lizbusby

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About lizbusby

  • Birthday January 17

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    www.lizbusby.com

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Bellevue, WA
  • Interests
    reading, writing, long-distance running, yoga, knitting, video games (especially Legend of Zelda)
  1. No, no, the tv series is supposed to be Well of Ascension. Movie for book 1, tv series for book 2, movie for book 3. Only two movies total.
  2. Oh, I've got all the resources prepared. My kids have always been above the curve so I've always prepared for homeschooling in case the school wasn't adequately challenging. So I just updated a few of the things we do during the summer. The problem is the time suck.
  3. Well, due to everyone's favorite virus, they just closed the schools in our part of Washington state. I will probably not have time to read people's stuff for a while as I now have to homeschool 4 kids. Anyone else affected?
  4. Elaborate? Only thing I had heard was the L Ron Hubbard connection which people were protesting? @Snakenaps A lot of authors have used the contest to launch careers. There's no fee to enter and they run four contests a year. Unpublished authors only. If you are a finalist, it gets you on the radar of agents and publishers, plus there's a week long writing seminar for finalists. Brandon Sanderson was a finalist as well, along with Nnedi Okorafor.
  5. Does anyone here regularly submit stories to the Writers of the Future contest? I am very motivated by contests and deadlines, so I think I'm going to start submitting something every quarter. Would love to form a support group/peer pressure group.
  6. Thank you to everyone for your comments. Yes, this was a very rough first draft, so you are all completely right in pointing out that more thinking about the world-building is needed. I basically wanted to outsource it to readers to figure out what would stand out. @Lightbearer thank you for your exhaustive list. You are exactly right in thinking that this utopia could be a distopia. The original ending I was considering was that the Deathless really didn't think the fire was a big deal, was a total bureaucratic jerk who only cared about enjoying immortality, and then would be devastated when he finally saw that it really was hopeless. But that ending just didn't end up working, probably because I ended up liking the deathless so much. Also, the setting was supposed to be more of a Spanish colonial feel, but now that I think about it, I never really got any architectural details into it. Better correct. Definitely will be capitalizing Deathless in future drafts. Thanks for multiple people for flagging that. And I'm sad that the opening image was so confusing to everyone, but looking back on it, it's totally understandable. I'll have to work on clarifying what is happening. @Robinski You caught me. I kind of just made up the world as I went, so I need to go back and revise for consistency on what the town is like. And do some more research on forest fires. I did have one question for you. I was trying to use the "one" in dialogue as a sort of "royal we." My thought was they have developed the idea that it's rude to refer to the Deathless with regular pronouns, or really refer to them at all, so they use "one" to avoid that. I then tried to have this formality break down at points when the Deathless is thinking more humanely or having emotions. I wanted to show some of the specialist training that P has in handling the Deathless, and show how they think of the Deathless as gods, not just humans who are really smart. Obviously that did not work for you. Suggestions, given this goal? @kais thanks for flagging the mass smoking of the moss and the idea of the Deathless starting the fire. Those will probably make their way into the next draft. @industrialistDragon and @Mandamon: Really appreciate your framing of the story in terms of MICE quotient. You both helped me get a clearer vision of what my brain was trying to do here and that will make the next draft change a lot. Thank you! @shatteredsmooth Thanks for your thoughts on character. I feel like character is definitely my weakness. I think the revision of the story will bring the reveal of the Deathless's motives up to earlier in the story so they can talk more about the impact it would have. Would that help? I'm envisioning P pleading for the lifestyle and peace he loves and the Deathless pointing out the stagnation and need for change. Another question: I tried to provide some characterization of P during the exposition sections by showing that his belief in what he was taught growing up is cracking at this first encounter with a real Deathless, that he is questioning whether what he does with his life and the restrictions he lives under are worth it. Was that too subtle, or just not enough to give him character?
