kais

09/23/19 - kais - Queen, Chapter 3 (AGAIN), (4723 words) (L)

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This chapter hasn’t had many changes since it generally worked well in its first iteration. This is the last chapter approved so same as before, I won’t be doing any large structural changes but LBLs and little nitpicks are most welcome. Next week we get back to deep crit edits!

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Definitely better and cleaner than before. I didn't have a lot of comments. One thread that I don't think is working as well this time is the trans/intersex theme on a planet of women. You'd have to get new readers to comment, but I'm feeling this chapter that some readers might be confused that things haven't been explained enough.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "A box of broken lab glassware sat on top of the thing and while it had been taped shut, that wouldn’t stop the glass from breaking further."
--awkward sentence

pg 2: "It would be N’s fault though, if the bi-yearly report she owed the science director, that the director sent to the presidium, came late because she couldn’t finish gathering the data on their new irrigation project."
--also awkward...

pg 4: "making them ride a beetle"
--eh? Is this code for something I'm missing?

pg 5-6: the meeting with the director is much better this time around.

pg 8: "We don’t even have satellites over that region."
--still sort of have a problem with this. It's not because of the temperatures, obviously, and the equator stretches all the way around the planet. So does this mean the satellites never go to the cold side of the planet at all, or they mysteriously turn off their cameras while crossing the equator?

pg 8: "wouldn’t hear her medical asylum case because of the computer chip shortage."
--Eh? I think this is supposed to be a throw-away line, but now I'm wondering how computer chips relate to medical care.

pg 9: "Panic, at the least, since botanists didn’t grow on trees."
--yeah, this is very weird. I get that you're hanging a lantern on it. I guess the director knows about the place they go to in the later chapters?

pg 10: "Concrete quality sand turned into a surprisingly limited resource on Earth"
--also very weird.

pg 13: "But Dr. S’s and E’s unspoken alliance gave N enough street cred to demand favors,"
--Now I'm wondering if you're skirting the intersex/trans issues too much. I'm trying to compartmentalize what I know in this reading, and I wonder if readers are going to be confused about why Dr. S and E are palling around together. They can *probably* guess that Dr. S is trans, but I don't know if there's enough info about E yet. Would need to pass this through new readers.

pg 13: what do racing stripes have to do with Dr. S's gender?

pg 14: "looks like can’t receive"
--missing a word

pg 15: "N puzzled, briefly, over V speaking to his shoulder and not to the inside of his helmet, where T-O-P-As usually resided, then decided she didn’t care."
--weird detail. Is this needed?

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Comments! Sorry again about the delay.

(page 1)

- "the door to N’s lab" - the door to the lab sounds like coming in, but the woman is going out the door 'to' the lab.

- "wasn’t necessarily bitter about it" - vague and uncertain.

- "high-pitched crash" - IMO

- "sat on top of the thing and, while it had been taped shut, that wouldn’t stop" - missing comma, IMO.

- Some of the exposition sounds a little clunky, IMO.

(page 2)

- "She flicked a finger at the plastic pages" - Is she flipping 'through' the page? Unclear.

- "had to be shipped to NE for testing before it could be implemented legally" - So who's in charge here? I thought it was the Pres? Also, the split infinitive sounded especially rough here, to me.

- "N perked up and turned towards Dr. S" - Coffee gets 'perked' :P 

- "stood in the doorway to her lab" - See, sounds better here (although still not great IMO), because Dr.S is coming in. Notwithstanding that, I'd cut it. We know now where the doorway goes after the assistant used it.

(page 3)

- "Wandering the halls with chitchat was academic time suck number one" - I had to read this a couple or three times to get it. 'with chitchat' for my first issue, then 'time suck'. I think it's just a lot of nouns.

- "especially since the kind of surgeries he might have wanted would get him punted from the planet" - I don't understand. Firstly, on Page 2, it's stated clearly that S is a man. Was this the case before? Wasn't 'he' trans? So, I don't understand (again?) how he's allowed on Q as a man. Sorry if I'm being dense.

- "a photo of her" - awkward-sounding phrase.

- I think I mentioned this last time: it's Dr. S this, Dr. S that it sounds like he doesn't have a Christian name. There are five instances of the formal address on this page, which is what makes it sound awkward to me.

- "which was probably half the fun" - vague and uncertain.

- "She sent images of the damaged pipes" - Wait, wasn't E a sentry for several days? Wasn't E out on some post away from the settlement? How did she send images of the pipes?

(page 4)

- "painted yellow ceiling" - Seems a little odd to me that they would go to the expense of painting the place. Isn't it all a bit on the cheap?

- "sweeping escaped glass" - Hmph, but the glass didn't escape, it was spilled, or similar.

- "Broken glass, just another wasted resource they couldn’t replace without outside help" - Huh? Confused. This implies broken glass is the resource, but if it was, it's still broken, so how is it wasted?

