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Ace of Hearts - 2/13/23 - Bond of Wildflowers v2 sub 4 - 5020 words (V, light LG)

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Additional warning for abusive relationships (will be kind of a thing from here on out so I won't mark this every chapter)
Hi everyone,
Thanks for all of your feedback so far! :) I have a couple specific questions for this sub:
1. How does the slower pace of the first chapter read? Is it good to get some downtime and relationship-building for N and W or does it seem to drag with no point?
2. How does C come across in the second chapter? Abusive relationships are a difficult topic to tackle and I want to make sure it comes across the right way.
Besides that, any and all feedback is appreciated, especially prescriptive suggestions!
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As I go:

P.1. “cut” should be “cuts”

P.2. “I’ll have family” article missing

“what’s going on?” did not seem right in the conversation

P.3. “I need up through” – stumbled here

numbers are usually spelled, eg. “Algebra two”

P.4. “You’re a nice person” – felt too cheesy for my taste

“keep up motivation” – “the” is missing

“of the way” – “the” is extra

“until the final until” – stumbled here

P.5. “I need to hang out” – indeed, haha

P.6. “And I get to see someone” – a bit cheesy for me again

“At first” and “eventually” should have commas after

P.7. “I was expect” – “was” should be removed

P.8. “Seriously, even when” – tenses to do seem to align

P.9. “sensors they can put in the ocean to measure what’s happening” – very generic

Should be “the ocean” and “trial and error”

P.10. “I like hearing you talk” - a bit cheesy for me again

“You’ll be the cool teacher” – nice

P.11. “could be Niall’s mom” – wait, didn’t she die?

P.12. “a human was around” – remove “was”

P.15. H’s attack feels rather cruel, especially since we know he is a trained fighter and C is a human girl

P.17. “I don’t treat people that way” – she was rather mean to A before, though

General thoughts:

In response to your first question, I think it is a good idea to have N and W spend some time together and build a deeper bond. Yet, I felt like the scenes here were a bit too cheesy for me (though, that’s only my preference).

The conversation about sensors could be sharper, I think. Less generic.

As for the second question, I felt like I do not know whether I should side with N or C at this point since I do not have enough information about the conflict. It seems N thinks C has a point, and her request to spend a day with his grandmother on her birthday does seem very reasonable. At the same time, H is outright furious with her, so… perhaps N is just self-deprecating as he often seems to be.

Thanks for sharing!

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I really liked these chapters! I'm fine with the slower pace of the first chapter. It felt just right to me, as this is primarily a romance (I think. It's at least focused on relationships) so seeing those relationships start to develop is actually helping to move the plot along IMO. There were still some moments where it seemed like everyone was in on these machiavellian schemes except W and now there's this mysterious ritual floating around, but I'm not too lost in it all. I feel like it will be revealed in time, and while I want a little more information, what we have now does work. 

I actually really like how forward and honest both N and W are. Strengths of both characters, and I find it refreshing. 

As for your second question, she was definitely manipulative and abusive. But she also kind of just...shows up and is immediately really mean to N. And then H beats her up. It felt like all characters involved were lacking tact, though they are all teens so that is to be expected lol

I'm curious to see how this plays into the other plans that Ar and A have. 



“half a mind to yell at Ar” Alright, but the way this is framed seems a little on-the-nose. I think “give him a piece of my mind” or something like that might sound more natural. Though, I guess G might be using straightforward speech for W’s sake? Unclear

“I must have hurt him again” oof, poor W, taking all the blame


“not getting As in English” I would suggest quotes or an apostrophe on “As” so we know it’s the grade and not the word as


“she said she’s going to make it harder” I’m a little surprised that she would just say this out loud. It seems more like something one would infer a teacher is doing rather than them just putting it out in the open, unless this teacher is just that mean. Also, I imagine that harder questions would be harder to grade, so she might just be giving herself more work out of spite

“I need to hang out with a cute guy…” boy, if I had a nickel for every time that happened to me… :P

“salmon melts” sounds delicious. How long does that take to prepare, though?

Okay, seeing 15 minutes later on. Still seems like a while for her to be waiting outside


I like how the awkward wink actually goes to serve his point better


“Really. I guess you care so little…” This is probably C talking, but there aren’t any dialogue tags or visual cues that indicate this

P12, top

“She shouldn’t be doing this with a human was around” while a human was around OR with a human around

“that proves that you were” What?

“or is this a routine thing” hah, nice.


