kais

05/13/19 - kais - Queen, Chapter 4, (3260 words) (L, V)

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Mostly interested in characters, world, wonder. Living dangerously with a second POV, I know I know

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Ok, so you know I love multiple POVs and worldbuilding...
This section didn't thrill me, for some reason. I do like N as a character, but a lot of the worldbuilding in the first few pages lowered the tension rather than raising it. It also feeds the confusion of why the M are attacking when we already know the colony is on the edge of collapse and the M are also trying to make the colony succeed.

I think because the first few chapters established the world so well, and we know where E is at the time, it's hard to get into this new section. I'm much more invested in seeing what's going on with the space ship rather than following people who are going after someone we know isn't in any trouble.

I might change my mind if we spend another chapter with N and Dr. S and they come across some equally wondrous thing like E has, but right now a lot of it feels redundant.


Notes while reading:
pg 2: Wait, Dr. S. is male?

Pg 3: While there's a lot of good worldbuilding in the first few pages, it's bordering on too much, with no real tension.

pg 3: I'm wondering about the juxtaposition of the M saying they're trying to make the planet better along with damaging the water pipes. Why are they terrorizing the colony? (I'm assuming we will find out more...)

pg 5: "Q was the only planet that would take E."
--why is this? Do we know yet?


 

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6 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

I do like N as a character, but a lot of the worldbuilding in the first few pages lowered the tension rather than raising it.

Hmm. After reading your crit I wonder if this chapter shouldn't be Ch 3 instead of Ch 4. Of course, E is nowhere near the snow side, so this suit issue is all a red herring, but that might build better tension before we know E is safe on the sun side? 

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25 minutes ago, kais said:

Hmm. After reading your crit I wonder if this chapter shouldn't be Ch 3 instead of Ch 4. Of course, E is nowhere near the snow side, so this suit issue is all a red herring, but that might build better tension before we know E is safe on the sun side? 

I was thinking about that while reading. The snow threw me, but I figured the M had done something to hide it so I wasn't really bothered. If this chapter comes before we know E is safe, that would certainly ramp things up.

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Posted (edited)

When you said this was going to be a new POV, I was grumbling because I like E and wanted to know about the spaceship. However, I had no problem getting into this chapter. Some of the people descriptions slowed my reading down and would've pushed me out of the narrative had they gone on a word more. The positive was that I had no issue picturing these people. 

I LOVED the description of Dr. S's lab.

N seems like she has a forceful, whirl wind personality, which I enjoyed. Her voice was definitely distinct from E's.

The helmet signal has me curious. Did the M reprogram and plant it so no one would look for E? If so, they did so quickly. Is this part of it's malfunction? Or will the signal lead them to this equator of paradise? I'm looking forward to finding out. 

Page 4

"Don’t you dare tell me my sister is has been injured". Typo.

Page 7

"...since the chemical smell of whatever he used to preserve insect..." 

This threw me because in the previous submission, on page 17, E said "Everyone used ‘she’ at the colony, regardless..."

If there is a he who happens to be good friends with E, then maybe E should say "most people" instead of everyone. 

"Concrete quality sand turned into a surprisingly limited resource on Earth." A few years ago I heard that sand for concrete was one of the many resources we were going to be running out sooner or later, so I'm not surprised by this even though the narrator says surprisingly. 

 

 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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On 5/13/2019 at 3:19 PM, Mandamon said:

I was thinking about that while reading. The snow threw me, but I figured the M had done something to hide it so I wasn't really bothered. If this chapter comes before we know E is safe, that would certainly ramp things up.

I agree. 

 

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Finally caught up with this week, gash darn it!

So, as shortest submission, this one first :)

(Page 1)

- Another chilling epigraph. These are good for setting tone. I like them.

- Does 'the woman' not have a name?

- "She wasn’t necessarily bitter about it" - If you drop this, the thought will be much more direct, and land better with the reader, I think.

- "crowds of women" - Crowds, really? Have you said what the population is? (I forget.) Do they all live in the same main settlement? 

- "high pitched crashing sound crash" - Again directness, Surely a crashing sound is a crash. Also, this moment is comical. The assistant has becoming a figure of 'fun' already. Not sure it matches the tone.

(Page 2)

- Five months seems like an odd budget period.

- A doctor of architecture? Quite unusual, I think, or did he get his doctorate on Queen?!?! I'd say 97% of architects (maybe more) are not PhDs. Ah... QED! There's something off with the phrasing here. If the settlement expanded, would that not make it less likely that he would need to purse a PhD in another subject?

(Page 3)

- "melt water from the transition from the cold side to the temperate zone" - really awkward. Could it be abbreviated? Something like 'cold to temperate transition zone'?

(Page 4)

- Wait, is the director a third person? I get no sense of them as a person, even after they start speaking. Why doesn't she get a name?

- "hope of sex with a penis ever again" - This makes N a really ingesting character to explore her feelings, potentially, but there are some males, right? Are they all gay? Also, makes me wonder why in all those years she has not resorted to some different form of intimacy, rather than none at all.

(Page 5)

- "the only planet that would take E" - (1) I found this really hard to believe; (2) I would benefit from having this way up in Chapter 1, because I think it casts a new light on the feel of the place, and the feel of Em's POV.

- "Sisters stuck together" - But not enough to go on the same ship?

- How the heck does the GPS work? Do they have satellites?!?!

- "You know that" - I don't know that. Why can't they go? For their only botanist?

(Page 6)

- "I can authorize new piping" - No, you've lost me here. This pen-pushing administrator is not believable in her degrees of pen-pushery. This railing against obtuse authority is feeling forced to me now. It's been borderline from the start. The administrator is kind of cardboard cutout.

- "an entire goddamned planet of old people" - These sort of absolutes give me problems. Old people need young people to do the things they can't, or don't want to.

