FlowerGirl

Reading Excuses - 2022-10-03 - FlowerGirl - To be named

10 posts in this topic

This is the first chapter of a new novel I'm working on. I'm lost on what to title it, suggestions are appreciated.

This is my first time submitting and I really want to know what you don't like or what I'm doing wrong. I'd like to know what's working in the story and what isn't, also

What's your understanding of the rules of the world? I want to know if I'm conveying this clearly.

I'd also be interested to hear your take on my characters personalities. Do they have personalities? Sometimes I think I've given them personalities when I actually haven't so I'd love to hear your opinion.

Finally I'm interested to hear where you think the story is going. What do you feel is being set up?

Thanks for your time and can't wait to hear what you think.

 

-FlowerGirl

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Posted (edited)


First off, congrats on your first sub! Overall, I love the story thus far! The characters, plot, and world all seem ripe with potential, and I can't wait to see where they go & learn more!

  • As far as titles go, I know they can be tricky, and sometimes they become more apparent towards the end[1]. To that end, I feel I wouldn't be able to make an appropriate suggestion until having read the final chapter[2]. Out of curiosity, how far along on this new novel are you? (e.g., 2nd draft, almost finished with the middle, etc.)
  • As for what's not working, there's some grammar stuff, but I think the biggest issue is that some of the wording feels unnecessary and is slowing down the pace--which makes me a bit envious as I think that's a surface-level thing that's more easily fixable than some of the structural issues I've encountered in my own work. Furthermore, I personally never felt frustrated while coming across an issue, which I think is the sure sign of a good story[3]!
  • My current understanding of the rules is that there's a group of people that can read minds. How (origin-wise/mechanically) & the limitations are unknown, but I personally hope they get explored since I'm a big fan of interesting/hard magic systems, but that's just me. As for the laws like not offending people or showing aggression, I'm curious what the precedent is for interpreting those rules & where the lines are drawn. My understanding is a little fuzzier here, though given that the protag[4] seems to not be an adult, I personally feel that's fitting & has room to be further explored in upcoming chapters and possibly the next one, given the cliff hanger.
  • Personality-wise, a small part of me feels some of the characters are a bit archetypical, but I think that's okay as they can be fleshed out more in the following chapters. That said, I think there's room to add more characterization to them in the current chapter without overloading the reader with info[5].
    • Protag- seems to be a bit headstrong and has a bit of friction with societal & cultural expectations[6].
    • J- the voice of reason contrasts well with the protag.
    • A- currently, I strongly dislike him due to how he withheld seemingly crucial information. Actually, maybe I don't dislike him--presumably, he's been living amongst mind readers all his life, and it wouldn't occur to him to say such things aloud. If so, he's naïve, like K. IDK. I reserve judgment. He's either insidious or naïve.
    • K- seems a bit naïve/mischievous, which seems quite interesting given the restrictive rules and that she'll soon be living with a bunch of mind readers
  • As to where the story's going, I'm not sure. If I were forced to guess, I'd go with us exploring more of the town & gifted settlement's cultures through the eyes of the protagonist. Perhaps the protag will get sentenced to be exiled, or they'll escape jail to rescue their sister. Then they'll do recon on the gifted settlement to learn more about them and plan the heist to save their sister while discovering more about the powers or coming to realize the gifted people aren't all that bad or that something larger is at play behind the people making the oppressive rules. IDK. Looking forward to wherever the story goes!

Aside from all that, I'm looking forward to learning more about this society that stigmatizes aggression and offensiveness. Tangentially, this seems like speculative fiction taking the present-day trend of agreeableness being prioritized above wisdom to the extreme[7]. It also reminds me a bit of Inuit society, another culture in a harsh environment where anger is also stigmatized (though there, the stigma seems like a more positive thing whereas it's portrayed as a more dystopic development in this tale). As a worldbuilder, I'm also curious how the children were taught to emotionally regulate themselves to not offend with words or thoughts[8] or be perceived as aggressive--but that's a personal preference, do what's best for your story!


