kais

2/08/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Chapter 2 (L)(G) - 3439 words

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Final POV for the book. My concerns are that a third POV in as many chapters will have people lost and not invested in the storyline. I’m hoping I’ve tied it all back to Pruitcu enough that there’s a central line, but appreciate all feedback around this and any other issue. ONWARDS!

 

 

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Pg 1:

I know it’s an established thing at this point, but I still can’t help but imagine flying sofas every time I see “settee.” Even though I have already gone through and discovered that the term has ship connections as well.  Do you have any sort of ship descriptions/sketches somewhere so that I can try to replace the current image in my head with what it should actually look like? [edit: the description later is helpful]

“She had no…bursts.”  The structure of this sentence is a little confusing.

“she’d gotten only…corpses.” That’s gotta be a disappointing outcome.

“Debris floated…bipedal.”  I think even knowing what a good deal of the debris is made up of, the second sentence’s implied “Some [of the debris] were…” is jarring.  Seems like the sort of thing that could be intentionally jarring, to imply a disconnect between the "debris" and the people the debris once was. But my first instinct is to see it as grammar being off.

Pg 2:

“There was no…magic.” Calling out the tech’s capabilities and limitations. Check.

(it was not…) : I think the full phrase in the parentheses seems like too complete a thought to fit comfortably into the rest of this line.  Cutting it to (not the Ne-) seems like it might flow better as a sort of side-thought addition to the description.  But then, my own biases against parentheses doesn’t help.  Biases in reading them anyway.  I balance that out by using far too many in other areas. Oops.

Pg 3:

“no wormholes to where…”  Wondering if it makes more sense to cut “to” out of this, or if this is a more common way to refer to this travel than I’m aware of.  I generally think of the wormholes in terms of end points marking the path in-between, not the path itself.  The path would go to some other point, but I don’t think of the wormhole itself as being directional in that way.  Not sure if that makes sense. I might be overthinking it, but it jumped out as being off.

“…her arrival. She turned her attention…” Why is she suddenly turning to look at the picture?  It seems like an odd course of action to pursue immediately following some whining about technology. Reaching for the “turn off the sensor, I don’t care if the ship is falling apart” button? Which happens to be next to the picture?

Pg 6:

“There was a long pause…” I have…concerns.

Pg 8:

“I have to stay.”  Now I have different concerns (I’d been expecting unfriendliness from our mystery ship). And also, questions. Wasn’t she going to go do repairs and come back anyway?  Why not just get towed out and come back later?  Her goal of gathering biological materials seems to have a solution in going with him.  She mentions needing “proof,” but I have no idea what that means, when it seemed like her plan was to gather up the samples and find her proof in them later after they’d been analyzed. I didn’t get the idea that she was looking for any other proof that would be more important than living to search another day.

Pg 10:

“You’ve been in transit for half a decade…haven’t got time for more.”  He’s obviously in a rush to get out of there, knowing that he’s leaving her helpless and in the targets of whatever it is that he’s running away from. But he’s still talking about what she’ll find when she gets some news updates and can process what’s going on?  The urgency to get out of there and the practical information for the future don’t seem to match up. Unless he’s already in the process of dragging her out of there even though she has told him not to (though I assume the message coming from deep space later implies this is not what happened). And if that’s the case, I would have expected more arguing with her decision to stay there before ignoring her opinion.   If her being left there with a broken ship isn’t practically a death sentence, why is he in such a rush to get out?  He seems like he was willing to be helpful. But not so helpful that he is going to say anything to make her change her mind when she wants to stay behind in her broken ship.  Helpful enough to help her start working through the philosophical/religious/etc. significance of what she has already found, even without the samples she wants. But not so helpful that he’s going to strongly recommend leaving the area so that she gets a chance to actually process those things. 

So… I’m not sure if I’m missing something significant that makes these things line up better, but right now there seems to be disconnect between how he’s interacting with her and what the stakes seem to be.  If sticking around is a death sentence, why isn’t he suggesting she change her mind? Unless he just isn’t that concerned, in which case his interactions seem too friendly.  If there aren’t significant risks to sticking around, why is he in such a rush to get out? And why can’t she just go back to her previous plan of coming back later for more samples?

Pg 11:

“The computer’s …alarm”  This seems like a practical alarm to have.

Overall:

Pages 1-6 or so seem clear enough and interesting.  Good introduction of a new viewpoint. I definitely think the overall ties to Pr- are clear enough to tie it all together well, and don’t feel lost by the change.