- "a ship landing pad the size of a pancake" - funny line, but isn't that outside, and can it not therefore just be enlarged one the ground? Land pads just not a reasonably firm surface, don't they?

- "but that left plenty to work with" - Wasn't the temperate zone really small before, which made me think there was not plenty to work with. Is this a change?

(page 5)

- "which she’d thought had died with Earth" - But surely they can manufacture the smell chemically, can they not?

- "secretary desks" - I don't know what that is.

- "They’d met once outside of work..." - This is a 48-word sentence. I felt it  was over-long.

- "marginally less irritating" - than what? I know what you mean, but its not clear on the page, IMO.

- "There’s better ways" - I know characters are free to exhibit poor grammar, but I don't have to like it.

- "but it wasn’t like they could kick her off" - 'could' is an absolute; either they can or they can't. I think 'would' works better here, because that is a judgement call.

(page 6)

- "that was something in between" - IMO

- "it stripped all of N’s anger and reduced it to fear" - Fear of what? Dr. N? Also, what does Dr. N having experience have to do with N asking the question? This section here, this moment, confuses me. I feel the narrative is lacking a consistent perspective of this situation, or N's POV is.

- "stolen experiments" - Huh? By whom? The M?

- "Dr. N couldn’t meet N’s eyes and, in the silence, a chill settled in." - I don't think the punctuation is quite right in this sentence.

(page 7)

- "the only planet that would take E" - really, a qualified scientist? Seems kind of unlikely. Planets are big places.

- "Sisters stuck together" - This is presented as N's only motivation for coming here, I get that she would want to leave Earth, but I'm not convinced that a significant proportion of sisters would pay this price.

(page 8)

- "wouldn’t hear her medical asylum case because of the computer chip shortage" - I don't understand.

(page 9)

- "...didn’t grow on trees" - Love this line.

- There's an instance of M on this page with a capital 'M' instead of small 'm'.

(page 10)

- "irrigation system routinely working" - nasty old split infinitive here, but also, I think the word is 'reliably'.

- "had definitely mentioned about wanting to borrow" - redundant, IMO.

- "bare white walls made of cinderblock" - awkward phrasing, suggest 'bare, white-painted cinderblock walls'.

(page 11)

- "Behind V" - why can't we get his name in the first scene he is in? It seems weird only getting it now. There were so many changes to deliver it before.\

(page 12)

- "The pres" - I can't picture the present being housed in some [redacted] we building like everything else seems to be. Are they part of the settlement? We never get any idea of the size of the whole dome.

- "over all the other potential chloroform and formaldehyde perfumed labs on her floor" - Huh? Do they all have flyers too? Wasn't this in fact her only option?

(page 14)

- "take time they didn’t have for her to get out of all that and into a suit" - So, how did Dr. S do it?

(page 15)

- "without a full env suit" - Why can't they throw a suit in the storage bay of the flyer? They've been talking about it long enough to have done that already. This is a pretty major issue. N really is being irrational. This conversation is taking longer than the time for her to strip down and hold a rolled up suit on her lap, or any number of other combinations.

- "with a backup fuel tank" - one word.

- When did N pick up on the helmet?

Overall 

I've always liked this chapter. I'm finishing reading quite late, so I'm tired an not all that expressive. I will say that these are my favourite characters in the story. Some good line and some good moment. Looking forward to more.

<R>

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Page 1

they fainted in the scarred forests”

“Fainted” doesn’t feel like the right word here. I associate it with something that only happens to humans. The image of a bear or a wolf fainting makes me imagine it putting paw to its forehead, saying “oh!”, and being revived with smelling salts afterward—sort of applying a stereotyped image of a human behavior to an animal. It ends up being comical, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re going for here.

 

I like these little epigraphs you put at the beginning of each chapter. It’s like you’re slowly showing us how the characters got into the situation they start the story in. I hope we eventually find out what it was that caused Earth’s complete ecological collapse.

 

Page 2

She flicked a finger at the plastic pages”

Even in the twenty-first century, most labs use electronic notebooks. I know this is something of a post-apocalyptic setting, but if they have AI programs for environment suits, I feel like they should have at least a basic word-processing program that could be used for recording data.

 

Page 7

“docked her pay her for academic subordination”

I think you meant insubordination.

 

 

 

I’m a little unclear about what’s going on with S. My impression at this point is that he’s a trans man who hasn’t had SRS, and he knows that he would be kicked off Q if he became anatomically male, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s correct.

 

Looking back at Chapter 1, there’s a mention of E looking toward the “perpetual sunrise,” which makes it sound like she’s near the sun side of the planet. But here, you talk about her suit being lost on the “snow side,” which I assume would be the dark side.

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On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

One thread that I don't think is working as well this time is the trans/intersex theme on a planet of women. You'd have to get new readers to comment, but I'm feeling this chapter that some readers might be confused that things haven't been explained enough.

