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shatteredsmooth

Junk Junction Sub 3_(Ch. 5 & 6)_ShatteredSmooth_(4597 words)

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Posted (edited)

Hi All,
 
Sorry this is a little late. Last week, I thought it was ready, and planned to proof read it Monday morning after not looking at for it a few days, but instead of proof reading, I made a bunch of big changes that may or may not improve the chapters. This morning, I read through it out loud and ran both Google Doc's and Word's spell check. There are probably still plenty of errors that I missed, because this is me. Please don't waste time correcting them in case the content feedback prompts me to rewrite or delete sections of text. 
 
I'm curious if the characters sound more kid-like in this section, and if I did better with emotion. I tried doing a scene related exercise from a writing excuses podcast, but I had trouble staying focused on the exercise, so if the scenes are still a problem, I'll try again on the next revision. 
 
If there seems to be some overlap between the research in the library and the research in this scene, it's because I might to trim the library scene a little and add a little more emphasis on feelings about Mom and not getting in trouble with the librarian. I'll probably be tweaking the balance of information between these two scenes for a while.
 
Thanks!
 
Sara
 
Last time:
Ch. 1-2: E's mom gets turned into a mannequin in an antique shop. A haunted doll helps E's and the shop dog escape the same fate. 
Ch. 3-4: E gathers supplies from Junk Junction and does research in a library. Then they venture out to find food and a psychic. They meet D, a 13-year-old psychic whose mom is missing. They think D's mom's disappears is related to E's mom and Mx.R getting turned into mannequins.
Edited by shatteredsmooth
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(Got some critiquing done in the airport waiting for the plane to Ireland!)

Overall, I thought this started to really get into the story toward the end. The beginning of the chapter was still pretty slow. I think the research could still be spread out some more so it's not as much of an infodump. 

The characters do sound more kid-like, but I think it might be a detriment to the story. They start going off on theory after theory connecting the mannequins to all sorts of other stuff, with little proof. It's probably accurate, but it makes the story scattered. I was on board with ghosts, or even ghosts possessing mannequins, but now we're off on old gods and aliens, and I'm ready to settle on one type of antagonist.

Anyway, I'm assuming things will go down at the mill. What's the length of the story? I'm feeling this almost as a novella now, because I can start to see an end pretty quickly after they get to the mill, unless something else complicates the story.

Looking forward to more!

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "harcovers" -> "hardcovers"

pg 1: “And that one goes to a staircase that will bring you out the back of the building.”
--Is this pertinent for some reason?

pg 1: "then ran over the bathroom."
--That poor bathroom! I hope it's ok... ;-)

pg 2: "Mom couldn’t stay a mannequin forever."
--I mean, there's nothing so far that says she'll even turn back.

pg 2: "There was only one couch in the office, and since it belonged to D’s mom, I was going to let her sleep on it."
--D, or her mom?

pg 2: "The plan was to make the pizza people think she went home and then quietly spend the night in the office."
--I mean, how much do the pizza place employees really care?

pg 3: all the stuff about getting/eating pizza, and then doing research, is pretty slow. Could probably cut a bit to get to the point where E finds out why the mother is at the factory.

pg 4: I think the stuff about ADHD could be doled out a little better too. Right now it's sort of an infodump

pg 4: "My attention felt slime slipping through my fingers."
--??

pg 6: There's a lot going on here, between the factory, aliens, old gods, old girlfriends, book vs. internet research, a murder investigation...It just feels like a lot in a page or so and it's jumping around a lot.

pg 7: "A’s doll, which was staring up at shelves and occasionally wobbling one way or another, didn’t help."
--I would say so. I'd have trouble sleeping with that thing toddling around.

pg 7: "I did a few searches about ancient aliens. Aliens made me think of science or superhero movies, and how many times Mom had watched Marvel movies with me."
See the comment above. We've gone from a mannequin and a doll to old gods being aliens. There are some huge jumps in here.

pg 9: "probably because it was hours before it was scheduled to open."
--or, you know, because the owner is turned into a mannequin and hasn't opened shop.

pg 10: “Maybe they went back to where it started. Her factory.”
--This still doesn't answer how they disappeared from a locked room.

pg 11: "It’s a little haunted, but the ghost is harmless"
--Can something be a "little" haunted?

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I was on board with ghosts, or even ghosts possessing mannequins, but now we're off on old gods and aliens, and I'm ready to settle on one type of antagonist.

