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newts
Oct 10, 2012


I've decided to be brave and start posting chapters of my AU/mystery/police procedural/psychic detective novel, tentatively titled The Night City (working title: Sorry, Canada!)

This was my Nano project for the year. And, while I didn't win, I did get pretty far into this.... mess. I'm at the editing stage now, so I think I'll just post chapters as I get them edited and cleaned up.

I do not plan to publish this except in a free format, but I wanted to challenge myself to write a readable, fun, entertaining novel with decent characters. Something you might read at the beach. Nothing too heavy

Anyway, I would love any and all feedback Get mean if you like. I can handle it. Let me know if my dumb alternate world makes no sense or is boring or whatever. Or if my characters suck. Or if my murder plot is dumb, because that's been the hardest part so far. If I get no feedback, I'm still gonna keep posting. If I do get feedback then, yay!

Added my dumb cover:


quote:

A divided city. A killer who stalks the border between two worlds.

Rookie homicide detective Lucia Kowalski has just caught her first case, the murder of a Ďsleeperíóa parallel species of human living side-by-side with our own. And a new partner, Inspector Sam Rush, a sleeper working for the police on the other side of the border.

Despite her fears, Lucia finds herself drawn to her mysterious new partner and deeper into a conspiracy that threatens both of their lives. As a conflict between two peoples threatens to tear the city apart, Lucia and Sam race to stop a killer before it's too late.

Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qQiz3B3n9GJMhI76rjtahbktt0VQLelGDOVmcm_1Aeg

ETA: Hereís the finished novel!

The Night City: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1umcGNrtBcVEEpwWp8RbyETGbsQPu4JEfkIIvheXiK_U/edit

newts fucked around with this message at 01:15 on Feb 12, 2021

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newts
Oct 10, 2012


Editing is not fun for me. Also, I've just arbitrarily divided this into chapters. I'm not sure I like where the divisions are right now, but I can always change them later.

Chapter 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1frsVOESwk2gldVdwWNa5CTcmC__7xfv5BdM_0Dt2O7o/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 3: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UQHXQPktoA1Y3SMPCrzSEpUsbHFasdf9_G1disJdCM4/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 4: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IP0U2GzTHBATEI3LQgPIWw4mjsHgesL0DnYcSK9jZ6U/edit?usp=sharing

There is some R-rated discussion of dicks in this chapter.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


I'm going to ramble a little between chapters because why not? And if I'm talking to the void, that's cool. The void is a good listener.

So, this was the point in my writing process where plot stuff got complicated. It became very challenging to decide what questions my characters should be asking and when they should get the answers to those questions. And how to let the events in the story flow logically from one clue to another. All of that matters, of course, in a mystery/procedural plot because the story is basically driven forward by questions and answers.

It's all written, but I'm still not sure if the clues unfold in a natural way. Moving stuff around, so, for example, they realize something sooner rather than later, is hard because that means changing everything downstream from that point in the story to reflect the characters' change in knowledge. During the first editing pass, it became glaringly obvious to me that the characters weren't asking some of the right questions at the right times. I hope most of that is fixed now.

Ugh. Plot.

Also, despite the title of this thread, this isnt really a romance novel.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Good on you for posting!

newts posted:

Anyway, I would love any and all feedback Get mean if you like. I can handle it. Let me know if my dumb alternate world makes no sense or is boring or whatever. Or if my characters suck. Or if my murder plot is dumb, because that's been the hardest part so far. If I get no feedback, I'm still gonna keep posting. If I do get feedback then, yay!

If you want line edits or more granular feedback, it'd be good if you can turn commenting on in the Google Doc! Anyway, I'll give a range of crits to begin with, then you can let me know what you find the most helpful. So far, I've only read Chapter 1 of what's been posted.
  • Felt like it was a slow beginning, despite the excitement of a dead body being discovered. This is supposed to be an unusual case right? Something that shouldn't normally happen? If so, I could use some more context to hook me in, other than just oh, no, more red tape, which sounds boring and not interesting.
  • There's a lot of characters introduced, and the blurb made me think Stockton was the sleeper cop, before I hit the end of the chapter and realized that was Rush. I think that might be due to the order of how Lucia's internal narration about her partner versus the dialogue about Stockton.
  • The prose reads fine for me, but could use some tightening up as part of your editing pass. Just the normal stuff on checking sentence construction, using stronger verbs and thinking more carefully about where you could be concrete and specific instead of abstract.
Example of what I mean about the prose below:

quote:

The sound [1] woke her [2] and she opened her eyes [3] to a room still deep in the orange glow of a city night [4].

