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Aspiring Writer

Reading Excuses - 12-7-20 - Aspiring Writer - SotU The Vengeful, the Betrayed, and the Lost - Ch10-11 (4623) - (L,V,G,)

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We're returning to the character from the prologue. @Robinski Tag me when you finish reading, I have some questions that I will PMing you.

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Overall this was an interesting chapter. I'm glad we finally got a follow up on the prologue, but the chapter was a bit dry in general. T gets rescued for...reasons and then proceeds to get lectured by a bunch of people and told she doesn't have a choice but help them overthrow the galaxy. I would say that this character is probably the most empathetic for me so far, but it feels like she just gets pushed around this whole time. Not a whole lot of character agency. 

We finally get some answers about the stuff, but its kind of info-dumpish. I think I would appreciate it more if it were more spread out, or presented in a more interested way. having one character literally just lecture it to another character is a bit dry in my opinion. And I don't really feel any emotional attachemnt to them wanting to overthrow these people at this point, so I don't even know if I want to root for them or not. 

but overall, I think that this character/arc is my favorite so far, so that is good. 

 

Alrighty, opening up the document now. I saw that this is the character from the prologue, so I am interested to see where this goes.

Pg 1 “life was good” nice way to introduce that it’s the character from before

“burning from the inside out” how is it doing this? Is it the stuff she is drinking?

Ok, so she herself is not an orange person.

“golden people flying somewhere” this is pretty vague. Are they flying in front of her, to the left, behind her?

“That made her like it” nice little sentence right thar

“Humans” should just be humans. No capitalization needed.

Pg 2 “slowing them down” slowing them down how? By shooting them? By restraining or attacking them? By making the ground into sticky tar?

“resting his head” ah, is this Q?

“miniscule blonde hair” I don’t think miniscule is the best word here. Maybe “buzzed” or just “short”

Pg 3 “small room” this sentence repeats the word “room”

Pg 4 Is this the same Jeff that supplies Q? hmmm

Ah, so she actually is one of the orange people. She is just in denial.

Pg 5 “full MH” cool. I still have no idea what this is

“how does that explain anything” Hgahjg! XD hahaha

Hey cool! We’re finally getting some answers (after 10 chapters)

Also btw who are these people

A note: all of them have four letter, fairly standard names. Not very memorable imo

Pg 6 “a female…something” like, how can she tell it’s female if it’s another species? Are you saying it shares secondary sexual characteristics with a human? Because to me, that just reminds me of either a cartoon with animals where they make sure you know which one’s the girl, or she is simply misgendering this alien. Though I guess she could just be reading the mind of this alien to know its female. If that’s the case, you should probably point it out.

On another note, this alien has a very cool design

Pg 7 all these names being thrown around and I’m not sure what any of them mean.

Pg 8 so she doesn’t trust them to inject her, until she suddenly does.

Pg 9 they are talking about the nutrional value of a sentient species?

“galaxies dead” I’m guessing should be “galaxy’s dead” or galaxies’ dead.

“stronger than average” should be stronger-than-average

Pg 11 sorry, but why is she okay with an alien seeing her undress? Seems to me like that would be worse than someone of another sex but the same species seeing you change

Pg 12 “similar to human” I guess that answers my question from before

“now I’m gonna give you a little history” EXPOSITION TIME

“who are trying to bring down” so now we know their motivation. And they just expect her to go with them just like that? Without question? She has mostly seemed pretty unphazed this whole time. Like she’s just been forced from one place to another.

Pg 14 “I’m not going to mince words” how are they any better than the slavers then? She still doesn’t have a choice, even if her conditions are better.

“what will revenge” I’m glad she is going through this thought process

Glad to be getting answers about the sources. (their names remind me of the infinity stones)

…but this is basically an info dump. Gets a little confusing

 

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Nice to be back to this POV, my favorite character by far. 

A large number of passive voice sentences, especially in the beginning. 

"The sky weighing on her everywhere she looked." Confusing

"He was surprised she listened" feels like a momentary break in POV. Not really needed after the raised eyebrow. 

A bunch of "they" "group" "some" and other vague terms makes this chapter read very nebulous to me. 

"An Image moving on the table and even some popping out of it." Some of the image? 

Some of the dialogue feels like over-explaining between people who would already know.

