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Mandamon

20200302 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 1 - 3884 words - Sub 12

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Back to chapter 1! I've reworked this extensively, so let me know what think of it this time around, and if I've fixed concerns you had the first time.

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Okay, this is my first critique on Reading Excuses, so please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong.

I did not know of your books and your universe until this very morning, so now I am very eager to download the prequel on your website. I'm hoping that my local library carries the Seeds book (see, this is where I'm stumped. Can I say the name of already published works, or does that go against the rule of using abbreviations???).

So, as someone who has had the misfortune of not reading any of your other works, here is were my thoughts as I read:

By the first paragraph, I knew that we weren't on earth, there were several different species, and that S. has a hard time with being the center of attention. I was not 100% sure if this was a fantasy or a sci-fi book at this point, because the world made me believe this was fantasy, while the species hinted sci-fi. Judging off of this chapter and your website, it appears that this universe is both sci-fi (in the fact that it is intergalactic) and fantasy (fascinating magic system!). I am totally down for this.

Pronouns: Had to reread the second paragraph because at first I thought xyr was a name. Realized it was a pronoun on my second read through. "Cool," I thought to myself, before instantly looking up how to pronounce said pronouns on Google. 

When S. closes the portal, I began to suspect that this was a sequel or a book in a series, due to the lack of explanation on what the notes were. I immediately became interested. Music? Magic? Smashed together? 

Introduction of the twins: what I initially believed to be their last name is actually their specie, correct? Girldfriend. Boyfriend. Poly relationship? A poly relationship in a world with alien-like creatures, fluid pronouns, and a music-based magic system? Sweet, I'm down. That just means there's more to love. When it said that they were finally together again was when I was sure I was reading a sequel or a book in a series.

Next paragraph mentions A. species form. This was when I began to suspect if the twins weren't human/weren't all the way human. 

I spent the next several paragraphs trying to dissect what was going on, due to having no prior knowledge. Stumbled on S.'s italicized thoughts because I first thought W.W. was speaking with telepathy (don't know if the world has telepathy, so). Reread it in S.'s voice, then continued on. When S. wanted to melt on the floor, I didn't blame him. Being the bearer of bad news is never fun.

Weird gap of words on first line of page 4? Or at least on my side.

What is the mysterious diadem? What are the protrusions? What did it used to represent, before the E. specie?

I loved the two paragraph's of S. reaching into the magic system. I immediately became intrigued and jealous. If I'm thinking, Ah, man, I wish I came up with that idea, it means for me that it really captured my attention and interest. This is a sign of a good book.

Whoops, stuck in the N. world. Can't travel. Something's wrong. What's wrong?

When the green of the I.'s House is mentioned, I began to wonder, do different Houses have different colors?

When S. thinks with italicized words again, I do not mistake this for telepathy this time.

E. has a yelling match. I do not know E. but I want to give her a hug. Even if she is not human/all the way human. Poor girl obviously has some trauma to deal with. Curious about the eye.

Ends with character going unconscious. This is bad. What happened? 

What I Know:

S., I., E. are in a relationship, with I. and E. being twins. I. has long hair, E. has a purple eye. E. did not have a good time recently. I don't know what S. looks like, but haven't read any previous work. S. does not do well in crowds or having attention drawn on him. Poor dude, not a good trait in a hero, but makes for a compelling flaw. We've all been there before.

A number of interesting species that have Houses, prophets, and titles that begin with M. Their world is being destroyed by Drains that are breaking apart the music magic system. That's bad. Specie A is surrounded by conflict, both in the worlds and by the characters. There is a mysterious crystal diadem and an unconscious character that needs help. 

Overall:

I am heavily intrigued and want to go find the Seed book to see if I can catch up. There is a hero with a compelling flaw, there is a peculiar world with alien beings, and there is a magic system that is making me jealous. I hope I get to find out what happens soon.

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Overall

There are a lot of good beats in here, and I think everything that is needed is present. Still some trimming though, I think, and S's emotions fall very flat for me, especially at the end. I don't understand how he is so calm about not being able to go back. Is he in shock? 

