kais

06/03/19 - kais - Queen, Chapter 6, (3876 words) (L)(S)

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Posted (edited)

S just for a brief mention in memory.

Back to E on this one. It’ll be the last wallowing chapter but I’m hoping for feedback on how the balance is between E hitting this super low point and then being effectively startled out of it. Also curious if you find tension in that interaction.

Changes to previous chapters: there’s no sun on the snow side. Aheh. I forgot. So N and V over on the snow side see everything lit with UV-spectrum lights. :)

Back to Ember on this one. It’ll be the last wallowing chapter but I’m hoping for feedback on how the balance is between Ember hitting this super low point and then being effectively startled out of it. Also curious if you find tension in that interaction.

Changes to previous chapters: there’s no sun on the snow, side. Aheh. I forgot. So Nadia and Varun over on the snow side see everything lit with UV-spectrum lights. :)

Edited by kais
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12 hours ago, kais said:

It’ll be the last wallowing chapter but I’m hoping for feedback on how the balance is between E hitting this super low point and then being effectively startled out of it. Also curious if you find tension in that interaction.

Ah. Glad it's the last wallowing one. E's sort of directionless anger was starting to get annoying.

On your question, I think the framework is here, but the emotions need some tweaking. I was a little startled when the fight started, which tells me there wasn't enough buildup to it. Right now, it's less tension than confusion. The new information E gets at the end of the chapter is completely contradictory to everything we've been told, and I don't think we've even had any foreshadowing to it. I was still trying to figure out why the colonies were set up to fail, though I'm guessing those two facts are connected.

I'm also trying to figure out why the emotional balance isn't working for me. I think we have enough motivation on E's side, but maybe it's that we don't know enough about T? We learn some this chapter, but I still don't have any sense of motivation from her yet. The fact that she seems to include A along with E seems weird. I wouldn't think she was forming new connections if she only had a month to live. Not really sure where I'm going with this, so take what you will from it.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: Ok, the epigraph goes part of the way to address what happened with Queen. I'm hoping there's more coming on this!

pg 2: glad to learn some more about T

pg 4: "She had a stillness in the way she moved"
--can you have stillness while moving?

pg 6: a bit of a long infodump here, getting away from the emotion of the moment.

pg 8: "that they had killed a ten year old boy to get"
--Wait, what now? I though the M just raided the ship, not that they killed the colonists.

pg 8: The fight is kind of sudden. There were raised emotions, but I wasn't thinking it would lead to violence. Maybe more buildup is needed?

pg 10: Interesting. So the AI is unknown to the M as well?

pg 11: "an immutable directive that involves both of you."
--I'm getting the feeling that T had some relationship with A as well, but I didn't get that feeling before.

pg 11: “We’d be more receptive if you’d open the door.” 
--was it closed? Was there a threat it wouldn't open?

pg 13: “A conversation she couldn’t have while she was alive?”
--Yeah, this is bugging me as well.

pg 13: "Because it isn’t a wasteland. It’s a paradise."
--okaaay. But the colonies have only been around maybe 30  years at most? I'm sure the damage couldn't be reversed in that time.
--ah, E brings this up too. 

pg 14: "No, it’s a lie."
--weird. I'm confused, but willing to read on to find out what's going on.

pg 14: "T wanted you to be able to live on Earth with the M."
--now the M are coming too? I'm still confused as to what's going on.

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Posted (edited)

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.

I think, now that we're six chapters in, I can do away with my disclaimer? Eh, it's consistent, if nothing else.

Inconsistencies/Concerns:

Spoiler

"It had walls—grey, thrusters—four, and a grey interior that could seat maybe five." << This reads really weirdly. It'd be better to take out the dashs--"it had grey walls, four thrusters, and a grey interior...". If you're trying to go for an analytical approach, like she's noting the value as she comes across it, then rearranging it like "it had walls--grey; thrusters--four; and an interior--also grey--that could seat five, maybe six if you..." If you want multiple dashes like that, you need a more definable break because right now it reads like "grey, thrusters" is a typo'd parenthetical.

