shatteredsmooth

1/11/21_Stowaway Part 1_ (4915 words) (LS)

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Content Warnings: 
L: Swearing (less than in the last draft)
S: There is not any sex, but there is one scene with kissing, so I put the S just to be safe. 
 
Edit: I didn't mention in the email, but maybe I should've added a content warning for anxiety / panic attack
 
This submission a revision and continuation of what I sent a couple weeks ago. It is maybe two-thirds of the story. I had been hoping to keep the whole around 5,000 words, but that isn't happening. The call for stories I want to submit it to allows for up to 8,000 words, so as long as I don't go over that, I'm okay. I think my first complete draft might go over, but I can always trim when I revise. I have a little more written than what I'm sending you, but haven't actually gotten to the end yet. I don't have any specific questions this time around. Any type of feedback is welcome. 
 
 
Thank you!
Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Overall

There's the makings of a solid arc, good characterization, and pacing. I hate reading MG, unfortunately, so the MC's tone just bugs me. I think we should sit down and really talk about fungi, too, because it seems like you are blending two phylums together and they are too far apart evolutionarily to do that, leading to my complete inability to suspend disbelief about god-spores (mycologists should not read mycology SF). But the story has great bones and seems perfect for MG fiction

 

As I go

- pg 1: I don’t have to pay attention to or obey anyone <-- this sentence is super awkward

- pg 1: what is a 'squarish'?

What if there are spores? <-- I feel like any child of a mycologist parent would know better than this.

- pg 2: while this MC's voice isn't as whiny woe-is-me as the last one we read, it's still grating

- pg 3: Like Medusa, they’ve turned me into stone <-- this is a great line!

- pg 3: you want the name of a mychorrizal fungus that causes human skin allergies for this?

- top of page 5: I realize this is probably very authentic, but the kid's voice is such a turn off. This is why I don't read MG. 

- pg 6: is the brain eating fungi planet different than the talking tree planet? Because codycepts are not related to mychorrizal fungi (neither of which I can spell properly and can't be buggered to look up)

- pg 7: Mom has already eaten my tree <-- did you mean mom has already BEEN EATEN BY a tree?

- pg 7: But anyone can walk in her <-- missing an 'e' on here

- pls 8-9: the narrative really slows through here. There is a lot of redundancy (thinking something then talking about it out loud), internal dithering (everything is going to be okay let me tell you why via internal dialogue). Some strong cutting would help a lot

- pg 12: I feel like this is a missed opportunity to threaten W with killer fungi spores in his coffee or something

- pg 14: wait, what antidote? What are we talking about here???

- pg 14: Does the tree really have the sentience to act out and harm the village <-- there's sufficient evidence that trees on Earth have sentience, so this sentence makes the piece seem less sci fi

but the fungus and its God-spores can make people do bad things. <-- so this is some weird combo of cordcepts and mycohrrizal. We should talk fungal biology because right now the science doesn't hold, even for sci fi

- pg 14:  Often, the primary host is seen as some kind of deity or supreme leader.” <--- this is my 'failure to suspend belief' face. 

- pg 15: ah, here's the fungus threat. Seems like it should have come earlier

 

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38 minutes ago, kais said:

I think we should sit down and really talk about fungi, too, because it seems like you are blending two phylums together and they are too far apart evolutionarily to do that, leading to my complete inability to suspend disbelief about god-spores (mycologists should not read mycology SF)

That's fine with me. The fungi isn't essential to the story if there isn't a way to make that concept work. If I need to, I can come up with a different reason for L to be on the ship. 

38 minutes ago, kais said:

What if there are spores? <-- I feel like any child of a mycologist parent would know better than this.

 

Valid point.

38 minutes ago, kais said:

- pg 7: Mom has already eaten my tree <-- did you mean mom has already BEEN EATEN BY a tree?

 

Yes. 

38 minutes ago, kais said:

- pg 14: wait, what antidote? What are we talking about here???

 

Antidote is not the correct word since that usually refers to poison. I think I meant Dr. Mom was developing some kind of anti-fungal medication to get the fungus out of people's brains. 

38 minutes ago, kais said:

We should talk fungal

Please. Thank you! I will also do some googling. 

 

Thank you very much for the feedback!

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Hurray! I love discussing titles :) 

I like the first one, actually. It tells me there's a stowaway, and there's an academy (so, I get some setting too). It also implies the sort of story, I think, in terms of having an educational setting, which I think gives the expectation of the reading even as well. Because why would you write a story about an academy if the pupils weren't at the heart of it?

I'm going to pile through this because I'm running our of week already and just have so much to do, so, no LBLs (hurray?).

(page 1)

- Love it. Cracking voice, loads of attitude, but consistent, believable, proportionate. I think 'Wr' works very well for the name change. Star gra: LOL!

(page 2)

- "New Stars A" - Bit cheesy as names go. I think this tends to undermine Star gra-, which I really like. This name sounds like low-hanging fruit to me.

- "cheek presses against mine" - So intimate, love it.

- "I am going to melt if they don’t stop touching me, and but I'm certainly going to die if they do stop" - I demand this edit!! ;). This line is perfect if only it would stop with the last word as 'do', because that would perfectly echo the 'don't' from earlier in the sentence. Also needs but, to highlight the opposing of stopping 'but' not stopping. The rhythm of this line is excellent.

- "I don’t know how many hells there actually are" - Nine circles, on authority from Dante.

- "green-tinted hands" - Huh? Explain please.

- "My help?" - Okay, some stakes. Almost two pages in, but I have no problem with that, because I was soaking up the voice of the MC, and learning something about the setting/world.

(page 3)

- "Whatever sayings mean I will do anything for them apply to me." - Cut. The previous line is perfect, all that stress of those familiar saying, flowing like lyrics. This following line just explains something that doesn't need explaining.

- "if you get caught" - Ahem, 'we get caught'? Or is this a massive set up that Ar has just given away?

- "<name of fungus?> experiment" - Don't change this! I love it!

- "I would never see Ar again" - IMO.

(page 4)

- Yes, to Part 1. Yes, a hundred times, yes. This is great stuff. I have a completely convincing portrait of a teenage crush, I can practically see the sparks.

- "my academic status" - educational status, I think. To me, academic status is something the teachers have, like tenure, etc.

- "sits on an overturned bucket" - ROFL :lol:: Oor Lully!! A Glasgow / Scottish institution!

