Robinski

Robinski - 170130 - TMM, Chapters 1 and 2 - 2899 words (L)

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Dear all,

 

I am pleased to submit for your comments, the first two chapters of TMM. This is second draft, anything and everything are in the cross-hairs, nothing in particular I can think of to focus on, just everything!

 

Some of you may recognise bits of this, maybe even most of this submission, which I sent out between July and September last year. If you are willing to bear with it, the new material will kick in soon, although I hope this reads more cohesively that the snippets and portraits that you saw before.

 

If you haven't met these characters previously, I hope you enjoy them, or at least can put up with them long enough to jot down some observations.

 

Much appreciated, 

Robinski

Edited by Robinski
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Good to see this again! the first chapter doesn't seem as refined as the second, though I did like the hook. Could be a little clearer with some of the dialogue tags.

The second chapter is a lot of fun to read, but by the time I get to the end, the novelty has worn off. Quirk's banter can hold me for a long time, and this has some great character building, but nothing really happens. the drop itself is anti-climactic, and I feel that that's the point of this chapter. I feel like something else should happen to keep Quirk on his toes. Right now, there's nothing preventing him from simply leaving and going back to the belt.


Notes while reading:

pg 2: "The business-suited man"
--not thrilled with this

pg 2: "(because transporting mass cost money) then opened his hand towards his android companion, also suited."
--Having both a parenthesis, and awkward phrases around "suited" makes the first paragraph hard to read. I want to be drawn in by it and instead I'm stumbling over it.

pg 2: "slightly shocking" how? Smooth? Rough?

Pg 2: "Begin, right? Okay, in the beginning, there was Bourbon."
--Actually, I'd make this your first sentence.

pg 3: "The man leant forward"
--I assume the one behind the desk?

pg 5: "It works. He smiled. Synaptic mapping bloody well works."
--cool hook.

pg 6: "000010"
--Lol.

Pg 6: forgot how much I like Quirk.

pg 8: "even thought he knew the fabric "
--though

pg 9: "resisting the urge to put hands in pockets, his or anyone else’s"
--love this line.

pg 11: "It had been ten days since his last attack of cynicism. He smiled. The recovery continues."
--Lol.

pg 11: "look, different from "
--extra comma

pg 11: hmmm...the drop itself relieves all tension from this chapter. I want something else to happen.

pg 13: the flirting is cool, but at this point, the chapter has been all banter. I really like Quirk, but I also want something terrible to happen to him.

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Chapter numbers in Binary. Hah, that’s brilliant. I’m used to ASCII with eight numbers, though. I don’t know what form of binary this is. I don’t think I read this submission the first time around, Q is a new character to me.

Notes: So, in chapter 00000001, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on starting the chapter. Par for course of a sci-fi like this. After finishing the chapter, is seems that a psychologist (of sorts) is testing an ‘android’ for how well it can receive a human conscious. I did not that kind of a sense from any dialogue the android spoke, though. Also, a lot of unexplained things (like how FTL works, as the patient mentions 11.624 lightyears), but I’m patient for that.

Chapter 00000010: Q lives up to his name (or, at least, the abbreviation I’ve given him). He seems a bit weird, and a bit Bond-ish. I can only assume he’s involved in the mafioso, what with all the context clues. I’m getting a weird vibe, but nothing has really happened yet, and I would like something to happen soon. Also, (what with my experience as a hardened cynic) cynics stay cynics (though this may be cynical of me to say that).

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Oh man, these comments are exactly what I was hoping for, reassuring that I'm not going crazy, and that there are laughs and cool stuff, but zeroing in on the flaws like a laser scalpel. Thank you. (Err, this is awkward, I seem to be critiquing the critique... :huh: )

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Could be a little clearer with some of the dialogue tags.

Fair enough, I certainly want clearer. Consider it done.

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I feel like something else should happen to keep Quirk on his toes

Hmm, yes, I can see that. This is a hangover from this growing out of a writing prompt, I think. Something bad does happen, but not until the next chapter. I can work with this.

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

"Begin, right? Okay, in the beginning, there was Bourbon."
--Actually, I'd make this your first sentence.

Hah, of course, it's so obvious when someone tells you these things - thanks, I believe I will!

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

"000010" --Lol.

Heh, you're laughing now, but this bad boy has 32 chapters...

Thanks for the LBLs too - all fixed. I'll consider how I might hurt Quirk in Chapter 2, but I think you might need to wait until Chapter 5, as we are going into Moth-land next.

Much appreciated. 

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I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED I CAN'T EVEN!