Lucia [2] squinted [3] at the clock until the numbers resolved into recognizable shapes. Four am.[4]

The annoying buzzing [1] she was hearing wasn't part of her dream [7], after all, but was actually her phone on the bedside table. Even the steady tap and whisper of the rain on her window [1] couldn't drown out that sound.

Work. She groaned and rolled over, slapped a hand down on the phone to shut it up and thought about smashing it against the wall. [5] She swiped to answer, instead. The first sound that came out of her mouth was something caught between a cough and grunt. She swallowed and tried again. ďKowalski,Ē she rasped. [6]

[1]: Why begin with the abstract word "sound" when you have all of these much more specific noises later on?
[2]: Why not say Lucia to begin with? This is your opening sentence and it'd be nice to know who "she" is.
[3]: Same with the verb leading to the first instance of imagery. "Opened her eyes" is neutral and abstract, "squinted" is much stronger, or you could go stronger still with some metaphors.
[4]: Here's your first visual. The "room" isn't important, but the "orange glow" and the "clock" are. "City night" feels a little on the nose - could you use more specific description to lead me to this conclusion? When you describe a generic orange glow, I immediately think sunrise, sunset, fire and then possibly neon lights in an entertainment or red light district. Anyway, the quality of the lights is what you're using to signify an urban environment, since you don't have any other sounds going on other than the phone and the rain. The night part becomes obvious when Lucia reads the clock.
[5]: I think you could be more concise here. Also, you've used both direct and indirect thought, though I think the direct style would work better for you here.
[6]: Would also suggest looking at how you use line breaks here. It took me a moment to figure out whether she was addressing the person calling her Kowalski, or whether she was answering the phone with her last name.
[7]: Is this an important or relevant detail, or something that conveys character or backstory? I'm assuming it is on the basis that you've called Lucia and Rush psychic detectives in the thread title. If so, work some specifics of the dream into the opening sentence, otherwise I glaze over it as a reader.

Edit: fixed bad BB code!

Leng fucked around with this message at 16:33 on Dec 29, 2020

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Good on you for posting!


If you want line edits or more granular feedback, it'd be good if you can turn commenting on in the Google Doc!

Sorry! I thought I had, but the google docs app on my iPad is really confusing. It should be fixed now.

quote:

Anyway, I'll give a range of crits to begin with, then you can let me know what you find the most helpful. So far, I've only read Chapter 1 of what's been posted.
  • Felt like it was a slow beginning, despite the excitement of a dead body being discovered. This is supposed to be an unusual case right? Something that shouldn't normally happen? If so, I could use some more context to hook me in, other than just oh, no, more red tape, which sounds boring and not interesting.
  • There's a lot of characters introduced, and the blurb made me think Stockton was the sleeper cop, before I hit the end of the chapter and realized that was Rush. I think that might be due to the order of how Lucia's internal narration about her partner versus the dialogue about Stockton.
  • The prose reads fine for me, but could use some tightening up as part of your editing pass. Just the normal stuff on checking sentence construction, using stronger verbs and thinking more carefully about where you could be concrete and specific instead of abstract.

Thank you so much! This is perfect.

I agree that the beginning is very slow. I think I've recognized that as a fundamental problem with my plot. I've decided not to change it at this point and just keep it in mind for the next thing I write. This is a learning experience and I don't really plan on doing anything with the book after I'm done.

I think the problem is that I was actually trying to convey the opposite of what you got from the the story: that there's nothing special or interesting about the case, at least at first. The case is a typical boring dead, junkie hooker case, but with extra annoying added red tape because the dead hooker is a sleeper. The only person who's excited about it is Lucia and that's just because it's her first case. Which... still doesn't make the beginning an interesting hook for the reader.

