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  1. Hey y'all, this is chapter 1 of the first draft of my first fantasy novel, Dreams of Devils. It's rough so let me know where it's in need of polishing. Questions: 1. What do you think of Nimos? Is he a character you can ride with? 2. Does the world-building get info-dumpy at any point? 3. Is there anything you feel the chapter is lacking?
  2. Omg, I just saw that y'all said to go ahead and post this week on Monday Oopsie. I figured I was posting this Monday, so if I can, I'll still go ahead and do that.
  3. Hey, can I submit Monday as well? Without getting too much into it, we had a family emergency earlier this week that turned into a loss and I've been out of town settling some family affairs. I figured I'd just wait to submit until the next Monday.
  4. Apologies, I got held up at work and had a bit of a crazy day. I will email the chapter and get a topic up by this evening.
  5. You could start the scene with Is arguing with Do about how she needs to get out and be seen to keep up the charade of normalcy. Do would likely disagree as her tending healer, wanting her to rest and heal more before going out. Then she goes to the park anyways and sees everyone there. I think this is great. Do it. Firestone still seems more magicky, just because it's magic you can see. You only see the effects of the energystone. It does imply though, that some magic has a darker aspect to it than others, which is intriguing. I see what you're getting at. I can't put my finger on it, but I was becoming annoyed with Is every time she refused help from someone, and then struggled and was in pain as a result of it. It's like I kept wanting to roll my eyes at her and to tell her, "you just survived an assassination attempt, and before that you defeated Ro in the tournament. No one is going to think you're weak if you need help walking afterwards or need to rest or whatever." I think my problem is I still don't understand her compulsion not to appear weak. Why is she so concerned about this? This is complicated for the part of the scene with May and Det, since they don't know about the assassination attempt, so she's also trying not to appear weak to maintain the ruse of normalcy. In this case, maybe play it more like the reader sees occasionally grimaces and other fleeting signs of discomfort, but Is doesn't really mention her pain or tiredness. We know what kind of state she is in, and that's she's trying to put on a brave face for her father. So we can see more of Is' toughness in a scene where we know she's hurt and feels bad, but acts like she isn't and doesn't think about it as much. Turn up her competence slider in working through the pain with grace. I'm starting to ramble so I'm out.
  6. I think it would have been a really nice moment if Al had offered Is an arm, and she took it. I really wanted to see that happen.
  7. 1) Any boring bits or bits that don’t make sense? Most of chapter 7 where C is concerned with getting good grades and ignoring everything else was somewhat frustrating and boring to me. V was making some cogent points, that I wanted C to address, but she just tried to ignore them and focus on homework. I think that C spends way too long to realize that GM tricked her and that getting good grades isn't going to do anything. 2) Do C and V’s character arcs track? As it is, I don't see much of an arc between the two of them, particularly V. He feels like he's been absent a lot lately, and quite a bit more passive than when he was introduced. There's has been more with C, but at the same time, she has frustratingly maintained her dense naivety. 3) Does the info about the WS in chapter 8 feel satisfying? Was it too easy to guess, or did it come out of nowhere? Are you interested in the mysteries still to be uncovered? It wasn't particularly satisfying, since I had figured that out many chapters ago. It was very easy to guess. I am interested to see what's going on with the WS, but the intrigue is starting to sour. I want some more meat about the WS. I want to know about the plane. I want to know what the deal is with C, was she created in the WS? I want more juicy WS bits. As I go- (Chapter 7) pg 1 - It seemed like "Consumption and Conservation" was going to be an important book, but from how C describes it, it's about rich people arguing about money and getting married. This may be a red herring from C's POV, as it feels like it might be actually about the town of C. I also find it interesting that Consumption and Conservation both start with "Con", as does the protagonist/town name. I still feel like the book is important, and possibly about the town and its people. Especially when we get the line, "the book's approach to responsibility." We've already seen the word "responsibility" used in reference to the WS. pg 2 - Her brain wants to focus on how much she misses MD. Does she really? They didn't seem to have a close connection, and she's only had him for a couple of days. Perhaps it's because she was his creator. - "Instead of building up and up until it spills over, the buzzing energy inside her seems to have vanished." I still want to know what the deal is with this. Is it magic, is it a metaphor for a mental health problem, is it a physical ailment? - It feels like C is ignoring all the interesting questions that have been posed lately, and is instead trying to drag reader down the path of boredom she has selected for herself in her quest to become good at schoolwork, even though she knows that GM was lying about the grades thing. pg 3 - "I have completed an aerial circuit of the town." Just now? Isn't the town quite small? I feel like V did this the first day he was there. What has he been doing with his time if he's just now completed an aerial circuit of the town? - "And your house is at the origin-that is, the dead centre-of the circle!" Mmhmm, around the house with the stove, which is definitely cursed. Makes sense. - "Are you still working on that essay? This is getting silly." Agreed, V. Very much agreed. We saw through GM from the beginning. Why is C still committed to getting good grades? - "We still haven't finished investigating the plane!" Yassssss. We need to get back to that, please. I want to know what's going on with that so badly. pg 4 - "...on