kais

1/25/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Intro (L) - 6100 words

17 posts in this topic

I’m back, this time with the intention of subbing through most of the book. I’m about 50K in with the writing, which should allow me to keep pace with the feedback and incorporate appropriately into new edits as I go.

Since I’m more concerned about content this time than emotional reactions, I’ve included the front matter that will be in the book, which you are welcome to ignore if you’re not a front matter person. It includes a map, Talent Lists, timeline, etc.

I’m still trying to walk that line between engaging series readers, and introducing new readers to what should be a stand alone trilogy in an established universe. Comments to that effect (especially about if you’re too confused and would put the book down, or if you’re so bored and would put the book down) are especially helpful. 

This is no longer meant as a prologue, but more of a launchpad introduction to get everyone on the same page. I’ve cut it down from its original 9K words to 6.1K, and I hope that makes it snappier and more emotionally resonant.

Thanks all! Hope to have you around for the whole ride.
 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude, this is clean. I keep trying to puncture holes, look for any nook and cranny. So I'm just going to do a checklist and see if anything comes out half-baked. Hope this helps. 

Plants: check, minor foreshadow that new readers aren't likely to catch. "minor wilt had turned to major decay." Look, me and plants!

M's P: check, given type of shuttle

N and her species: 

  • All fingers present.
  • Exile: check, including method of and why, and her desire to return (stakes). Plus, why she is unique outside of planet N.
  • Piloting skills: check, try not to burn out any more thrusters XD
  • Feeling sticky: check, mildly telepathic
  • Planet: they sure do love their wood
  • Religion: trees be holy. Don't go messing with fairy tale planet. Uncle is obnoxious. 
  • Past: Guard place dropped, mother's sickness hinted
  • Name drop: check

Y: check, particularly loved this line: "started to vocalize some emotion that would have made them both uncomfortable, shut his mouth" 

R, their company, their building material, and their role: check, check, check, check, check

Journey Youth: both that it is indentured servitude and that it is for two years, plus the age requirements 

World + Spaceport: check, with hints at a larger world with minor introduction/mentions of different species

Name drop of Titlecheck

Book 1 Easter Eggs:

  • R mad
  • Neck tingles and cellulose tingles
  • Tree telepathy 

Guard: check 

Planet A: check, plus books and religion

President: can I kick him in the gonads? 

G4: toeing the line, shows she wants to join forces (foreshadows her involvement). Shows N's childhood adoration. 

Pg 13, "He knew how much the Youth Journey label rankled" Confusion: does he mean referring to himself as an adult but not her or did you cut a label I forgot?

Pg 14, " this tiny little island kept consuming other countries." I still can't stop laughing at this. 

Pg 20, I just want to go home,” Missing first quotation mark

Pg 23, "She was never going to step foot on her homeworld again."

Edited by Snakenaps
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall:

WAY clearer than last time all around.  A lot of the details that threw me off last time were incorporated more smoothly and closer to the front, so I didn’t get stuck in incorrect assumptions.

I had a much better sense of why the plants were important both religiously to Ne’s planet and as a resource to everyone else. I remember that being a frustration point last time.

Last time I’d gotten to the end and thought there were some interesting things but was too overwhelmed to continue from there.  This version is much less confusing, the length is much more appealing, and it would make me far more excited to keep reading. 

Pg 1:

“A year into…”  I don’t get what prompted this comment.

Pg 2:

“The barrier film…” Three Ris- based words in two sentences is a lot.

Pg 4:

“Ne- laughed…” on one hand, I like that I have a much clearer idea of what is going on with this paragraph included, but it seems like a lot for her to be reciting back to Ke if it’s already known.  Up to “supposed to be dead” is probably fine, but after that it seems a little maid/butler-y. 

Pg 8:

I think it’s a lot easier to see Ap as having a poor grasp of Common this time around.  She still seems pretty fluent, but the self-corrections get the point across well.

Pg 9:

“Do you or…” I was confused about who was talking here and on the next line at first glance.

Pg 13:

Getting the reason she was kicked off the planet here further convinces me that we don’t need it in the conversation with Ke on Pg 4.

Pg 14:

I seem to remember getting a stronger emotional connection when she was asking about her mother last time.  Was there some reaction between her uncle saying that he's only allowed to ask about the holy books and her "Well, does the Book..." question before?  I feel like we need some pause for a reaction there. 

 

Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to continuing with this.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the others: this is a lot cleaner. I think this serves as a good place to bring everyone up to speed before starting a new series. One minor grump: there is still the part about her neck itching that doesn't come up again, and I assume we're going to go 14 years forward after this chapter, so it seems like a question that won't get answered. Other than that, I think the reveal of G4 is strong enough at the end that we can assume a connection for the rest of the book, but understand why this relationship didn't develop in the first trilogy.

Looking forward to more!