Ahem

Overall

Looking good so far! I'd be hooked as of the second chapter. The first chapter would still be a bit rough for me to get through in the first few pages, as noted below. Something really needs to happen at the end of the second chapter, because it does seem to wander post drop. I don't DISLIKE the wander, mind, but I'd like to see a stronger hook ending. 

Reading your response above, I'll caution you that some of the most consistent feedback I got from agents was to not introduce characters in consecutive chapters. They don't like that in new writers. You're 'supposed' to stick with one for a few chapters, get the reader invested, then swap out for the next one so you don't lose the reader. I got this feedback time and again with AFD, so just passing it along in case subbing was a plan later on. 

As I go

- page one: Obama got a street on the moon. Nice.

- cold open sentence is reasonably hookish. Not super strong, but not weak, either

- first two pages are a little hard to ground. I remember this from the first read through, too. I don't know what to suggest, except perhaps more surround description? I feel really lost until page three, and that might not bode well for subbing to agents

- page three: never been a big fan of 'mankind', but since it's dialogue I will hold judgement to see if it is in character for the speaker

The android turned its smooth, plastic head towards the office’s panoramic window, 50% opaque for privacy, where the people of Lunaville went about their business beneath their dome against a background of brightly-lit, grey lunar rock and a black sky. This should be two sentences. Awkward

- page four: ah, the testicles. Still amused. Also note that it's taken me until page four to really get a handle on the two people talking. They blended too much before

- page five: solid end line!

- LOL binary chapter numbers!

- page six: I'm just going to tell you right now that I REALLY hope Quirk's bisexual dandy vibe is still around. I loved that so much

- just a lot of balls talk in this manuscript so far and its freaking hilarious

- last paragraph, page six: so... hrm. He caught this man's eye AS he was scratching, or after? I feel like this could be A Moment, but if the dude is just watching him scratch his crotch, its sort of lost. Are they commiserating on their junk not having enough space, or are they actually doing glances? I NEED THIS DEFINED. 

- first paragraph of page seven. YES THIS FOREVER.

- page eight: of even in his wide experience of deceit and detection This might be a bit too telly 

- the descriptions on page nine and ten are just delightful and I really feel like I am there

- page eleven: strange to have someone seat you at McDonalds, but I like how it works with this narrative (and for all I know, they DO seat you at Italian McDs)

- eeeeeee the banter with the lady!!!!

- ah, boo on the end line thought. Needs more punch. The whole lady in cafe interlude is just splendid though

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3 hours ago, kaisa said:

from agents was to not introduce characters in consecutive chapters

This, this is gold. Thank you @kaisa, makes total sense. If it wasn't for the intro chapter, I've got three Quirk scenes followed by four Moth scenes, which would seem to fit the bill.

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

I feel really lost until page three, and that might not bode well for subbing to age

Okay, I'll consider this. I could spell things out more rather than trying to reveal, but obvs don't want to be dumping info. I'll think on this, great advice.

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

taken me until page four to really get a handle on the two people talking

Yup, I'll tackle that in Edit 2.

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

LOL binary chapter numbers

I'm ecstatic that you and @Mandamon like this, I suspect agents will be like "Pretentious tw*t..."

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

Quirk's bisexual dandy vibe

...is something I need eyes on for consistency, because I feel it falls away as the story progresses (it does), so I perhaps need to drop reminders in now and then.

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

a lot of balls talk in this manuscript so far and its freaking hilarious

VINDICATION!!!!!  (any Brooklyn 99 fans in the house?)

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

Are they commiserating on their junk not having enough space, or are they actually doing glances? I NEED THIS DEFINED

Yeah, okay. I think the lack of feedback from the businessman is probably the issue. I'll tidy this up. I don't see this one as them sharing a look, just that passengers-on-a-plane/train head shake thing. Mutual commiseration that commuting in 2099 is still rust.

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

and I really feel like I am there

(punches the air)

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

they DO seat you at Italian McDs

They really don't, maybe by 2099...

3 hours ago, kaisa said:

boo on the end line thought. Needs more punch.

Totally agree. I feel that's been lurking at the back of my mind, but I've been unwilling to address it. I have now changed the last line to this... I feel like it signposts the continuation of the encounter and gives the reader's imagination somewhere to go, instead just stopping.

'La donna sat back, replacing the dark glasses, but her half-smile remained. “You’d better. We need to talk about those shoes.'

Really helpful comments, Kaisa, thank you so much. I can feel it getting better with each one I address. Much appreciated! :) 

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9 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Chapter numbers in Binary. Hah, that’s brilliant. I’m used to ASCII with eight numbers

Awesome! Three-for-three votes for, I'm keeping it now :)  So glad this worked for you too. I toyed with going Hexadecimal, as my dad used to programme in machine code (yes, I'm that old), but I felt it would take too long for the reader to notice it wasn't a decimal sequence.