[1] Case in point, while watching The Imperial Coroner, I felt the title was fitting, but the final scene really hammered the meaning home in a new way & re-contextualized the entire thing.
[2] At the moment, have a hunch that using some variant of the word shimmer might be neat. The Gifted Bride also seems to evoke a bit of mystery & could have the implications subverted--but I don't know where the story is going or what your intentions are, so I can't really say.
[3] As for specifics, I'll email you a document with my line-by-line thoughts since I feel I had too many to put here.
[4] As far as I know, the protag had an ambiguous gender, though I assumed they were a girl. Given their unnamed status, I'm going to assume that's intentional & in a way, it reminds me of the Mass Effect comics where they had to be vague about Sheperd's gender since they didn't know what the reader had picked in the games.
[5] I realize I never felt like I was overloaded with too much info, which I feel I'm prone to do in my own writing. Rather, I was always left wanting more, which I think worked most of the time here, so congrats on that!
[6] I think this is fantastic as there's an interesting character in a role they don't quite fit in a unique setting. This sounds like it's close to what Sanderson recommends in his lectures--highly recommended for their educational/entertainment value if you haven't seen them!
[7] e.g., Person A might be offended if B points out a self-destructive habit, so B keeps quiet--even if it would have been better for them to inform A of their peril. (Personally, I call this toxic kindness, not sure what others label it as.)
[8] e.g. Something like how certain meditation practices focus on evaluating thoughts/emotions and letting them go if they're not useful would be really handy in this world.

Edited by Minifyre
Added a bit about grammar...
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1 hour ago, Minifyre said:

 

  • As far as titles go, I know they can be tricky, and sometimes they become more apparent towards the end[1]. To that end, I feel I wouldn't be able to make an appropriate suggestion until having read the final chapter[2]. Out of curiosity, how far along on this new novel are you? (e.g., 2nd draft, almost finished with the middle, etc.)

This is the first draft of the novel, so far I've only written this first chapter and have a loose outline for where the rest is going.

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Congrats on your first sub! 

I am terrible at titling things in general, but especially since it's a longer work, hopefully something will eventually suggest itself! If I come up with any suggestions you'll be the first to know. ;)

Quote

 

What's your understanding of the rules of the world? I want to know if I'm conveying this clearly.

I'd also be interested to hear your take on my characters personalities. Do they have personalities? Sometimes I think I've given them personalities when I actually haven't so I'd love to hear your opinion.

Finally I'm interested to hear where you think the story is going. What do you feel is being set up?

 

1. The gifted control everything including food supply and are essentially thought-police. Nobody is supposed to have an unkind or uncharitable thought about anyone else. 

2. The narrator seems to have a hard time swallowing change and also all the rules they're supposed to live with; not sure yet how much of the latter is them vs. the rules themselves  being unreasonable. J seems to be the cool friend who wants to give her friend room to express themself without actually getting into trouble herself. A is essentially a nice cop, but still a cop first. I don't have strong reads on any of the others. 

3. The result of the trial will take the narrator away from their family, since that seems to be the main thing they want to protect, but beyond that I'm not sure. 

As I read:

Three pages in, there is a lot of repetition of things that might get the narrator reported, enough that the threat is starting to lose its impact.

P6: Also losing its impact: the narrator’s distaste for A. I was hoping we would get a bit more explanation of this during the narrator’s discussion with J, but she (? not sure the narrator’s pronouns) pretty much reiterated the “I don’t want things to change” comment from before. Which is understandable, but thin enough that the narrator’s strong reaction to A coming over for dinner feels exaggerated.

P8: So the narrator’s parents do know that A is gifted? Narrator had been under the impression the parents did not know this, but they don’t react to that here so I wasn’t sure if it was a continuity error or not.

P9 by now I really want some explanation of what “reporting” means. The threat keeps coming up and it seems from everyone’s reactions to be a big deal. Two or three pages I’m okay with coasting on the assumption that being reported is probably bad, by 9 pages in I want a little more info.

