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Mandamon

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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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About Mandamon

  • Birthday May 26

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  • Member Title
    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering

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  1. Sorry for the late response--I was neck deep in a developmental edit all week... Seems I have similar reactions to @Silk. There's some good stuff here, but the story is sort of languishing while we look specifically at character development. Can the soldiers developing be tied into their actions rather than a static thing they've bought or found? That might move things along more. Notes while reading: pg 1: Was L here before? I don't remember her being in the last couple chapters. pg 3: "I know you see them all the time as a minister." This is something I haven't been clear on so far. Are the soldiers kept in barracks or something so that they never see the city that's a short walk from where they're fighting? pg 4: “Even with a minister lifespan" --so we know how long this is? pg 7: Yes, lots of talking by this point, but not a lot happening. pg 10: Some good development with D. pg 14: A lot of talk through here and some character development, but yes, I think things can be punched up a lot to get back to some action.
  2. In general, this chapter takes a while to get where it's going, and I'm not sure I caught what was going on with the politics in the end. The dynamic between A and Am is interesting, and I'm glad they're more open with each other, but I don't really know where it's going. Is A trying to learn more about herself by talking with Am? Does she just want to help Am? Am seems to be doing well (for a soldier) on his own. Notes while reading: pg 1: "they also saw the spectacle" --any reaction from this? what did they think? pg 2: "made no progress coming to any sort of conclusion." --So there's some pretty pointed political commentary through here and then sort of a shrug at what to do about it... pg 3: "It’s harder to give people a voice than it is to take it away.” --a little more here... pg 4: "need to assist my dad in making sure the house is in order" --Am I forgetting things? Have we heard about this before? pg 5: "It was only a matter of time before they struck." --But the J's don't even know about the I's, right? pg 9: we start to get into some more meaning with the conversation with A and Am here. It's been meandering a bit until now. I liked the bit with the bookstore, but we haven't really had any concrete plot progression this chapter. pg 12: This part is more interesting. We get some surprises from what Am knows, and the fact he knows more that A. I'm not sure it really goes anywhere though. I have a feeling it means something deeper for the book, but I don't know what that is. pg 14: “How long did it take you to realize?" --Still struggling a bit here. Is A questioning that she is trans and Am is not, when they came from the same DNA? That happens with twins, so it's something we know about already. Is her goal to see that Am wants to transition too? pg 17: “Take us...To M" --Lost me here again. I don't remember who this is. I'm alright with the lead up to this point, but We have so many new names in this section I'm losing who's who. pg 18: There's a lot of lies and machinations in the last few pages and I'm not sure I followed all of them. I think some more restructuring in the first act might help to support what they're doing through here.
  3. I think you could certainly do this, but right now the roles in part 1 are I think too subtle for the reader to pick up. Even having someone mention the division will help, even if they don't yet know what it means.
  4. I think if this is going to focus on A's gender, there needs to be a whole lot more setup on that side in the first part. I didn't get that as a big theme in the story. We get some response to that here, but it would make more sense with revisions in part 1. This chapter is a bit slower as well. It sets up some things, but mostly it's a chat between C and A, with some things relevant to the plot. Again, more setup before this will lend more meaning to what's happening here. Notes while reading: pg 2: "Ash blinked. She… was a doomspeaker? " --Has she commended the monsters? pg 3: "The boy blinked." --there hasn't been any mention of him being onscreen so I was thrown out by this. pg 5: "having a fluffy cat for company" --Has she even seen a cat before? Do they have animals on the other island? pg 7: It's pretty slow through these middle pages... pg 9: So if the head guard isn't supposed to do this, how did he get everyone to come here? pg 11: This chapter gives some good setup for what's coming next, but there's a lot of downtime through the middle as well. We haven't really seen home life on the other island. A tells us what she expects, but we haven't really seen it enough for the reader to come to a conclusion.
