kais

09/16/19 - kais - Queen, Chapter 2 (AGAIN), (1565 words) (L, V)

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L for cursing, V for mild fantasy violence

Chapter two, also has already been approved so it won’t be getting large scale changes at this stage. LBLs, minor grammar things, and comments on how you’re feeling while reading are all much welcome! This week's sub is pretty short but next week's chapter is pretty long, so I'm hoping they balance out okay.

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Overall an engaging chapter. There were a few blocking issues as outlined below, mostly with moving and fighting. A lot of action in this chapter, which is a good postscript to the first chapter. I feel like E's setup is better here without going into the intersex stuff yet. It lets us focus on her connection to T first, which is her driving factor.

 

pg 1/2 the mad dash for the tree is very engaging!

pg 3: "She oozed defiance..."
--This is a great line.

pg 4: "making sure to click off the speaker this time"
--probably WRS. Was she recording the conversation with the M?

pg 4: "eyes anywhere by E’s face"
--anywhere but?

pg 4: "and connected with the top of a shoulder as the M jackknifed and sprang back up a few paces to the left."
--I don't get what "jackknifed" means in this context. Twist around? Start to fall? Do a kick?
--Also, I had to read back a few paragraphs to figure out they were back on the ground. E touches it, but the text doesn't really say they got down from the tree.

pg 5: "the first blows coming from her feet"
--I don't understand why the M is now kicking her while she's down. The M was the one trying to make peace.

pg 5: "batted"
--used a couple times in a few paragraphs

pg 6: I like the last line.

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Enjoyable read! I particularly liked the pacing, the mystery/intrigue, and the intensity of the scene; I really get the sense that the stakes are high here. I do have a few minor critiques about points that confused me on the first or second read, and then some preferences of wording.

You start with E running towards a dune and then she's going down, so was she on top of the dune already, or did she run up it then down? Or is it like a hole? I couldn't really figure it out, though the point gets across -- she's getting sucked down to her death.

And like Mandamon mentioned about the use of jackknifed, I also have no idea what that might mean in this context. I only understand jackknifed in relation to a truck and trailer lol.
Also, when you say her thumb was out when she punched, I imagine it's sticking straight out, which is completely the wrong way to throw a punch. I only now understand that you meant it was on the outside of her clenched fist.

"Ember kicked like she was clawing her way up from a dive off a diving board" It took me a few reads to understand the simile here. I got what she was doing, so that's no problem, but for the first couple reads I thought you meant she fell off the diving board and was trying to climb back up lol, I might be the only person who thought that though.

The last thing is you go between capitalizing the M to leaving it lowercase (the name,) I haven't read the first chapter so maybe there's some reason for this, but upon the first read I was very confused as to what the M was. Like I had no idea it was a different character until the action beats started happening.

But those are minor issues, some phrases I enjoyed:

"E ran towards the woman, towards the tree, towards the dune and death."

"T’s name did not belong in the m's mouth. Her name didn’t belong in
the scalding wind of the desert..."

The last line was great too, a lot there.

Some phrases I raised an eyebrow at:

"The ground no longer swirled like a budget funnel cake..."

"The m kicked at E's shins while she thrashed like a flipped turtle..."

"...then E wouldn’t be playing whack-a-m on the uninhabitable sun-side of a planet that was so red it looked like it was perpetually on its period."

All that being said, I enjoyed the chapter and I look forward to reading more!
 

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Commentes:

(page 1)

- Epigraphs as chilling as ever.

- I like opening on the suit message, that reminds me I'm in a suit message warning kind of situation.

- "sometimes it was really nice to yell at someone" - oh, by Jiminy, yes.

- "fell and rolled down the dune side" - What I'm missing, and probably it's WRS, is a sense of blocking. So, here, she's not rolling down the side of the funnel shaped hole in the ground?