Injection: There is scifi at play here so there's some flexibility. But for an injection to work as fast as it seems to it would need to be injected into a vein (IV), which is a much more involved process than intra muscular (IM). IM all you need is a muscle of decent size and to stab somewhere between the skin and the bone without hitting a vein. Someone can do that with little help or knowlege but the drug would take longer to take effect. An IV injection takes some finess; to find and hit a vein and also usually a tourniquet. It is double tough to hit a vein in someone who is young and dehydrated as Tr seems to be.

In either case, especially on someone who is in need of a shower, you need to clean the injection site first. 

"She" and Se gets confusing, especially since the word she refers back to the most recently named female, which is Se. 

"W noticed she was awake and said, 'Great, you're awake...'" repetition 

"She wore the clothes" more repetition 

The Galaxies dead or galaxy's dead? Wouldn't live stock be cheaper easier that hauling bodies? Cheaper yet would be plants or compact food like meal replacement powder or bars. I had assumed they were just eating slaves that had died while already there.

Tr is a character I am rooting for. I like her for her initiative to escape and her drive to survive. I am worried that she will quickly power up into being untouchable like Q and V though. 

Thanks for sharing

Edited by Sarah B
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On 08/12/2020 at 1:55 AM, Aspiring Writer said:

We're returning to the character from the prologue. @Robinski Tag me when you finish reading, I have some questions that I will PMing you.

Heya, just starting now. Realistically, it will be tomorrow (it's 9pm, and I have no stamina anymore), but I will tag you, as requested.

Okay, I need to do a reset here. A lot of water has passed under the bridge on this, and I'm going to try and block all that out and approach it with a clean slate. Me being influenced by my negative impressions of earlier parts is probably not the more constructive basis to go into this latest sub. So, deep breaths; cleanse the critical palette; every day is Christmas Eve.

(page 1)

Chapter 10 

- First line, first paragraph: impactful, interesting. The first line seems like everything is perfect, but then it's immediately obvious that is far from the case. This character's voice is engaging; she's in a hard place; she's experiencing conflict. This is all good for the story, and reader engagement, I think.

- "its presence weighing on her everywhere she looked" - See, this is good. The reader likes to see a character suffer, struggle, and then triumph against adversity, generally speaking.

- "She dropped the rock and ran toward it" - (a) plural / singular disagreement: she's running towards explosions, plural. So, not 'it'; (b) I was a bit surprised that she's able to run towards the explosion. I presumed she was a slave and, if not actually chained to the rock, would be supervised by guards who would keep her under control. I'm rolling with it for now. (That's a rock joke, btw.)

- Hang on, are there orange people and golden people? I'm not quite clear on that. Orange and gold are not the same thing, so much be two groups, I'm thinking .

(page 2)

- "This was her chance" - I like the repetition of the same phrase that starts the paragraph. I found that effective.

- "too focused on the group behind her" - I'm not clear on what the group behind her is. Maybe I got turned around. I picture the ship ahead of her, landing between her and the group that is a mix of humans and 'other species'. If that's the case, I don't know what the group behind her is. I get that the guards are flying around but were there none close to her? I think there would be more impact of her potential escape if there was a guard close to her, and maybe they hit her with a pole or some such before getting called away to the explosion.

- "She made it to the ship" - Okay, this was too easy for me. What is the terrain like? Is it not rocky ground that is difficult to hurry across, and she is fearful that someone will spot her, catch her before she can reach the ship? Maybe she stumbles. Maybe someone shouts, and she ducks, but it's not her they are shouting at. Need something to raise the stakes a bit more, IMO.

- "the group running toward the ship" - I'm not quite clear one this group. The description of them is a bit sparse, just 'the group'. I don't need to know their names or their motives, but a bit more details would engage me with them better.

- Why is 'human' capitalised?

- "resting his head on his hand" - I struggle to picture this, sounds really awkward. He's standing, holding a rifle, but has his head in his hand?

- "with miniscule blonde hair" - What is minuscule hair? Is it like a buzz cut? I think there are better ways to describe that.

(page 3)

- "The Human next to him" - Who is 'him' in this sentence. I was expecting this would be the guy standing next to 'her' with the gun, but I guess it's the guy who shouted 'Carol'. For me, enough lines have passed that I've lost that frame of reference, hence my confusion.

- "The Human helped her up" - Which human? I've lost the thread of who is who. I would think that she would attribute different physical characteristics to the people, so that she can distinguish them, and that would get passed on to the reader. We know there's one guy with a buzz cut. A bigger issue, I think is that there are non-human species in this group, right? Would they not stand out to her, and would the reader not get some description of them?

