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reading excuses -2022-11-7-FlowerGirl -To be named -Ch's 5.5-7(V)


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Tagged for violence because of a character kicking another character, and a character in pain.
I'm looking for whatever feedback you have. 
I've also been working on making my submissions tidier, so hopefully, there are fewer mistakes. I'd love to know how I'm doing with that.
I hope you enjoy!
Here's a short summary for anyone who hasn't read the previous chapters.
Jenah has been taken to the gifted's compound for reeducation. While there she discovers that the gifteds aren't as perfect as everyone believes. While in the compound she's lectured, tortured, and fed slimy gray mush. Her family is threatened by the leader of the compound, and she discovers that her sister is dating the gifted's president's son.
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Grammatically, this chapter had a lot less errors and was a lot easier to read, so good job! It also seems like there is a clear direction for the plot now, being: stop the president from committing genocide. It really felt like the plot was moving forward in this chapter, which was good. 

I still have trouble believing that this place can actually function, since they are okay with having important discussions of national policy where apparently two children can easily overhear. Also, as others have noted before, there seems to be a disconnect between the content of the chapters and how J and the others react to them. For instance, J learns that the president is planning to kill thousands of people, including everyone she has ever known and loved, and she thinks "I want to punch him in the face". Like sure, but that feels like an understatement. 

Also, J does a lot of stuff to piss off the guards when she was told explicitly that they would kill her family if she didn't cooperate in the last sub

Overall though, good submission! Excited to see what happens next


Opening the doc now!

Already this sub is a lot easier to read!

Personally I would like to know what sort of distraction N created


“I’d like to be rid of the lot…” Hmm, who are they talking about? The prisoners or the general population?

“Don’t base rebellion” ah, so this is the president and A? Are they discussing whether or not to imprison all the citizens?

Again, this brings up the question of security in this place

“trained one” oof

“more genetically superior” I think you can cut the word “more” as it’s a little redundant. Also, 0.0

“I completely agree” this is sort of an understatement I feel like. They are talking about committing genocide after all, right?

Pg 3

“they don’t understand how much everything changed” because you have been intentionally keeping them in the dark, right?

“they’ll come things as we” come to see things?

“aren’t worth keeping” this repeats the phrase “worth keeping”. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it was noticeable.

Well that was a horrifying conversation

Pg 4

“I knew A was trouble” hmmm. I don’t think this is entirely A’s fault here.

Pg 5

“There got to be a way to” there’s

Also, probably not a good idea to think about your plans in the presence of an enemy mind-reader

Pg 6

“someone’s grumpy” I would think that would be the default feeling here…

“they’re harmless” Is N a gifted? Would she not say “we’re harmless”?

Pg 7

“Presses her hands to her temples” okay, I definitely think she is gifted

Pg 8

“therefore they can’t attack” unless they just decide to kill them all…

“picture of R” does this work? Looking this up…

Apparently this does work but it would have to be a very high resolution photo

Pg 11

Spilling the hot chocolate on C comes across as a little petty imo, especially if she wants to get her key card eventually. Though it is interesting that she is still rebellious even knowing she will be punished severely (or just straight up killed)

Pg 12

If she cut’s C’s belt, she’ll immediately know it’s stolen, right?

Pg 14

“I kick L in the knuts” it’s just “nuts”

On a related note, I think it would make sense for someone in his position to wear a cup or even just straight up armor, since the people he is supposed to torture might react to the pain violently.

“I call tell L” I can tell?

Pg 15

Ah, so N was protecting her?



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It's getting a lot harder to read through this as the chapters progress. There's two vastly different tones, one with teenagers pulling pranks on teachers, and the other with those teachers being wardens who are torturing prisoners. It doesn't work both ways. I think there needs to be a bit more work on the worldbuilding through here to make the tone consistent through the story. I'm having trouble respecting any of the characters, as their actions, emotions, and words are completely divergent from each other.

Notes while reading:

pg 2: "He really is the president’s son."
--how does she know he's talking to the president though?

pg 2: This seems kind of far fetched that two prisoners could sneak to an unguarded room where people are debating the future of an authoritarian world.

pg 3: "If I wasn’t trying to stay hidden I would’ve busted in there and punched the president by now."
--the MC seems very bad at decision-making.

pg 4: "and doesn’t see us behind the door."

pg 4: "run back to my room."
--I still don't understand how this prison is run.

pg 5: "tries to wake me up, I ignore her until she threatens to send me to L"
--this seems more like a boarding school than a prison.

pg 8: again, sneaking candies around under the gifteds' noses seems more like a school than a place where they plot to commit genocide.

pg 8: "“We need to hack into the gifteds computer system"
--how do they have computer access when they're prisoners?

pg 11: it's getting increasingly harder to reconcile the MC's flippant tone and plans that should be caught immediately with what's going on in the story. They're doing pranks?

pg 15: “You try anything like that again, and you and your family die. Got it?” 
--He already made this threat once and never followed through. There's no reason to obey him now.