9 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I don’t think I read this submission the first time around

It was just a few vignettes over three weeks here and there, not continuous narrative. It established the two main characters for some people, but you didn't miss a lot.

9 hours ago, aeromancer said:

a lot of unexplained things

Yeah, everyone has mentioned this so far. I need to tackle the clarity of the first chapter, which I may move further in for the reasons @kaisa identified. Other than me trying to build some mystery and tension, there's no particular reason for Mills to be tight-mouthed about what's going on, so I will try and improve clarity without dumping info.

9 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I’m getting a weird vibe, but nothing has really happened yet, and I would like something to happen soon.

Again, a consistent comment. I need to dwell on this. I might move Chp. 01 in a few chapters, so reader gets to Chp 2 quicker, which is a little more active, if not action-packed. I'll see how things develop, but pacing is on my watch list now.

9 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Also, (what with my experience as a hardened cynic) cynics stay cynics (though this may be cynical of me to say that).

Lol - undoubtedly! Quirk's line is a bit of a throw-away. I'm not even sure that he's any more cynical than that average man in the street, so maybe he 'protests too much'.

Thank you so much for reading, @aeromancer, great comments, really helpful and varied.

I freakin' love this forum!!  :D

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- Would people still be discussing actors like Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox in 2099? I like that they call it out, but it feels a bit jarring and nonsensical at first.

- I really like Quirk's interaction with the donna.

- It's nice to see these characters and settings again. I'm really curious where this is going.

- Overall, it's a good first start. I'm just waiting to see what's going to kick off this whole story. 

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Hey, thanks for reading RD, much appreciated, and very glad you're enjoying it. I just typed a comment about story and pace, etc. then deleted it, because I should not be setting up expectations here for what is to come - so I'll just have to see how you guys react as we go!

8 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

Would people still be discussing actors like Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox in 2099?

So, we're 82 years behind them. 82 years ago was 1935 was the heyday of the Hollywood heartthrob - Clarke Cable, Errol Flynn, etc. - some movies from 1935:

 - The 39 Steps (original and best with Robert Donat and Madeline Carrol)

 - Mutiny on the Bounty (Gable and Charles Laughton)

 - Captain Blood (Flynn)

 - Top Hat (Astair and Rogers)

 - A Night at the Opera (Marx Brothers)

So, short answer I think, is yes - some people will be. In fact, I'm quite sure we'll still be talking about Charlie Chaplin, Lillian Gish, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy and actors who were active longer ago than 1935. Will Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins be in the discussion? Hmm, I think there's a reasonable chance.

Thanks again! :) 



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Okay, Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins I can certainly see, for movies like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Silence of the Lambs", which has made an unmistakable impact on the cultural landscape. But Brian Cox? I'm not so sure (even if he was the original Hannibal Lecter). It's tough to see a Bourne sequel in the same vein as the previous films, much less "Captain Blood" and "Mutiny on the Bounty".

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I agree. I was searching for the punchline and it's not really there, other than in my head! No doubt Brian will not survive to the third draft :) 

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Hello!  I'm glad we get to see where this goes!  I really enjoyed your fist submission on these characters and I enjoyed this one as well.  I have similar comments as others (as usual when I jump into the discussion late).

The first issue is the confusion in the first chapter, which you covered above.

On January 30, 2017 at 11:09 PM, kaisa said:

first two pages are a little hard to ground. I remember this from the first read through, too. I don't know what to suggest, except perhaps more surround description?

I agree, and I'll add that one of the most confusing things about this section is that I have no idea why the android is talking.  In this version, it's clearer that this is a test, but once the monologue starts, I lose any sense of that.  Maybe show the suited man concentrating, or taking note of abnormalities, or something along those lines?  It takes me too long to figure out that the android is talking without expecting a response.

The second issue is the need for some more oomph in the second chapter.  By the end of the third page, I started to glaze over a bit. I'm still not sure what he's doing (well, technically I've read this before, but...) and I've absorbed enough setting details that my brain feels full.  Further in...

On January 30, 2017 at 1:43 PM, Mandamon said:

The second chapter is a lot of fun to read, but by the time I get to the end, the novelty has worn off. Quirk's banter can hold me for a long time, and this has some great character building, but nothing really happens. the drop itself is anti-climactic, and I feel that that's the point of this chapter. I feel like something else should happen to keep Quirk on his toes. Right now, there's nothing preventing him from simply leaving and going back to the belt.