For once, I'm not going to criticize the plastic. As a cheaply-made interior (not exposed to the elements, not required to be put under strain), it works very well. ;) Also, on the chains, after giving it so thought, I might use aluminum. It's often used as a cheap alternative to steel when places can get away with it.

Pg. 2 - "post doc" << "post-doctorate"?

Pg. 3 - "The information, the data, didn’t make sense and she hated messy analysis." << Run-on.

Pg. 4 - "Taraniel had two brothers she’d likely never see again." << Mismatched tense.

Pg. 6 - you misspelled Dr. S. Historically it's been idt, but here it's itt.

Pg. 6 - "made sure of that before. Before." << double before.

Pg. 7 - sandcastles. Ouch, New Earth. That's cruel.

Pg. 8 - "E ran her right hand down the sleeve of T’s shirt. The little fabric pills caught on her cracked skin but the whole movement released a few molecules of the familiar smell of T." << The second use of T's name is redundant. You've already established the shirt belongs to T, you can substitute with "her" or "her wife".

Pg. 8 - With the ensuing events on page 9, I feel like I need more information about A after the U of FU line--some indication of the woman's emotion or body language, or something. Just the line itself isn't enough, since A has been pretty cool thus far.

Pg. 8 - "The spell of T lifted." Mmm...this paragraph doesn't sell to me nearly enough. It seems a bit hackneyed.

Pg. 9 - The slap is really sudden. Not sold on that.

Pg. 9 - "T’s name belonged to no one but her. T’s history was hers to drown in." << This might have stuck better if A had been using T's name, or talked more about T to indicate some shared time for E to be jealous of. Most of the T information comes from E, it might be more effective for A to reveal that she and T had been more familiar to warrant this fight.

Pg. 9 - Yep. I'm getting vibes that A had a thing for T.

Critique:

Overall, loved this chapter. Finally getting some exposition in to E's and T's relationship was so intriguing and gratifying to get that I didn't mind the info-dumpy nature of that exposition. It was organically info-dumpy, not info-dumpy for the sake of information, which is fine. I had a few notes up above, but overall I didn't have any significant edits to recommend. Contrasting E's more crass language with N's more clinical tone in the previous chapter works really well--that's definitely something I'd keep. Historically, I haven't really found E's wallowing over her wife's death and disappearance that fatiguing, though I feel like you might be able to spend more time dwelling on E's actual feelings (physically) and not just on rants about T. Grief is powerful stuff, and it can cause physical pain, so I think that could actually help break up the melodrama/wallowing a bit because we can get a more concrete sense of how E feels. The revelation that T embedded her personality onto the ship's AI was an awesome turn, though I still feel like A needs a little bit more development in this chapter in order for the argument and fight preceding that revelation to be believable. As it currently stands, it's too sudden--even given E's grief over her wife.

I'm really loving this so far. This chapter strikes that point of sci-fi that was largely missing from the first several chapters with talk of imprinted AI and returning to Earth. One question I do have regarding the placement of this band of 'green' however, is...how is it here? If it's on the cold side and always dark, how is it growing trees and other plants--which need sunlight to survive? I can see this being a boundary between the hot and cold sides a lot easier--naturally--than being past the border of the cold side and never having sunlight. This might be built into your worldbuilding though, so if it is, just tell me I have to wait and find out, and I'll be patient.

On 6/3/2019 at 11:55 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 11: "an immutable directive that involves both of you."
--I'm getting the feeling that T had some relationship with A as well, but I didn't get that feeling before.

Ah, glad to see I'm not the only one. On that note, if this was the case, even if it was just A crushing on T, then this could easily be a contributing factor to the start of the fight and give E some room for self-doubt about the idea that T spent her final hours in the arms of a different woman (whether or not that was actually the case).

On 6/3/2019 at 11:55 AM, Mandamon said:

On your question, I think the framework is here, but the emotions need some tweaking. I was a little startled when the fight started, which tells me there wasn't enough buildup to it. Right now, it's less tension than confusion.

