kais

02/01/2022 - Kais - MM - Chapter 1 (V)(S)(L) - 4690 words

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Hi everyone. Long time no sub. Glad to be back in the game.

I’m just going to apologize right off for this. The DD series has been long in my brain, but my agent actually asked for the first three chapters of book one, MM. I’d like eyes on them before they go out.

This book is not fully written, and I’m not an outliner, I’m a pantser. Hence, all comments and feedback are welcome, from grammar to plot to ‘dear god why??’  For this chapter in particular I’d like to know if there is sufficient inciting incident to keep you reading, and if you think I got the tone right for ‘lesbian science noir.'

V for implied violence (this is a PI who solves sex crimes)

L not so much for cursing, but because I use the anatomically correct names for genitals

S because sex is talked about pretty constantly 

My goal is a noir feel clearly updated for modern times, with lesbian thematic elements. Also hard wood science. You’re going to learn something while we talk about sex toys. Mostly, I hope it will make you laugh.

Edited by kais
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Well, aside from a few small blocking and tagging issues, I don't know if my notes actually add anything to this. I greatly enjoyed it, and I love the turn on the noir genre. I have a weakness for these series (Vlad Taltos, Glen Cook's Garrett P.I., and I'm actually reading a fantasy procedural by Keith R.A. DeCandido right now!) You've got everything set up well for an entertaining caper, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it! Y is...going to be a handful, isn't she.

Basically, interested in the plot, the character, and the (handcrafted, polished) setting(s)...


Notes while reading:
pg 1: Am I the only one who looked up the phone number?

pg 1: Yep, I think you've got everything in the first paragraph here...lesbians, dildos, and detectives!

pg 1: "Thus far no one had ever asked her to open it"
--It's a display cabinet, with no window? But the cabinet would get eyebrows, but also no one has opened it? Confused on whether the contests are visible.

pg 2: "only got called when the wood was of a more delicate nature "
--The setup is just so hilarious for this. I'm wondering how many cases she gets...

pg 2: "There just weren’t enough people..."
--okay. I"m actually sort of relieved by this.

pg 2: "investigate the mechanism of inserting a vibration component into a wooden housing"
--I was just about to ask this question...

pg 3: "During an extremely dry month"
--ha.

pg 4: "liked to check hands, regardless."
--this whole paragraph is perfect.

pg 6: "followed by six exclamation points."
--lol.

pg 7: "There was always a neatly folded piece of paper"
--This is perfect.

pg 7: “Tomorrow morning. I’m booked until one pm. Can you meet me at the office then?”
--confused. Meeting in the morning, or meeting in the afternoon? It seems like she's booked in the morning?

pg 8: "I took the first one I found in the collection"
--the first what? Report?

pg 8: "had sold willy-nilly"
*stares*

pg 10: "She sneezed again."
--that doesn't bode well.

pg 10: "against all common sense, sniffed the green silicone"
--Would she really do this, knowing as much as she does about murder weapons? I mean that might be likely to kill her.

pg 11: "Directly at the third hour mark the right side of her sinuses cleared."
--Maybe it would take that long for the reaction to calm down, but can she look up information on her phone in that time or something. She could go outside and get some fresh air...

pg 12: "She’d cross reference her symptoms in her database and see what came up. "
--could have done that while waiting...

pg 13: "They were polite, and friendly, and helped her with her groceries on occasion, but they still hadn’t needed the full frontal."
--lol!

pg 14: Well, that's a problem ex-not-girlfriend...

pg 15: "The tips of D’s fingers started to tingle."
--allergic reaction? To what?

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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I’ll start with the ABCs.

Awesome

  • On occasion I like a PI novels and this one has a weird enough subject matter to get my attention.
  • “Who did you call…”, great sentence, got a chuckle out of me.

Boring:

  • The first 2.5 pages weren’t that interesting to me, after the initial paragraph that shows D. is not a typical PI. I started to lose my attention going through her background, the cabinet, and the various dildos she keeps in them. I just wanted something to actually start happening.