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All of the problems from previous submissions are still here. Clashing tones, lots of punctuation and other writing mistakes, clunky dialogue. And the plot feels, for the most part, like it's spinning its wheels; there's so much repetition. More eye-rolling. More torture scenes that don't seem to have any real traumatizing effect on J. More eyeballing bad food. More empty threats of death and doom. 

I sincerely encourage you to take some extra time for your next submission and take our feedback into account. Say your dialogue out loud. Give actions time to breathe. Reflect on what a real person's reaction would be to circumstances like these. Reach out for help if you're willing to.  

Notes below: 

Pg. 2

"We'll relocate the remainder to the compound."—I would not recommend Nazi parallels unless you are confident that you can treat topics like genocide and concentration camps with the necessary skill, nuance, and seriousness. 

Pg. 3

"Can you make sure my girlfriend and her family are on the list of the ones we keep?"—Wow, he went from defending the un-g to screwing them over in, what, ten seconds? 

Pg. 4

"I'm sure the three of us can figure something out."—Really? The three of them are going to come up with something that will stop a genocidal plan? I don't buy it. 

'I pick up my pillow and scream into it, then I turn to F. "Thanks for your help, but I'd like to be alone right now."' Major emotional whiplash right here.  

Pg. 6

J's revealing of an impending genocide should have a much greater reaction than one character gasping. 

Pg. 7

"What's she doing?" "Concocting a plan." "Silence, I'm thinking."—I doubt that children would talk like this. 

The part where J eats the crappy food might be the most relatable, genuine thing that's happened so far. The story would improve a lot if you gave, say, her realizing her family is in mortal peril this degree of detail and pacing.

"I've got the beginnings of a plan. Let's wait the discuss it."—Why? Why not brainstorm right now? 

Pg. 8

"Won't we get in trouble if we're caught sneaking about?"—She's snuck about already, why is she worried about that now?

N just got told that there's an impending genocide and she seems to be a lot more upset over not being given chocolate. 

Pg. 9

Pretty sure you need an actual eyeball for a retina scan. If this place's tech can be fooled with a picture—where would they get it from, anyway?—then that would continue to undermine what little threat the G currently have.  

Pg. 10

'I glance over at C and roll my eyes.'—Please, no more eye-rolling. 

Pg. 12

"I figured cutting off C's belt would be the easiest way to get it off her."—And probably the most conspicuous way to do it. 

I may be missing something about the Ts here, J is making some big logical leaps. Why can't everyone have been brought when they were young, and A when she was already old? 

Pg. 13

'I cross my arms...'—Someone's first reaction to be threatened with agonizing torture—that they've already experienced—should not be to cross their arms.

Pg. 14

J kicking L in the groin is completely devoid of tension or emotion. This should be a triumphant, exhilarating moment. But it's very clinical in how it's written. It needs more emotion. 

"You shouldn't be celebrating. You've only made things worse for yourself."—How does she know J is celebrating? J hasn't done anything. 

'I would laugh if I wasn't terrified.'—NOW she's terrified? That took a while. 

'L, worried that a fifteen-year-old girl will kick him in the nuts.'—Of course he's worried, you literally just did that to him.

Pg. 15

'Did my pain receptors overload or something?'—Not how pain receptors work. And I don't believe that J would be knowledgeable enough about pain receptors to make that mistaken assumption in the first place. 

Pg. 16

'Why did the pain stop so long before he stopped inflicting it?'—So at some point, the pain stopped, and he spent something like ten or so minutes thinking he was torturing her when he wasn't? Shouldn't her lying still for that long have tipped him off to the fact that something was wrong? 

'I resist the urge to roll my eyes.'—Please give your character a trait other than this. 

She's going to cut off a belt with scissors? 

Edited by JWerner
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So rather than attempting to fully catch up on all submissions, realizing that folks have probably received plenty of feedback in the interim, I've decided just to read up to the most recent submission for everyone and start there. Hopefully that helps me keep up with future submissions. BUT I did make some very brief notes about the chapters prior to to this, which I'll put behind a spoiler tag so you don't have to scroll forever to get to this week's feedback.



·         Stakes here are more compelling than the first chapter – some of this needs to come earlier, this second chapter can then be an opportunity to reinforce/raise the stakes rather than introduce them.

·         More action from narrator at trial would be helpful – the chance to defend herself or even have her just demand it. Right now it feels very passive.

