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shatteredsmooth

Reading Excuses -- 8/27/18 -- Oomph 3rd person multi-pov reboot -- 3958 words (LV)

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Posted (edited)

Content Warning: Language and Violence
 
Hi All,
 
Since I felt like I kept getting the same feedback over and over again, I thought I'd try something a little different with Oomph. The first person present tense was really limiting the world building. I switched Ch. 1 to third person. It's included and faded gray, but you don't need to reread unless you want too. It boosts the submission to about 5500 words.
 
I've added chapters from two other character's points of view and that is what I really want feedback on. 
 
Chapter 2 is from Fizzy's POV. She is a healer in training at The Sanctuary (the place where Di is trying to get Ronny too). Once she meets Di and the crew, she sticks with them. 
 
Chapter 2 is from the perspective of a Lander, a Rookie SE officer who is supposed to be shadowing the guys who Di kills in the diner. 
 
I originally wrote Fizzy's chapter as something that could be a stand alone short, and I've revised it a few times since. Lander's chapter is pretty much a first draft, though I did read it aloud to catch the worst of the typo's. 
 
Any type of feedback is welcome.
 
Thanks!
 
P.S. After I hit send, I saw the stupid typo in the email subject. 
Edited by shatteredsmooth
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I glanced over the first chapter. Switching to 3rd POV doesn't make a lot of difference to me while reading, so if it lets you worlduild more, I'd say go for it.
I think the second chapter works well. Especially if F ends up joining them, this will be a good intro. I'm not sure it needs to come this early, though, if you want the reader to be sure D is the main character.
This goes more for the third chapter. I'd much rather see it from one of the main characters rather than from some stranger. L is also kind of bland. I'd rather see the main characters' reactions.

 

Notes while reading:

Pg 7: This seems like an extreme work hazard, especially for medical practitioners. Space-OSHA should check it out!
Seriously, though, why is she in the tunnels with medical equipment? If all the other places were built over and disguised, I'd think any necessary hallways would be too.

pg 8: F mentions "elderly humans" and "human perfume," so I'm assuming she's not?

pg 9: "maybe the beast would only tolerate a certain portions of it’s innards being disguised"
--Ah, this explains things better. Maybe move this up to connect with the previous thought?

pg 10: "only about 3% of beings"
--maybe go with "a small number" rather than a percentage.

pg 10: "a sanctuary for retired pirates"
--I'd read this novella...

pg 10: "combine her knowledge of humanoid bodies"
--This is the third mention of the human form being "other," but F is described as having hair, and eyes, and lips, and skin. I'm wondering how alien she is.

pg 11: See, now Dr. K is obviously alien, but we haven't seen that from F yet.

pg 12: "secretly delivering medications"
--secretly? I thought she was on official hospital business?

pg 12: This was an interesting chapter, and I feel like F already has more personality than the main characters from before. I was a little confused on why she was delivering medical supplies secretly, and why she was so focused on humans and humanoids. If she's that different, I want some description.

pg 15: "The bald person bolted like bunny"
xe's bald? I either missed that, or it was never said. (I looked back at the first chapter and xe's described as having a shaved head, which means something different to me than "bald")

pg 17 "This is your last chance to come clean"
--Not sure who is speaking here.

pg 20: hmm...not as excited by the second section. It moves all the action away from the main characters and to side characters that probably won't continue in the story. Just because it's third person, doesn't mean it can't be with the main characters. If these are the first three chapters, it's also going to be confusing to figure out who is supposed to be the main character. I'd at least stick with D's POV for a few chapters.
 

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7 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 12: "secretly delivering medications"
--secretly? I thought she was on official hospital business?

Secretly might not be the right word. Basically, the point is to create an illusion for the residents so they don't feel like they are living independently and not in a fancy nursing home. Anything that makes it feel like a medical facility is kept hidden behind the scenes. I definitely need to work in something to clarify this. 

I'm going to hold off of on responding to the rest of the comments for now.

Thanks for reading so quickly. :-)

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9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Anything that makes it feel like a medical facility is kept hidden behind the scenes

Ah, I see. Definitely did not get this while reading.

