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Reading Excuses - 2/6/23 - Yuliya - Anorbitals_ch2&3_v1_sub 1, 6,319 words


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Hello everyone, 

Here are chapters 2 and 3 of my story. I apologize for it being longer than the usual 5,000 words - I saw some submissions of this length on the forum, but if it is too long for one week feel free to read only the first chapter.
A few clarifications that I feel I should make following the last submission: 
1) -ts is indeed an in-world frequency indicator;
2) the sound waves are produced magically (the mechanism will be partially explained further into the story, and partially in the prologue, so stick with me for now).
I will make sure both are more clear in the next draft of that chapter. 
Thank you and have a great week!
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Pg 1-You left off with the entire group fighting the t, and never finished that battle. It's a little frustrating not knowing what happened.

Pg2-I'm liking the calmer use of the magic system now that we've seen the destructive side of it. It creates a nice contrast.

Pg 6-"The boy can shame an avalanche in loudness and this time the t would not spare the crew if you bring him along”. This sentence was difficult to read. How do you shame and avalanche in loudness? That doesn't make sense. Maybe you meant to say he could shame an avalanche for being too loud(I could be completely wrong.) I also don't understand why the t wouldn't spare the crew if B went along. Are the t intelligent, or would B's bungling just get them all killed?

Pg 6- "social visit." This does seem to imply that the T are intelligent. That's the theory I'm going with for now.

Pg 9-"duck flying shoes." You can't duck a flying shoe. You either duck away from a flying shoe or dodge a flying shoe. 

Pg 12-"He didn’t live it all over again." This is a little confusing. Are you saying he didn't want to live it all over again or are you saying that because he pushed the memory away he didn't relieve the experience? If that's what you were going for the wording was a bit confusing. It might make more sense to phrase it differently. Maybe something along the lines of "He pushed the memory away" or "He forced his mind to stay in the present." These aren't the best examples, but hopefully, they're helpful.

Pg 12-“Hungry like I have run for that long too." This isn't quite correct, maybe something along the lines of "Hungry as if I was actually running." or "Hungry as if I was running instead of dreaming." Again, not the best examples, but hopefully they're helpful.

Pg 12-"A heartbeat faster than usual?” This would make more sense as "Is your heartbeat faster than usual?" 

Pg 13 "but surely he looked his twenty-two." This could work as a form of unique character speech if that's what you were going for, but otherwise, it'd make more sense to say "surely he looked his age." or some other variation of that.

Overall this chapter was a lot slower than the last one. The beginning was frustrating since you never finished off the battle. I assume that's because B passed it, so it might help to explain that. There were some issues with wording, but that's completely understandable considering that English isn't your first language. I enjoyed the chapter, hope to see some action or at least a change of pace in the next one. 

Thanks for sharing!





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Just a clarification on the length. It's best to stick to the 5000-word limit, especially if there are a lot of entries, like this week. If there are only a few submissions, it's usually alright to go over, but it's also good to ask permission in the submission thread.

These chapters dragged a lot more than the first one, probably because that one was action-based. This one didn't seem to move the plot forward much. B getting healed and signing up for training, and R explaining some magic could probably take place in one chapter instead of two. There's also a lot more about the world in here, but I don't understand what's going on yet. Mostly people are talking about the world, but no one is offering any explanation, so the reader is lost. 

The same questions as for the first chapter might help out here. Why is B doing the things he's doing? What do the tables mean to him? Why does R want to take him on? Adding some motivation will give us a lot of answers about the world.


Notes while reading:

pg 3: there's a lot of information in these first few pages, not all necessary for the current situation with healing B.

pg 4: Yes, good info, but I think the first few pages could be edited down.

pg 5: "The boy placed as many tablets as he wanted"
--I don't remember this happening last chapter? I think this was partly from the lack of motivation.

pg 6: "I think he may be onto something"
--This is the more interesting part of the story for me. What is he trying to do?

pg 7: N has some good intuition!

pg 7: "Can’t the crew collect the tablets without him"
--I feel like we're missing some information on the main plot. 

pg 9: "It was just another promise he intended to keep."
--I'm...not entirely sure what was going on in this chapter. N and R talked a lot about things happening, and I don't know that any of them were covered in the first chapter. 

pg 13: There's a lot of talk and descriptions through here, but nothing's really moving in the plot. The last two chapters have both dealt with the outcome of the first chapter and we haven't really moved on yet.

pg 15: "t’s kindness"
--The t was kind?

pg 15: “It is your choice, B. Train or abandon those tablets.”
--we still don't know what B wants out of this, or why he's working with R, or what the tablets do. Adding some of this explanation will help.

pg 17: I think we need to actually see the settlement or at least hear about it before discussing its political matters.

pg 18: "How much was several months or even years of his life worth?"
--setting the first chapter up with these sorts of questions will help.

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8 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Just a clarification on the length. It's best to stick to the 5000-word limit, especially if there are a lot of entries, like this week. If there are only a few submissions, it's usually alright to go over, but it's also good to ask permission in the submission thread.