Notes while reading
pg 2: "scratched at it with all eight fingers from one hand."
--a bit clunky, but it'll do...

pg 3: "Those ratios are unacceptable"
--what ratios? The number of trees that survived?

pg 3: "Possibly because I wanted to see how close we could fly to a star about to go supernova."
--I'm still wondering whether 1) she serious and 2) how they got away if the thrusters melted...

pg 4: "biggest fugitive, remember..."
--Good summary. This places N well.

pg 5: "she risked insulting the m."
--Why would she do this when she was just offered basically a blank check?

pg 8: "Planes of aliens"
--Not sure what this is referring to. Like, spaceships?

pg 11: "The planet/the Biped"
--This might possibly still need to be spelled out more transparently for new reader, or even for old readers, to remind them of the naming convention.

pg 15: "The president has finished his meeting"
--wasn't it supposed to be an hour?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much easier read!

I have to agree that the conversation between Ne and K is a lot of information still. It seems strange that Ne would be sharing all of this personal and apparently painful information with someone she has an adversarial relationship with and pointedly doesn't like. 

Non-existent toilet: well... at least they have trees.

"So close Ne could spit on it." Great line for keeping viewpoint in character. 

"With gold... racing stripes, maybe, along" I get the point of this sentence but it reads a bit garbled to me with all the punctuation breaking it up.

Thanks for sharing

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I go (gonna try to forget previous drafts and start from ground zero):

pg 1

-The short blurbs after the first paragraph are more of a hook than the first paragraph itself to me

-I hate being the "don't swear" person but the f bomb isn't doing much as an adjective for me. Feels like the story is trying to force the point to be important before we really know a lot about N 

pg 3

-much better swear imo. Sweet, sweet verbs.

pg 4

-By this point I like N, but don't care much about Y or K. Hoping to see N be more of the sole focus from here on out

pg 5

-How does N feel about this deal? Seems momentous if it goes through. Is she just totally convinced that K won't make it happen?

-All right, this is the first time I get a feeling for N's motivation and I'd like to see this earlier. Her finding it hard to be in exile in the first scene doesn't convey the weight of what we're getting here. As an offshoot of this, how does she see the trees? Are they memories of home or just ways to make a quick buck?

pg 6

-Is N annoyed by Y's comments? It seems like no, but I can't quite tell. I'd be kinda irked in her situation 

pg 8

-Idk how much this has actually changed but A's chatting is more interesting to me this time. I feel like I get a better view of the larger universe. 

pg 9-10

-okay I understand this gadget thing much better than before too 

-Really really like how this is looped back into her desire to return home. I want to see everything in this chapter revolve around that. What needs it right now is the first few pages I think. Maybe the trees could be tied to home? Or they remind her of memories from home each time she looks at them? Plenty of options here. 

pg 13

-wow I hate Y. How does N feel about him in general?

-This whole scene was good for showing the dark side of home for her

pg 14-15

-Solid. Not much else to say

pg 16

-I think we have the opportunity to get into N's head a bit more here. Her exclamations are telling us that she's frustrated and anxious, but not much more. What does stalling out so close to home mean for her? Whenever I see lots of exclamation marks, I prefer to see more specific language that carries the same emotion instead. 

pg 19

-This is the first description we get of what home really means to her. It hits hard and I want more of this, and earlier. 

pg 22

-I think we need a bit more background here. A few concrete actions that G4 took to interfere with N in the past, maybe? Something that we'll be able to picture rather than vague interference. And her mentioning A has no significance to me. What's the significance to N?

pg 23

-Great ending. Wraps up the main compelling idea this chapter runs with. 

Overall:

Agreed with everyone else that this is really good (as much as I liked the last one too). Only larger comment here is that the main dynamics of the chapter (mostly N's motivation to return home) could be clearer earlier on, since something like wanting to return home is pretty universally understood. More details about the stuff that matters to her about home could be good too, and is an opportunity to slip in worldbuilding info if the planet's going to continue to be relevant. 

Oh, I commented last time that I didn't really like the subplot about the seeds, and I think the better description of the doohickey she gets makes it hold my interest more. Would still like to see how the trees connect to her ideas of home though to bring everything together. 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

overall:

ya done good mate. I tried to read this as a new reader but it didnt work.

so I think I said that this is "much clearer/better" like ten times in this whole critique so im sorry for being repetitive. But yeah, that's all i got :) im stoked to read more.

 

Page 1

-opening paragraph is much better than before (let the "much better" 's begin)

-Major decay *salutes*

 

-“Emotions were effing complicated” I really liked this line in the previous draft and I felt it added character to N but now it feels out of place. there was no struggle before this so I’m wondering why Y said it wasn’t getting easier and N was complaining about emotions. I’m not sure what the problem is and what exactly isn’t getting easier. What triggered her to think emotions were complicated? The saplings dying? Is this an emotionally taxing endeavor? edit: okay im dumb. obviously it was the exile comment that made her say emotions were complicated. but it still didnt feel warranted, there was no struggle. idk it just feels like this line should be somewhere further down in a more emotionally taxing situation, like maybe when she sees G4 or something.