Spoiler

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Seriously though, this is an important moment. All this is being done for the stowaway, and I really need to believe here why these two (Ar and JJ) are risking expulsion to help this person. I want to see what is special about this person. This is the stakes of the whole story. This is a critical moment.

- "mix of human and and--" - stop the bus. Human and what? What's all this about? Does this matter for the story? Are the anchovians, and the fact of these characters being mixed species(?) going to play a part, a functional part, in the story? If it doesn't, I would question why it's there at all. Can this bit be cut and the story stay the same (functionally)? If so, I don't think this should be in, but I need to wait a see.

- "Blankets fall off of Li" - This has no functional purpose. We talk about words doing double duty, this doesn't even do single duty.

- "What do you think is the best time to move her?" - This is a really weak line to end a section. Really weak. I suggest just cutting it. Also, I don't really have the explanation of why it is imperative for Ar to help Li. I know why JJ is doing it, but not why Ar is going it. I can just about let go the fact that I don't know why anyone would need to stowaway in the first place, but is that not a question that someone should ask? I can see why JJ wouldn't ask it out loud, but would they not ask it internally? And Ar must have asked it, but it seems we're not going to be provided with that answer, yet. So, Lil is something of a McGuffin then. Okay, I'll decide later if I'm outraged by this.

(page 5)

- "It was the most chaotic time" - tense shift: I think 'It's the most chaotic time' would be more appropriate. Also, "were weakest".

- "freaking idiots" - Totally confused by this sentence. I have no context for this. Is this a school for homicidal kids then?

- "and for thinking I’m one" - An idiot, a kid or a homicidal maniac? Very confusing around here.

- "Her stare is pleading" - I have a hard time buying into this, because I don't know why she's hiding. Because I don't have any real sense of personal stakes, it undermines the whole thing. All that emotional investment that I built up in the first scene is frittering away by the paragraph. JJ has to  question why they (Lil) are doing this, internally, but they have to question it, IMO.

(page 6)

- "He is much better behaved now" - WHOA!! Hang on, stop the bus. I'm assuming the JJ is non-binary, because the pronoun statement back at the start fo the journal sets that up. What, then, is this 'he' thing?

- Okay, we get the explanation for why Lil is running, and I like that it's linked to JJ, that's ideal. Do I need it to come a bit sooner...I don't know, to be honest.

- The dialogue tags--asked, said, etc.--are in past tense, but the narrative is in present. I think these should be 'asks, says, etc.'

(page 7)

- "But gods, so I have questions" - grammar? Seems off.

- "Mom has already eaten my tree" - Now, I know this line can't be right...right?

- 'Big' is not the most compelling of adjectives, especially not when used twice in a row.

(page 8)

- "was hollow for storage" - is hollow. I won't tag tense errors any more, but there are plenty.

- "Why did you not check it before bringing Lil" - But there was no opportunity, surely. They just came straight here, didn't they?

- Why can't Ar think of a hiding spot or two?

(page 9)

- "We just need to get her there, unseen" - The tension is pretty reasonable, since the stakes are high (getting eaten). I just wonder, or rather am starting to hope, that the stakes will be ramped up. There isn't really an antagonist in the story. Okay, some religion on a planet light years(?) away, but that is not very immediate. I can't help feeling that, if the school authorities caught Lil, JJ and Ar would be able to reason with them that the girl's fate was to be sacrificed, and that the school then would act to protect Lil. I'm also prepared to believe that the children would not think that way, but I'd like maybe more of a lantern hung on that, OR to have a physical antagonist in the station with the. Since we're only about half way through the story, I'm prepared to accept that we might still get a physical antagonist, but it will need to be soon to get the value from it, I think.

- Ha, ha. Okay, LOL, maybe we do have a physical antagonist, and just in time.

- "forty-nine hells" - The number going up is effective, but I'm starting to wonder why always the next number ending in nine. Many other numbers are available.

- "Go in the back" - I think I see what's coming.

(page 10)

- "when they opened the door" - (1) tense again. There are loads of tense slips; (2) Also, I'm confused by the blocking. I thought they had come into the gym already. Where is this other door?; (3) This is exactly what I was expecting, so that's satisfying, because I got to anticipate JJ's reaction before it happened.

- "I literally swoon" - I mean this literally means to faint, unconscious (usually). But JJ is not literally fainting, are they/he?

- "I’m okay with you touching me" - Whose line it this? Not obvious, IMO.

- "I have no boundaries" - Whose line? Need tags of some sort.

- "shove me up against the door" - I don't understand where the door is, and how can Wr open the door if they are pushed up against it? Blocking is an issue for me in this location.

(page 14)

- "doesn’t actually kill anyone" - I don't understand here. Antidote? What antidote?

(page 15)

- "We’ll meet there" - Where? How can they meet in a TV show? Confused.

(page 16)

- The cat and the beasts, these come over a kind of comical to me, in a way that I think undermines the tone of the story so far. There's good tension and good stakes, and I've got my physical antagonist now, which is ideal, but these details lend this part a kind of ridiculous tone, I think, in way that more plausible aliens would not.

- "Get to sneak out of camp" - Really don't need to justify this comment about JJ's ability to run. Because the image is making me laugh already, any justification seems to just stoke my incredulity.

- "hurry to the rendezvous" - This last bit, the ditching of the goons, seems a bit easy. I though something was going to happen with the droids.

Overall 

I'm really enjoying this. usual editing issues, but I think I've said all I need to above, and it is mostly details. Good job :) 

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thoughts as I go:

 

Page 1

-I already love this way more, huge improvement!

-what is squarish?

-”maybe talking aloud to my brain” at first, I thought J was mentally saying “f off”

 

Page 2

-”their cheek presses against mine” in the previous draft I didn't bring this up cause it didn’t seem weird, but now i'm over analyzing and wondering: why did A put their cheek on J? I guess it could be a greeting… but I certainly have never had anyone do that to me. and If someone did, I would be very uncomfortable. But then, J’s lack of uncomfort makes sense in this context.

-“too sharp” Immediately regretting the word choice- I can relate

 

Page 3

-”if i were talking to anyone else” I really like this sentence and the ones after in the paragraph. Really demonstrates J’s infatuation without shoving it in our faces

-”whatever sayings mean i will do” this sentence confused me upon first reading it

-”their lips brush against” so my first thought was, “wait wasn't A wearing lip gloss? Ew now J’s forehead will be sticky.” my second thought, “wait how close are they? It seems like A could be leading J on a bit”

 

Page 4

-”if I ever got too fed-up with it.” fed up with what?