E's reactions are excellent when they finally happen, and I think could be moved up some. It drives tension, especially if S isn't going to be emotional. I'm not even getting a solid sense of wonder from him, just sort of resignation. It doesn't feel very S. It feels more I. E feels completely on brand, once she starts talking more and panicking. 

Much improved from the last time! Just a bit of trimming and some emotional expansion will have it I think!

 

As I go

- pg 2: I think S's statement starts the chapter off really strong, but the hit of his second line is lost by being buried on page two. I think it might land better if his first line is "I know how the D starts. With an invasion.' Or, 'The D starts will start on the heels of an invasion' or something. Then you can have a page of description and scene setting while we are riding the thrill of that information. The 'how will it start' line actually looses tension, I feel. It sounds too forced and cuts up the narrative

- pg 2: Wouldn't V already know her other instance was dead? Why react this way to verbal news? I thought they had some mild telepathic links?

- pg 3: The 'look at me line' needs some rewording, I think. I know what you're trying for but it confuses me every time I read it. I like the power behind it, and how it shows S's growth, but the words aren't quite right

- pg 4: by this stage the tension has waned significantly. There are a lot of 'new' species and people talking and it's hard to stay focused on the threat. I find myself trying to figure out who is talking and why people aren't more concerned, rather than on what is being said

- pg 6: I think what is killing the tension is a lack of urgency. I don't feel the panic. I feel a bit disoriented, like our young apprentices, but I don't feel worried or afraid. I think the emotions might need to be amped, both internal and how people are reacting externally

- pg 8: Here, where portals are failing--especially with everything else going on I'd expect S to be just downright terrified. He can't get home, to the only home he now remembers. I isn't herself, there are things eating magic, and his magic doesn't work right. He doesn't need to panic due to his anxiety, but I think he should be overwhelmed a bit, even if he is hiding it and putting on a brave face. And I'd expect more touching from at least one of the twins. Some sort of grounding thing so they all know that even though the Net is being weird, they still have each other. 

- pg 10: ahhh yes, this freak out of E's is good! Would like it a bit earlier I think. She's been way to calm for all that has happened to her

- pg 11: S is soooooo calm. I is freaking out and he can't get home and his magic doesn't work right. Some part of him must be panicking

- pg 13: I think it ends on a good beat, of taking E to her people. 

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Hi @Snakenaps! Thanks so much for the critique.

First, yes you can name my previously published books on here. I'm not sure if many libraries carry Seeds, but let me know if you have trouble finding it.

Very glad to have input from you, as this will test how well I'm re-introducing the story. This is actually the third book in the series! This one and the second book will be out later this year (after a Kickstarter in April)

40 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

By the first paragraph,

I really like your deductions. That tells me the first couple paragraphs can snag a new reader and give them some explanation, even since this is the third book.

41 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Pronouns: Had to reread the second paragraph

Cool. I was wondering if that would be problematic as it came in the second paragraph. Were you familiar with neopronouns before? There are...several...in this series, so let me know if you get confused anywhere.

43 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

lack of explanation on what the notes were. I immediately became interested. Music? Magic? Smashed together? 

I do describe the magic a little later on, so glad you weren't completely confused here.

43 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

what I initially believed to be their last name is actually their specie, correct? Girldfriend. Boyfriend. Poly relationship? A poly relationship in a world with alien-like creatures, fluid pronouns, and a music-based magic system? Sweet, I'm down. That just means there's more to love. When it said that they were finally together again was when I was sure I was reading a sequel or a book in a series.

Correct assumption on their species! This is sort of a big spoiler for book one, just to let you know. Glad you're enjoying it.

45 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

I loved the two paragraph's of S. reaching into the magic system. I immediately became intrigued and jealous. If I'm thinking, Ah, man, I wish I came up with that idea, it means for me that it really captured my attention and interest. This is a sign of a good book

Lol. Glad you like it. I really have fun with this magic system.

