kais

01/15/2023 - Kais - MM - Chapter 1 (L)(V) - 5422 words

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L for crude, sophomoric dildo jokes

V for implied violence (it's a murder mystery)

Just saw I'm about 400 words over limit so feel free to stop reading at 5000. Sorry about that.

It’s been a long time! I’m back now that I’m trying to finish MM, the first in my cozy murder mystery series. This book is mostly silly fluff with a lot of sophomoric humor and sudden bouts of wood science. It’ll be a novella likely, so pacing matters. Any and all comments welcome. Thanks for reading.

 

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Nice hook!

Page 11 and on is pretty smooth reading, but I think the beginning still takes too long to get going. Detective stories start with the brunette walking into the office, and this one takes 4 pages to get there. I'd move all the explanation about previous jobs to later in the chapter, or break it up. When D is recovering from the allergies would be a good time for some explanation as well. I think it's good information, but not needed for the consultation with the woman.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: Great intro.

pg 1: "pleasure-turned-murder weapon"
--pleasure weapon turned murder weapon? Something off about this phrase.

pg 2: Pacing on this. The first couple pages are her going over things that happend in the past. Why is she looking at the first murder weapon? Is there a reason she's remniscing now?

pg 3: Maybe a little slow on the first couple pages.

pg 3: "Back to the cabinet then. Back to the real world. The new pink d"
--this says it's new, but on the first page it started her career.
--Also, the theme here seems to be looking at the past, which isn't a great way to start a novella. We haven't yet seen what the story is about.

pg 4: So it's only at page 4 that we get the brunette walking into the office, which is the promise in the chapter title. What if we start with the brunette walking in, and get the explanation about the cabinet and "trophies" later on?

pg 6: getting into lots of adverbs in the first few paragraphs.

pg 9: great end to the interview. I still think the beginning drags too much. Maybe put some of the history into the interview, or have a little bit after the break when she's eating pizza?

pg 11: "Her nose tickled, threatening another sneeze."
--nice hints, and this works well with the brunette getting over a cold.

pg 13: "Still, an allergic reaction gave her a solid data point."
--I'm still not completely sold on her reasoning here, but she does address it at least.
--Also, while she's waiting it out would be a good place for some introspection and "how did I get here" with some of the text from the first couple pages.

pg 14: "They were polite, and friendly, and helped her with her groceries on occasion, but they still hadn’t needed the full frontal"
--excellent line.

pg 17: "a gigantic house on a postage-stamp sized lot... "
--I think I've been to that house...

pg 18: The end of the chapter is excellent and chugs along. The beginning needs a littel tidying up, I think.

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Overall, this seems like a good start to a humorous story. Personally if I found this in the wild, it would be a little too "gross out" for me, but that's just personal taste. I thought that there were too many asides that distracted from the main plot/conversations, especially at the beginning of the chapter. By the end, I was skimming some of these little stories. 

That being said, character and setting are very good, and the humor is solid. Good first chapter!

 

Pg1-I have not seen the word “suck” used as a noun before. Maybe "drain"? (unless that was an intentional pun)

“pleasure-turned-murder” as in, it was a pleasure weapon before?

Pg 2 Well that is a very creative way to murder someone

“Normal” that’s a great town name for a place with a sex murder specialist

Pg 3 I think that the second and third paragraphs here (“Back to the cabinet…” and “Those were easy cases…”) could probably be cut entirely, or put a little later.

Pg4 “Not that closing time” we are getting this aside, and then the aside about puns, after someone has walked in but before we get a description of them. I did get a little anxious to get to that.

Pg 4 “firm” nice lol

Pg 6 “guessed a race” since this was just talking about appearance, I though D was about to guess her ethnicity for a second.

“six exclamation points” lol

Pg 6 “eyes wide” she didn’t seem too alarmed before, or really any emotion in particular, so this seems a little out of the blue. Maybe some indicators before this that she is distressed?

Pg 7 “she won’t discuss it with but” with me?