I thought my character introductions were clear, but I'll go back and have another look. I hate infodumps (both reading and writing them) so I've tried to have Lucia just think of things organically. But that might not be working. I'll take another look and see if I can fix it.

quote:

Example of what I mean about the prose below:


[1]: Why begin with the abstract word "sound" when you have all of these much more specific noises later on?
[2]: Why not say Lucia to begin with? This is your opening sentence and it'd be nice to know who "she" is.
[3]: Same with the verb leading to the first instance of imagery. "Opened her eyes" is neutral and abstract, "squinted" is much stronger, or you could go stronger still with some metaphors.
[4]: Here's your first visual. The "room" isn't important, but the "orange glow" and the "clock" are. "City night" feels a little on the nose - could you use more specific description to lead me to this conclusion? When you describe a generic orange glow, I immediately think sunrise, sunset, fire and then possibly neon lights in an entertainment or red light district. Anyway, the quality of the lights is what you're using to signify an urban environment, since you don't have any other sounds going on other than the phone and the rain. The night part becomes obvious when Lucia reads the clock.
[5]: I think you could be more concise here. Also, you've used both direct and indirect thought, though I think the direct style would work better for you here.
[6]: Would also suggest looking at how you use line breaks here. It took me a moment to figure out whether she was addressing the person calling her Kowalski, or whether she was answering the phone with her last name.
[7]: Is this an important or relevant detail, or something that conveys character or backstory? I'm assuming it is on the basis that you've called Lucia and Rush psychic detectives in the thread title. If so, work some specifics of the dream into the opening sentence, otherwise I glaze over it as a reader.

Thank you for these! Very helpful. And, yeah, that first sentence is just terrible.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Okay, I've finished reading the rest of the chapters you posted!

newts posted:

I agree that the beginning is very slow. I think I've recognized that as a fundamental problem with my plot. I've decided not to change it at this point and just keep it in mind for the next thing I write. This is a learning experience and I don't really plan on doing anything with the book after I'm done.

After getting 4 chapters in, I don't think your plot is actually slow. It's more that your scenes/dialogue are a little longer/blow by blow in some places than they probably need to be.

Your characters are also doing a lot of running around from location to location, which I get is part of the murder procedural genre, though I wonder whether you need to have so much bouncing around locations.

Here are some of the things that made me feel like the pacing dragged a bit:

  • Lucia and Rush always having a back and forth about the next steps. I know a lot of it is characterization about her uncertainty this being her first case and all, though I think we kind of get it after the first few times
  • Lucia heading to the lab multiple times. The second visit with Sam is much more significant, so I wonder about the choice to have Lucia go twice instead of calling the first time
  • The delay in getting Rush into the story. The dynamic between your two main characters and the way they interact is more interesting than Lucia puttering around with the rest of the humans. The tension set up by the fact that she and her team missed stuff that he catches is a good hook, and gets away from the boring red tape part

newts posted:

I think the problem is that I was actually trying to convey the opposite of what you got from the the story: that there's nothing special or interesting about the case, at least at first. The case is a typical boring dead, junkie hooker case, but with extra annoying added red tape because the dead hooker is a sleeper. The only person who's excited about it is Lucia and that's just because it's her first case. Which... still doesn't make the beginning an interesting hook for the reader.

I thought my character introductions were clear, but I'll go back and have another look. I hate infodumps (both reading and writing them) so I've tried to have Lucia just think of things organically. But that might not be working. I'll take another look and see if I can fix it.

The way you introduce the backstory of the world is a good balance for me. The juxtaposition between everyone else dismissing the case and Lucia being super excited is good, though it takes a while for her to get going on that angle. Some of the stuff she says later on to Rush when he challenges her might feel more natural if she pushed back on everyone else's dismissal earlier.

I think it's about framing. Since we're in Lucia's POV, if she feels strongly about the case, it doesn't matter that nobody else does. Show us the reasons for why she's excited - and it's okay for those to simply be a desire to prove herself vs the old boys' club. That gives us immediate tension rather than a feeling of going through the motions.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Okay, I've finished reading the rest of the chapters you posted!

Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to do that. And, first, let me say that I agree with pretty much everything you've written here.


quote:

After getting 4 chapters in, I don't think your plot is actually slow. It's more that your scenes/dialogue are a little longer/blow by blow in some places than they probably need to be.

Your characters are also doing a lot of running around from location to location, which I get is part of the murder procedural genre, though I wonder whether you need to have so much bouncing around locations.