Agree with this. I don't know that it's the emotions, but rather how they manifest that need tweaking. Right now they seem to manifest as either violence or internal ranting. We're not getting much of the actual feelings in the body.

On 6/2/2019 at 11:37 PM, kais said:

E hitting this super low point and then being effectively startled out of it.

Mm...this didn't really come across as a "super low" point to me. It hurts, yeah, that's obvious, but I don't really get the sense that this is the depths of despair for E--rather it's kind of some closure she doesn't want to have. If you want it to be super low, you're going to have to both really descend into E's despair over T's death throughout this and the previous chapters, and you're also going to have to get a lot more in touch with her other feelings and not just being angry about it. Anger's usually a defense mechanism to keep people from going low, and since she never really descends below that...Even something as simple as a sobbing breakdown after the fight (but before the revelation) would better highlight that "yeah, now she's really been brought low."

On 6/2/2019 at 11:37 PM, kais said:

Also curious if you find tension in that interaction.

The interaction was good, but as I said above, we need more from A for the tension to really work. It's too sudden right now.

Edited by Alderant
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Posted (edited)

 

The following comments come from a dry run. I haven’t looked at the forum or what others have said yet so forgive any redundancy.

1

- Once again the epigraph is functional and telling. Do we know who is writing them yet?

- I’d like to see E stop and take it all in here.

2

- “Right there, right then.” - When and where else would this happen? It’s also kinda confusing you draw us into the now only to immediately throw us into another flashback.

- So, there is some pronoun confusion throughout the chapter, but nowhere is it more glaring than the second paragraph, mainly starting from “She imagined her wife…”

- I like most everything about the meet cute up until this line: “...giggling about the delight of lesbianism on an all-woman planet.” Even if it is believable, considering where it is in the paragraph, it seems like it’s given far more importance than it should in addition to feeling off.

3

- At this point the flashbacks have reached maximum impact.

- Are there a lot of strays?

4

- “A ten year old could have guessed.” - Oddly specific.

- I’ve started skimming flashback stuff at this point.

5

- “Was there an ecosystem where the things didn’t flourish?” - I like that dandelions are like the galactic flora equivalent of cockroaches.

- There’s a big infodump about Q here but there doesn’t seem to be any new information.

6

- Why does she think of it as “T-drive” but then switch the word to “hyperdrive” in her dialogue?

7

- “Residual refugees from Earth were a persistent problem…” - Hence the strays. Got it.

- I know what you said about style last week, but this paragraph is a prime example of unnecessary redundancy. In three lines we are told three different ways that people on these ships are frozen/put into stasis. The fact that we already knew this before this chapter makes the redundancy more glaring and I think you lose some of the oomph you’re going for when you talk about how they are thawed prematurely.

8

- By this point in the chapter I feel the narrative has outright stalled.

- I’m not sure what you are going for with E here, but she only comes across as hostile and abrasive. I’ve sort of been numbed to her plight due to too many flashbacks and my dislike for her in this moment overrides any sympathy I might have felt.

9

- “... had killed a ten year old boy to get.” - There’s that 10 year old boy again.

- When A slaps E I cheered.

- I don’t like that A “fights like a girl” with only slaps and nails. Maybe it’s because I’m cheering for her in this fight. It feels a bit sexist.

- “A kneed E where an ovary should have been.” - Good detail.

10

- The AI is a cool little twist. There’s enough mystery and foreshadowing that it doesn’t feel forced. I’d be careful because it’s an extremely SF trope but I’m along for the ride.

12

- I feel T would’ve given the AI a name.

14
- “our skills our” - are

 

Other

- A more immediate tense would be conducive to pacing and sense of progression. For instance you use the word “had” 64 times and that throws up a flag for me.

- Too many flashbacks. They start working against themselves and undercut the emotional resonance the best of them contain.