-when i first read this page i assumed they were all just chilling in the closet for no reason. I also got the impression that J was alone and about to do some kind of stealth mission, that is until A speaks up. Then I read it again and it reads more like J had just entered with A to the closet where L has been hiding because this hiding place isn’t gonna work out anymore, so they have to move her. I assume this is L’s first meeting of J? I’m pointing all this out because with my first impression, I was confused when L asked, “you’re not even going to ask why I'm here?” I thought they had already been chilling in this closet and established that J was going to help. It just threw me off a bit.  

 

Page 5

-”they’d spent their days” idk why i had trouble with this, but I didn’t connect this sentence to the previous one, so i was confused. I would just suggest making it more clear that the adult humans are weakest after spending their days watching over a bunch of teenagers.

-”maybe that was a bad thing to think” i didnt understand this until i read the next sentence. I was like, “why is this a bad thing to think? It makes sense to me” 

-”some of us have brains hell bent on killing us” this sentence felt muddled to me, like too much is going on. But maybe that's what you were going for.  Also the repetition of “us” felt off to me.

 

Page 6

-”they treat it like a god...if it doesnt get its annual sacrifice” ohhhh it's that kind of situation

-”what would the villagers do” ooooh now doc mom is involved. Spicy, I like it.

 

Page 7

-”A’s hands encircle” so they stopped walking? I guess you don't have to explicitly say that they stopped walking, but at first i pictured A putting their hands around j while they were walking. It did not compute in my brain

-”gods, do I have questions”

-i know it's already been pointed out but “mom has already eaten my tree” is really funny to me. 

-”anyone can walk in here

 

Page 8

-”is unlocked, like it always was” this feels like a tense error. But maybe not. “Like it always is” sounds better to me, but it could be wrong.

 

Page 9

-”but thought of something that would”

 

Page 10

-”making out, passionately” A didn’t need to say “passionately,” but she did that for you J 

-”i have no boundaries” i snorted, omg

-also, how awk for L lol

-this might not be a problem, but i noticed the word “swoon” and “supernova.” you only used them both twice so far, but they aren’t words i normally see so, it was noticeable to me

 

Page 11

-”are you recording me” it makes sense that J wouldn’t hear the door but it sort of caught me off guard. I thought, “when did W enter??”

 

Page 12

-“I dont bother putting my top layer back on” when did it come off??

 

Page 13

-is it Lilly or lily? I've seen both spellings

 

Page 14

-antidote? I guess I didn’t realize that that was doc mom’s purpose for being in the village where L is from.

-breaths snag? Or, breath snags? “As I picture” rather than pictured? Tense error? I think this is all present tense, right?

 

Page 16

-“I pretend..alien predators who have had a taste” nice characterization

 

Overall:

This is a lot more interesting than the first sub! Though i thought the first one was enjoyable too.

I think this flowed really well! There were some points that were a tad wordy and could maybe be cut back, but it wasn't enough to take me out of the narrative. awesome job :)

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "He is much better behaved now" - WHOA!! Hang on, stop the bus. I'm assuming the JJ is non-binary, because the pronoun statement back at the start fo the journal sets that up. What, then, is this 'he' thing?

I had this same thought for a second but remembered that pronouns are messy things. I know a lot of people who go by both she/they or he/they. but i could see how this is confusing. there was a moment where J used "her' when referring to A which threw me off because J had been referring to A exclusively by "they"


 

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "He is much better behaved now" - WHOA!! Hang on, stop the bus. I'm assuming the JJ is non-binary, because the pronoun statement back at the start fo the journal sets that up. What, then, is this 'he' thing?

 

JJ has not settled on a specific pronoun. I'm toying with the idea of having A use a different pronoun every time they refer to JJ. The anthology I want to submit this is too is queer YA set in the future, so I think it would go over okay with that audience as long as it remains clear that JJ uses multiple pronouns and isn't being misgendered.   

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- Okay, we get the explanation for why Lil is running, and I like that it's linked to JJ, that's ideal. Do I need it to come a bit sooner...I don't know, to be honest.

 

I've been discovery writing this and am pretty sure I figured out the reason as I was writing it. When I first wrote the janitor's closet scene, I had not yet figured out why she needed help. 

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "was hollow for storage" - is hollow. I won't tag tense errors any more, but there are plenty.

 

You can probably tell I am not used to writing in present tense. 

Next time I'll do a search for "was" and "ed" before I send it.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Also, I'm confused by the blocking. I thought they had come into the gym already. Where is this other door?;

So they went in the gym then they went under the bleachers. I'll add more description. 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "hurry to the rendezvous" - This last bit, the ditching of the goons, seems a bit easy. I though something was going to happen with the droids.

 

hmm so this is supposed to be the "false victory" of the story where they think they got away easy, but it's not over. However, I'll give it some more thought. 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I'm really enjoying this. usual editing issues, but I think I've said all I need to above, and it is mostly details. Good job :) 

I'm happy to hear this. :-)

Thank you!!

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8 minutes ago, karamel said:

there was a moment where J used "her' when referring to A which threw me off because J had been referring to A exclusively by "they"

That was a typo. I kept flip flopping with A but ended up settling on they. 

11 minutes ago, karamel said:

-”their cheek presses against mine” in the previous draft I didn't bring this up cause it didn’t seem weird, but now i'm over analyzing and wondering: why did A put their cheek on J? I guess it could be a greeting… but I certainly have never had anyone do that to me. and If someone did, I would be very uncomfortable. But then, J’s lack of uncomfort makes sense in this context.

 

I was picturing them leaning forward and whispering in JJ's ear, but putting their face a little too close in the process. Maybe it should say "their cheek brushes against mine" 

I would absolutely freak out if anyone did that to me, but I generally do not want people touching or even within a few feet of me. OK, with the pandemic going, I don't want anyone except my spouse within 10 feet of me. 

15 minutes ago, karamel said:

-is it Lilly or lily? I've seen both spellings

 

That is a good question. I should probably pick one. Spell check wanted it to be Lily. 

23 minutes ago, karamel said:

This is a lot more interesting than the first sub! Though i thought the first one was enjoyable too.

I think this flowed really well! There were some points that were a tad wordy and could maybe be cut back, but it wasn't enough to take me out of the narrative. awesome job

Thank you! I can definitely trim some of the wordiness when I edit. 

