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shatteredsmooth

March 4, 2019_Intertidal Sub 4_(3348 words)(L)

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Hi All,
 
Here is attempt number two of chapter 4. I hope it fits a little better. It could be worse. The beat of this section is supposed to be along the lines of "A learns how to use their magic." It makes sense to me in the four page synopsis I wrote after I tossed my outline, but whether or not it works for other people when it is actually written is a different story.
 
If I stick with what I have planned, it will probably be a novella. Maybe 20 or 30K words? When I get there if it seems like really needs to be shorter, I'll deal with it then. When tell myself I have to wrap it up in the next couple thousand words, I freeze up and go blank. 
 
Any type of feedback is welcome. 
 
Sara
 
 
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This definitely has better direction than the first time. I like A taking the initiative to go out and try levitating again. There's also a lot more direction to them looking for the person who brought the cottage. Again, the prose is good and I enjoyed reading this. P is a great character!

I think you said last time A saved the guy they were looking for? I still didn't really get the connection except that he was sick and his name is Jake. He's described as around 70, right? Wouldn't A notice that the person she saved was an older man? Right now the description doesn't say anything about that. Could be a good connection to alert the reader why A had the feeling that she needed to save this particular person.


pg 1: "and felt like they had been punched in the chest"
--Just because the cupboard was empty?

pg 5: "A’s instincts brought them to food."
--Lol. good instincts.

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15 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:
Hi All,
 
Here is attempt number two of chapter 4. I hope it fits a little better. It could be worse. The beat of this section is supposed to be along the lines of "A learns how to use their magic." It makes sense to me in the four page synopsis I wrote after I tossed my outline, but whether or not it works for other people when it is actually written is a different story.
 
If I stick with what I have planned, it will probably be a novella. Maybe 20 or 30K words? When I get there if it seems like really needs to be shorter, I'll deal with it then. When tell myself I have to wrap it up in the next couple thousand words, I freeze up and go blank. 
 
Any type of feedback is welcome. 
 
Sara
 
 

Ok, I just finished reading through it.  Here's my feedback.

Disclaimer: jumping in on chapter 4 without context.

I liked the implied conflict that could result from P being able to read A's mind and think this opens up some interesting possibilities for the future.

I liked the line about A having a staring contest with a seagull.

I liked the line about the reek of gasoline, dead fish, etc.

I am confused about why A and P are researching info about a home sale.  I don't understand why it matters to them.

A's behavior at the beach confuses me.  A has a premonition that something bad is about to happen, but is feeling relaxed enough to admire white caps and savor the water. This seems inconsistent.  When the accident does happen, A has time to dial 911 (telling me that immediate action isn't necessary) but then tosses the phone to the beach and swims at full speed (telling me that immediate action is in fact necessary).  This feels like a contradiction.  Once saving J, A mysteriously swims back to P instead of chatting with J's family, which confuses me.

I'm a little confused about the pronoun 'they'. When I first read this, I thought that A and P had both got out of their sleeping bag and walked to the kitchen but now it appears that A is being referred to as 'they'. I am confused on the intent.  Later in the story, I was similarly confused. Did P hijack P and A's computer? Did P hijack A's computer? Or did P hijack the computer of the place they got their breakfast from?

Overall, I am confused about the motivations of A and P.  Why does learning magic matter to them?  At the moment, I get the sense that the are learning magic because it might be kinda cool, but I don't get the sense that there are any great consequences either way, so it's hard for me as a reader to get invested in their success.

Also, when A got the sense that an accident was going to happen, how does A feel about this?  Does A want to embrace the role of preventing bad things from happening (and if so, why?) or are the premonitions a burden?  These are things that I, as a reader, want to know.

 

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Posted (edited)

23 hours ago, Matt O said:

A's behavior at the beach confuses me.  A has a premonition that something bad is about to happen, but is feeling relaxed enough to admire white caps and savor the water. This seems inconsistent.  When the accident does happen, A has time to dial 911 (telling me that immediate action isn't necessary) but then tosses the phone to the beach and swims at full speed (telling me that immediate action is in fact necessary).  This feels like a contradiction.  Once saving J, A mysteriously swims back to P instead of chatting with J's family, which confuses me.

Thank you for pointing this out! In the previous version, A had been at the beach before they premonition instead of going there because of it. It looks like I neglected to change the tone of the description and some of the action to fit the new version. I'm glad you caught that. :-)

 

23 hours ago, Matt O said:

Overall, I am confused about the motivations of A and P.  Why does learning magic matter to them?  At the moment, I get the sense that the are learning magic because it might be kinda cool, but I don't get the sense that there are any great consequences either way, so it's hard for me as a reader to get invested in their success.

 

Their overall motive might be clearer if you had read the whole thing, but it sounds like I should clarify how the actions in this scene relate to that. Essentially, they want to get back a property A's family sold, but they don't have the financial resources to do so. Because of a Tarot card reading, they think A harnessing their magic and following their premonitions might help them find a way to get the property back. In the opening of Chapter 4, they are researching the man who bought it. 