“I doubt we can build the required emotional bond…” Oh no! I hope N hasn’t just been trying to get close to her so he can do this ritual. It seems like his reasons are a little more complicated, but still

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I also enjoyed these chapters!

1) Generally agree with the others that it's a good chance to develop the relationship. No problem with a slower chapter, though the science bit could be trimmed down.

2) Cara is...sudden. I think the abusing portion is right, but the reactions are very swift, and violent. A little more explanation or motivation would be good so the reader actually sympathizes with H beating her up. Either that, or back off on the violence. Right now, the reaction is not proportional, even though we can tell C is awful.

Notes while reading:
pg 2: "I don’t want you to feel pressured to hear me vent.”
--This comes up a lot in your writing. Characters are very careful around each other to ask permission and ensure they aren't giving offense. This isn't a criticism, but something I keep noticing. I'm also not sure how much this is a feature of a younger generation and/or autism vs. me being out of school for 20+ years. Anyway, take from this what you will!

pg 5: “He told me that they value people who are reliable and show up every practice.”
-- I mean, coming from a martial arts background, "I need to do a service by helping someone study" is also acceptable.

pg 5: “It’s a thing for autistic people. We tend to be straightforward and appreciate when others are the same.”
--So, question. Isn't N also autistic? Because he seems coded that way to me as well. Obviously a different type from W.

pg 7: "Even grumpy ol’ H says that my cooking is good.”
--Is their mother home? I'm assuming not, or there would be questions. Probably good to mention it.

pg 9: “Sorry. It’s one of my special interests..."
--This is good characterization (and as much as I love science news) this section can probably be cut down to the essentials just to show that they're having fun talking together.

pg 12: "That’s all we ever wanted"
--Eeek. yes, multiple red flags.

pg 15: "that she’s bleeding from her nose"
--that's...not what I was expecting...

pg 16: "If you don’t turn me into the Taekwondo instructors for attacking someone..."
--okay, yeah, I was wondering about that.

pg 17: “Sure, if you don’t mind.”
--yeah, Willow is definitely chipper for having just seen someone beat up.

pg 18: "I can’t use words to run away from the way I hurt people."
--I think this line in itself shows how messed up N is. I'm coming around on having his POV. It gives him a lot more sympathy, and it sounds like the village is a much bigger aspect this time, so it works.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! Sorry I'm late! I'm hoping to start getting caught up.

As I read: 

“…and deal with the village to make sure they can’t harm…” is the village itself actually a threat? My understanding so far was that they were maybe threatened by MA and his ilk, but not a threat themselves. There may be an opportunity to clarify this somewhere along the line.

(Shard added the underline, not me. I have no idea why.)

My impression is that G knows more about this whole situation than W does. In W’s shoes I’d be quizzing her on it, but we don’t see that. It feels a bit like the narrative is withholding information from us.

P5 “Right now, N needs my help more than I need to…” Lost opportunity to reference W’s mom here, maybe? Or not. It’s a telling detail if she doesn’t think of her mom here.

P6 “But he lies a ten-minute walk away from a park…” wait, doesn’t he live in another world? Or is he no longer actually living in that village?

One thing I realize I don’t know from the description so far is whether N knows that W’s been told to avoid him (by N’s brother and/or W’s amma). (I think clarifying this would be especially helpful in light of the p10 comment that W and N have agreed not to tell each other white lies.)

P8 “ah, I’ve heard that term.” I think more of this would be helpful peppered throughout the manuscript – more hints of these really common things that N should know, but doesn’t.

P11 “..given that C is full human even though…” I had definitely assumed she wasn’t, given the “learned to navigate earth” comment above.

Much of this conversation with C again feels like information is being withheld, with N very carefully not thinking of the specifics of whatever is going on. I think a few more context clues would be helpful.

Not sure if this is the correct impression, but the comments around “the ritual” make me assume that said ritual involves sex.

There is … a lot of physical assault happening in this scene. Any reaction from W, who seems (as of mid-way through P15) to have been forgotten?

P16 “...don’t think I’m any less angry at you.” This and the shaky exhale are the only real sense of emotion I’ve gotten from N since the fighting started.  More cues to N’s emotions throughout would be helpful.

“Willow must see me as either evil… or pathetic.” For… breaking up with someone? Again, this is a spot where I feel like we don’t have the context to understand the discussion. Without more information, comments like this one feel like overstated reactions.