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I enjoyed the MC's voice much more this time. I like how you cut out a lot of the negative self talk but still got the point across. 

"W's squarish..." Missing noun? Glasses?

"Last term he hacked by tablet." My tablet

"Could probably melt my brain if I got too fed up with it." With what? I assumed life in general but specifics would be good.

Ms. Gregor. Takes me back to Peter Rabbit stories with McGregor.

And- species name. As a treky, I keep reading this as Andorian which is a species in those series. Not a problem, just thought I'd let you know.

"But anyone can walk in her" here

"Skipping would've been an option since I haven' done" haven't

"You can top layer off." Take the top layer off?

"Ar reaches for his tablet..." also 'him' in next sentence. I think everywhere else Ar is they/them.

This version grabbed me much sooner, looking forward to reading the rest.

 

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12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm toying with the idea of having A use a different pronoun every time they refer to JJ.

While that's an interesting idea, however

I fear for the scenario where the reader is confused who is being talked about, especially since Lil would be another 'she' in the scene, and Wr would be another 'he', so there would be plenty of scope for confusion.

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

You can probably tell I am not used to writing in present tense.

It's a tricky thing, no doubt about it.

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

So they went in the gym then they went under the bleachers.

And there's a door to get under the bleachers? That's the step I'm missing. Seems a bit plush for bleachers, are they not usually open? I guess I'm thinking of fold-away bleachers maybe.

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

hmm so this is supposed to be the "false victory" of the story where they think they got away easy, but it's not over.

I get no sense of victory from this scene. All JJ did was lose the for an instance, but it will be easy enough for them to find JJ again. I did not assume anything was over at this point.

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Thank you!!

I'm very keen to read the rest. Do we get this this Monday? (Please!)

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Overall, I think I got caught up in the wrong plot for this story. I'm much more interested in Mom solving the problem with the village than the kids running around.

On 1/11/2021 at 11:43 PM, kais said:

I hate reading MG, unfortunately, so the MC's tone just bugs me.

This might be my problem as well. I don't read a lot of YA and almost no MG, so I'm mentally brushing aside some of the "crises"

2 hours ago, Robinski said:
14 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm toying with the idea of having A use a different pronoun every time they refer to JJ.

While that's an interesting idea, however

I fear for the scenario where the reader is confused who is being talked about, especially since Lil would be another 'she' in the scene, and Wr would be another 'he', so there would be plenty of scope for confusion.

Second this. I also caught the pronoun change and was confused. If J is using different pronouns, it needs to be absolutely clear they are doing this.

 

Two main problem points for me:

1) I can't figure out A's intentions toward J. I know some of this is due to J's anxiety, but A seems to be genuinely fond of them for most of the story, but then quickly gets upset at their "failure" of not checking the gym and demands they make out to cover it up. I can't tell if this is a different emotional state for her alien species, or just mixed messages.

2) I think there is too much plot for an 8k word story. Before the end, this is expanding quite a bit into the "mom is curing villagers" thread so much that I thought the whole gym scene was a distraction. Now I'm thinking the mom storyline is actually the distraction and this is purely about hiding L for a day. I think one or the other of these plots needs to be cut down for this to work as a short story.

 

Interested to read the rest!

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "squarish"
--missing a word?

pg 2: "A puts their hand on my shoulder"
--did they read the journal, or are they telepathic?
--ok, answered later.

pg 2: "A is going to hate me"
--aside from generalized anxiety, is there any reason for this?

pg 3: there's the line about triangular pupils, but I think we also need a confirmation on this page that A is not human.

pg 4: "Just beyond them"
--we've been in the closet for several paragraphs now and it's only just being stated there's a third person. Might need this with the original description.
--Also, here is the confirmation of non-human we needed last page.

pg 5: "who probably secretly hates my guts"
--there's still been absolutely no reason given for this. Maybe just an acknowledgement from J that it might be a unrealistic thought?

pg 5: "thirty-nine hells"
--it was sort of funny the first time, but this is the third or fourth high-number-swear and there was a different number used last time, which just sets my teeth on edge.

pg 6: “He is much better behaved now.” 
--is this gendering of J accidental or deliberate?

pg 6: "to where I tripped and almost face planted"
--could probably remove this phrase and readers would still get it.

pg 7: "Mom has already eaten my tree"
--eh? The tree has already eaten mom?

pg 8: "Why did you not check it"
--didn't they come straight here from the closet? Or was there a time skip? Also, I'm not sure why they're so worried. It might be occupied by other teenagers who want to stay out of the eyes of adults. So why would they jeopardize that by giving L away? A hasn't showed such a quick switch in emotion yet, from gentleness to anger, so this is a bit of a jolt.

pg 9: "at least two hours left of free time"
--it takes two hours to cross the school?

pg 9: "forty-nine hells"
--ok, getting annoyed by this now.

pg 10: "when they opened the door"
--I thought they already opened the door?

pg 10: "I’m okay with you touching me anywhere above the waist"
--I would think a direct command would work better here: "you can touch me anywhere above the waist."

pg 11: "My arms hand uselessly"
--??

pg 11: "will hesitate before opening"
--They've taken long enough that the group would have been well into the gym by now.

pg 13: So this whole section in the gym seems a bit extraneous, like it's only in the story so A and J can make out. the gang takes a really long time to actually confront them, and I don't know that it moves the story along at all. I'm also not very unsure about A's actual motives toward J, combined with J's unreliable narration.

pg 14: hmm...and they they're back to whether J's mom is ok. The whole gym scene seems extraneous.

pg 14: "she gives enough of the antidote"
--I had to read this several times. I think it was a one-off sentence that she was looking at an antidote? There needs to be more connection between this part and the previous section.

pg 15: "gesture towards the crack in the door"
--wait, confused. Are they still outside the gym? I thought they were going to J's room?
--okay, I guess they were still in the gym? Honestly, I was much more interested in the fungus situation and thought they had moved past the gym scene.

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Title thoughts:  I think I like Stowaway at the Academy best.  It gives us more of an idea of plot and setting going into the story.

I probably won’t comment much on the romance aspect of things.  I still find my own experiences with middle school/high school crushes to be cringeworthy enough that I don’t get much enjoyment out of reading them in fiction.   You did a really good job of portraying the feelings involved, but if anything, I think that just makes it more likely to call me back to how much I just did not enjoy that aspect of being that age.  Just as a bit of a heads up on why you won’t get much feedback on that.

