shatteredsmooth

August 31 2020_ShatteredSmooth (Sara) Book of Mel_Chapter 6_Sub 12 (3157 words) (SL?)

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Posted (edited)

Content warnings: 

S: There is no explicit sexual content, but some of the text messages get a little spicy. 

L: There are usually a few swear words. 
 
Hi Everyone,
 
Book of Mel is back from hiatus. Everything I've submitted so far has been revised based on your feedback. While I do not plan to resubmit everything, I am asking you to read one of the earlier chapters before we jump back to where we left off. 
 
One of the things I did when I revised was split some of my longer chapters into shorter ones, so the numbers had changed. The selection you are reading this week used to be part of Chapter 4. This section was rushed and a little confusing, so I expanded it and made it a separate chapter.  Since a lot of it is new content, I'd love some feedback on it. 
 
Any kind of feedback is fine, including LBLs or the sentence-level stuff I usually ask you to ignore, since this is now something like draft 3.5 now. 
 
Let me know what you think!
 
-Sara
 
There is a brief recap below, and a more detailed one is attached.
Ch. 1: M saves a guy from a demon. 
Ch. 2: Healing on a school night was a bad idea. But it has some perks, like falling into the lap of a sweet girl named T. But the guy she saved is her TA, Mi. Oh no!
Ch. 3: M follows Mi and figures out he doesn't recognize her, but is a paranormal investigator with a fascinating mind. She goes out with T, and her roommate, A. There is laughter and cuddles and fandom. 
Ch. 4: Two weeks later, M is trying to figure out how much Mi knows about the paranormal, and learns he has more secrets than extracurricular ghost hunting. 
Ch. 5: M checks on T after a skateboarding incident. They almost kiss, but a broken bone compels M to heal it, and she almost passes out on T. The next morning, M makes plans to go to a masquerade, which is a month away. 
Ch. 6 (this time): A month later, M goes home to pick up the costume and gets some bad news. 
Ch. 7 (next time, which I'm not going to resub): Mel goes hunting. 
 
 
 
 
 
Edited by shatteredsmooth
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WELCOME BACK! I think the all caps is deserved. 

1) I'm not sure if the first two paragraph recap was the smoothest. Perhaps it could be a relatively short scene (1k words?) that shows the skateboarding and the shielding?

2) "But it wasn't as satisfying..." - LOL. I think her eating habit is an adorable quirk.

2) I thought that she generally shielded so she didn't read people's thoughts. Why is she acting like she does, and she's guilty about it?

3) Her Mom is very cool about her love life. I suppose that it goes with the fact that people probably die at a faster rate, but most parents I know or heard of want their children to settle down with one person.

3) "A claimed" - isn't she a bit young to know what she is?

4) I get the feeling that her mom is the kind of person to have made the gauntlets real armor.

6) are the smily's supposed to be double?

10) The conversation with M afterwards actually deflates the tension both from the impending doom and the concern for the hikers. 

 

OVERALL: Always happy to critique, but I'm not sure why you wanted to send an earlier chapter. 

 

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So happy to return to the woes of M!

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, " packed late nights and early mornings spent with mountains of homework" Things I don't miss.

Pg 1, "would curl up on a common room couch" I never had the guts to do this because our common room couches were gross. An RA once got caught banging a student in the common room. Then the same thing happened in the laundry room a few months later. Oh, dorms, how I don't miss you.

Pg 2, "so to keep up appearances, and she spread meals out over short periods of time."

Pg 2, " you felt her break their her arm or leg or something worse?"

Pg 2, "Everything in the kitchen was custom made to be accessible" In other words, instead of banging your hips into the counters, you can bang your thighs. Bruises either way.

Pg 3, "Demi sexual?" Google says this is one word. I had to google the difference between demisexuality and grey ace. Thanks for the new knowledge! 

Pg 4, " the button that opened the weapons room door" Secret door, or are they just fancy and sci-fi with their buttons?

Pg 4, "Mom hadn’t made any serious costumes since Uncle died ten years ago"

Pg 4, "she got to pick the character and it had to be a surprise"

Pg 7, "what are we going to do" Very forward, M. Works well until her telepathy ruins everything.

It was so nice to dive back into M's head! I thought it was a great chapter, and want to go jump back into my emails just so I can read about the demon fight again. 

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Overall, I think this chapter is good, right up until the very end. I don't completely buy M blowing everyone off to run after her grandfather. I think this is a trick by the demon, right? But the reader doesn't know about it until later?
At any rate, I think M needs a more compelling reason than "some hikers she doesn't know are probably already dead" to blow off a month of planning, and getting to see three close friends AND not telling them anything about it.
If nothing else, she could at least say there was a family emergency with her grandfather.