Yes, I understood my mistake very quickly - won't happen again. Thanks for the explanation! I will address the story-related comments in more detail later :)

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These chapters had some very good character moments and some very good emotion. I especially enjoyed R's perspective on things. That being said, I was a little lost in everything. I think that the cold open of this chapter is not effective. I did not understand what was going on at the end of the first chapter, so I was just confused when it was revealed that B was injured. I would have rather seen B do his thing and pass out than have that happen off-page. I also wish that we had seen them investigate the nest and find it empty, so we could know why that is significant. 

Overall, I wish I knew why more stuff was significant. I don't remember B placing the tablets or why they are important/what he is trying to measure. I don't know why finding an empty nest is so bad, especially since it happens off page. 

I like that B decides to train at the end of the chapter, but again, what is so important about those tablets that he is willing to sacrifice so much time and effort to get them? 

Also, just my personal taste, but I don't think the dream was necessary. It felt like its main purpose was to introduce some of the characters, such as his uncle, brother, and crush, but I think that we could meet all three of those characters in "real life" and it would be better. Though I did like the part where he was uncontrollably making the killing rhythm, and everything in the dream was to that rhythm. 

Overall, your writing's good! I just feel adrift as a reader, and want something to latch onto character-wise. 

Excited to read more!




Okay, so this is a new POV. I get this is probably to increase the cliffhanger feeling at the end of the first chapter, but it didn’t really seem like they were in much danger at the end of that one. They seemed like they had the situation under control, so I’m not really worried for them, I mainly just want to see what happened at the end of the heist

“Bring me the s” not sure if this is a setting-specific thing or not

“we have a wounded” technically yes, you can use wounded as a singular noun. However, I think it might read better as just “we have wounded” which sounds just a little more natural to me, inexplicably.

“an occasional wounded” here, I think would sound better as “cared for the occasional wounded”

“he had run out of tears” nice

Okay, so this wounded person is in fact, B.

“sipping between her clenched fingers” probably meant “slipping between her…”

Also, isn’t R blind? Or was that just a temporary blindness before?


“he did so now” nice


“melted away the layer o frost” excellent. Loving the descriptions of the magic here


Interesting to see how disability plays into this setting, even so early on. It also seems to me that her disability is actually what we would consider normal hearing? She doesn’t have a magically expanded hearing range?

I’m a little confused as to why they can’t simply sing the aria several times


Ah, so the s beads are what the heist is for.

“s beads stolen from the t’s nests, remained” comma splice. Remove comma after  “nests”

“dark-blue juice” actually does not need a hyphen.

“into B’s arm” this makes it sound like it either penetrated the flesh, or was put into a wound in the arm. Maybe, “into B’s hand”

I don’t think placing tablets was mentioned in the last chapter. When she asked if he had done what he came for, I was wondering what that even was, since we didn’t actually get an explanation of why he was on the heist anyway.


“I promised to help him with his goal” But what is his goal? I’m starting to get a little frustrated by this

“shredded to pieces” harsh, I like it lol

“it can not be worth it” you can combine “can” and “not” into “cannot”. I think the main reason you would not combine the two would be if you were to emphasize one or the other word, but that isn’t the case here so they can be combined.

“shame an avalanche” lol I like N

“she likely did not know her nest was empty yet” unsure about the significane of this, or how it has to do with the t going easy on them


“preceding a full Moon” moon should not be capitalized

“tightly curled fists” ah, so B is an anime protagonist...jk lol



“two larger ones for fists” ha! Nice

I like the relationship these two have


“he had read the sections of the “Directives…” Confused by this sentence. What’s it trying to say?

“Never touched the book” nice

Oh, and that’s the end of the chapter. I’m not really sure what the take-away for this chapter was supposed to be, other than R and N being introduced


“powerful and magical, and orderly” can probably cut the first instance of the word “and”


“But only a handful of people” really? I didn’t get that impression from R’s perspective. He revered the song, obviously, but it seemed like it was common enough for healers to play it.

Ah, okay, this explains why R couldn’t just play the song multiple times.

“open-mouthed gaping” technically not incorrect, I simply don’t like the word gaping, lol


“What you did with the t today” Okay, but what did he do? It was unclear, and we didn’t actually see the consequences


“flickered in his jaw at the ‘blackwater’ part” should be backwater, I think


“Settlement Core” not sure if this is what you’re going for, but you might mean “Settlement Corps” which would be a military branch focused on settlement. As opposed to Core, which is the center of something. The word Corps looks like it should be pronounced “corpse” but is pronounced like “core”. It’s confusing.

Also, I predict that N and B will hate each other at first, but will come to like each other;)

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Thank you everyone for your comments - they have been extremely helpful for me! They made me realize that I am keeping too much from the reader, in particular, B's reasons for being on the Shore in the first place. I will work to clarify that as early in the chapter as I can.

I will admit that I quite like the dream part and I wanted the people introduced there to be familiar to the reader the next time we meet them. I will keep it in mind, though, that perhaps "live" intro would work better. I will see.