 

-the dialogue so far is throwing me off. I didn’t have a problem with the dialogue in previous versions but so far it sort of feels… off? I'm not entirely sure. Edit: it's mostly just the stuff i’ve pointed out on the first page, the rest is fine.

 

-“Dunno. Guess you’re going to find out” I don’t get what this line is doing. He just said it never gets easier and now he is saying that she will find out if it does. Feels inconsistent. It might work better to cut this, then the next part where he tries to provide comfort “started to vocalize some emotion…” it is even more awkward, which is good, i think.

 

-“I don’t get it” in previous versions I didn’t really think about or care why these plants were dying, I didn’t think it mattered in the big scheme of things, but now I’m curious and I think it’s this simple line that brought my attention to the mystery of why the plants are dying. *two thumbs up*

 

Page 2

-“the back of her neck itched” this whole paragraph is good. Idk if it’s because I’m more familiar with the terms but this didn’t feel info dumpy or overwhelming like it might have before.

 

-“we can drink away your feelings” so the condition of these saplings is hitting her hard huh?

 

-“tossed the last pot” wait shouldn’t they be handled gently, even if they are dying? Rip plants

 

-awesome intro of the Ris. Also, the film sheath thing is introduced much better this time, though it may be partially because I already had an idea of what was going on.

 

-“I thought you were going to try bags?” Is this supposed to be a question? Seems more like a statement

 

Page 3

-is journey youth referring to N? I was confused at first why she turned aggressive so quickly when she told MK to shut up but I see now that it was an insult.

 

Page 4

-”im the N peep’s biggest fugitive” this felt out of place, maid/butler talk. though I can see her saying something like “i'm not exactly welcome there, they shot me into space remember?” I really do like the delivery and content of the “shot me into space” part. I definitely read it as her enunciating each word in a serious but comical sort of way (like THEY SHOT ME INTO EFFING SPACE), so I did enjoy that. But yeah, i think just shortening this information or rephrasing it so it doesn't sound like the author is throwing the info at the reader would be good. 

 

-“k responded instantly” doesn’t saying k responded instantly make it less... instant?

 

Page 5

-originally I thought M was K’s first name, oops

-indentured servitude as a jy” oh so that's what journey youth is, like a program or something

 

Page 6

-courtesy of his cozy relationship” oooh good character voice. overall good paragraph with great voice

-”one of these days another N will come… zoo attraction” then wouldn't that one N who left to go to Cal be the new zoo attraction? 

 

Page 7

-”her hands remind in her pockets” typo, remained

 

Page 8

-“the a- c- percentage is almost seventy-five” im a little confused about this ball but im willing to stick with it and see whats up with it (though it is much clearer than before)

 

Page 9

“I have a hunch, and i dont need many” many what?

-having N spell out what she is thinking about with the trees communicating makes everything way clearer. Idk how she plans to use the ball but i'm actually interested in what she will do, whereas before I was too confused to even know that i should be curious about this ball.

 

Page 12

“Im afraid it's a condition, exile.” oof, harsh.

 

Page 13

-wait is it youth journey or journey youth?

 

page 19/20

-I was confused about why G4 had stopped N in the previous sub and it is a little bit clearer in this version, but i still had to think about it. So the president was trying to arrest her even tho she got clearance to transport the seeds? did her uncle know? dang shady uncle. so was it all a set up and then G4 came along and was like nah i got you N?

 

Page 23

Great ending line. i dont remember how it ended before but i really like how you ended it this time.




 

Edited by karamel
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comments. Really interested to see how this is looking now.

- "minor wilt had turned to major decay" - Super. Stakes in the first paragraph. A failure. Again. All good.

- "I don’t get it" - And a problem (although Y doesn't seem to think so). It's not a major mystery begging a solution really, but it adds to tension, to conflict. That's good.

- "stuck flying derelict Terran shuttles" - There's more than one?

- "Get down there" - I thought N was in the hold already? Isn't she already 'down there'?

- "mating of an amphibian and a fruit salad" - :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

(Five minutes later, Robinski recovers from rolling around on the floor.)

- "when she tossed the last pot into the bay" - This seems to contradict her caring concern for the sappling before. Sounds careless and uncaring.

- "The gate doors" - One of the other surely. Oh, loading gate doors? Still, if it's already a gate, how come it has doors? (And not, you know, a gate?)

- "I thought you were going to try bags?" - Excellent. I always like implied history. Really smooth establishing touch.

- "it might be the quality of his JY" - Eh? How could the be? Confused.

- "I am nineteen years old" - Oh. I was thinking of Nick. I forgot Ne was the JY. The first statement could be worded more unequivocally.

- "Those ratios are unacceptable" - What ratios?

- "you’d get no more an" - Could they not just go to someone else? I don't understand how Y has a monopoly on this trade.

- "Three times our yearly salary, in one lump sum" - Is Ne authorised by Y to negotiate, or is she being uppity here? It doesn't affect the scene, but it affects my perception of Ne as a character at this point.

- "If she spoke again she risked insulting the mark"-  This doesn't sound right, she's been insulting hir since xe arrived.