- "electronics filling the room" - This is not a useful description, IMO. This could mean motherboards riveted to the wall, flat screens, control panels, big rheostat nobs, anything.

- "Boron slaves" - This rings weird to me. Is there a reason the slaves are named after the fifth element (you heard me) in the periodic table? It's distracting, when a name has a powerful association with something else, something practically everyday, certainly to anyone who's done chemistry at school/college/uni/whatever. It sounds to me like saying, 'How many Silicon slaves did we free?' I'd suggest having a name that doesn't mean anything else, that way, no one can be tripped up by it.

- "Everyone focused on her" - This evening, my writing group here in Glasgow (the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers' Circle, former members including Amal El-Mohtar and Gary Gibson. I mean, I can dream, right?) were lucky enough to have an agent called John Jarrold do a Q&A with us. John (when a publisher) bought Ken MacLeod's first novel (Star Fraction), he was David Gemmell's editor, and agent and friend to Iain M. Banks for many years (until his death). Not just name dropping, I'm showing that John knows what he's talking about. He has 40 authors signed to him at present.

(There is a point to this, bear with me.)

John offered much useful advice, however the nugget I want to apply here is this one: "Every word has to be your best writing", and, "you must engage the reader at all times". Okay, the two nuggets I want to apply here... Okay, moving on from bad Monty Python paraphrasing, I think there are a lot of instances were the word choice doesn't work hard enough. I know we're in early drafts here (What draft is this, incidentally?) Here, 'focused' doesn't convey anything about their mood, they manner. Did they turn on her, glowering? Did they glance at her, hesitantly? No doubt it's actually a mix, but 'focused' doesn't show any movement, or any  demeanour of the people, IMO.

This chimes well with something that the Writing Excuses crew say quite often, every sentence, paragraph, etc. needs to perform multiple functions. It's the same idea. Everything has to be as good as it can be, and I think we need to learn to strive for that from our first draft, and in every draft.

- "Another orphan..." - This is a pretty good example. I think there is quite a bit in this last paragraph on the page. It's simply phrased, delivered straight, but there is quite a bit of thought-provoking stuff in there.

(page 4)

- "She tried following what they said with no luck" - Since we're own her POV, how can we see what the humans are saying? This seems like a POV crash to me. I mean, I suppose there is an argument to say that she can hear all the same sounds as I'm reading, just not understand what they mean, whereas I know the code. That's an interesting idea. I think you would need to be really clear from the outset about everything that she cannot understand. Put it in a different font, maybe, or highlight in some way, with italics, or all CAPS, or something.

- "she tried to speak to prove him wrong" - Okay, I got that wrong. She can understand all that's said? This needs cleared up. But if you did GO ALL CAPS FOR THE BITS SHE CAN'T UNDERSTAND, it would be crystal clear on the page. It just still feels like either a POV cheat, or the line "She tried following what they said with no luck" needs revision.

(page 5)

- "she saw he held a syringe" - How does she know what a syringe is?

- "shoved it into her arm" - Have you ever had blood taken? This is likely to be ineffective, either because they won't get a decent sample, or the sample will not be great for testing. There correct location of a suitable vein, applying a cinch to bring the vein to the surface, potentially pumping of the fist to raise the vein, careful in section of the needle into the vein, after cleaning the site first, to avoid any chance of infection, etc. Details on things like this is a great way to get reader buy-in, but can be a quick way to lose it.

- "she knows how to talk" - I'm not sure I see how you could learn how to talk be reading someone's mind. Surely you would need to practice, to speak and use the skill until you knew how it worked. No way did she just speak for the first time now. The newborn analogy is interesting. Walking I get how she could learn that without any encouragement or teaching, since she could see how human and bipeds around her in the slave camps did it, but I still think she would need to converse with people to be able to speak.

- "who she now decided seemed to be the leader of the group" - mentioned this before, but direct phrasing is so much more engaging and easier to read than uncertainty, indecision and vagueness. This line can quite easily be 'who clearly was the leader'. We can see the she decides it, because we're in her POV and she has the thought right there on the page. You don't need to say things like 'she thought', 'she decided', these things are transparently obvious. This goes back to the everything being the best writing, and every word doing work, which many of these in the example don't.

' "She is a liability to the group" - I hope I'm going to get an explanation of why on the next page.

(page 6)

- "There’s a reason. She’s special." - As reveals go, this is clunky, IMO. The dialogue could be snappier here. I feel like it lack style, and needs to be better at showing the different characters of the speakers.

