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Coop - 10/3/2016 - Clouds pt. 5 - 4017 words


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Hey all, thanks for reading!



Synopsis to this point:


Sira is a 12-year-old girl who finds a golden-colored costume in an underground room in the woods. Eventually she figures out that this is a cloudsuit with the ability to solidify clouds. Grappling hook-like devices that she calls “triangulators” enable her to ascend into the clouds.


She has been pursued by a male figure dressed in a red cloudsuit. At times he appears harmful; at least once he saved her life.


All of this is happening while Sira is stuck on her grandfather’s farm for the summer while her mother is overseas. Grandpa’s seriously disfigured appearance was the source of significant trauma for her as a young child, and she has been unable to overcome these negative feelings for him.

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Hooray for another chapter!


I really enjoyed that! A few comments below, but the narrative is really picking up as we continue along. It's nice to find out who the red suit is, and I love Sira's cloud swinging. Nice work!


As I go

- I don't think I've commented on this before, but I love the 'voice' of this piece.

- Except...she hadn’t brought matches and never made an effort to find any. Suggest flushing the 'no effort to find any' out a bit more

- Page four: aww, I love the cloud jumping. I am right with her in these pages

- page six:I love her imaginings

- Cousin speaks in very long sentences

- Ray's getting a PhD? If so, he is a LOT older than Sira. Saying he is 'in college' makes him seem maybe late teens, early 20s. If he's going PhD, that'd be more late 20s


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Hello Coop!

I liked this chapter.  I'm feeling like the narrative is moving forward kind of slowly, but that could just be WRS.  I'm also not as interested in the cloud sequences as I was before, since I feel like I understand them, and a lot of the mystery is gone.  But it's still an enjoyable read!


  • The first line, where she calls the dirt pile Dirt Cloud Mountain, made me think for a while that she was on a cloud that looked like a dirt mound.
  • All around her were places she had to be.  Does she mean "places she's obligated to be" or "places she wants to be?"
  • She was supposed to be timid—terrified of every new thing. I guess I never got this impression from her, but I did miss the first two chapters.
  • ...maybe that’s just coming from someone whose husband walked out a week before their daughter was born.  This line didn't sound natural to me.  It sounds a little tell-y, but it also doesn't sound like something a mother would say so casually to her kid.  I think those wounds just go deeper than this line implies.

I'm happy that we know about the man in red now, but I had been expecting him to be an antagonist.  Maybe he still is, but I'm getting the impression that he's not.  It leaves me at a strange place as a reader.  The stakes feel gone, and I'm left feeling like Sira's not in any danger anymore.  I'm interested to see where this goes though!

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I didn't like this sumbission as much as the others.  There's some strange physics problems starting to pop up for me.  I know it's aimed at kids, but I think most people will at least feel like something is off, even if they don't know what it is.  Lots of cloud jumping was starting to get old, and makes me aware of more problems the longer it goes on.

Like Hobbit, I was expecting the red guy to be an antagonist.  Not a bad thing, just different.

Some very strange dialogue, toward the end.


pg 1: ten thousand feet vs. "freeze it before it changed more."
--My sense of physics is rebelling again.  If the clouds are  10,000 feet away and she shoots the triangulator and freezes the cloud in 0.5 to 1 second, then it's traveling
between 6800 and 14000 MPH. There's got to be some reaction from that. Does the triangulator get very hot?

pg 2: "The suit! She wasn’t wearing it. Her four fingers and thumb—and their casual grip on the handle"
--I expect more reaction from vaulting hundreds of feet into the air on a regular basis.  That's not something people easily get used to.

pg 2: "She climbed into an alcove and dressed"
--so she took the suit with her.  From above, it seemed like she left it below.

pg 2: "After Grandpa returned to the house"
--can she see him from 10,000 feet?

pg 4: "she didn’t need that line anyway, since her other hand had quickly unfolded its triangulator and speared the cloud."
--even Spiderman only swings between buildings, and he has superhuman reflexes!

pg 4: "There was flat ground ahead"
--flat cloud ground?

