kais

06/15/20 - kais - Rosewood Chapter 10 (S)(L) - 4823 words

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L for mild language. S for kissing and wandering hands 

Changes since last sub - none because I have a deadline for this book and it’s about two weeks out. PANIC! Have to finish up this round of edits and get as much through you all as I can before then. I will fall behind on general subs for a few weeks but will get to them all after this is turned in, promise!

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Comments. Ooh, I love getting a few pages in before finding anything to say :) 

(page 3)

- "maybe people like her and Jv" - I forget what magic Jv has, or if this retconned and I don' actually know?

- "Sinking to the hollow of her throat" - What is N wearing at this point? I don't recall that being described and it makes a big difference to the scene.

- "paralleled between her legs" - Is this is typo? - That is the least erotica for ever to describe a sensation between the legs. (No, wait, I retract that, burning pain is probably the least, but you get the point.)

(page 4)

- "Do you like women, G" - Does she really need to ask? Hmm, maybe. Okay.

- "dive bombed" - clang.

- "You didn’t ask people you were seducing if they liked you" - But she didn't; N did. And we know N is not trying to seduce M, because N believes it's all preordained.

- "She didn’t have to seduce the princess" - I like this realisation. This is good for the plot, and my investment in M and her goals. What about getting into the royal coffers though? Does she still need the seduction to get the gold? That's not part of the prophecy, surely.

- "flowed like liquid butter" - Hmm. I know M is deeply into butter, but this is not a particularly sensual image, IMO. 'flowed like honey' for example, is much more sensual, I think. Butter...sends my brain in a different direction.

(page 5)

- "such as the cut of the princess’ dress the evening prior" - See, this really, really highlights the fact that I don't know what N is wearing now.

- "Trap. M pulled her hand away" - This is some really strong character interplay, a great scene, it really sizzles. Would sizzle more if I knew what N was wearing...just saying.

- "She could push away...the only thing she wanted." - These lines here: really powerfully emotional stuff.

(page 11)

- "They could both change clothes" - Bit confused. M fought hard to get the pants and yesterday spent most of her time complaining about the clothes she was wearing and wishing she had pants. Now, she just drops the whole pants thing (pun intended) and plans to go back to the other clothes? She seems to drop her pants demand way too easily.

- "Stop down shifting" - This is a very modern expression. Clang. Not even sure what she means here.

- "Linseed again" - Must say I've almost completely forgotten the significance of the oil, and how it appeared in the previous chapter. Probably WRS, and maybe too soon after the first occurrence for a reminder here?

(page 12)

- "continued to shake" - Oh, no. Feel genuinely worried about him. You've done a good job of waning him sympathetic very quickly. 

(page 16)

- "Soothsayers don’t give generic visions" - This paragraph about visions is confusing to me. I think it needs to be tighter. Why can't J ask about a cure, why does he only see white? I don't get it. Feels like it's twisting around to keep the plot intact.

(page 17)

- "doesn’t have nutrition problems" - I don't understand.

- "the progression of this ball" - What does this mean? Don't get it.

- "who she would marry" - I understand that this might be the question, but the reveal comes very suddenly, and I don't think very smoothly. I felt awkward to me, this last page.

OVERALL 

Great chapter. Good a natural progression of the relationship, a clue to some plot involving linseed that I don't really get, but expect to develop into something serious and threatening. Excellent character moments, in particular an absolutely incendiary scene between M and N. I think the reveal at the end will work fine, but I think it needs a rework/edit/refinement to more smoothly reveal that J has worked out what question N asked. I think the issue is that nobody has really thought about this as a thing, so the reader doesn't know that they should be thinking about it up until the last page, and then it's asked, but the reader doesn't get time to think about it really before he answers it. Not sure. It's a great end to the chapter, I think it can work better.

Great job with this chapter though. Things are really ramping up. I think I just need more external threat. The wider stakes for the world have dropped out of focus. As N and M come together (cough) and resolve their differences, there starts to be a bit of a threat vacuum, I think.

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Some similar concerns to @Robinski in this chapter, but I had more of an issue with it.

I'm still very confused on motivations in general for this book. M seems to dislike N, but needs to get with her for money, except actually likes her, except can just marry her already and get all the money she needs (and care for J). N also wants to be with M and has even been told this will happen. Her motivations are much clearer at the end of this chapter, but she's sort of been a creeper before now, and not really doing a good job of making overtures to M. So the conflict seems almost manufactured and I don't feel enough tension yet.

 

7 hours ago, Robinski said:

Bit confused. M fought hard to get the pants and yesterday spent most of her time complaining about the clothes she was wearing and wishing she had pants. Now, she just drops the whole pants thing (pun intended) and plans to go back to the other clothes? She seems to drop her pants demand way too easily.

Very much agree with this. This is another inconsistent motivation point to me.

7 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "who she would marry" - I understand that this might be the question, but the reveal comes very suddenly, and I don't think very smoothly. I felt awkward to me, this last page.

Also agree. I had a suggestion at the bottom of my notes, but don't know if it would work if this is a strictly 1 POV book. I think we need some sort of hint before now, and a connection to how soothsaying works.

I mean, you know me and POVs, but I would really like to read this from both M and N's POV, a chapter at a time, so we get the opposing "She doesn't like me because of my dreadful secret" views and we can see the conflict the characters are trying to get around. As of now, it's very one-sided, and M is very confused about everything, which leaves me as a reader confused as well.

