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Ace of Hearts

7/5/21 - Ace of Hearts - A Bond of Wildflowers Ch 8 (3610 words)

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Posted (edited)

Hi, everyone! Hope any fellow Americans had a good 4th of July! 

 
This was a monster of a chapter, but I cut off 1.5k words of fluff. Hopefully it reads better now!
 
Usual questions:
1. What (if anything) is engaging you? Are you engaged in general?
2. How do you feel about the characters? 
Edited by Ace of Hearts
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Good chapter, but I still thought it had some fluff to it, so glad it's already 1.5k shorter!

There are a couple exchanges over movies and dress customs that drag on a bit, and I think the whole first page can pretty much be cut. Aside from that it's a good resolution to what happened last chapter.

I still don't really like W as a character. She seem to self-destruct any time anything goes wrong, which I suppose is a realistic trait, but not one that's very sympathetic. I don't understand why she can't have a relationship with W and care for her mom at the same time? 

Aside from that, I enjoyed it, and look forward to the next installment!

Notes while reading

pg 2: "Ten minutes to get myself into working condition"
--this whole intro section is still pretty long and disconnected. You could probably sum it up to the last line and maybe a sentence about punching and kicking pillows.

pg 5: Ok, I'm not unhappy with this turn of events. N staying around even though they miss the dance gives them some good time to connect.

pg 6: Although I'm not sure the discussion on dress and makeup needs to be this long...

pg 9: "“Do you have something against iron?” I say."
--Interesting. And now I'm wondering if N has had any problems dealing with everyday objects that may contain iron.

pg 10: "If I have to swear off relationships..."
--Oh my goodness this again. This is where I dislike W intensely. The self destruction as soon as something goes wrong.

pg 10: "Why is he still showing me affection?"
--this as well. Does W struggle with understanding affection because her parents are ace? Dealing with a sick parent would be helped by having someone else to draw strength from...

pg 12: "But if I say that, my parents will tell me to pursue what makes me happy instead of worrying about mom."
--Porque no los dos? Seriously, I don't understand why W can't have a boyfriend in her mother is sick.

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Overall

There were some great emotional beats in here, but it sagged in some places, too. I think cutting it down (again, I know) will help it be more dynamic. I like the iron hints, and the emotional arc of our MC a lot. There's some repetition in dialogue that slows everything down, but a bit of streamlining will fix it right up.

 

As I go

- good opening line

- pg 1: I love that she is doing tae kwon do in a dress

- pg 6: I was engaged at the start, but the narrative lags through here. Might want to shorten this part up

- pg 7: If I need to have this argument one more time, my voice is going to go hoarse. <-- it's repetitive for the reader, too. No plot progression

- pg 8: this is lagging a lot through here. They need to pick an activity and get on with it

- pg 9: the iron conversation is interesting!

- pg 9: Well, I say that this guy’s real tragedy is that he can’t find a postdoc <-- I laughed so hard I woke my kid up

 

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Hi! Sorry I couldn't get to this earlier. As I read:

p1 - I like her creative method of taking out anger :)

p2&3 - I think W's conversation with Am and N need to be two separate conversations. There are two very different relationship dynamics going on here and trying to deal with them both at once takes away some impact from both of them.

p8 - Not sure how watching a movie on a home TV would be too much sensory stimulation? It's not like they're going to crank up the volume super loud or anything like that?

p9 - N knows that humans aren't scared of iron, right? (I do like the banter in this section, though.)

p10 - W thinking about whether what she's doing counts as leading N on feels repetitive. I'm pretty sure she's already thought this a few times by now.

 

In general, I found this chapter engaging. I thought the date was cute. The pillow punching session was a good way to show W getting her emotions under control. The convo with Am and N could have been tidied up for more emotional clarity (having N there for the bit where we find out the details of the mom's cancer feels like it clutters the scene). 