Here are some of the things that made me feel like the pacing dragged a bit:

  • Lucia and Rush always having a back and forth about the next steps. I know a lot of it is characterization about her uncertainty this being her first case and all, though I think we kind of get it after the first few times
  • Lucia heading to the lab multiple times. The second visit with Sam is much more significant, so I wonder about the choice to have Lucia go twice instead of calling the first time
  • The delay in getting Rush into the story. The dynamic between your two main characters and the way they interact is more interesting than Lucia puttering around with the rest of the humans. The tension set up by the fact that she and her team missed stuff that he catches is a good hook, and gets away from the boring red tape part


The way you introduce the backstory of the world is a good balance for me. The juxtaposition between everyone else dismissing the case and Lucia being super excited is good, though it takes a while for her to get going on that angle. Some of the stuff she says later on to Rush when he challenges her might feel more natural if she pushed back on everyone else's dismissal earlier.

I think it's about framing. Since we're in Lucia's POV, if she feels strongly about the case, it doesn't matter that nobody else does. Show us the reasons for why she's excited - and it's okay for those to simply be a desire to prove herself vs the old boys' club. That gives us immediate tension rather than a feeling of going through the motions.

So, yeah, that's a lot. And I think you've picked out all of the things that I knew were issues, but I'd kinda been ignoring until now (Nano project and all...)

But, again, very helpful because it gives me a good place to start working on solutions. Again, I don't think I'm going to mess with the plot a bunch because, yeah. I think I'd rather work on tightening up my prose and my characters. And the plot stuff would require an in-depth rewrite that I don't want to do on this.

Anyway, solutions...

I think the first part drags because Lucia's inner voice is boring. I'm pretty poo poo at writing internal monologues and I think it shows. She's just not interesting enough on her own to make the first part compelling. But, she really needs to be because she's the hero of the story. I'm going to try to give her more personality, even if her personality is basically 'I only care about the job.' I think this will be a big improvement if I can pull it off.

Locations. I'm going to predict that your issues with the location changes are not because there are too many, but because my transitions into and out of scenes really suck. I'm going to try to tighten those up so they don't drag. I know readers don't need to see them traveling places, but trying to include every detail is a hard habit to break. (And, yes, there are some scenes that are extraneous and should be cut, or go too long.)

But, yeah, it's kind of the detective/mystery trope to have them go around and talk to people. Honestly, I hate writing scene transitions so much that I'd happily have my characters sit in the same room the whole time and solve the case through texts.

So, my plan is to work on those two things: (1) inner dialogue and (2) scene transitions, and get Lucia's motivation to want to solve the case established more quickly.

Thanks again!

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:


Again, I don't think I'm going to mess with the plot a bunch because, yeah. I think I'd rather work on tightening up my prose and my characters. And the plot stuff would require an in-depth rewrite that I don't want to do on this.

<snip>

So, my plan is to work on those two things: (1) inner dialogue and (2) scene transitions, and get Lucia's motivation to want to solve the case established more quickly.

Yeah I think this is the right call. There's nothing wrong with your plot. If you improve your characters and your prose a bunch, I won't really care too much about the plot, I'll just be happy to be along for the ride.

newts posted:


I'm pretty poo poo at writing internal monologues and I think it shows.

At the risk of being known as that person who posts this in every crit thread, I'm gonna plug Brandon Sanderson's lectures again, mainly because I found them so helpful myself.

He may or may not be your cup of tea but he does a good job of covering the craft of writing. And in his lectures, he does address introspection specifically, see Sanderson’s 2020 BYU Lecture 10: https://youtu.be/fJfE-HMfSkk?t=1135 and https://youtu.be/fJfE-HMfSkk?t=2079

Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005


Good advice: don't start your story with the character waking up.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Bubble Bobby posted:

Good advice: don't start your story with the character waking up.

So, yeah, I agree that's good advice, but sleeping and waking are a running theme in my terrible book. The main character gets woken up a bunch of times by different things during the case. It seemed weird not to start with her being woken up by the call that kicks everything off.

But, I'll think about changing it when I get to the second editing pass. Thanks!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ugh, the next few chunks are going to need a ton more work. But whatever. I cut a ton out of this, and it still needs more cutting.