P12: It seems odd to me that K would plan to marry someone but not plan to move into a separate home with them.

Overall:

You have some interesting worldbuilding and what feels like it could become a solid inciting incident at the end of the first chapter here. I think the same thing I’ve been commenting on in my LBLs is what’s keeping me from being fully invested – I don’t really understand what the threat of being reported and the trial means, so I’m not as worried about it/the narrator as I otherwise would be. Especially without that information, I’m also having a hard time taking it as seriously as I’d like to as a threat because it seems so easy for people to slip up – the narrator themself is doing it constantly, but always around very common things. Is this a case of the government (presumably) being so overbearing that people get reported and taken to trial all the time? Or is the narrator particularly bad at keeping their head down? I can’t tell which is which.

One of my other main questions right now is how old the narrator is. Their outsized reaction to their sister getting married and moving away makes me wonder if they’re very young, but I didn’t get that impression elsewhere in the narrative… plus they have a sister old enough to get married, unless they’re quite a bit younger than her. Some cues here might be helpful as well.

But that said, I think you’ve got a solid start. Keep at it!

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Congrats on submitting! It's a big step to let others read your stuff.

Title: since you've only written the first chapter, I wouldn't worry about it. Get through more of the book and see if something comes to you.

1) What's your understanding of the rules of the world?

--Seems to be a dystopian (somehow) ruled by people who can read minds. To @Silk's point above, one of the biggest issues I had is there's no follow-through on punishment. People are sent to "a trial" but I don't know what that means. There's no real threat here, so I'm not really concerned at the end of the chapter when the MC gets reported. It's been thrown around so much I'm thinking lots of people must go on trial every day.

2) Characters personalities.

--They seem fine. I honestly don't worry about personalities too much while I'm writing until I've got several chapters from someone's POV. It's really easy to tweak afterwards to show consistent emotion. The MC does seem to be a hothead though, which I'm guessing don't last long in this society.

3) Story set up

--I'm big on worldbuilding, so I'm always wondering how a society got where it is in the story. There are some good hints here about a war, and the gifted have likely popped up more recently. I struggle how they can enforce policing emotions, unless they're reading people's minds all the time. I also don't know how far away they can read minds, and what other powers they have that make them able to enforce their trials (see the point in #1). I assume the MC will find out about the "real" world once she goes on trial and escapes/gains power/something surprising.

Hope this helps!


Notes while reading:

The opening paragraph is a little hard to follow as it's all observation by someone we meet in the second paragraph. Making the second paragraph the opening paragraph will tie the reader to the MC a lot more.

pg 3: The MC seems to have a lot of aggression toward the gifted. We're being told they're bad, but I don't know why. Did they make the laws where everyone gets reported?

pg 3: "Disliking anyone is against the law"
--I'm not sure how all these laws about feelings are enforced...

pg 4: There's not a lot of action yet. Just the MC being upset about the world.

pg 5: "I just don’t want my family to change,"
--this seems to be the driving motive for the MC so far, except I don't know what it's changing from. Is having one gifted be closer to them worse than it is now?

pg 5: "the whole mind reading thing"
--ok, that at least shows how they enforce feelings. I'm wondering if they have any other powers.

pg 5: " I walk back to my house"
--Is there a reason she went to J's house? There's not a lot of direction to the story yet.

pg 6: "get a person reported"
--this keeps being said. But what happens after? Do they get imprisoned? Killed? Sent off to work in the mines?

pg 8: "shimmer haired gifteds"
--I guess they all share the same characteristics then?

pg 9: "Let’s not make a habit of saying things like that"
--I'm...hmmm...I have issues with this set of laws. I get they're supposed to be arbitrary, but I'm wondering how often someone gets turned in.

pg 10: "Now they’re planning to be married"
--ok, well that was quick.

pg 11: "I can finally think freely again."
--so are they limited to sightline or something to read minds?

pg 12: Based on previous evidence, I don't think the trial will go well for her. Like @Silk, I wonder at the ages of the characters, and why it's a surprise that a married couple will be moving out of the parents' home.