Confusing:

  • Little confused about the interaction with Y at the end of the chapter. From D.’s point of view she seems like a stalker and thus best avoided and while D. tells her several times to leave, she doesn’t really follow through and eventually goes with Y. That’s probably the same mixed signals that keep Y coming back.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Tone: Since you asked, tone-wise the first chapter felt to me like a PI novel. Not sure if that’s what you’re going with, with ‘lesbian science noir’, but so far it works for me.

Inciting incident: I think the inciting incidents works, though as I said, after the first paragraph it felt a little slow to me, going over minutiae that I don’t really care about knowing at the start. I want to know what the case is. You don’t dwell on that too long, so that’s good. I also like that after the initial talk with the client D. almost dies from allergies/reaction to whatever is on the dildo. That’s a good hook to make me want to keep reading. 

Phone number: A recent show I really like is Squid Game, but what I remember most from it is the fact that the phone number they used in the show is an actual, existing, phone number, and the guy who owns that number got many calls from fans of the show. I was reminded of this when I saw the phone number at the start of the chapter, which looked real to me. A Google search revealed that the first six digits are for phone numbers in Multnomah, Portland, Oregon. With the last four digits I found an address through a reverse lookup site, not sure if it’s actually real, but even if no one uses it now the number might be used later. Perhaps you can make an actual fake number. With this site you can generate a fake number based on state and city: https://fakenumber.org/

Small mistakes

  • Page 5: You sister --> Your sister
  • Page 5: and snapped it shut. She’s been --> Is missing a quotation mark
  • Page 7: She kept an account Illinois State --> kept an account with Illinois State
     
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I was really laughing too hard to critique too seriously, and since I think making people laugh is the point, I decided not to go back and do a an addition read through to try and think of more specific things to critique. There were too many funny lines to list all the ones that made me laugh, really. 

I did have two sort of big picture concerns though.

The client claims she is trying to be subtle...but she stole her sisters dildo. Won't she notice it's missing? I guess she might not connect it back to the sister, but it doesn't seem subtle or anything. It seems like the client is doing more work than I expect. Which makes me suspicious of said client. 

Y is hilarious, and A Trope, especially when interacting with D, but I almost wonder if the contrast is dialed up too high? Or maybe there is no such thing as too much of anything in this book. That part was a little distracting. Is there a different timing or spot for the introduction maybe? Something about where it happened seemed off. I can see what you're going for with it but something about it isn't quite landing right to me. Something is just a little off.  Maybe it's just the placement. It does feel kind of tacked on at the end. 

Otherwise, it is hilarious. 

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Mostly I wanted to check in and mention that I really like the concept of this application of ...uh...toxic wood science? 

Unfortunately, beyond that, I don't really enjoy the style of humor. Too much time spent coaching high schoolers and having to deal with their giggling over random phrases they've decided to take as weird innuendo (makes reading this upon getting home almost exhausting).  So I'm going to leave the more thorough reading/critiquing of this and future chapters to those more inclined to it.

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All right let's go!

pg 1. -The opening is strong but the novelty wears off after a couple sentences and I'm looking for something to catch my attention

-Wood anatomy PhD as in actual plant wood? I'm having trouble telling what's real and what's an innuendo, which I think it somewhat intentional but I do need to be confident about the basic facts. 

-I had to do a double take when talking about PhDs and tenure since I first read PI as principal investigator like a science prof 

pg 2. -I like the delving into her personal life. The dynamic of her being the only person really capable of what she does and still can barely support herself is engaging to me

-I am a bit curious why these kinds of crimes require her and why her skills aren't broad enough to make her the best person for handling other crimes. I think the larger point is that I can't tell whether this is absurdist and I should just ignore it (it's not over-the-top enough for me to jump to that) or if there's real logic here (in which case I might need more of it)

pg 3. Is the sex pun accidental or on purpose but she forgot to hold herself back with new clients? That changes how I read this

pg 4. Random thought that came to me: is she passionate about this line of work? It seems like not but in that case I'm not sure why she isn't looking for other jobs. If she does have a PhD in plant science I feel like there must be other options even though I know it's not the most lucrative field (not looking forward to the job search after I finish my plant science PhD...). 