Chapter 5: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Lvr7GrMXhSJ37pC9h7I0caC8s_NKY246xEZmswq7AgA/edit?usp=sharing

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


The latest chapter is much stronger than the earlier ones. Better characterization, done more concisely. Keep it up!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

The latest chapter is much stronger than the earlier ones. Better characterization, done more concisely. Keep it up!

Thanks!

I chopped a lot out of this next part, but it still needs a ton more work. I'm sick of looking at it.
Chapter 6: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-fRSehwiJycclOD1h5kKFQEMqSG92ToIQ9ie8FrOlpk/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Editing sucks.

The next few chunks are all messed up, timeline-wise, because I changed an important plot point without going back and fixing anything. It will take me a few more days to decide what goes where. I'm also realizing I'll need to do some specific editing passes just for:

Character arcs. I think my mains are too friendly too soon. I need them to hate each other a little more. I find it hard to make the main character a racist, though, without making her a loving rear end in a top hat Is that a trope? Self-aware racist?

Conspiracy escalation. That's what I'm calling it, anyway. More hints along the way that they are in peril.

Make the world bigger. More descriptions. More weirdness, etc.

Fix adverbs. I used them a ton as placeholders. Now I need to go back and destroy (some of) them.

Read through for clarity and plot holes.

I have ADD and it's hard for me to focus on one thing at a time without forcing myself specifically to do only that thing, so I need lists.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


I got the worst of the egregious bits, but this is still rough.

ETA: I added back a scene that Iíd removed. Thought it was useless, but I decided later it was important. Warning for homophobia and slurs.

Chapter 7: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c4a6y-zssbbYVVzZ6Y_tya4cMtr1dxjx6AidZHkV4DE/edit?usp=sharing

newts fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Jan 10, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


My characters are all over the place, emotionally. That's another thing I'm going to have to add to my list of continuity edits

Chapter 8: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s2ROkIR2ZLNvaKL5zBbQNSx1h-HFDZOEbdMuu5vVLNQ/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 9: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Pzv_kY24O0nMNG3y2eZ_fCjrzBmHrBIiXqHt9gYJ60U/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


This section feels like it goes all over the place and, yet, nothing happens. I'm already thinking about how to break up their long conversation with more working.

Chapter 10: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kabLi-r3Vq-_-pBG0E37Z41D9QEICUkCK5vdzZMRlag/edit?usp=sharing

I'm gonna keep posting until I've got all of draft version 1.5 up. Then I'm gonna stop.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 11: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-CaQAdMdKWomHpzn6As8HdQZulClg709rTa0XjQlFqI/edit

Everything gets a bit more nebulous after this because this is right around the point where I started panicking that I wouldnít make my word count for Nano. Spoiler alert: I did not.

newts fucked around with this message at 00:59 on Jan 12, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Just alerting you that you should probably change the permissions on these Google Docs so people can suggest in-line changes but not actually edit the original text.

Also the initial premise of the novel sounds an awful lot like China Mieville's "The City & the City". So you might have people comparing it to that which would hurt because Mieville is hard to measure up to.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 15:19 on Jan 13, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Just alerting you that you should probably change the permissions on these Google Docs so people can suggest in-line changes but not actually edit the original text.

These are not my Ďworkingí copies, so itís all good.

quote:

Also the initial premise of the novel sounds an awful lot like China Mieville's "The City & the City". So you might have people comparing it to that which would hurt because Mieville is hard to measure up to.

Yeah. I think thatís just my blurb? The actual story is pretty different, and not just because heís a good writer and I suck. The style, the plot, even the Ďpremiseí are all really different. Mine is in no way Ďhigh conceptí.

Mievilleís one of those writers whose ideas are super interesting to me. And he can actually pull them offóthe places he writes about feel real and lived in, and old and dirty. But his characters are really opaque to me. I never end up caring about them. The City & the City comes closest to making me care about the protagonist, I think because the story is on a smaller scale and we donít hop around into everyoneís heads, but Mievilleís prose still keeps me at armís length from him, like I canít get invested. I actually went back and re-read this recently to try to figure out why. Donít remember what it was, though.

ETA: And thanks for the edits! I forgot to say that. I know I have a ton of Ďfillerí words. Thatís just how I think, and I was writing as fast as I could for Nano. I have a note down somewhere about searching and replacing Ďactuallyí Ďdefinitelyí Ďití and Ďthatí.

