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02/27/23 - Ace of Hearts - Bond of Wildflowers v2 sub 5, 4758 words (VL)

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Hi everyone,
I'm back with another sub of Bond of Wildflowers. Another two chapters here, and I struggled with the first of the two which I'm curious to see how apparent that is and what suggestions people have about it. Other than that, any and all feedback welcome, of course, and I find prescriptive advice (how would you change this if it were your book?) to be especially helpful.
Thanks! :)
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Once again, a lot of good emotion in this one! I'm also glad that we learn more about the ritual and what's going on. I still wish that W knew a little more, and I'm hoping they have a full disclosure soon where W and N can swap information.

I wonder why they are so confident the ritual will stop their problems. Just because one person dies does not mean they'll be able to defend themselves from the terrible might of US capitalism. Unless the death ends up being so gruesome it scares everyone I guess :P. 

Other than that, I don't have many general notes other than my LBL's. 

Good work as always, excited to see where this goes!



“It’s hard to say for sure,” I replay,” Should be I reply

Btw I don’t remember who F is, not sure if WRS

*Note, by page 7 she is referenced as C’s mom. It might not hurt just to put a quick reminder that she’s C’s mom up here

P2 end, p3 top

I’m guessing that this is referring to the weird memory that W keeps on thinking about. I don’t think we know who HK or C is. Also, this conversation is a little bit confusing since it alluding to details without really explaining them. Could be intentional, but I still have no idea how this event played out.

“cold iron sword” ooh, that’s intriguing.


“indistinguishable from a human” first off, its funny how many little things coincidentally show up in both our stories haha. Secondly, aren’t they already indistinguishable from humans? N and his brother and all the rest pass for human, if a little bit odd. Might be better to specify that its shapeshifted to look like a specific human, unless N and the rest have a magical form that we haven’t seen yet.

I see that’s addressed somewhat on the next page.

Ah, the mean girl that I can’t remember the name of is his sister?? The plot thickens


“And that’s when she and my ma” who is the “she” referenced here? Is it his sister, his grandmother, or does he have two moms?

He’s letting F off the hook easy imo

Haha, once again the text says exactly what im thinking


I appreciate that this takes a more nuanced look at how people stay in abusive relationships, but at the same time, f*ck C, smh


“there’s not affection” here’s another example of the main characters being a little on the nose. That’s in character for both N and W, but personally I would use indirect language here like “there’s no love lost between me and my mom…” or “I’d have to care about her opinion for her to be able to corrupt me” (not that one actually, obviously these are just examples haha)

Ah, so that’s what the ritual does. I’m actually super on board for this. Get his capitalist ass


Okay, I was not expecting them to have ties to any earthly ancestry, but that makes sense. Now I wonder if we’ll see a full-blooded fairy, or if they’ve all been interbred into extinction

To N’s point here about not wanting to kill M, though, just killing one person won’t stop an entire corporation. Surely grandma would know this? Right now I’m assuming it would just work on deathnote rules where he keels over from a heart attack so it’s untraceable, but I guess the manner of death matters here.


After my mother healed A” This makes it sound like W’s mom healed A magically or something. Maybe something like “after my mother got better, A told me that”


“Sorry I didn’t mean it like that” first off, excellent moment of introspection right before this. Second off, with a long soliloquy above this, I was confused about what he was apologizing for and had to scroll back up. Might be helpful to put a little reminder here like “sorry, I didn’t mean to say it’s hard to believe”

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As I go:

P.1. “after I take the bus to school” – I was confused by why the bus to school brings him to the boundary (WRS?)

were we introduced to F before? (also possibly WRS, haha)

candybirds” – weren’t they on the way to his own house too?

“They look no different” – nice characterization of C

P.2. “replay” should be “reply”

on earth” – oh, so it is a different planet, not just a hidden dimension on the same planet?

P.3. Ok, so W’s uncles had fairy blood? Curious

I am still very confused about N’s mom being around. I am pretty sure when we first meet him, he says his mother is dead (was he raised by a same-sex couple)?

