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  1. To begin with, I looked through Mandamon’s comments and I agree with them overall, especially about the learning curve. Clearly, there is a mystery to the story, but the mystery can be personal while the world is properly explored. If anything, it could help you create even more tension around the mystery. So far, it feels like you are withholding it all on purpose, but it doesn’t feel like it’s about the steep learning curve – more about not putting things into the text, when they could have been. You chose to limit us to the base where the soldiers are, probably to keep the mystery going. But for me, it feels like you are limiting us to the world, which I would love to explore more. I believe, the bigger the world you build, the more points of view you might need. But it is only my perspective. As to this chapter, it definitely progresses the first part of the novel further. I loved the beginning. It is very emotional (though Mandamon has a point that she doesn’t know these soldiers that well. We might need more motivation here. Perhaps, she is projecting some of her memories/past feelings) and it felt like there were more mysteries there. But as the conversation progressed, I had more questions. What is the bureaucracy uptake on this? Do they keep soldiers that can’t fight? Or do they usually speed their reincarnations? Then I was confused because I thought A wanted to keep soldiers safe, but I also believed it was to help them move forward and away from the fight. And then there was a phrase about treating ministers with higher muscle mass, and I didn’t know what to think of it. We still know so little about the ministers. p.4 I didn’t realise before that the deserters were hiding in the C.O. That’s cool. But I am curious about the mechanics of it. How is it possible? P5. S’s accusations of N. were powerful and it was an interesting turn. I like how he used the younger soldiers as an argument. But it once again brought me back to the question about reincarnation. Obviously, dying is traumatic even if you are reborn later. But is there more to it? P9. I loved the phrase when A thinks she’s sending three kids to their deaths. It’s a good reminder that soldiers are basically teenagers there at times. P11. It’s one striking revelation about ministers executing soldiers when they reach their limit. But how is it all arranged? Aren’t there even the tiniest of rumours? p.13 Aren’t Z’s attacks going to affect the civilians? Isn’t she worried for her mom? Or is the house that far away? p.13. Her mom mentions that ministers remember being soldiers. And it didn’t sound like she was referring to A only. So, for her it wasn’t a secret. Why didn’t she tell A? And A isn’t surprised her mom knows that. So far, I don’t understand this mother-daughter relationship well enough. It feels rather superficial at times. P16: about being born from the womb vs just appearing. It’s a striking detail, but it doesn’t give you much information. I believe it would be great if all these details about soldiers and ministers and reincarnations were connected through their functionality or whatever differentiates the two. Personally for me, the ending of the chapter was really heavy. I appreciate the novelty of the weapons. But there is no way I am going to remember all that. I tried to stop myself from skimming through those paragraphs and reading them properly. But for me, the important things were A’s comments and how she is going to use it. Also, there is this whole change of mood, when suddenly everybody is there to help A. Have they been testing her earlier to see whether they can trust her? Because we didn’t see it, it all feels a bit out of the blue and suspicious.
  2. I enjoyed this chapter's dynamics, the tension and the fast tempo. With all the misinterpretations, confrontations and revelation it kept me engaged and invested. I wonder now what's P's next is going to be. I think the amount of fighting you gave in this chapter was also dosedwell, because we were getting quite a lot of it in the previous ones, and here it was well-framed and gave the character development. However, I wondered if there should be a more explicit connection between P's renewed vigour to fight and his decision to stay. I liked the dialogue between P and N, especially the part on p5 that was about being accepted as they become ministers. Those were some powerful lines about living the lives as they are. I had slight trouble with the revelation of M's true goals. The idea itself works great. It also helps us to have a new glimpse at A - she's not the only one reborn like that (more intrigue, more hints about the world and possible future conflict). Plus, the base definitely needs more support to stand against Z. However, though you mention M's previous actions, like allowing L to stay, I felt like it wasn't enough for me to make it work smoothly (I didn;t have this thought - oh, yes, now everything clicks). And then later you show us that M is quite powerful - she's been gathering info, managed to learn all about A. Because we haven't seen much of M or other ministers, this looked a bit like some superpower. I thought it might be worth building up to this moment a bit more. Also, on p9, when you mention that A had a different name before, it made me wonder once again about the worldbuilding. That's understandable they will change the name when they are reborn, especially if they don't remember their past, but how did M found out the truth about A. Is it kept in some records? And how do they follow this connection of reincarnations? p10 I really loved the phrase about how the armour never protected A from what really hurt her. It's good characterisation point. We don't yet know enough about her past, but I am more and more intrigued. p12 When A asks herself why was she so fixated on P in the first place, I was asking myself the same question Looking forward to learn more. On p13 you show us the magic of the world. We mostly saw psionic powers before, so it would be good to see more of this differentiation. All in all, there are definitely small cliffhangers throughout the chapter that would make the readers want to go on, The chapter itself is well-structured with great interpersonal clashes and dynamics. However, I still feel like I need to see more of the world outside the base and have it intertwine with the main narrative. You started doing it with P contacting Z, but I think you could do a bit more of that.