-If she has such trouble making ends meet then why is she limiting herself to domestic cases?

pg 5-10. I'm not sure if this is just because I have less familiarity with sex stuff than most people but is this, like, a plausible thing? Trying to commit crimes with sex toys? I'm not sure how seriously to take the story and I can't tell how much of that is the story and how much of that is me being ace/mildly sex-repulsed and also not caring much for subtle social cues to begin with 

pg 12-14. I'm willing to roll with this but it feels disconnected from what we have before 

pg 15. Y seems like nothing but bad news and I don't know why D is going along with this. 

On 1/30/2022 at 9:18 PM, kais said:

My goal is a noir feel clearly updated for modern times, with lesbian thematic elements. Also hard wood science. You’re going to learn something while we talk about sex toys. Mostly, I hope it will make you laugh.

Hmm now seems like a good time to mention that I've never really read noir and sex-related stuff is rarely funny to me. So I really can't say what my reactions are worth given how far away I am from the intended audience. That being said...

A lot of interesting dynamics here but ultimately my hangup with the story is that I don't know how seriously to take it. There's a tone of everything being a bit over the top which I think is good but for me the events aren't so absurd that I ignore all the logic questions, which is what I think the story wants me to do. Because while the sex jokes set a sillier tone, what's actually happening outside of that doesn't seem all that absurd to me. Which leaves me stuck feeling like the story has a bunch of gaps in reasoning. When in reality the gaps in reasoning should be so obvious that it becomes funny. Again, this is all assuming that I'm right in thinking it's supposed to be absurdist and over-the-top, which I'm not convinced I am. 

I think this also extends a bit to me wanting more from Y. I made up my mind about hating her with the "boundaries are boring" which I'm guessing I'm supposed to, which means I need to see more about how she's getting D to engage with her at all. Manipulations, threats, promises of security, ect. I think she could also be more over-the-top as well if that's what the story is trying to go for. 

On 1/30/2022 at 9:18 PM, kais said:

For this chapter in particular I’d like to know if there is sufficient inciting incident to keep you reading, and if you think I got the tone right for ‘lesbian science noir.'

-I'm not sure if the inciting incident is the request or Y showing up. Tbh both feel like another day on the job so I don't find it sufficient but again it's not like I'm the target audience for this kind of thing

-Like I've been implying, I'd like the tone to be more over-the-top as a whole rather than relying on all of the sex jokes (which is not to say that I want them cut; just that I don't think they should do all the heavy lifting) for that. Though like I also mentioned, this is assuming I'm getting the right read on what the story wants to be. 

Now it's time for me to ask a question: Was it valuable for you to get this perspective from someone way outside the intended audience for this story? I won't be offended if you say no; I'm happy to keep critiquing but I also don't want to waste both of our time if me doing so isn't going to be helpful. 

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I am so unreasonably excited to read this.

As I read:

I’m already chortling at “internal domestic interference.”

Aand right there in the first line, awesome.

I have so many questions. How does she advertise? What was her first case in this, um, niche, and how did it make her well-known enough to keep doing it? Does she ever take non-dildo-related cases, or does it always end in disaster when she tries? Who is the right person to open a filing cabinet full of dildos?

No, but actually why does it matter if somebody finds them in a filing cabinet vs. a display cabinet? I just figured they wouldn’t fit in the filing cabinet. Or at least, you’d be having a lot of embarrassing conversations when you absently stuck a hand in to grab your tax returns and got an immaculate padauk sex toy instead.

P2 “D only got called when the wood was of a more delicate nature, or…” I think ‘delicate nature’ gets the point across well enough. We’ve already seen the word ‘dildo’ more on the first page than we will in some entire books.

“Half the time the client already suspected the cause…” Really? Is this common?

It might be worth addressing, early on, who exactly is making all these dildos that actively kill people, because that seems like a thing that wouldn’t be common enough for someone to make an entire career out of. In any other series, there’d be ONE dildo, and it would be THAT case. Maybe D has strong opinions that dildos should be subject to FDA approvals. (I googled this. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE.)