46 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

When the green of the I.'s House is mentioned, I began to wonder, do different Houses have different colors?

Yes, each house has a color. They're referenced further on in the story, so let me know if you pick up on them.

46 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

I do not know E. but I want to give her a hug.

Glad this is working a bit better. The first time around, the anger was too abrupt.

47 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Poor dude, not a good trait in a hero, but makes for a compelling flaw. We've all been there before.

Yep, that's sort of his thing...

47 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

I am heavily intrigued and want to go find the Seed book to see if I can catch up. There is a hero with a compelling flaw, there is a peculiar world with alien beings, and there is a magic system that is making me jealous. I hope I get to find out what happens soon.

Great! Glad you're enjoying it. I'll have the second chapter for next week. As I said, this is the third book, so pretty far into spoiler territory, if you do want to read the other two, and are okay with that. Looking forward to your critiques!

 

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Thanks @kais! I must have been writing up my last response as you were...

2 minutes ago, kais said:

S's emotions fall very flat for me, especially at the end. I don't understand how he is so calm about not being able to go back. Is he in shock? 

Hmmm. I'll take another look. He's definitely deriving comfort from being with E/I, he has been here before, and going through the wall is another option, so I'm not sure he would be too anxious. Still, I'll reassess.

4 minutes ago, kais said:

E feels completely on brand, once she starts talking more and panicking. 

Great. I'll look if I can start to bring her reactions in sooner.

5 minutes ago, kais said:

I think S's statement starts the chapter off really strong, but the hit of his second line is lost by being buried on page two.

I was a little worried about that part. Combining the two sentences may work better.

6 minutes ago, kais said:

Wouldn't V already know her other instance was dead? Why react this way to verbal news? I thought they had some mild telepathic links?

No, because they've been separated for a long time. I'm getting into that conversation now in the revamped Chapter 3. I'll add some more detail.

7 minutes ago, kais said:

I think what is killing the tension is a lack of urgency. I don't feel the panic. I feel a bit disoriented, like our young apprentices, but I don't feel worried or afraid. I think the emotions might need to be amped, both internal and how people are reacting externally

Yep, emotions as always! I'll try to punch things up.

8 minutes ago, kais said:

his magic doesn't work right. He doesn't need to panic due to his anxiety, but I think he should be overwhelmed a bit, even if he is hiding it and putting on a brave face. And I'd expect more touching from at least one of the twins. Some sort of grounding thing so they all know that even though the Net is being weird, they still have each other. 

Good idea. I explained some of my reasoning above, but I do agree S should be a little more anxious. E may be distant, but I could lend more support. I'll see what others say.

9 minutes ago, kais said:

I think it ends on a good beat, of taking E to her people.

This will lead into a lot of the conflict in chapter two and three!

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12 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Were you familiar with neopronouns before? There are...several...in this series, so let me know if you get confused anywhere.

I have absolutely no experience with neopronouns. I'm familiar with using they/them, but I can understand how this wouldn't work for your species. I haven't read any books with neopronouns, so I'm excited to give it a try! 

Glad that my critique was helpful, especially since I haven't read the previous two books. 

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10 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

I have absolutely no experience with neopronouns. I'm familiar with using they/them, but I can understand how this wouldn't work for your species. I haven't read any books with neopronouns, so I'm excited to give it a try!

Cool. I'm glad they weren't completely confusing.

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Much improved! Chapter 1 is more welcoming to a new reader this time around. 

A few small notes:

Paragraph 6, last sentence: ", stronger" might rephrase to "and stronger for it." For more impact.

Around 25%: "the being stamped..." THE has an extra space in it.

Around 40%: paragraph starting "If they went..." the last sentence seems to have plural issues. I think themself would need to be themselves.

Thanks for sharing!

 

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Thanks @Sarah B! Glad it's working better.

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Over all, I think this is better, but is still missing the mark a bit for me in terms of really nailing that tension and hitting the ground running. It's not full fall-off-the-starting-block, but it's not the powerhouse start that I feel like this needs to set the tone for what comes next. I think it's hanging together better than last time, but I'm having a very hard time remembering what the previous version was like at all. (So at the very least, this one is more memorable!) 