Good point. As I reread more of the ms, I'll rethink how necessary or unnecessary this is and revise accordingly. 

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Anyway, I'm assuming things will go down at the mill. What's the length of the story? I'm feeling this almost as a novella now, because I can start to see an end pretty quickly after they get to the mill, unless something else complicates the story.

 

Spoiler

 

There are a few chapters of them trying to bike there without getting picked up by the police, because at that point, D ends up with an amber alert out on her (more about why in the next sub). They get to the mill and...it's a trap! (if I knew how to put GIFs in these posts, I would have an Admiral Ackbar one here). The final show down with the big bad actually happens elsewhere. 

 

 

 

The story is currently about 35K, but for the genre and age category, it should be closer to 45K. I have notes about a chapter in the middle I may or may not add, and everything that happens after the moment they turn people back is summary (which I will change before sending it to the group).

The "hidden content" is kind of an explanation of the story being complicated, but it is a spoiler, so feel free to not read it unless you want to.

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 4: "My attention felt slime slipping through my fingers."

felt like slime... maybe this isn't the best simile.

 

Thanks for the feedback! I hope you have a good time at WorldCon! 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Overall

Some good tension in places, and the emotions are a lot better. The voice age of the characters is also better. I think the biggest sticking points for me continue to be the dog (why is it part of the narrative? It just slows the pacing every time we get to it because it doesn't not appear to be a leg of the story) and the easy access to plot information. I also don't want a change of location at all. I love the antique store, and you spent so much time building the atmosphere of it in the front chapters that it almost feel like you set a reader expectation that the showdown would happen there, and now we get a new local. 

 

As I go

- pg 1: I'm still wondering what relevance the dog has. It seems like it gets more screen time than almost any other character other than the main one, but doesn't seem to have a purpose

- pg 3: so I was moderately on board with the library research exposition, but now on this page it reads just like a giant info dump. I want to see the character really work for the information, not just have it handed to them, then more or less handed to us, the readers

- pg 5: every time vampires are brought in, and now gods, the story looses focus. I'd prefer one, maybe two elements. Otherwise it just feels like the story lacks focus and lacks a clear antagonist. Ditto on the aliens

- pg 6: I no one creeped out that the doll is moving around!!??

- pg 7: emotions are definitely a lot better here

- pg 10: there was some really good tension at the start of this chapter, but the doll offering an explanation so blatantly really shot it down. I wanted them to come out of the shadows or have the two kids wander around the store and find the mannequins weirdly propped in a corner with a tea set or something. The atmosphere is set for the antique store. I'd much prefer we stayed there

- pg 11: I was pretty excited when they left the dog at home but now they're bringing it along? Don't they have to go back to the town or whatnot to get it? 

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Over all: I'm with the others that the introduction of even more supernatural elements is muddying the plot. I don't mind that there's ghosts and [something], but I feel like adding in the aliens==ancient gods conspiracy is just too much (there's also some, er, bias issues around that whole new-age/conspiracy thing whatever-you-want-to-call-it). The vampires getting another shout-out I feel like is also unnecessary if vampires aren't in this book. If they exist in-world, it's fine to mention them, but I think the focus on this story should stay with the ghosts as much as possible. 

As I go: 

Pages 1-4 were really good about having kid-logic and kid reasoning, but around pg5 the story starts to slip back into adult reasoning patterns.   The rest of this chapter wobbles in and out. 

 

So sage! Sage has metaphysical uses in a couple forms. Raw, on its own, it's thought to have a purifying or cleansing ability, like chewing on a little or rubbing a leaf between your fingers and using the aroma it releases. Under the pillow it's thought to have an ability to ward off (purify) bad dreams. It's not as much protection as some other things though. But I'm guessing you're more likely thinking about smudging with sage here. Smudging, in the non-native, hippie-metaphysical context, is again a purification and cleansing  process, where the sage (possibly along with other cleansing herbs) is burned to release smoke and that smoke is what's thought to have the metaphysical properties, like an incense. Like most metaphysical things, there's no real attack power or aggression associated with it. it's purification and cleansing. It's not one of the dispelling processes. It sounded weird to me to have the psychic girl saying sage could stun ghosts, because that's a lot more aggressive than really what sage is thought to do. it's like saying washing with soap kills stains. Using soap with water makes simple stains more likely to get washed away by the water, but it neither kills them, nor is effective against stubborn stains. You need a specialized, strong detergent for stubborn stains and what that detergent is depends on the stain, etc. Sage smudging sort of washes away negative energy, but it's not gonna do diddly for an angry, stubborn presence. There's a host of other, more insistent things you can do with a stubborn presence.... 