Pg 8 “smoothed a wrinkle from her lap would require” that would require

Pg 9 the idea of chocolate lube is…really gross to me. Also, with this included, I think you could definitely cut some of the stories about past jobs at the beginning of the chapter.

Pg 10 I don’t think “head” needs to be in quotations here. 

Pg 13 “please that she’d made” pleased

Pg 15 “Lesbians collected…” lol

 

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As I go:

pg 1. First paragraph is good for establishing characterization of the typical pessimistic, a little bit of a mess detective

pg 2-3. I think this version does a better job of showing us how D got to this point in her career

pg 4-5. I think a lot of this can be trimmed down. At this point I feel like it's time for the plot hook

pg 6-7. This can also be condensed. Personally I don't think it even has to be in scene, since I'm not getting a ton from the other woman. If it were narration with brief interruptions of action from D I think it would read smoother to me.

pg 12. Maybe it's the grad student in me talking but I'm really enjoying the bits we get about her past

pg 15. I think most of Y's lines are the same but she doesn't grate on me as much now that I get a better feel for D as a bitter academic and how Y counterpoints that

pg 17. Oh was Y the person who referred P to D?

Overall:

I was much more engaged with this than last time, and for me the key difference was that there's a bit more serious to balance out the humor. It feels like a similar principle as the straightman + funnyman, but in this case it's serious moments and lighthearted ones. I especially think focusing more on D's backstory and the real deadly consequences of these crimes are good, and should continue to be a strong focus.

The main thing on my mind is that I know you mentioned that you want the story to involve a lot of real science, and I think the story needs to be more upfront about that here. It can even be worked into the humor with other characters or even D herself playing on the technical science being applied to a silly situation. Y seems like a perfect character to try to get technical science facts out of D in a lighthearted way right off the bat.

I know I was in the minority about this before but I still also need a better read on why D is going along with Y. The tension between them only works if I feel the pressures that are pushing them together and the ones that are pulling them apart, and right now I only see what's pulling them apart and not what's pushing them together. Part of that is I can't tell if D genuinely hates Y's guts or is only insisting to herself that she does.

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As I read:

“Pleasure-turned-murder weapon” missing word here, I think. Pleasure device? Or maybe something very bald, like “sex toy” would be funnier.

P2 “…until a brother-in-law with a year of undergrad…” is it just me, or is this an unusually perspicacious brother-in-law?

I’m still delighted that Normal, Illinois actually exists.

P3 and much of this is on a small scale very funny, but I’m starting to get antsy. We’re spending a lot of time in D’s head here, and her self-reflection is getting a little repetitive.

I love how the fact that the banana-coloured toy is painted is what’s “gross” here.

P4 “…but had never managed to crest the mental hurdle” these really short asides are as funny or more than the longer paragraphs, IMO. She’s thinking something fairly matter-of-fact about her job and then bam.

Mildly surprised that D starts asking and questions and taking notes before fees are discussed.

Edit: Ah, she does get to this fairly quickly , a page or so later.

P8 “D’s PhD Didn’t hold nearly as much weight…” LOL. But also, ouch.

P10 “…the kind favoured by women post-childbirth…” Uh, wow. Today I learned.

P11… “had lived and breathed wood identification for nine straight years” was briefly confused as she’s already made a point of noting that this particular toy isn’t made of wood. Can we maybe move up the “some tried and true ID techniques” up a little more?

If whatever is on this toy is so strong, how was C able to grab it?

So… I’m assuming the photo is a Chekhov’s gun? I half-expected D to recognize someone in it (even if just C).

Overall: I’m enjoying it so far, and for some reason Y worked a lot better for me this time even though the character seems to have remained largely the same as in the last version. Mostly I think it took a little too long to get going in the first few pages.

On 1/18/2023 at 8:29 AM, Ace of Hearts said:

Part of that is I can't tell if D genuinely hates Y's guts or is only insisting to herself that she does.

I still can't tell either. 

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Thank you everyone! This week got away from me so hoping to get to edits this week before submitting the next chapter.

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