- "toe j" - Ew. What a marvellous phrase. I like the pacing. We did not linger in the first scene and are straight into a new location.

- "a slender Terran gave her a toothy smile" - It's not clear, IMO, that the Terran is AU. I thought at first the Terran was walking in the other direction.

- Confused over AU's dialogue about the Pru ship. This seems a key moment, and it's not clear to me. Is the scan of the shop different from the design? Are those the same thing? Wording unclear. Are the Pru a different, undiscovered race? I don't know what's happening here and what I'm to take from this.

- "It’s a prototype for one of the new model" - A prototype of what? I'm confused. What is this ball? A battery? A capacitor? A power core? I can't relate to this scene unless I know what it is the Ne is buying. The why of it I can probably live without for now, but AU is working with this thing an Ne wants it, but for all I know it's a paperweight.

- "can’t handle this level upgrade" - Upgrade of what? Where is Ne going to stick this when she gets it back to the ship?

- "twice the size of her head" - This remains really incongruous to me. The way they talk about it, and hand it back and forth, it sounds easy, but something this size would be awkward to handle, surely. I think that bothers me most is the word ball. A ball is something sport is played with, in its most common usage, and is of a certain size: a football (soccer); a 'pigskin' (gridiron football); basket ball; golf ball; tennis ball; squash ball; netball ball; volleyball ball; rugby ball; waterpolo ball; snooker ball; pool ball; billiard ball; you get the idea. They are all small, maybe as big as a head in certain cases, but none on the scale being described. Ergo, I would not call what they are talking about a ball. To me, it's a sphere.

- "With the wideness of her grip, each contacted the metal" - I can't picture what this thing looks like.

- "to boost that communication and thereby keep the saplings alive" - But why can't they communicate? They are packed right close together, are they not? Is it not a simple as having a soil link between them? What else do they need in their natural habitat?

- "sell me three of them" - I have not really explanation why this tech I making these things. If they come from Ris ships, are they not only fit for use in Ris ships?

- "I have access to Y's bank accounts" - Eh?! How the heck can that be? Seems crazy and plot convenient.

- "With a ball in each hand" - How, they are twice the size of her head?

- "Keeping saplings alive meant more hauls for the R" - How? If they take the dead plants anyway. The only way this can follow, surely, is if they fly slower to try and keep saplings alive. I don't understand.

- "She was so, so close" - clear stakes and I do get a clear sense of personal motivation. The thing is, I know what happens after this, and I know that these stakes are...somewhat superfluous. That is an issue for me: I'm not as invested as I would like to be at the start of a novel. What is this prolog doing that can't be done in the novel proper? One of the aims, I seem to remember, (the primary aim?) was to introduce G4, but we are many, many pages in and only the vaguest, most passing reference to the HG, and not to G4 directly. Would the way to introduce G4 not be to write a G4 short for the prologue?

Also, to sum up so far at this break point--notwithstanding the comments above--I think this is clearer and more engaging than previous versions. Pacing is better, and the things that are confusing me are details, although there are quite a few of those, IMO.

- "racing stripes, maybe, along its hull" - 'maybe' is not engaging/compelling. She can be definitive about this, surely? Ne is quite aggressive about her opinions, I don't see why she would not be here also.

- "YOU’D HAVE LOOKED REALLY NICE IN GOLD" - I don't understand this, but I know what happens later, so, I'm confused. There is not context for this statement in this story.

- "This reeks of an object lesson" - How so? I don't understand. I'm not following the logic around here, on this page.

- "Not even a tit** roamed the city-fields" - For new readers, or for old readers with YRS, what is a tit** anyway, in general terms? Is it a beast of burden, domestic companion, food crop animal? Context required, IMO.

- What is the shape of st*k? Confused.

- "I WILL COME FOR YOU, SOME DAY. I PROMISE. YOUR WORDS ARE NOT FORGOTTEN, NOR ARE YOU" - What words? Why would G4 bother coming for Ne? So confused.

- "I don’t think these saplings are legal" - Confused. I thought the whole point was that the Ris had made arrangements for the MP to land and pick up the saplings. How do they usually get them? I may have missed that bit. The whole thing seems really quite confused, and just a way to get to have this particular scene, when I'm not convinced it makes senes logically. Either I'm missing significance in the set-up, or that significance/logic is not there. Not sure which.

- "fruit basket" - :lol: 

- "a skirting of a line just far enough to be irritating" - 'close enough', IMO. To me, 'far enough' relates more obviously to distance of travel. Lines (or acceptability) are something you come close to, I reckon.

- "of indeterminant material" - indeterminate. Indeterminant is not a word, I think, or at best, is a noun not an adjective.

- "both from their one-time flight together" - simpler is clearer, IMO.

- "She mouthed the word ‘At" - Huh?! How can she know that? Confused.

- Good character emotion here at the end.

- "a container balanced on each hip" - Why? Surely they belong in the hold?

- "had hand-delivered her and seeds" - Wait, I thought they were saplings? There was earth spilling in the hold.