Anyway. Moving on. 

Oh hey, agate! Agate is an umbrella term for a whole bunch of different types of quartz-containing rocks... and y'know what? It doesn't matter. I had a whole big thing written here and it's just one line. It's not that big a deal. I get too into the weeds sometimes. Just add "black" or "dark colored" to the front of it, and you'll be good. Almost all the serious-business protection rocks are dark colored. (agate by itself is just too general a term for metaphysical stuff. It needs a qualifier) :) 

There's some good stuff in this chapter, but I feel like it could be streamlined some. It felt like it wandered. I agree that the dog has a lot of screentime, but I was hoping it would be pivotal in the final confrontation and therefore earn it's on-page presence. It still seems a little superfluous at the moment though. 

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Hi! :)

What I liked:

Idk if it felt over-the-top or too typical to other people, but the bit where we E reflect back on their school experiences on the bottom of page 6 with them not fitting in felt super powerful to me. This was one of the pivotal moments of the chapters to me: we have a pretty good idea of why logically E is doing what they are (rescuing their mom is pretty darn important), but the fact that their emotions and interpersonal relationships are developing adds a lot of meat to the story. And we see perfectly here why E's newfound connection with D is so important to them. 

By the end of chapter 6, I'm on board with the story. I feel like we're oriented in a good place to move forward and the fact that the protags here are alone is a nice/classic way of upping the stakes. I'm ready to see these characters pushed to their limits, and I'm hoping for them to succeed in spite of the challenges ahead of them. :)

I also really like how all the mannequins left and everything seems completely normal in Junk Junction. It really sells the fact that the protags can't turn to anyone else, because to anyone else things look completely ordinary! But it's still rather chilling for us, and puts the pressure on E and D to succeed. 

Suggestions:

I'll say that I agree about the beginning having a bit more potential for focus and defined motion. Going a bit deeper into the beginning of chapter 5, I'm not sure what the story gains by showing us the logistics of going to the bathroom, storing bikes, ect. The first two and a half pages don't appear to push the central plot ideas forward and while we get a few glimpses of character, I think that the space could be doing more work. The first moment I get invested is when the story starts discussing the disappearance of D's mom, because it connects to events and chars I'm ready to care about right off the bat. Is there a reason the chapter can't start with this?

I also agree with some of the additional supernatural details not quite working for me. The creatures are cool, but what I'm really looking for is how they impact the characters. E's mom being turned into a mannequin obviously affects E, so I'm invested in that part of it. The other supernatural workings discussed here don't quite feel as directly connected to the characters I care about. E being good at research feels a bit underexplored to me as well; on a plot level it seems like they just focus really hard and figure stuff out, which feels a little convenient. Tying in specific character/personality traits that aid E here (or showing a bit more about how their thought process when searching for this info would be above and beyond the average person) could help us feel more connected to the character.

And with the research again, I didn't exactly understand the stakes of the chapter. The internet is a tricky plot device for revealing information because you can never "run out" of info (can't pull the "this is the last book we have and we need to find something now!), and doesn't place the characters in immediate danger (so no need to sneak in and download data from a computer like in action movies), so it's hard to see what failure would actually mean here. Because of that, the successful info they do get feels a bit less sweet. One option is for the "we're alone" conflict to take a front seat here and propel the story forward (the immediate conflict being that if E doesn't figure it out, nobody will), though there are certainly other ways to raise tension. 

Considering chapter 6 is pretty short, we spend quite a bit of time with the chars prepping to go into Junk Junction. The real motion starts once we enter (with the traces of what E witnessed being missing), so getting to this point faster might be helpful.

 

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@shatteredsmooth I'm sorry I haven't done any reading this week (a relative is currently a missing person and my head just has not been in the right space) so I haven't read this submission yet, but when I saw the subject for the newest episode of Writing Excuses, I came right here to share it. Have you given it a listen yet?