Also, yeah Stocktonís a goner. No one survives to retire in fiction.

newts fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Jan 13, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Cool, I'll keep adding some notes when I have time.

I was chided by an editor recently for putting thoughts in italics. Apparently that's going out of style, and "Deep POV" is supposed to eliminate the need for italicizing thoughts. I've seen it in a lot of books and some beta readers of my own work have wanted thoughts in italics though so it seems to be a matter of taste.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Cool, I'll keep adding some notes when I have time.

I was chided by an editor recently for putting thoughts in italics. Apparently that's going out of style, and "Deep POV" is supposed to eliminate the need for italicizing thoughts. I've seen it in a lot of books and some beta readers of my own work have wanted thoughts in italics though so it seems to be a matter of taste.

Thanks!

Yeah, I think itís totally down to personal taste. Iíve seen it both ways. Right now, Iíve got both direct thoughts (ĎHoly poo poo!í Or ĎHoly poo poo! she thought.í) in italics. I just need to go through and make sure the italics are consistent. I know theyíre not right now.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Popping back in to let you know I've read the other chapters that you've posted. Generally, Chapters 6-11 feel like things are dragging a lot more. I think it's because even though you have stuff happening, as a reader I feel like I'm no closer to unravelling the mystery than I was in Chapter 5. I know you've put stuff in there for a reason, though here's what I'm feeling at the end of each chapter as a reader:

Chapter 6: I want to read more about what NorthSide/nocturnum culture is like, and I felt like this was way too brief a glimpse. But in terms of the overall case, it's a dead end. So, drat.
Chapter 7: Another dead body in a related death. Yay! The bar scene in the middle doesn't really interest me, because all I want is to find out more about the latest murder. The National Defense stuff feels like a good kind of foreboding. The murder scene itself is another dead end, so now I'm really bummed because I've had two dead ends in a row, until Rush makes the connection with drug ODs on NorthSide. Chapter ends on yet another dead body and I'm a bit unsure as to whether I should feel like the stakes are being raised or whether this is going to turn out to be another dead end.
Chapter 8: Just when the opening scene is getting interesting, Rush is about to pass out into sleep. The rest of the chapter is a nice series of character moments which is nice. But I am feeling very, very frustrated that I've read 3 whole chapters with no progress on the killer's identity.
Chapter 9: The whole time I am reading this chapter, I am yelling at the characters in my head to ask them why didn't they go to Asa FIRST when they were still investigating the first murder because then maybe she wouldn't have been the latest murder victim?
Chapter 10: Some more nice character moments and finally some momentum on the case. My favorite chapter of the lot by far.
Chapter 11: Also pretty happy with this chapter because things feel like they're moving. The random call with Lucia's mom feels very out of place though.

The things I enjoyed the most were the reveals about nocturnum culture, the backstory of the world, the upcoming reconciliation, the separationist movement, etc. These all are great details that make your story richer. I wish there was a stronger tie in to the plot or the characters that we're seeing besides the predominant speciest (?) overtones, since that is feeling pretty similar to racism.

Some questions you might want to consider:
- do some of these scenes/information really need to be dramatized vs summarized via narration?
- what is the emotion you want the reader to be feeling in these sequences?
- how does that emotion change over the course of the chapters?
- are there long stretches of the same emotion without any heightening tension or release?

Keep going! The fact that you've cranked out and posted 11 chapters at almost 45k words is no small achievement. I had a friend who said he would do NaNo with me last year and was all fired up about it, but then just fizzled 3k words in and just gave up. He had no real excuses for it either, except for the fact that he didn't have the grit to persevere for more than a few days. The fact that you wrote so many words AND the fact that you have the courage to go back through and start revisions is really admirable and you should feel proud of it!


Ccs posted:

I was chided by an editor recently for putting thoughts in italics. Apparently that's going out of style, and "Deep POV" is supposed to eliminate the need for italicizing thoughts. I've seen it in a lot of books and some beta readers of my own work have wanted thoughts in italics though so it seems to be a matter of taste.