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Welcome!

If this is a first draft, it's an excellent one. It was clear and easy to follow. The characters are distinct and the setting was apparent. Well done.

Rules of the world:

My impression of the setting is a post apocalyptic dystopia, maybe along the same vein as 'The Giver,' where the colony/town is ruled by ideals that aren't inherently destructive but are taken to a destructive extreme. I got more of a Scifi vibe than fantasy, but I could be wrong.

Based on the hints and world building, as a reader I suspect that some terrible thing has happened that has killed most of the people and ruined much of the surface. The MC and their family are one of many people in small 'safe' colonies that are utilitarian and sparce due to lack of resources. These colonies are policed, fed, and maintained by an elite class with special abilities who live outside of the colonies, possibly in whatever areas weren't ruined or in an unreachable area. At this point, I am assuming that the laws against any offensiveness are tied to preserving the lives of as many people as possible by preventing any violence, protests, crimes etc.

Characters:

J's character seems the mostly completely developed, she has a distinct voice and reads as a caregiver/protector.  The MC's sister comes off well. The MC wasn't immediately likeable for me, at this point they seemed more angsty than outraged. A seems plain and inoffensive, but I think that was the point you were going for since it sets off the reader's radar that there will be a problem there. 

 

I hope something in this rambling critique is helpful, thanks for sharing!

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Congrats on your first sub! 

On 10/3/2022 at 9:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

What's your understanding of the rules of the world? I want to know if I'm conveying this clearly.

 

It seems like no one is allowed to take any negative actions towards others, say anything negative about anyone, or even think negative thoughts. It seems like an impossible world to live in. I understand why the main character has gotten reported so much though i am not sure what the consequences of it will be. What happens when the mc goes to trial? Can they go to jail ? Will the family be fined? I feel like if I knew more of what going to trail meant, the stakes would be clearer and the end of the chapter would land better. 

I understand that some people have powers and some don't. Those powers might be telepathy, but beyond that, i don't much else about what makes the gifted gifted. I think it would be worth slipping in a few more details. 

On 10/3/2022 at 9:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

I'd also be interested to hear your take on my characters personalities. Do they have personalities? Sometimes I think I've given them personalities when I actually haven't so I'd love to hear your opinion.

 

 I liked that the mc was flawed and angry and selfish in a world that didn't allow people to be those things. She seemed to have the strongest personality. 

The friend and sister both did seem to have distinct personalities. Though the sister confused me a little though near the end. Why would she be surprised that she had to leave home if she was going to get married. Wouldn't someone assume that they and their spouse would go live out on their own? 

The parents and brother seemed kind of cookie cutter. I'm wondering if you could develop them a little more? Make them more unique in some way?

On 10/3/2022 at 9:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

Finally I'm interested to hear where you think the story is going. What do you feel is being set up?

 

I feel like the trial is going to have some big impact on the mc's life, and you haven't hinted at any kind of rebellion or resistance, but since this seems like a dystopian world, my brain is just automatically assuming one exists and that your mc is going to end up part of it and they are going to change the world. Because how can this world not change? I can't imagine a society that doesn't allow you to not like other people, that doesn't allow any little of blip of negativity or dislike, any society that tried to exert that much control on the population lasting very long. It is a world begging to be turned upside down. 

 

Overall, this was easy to read and intriguing. I'm curious to see what happens next. 

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I've wanted to get back to responding to people's subs, but I've just gotten busier and busier all year! I'm still pretty busy, but here's at least a little feedback:

On 10/3/2022 at 7:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

What's your understanding of the rules of the world?

From what I'm picking up, there are people called gifteds who not only have magic mind-reading powers, they also run the world. It also seems that no one is allowed to do, say, or think anything remotely out of line. It seems like whoever is pulling the strings of this world has gone too far in ensuring that no one has their feelings hurt, and that no one has any difficulty. So a dystopian society run by mind-readers.