  7. Sorry for the late late notes. I am in the Seattle area, so corona virus shelter-in-place prep has overridden my usual writing & reading time for a bit. Overall, the rewrite works better by eliminating the second phone call. However, there's too much enumerating of what everyone is doing all the time and too little inside Q's head. It gets boring reading stag directions. They could be simplified and written more from his perspective on things. Several times, the action and the reaction to it are separated by sentences or paragraphs. This doesn't work for me, especially when the action is really startling or odd and would provoke immediate reaction. Notes while reading: p 3 - "E’s brow furrowed" This sentence implies that she doesn't trust Q, but by the time we've gotten to her actual question on it, I've forgotten this sentence. Somehow those need closer proximity. p 4 - "This situation has not finished its journey south. It’s still a long way down from here." - These idioms are confusing to me. Is the situation going south or down? Pick a metaphor. “Call Sheriff K.” - I didn't catch at first that he was talking to his phone. And I feel like the phone call needs to be broken up into multiple paragraphs because it's still not quite landing for me. p 5 - Seems I’m two thousand kilometres outside my jurisdiction now, and will be detained by just about everyone. - I'm not sure if he's saying this humously or seriously. What emotion is his reaction to the conversation he just had? p 6-7 - There's a lot of dialogue here without tags. If this were a two person conversation, fine, but since there are several people, you'll probably need to tag it all. I was confused at a few points about who was talking. p 7 - M, had woken on the wrong side of the wrong bed, in the wrong motel in the wrong city. - I want a visual on this rather than a summary. Sounds funny! Also, no comma after her name. p 8 - “Where are the houses?” M asked. “They float,” E answered, “until the lake freezes.” - This doesn't quite make sense to me. M's question implies that she can't see the houses, but even if the lake freezes, the houses should still be visible, just not mobile. Q wished he had half the ex-marine’s assurance. - What assurance? Nothing he said demonstrated assurance. He basically just remarked on the weather. p 9 - “We’ll be fine,” Q whispered, touching her shoulder. - Why does he feel like he needs to assure her? Maybe show some of the thought process. p 11 - “Hey,” said Q. “What’s wrong with your gun?” - Again, this is separated from what it refers to by a paragraph. Took me a second to realize he was talking to M and not K. p 12 - he misted with some substance from an anonymous nano-spray tin - Misted what? I think that "misted" requires a direct object. p 13 - Through an age of toil, breath puffing before them, mingling with that of the escorting v, drifting into the glorious night sky, they marched, battled and forged through clinging, strength-sapping snow. - This sentence is a bit overwrought compared to the spare prose around it. Looks like an antique china teacup in a roadside pub. p 15 - I liked the fact that the house was a trap, but I didn't understand exactly how they turned it into a counter-trap. I couldn't follow. Is the agent he took down the one with the screen of the boss on him? I am confused as to exactly how that conversation ended. And we move too quickly into the mystery phone call for my liking. p 16 - “I had six months attached to anti-terrorism in Istanbul,” he said. “Level Three means airstrike.” - Again, this info is really separated from what it's referring to.
  8. Yes, I should add that the title is more of a placeholder. I just stuck together the two images that started the story. I am open to new title ideas. Maybe just "Deathless"?
  9. I've been working on this short story sporadically for a few weeks. The theme of the story changed radically from what I intended when I started. I'd love to know what you think of the ultimate resolution, and whether it works with the foreshadowing of the story. Also tell me whether your interest is sustained even though the story is largely about waiting.
  10. Mandamelon? Sounds like a delicious new fruit.
  11. I'm almost done with another short story, so I'd like a Monday slot.
  12. Got very sick two weeks ago, so I've fallen behind again and am trying to catch up. This definitely had more action than previous chapters. Hurray! However, I felt like the characters weren't so much making choices as going where the plot needed them to go to reveal information. I needed more of En's thinking of why she does what she does, in spite of the difficulty of thinking in this form. Or maybe show her will slowly lessening the longer she is in this form. But then why does she suddenly gain the drive to ask her personalities questions? I'm just not clear on how much she is in control of what she does and why she chooses to do it. You can't have her both losing control and then suddenly gaining it when she needs to move on. With In's section, my problem is more with the set up. Once he got back out of the N, I would assume WW and him would debrief or at least be freaked out. But WW hardly seems to be there. I wanted the sequel to last chapter's scene, which