 

As I go: 

I don't know, something is niggling at me about that opening line. It's strong for sure, but it also feels a little bit off to me somehow too. Maybe it is the big block of description breaking up the ideas -- I definitely appreciate the inclusion of species descriptions right off the mark, but the way they're presented is I think maybe a little too ... detached? Neutral? for the urgency that's going on right just then? Or maybe it's something else entirely. At least I feel like it's gotten past he basic sorts of "this right here is not landing right in this precise way" and moved on to the more advanced kind of "this general area feels kind of squoogy maybe?" and that's definitely progress.

I still want to shout "FINALLY" and pump my fists at "his gf/his bf" but I'm also a little wondering when this shift happened? Was it offscreen or am I just blanking on it? I feel like S recognizing and admitting that to himself (finally) would be super satisfying to read and I don't remember it at all, but wow has my memory gotten bad so maybe it's me.

"how much xy remembered" -- In is the xy? I'm having pronoun-antecedent confusion here. 

"it is not the symbol" -- Should I feel personally attacked, or just lampshaded? ;) But I do appreciate dealing with this. I hope this means In gets to do some more angsting around putting it on later!   

I'm with @kais re S. He's feeling flat to me. I don't know that he needs to be more anxious, but I feel like I need more feeling -- or, like, investment maybe? Intensity? Color? Voice? Presence in the moment? Argh.  --  in general from him as the POV character. Right now, I feel like I'd almost prefer this scene from E or In's perspective, since they're clearly more... kind of... there I guess, for lack of any better description, and E would be closer to a new reader's perspective, it being her first time in the court and all. Maybe not prefer, but like I'd get more out of it? 

 Like, there seems to me to be a very calm and detached feeling to a lot of the descriptions and non-thought-non-speech text and since the POVs in work are all really tightly bound to the characters, that makes me feel like S is calm and detached, too, despite what he says about himself in thoughts. I end up not entirely sold on the urgency or the trouble with choice to stay or to go, not understanding why the problem with the portal is such a big deal (but it's supposed to be, yes?), and sort of not really caring about the slugs  or the timestream and whatnot. 

I like the way the emperor is handled this time around. I appreciate all the little lead up actions to her collapse. They make it flow together much better. 

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Thanks @industrialistDragon!

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I think this is better, but is still missing the mark a bit for me in terms of really nailing that tension and hitting the ground running. It's not full fall-off-the-starting-block, but it's not the powerhouse start that I feel like this needs to set the tone for what comes next.

 

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Maybe it is the big block of description breaking up the ideas

I think this is a big part of it. The first and last chapters usually get the most adjustments as I edit, so I can pare this one down some more to get right into things.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I definitely appreciate the inclusion of species descriptions right off the mark, but the way they're presented is I think maybe a little too ... detached? Neutral? for the urgency that's going on right just then?

Ok, progress then. I'm trying to juggle putting enough description in along with Emergency! and Save the Universe!

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I'm also a little wondering when this shift happened?

It happened about 3/4 of the way through book 2, so probably WRS. That was about 5-6 months ago...

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

In is the xy? I'm having pronoun-antecedent confusion here. 

Yep. Clunky wording. I have corrected.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Should I feel personally attacked, or just lampshaded? ;)

Lol. You were actually very helpful in showing where I need to call this out. This play directly into the next two chapters since I've now handled the introduction here.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

in general from him as the POV character. Right now, I feel like I'd almost prefer this scene from E or In's perspective,

Hmmm...I definitely want to start the book from S's POV, since that's consistent with the last two. The next two chapters are from E/I's POV. I'll work on putting more of S's personality in here.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

since the POVs in work are all really tightly bound to the characters, that makes me feel like S is calm and detached, too, despite what he says about himself in thoughts

Aha. Good catch. That will help me add in some more emotion. Thanks!

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It's been a while since I read the last one, but I think this is a big improvement. There was definitely more focus and urgency. 