(Uh oh...I'm venturing into @Robinski ranting territory here... ;) )

 

Notes while reading.

pg 1: "N had found the small talk during a four-hour dinner exceedingly tiresome."
--I'd guess anyone would find this tiring, but it seems more like a M thing. Also the whole chest -> tiresome -> fidgety list doesn't really address the previous sentence about coming to a truce. I had to read this paragraph a couple times to figure out what was going on.

pg 1: "uncoiled her hair...Enough coiling"
--Which is she doing?

pg 2: "Especially with combs"
--I'm guessing this is a jibe at getting the comb back, rather than coiling hair, but I also have no idea what that involves, and whether a brush vs comb make a difference, so I think the whole thing just went over my head.

pg 2: "rubber band"
--they have these?

pg 2: "She looked young, and entitled, and entirely too much like every image M had ever had of royalty."
--So is the truce still going on? I mean they're not actively fighting but I don't feel like M is acting much differently.
--ok, it gets better the paragraph afterward...

pg 3: "while letting magic, magic, dictate her future."
--is M particularly anti-magic?

pg 3: "How could you trust a magic no one understood?"
--Ok, this answers the above, though isn't that sort of the definition of magic? It's forces people don't understand. Otherwise it would be called science.

"faith in something that was slipping from their world"
--this is a better reason not to trust it.

pg 3: "distract her from her task"
--what task? I'm not sure whether M is helping or not.

pg 3: "Like this was a script that had to be played out. Like there was a known outcome."
--I get this is sort of the theme for the book, but it does take tension away. It's sort of saying right out they'll get together. Not that we don't know that...but it lessens the tension

pg 4: “Do you like women..."
--I would have thought this was obvious by now.

pg 4: "This had gone too far in a very wrong direction"
--Eh? Did I miss something? I'm getting whiplash from M's motivations: truce, not truce, seduction, not seducing...

pg 4: "She could dive out the window"
--Huh? I'm confused.

pg 5: "the room was one thousand degrees"
--I am not getting the tension here.

pg 5: “Noting the four generally accepted options"
--which are??

pg 5: “I uh, do have free time sometimes. Not often free coin. But sometimes.”
--This page sounds like things the two would be going though on their first meeting, not once they've been around each other for a couple weeks.

pg 6: "The correct course of action would have been to push the princess’ hands away..."
--I"m still not quite sure what M's hangup is. Why exactly can't she be with the princess?

pg 7: "a whole world of complications"
--what complications?

pg 8: "took a prince’s hand and started to dance"
--hm. I expected there to be...more to that.

pg 9: "a drop of M’s blood in the tea"
--is this new? And if it works, why not just do it all the time?

pg 10: "“You’re right,” she said."
--M is suddenly accepting of the pants rule? When she fought against it so hard the day before?

pg 11: "both change clothes and she could avoid an international incident"
--but she was willing to cause one the day before.

pg 11: "the one potential friend she’d made"
--is this Ji? I didn't really get they were friends.

pg 12/13: more interested now in the linseed oil, the kid, and what Ja is doing.

pg 14: "Did she bring the comb?” 
--why would she have brought the comb? I thought it was back at the castle?

pg 14: "She’s just taking a bit more time."
--except she isn't. M is. I'm still confused over this plot. M seems to be able to get to her objective by just sleeping with the princess, but isn't doing it?

pg 15: "You are not allowed to fall for this woman...Don’t gamble our future on a girl."
--Hm. but what does falling for her have to do with anything? And she's not a girl, she's a princess. She has access to more money they they are hoping to make. Am I missing something?

pg 16: "You don’t get to change it, even with different soothsayer."
--Aha. I think this needs to be drawn out a lot more, and a lot sooner. That you only get one question can lead to a lot of explanation for motives for the three main characters and I think I'm missing them right now. Showing how they're fixed on a path and deviating would be going into the unknown will put a lot of things into perspective.

pg 17: "asked to see who she would marry, and the answer keeps coming up you."
--yes, this finally makes a lot more sense. I feel like chapter 10 might be too late for it though? I don't know. It does give a good reveal to have it here, but I've been very confused about motivations for N and M for basically the entire book, and I wondering if we need some hint of this near the beginning. Maybe a quick flashback in N's POV to show what she asked? Just something so the reader can start putting the mystery together before the characters do.
 

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Posted (edited)

10 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Uh oh...I'm venturing into @Robinski ranting territory here... ;)

If once the Dark Path you start down, forever your destiny will it dominate*.

 

 

* I felt I had to rephrase this quote because they never apply Yoda's grammar foibles consistently.

Edited by Robinski
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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

* I felt I had to rephrase this quote because they never apply Yoda's grammar foibles consistently.

Most @Robinski thing ever.

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:lol::lol::lol: 

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Notes as I go:

Pg. 1. That’s a really long first paragraph. Slow.

The entire latter bit confuses me. ‘He’d be an easy prince to control.’ ‘You shouldn’t marry for control’ ‘Princesses don’t get control in marriages. Neither do princes. I’d rather control than be controlled.’ There seem to be so many conflicting claims here. Princes don’t have control any more than princesses but she’s afraid a prince would have control over her while saying this current prince would be an easy person for her to control. Despite princesses not having control. ????

