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    Master of Cellulose (they/them)
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  1. Glad to see this book is still going through! Overall Could you refresh my memory - is this middle grade or YA? The pacing is probably right about right for middle grade but needs to have more movement for YA. Generally though, this chapter was a lot of talking. There were some highlights and tension of course, but I think they whole chapter could be distilled down to maybe 2K words and have more punch, without losing any content. There's also a lot of navel gazing and remembering, which meant that by three pages in it didn't feel like I'd missed the last six chapters or so at all. Likely just some tightening would fix it up nicely. As I go - pg 6: I've been in and out the past few months so I'm not sure if this has been addressed before, but I'm having the same issues with this chapter as I've had with many of the others. We get told a lot of things through general conversation and we don't get to experience them. It makes me feel like I'm reading the cliff notes version of the book instead of the full story. I like that they started out sparring and with W getting H to engage. But by page six everything is just discussion and I feel like I'm being kept and arms-length away from the book - pg 11: Haven’t gotten all of the NPC dialogue out of me yet <-- I appreciate that you hung a lantern on it, but it's still 11 pages now of just talking
  2. Any and all feedback welcome on this cozy yet crude sapphic murder mystery
  3. Can I get a spot for next Monday, the 24th?
  4. LOL I don't consider this harsh at all. Bring it on. This is what I'm here for. This is still draft 0 so it's bound to be...messy at best.
  5. I 100% agree with @ginger_reckoning. I read this prologue, and then re-read parts of it, and just get bogged down in names and Very Important Things that I don't care about. I'm still not even sure what important information our MC got. Without being invested in any of the characters or the world, none of this registers for me. I'd much prefer they discover it than get it this way. Prologues very rarely work and a lot of agents flat out won't accept them in queries anymore. Your story is likely better served without this. It is very well written though. As I go - I'd like a description of what average height, etc. look like. I can't picture anything - pg 3: there's good pacing and world building through these pages - pg 5: and that no suspicious figures <-- what would make someone suspicious in this setting? - pg 5: a lot of redundancy on straight backs throughout these pages - it's page 6 and I'd like to know what our MC's purpose is by now - pg 8: wobbling as a toddler's milk tooth. <-- ?? Toddlers don't lose teeth. They're growing teeth. Kids don't usually lose teeth until kinder at the earliest - pg 10: I'm still unsure what the MC's purpose is - ...what did he learn?
  6. 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
  7. Overall I know I'm still new to this story, but I don't understand the purpose of this chapter. What was the narrative arc, and whose arc was it? How did it advance the A, B, and C plots? I think there is something in there about needing to move library items, but did all the stuff before it need to come? The battle at the front in particular seems superfluous. I'd also again recommend one POV per chapter, with a clear arc for that POV in each chapter. It will help with reader buy in. As always, the library sections are the most engaging to me. I want more library hijinks, please. As I go - this may be because I've not read the rest of the book but there are a ton of names, none of which I'm invested in, and I have no idea what is going on - pg 4: Still not sure what the purpose of the fight was. It doesn't seem to have any consequences. Could it be deleted and our characters still be in the same place as if you just wrote So and so decided to stand guard outside the library to protect the girls? - pg 6: the reason for the fight would be good before the fight. Otherwise there is no investment for the reader and the fight is meaningless - the constant POV popping is disorienting. They need to have more distinct voices as I can't tell them apart even with the dialogue tags. Generally too, you want to try to keep to one POV per chapter. Let that POV go through their arc, then have another POV do another arc. Popping like this is distracting and doesn't let the reader get invested in any POV - it's page 11 and I don't know yet what the purpose of this chapter is. Thus far the only real purpose anyone has had is to pick up a dress - pg 15: the obsession over the mouse is now downright comical. Docking pay and a trial over a mouse??
  8. Still just a rough draft so feel free to tear apart as you will.
  9. D had to check up on the old clients. It was a thing in chapter one but it's been almost a month since then. With that said, noting everyone's comments it looks like I need to tie this scene better into the main plot. People are getting lost. I'm curious about the feedback around city descriptions. The crime books like this that I read always had a deep fondness for their city, and a sizable portion of the narrative is how the lead interacts with their city. In this particular instance, this town exists and the descriptions around it showcase the growing pains of this middling midwest city. I'm not sure if people are bouncing off it because I'm not doing it well, if I'm breaking a genre rule, or if there's unfamiliarity with this part of the genre. Help?
  10. I'd love a slot too, pending space. My, we are busy these days.
  11. I think it’s intersex readers you need, not trans or non-binary ones. This type of change is common even in trans-written works. It just is problematic in terms of intersex erasure.
  12. It could be as simple as changing how he thinks about the clothes. Instead of how they fit and what they show off, how about how they fit and how much new clothes cost? That's a big parent thing, the persistent cost of new clothing as kids grow like weeds, especially during puberty. If she just hit her growth spurt both up and around, then he's been buying a lot of new clothes. That would be a very parent way to look at her growth. Something like she went up three shirt sizes in two months. How was he supposed to afford that?