- "G4 said she looked good in gold" - No, what she said would 'Would have looked good in gold.'

- "Maybe her little rebellion hadn’t died with her exile" - This is bothering me too. Why would the president go to all this trouble over one rebellious Ne? Okay, Ne did something bad enough for them to go to the trouble of exiling them in the first place, but what makes Ne so important, such a threat to the governance of an entire planet, as to justify this level of attention? It's not clear from the prologue to a new reader, IMO, and it's not really clear to me.

- "known, academically, for a long time" - I think the word is 'subconsciously'. How does academically work? That's a different thing, IMO, and does fit here, I reckon.

Overall 

There are a lot of things in this that confuse me, that I think are unclear, or not explained, and the premise of this prologue is not especially compelling to me because I know what happens. Sure, there is some good emotion, pacing is okay, but I feel that the logic of various points is confusing, and I don't see how it propels me into the novel that I'm sitting holding in my hands (metaphorically speaking). Honestly, I don't understand the need to have Book 4 (actually 5) of a series be a starting point for new readers. since the overarching narrative of many series (Dresden, Potter, Wheel of Time, Dune) is basically continuous, why would anyone start reading at Book 4?

Mistborn is actually the one (that I can think of in the 5 minutes I've been considering this) example that maybe sort of fits the model, but it's with completely different characters, and it not a continuation of the same timeframe arc, which it seems to me this story is.

Thanks for sharing. I'll be interested to read the start of the story :) 

Edited by Robinski
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/25/2021 at 9:15 PM, Snakenaps said:

Confusion: does he mean referring to himself as an adult but not her or did you cut a label I forgot?

Shoot, clarified this. Good call.

On 1/25/2021 at 9:15 PM, Snakenaps said:

Pg 20, I just want to go home,” Missing first quotation mark

Good catch. Thanks for the feedback, and glad this worked better this time around!

 

On 1/26/2021 at 10:24 AM, C_Vallion said:

“Ne- laughed…” on one hand, I like that I have a much clearer idea of what is going on with this paragraph included, but it seems like a lot for her to be reciting back to Ke if it’s already known.  Up to “supposed to be dead” is probably fine, but after that it seems a little maid/butler-y. 

Rather unfortunately, it has to come somewhere and I'm not sure how else to integrate it. But it's on my radar now.

On 1/26/2021 at 10:24 AM, C_Vallion said:

as there some reaction between her uncle saying that he's only allowed to ask about the holy books and her "Well, does the Book..." question before?  I feel like we need some pause for a reaction there. 

There was, and I cut it. Hmmm. Okay, will revisit. Thank you for the feedback and glad this is working better.

 

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

One minor grump: there is still the part about her neck itching that doesn't come up again, and I assume we're going to go 14 years forward after this chapter, so it seems like a question that won't get answered.

Spoiler

Is it not close enough to the andal telepathy weirdness that a reader would assume similar? I only need it to be a little different, but enough so that the seasoned reader sort of hand waves it as 'oh yeah, the andal thing'. I've added in this sentence after the first mention, in an effort to clear it up: The back of her neck itched, right at the base of her skull—a deep itch that made it feel like fingers were crawling into her brain. Usually andal gave her head a bit of a tingle, but this would make her scream if she had to endure it for much longer. 

 

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

Why would she do this when she was just offered basically a blank check?

Good call. I've eased her temper through that conversation and edited the line a bit, too.

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

Not sure what this is referring to. Like, spaceships?

It's the greater plot popping up and meant to be a bit confusing so hopefully it isn't too much of a drag. This session of 'tropey space book with lesbians' we get interdimensional fun!

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

wasn't it supposed to be an hour?

Err this was supposed to show something was up. Flubbed it. Will edit. Thank you for the comments!

 

On 1/27/2021 at 0:55 PM, Sarah B said:

I have to agree that the conversation between Ne and K is a lot of information still. It seems strange that Ne would be sharing all of this personal and apparently painful information with someone she has an adversarial relationship with and pointedly doesn't like. 

I've cut it down some, but it has to go somewhere, and people were pretty clear they needed it earlier rather than later. Hopefully cutting it down helps.

On 1/27/2021 at 0:55 PM, Sarah B said:

I get the point of this sentence but it reads a bit garbled to me with all the punctuation breaking it up.

Fair. I can take some out. Thanks for reading and glad this is going better!

 

 

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I hate being the "don't swear" person but the f bomb isn't doing much as an adjective for me. Feels like the story is trying to force the point to be important before we really know a lot about N 

This is carryover from the first three, so it'll have to stay put. N's uncreative coarseness is central to part of her character. Y gets a lot better with the expletives.

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

By this point I like N, but don't care much about Y or K. Hoping to see N be more of the sole focus from here on out

She was the primary protagonist of the first three books so this intro is meant to help ease the old readers into a book where she isn't the lead. We will see how that goes...

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

All right, this is the first time I get a feeling for N's motivation and I'd like to see this earlier. Her finding it hard to be in exile in the first scene doesn't convey the weight of what we're getting here. As an offshoot of this, how does she see the trees? Are they memories of home or just ways to make a quick buck?