  5. So, I think overall this works, but needs some cleanup on this part and probably some condensing on the first part. My main issues with this one was the lack of blocking on most of the action scenes, and the whole "mystery plan" in the middle. Especially with the two together, it was hard to keep track of what was going on. I think either the plan needs to be clarified and then we see something go wrong, or there needs to be a lot more description and blocking as to what's happening. And can we also get closure on who unlocked the controls and whether M and T are actually a thing or not? More observations below... Notes while reading: pg 2: Nicknames: yes, this definitely needs to be compressed into 1. I think there's three versions of T's name in the first couple pages. Plus one of the mirrors a certain main antagonist... pg 3 :"Pull us— uh, as hard" --took me a couple reads to understand "as" was a replacement for "us." pg 5: "vacuum sucked the breath from her pores" --I think we either need some indication of what they're doing here, or skip over some of this part to see the end result. We have a secret (from the reader) plan so none of the actions through here really make any sense. pg 6: I am...not sure what's going on here. M was keeping T's rescue quiet, and now they're letting the kidnapper know, but I'm not sure what the consequences are? pg 6: "whatever your name is...told me your name" --Wouldn't it be more effective then to mention his name as proof M knows it? pg 6: "This dumbbell plan of hers had to work" --still very confused on what the kidnapper and M's plans are. I think we need some hint of what's going on. pg 7: “Because of the recording I gave J?!” --I feel like I'm not in on the joke here because we don't know what's in the recording. pg 8: “I almost died.” --uh, I guess T really needs a clean suit now... pg 9: "did not own that name" --I think this just confuses matters, unless it's going to be a plot point later on. Can he have a different name? Or at least not that nickname? pg 10: "locker lid tumbled serenely out into space" --still confused here. I really think we need to know all or part of this plan. Are they not in oxygen? Are they trying to seal J somewhere? I don't know why they're doing the actions they are. pg 12: “Yeah, I need to change this suit if nothing else,” --heh, called it. pg 12: So I think the plan came together in the end, but there was a lot of things being thrown, and actions taken, and I still think some preface to it will help set us up while reading it. I don't know if "gang up on him" needs to be kept secret from the reader. I was also convinced they were going to use the sealant to actually *seal* J somewhere so he couldn't escape. pg 13: “Had some kind of doodad on him that de-magged the magnaties,” --wait, so he just...got free? Offscreen? After the whole cloak and dagger and victory of tying him down and everything? I thought he was got at this point. pg 14: Hm. Not a fan of this section. It seems like a reset so they can have another fight with the bad guy. I'd much rather hear the original plan, see something go wrong with it in execution, and not have the "oh he gets free again" section. pg "*** YOU’RE *** *** WELCOME ***" --Should we know where this comes from? The android? Q? pg 17: “Sure, I can do that.” --a bit of whiplash from this section. M doesn't think they'll work out now? Except she's going along with T again? And does she know or not who the mystery benefactor was? pg 18: Another nice crossover with TBB. pg 19: "maybe things were going to be okay, for now." --So I guess they are back on, then?
  6. I think the gender politics here will be a lot more impactful if we had any idea that was going on before. I don't think we ever knew that ministers were only women. That brings A and her clone into relief a lot more, as well as the whole transition from soldier to minister. Right now we see the soldiers being shocked, but I only figured out why a few pages later. If that's going to be a big section of this part, it needs to be vey clear going into it, so the reader has the payoff from the twist. Notes while reading: pg 1: Some long sentences in the first few paragraphs pg 1: "a good couple of hours in a straight line" --so these islands are like 4 or 5 miles apart? pg 3: "So it’s really true that soldiers on I can..." --can what? I'm not getting the change here. We saw male soldiers on the other island. pg 4: "why the label of soldier didn’t fit him" --still not sure on this myself. Because he's older? pg 4: "middle-aged minister, but a man" --wait, are all ministers female? Did we know that? pg 4: "like how minsters have mothers" --ok, starting to see what's going on here, but I don't think this was ever laid out in the first part. I think this needs to be a point the reader knows already, so that it's a surprise. Right now, we're being told completely new information. pg 6: "wonder if that really was the right way to build a society" --yeah, this all would have a lot more impact if we were shown previously what the society on the other island is like. I don't think we ever got much wordbuilding, so this revelation for the characters falls flat for the reader. pg 11: good action with the fight, but I'm more interested in why the soldiers leave civilians out there and why this society is different. pg 13: "I’m in charge like the queen" --so are these people aware of the other islands? And they know A's crew is from the other island? pg 14: I think it needs to be clearer whether these people know what's going on with the islands and how they perceive the newcomers.
  7. Was aiming to give a little insight into how food works on Hygiea, in terms of what they grow and what they import. Except tomato leaves are poisonous, right? Or at least inedible. I'll see what I think at the end and if there are spots where it could be more stand-alone Just meaning that she's recognizing and reacting to the situation before the one in command. The idea was that Moth would think it really sad and pathetic to have a family clipboard, passed down through generations, but that in this case it is fact. So, she's not actually being mean. Ok. I didn't even clock that would be a thing someone would comment on...
