.
  11. My Christmas baking and construction efforts. Eclairs are a Christmas Eve tradition in my family, though this is my first time making from scratch. Surprisingly doable. The plus plus Santa--not so much. It's hard to make a pointy hat with those shapes.
  12. I read this last week but was intimidated by everyone's thorough comments, but I figured I better go ahead and write what I thought. I thought the tension leading up to turning on the radio was really well done. I was very uneasy about what would happen at that point. Like others, I noticed the shifts in time perspective and I was thinking there was going to be some big reveal about when the narrator was actually talking from, but it seemed to kind of peter out. I feel like framing it this way did contribute to the tension at the beginning, but you needed to come back to it later. I assume it was supposed to be from the time right before they head to the final meeting point, but I didn't catch it or the switch into present tense that should follow. Like others, I was confused when the crew was setting up the cables as I couldn't get a picture in my head of what they looked like or what they were for. I read the paragraph over and over trying to figure it out. From the later statement that they were all inside it, I gathered that it was some sort of cage, but couldn't decide whether it was supposed to help with radio reception (or something) or serve as protection. I only figured that out right when the attack happened. I also wondered why they never went back to get the cables. If this happened in the past, did they retrieve the cables before? I enjoyed the strong relationship between L and J established at the beginning of the story and felt that it kind of got lost towards the end. A little reminder of it later on might be nice. I was confused by the final reveal. I didn't understand what was happening until a few paragraphs later when you explain it. I felt like that was a lost opportunity, as I would like to feel the horror as the characters realize they are just being exterminated like rats. Maybe somehow seed the explanation earlier? Have them bring up the idea of exterminating something else earlier so that it clicks? I don't have a lot of comments on grammar, but the misspelling of cable/cabel was very distracting.
  13. Another newbie here, and a new fiction writer too. This is a random Christmas ghost story that popped into my head a few weeks ago, inspired by something my daughter said and some Victorian ghost stories. (Apparently, telling ghost stories at Christmas used to be a thing, and not just something Dickens made up.) Mainly looking for a few things: 1. Is it interesting to anyone beside me? 2. Did you guess what was going to happen too soon/too late? Is it too obvious or too non-obvious? 3. General thoughts on character and description - do they fit the scope of the story? 4. Anything else you notice *5. Forgot to mention I could also use title ideas, as this title is more of a place holder. * Thanks in advance, Happy Christmas, Liz Busby
  14. I just finished my Christmas ghost story. Can I send it out next Monday (12/23)?