I was a little surprised at how Eff V hadn't know her other instance was dead. Initially, it felt like her reaction to his death was because she was told about the death. As I read on in the chapter, I realized it was more of a gradual process that had probably started before S, I, and E arrived. I don't remember feeling this sense of surprise the first time around, so I'm wondering if it is because of information I gleaned from later in the book, from I's certainty that he's know if E died. I also kept forgetting how little time had passed since the other Eff died. I don't think that is a fault of your writing so much as it is the time between me reading the end of one book and the start of the next.

The moment where E thought she heard I's music was a nice set up for their teaming up to open the portal later. 

It's not exactly the same, but there two instances where you use very similar phrases about Sam's anxiety at being the center of attention:

"the fright of being the center of attention"

"the panic of being the center of attention"

Maybe re word one of them?

On 3/2/2020 at 1:18 PM, kais said:

S's emotions fall very flat for me, especially at the end. I don't understand how he is so calm about not being able to go back. Is he in shock? 

He does seem surprisingly calm. 

There are a few moments where he seems aware of a few other things, like decisions regarding what is or isn't important.  Either having him more aware of why he seems so calm, or ramping up the emotion could enhance the chapter. 

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2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I was a little surprised at how Eff V hadn't know her other instance was dead. Initially, it felt like her reaction to his death was because she was told about the death. As I read on in the chapter, I realized it was more of a gradual process that had probably started before S, I, and E arrived.

This is a really good point. Part is because of the lost memories and connection between them, so I can try to make that part clearer.

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

from I's certainty that he's know if E died

Aha. yes, that helps things. I can clarify how close E/I are in comparison to P/V, though that will probably end up in the second round of S/E/I POV chapters, at this rate.

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

"the fright of being the center of attention"

"the panic of being the center of attention"

Oops. Thanks!

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

He does seem surprisingly calm. 

There are a few moments where he seems aware of a few other things, like decisions regarding what is or isn't important.

Stupid lacking emotions! I'll try to en-panic him a little more.

Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

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On 3/8/2020 at 10:19 PM, Mandamon said:

Stupid lacking emotions! I'll try to en-panic him a little more.

 

I am so guilty of this in most of my drafts. 

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9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I am so guilty of this in most of my drafts. 

It's amazing how much I notice is lacking when I do the second draft, especially with the comments from you all.

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Well, I hope this is better late than never.

(page 1)

- Good epigraph and strong first line. I like it.

- "in another fact" - it sounds a bit to me like WW in is the other facet, and they're speaking on a vid-phone.

- "pushed away the stage fright" - yay!

- "asked the prophet of the HoT" - maybe there would be some 'WRS' for all readers in remembering that this is WW.

- "her mouth open at the collection of strange creatures" - she could be about to eat them, by this phrasing. Can she not just gape at them, or gape in wonder?

- "before anything else came through" - it's been sitting open for at least a minute, has it not? Plenty of time for some else to come through while they looked around in wonder, but S has been here before.

- "a pop of silver and gold" - I know colours can 'pop' visually, but my sense was that this was meant audibly, which doesn't really make sense, for me.

- "via a portal" - this is redundant. we know already it's a portal.

- "The Symphony of this f..." - this sounds like part of another paragraph. Didn't flow from the previous line, for me.

(page 2)

- "With an invasion" - this is a whole page away from the start of the statement and, on first reading, I failed to connect it back to the first line.

- "leaned forward from the three legged chair where she held court" - grammar. (a) suggest 'in the chair'. 'from' sounds like she's leaving the chair by leaning out of it. (b) The chair isn't a place in this sense, IMO. I would say 'chair from which she held court'. (c) Is it referred to as a throne elsewhere? I feel like I remember it being referred to as a throne. Maybe in Book 2? Maybe not.

- "the way they move seems dangerous" - Meh. I feel like the way they move can imply they are dangerous, but not sure it's dangerous in itself.