I think my comments about on 6-10/11 or so cover my main concerns/confusion with the chapter. 

I don’t have any problem with the multiple new PoVs one after another.   I like getting a handful of perspectives when there’s good reason for it, and usually think it’s weirder to find that out once I’ve gotten further into the story.  If we’re going to have a number of PoVs, I’d rather have that established in the first few chapters.

My bigger concern is usually more related to making sure that the jumping-back-in points are smooth.  If, for an entirely random example, a chapter ends on someone about to be blasted out of space, I’m more concerned about where we’re going to pick up that viewpoint again to make sure that I’m able to follow any time/place jumps if there were PoV jumps in-between. 

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Agree with @C_Vallion that the POV is not a problem here, however I have some issues with how it's presented. The character's name first appears in italics, which made me think it was the name of a ship, and then wasn't repeated for another page, at which point I was confused.

1 hour ago, C_Vallion said:

but right now there seems to be disconnect between how he’s interacting with her and what the stakes seem to be.

Also agree with this. Or. has a drive to find...something...DNA evidence, I guess, and literally has all the answers appear and helpfully try to talk to her, but she ignores that and lets him fly off when she's faced with incoming hostiles and a broken ship. Why not follow the K, and come back later? She was planning to do that anyway to repair at the planet.

Also confused at the end by what happened. Did the ships blow up the other planets?

Interested in this POV, but I think this section needs a bit of cleaning up in the flow of events to make sure it's not confusing.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: Because you said this is a new POV in the intro, I was prepared, but if reading this straight, I would have been confused and thinking this was At.

pg 1: "rescue Ex."
--so is this G4?

pg 2: "Or brought her right leg..."
--Oooooh. This is the name. It was italicized when I first saw it, and I thought it was the name of a ship.

pg 3: "It was a picture of Ex"
--It gets explained in this paragraph that this is At, but the multitude of names here might get confusing.

pg 3: "though the woman’s child-name lingered"
--would she have had another name between the two?

pg 9: “The questions?”
--I'm not sure why Or isn't just going with K. Isn't he the same species as the bodies outside? I don't understand why she isn't just asking questions. What's keeping her back?

pg 10: "in big bold letters, it lists the following"
--Wait now, the N holy text has had the name of all the other similar species all this time? That seems like it would have been followed up on before now...

pg 11: "SHIPS IN RANGE HAVE ACTIVE WEAPONS"
--yeah, I'm very confused why Or. didn't go with the person that had all the answers, to escape the incoming death ships. She could come back there later.

pg 12: "Couldn’t find the coordinates"
--Are the death ships sending this message? Did they just blow up the other planets? What's happening?


pg 13: "The dredgers opened fire."
--yeah, don't understand Or's choices here. She had a lot of easy ways out and didn't take any of them.

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As I go:

pg 1

-I read other people's responses before starting but I wouldn't have known O was their name if I were reading this blind 

-Jumping from corpses to "waste of time" makes me see this person as fairly cold and uncaring (about anyone besides herself anyway). It's an interesting response that I'm keeping my eye on, but I'm not 100% sure it's intentional 

pg 2

-How does this universe handle time dilation? I'm assuming it's addressed in earlier books but I thought about it when light years were mentioned

pg 4

-I like the talking to the poster here. I think anything more would seem like too much/too performative for conveying info but I think the story can get away with what it's doing now.

-I can tell that she's willing to sacrifice a lot for this DNA which is good but I feel like I need to know at least a little about what she plans to do with it

pg 5

-head? Of a ship? Of a person?

pg 6

-small thing is that saying she laughed and then having her compliment the name is redundant info. It's easy for me to get taken out of the story by stuff like that

pg 7

-okay she's looking for people she's kinda genetically related to. Is it about proving something? Finding a new home? 

pg 8

-Hmm I feel like the other person is trying to convey what their deal is but I don't get it. Are they pushing O to make a decision because it's dangerous with all the rubble around? Because they don't like her? Because they just want to get on with it? 

pg 9

-In one way I do like O sticking to her guns, but it's also frustrating for me to see her make this decision because it seems like it will leave her in pretty bad shape. I think what I might be missing here is a sense of history. I'm more willing to accept that she'll sacrifice anything for these DNA samples if I know how persistently she's been chasing them in the past and why. 

pg 10

-again, considering that K seems to be interested in O, I don't get why his time is so short. Is it a practical thing (like fuel) I missed a while back?

pg 11

-okay so the motivation here is repatriation, and potentially being let back into the guard. This is good and I think should be clear sooner but it's also very close to N's motivation from the first chapter. As a new reader I'm having a hard time not seeing O as discount N, unfortunately. Her methods are different but her objective seems the same. 

