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Reading Excuses_11722_Return Ch. 5_ShatteredSmooth_3016 (S)


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I put a content warning of S because this chapter has some kissing.
Hi All,
 I've been slowly revising my previous chapters, so if something in this one seems inconsistent with a previous one, it may be because I either changed or am planning to change something about one of the earlier chapters.  Granted, it also might be because I've been writing late at night. Like the previous chapters, this is a first draft, so it might be a little messy. I'm open to any kind of feedback.
Ch. 1: P, a person who had  secret adventure in faerie land as a teen, gets sucked back in to faerie while trying to save some teens they witness being captured by faeries. They free one teen, C, but still end up in faerie where they meet up with an old friend / crush, A the faerie knight.
Ch. 2 P, A, and C go see the queen to tell her about the kidnappings. She says she can't spare any knights other than A until after the ball.
Ch. 3 P and C get some new clothes, and then the mount flying feathered unicorns with A to go look for the missing teens. They find a cell phone and evidence the teens may have been flown away from that location.
Last time
Ch. 4
P, A, and C have to get back to the castle before dark. In the dining hall, they ask questions and one of the nights is acting strange. Then they go to their rooms--C to the human barracks and P to A's chambers were there is only one bed. 
This time
Ch. 5
Faking dating is negotiated. Someone is followed.

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"In moved across the pages, depicting B pacing around xir room." In doesn't seem correct. I'm not sure what you were trying to say here.

"I’ve been trying to figure out what B has been into for months," Been up to? Into doesn't seem correct.

"beasts that woke in the forests when the sun set." Interesting concept, I hope to see these beasts at some point.

"consort" Consort! Wow, that seems a bit sudden.

“Then you either agree to be my consort or pretend to be or else you will have little to no protection from those who would prey on humans simply because they can.” Something feels a little off about this sentence, but I can't place what it is.

"Were they willing to suddenly commit to being the significant other to a person they had once been in love but hadn’t seen for years just a few hours after their reunion?" In love with would make more sense.

"sleep beside me so you smell like me in the morning." I'm assuming the Fae have more sensitive noses than humans?

"P didn’t remember what a W was." I like how this is consistent with P's previous memory issues.

"looking down at the open book xe was still holding." I guess the book is magical. I didn't catch that the first time the book was mentioned. I just thought the book had sketches of B.

"Currency was favors and trinkets, labor and energy." I'm really enjoying the bartering system.

"And the fact that A didn’t take 1. on it meant it was either a 2. really big one or the situation just wasn’t serious enough yet to warrant the investment." 1. Take on it is technically correct, but I had to read over it a couple of times to understand. 2. A really big what? A really big gemstone?

“Alright,” P said hoping they wouldn’t come to regret it. They held their hand out to A. “Let’s go.” This seems like foreshadowing that P will come to regret it.

"Flaming sconces and glowing mushrooms hung from the walls, but not the shape of objects that matched the shadows." But the shape of the objects didn't match the shadows?

"Instead, they took xir hand, focused on its strength and maybe let their mind wander with thoughts of the dexterity of xir long fingers and walked through the dim hall." As they walked?

"They were pretty sure the tower had rotated and the who layout of the main building had been rearranged." Whole?

"the name came to them, along with a handful of fuzzy memories." I'm wondering if there is some magic that affects the minds of humans who leave Fae.

"hold onto the memories you made here and return.” This seems to support my theory.

I really enjoyed this chapter! A and P's relationship make a lot of progress. It progressed very quickly, but considering the situation, and their previous history, it makes sense. This chapter revealed a lot about how Faerie works, which I enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

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I enjoyed this chapter overall, but like @FlowerGirl, I think it's a bit uneven. P's emotions range from absent to conflicted, and then they seem to be all for it with the kiss at the end. Not that people can't be conflicted, but I think there needs to be a little more connectivity between the changes in emotion through here.

Aside from that, I'm enjoying meeting different fae and learning about them. Also interested to see what this big conspiracy is!