Agreed.  But again, I think you covered this above.

More specifics:

Two figures, one human, one syRenTM, sat in low light, in a wood-panelled office of a research complex, under a huge dome on Earth’s moon.
I don't often say this, but I think there are too many commas in this sentence for my taste!

...demise of Europe as a political entity under a biblical deluge of refugees...
Wherever did you get that idea...

He walked out of the restaurant...
He didn't pay?

The woman’s left eyebrow appeared above the frame of her dark glasses.
I love this image.

 

Looking forward to reading more!  Quirk is lots of fun.

Edited by Hobbit
Failed at being clear.
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3 hours ago, Hobbit said:

In this version, it's clearer that this is a test, but once the monologue starts, I lose any sense of that.

Right, yes, overhaul of some sort for Chapter 1 although, as noted, this might not be Chp.1 next time around, due to the delay in introducing Quirk, and to avoid new writer syndrom.

3 hours ago, Hobbit said:

Two figures, one human, one syRenTM, sat in low light, in a wood-panelled office of a research complex, under a huge dome on Earth’s moon.
I don't often say this, but I think there are too many commas in this sentence for my taste!

Cool - after further review, I'm willing to cut 40% of the commas from this sentence.

3 hours ago, Hobbit said:

He walked out of the restaurant...
He didn't pay?

Ooh, err, didn't he? Oops... (Dr. Brown?! Fire up the retcon machine...)

Thank for reading, @Hobbit, much appreciated, and glad you enjoyed it. Tail off or lack of development of tension in Chapter 2 clearly is a thing. I will need to consider that carefully, and consider it I will. It's great to have your comments, some positives and some confirmations. Very helpful :) 

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14 hours ago, Hobbit said:

He walked out of the restaurant...
He didn't pay?

Ah, I did have to go and dig it out, so maybe it just doesn't come across clearly but, in the paragraph prior to the above...

The girl returned with his water and a ZR code, which Quirk scanned with his cLife, adding half to the already significant cost of the water. She nodded and smiled appreciatively then withdrew.

Perhaps it isn't clear enough here that he's paying?

Edited by Robinski
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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

The girl returned with his water and a ZR code, which Quirk scanned with his cLife, adding half to the already significant cost of the water. She nodded and smiled appreciatively then withdrew.

My best guess at what was happening here was that he was doing some kind of water quality check that cost extra money.  I do have a friend who works in water quality testing, so maybe that's why it came to mind...

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4 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

some kind of water quality check that cost extra money

Hmm, okay, I can see that now. I'll consider flagging the payment better. Thanks :) 

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I didn't read the previous comments, so pardon me if I repeat something. Also, I read that there was a little discussion about giving advice while comment in some other thread, was there not? Huh. I'll refrain though, unless the problem falls into a field I'm confident in (just note for future).

 

p.2

I didn't catch what tapping a virtual keyboard has to do with the cost of transporting mass O.o Other than that, a good opening paragraph, sets the scene just fine.

p.3

You're losing me a bit. There are multiple reasons - I'm not much into pop-culture, so I don't get all the references, and there's also a lot of words that I'm unfamiliar with - or just unused to as a not-really-sci-fi-fan - making it difficult for me to read. Add second language to the mix. I imagine that it won't be a problem for your targeted audience, though.

I like the android's grumpiness. Works as a hook for me. I got a little problem to determine if it was him speaking, though - probably since my android's image comes from Star War's 3CPO. A dialogue tag could help here.

p.4/5

52 degrees? O.o But Mills is human, right? Isn't it like, desert-hot? // OK, I thought a while and I realized that you got a different metric system for temperature, LOL. Still, decided to leave the comment here, since I want to give genuine impression as I read.

Overall an enjoyable scene. I liked the commentary on Earth's situation, a clever way to give reader some info.

p.6

Ahh, so it's binary system. Cool :D

Quirk's commentary about his balls on the very first page of his POV puts me off. Not a great first impression :/

p.7

Confused if the deep green eyes are Quirk's are his or the ginger-haired businessman, whoever he is. I think that was this "searching for answer" part - the idea of searching for answer in one's eyes baffles me.

