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3/20/23 - Ace of Hearts - Bond of Wildflowers v2 sub 6, 4446 words

Ace of Hearts

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As I read:

Maybe this is deliberate, since it’s obviously a weird request to begin with, but “I have been pleased at your progress with…” strikes me as a really odd phrase.

This also reminds me that up to this point, there has been no consequence for W going breaking her promise to her amma about staying away from N. It may be a little early for W to get caught directly in a lie, but here should be some fallout. Some of that could be as simple as her feeling guilty, but I think the consequences should escalate over the course of the plot. Maybe W has to skip family time with her amma and/or her mother, maybe she has to be evasive or lie to her amma to try and keep her secret, maybe her mother asks her about where she’s spending all her time these days. Something that makes her (and us) confront the fact that she is breaking her promise here.

P2 LOL at the centuries-old vampire comment (in a good way)

I still find it frustrating that G seems to know so much more than W, but G isn’t offering and W isn’t asking for more information even when it seems like W really needs to know.

P3: Okay, so some of what I was talking about above does play out a bit in the scene with W and her mother. I do think we need more of this kind of thing. But also, the thing where she promised amma that she’d stay away from doesn’t seem to factor into W’s dialogue here…

Edit: Ah, here it is on the next page. Maybe call this out in W’s thoughts before the conversation gets there? Otherwise it feels like a weird omission. Also, this is all basically what I was asking for in my first couple points, so this is all good stuff. And I think this particular scene is probably coming at a good time, but needs some escalation to build up to it.

Good air-clearing conversation between W and N here. I have mixed feelings though about N just declaring he’s going to try and stay away from C now. It feels a little too easy following what has presumably been years of abuse and manipulation.

That said… probably some WRS here and it’s just that N has already said this elsewhere, but “I’ll do what I can to make you happy” is definitely not the same as “I would also like to date you.”

P11 “and not think about his moves” stumbled on this before realizing it was referring to his actions in the game.

“I didn’t know you liked playing these games…” Are they having this conversation in front of W’s parents?

P12 “But before they let me go…” oh good. Maybe a bit more dread or expectation from W in the scene leading up to this?

P14 “This lets me fulfil A’s request…” something about the way this is phrased feels very… mechanical.

Overall: So obviously, I started off saying that I thought the narrative needed to do some stuff in my LBLs, and then you proceeded to do pretty much all of that … so I think that everything’s heading in the right direction! What I think is missing is some buildup to this point, particularly around the fact that W has been breaking her promise to her amma all this time.

My feelings are a little bit mixed around the – honestly fairly radical – honesty that W and N share. On the one hand, it’s great – it’s something that we don’t see much of. It’s definitely refreshing, and it also feels very appropriate for both of these characters. But it sometimes feels like a lot, and I’m not entirely sure whether that’s just because more space is needed between some of these very frank conversations, or maybe they are just letting out a little too much tension at once and that needs to be adjusted. Sorry, I know that’s awfully vague. Maybe something to look at in a later draft after some of the other stuff has been smoothed out?

6 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:
Hi everyone,
I'm back with another sub, and the main thing I'm wondering this time is if the pacing/plot feels too slow. Thanks!

I think if anything is too slow it's our/W's access to information about what is actually happening. W spends a lot of time not understanding what's going on, despite having access to about four different characters who all know a lot more than she does. I think maybe it is time for W to start learning more about what is actually going on around her so she can start formulating a plan more specific than "do what MA wants, maybe help mom" and the threat from MA should probably increase in turn.

I think I touched on this already, but the placement of W finally having the conversation with her amma about N and some of the stuff happening there feels well-placed in terms of where it falls within the narrative... but I think there is actually more room for some buildup in that emotional arc. The romance between her and N feels fairly well-paced. 

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I don't have a lot of general notes on this one. I don't think the pacing is too slow here. If anything, I actually think some aspects of it might be too fast. I agree with Silk on this:

19 hours ago, Silk said:

I think maybe it is time for W to start learning more about what is actually going on around her so she can start formulating a plan more specific than "do what MA wants, maybe help mom" and the threat from MA should probably increase in turn

And I also agree that the romance is well-paced so far. More notes below. Thanks for the submission!



p1 I’m a little skeptical about the emotional bond thing that archer is talking about, because it corresponds with the other ritual. Is it just a coincidence, or does he know? 


“Better not be interested in me…” lol

I do think it’s interesting that they are both aroace. I don’t know a ton about ace people, but they don’t get a ton of representation, and definitely not in a married relationship. Though I am curious how that came to be, considering 


I don’t think it’s the normal kind of drama that would be stupid, lol


P4 Oh, so she already knew about n? 

Also, this makes me think she might be part fey because she is finding da loopholes haha


Eesh, I get that n is trying to be open and emotionally available here, but just walking up and saying “we need to talk” would honestly cause me to panic. I totally get w here


“Still a ray of sunshine” nice


I do also appreciate that he is self aware after the conversation from last time, but something to be aware of is that this feels like a very quick turnaround for him to come to this conclusion since they just had that conversation in the last chapter. It doesn't really feel like he had time to consider it, imo


P7 Yikes, I feel so bad for n right here. This is delightfully complicated, but w does feel a little manipulative at this point. Not sure if that’s your intent or not


Also, personally, I wouldn’t date someone if they framed it this way, as a favor to me or something 


They are just little beanie babies, huh? So vulnerable 


P9”we’re not supposed to show ourselves…” but she isn’t actually afflicted with ae, so this seems like a bit of a leap


Is her mother at home now, or still at the hospital? 