-Wait are people shooting her? Why? I can't tell if O not paying attention to the explosions indicates her being so far inside her own head she's lost awareness or if it's legitimately not a big deal 

pg 12

-Not sure who the message is from. K, maybe, but I thought he was gone and the new ships are unfamiliar. Maybe more of his people? They aren't the ones causing the explosions, are they?

pg 13

-this is a good ending in itself I think but I'm confused enough that it doesn't have the impact I think it should. I'm guessing that if things are cleared up this will be fine, but it's hard to say for sure.

Overall:

I'm a big fan of many different PoVs in a row, so I'm glad to meet this new character. Unfortunately, I feel like I don't have a great read on her compared to the other two. She seems to have the same motivation as N, but also being alone means we don't get to see her personality come out in interactions as much and her coming after N means that for me she lives in N's shadow. And compared to S, I feel like I don't know nearly as much about her history and how that informs her motivations. Is there any way she could start the story by interacting with someone in a non-time-pressured situation so we get to see more of her natural personality shine through? Even if it's a pit stop along the way. And what sets her apart from N? I get the impression the story is trying to have the focus on the DNA cover this, but I'm less interested about the methods she uses than who she is and what she wants. Which means that like I said before, when it comes down to it she seems quite similar to N. 

It also seems like the discovery about the interbreeding here is a big one, but as a new reader I can't say this means much to me. What does it mean to O? New cultures to explore that will allow her to learn more about her own? New people to meet that she sees as distant relatives? As it stands I'm not quite sure. 

Also agreed with the others about points of confusion. I'll let my LBLs speak for themselves on that front. 

 

 

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Comments.

- "Now Pru was blown up" - Clang: grammar. Had been blown up, or (e.g.) was nothing but dust and debris.

- "only detached eyeballs and bloated corpses" - This makes no sense to me. How would corpses remain intact from a planet exploding? How is it that everything is not incinerated?

- "Some were clearly bipedal" - 'some' here is still attached to the debris in the previous sentence, which is singular, so 'were' disagrees with that.

I don't want to do LBLs. I takes too long. There are lots of grammar issues: 'nuff said.

- "plan to rescue Exile" - Confused: what is Exlie? A person? A DVD borrowed from the local library?

- "hit her ship’s sensor" - A space ship won't have just one sensor, IMO, it will have a bank of sensors detecting different things, radiation, temperature, near objections, etc. It would possibly have a singular sensor array.

- "warning about perpetual small impact damage" - potential?

- "less cellulose in her biomaterials than when she’d left" - I wonder if you don't need a bit more explanation of the role of the cellulose in the ship. This reads a bit like it's fuel.

- "Hence, her only view now came from a small, square film stuck to the wall just in front of her" - Why would she cover up her external view, making her atmospheric ability so much worse?

- "complete component makeup" - Confusing. Something like 'complete chemical breakdown' would be more easily comprehensible, more natural, IMO.

- "Unknowns were not the friend of intergalactic travel" - This contradicts the line before which points out her shielding is full of unknown filaments.

- "further into the planetary silage" - This is the wrong word, IMO. Silage is feed, this is debris of no discernible use, it's not going to feed anything.

- "Cellulose further degraded in the printer" - This doesn't make sense to me. What is degrading the cellulose when there is no discernible external factor? More to the point, however, her reaction makes no sense to me. Why isn't she worried about unexplained cellulose degradation?

- "Weapons array from an unknown ship, did she want to pick it up even though it was larger than her hold?" - I cannot understand this sentence in its current context. Doesn't seem to relate to any of the narrative around it.

- "Redundant computers and their failure to grasp the importance of her arrival." - Her arrival? But the only computer 'in shot' is the computer in her ship. This makes not sense to me.

- "It was a picture of Exile" - Oh, this was Ne? I did not get that, mostly because no one every used the term as a name is the previous books, did they?

- "O didn’t know what she’d been called before joining" - I thought that all juvenile Ne were called Ne. Ne was always referred to as Ne in the previous books, wasn't she? I'm sure that she gave up her childhood name at some point.