‘But you’re in a queendom, you get whomever you marry, right?’ I don’t understand. Is there context about queendoms from previous chapters which I haven’t read? What does it mean that she gets ‘whomever you marry?’ Legal slave-style ownership? An implicit control?

Pg. 2. J had desensitised her ‘for a lifetime.’ This doesn’t read right. It feels like you want to say he had desensitised her enough to last a lifetime but thought that was too wordy and abbreviated it.

Pg. 3. This may be personal preference but starting a sentence with an adjective - ‘considered’ etc. – feels jarring.

‘Mental hoops.’ I’m confused. What mental hoops? Is she having to reinvent herself? Wait, I reread it a few times. I think you’re trying to say that she is single, unmarried and heir to the throne. The automatic assumption is meant to be that this makes her a strong, driven woman, who has fought off social convention to be a single woman in power. The reliance on an outer power, magic, does not gel well with this and she must have jumped through mental hoops to maintain both. I believe there’s a clearer way to convey this.

‘Drowning butterfly.’ This is a very bad simile. How does a drowning butterfly slip from anything?

Pg.3-4. Oh boy this really isn’t my typical genre choice XD

Pg. 4. There seems to be a jarring juxtaposition between her inner thoughts – escape at ANY COST – and her actions – soft murmuring, stuttered words. I assume you intend to show that she’s subconsciously divided. But it’s too extreme for me to find it readily believable. As a further point, it would probably scan better without such a long internal monologue involving assessments of the princess’ fitness and escape points.

P. 6. This internal deliberation about running away with J does the same job as the ‘jump out a window’ thing, only much more naturally.

P. 7. I like the distinction here between sensual pleasure – pushing her to the bed – and relationship-things – curling hands in her hair. It seems like solid character development.

P. 8. She walked through the door.

P. 10. Wow, that deescalated suddenly. I imagined the whole trouser thing would blow up, but M kinda just… deflated.

P. 10-11. He’s seventeen. The way the descriptions were going I kinda assumed he must be, like fourteen. Seventeen is definitely young and immature. But it’s no longer instant “boy you are a child get out from under my feet and go play elsewhere” age either.

Also, why is Ji whispering?

 P. 13. Why is everyone instantly ageist? He. Is. Seventeen. M is not his mum. He is responsible for himself. True, the character can be naïve and dependent, but people shouldn’t instantly jump into “wow it’s a child someone get him out of our hair” mode. Especially in front of him; they’re just being needlessly rude.

The boy starts convulsing and then collapses into the hay and they say ‘let him rest?!’

P. 15. It strikes me that building a relationship with the princess might give the guild a powerful ally. Of course, there IS the ‘she’ll use us and throw us away’ element.

P. 17. Nice reveal at the end. Well reasoned.

 

Overall, there were some confusing points in this chapter. I had to reread parts to understand what you meant. There were some characterisation issues, like the trouser thing with Ji, and what struck me as some very strange ageism.

There was also good development on the “love not passion” front with M, and I enjoyed the last page or so with Jacks, which is where I felt the most tension.

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Hi

5) 4 accepted genders - ? I know in some cultures they have 4 genders, but I didn't really that orientation adds another dimension here.

15) is J actually surprised, or surprised at how M says it? Because it sounds like the first option, but since J knew what the plan was and M says that they kissed, that's not what he expected - is it? This is a bit rambling.

 

J's revelation is awesome. There whole thing with the control shifting seems reasonable, especially since the power shift seems the opposite, it makes sense that the romantic control shifts too. Personal opinion - move the explanation of Soothsaying earlier, so that it doesn't feel like everything was explained for the revelation. Or rather, keep the explanation here to a minimum.

Also that oil is poison, isn't it?

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I'm not sure about this chapter. There was lots of tension between M and N, though parts of it actually made me a little uncomfortable. 

The interaction with the kid has me curious, but I felt adrift. I could almost see it moving the plot forward, but I felt like the pieces just weren't quite clicking together. 

You mentioned the four genders again, but we still haven't really seen them much or at all...WRS? I want to know more about them. 

As I read:

"N... stamped her foot..." This kind of made me laugh, but also almost seemed over the top childish for a princess. I guess I expect to more like a composed politician than how M sees her. 

"You can't...I mean you..." Is this embarrassment at the outburst? 

"How could...like a drowning butterfly." Love the imagery here, but I'm not so sure about the section it concludes. I'm wondering it it could be trimmed a little. 

"...pulled the rubber band from her hair" Ouch! Back in the days when my hair was long, if I couldn't find a hair elastic but was desperate to tie my hair back, I'd use a rubber band and those things hurt coming out. Half the the time I had to cut them out. But my hair is curly and tends to get all knotted and snarly. I forget if N's hair is curly or straight. Maybe G is the one with the curls. 

"Script that had to be played out...not in control of this situation." This is where I started to get a little uncomfortable. It might not be a bad thing though, because M seems very uncomfortable, so if that is what you were trying to convey, it was well written because I was feeling what I thought M was feeling. 

"This had gone too far...not on board." A little more uncertain here. This gave me the impression M was getting very uncomfortable with the situation and wanted out. It made me want her to get out.