“...bold faced lies during family dinners… and the best D could provide” Maybe make “The best D could provide” a new sentence? Feels snappier.

Ah, so you do hang a lantern on the, um, niche nature of D’s specialty. Glad to see this.

“There just weren’t enough people committing sex-toy based crimes.” First of all, since I already quoted the sentence, gonna be super picky and point out that the hyphen should actually go after toy here, or maybe after both words if you prefer that stylistically. But also that sentence is hilarious on basically every level.

“Talking to herself was also…” Doesn’t seem to be much connection between this and the next sentence when she is back on her “evidence” cabinet. Maybe a new paragraph after this sentence?

P3 “She had never crested the mental hurdle of drilling into…” I am not going to survive this book.

“We only deal in firm here.” I am DEFINITELY not going to survive this book.

I’m entertained by D’s barrage of words before the stranger can get a word in edgewise (kinda reminds me of Anna!) but it seems a bit weird that we get the whole spiel in before we even get a single comment about what this person looks like.

P4 So is, uh, RR from an open case? I’d thought it was a case that she’d just wrapped up and that the woman who’d just walked in would be a new case, but now it sounds like D’s already got a case she’s working on, if she’s thinking about how likely it would be for the killer to retain her services.

Moving up the fact that D lives in Normal Illinois might be worth moving up. It threw me here and I think I only understood what was mentioned because you’d already told me about the setting (though maybe this is just a not-from-the-US-problem?) but it’s also just so perfect that it’s worth mentioning sooner.

“The orange chair was far, far more comfortable.” Hah.

P5 “pale enough that a faint flush shown” should be “showed”

People race with open liquor in their hands?

P6 “...a cabinet full of dildos qualified as discrete” should be “discreet”

“There was always a neatly folded piece of paper…” LOL

“favoured by women post-childbirth…” I … I’m learning so many things.

P9: wobble wobble wobble

(no, this comment does not mean anything.)

Well, Y seems like bad news. Or at least very annoying news.

P14: “Let’s go.” Wait, is she letting Y come with her? WHY?

Or… maybe she’s not, because Y is still trying to persuade her? Somewhat confused.

Actually, if they lived together for several months and D had seen Y as recently as last week, shouldn’t she have recognized Y’s voice? I did not at first get any impression that Y knew D at all, from her original dialogue.

Overall: So I enjoyed this! I was going to say that I did find the pacing of the opening pages (before C shows up) a bit off, but I’ve been thinking about it as I read the rest of the chapter and I think what’s actually missing is a few more concrete details about the case that she’s just closed off. There’s a lot of interiority and generalities about her career, but we have nothing really specific to hang onto hang onto. I think even one zany detail about the case that she’s just closed (?) would go a really long way as a hook.

I’m also not clear that said case is actually closed? She seemed to think she might find a killer when C came into her office yet, but then C handed her a new case. Not sure if she is running simultaneous cases here (which would honestly make sense, but is probably bucking genre convention a bit) or if the other case is in fact closed, but worth clarifying.

I don't have a very good read right now on what Y and D's relationship is, except that D is very clear that they are not and have never been dating. My main question about Y right now is wondering why D tolerates her as she seems to.

Inciting incident: It's pretty clear what the inciting incident is, D taking the case from C. I do feel like a greater sense of urgency from C would be helpful. When I was reading through the dialogue between C and D, my biggest thought was that it didn't seem like C was giving D very much to go on. D suggests herself that it might be, um, a hygiene issue rather than a murder (?) attempt, C can't name a possible motive for H, and we don't have enough sense of H and the sister's relationship other than that to get a feel that the sister is in danger from H. Even if she was, she's currently in the hospital and is maybe in medical danger, but is away from any kind of danger that H poses, if indeed he does - meaning she seems to be away from any danger that D can actually help solve. I guess I just wanted to feel like there was stronger reasoning for her to come to D in the first place.

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

lesbians, dildos, and detectives!

We need to add this to our Tshirt roster immediately

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "I took the first one I found in the collection"
--the first what? Report?