- "Es’ eyes flashed between the unfamiliar species" - Who's POV are we in? Unclear (from those line). If S's, which I think it is, I'm not convinced he would notice this, since there are more compelling places for his gaze to be, like on the stricken Eff.

(page 3)

- "S gave the Ef an..." - This sentence is rather cluttered. Don't think 'unfortunately' is needed.

- "let others through" - Other what? I mean, I know what, but it think this is chance to convey more threat and peril by being more specific. The El have only been mentioned once(?) so far.

- "He had told I..." - this paragraph is a bit clunky for me. There are quite a few clauses bumping around in some of these sentences and I think it hampers the flow, sometimes.

(page 4)

- "Rather than looking like a band..." - I'd say 'the band'. It is that very specific band, after all. 

- "thin protrusions that hung down" - 'hanging down' is more immediate, and present, IMO.

- "If it were identical" - 'was', surely.

(page 5)

- "if any more have arrived in the Imp. Several more arrived... before we left" - I always struggle a bit with the geography. Were they not in the Imp when they left. Isn't the Ef's room in the Imp?

- "whomever" - This is way formal for dialogue, IMO, and not really in character for S.

- "ready to retract his question" - Well, it's asked now. Not sure how he can retract it. I like you can retract at statement, but a question? Interesting debating point!

- "the V allowed" - typo?

(page 6)

- "the sharp sounds and music" - I think one or other, but both clutter the image.

- "into a dirge for the city with his notes" - I think this is redundant, and the line is much cleaner without it.

(page 7)

- I do like this scene where he fails to open the portal. Nicely delivered. I can feel the effort, and the failure.

- "the expression on her face was different than the ones S was familiar with" - wordy. I feel like there's a clearer version using the word 'recognise'.

(page 8)

- "beginning to gain volume again" - I'd say they always have volume. This is their volume increasing. 

- "Two L floated overhead" - This sentence felt odd. It doesn't seem to perform any function other than colour, and this does not seem to be the place for colour.

- "Far too close to open a portal" - Hang on, so they should have known that there was no way the portal would work? Surely the first thing one thinks about when opening a portal is the two end point, but neither of them thought of this?

- "Though the inside does obey the laws of physics" - awkward phrasing, for me. I think "The laws of physics hold within the N" puts the emphasis in a more appropriate place.

- What is an intrusive pattern?

(page 9)

- "S was cut out from their trio for the first time in months" - Eh? Surely he was cut out several times, when In was in captivity, then when En went to rescue him and was captured.

(page10)

- "In fact, I think..." - This ran kind of clunky, to me.

(page 11)

- This past page with En's outburst, and then the reaction of the others to it, there's something off for me, something that felt odd in the reactions, and actions. I guess it just didn't quite flow. En's anger springs from almost nowhere, I felt, and then disappeared. That may be her new normal, but it's quite difficult to absorb as a reader.

- S's anger, it rings a little untrue to me. He's talking about extremely able maj. Surely they can be expected to look out for themselves? Although, he did save the day last time. I think my doubt at his anger is exacerbated by the fact that En just had a blow up, and this feels rather weak by comparison.

(page 12)

- "She directed this last at S" - I don't think you need this. I think it's clear who she's speaking to.

(page 13)

- "S pushed down the panic of being the center of attention" - Surely the Ef is the centre of attention? No way everyone's looking at S, surely.

Overall 

Much better version of this chapter. Honestly, I don't remember so much of the previous version, however this felt pretty clean. Nothing greatly out of place, and full of interest, tension, and a decision to move in a particular direction.

The thing that threw me actually was the last event. The Ef collapsing feel odd. They are going to see the Ari anyway, then she collapses and they need to take her to the ari. It feels to me that the arc of the chapter is already complete when they make that decision, and the Ef's collapse is an unnecessary addition, an adjunction that loses all impact. It feels kind of like an afterthought, IMO.

Good stuff though. That last point is by far my biggest concern.

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Thanks @Robinski!

Less structural problems this time and more line edits, so I'll count that a win!