  3. It's a good chapter. I liked the interactions between the two of them, the risk A takes telling L about the whole encounter, the dynamics of P's emotions. I agree with @Silk that there could be more of a threat - it's even enough to remind us about the Z-s arrival or there could definitely be the minister thread of uncovering it all. I am also curious as to what connects these two. I think it is a really interesting thing to explore, and you haven't given us all the cards. In this chapter, A says she wants to help more than just P, or just her group, she makes a promise, but it looks like it all started with P. F.ex., I noticed when A embraces P, she focuses on thoughts of her mother and actually feels a bit distant. It's interesting - does she try to hide more emotion? Or saving him is the only motivation? Is there a love interest? Page-by-page comments p 3: "“I’m doing this for all other soldiers,” P said. “Sure, maybe you can save us, but how many other soldiers are out there who need our help?” I really loved this emotion and dedication. But it was also the moment when I felt the most that I want to know the true scope and idea of the war. I know I've been saying this for a bit, but the thing is - the Prologue is the only part where we learn more about the threat. And the events of it happened some 300 years ago, as far as I remember, Even the course of war changes if it lasts that long. p.4:“And go right back to serving them....” This is prime! "When have we ever won better lives by appealing to the ministers’ sense of morality..." Same page.. Once again I really love it. And also this is when I think that the story goes too narrow. What I mean is that you definitely set up a conflict that is huger than one soldier base. I hope we will see more of the place and opposition. There is also a very interesting hint on how A doesn't think she's ever been a soldier. I feel like when we will get all the information the caldron is going to explode. p9: when L tells A that the bureaucracy wants her to lose - that's a great phrase, but I would also like to see it. Like somebody tempering with what A is doing. p.11: First, I like how P alternates between using A's name and 'my lady'. However this time I felt like the dialogue started with too much familiarity on P's part. I also thought that it might be a good idea to accompany these switches between addresses with inner thoughts on P's part or A's reactions, depending on the POV. Hwever, this conversation lacks any description. I know they are talking not face-to-face, but you could still give us some reactions or body language. I am myself guilty of writing dialogues that are just a stream of lines, because it's easier at times, but sometimes it's good to go back and disperse a few descriptions about what's going on. Also, in this conversation A says - why call me at this hour? And after the previous chapter, with their talk about no day and night and no true finish for the day, this looked slightly incongruous to me. Overall, good chapter, we are definitely moving to a new level of A and P's relationship. Look forward to see where it goes next
  4. Sorry for the late feedback for this one, but I was very busy. Anyway, here are the thought My comments on this one will probably be along the same lines as for the recent chapters - quite a chunk of local things happening with the bigger picture held at bay. There is a lot going on about training, but it feels cut off from the real battling and stakes, even when the monsters come to them. I get a feeling like all that's happening in A's dominion is like in a sealed bubble, and the rest of the world, and the worldbuilding, is behind this barrier. It also makes the unusual weaponry and methods of fighting quirky but not flowing logically from the world. (I also second the Mandamon that in some ways they look impractical - is there some sort of limit that prevents them from having more armour and weapon? Perhaps, we should know about it then.) With that being said, I really enjoyed the second part of the chapter when we get into this opposition between soldiers and ministers. Personally for me, it was more interesting than their fighting styles, but that's just me. I loved those sentiments that are scattered throughout the conversation with N and L. When N says he's in his 7th year or how he talks about ministers hating to lose soldiers. Or like on p.12 N suggests that A has time to learn more about the particles. The ending is striking, I loved it, but I was thinking that maybe it could be made a bit longer. I would probably cut the beginning in favour of giving a more emotional and detailed fight in the end. More of page by page comments: p.5: "A. checked their positions relative to the monster’s, and the octopus’ speed. - Wasn't the octopus the monster? p.10: Like how the description of the psyglass print brings us back to what was in the prologue. p.12: when they talk about the day and night cycle, I might be misremembering something, but until you highlighted it here, I thought they had some sort of daily cycle and slept etc, so it confused me a bit. p.14: the explanation about the dice combinations sounded trivial. On the one hand, I understand it is exciting to the characters, but for the reader it is so basic. personally I was like - why are you telling me this, I know that, that's elementary. I think if you want to strike why it's not elementary for them, there should be a bit more? there is this bit about ministers and armies using maths and that piques my interest, like is it connected to reincarnations? But I felt like I needed to know more about the world to understand why they have maths the way they have, or dono;t have it, while having quantum physics. p.15: loved about the other realities - more intrigue. Also, fan of anything quantum. At the same time, the things that you describe are just like with dice - basic for sf reader. And it did feel like an infodump. So you might want to think of a different way to present this angle in the story. p.16: "A blinked, then nodded. It was getting harder and harder not to reveal who she had been." This works really well.