And I think everyone else caught most of the typos I noticed.

Pg 2:

Do …pronoun?” On one hand, I like how this is introduced, but on the other hand, it seems like writing in a journal is one of few places they wouldn’t have to choose a pronoun, since they’d be writing in first person. Unless there are potentially other first-person pronouns that people go by (I am still very much learning about pronoun choices and related etiquette.  So I’m not sure if this comment is relevant or not)

What the…anyway?”  I like this line a lot.  Normal earth-time has been irritating enough to keep track of lately…

“Sure I am”  Should this be “I sure am”?

“twenty-nine…” I really enjoyed both the fact that the number jumps around throughout and J’s comment on the sort of arbitrariness of some aspects of swearing.   

“twine into knots” I think mixing the ideas of guts twisting/twining and tying themselves into knots is a little odd here. There’s too much of a disconnect between twining and knots in my mind.

“fitted sleeves”  They wear uniforms, right?  It might be worth adding that detail in here to further flesh out what exactly this school looks like. It’s not shocking when it’s revealed later (I think we expect it from “Academy” if you reference that in the title), but this seems like an obvious place to introduce that detail to me.

Pg 3:

Like others mentioned, I don’t entirely get a feel for the stakes.  A says they could get expelled. And J acknowledges that, but is far more focused on doing what A asks than anything else in the world.  So while J isn’t exactly pleased about the idea of virtual school with one of their moms, they don’t seem all that conflicted about it. Also, how did A come across L in the first place?

Pg 4:

Again, I enjoy J’s overthinking of the deities.

Pg 5: 

If it’s such a crime for non-student individuals to be here, how is it so easy for them to find a uniform?  Even if it’s not quite the right fit?  Wouldn’t the powers that be keep a close eye on that sort of thing if bringing in outsiders is an expelling offense?

“Whenever…meals.” This just hurts the little rule-loving part of my brain, but it fits the character perfectly.  We just probably wouldn’t have gotten along.

“keeping …alive” Yep.  There are definitely days when I get home from coaching and the best I can say is that at least we didn’t need to call an ambulance.

“I’m an …one.” I don’t quite follow this.

Pg 6:

“They treat…tree!” I’m not sure the deep breath is enough to convey the tone of what L is feeling here. How old is she supposed to be? They refer to her as a kid, but I’m not sure what age or self-awareness/world-awareness that implies.  And the “I completely…tree!” line seems like a far too carefree response for someone who has recently accepted that 1. Her entire village believes a harmful lie that would have gotten her killed, and 2. She’s been shipped away by someone who has called out the entire belief system she grew up with as a lie.  Or misunderstanding.  I get her gratitude for Dr. Mom, but there is a whole lot going on there that should have far more impact on L than it seems to be.  I know the scope of the story doesn’t allow for in-depth analysis of dealing with the trauma of being pulled out of a harmful and problematic cult, but the way it’s put here makes it feel like it’s being brushed off.

Pg 8:
“The little door…middle.” So, this to me says that it isn’t entirely abandoned, but that isn’t the same as it being used regularly.  If it was clean and spotless, that would imply regular checking/cleaning, but I’m not completely sure what we’re supposed to assume from it just being unevenly dusty.  How long are they planning to hide L?  And who do they expect to find living under bleachers? I can’t think of any reason to spend any significant amount of time under nasty bleachers when students have rooms available, unless your other alternative is to be fed to a tree.  Also, in a post-roomba age, I find it odd that there isn’t some sort of auto-clean process that would be preventing dust build-up there altogether.

“Can you think…” I know J is supposed to be the one with the experience sneaking around, but A seems to just be along for the ride for this whole process. And I still don’t have a good idea of why.

Pg 9:

“It’s not like someone…security.” But isn’t being seen what they were afraid of before?

“Go in …mats.” This seems like it would be a perfectly effective way of keeping anyone from seeing her. Unless I’m picturing the setup wrong. Send L in under the bleachers, close the door, problem solved. Leading into the next page, I can see reason for concern about W and company being suspicious about why A and J are there, but I don’t see it as a risk to them seeing L.  Just for them to cause trouble with A and J.

Pg 10:

Okay.  I hadn’t realized they had all gone in under the bleachers (I think that’s where we are at this point?). Was the door closed and W opened it? If so, why were W and friends going to go hide under the bleachers? And if the door wasn’t closed, what would have made them go over to check it out?

Pg 14:

I’m not quite following L’s explanation and the related g-spore conversation.

Pg 15:

“A crack in the door…tablet”  Where are we now? I’d assumed that we were in the halls on our way back to J’s room during the spore conversation, so I don’t have a good sense of where W is or what he’s doing there. Are we all still in the gym?  Still under the bleachers? If not, can’t they go another direction to get to J’s room? Does the gym only have one exit?

 

Overall, I don’t really enjoy a ton of teen mischief / school crushes / etc. so in many ways, I think the main troubles I have are that I’m not the intended audience for the story. Which can't really be helped.

I do think the other concerns I mentioned are still relevant, though.  The stakes don’t seem all that immediate (other than W, but I'm not quite buying the behavior of him and his friends). I’m still not sure what A’s motivations are or how they got involved in the first place. And It bothers me that L’s thoughts about being shipped away from home because her village wanted to kill her are being brushed over. 

All of that being said, I think J’s voice was really fitting for the character, which is great, and I didn’t have any issues adjusting to present tense like I was expecting to going into it.  It all seemed to flow really well even with the shift in tense that I’m not used to.

Thanks for submitting! 

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42 minutes ago, C_Vallion said:

I do think the other concerns I mentioned are still relevant, though.  The stakes don’t seem all that immediate (other than W, but I'm not quite buying the behavior of him and his friends). I’m still not sure what A’s motivations are or how they got involved in the first place. And It bothers me that L’s thoughts about being shipped away from home because her village wanted to kill her are being brushed over. 

 

Your concerns are definitely valid and things I will address when I revise. I'm glad you noticed and pointed them out because I was getting too caught up in other aspects of the story to notice them. Thank you!

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I can't figure out A's intentions toward J. I know some of this is due to J's anxiety, but A seems to be genuinely fond of them for most of the story, but then quickly gets upset at their "failure" of not checking the gym and demands they make out to cover it up. I can't tell if this is a different emotional state for her alien species, or just mixed messages.

This definitely something I need to dig into more. 