- "Really? A TH?” Jeff asked, astonished" - Telling us he's astonished, is not as effective as showing us, which you can do with characterful moments: '"Really? A TH?” Jeff's eye's bulged a little, and his eyebrows went north.' - by way of example.

- "M and, therefore, P" - So, M and P are people? It's not clear, IMO, whether these are characters or magical traits, or superpowers.

- "She wasn’t Human" - Again, why is human capitalised. There's no indication that a Human is any different from a human.

(page 7)

- "Not only is she the key to getting H, but she also has P" - How is she the former, and I really need some kind of explanation of the special abilities. Maybe that was present in the earlier chapters and I don't remember it, but I feel the lack of it now.

- "And I’ll make sure Pre hears of this so he" - It's confusing to have some people called things like Pre, and some abilities called things like Pot. How does the reader know when they are speaking about a person or an ability? Okay, there is context, but the reader's understanding is disrupted each time one these terms comes up.

- "a new pair of clothes" - 'find her new clothes' - Clothes don't come in pairs.

- "“Wear these for now.” She wore the clothes" - Style is important. This is really dull. I would delete this bit, because you then describe how the clothes feel to her, so we know she put them on. it's like saying "Put on these clothes." She put the clothes on." It's direct repetition of the previous line of dialogue, but it doesn't seem to work as a stress, just a repetition. Narrative should be more vibrant, IMO, which is why cutting an going straight to how the clothes feel is more interesting.

(page 8)

- "injected the liquid inside of her" - into her. Inside is a state of rest: being inside. Whereas into is an action, and change of state. Also, there is way more to syringe work than a newbie being able to do it right first time. I would be happier if there was a technological answer to this. Let's say it was a nano-syringe, then I would assume it was a fancy tech-y thing that wasn't 't complicated and involved like a syringe these days.

I'm going to post this up, since I don't want to risk losing it in a Safari accident. (It's happened before, although I do cut-and-paste my text out from time to time, although this forum engine has a pretty good recovery mode.)

Chapter 10 overall 

Honestly, I think this is better than anything I've read before in this novel. The people are a bit bland compared to some of the other characters, but then the other characters for the most part are jerks (from what I've read to date), so that makes there guys much more relatable.

Other plus points in this chapter: there is something of a mystery in terms of 'her' abilities, and the Ch Squad working out what's going on with her. It's a bit easy, but I' prepared to believe they have the tech to do it. The MC is relatable, she experiences conflict, is freed from slavery. These things are compelling. Look, it's no masterpiece; I think the narrative lacks style and voice, which are really important, but those things can be worked on in later drafts. Getting the story down in early drafts is the key thing, IMO. Style, attitude, voice, character, can be built on through edits.

I really think if this had been your first submission the theme of the feedback would have been quite different, and I'm really interested to read what the others think.

I will come back and read Chapter 11 directly.

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In a strangely prescient example of exactly what I was talking about above, 17th Shard page totally crashed in by browser, closed the window, reloaded and all my text was still there. Phew!

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7 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Injection: There is scifi at play here so there's some flexibility. But for an injection to work as fast as it seems to it would need to be injected into a vein (IV), which is a much more involved process than intra muscular (IM). IM all you need is a muscle of decent size and to stab somewhere between the skin and the bone without hitting a vein. Someone can do that with little help or knowlege but the drug would take longer to take effect. An IV injection takes some finess; to find and hit a vein and also usually a tourniquet. It is double tough to hit a vein in someone who is young and dehydrated as Tr seems to be.

Thank you, @Sarah B!! I thought this is implausible, so I'm glad you feel the same with your healthcare expertise. What do you think about the suggestion that giving the syringe an SF name would solve pretty much any issue with this?

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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

Thank you, @Sarah B!! I thought this is implausible, so I'm glad you feel the same with your healthcare expertise. What do you think about the suggestion that giving the syringe an SF name would solve pretty much any issue with this?

Yup! Pull a Startrek and call it a 'hypo' or an auto-injector or anything but a syringe and 'nurse brain' shuts off and reads on. :-)

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Okay,

(page 8)

Chapter 11 

- "doing something on a tablet" - How does she know what a tablet is?

- "At the foot of her bunk" - I think it's way to soon for 'her' to be feeling like this is her room (previous chapter) and her bunk. It's a strange bunk in a strange room on a strange ship. People don't feel ownership of things until they have spent some time with them. You may think this is a trivial detail, but this is the level of thought that is needed on the details of writing for it to be good, IMO.