Spoiler

I've added this during the K conversation, hopefully to help: No amount of money would buy her repatriation, but it did buy Pledge upgrades that kept her from being exiled and homeless

 

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

wow I hate Y. How does N feel about him in general?

LOL there's four whole books on this! It's hard to write a little intro short like this when there is so much history that I have to compress into about 5K words.

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I think we need a bit more background here. A few concrete actions that G4 took to interfere with N in the past, maybe? Something that we'll be able to picture rather than vague interference. And her mentioning A has no significance to me. What's the significance to N?

 

This is a good idea. I've added to the G4 transmission:

Spoiler

WISH I COULD TAKE YOU FOR ANOTHER SETTEE RIDE. I’LL NEVER FORGET THOSE WIDE EYES AND HOW YOU PUSHED MY HAND OFF THE INTERFACE SO YOU COULD FLY US RIGHT INTO THAT TREE.

There's a whole little short on it, which we get in a few chapters, but the flying into a tree part isn't in it, so this is a fun teaser. 'A' isn't supposed to make sense to new readers, its an Easter egg for the older ones.

Spoiler

If you just want to know for the sake of knowing, 'A' is N's child-name, which is a critical plot point of the first trilogy when she decides to start using it again.

 

On 1/27/2021 at 6:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Oh, I commented last time that I didn't really like the subplot about the seeds, and I think the better description of the doohickey she gets makes it hold my interest more. Would still like to see how the trees connect to her ideas of home though to bring everything together. 

Hoorah! And I have a bit more to do with the seed pods, too, to add in at a later date. Still hashing out the greater plot mechanics on this. Thanks for reading again and glad it was cleaner!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, kais said:
On 1/27/2021 at 1:32 PM, Mandamon said:

One minor grump: there is still the part about her neck itching that doesn't come up again, and I assume we're going to go 14 years forward after this chapter, so it seems like a question that won't get answered.

  Reveal hidden contents

Is it not close enough to the andal telepathy weirdness that a reader would assume similar? I only need it to be a little different, but enough so that the seasoned reader sort of hand waves it as 'oh yeah, the andal thing'. I've added in this sentence after the first mention, in an effort to clear it up: The back of her neck itched, right at the base of her skull—a deep itch that made it feel like fingers were crawling into her brain. Usually andal gave her head a bit of a tingle, but this would make her scream if she had to endure it for much longer. 

 

That works a lot better. Lets the reader know something's up, but don't worry about it yet.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/27/2021 at 8:19 PM, karamel said:

I really liked this line in the previous draft and I felt it added character to N but now it feels out of place. there was no struggle before this so I’m wondering why Y said it wasn’t getting easier and N was complaining about emotions. I’m not sure what the problem is and what exactly isn’t getting easier. What triggered her to think emotions were complicated? The saplings dying? Is this an emotionally taxing endeavor? edit: okay im dumb. obviously it was the exile comment that made her say emotions were complicated. but it still didnt feel warranted, there was no struggle. idk it just feels like this line should be somewhere further down in a more emotionally taxing situation, like maybe when she sees G4 or something.

Another person commented on this too, so I've reworked the scene a bit. Hopefully this is better:

Spoiler

Captain YK, an Earth native who employed N on his semi-legal transport runs, snorted. “The Ris won’t care. They’re just stripping them for cellulose. Get them packaged and to the hold. We’re about to dock with the Sapwood.” 

“They could have at least let us into low orbit for the transfer. I’m sure that didn’t help,” N muttered. 

He gruffly patted her shoulder. “Being so close to your planet you can almost spit on it is a particularly fine form of torture. Exile isn’t getting any easier, is it?” 

            N shrugged, unsure of what else to do. Emotions were effing complicated. “Will it ever?”

            Yo turned, started to vocalize some emotion that would have made them both uncomfortable, shut his mouth, then continued from the hold. N was left with the weary looking andal.

 

On 1/27/2021 at 8:19 PM, karamel said:

I don’t get what this line is doing

I cut it. You're right, the following line was better

On 1/27/2021 at 8:19 PM, karamel said:

wait shouldn’t they be handled gently, even if they are dying? Rip plants

She no longer throws the pot

On 1/27/2021 at 8:19 PM, karamel said:

ait is it youth journey or journey youth?

One is the program (YJ) and one refers to a participant (JY). I've tried to clarify in the text.

On 1/27/2021 at 8:19 PM, karamel said:

I was confused about why G4 had stopped N in the previous sub and it is a little bit clearer in this version, but i still had to think about it. So the president was trying to arrest her even tho she got clearance to transport the seeds? did her uncle know? dang shady uncle. so was it all a set up and then G4 came along and was like nah i got you N?

I've tried to clean this as well. Thank you for the feedback and glad this is cleaner!

 

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

There's more than one?

LOL I really hope not.

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

I thought N was in the hold already? Isn't she already 'down there'?