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Hang on, so they should have known that there was no way the portal would work? Surely the first thing one thinks about when opening a portal is the two end point, but neither of them thought of this?

I'll try to make this smoother.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "Two L floated overhead" - This sentence felt odd. It doesn't seem to perform any function other than colour, and this does not seem to be the place for colour

Trying to reintroduce the species at the same time. I can cut it if it's just distracting.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

En's anger springs from almost nowhere, I felt, and then disappeared.

Hmm...that was the comment I got last time. Tried to make it more natural, but will give it another shot.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

The thing that threw me actually was the last event. The Ef collapsing feel odd. They are going to see the Ari anyway, then she collapses and they need to take her to the ari.

Ah, I can see that. I may be able to move some stuff around so it happens more naturally.

Thanks again!

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Less structural problems this time and more line edits, so I'll count that a win!

I certainly felt this chapter was a win, dropping right back into the action after the end of the previous book.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Trying to reintroduce the species at the same time. I can cut it if it's just distracting.

It's a nice bit of colour, just not sure it fits well here. Maybe it could be pasted in somewhere else (later?).

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Thanks again!

Always a pleasure :) 

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I'm reviewing this chapter again as I have now caught up on the previous two books. 

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, the scroll's excerpt: Is this WW? I've been wondering the same questions, and am excited to see where this leads!

Pg 1, first paragraph: It is so nice to actually know what everything is this time around. Much less confusing!

Pg 1, "her mouth open at the collection of strange creatures": Poor E, dumped into a new facet with no explanation! 

Pg 2, "She was in A form, the only one of her species visible": I am curious to see how E reacts to seeing one of her kind, when the only other time she has seen A is when they have become murdering psychopaths. I can't remember how this chapter goes, it has been too long.

Pg 2/3, as V finds out about her brother: She is grey with fear and worry. I understand that they have no seen each other in decades, but would she not even show a moment of grief? For her lost instance, for losing any chance that she might have ever seen him again? Regret for all the times they could have shared? 

Pg 4, "The being stamped": I am not sure if it the computer I am reading this on or what, but there is a large space between "Th" and "e" in "the". It looks like "Th       e being stamped."

Pg 4, " I suppose even the [Eater] couldn’t dissolve it": Does this mean that the Eater can't destroy the N's crystal? I'm going to call them the Eater so that I don't get my acronyms confused with E, the character. 

Pg 4, "it has not always been." Is the crystal used to help the species A keep their sanity with their long life spans? Does it keep their emotions stable when they change, at the cost of their memories?

Pg 5, "I have been away from [Master] A...for far too long": Girl, you've been away from everyone too long. I fear for E. She's not stable anymore. E and I are broken in different ways, and I fear E will be much more violent than she normally is. 

Pg 6, "I have to make sure my friends are well first": I sometimes wonder how many friends WW has. WW is always down to business - which I strongly appreciate from a plot perspective - but, jeez, WW, let S make sure his friends are dead, or, you know, his entire world is not destroyed. WW strikes me as a workaholic. 

Pg 7, "And nothing happened.": And...the Eaters have escaped into the rest of the homeworlds, haven't they...or is the Symphony breaking to the point where it can't build portals?

Pg 9, "Maybe the wall had something to do with it": That didn't even occur to me.

Pg 9, "We must help our own facet guard against the [Eaters]": I agree with I. Make sure that everyone is still alive first! Stop the apocalypse before returning to genealogy!

Pg 9, " diadem equal to the one I wear": I wonder how the diadem can help them? Can they pull up P's old memories?

Pg 9, "was surprised to see her hands in fists": Here's that violence streak I was worried about.

Pg 10, "better than the last ones I met?": I am excited to possibly meet more species A, but have the same worries as E.

Pg 10, "We can learn so much about our people.": Like maybe how to control the desire to absorb, and learn how to change without becoming mentally unstable?

Pg 10, "Did they do to you what they did to me?": Thankfully not, because I probably would have been absorbed, unlike E. I's power is charisma-based, not strength-based. 