  8. Interesting cast of characters for this one! I'm glad we get to see some of M's associates. Overall, I think it moves just a tad slowly before we get to the hijacking and what happens, but that does let us get to know the other characters. There are a lot for something this short! So far I'm keeping them separate, though I wonder if everyone will be needed in the end. A few blocking comments and unclear references, which I've marked, but overall enjoyable! I'll wait to read the rest to give my final opinion. Notes while reading: pg 3: "She’d always been weak; weak and pretty, a lousy combination for this line of work." --Interesting intro. I wonder if not starting with one of the main characters would be an issue for people coming to this from Q&M? pg 3: "tomato leaves" --why? pg 4: okay, so this is pretty much meant for people who have read TMM and TCC? pg 5: "M remembered she had friends." --Good to see this, but it's not really mentioned in the other stories. pg 6: And of course I had to look back at TBB to see this was the same conversation. pg 7: "even schlumping in angle of front and side windows" --something missing in this sentence? pg 8: "J tried really hard not to beam." --maybe a bit out of POV? Also, this section ends on a reaction not from M, which I would expect as it's her POV. A good intro to the other students though. pg 8: "That wasn’t even her being mean" --what wasn't? I'm missing why that's mean. pg 8: "compressed would pulp" -> "compressed wood pulp? pg 9: Tho. and Tu. are the same person right? Confusing to switch back and forth with the names. pg 10: "And why was she following this ridiculous..." --glad that was addressed. I was wondering. pg 10: "floated ten minutes away" --So I'm guessing this is a rescue training exercise? pg 11: “How long can you hold your breath" --What is this in reference to? pg 12: "Speed of sound..." --I'm guessing all this is calculations and not part of the story? pg 13: Welp, guess M has had some good training with Q. pg 14: "Why was she stilling worrying about the dumb forfeit?" --I thought this was referring to S, but I think it's M thinking about herself? Took me a couple reads to get through. pg 17: Maybe a little more closure in this section? We still don't really know what's going on, and M didn't actually talk to S like she says she was going to. pg 18: "...maybe all she would have" --very long sentence. pg 20: A little confusion with the blocking here. I'm not sure where the heat shield is coming in and what Moth's doing.
  9. This is starting to get to some interesting topics, and I'm looking forward to the journey coming next time, but yes, I think the pacing and characters here don't quite work. It's partially because we had a break in November, but I'm having a lot of trouble remembering what each soldier's "thing" is and what problems they're dealing with. So a lot of the small character moments here fell flat. I was too busy trying to remember who everyone was, along with the healer, the deserters, etc. This goes back to what I said with the first few submissions that the soldiers need to be really clear for the reader. I think there might be too many to focus on emotional growth with each one. Maybe having one or two soldiers to be the "example" for the others will help narrow things down? Notes while reading: pg 1: "The whole room was only the size of I’s house" --but I don't know how big the house is. pg 2: This takes a bit to get going in the first couple pages. Could probably be condensed a bit. pg 3: "Not the only island" --Did we know this yet? If not, I think this warrants a bit more response from everyone. It's a big secret that's been revealed, right? pg 5: "Near identical to P.L.’s explanation" --Ah, so I guess we have gotten this information before. WRS, I guess? pg 5: "We cannot allow the imperial patriarchy to be reborn" --Is this something we know about? I feel like we're getting into deep matters that haven't been mentioned yet. pg 6: "but decided not to challenge S" --Am I missing a part here? Isn't S one of A's soldiers? Why is she deferring to him? pg 9: Still getting confused will all the names here. I'm having trouble remembering what each person does and what their trauma is. pg 11: Having trouble connecting with the emotional content here because I can't keep the soldiers straight. Part of it is WRS and missing a month, but part is because there's so many characters. pg 16: Interesting. So Am does seem to be a different person that A.
  10. Awesome. That's what I hoped for! Ah, thanks. I'll change that. Great comments!
  11. Thanks @Ace of Hearts! Great comments. Yes, I think you might not be the target audience especially if you haven't seen the thing this is parodying (hint, it's here). Glad this came through! I wanted to have a little more context to the "why" here since the original short is very light on motivation (or reasoning in general). Did you not see anything until after page 8, or is this including the innuendo through the rest of the story?
  12. Yes. I was trying to come up with something to rhyme with "bryl creme" and that popped into my head. I meant that M patched through regardless, but either works. Added a sentence. Good idea. Added one sentence there and one near the end. Yes, I think it works better. Thanks!
  13. Have I mentioned before that you're a bad influence? Probably? Hm, yeah. I figured it would be obvious either way so decided to just ... let it be obvious. Do I need to obfuscate a little bit? I think it's fine for a short story Sooo my original conception for this story was to have the antagonist try to trigger an actual, rebirth-of-the-universe big bounce, then I let my own suspension of disbelief get in the way and backed off. So... literal end of the universe not too much after all? Yes, absolutely go for the most over the top explanation! That's what I was expecting.
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