Edited

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

This seems to contradict her caring concern for the sappling before. Sounds careless and uncaring.

She no longer tosses and the whole dialogue of that encounter has been trimmed way down and has a lot less of N being a jerk

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

I don't understand how Y has a monopoly on this trade.

It's in the book of shorts but I've added a clarifying sentence here to help

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

This seems a key moment, and it's not clear to me. Is the scan of the shop different from the design? Are those the same thing? Wording unclear. Are the Pru a different, undiscovered race? I don't know what's happening here and what I'm to take from this.

Check I've cleaned this up as I have to change some details anyway (posting the edits on this thread later so people can check them out if they want). Related - I keep waffling between having this be a new character, or just using Chen from the main series. But I wanted N to have her own friends, too, which we never really get a sense of in the first four books.

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

twice the size of her head" - This remains really incongruous to me. The way they talk about it, and hand it back and forth, it sounds easy, but something this size would be awkward to handle, surely. I think that bothers me most is the word ball. A ball is something sport is played with, in its most common usage, and is of a certain size: a football (soccer); a 'pigskin' (gridiron football); basket ball; golf ball; tennis ball; squash ball; netball ball; volleyball ball; rugby ball; waterpolo ball; snooker ball; pool ball; billiard ball; you get the idea. They are all small, maybe as big as a head in certain cases, but none on the scale being described. Ergo, I would not call what they are talking about a ball. To me, it's a sphere.

I've changed it to a smaller size

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

It’s a prototype for one of the new model" - A prototype of what? I'm confused. What is this ball? A battery? A capacitor? A power core? I can't relate to this scene unless I know what it is the Ne is buying. The why of it I can probably live without for now, but AU is working with this thing an Ne wants it, but for all I know it's a paperweight.

Ah sorry about that! I've made its purpose clear

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

to boost that communication and thereby keep the saplings alive" - But why can't they communicate? They are packed right close together, are they not? Is it not a simple as having a soil link between them? What else do they need in their natural habitat?

This is the book plot...

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

How? If they take the dead plants anyway. The only way this can follow, surely, is if they fly slower to try and keep saplings alive. I don't understand.

I have clarified this. Good catch

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

I don't understand this, but I know what happens later, so, I'm confused. There is not context for this statement in this story.

This was meant to be more of an Easter egg than anything else

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

How so? I don't understand. I'm not following the logic around here, on this page.

Have tried to clarify.

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

What words? Why would G4 bother coming for Ne? So confused.

This is meant to be confusing because its the greater plot setup

On 1/28/2021 at 10:30 AM, Robinski said:

Honestly, I don't understand the need to have Book 4 (actually 5) of a series be a starting point for new readers. since the overarching narrative of many series (Dresden, Potter, Wheel of Time, Dune) is basically continuous, why would anyone start reading at Book 4?

I've cleared up a lot of the confusing areas, I think. I'm mostly interested in making sure this is a good launch point for new readers because from the times I've spoken with authors who write series, they often mention the key is that people could cold pick up one and it still made sense. Books one and two could do that, not so much three. Four could. I'd really like five to do it, but we'll see I suppose. It's a good writing exercise if nothing else, especially since I want to use new characters mostly, not old ones.

Thank you for the detailed feedback! The intro is much stronger now for sure.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been some plot-relevant edits to the spaceport scene with A. If anyone is curious to read them before launching into chapter one, they're behind the spoiler window below.

 

Spoiler

Ap waved a hand dismissively. “Sit if you want. A few captains came by to look at old shielding scraps in my antiques section—the kind of bioplastics they used in their ships before they settled the CS. When they did more interstellar travel. They were complaining about aliens and planes. Planes of aliens. It made no sense, because Ris do not make sense. Lizards are not people. People do not steal your mushrooms.” She pointed at her planter box. “Took the turkey tail, the winter polypores, and the dead man’s fingers. Savages, the lot of them.”

“I thought Ris ate fish? Besides, we’re all aliens,” Nk said flatly. Mushroom conscription seemed very minor considering how her day had gone. She waved her hand, wiggling the eight fingers. “Some moreso than others.”

“No, I mean aliens. From outside the CS. More border skirmishes.” She leaned towards Nk. “Ris did a lot more trade, you know, before the Systems came together. I’ve won salvage rights to a few old cutters. What do you do if you don’t have access to andal cellulose? How do you fly? How do you compute? Regular cellulose won’t do it but these aliens had some kind of tech. Rs haven’t sorted it yet but they keep asking me to fuss with it. Here, my new design. It’s meant to hold charged cellulose pulp for transfers.”

Ap reached to her right and picked up a hollow, biometal ball, one of the seams still an angry red. She handed it to Nk. The metal felt warm in her hands, and not just on the seam lines. Nk scratched her neck, the lingering saplings still irritating her half a space station away.

            “It just looks like regular biometal.”