Worldbuilding Gender Roles

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9 hours ago, hawkedup said:

@shatteredsmooth I'm sorry I haven't done any reading this week (a relative is currently a missing person and my head just has not been in the right space) so I haven't read this submission yet, but when I saw the subject for the newest episode of Writing Excuses, I came right here to share it. Have you given it a listen yet?

Worldbuilding Gender Roles

Thank you! I hadn't see that one yet. I'll check it out. 

I hope your relative is found soon. 

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4 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I hope your relative is found soon. 

Thank you! We grew up together like brothers and everything about his disappearance is fishy. The last anyone heard from him he was leaving a casino. His truck was found on fire in the middle of nowhere. Two people were caught using his cards but were cleared for some reason but now two other people who were also using his cards are in custody. Meanwhile there is no news about him and search parties have turned up nothing. 

Anyway, sorry, not trying to hijack your thread! I’ll read the submission ASAP. 

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3 hours ago, hawkedup said:

Anyway, sorry, not trying to hijack your thread! I’ll read the submission ASAP. 

Don't worry about it! I wouldn't be able to focus on reading submissions if someone I knew had disappeared like that.

And I still need to read yours. 

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On 8/7/2019 at 5:49 PM, kais said:

- pg 3: so I was moderately on board with the library research exposition, but now on this page it reads just like a giant info dump. I want to see the character really work for the information, not just have it handed to them, then more or less handed to us, the readers

 

I trimmed a lot this yesterday. 

On 8/7/2019 at 5:49 PM, kais said:

- pg 5: every time vampires are brought in, and now gods, the story looses focus. I'd prefer one, maybe two elements. Otherwise it just feels like the story lacks focus and lacks a clear antagonist. Ditto on the aliens

 

 

On 8/8/2019 at 6:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I don't mind that there's ghosts and [something], but I feel like adding in the aliens==ancient gods conspiracy is just too much (there's also some, er, bias issues around that whole new-age/conspiracy thing whatever-you-want-to-call-it). The vampires getting another shout-out I feel like is also unnecessary if vampires aren't in this book. If they exist in-world, it's fine to mention them, but I think the focus on this story should stay with the ghosts as much as possible

I went through and removed the vampire, alien, and god references. I alluded that there might be something more powerful than an average ghost, but didn't say what it was. That will reveal will come later. 

On 8/8/2019 at 6:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Like most metaphysical things, there's no real attack power or aggression associated with it. it's purification and cleansing. It's not one of the dispelling process

I took the sage out. I also didn't use the word "agate" and am just describing the necklace as a dark stone. It's not super significant to the story.

On 8/8/2019 at 6:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I get too into the weeds sometimes.

Your explanation of sage was interesting. I get very fed up with google very quickly when I'm trying to research metaphysical stuff.

I'm not sure how much of it I am actually going to keep / use in this manuscript because I'm more likely to get it wrong than right. Sometimes when I write speculative stories with a contemporary setting, it's easier to just have made up tools when it comes to the paranormal. 

On 8/8/2019 at 11:09 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Is there a reason the chapter can't start with this?

I'm thinking about ways to reorganize the information in the chapter. If I do move things around, I'll try to get to this right away. 

On 8/8/2019 at 11:09 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Considering chapter 6 is pretty short, we spend quite a bit of time with the chars prepping to go into Junk Junction.

Yesterday I went and trimmed that so they get into the store much more quickly. 

 

Thank you all for reading! Your comments were very helpful. :)

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1
- "Notebooks, paperbacks, three-ring binders and harcovers were all squished together on the shelves." The thought of this makes me cringe! lol
- Distrusting D feels a little out of place at this point.

2
- The poison ivy threw off my sense of setting. I was picturing a bigger city where poison ivy wouldn't grow wild.

3
- "I couldn’t make sense of how the books were organized..." At least they tried. I'm still anxious about it.
- "I learned that factory... hauntings would resume." I feel like more specific instances would really suit the narrative.

4
- "I’d gotten hit with a wave of random sadness more than once walking into a small room with an old bassinet in an old Victorian-house-turned-antique store in western Massachusetts." I really like this image but it's very awkwardly worded.
- Are we supposed to dislike the dad? Cos I do. Hope we get more about this relationship.

5
- "Ghosts were easy enough to accept." I think your premise is at odds with your world building. Do common people know about ghosts? Why or why not? In the age of social media, I can't imagine a REAL ghost not going viral. Unless they were common place.

6
- "C went missing a few weeks ago." Nice little "the plot thickens" twist.