P.5. “a twin sister” – nice, I am intrigued (though not sure why magic is required to change appearance if N and H go to a human school with no problem)

Oh, now I see that he has two mothers, never mind

She releases me,” – an extra comma

P.6. I liked the info on glitter – it seemed odd back in chapter one

P.7. “heart tree” is capitalized in one spot but not in another

P.9. I am intrigued by the ritual!

P.10. “Any human not raised by us has allegiance” – that’s a huge generalization. I would maybe phrase it along the lines of ‘most humans are easily scared by what they do not understand, and it is too big of a risk to trust one’.

That I’m willing to go” – nice hook

P.12. “talk to this about“ – should be “talk to about this”

P.14. “and after my mother healed Aaron” – it is phrased awkwardly, I think

P.16. “It doesn’t affect your life” – that felt a bit too direct

widened” should be “widen”

P.17. “when said he” should be “when he said he”

deep breath, and” – extra comma

smile makes is” should be “smile is”


I think these are my favorite chapters so far! I was very engaged when reading and at some point, caught myself reading just for myself and not pausing to comment, haha.

I liked W’s talk with A and the one after with N. The relationships became more complex here and that made me care about the characters by that much more.

I am also glad to finally see the village and the grandmother. I am a bit unsure about the plan to kill MA with the ritual, since I doubt that he is the only one who knows about them at this point (like he surely has a team of scientists who produce the drug and other administrative staff) and besides, killing seems an extreme measure.

I also think it could help explain who F and HK are, but it was not a big issue.

Thanks for the experience!

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Nice chapter all around. W's part had a lot of emotional resonance and made more sense than I remembered her making in the past. The first POV was more info dump than I care for, but the information was good. I think finding a more dynamic way to present it would make the chapter really shine. 

This is the first chapter I've really felt engaged with the story so you're hitting a good stride now. Also your writing has improved and some of the descriptive sentences were just lovely.


As I go

- pg 1: I’m wearing a full grin while C’s smile is dainty and rehearsed. They don’t look so different from the fake smiles she gives me now. <--- She as in C? But C isn't there. I think you meant F? If so, you should say her name here instead

- pg 3: love the cold iron sword bit

- pg 5: the twin sister reveal here is very trope heavy and I'm wondering if it could be revealed in a more dramatic way, to take some of that trope sting out. Right now it reads like a Star Wars movie and that makes it lose impact. If it came during a plot-progression section, instead of info dump, I think it would have a lot more power

- pg 6: that I’m guessing F brought in from the outside world. <-- Does he need to guess? They either have soccer balls or don't in his land

- you've got a lot of redundancy on 'me' on this page

- pg 8: I'm overwhelmed with backstory at this stage.

- pg 9: an agent of true annihilation soon.” <-- this would have more impact if it was specific. An agent of annihilation could mean anything so it doesn't hold much if any of a threat 

- pg 10: and wants supernatural creatures to be eliminated <-- was this discussed in previous chapters? If not, it's coming from nowhere and we need the reasoning behind it or to have seen some anti-fae actions previously

- the W section is excellently MG

- pg 16: Beautiful, addictive dread  <-- lovely line


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Similar thought to @kais on this one. I think the first chapter is pretty heavy and infodumpy, but the emotions in the second chapter are excellently conveyed. I wonder if we could have a little of the revelation in the first chapter the first time N goes to the village? Then maybe this one won't be so heavy. There's also a lot that seems like it's continuing a conversation, but I'm pretty sure these characters haven't spoken in a while.


Notes while reading:

pg 1: F's expounding over N is a little weird. Have they not seen each other in years or something? I'm still not sure who she is in relation to N.

pg 2: “Since I have no idea how those eleven years would have turned out"
--So he's gone from here eleven years? Except he came back a couple days ago...

pg 3: A lot of new names here when describing the accident. I'm a little confused why all this is coming up now, when N seems to have lived fairly close to his village.

pg 3: "the cold iron sword"
There's a lot of new stuff coming out on this page, and it's all in description. Putting it in conversation will make it more meaningful, and maybe address why it's all happening now.

pg 4: “It’s more about your family, actually.”
--So this whole chapter so far seems disconnected. What does all this have to do with the rest of the plot? It's all coming out as a sort of infodump, and I'm not familiar with most of the names, so I'm not that invested with them.