Thanks for sharing! I have now spent an hour googling "Deep POV" and I'm pretty about it. Neither Sanderson in his BYU lectures nor Ursula Le Guin in Steering the Craft discussed it as distinct from a "close limited third POV" so this is super interesting.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Leng posted:


Thanks for sharing! I have now spent an hour googling "Deep POV" and I'm pretty about it. Neither Sanderson in his BYU lectures nor Ursula Le Guin in Steering the Craft discussed it as distinct from a "close limited third POV" so this is super interesting.

Yeah I was wondering why I never saw italics in my favorite authors work even though the characters are written in third person, and it's because of that. Occasionally there will be a tag like "thought" in a Joe Abercrombie book, if it's articulating an opinion after a scene describing setting or something. But the thoughts themselves are never italicized.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thanks so much for the feedback! Really appreciate it.

And, yeah, Iím pretty much feeling all that, too My plan right now is to just finish these first edits and get the whole thing cleaned up. Then go back through to try to fix the momentum issues that are making the story drag. Iím not sure how to make my boring scenes more excitingóitís not a thriller. So, most of the tension will have to come from the characterís frustration/revelations, and the stakes being raised by their potential failure. I think I suck at that part, though, so I guess it will be a challenge. I donít want to write a novel with super high stakes, though. More personal stakes, I guess.

New editing notes based on feedback (thanks again, btw!):

óRaise stakes with each scene (Uh, how? Donít know yet. Will think about it in the shower)

óFocus on character development for Lucia. I think she needs to be more of a racist at the start. Her thoughts need to reflect her real fear of Rush, because her character arc needs her to go from being afraid of and not understanding her partner to accepting him as her friend. Best friend? Since she has none. She has a tragic backstory (sort of) that she hasnít revealed yet, but it needs more foreshadowing.

óTie their quiet character moments to the plot more. The bar scene originally had a bit of dialogue that I felt gave away too much, so I took it out. I might gently caress with it and stick it back in.

óMore tension, more atmosphere, more protagonists vs the system, more weird cultural things.

óI think they learn something new from each crime scene, but I need to make that more interesting, idk how right now but Iíll figure it out

I know when Iím Ďdoneí with this itís still going to suck, but thatís okay! Iím going to keep going and learn as much as I can from it. Sunk-cost fallacy thinking, I guess. But next year Iím going to kick rear end at Nano. When I write the incredibly lovely sequel to this book, yay!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Yeah I was wondering why I never saw italics in my favorite authors work even though the characters are written in third person, and it's because of that. Occasionally there will be a tag like "thought" in a Joe Abercrombie book, if it's articulating an opinion after a scene describing setting or something. But the thoughts themselves are never italicized.

You guys are making me rethink my stance on italics.

I donít have a really strong opinion, either way, so I might just go through and take them out. See how I feel about it. I have some psychic speech coming up and that is also italicized, so maybe thatís probably a point in favor of removing italics for random thoughts so it doesnít become confusing for the reader.

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




As Leng knows, I'm not great at feedback/editing, but I did want to chime in and say that I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your work so far. I'll be a bit of a contrarian by saying that I enjoy the slow burn you've got going on, but that's always been my favorite type of detective story. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but this:

Leng posted:

[*] Lucia and Rush always having a back and forth about the next steps. I know a lot of it is characterization about her uncertainty this being her first case and all, though I think we kind of get it after the first few times
I thought was a nice bit of characterization for Lucia. I may be entirely wrong, but I read this less as it being her first case and her being uncertain about it (thought that's certainly true), and more as her finally having a partner that she felt she could actually disagree with instead of being forced to go along with whatever they said for the sake of fitting in. I feel like it also has the potential to play into making Lucia more overtly racist early on (maybe Rush wants to go see Asa right away, and Lucia overrides him, which then leads to them missing their chance?), without making her into an entirely unsympathetic rear end in a top hat.

I look forward to reading the rest of this book, and to reading the sequel next year!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

As Leng knows, I'm not great at feedback/editing, but I did want to chime in and say that I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your work so far. I'll be a bit of a contrarian by saying that I enjoy the slow burn you've got going on, but that's always been my favorite type of detective story.

Thank you! Iím so happy to hear that. I like slow burn, too, which is probably why Iím writing one (shocker!)

quote:

I thought was a nice bit of characterization for Lucia. I may be entirely wrong, but I read this less as it being her first case and her being uncertain about it (thought that's certainly true), and more as her finally having a partner that she felt she could actually disagree with instead of being forced to go along with whatever they said for the sake of fitting in. I feel like it also has the potential to play into making Lucia more overtly racist early on (maybe Rush wants to go see Asa right away, and Lucia overrides him, which then leads to them missing their chance?), without making her into an entirely unsympathetic rear end in a top hat.