- "Just to see your smile" - So wait, O is in love with Ne/At? How did that happen? Wasn't Ne a child when she first met O? So, presumably O did not fall in love with her then. When did O ever see Ne other than that? Shouting and waving across the gap between to the two ships in the prologue? Something about this feels wrong. I can't understand how O formed an attachment to Ne.

- "If the science you demanded exists, I will find it" - I don't remember this. How would science have saved Ne from exile?

- "nor did it absolve her of the gnawing guilt" - And that's O's motivation for abandoning her planet a soaring around the galaxy looking for...something. I don't understand O's motivation.

- "warned that the cellulose in her hull was dangerously low, though she had no idea what that meant in practice" - I don't understand how the cellulose is being depleted.

- "If her ship wasn’t in danger of falling apart" - She doesn't know that. The computer's announcements have not specified the danger that goes with cellulose depletion, which seems like a shortcoming. Also, as an ace pilot, how does O not know this about her own ship?

- "When that only exacerbated" - What is 'that'?

- "weeping from her apparent anxiety" - This is phrased like the place the stk is leaking from. Would be clearer as 'weeping due to her apparent anxiety'. Also, 'apparent' feels like a POV cheat, or at least someone else's POV.

- "which she’d be passing by in another half hour at her current coast" - Disbelief suspension critical!! Abort, abort!! Coasting suggests going very slow. That's fine. I presume this debris is going slowly, drifting However, if she's only going to coast for half and hour, the planet must be in sight already. There is a logical disparity here.

- "I could use some assistance" - Super plot convenient. I can see the author moving pieces around.

- "so I think I might be too far out to be relevant" - Hilarious!! Great line.

- "One passenger—the pilot" - The pilot is not a passenger. IMO, be definition, a passenger has not function relating to the ship, whereas a pilot definitely does.

- "I’m looking for long shot genetic cousins" - Long lost cousins? I don't think it's clear what a long shot cousin is.

- "I need at least three more samples before I can leave" - Why three? Unclear.

- "neither of us need to be tied up with scrappers" - I didn't get the sense of this. Like entangled? Entangled is a better word.

- "glistened with a stk-like substance" - I think you should let the reader have this reveal. Don't tell us it's like stk. If you say 'glistening with some sticking substance', the reader will make the connection straight away.

- "you’re leaving a cellulose trail" - How? Why? This needs to be explained way at the start of the chapter. What is the mechanism that is causing the cellulose lose? It's increasingly frustrating not to know this.

- "wouldn’t do her any good without proof" - But the pilot of the FkArd is the proof she needs. She can just get samples from them, can't she? Her reasoning seems a bit sub par to me. I would have through she would be more resourceful.

- "I have to stay" - Yeah, I'm losing it now, and she's stammering? This is not the G4 is was hoping for.

- "The questions?" - I don't get what FkArd would press her in this situation. There is nothing it for him if he's leaving.

- "bring back proof of two genetic cousins" - Right, okay. So this is the reason that she still wants the floating samples? But those samples are not essential, surely. She would still have proof of one genetic cousin, the pilot of the FkArd. Before the encounter with the FkArd, she only expected/hoped to find one genetic cousin in the wreckage of Pru, ergo, her logic here is not good. She can got with the FkArd and have no less than should would have had if the FkArd had not conveniently appeared.

- "These were the details that remade worlds" - I fail to see why two sample does this and better than one sample.

- "got her planet’s biggest heretic returned to her family" - I also don't buy O's investment in this. I don't get what Ne is to her.

- "it lists the following" - Wait, what? So, she (and every other Ne) knows that Ke is a thing, and she knew that Pru was a thing before the planet exploded. But, was it not the case that At (was it At that receive the transmission about the explosion? I forget) already knew that Pru was a planet? No, wait, it's more confusing. Pru exploded in the present, didn't it, the present when At is an Ard? So why is O still searching for proof to bring Ne back, when Ne is already back? I'm so confused. Some of this will be me, but there has been so much hopping around in time and POV recently that I've completely the place.

- "tiny spaceship for over five years" - I badly need to understand why O would give up 5 years of her life for Ne/At. I don't understand.

- "You’ve been in transit for half a decade" - How does he know that?

- "but bringing back coordinates to Ar had to get her full repatriation" - yeah, I don't understand the time line.

- Is the message from the dredgers? I don't understand the message. She accepted it, but it sounds like conversation between two other parties that she is not supposed to overhear. I'm really confused now.

- "with her real name on her lips" - Why would she not use her real name? Confused.

- Tense ending, but. The tension didn't really build up the evenly at the end. Why would dredgers be armed? They are working boats, they dredge up silt. In no sense is a dredgers a combat craft.