First sentence after the line break is kinda killery. I mean, it's long and has several interjections O.o

p.8

"even thought" - a typo

I'm a bit confused here, but I can't tell how much it's actual style and how much it's a second language thing. Did I get it right that Quirk is there to kill someone for some rich guy? I got some info overload, since we started with a turbine, went through an indigo fabric of... the jacket, right? Not of the envelope? And then we come to murder, or potential murder, I dunno. The way seems crazy.

p.9

Like how you gave us some political context.

p.10/11

OK, Quirk gained some points for the way he handled talk with the server, and commenting on a cynicism attack.

p.11-13

I'm confused about what Quirk's task exactly was, but I hope that it'll be explained later. The ending of the chapter fell flat for me, though - it doesn't seem to foreshadow anything nor make any significant promises (the promise of possible date is not enough for me).

 

Overall

Enjoyable, although I admit I struggled with reading English here from time to time. It might be just my thing, so I don't think you have to worry about it. I'm more hooked to the first chapter - the android and the doctor - rather than the second one. I may warm up to Quirk in the future, though.

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Hey Robinski,

I like the binary.  Though, I could imagine it becoming tedious later on in the book.  

Opening thoughts.  I read 000001 right before bed, after a long day and I wasn't moved.  I read chapter 2 and re-read chapter one again the next day.  On the whole, I liked chapter 2.  Chapter 1 wasn't as exciting.  

I played with the text at times.  Mostly for ideas of how the flow could change.  Ignore it as you see fit. 

 

Chapter 1

The phrasing through me off on page 1.

"then opened his hand towards his android companion, also suited." 

I didn't realize what the meaning was until after I read chapter 2, and learned more about Quirk.  I would consider rephrasing:

The business-suited man tapped a point on his desk corresponding to a key on his virtual keyboard (because transporting mass cost money) then opened his hand towards his android companion who was dressed in a fine red and yellow polka dot suit.

Page 2

I read 1 S.F. book for every 5 fantasy books these days, and I find I do need to use a dictionary when I read S.F.  But that being the case, I did have to check up a few words in these chapters.  So...just be aware of you vocabulary level. I had to look up 'boffin's on this page. 

I didn't really understand the part of the dialogue where the android was complaining that he could have purchased a plot.  I think that may nave to do with the blocking.  I imagine the man and the android were inside a research facility and the android being the property of that facility.  I didn't understand how he could pay for things

Chapter 0000010 

Page 1

I liked this chapter, but I noticed a few very long sentences. 

As usual, taking the shuttle ship from the Interplanetary Transport Terminal at the edge of Sol's asteroid belt to Geostation One had been about as much fun as passing through through a whale's colon, Quirk imagined.  Quick (action) scratched his ear and imagined itTight and hot, without much hope of a happier place on either side. At least his pinstriped Merrion suit was safely folded....

This is a strange thing for someone to imagine.  I don't get any idea why he would imagine this throughout the chapter. 

I had to look up sartorially.  

I looked up dahling.

Quote

Quirk drew (a) deep breath, relaxing himself, then opened his eyes. 

 

Look how long this sentence is: 57 words. 

With happier memories of a buisness class flight from Chile to Italy, Quirk strolled through the vast, airy arches of Biella Spaceport terminal, where everything from glacial marble floor to soaring, dandelion steelwork, was white, and onto the turbine train, which whisked him out of Piedmont and into Lombardy, depositing him in Milan inside of twenty-five minutes. 

I don't know what dandelion steelwork is.  The number of things I have to keep in memory, added to the fact that the dandelion steelwork eluded me, left me with an unclear image of something you worked hard to establish. 

Page 3

You follow that sentence up with another long one: 32 words.

None of the Expansion worlds, with their environmentally optimised, agri-cities, could lay claim to the chaotic, dirty charm of Earth, a landscape forged from thousands of years of human conflict and rust. 

I like what you were painting, just not how you were painting it. 

The rest of the page read well until:

Quote

...Gothic wonder, every one of its numerous spires topped with a statue, which also littered its walls.  

It was apparent that you mean that statues littered the walls. And the statues were in the walls or atop the walls?

Page 4

Quote

There was still La Scala, still the San Siro, yet Milan was a shadow of a faded picture of greatness. 

This is too abstract.  I can't imagine something being the shadow of a faded picture. It's too insubstantial.  I think you put into too much here. 

Quote

He unfurled his condescending half-smile, raised his finely-honed chin just a fraction and walked...

Using the word 'fraction' doesn't work for me here.  Fractions can be large parts of small parts of a whole.  Usually, I have heard it used with some sort of qualifier: He turned his head a fraction of a degree, and spit out the awful moonshine.

Quote

a scent that only honest toil could produce.  And The traders were in full 

Page 5

This part confused me.  I was intrigued by what you were saying, but I didn't understand it.

The country folk were using the locations that used to belong to fancy shops to sell produce and other farm goods.  Okay, so high fashion was replaced with the salt of the earth, and then right passed this, we have a new age McD's. and then a lot of high fashioned ladies with High fashioned items (Louis Vuitton) bags.  