MY question about this (assuming I'm correct in thinking that the thing she took was a dildo) is how she pulled this off. Did she sneak into the house while they were out? Manufacture an excuse for them to leave the room and quickly raid the cabinet?

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 10: "against all common sense, sniffed the green silicone"
--Would she really do this, knowing as much as she does about murder weapons? I mean that might be likely to kill her.

Torn between agreeing this is a terrible idea and thinking that it if it were going to kill her it probably would have already.

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

She could go outside and get some fresh air...

yeah, I was a bit baffled that she just stayed leaning against the wall this entire time. Outside would probably have been a good idea...

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 15: "The tips of D’s fingers started to tingle."
--allergic reaction? To what?

Also wondered about this.

On 1/31/2022 at 7:48 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Which makes me suspicious of said client. 

I am definitely going into this with the assumption that the client is more than she seems.

3 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

-I am a bit curious why these kinds of crimes require her and why her skills aren't broad enough to make her the best person for handling other crimes.

 

3 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 4. Random thought that came to me: is she passionate about this line of work? It seems like not but in that case I'm not sure why she isn't looking for other jobs.

I think you are going to have do a bit more legwork to get over her, ahem, mildly ludicrous choice of careers. You've already set up that she's having trouble paying the bills due to lack of work, which I think is needed. I wonder if adding a detail in there about how once she established a niche for herself she was stuck there because you don't go to the PI specializing in dildos if you can go to anybody else. Or whatever. And I do think having a better sense that she likes her work, or whatever it is that keeps her doing it other than the money* since it obviously isn't the money, in the first chapter would also help.

* Oh man. There are SO MANY "well, it's better than academia jokes" that could be made here. I'm just saying.

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4 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Now it's time for me to ask a question: Was it valuable for you to get this perspective from someone way outside the intended audience for this story? I won't be offended if you say no; I'm happy to keep critiquing but I also don't want to waste both of our time if me doing so isn't going to be helpful. 

I'd second this question.  I can offer more thorough feedback if you think it will be helpful, but I wasn't sure it would be all that valuable since my recommendations are not likely to line up with your ideal audience's preferences.

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15 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

I'd second this question.  I can offer more thorough feedback if you think it will be helpful, but I wasn't sure it would be all that valuable since my recommendations are not likely to line up with your ideal audience's preferences.

 

20 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Now it's time for me to ask a question: Was it valuable for you to get this perspective from someone way outside the intended audience for this story? I won't be offended if you say no; I'm happy to keep critiquing but I also don't want to waste both of our time if me doing so isn't going to be helpful. 

YES. In many ways, getting feedback from outside the genre is more beneficial. I know what is needed for in-genre and I can filter your comments for that. But feedback is still feedback, and you can still catch things like flow, character development, etc. So thank you for reading, both of you, and please always feel free to read my work and crit on whatever you want to. It's always helpful!

 

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Okay, time to edit!

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

t's a display cabinet, with no window? But the cabinet would get eyebrows, but also no one has opened it? Confused on whether the contests are visible.

Okay the cabinet is hanging everyone up. Editing.

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

Meeting in the morning, or meeting in the afternoon? It seems like she's booked in the morning?

Have clarified

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

Would she really do this, knowing as much as she does about murder weapons? I mean that might be likely to kill her.

I'll need to add in a modifier somewhere. Sniffing is really common for wood ID, as is tasting. So it would be second nature to do this, even if it is a really, really bad idea.

Now reads: 

Spoiler

De had lived and breathed wood identification for seven straight years—two for her masters, three for her PhD, two for her post doc at the Wisconsin Forest Service Lab. Some tried and true ID techniques transcended genres. She blew it on a wad of tissue, then leaned over and, following a near decade of scientific training, sniffed the green silicone.

 

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

Maybe it would take that long for the reaction to calm down, but can she look up information on her phone in that time or something. She could go outside and get some fresh air...

okay solid point. Editing

On 1/31/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mandamon said:

Well, that's a problem ex-not-girlfriend...

I'd like to introduce the 'Moth' of this story...