  5. Hi, Ace of Hearts! Chapter five definitely gives us a broader perspective on the team. It's nice to see their personal interests and how they intertwine with them being soldiers and wishing/not wishing to become ministers. It definitely helps to give them faces and personalities in comparison to the previous chapters. On one hand, it serves as contrast - the ministry sees them as just a tool, while A and L look into their souls. But I agree with what @Mandamon said about the previous chapter - it's difficult to sympathise and see the battle as dangerous when the team is merely tools. So I believe you might want to tread carefully here. Also, the dialogues between A and other soldiers sounded like learnt speeches. And it is explained when S says he just repeats what L told him, but it also makes the conversation sound weird before you read that. When it comes to conversations between A and L, they too sound like an exposition. It is legitimate, on the one hand, since A doesn't know everything. But it also makes me think whether there is another way to show things to the reader. While I was reading this chapter, I was thinking that you limited yourself to the events just at one base and mostly A's POV. But with such a huge building and the steep learning curve, it feels restraining to me. I get to know the characters and their small world, but I feel like that isn't enough for me - I want to understand more of the worldbuilding, to have a deeper understanding of A's motivation via seeing what she reacts to - and it is the world as a whole. It might also help you add info about reincarnations, ministers and the war without making it just L's speeches. Adding P's POV was great! Not only it brought more of a conspiracy, but it also gave us something to set against A's worldview. Here are a few page by page comments on top of that: P1.: When M tells A she isn’t supposed to be into soldiers’ specifics, I wonder what is it that the ministers are supposed to do. Maybe, I missed (or forgot) something in the first chapters, but I still don’t have a clear idea. There are bureaucrats and from this chapter I see that's not equal to ministers, but I am still not sure about the details (before I thought it was minister=bureaucrat). P.2: I am a bit confused what B is doing there. Wasn’t she supposed to be reassigned since there is a new supervisor? P3-4: The dialogue between L and A, short though as it is, looked like it was filled with sentences that didn’t give me much new, apart from the request itself. Maybe, it could be incorporated into the next section or skipped altogether? P 7: So is it the C.O that resists clairvoyance, or are their restrictions put by other humans? I got confused. Later on, it looks like somebody blocks it, but originally it seems the C.O is responsible for the barrier.
  6. Hi, Ace of Hearts! Here are some thoughts on Ch.4 of Everlasting Sunset. I really liked how you continue - in small bits and pieces - to develop the topic of being a soldier. Clearly, A. considers it all to be bad and painful (perhaps, we could see some more memories of hers to feel it fully and empathise with her more). And P. is changing his mind about it, growing onto it? It's a bit shady, but there is definitely the dynamics. The part about A. dying in the C.O. was really cool, and we finally know more about her. P. and A. teamwork and P.'s temporary trust in her worked really well. And the oranges scene for me was very vivid. Also, a superb characteristic of how harsh their world is if they are usually denied fruits and need to be very practical. Some page-by-page comments: P.1: You say that the monsters are expected the next day, though in Ch.3 it was said the prognosis showed nothing for the next couple of days. I get it - the whole forecast isn't that accurate, but could we possibly know more about it then? P1: “If she made a mistake in training today or leading tomorrow, somebody was going to die." I was wondering about it in the previous chapters a bit too, but here, with such a powerful sentence, it struck me - how did they survive all this time before? Belladonna wasn't the best of supervisors, but does it mean they had a lot of casualties? Both curious and a bit confused here. P4: when A. talks about her death in the C.O. she mentions seeing and talking to somebody, but not remembering anymore. However, I thought it could be cool if there was at least one detail about that person or talk, a clue for the future, and a way to make it less general. P4-5: What was the point of L. making A. reveal she remembers her past? To warn her? Or out of curiosity and desire to show she can? As a reader, we already know that A. remembers. I just thought motivation here was important for it not to look like an exposition type of dialogue. maybe, the warning could be a bit stronger? A few grammar/tense mistakes: P 5: "and she lost myself in the rhythm of the tiny" - lost herself P 5: "Some of the soldiers are still asleep when Ash arrived," - were still asleep P 10: When P. says he's going to chase the shark into the C.O, I'd like to see more of A. inner thoughts about it, not just silence. Later on, you reveal P. ran into C.O to desert, so A. should feel uneasy at this moment. It would be good to see it. P.11: mention of asteroids