OVERALL 

I like plenty about this chapter, O seems a pretty good character. The reveal of the creature flying the F--k Ard is nicely done, and very satisfying, however, it's sooooo convenient to the plot, it's like great big hand of author intervention to make the plot work. Quit annoying. I think I would have handled it better if O had retained agency through the search. What if the FkArd was win trouble. O spends long hours failing to find the evidence she wants, is getting mad a frustrated, when she happens across a damaged ship and low and behold, here is exactly what she's looking for. She retains agency and doesn't seem weak and kind of clueless for not understanding what\ wrong with her ship. Just a notion.

Anyway, my overwhelming emotion by the end was that of confusion. Maybe I have forgotten too much from the original books, but it seems to me that, not only is there a bunch of POV hopping at the start of this story, but it is also a lot for TIME hopping, and that is crashing by understanding but hard. These initial chapters need to be a lot clearer, IMO, this one especially.

One of your issues was to ensure that new readers could follow what was going on? Well, I think there is pretty much no chance of that on the basis of this chapter, if I'm honest :wacko:

Edited by Robinski
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On 2/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, C_Vallion said:

Do you have any sort of ship descriptions/sketches somewhere so that I can try to replace the current image in my head with what it should actually look like? [edit: the description later is helpful]

I have an enamel pin, but its highly stylized. The ships are described as being teardrop shaped, capable of seating one comfortably, two cramped. They're generally painted crimson and have a wide, transparent front and top because the Ne aren't particularly technologically advanced and it amused me to think of ground ships having windshields

On 2/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, C_Vallion said:

Debris floated…bipedal.”  I think even knowing what a good deal of the debris is made up of, the second sentence’s implied “Some [of the debris] were…” is jarring.  Seems like the sort of thing that could be intentionally jarring, to imply a disconnect between the "debris" and the people the debris once was. But my first instinct is to see it as grammar being off.

I've reworked this whole area. It was....not well written

On 2/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, C_Vallion said:

Why is she suddenly turning to look at the picture?

Because of poor transitions! I've reworked this area, too. Now she has to wait to get to the planet for repairs and decides to relax, so her eyes wander

On 2/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, C_Vallion said:

Wasn’t she going to go do repairs and come back anyway?  Why not just get towed out and come back later?  Her goal of gathering biological materials seems to have a solution in going with him.  She mentions needing “proof,” but I have no idea what that means, when it seemed like her plan was to gather up the samples and find her proof in them later after they’d been analyzed. I didn’t get the idea that she was looking for any other proof that would be more important than living to search another day.

Logic was all wrong. I've reworked the whole scene, which is too long to copypasta here. However for future reference, she now realizes she needs to land almost at the start due to lost cellulose. The K ship comes and offers her a tow and they get the whole rigging set up when the other ships appear. She accidentally detaches the tow line and is left behind. 

On 2/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, C_Vallion said:

My bigger concern is usually more related to making sure that the jumping-back-in points are smooth.  If, for an entirely random example, a chapter ends on someone about to be blasted out of space, I’m more concerned about where we’re going to pick up that viewpoint again to make sure that I’m able to follow any time/place jumps if there were PoV jumps in-between. 

Yuuuup this is my concern, too. Next chapter is also Or, so we will see how that goes. In fact the next chapter may need to come before this one, so I'll be curious to see what people think about it, too. Thanks for these! It helped clean up a lot, especially in terms of motivations and plot.

 

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

name first appears in italics

have edited. 

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

lso agree with this. Or. has a drive to find...something...DNA evidence, I guess, and literally has all the answers appear and helpfully try to talk to her, but she ignores that and lets him fly off when she's faced with incoming hostiles and a broken ship. Why not follow the K, and come back later? She was planning to do that anyway to repair at the planet.

 

This was allll very choppy. I got a little cut happy the night before I think. Post edits, she now realizes she needs to land pretty much from the start for repairs. The K offers help and she accepts, but the tow line breaks as they get ready to jump and she is left behind for the pirates. Also clarified her motivations more fully so she isn't a Nee copy.

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

--would she have had another name between the two?

I redid this whole section, too.

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

I'm not sure why Or isn't just going with K. Isn't he the same species as the bodies outside? I don't understand why she isn't just asking questions. What's keeping her back?