 

Misc

Here are a couple nitpicks/examples where I feel your prose should be tightened and wouldn’t negatively affect the voice of the piece:

On p1. Pointing out that six could fit if one didn’t mind a harness. Does this ever come into play? Has she had to do this before? Will we see someone later harmed because there are six people in the pod?
On p11. “This, maybe, made sense. Maybe.” - You’re actively undercutting the tension with this.
On p14. Pointing out E doesn’t like confusion in the lab or out.

 

Overall

There’s a lot of good in this chapter and the last five pages or so are some of the best I’ve read from you, but the first 10 pages need some serious tightening, especially the flashbacks. There is real opportunity here for serious emotional response.

Edited by hawkedup
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the ship description also threw me off. maybe something like "walls (grey), engines (four)" so that it's clearer which adjective goes with which noun. If you wanted em-dashes still... maybe... "walls -- grey; engines -- four;" so that there's a harder break between word pairs. It's like order of operations for math -- the weak comma is throwing the em-dashes off and I'm wanting to pair up the words in an order that doesn't make sense in the text. Right now, my eyes want it to break like (walls)(grey engines)(four) instead of (walls grey)(engines four). And it's right as the beginning too, so it's throwing off my stride for the whole first part of this section. 

E is coming across less depressed and more slightly creepy-obsessed to me. There's precious little by way of sensory descriptions of the rest of E's environment, and only some of her own reactions, but of T there is this almost pornographic detail about the effluvia of T's body -- shed hair, skin flakes, BO, skin oil, mucus -- and it's striking me as a little weird. Other people can't say her name. Other people are not allowed to touch T's things. E is angry at other people for having interacted with T without E present. So far, the only person we've seen mentioned that T was allowed to interact with without E present was N, a family member, and only because E was running a club where T didn't meet the joining requirements. I mean, it's a bit creepy. 

In this context, the T-ship apologizing for T-person making decisions and acting on them is also a little skeevy. 

It doesn't feel like E is startled out of anything, to me. She just keeps on in the same general vein and mood up to the end of the chapter. 

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Go...

(page 1)

 - Kepler data is vague. I want to know what that means. I know who Kepler is, but how was the data used? New analysis of the K data? Computer modelling seeded with the K data?

- Don't like the grammar of the last sentence.

- It seems to me that lifeboats are not designed to take off again. Thrusters, similarly, are for manoeuvring--I would have said--rather than take off. Also, this is much smaller than the ship described in N's last chapter, I feel, so presume it's not the same one.

- "pocket door" - door pocket? Unclear.

- "E stood in the small pod, barely able to stand upright" - awkward repetition.

- "too short on E’s skin" - It's not her skin that makes her the size she is, but her 'frame'.

(page 2)

- "majored in hydrology" - Huh, I don't remember T being a hydro too. I think maybe I was conflating her with N, who is not, obvs.

- "crop top shirt that showed her belly button" - top and shirt are the same thing, for the purpose of this sentence.

- "She imagined her" - awkward phrasing.

- "She’d drawn the short straw" - who had, T or E?

- "a disaster colony ship" - meaning unclear. I presume from previous that you mean 'disaster of a colony ship', but I don't think this phrasing is clear, and then you repeat the information anyway. Confusing and wordy here.

- Yeah, this is all really wordy and explaining a bunch of stuff that has little relevance. Also, N is a hydrologist. Confused again. Oh, yes, I remember now, E is a botanist.

- "two sweating bodies in a huddle of blankets, giggling about the delight of lesbianism on an all-woman planet" - this is a bit low-hanging fruit for me. 'sweating bodies'--check; 'huddled blankets'--check: it's a straight-to-video software thriller from 1986, probably starring Eric Roberts and Sean Young. Cue blue-lit 'sex' scene with artfully placed arms and no faces. Action!

Also, I don't understand what is more delightful than normal about lesbianism because it's on an all-woman planet.

(page 3)

- I appreciate it's a painful note, and it is consuming her emotions, but I feel like E is rather one-note, a note that's repeated again in the first paragraph (second, I suppose) on this page. We're quite far into the book at Chp 6, and it seems to me that E has no motivation other than to follow in grief. This is why N is much more involving as a character, I think. She has a range of thoughts, about people, about finding her sister, about taking action.