for comparison didn't quite work for me. I often find that such comparisons when the characters say something is like something they saw in the book or the like, feel slightly artificial. I was thinking, surely they have hills and mountains and just huge buildings it could have been compared to in size. Unless, it is a clue for something else I missed. P12: when P. delivers the final blow to the shark ("The impact sent cracks through the calamity crystal, and the shark fell apart the next second") it feels rather sudden. Before he had to hit it quite a few times and nothing happened. Maybe, you could mention that he stroke at the old cracks at this moment? P. 12: "and she only barely to calm the shaking in her legs" - I guess some of the grammar was lost at the editing stage And some final words about P. He appears quite a mystery figure himself, but unlike A. we don't get his POV. It's great to have an enigma guy and probably an unreliable narrator of sorts, but at times I want to see more of him. Also, I got a bit confused with his desertion in the past life. In this chapter you mentioned he ran in the C.O, before (Ch.2) you said soldiers were sent after him. Into the C.O? All in all, good job! There is nice fighting here and I like how A. and P. are slowly getting closer. But I feel the need to learn more about this world. The reincarnation and the switch between soldiers and ministers is still a big mystery. And now there is an addition to it about dying in the C.O. There is also the major theme of turning soldiers into ministers, but we don't know so much about this war/threat. We see the monsters creeping onto human territory and attacking. From A. words, we know it is dangerous, and the fighting is tough at the moments. But I I would like to start getting a bigger picture of what is behind it and why it is as it is. After all, if the threat is unrelenting, they can't have all soldiers turned into ministers.
  7. Thanks, Ace of Hearts! You've got a few interesting angles highlighted for me there! It'll be very useful!
  8. Hi Ace of Hearts! It was wonderful to get back to Everlasting Sunset! I could see that you were trying to give us more about soldier life here. I was also very curious about the mother character. It definitely deepens the mystery and brings in the curious dynamics. I really like the phrase on p.7 when she says the cottage is strange just as when she woke up. Sent a powerful image. However, overall, this chapter felt a little weaker for me than the previous ones. I saw that you did a great job coming up with different soldier types and their weapons. It's absolutely logical to portray them in training and give more agency to A, but maybe if there was a bit more danger or urgency to it, it would get more exciting. there was already a battle in the previous chapter, so I realise you might not want to repeat that. But perhaps, the comment at the very end about how A has only one month to get them ready was given earlier, it would raise the stakes a bit. Also, p.1 it felt contradictory then that A tells them not to push themselves too hard. I mean I know she is there to help them, especially P, but she needs them in good fighting shape, so it's not actually about going lax I enjoyed the philosophical discussion with L, I am growing on this smart girl character. Also, the sidesteps A and P are making around each other are great. With that being said, I though maybe a bit more of the body language will help to escalate the matter and create even more intrigue. There is definitely a lot going on between the two, coming from the past. But P's fake smile wasn't enough for me. Also, p.5 "Same fake tone as before. It was hard to believe since he talked.... " Is it the fake tone or her past experience with P that makes her suspicious? I felt like if you focused on the past it would send a stronger image. All in all, I believe there is a message in this chapter - the upcoming threat + additional arc of the mother. However, I feel like they both need just some spicing up just to keep up with the previous chapters in style and dynamics.
  9. Hi, Ace of Hearts! If you have a moment to look at the story, that would be really great. I still haven't got back to editing it, so yes the comments are still welcomed
  10. Hi Cathy! Sorry I am terribly late with thanks, but I was very busy with other stuff and didn't visit the forum. Thank you, the feedback is really useful. I guess smells are different for everyone, but it's good to hear what works and what doesn't. And I was worried about that tea cup, but the story kind of flowed and I didn't figure out how to put the explanation in. But I will
  11. I wasn't sure it works. But there was an idea that the changed warthogs aren't exactly fussy and try to stick to the most common names to blend in.
  12. Thanks, Mandamon! Tightening things up isn't always easy, so thanks for the examples - it's really helpful!
  13. Hello everyone! This is my first submission for critique. I chose a short story, which starts a bit like magical realism and then goes full into SF. It has a bit of violence, but I wouldn't call it very hardcore. Let me know what you think works and what doesn't. Thanks for reading the piece!
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