- "The director just kept staring stared" - Mmm, okay. I see it's a style thing. Fair enough.

- "turned into a surprisingly limited resource on Earth" - Meh. As a Civil engineer, I don't accept this. Must be way cheaper to make sand than fly it from light years away. And, concrete sand content is low, I think you're thinking of mortar, which is not concrete. I would be surprised if cinder blocks had any sand in them at a all. It's aggregate, bigger stones. 

- "had thought it warranted colonization" - for the sand?! There must be closer planets for sand. Asteroids, whatever.

- "The room stank" - This seems to repeat the first impression.

- "Em’s childhood skirmishes" - Really? I don't like the thought that that's all they had to talk about; someone else. It doesn't say much about T and N. (Side-brain: Hey, Robinski, wouldn't it be messed up and inject a wildly random conflict into proceedings if N and T had had an affair? Robinski: Shut up, side-brain. I'm reading here.)

(Page 9)

- "Dr. S. [missing word] silently behind her."

- First half of this page is weak. It feels like filler to me.

- I like the racing stripe, but the language here is kind of rambling and awkward, for me.

(Page 10)

- "snow draft" - Huh?!

(Page 11)

- I don't think electric battery power blasts.

- The ending's a bit unfocused, doesn't really punch me in the gut, or slap me on the cheek.

Overall 

I think this is less convincing than Em's POV. It's good to have another POV, but I think this can work harder. I like Sin, but the administrator was underwritten, IMO. Also, who no name for the admin and the assistant? These people undoubtedly have names, and N undoubtedly knows them, and would think them, surely. it would make both of those NPCs seem much more like people.

<R>

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15 hours ago, Robinski said:

but there are some males, right? Are they all gay?

Yes men, but not males. Vulva is the residency requirement so the men will be trans men. I've done some editing to make this more clear because I think it's probably too subtle.

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

1) I found this really hard to believe; (2) I would benefit from having this way up in Chapter 1,

I'm hoping as the story progresses the ridiculousness of all the different colony world requirements makes this one seem pretty normal. I'm not sure how to introduce the concept in chapter one, but will mull. I have moved this chapter to be chapter three, however, and I think that might help.

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

This railing against obtuse authority is feeling forced to me now. It's been borderline from the start.

Yeah, I'm still developing this part of the narrative. Stay tuned for less cardboard!

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

for the sand?! There must be closer planets for sand. Asteroids, whatever.

I'm certain there are. If it's a little silly sounding, that works!

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

Side-brain: Hey, Robinski, wouldn't it be messed up and inject a wildly random conflict into proceedings if N and T had had an affair? Robinski: Shut up, side-brain. I'm reading here

LOL! There's going to be an affair, but it won't involve Nadia. Sorry, @Robinski side-brain!

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

but I think this can work harder. I like Sin, but the administrator was underwritten, IMO. Also, who no name for the admin and the assistant? These people undoubtedly have names, and N undoubtedly knows them, and would think them, surely. it would make both of those NPCs seem much more like people.

This was actually really helpful. I've named both the assistant and the director and the director part now has much more form and substance. I think adding about 1000 words of plot to this chapter helped a lot, and hopefully the world is taking shape better. I may need to resubmit this chapter to make sure I did enough. THANK YOU!

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STANDARD DISCLAIMER: For demographic information, keep in mind that I am a white male nearing his thirties, married, with two young children, and come from a background of being LDS, conservative, and with a long history of chronic depression, so these things may color what I say during review. I try to be as open-minded and unbiased as possible.

Sorry for the late reply, last week was crazy busy for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this chapter. N's emotional responses to what's going on and her clearly more extroverted nature come across in a nice contrast to Em. One thing I do notice, is that the longer we go on, the more homogenous your characters seem to be becoming. They talk the same way, they think with similar idioms, etc. This is okay--but I'd like to see more variance. Right now, many of the characters are coming off a little cookie-cutter during dialogue. It's nothing egregious or worrying at this point, just something to keep in mind. Variable characters breathe more life and realism into a story.

Pg. 1: "A box of broken lab glassware" << a little clunky. Might be better to just say it's beakers, vials, and microscope slides (or whatever other equipment might be in a lab).

Pg. 1: "and while it had been taped shut, that wouldn't stop the glass from breaking further." << A little confused. Does 'it' refer to the glassware (which is so vague I have no idea what you mean), or the centrifuge? Is there glass on the centrifuge?

Pg. 7: Dr. S's immediate agreement to help N, no questions asked, is weird. How does he already know something is wrong with Em, when N just found out from the director? Why would he immediately break regulations for her? What is the history between N & Dr. S, that he would so readily help? I'm just not sold here. I know the explanation that he was friends with Em comes after, but it's not enough for me to buy the initial go, especially since he's given such a passing importance in his first introduction in pages 2-3.

Pg. 9: "3-D printed, plastic chains, and they walked in." << 3D printing is pretty standard sci-fi fare. No need to really distinguish it. I worry about the efficacy of using plastic with regards to plexiglass, though. Plexiglass can be pretty heavy, depending on the thickness of it, and plastic doesn't have very good tensile strength; I'd worry about the weight of the plexiglass pulling the chain links apart and bending them permanently out of shape as soon as the winch is activated.

Pg. 10: "It’s sending on a loop and looks like can’t receive due to damage. This what we want?" << A bit clunky. It'd be better to just say something like "It must be damaged; it's stuck on loop, broadcasting the same thing. This is what we want?"

I do agree that I think this would work better as ch. 3 instead of ch. 4. Chapter 2 gives us Em going unconscious, this chapter reveals Em in danger, and then the former ch. 3 would give us the resolution. With this chapter as 4, we already know Em is okay, so the emergency broadcast is just weird and out of place.

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