would give more explanation for why In does what he does. Notes while reading: p 1 - Love the chapter quote. Very intriguing piece of info. p 2 - "That was when she realized she must be the only other living thing not an E." - I feel like this should come after a description of the silence. I wasn't sure why she came to think conclusion so suddenly. Was it her body that realized it or one of her split personalities? I'm leaning to the latter. p 3 - I'm not sure why the ancient personality is able to rise to the surface now. Is it part of the current situation or the fact that all of them are inside En instead of a more trained assassin? p 5 - Having the slugs conversation in her mind right before the personalities start to talk was a little confusing. Took me a second to figure out that it wasn't the same conversation continuing. p 6 - "Several times she felt an opening in the sphere of knowledge around her, as if another bubble, devoid of any signals or feeling, grew inside it. It pushed away the sensations gathered through her fin," - I did not understand what this meant. Is she approaching another creature that blocks their signals? Or is there something inside the bubble that seems to disappear? I am just really baffled. p 7 - Ah, here's the explanation, but I'm not sure that how it was led up to works. Gravity/the N has no pull on them, yet they would sink in water? I'm skeptical about why. p 8 - Since she brought S and In up, why isn't she more worried about what happened to them and how the plan went wrong? She made a lot of observations about the world, but no commentary on her personal situation. "The inclination to become Meth again didn’t cross her mind. Neither did the urge to change the S." - If you're doing strict 3rd person limited, you can't really say this. A character can't say what doesn't cross their mind. p 9 - "They have taken those who are sentient already. What is left is highest in energy." - This doesn't make sense to me. Aren't those who are sentient highest in energy? And now that most animals are gone, they are starting on the plants. Isn't what's left lowest in energy, not highest? Or I'm completely misunderstanding this. p 11 - I don't understand why the transition back made In freak out, but may be new reader syndrome. p 12 - They are just walking down the path together like nothing happened? I would think WW would say something to him. This was a pretty dramatic failure of the (not well thought out) plan. Wait, In is also interested in the cute guy? WTH? p 15 - "Had he placed this memory in the crystal after he received it?" - Does In even know you can place memories in the circlet? This seems to skip a step in how he would figure this out. p 19 - I'm not sure what enabled In to get out of the memories. It seemed kind of random.
  13. Overall the action was compelling. I felt like the descriptions could use a little tightening, especially the section where he is changing the orientation with his mind. For some reason, I had pictured him as having half of his body out of the wall, so when he went to go up, I wasn't sure exactly how that worked. Focusing on the sensory details of where his body is positioned instead of generally "this is forward instead of up" would help immensely. I also didn't quite understand how he created a hole in the mass of creatures. I could use some explaining of this and the ring bracelet so they seem like intentionally used tools rather than conveniences. Perhaps they could actually talk about the plan in specifics before executing it. It seems odd that his vague assurances that he knows what he's doing are enough for WW to trust him. Reading notes: p 2 - "The rest of the city" - This paragraph feels strangely omniscient. One person can't really see what a whole city feels like. It feels like a zoomed out shot from a movie rather than an in-character description. Between this and the beginning with WW, I wonder whose POV this chapter is from. Doesn't feel as tight as the previous ones. p 3 - "I’d be a composer, if I were still on Earth." - Something struck me as not quite right about this. Is S always this introspective? If I were preparing to do something dangerous, I don't know that I'd be thinking about this kind of thing, but more psyching myself up. p 4 - "He stepped left, then right," - Is this trying to say he went to one side of the path then the other? I couldn't quite picture it because I had envisioned the path as a small sidewalk width where going to one side or the other is barely noticeable. Either way, I had to stop for a second here. "There was no air to make sounds with inside the wall." - Surely other maji have dealt with this lack of communication inside the wall before? What do people usually do? Or has no one ever dealt with it? I get that En and In would be confused, but WW and S should have thought this through given previous experience. p 5 - I'm not really getting where the hole came from. p 7 - "her protective aura" - Xyr? "The C-shaped ring WW had given him in the HoT" - This comes across as MacGuffin-like. Might want to mention it in an earlier chapter so it doesn't suddenly save the day out of nowhere. If it has been mentioned in this book, I've forgotten it completely. p 9 - Nice chapter ending.