·         Blocking confusion at trial – how does the narrator get away so easily? It feels like hardly anyone tries to stop her and nobody follows her  


·         Again I think there is opportunity to make the protagonist more active – she does a lot of waiting and being moved around. Can she start asking questions sooner? Be cataloguing ways to escape? Etc.

·         “The better you cooperate the sooner you go home…” This is the first sense I’ve gotten of real menace from the gifs. More of this sooner.

·         Repetition of “everything goes dark…” at these assessment scene


·         I kind of like that after the weird visions of the last chapter, the reeducation here starts off so mundane, literally writing lines on a blackbloard. There might be an opportunity to make more of this juxtaposition.

·         At this point (not necessarily in this chapter, just in general) I’m also looking for a better understanding of why this society is the way it is. The bizarreness of the demands was enough create some interest and sympathy for the protagonist in the early chapters but now we’re being constantly reminded of how unreasonable it is, without any sort of explanation for it – and the protagonist never seems to question any of this herself, despite making a show of resisting their attempts to reeducate her.

·         “every time you disobey makes your stay here worse for yourself…” so far they haven’t done anything especially threatening. This is basically a repeat of the threat we saw in chapter 3, but doesn’t add new info or raise the stakes. I think it needs to do one or the other, unless…

o   The sudden physical punishment makes me wonder if this understating of the danger was deliberate. If so, maybe hang a lantern on it?

·         As hilarious as I find “lord of sparkles,” wouldn’t the nickname be asking for punishment? Can’t imagine this flying under the radar for too long.

·         The gifs’ snobbishness with tech is maybe something that could be made more of too, since they’re presumably the ones who’ve been withholding technology like elevators from the general public. The reaction to the elevator is great btw.

·         Re the threat to her family – good. This might have more impact though if she worries about them (or her friend who she endangered) earlier in the narrative. Or if she feels guilty about not doing so. Basically making a little more of the threat – it feels a little understated.


·         “Violence is supposed to be a thing of the past” didn’t she punch someone in the face in grade school? Occasionally we get moments like this where it seems the narrator totally buys into the rules of her upbringing, even though she flaunts them pretty casually in other places. It makes these big revelations about the gifs feel less impactful.

·         Unless the narrator is constantly guarding her thoughts – which hasn’t been mentioned in some time – the gif seem pretty selective about when they’re reading minds. J does a lot of thinking about how boring the lectures are here and is never called out on it.


Onto this week’s submission!

Ch 5.5-7

As I read:

“…in case some of them stayed behind.” How many gifs are there? Since they control multiple cities, my base assumption is quite a few, and probably enough that I have difficulty suspending my disbelief that they all went to check out whatever distraction was offered – especially in a correctional facility they control.  

“he really is the president’s son.” I’m not sure we’ve been given any info that actually confirms this yet.

But also, F and J finding this place in the first place, let alone being able to eavesdrop on it in this way, feels way too easy. They don’t seem to be guarded or supervised at all, and the fact that the president and A just happen to be here anyway (the gifs don’t all live in a correctional facility, surely?) seems very coincidental.  

The sudden leap to – as far as I can tell – eugenics and, I think?, violent genocide also feels like a very large leap. I think we need more foreshadowing/worldbuilding to get us here, or an intermediate step, or ... something.


“J, are you even listening?” Can’t she read minds?

“A glare seems to be her resting face…” lol.

Uh… where are the guards/teachers/supervisors of this correctional facility? Why are our protagonist and her friends allowed to openly plot rebellion in a lunch room?

On the one hand I’m kind of digging the way N seems to be turning into a heist leader, but from the way she presents it I’m still not feeling like this is going to pose any sort of challenge for the protags.

“I need to figure out how to get the keycard…” wait, I thought that was the gambit with the hot chocolate was about somehow. She was just antagonizing C to be difficult I guess?

I'm not sure that "cut off the belt" as a solution to stealing a keycard is going to work, unless it goes drastically wrong which the story doesn't seem pointed to do. Too many problems - the person would notice, she still has to get the keycard way from them, etc etc.

This happens in a few places, but there is a shift in tone that is especially apparent here, when the characters go from attempting to prevent literal genocide to ... pranking their torturers.

Overall: I like the premise and there are some neat juxtapositions in the worldbuiding that I find really interesting, and can possibly be leaned on even more. My major sticking point right now is that the gifs feel a little … cartoon villainous to me, which comes across in a couple of ways. First, they have totally unreasonable expectations about how the world should work, which is effective in terms of getting me on the protagonist’s side, but without more worldbuilding to support it feels like they’re being evil because the book needs them to be evil. Second, they don’t seem to pose a real obstacle to our protagonist – because even though torture and eating mush aren’t pleasant, she, N, and F can still wander around the facility more or less unhindered. I think that upping the challenge factor and building out the world beyond the facility will go a long way towards staying invested in the protagonist and her journey. 

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