Notes while reading:
I like the second epigraph. More targeted at the characters.

pg 2: "felt her break their arm"
--their -> her

pg 2: "damaged Mom’s feet and the lower parts of her legs"
--you could probably just say "damaged Mom's legs," unless there's a specific reason why her feet are singled out.

pg 3: "Her and A flirt a lot."
Her -> she

pg 3: "about her identity" sounds a little awkward. Maybe just "about herself?"

pg 3: "That’s because you’ll laugh if I tell you.”
--Mom instantly guesses this, which is strange. Have there been other times M was infatuated with someone named after her father? Otherwise, his name might just be Snagglepus, or Slartibartfast.

pg 4: "made any serious costumes"
--"since" missing.

pg 4: "and had" -> "and it had"

Pg 5: Cool costume. I like the phone sleeve.

pg 5: "M braced herself for whatever comment her mom would make next."
--I don't think this is necessary with the previous sentence.

pg 7: M says she's just starting to feel physical attraction, but the thoughts at the end of pg 7 are pretty detailed for "just starting."

pg 8: "“Call him back and tell him no,” “Tell him to find someone else.” 
--I'm firmly with Mom on this one. I don't really believe M could just drop everything she'd planned for a month with being a lot more hesitant about it.

pg 11: "Then they’re probably already dead."
--Which means it's not as urgent to meet up with her grandfather, right?

pg 11: "She didn’t tell him she wouldn’t be there tomorrow."
--also not sure I believe this. How could he not connect her absence to what he directly called to as/tell her about?

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Overall

I'm grumpy. Every time, ever time there's some sort of movement on the f/f front, M chooses Mi. It's not a love triangle, it's like a... 1950s sci fi paranormal where they tease you with lesbians. I have no issues with her ending up with Mi, but she has to have movement towards both, equally, before choosing one, for that to work. 

Her blowing off the girls because of something even her mother says she can get out of, just reinforces that she isn't actually interested in them. Not seriously. Which makes me wonder, why they keep cropping up if they aren't part of the plot?

 

As I go

- I like the second epigraph more than the first

- pg 3: Kiss her tomorrow at the masquerade. Forget about the boy and his paranormal...” <-- 100% with mom here

- pg 3: Kiss both of them. Maybe they’re poly <-- Mom's voice is a lot like the roommate's voice and seems...very non-mom like

- pg 7: the flirting through here is definitely much better

- pg 7: ah, but here it is again. She's almost moving forward with the girls and then she makes a choice to abandon them. Again. When the priorities are Mi or Demon-thing, she chooses Mike. When its hot-girl-threesome-in-costumes vs. Demon thing, the demon wins. Theres not anything wrong with it, but it's so consistent as to be authorial voice at this point.

- pg 10: and here, she's talking to Mi instead of explaining to the girls that she can't come (even her mom is telling her to skip!). So once again, prioritizing Mi

 

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On 8/31/2020 at 11:16 PM, Turin Turambar said:

3) Her Mom is very cool about her love life. I suppose that it goes with the fact that people probably die at a faster rate, but most parents I know or heard of want their children to settle down with one person.

 

 

On 9/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, kais said:

- pg 3: Kiss both of them. Maybe they’re poly <-- Mom's voice is a lot like the roommate's voice and seems...very non-mom like

 

Her mom is weird and not very mom like. Part of it is the hunter culture. Part of it is just a character quirk. Part of it may or may not have something to do with raising a nosy telepath who likes to know things she shouldn't. 

On 8/31/2020 at 11:16 PM, Turin Turambar said:

10) The conversation with M afterwards actually deflates the tension both from the impending doom and the concern for the hikers. 

 

Thanks for pointing this out. :-)

On 9/1/2020 at 0:04 PM, Mandamon said:

Overall, I think this chapter is good, right up until the very end. I don't completely buy M blowing everyone off to run after her grandfather. I think this is a trick by the demon, right? But the reader doesn't know about it until later?
At any rate, I think M needs a more compelling reason than "some hikers she doesn't know are probably already dead" to blow off a month of planning, and getting to see three close friends AND not telling them anything about it

Great point. I am still thinking about how to fix this. Sooner or later, I'll come up with something. 

 

On 9/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, kais said:

ah, but here it is again. She's almost moving forward with the girls and then she makes a choice to abandon them. Again.

In this draft, this is the first time she cancels plans with them for him, but I get it. It turns into a pattern and makes it seem like she doesn't care about them. Originally, what I wanted this chapter to show was her family ruining her social life, but then the hunt seemed too much like a side quest, so I worked harder to tie it back to Mi, which now backfires because it is showing her ditching them for him. 

Hopefully by strengthening up other areas of the f/f relationship, altering her motive for going on the hunt, and also having her leave him for the girls an equal amount of times, this chapter can work. If not, I'll try rethinking the whole set up here. 

EDIT Sept. 8 1:04 p.m.est I think this chapter is just going away and being replaced by the masquerade. 

Thank you @kais @Mandamon and @Turin Turambar

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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On 9/1/2020 at 0:23 AM, Snakenaps said:

So happy to return to the woes of M!

 

Yay!!

On 9/1/2020 at 0:23 AM, Snakenaps said:

I never had the guts to do this because our common room couches were gross. An RA once got caught banging a student in the common room. Then the same thing happened in the laundry room a few months later. Oh, dorms, how I don't miss you

Your college sounds like a wild place!