On 1/31/2022 at 1:29 PM, Asmodemon said:

The first 2.5 pages weren’t that interesting to me, after the initial paragraph that shows D. is not a typical PI. I started to lose my attention going through her background, the cabinet, and the various dildos she keeps in them. I just wanted something to actually start happening.

Kk, will keep this in mind. It might be the difference between standard noir and sticking in the lesbian element.

On 1/31/2022 at 1:29 PM, Asmodemon said:

Little confused about the interaction with Y at the end of the chapter. From D.’s point of view she seems like a stalker and thus best avoided and while D. tells her several times to leave, she doesn’t really follow through and eventually goes with Y. That’s probably the same mixed signals that keep Y coming back.

A few people hung up on Y at the end of the chapter. I thought this was in line with the noir trope of complicating lady relationships right out the gate, but maybe not? Maybe I need to be more clear of her role. Will edit.

On 1/31/2022 at 1:29 PM, Asmodemon said:

r at the start of the chapter, which looked real to me. A Google search revealed that the first six digits are for phone numbers in Multnomah, Portland, Oregon

Thank you for this! I've changed it accordingly to be a Bloomington area code and number

On 1/31/2022 at 7:48 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Which makes me suspicious of said client. 

Yuuuup. This was never intended as a difficult murder mystery

On 1/31/2022 at 7:48 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

That part was a little distracting. Is there a different timing or spot for the introduction maybe? Something about where it happened seemed off. I can see what you're going for with it but something about it isn't quite landing right to me. Something is just a little off.  Maybe it's just the placement. It does feel kind of tacked on at the end. 

I've introduced the concept of her earlier now. She needs to be in chapter one because she's part of the whole book, and she's very much a lesbian friend trope. I think she just needs to be introduced as a character earlier.

21 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Wood anatomy PhD as in actual plant wood? I'm having trouble telling what's real and what's an innuendo, which I think it somewhat intentional but I do need to be confident about the basic facts. 

As in a PhD studying the anatomy of dicots. It's a real thing. Hmm. Not sure how to better hang a lantern on this

21 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

am a bit curious why these kinds of crimes require her and why her skills aren't broad enough to make her the best person for handling other crimes. I think the larger point is that I can't tell whether this is absurdist and I should just ignore it (it's not over-the-top enough for me to jump to that) or if there's real logic here (in which case I might need more of it)

I think a defining sentence or two should clear this up. I've added that she has a parent in town who she can't leave, so she has to do her wood ID work in the twin cities.

There's a ton of real science and real logic in here, but I think here in chapter one it's okay to not know what is serious and what isn't. It was kind of what I hoped would be the fun of the book--slowly realizing that it isn't just silly, it's actual science

18 hours ago, Silk said:

No, but actually why does it matter if somebody finds them in a filing cabinet vs. a display cabinet? I just figured they wouldn’t fit in the filing cabinet. Or at least, you’d be having a lot of embarrassing conversations when you absently stuck a hand in to grab your tax returns and got an immaculate padauk sex toy instead.

Edited! You can read the new text up with Mandamon's responses

18 hours ago, Silk said:

t might be worth addressing, early on, who exactly is making all these dildos that actively kill people, because that seems like a thing that wouldn’t be common enough for someone to make an entire career out of. In any other series, there’d be ONE dildo, and it would be THAT case. Maybe D has strong opinions that dildos should be subject to FDA approvals. (I googled this. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE.)

Ah but this is part of the plot of the book! There's a WHOLE FACTORY

18 hours ago, Silk said:

People race with open liquor in their hands?

I have so many photos of my father running with beers at the end of races....

18 hours ago, Silk said:

Actually, if they lived together for several months and D had seen Y as recently as last week, shouldn’t she have recognized Y’s voice? I did not at first get any impression that Y knew D at all, from her original dialogue.

I've moved the timeline around here. It's been two months since they last saw each other.  Also Y is now mentioned earlier, and I'm going to have D recognize the voice.

18 hours ago, Silk said:

So I enjoyed this! I was going to say that I did find the pacing of the opening pages (before C shows up) a bit off, but I’ve been thinking about it as I read the rest of the chapter and I think what’s actually missing is a few more concrete details about the case that she’s just closed off. There’s a lot of interiority and generalities about her career, but we have nothing really specific to hang onto hang onto. I think even one zany detail about the case that she’s just closed (?) would go a really long way as a hook.