- "Her suit and left leg registered" - I see what you're going for, but my first reaction to this phrase is that her left leg is in her suit, so in s sense this is the same thing, but of course the suit speaks, so she can feel the left leg pain, as/before the suit says 'left leg damage' or something like that.

- I'd say that 'two-year-old' is hyphenated.

- Also, the blaring throughout the suit, surely the blaring only matters where her ears are. The suit may be blaring at her knees, but they can't hear it.

- "pay whatever the upgrade fee was to make sure" - kinda wordy here. 'pay the upgrade fee' saves two whole words, and it much clearer in this stressful situation.

- "Her descent slowed" - Why did she fall down in the first place? Sounds as much like she fell over her own feet from rushing than anything else. That kind of robs the scene of real fear / danger. Also, I think we need to know the threat. Isn't it a case that she'll go into the hole if she doesn't manage to check her fall? I seem to remember that from the first version of this, but it doesn't seem to be a thing here. I'm thinking she rolls down and stops at the bottom of the dune, no real harm done.

(page 2)

- "which did not make her feel any less like she was being sucked down a giant funnel" - Yeah, see because you mention her falling down the side of the dune near the start, it sounds to me like she's very much above ground during this fall.

- "ungloved hand grabbed her" - before this happens, I don't get the sense that she'd gone over the bottom edge of the funnel into the actual hole, which would add more drama, although maybe she's not, she's just near the bottom edge and the gaping nothingness.

- "swam her way up the side" - but isn't the sand still carrying her down? Swimming up through water, the water is 'static' (largely), whereas her isn't the sand flowing against her?

(page 3)

- "she wrapped it as well around the tree" - not pretty flow in this phrase, also, this implies E has wrapped her leg, but there's not indication she has. 'it' doesn't provide clarity, although we can deduce it means the M's leg. I think what's meant is "finally, E wrapped her leg round the root then the M did too'?  "did the same" - ah, or not. Okay, defo cut 'as well' as nobody has done it 'as well' at that point, it seems to me.

- "released as soon as the ground stopped sinking and the wind settled to ‘only slightly [redacted]’ visibility" - release what? and the wind in itself isn't [redacted] visibility, it's the sand. Just rather untidy here.

- "baking to death" - we go really quickly (i.e. whiplash quickly) from storm and sinking sand, to baking in the heat which, to me, implies stillness and the sun baking down. I know it is anyway, but there's nothing about the sand settling and the shimmering heat reasserting itself after the wind has died down. I think I need more transition of setting here.

(page 4)

- "eyes anywhere by but? E’s face" - typo?

- Inconsistency of 'ella' referentes. There are 18 with small 'm' and 4 with capital 'M'.

- "She rolled onto her back" - we've seen nothing to suggest that the climbed out of the funnel, have we? In that case, seems to me that E would be rolling down towards the hole again about now.

(page 5)

- "strip clothing" - I don't know what this is.

(page 6)

- "uninhabitable sun-side" - Why did I think that the presidium base was on the sun side?

- "shot her." - Hah, yes, that is always a kicker at the end of a paragraph. I'll but it!

Overall 

Good pacing, urgency, action, but I got confused by some of the blocking and feel that a bit more description of E's physical situation would add to the tension of this chapter. I feel like there are elements that are smoother from the last time, but that addition description of rolling towards hole, chasm, hanging from the tree, climbing out of the hole then fighting, would add to the tension and the antagonism. Just a bit more, for clarity. Good though, fairly rattled through it :) 

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So this addresses most of my problems from last week. In fact (with the exception of word count--maybe) I can't see why this isn't included in chapter 1. It pays off some of the stuttering pacing really well and cycles back to being about T. Last week I said the chapter wouldn't pass my one chapter test, but with this on it, it would have.

I only made a few notes as I read because I was engrossed throughout:

1
- Good opening. I now see that each epigraph is focusing on a different month, which I like.