Notes while reading:

pg 1: Re kissing: definitely want to find out what happened here! Hope this gets expanded on later.

pg 2: “OK you agree to be my consort or you agree to pretend?” 
--have to say I'm with A on this one! There's an important distinction!

pg 3: "Or was it better to pretend and hope no one caught onto their charade?"
--This whole paragraph seems to disregard any actual emotions P has for A. What do they want?
Also, the previous sentence is pretty awkward.

pg 3: "but the prospect of lying next to him"
--next to xir

pg 3: "The thought of being that close to xir was making their heart flutter and their cheeks heat."
--okay, this starts getting into the emotion at least.

pg 3: "You do not know what my birth gender was and maybe I want to keep it that way just a little longer.”
--does it matter if A is nonbinary? Also do fae have the same sexes humans do? This opens up a whole other set of questions.

pg 5: "it was either a really big one or the situation just wasn’t serious enough yet to warrant the investment."
--a bit of an infodump here. 

pg 7: some interesting description of the castle through here, but it could be streamlined a bit.

pg 8: "Unless xe wasn’t really helping but was just pretending to as part of some cruel fae game."
--Getting a bit over-thinky here.

pg 9: "it would look like the wink was meant to imply..."
--probably don't need this much explanation here. I got the hint...

pg 10: I feel like the emotion is a bit uneven through here as to what P actually feels for A.

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I don't have much in the way of feedback for this submission. I do think one thing to keep an eye is just how much info-dumping there is about how the world works. It really slows the pace down. In other words, more showing, less telling, please. Other than that, good job.

Notes below: 

Pg. 2

"So I might be safe from your allies, bit have become a target of your enemies?"—First clause is fine, second feels clunky. I'd take another look at it.

Pg. 3

I'm not seeing why P and A are romantically attracted to each other. I'm not getting much of a spark.  

Pg. 4

I like the creature name you have here. Feels like something you'd find in a fairy tale.

Pg. 5

'P had never been great at stealth, and they'd probably gotten worse since in the human world, as an academic success coach at the community college, they'd never really had to be stealthy.'—I'd split this into two sentences. 

Pg. 6

'Going out into the halls at night went again much that P had been taught in faerie...'—Not sure what you're trying to say here. I'd rephrase. 

Pg. 7

'...speaking for the first time in what felt like a while but was probably only five minutes.'—I'd recommend deleting the bolded portion. It feels cheesy to me. 

Pg. 8 & 9

P's old name is on both pages. 

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I don't have a tone of notes for this submission, other than typos. My one biggest thing is that the kiss at the end kind of came out of nowhere. It didn't seem like P necessarily wanted to kiss A throughout the chapter, but then suddenly used not wanting to talk as an excuse to do so when it didn't really seem all that urgent. Especially when it didn't actually end up saving them any time. Not that you can't get carried away, or have different reasons!

Excited to see what happens!


Opening the doc now!

Just a note here, B did seem suspicious from the way P was observing xir, but that makes me think the B will be a red herring of sorts, since it was so obvious.

“In moved across the pages” Confused. It moved across the pages?

Hopefully their enemies don’t also have a magic surveillance book of A’s room…

Pg 2

“beasts” ooh, that is interesting.

“You have nothing to fear from me” this is a very fae way to word this, imo. Leaves it open that they might have something to fear, just not from A.

“then you either agree…” this sentence is kinda lengthy for me

“And there were a lot” This sentence repeats the exact wording of the one before it. I think it could be simplified to something like “Who would do exactly that” or something in that vein

Pg 3

Haha, I’m very ready for this to become a “we got married for tax benefits” storyline

“next to him” does A have multiple pronouns?

“making them nervous” I think you could cut out this phrase because the next sentence describes in what ways they are nervous.

“You do not know what my birth gender” again, this kind of says what the last sentence just did, and I think it could be cut without losing much.

Pg 4

“W” reminds me of Lewis Carol! (in a good way)

Pg 5

“They fae” the fae

“And then to keep in going” keep it going

“A didn’t take on it meant” I don’t know what this sentence is trying to say.

Pg 6

“went agin much that P” went against much

“a fool about the walk to” about to walk to

“and we willing to follow” were willing

Pg 7

“the who layout” the whole layout

“better off not knowing” that is interesting, and a little creepy. Is it supposed to imply enslavement?

Pg 8

“your opinions about humans” uh oh

“it was a dream, but as they stared” I think it should be a new sentence after “dream”

“G” hah, nice name

Pg 9

“A burnt out shell” nice characterization

There do seem to be more people up and about than the beginning of the chapter led me to believe.