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

2) I think there is too much plot for an 8k word story. Before the end, this is expanding quite a bit into the "mom is curing villagers" thread so much that I thought the whole gym scene was a distraction. Now I'm thinking the mom storyline is actually the distraction and this is purely about hiding L for a day. I think one or the other of these plots needs to be cut down for this to work as a short story.

 

Good point. Maybe that was something I needed to figure out for myself, but doesn't fully need to be in the narrative as I intended the story to be more about  hiding L for the day. Not giving as much detail about that will also save me from having to get too into how the fungus or whatever organism I decide to blame works. 

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Overall, I think I got caught up in the wrong plot for this story. I'm much more interested in Mom solving the problem with the village than the kids running around.

On 1/11/2021 at 11:43 PM, kais said:

I think when I was writing, this might have happened in my head, but that would be a completely different story. One I'm filling aside as something to maybe write in the future. 

Thank you very much for the feedback! 

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4 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'm very keen to read the rest. Do we get this this Monday? (Please!)

That depends on whether or not I can figure out how to get from where I left off last night to the end, and then trim all the parts that are just me rambling and stalling while I try to figure out what is going on. 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Let's see what we have here...

Pg 1.

-For me, the first paragraph is teetering on the balance between the narrator sounding authentically young and the text repeating itself to the point of taking me out of the story. I didn't have a huge problem with it necessarily but it did catch my eye as something to look out for, though I guess I'm not the intended audience. 

-W glares... At J? Not entirely clear to me.

-"Dr. Mom" is great

Pg 2

-Was A here the whole time? I'm now a bit disoriented

-A reading the journal is kinda a jerk move imo, and despite J's comment it doesn't feel like the story gives enough weight the invasion of privacy here (unless there's some history between the two that makes this okay). Or unless it's just J who doesn't get it and is stuck in a toxic situation here. 

Pg 3

-The internality after J says yes isn't necessary imo. All of the info is already there because we can see J is infatuated with A. 

Pg 5

-Not sure if I should be taking the line about being fed to a tree seriously. It just seems so ridiculous by my (admittedly narrow) preconceived notions, and the characters make no attempt to expand on it or give me context. If we are supposed to take it seriously, I think some sort of description of the "tree" in question is necessary.

-We know they're in trouble of getting caught, but who will be doing the catching? Because this is SFF I think we need a bit more background about how this is all set up instead of being able to assume it's school administrators/teachers. 

Pg 6

-A referring to J (I think?) as he caught me off guard. Is J okay with that? We know J doesn't want to pick a pronoun; does that mean J is okay with all pronouns?

-Still don't know if I should be trusting the tree thing or not. L talks about it so matter of factly and not like someone living in constant terror of being sacrificed. Though maybe that's because I'm not getting a great read on L's personality overall. 

Pg 7

-Pretty large tone shift here. Makes sense in character but not sure how I feel about it in the narrative sense. 

-Honestly I'm more on board for the J has a crush on A conflict than the mom is in danger conflict. I didn't get the impression I was supposed to focus on/care about the mom before now. 

Pg 8

-to be blunt the life-and-death stuff isn't hitting me as hard as I think it's supposed to. I'm here for J's tone and the relationship with A, which was the hook I latched onto. 

Pg 9

-There's definitely going to be another surprise inspection now that they've said there won't be one

-Should I be taking W seriously too? Seemed more like an annoying rival in the opening pages but I guess he could be more of a bully figure. He hasn't exerted power over J in a bullying type of way so I haven't really given him much thought in that regard. 

Pg 10

-I'm getting way too excited about the prospect of these people kissing for someone who's aro

-"literally swoon" and "exploring their skin" don't do it for me, sorry

-mint and chocolate are good descriptors here

Pg 12

-Would they really get a warning for making out? I think I need to know more about the cultural norms here. 

-Oh no J's going to go for the fight I can feel it

-okay nvm false alarm (J standing up to W does work well for the story)

Pg 14

-I simultaneously feel like I don't have enough info on the culture about this tree and that I don't care about it as much as J's and A's character relationship

-The spores thing is cooler than some lame tree (I study plants so I think I can make that joke without offending any botanists around), but it really feels like its own story to me. Or at least not the story I wanted from the hook. 

Pg 15

-Tense change at bottom

Pg 16

-Really like J's imagination going off here

Overall:

I was engaged throughout. The length the story is working with here is tricky, since it definitely feels more involved than most short stories but has to wrap up more quickly than a novella, but I guess that's a good length for many SFF short story ideas. 

As mentioned in the LBLs, I was more engaged with J's romantic life than L's existence and the mom potentially being in trouble. That's because the initial hook we get is about J's feelings for L, and that becomes the conflict due to the context of teen romance being awkward and difficult even though the story doesn't start off with romantic tropes necessarily. So that becomes the part I focus on, and I don't really want to deviate from it. I also think J's relationship with A is more fleshed out than with L or the mom, which is another reason why I gravitated towards that. Another aspect is that the coolest aspects of the SFF universe such as the spores are introduced 4k words in when it's really difficult to establish a new conflict in a short story. 

Couple more things I'll say. The initial setup of the SFF world is stronger imo since it comes before we can get preconceived notions of this being on Earth. Also, while last time people said they really liked J's voice, I think it's better here since it's more focused on the plot and less repetitive (with potential improvements outlined in the LBLs). 

Good luck with the rest of the story and in revision! 

 

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On 1/13/2021 at 10:40 AM, Mandamon said:

2) I think there is too much plot for an 8k word story. Before the end, this is expanding quite a bit into the "mom is curing villagers" thread so much that I thought the whole gym scene was a distraction. Now I'm thinking the mom storyline is actually the distraction and this is purely about hiding L for a day. I think one or the other of these plots needs to be cut down for this to work as a short story.

Agreed. Looks like @Mandamon and I focused on two different plots, and both of us felt like we were missing something when the focus shifted to the other one(s). 

On 1/13/2021 at 7:59 AM, Robinski said:

While that's an interesting idea, however

I fear for the scenario where the reader is confused who is being talked about, especially since Lil would be another 'she' in the scene, and Wr would be another 'he', so there would be plenty of scope for confusion.

I think switching pronouns could work, but it could certainly be quite confusing if not handled carefully. And if you do go down this route I think it needs to be clear that J is using multiple/all pronouns. Because J expressed disdain at picking pronouns, I've been trying not to use pronouns (or at least third person whatever pronouns) when referring to J at all.