2
- "...an Earth activity she’d been passably good at until pools were banned due to water rationing." Good world and character building. Possible WRS bu...I remember her younger sister doesn't remember Earth and she is older than her now, but I don't remember anything about an actual timeline. How long did E live on Earth? How long was she in FTL compared to her sister? 

4
- "T’s name did not belong in the mella’s mouth. Her name didn’t belong in the scalding wind of the desert and her headband sure as hell didn’t belong in a tattered pocket that probably smelled like crotch." So good!

6
- "whack-a-mella" LOL!
- "The mella took out a gun, and shot her." I'm of two minds about this ending. On the one hand I know it's a hook that some readers like. It's the type of thing James Patterson would do, and he has a huge following. This, however, is the reason I will never read another James Patterson book. The hooks are cheap and usually come to nothing. In this case, we all know the next chapter will just be her waking up and it'll end up being a tranq gun or something. Personally, I think it would be stronger if you said exactly what happens. If it is a tranq gun. "The mella drew a tranq gun and shot her in the neck with a dart."


Note: The train of thought sentences are still coming across more as unfocused prose rather than the "voice" of the POV, but it isn't as distracting in this draft so far.

Overall:
Other than the last line and the head scratching about it not being included in chapter 1 I found this to be solid. I especially think that E's character is coming along nicely. I think she's finally filling the role you intended all along.

Edited by hawkedup
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On 9/16/2019 at 11:14 AM, Mandamon said:

I feel like E's setup is better here without going into the intersex stuff yet. It lets us focus on her connection to T first, which is her driving factor.

Ah okay, good. I've made that not even really a big thing this book, as I was hoping to get into it more in book two.

On 9/16/2019 at 11:14 AM, Mandamon said:

Was she recording the conversation with the M?

Not initially but after, yes

On 9/16/2019 at 11:14 AM, Mandamon said:

I don't get what "jackknifed" means in this context. Twist around? Start to fall? Do a kick?

It was supposed to mean 'to twist'. Ive edited since everyone hung up on it

On 9/16/2019 at 11:14 AM, Mandamon said:

Also, I had to read back a few paragraphs to figure out they were back on the ground. E touches it, but the text doesn't really say they got down from the tree.

Ah okay. Will call this out more

On 9/16/2019 at 11:14 AM, Mandamon said:

I like the last line.

Awesome! Thank you again @Mandamon!

 

On 9/18/2019 at 7:53 PM, julienreel said:

You start with E running towards a dune and then she's going down, so was she on top of the dune already, or did she run up it then down? Or is it like a hole? I couldn't really figure it out, though the point gets across -- she's getting sucked down to her death.

Huh okay. I'll take a look at the blocking on this again.

On 9/18/2019 at 7:53 PM, julienreel said:

The last thing is you go between capitalizing the M to leaving it lowercase (the name,) I haven't read the first chapter so maybe there's some reason for this, but upon the first read I was very confused as to what the M was. Like I had no idea it was a different character until the action beats started happening.

Ah yes, this is a holdover from last edit. I'm trying to catch them all this time around

On 9/18/2019 at 7:53 PM, julienreel said:

All that being said, I enjoyed the chapter and I look forward to reading more!

Great! Thank you for the comments @julienreel!

 

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

that reminds me I'm in a suit message warning kind of situation.

LOL!

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

fell and rolled down the dune side" - What I'm missing, and probably it's WRS, is a sense of blocking. So, here, she's not rolling down the side of the funnel shaped hole in the ground?

Ah okay. Will edit blocking

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

before this happens, I don't get the sense that she'd gone over the bottom edge of the funnel into the actual hole, which would add more drama, although maybe she's not, she's just near the bottom edge and the gaping nothingness.

Solid. Will fix blocking in this whole area

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

we go really quickly (i.e. whiplash quickly) from storm and sinking sand, to baking in the heat which, to me, implies stillness and the sun baking down. I know it is anyway, but there's nothing about the sand settling and the shimmering heat reasserting itself after the wind has died down. I think I need more transition of setting here.