23 hours ago, Matt O said:

Also, when A got the sense that an accident was going to happen, how does A feel about this?  Does A want to embrace the role of preventing bad things from happening (and if so, why?) or are the premonitions a burden?  These are things that I, as a reader, want to know.

I'll try to show more of this as I revise. Thank you! 

 

23 hours ago, Matt O said:

Disclaimer: jumping in on chapter 4 without context.

 

That is always a challenge, but I also love the feedback I get when people do this. It gives me fresh perspective and helps me see pieces of the story from a different angle. Thank you very much! 

 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Posted (edited)

On 3/5/2019 at 11:52 AM, Mandamon said:

I think you said last time A saved the guy they were looking for? I still didn't really get the connection except that he was sick and his name is Jake. He's described as around 70, right? Wouldn't A notice that the person she saved was an older man? Right now the description doesn't say anything about that. Could be a good connection to alert the reader why A had the feeling that she needed to save this particular person.

I kept going back and forth between A knowing exactly who they were saving now and not realizing who it was until they meet / confront (?) him a few chapters laters. I'm not sure confront is actually the word for what will happen in that scene...begging? negotiating? I didn't want A to come across as too manipulative, or for this scene to be read as A only saving his life because they want something from him. 

But you're right. Even if A isn't 100 % certain of who he is, I do need to leave more hints for the reader.

I'm trying to come up with a name and nick name that will work for this. One where the nick name isn't the most common choice for the name, and could be a nickname for a few different full names so it doesn't give away who the man is in that scene but still makes sense later. I'm not sure if Jack and Jacob will actually serve that purpose. 

 

 

Thank you very much. :-)

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Disclaimer: Jumping in with almost no context.

I enjoyed this for the most part with the exception of two things:

"He had told them to listen to the Earth and the world around them, and if they felt an impulse to do something, then that was what they needed to do." Earlier he said “Then today’s plan can be to figure out how your clairvoyance works.” I'm confused, does he or doesn't he know how this works?

"The capsized ship lifted too, just enough so there was a head’s width of air under it." Earlier she was having difficulties lifting herself, from what I understand a sailboat can weigh anywhere from 120lb - 3200lb (https://stepbystepsailing.com/how-much-does-the-average-sailboat-weigh/)

 

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Thank you @Atium

1 hour ago, Atium said:

I'm confused, does he or doesn't he know how this works?

Thanks for catching this. I'll clarify he has an idea but isn't 100 % sure. 

1 hour ago, Atium said:

Earlier she was having difficulties lifting herself, from what I understand a sailboat can weigh anywhere from 120lb - 3200lb

The reason struggled had more to do with how they were approaching the task. I'll work on showing that better and clarifying that is the case.

Thank you !

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Sorry, I don't have a whole lot to comment on this time. I think this is an improvement over the previous version. A is much more active in their own destiny now, and makes decisions to take actions instead of reacting and running. I felt like there was a lot of extraneous details in this section, however, and it could use some streamlining to pare things down to only what's most needed. 

I enjoyed the practice scene a lot.

I felt like there was a little bit of confusion still around the rescue, not necessarily in what happens, but in what A is feeling and doing leading up to it. 

On 3/6/2019 at 0:27 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Even if A isn't 100 % certain of who he is, I do need to leave more hints for the reader.

This would be very helpful, I agree, and might take some of the pressure off of finding him a good name. 

 

On 3/6/2019 at 0:27 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm trying to come up with a name and nick name that will work for this. One where the nick name isn't the most common choice for the name, and could be a nickname for a few different full names so it doesn't give away who the man is in that scene but still makes sense later.

For nonobvious nicknames, I think these might work: Henry can be Hank or Hal;  Alexander can be Sasha or Sandy; Conrad becomes Connie or Curt. 

There's also Bill for William, Bob for Robert, Dick for Richard and Jim for James, but I feel like are pretty well known, if you're looking for something a bit more obscure.

For nicknames that could be more than one name: Ward for Howard or Leonard or Edward, etc; Butch for someone who is a Jr; Fred for Frederick or Alfred; Ted for Theodore or Edward.

There's also the option, if you want to obscure the name, of having him go by his middle name. There are a lot of formations like J. Michael out there. 

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Ah, so now I get to read that sub again! The titles sort of confused me, I must say, but okay, I didn't read the preamble, I'll admit it.

Page 1 

- "punched in the chest" - Seems to me like a massive overreaction to finding an empty cupboard.

- Nice description of the morning, particularly through its sounds. Well done.

- (last paragraph) - I don't like the description of them trying and trying till it worked. It's clunky, wordy and bland, I think, and I don't get any emotion or real sense of effort from it.

Page 2 

- "P’s car, which was currently parked in a shopping plaza lot, was just as full" - How do we know this? Feels out of the POV. Also, don't see the relevance.

- I like this exchange between A and P. There's a kind of relaxed tension in it, the healing discomfort of honesty, perhaps. Works well for me.