But as the scene progresses, her internal monologue and actions contradict each other, a little. I get that she attracted to N, but I also feel like she is being pressured to stay and be seduced when she really doesn't want to be, which ruins the mood for me. If it wasn't obvious that N was going to be the soulmate, it might not bother me as much, but I don't like N in this scene. I don't want to root for her to end up with M based on how she acts when M is clearly uncomfortable. 

"four generally accepted options...those who fall between the lines of the other three." Here is that mention of the four genders again, but all the important characters seem to be men and women. 

"N stepped into her...against the wall...gripped it with both hands." There have definitely been lines before this that indicate attraction, but M seems very uncomfortable and N is being very pushy. 

"Could I come closer, G... YES M screamed into her head, against all logic. Out loud, she said nothing." How I'm reading this is N is manipulating M's attraction to her to engage her in something she physically wants but mentally doesn't. It makes me not really care for N as a love interest.

This may be one of those instances where it is more acceptable between two women than it would be between a man and a woman. I'm not straight, but I'm not super savvy when it comes to lesbian culture, either, so take this with a grain of salt. I would like this interaction better if M's thoughts weren't so add odds with her body. In some of the lines I noted above, she seemed viscerally uncomfortable. Maybe if you tone that down a little bit, the scene will be smoother. 

"...then took a prince's hand and started to dance." Where did the prince come from? Am I missing something? 

"blood in the tea" Is this the icky last resort referenced in an earlier chapter?

I didn't highlight lines after this, but I was a little confused by the whole interaction with Jx and the kid. I wasn't quite sure how it fit the big picture. 

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On 6/15/2020 at 6:19 AM, Robinski said:

I think the reveal at the end will work fine, but I think it needs a rework/edit/refinement to more smoothly reveal that J has worked out what question N asked. I think the issue is that nobody has really thought about this as a thing, so the reader doesn't know that they should be thinking about it up until the last page, and then it's asked, but the reader doesn't get time to think about it really before he answers i

Agree with this. I felt like something was off with the reveal and I think @Robinski explained what I couldn't. 

On 6/15/2020 at 2:00 PM, Mandamon said:

Her motivations are much clearer at the end of this chapter, but she's sort of been a creeper before now, and not really doing a good job of making overtures to M.

Also agree, especially with the creeper part, both in terms of the soothsaying and how she interacted with M earlier in the chapter. 

On 6/15/2020 at 2:00 PM, Mandamon said:

I mean, you know me and POVs, but I would really like to read this from both M and N's POV, a chapter at a time, so we get the opposing "She doesn't like me because of my dreadful secret" views and we can see the conflict the characters are trying to get around. As of now, it's very one-sided, and M is very confused about everything, which leaves me as a reader confused as well.

 

Could be interesting. I'm happy staying in M's POV, but right now I don't really like N much. Maybe I'd be more sympathetic if I saw from her POV.

 

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5 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

This may be one of those instances where it is more acceptable between two women than it would be between a man and a woman. I'm not straight, but I'm not super savvy when it comes to lesbian culture, either, so take this with a grain of salt. I would like this interaction better if M's thoughts weren't so add odds with her body. In some of the lines I noted above, she seemed viscerally uncomfortable. Maybe if you tone that down a little bit, the scene will be smoother. 

 

And also, just to add on to my own comment, my issues from this scene may very well be tied into personal biases because personally, I would be extremely in any situation remotely close to the one N and M and that might not be the case with other people. 

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On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

I forget what magic Jv has, or if this retconned and I don' actually know?

This is a retcon. He has deadly accuracy with throwing things and bows/arrows. 

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

What is N wearing at this point? I don't recall that being described and it makes a big difference to the scene.

GAH I HAVE FAILED okay going back to describe clothes

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

Does she really need to ask? Hmm, maybe. Okay.

Torn on this. It's sort of a loose requirement in this type of lesfic to have this conversation. Maybe I can integrate it better.

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

But she didn't; N did. And we know N is not trying to seduce M, because N believes it's all preordained.

Hmm, my purpose to this paragraph was too oblique. I've tried to clarify.

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

Bit confused. M fought hard to get the pants and yesterday spent most of her time complaining about the clothes she was wearing and wishing she had pants. Now, she just drops the whole pants thing (pun intended) and plans to go back to the other clothes? She seems to drop her pants demand way too easily.

yup. I failed to make the correct plot arc last chapter and here it is biting me. Rewriting the whole pants-based thing. 

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

think it needs to be tighter. Why can't J ask about a cure, why does he only see white? I don't get it. Feels like it's twisting around to keep the plot intact.

I have gone back through the earlier chapters and added a lot more specificity about how soothsaying works, in that you get ONE questions for your whole life. It should better ease this part in then

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

I don't understand.

Puberty is delayed if you have poor nutrition/ low body fat, particularly in girls

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

but I think it needs a rework/edit/refinement to more smoothly reveal that J has worked out what question N asked. I think the issue is that nobody has really thought about this as a thing, so the reader doesn't know that they should be thinking about it up until the last page, and then it's asked, but the reader doesn't get time to think about it really before he answers it. Not sure. It's a great end to the chapter, I think it can work better.

I'm going to try to streamline it a bit. I've added more about soothsaying earlier in the book too, which I think will help.