- "some metal armor like the yellow one" - Can't refer to some armour as 'one'. A suit of armour, yes.

(page 9)

- "She wore a black cloak" - Not a new paragraph, this is part of the same description of Ser.

- "Great. You’re awake. How do you feel?" - The repetition is really clunky.

- "He noticed she was awake" - This is the third time her being awake is mentioned. Snip, snip. Cut, cut.

- "She stared at him, unsure of what to say..." - It's pretty frustrating as a reader, to be honest. This paragraph is excellent, I really feel her disorientation. This is the payoff of the last 8.5 pages of not knowing her name, and a I really feel her dislocation, her lack of identity. It's well done. My frustration comes from how uneven the writing is. So much of the rest is not as involving or engaging as this paragraph.

(page 10)

- "sniffed her arm and recoiled" - How long as T been on the planet and never noticed this? Seems unlikely, suddenly, now.

- "I’ll get you a new pair of clothes to wear" - Seriously, where in the world do clothes come in pairs? Not a thing.

(page 11)

- "How did they stand showering in such cold temperatures?" - Does T know what a shower is?

- "Sorry, probably should’ve explained better" - There is more human kindness and empathy in this line than in the previous ten chapters. That is one of the large turn-offs for me in those early chapters. I'm not saying don't write villains, but the reader needs something to empathise with at the start of a book, and most readers are not villains.

- "so many pairs of these?" - Pairs of what? Shoes? Not very warm. Trousers? Going to make the wearer prone to chest colds. Really. How do you picture these pairs of clothes?

- "She wore the clothes" - But people don't just wear clothes. They have to put them on first.

- "walked over to a hologram table" - How does T know what a hologram table is?

- "how do I know what a hologram is now?" - Hallelujah. She needs to have this thought much earlier, so that the reader can assimilate this way of learning that she has.

(page 12)

- "Now, you know Nick from the meeting" - There were about six to eight people in that meeting, were there not? That was my image of it, from the description.

- “Why are you trying to bring them down? What have they done?” - This here chapter, or rather Chapter 10 and this one should be your first chapters. A lot of readers will not get this far, because they don't know what the heck is going on. This is the explanation that people need way up front in the book to put all the stuff that happens in Chapters 1 to 9 into context. This is the context.

(page 13)

- "I was going to." - The flow of the dialogue: interruption, explanation, sarcasm, apology, doesn't make sense. His reaction/sniping is way over the top for a simple request for explanation.

- "take her back to W" - I agree with an earlier comment that T has basically no agency in this chapter, but I can live with that, because we're learning about her situation. As a rule, though, it's not sustainable for a long time. We need the character we are following to by acting positively, making choices.

- "isn’t much of a preacher" - There was not preaching involved. This is what I was talking about best writing earlier. To much of the narrative or dialogue doesn't follow, doesn't wring true, isn't logical, or engaging.

(page 14)

- "where you ate the galaxies dead?" - For the most part, the grammar is pretty fair, which is not to say the writing is stylish or entertaining, but I've read a lot worse on here. This, however, is a possessive, so it's galaxy's dead.

- I like T questioning where she will go from here. This is a real opportunity to shape character motivation for the rest of the story. Important.

- "What will revenge get me?" - Oh, this is a great line. What a big question. Deserves to be properly explored.

- "There are five Sources" - I did not mind the earlier explanation, because it was part of her learning. To do it twice in the same chapter feels clunky. Having said that..."Hosts are people like you" - we so needed this explanation earlier in the book, way earlier.

(page 15)

- "How does the kid of a god end up there?" - I like that she's asking questions, that she inquisitive. Such an important fact in a POV character.

(page 16)

- The ending feels disjointed to me, that last few lines, but I can see where you're going with it. Creating that shocking image of her eating a corpse (she's not going to eat the whole corpse - I would replace the image with her chewing on someone's leg, or something like that). I think it's just the phrasing that isn't working, not the idea. 

Overall 

A lot of this chapter is exposition. I thought the first bit worked okay, but by the second bit I had had enough. I appreciate being give the information, but needed it way earlier in the story. I think the chapters with the nasty people in them would land better if we know this stuff first. I mean, there are still huge issues with those chapters, and they very easily can be cut down into one chapter for each POV, but having the context for them is so important, IMO.

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Not going into small details on this because I think @Robinski has it covered. I'll agree with the others that this is definitely the most engaging character you have. I'd much rather read a book with just this POV than including the other two. That said, as the others mentioned, it gets very infodumpy and plot-ful toward the end. Why is she forced to join these people? Why are they revolting against the gods (precisely, not just because "they're bad")? Why does she not get any say in her name?