  13. Coming in completely cold here, so keep that in mind when I inevitably get confused Overall A very engaging first chapter, though it did make me wonder if I had missed much as I felt like I got the feel for the book all within that chapter. I'm assuming it must have been a new POV. The second chapter didn't appear to have an arc at all, and read more like the first half to a longer chapter. The singing part could be well cut down and then the kidnapping/fight at the end could happen and resolve, so we see what the purpose was for all the singing and fighting. I did love the atmosphere of this chapter a lot. As I go - pg 1: piles to slide <-- bro that's a one way ticket to getting punched. - later on page one: punch him punch him punch him - pg 2: He gave her a pouty look. <-- this would have killed the predator vibe for me. I'm surprised she doesn't gain some control of the situation here - so it hit him in the leg <-- there wasn't a slightly higher drawer to open? - pg 3: Is this a new POV for the book? This chapter is reading like an opening chapter to a book. It has all the fundamental elements and I don't feel like I'm missing anything, despite this being chapter 5 - pg 5: can it be an eeeeevil mouse? Otherwise this is a whole lot of concentrated phobia. This is a magical world, right? Why not someone finding a dry rot in some ancient texts that's spreading and if you remove the book it releases the spores and all the other books will get infected? Then I think we'd get a lot of librarian screams - pg 7: I am unclear why there is such upsetness over a mouse and her babies - pg 7: There was something very wrong here, and she was going to get to the bottom of it. <-- ?? I'm wondering if the purpose of the mouse was to show a protection spell weakening? And that's what leads our MC to this statement? If so I think there needs to be more concern not over the mouse, but over the spell degradation. It needs to be clear what the mouse means, not that there's a mouse in general. That would make all the reactions make more sense - pg 13: the singing scene is getting a bit long in the tooth. How is the plot moving here? - the end of this chapter is really abrupt
  14. Coming in cold, please forgive random statements of confusion Overall Likely due to having come in at the ninth sub, the large swaths of dialogue did not hold my attention. It was unclear to me how they were moving the plot along. I did connect well with Ce at the end, as there was movement there (figurative and literal), although what that POV accomplished in terms of arc, I'm not sure. While well written and easy to follow, I'm not sure what the purpose of the chapter was. It looks like a lot of information exchange, but to what end? Clearly I have no idea what the A, B, or C plots are, so keep that in mind. I'm a wandering patron at a bookstore, picking up this book, opening to the middle, and deciding to buy or not! I did enjoy the numerous nonbinary characters. ten points all around. As I go - pg 4: There's a lot of dialogue through here, and sort of slice of life stuff. Was there a big battle last chapter? This is a very low key start to a chapter so wondering if its recovery time, or if it needs to move the plot along a little faster - pg 6: why would the lovers quarrel be disgusting? Assuming I'm missing some in-world context - pg 6: then went inside to eat some porridge <-- this sums up my thoughts on the first six pages. It's very day to day without much build up to drive the reader to keep reading. Ending on a note like this makes me wonder if the interlude was needed. Coming off a big action or development chapter I could see the need for some down time. Coming off another introspective chapter, it would drag - pg 6: be used to imitate a human <--- so. Here. I dislike this trope of using magic to change sex characteristics, particularly when it equates that to being otherworldly or not human. I understand it is a widely held fantasy among the trans community and fantasies are important. The issue is that when presented like this it is very othering to the intersex community, as it pairs phenotype change with being some form of other. An easy way around this is to change how the change itself is discussed. Adding a sentence or two that makes it clear that the magic is otherworldly but body changing was still human, albeit rare, would take care of the issue entirely. - pg 9: there's a lot of talking again. I was engaged during the body morph introspection because it was doing a nice job character building. But the dialogue exchange now is making me antsy for plot movement - pg 10: I'm overwhelmed by the new names in the lore dump - pg 13: POV shifts mid-chapter, especially when the chapter is all dialogue, is rough to follow - I've connected more with Ce than any character yet in this chapter. This character feels a lot more dynamic
  15. Coming into this cold, so please take my comments with a grain of salt Overall This reads like a solid outline to about 3/4 of a chapter. When editing, it would be good to sit down and sort out what you want this chapter to do. Is it to get our MC to her government job? To establish how she interacts with authority? What is the purpose of the chapter and how does it move the plot forward? Once you have that, edit to that idea and it will help it go smoother. As I go - pg 1: our MC is asking for a few days to think an offer over, but I'm not entirely sure what the offer is. More information would be useful here - pg 2: wait she just...accepts?? I feel like I'm missing at least a page of discussion and inner monologue. Maybe a run to the bathroom to have time to think. - do we get a definition of 'first class' somewhere? Just repeating it over and over without context is confusing - pg 2: You can’t go with the government <-- but if this is such a big deal surely they'd have had this conversation with her previously? To prepare her for when this day arrived? She should have had some idea of her parents' wishes going in - pg 3: resistance? Is this the first time we are hearing about this? If so we need more information - This back and forth between our MC and the parents doesn't make sense. If they knew they'd force her into the resistance then why not do that preemptively before she got found out? Why let her make a choice just to override it? - pg 4: the way 'the resistance' keeps being discussed makes it sound like a place and not a group of people. But resistances that are any good are never centralized and should be very hard to pin down, especially something like a recruitment center or training area - if there's a map, wouldn't that be too dangerous? Someone could search their house, find it, and then take out the resistance - pg 5: if the watch is relevant later, we should get more description of it now - pg 6: where was the internal debate over defying her parents and going to the government? Where did this decision come from? - pg 9: redundancy on 'the driver' - pg 9: Stop right there, you’re not my problem anymore. My job was to river you, not to babysit you.” The driver turns around and walks away <-- A) he said he was her superior, so this doesn't make sense. B.) river? Deliver maybe? - end of chapter 2: what was the arc for the chapter?
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