- "A planned on ignoring her but she waved us down. A has a soft spot for strays" - surely these two statements are completely contradictory?

- "offering us access codes to parts of the colony" - why would she do that? I got no sense from anything that T wanted to harm the colony, which had her wife in it, after all.

(page 4)

- "ten year old" - syntax.

- "super secret" - hyphenate.

- "Early it had been" - grammar.

- "T had two brothers" - this chapter is constantly looking back: in fact, E's whole POV feels like it's 75% about looking backwards. I think thetas why I am so disengaged with it, and that it even more heightened in this chapter.

(page 5)

- I started skipping, restarted again at "it was a b/s planet".

- "ship hatch closed with a puff of... air" - Why would there be a puff of air? I think typically the puff would be on a hatch opening, due to different air pressure inside and out. When it's open, clearly the pressure is equalised so, no puff.

- "what a forever life" - I now what you mean, but awkward phrasing, for me.

- I get the description at the foot of the page. The problem with writing desert planets, it seems to me, is that the environment tends to have one note. So, most of the conversations seem to take place with the wind howling and through faceplates. It becomes rote after a while, and a bit tiring to read, I think. Like there is always something between the reader and the dialogue, another layer that doesn't exist in other settings (and stories). I know that's the reality but still.

(page 6)

- Why is before repeated? It doesn't come over as hesitancy/uncertainty to me. She finishes the sentence. Then she says it again, in a new sentence, which seems very measured and deliberate to me.

- "The ship had storage the cockpit" - missing word.

- "a head for 3-D print filament" - missing word.

- "It had a sublight drive" - the 3-D printer? Wow!! :o 

- "It had a Tdrv, soldered onto a piece of machinery" - I would not get on that ship unless the world was ending. I want welding; lots of it--and brackets, securing bolts, the whole nine yards.

- "Forget leaving. You’d have to..." - This line made me genuinely angry, and did more to endear the M to me than anything so far. When they steal from the dome; I'm like, "Meh, you're a thief, I wish you bad things." Someone's saying you can't leave here? "Fudge them!" I say; "Fudge them to jell-(o), and back."

(page 7)

- "and any number of other horrors" - suggest: otherwise the phrasing implies that the first two examples are not horrors, as they're excluded from the horrors comment. 

- I think if you're going to repeat a word for emphasis (like 'really') you need a comma in between them, otherwise it's really-really (fast and unnatural).

- "This ship had been a composite crew" - I guess it's meant as shorthand, but the ship can't 'be' a crew: I guess carried a crew?

- "Not a menagerie of toys" - I think you mean 'selection'?

- "The total number of bucket sets" - LMAO. That is so funny, but it's also the sort of little highlight, splash of literary colour, if you will, that sets writing apart, makes it memorable. When I think back over what I've read in the five-and-a-bit chapters, I'm not sure there have been enough of these to make the story stand out for me. Those that there have been, I think, are pretty much all in N's POV, for me. (This kind of refers back to my comment about E's POV being a bit monotone.)

- "The colonist’s ship" - colonists', the sip belonged to all of them, not just one.

(page 8)

- "U of FY" - Oh, yes. What a line. Love it.

- "as gingerly as one would a head of Q’s very difficult to grow red lettuce" - word salad, or possibly alphabet-y spaghetti.

- "that they had killed a ten year old boy to get" - Huh? I don't imagine the foreshadowing of this was in the bit of background I skipped.

(page 9)

- "A slapped E" - actually found this a bit awkward with both names used, compared to 'A slapped her'

- "screamed in wildness and memory" - Huh? I have no idea what this means.

- "E sucked in air, but it wasn’t enough to send her down onto the plastic floor" - This means the air she sucked was not enough to send her to the floor.

- "such a dispassionate tone" - Why does A's dialogue have an exclamation point if it's supposed to be dispassionate? "those facial contortions" - Huh? Just sounds weird.