The resolution to W's problems seems obvious (spend time with the mom while having other relationships at the same time! She can have both!), but I'm interested to see how W is going to get there. It might be a good idea to show where this 'all or nothing' mentality comes from in W, though.

N continues to be cute and charming. I picked up on the comments about iron. I'm starting to wonder if he's a normal human raised by fairies, a human raised by and magically altered by fairies, half-human half-fairy, or literally an actual fairy. I'll be paying close attention to how he acts around iron objects now :)

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Oh man. How is it Friday already?

Pg 1:

This page seems to go on a little long for me.  I’m also a little surprised that she doesn’t have some sort of training equipment for home since Taekwondo seems to be a big part of her life.  Especially as someone who also has anger issues.  An at-home training setup seems like it would make sense for both hobby and therapeutic reasons.  Of course…I grew up in a house where half the basement was covered with a wrestling mat and my dad rigged up a bunch of tarps that could be used as a batting cage/soccer training area without too much collateral damage.  So my sense of what is normal on that front is definitely skewed.

I approve of the choice of going with the decorative pillows in the end, though.  I just don’t understand those things.

Also, what kind of dress is she wearing? I’d imagined something sort of semi-formal for homecoming, but I can’t think of many of those that you can do much punching or kicking in without risking a seam or zipper. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve tried on a dress that seems cute and mostly comfortable then realize I can’t lift my arms past shoulder height or that I will risk it falling off if I try to swing dance in it.

Pg 2:

“he was scared of me” is this supposed to be the voice of reason?  It seems liked worried might be more accurate than scared. Especially if he’s already aware that she sometimes struggles with anger. 

I agree with @ redblue that squishing the conflict with N and the one with her parents together here semes like a lot.  And I’m a little surprised Amma is willing to dig into these things with N there instead of asking him to wait while they talk to her.

Pg 6-7

While I’m always a fan of whining about the impracticality of women’s clothing (note dress comments above), but I feel like it would work better as a passing comment or two between them instead of almost a full page of dialogue.

“we don’t have them where I’m from” I feel like he’d have enough experience with interacting with E, at least, to know that this is a weird thing to say?  “My family doesn’t have a tv” or something along those lines seems like it would make more sense to come across as a little strange.  Implying that no one in his community has one seems like it would create more questions than could be answered with a “helpless shrug” unless he’s trying to pass for Amish on Rumspringa

Pg 9:

The iron comments feel a little like the fashion comments above.  I like how the concept is brought in, but it seems to go on a few lines longer than it should for W’s family not to be asking more questions. And banter is one of those things that can go from fun to clunky really fast.

Pg 10-11:

Like the others, I find the either/or predicament she’s creating about dating N or spending time with Mom a little odd.  Didn’t she date E while her mom was sick before?  That might not have gone great, but I’d think she would have a whole lot of experience with people continuing to steady-on through relationships even when there are difficult circumstances around them. 

“If he floated off…” This seems rather whimsical for someone who spends art class coloring in squares of graph paper. 

N’s switch from grin to smile is a nice detail, though. 

“don’t make clothes out of iron”  What does W think this is supposed to mean?

Pg 12:

“another grant proposal” I’m surprised they have the mental capacity for this after a pretty significant family conflict with N as the awkward bystander, when it was their fault and mom’s for lying to W.

 

Overall, I like a lot of the things in here. I really like that they hang out at home and watch a movie, and the interactions around that. I like a lot of the banter lines, even if some of it could be trimmed back. 

I think there could be a little smoothing over of the conflict processing at the beginning, and it seems like W moves past the being lied to pretty quickly. Blowing off steam with the punching and relaxation exercises is one thing, but I’d expect some confusion/frustration/overwhelmed-ness to carry through while they’re watching the movie and in the final scene. Even if she’s trying to put on a good face about it.  Instead, she pretty quickly shifts to the concern of whether she has to choose between Mom or N, which isn’t an entirely convincing dilemma and secondary to having been deeply hurt by her parents a couple hours before.

Curious to see where how these conflicts affect her going forward!

 

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