a single-minded mission to do whatever it is that teachers do in the staff room." I feel like I've already read this line from you much earlier in the novel. pg 5 - "She sees a nasty bully, laughing at other people's trust." Geez, finally C. Been waiting so long for C to realize this about GM. You can only be so naive until it begins to cross over into stupidity. And we know that C isn't stupid. pg 6 - "A hungry, smouldering elephant in the room." This is an excellent line. I love it. pg 7 - "So MD can't understand most language, other than his name, but he can recognize the phrase, "WS?" Chapter 8 pg 1 - "This jumper is a metaphor, isn't it?" Haha, I love this. pg 2 - "If you keep trying to find out more, you will not be permitted to live in town any longer." Oh wow. What would they do, just exile her? - "I think the WS can burn anything. Not just objects, but concepts too...You don't gain or lose anything, but it all gets shuffled around." Hmm interesting that C has figured out this much. pg 3 - "It can't quite burn anything." Wow. Mr Sta folded rather quickly. - "Since before before." Haha, this is amusing, but also intriguing. - "...and to clean up or take care of any unwanted products." Is he talking about V or MD, or is he possibly talking about C? Hmm.
  8. Any confusing/boring sections? There wasn't anything particularly confusing, but this chapter was uneventful. I feel like the conversation between Is and Al was a missed opportunity for some meaningful dialogue between them. Is spent a lot of time being tired and in pain, but also not taking steps to lessen it other than using the spellstones. Thoughts on characters? May had the strongest characterization in this chapter, and also the best lines. I don't know what it is, but I feel like your supporting characters tend to hog the spotlight and get the best scenes and lines. Your protagonists end up looking bland and ineffective compared to them. Also, your protagonists spend a great deal of the scenes doing inner monologue, when they should be interacting with the world and people around them. I think they need to get out of their heads a bit. Give them more dialogue, and juicy dialogue at that. Points of interest or engagement? I wasn't engaged for most of this chapter. It became interesting when Al and Is finally got to have a conversation, although that was also very short-lived and unexplored. This chapter lacked conflict, at least in terms of the POV character. Is refusing help and feeling bad isn't compelling conflict. We need more than that for her POV chapter. I want to see her get upset at May or Det, or even Al. Or maybe she allows herself to be upset at her dad in front of Al. As I go- pg 1 - "She opened her eyes and stared at the spellstone," I think this would be a great place to actually describe the spellstone in detail for the reader. I just see a random gemstone in my mind. - "The feeling of the spell traveling up the arm that held the stone and through the rest of her body at a steady pace without her being able to do anything to affect it was unnerving, to say the least." This sentence drags a bit. - "...she asked, switching to massage the other leg. Is nodded once and switched to the other leg." This reads strangely, almost like Is has 3 legs. pg 2 - "The girl had never been comfortable with any magic beyond firestones." This seems so odd to me, since a firestone is so much more "magicky" than a strengthening stone in my mind. It's not like you can really see anything happening with a strengthening stone, but I know that's not the point. - "...paranoid that magic might somehow ooze over the border on its own to cause chaos." Great characterization line. pg 3 - Wow, using the energy stone seems horrible. Like stabbing yourself in the heart with a syringe of adrenalin. Seems a bit like black magic or something. pg 4 - ..."or Is was too tired to notice anything out of the ordinary." Wait, isn't she wired from the energy stone? - "She walked back through the gardens with May, which automatically meant also walking back with De." You can cut the "automatically" and this will flow better. - "For the most part, the arrangement left Is free to pace silently..." The "for the most part" isn't doing anything here, other than weakening your sentence. I would cut it. pg 5 -..."but Al cut in before she could say press the matter." It looks like the "say" needs to be cut from this sentence. - There are a lot of names on this page to keep track of. May, Mal, Der, Isr, Sha, Cer, Gi, Ro, Al, Neri, Det. pg 6 - too tired to think any more of it until her cousin's enthusiastic "enjoy your evening" trailed after her. Haha, yes, great humor and characterization here for May. pg 7 - "Was that a May-shaped shadow silhouetted against the wall?" I love this. May seems like the pushy, overly flirty friend that means well but also oversteps their bounds. pg 8 - "So much for her plan to avoid letting anyone see her slow, painful ascent of the stairs." Good characterization of Is, but also somewhat repetitive. pg 9 - "She refused Gin's offer of a hand under her elbow." Right now, it seems like Is' main personality trait is to refuse help from others. Are we going to find out why? I would like to see more about who she is. - "What is the king planning?" This seemed to come out of nowhere, but I'm glad for some juicy conflict-related dialogue. pg 11 - "Even a supporting hand on her elbow would be helpful to take a little of the weight off her legs." It's one thing to have Is constantly refusing help from others, but it weakens that when she is wishing she hadn't refused help and wishing that someone would just help her. It sets up a hypocritical sense to her thoughts and actions. She spends a good part of this chapter refusing to allow others to help her, and then wishing they would, and thinking about how nice it would be if they did. It's like she's playing the stoic and the victim at the same time. pg 12 - "Al glanced toward the stairs once more before bidding her goodnight and turning down the hall to his rooms." I would have liked to see this happen on screen, with the actual dialogue. I feel like Al and Is have had precious little time to talk, and it would be nice to get some more characterization from both of them. Don't cut short their already brief interactions.