On 1/11/2021 at 11:43 PM, kais said:

I think we should sit down and really talk about fungi, too, because it seems like you are blending two phylums together and they are too far apart evolutionarily to do that, leading to my complete inability to suspend disbelief about god-spores (mycologists should not read mycology SF).

Okay now I feel bad for not catching this because while I'm not a mycologist per se, fungi are relevant to what I'm studying. No pressure but if you're going to do some educating on what's up with the fungi here, I'd appreciate listening in. :) 

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Overall, I think this story is a lot clearer than the last draft, which I like. I agree with the others though that it seems like too much is going on for the length that you have planned. I expect that one of the moms will show up and something will happen with god fungus, but I don't see how that will all be resolved in less than 3000 words. My favorite scenes were the kissing scene and the confrontation immediately afterwards, and then the brief chase at the end. There were couple sentences that were hard to understand, and I commented on a few but not all of them, because I figured this is an early draft and a lot will change. 

Sorry, this is late

Pg1 I enjoy this introductions much better than before! It was a lot easier for me to understand, and helped to draw me in without getting lost a lot better than the last draft. (if its any help, I like the title S in the S. )

Are they friends with W? Doesn’t seem like it based on the past described here

Pg 2 I think the phrase  “leaving me…lifeless” could be separated with em dashes

Pg 3 I get that its probably cut for length, but it feels a little less…desperate this time, with the crush. I kind of miss it.

“I would never see” This seemed like a non sequiter until I reread it

“supernova” I like this image

Pg 4 “got too fed-up” is this suicidal ideation? I guess this is just me but that made me really sad to read. For personal reasons, mostly, but it did not hit me right.

Hah, I like the description of L. Reminds me of chloe price from LiS.

Pg 5 “secretly hates…” oof relatable

Is it L with two L’s or 3? I’ve seen both in this doc

I continue to like the little tidbits about how J likes A.

Pg 7 so did they hug in the hallway? I ws a little confused by that

“Anyone can walk in her.” Ouch

Pg 10 “How do you think…” I lol’ed when I read this. Seems like a teen’s dream (or worst nightmare)

Setting boundaries is a nice touch. Especially for a YA story.

“ dreamed of Doing with her” pronoun slip

Pg 11 oh I see why it has the S tag now

Pg 11 “unibrow” funny line, seems a bit cliché tho

Pg 14 “make sure the GT deosn’t” I’m confused about what this line is saying.

Edited by ginger_reckoning
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“…mud-brown hair falls from Wren’s squarish as he” missing word after ‘squarish’

Who is A and why are they apparently leaning over JJ to read JJ’s journal? Boundaries, A, jeez!  
  Edit: Okay, I’m glad JJ asks the same question.

“Whatever sayings mean I will do anything for them…” I stumbled over this sentence.

“I am a hopeless puddle of teenage crush.” I like the line, but this seems a little more self-aware than JJ has been presented so far.

P5 “...if it doesn’t get it’s” should be “its”

Okay, I like the reveal that L’s helper is JJ’s mom, but small how is this galaxy, exactly?

“But gods, so I have questions.” Should this be “do I”?

“Why did you not check it before…” A had started to seem a little manipulative to me before now, but at this point, I definitely do not like them. They spring a surprise stowaway on another student, except them to come up with a hiding spot on short notice, and risk getting into trouble to get the stowaway to said hiding spot, and are now complaining because the spot isn’t good enough? I am kind of hoping this ends with JJ telling A all the way off.

“Why in the forty-nine hells…” I think it was 39 the last couple of times? Or does JJ just add another 10 hells every time JJ cusses?

“…W and his goon’s eyes” apostrophe should go after the S

“I have no boundaries.” This is going to end poorly, isn’t it. 

“Do you really want to tangle with me again?” This actually seems like information we should have had before. I certainly got the impression that JJ didn’t like W, but not that they had a particular history – and if you’re going to pay this much attention to JJ delivering W’s comeuppance, it feels like a bit more setup is needed

I’m guessing that all of these characters are supposed to be roughly the same age? I’m getting a mid-teens vibe from JJ, but A seems older. Although I realize some of that is them being a snob.

A note for later revision rounds: L’s name is sometimes spelled with one L and sometimes with two.

I don’t think I have much more to say overall than is in the line-by-line comments. JJ’s voice seems pretty solid and I’m enjoying the narration. I am starting to wonder what L’s overall objective is – as in, where is she trying to escape to? How did the space school come part of her escape route? It seems very coincidental unless JJ’s mom specifically sent her here, which so far doesn’t seem to be the case. The pacing so far seems solid, but I wonder about wrapping it up in the next 3k words – it might be a tall order.  

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I'm later than I wanted, but, hey, it isn't Sunday! 

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, "You’re a giant galactic" My former Latin teacher always used to call Paris from the Trojan War a cosmic a$$hat. So this made me smile. I like the double G's in this, though.

Pg 1, "I tell my brain." I relate.

Pg 1, "squarish" Squarish head? Nose? 

Pg 1, "What if there are spores?" Is this something that can happen? My ignorance is going to lead to fungi sin one day.

Pg 1, "hacked my tablet" Do you want grammar fixes? I can't remember.

Pg 2, "Hi!" I really like this method of introduction. 

Pg 2, “Sure I am.” I find this an interesting response. Not “Sure they are.” But “Sure I am.” Says a lot about J. Not sure if you did that on purpose, can’t remember if that existed before, but I note it this time.

Pg 4, “ vowing to thirty-three different deities” I think this is an exaggeration but since I don’t know the world, I can’t tell. Like, I doubt J actually believes in gods due to their personality, but I don’t know if they would actually know 33 different deities.

Pg 4, “ I get so angry when I’m hungry.” Same.

Pg 5, “weird customs in the galaxy” My curiosity is piqued. 

Pg 6, "Hearing Dr. Mom's actual name" Uh oh. That raises the stakes.

Pg 8," the dust wasn’t uniformly thick" Well, that didn't go as planned.

Pg 8, "You’re an idiot." I wanna give this kid a hug.

Pg 9, " random kids who don’t belong" Not to mention, how many admins care? I've met some principals who know the names of every single one of their hundreds or students, and I know principals who don't even know the correct names of their staff, let alone every single student.

Pg 10, " we were making out" HAHAHAHA OOOOOH NOOOO

Pg 10, "I’m okay with you touching" Setting healthy boundaries! Yay!

Pg 11, “Are you recording me?” At least someone's brain is functioning enough to remember the mission!