Page 3 

- "sleeping bags sprawled across the floor " - I feel like this applies to a person or creature, but not to an inanimate object, which I would say are strewn?

- I find the dialogue with A asking about the clairvoyance rather stilted and awkward.

Page 4 

- "if they’d ever own the cottage again" - Did they ever own it? I didn't get (or remember) that from before. I thought it was a family member that sold it.

- "with the busy route twenty-eight" - Bah, what's this? You had Route 28 before, which is perfectly fine in my assessment. It's the name of the road, so it should be capitalised. If you were driving on I-9, would your write it as 'aye nine'? (Okay, I know that's a somewhat skewed example.

Page 5 

- It's not a great end line for a chapter, imo. I don't mind ending on going for food, but the short line on its own presents it as something dramatic when it really isn't. 

Page 6 

- I guess they are sitting outside, but it's not that clear. Somehow, I imagine them sitting inside. I think that's because of the early scene where they meet in the cafe.

- "breakfast sandwich and drank drunk a cup of coffee" - tense.

- "their breakfast sandwich" - It's a really awkward phrase: a mouthful, if you will ( :lol: ). We already know from P's what kind of sandwich it is. I think you can streamline here.

Page 7 

- "even if it is charity" - This implies to me that his refitting the houses was charity, but it wasn't, surely it was business. Unclear to me.

- "A pins and needles feeling crept into A’s fingers" - Some of the phrasing, for me is indirect, and therefore comes across uncertain. Would it be wrong here to just say 'Pins and needles crept into A's fingers'?

Page 8

- "coast guard vessel near by" - 'nearby'.

- "The woman in the inflatable life Jake was looking around" - 'vest'?

Page 9

- "He was tabled in ropes" - 'tangled'?

Page 10

- "J’s wife" - Again, we don't now this. I don't take it as an omnipotent POV. All that's needed is for the woman to say 'my husband' one time.

- "you are okay" - Some of the dialogue is rather stilted for the situation. The woman would sound less like a robot if she contracted to 'you're' here.

- "What is your name?"- This woman is bobbing around right after her yacht was carved in twain by a jet ski, and she still manages to keep a stiff upper lip? I would have thought 'What's your name?' better situated the situation.

- The penultimate sentence sounds repetitive of things that went just before, and also the last line still doesn't sound the a chapter closer. For me it sounds like the line before the closer.

Summary 

Still enjoying the story and hoping for more. I'm presuming the guy she saved is the philanthropist contractor. Seems like a real stretch of credulity. It's one thing to be in the right place at the right time, but why would such an incident happen at the very best moment? Struggling to buy that.

<R>

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Sorry I'm late on this!

I didn't have a lot of LBLs. I liked the opening to the first chapter, but then the rest felt like filler because the plot is still meandering. The second chapter had some promise, but then it ended up being about saving someone from drowning rather than the main plot itself. I'd really like to see more direct towards the main plot, or at least sequences where A finds their power while the plot moves generally in a house direction.

It's good that A is learning how to use magic. Very good. I think it could be snappier or more plot-full though, instead of the sort of plod we are on now. It's definitely better than last time!

On 3/5/2019 at 8:52 AM, Mandamon said:

Right now the description doesn't say anything about that. Could be a good connection to alert the reader why A had the feeling that she needed to save this particular person.

Yes this. I don't see how saving the person is plot relevant, which makes me think it's filler, which makes me want to skim.

 

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3 hours ago, kais said:

I'd really like to see more direct towards the main plot

On 05/03/2019 at 4:52 PM, Mandamon said:

why A had the feeling that she needed to save this particular person.

Yeah, I strongly suspect that this is the guy they are looking for, because the wife said he was sick, and you mentioned the owner had ALS, but it might be a bit too subtle? I'm saying come out a have A make the direction connection, but maybe something to let the reader know this is connected to the main plot.

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13 hours ago, kais said:

Yes this. I don't see how saving the person is plot relevant, which makes me think it's filler, which makes me want to skim.

 

Saving this person is how A almost gets the place back ultimately fails. 

A ends up getting to use the place for the rest of the summer, but the owner refuses to sell it back to them for any price or reason. 

In the end, A has to let go of this place and choose to leave and find a new path with Pete. 

Maybe the problem is that the plot I have laid out is faulty...

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On 3/7/2019 at 8:10 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Ward for Howard or Leonard or Edward

I like these!

Thank you for the the name suggestions and other comments.

On 3/9/2019 at 6:07 PM, Robinski said:

- "if they’d ever own the cottage again" - Did they ever own it? I didn't get (or remember) that from before. I thought it was a family member that sold it.

 

Technically, their grandparents then parents owned it but not them. That doesn't mean they didn't think of it as theirs, but I'll change that because it is confusing.

 

14 hours ago, kais said:

Sorry I'm late on this!

 

No worries about lateness! 

I got beta feedback on the sequel to Power Surge and that has my writing attention consumed. 

 

Thank you all for your help! I will eventually have the next chapter ready, but it is still too rough to send. 

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