No more questions! Their dialogue is much less now, and hurried. It's more about degrading ships and getting out before the pirates, though K gets a bit of the critical stuff through before the jump

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

Wait now, the N holy text has had the name of all the other similar species all this time? That seems like it would have been followed up on before now...

I did not present this well. There's a section like this in....the second book I think, but here I skimmed the explanation. I'll edit.

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

Are the death ships sending this message? Did they just blow up the other planets? What's happening?

Whoops. Have clarified

On 2/8/2021 at 0:01 PM, Mandamon said:

-yeah, don't understand Or's choices here. She had a lot of easy ways out and didn't take any of them.

Bonus, now she has NO WAYS OUT. I hope. I think.

Thank you for these! Much smoother chapter now.

 

On 2/8/2021 at 4:35 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Jumping from corpses to "waste of time" makes me see this person as fairly cold and uncaring (about anyone besides herself anyway). It's an interesting response that I'm keeping my eye on, but I'm not 100% sure it's intentional 

This whole section got a makeover

Spoiler

The DNA she needed was scattered across lightyears, intermingled with who knew how many other species. Where she’d hoped to find answers, she’d gotten only detached eyeballs and bloated corpses. 

            What a maddening, depressive waste of a nearly six year journey. 

            Debris floated past, some bouncing off her hull, some sticking. Some were ship fragments and tortured biometals. Some were clefts of rock and mineral. Most were organic, a few identifiable as body parts. Death surrounded her. Obliteration. She sat at the edges of an intergalactic holocaust that completely screwed all her future plans, including an eventual triumphant return to her homeworld of N-k to validate (not rescue, because the woman in question was not one who needed rescuing) the scientific and political arguments of an ex-Heaven Guard pilot. 

What a waste. 

Not a failure. She couldn’t handle failure at this junction. Just a waste of half a decade.

 

On 2/8/2021 at 4:35 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

How does this universe handle time dilation? I'm assuming it's addressed in earlier books but I thought about it when light years were mentioned

Poorly. It handles it poorly. I mostly rely on space opera tropes to stay afloat, with the occasional fourth wall 'that isn't how wormholes work why do we call them that' hot take.

On 2/8/2021 at 4:35 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I can tell that she's willing to sacrifice a lot for this DNA which is good but I feel like I need to know at least a little about what she plans to do with it

Expanded that section as well

Spoiler

It was a picture of Exile, right before she’d earned that modifier. Exile, the Heaven Guard trainee, just as she was about to be assigned a permanent ship and fully join the Guard. Exile—the Neek who would never see her homeworld again unless O-t got it together and found just the right collection of DNA to prove A-m did more than bless the N-k people with agriculture. 

She touched a fingertip to Exile’s forehead. She’d lead the Heaven Guard long enough to know that mantras were useless and prayers were silly, but every pilot had a shrine somewhere in their settee. Most were to lovers or dead parents, there had to be space for (holy?) missions, too. “If there’s a loophole in the myth of A-, I will find it. If the science you demanded exists, I will find it. Then I will find you and bring you home. We can slap the President of N-k together. Tie him to the bow of a settee and fly him around the Tertiary Forest Preserve a few times. Just for fun. Just to see your smile.”

The image, per usual, did not speak back, nor did it absolve her of the gnawing guilt that came from watching the most promising pilot in a generation, a teenager, be sentenced to death while Or-t watched from the safety of her settee. Absolution for both of them floated in the surrounding debris cloud, and Or-t was not leaving until she found it.

I think that gives her motivation a more personal bend, too.

On 2/8/2021 at 4:35 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Hmm I feel like the other person is trying to convey what their deal is but I don't get it. Are they pushing O to make a decision because it's dangerous with all the rubble around? Because they don't like her? Because they just want to get on with it? 

I reworked the whole K interaction. It's now much briefer and conveys far less infodump. It also has O take the K up on the offer to help immediately, but the tow line gets disengaged before the jump, leaving her stranded. I think this will clear up a number of issues

On 2/8/2021 at 4:35 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Unfortunately, I feel like I don't have a great read on her compared to the other two. She seems to have the same motivation as N, but also being alone means we don't get to see her personality come out in interactions as much and her coming after N means that for me she lives in N's shadow.

I'm hoping the edits I've done here have helped pull her away from N. In many ways they will be similar, but if O isn't distinct enough then I need to gut her character and rebuild. Make her better. faster. less snarky

Thank you for these! Very helpful!

 

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Late again, sorry about that!