Hmm. Okay. I'll be interested in your thoughts after the full read through. I decided I didn't want it to be a big issue in book one, but better explored in book two of the trilogy. Still, it needs to be there, and relevant.

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

-eh? Is this code for something I'm missing?

Have added 'while wearing pirate eye patches' so it's more apparent

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

So does this mean the satellites never go to the cold side of the planet at all, or they mysteriously turn off their cameras while crossing the equator?

Ahhh, this is a good point. I've changed this to the satellites not taking images at certain locations.

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

I think this is supposed to be a throw-away line, but now I'm wondering how computer chips relate to medical care.

Nope, not a throwaway! So glad you hung up on it

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

yeah, this is very weird. I get that you're hanging a lantern on it. I guess the director knows about the place they go to in the later chapters?

I wonder how much I should address this. I'm hoping that it is apparent after finishing the book that the director is either A) aware of the relocation pending or B.) doesn't want to challenge presidential dictates about who can go where. I'll put a bit in this chapter about it, regardless

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

also very weird.

Thrilled you hung on it though

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

what do racing stripes have to do with Dr. S's gender?

The racing stripes don't, but the whole thing was meant to show his lack of concern with what people are 'supposed' to do on the planet. Will clarify

On 9/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, Mandamon said:

weird detail. Is this needed?

Yup. Plot relevant later. But that you're hanging on all the plot relevant details is superb! Thank you so much for the comments! On to more edits!

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On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

So who's in charge here?

Good call. Have noted how the political structure works here

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

I think it's just a lot of nouns.

Yeah, it's awkward. Editing

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

Firstly, on Page 2, it's stated clearly that S is a man. Was this the case before? Wasn't 'he' trans? So, I don't understand (again?) how he's allowed on Q as a man. Sorry if I'm being dense.

Hmmm. Okay, I'm not sure how best to address this. V is a man, but he is not male (in contrast to E who is male, but meets the anatomical requirements as well). But he'd still be referred to as a man, regardless, because that is his gender. Since Q's requirements are anatomical, as long as he doesn't get any surgeries, he still qualifies to be on the planet. Maybe I just need to call this out.

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

There are five instances of the formal address on this page, which is what makes it sound awkward to me.

I've added his first name to his first introduction to hopefully help with this

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

Wait, wasn't E a sentry for several days? Wasn't E out on some post away from the settlement? How did she send images of the pipes?

Sorry, wrong sentry. Have clarified

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

sn't it all a bit on the cheap?

Ah yes, but I was trying to show that the director here gets a bit more leeway. Will think on how to better show this

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

Land pads just not a reasonably firm surface, don't they?

Good call. Will address

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

Wasn't the temperate zone really small before, which made me think there was not plenty to work with. Is this a change?

Poor wording. Will need to edit it

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

But surely they can manufacture the smell chemically, can they not?

Yes! Good call.

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

it stripped all of N’s anger and reduced it to fear" - Fear of what? Dr. N? Also, what does Dr. N having experience have to do with N asking the question? This section here, this moment, confuses me. I feel the narrative is lacking a consistent perspective of this situation, or N's POV is.

Check. I'll try to clean this up

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

really, a qualified scientist? Seems kind of unlikely. Planets are big places.

Hmm. Well this is sort of the crux of the whole trilogy so I'm wondering if it needs to be hit harder

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

but I'm not convinced that a significant proportion of sisters would pay this price.

No, I don't think they would. I was hoping to show through this that both of them value their familial bond more than pretty much anything else.

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

why can't we get his name in the first scene he is in?

Yup, this has been edited

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

We never get any idea of the size of the whole dome.

Yeah, we get this a lot later. It does need to be brought forward

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

So, how did Dr. S do it?

have clarified this

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

Why can't they throw a suit in the storage bay of the flyer?

Ahh, yes, I'll add this in

On 9/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Robinski said:

I've always liked this chapter. I'm finishing reading quite late, so I'm tired an not all that expressive. I will say that these are my favourite characters in the story. Some good line and some good moment. Looking forward to more.

Excellent. Thank you for the very detailed notes. On to editing!

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On 10/5/2019 at 6:10 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

I hope we eventually find out what it was that caused Earth’s complete ecological collapse.

You know, I don't think that is ever addressed in this book. I was thinking of it more for book two or three. How relevant would you say it is?

On 10/5/2019 at 6:10 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

I feel like they should have at least a basic word-processing program that could be used for recording data.

This is an interesting line to walk. On the one hand, future. On the other, limited resources and there's still a model in many labs to keep paper backups of digital data. I'll need to think on how to address this. 

On 10/5/2019 at 6:10 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

but I’m not 100% sure if that’s correct.

That is 100% correct!

On 10/5/2019 at 6:10 PM, The Kraken's Daughter said:

“snow side,” which I assume would be the dark side.

This is also correct, and an intentional mislead, so I'm glad its confusing

Thank you for the feedback! To editing!

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