On 6/15/2020 at 3:19 AM, Robinski said:

I think I just need more external threat. The wider stakes for the world have dropped out of focus. As N and M come together (cough) and resolve their differences, there starts to be a bit of a threat vacuum, I think.

It's coming, but we need to have some sexual tension scenes first. Next chapter is the ball and the plot comes round at the end, but first we need EMOTIONS. 

I'm so glad this chapter (mostly) worked for you! The sexual tension is definitely rising.

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32 minutes ago, kais said:

He has deadly accuracy with throwing things and bows/arrows.

Ooh, nice.

34 minutes ago, kais said:

Puberty is delayed if you have poor nutrition/ low body fat, particularly in girls

Huh. That is my learning for today. Thank you.

35 minutes ago, kais said:

The sexual tension is definitely rising.

Oh, yeah. Big style.

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On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm still very confused on motivations in general for this book.

Likely because of so many early changes. Oof. I've gone back and really hammered home M's over the top need for the comb, and N's determination to save her queendom via alliances. That doesn't help with continuing on through, unfortunately. 

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

M seems to dislike N, but needs to get with her for money, except actually likes her, except can just marry her already and get all the money she needs (and care for J).

N hasn't actually mentioned marriage though. Or anything really except them attending a ball together. By the end of the chapter M is confronted with the notion that marriage may be N's end goal, but in theory she's conflicted enough with her own emotions that she won't consider that.

I think I was too oblique in parts of this chapter in that M is freaking out about love suddenly becoming part of the equation, and not being ready for it. I've made it more clear, stating love explicitly, and I think that will address some of these issues.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

but she's sort of been a creeper before now, and not really doing a good job of making overtures to M.

She's still in apology mode. Hmm. She has been doing a fair bit of the seducing, but maybe it's too subtle? The pants request was supposed to be a fairly large gesture. Maybe I need to play that up more. I've added M accepting an apology in the previous chapter as well, which I think should help.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

Very much agree with this. This is another inconsistent motivation point to me.

I've cleaned up the pants plot from the last chapter. N got an override (as a kind gesture) and M has turned it down 1) because she realizes that pants have meaning here and 2) she's trying to not be as caustic with the princess

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

I think we need some sort of hint before now, and a connection to how soothsaying works.

Yup! I've added more about soothsaying now in several places earlier, so it should lead in more organically

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

but I would really like to read this from both M and N's POV, a chapter at a time, so we get the opposing

I did consider that at the beginning. I'm afraid it would wax too political then, since N is much more concerned with island politics. I'm going to pose the question to my agent and see what he thinks after he has read it.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

is M particularly anti-magic?

Argh, no. Changed this to 'prophecy.'

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

but it does take tension away. It's sort of saying right out they'll get together. Not that we don't know that...but it lessens the tension

Hmm, but does it feed into the reveal at the end? That's what it was put there for.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

I would have thought this was obvious by now.

Oh it is. But this is a lesfic checkbox.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

Eh? Did I miss something? I'm getting whiplash from M's motivations: truce, not truce, seduction, not seducing...

I made this far too oblique, and have since clarified. M has just realized that N isn't trying to seduce her so much as build the foundation for a relationship, and that freaks M out. Sex she can do. Love, no way.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

which are??

This is going to get defined both earlier, and then also later

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

not once they've been around each other for a couple weeks.

Ah, it's all lesfic trope right here. Sexuality discussion + touch of jealousy eventually leads to (=) sex scene in which one of them is far more experienced than the other. 

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

is this new? And if it works, why not just do it all the time?

Retcon. This is her Plan B, which was mentioned a few chapters ago as well. She gets into the mechanics of it a few chapters later, but there's also some discussion of it earlier which got added in after you all read. Still needs the nettle tea, but her blood has healing properties that can kill with the wrong dose.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 10: "“You’re right,” she said."
--M is suddenly accepting of the pants rule? When she fought against it so hard the day before?

pg 11: "both change clothes and she could avoid an international incident"
--but she was willing to cause one the day before.

pg 11: "the one potential friend she’d made"
--is this Ji? I didn't really get they were friends.

This whole section has now been rewritten

On 6/15/2020 at 11:00 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm still confused over this plot. M seems to be able to get to her objective by just sleeping with the princess, but isn't doing it?

I think the clarification of being afraid of love should help make this make more sense

Great comments, and now the chapter is shaping up really well. Thank you!

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On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

The entire latter bit confuses me

Ah yes. Have clarified

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

But you’re in a queendom, you get whomever you marry, right?’ I don’t understand. Is there context about queendoms from previous chapters which I haven’t read? What does it mean that she gets ‘whomever you marry?’ Legal slave-style ownership? An implicit control?

It's from earlier chapters. In a queendom, the queen rules so in theory the princess could decide and not be 'married off.' Opposite of a kingdom

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

I believe there’s a clearer way to convey this.

I'll see if I can clarify

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

Oh boy this really isn’t my typical genre choice XD

LOL sorry!

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

There seems to be a jarring juxtaposition between her inner thoughts – escape at ANY COST – and her actions – soft murmuring, stuttered words. I assume you intend to show that she’s subconsciously divided. But it’s too extreme for me to find it readily believable. As a further point, it would probably scan better without such a long internal monologue involving assessments of the princess’ fitness and escape points.