7
- "like hot water dripping out of a kettle onto my heart" Interesting.

- "My skin felt like it was covered in bugs and being ticked by tall grass." Both seem a bit much.
- "My blood felt like it had turned to soda." Huh? This one lost me.

9
- Good opening. Gives us direction and purpose.
- After one page the momentum is still good and streamlined.

10
- "I looked around and realized the other mannequins were gone." Not to belittle what came before, but this is the first twist that has gotten me invested in what is happening. 

12
- "It's a little haunted..." I love this.

Overall:
I feel this was your strongest submission so far, especially chapter 6 which I felt had really good forward motion throughout. As for the supernatural elements being muddied, I kinda see where the others are coming from, but I also think having the characters pick a specific theory earlier might turn that mud into world building foundation. I also think the characters voices are working. When you said you tried to make them sound younger I was hesitant but it works well enough. I read a lot of Enderverse books so I'm okay with children not necessarily speaking like "children".

Sorry again about the late reply! Looking forward to the next submission.

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Posted (edited)

Comments (tries to sneak in without anyone noticing he is many, many days late).

(page 1)

- Not keen on them running to the bathroom. Were they bursting before?

- I like the bit where D suggests hiding the bike. Reminds me of times I plotted a child to try and disguise my activities from my Mum and Dad.

- Lovely image of the sun's last rays. You're evoking the days of my youth here... apart from the mannequins and spirits, obvs.

- I don't have a dog, but I've seen enough of them peeing to note that it seems odd to me the dog doesn't pee up against the tree, or even on the bike!

- Personally, I'm again using '100%' in prose, and would use 'one hundred percent' myself, unless maybe in SF, or with a scientific or other technical application. I don't think one tends to see the numerals used in published works, but no doubt someone will correct me.

(page 2)

- The poison ivy reference is a bit wordy, and you mention poison ivy three times close together. Also, reading as a writer, I wonder if this is you setting up a stone later on, in a Chekov's Poison Ivy sort of way... Don't answer that: we shall see ;) 

- "my dad loved his (bike)..." - Oh, bless. That's the sweetest line. Very 'in voice'. My inclination is to think that this is not in fact true, but it's the kid's perception, which is slightly bitter sweet. I'm put in mind of something like The Railway Children, when... [plot spoilers].

- "super suspicious" - Voice!! <thumbs up>

- Confused: why do they have to sleep in the office, why not just sleep here not that they're here?

- You recap what's going to happen, then suddenly they are going upstairs. Is it just them? Where is D?

- "jumped back on the laptop" - I guess this is aimed at voice, but I just don't like it. It comes under the same heading as 'grabbed' for me. These verbs have specific meanings, but so often are used in a slang / colloquial sense. The problem is, used in that sense, they don't add anything to the story. For me, they subtract. Saying 'I ate a sandwich' is far, far clearer, more direct and descriptive for the reader than saying 'I grabbed a sandwich'. Similarly, saying 'I opened the laptop' is way, way clearer than saying 'I jumped on the laptop', which sounds kind of ridiculous to me.

(page 4)

- "My heart sped up. My attention I felt slime slipping through my fingers."

- You restate what needs to happen, getting mum back and such. I don't think anyone's forget that, it's the centre of the whole story. I would drop this motivation recap.

(page 5)

- The jump to vampires is massive. They go from 'other things' straight to vampires and don't consider any other types of 'other thing'. For me, it's not a logical thought process. Battling my WRS, I remember they found a vampire hunting kit, but also one for werewolves (weren't there silver bullets?). Anyway, still.

- I like the discussion about gods, but there are so many different people involved in the account that I found it a bit difficult to stay focused with. There's D's mom, and their mom, and D's mom's friend (Ch?). Seems to hop around a lot as to who's being referred to.

- Last line on the page confuses me. The last sentence is dialogue, but seems like it should be prose.

(page 6)

- "Ch took them" - I thought this meant took the books about aliens, but then the next bit seems to repeat the idea: confused.

- I like the idea around Ch disappearance being suspicious. There is good stuff in this chapter, but the research stuff is a bit slow. Could be tighter.

- What cop? There's nothing about it being one particular cop.

- "seeing her tears..." - I don't buy this emotion. I've not seen that level of emotional attachment. This is a really strong emotion (metaphor). I don't think you develop that in two hours (or whatever), personally.