“Getting to share the experience with you” this is a little on the nose again 


P13 “I don’t think your aunt was killed” ah, this is interesting 

Ah, nice, I love me some conspiracy theories. This is totally something the fbi would do imo 


“That’s what happens” I know I complained about the repetition of the blood and petals but, but I do think it’s effective here


“I can’t let myself fall in love” oh, I thought she was making the opposite conclusion. This is a little disappointing because I feel like she’s already said/come to this conclusion in previous chapters, so this feels like she’s reneged on her arc a little


I do like the end, though


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Similar thoughts to @Silk and @ginger_reckoning on this one. I don't think it's too slow, and I agree the emotional side of the relationship can be brought out some more. Both N and W often act very logical when confronting complex emotional decisions, and while it's refreshing to see that, some more emotion, or at least consequence would be good. I'll also second what Silk said about there not being any real response to W disobeying her amma.


Notes while reading:

pg 2: I'm not sure what all is bothering me about this. I think it's that the "nefarious" plan isn't very evil? The person who has feelings for another person has to...keep having those feeling to heal their mother. I'm sure there's more to it, but I want some other hint of the real problem here.

pg 3: “Oh, there’s still anxiety for us aroace people."
--I wonder if we can have a little more about how mom and amma's relationship works? Since it is tied directly to the story and isn't a very common pairing, it might be good to give a little more about how they function together.

pg 6: This is another very carefully laid out interaction between W and N. While I like how direct it is, it's definitely not the norm for teenagers. Both parties ask about things in a very logical manner which...is not what teenagers generally do. 

pg 7: “If you ever want to date, I’ll do what I can to make you happy.”
--this sounds very clinical...

pg 8: Aha. Glad they're starting to see more of each other's story.

pg 10: "My village and people like me who are born there aren’t normal."
--compared to what? They both already know about magic, but people are people, right?

pg 10: okay, are they playing Everdell or Root?

pg 14: Not quite sure what I think of the last page or so. This might be another too little and too much information parts. Amma has a lot of information about the village, which makes it sound like they know what's going on. So if their child is in danger, wouldn't it make sense to tell them who exactly to avoid and why? This is similar to the magic conversation earlier, where it's hard to rationalize amma keeping W in the dark.

pg 15: “And I can’t let myself fall in love with you,” I say. “As much as I want to. Nobody wins if I get sucked further into this.”
--This is again all very clinical. Teenagers for the most part have very little control on their emotions, autistic or not.

pg 16: I like that they're going to the dace. That gives a little more of the "danger" side of making emotional decisions.

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I'm enjoying how the romance is unfolding! Although I had a weird moment when I thought W was going to be the swapped baby which would make them brother and sister. This felt well paced. I think it's going well.

P 3

I'm still super confused about who amma is. Maybe it's because my husband's family uses Chinese Amah for grandmother on the father's side so I keep imagining amma as a grandparent of some sort, but it's becoming clearer that they are not. Sorry!

Page 6

"I knew that I expected everyone to only keep me around so long as I was useful. But I never thought about how it felt for everyone else.” -- this feels a bit too soon. I feel like they should struggle a bit more to get to this very self aware place.

Page 14

Funnily enough, I think you’re right and it will be painful.” -- I think I've said before that they seem a little too apologetic back and forth towards each other. It came out here again. There's something like, a little too easy even though you are clearly setting up obstacles for them. I mean, as a reader I love seeing them get together, but my writer brain wonders if there's other places you could take them. 

Overall I read through your last entry and this one pretty quickly. I'm still enjoying the story. I like the romance a lot and I'm enjoying the characters for sure. It just seems like there's some twist we're missing here though. I struggle with this as well in my writing. Your writing is reminding me a lot of mine. I hope that's Ok! Ha ha!  

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As I go: 

P.1. “A small part of me” - nice

I felt the letter to be somewhat Disney-villainy in its assurances of benevolence, i.e. it is so obviously oily I lose all respect for MA’s cunning. Also, how exactly does he know that W has been making progress with N? Does he have them followed?

P.2. – G is the most frustrating character for me so far. “Anything for family…” - except actually explaining what is going on. And W doesn’t ask either?

Okay, so Niall isn’t” – mmm, wasn’t that obvious?

The vampire joke is cute.

P.3. So amma is non-binary, autistic, asexual and aromantic? I think that makes an interesting character, but I find myself either wanting to see them more on screen or not having to keep all the characterization in mind the few times we do.

P.6/7. The conversation is very mature here. Honesty is a wonderful trait in a relationship but it feels like they are extremely analytical of themselves and their feelings all the time. In fact, I notice that most of these conversations have the “how are we feeling part” - which is great and new - but I also feel it could be helpful to have “hey, did you see that movie?” part or something similarly not-deeply-personal once in a while.

 P.8. “Heather is your” – why the surprise? In chapter 9, N refers to her as H. K., so he knows H and W share a last name. Did he think it a coincidence or did he not know W’s last name?

P.10. – “I was waiting for that question” – yeap, so was I, haha

P.11/12 – again, even the board games are discussed from a very emotional viewpoint

P.15. – “We could still go as friends” – not a recipe for an awkward evening at all, haha. But again, a lot of sorting out feeling out loud.


I enjoyed the submission and I think it reads very easily. I also like both protagonists and want everything to work out for them. My main concern (see LBLs for detail) is how analytical of their emotions the characters are. It can be a trait of one person, but both? It is harder for me to believe.

Also, I find myself wishing for some truly happy moment for W and N. Perhaps, the upcoming dance? They are so tense all the time and I feel like they deserve an evening that is not spoiled by appearance of an ex-girlfriend or overprotective parent or conversations of lost parents or looming dangers. But maybe that is just me wishing the best for them, haha

Keep up the good work!

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Thanks, everyone! Looks like the comments here are about W learning more about the situation (which happens next sub so we'll see what could be pushed earlier) and to have real consequences in her relationship with her amma. I'll take another look!

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