I failed to properly convey that M is running from what she now realizes is N's desire not for sex, but for a relationship/love. I have cleared this up I think.

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

Wow, that deescalated suddenly. I imagined the whole trouser thing would blow up, but M kinda just… deflated.

The pants thing didn't go as planned. I've reworked it

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

He’s seventeen. The way the descriptions were going I kinda assumed he must be, like fourteen. Seventeen is definitely young and immature. But it’s no longer instant “boy you are a child get out from under my feet and go play elsewhere” age either.

Ah, but M is mid-forties, so she's going to see 17 as very young

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

The boy starts convulsing and then collapses into the hay and they say ‘let him rest?!’

They aren't exactly the most upstanding citizens. These are all highwaymen pretending to be respectable. I think this should be in character? I've added a bit more to it to hopefully make it track better.

On 6/16/2020 at 6:56 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

on the “love not passion” front with M,

AH! So it did come through for some people! Awesome! That will help in the reworking. Thank you for this, @TheDwarfyOne!

 

 

On 6/16/2020 at 3:21 PM, Turin Turambar said:

This is a bit rambling.

I've streamlined this more

On 6/16/2020 at 3:21 PM, Turin Turambar said:

move the explanation of Soothsaying earlier, so that it doesn't feel like everything was explained for the revelation. Or rather, keep the explanation here to a minimum.

I have moved parts of it earlier so this is more surprising yet inevitable and less just OH I SEE. 

On 6/16/2020 at 3:21 PM, Turin Turambar said:

Also that oil is poison, isn't it?

YES. Soon to come - a lot of death. But also dresses!

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7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm not sure about this chapter. There was lots of tension between M and N, though parts of it actually made me a little uncomfortable. 

It looks like I really bungled the internal monologue with M. She's pulling away because she sees that N is after a relationship and love, not just sex, and she is deeply uncomfortable with that because she has never had a relationship before. And because she knows, deep down, she wants that with N, too. I've done a fair amount of clean up here to hopefully make this more clear.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Ouch!

Quite right! Have changed this to 'ease'

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

because M seems very uncomfortable, so if that is what you were trying to convey, it was well written because I was feeling what I thought M was feeling.

Okay so, two things. The first is per above, the love/sex thing. But the other is that I'm setting up a relationship with a dom/sub pairing and to do that I have to establish M's relationship with control. She doesn't like N having all the control right now, via soothsaying. So I need to figure out how to keep these elements without the bounce, since it forms the beginning of their sexual interplay in chapter 14. Any thoughts or feedback most appreciated. For a quick breakdown, this is how things have to be laid out beforehand.

Subs (N) are always in control in the background (prophesy, power balance in being a princess)

Doms (M) seek control and tend to feel weird when not having it (working for N, highwayman), but understand that 

Subs (N) must give up control voluntarily and with consent, but it may be revoked at any time (power balance shift in sex scene)

The added trick here is that N knows far more about M's personality than M does about N. So she can do a lot more toying than M can. N is clearly driving this thing right now, and we're starting (in theory) to see the catalyst that will drive M to take control (which is what N wants). 

That was a long winded way of saying, I want this scene to be hot and lay groundwork, not being weird with potential consent issues. But yes, M is uncomfortable but aroused.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

but all the important characters seem to be men and women.

They will be in this, for the most part. I have a bit player enby at the end, but they're going to stay in the background right now. 

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

"N stepped into her...against the wall...gripped it with both hands." There have definitely been lines before this that indicate attraction, but M seems very uncomfortable and N is being very pushy. 

"Could I come closer, G... YES M screamed into her head, against all logic. Out loud, she said nothing." How I'm reading this is N is manipulating M's attraction to her to engage her in something she physically wants but mentally doesn't. It makes me not really care for N as a love interest.

Hmm. This is a very sort of beat-by-beat bossy sub provoking a reluctant dom situation, but I do think that (per your next comment) it's one that is seen in lesfic and works in lesfic because lack of power imbalances caused by gender. M does want this, but isn't ready to admit that yet to herself. I think the changes I made in the previous chapter to hang a lantern on her fear of love (or unfamiliarity with it) should make this scene read smoother. At least I hope so.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Is this the icky last resort referenced in an earlier chapter?

Yes. Yes it is. Hello, Plan B

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I didn't highlight lines after this, but I was a little confused by the whole interaction with Jx and the kid. I wasn't quite sure how it fit the big picture.

It's B plot building. Will come to fruition in about two chapters. But first, THE BALL.

7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

And also, just to add on to my own comment, my issues from this scene may very well be tied into personal biases because personally, I would be extremely in any situation remotely close to the one N and M and that might not be the case with other people. 

I've run up through ch 14 through my lesbian beta team. They find J-s more or less useless but adore these interaction scenes between M and N. N is a BIG trope in terms of lesfic fantasy romance princesses so now I'm wondering if I just am relying on the trope too much. Although since this is geared directly as the lesfic audience, maybe that's okay? I don't know. I'm going to have another read through and see if I can sort it out.

 

Thank you for these @shatteredsmooth!

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1 hour ago, kais said:

It looks like I really bungled the internal monologue with M. She's pulling away because she sees that N is after a relationship and love, not just sex, and she is deeply uncomfortable with that because she has never had a relationship before. And because she knows, deep down, she wants that with N, too. I've done a fair amount of clean up here to hopefully make this more clear.