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Hey, glad to reading this, and that you decided not to shelf it. I'm sending you some LBLs just because... highlights below. It's a hodgepodge I'm afraid, there are unique comments here and in the LBLs.

Chapter 2

On 27/08/2018 at 8:22 PM, Mandamon said:

I'm not sure it needs to come this early, though, if you want the reader to be sure D is the main character.

Agreed.

"Her grip on the cart" - This is the first mention of a cart. I thought she was carrying a tray, what with the reference to spilling stuff.

"faded like coastal sunsets" - This is a super neat detail, and makes me think she's pretty, probably just from the use of the word 'sunset'. Clever. I like how the description continues too.

"heart attack" - Couldn't it be any kind of medical emergency? Or are there different alarms for stroke, etc?

"the energy that surrounded and connected all living beings" - I'm lacking a sense of 'wow' at this point. I more wonder. It struck me that 'surrounded' is quite a plain word, whereas 'enveloped' (for example) is maybe a bit more wondrous.

"only about 3%" - For me, this is ugly. I don't like the numeral for one thing, and the phrasing is vague and unwonderous.

"sanctuary for retired pirates built inside a space monster" - It is a very cool setting; wacky and weird, and yet needs no justification at all, and--quiet rightly--you don't offer any. Nicely done.

"intricate web around her" - I like the wording here better than the first mention of 'Oo', but I want more. 'intricate web' is sort of left hanging. I feel like that phrase is used a lot, but I want to see it, I want to feel it.

"strummed the energy like a guitar, making it vibrate" - Hmm. I think this is problematic. I'm no scientist, but I'll have a go. Subatomic particles are already vibrating, atoms also have energy and I think also vibrate/move due to the energy that they have. E.g. difference between solids, liquids and gases. So, I think maybe you need different terminology here. I like what you're doing, but maybe F is change some frequency or something. Also, guitar strings are strummed, I would say (as a guitarist).

"secretly delivering medications" - Huh? Confused. Why would it be in secret?

Summary, I enjoyed this chapter. F is a good character, and will make a good addition to the team. She has clear goals, and a fairly distinctive if straight-laced character (it seems), but that can be good of course as a counterpoint to other more volatile characters.

Chapter 3

Boy, you've got a real issue with apostrophes!! Just saying... ;) 

"was kind enough and stocked his cruiser with ample confections, but he just focused on food and the job" - If L craves action, why would he value these qualities? This seems like odd behaviour for an SE officer.

"bright blue beverage" - I've cracked it!! All these bright colours and larger-than-life weird things: I'm in a Luc Besson story!!

I think some of the military stuff is a bit inconsistent, such as the level of formality and also the ranks. 'Officer' is not a rank, compared to Commander and Lieutenant, or example. Also, the lieutenant is not the commander's 'partner' but his subordinate, maybe his adjutant.

"L grabbed mag cuffs and trackers out of the supply consul and ran after them. “Halt. You’re under arrest.”" - This happens too quickly, it's disconnected from the setting. We need to 'see' L get out of the car, run towards the woods. We need blocking, I feel; sensation, sense of movement and space.

"let two teens get away" "made a tactical decision" - No, he didn't do either of these things, he was ordered not to pursue them.

Why is G giving the orders now? Where is the commander? These feels odd to me. Surely G would be left with M?

Summary: I like L as a character too. He's in a completely different situation (a command structure) and that's an excellent counterpoint to the other POVs. Also, he is railing against authority, constrained by it, which is another nice counterpoint. I think these additional POVs are an enjoyable and effective addition to the story and will actually add to the pacing as you cut between them, and show them converging (presumably). Most definitely the additional of L's POV will make the pursuit feel real, something that was absent in the first version. Well done!! :) thumbs-up.jpg.f6aee8c747186c3295a09c89a327a886.jpg

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On 27/08/2018 at 8:22 PM, Mandamon said:

This goes more for the third chapter. I'd much rather see it from one of the main characters rather than from some stranger. L is also kind of bland. I'd rather see the main characters' reactions.