Have fixed this transition

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

Inconsistency of 'ella' referentes. There are 18 with small 'm' and 4 with capital 'M'.

yeah, still trying to clean these all. Please flag as needed!

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

Why did I think that the presidium base was on the sun side?

You're thinking a few chapters ahead

On 9/20/2019 at 0:56 AM, Robinski said:

Just a bit more, for clarity. Good though, fairly rattled through it

Hoorah! Glad it is working better! Thank you as always for the great nitpicks, @Robinski

 

On 9/22/2019 at 4:23 PM, hawkedup said:

can't see why this isn't included in chapter 1

It goes back and forth. I figure an editor can make the final call

On 9/22/2019 at 4:23 PM, hawkedup said:

but I don't remember anything about an actual timeline. How long did E live on Earth? How long was she in FTL compared to her sister? 

I think this is something I will put in in the next edit. I've not stuck a hard timeline in due to drafting but I think it's time it had one

On 9/22/2019 at 4:23 PM, hawkedup said:

Personally, I think it would be stronger if you said exactly what happens. If it is a tranq gun. "The mella drew a tranq gun and shot her in the neck with a dart."

Huh. Okay. Will consider this!

On 9/22/2019 at 4:23 PM, hawkedup said:

1 I found this to be solid. I especially think that E's character is coming along nicely. I think she's finally filling the role you intended all along.

Oh good!

I don't normally sub things I am actively drafting, but I needed to get this done more quickly than usual. Hence, the original subs were more sloppy than I'd like, but the feedback here is always solid and helps things coalesce. So, sorry for the earlier pain but it made for a better product later, for sure. Thank you @hawkedup!

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16 hours ago, kais said:

I figure an editor can make the final call

Is that something editors do for you? I’ve never even tried to submit or anything. 

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23 minutes ago, hawkedup said:

Is that something editors do for you?

Yes. Your manuscript could be entirely reformatted, entire chapters rewritten, etc. Which is why, as I move farther into publishing with agents and editors and such, I'm learning not to sweat the small stuff. Someone is just going to change it anyway later down the road.

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Page 1

“seawater turned brackish”

Brackish means salty, which is how seawater naturally is. If anything, it seems like a bunch of freshwater being dumped into the oceans would decrease the salt content.

 

 

 

 

The action scenes were easy to visualize and you kept up the tension throughout.

 

I also appreciated that, while the M aren’t looking to harm E, and even seem willing to pass along T’s message, the one E meets isn’t being unreasonably helpful either. The colonists and the pirates are still adversaries, so it makes sense that this one would be wary of E and not willing to put up with any (perceived) BS from her. Given that, I’m curious about why the M are willing to pass on the message in the first place. Did T have some pre-existing connection with them, is it an honor-code thing…? It makes me want to read more to find out what’s going on.

 

This feels like a very short chapter. I don’t know if you (or your agent/editor) is open to consolidating chapters, but I think this could be added on to Chapter 1 without making it too long.

 

One small grammar nitpick: sometimes you capitalize the name for the group/society of pirates (the M) and sometimes you don’t.

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On 10/1/2019 at 7:49 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

If anything, it seems like a bunch of freshwater being dumped into the oceans would decrease the salt content.

Ah, it does. Brackish is slightly salty, so this was meant to convey that the salinity decreased

On 10/1/2019 at 7:49 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

This feels like a very short chapter. I don’t know if you (or your agent/editor) is open to consolidating chapters, but I think this could be added on to Chapter 1 without making it too long.

Yeah, this'll be the editor's call whenever the book sells. Right now I'm not super worried about it.

On 10/1/2019 at 7:49 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

One small grammar nitpick: sometimes you capitalize the name for the group/society of pirates (the M) and sometimes you don’t.

Argh. I'm trying to catch all of these but they keep slipping through.

Thank you for the comments!

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