8 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Okay, that clarification makes a huge difference, and was not quite what I was inferring from the internal monologue. There were a couple sentences that hinted at it, but the majority of it had given me a different impression. 

1 hour ago, kais said:

But the other is that I'm setting up a relationship with a dom/sub pairing and to do that I have to establish M's relationship with control.

A few months ago I beta read something with a dom/sub dynamic and it went completely over my head until the author explained what they were doing. There were a couple scenes were I had a similar reaction to this one. 

1 hour ago, kais said:

Hmm. This is a very sort of beat-by-beat bossy sub provoking a reluctant dom situation, but I do think that (per your next comment) it's one that is seen in lesfic and works in lesfic because lack of power imbalances caused by gender. M does want this, but isn't ready to admit that yet to herself. I think the changes I made in the previous chapter to hang a lantern on her fear of love (or unfamiliarity with it) should make this scene read smoother. At least I hope so.

8 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

With the changes you are describing to the previous chapter and to the internal monologue leading up to it, I might not have had the same issues with it. I think a combination of me misreading M, not being aware of her fear of love  and just not liking sexy scenes where the mc isn't the one in control probably triggered the response I had. 

1 hour ago, kais said:

They find J-s more or less useless but adore these interaction scenes between M and N

This was the first interaction between M & N that I didn't like, but I really think it was because N had all the power in it.

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

Although since this is geared directly as the lesfic audience, maybe that's okay?

The trope isn't a bad thing.

I didn't have a problem with N before this scene, though giving her a little more depth wouldn't hurt. I think a lot of that depth might actually be there already but just needs to be brought out more. 

You know the lesfic audience better than I do, so if the trope is tried and true with them, play it up. 

I also read way more YA than adult so I my reaction to things will be different than your target audience. 

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11 hours ago, kais said:

LOL sorry!

You are forgiven, if only because it expands my horizons ;)

Quote

Ah, but M is mid-forties, so she's going to see 17 as very young

 

I understand that. M as a character can view people who are 17 as very young, immature, etc. - that would be part of character. But it's coming across as a facet of your universe that 17 year olds are unwanted pests. I can see that for early teens, less so for late teens.

Quote

They aren't exactly the most upstanding citizens. These are all highwaymen pretending to be respectable. I think this should be in character? I've added a bit more to it to hopefully make it track better.

Sure! I read it as them thinking he was going for a wee doze, which is strange because he was convulsing. If they see him convulsing and are like 'meh, not my problem' then all to the good. Or, em, bad.

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Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, " faun’s Pass" Capitalize "faun"

Pg 1, "Prince E’s haircut.": I wonder what a frog man has for a hair cut. I'm picturing a bowl cut on a man with a squished face with an unfortunately wide mouth. Maybe buggy eyed, slouches. 

Pg 1, " hadn’t had to punch a prince" Like she wouldn't have enjoyed that.

Pg 1, "If you’re getting married to control people" Welcome to politics.

Pg 1, “You get whomever you marry, right?”: Confused. So N doesn't get to choose? Or do you mean she'll end up with whomever she marries, which...isn't that the point of marriage?

Pg 2, "She pulled out both green ribbons," First of all, I thought there was only one ribbon, and second of all, if N decided to switch hairstyles, I'd like to see her change her mind. Otherwise it reads as she coils her hair, then uncoils her hair. Me, if I decided to change my hairstyle, it's because I'm getting frustrated with my hair's behavior. Or made for N, she wants to say something else with her style. After all, hair down can be more sexy and girly than a serious coiled bun, yeah?

Pg 2, "pointed to the dressing table" N isn't at the dressing table to begin with? Is she doing her hair in front of a full length mirror or something? I don't she's doing her hair in bed or in the bathtub. 

Pg 2, " Especially with combs" Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

Pg 2, " tied it with a rubber band at the end" So, apparently, rubber hair elastics started getting used in the last 1800's. Huh, who knew? I didn't realize rubber bands had existed so early, but then again, I never thought about the history of rubber before. Either way, the use of rubber band threw me off, because I was picturing the office supply rubber bands. I probably wouldn't have blinked twice at hair elastic or hair tie, though.

Oooooh man, if the technology is in the mid/late 1800's from what I can tell, are there early cameras??? I don't remember it being mentioned, but it has also been a couple of weeks since I sat down to critique.

Pg 3, "I’m a little ridiculous today." I mean, yes, the pouting is a little ridiculous, but, hey, we all have our days. However, I think N has a very valid point M is choosing to childishly ignore. M needs that training if she isn't going to completely wreck N's plans by acting like a fool and drawing attention to herself. 

Pg 3, "There was bad logic there": A control freak who doesn't use good logic and messes around with powers people don't understand...this seems like an incredibly dangerous combination. 

Pg 3, "like drowning butterfly"

Pg 3, " turned her head just enough" Why would N turn her head if she is facing M?

Pg 4, "Like this was a script that had to be played out." Uh, oh...

Pg 4, “Do you like women, G?” N knows the answer to this question, knows how many women M has slept with. So what is N really hinting at here? Is she asking in M likes her?

Pg 4, " a very specific princess," Hee hee hee

Pg 4, " She didn’t have to seduce the princess to get the comb." Then why bother at all, except for the challenge of it? I feel like this undermines the plot.