Pg 11, "While we are here": I wonder how long the Symphony will take to repair itself from the Eaters. Can portals even be made anywhere near the medical ward now? If S even wanted to, could he travel through the wall? (which I don't recommend, as that would be going into hostile territory). Could S, I, and E go far away enough into the facet to cast a portal to D?

Pg 12, "surge of anger that xy would so easily dismiss his friends" I continue to wonder how many friends WW has, considering WW is rather tactless when it comes to the emotions of others. 

Pg 12, "Maybe we should stay here": I'm still not sure why they wouldn't go farther into the facet - sped up maybe through a Beast - and then cast a portal. I am much more concerned about O, R, C, and everyone who has escaped to D. What if everyone else arrives at D, but there is no S, E, and I, and they are assumed to be dead? The collapse of V still makes them stay there, so would S, E, and I still want to leave, until V fell unconscious?  

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Thanks so much for reading again, @Snakenaps! These are great reactions, and help target where I can fine-tune things.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

WW strikes me as a workaholic.

I LOLed at this. Definitely, and no, I don't think many friends.

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7 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

These are great reactions, and help target where I can fine-tune things.

I'm glad that they are helpful! I'm not skilled enough to catch many structural issues like others, but I'm a well-read young adult, so hopefully I give you a good look on what your target audience might think. 

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9 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I'm reviewing this chapter again as I have now caught up on the previous two books.

:o That's impressive!

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9 hours ago, Robinski said:

:o That's impressive!

What can I say, I love books? Since Fall of the Imperium is going to be posting probably weekly for a long time, I knew in order to critique it well, I had to know what was going on. 

@Robinski That being said, if you want to DM me, I am more than happy to give a full critique of TCC, instead of just the ending chapters I've been sent since I joined. I'm trying to get caught up on critiques, since I fell behind while juggling the closing school district.

I guess I'm using you all to keep the practice of grading papers. Keeps me from getting lazy. 

On the other hand, critiquing is a really good experience for me, because it is teaching me how to revise better myself. So if anyone has any tips on giving good critiques or revising, I am more than happy to hear. 

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Great logic!

Let me think on your kind offer. I've just got to the end of TCC, so now I really need to go through a full edit with all the thematic details and comments I've been picking up along the way. There's always Book 1 of course. TMM needs an edit for consistency with TCC now, but I would insist on reciprocating in some way, if there's something of yours that I could read in return?

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10 hours ago, Robinski said:

Great logic!

Let me think on your kind offer. I've just got to the end of TCC, so now I really need to go through a full edit with all the thematic details and comments I've been picking up along the way. There's always Book 1 of course. TMM needs an edit for consistency with TCC now, but I would insist on reciprocating in some way, if there's something of yours that I could read in return?

@RobinskiI'm happy to read Book 1! I didn't realize TCC was a sequel, or maybe I forgot in the last few weeks? I'll happily read anything you toss my way. If it is about the same length as what I read for Mandamon, it takes me about two weeks to critique a book. I don't go for line by line edits, but rather for general impressions, what I am enjoying, what I am confused about, reader promises, that kind of jazz. I like Google Doc versions, so I can read it on my phone and add comments. 

And in return, I'll happily have you tear apart my book when I'm ready. I foolishly thought that I would have the second draft ready by the first of April, but I've never seriously revised before, and I didn't realize how long it would take. I chopped out an entire subplot, emphasized another, and have been trying to turn a lump of coal into a shinier lump of coal. Maybe it will turn into a diamond at some point. I am really good at killing my darlings (I do have a lot of practice at that), but I never knew that revising a book would actually be harder than writing it. Shows what I know. If you have any resources, tips, or tricks on revising, I'll happily take them.

Seriously, though, when I start posting, I want you to tear my book apart. I really do want to try to get it published, and that means destroying any weaknesses and boosting up my strengths. So I need some outside, unbiased eyes who are willing to tell me the hard truth. 

Let me know what you think. If you want me to critique the ending chapters of TCC this weekend, I'm happy to give you my impressions and I'll do my best to get an idea of the plot. 

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