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2/6/23 - Ace of Hearts - Bond of Wildflowers v2 sub 3, 3386 words (light G)

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Hope everyone's doing well!
I'm interested to hear people's suggestions for this sub since I keep waffling on how important some of the dynamics here are for the story. Any and all feedback welcome as usual, and prescriptive suggestions are especially appreciated!
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As I go:

Pg.1. The first phrase made me stumble a bit. Perhaps, add a time indicator like “For a few weeks, life…”. It would also let us know how much time passed between the chapters. 

“He is dangerous” – you are hanging a very, very bright lantern here.  

Pg.3. “I am pretty sure” – a verb is missing

“constant iciness” could be something more expressive

Pg.4. should be “the explorer man says”

“for a boy over six feet tall he does an impressive job of being a wallflower” – nice

Pg.6. in the “reaches to my side” remove “to”

Pg.8. I am not sure W’s anger at A is justified – he seems to only be trying to help

“but she didn’t hate me for what I am” – nice, I did not expect A to be supernatural too

Pg. 9. “in the off chance” should be “on” instead 

Pg.12. the last phrase jumped out of nowhere for me

General thoughts:

I liked A’s chapter a lot – it had so many unexpected things coming out, that I felt hooked the entire time. I am profoundly disturbed by B, which I think is what you are aiming for, but calling what is between B and A a “relationship” felt like an exaggeration. 

My other concern is that Ar feels rather stereotypical at the moment (though we only saw him briefly, so perhaps, it is too early to judge).

I liked that the tension is more palpable in these chapters and I finished with a distinct desire to keep reading.

Thanks for the submission and I hope I will get the next chapter next week!

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On 2/6/2023 at 9:08 AM, Ace of Hearts said:

I keep waffling on how important some of the dynamics here are for the story

I was basically going to say that as my assessment of this chapter. I like it, I think it's interesting, and A is a complex character. But we're also 6 chapters into a story about W's family and her meeting N, and I'm not sure where this fits. I'm not saying it doesn't, but maybe the next couple chapters are a good place to start tying things together? W's story is basically non-magical except she knows about the medicine, flowers, and N's village. Everyone else seems to know a lot more than her, so she's sort of drowning in the story where she has no ability to find out more information unless someone tells her. Usually the main character is the substitute for the reader learning new information, but in this case it's almost reversed. The reader is finding out how the world works and the main character is not.

Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about this, for what they're worth. Still enjoying the story! You write very real characters.


Note while reading:

pg 1: "It’s safer for both of us if we remain acquaintances and nothing more"
--maybe a little more elaboration on this? We know some about what is happening, but does W actually feel unsafe?

pg 1: "With enough medicine, my mom’s body will get strong enough to withstand cancer treatment."
--does she know this? It doesn't seem to be doing so yet.

pg 3: "It’s possible this J, is manipulating her"
--that's a big jump from just learning all this information.

pg 5: so W had a whole thing with A, right? We get a mention of it in this version, but shouldn't she at least be aware of A's relations?

pg 7: “And if I refuse?”
“Then I am under no obligation to continue giving you gifts.”
--I mean, that's pretty obvious.

pg 7: "Guess I’ll be seeing more of N after all."
--I'm not sure what I'm missing, but it feels like there's another show to drop in this chapter and I'm not sure what it is. M.A. obviously has a scheme, but he's acting pretty beneficially for now.

pg 7: "he knows he can get something out of it.”
--maybe this is it? I don't see what's bad about what he's getting out of it, and W hasn't asked.

pg 9: “Bringing a human into the mix.”
--aha...maybe this is the shoe. Is this saying A and M.A. are the same as N?

pg 9: So B. is J's daughter?

pg 12: We get a good assessment of what A is thinking, but I'm also wondering how his POV ties in with the central plot. Is he going to be a continuing character? Basically, we're 6 chapters in, and while I'm enjoying the story, I have no idea where it's going.

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P1 “But every time my mom loses her energy…” I wonder if we shouldn’t be seeing this in a scene rather than in summary. Or get the summary, the text conversation, and then W waffles a bit and we have a scene before she decides to go ahead with the dangerous thing.

“Mr. A wants to talk to you…” I may be mixing up my drafts, but I think we’ve only seen him mentioned once in this draft and it is brief. I wonder if we need a little more in the text before now to support this being a dangerous/ominous thing.

P3 “My amma said she…” thought this was referring to amma for a moment and was thrown. Maybe have W refer to G’s mom by name rather than pronoun here.

“I’m staying away from N to avoid the conflict in his village…” Another thing we’ve been told but haven’t really seen. I think this can be made more of as an obstacle; right now we’re not really seeing it happen.

P4 “…something strange and unnerving about B.” We’ve seen a tiny bit in her manner just now, but mostly this is something else I feel like I’m being told rather than shown. Although I snort-laughed (not necessarily a bad thing) at “tortures squirrels for fun.”

P6 “But I’m hoping this can be mutually beneficial.” Why not make demands, rather than requests?
              Edit: Oh, it’s a plot point. Carry on.

