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Rogueshar- 2/19/18- Chapter Two part 1

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Background: Dwarf woman goes and leaves her home to look for the Great Heroes (prelude). A~ comes down from the mountains after sheparding sheep and we learn that she is having strange dreams and that her brother is away fighting a war. At the end of the first chapter two strangers have come to her secluded home.
Thanks for reading.


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I liked this better than the last section, mostly because there was some action in it. However, the pace is very inconsistent to me. We have 10 pages about farm chores and who Ar is going to marry, and then dragons and magical fire interspersed. I can't decide whether this is supposed to be a cozy romance or a fantasy book, so my attention is diverted while reading. I can see the hints of worldbuilding you have, and I really want to learn about that world, but right now I'm having trouble getting through descriptions of mundane life.

Notes while reading:
pg 1: "avoiding the inhabitants for as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t speaking to people."
--delete "for," doesn’t -> didn't
"but she knows"
--she knew
"without shift"

Lots of comma splices on this page too. Might need a quick run-through for grammar and consistency.

There's also a lot of vagueness. Ar "couldn't imagine" about the marsh, things "seem nonsensical" and "a feeling" tells her "something is coming"
All this tells me nothing. Give me a specific reason why Ar is scared.

pg 2: the dream and information about dragon is the most interesting thing that has happened so far. In fact, if this is a plot point, Ar. waking from a dream about dragons could be a good start to the book.

pg 3: "could be a bit precious"
--what does this mean?

pg 4: don't really care about the eventual use of cherries. I can assume.

pg 4: There's no description of Ar, Br, and Em, so I'm getting them confused.
oh yeah, Lly is here too...

pg 6: "being an Outsider himself"
--another interesting tidbit! Tell me more about this! I don't care much about who Ar. decides to marry. There's also a LOT of detail about picking cherries.

pg 6-8: this worldbuilding information is more interesting to me than the main plot, but it's presented as a long infodump.

pg 9-11: I don't need this much description of sheep, potatoes, and chickens.

pg 11: "much paler, not pale enough to be considered pale"
--I'd reword this. Either he's pale or he isn't.

pg 11: "There was something about the sandy haired one that she trusted though, a certain nobility in the air around him,"
--This is vague too. Why does she trust nobility?

pg 12/13: "A feeling of dread rolled through Ar, no one knew about her abilities"
--is this talking about the dreams?
"A line of fire burst up from behind Ar." "She knew somewhere inside of her that he had started it"
--Wait: this is really sudden. How does Ar. know? What abilities? Why have we spent 10 pages on farm chores instead of this?



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Overall: Many of the critiques I had for this chapter are the same ones that I had for the previous chapters. There is a kernel of a story I'm interested in here (really, all you have to do to sign me up is mention dragons), but I can't stay interested enough in the rest of it to keep reading to the end. For this particular chapter, I was left confused by the sudden mention of magic and hidden family powers. I would REALLY have liked to read about those before now! The powers and the reason they have to be kept secret is really interesting!

As I go:

I'm seeing a lot of tense and grammar issues here up front, more than in previous chapters.  I'm also notice the same comma splices as @Mandamon. A grammar pass would probably be helpful.

A lot of these pages and paragraphs feel like they are all jumbled up in time. Like, they go forward, then summarize something in the past, then forwards a tiny bit again, then loop around to the beginning to add something else and, while I'm not having a terrible time following it, it is exacerbating the feeling I have of the story not going anywhere. 
 I am very interested in dragons, especially friendly dragons! I am excited about the dragons, but so far, that's the only thing I'm excited about. I am a little confused how she knows so much about dragons if nobody around her knew anything about them and she doesn't have any books about dragons in her house. 
Many of the critiques I have for the rest of the chapter are the same as the ones from the previous chapters.  The interesting tidbits of story and worldbuilding are lost amongst the weeds of a very pastoral but somewhat rambling slice-of-life romance. There's nothing wrong with being a slice-of-life romance, but it's not a genre I can get into very well. If this is not intended to be that sort of story, then for me at least, having the magic and secret abilities coming into play much sooner and more prominently would help a lot. 
I know it can be discouraging to hear these kinds of critiques, but don't give up! Mary Robinette Kowal has this great infographic  about critiques and decoding what critiquers mean when they say things like "I skimmed here" and "I was bored."  She also has the great blog post about some of the catchphrases and shorthand advice that gets thrown around a lot here. Editing and rewriting are some of the most important aspects of novel creation, so keep at it! 

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I agree with @Mandamon and @industrialistDragon. There's a story in here, it's just buried in pastoral scenes and confusing info-dump backstories that aren't yet well interwoven. Keep at it! You'll get a feel for how to trim the fat from this sort of narrative in time.


As I go

- opening lacks a punch. The advice I've always been given is to start and end your chapters with a hook, in order to keep the reader interested and moving through the story. A statement of time passing isn't particularly engaging (for me).

- first paragraph seems mostly like an info dump

- page two: I've run across a number of typos thus far. Try reading your chapters out loud to yourself before subbing. You'll catch a lot more typos that way

- page three: we're told three times in one paragraph that B speaks quickly

- page five: I'm starting to skim. It's hard to stay interested when nothing seems to really be happening. Some type of conflict (it doesn't have to be violent!) would really help.

- page 12: I think the story actually starts here, with the mention of family secret powers. I'm much more interested now


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Thank you for all your feedback, sorry I haven't responded to everybody over the week as your feedback has come in. Midterms are coming up and so I've been a little busy. This is supposed to be a fantasy story not a romance. I think maybe as I was writing the first two chapters I might have gone a little down the rabbit hole with a romance sub-plot that is probably unnecessary.


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