- "how they found words to say to each other" - great line.

- "I clicked with" - Yeah, see, clicking it not the same as heart-melting, imo.

(page 7)

- "Silence sli..." - awesome line, just awesome. Love it. So descriptive and so simple.

- the doll - They were watching it, then seemed like they just started ignoring it.

- "were in the room next door" - I know what you mean, but it sounds to me like they're in the house next door, compared to 'in the next room'.

- "pantheons" - I wonder if this word is just a bit older than the protagonist? They have been calling them gods up to now.

- "or the most speculating ones were philosophy" - this should be 'speculative', BUT, it actually sounds in-voice for the protagonist's thoughts to be grammatically incorrect (can't believe I'm saying that!! :o ). That does bring me back to the point about 'pantheon' though.

- "Marvel movies" - Poor DC, always the whipping people... :lol: I mean Wonder Woman!!

- "to be home with Mom" - You could really wrench the heart strings and say 'my Mom'. Just a suggestion.

(page 8)

- Where does the thunder and rain come from? Seems to come out of nowhere. I don't think there was any mention of the weather being inclement when they were outside earlier, was there? Seems random.

(page 9)

- "Sweat pooled on my forehead" - I don't think it pooled unless their forehead is flat. I would say 'Sweat beaded my forehead'.

- "I hadn’t realized..." - repetitive sentence, using the same form twice. The reader realise's it's going to be harder on the way back. Think you can drop the second be and go straight to the sweat.

- "to make sure none got stolen" - I really think you need 'had been stolen' here.  This wording is future.

- "doll was in my bag with its head poking up" - Ha-ha, now what could this possibly remind me of...? [In-joke, please disregard.]

- "so no one realized he was there" - Strongly suggest deleting: this is obvious.

- "we made our way to the back room" - Hmm. I'm thinking I would like the tension closer to the start of the chapter. Only at the foot of this first page are we reminded that the mannequins are just on the other side of a nearby door.

- "didn’t pick up any readings" - other than A's doll, so it has picked up some, just now.

(page 10)

- "put in front of the door was still there holding it shut" - This makes the mannequins seem less threatening than they could have been if the trunk was pushed aside. HOWEVER, it's your story and your pacing, and we may not be where you want us yet before things start ramping up, or there may not even be a chase scene, à la Doc Who.

- "back and forth between 'it' and..." - 'it' here is one of those nasty in specifics: it could be the door, it could be the trunk.

- The trunk's not 'gone' though, it's still there, just a bit to the side. You could refer to the obstruction being gone, I suppose, or reword more significantly.

- "D wasn’t in the front where he had been last week" - I can just about remember who D is, but that's my WRS. However, 'last week'? Since when did a week pass? Is that WRS too?

- "other mannequins were gone too" - I suggest, for clarity.

- "I walked up and down every aisle" - There isn't the tension I though there would be in this scene. I thought we might be going into jump-scare territory, but they both seem fairly un-frightened/confident.

- Okay, the monster-isn't-here-for-me-to-show-you is a good trope too, but I'd still like more tension leading up to it.

- "thirty miles away from here and twenty from the office" - Whoa, are you saying they cycled 10 miles? That's enormous; that's like a different town. That's the implication, I think, but I really don't believe it.

- "cap them at like 10 or 15" - Please, please, pretty please, no numerals: you spelled out 'twenty' in the same paragraph.

(page 11)

- "If we take a lot of breaks, do you think you could ride 40 miles in a day" - Nope. Why does it have to be so far? I don't think this is at all practical, for a 12/14 year-old? Even if it was, remember you need to keep it within the bounds of believability for people that don't cycle. Lots of breaks means lots of time not cycling. Eight 15 minutes breaks is two hours of daylight lost. How is it 40 miles? Not sure I'm getting the geography. And FINALLY, please, no numerals. In my opinion, it looks terrible to the eyes, pulls me right out of the mood of the piece.

- "no one has moved in" - See, if the mill and the house are in the next town, how would D necessarily know that for sure?

- "less scary in a getting the cops called on us sense" - I read this twice before I got it the third time. I suggest hyphenating the compound phrase, like 'less scary in a getting-the-cops-called-on-us sense'. I think it makes it way easier for the reader's eye to parse it as a single 'entity' and therefore read in the intended manner.