P18 “Oh. Guess I shouldn’t have assumed they already knew about me…” Feels like a missed opportunity here. Maybe W admits that her family doesn’t want her around him, or she gets caught in a white lie by trying not to tell N about this at all, or even tells N something that we the readers know is untrue even though N doesn’t. It just seems like a missed opportunity for tension.

Overall: I think the pacing was stronger in this chapter, and I’m still enjoying reading and looking forward to the next bit. I think my biggest struggles were that it feels like we’re doing a lot of telling instead of showing, particularly when it comes to the character’s emotions. I’d love to see more emotional tells from the different characters… voices shaking, biting lips, what have you, something to give us a better sense of how the characters are actually feeling.

The other thing I had trouble with is that it feels like a lot of information is being withheld from us still and I think maybe … you don’t always need to do that? Sometimes revealing information can create more tension than keeping it secret, and especially with N’s narration I think you might have an opportunity to do some of this.

On 2/13/2023 at 5:58 AM, Ace of Hearts said:
Additional warning for abusive relationships (will be kind of a thing from here on out so I won't mark this every chapter)
Hi everyone,
Thanks for all of your feedback so far! :) I have a couple specific questions for this sub:
1. How does the slower pace of the first chapter read? Is it good to get some downtime and relationship-building for N and W or does it seem to drag with no point?
2. How does C come across in the second chapter? Abusive relationships are a difficult topic to tackle and I want to make sure it comes across the right way.
Besides that, any and all feedback is appreciated, especially prescriptive suggestions!

1. Overall, yes, I think the slower pace was helpful. I did wonder though if the two scenes with N could be combined into one. 

2. I think that having more of that emotional punch I was talking about would really help here, that having N have more of reaction to her (whatever that reaction is) would help contextualize it. Without that I'm a little more inclined to wonder "hey, what's her problem?" I also think that @Mandamon was right on the money with his comments. 

Housekeeping note, I think it's worth continuing to flag C's chapters as you did in this sub, actually. We have a lot of new folks right now and know that people also jump in and out of manuscripts on here sometimes. 

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Ok- so I spent some time getting caught up on all the previous chapters so I could comment on these two. I think the relationship building chapters are good although I feel like they could be- not shorter, but more concise? I'm not quite sure what the word is I'm looking for. I like the relationships a lot, but I feel like this space could do more, not sure what, but something. Sorry, having a hard time expressing what I'm feeling tonight. Ha ha!

Page 1

and deal with the village to make sure -- Sorry, it's been a long time since I read chapter one- How do they know what's going on in the village? I feel like the characters are having knowledge only the reader knows. Maybe I missed something.

Page 2&3

“I… decided that I do want to spend time with you,”   “I thought you said you wanted space.”--- So, is she changing her mind or not? I feel like she told him she wanted to spend time with him, but then she's backing off from it. It's a bit confusing.

Page 6

my parents -- wait, did she have a dad? I only remember the mom and the A. Oh- maybe there was a dad. Sorry, I have a terrible memory!

Willamette Valley- was it mentioned before that they were in Oregon? Maybe I should have reread the first chapter... If not this was kinda out of left field for me this far into the book.

Page 7

watching the glint of N. glittery shirt as-- Is glittery the only indication of when something is magical? Is there another way to indicate that? Is having him be glittery too much of an give away to W as to what he is? Just thoughts I'm having.

Page 9

I don’t know exactly who N is and what’s going on with his village, but the details are mattering less and less compared to the new perspective he can give me on my own familiar-yet-strange world.-- But I thought she didn't know he is has magic. 

“A few ways. Whenever somethin--- I like the practical application of math here. I know my friend who's a high school physics teacher would love you to pieces for this whole exchange (she seriously read me the riot act for using the words math is hard- so I was thinking of that conversation through both of these chapters.) BUT this paragraph feels a bit too infodumpy to me. Maybe compress it a bit. I'm sure you can make that work. 

Page 10

I hesitate. N and I agreed not to tell white lies,-- did they though? I guess I kind of missed that in the earlier exchange. 

Page 11

"And I hope this isn’t too"     “But all I did was help you with math.” -- Ok I feel like N and W are basically saying the same things to each other over and over. It's good, I got them already. 

Page 12

She shouldn’t be doing this with a human was around. Or another human-- I didn't get what you were saying here at first.

Page 14

The whole day?” I say-- Wait, I thought N couldn't go back to the village at all for some reason. Can he go back or not?


Overall I like where this story is going. I like the characters a lot. Maybe what I'm feeling is that N and W's relationship is a bit too easy? Not sure, but I think it all has great potential! I think you can work this into something really awesome! 

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