Pg 14, "gives enough of the antidote" Antidote? For the tree? Or are we circling back to the brain fungus mentioned earlier? Confused. What was Dr. doing in L's village in the first place?

Pg 15, "Bake-Off" When the Great British Bake-Off goes galaxy wide. 

Pg 16, "They keep running " I'm actually surprised (and relieved, I got tense) that J released. I thought for sure that they'd be returning with a black eye and a split lip. 

I ignored any grammatical mistakes since I know you're still working on this, but if you want me to go nab them, let me know. Excited to see where you take this!

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On 1/14/2021 at 5:11 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

-Still don't know if I should be trusting the tree thing or not. L talks about it so matter of factly and not like someone living in constant terror of being sacrificed. Though maybe that's because I'm not getting a great read on L's personality overall. 

 

I definitely need to work on Lily's reaction and characterization. I think I am going to move and completely rewrite the way she tells her story. 

 

On 1/14/2021 at 5:11 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

-Honestly I'm more on board for the J has a crush on A conflict than the mom is in danger conflict. I didn't get the impression I was supposed to focus on/care about the mom before now. 

 

I am going to trim this back a bit. There is too much about the mom and it is distracting and/or detracting from the narrative. 

On 1/14/2021 at 5:11 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

-I'm getting way too excited about the prospect of these people kissing for someone who's aro

 

Being ace, I usually really struggle to write certain kinds of attraction, but I think I finally got something right in this story, which is kind of funny because it wasn't actually what I intended to do. 

On 1/14/2021 at 5:11 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I was engaged throughout. The length the story is working with here is tricky, since it definitely feels more involved than most short stories but has to wrap up more quickly than a novella, but I guess that's a good length for many SFF short story ideas. 

 

I'm hoping if I cut back on the backstory about the mom and the village, and bring what I keep in sooner, then I can wrap the story up a little quicker. If it gets rejected for the anthology (which is likely since they are only filling two spots from the slush) I can always expand it into something longer. 

Thank you for the critique! 

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4 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Being ace, I usually really struggle to write certain kinds of attraction, but I think I finally got something right in this story, which is kind of funny because it wasn't actually what I intended to do. 

Oh hey, I'm ace too (in case it wasn't obvious by my name on this site lol). Tbh the more I read stuff with romance and attraction the more I'm convinced that even a lot of allos don't really understand it. :) I think you did a good job with it here, for whatever my opinion is worth. 

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On 1/16/2021 at 7:04 PM, Snakenaps said:

Pg 4, “ vowing to thirty-three different deities” I think this is an exaggeration but since I don’t know the world, I can’t tell. Like, I doubt J actually believes in gods due to their personality, but I don’t know if they would actually know 33 different deities.

 

This is like the increasing number of hells. It's not meant to be taken literally. 

a

On 1/16/2021 at 7:04 PM, Snakenaps said:

Pg 14, "gives enough of the antidote" Antidote? For the tree? Or are we circling back to the brain fungus mentioned earlier? Confused. What was Dr. doing in L's village in the first place?

 

This confused everyone. I will change it. 

 

On 1/16/2021 at 7:04 PM, Snakenaps said:

Pg 15, "Bake-Off" When the Great British Bake-Off goes galaxy wide. 

 

exactly!!

On 1/16/2021 at 7:04 PM, Snakenaps said:

I ignored any grammatical mistakes since I know you're still working on this, but if you want me to go nab them, let me know

Based on the crits, it looks like there is going to be enough cutting and rewriting that it's not necessarily ready for line edits yet. And some of the others did catch a lot of my typos and tense slips. But thank you for offering, and thank you for critiquing! 

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On 1/14/2021 at 11:55 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

Pg 4 “got too fed-up” is this suicidal ideation? I guess this is just me but that made me really sad to read. For personal reasons, mostly, but it did not hit me right.

 

Yes, though I think I'm going to take it out and the other allusion to JJ having issues with suicide ideation. In hindsight, something about the tone and the delivery makes it feel to crass and insensitive. It's not the right story for it. This almost unconsciously creeps into a lot of my stories, and I don't think I want it in this one. 

 

Thank you for the critique! 

On 1/14/2021 at 11:55 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

too much is going on for the length that you have planned.

Everyone seems to agree on this so I will try to trim some things out.

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On 1/15/2021 at 5:38 PM, Silk said:

Okay, I like the reveal that L’s helper is JJ’s mom, but small how is this galaxy, exactly?

 

So she specifically sent L here. Am going to explain more clearly when I revise. 

On 1/15/2021 at 5:38 PM, Silk said:

“Why did you not check it before…” A had started to seem a little manipulative to me before now, but at this point, I definitely do not like them. They spring a surprise stowaway on another student, except them to come up with a hiding spot on short notice, and risk getting into trouble to get the stowaway to said hiding spot, and are now complaining because the spot isn’t good enough? I am kind of hoping this ends with JJ telling A all the way off.

 

Makes sense. I think I am either am going to change a few things about A or change the way the relationship between the two of them evolves over the story. I haven't fully decided which. 

 

On 1/15/2021 at 5:38 PM, Silk said:

“Why in the forty-nine hells…” I think it was 39 the last couple of times? Or does JJ just add another 10 hells every time JJ cusses?

 

It keeps going up, though @Robinski suggested I not make it end in a 9 every time, so I might mix it up a bit. 

On 1/15/2021 at 5:38 PM, Silk said:

“Do you really want to tangle with me again?” This actually seems like information we should have had before. I certainly got the impression that JJ didn’t like W, but not that they had a particular history – and if you’re going to pay this much attention to JJ delivering W’s comeuppance, it feels like a bit more setup is needed

 

Makes sense. I think I am going to bring W in earlier and go from there in terms of making decisions about whether to set up more history or remove the mention of it. 

 

On 1/15/2021 at 5:38 PM, Silk said:

I am starting to wonder what L’s overall objective is – as in, where is she trying to escape to? How did the space school come part of her escape route? It seems very coincidental unless JJ’s mom specifically sent her here, which so far doesn’t seem to be the case. The pacing so far seems solid, but I wonder about wrapping it up in the next 3k words – it might be a tall order.  

J's mom sent her but the plan went slightly awry. It gets revealed just after where I cut off this sub, but it needs to come sooner. Much sooner. I'm going to streamline and shorten all the background so hopefully it will work better on the next version. 

 

Thank you for the critique! 

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