- "from a haunted perspective" - I know, I know; I've gone all grammar, but still. I don't think this  means the same as 'from the perspective of being haunted' or maybe 'from a being haunted perspective'.

- "It’s a little haunted" - ROLF ROFL :lol: Obvs, this is grammatical anathema to me, but I absolutely love the line. Great example of how 'rules' are made to be broken.

(page 12)

- Good closing line: I'm on board for the next chapter. Bring it!

Overall 

I enjoyed this chapter once it got going a bit more, but there were places I though the pacing/tension dropped off (per the comments). Still, I like how it's going. I still like the tone, and I'm on board with the characters, although there are not many of them. A few details, but nothing dramatic. Tension is probably the biggest thing. I'd like to see it ramped up across the board from near the start, but I'm still enjoying the story. And not I have the next instalment ready and waiting! I shall aim to get to it tomorrow. :) 

<R>

Edited by Robinski
Damnation auto-replace.
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Oh dear, Mandamon read this on the way to Ireland and I'm reading it on the way back, I think that tells you all you need to know about our respective time-management skills... :unsure: 

On 06/08/2019 at 9:15 PM, Mandamon said:

I'm feeling this almost as a novella now

I thought it always was: am I misremembering?

Agree with Mandamon in relation to pacing. I rolled with the aliens and gods thing. I'm not saying I loved it. A clear antagonist would be good, and I presume is coming when they get to the mill.

On 07/08/2019 at 10:49 PM, kais said:

The voice age of the characters is also better.

Agree.

On 07/08/2019 at 10:49 PM, kais said:

why is it part of the narrative?

Don't all SSmooth's stories have dogs in them, or is that my misperception? I am presuming the 'dug' (Scots translation) will play a role. It barked at the mannequins in Chp.1, I seem to remember, and I think helped our protagonist get out of the store room. I'm okay with it.

On 07/08/2019 at 10:49 PM, kais said:

it doesn't not appear to be a leg of the story

Isn't it four legs of the story? :ph34r: 

On 08/08/2019 at 11:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

but around pg5 the story starts to slip back into adult reasoning patterns

Yeah, that chimes with me.

On 12/08/2019 at 6:32 PM, hawkedup said:

Anyway, sorry, not trying to hijack your thread! I’ll read the submission ASAP. 

That's terrible what you say about your friend. I hope it somehow works out alright.

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4 hours ago, Robinski said:

Oh dear, Mandamon read this on the way to Ireland and I'm reading it on the way back, I think that tells you all you need to know about our respective time-management skills... :unsure: 

Lol...

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11 hours ago, Robinski said:

I thought it always was: am I misremembering?

Agree with Mandamon in relation to pacing. I rolled with the aliens and gods thing. I'm not saying I loved it. A clear antagonist would be good, and I presume is coming when they get to the mill.

On 8/7/2019 at 5:49 PM, kais said:

Well, I'm aiming for about 45K words for draft 2. For adult, that would be a longish novella, but for middle grade, that's a typical length novel (at least based on my research), but I don't know the actual word counts for a lot of the middle grade books I've been reading.

I need to work on developing the antagonist more. I'm not good at that when the antagonist isn't a POV character...

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

- Not keen on them running to the bathroom. Were they bursting before?

 

I took this out along with later instances where I spend too much time on bathroom breaks. Like the one two chapters from now where I think I spent a couple paragraphs describing an outhouse...

 

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

- The jump to vampires is massive. They go from 'other things' straight to vampires and don't consider any other types of 'other thing'. For me, it's not a logical thought process. Battling my WRS, I remember they found a vampire hunting kit, but also one for werewolves (weren't there silver bullets?). Anyway, still.

 

Also took this reference out. There aren't actually vampires in the book, so talking about them at all is misleading. I'm on the fence about the kit from chapter 1 though...it would be easy enough to swap it out for something else when it is used (not against an actual vampire) but I am kind of attached to it as a way for the mc to question whether or not the supernatural exists at all...and because I've seen actual vampire hunting kits in an antique stores. But I can see how even that is misleading...

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

- The trunk's not 'gone' though, it's still there, just a bit to the side. You could refer to the obstruction being gone, I suppose, or reword more significantly.

 

Yeah. Though now I'm thinking I might actually make it so the trunk is gone next time I revisit the scene. Originally I had intended to imply they disappeared into this air, but now that the car is missing, I'm not implying that. 

mile

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

Whoa, are you saying they cycled 10 miles? That's enormous; that's like a different town. That's the implication, I think, but I really don't believe it.