I felt pretty lost through parts of this chapter. There is a lot of back story/ galaxy history thrown in almost off hand. Since I know I've missed books, I'm wondering if this is something I should already know, or if this is scifi trope "don't worry all will be explained" world building. What was happening seemed clear, but why it mattered was a bit hard to track until nearly the end as a new reader. I think I might have felt more invested in O to start if I had known who she was right away and would have understood why she was interested in Ex-ne from the prologue.

I enjoyed your descriptions and the balance between grotesque and comic tone in handling what was happening.

Thanks for sharing!

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On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

More to the point, however, her reaction makes no sense to me. Why isn't she worried about unexplained cellulose degradation?

I've changed around some of the events in this now, and made it more clear that she ignores it because it took her forever to get there, and she wants to get at least something accomplished before landing for repairs

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

I thought that all juvenile Ne were called Ne. Ne was always referred to as Ne in the previous books, wasn't she? I'm sure that she gave up her childhood name at some point.

Ah, no. It was a major plot point through the series that she slowly took back her child name. It's supposed to work now (for old readers) as a foil for O, who is using her own child name to refer to herself from the start.

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

So wait, O is in love with Ne/At? How did that happen? Wasn't Ne a child when she first met O? So, presumably O did not fall in love with her then. When did O ever see Ne other than that? Shouting and waving across the gap between to the two ships in the prologue? Something about this feels wrong. I can't understand how O formed an attachment to Ne.

No, it's supposed to be a mentor/mentee thing. I'm thinking I may need to swap chapter order with the next chapter coming before this one. I've also clarified this scene to make their connection clearer

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

It's increasingly frustrating not to know this.

Hrm. I'm going to sub a few more chapters through I think before coming back to this. Making a note. I was going to have the Yor/Nick ensemble get more engaged with it in...two chapters? Maybe it needs to be brought forward though.

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

her logic here is not good. She can got with the FkArd and have no less than should would have had if the FkArd had not conveniently appeared.

1) I love the abbreviation

2) I have reworked this whole section and think I'll just resub because the motivation (and changing our K pilot for the eventual love interest) is substantial 

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

Wait, what? So, she (and every other Ne) knows that Ke is a thing, and she knew that Pru was a thing before the planet exploded. But, was it not the case that At (was it At that receive the transmission about the explosion? I forget) already knew that Pru was a planet? No, wait, it's more confusing. Pru exploded in the present, didn't it, the present when At is an Ard? So why is O still searching for proof to bring Ne back, when Ne is already back? I'm so confused. Some of this will be me, but there has been so much hopping around in time and POV recently that I've completely the place.

Argh, Okay. I'll try to clear this up. It was supposed to be implied, via timelines, that G4 left Ne before At's return. So she missed the whole four books before and is still working off the assumption that Ne is exiled and needs rescued. It was Sal who got the transmission about Ard though. 

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

I don't understand the message. She accepted it, but it sounds like conversation between two other parties that she is not supposed to overhear. I'm really confused now.

Cleaning

On 2/10/2021 at 9:57 AM, Robinski said:

it's like great big hand of author intervention to make the plot work. Quit annoying. I think I would have handled it better if O had retained agency through the search. What if the FkArd was win trouble. O spends long hours failing to find the evidence she wants, is getting mad a frustrated, when she happens across a damaged ship and low and behold, here is exactly what she's looking for. She retains agency and doesn't seem weak and kind of clueless for not understanding what\ wrong with her ship. Just a notion.

The issue is more that I wanted it to have the flavor of divine intervention. Maybe I need to find a halfway between divine and agency.

Thank you for these! Even the little edits were great. Hoping the next time round this is much tighter.

 

1 hour ago, Sarah B said:

I felt pretty lost through parts of this chapter.

A universal issue! Much editing has happened and I'll be resubbing in two weeks. Thank you for reading though, and let's hope the next version is tighter!

 

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I'm late D:

I haven't really read other critiques (only skimmed) but I tried not to repeat what others have said, so I'm sorry if I do. Also, you've probably already addressed some of the issues I had and changed things, so just ignore whatever issues have been fixed :)

Page 1

-”to rescue Exile” does she mean Ne from the prologue?

-six year journey doing what? Didn't the planet just blow up?

Page 2

“There was no AI to talk back” oh good, i was wondering this

Okay this might just be me but im struggling to get through page 2. I'm glossing over the explanations about the settee. I think it's because i don't quite have a clear picture of the biofilm or understanding of the function of cellulose.

Page 3

“Unknowns were not the friend of” why not?