There are some things that raise questions for me, but only the sort I assume you intend to answer as the story progresses.

On 10/3/2022 at 7:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

I'd also be interested to hear your take on my characters personalities. Do they have personalities?

The mc had the most obvious personality, probably the most noticeable since we're in their head. We don't know the mc's name though, which struck me a little odd, and I might find it easier to connect with a few more details about them. 

On this same line of thought, the relationship between K and A seems hard to read. I couldn't tell how serious their relationship is, especially given little details like the fact that she didn't know about A's brother. That could be a sensitive subject of course, it just made me think that they were in an earlier stage of their relationship. I definitely didn't think they were at the stage where they'd get married.

On 10/3/2022 at 7:15 AM, FlowerGirl said:

Finally I'm interested to hear where you think the story is going. What do you feel is being set up

My guess is that the mc is going to be forced away from home, into a situation where she is around gifteds all the time. Whether this is the result of the trial or a different event, perhaps involving the upcoming wedding, they'll find themself having to confront the gifteds. I'm guessing they'll end up as part of a resistance or something. Like @shatteredsmooth, the only reason I actually think this is because it feels so dystopian, which I assume is intentional? 

Anyway, sorry I have to be so brief in my response. I hope you get something constructive out of it!

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Heya, sorry this is so late, but I hope there is still something useful in my comments. I'm aiming to get back into crits here, and want to make sure I am up to date with current projects. So, diving in...

Because this is a PDF, I'm not going to do line-by-line comments, which normally I would do by tracked changes in a Word file. It's just the way I work: I like to be complete, and don't like going past things (even typos) because I know how many end up in published works :rolleyes:  (Summing up comments are at the end.)

(p1) - "The gifteds truck..." - I struggled with 'gifteds' because I feel it should be possessive; either gifted's or gifteds', but I don't know which. I guess I can sort of see a way that gifteds could world, but it's hard to interpret the meaning of this sentence. The issue with that is that it's the first sentence in the whole novel, and therefore critical for engaging the reader. The last thing it should be doing is causing confusion. So, I'd strongly recommend clarifying the meaning. (Don't worry, I won't go on like this over every single word! ;) )

"The roof is positioned" - The sounds like the roof made a choice where to position itself, but it's MC and J that made the decision, they chose the roof, therefore they are the ones who positioned themselves. Alternatively, it could be read as the roof having been positioned by someone else specifically to afford this view for MC and J, which they did not. Either way, I think this phrasing gives a misleading impression, and therefore sounds 'off'.

"A carries a weekly supply box in his hands" - I like the very economical style, the fact that there is very little description makes the description that is there much more effective. I also like the present tense, which adds immediacy. I like this style of writing. However, there are actually several instances of unnecessary or redundant words. Here for example, there is a default mode for carrying a box, which is with one's hands, so this part is redundant, IMO.

(p2) - (End of page 2) So, I get that this is a very litigious society, but I don't understand why; I don't understand what a gifted is, how they are gifted, what are the consequences of a trial. In short, I don't understand what the stakes are, either personal or societal, and therefore it's hard to get invested. I feel like the characters , and the author, know things that I don't know. So, there's a barrier to me getting invested, a barrier between me and the story.

(p3) - "My fists are clenched" - MC clenched their fist on page 2, so this becomes repetitive around here. Then, there is a fourth mention of clenched fists in less than a page.

"essentially a deity" - Okay, but how? What does this mean? What can he do? I'm just being told this and asked to accept it, but I am not being shown it. It's much less engaging to be told something like this, than to be shown it, some evidence for it. And for the record, I'm not saying always show don't tell. There are goods reasons to tell readers things, at certain points, wrt certain things. 

"Disliking anyone is against the law" - WOW! That's quite the premise: intriguing. I'm interested to see how a society could operate sustainably on this basis.

"There's curtains made of..." - MC hasn't shown that they're grammar isn't good, so "There's curtains" clangs in my ear > There are curtains.