Hmm okay. Check. Will edit

 

 

 

Thank you all so much for the help!

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1 hour ago, kais said:

Edited! You can read the new text up with Mandamon's responses

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

I've moved the timeline around here. It's been two months since they last saw each other.  Also Y is now mentioned earlier, and I'm going to have D recognize the voice.

These edits work a lot better, I think!

1 hour ago, kais said:

Ah but this is part of the plot of the book! There's a WHOLE FACTORY

I mean of COURSE there is.

But seriously, in that case I think you're good. You just need to hang enough of a lantern to get us into suspension-of-disbelief land, which you've done.

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9 hours ago, kais said:

As in a PhD studying the anatomy of dicots. It's a real thing. Hmm. Not sure how to better hang a lantern on this

Yeah, I figured it was a real thing and only questioned it because of the context. I think hearing plants, dicots, or something similar here would help. Though if it's just me who's confused it might also might just be me being overly vigilant about looking for innuendos given that I know I tend to miss them. 

9 hours ago, kais said:

There's a ton of real science and real logic in here, but I think here in chapter one it's okay to not know what is serious and what isn't. It was kind of what I hoped would be the fun of the book--slowly realizing that it isn't just silly, it's actual science

That does sound like fun! I think I can roll with that... if I get the proper hints here so that the surprise isn't jarring (and so that I'm interested enough to get there). I think the defining sentences you mentioned should help, and I think the bits of science expertise that are shown off here (such as her recognizing that the wood is artificial) do also help. Any chance we could get more of that in the background we get in the first couple of pages? Because while I don't think I need to know exactly what's serious and what's not, I think I do need to trust that the story has something up its sleeve so far as the science is concerned. Which I'm sure it does as someone who knows that you're an experienced scientist, but if I picked this up not knowing who you are I might not be so sure. 

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11 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

That does sound like fun! I think I can roll with that... if I get the proper hints here so that the surprise isn't jarring (and so that I'm interested enough to get there). I think the defining sentences you mentioned should help, and I think the bits of science expertise that are shown off here (such as her recognizing that the wood is artificial) do also help. Any chance we could get more of that in the background we get in the first couple of pages? Because while I don't think I need to know exactly what's serious and what's not, I think I do need to trust that the story has something up its sleeve so far as the science is concerned. Which I'm sure it does as someone who knows that you're an experienced scientist, but if I picked this up not knowing who you are I might not be so sure. 

I've done this now with the first page. D goes over a recent case and discusses the science involved. I think it will solve both this issue and a similar issue @Silk brought up. It's a solid edit so thank you. I think it will help ground the book as one foot in science, one foot in silly. But sometimes silly is the only way to deliver palatable science. 

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On 6-2-2022 at 7:32 PM, kais said:

Kk, will keep this in mind. It might be the difference between standard noir and sticking in the lesbian element.

Could be. I'm not really a noir reader, so I don't know if a slower start is more expected, but like I said, for my tastes I want something to actually happen rather than reminisce about past cases and the state of her office

On 6-2-2022 at 7:32 PM, kais said:

A few people hung up on Y at the end of the chapter. I thought this was in line with the noir trope of complicating lady relationships right out the gate, but maybe not? Maybe I need to be more clear of her role. Will edit.

Thinking about it, I don't think I have a problem with Y being a complicated lady as part of the noir trope. From the few PI novels I've read (The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and the Garrett P.I. novels by Glen Cook) I know this is a popular trope and one I usually like - anything to give the protagonist more issues to deal with.

I think the problem for me here is that D's thoughts and subsequent actions make her seem wishy washy and a pushover. As the reader I don't know D yet and so far I've seen two interactions of her with other characters. The first was with a client and the conversation started very flustered on the part of D and for most of it the client seemed in charge of the conversation, not D, including forcing D to stay at her office to receive a package by way of a note. Then we get Y coming along to exacerbate that impression.

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