The kiss is well written, but kind of out of nowhere imo

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, finally got back here with some comments. These are the highlights. The whole thing is emailed back with LBL's (I'm afraid you need to read here and there, and not all comment are in one place or the other <sweatsmile>

(page 1)

I don't think you can just lift a Marauder's Map from Harry Potter. Either I'm not picturing that correctly, in which case more description is needed, or I am, and it's pretty much a straight copy. [Edit: later on, some detail emerge that make it clear this map is slightly different from an MM. I think that should be shown on first showing the book.]

I've got a big issue with the reveal that Ae has been spying on Bre for weeks. So, Ae has been keeping this knowledge from Per for this whole time. But there is no reason for that, so I feel cheated that I'm only hearing this now.

"I couldn’t just tell you out in the open" - Okay, but no I still don't but that. There was no single occasion when Ae could have whispered something to Per?

(page 2)

"there were a lot of fae who would prey on a human simply because they could" - I feel there is quite a bit about the world that is not explained in the earlier chapters. I don't really understand the world or its rules, and when a rule crops up, I think it really needs to be explained at that time, in a suitably subtle and non-expositiony way.

(page 6)

There are a lot of long, rambling sentences* with many short words. I know it's a draft, and it's all part of the process, but I find them difficult to read and hard to interpret what the message is. Especially around here, but somewhat generally also.

"willing to follow xir out into the castle" - I think there is a confusion about the land in general and how it works, but in particular, I'm confused about the dos and don'ts. Dangerous to go out in the woods, but it's also dangerous to go about in the castle? Is anywhere safe?

"kidnapping of some random teenagers" - This line brings home to me that I don't actually care about the stakes. I don't know these kids; Per doesn't know that kids. The person that does know the kids is not involved in the scene. The more I think about the setup, the more I think that it's the human teenager who should be the protagonist of this story. Per's only personal stakes are their relationship with Ae, but that doesn't really drive any of the plot, it feels to me like set dressing for a plot that is happening to someone else.

I think in the story generally the plot needs to be much more compact and personal. I think it needs for either the teenager to be cut (they are very little on the page at all), or Per and the teenager to be combined.

(page 7)

* (from above) - "One would think that there would have been some kind of grinding sound" - 'Per imagined a grinding sound...' This is exactly my point: I've read so many words by the time I get to the object of the sentence that I've forgotten what it is. Also, the use of 'one'; I think there are plenty of instances where this form could have been used before in the narrative, but I can't recall it being used before, certainly only rarely. I don't think it's consistent with the style of the narrative, which is much less formal. Therefore, I think it sticks out in a bad way. Lots of ways to reword this. I know, it's Draft One (right?), but I think I got to page 7 before dropping some pedantry!

"things humans were squeamish about" - I don't accept this as a generalisation for all humans, so I guess it just reveals Per's character. It feels quite unreliable, as narration goes.

(page 8)

"xe probably wouldn’t be helping Per find the missing kids" - goes to my earlier point about how this doesn't feel important to Per at all.

(page 9)

"you were unique and fierce" - absolutely nothing Per has done or said so far makes me think they deserve this description. Conan is unique and fierce; Wonder Woman is unique and fierce. Per...not so much, IMO. I don't mean to be flippant though, I mention this because it brings to mind a more serious issue. Per has no agency. They are a passenger in the story the way it is at the moment. Certainly in this chapter, and I think in the last couple, from what I can remember.

"Now they were more like a zombie" - Okay, it goes on to call this out, but it still leaves me with a character who themselves think they are like a zombie. I don't find that very engaging.

(page 10)


"tongue was exploring their mouth, tracing the edge of their teeth"

 - this is really unsexy, IMO.

"Xir body was firm and flat" - Xir body was...flat? :blink:

"Don't forget about that dessert(!!!!!!) you were hunting" - Another example of how terribly passive Per is. I really, really want them to be fierce and unique, to have any attitude. I wanted this line to be "Don't forget that dessert you promised me." 

"walked on without saying anything." - Are they not holding hands now then? I presume not, but maybe if he "walked away" that would be clearer.

"By the time they got to the kitchens, Br was long gone."- Bit of an anti-climax, but it was unexpected, so that's good.

Overall comments: I think I've left them pretty much above. Not much to add overall. I like the characters well enough but--at the moment--I don't think Per is a strong enough character to carry the story.

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