"outside the doorstep" - Isn't it outside the door, on the doorstep? How can something be outside the doorstep when the doorstep itself is outside?

(p4) - "Apparently gifted’s grow food" - gifteds: this is not possessive.

"concrete house lined street" - 'house-lined'

"J and I walk into her house" - walking inside the house implies they have entered already.

"end up with a splinter in the palm of my hand. I work on pulling it out" - MC is very unemotional here. No reaction, no pain. Maybe that's the intention, but it seems to contradict MC's reaction to the sister thing, and the state of society.

"J hands me a glass, I take it with my left hand instead of my right since my right hand still has the stupid splinter in it" - I don't care. Why would I care what hand a character uses to hold a glass? I want to know about the world, and why it's the way it is: I want to know what makes a gifted and gifted, and I'm getting pretty frustrated with these trivial details.

(p5) - Here in the first few lines on this page, I get some information, but it feels like it's hard-won. Also, MC is just repeating from a couple of pages ago the stuff about not wanting family to change. I know that already. Seems early for it to be repeated.

"I open the door to my house and walk inside" - Really, you don't need to described every single movement a character makes, and every small action they take. It makes the reading hard work, IMO.

(p6) - "Even if they do get reported it’s not a huge deal" - This kind of undermines the importance of being reported. I get that MC goes on to explain that her family are squeaky clean, but still it tends to make principle of being reported around unimportant. Not something that other people worry about.

(p7) - "Then there's footsteps" - there are footsteps.

"it’s not my mothers, not my dads" - Okay, there's a problem running through the whole piece with the absence of possessive apostrophes: mother's, dad's.

(p8) - "He can have my chair, he’s my boyfriend so it’s only fair." - This sounds really fake to me, unconvincing as dialogue, but perhaps it's more because I have no idea why gifted are treated the way they are. And if they are indeed like gods, and have powers (e.g. mind reading), I'd like to see them working instead of just being told about them.

"as they deliver the weekly food deliveries." - Repetition of deliveries sounds awkward, kinda clumsy. Easy enough to switch one for a different word.

(p9) - "reading my thought's this entire time" - Seriously, and I mean this very straightforwardly and with kindness in the spirit of helping you improve your writing, you need to learn the use of apostrophes. Apostrophe with the letter 's' is usually possessive, or a contraction of the word is. When it is just a plural like this, there is no apostrophe.

The phrase "to report me" is repeated closely at the end of the page; the phrase "mundane thoughts" also is repeated a bit before that, again quite closely. There's nothing wrong with this grammatically but, to me, it reads clunky. In my opinion, it reads a bit like the author couldn't think of a different way to say it. Phrasing things differently is part of style, but everything is stated so plainly in this piece that I think it tends sounds like a sketch of a chapter or a scene, without any stylistic technique applied to the sentences. I think style is a big part of what makes fiction entertaining (and non-fiction, for that matter).

It can take a writer a long time to establish their style, and usually they do that by trying different stylistic approaches, different schemes of language. For dialogue, they might give one character one style of speaking, and another character a different one, to distinguish between characters, and therefore make them more entertaining, but also make them sound like the different people they are. I'm really not getting much of that here. But, the little brother was gross, as a youth might be, which was good, convincing. I think you could work that sort of thing more to get a greater effect and make the characters more interesting.

(p10) - "will you marry me?" "Yes, I will." - Wow. I've said I like the directness (up to a point), but this is kind of painful to me. There no pause at all. No shock, surprise; no actual emotion from K at all, just "Yes, I will." That seems very unlikely, not believable, to me.

Then there is the family reaction, and it sounds to me rather mechanical. I can't feel any emotion in the situation and the proposal that has just happened. It's almost like it's skipped over, rushed through to get to the next bit. I'll say again that it reads, in this part especially, kind of like a sketch for a chapter that you're going to come back to and flesh out the detail, the emotion, the nuance that makes the whole thing interesting, intriguing and entertaining.