I'm glad we finally get some direction for what the heck is going on, too. I feel like we've had a bunch of Capital Names thrown at us for the last nine chapters without any real explanation.

In fact, is there any reason this can't be the first chapter after the prologue (which is more accurately chapter 1)? Setting the story with an empathetic, relatable character is much more likely to keep the reader interested than starting with a superpowered character. Take down the infodumpy qualities and give the MC some agency, and I think this has some potential.

 

Notes while reading:
pg 1/2 - Lots of sentences starting with "She X," which makes the reading repetitive. Changing this up will help.

pg 3/4 - Confused. I thought the humans were in the process of rescuing several people, but I guess the just got the POV character? Blocking in this section might need to be cleared up.

pg 4: "She nodded. She tried following what they said with no luck"
--She understands them but she can't understand them?

pg 6: Sort of lost with all the Proper Name Magic, which I have been the whole time. I think this stuff needs to be shown a lot better.

pg 8: "She put the syringe against her arm. “A little bit higher and to the left,”"
--would you need some sort of training to be able to correctly inject this? Does it need to go into the bloodstream, or just the muscle?

--Edit: I see @Sarah B has this handled.

pg 9: "We’ll give one. Triple!”"
--Is this a name suggestion?
--Ah, I guess so. Seems pretty rushed.

pg 9: "Besides, we normally give freed slaves number nicknames anyway.”
--Um....yipe? I'd really reassess this. That's pretty insensitive and demeaning.

pg 9: "I was just about to tell..."
--ok, I guess we're going with this name?

pg 12: well, we almost got some explanation for what the heck is going on in this story, but then it's cut off. Something about taking down gods, I guess? Are these supposed to be the other main characters? It would be really helpful to have some of this set up much earlier in the book.

pg 13: glad someone finally asked about her name.

pg 14: Aha, a little more explanation. It goes a bit toward an infodump, but all this has been sorely lacking from the story so far.
 

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One of the things that the original prologue did well was invoking the trance-like feeling the character was experiencing and her breaking out of it. This chapter feels much much more detached emotionally.

“Every time, she was awakened to the horror…” “She was about to go go back to carrying her rock.” So I was good with her waking up out of the trance in the prologue because it seemed so clear that it was very brief before she was drawn back into whatever was happening. That doesn’t seem to be happening here, so I’m wondering why waking up into this hellscape doesn’t seem more distressing or surprising to her, and if she’s no longer whatever mental compulsion the trance imposed on her, why is she still considering going back to her duties as if nothing was amiss?

I would like a little more description of whatever is happening with the golden people. This all feels very sparse and I don’t have a good picture of what’s going on.

“This is my chance/this was her chance” repetition at the top of p2

“...with miniscule blond hair” not sure how to parse “miniscule” in this context

“That’s not possible… she must have been here” So a lot what J is saying here feels info-dumpy, very “as you know, Bob” type dialogue.

“On a sadder note this may be…” I think you can do some playing around with remarks like this to make the POV character’s perspective much clearer. If it’s really the first time she’s had a drink without ash in it she probably wouldn’t have the framework to appreciate that it’s said. It seems more likely to me that she would try it and be startled by the fact that it was different and better. This could be a fun and useful way to play around with what she does and doesn’t understand as a result of her telepathy, because I’m still struggling to figure out what comes from her telepathy and what comes from her perspective.

Top of p 5 “the spot her pierced her bleeding” can’t quite parse what this sentence is going for, but it needs to be revisited.

It is very strange to me that the group is having this conversation in front of her. It shows a pretty blatant disregard for her as a person, which might be deliberate, but the level of detail in their explanations about her powers also still feels very “as you know Bob/maid and butler” to me.

Also a little leery that we seem to have another Extremely Special person with Extremely Special abilities on board. And since I don’t understand what any of these things actually mean, it’s not giving me anything to get invested with in terms of the context of the world.

P8 “How did you know that would work?” Also curious as to what suddenly resolved her (very reasonable) hesitancy. Also, my understanding is it takes skill to properly give someone an injection, it’s definitely not as simple as just breaking the skin in the right spot.

“We normally give freed slaves number nicknames…” This seems unsavoury.

So J is just kind of a jerk, yes?