Page 4

-oohhhhhhhh Ne’s name is At, omg.

Spoiler

2wxmbd.jpg.fc89909a22088805ef312f4802575ad1.jpg

-also why is there a picture of her

-i guess since she doesnt know her name (other than her child name) and only refers to her as Exile, it just seems like she isn’t that acquainted with Ne but then she goes on to say all that romantic stuff so nevermind.

Page 6

-”where did you say you were from?” uhhh she didnt.

-“If i’ve offended you” why would she think she offended him? Maybe there’s just some lag.

-”Care to swap registrations?” im not sure what the purpose of this is. Is it like swapping business cards? Edit: this was just me being impatient, its explained on the next page. If he was going to tow her, they would probs want info about each other, cause ya know, stranger danger.

Page 11

-”wake-up-the-pilot” alarm had a nice name, though would it sound more natural to put “oh sh!t” first? 

 

Okay so i stopped doing lbls cause it was too much for me rn. But it usually helps me if I can try to talk out happened (summarize basically) in this chapter so we can figure out what confused me and where things went wrong. 

So, we got Or searching the [recently?] blown up planet - Pru. There’s death and debris and she is trying to collect stuff for… research? To prove… something? Relating to Ne (the exile).  She needs DNA but i'm actually not entirely sure why. Also, we’ve increased tension by having her ship needing repairs, being low on cellulose which, by some description, reads to me like gas in a car. It seems like she doesn’t know what some of the warnings that the ship is giving mean and honestly that was relatable because i didn't know either. What does being low on cellulose and all the other warnings mean, as you said, "in practice"? I think if you make it clearer that Or doesn’t know (really drive it home) then you can get away with not explaining the repercussions of low cellulose (which is how it is now). I also think there was a lot of explanation about the ship that probably wasn’t necessary on page 1 and 2, in the grand scheme of things I mean and just from my basic understanding of what's going on.

Anyway, then Or looks at a picture of At/Ne and it seems like she isn’t that close with her but she is willing to go to extreme lengths to um...help her with this..DNA finding. I like what you’re trying to do with Or. I can sense the pining. She has some regrets but she obviously wants to make things right with Ne. Though, this is about 15 years after Ne was exiled…. So like, ain't it a bit late hun?

Then, she is talking with the K person and explains that she is looking for cousins (i'm still not sure why). I guess the guy she’s been talking to is what she has been looking for (he seems to be part Ne) but i didn't really get that until i read other critiques and reread the chapter. I didn’t get that he would suffice instead of the samples because i wasn't sure what she was trying to accomplish in the first place.

Then! these other ships come in and the K dude is like yo we gotta go, but i'm not entirely sure what the danger is here. I think it is explained but it didn't stand out to me. 

It definitely is interesting (or could be at least) that we have the Ne people interbred with the Ards, but i don't know why this is important. So the Ne dont fack other species/peoples, what does this mean though? What is the point of knowing this? How would this help Ne/At? I guess I just don't have enough background/knowledge to be attached to Or’s mission. I don't know why she is doing all this, i mean it's for Ne/At, but i don't know why she’s doing it. Why is it important that she finds these cousins? It is stated a lot that Or has a lot of unanswered questions but I would like to know what these questions are.

I’m getting that Or and the last pov character have the same goals in a sense. They both seek information about their family/culture/religion and I don't really get why. Maybe this is WRS, maybe you’ve explained this and I just can't remember. I thought I read that one of the species was wiped out or something? Agh, i can't remember. So, maybe it just wasn’t clear enough. It's probably me though.

Anyway, back to the story. So are the Ard just going around and interbreeding with all these other races/species? That's what I got from Or’s convo with K. I don't really have a clear sense of Ard. Again, this is probably me. But I don’t know what the stakes are here.

Okay let's go over what went right!

-I loved the reveal of G4.

-Good ending, I wasn’t as invested with this chapter but the ending made up for it a little bit.

-At first, I wasn't sure what set Or apart from the other POVs, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to tell Or apart from the others, but it wasn’t too much of a problem. I liked when she would get mad at the ship and tell it shut up. I do think you could try to push her character a little more because, although she was different from the other povs, I'm not sure if it was different enough. But overall, I liked her character.

-3 POVs wasn't a problem for me :)

-ship names, of course

-I am hopeful for the relationship between Ne/At and Or. I think there's potential here for some juicy romance :) this has probably been expanded in other books but to my virgin-reader-eyes, I know not what will happen between them, but it better be gud. 

 

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