I don't understand the meaning of what you are describing.  

Has high fashion been displaced, or replaced?  I thought it was replaced, and now I think it has only been displaced by a few hundred feet? 

 

Quote

The Maggiore tripled filtered.

 

Quote

Scusami?

Slang?

Page 6

Quote

...self-satisfied smile for responding to (a) sartorial compliment.

His knees twitched once, twice jsut before the Blu sensor...

I don't understand what the significance of the twitching knee is.  

Page 7 & 8

I really enjoyed this page. 

This chapter didn't end with much of a took, it felt like it was scene and sequel itself.  That leaves me wondering where you are going to go in your next chapter, and I worry about the lack of conflict.  I would continue reading, but I would start to worry if I didn't get introduced to some conflict right away in chapter 3. 

On the whole, 

You wrote this well.  I enjoyed Chapter 2, and wasn't wowed by chapter 1.  A few little fixes in word choice and sentence length would make your images more clear, and you'll want to introduce a conflict quickly in chapter 3.  Thanks for putting this up for me to read.

 

Matt

 

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12 hours ago, Ernei said:

I didn't read the previous comments, so pardon me if I repeat something. Also, I read that there was a little discussion about giving advice while comment in some other thread, was there not? Huh. I'll refrain though, unless the problem falls into a fie

Hey @Ernei, thank you so much for reading. I have no problem with any kind of comment ts you want to leave.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

I didn't catch what tapping a virtual keyboard has to do with the cost of transporting mass

It's that there is no physical keyboard, but the pattern of one projected on the desk in light, so they don't have to truck 2,000 keyboards to the Moon. We have these now actually.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

A dialogue tag could help here

Yeah - just about everyone has had some kind of issue with the clarity of the first chapter. I'm going to tackle that in Edit 2. The personality and the voice speaking through the android is a crippled miner, hence the gruff tone and very 'human' delivery.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

52 degrees? O.o

Ah, he's adjusting the angle of the chair to the vertical / horizontal.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

Quirk's commentary about his balls on the very first page of his POV puts me off

I can understand this, and realise now that I probably should have tagged this for S, even if it's anatomical references more than anything else - Sorry!! :unsure: I'm afraid this is the general tone of the piece, so I will not be remotely offended if the cruder aspect put you off reading any more.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

First sentence after the line break is kinda killery

Good point, I've split it in two and tweaked slightly. I think it's much better. Thanks!

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

Did I get it right that Quirk is there to kill someone for some rich guy? I got some info overload, since we started with a turbine, went through an indigo fabric of... the jacket, right?

I'm sure there is scope or me to tidy the language and bit without losing the tone. The term 'dead drop' might be causing the issue? It's basically delivering something to a place, but hiding it for someone else to come by and pick it up. It's pretty much synonymous with kidnapping / ransom situations in tv/cinema at least.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

OK, Quirk gained some points for the way he handled talk with the server, and commenting on a cynicism attack.

Hurray! His heart definitely is located above his belly-button. As for his brain... less certain.

12 hours ago, Ernei said:

The ending of the chapter fell flat for me, though - it doesn't seem to foreshadow anything nor make any significant promises

Yes, that's a good point. The ending fell a bit flat for most others too, but I like how you express it, there is very little or no promise there. I've changed it a little, but all it does not really is confirm that he will remain in la donna's company for a bit longer. I may need to bring Q's next scene into this chapter. Looking at it now, it has a much better hook at the end of the scene. Very helpful, thank you :) 

Great comments, thank you, it's great to get a different perspective on the language. There definitely are areas where it needs to be clarified. I also like that you are not enamoured of Q straight away (which some are), so that I have(he has)  to work harder to (hopefully) bring you around. Much appreciated!!

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Hey, @M.Puddles, thanks for reading, much appreciated.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I could imagine it becoming tedious later on in the book

Err, yes - tell me about it! Some like it, but I tend to doubt it will get past an editor! But what do I know.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

Chapter 1 wasn't as exciting.  - Fair enough, I think that is the general trend, and I'm considering moving it further back in the novel.

I played with the text at times.  Mostly for ideas of how the flow could change.  Ignore it as you see fit. - No problem, I can hardly complain, I once did a hard edit of someone's short story on here - with their permission! - to show that you can take 10% of the words out of almost anything and not lose the sense of it.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

The business-suited man tapped a point on his desk corresponding to a key on his virtual keyboard (because transporting mass cost money) then opened his hand towards his android companion who was dressed in a fine red and yellow polka dot suit.