 I think I want/expect a greater sense of menace from this scene, but I’m not sure how to accomplish that offhand. I think maybe if we feel more of W’s desperation going into it, that would help. And maybe hang more of a lantern on the fact that this is easier than W expected – for example, have her be surprised that he has requests but is just giving her a vial, wonder what the catch is but not be able to come up with anything, etc.

P7 I was taken aback to see yet another POV, not sure why. Remind me, are you intending this to be YA? The age of the characters would line up with that, but multiple POVs aren’t as common in YA, I don’t think.

I think there is an opportunity during the conversation between A and W to provide us a little more information.

Same with the conversation between A and his grandfather (even more so, I think). Right now it seems to be here to build up a sense of menace, but it’s not actually telling us much about what’s happening. I think if this conversation isn’t an opportunity to give us more information then it can probably be cut.

I’m not 100% bought in to the conversation between A and B yet, I think because I don’t fully have a sense of either characters’ emotions yet, but it feels like a real opportunity. I think you could really lean into the characters’ emotions here—is B really totally resigned to her fate, does she really not care, etc. On A’s side I’d love to have more of a sense of what he is going to do. Your characters right now are spending a lot of time reacting rather than acting and this scene feels like no exception.

You could really lean into the body horror aspect too. Changing hair colour is good, but it’s pretty mild. If you wanted to up the “ick” factor here you could have her do something (instead or in addition, as an escalation) like change her breast size.

Also… just a thought. What would happen if, instead of getting this scene from A’s point of view, we got it from W’s POV as she overheard it instead?

Overall: I think my biggest comment is that we’re getting a lot of things in summary that it feels like we should be seeing actually happen in scenes: W’s mom’s health declining and driving W to act out of desperation and the various things at play keeping her and N apart. I think you could really up the threat level around the latter, for example if we see that W’s broken promise to her amma has the potential to threaten their relationship, or if N is in danger of getting caught in some crossfire, etc.

Just in general, at this point I think I want to see more tangible examples of threat in general, like having a better sense of the conflict around N’s village that N is being drawn into, confirmation that Grandpa CEO was responsible for G’s parents being dead/murdered, and so forth.

On 2/6/2023 at 6:08 AM, Ace of Hearts said:
Hope everyone's doing well!
I'm interested to hear people's suggestions for this sub since I keep waffling on how important some of the dynamics here are for the story. Any and all feedback welcome as usual, and prescriptive suggestions are especially appreciated!

I'd echo @Mandamon's thoughts here. It feels like it's a good point to start tying things together, but that isn't happening yet. Without knowing the whole shape of the story it's hard to guess at what should be kept or cut, but my instinct is that the chapter could be kept but trimmed (A's interaction with his grandfather comes to mind as something that could be cut).

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This was probably my favorite chapter yet! I especially liked A's chapter. As the others said, the characters are very engaging, and this sub does a lot to thicken the plot, as it were. 

That being said, to echo the others, all this stuff is happening and all the other characters are in on some sort of devious...thing...that W has no clue about. There's a good sense of dramatic irony, but I feel like W could have more agency if she knew just a little more about what's going on, or if she had some sort of plan. As of right now, she is willingly going along with it, which does fit with the theme of pawns and such, admittedly. 

Also, like I note below, how does W getting close to N benefit the tycoon? Does he want her to draw him out of his shell, or does he plan to escalate his demands? Unclear right now. 

Since this is so early in the story for this to be happening, I think that W will have some sort of misadventure in the otherworld. 

Excited to see where this goes!



“tear myself away” nice

“blood and sparkling” I think this might belabor this memory, by this point. This mention of it might be fine if it’s the last one we get for a while.

“With enough medicine” this seems more like something she hopes than knows.


“Yeah, let’s go with that” Yikes! He’s totally a vampire or something, right? Lol

“for longer than I consciously remember” I’m glad this is getting recognized and addressed


“What looks like an old-fashioned” I think you can remove “what looks like” imo, it’s an old-fashioned manor or it isn’t.

“not exactly the style” Oh, that is EXACTLY the style I think of, lol


“wallflower” nice

“social space” never thought of it that way, very cool

“so many Americans lead healthy lives” is this ironic?

“not to raise an eyebrow” lol nice


“spend more time with N” Okay, I actually laughed out loud at this. I was not expecting that.

I’m glad the chapter heading says A because for a second I was confused and thought this was N, inexplicably

I’m not sure how W spending time with N actually gets Ar closer to N.


So A is also not human?

A is in high school right? Not saying that he can’t be having these types of anxieties, but I don’t think anyone is expecting him to be married while in high school. Related, is he supposed to read as ace here? Because he kinda does and if so, that does somewhat explain that anxiety


Okay, he is definitely reading as ace here.

“Being able to control exactly what the body…” what, like a video game character? I was once a teenage boy and I don’t really get what this is supposed to mean

“say something so disturbing” okay, it was intentional then. Effective!

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! It sounds like there needs to be more tying things together here for these chapters to really work, so I'll have to think about if I want to explore these dynamics later in the story or have W figure out more upfront.

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