End of ch 14 - I got lost on the blocking again while she was following the red figure.  Did the clouds drift down to the ground?

pg 6: "fuller air than she’d been getting at that altitude"
--Hand't even considered this yet.  At 10,000 feet, she's not going to be able to jump around for long before getting winded.

pg 7-8 blocking here is a little hard to follow.

pg 10: the red guy's dialogue is very strange and stilted.

pg 13: "Mom said that night before bed"
--maybe WRS.  I thought her mom was gone off somewhere, which was why she was staying with her Grandfather?

pg 14: "“Mother, what you’ve asked is a very good question. You’re going to need to get comfortable for a few minutes.”"
--also strange dialogue here.

pg 14: "Sira looked disbelieving at the phone"
Oh wow, her mom was talking to her on a phone!  Did not get that.

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In summary, I was starting to weary of chapters where Sira explores the clouds and learns (a little) more about her abilities with the suit and its equipment. I can debate with myself whether Chapter 14 is one too many, but we’re quickly into meeting Tom, which was good, and then the scene-sequel chapter with Mom, also welcome.

I think my main gripe, if it is a gripe, is that the pacing is a bit flat. There’s good, enjoyable writing, interesting situations and nicely-drawn (if maybe unspectacular) secondary characters, but no plot. I like the style, and Sira is good fun, but I just don’t know where it’s going. Sira has no goals, there’s nothing for the reader to root for.

So, in the same way that I was starting to weary for ‘action’ after Chapter 14, I am not wearying for plot. In fact, whatever the plot is, I think we need to signposts much earlier, some promises to the reader, which are fairly sparse up to this point in the story.

Please don’t take this as a major gripe. I've really enjoyed reading to this point, but there is and has been room for even greater enjoyment.


p.s. after reading @Mandamon's comments, I would second wholeheartedly. I mentioned the distance over which she saw Red Suit watching her, but there are other physicals things that I kind of glossed over in my head. I would definitely revise some of these parameters in the edit.

Chapter 14

  • to silently fling into the troposphere” – don’t like ‘fling’, that’s like throwing something else.
  • She noticed the red figure watching her go” – I don’t buy this. She’s on the ground now, I think the distance is too far for her to be able to tell this, or maybe even see the red figure at all.
  • Decent chapter, but it’s another chapter of Sira testing the equipment and making discoveries. It feels like filler or a placeholder to allow time to pass. In a movie, this would probably be a montage.

Chapter 15

  • we come in peace to destruction destroy your planet” – Okay, wait, why is she talking funny when addressing imaginary people? Is it supposed to be how Mercurians speak? Bit disorienting.
  • data show that you still taste like chicken. Prepare for doom” – Lol.
  • The words were a jumble to Sira.” – Yeah, me too, I think he must have a shorter term for this.
  • The first reasons that come to mind would probably get me popped in the nose” – Excellent!! And rather stalk-y, but in a friendly, non-threatening, smitten kind of way, I think. And then, “I’m following you because there’s no one else to follow” – nice line.
  • I'm glad we have another character. The story needed it. I moaned a bit about the last chapter, but I guess the timing was about right. If you did want to compress it, you might look at how to combine these two chapters, I suppose. Anyway, enjoyable encounter, nice dialogue with good quips, I enjoyed it.

Chapter 16

  • So far, you’re quieter than I hoped” – lol.
  • Sira’s mind aroused” – Hmm, I think roused would be fine.
  • experiences in the clouds grew had grown more and more involved” – tense seems a bit off here and in other places, from time to time. You use the past tense as if her experiences in the clouds are finished and in the past, rather than the perfect tense, for actions that started in the past, but continue into the present. There’s a lot of this on RE.
  •  Good place for a short scene-sequel chapter. I enjoyed the awkward exchange she has with her mom.
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@kaisa @Hobbit @Mandamon @Ernei @Robinski @krystalynn03

Big thanks to those who have commented so far! Each time I've submitted I've had the same enlightening experience: once the last couple critiques come in, suddenly all of the critiques seem to round out and pull together and tell me just what I need to do in revisions.

P.S. Certain issues have been raised in this submission and previous submissions. Just so you know, I haven't directly responded to these because I want to see how the story stands on its own without my outside commentary influencing the way you are reading it. In other words, please don't take my silence to mean that the things you bring up aren't extremely valuable to me! I will definitely have some follow-up questions for you as this story gets a bit farther down the road.

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