LOL on the suit, but I take your point. That's why I went for 'business-suited', in case anyone thought it was a space suit, but I agree the line doesn't sit particularly well.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I had to look up 'boffin's on this page.

Hmm, okay, noted.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I didn't understand how he could pay for things

Yeah, what doesn't seem to land for some readers is that there is a crippled miner in a hospital bed who is talking (and feeling, hearing, etc.) through the android. I need to work on that a bit more, I think.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

This is a strange thing for someone to imagine.

Fair enough, noted. He's not actually imagining the process of passing through a whale. It's the way his (and, yes okay, my) mind works; he's often/usually looking for the funny line in a given situation. If he had been travelling with someone, he most likely would have verbalised the line. Essentially, amongst many other things, he's a frustrated stand-up comedian.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

Look how long this sentence is: 57 words.

I wish that was my record, but it's not :) I have split this in two now - thanks!

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

dandelion steelwork eluded me

It's just a visual metaphor. I feel like a simile there is going to be too crude > 'steelwork like the stem of a dandelion'.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

It was apparent that you mean that statues littered the walls. And the statues were in the walls or atop the walls?

Yes, g**gle picture of the Duomo in Milan - it's spectacular. I've never managed to find a catalogue of the statues, although I've looked online. If I was (a) idle rich; (b) a classical scholar; (c) fluent in Italian; (d) single - I would spend a year (or two) in Milan with a telescope trying to catalogue the statues on the Duomo. In fact...<somewhere, a lightbulb comes on>

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

It's too insubstantial.

That was pretty much exactly what I was going for :ph34r:

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

He turned his head a fraction of a degree, and spit out the awful moonshine.

Cool image! I think you can use 'fraction' as shorthand for 'fraction of a degree', but your point is well made. I shall consider.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

Has high fashion been displaced, or replaced?  I thought it was replaced, and now I think it has only been displaced by a few hundred feet? 

Yeah, I can accept the imagery is a bit unclear here. It's been displaced, but it's still a part of life. It's more about how fresh food, in Milan / Italy / Southern Europe has become more valuable than high fashion, but high fashion does still exist. It may be that it's only been displaced from La Galleria into the side streets. I didn't want to dwell on this, as it's really only colour, but that's not going to fly if it's inconsistent or asks questions that I don't answer. Thanks for the flag.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:
Quote

Scusami?

Slang?

Italian - there's a fair bit, and I', reassured that few people (one?) have flagged it as much of an issue. As a language rooted firmly in Latin, like English, I feel that most of the Italian words can be picked up pretty well by an English-speaker just from context. Here, for example, I think it's pretty clear that 'Scusami' means 'Excuse me'.

13 hours ago, M.Puddles said:

I don't understand what the significance of the twitching knee.

None really, I was attempting to show him subconsciously anticipating the timer going off, showing competence, in that he has a good awareness of time, motion, etc.

I worry about the lack of conflict

Yeah - a lot of peeps have picked this up. I tweaked the end of the chp, but it was not big change. So, now I'm considering pasting in Q's next scene, which has more conflict.

Thanks again, Matt - really appreciate you reading. It's great to get all these different perspectives, and also to hear very similar comments coming back, gives real confidence for editing.

Cheers, Robinski

Edited by Robinski
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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

It's that there is no physical keyboard, but the pattern of one projected on the desk in light, so they don't have to truck 2,000 keyboards to the Moon. We have these now actually.

I understood that there was no keyboard, but I couldn't link it with what was in the brackets. Now I get it that he had to have virtual keyboard because transporting a material one there would be costly, but it wasn't so clear when I was reading.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Ah, he's adjusting the angle of the chair to the vertical / horizontal.

O.O And I thought I was being clever when I figured you got different metric system =.=

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I can understand this, and realise now that I probably should have tagged this for S, even if it's anatomical references more than anything else - Sorry!! :unsure: I'm afraid this is the general tone of the piece, so I will not be remotely offended if the cruder aspect put you off reading any more.

Nah, I'm going to stick for a while longer. I think my biggest issue was not the reference in itself but that it came so early - we first learn about Quirk's balls and then about his personality. I mean, I know that he's a man so he has balls, but for me personality always comes first, hence me being discouraged.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I'm sure there is scope or me to tidy the language and bit without losing the tone. The term 'dead drop' might be causing the issue? It's basically delivering something to a place, but hiding it for someone else to come by and pick it up. It's pretty much synonymous with kidnapping / ransom situations in tv/cinema at least.