pg 4: “Did you ever wonder how I ended up adopting C?”
--Not sure what any of this has to do with anything...

pg 4: "A chill runs down my spine. Changelings."
--Yeah, this seems to be veering far away from what we've read so far...

pg 5: “A twin sister."
--I feel like I'm reading a different book in this chapter...

pg 7: “I made you some of the special bread you showed me how to bake."
--This seems random...

pg 8: I think my issue with this chapter is all the characters are talking like they're continuing a conversation from the day before or something, when most of this information is new and N has been talking about how he's been estranged from the village. They're also talking about killing people and keeping kids from crying in the same breath...

pg 9: So I wonder if this chapter should be split up into a couple or spread out a bit more? There's a lot going on here, and a lot of it is completely new revelations about characters we don't know much about.

pg 14: I like this chat between W and A. It clears the air of a lot of things and shows good development for W.

pg 16: Also good stuff between N and W here. It's good for both of them.

pg 18: The last half of this submission is really good. I love the way you show emotion. The first half is pretty information dense, and could probably have some of those revelations dropped in piece by piece.

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“end up in” makes it sound like N wasn’t intending to go back to his world.

Maybe WRS, but I don’t remember F at all. Should we already know who she is? If not, feels like brief introduction is in order.

The conversation with F and N again feels like we’re getting a bunch of information thrown at us without anything to contextualize it. You probably don’t need something after every line, but a sentence of explanation here and there as F and N talk, and/or some emotional cues. Right now I’m struggling to keep up.

Also, does N know that the person who died was W’s uncle? I think hanging a lantern on this would be helpful.

P4 “I’m not talking to her about anything.” Confused. Didn’t N just say he was staying at his parents’ place? 

The reveal of changelings at the end of the scene was startling; I felt a little under-prepared for it.

P5 “…closer to human than we are to them.” Who is them in this case?

P9 “That actually does sound right with what hints A’s given me…” I think more emotion from this conversation would be really helpful. Is N afraid of this agent? Does his grandmother seem to be? How uch of a threat is this person? And, does N believe his grandmother when she says she had nothing to do with the other person’s disappearance?

I think we need, at the very least, some sort of relationship explainer between N and his mother (who might or might not be different than ‘ma’ who someone should have saved?) as I’m having a hard time figuring out who’s who.

P10 “That I’m willing to go behind her back.” I wonder what would happen if you used this to frame the scene as N either coming to a decision on this, or actively working to hide it from his grandmother. We would probably have to know a little more about the ritual and its purpose up front, but it might increase the drama and make N feel active rather than an infodump.

Random thought on p12: Is B N’s twin sister?

Since A is a friend of N’s, I’d be curious here to see a reaction – or hang a lantern on a lack of reaction – from A that his friend is apparently in an abusive relationship. Big deal, yes?

P14 “Our relationship was one child leaning on a friend.” Stumbled here – wasn’t sure what was meant.

“You do?” I had a similar reaction to A here. I think you could hang a lantern on the fact that W has some sort of epiphany.

P15 “I mask a grimace when I see his soldiers stiffen.” I think ‘soldiers’ might be the wrong word?

“Why are you so convinced I’m jealous and insecure…” This hasn’t really been said. There was the one off-hand remark about competition but I didn’t otherwise get the impression from N’s dialogue, or W’s reaction to it, that N thought this was actually the case.

Overall: I thought the second chapter of this sub in particular went pretty well. The relationship between W and N is progressing nicely and it deepened in a way that I thought was fairly effective. I do think that more emotional cues would be helpful throughout. For the second chapter in particular, I think my struggle was that the actual emotions were there but it felt like they were there in response to things the characters weren’t necessarily saying out loud – so we had the emotions but not quite the scaffolding to attach those emotions too.

For the first chapter, we got a ton of information, but not always enough to contextualize it. A lot of what was presented was totally new, so I’m not invested in it right off the hop. More emotional cues about how N feels about what he’s learning (which was present in some cases but not always) would probably help, as it would give us more reason to be invented right off the top, but I also wonder if this could just be spread out in smaller doses so we’re not getting it all at once. This might help with foreshadowing too—the surprise twin sister felt a little out of the blue, especially since the story has not been leaning heavily into this kind of trope so far.

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