So W says both that where T goes is up to her, and that she doesn’t have much choice in joining them, directly contradicting themselves. I also don’t have a ton of sympathy for the “we freed you from slavery and now you have to do what we want, but it’s okay because you’re better off than if you went off on your own” argument. Which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, but I’m certainly not invested in the success of this revolution at the moment.

“I know what it is!” Yeah, okay, I’m here for T yelling at her rescuers/new captors.

Overall:

I think there’s an interesting character idea here in terms of T having absorbed some stuff through telepathy but otherwise having had her personality and experience etc. suppressed, but more work is needed to really nail the voice.

We get a ton of worldbuilding in this chapter, to the point where I had trouble following all of the terms, etc floating around. A couple of suggestions as far as worldbuilding goes: I think it needs to be more spread out so that we don’t end up with a couple chapters whose primary purpose ends up being just to explain a whole bunch of things about the setting, and I think it needs to be a little less focused on the details of MH and all the rest of it and give us a bit of a broader picture. What does it mean that she has … whatever abilities these are? The details can come after we have some pegs to hang them on.

I still don’t have any sense of where the overall story is going, and this far in, it’s needed. I certainly don’t need all the answers, but what is the central conflict and how is this connected to it? Is the central conflict the revolution? If so, what does the character from the first few chapters have to do with it? Who should I be rooting for? Etc.

On 12/8/2020 at 9:02 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

Though I guess she could just be reading the mind of this alien to know its female. If that’s the case, you should probably point it out.

 

On 12/8/2020 at 9:02 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

Pg 11 sorry, but why is she okay with an alien seeing her undress?

Seconding both of these.

On 12/8/2020 at 9:02 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

“now I’m gonna give you a little history” EXPOSITION TIME

I would have been fine with this, I think, if we hadn't already gotten so much of it in the form of all these characters talking over her. It's brief and reasonably set up. But because we've already gotten a bunch of it, I did do a bit of an internal groan at this.

On 12/9/2020 at 10:24 AM, Robinski said:

- "She made it to the ship" - Okay, this was too easy for me. What is the terrain like? Is it not rocky ground that is difficult to hurry across

Agree.

On 12/9/2020 at 3:12 AM, Sarah B said:

Tr is a character I am rooting for. I like her for her initiative to escape and her drive to survive. I am worried that she will quickly power up into being untouchable like Q and V though. 

Seconded on all counts.

Edit: It's worth noticing, I think, that my "overall" comments would look a little different if this were a first or second chapter. In that case, tune down the infodumping and nail the voice/perspective and you've got a pretty strong Ch1 or Ch2, and "there's a revolution" would probably be enough in terms of central conflict to keep going. But because we're 11 chapters in, I definitely need more than "there's a revolution" to keep me going.

 

Edited by Silk
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I read this a few days ago and have been perpetually forgetting to come and actually make my notes. Alas, I am finally here. 

I kept thinking this was a first chapter, but would then look up and see it was 10 and 11. I have not read any of your other submissions, so I have no clue what comes before this, but I felt like it was a fine point for me to jump in and start reading. I very briefly skimmed through some of the other comments and saw people suggesting this be a first chapter. I think that's good advice. It introduced a character I could get behind and started to set up a plot. After reading this, I'd be interested in reading on. However, there is still plenty of room to improve it. 

It would be good if the mc had a little more agency throughout the chapter and clearer wants. She took initiative in the begining, but then was very passive for the rest. I get there isn't a whole she can do, but I would love it if there was a little less other people talking and a little more of her reacting, and maybe asking questions. But even just more reactions, more of her thoughts of all these talking people and more feelings, could go a long way. 

I did get very overwhelmed by all the information both the character and the readers were bombarded with. However, I'm not going to make suggestions about which pieces to cut becuase I  don't know much about the story. Keep the most essential things only, and leave the rest for later. 

I would like to get a little more of an idea of what she wants. Getting away from the people who enslaved her was good, but she did that, or at least she seems to have. Now what does she want? Even if she doesn't 100% know that's okay, but if it could be hinted at more, from her thoughts, not from other people saying stuff, it would go a long way. 

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6 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I read this a few days ago and have been perpetually forgetting to come and actually make my notes. Alas, I am finally here. 

I kept thinking this was a first chapter, but would then look up and see it was 10 and 11. I have not read any of your other submissions, so I have no clue what comes before this, but I felt like it was a fine point for me to jump in and start reading. I very briefly skimmed through some of the other comments and saw people suggesting this be a first chapter. I think that's good advice. It introduced a character I could get behind and started to set up a plot. After reading this, I'd be interested in reading on. However, there is still plenty of room to improve it. 