- "A too backed away" - Very yucky split infinitive.

(page 10)

- "played through the ship’s audio" - really? So, A hears them too? "hallucination" - Huh. Hmm.

- "Without A’s fists to distract, the sound clearly came from the ship, not her head" - non sequitur.

- "the chair that lay between her and the exit" - There's no way that the chairs are not bolted to the deck, surely. Or, there's no way that there is room to bring in extra chairs in an escape pod, which will be designed to be a small as possible and have no extra room, I would have thought.

(page 11)

- "before a high-pitched squeak that had Asher and Ember crouching and covering their ears" - ' before the squeak...' what? Not a complete sentence.

- "She certainly wasn’t prepared to hear" - I think 'hadn't been prepared', as she's already heard it at this point, several times.

(page 12)

- "hope and loss and at least eleven other emotions" - Tone: I feel that in E's section, the tone is not consistent. Am I supposed to laugh here, the the line sets me up for pathos?

(page 13)

- "Who knew what mandatory reporting protocols it had installed?" - This is a question.

- "our skills our in demand" - typo.

- "Some places are relaxing the restrictions on their arbitrary colonization requirements" - awkward repetition of 'their'.

(page 14)

- "couldn’t think of any possibility where that did end in" - Think this should be 'didn't'.

- Seems to me there's something off in the phrasing in the penultimate paragraph.

Overall 

Hmm. The tone, with the talking ship. I felt it was uneven.

And I felt this chapter was a bit rough, for various reasons. Also, I've been delving into why I don't really care for E's POV, as noted above.

There are clearly good ideas here, and some well written stuff, I'm just not especially invested in the through line. Why are we here, to rescue E?. Okay, clearly we're building to some kind of crescendo of conflict as no doubt N won't be able to get a berth on the escape ship, or will she? I'm just not sure it's enough for me to carry a novel. I could see this working as a novella, or a novelette.

<R>

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It's clear this chapter has issues, as I thought it might. Instead of responding to individual comments like normal I'm going to do an overhaul and resubmit this upcoming week. Hopefully I can clear up most of the problems. I've written forward far enough in the book that I think I can move some events up and give this chapter more forward momentum. 

Thank you all so much for the help! I really appreciate it!

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I'm a little on the late side with this one, but this was definitely one of my favorite chapters so far. Things make a lot more sense now, and the story has a clear direction. However, I feel like the story needs to get here sooner. There is almost too much of E being low and violently grumpy. I'm down with some of the brawling, but it was starting to go on too long. 

I love the concept of the T or at least part of her personality being in the ship's AI. 

On 6/2/2019 at 11:37 PM, kais said:

Back to E on this one. It’ll be the last wallowing chapter but I’m hoping for feedback on how the balance is between E hitting this super low point and then being effectively startled out of it. Also curious if you find tension in that interaction.

I didn't notice E getting startled out of it. E didn't really seem to change much throughout the chapter. 

There was definitely tension.  

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On 6/4/2019 at 0:05 PM, Alderant said:

One question I do have regarding the placement of this band of 'green' however, is...how is it here? If it's on the cold side and always dark, how is it growing trees and other plants--which need sunlight to survive? I can see this being a boundary between the hot and cold sides a lot easier--naturally--than being past the border of the cold side and never having sunlight. This might be built into your worldbuilding though, so if it is, just tell me I have to wait and find out, and I'll be patient.

I watched a really cool NOVA special about Kepler planets and there's some new theories on how tidally-locked planets might work, and how the winds and the thicker atmosphere might actually mitigate the climate. Wind speed would be critical for whether it was worldwide even temp or just a band, so I'm trying for higher winds and smaller band. I think I'll have to run this all past an astro physicist though, just to double check. 

The trees part... I had to retro a previous chapter. The dark side now has full spectrum UV lights everywhere so the plants will grow. I forgot when writing that the snow side would be completely dark for the most part so had to retcon some things. Heh.

Anyway they talk about this around... chapter ten I think. It will come!