Pg 4, "cross stich stitch

Pg 5, "who you choose in a relationship" Dang, let's not beat around the bush. I worry that N is moving to fast and will accidentally push M away. After all, N has known M for decades through the visions, but M hasn't known N that long, and most of that time was spent butting heads instead of bonding over frog princes. 

Pg 5, "Noting the four generally accepted options," I'd love to learn more about these two other genders that I don't know about yet. I mean, it's hard for me to wrap my head around the four options when I don't know what two of them are. Things make sense for me with metaphors, and right now I know two of the options are peaches and bananas, but what are the other two, when there are so many possibilities? Kiwis? Apples? Grapes? Plums? Oranges? Melons? There's so many different ways these two other genders can present. 

Pg 6, "“Could I come closer, G?" Asking for verbal consent, I like it, since M isn't just leaping into her arms. I feel like M is having a strong internal battle, but I'm not sure which side will win in the end.

Pg 7, "Dug her fingertips into the waist of M's pants and pulled her forward," Dang, for a woman with not a lot of experience, she sure jumps in feet first.

Pg 7, "I want you to know that you have options." I'm reading this more as "We aren't anything yet, so don't feel like you're locked down" compared to "I'm willing to enter an open relationship." I feel like N is way too controlling for the trust needed for an open relationship. I mean, granted, I know nothing about those, but if communication is key when there are two people, then it must be vital when there are more than two involved.

Pg 7, " tart reminder of breakfast" Berries for breakfast?

Pg 7, " dutifully eased off" Good. Respect to boundaries is important. I think M needs to figure out what she wants before they continue forward.

Pg 8, " It’s new to me, too." Hmmm, does this mean there are multiple paths the future can take? One where they are friends, and one where they are more than that?

Pg 8, “Would you attend me to the secondary ballroom?” Feels out of the blue, but I also recognize this as N offering M a way out from what otherwise might end up as an awkward situation.

Pg 8, "I really don’t want you sleeping with the maids." Because of N's feelings, or because of trouble M might stir up, or both?

Pg 9, "She walked through the door"

Pg 10, " blood in the tea to settle his skin down" Interesting...what are the drawbacks from this that keep them from using it often?

Pg 10, "They The boy nodded."

Pg 10, "as we are using the linen napkins" So napkins dictate how much you can eat?

Pg 11, " a moment to understand the question" Okay, so far our three genders are cis-male, cis-female, and gender fluid? Yes? 

Pg 11, " What if you attended the native culture, instead of demanding your own be met?" Dang, woman's got a point. It's like covering your shoulders when you walk into Rome's cathedrals. You do it because you're visiting, even if it is okay for you to wear tank tops at your local church.

Pg 11, "From the Duchy" Frog prince's place?

Pg 12, "Their lives were hard enough" Hmmm, I find this interesting. So, the commonfolk generally don't care, but being gender-fluid and (?) makes it hard to live an average life. Why doesn't M give us the names of the genders? I might be able to infer what they are like based off of the names. 

Pg 12, "Stop down shifting" I find this to be an anachronism and it yanks me out of the story. According to my dear friend Wikipedia, manual transmissions were originally invented in France in 1894, which put this just at the cusp of where it might be realistic for this story, or it might be too futuristic. Probably isn't common knowledge either way.

Pg 12, " oils from his pants colored the needles a sickly orange" Suspicious... 

Pg 12, "It’s a leather conditioner" A leather conditioner you aren't supposed to speak of. Suuuuuure, Jan.

Pg 13, "some answers. What does" Extra quotation mark.

Pg 13, "Two days in a row?" Busted...

Pg 13, "like he was having some sort of seizure" The sap and oil? M probably wouldn't have been affected because she's Super Woman. Someone shaking while holding a sword is enough to get them killed.

Pg 15, "No, sorry." I sense the trees are now a foreshadowing.

Pg 16, "That got J full attention" J needs an apostrophe to own his action.

Pg 16, “Well that seems sudden" Comma needed in between "well" and "that."

Pg 16, "But G, You. Are. Blushing." The "You" shouldn't be capitalized, or the sentence needs to end at M's nickname. Also, awwwww.

Pg 16, "in visions since she was a child and I suppose, you know, all children" Grammar needs a helping hand on these two sentences.

Pg 17, " mom and dad" Names should be capitalized.

Pg 17, " I saw white nothing. And I didn’t even get a refund." Awww, poor J...

Pg 17, "One question, and then you get visions related to that question every time." So, to be clear, the first question you ask any soothsayer is the only visions you'll see, even if you go to another soothsayer? I pity the people who ask the soothsayer really dumb, regrettable questions.

Pg 17, "to only get visions of you?" Good question...

Pg 17, "Who will be the most irritating person in my life?" That's M for you, always blowing off anything that she doesn't like. Girl's like an ostrich burying her head in the sad (I know that's a myth, but it works). That's going to bite her in the rump one day.

Pg 17, "[Dang] it M" Missing comma between "it" and "M"

Pg 18, "What kind of question would a ten-year-old girl ask a soothsayer?" I have three guesses: 1) romance, 2) adventure, 3) her parents designed a question and made her ask it. 

Pg 18, "the answer keeps coming up you." Heh heh heh...

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