My nine-year-old cousin does ten + mile rides on bike trails and old carriage roads. That distance felt long to me at nine, but at twelve or thirteen, it was okay, though I'm sure I rode slower then than I do now. And I'm not super athletic. 

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

Nope. Why does it have to be so far? I don't think this is at all practical, for a 12/14 year-old? Even if it was, remember you need to keep it within the bounds of believability for people that don't cycle

I can shorten it. For someone like D who is very serious about cycling, it isn't far fetched, at least according to forums I was reading. I think my husband started doing rides like that when he was a little older than D and his mom let him ride alone.

But like you said, to someone who isn't into cycling, it may seem like way too much. I just want to make it far enough that is is a challenge, at least for E, and that they can't just ride home after. I haven't actually named any real towns yet, so I'm yet bound by any actual geography. Maybe I'll adjust it so the shop and the town are more like six or seven miles apart, and the mill is more like twenty or twenty five. 

I'll try to remember to stick to spelling out numbers. The numerals are a hang over from being a reporter for college and small town news papers. You are right that most styles guides, other than AP, have you spell out the numbers. 

On 8/20/2019 at 1:06 PM, Robinski said:

A few details, but nothing dramatic. Tension is probably the biggest thing. I'd like to see it ramped up across the board from near the start, but I'm still enjoying the story

Glad to hear it! We're getting into the section where I feel I struggled most with tension, so it might get worse before it gets better, even if I am revising the chapters before I send them out. Thank you very much for reading. 

On 8/15/2019 at 6:24 PM, hawkedup said:

- The poison ivy threw off my sense of setting. I was picturing a bigger city where poison ivy wouldn't grow wild.

This is actually set in a fairly rural area. I'll have to work more details about the setting in as I revise. 

On 8/15/2019 at 6:24 PM, hawkedup said:

- Are we supposed to dislike the dad? Cos I do. Hope we get more about this relationship.

I have to think about this. I'm not picturing the dad as a bad dad, but E is definitely closer with their mom and doesn't quite understand their dad. So he might look worse through E's eyes than he actually is. I could add more, but I'm not sure how relevant is will be to the plot. He does show up near the end. 

On 8/15/2019 at 6:24 PM, hawkedup said:

- Good opening. Gives us direction and purpose.

Glad to hear it! Thanks! 

On 8/15/2019 at 6:24 PM, hawkedup said:

I feel this was your strongest submission so far, especially chapter 6 which I felt had really good forward motion throughout

:)

Thank you very much for the feedback! 

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7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

But I can see how even that is misleading...

I dunno, it's maybe only misleading if you mention it several times, otherwise, it can just be a thing that's there (once), then you can come back and use it for something else. Whereas if you mention vamps, 3 / 4 times or more, you're really promising that's what's going on here, I think.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

But like you said, to someone who isn't into cycling, it may seem like way too much. I just want to make it far enough that is is a challenge, at least for E

It's not even really the physical effort, it's the time it takes. If they have to cycle for 1, 2 or 3 hours to get between points in the story, it's just going to slow things waaaay down. Think about Stranger Things: the kids cycle around from A to B quite a lot, certainly in S1 and S2, not so much in S3. Now, on TV, they can just skip along through time, cutting to other POVs of which there are probably 3 or 4 running in any episode, but I feel like that's much harder on the page with one POV. It also seems strange to me that the mill is so far away from the town it relates to (I think?). If the distance doesn't play a role in the story, I would make it a half-hour cycle, or maybe an hour, but no more, which would make it manageable, and allow people to get from the parts of the story in a reasonable time for lots purposes, I think. Maybe? I dunno, I don't know how the story plays out of course.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Thank you very much for reading.

It's a pleasure. I'm enjoying it :) 

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Posted (edited)

On 8/21/2019 at 6:25 AM, Robinski said:

That's terrible what you say about your friend. I hope it somehow works out alright.

Unfortunately, it did not. After three weeks the police finally found the body. The story, so far as I can piece together, is that he pulled to the side of the road so as to not drive drunk. A woman saw him and told her boyfriend. Together they made to rob him at gunpoint. They told him to start running and my bull headed cousin did not run. Matt never was one to back down.

But thank you! I won't bring down the thread anymore.

Edited by hawkedup
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:( 

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