It was also very good to hear your opinions on pacing - I have a big world in mind and indeed struggle to introduce it all without it being too wordy. 

Thanks again for your time and advice!

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Looking forward to seeing how the story develops!

Overall: There are lots of good hints and tidbits in here that I think need to be tied together into something more cohesive. Mostly, I’m wondering what the tablets are, why B wants them so badly, how he lost them in the first place, and what R’s main goal through all of this is. Once I get a feeling for the stakes I think the details of the story will slot into place more easily for me.

As I go:

Pg 1-2. I like that we get to see more of R’s personal connections and what I think we need is a more specific motivation for his actions

Pg 3-5. Similar thoughts. The disability is interesting and I want to see these character dynamics (not necessarily the disability itself) connect to what’s happening on a larger story scale

Pg 6-8. Can’t judge too much as a resident writer of weird kids who don’t talk like kids but N does not sound like a kid/young teen that I think she’s supposed to be. Even if the story doesn’t use casual language in general I think it needs to find a way to differentiate N’s speech from a formal adult’s.

Pg 9-11. Hard for me to be invested in a dream sequence when I know that nothing’s “real.” I can tell that the memories here are important but I think there are better and more succinct ways to explore them than in dreams. Ideally the events that remind B of L are also part of the main plot instead of side exposition.

Pg 12-13. Took me a while to get a feeling for the scene

Pg 15. We get the practical reason B wants to come along, but what about the personal reason?

Pg 17. The politics here are interesting to me and I like that the story’s making an attempt to tie them into character relations and plot but I need more context for it to really hit home. Mostly, what does this have to do with the tablets?

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Thanks for the new submission! As a note, I realize that not every sub will fit neatly within 5k words, but really once a submission goes more than a couple hundred words over you should split your submission. The previous instances you’ve seen of longer submissions were always where someone cleared it with the group ahead of time and in slower periods. The really long ones, like the ones that are 1k over, are typically where someone asked to take more than one slot, which we can only allow in very specific circumstances. The volume just gets overwhelming otherwise. Thanks!

As I read:

P1 “he barely had time to pull the dirty soft shoes…” initially I thought B had already been here for a while.

P3 “It never would.” Not totally sure what this sentence is referring back to.

P4 “The least R could do… was keep his face neutral” ah, so we’re finally given the explanation to this; I was wondering. Maybe put this and the initial comment about keeping a neutral expression closer together?

“Five repetitions should be enough…” Now confused. How does she know this if she can’t hear what’s being done?

P7 “He would have to trust us not to divulge…” if he was with them when he placed the tablets, wouldn’t they have access to the tablets anyway?

P8 “The effort is worth the knowledge.” At first, due to paragraph break, I thought this was R speaking, but the following paragraph suggests it was actually N? Not certain.

P14 “Do you intend to go to another heist?” struck me as an odd question. Isn’t R in the driver’s seat of whether B gets to go on another one or not?

P15 “It was the tel’s kindness…” I’ve been wondering about this. In the last chapter the tels were presented as animals, albeit maybe smart ones, but the way they’ve been talked about in this chapter suggests they’re sentient.

P16 “…lose years … or abandon my research?” I think information like this needs to be moved up, possibly way up, last chapter even. This is the most sense of personal stakes I’ve gotten so far.

P17 “You don’t like my uncle…” this seemed really abrupt until the next line when it’s revealed that K is B’s uncle. I still don’t understand how this gives more B about the EC, and this question is dropped after this.

Overall: My biggest stumbling block was the political intrigue/family drama that cropped up in the last couple pages. I wasn’t prepared for this to suddenly become apparently a large part of the story – up until it’s been focused on B’s fate with the heisters and, to a lesser extent, whatever he’s trying to achieve with his research – and we have almost no specifics about what this plot thread actually entails.

I also think it would be helpful to have a better sense of what B is actually doing and hoping to achieve with the tablets. There was a lot of talk about them but I so far don’t understand what the purpose is. Really with both of these points, my challenge is that I don’t yet know why these things matter, so it’s harder to get invested in B’s success.

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On 2/9/2023 at 6:21 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Pg 6-8. Can’t judge too much as a resident writer of weird kids who don’t talk like kids but N does not sound like a kid/young teen that I think she’s supposed to be. Even if the story doesn’t use casual language in general I think it needs to find a way to differentiate N’s speech from a formal adult’s.

I didn't really consider this, thanks for pointing it out. I have spent my entire life surrounded by people from academia, so it seems to me that everyone naturally speaks that way, haha. 

On 2/10/2023 at 3:26 AM, Silk said:

P15 “It was the tel’s kindness…” I’ve been wondering about this. In the last chapter the tels were presented as animals, albeit maybe smart ones, but the way they’ve been talked about in this chapter suggests they’re sentient.


Yes, they are sentient, and I will find a way to make that more clear. 

Thank you for all the comments! They gave me a clear indication of the things that I need to adjust!

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