 

On 6/4/2019 at 0:05 PM, Alderant said:

Ah, glad to see I'm not the only one. On that note, if this was the case, even if it was just A crushing on T, then this could easily be a contributing factor to the start of the fight and give E some room for self-doubt about the idea that T spent her final hours in the arms of a different woman (whether or not that was actually the case).

Argh, this was not the plan. A is supposed to be crushing on E, in fact, and I think in a few chapters that comes through more. I'm going to see if I can fix that undercurrent here in this chapter though, but I definitely did not mean for that to come through.

Oh, just realized there were some questions.

 

On 6/5/2019 at 9:10 PM, hawkedup said:

Do we know who is writing them yet?

Nope. I wasn't sure there would BE an author identified. I hadn't really considered it. Guess I will now!

On 6/6/2019 at 8:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

walls (grey), engines (four)"

I really like this!

On 6/7/2019 at 6:24 PM, Robinski said:

Okay, clearly we're building to some kind of crescendo of conflict as no doubt N won't be able to get a berth on the escape ship, or will she? I'm just not sure it's enough for me to carry a novel. I

That isn't the primary conflict. I'll try to make the through line much more apparent in this chapter. It got stated in chapter one but may have been lost in the shuffle.

 

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Hi Kais,

I read this chapter over twice, and one thing stands out to me: the enormous amounts of info-dumping of the history of E and T's relationship, and Q. The latter I think should stay, because it gives a lot of E's words and actions context (even if I don't think all of it makes sense), but as for Q's history, it gets boring real quick. Something I learned reading The Lies of Locke Lamora is that info-dumps are only really interesting if they do at least one of two things: they provide context for the action, or they describe the culture of the fictional world. I'm interested in E and T, what their marriage was like and what eventually caused T's death. The history of Q, I don't think, does either. At least a whole page of details like what food and toys the RA sent to Q colonists doesn't pique my interest, because I can't see how that's going to end up being important later. Maybe it will be later on, but as it stands, I think it drags your pacing somewhat. 

Notes below. 

pg 1:

"Those that didn’t have enough voices to lobby were silenced or dumped on useless planets." What defines a planet as useless, though? If they're habitable, surely you can cultivate them? I might be missing something here, admittedly. 

"It had walls—grey, thrusters—four" Could you simplify it to just "It had gray walls and four thrusters?"

pg. 2:

"What started as excitement over potential terraforming experiments soon turned to late night conversations about Earth, and finally," I would only use 'finally' if whatever is being discussed is the last thing in a list of at least three.

pg. 3:

"“storm off,” E snarled." Why is E being so hostile to just hearing her own name? 

pg. 4:

"She had a stillness in the way she moved that set E on edge." I like this sentence, because the idea of something appearing still while it is, in fact, moving is a contradictory, creepy image. 

pg. 5:

"...or the weather, or physics, killed it." Could you elaborate on how physics would kill it? 

Extra note: you have a couple of phrases like "high density" and "nutrient rich" that require hyphens. Be careful of lack of hyphen usage. It's bad for your health.

pg. 6:

"“If it needs more work, I can’t help you. I genetically modify maple trees. More recently I take outpost sentry jobs no one else wants.”" I'd attribute this dialogue to someone, because I couldn't tell who was supposed to be speaking. 

"The ship had storage the cockpit for parts and foodstuffs." Please re-write for clarity. 

pg. 7:

"...and any number of horrors." I would rephrase to "...amongst other horrors."

pg. 8:

"...but the whole movement released a few molecules of the familiar smell of T." Would you be willing to rephrase this? From my end, it sounds cheesy. Also, that's one hell of a smell if it's still around after T's been dead this long.

“University of storm You.” Why is E being so hostile at the drop of a hat? 

pg. 9:

“Don’t talk about her like a chess pawn,” I fail to see anything chess-related here outside this sentence here. 

"T's name belonged to no one but her. T’s history was hers to drown in." Unless you're trying to depict E as being obsessive over her late wife in a negative manner, this comes across as cheesy. 

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