Repeating the same line three times: part of me wants to saying something about this, however <cough> it's the sort of stunt that I would pull, so I'll just keep quiet about it :rolleyes:

(p11) - "to freakin marry a gifted?" - need an apostrophe here to show the missing letter, so freakin'. It's the same as isn't, or don't; any of those contractions.

End of the section - I like where we end up at the end of this scene: The thing about not being about to think freely, it's a powerful theme, I'm just not sure the scene delivers that theme powerfully enough, but more on that in my summation.

(p12) - "I press my ear closer to the wall, K is talking now." - punctuation: I'm certain this should be a new sentence. There have been a few instances where I think commas should have been periods. I didn't reference them before, but I wanted to note it before the end. This one is trickier than the apostrophe thing, but when two parts of a sentence are dealing with a completely different notion, or action, I think a comma feels wrong.
Really you’re sure?” - 
punctuation: here, there is a pause between really and you're is there not? I can't see any other way to read it, but it's written as is it's to be read straight through without a pause. Do you ever read your work out loud? This is a valuable practice, and really brings out things like punctuation.

"It’s some stupid law, if an ungifted marries and gifted the ungifted has to live with the gifted" - I don't understand: Why do they need a law for this? This is what people normally do when they get married. This seems a bit bizarre to me, that anyone would think this is unusual.

Summation:

For me, the premise and the main conflict, the MC being reported for being rude/angry is kind of simplistic, and the chapter gives off strong YA vibes to me. At first, I thought the style was very sparse and direct, which can be really effective, but as I read on it seemed to me that things like emotions and background really are only sketched in, and not explored or explained to the reader. The world feels very light to me, to the point of being insubstantial. Some things should be withheld from the reader, if they are part of the mystery, or a longer reveal about the nature of the world, but the reader needs to know enough to become engaged by the central ideas. I feel that too much is being withheld from the reader to be become engaged with the world.

The central conflicts, about K leaving home and MC being reported; the first one confuses me, because that's what people in our society do when they get married, they go and live together (generally speaking) so for it to be a huge conflict in this world is confusing, and makes MC look childish and naive. The second one, there's no explanation of the reporting thing, and going to trial. What happens to a person? What's the risk? We don't know, and so (for me anyway) it was not engaging.

Character personalities: I don't think they have much in the way of personalities. If they do, they are very standard and not very nuanced, complex.

Where is the story going? I don't know, and to be perfectly honest I'm not sure I'm engaged enough with the character or the world that I would read on to find out, for the reasons above.

In the end, I think there is a potentially very interesting idea here, about what it's like to live in a society where being rude/angry/obnoxious is outlawed, and anyone can report a person, but I think the first chapter has to establish the gifted effectively; who they are, how they come to be and what they can do. Also, yes, I think the characters could do with being more sophisticated, and I don't mean sophisticated like F. Scott Fitzgerald (for example), I just mean nuanced and conflicted like real people.

I'm sorry if this all sounds harsh, and I hope it is not too hard to hear: Don't be discouraged. I think you are onto something here with the ideas in this, but I think it needs more development. It makes me wonder if you've done anything like going through Brandon Sanderson's lecture series on Youtube, or listened through the Writing Excuses podcasts. There is a lot of good advise in these (and other) places that would help with developing this project, I think.

Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing! :) 

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8 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'm sorry if this all sounds harsh, and I hope it is not too hard to hear: Don't be discouraged. I think you are onto something here with the ideas in this, but I think it needs more development. It makes me wonder if you've done anything like going through Brandon Sanderson's lecture series on Youtube, or listened through the Writing Excuses podcasts. There is a lot of good advise in these (and other) places that would help with developing this project, I think.

Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing! :) 

That you so much for the feedback! I honestly love being told what I'm doing wrong, so no need to worry about being harsh or discouraging me. I'm definitely planning to touch up on where to use apostrophes and commas. Hopefully that'll help with future submissions.

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