  14. On finishing the second half, unfortunately, this story doesn't succeed for me either. I think the problem is the lack of growth in the protagonist. We are told he's smart and ambitious, but he doesn't act in those ways. And because he doesn't act that way, he also doesn't change over the course of the story. The whole time he is basically a passive vessel to receive knowledge. His love for the woman also seems steady throughout the story. It doesn't really progress or change him over time, at least not that I noticed. Unlike other readers, I don't think the main character read as a jerk at all, except in the beginning scene where he was set up as a peeping tom, but that feeling went away. He was just a blank slate, taking no initiative to do anything. So with no character growth and a very passive "wait and see" plot, there's not much to enjoy about this story. The ending baffled me: why did she decide to give him the sword? Nothing has changed, so why now instead of later? I'm also not sure why stabbing himself with the sword reversed his ghostly nature. And can it still be used for the intended purpose (either cleansing the kingdom or bringing glory to his name)? Too much is unclear to me. Sorry to be so negative. I do feel like the story has potential. The setting and the intended feeling could be cool, but we need to see a lot more protag-ing from the protag and from the woman. Fae is a very hard feeling/place/people to nail down in a story because they have to have their own internal logic completely different from ours and utterly incomprehensible. I felt like this story didn't quite hit that balance right, mostly in favor of just not telling us things. More notes while reading: p 13 - I am not sure what to make of the forging of the fish. It was mildly interesting but not super enthralling and I'm not sure what it has to do with the magician. p 15 - The conversation provides some interesting background info, but I don't feel like it's really the characters speaking so much as info being conveyed. The magician doesn't come across as someone who has studied, even if most of what he studied is wrong. He doesn't come across as arrogant, scheming, and prideful which the rest of what we've been told indicates he should be, but humble and meek and worshipful. I'm also not clear what F's motives are in this, but that's a bit more understandable because she's supposed to be mysterious. However, it seems odd that she is so free with info when she's been so stingy before. I want her to feel alien and she just feels hesitant. p 25 - I am somewhat baffled by the ending. I'm not sure why she chooses to give him the sword at this point.
  15. Please consider not using a fancy font. It made this hard to read. I converted it to Times Roman for reading so the page numbers below are probably off. (The first page is unnumbered when I open in google docs?) Save the design for publication. The words should speak for themselves. I am doing the same as Mandamon as I need to get back to my own writing. Will return with the second half later. Notes during reading: p 1 - Present tense? Interesting choice. I find it to be awkward, but we shall see. p 2 - So she has a pouch? Because when I hear someone watching a woman half submerged in water, I 100% think she is naked. Might want to specify that either way, because the scene changes a lot if you picture it one way or the other. p 3 - "beset with trouble" seems like an understatement. It sounds like they are facing certain annihilation. Ah yes, definitely clothed. I still wasn't sure. p 4 - "Do not panic, Magician" - I want to see some actual panic before I hear her say this. What is his reaction to the world turning black? Does he freeze? Freak out? "moonlight pouring seeping from her pouch," - This image is not quite clear to me. For something to pour, it would need to be tipped sideways. I think a better word might be overflowing? But either way, clarify here. p 5 - "woven belts" - I am not sure what this means. Belts like leather? This would be a very unwieldy garment... "my dark haired companion" - the narrator keeps referring to her in these possessive ways, like "my guide" before. It seems a little off for someone he's supposed to be deathly afraid of. I am getting a little bored of the description. Not sure why. I can't get a good picture of what "four angular slabs" means. "with an expression of quiet reverence," - If we're tightly from his point of view, I don't think he can describe his own expression which he can't see. p 6 - "ambit" is not a word as far as I or Google spellcheck are concerned. Not sure what you mean. Seems odd for her to invite him in, let down her hair, then send him back out. Nothing really happened. A lot didn't happen, but that's not the same thing. As an aside, as a woman, I'm not sure how that hair trick worked. Taking out one clip from a hairstyle doesn't typically transform it into another hairstyle. Especially when you said she had a lot of clips in her hair earlier, I have a hard time believing this. p 7 - Describing the log as compared to a loaf of bread, and then having him eat some bread (that appears from nowhere) is confusing. I thought at first he was outright eating the log. The description of the attack made me think something was biting his leg which made me confused as to how it could speak. It took me until the next page to realize there was a creature and a human-ish figure. ‘Why do you look as if you are about to devour my human?' - I know you're going for her suddenly showing up, but this was confusing so close to the spoken text from the attacker. And I've just noticed you are using single quotation marks. I'm assuming there's a reason. p 8 - I feel like the narrator knew more about what might happen to him than the narrative implies. I would like to see more of his expectations and scholarship as contrasted with reality. As it is, he seems very passive which isn't interesting. p 9 - Yes, if he's spent half his life trying to find her, where's all his knowledge of what to expect? p 10 - So is he a bladesmith or a wizard or both? Wait, why is he asking who she is if he's been looking for her half his life? This is inconsistent. "Most folk have fantasies about such things" - About keeping their name a secret? Something is missing here. And why is he asking about why he cares about keeping his name secret? Surely he knows why. This smacks of "As you well know" exposition. And yet, I'm still not sure about how a true name connects to success in general, apparently not just in magic as he implies anyone would want it. Revealing a bit more plainly his motives would make him more interesting to me. p 12 - Okay, that was unexpected.