“It is now, more or less. I integrated andal cellulose percentage to almost seventy-five,” Ap said. “But the base metal already has a filament in it that isn’t a sugar polymer of any form. Cell-Tal is hoping it’ll stop the glucose chain breakages when they move the andal pulp from the mill on Ril to the digestion plant on K-in.” She turned it over and showed Neek a stamp in the biometal. “It’s stamped “Pruitcu. Who knew aliens spoke Common?” 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aside from the fact that it’s had a good trim, I think this is pretty similar to the last version I read… which is to say I don’t have a lot of comments to add. I think this is a good length – the 9k version I read was fine, but a little much to digest in one sitting, whereas this version is totally doable. I certainly wasn’t bored by it, and N’s longing at the end comes through very nicely.

As I read:

“Y turned, started to vocalize some emotion that would have made them both uncomfortable…” Hah.

“And they will never let me back planetside…” it feels a tad weird that N is talking about this so openly, though it makes more sense on realizing the Rs already know the story. It’s the only place so far where the dialogue feels maybe the tiniest bit infodumpy, but it’s important information and it definitely sounds exactly like the way N would complain about it if she was going to complain about it.

Well, the introduction to C spaceport is uncomfortably vivid. Should I be grateful that I don’t actually know what toe jam smells like? (Yes.)

“… a slender Terran gave her a toothy smile…” Is this App who N is talking to in the next few paragraphs? It seems that away, but the original description made it look like the person N waved at was passing by, not manning a storefront.

“And you’re to comm me…” Why? She hasn’t even asked what N is using the balls for. It’s possible she’s inferred it but I still don’t get the need for monthly updates?

Bottom of p14 “...bit back a smile.. whispered with a grin.” Trying to stay away from LBLs, but couldn’t help this one – both of those attached to the same piece of dialogue feels redundant.

“since it was technically reserved for As, who did not exist.” Tee hee.

“...that N could tell even from a distance” reads as if N is describing someone she doesn’t know or recognize.

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

. One minor grump: there is still the part about her neck itching that doesn't come up again

I assumed this was a reference to the abilities At develops in the original trilogy, so it didn't bug me.

On 1/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 15: "The president has finished his meeting"
--wasn't it supposed to be an hour?

I wondered about this too, but I think it was a trap?

On 1/27/2021 at 0:55 PM, Sarah B said:

Non-existent toilet: well... at least they have trees.

Hah!

8 hours ago, kais said:

This is a good idea. I've added to the G4 transmission:

I like this, but if you do that I think you should have N cotton on to the fact that it's G4 in the settee sooner, which I sort of thought even before this edit.

7 hours ago, kais said:

There have been some plot-relevant edits to the spaceport scene with A

I didn't have a problem with the previous version, but I like this MUCH better. It reads much more like plot-relevant info that happens to also hold the answer N is looking for, rather than N just stumbling across the exact thing that helps her (as far as this chapter goes) fairly local dilemma.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, kais said:

I've changed it to a smaller size

Awesome :) 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, kais said:
On 1/27/2021 at 9:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

By this point I like N, but don't care much about Y or K. Hoping to see N be more of the sole focus from here on out

She was the primary protagonist of the first three books so this intro is meant to help ease the old readers into a book where she isn't the lead. We will see how that goes...

Oh, okay! My comment meant for the rest of the chapter, not for the rest of the book. In this chapter she's really the only character I care about. 

21 hours ago, kais said:
On 1/27/2021 at 9:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

wow I hate Y. How does N feel about him in general?

LOL there's four whole books on this! It's hard to write a little intro short like this when there is so much history that I have to compress into about 5K words

Cool cool that totally makes sense. I think what would be helpful to me then is to know if Y being a total jerk here is par for the course so far as their interpersonal relationship is concerned or if it's an unexpected thing. 

21 hours ago, kais said:

There's a whole little short on it, which we get in a few chapters, but the flying into a tree part isn't in it, so this is a fun teaser. 'A' isn't supposed to make sense to new readers, its an Easter egg for the older ones.

I don't need it 'A' to make sense to me, but I think I do need to feel like it means something to N, and have that come from her rather than G4 assuming it means something to her. Even something like "it had been so long since she heard that name," tells us that it's meaningful to her and a deep part of her history in some regard. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

ven something like "it had been so long since she heard that name," tells us that it's meaningful to her and a deep part of her history in some regard. 

This is a fantastic point. Off to edits again I go. Thank you!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't quote this for some reason but yes, this is way better!

Spoiler

Captain YK, an Earth native who employed N on his semi-legal transport runs, snorted. “The Ris won’t care. They’re just stripping them for cellulose. Get them packaged and to the hold. We’re about to dock with the Sapwood.” 

“They could have at least let us into low orbit for the transfer. I’m sure that didn’t help,” N muttered. 

He gruffly patted her shoulder. “Being so close to your planet you can almost spit on it is a particularly fine form of torture. Exile isn’t getting any easier, is it?” 

            N shrugged, unsure of what else to do. Emotions were effing complicated. “Will it ever?”

            Yo turned, started to vocalize some emotion that would have made them both uncomfortable, shut his mouth, then continued from the hold. N was left with the weary looking andal.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.