OMG!! It had to happen one day: I disagree with @Mandamon!!

2 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I like L as a character too. He's in a completely different situation (a command structure) and that's an excellent counterpoint to the other POVs. Also, he is railing against authority, constrained by it, which is another nice counterpoint.

 

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

OMG!! It had to happen one day: I disagree with @Mandamon!!

 

L is a completely new character, so if he does seem a little bland to some people, it might just be because I don't know him well enough yet. 

I'll definitely move Fizzy, I'm thinking making it the chapter right after R gets injured, though I will probably wait until I've written the rest of her chapters and gone through the whole draft to finalize where they go. 

L  will force me to really develop the SE and create a concrete antagonist for Di that has just enough resistance in him to turn against SE and joint the rebels near the end of the book.  I have an arc in mind for him. 

Thanks for reading! The comments are encouraging. I keep wanting to switch to a different project, but I know if I don't finish turning my NaNoWriMo mess into a readable draft, it will haunt me for a long time, especially since I am already making plans for this November. I just need to keep moving forward instead of continuously going back to the begining. :-)

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5 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I just need to keep moving forward instead of continuously going back to the begining.

Yes. I was developing a thought in an email I was sending around my staff (with a Dilbert cartoon attached, obviously) about how progress is only moving forward, not--in itself--getting better. However, writing kind of disproves the point I was going to make (I modified the email and made a joke about Cyberdyne Systems instead!!), because I feel that in writing, you need to progress to get better, but that it's not necessarily the progress that makes the writing better. In writing, progress is like a bridge that gets you to the other side of the river of **** that you need to cross to the promised land on the other side... except on the other side, there is only another bridge :D 

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I want to state, for the record, that I am very concerned about the #idisagreewithmandamon

 

Overall

Well, I already have a stronger grounding in the world from this, and Oomph, which I appreciate. Unfortunately I think there are now too many characters being introduced too quickly. Agents have always told me that if you have multi POV books, that you introduce new POVs slowly. Give each of them a few chapters before you switch, to get people invested and make sure they don't gloss over names.

I don't know if its because this is a first draft, but the voice and writing style come across as very young. Like, not even YA, but more MG even with the tone and the way the sentences are formed. Unsure if that was what you were going for or not.

Generally, I think it's stronger for the third person, but edits will be needed.

On 8/27/2018 at 0:22 PM, Mandamon said:

hmm...not as excited by the second section. It moves all the action away from the main characters and to side characters that probably won't continue in the story. Just because it's third person, doesn't mean it can't be with the main characters. If these are the first three chapters, it's also going to be confusing to figure out who is supposed to be the main character. I'd at least stick with D's POV for a few chapters.

I agree with this as well. I'd like us to stick with F for a while. She (she? right?) was fairly dynamic

 

 

 

 

 

As I go

- page 4: as evocative as the smells descriptors are, it makes me not want to read more. The smell of burbs is a big turn off. It's sort of like an unlikable MC. It makes the reading less pleasant.

- a lot of typos through here. Might be good to do an out-loud read through at some point to catch them

- page 10: ooh, I like this much better description of Oomph! Much more succinct and makes so much more sense!

- page 12: I'm still really confused as to the setting, and Goldapple doesn't seem to be a consistently written character

- page 12: not the strongest end line here at the end of the chapter. I'm unclear on what the arc for the chapter was supposed to be. Was this meant as a stronger introduction to Oomph? If so, it worked, but I think the chapter still needs an arc

- page 14: the descriptions of the two teenagers confuse me. One has a masculine face and a dress, but the other gets a neopronoun and nothing else? How does the protag know xe is nonbinary? What are the clues?

- page 16: it seems really convenient that all the book copies were destroyed except one that they can get their hands on without too much trouble

- there were too many new characters in chapter four, and I'm still not quite sure what is going on

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, kais said:

I agree with this as well. I'd like us to stick with F for a while. She (she? right?) was fairly dynamic

Yes, Fizzy is she. 