The common rooms I'm talking about are just part of the suite. So you walk into the common room, go down a hall, and there are two bedrooms, each with two people. So only four people have access to this common room, assuming the suite is a quad. Some bigger suites might have three or four rooms (6 or 8 people). I forget how big they got at this specific school. Of course I didn't actually take notes while I was reading. Before I do my final pass, I need to redo my research about undergrad housing at MIT. 

Also, this would be so much easier if I was just making up a fake school, but the published book mentions M and Mi having met at MIT...so for now, I'm stuck with it. 

On 9/1/2020 at 0:23 AM, Snakenaps said:

Pg 2, "Everything in the kitchen was custom made to be accessible" In other words, instead of banging your hips into the counters, you can bang your thighs. Bruises either way.

 

LOL 

 

Thank you @Snakenaps

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On 9/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, kais said:

- pg 10: and here, she's talking to Mi instead of explaining to the girls that she can't come (even her mom is telling her to skip!). So once again, prioritizing Mi

 

I am considering go back and have her tell Grandpa that she's skipping, and then go the masquerade. But then M finds out he got hurt, and leaves to check on him, and it's only after that she realizes how it was all related to Mi and his paranormal investigator. That way she does not ditch the girls for Mi, had a chance to move forward with them a little, and then when she does leave, it's not for Mi. I'm not entirely sure this would work in the big picture, but I'm keeping it on the back burner as an idea in case things don't balance out in the end with her leaving Mi for them an equal amount of times as she leaves them for him. 

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Hi, sorry this is late, but not as horribly late as I though: less than two weeks!!

I'm in catchup mode, so nothing fancy, just immediate impressions as I go. Strictly no LBLs.

1)  The epigraphs are a bit formal in style for a journal entry, I thought. But I don't know Lucy, so maybe that's how she is all the time. I just thought it sounded like someone writing a book, rather than private jottings in a journal.

2)  The start of the chapter reads somewhat like a summary of the book so far (from what I remember). But, surely the reader knows all that, having read the book? So, I wonder if it won't sound a bit odd to the reader. (As in, 'I've just read all this stuff happening, so I know it already.')

3)  "love… square" - LOL!! :lol:

4)  Mom's advice strikes me as odd. As a parent, you want your kid to be happy, but I'd say parental advice tends to be more general rather than prescriptive advice about who to kiss. Unless maybe Me has already expressed that she doesn't want to be in love with Mi, in with case Mom is just supporting a decision Me has already made. Also, Mom's voice in the dialogue here does not sound like the voice of the woman who wrote the journal, although I appreciate people can apply difference 'voices' to difference situation.

5)  I'd like to think it goes without saying, but, of course, it doesn't. So, grammar, typos like, all over the place ;) There are some other things that normally I would tag, like telling and narrative jumps (or holes), for example, which are what prompted this comment.

6)  I have to have this one. Arm gauntlets, they're just 'gauntlets'.

7)  I like the text speak. Not 100% convinced on the formatting, but it's very in keeping with the setting. I think I would ditch the italics. Or........would I? I use italics for the other half of phone conversations in the Q and M books. Which feels right to me. Maybe it's because the Name: is in standard text, that I think the comment also should be in standard text. I don't think the two parts should be in a different format.

8)  Hmm...pressure from Mom to initiate sexual activity; interesting. I'm still struggling to find some consistency in Mom's voice.

9)  Yeah, the text chat it delightfully suggestive, and it works really well seeing the two other parties messaging back-and-forth while Me reads. However, I don't buy Me grinning. She has just been wracked with doubt about her orientation, but suddenly she has a grin splitting her face? I think that is worth at least some self analysis in terms of, 'Oh, if I'm having thoughts like this then perhaps that's all I need to know.'

10)  I just can't stop myself, because I loooooooove discussing the detailed mechanics of writing. Viz: "“Grandpa” flashed across the screen" - No wy Grandpa should be in quotation marks: it's not dialogue. Single inverted commas if you want to draw it out as a label, IMO. Sorry, back to ignoring LBLs.

11)  Back too the subject of narrative consistency, I did not get the bit when Mom left the room. There was messaging then suddenly (I may have missed it, of course) Mom was coming back in, but I don't recall her going out. Yeah, see, Mom says "Call him back" but she doesn't know who 'him' is, because she was not in the room.

12)  "Do you know what they could’ve found?" - This line struck my unbelievable. He's just mentioned paranormal to her for the first time (right?). Why would he think she could answer such a specific question about the people he's dealing with? I'll admit that there have been enough changes to the story that I'm kinda losing track of who knew what when, but there it is anyway.

13)  60 seconds of silence is too long. Sit there are time it. There's no way Me is going to stay on the phone for that lone with nothing being said without interjecting, asking if he's okay. 10 seconds of silence is a long time, 20 seconds is an eternity. 60 is enough to write a first draft of some (probably bad) flash fiction.

Overall 

Yup, I like the rewritten chapter. I still really feel Me's frustration and 'heartache' at potentially missing the party, but, I'm now think this will work out differently, if I remember various discussions in the interim.

I like how the conversations by different forms of messages and calls come thick and fast, and there is lots of emotional 'action' in the chapter. Good job, but still issues to be dealt with, IMO, but smaller ones I think :) 

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