  9. I really like this, where the car is able to sympathize with the man, despite the radically different POV. I'm glad you like this idea, I think it's a fun manageable way for us to practice writing throughout our busy lives and to find some enjoyment in a small project that we can complete quickly.
  10. I remember that was a fairly dry talking heads scene too. A moment where Al makes the connection between Ket weather mages and his father in that scene would really ramp up the intrigue and involve Al more in the talking heads discussion.
  11. Everything is better with David Tennant, he's like ice cream
  12. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer right?
  13. Whaaaat? Why didn't he respond when they were talking about Ket weather mages in court? Wouldn't he have thought about his father?
  14. Thoughts on the angle brought in by the new pov? I like seeing Ali's perspective, especially on Is. It's nice to see a close relationship between them, as well as with their mother. In fact, I like Ali better then is. I feel like her voice is stronger. Is the new information presented in a way that is absorbable? I struggled with some of the exposition in this chapter, it became dense and chunky in parts, while smooth in others. I noted on the AIG where. I wanted the story of the mage rebellion to be elaborated on a bit more, but with some more drama around it as well. Give me some spicy details. Any confusing/boring sections? I noted this on the AIG, pg 11 was boring/dense for me. Thoughts on characters? I enjoyed seeing some humor and more character in the Queen in this chapter. I also enjoyed Ali's POV, it was easy for me to ride with her, and I liked seeing her close relationship with Is. Points of interest or engagement? I talked about it earlier, but I was really intrigued with the Mage Rebellion. I feel like a more interesting and dramatic treatment of the story, mentioning some specific interesting details, would have drawn me in more. Maybe Ali or Is could read a portion of another journal depicting an interesting scene from the rebellion. And if it were from the POV of a mage...*chefs kiss* As I go- pg 1 -I think it might be better if we have Is' dialogue response, "Is that for me?" to the dramatic flourish revealing the cake before Ali describes how Is looks and begins to to talk about how is' has been, etc. The "Is that for me" seemed delayed after the exposition. -"Desserts were always a reliable way to cheer her up," good characterization -"...spearing and berry and mopping it through the cream on the plate," great visual -"Alina smiled softly," adverb, but also, what exactly is smiling softly? That's a synesthetic phrase. pg 2 -Be careful how many times you use "stiff shoulders" to emote. Try to diversify your physical emoting. -There's a lot of names on this page, and I don't think they all need to be here. It's a lot to keep track of. I would suggest paring it down to what's important in this scene. I want to see the characters talking to each other about each other, and less of them talking about other people. -"she muttered, fidgeting with her bracelet." Al's bracelet, I like that she essentially has a piece of jewelry from him. A physical connection and reminder on her body. pg 3 -"Just don't let her get too excited about the duke of t." That's right, stay away from my mans -I see that Ali is trying to gossip with Is so I understand why they are gossiping about other people instead of discussing their own lives. Ali is trying to avoid their own drama. pg 5 -"She says there's some puzzle she can't figure out." Oh, do tell? Mage rebellion? Consider me intrigued. pg 6 -Have we found out why the mages rebelled already? pg 7 -So Jad was possibly a mage, was involved in the rebellion, and mixed history with erotic poetry in her journal, haha, she sounds like a character. pg 8 -"It has been quite revealing," haha, nice pg 9 -"she asked quietly." I would just say "she whispered" to avoid the unnecessary adverb. -pg 10 -"They have far more to lose if the news gets out." You're talking about Al, right? pg 11 -This page is feeling exposition/infodump heavy. It's losing the feeling the authentic mother/daughter dialogue. pg 12 -"Ali returned the smile and pushed herself to her feet, wrapping her mother in a firm embrace before excusing herself to rest before the next of the week's social events." This is a marathon of a sentence. I would try breaking it up. -I think that Ali needs to mention Is by name in this last paragraph to solidify the connection that she is talking about her sister. It feels distant.
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