I get what you are saying about too many new characters too soon. I definitely need to think on who goes where but that will be easier to do later, I think. 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Posted (edited)

I am seeing a lot of tense shifts and artifacts from the previous version. It might be worthwhile to do a grammar pass just to pick up the ones find/replace doesn't get to improve readability. I agree with @kais and @Mandamon that this is improved over the previous version, but that there are now too many POVs happening in the early part of the story and I have a hard time figuring out who the main character is. 

 

As I go:

Ch1 was rough from a readability standpoint, but seemed to hang together a little better than earlier versions.  

 

Ch2

I already like F better than D. F seems much more ...present, for lack of a better word, in her story. Her description is very good, and I like it, but if she is a nonhuman, I think that might need to be mentioned more prominently. As-is, she could just be a very futuristically-colored human.

Agree about the 3%. numerals and percentages like that seem more appropriate for a dry report than a story. 

The medical part with the heart attack feels a little sketchy, or thin, to me. Like it needs a bit more real world info backing it up. Maybe there's a documentary on first responders out there somewhere? Otherwise, it works as a nice showcase for what Oo can do.   I didn't have many issues with the vibration, though I did wonder if simply breaking the obstruction into chunks that can then flow through and clog some smaller vessel wouldn't be causing more problems than it fixes.  I honestly don't know; I know very little about medicine, but something just seems a bit off with the scene. 

The transition to sunlit suburb afterwards felt really abrupt and I didn't quite understand what was happening in the last part of this chapter. That said, I really like the idea of a retirement home for revolutionaries and exiles, and I think F is a really good character. 

 

Ch3 

L is an interesting POV, but coming straight on the heels of the first two, I am 1) confused as to who is the main character, and 2) ready to skim his chapter to get back to people I already know. I don't want to meet anyone new right now, i want to read more about retired space pirates or drug deliveries

Why do we get a gendered physical description of one of the teens, and the other one just gets neopronouns and no physical description?  Also beware of falling into the white default here. So far, we've seen a blue-skinned alien, a paper white alien, and a bunch of humans with candy-color anime hair (and apparently no skin at all). 

Are there three people at the table? The dress, the xir, and the bald one? I'm confused. 

I'm a bit confused why an Oo scholar and artifact expert is still allowed to exist as a free citizen when Oo and its users are so heavily regulated. 

Yeah... an expert in a banned, regulated, violently oppressed population that is still a free citizen and apparently has a library full of forbidden books? I am... not sure how she missed the confiscations and book burnings that I would assume went with the Oo pogroms when she's so well known a local beat cop came to her for a consultation... 

"the shiny triple triangle" = ...triforce?  

 

I didn't really care for L's chapter. I'm left with more questions about the mom than anything. L seems pretty uninteresting, just another plucky boy in a uniform. The fact that he's working for the "bad" guys doesn't really make him or what I can see of his story any more compelling, unfortunately.  I'm more interested in the mom, who apparently was a rebel, gave it up, had a family and settled down, then managed to become an expert in a forbidden, oppressed subject and collect a library of proscribed books without anyone finding out enough to do anything about her, despite her living in what sounds like the one, single place where she could most easily resume her own or aid others in their seditious ways.

That takes talent!

Edited by industrialistDragon
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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

(and apparently no skin at all). 

Some combination of naivety and laziness? i.e. In the world of the story, I want to show humans are over their obsession with skin color so I'm going to try and only talk about skin if it isn't human colored skin and then forget I'm doing it and undermine it...

In hindsight, there are way better ways to handle this than just avoiding skin color and making sure no one has their natural hair color. Thanks for calling me out on it. 

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Yeah... an expert in a banned, regulated, violently oppressed population that is still a free citizen and apparently has a library full of forbidden books? I am... not sure how she missed the confiscations and book burnings that I would assume went with the Oo pogroms when she's so well known a local beat cop came to her for a consultation... 

Because she informed on the rebells to SE and has continued to be their informant on Oomph related things, and its a long story that is too much in my head and not enough on the page. 

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

the shiny triple triangle" = ...triforce?  

No but based off of the description I gave that makes way more sense than what I was picturing. 

 

You raise some very good points and gave me a lot to think about! Thank you! 

 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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