It would be good if the mc had a little more agency throughout the chapter and clearer wants. She took initiative in the begining, but then was very passive for the rest. I get there isn't a whole she can do, but I would love it if there was a little less other people talking and a little more of her reacting, and maybe asking questions. But even just more reactions, more of her thoughts of all these talking people and more feelings, could go a long way. 

I did get very overwhelmed by all the information both the character and the readers were bombarded with. However, I'm not going to make suggestions about which pieces to cut becuase I  don't know much about the story. Keep the most essential things only, and leave the rest for later. 

I would like to get a little more of an idea of what she wants. Getting away from the people who enslaved her was good, but she did that, or at least she seems to have. Now what does she want? Even if she doesn't 100% know that's okay, but if it could be hinted at more, from her thoughts, not from other people saying stuff, it would go a long way. 

My plan was for her to somewhat be swept along with some of the stuff at first before she starts putting her foot down, with varying levels of success. I actually do plan on changing some things around to make this the first/second chapter (There's a prologue), and the fact literally everyone has been suggesting it gives me a little pride on thinking of it first, but yeah, I have some major structural changes to make to a lot of the chapters (As if these didn't need it anyway.) I am actually still trying to refine her motives, she has one clear one (Family origins and how she ended up in that camp. She is the granddaughter of a god.) , but it doesn't actually make her support the Revolutionaries, and so I'm trying to make another one (Preferably not revenge, as I thought of that and disregarded instantly) that solidifies her loyalties. Feel free to make suggestions on what the second motive could be, context needed is, she was a slave and freed and is now in an organization that is trying to kill the people that enslaved her and is deciding to help them, she can't leave and live her life because she will be hunted down and killed and helping them is honestly the only thing she can do. 

Edited by Aspiring Writer
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12 hours ago, Aspiring Writer said:

My plan was for her to somewhat be swept along with some of the stuff at first before she starts putting her foot down, with varying levels of success.

I think as long as she has a little more reaction and emotion about what is happening. I'd like to have a little more sense of her motive earlier on, even if she doesn't act on it right away, and then while reading, I'd probably be more patient with the swept away part. 

12 hours ago, Aspiring Writer said:

Preferably not revenge, as I thought of that and disregarded instantly)

I agree. I think it is more interesting if its not revenge. 

12 hours ago, Aspiring Writer said:

she has one clear one (Family origins and how she ended up in that camp. She is the granddaughter of a god.)

So if this is one motive, I definitely want to know more of her internal thoughts and reactions when the other characters start talking about the gods and her abilities. She might not know what she is yet, but if I remember right, the others are speculating about her origins, so that would be a good place to start digging into that motive more.

 

13 hours ago, Aspiring Writer said:

helping them is honestly the only thing she can do.

I'm not sure what to suggest for a second motive, but wanting freedom and to discover her origins is a start. That might be enough. How does working for them affect her chances if getting the answers she wants? Does it help? Get in the way? If they have information she wants, then by working for them, she could be working towards getting it. If they don't, working for them could be an obstacle stopping her from getting. Either or those, or possibly something else, would create good tension. 

Her being stuck helping them is a great opportunity to create tension, especially if at first, she doesn't like all of them. And she isn't really free if she can only help them, so in turn, she has to help them defeat the people who enslaved her so she isn't hunted and killed, even if she doesn't actually want revenge. 

You don't necessarily need to solidify her loyalties to them right away. I think there is more tension if she isn't too keen on them at first and they have to earn her loyalty somehow. 

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On 15/12/2020 at 10:23 AM, Aspiring Writer said:

because she will be hunted down and killed and helping them is honestly the only thing she can do.

So, self-preservation then is an addition motivation, and a very powerful one. Maybe it's not what you want as the second motivation, as it's pretty generic, almost a default motive of (almost) any living being.

Okay, here's something....weird? This just popped into my head and it's maybe a bit whacky, but it strikes me as being quite unusual as a character motivation. One form of revenge against her family would be to make a family that excludes her godly heritage (since they abandoned her?). Have a child and bring it up as human, embrace mundanity, shun omnipotence. While that may be interesting to write (well, I think it would be, but see my earlier concern that it might be a bit weird). The danger, I suppose is that it potentially shunts the book in a direction that is not what you would wish to write. Even with this as a secondary motivation, it would seem logically to point to her pursuing a husband to breed with as she promotes rebellion let, right and centre.

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