Yeah, it was intentional. Iím glad that comes across. And their later back-and-forth is more of them bouncing ideas off of each other as they get used to working together. And as Luciaís finally getting to do the work she wants.

And, yeah, thatís actually a really great idea! Iíve been trying to resolve the plot hole with them not visiting the doctor that first trip to the NorthSide. I wrote a little fix-it scene in which Lucia just wants to get back to the South and doesnít think the doctor is important, but I hadnít thought about tying it in to her issues. Right now, itís just her being a rookie and screwing up. But, yeah, good idea. I think Iíll change it!

quote:

I look forward to reading the rest of this book, and to reading the sequel next year!

Iíll try. Itís all plotted out, which I know means nothing because plotting is the fun part

Thanks again!

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Thanks so much for the feedback! Really appreciate it.

And, yeah, Iím pretty much feeling all that, too My plan right now is to just finish these first edits and get the whole thing cleaned up. Then go back through to try to fix the momentum issues that are making the story drag. Iím not sure how to make my boring scenes more excitingóitís not a thriller. So, most of the tension will have to come from the characterís frustration/revelations, and the stakes being raised by their potential failure. I think I suck at that part, though, so I guess it will be a challenge. I donít want to write a novel with super high stakes, though. More personal stakes, I guess.

Wanted to bold this because this is super important. Write the story you want to write! Feedback is just feedback; it's to help you understand whether you're achieving what you want. You don't need to accept and act on all feedback, just the feedback that's going to help you write a better version of the story you're trying to tell. Keep in mind that not all who provide feedback will be your target audienceĖfor example, I am very much NOT your target audience, however

A Small Car posted:

I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your work so far. I'll be a bit of a contrarian by saying that I enjoy the slow burn you've got going on, but that's always been my favorite type of detective story.

<snip>

I look forward to reading the rest of this book, and to reading the sequel next year!

Here's someone who clearly isĖso weigh our feedback accordingly! (i.e. listen to what's working/not working for A Small Car, and only listen to my comments to the extent that they are helpful)

A Small Car posted:

As Leng knows, I'm not great at feedback/editing

Think your post history demonstrates otherwise.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Here's someone who clearly isĖso weigh our feedback accordingly! (i.e. listen to what's working/not working for A Small Car, and only listen to my comments to the extent that they are helpful)

You have both been very helpful. Thank you!

Work started again so Iím moving slowly now. This next bit also has a big, emotional scene that Iím struggling to get right. I might just leave it and see how I feel during the second round of edits.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


gently caress. Sometimes, youíre just not in the mood to edit a make-out scene. This will have to do for now. Iíll look at it again in a few months.

Chapter 12: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-E-G9DmY6FQkV-Ftq6pGq1eeqJFGILe3hDl8vmNFZmA/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A teeny chapter. I prefer them longer, but I can only edit small chunks at a time.

Chapter 13: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-M6V8IqrnZiFA9VXwJv6tEOvg1OEQ7gYuKjaNfze6O8/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Warning for suicide

Chapter 14: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-mEZrjBT66CEmTFIy0YsuSc23mH5NtuLMZccDapDB9g/edit

This is the ending of my tentative second part. I wrote this in three big Google Doc chunks because of the slowdown that happens when you try to edit something over 40,000 words or so. That means, Iím 2/3rds done with my first editing pass. Yay, me!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Needs. More. Something.

Chapter 15: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10t6Kujv9Jw9YeXvRSVc7jTE9RmttVOL-7EePjr4phvw/edit

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


I like these chapters a LOT more than the previous ones. Can't wait to see how the story ends.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

I like these chapters a LOT more than the previous ones. Can't wait to see how the story ends.

Aw, thanks! Iím almost done.

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newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 16: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11MhwVjEIlkThbr2B-CEIpCazgw2lBNfaKU8VtGm1QoQ/edit

So. Close. Aarrgh!

Itís about 80,000 words, around 200 pages. Iíve got two more chapters to go. Then I can edit it all over again

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