OK, good to know that it's not about killing someone XD It's also possibly the source of my later confusion, as to what Quirk's task was, since now it seems obvious :)

 

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3 hours ago, Ernei said:

I understood that there was no keyboard

Oops - sorry!

3 hours ago, Ernei said:

Nah, I'm going to stick for a while longer.

Yay! :D 

3 hours ago, Ernei said:

we first learn about Quirk's balls and then about his personality

The real irony of course comes later, when you learn his personality and that he talks a lot of balls* too - so it kind of comes around full circle :lol:

 

( * by which I mean 'nonsense' - and I am kind of joking, sort of, mostly.)

Edited by Robinski
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Hi Robinski, I thought I might do a critique of your latest submission but then I thought better of it because I don't like starting a story from the middle. So I decided to go through it from chapter 1. I'm not sure if my critique will be of any importance, as you've already gotten so many (I haven't read any of them yet), but I thought you might appreciate another reader's review.
I'll be giving you first my overall impression, and then you'll find some thoughts I wrote as I was reading.

Overall, these two opening chapters did not succeed in grabbing much of my interest. A reason for that might be that most of the submission focuses on describing Milan and outlining the world instead of letting me get to know Quirk and what's so special about him. I finished the chapter only having one impression of him: that he's obsessed with fine clothing. Personnally, I generally care about the specifics of the world, only because I care about a character in it and how they interact with it. I should add that I disliked how nothing is happening in this chapter apart from the envelope drop.
Now one last thing, and I'm not too well-versed in this, but I can't help shake the feeling that this submission was more telly than showy.
That's it overall. I look forward to reading the next chapter and getting to know more of where the story is going. I feel I'm going to like Quirk more as I move forward.

Scattered Thoughts:

The part where you explain that transporting mass costs money, just after saying that the man was tapping on a virtual keyboard, just seems off to me. I felt like I was reading an article rather than a novel there for a second. Also I felt like you kinda forcefully injected that information about money and mass.

I didn't like reading the numbers attached with "Pantone"

Finishing the first two pages, I must say that I wanted more interaction between the robot and the doctor. Just reading a long monologue by the android was a mix of confusion and slight disinterest.

The bit about the whale's colon seemed convoluted. I can't imagine any person thinking of a whale's colon in that situation. And why a whale exactly? Any colon would be hot and tight with no good exit at the end.

I don't appreciate the narrator's foul language.

I'm finding Quirk's obsession with his clothes off throwing.

I don't like the dialogue with the woman. It sounded kinda forced. Could have been more clever.

Edited by king007
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1 hour ago, king007 said:

So I decided to go through it from chapter 1. - Awesome!! :) 

I'm not sure if my critique will be of any importance, - Definitely, as important as anyone else's.

but I thought you might appreciate another reader's review. - Always - come one come all

 

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1 hour ago, king007 said:

only because I care about a character in it and how they interact with it.

Fair point.

1 hour ago, king007 said:

I should add that I disliked how nothing is happening in this chapter

You were not alone in this. The character(s) carried some people through the earliest chapters.

1 hour ago, king007 said:

I can't help shake the feeling that this submission was more telly than showy.

Hmm, okay. I'm going to note that for myself for Edit #2. Some comments I'm fixing as I go through my current first edit, with which I am past halfway (~150 pages).

1 hour ago, king007 said:

I didn't like reading the numbers attached with "Pantone"

Okay. That's going to be a thing throughout. My personal opinion is that numerals are fair game in SF, but not in Fantasy, where the words should be used. That's my opinion, although I do think it's borne out by published works, generally.

1 hour ago, king007 said:

And why a whale exactly? Any colon would be hot and tight with no good exit at the end.

Imho, the best humour is based on something plausible, or at least physically possible, in theory. Hence, I chose a whale because I figure a human could pass through its colon - if not in reality, then at least plausibly for the reader. Quirk likening the experience to passing through a gnat's colon actually has a kind of pithiness to it verbally, but clearly it's impossible, so I think I loses a lot of the comic impact - if it had any in the first place! Also, using a gnat's colon makes it sound like a different joke about smallness. "Hey Joe, you're brain wouldn't fit through a gnat's colon" - for example.

1 hour ago, king007 said:

I don't appreciate the narrator's foul language.

I'm finding Quirk's obsession with his clothes off throwing (putting).

I don't like the dialogue with the woman. It sounded kinda forced. Could have been more clever.

You might want to consider stopping now. This novel is chock-full of foul language, obsession with clothing and dialogue that I think is clever, or rather funny (not the same thing, obvs) - but still very much in this vein.

I really appreciate you reading and always value your opinion and comments. Thanks, King :) 

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