Releasing your inner dragon

Live Edit: Make sure the story in your head is also on the page

May 31, 2024 Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake Season 4 Episode 20
Live Edit: Make sure the story in your head is also on the page
Releasing your inner dragon
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Releasing your inner dragon
Live Edit: Make sure the story in your head is also on the page
May 31, 2024 Season 4 Episode 20
Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake

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Join Drake and Marie in a live critique where they tear apart a willing victim's work.

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Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Join Drake and Marie in a live critique where they tear apart a willing victim's work.

Writer's room (50% off for lifetime membership):

Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
Drake-U:  - Use RYID25 for 25% off!
Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

The head book comes through perfectly in this line. But for us, obviously, we're like an encounter with a pendant? and then we start making up stories about pendants pushing the religion of Kronos on people on the streets.

Releasing your inner dragon.

So, Drake on this Very hot. I am dying, by the way. I am dying from the heat. It is so hot. I feel like I'm just going to, like, keel over and entirely fall dead. Want to know what the temperature is?

Above zero.

Well, you want it in Fahrenheit, I assume, because, you know, you're. You're that way.


So the temperature in Fahrenheit today in Finland and I'm dying of the heat is 72.

That's actually hot, especially if it's humid, which I know it is.

There it is. It is.

Because that's much cooler than it is here. I mean, the height, it is 97, which is Alexa, what's 97 degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius, 97 degrees Fahrenheit is about 36.11 degrees about 36.

I'm dead.

I'm 36.

Like, I'm not even gonna die, I'm just dead.

That's a.

Heat wave.

I'm sorry. The governments giving a warning. That's it. It's 97. It'll be 100 tomorrow.

No, those are not reasonable temperatures.

It's. It's. This is spring. We're not to the summer yet. I'm dying.

So our high today is 72.

Yeah, that's nice here. That's really nice because we don't have the humidity.

So we consider 72 to be on the hot side.

Right? Yeah.

A good temperature is 20, which I believe is around 54. That's that's the ideal temperature.

Where I grew up in West Virginia, if it ever hit 90, which I guess is 97 here today in the spring. But if it ever hit 90, they the city would pass out free lemonade downtown. And they only did it maybe twice while I was a child. It was only two times that it happened that we hit 90.

So yeah.

Anyway, so on this very hot finish day, why is it important to submit your work for critique?

And the funny thing is, is I've been sitting here this whole time going, We don't have a topic today. What are you asking me? I literally have been like, What's the question? So it's a loaded question for me, because you've heard me say this a million times, but I am a firm believer that you cannot grow as a writer unless you're doing two things.

Yes, all the other things are great reading books on grammar and writing and all of that, listening to podcasts, going to lectures, all of that is great. And it will all help. But there's only two things that are that are absolutely required, and that is getting critiqued by somebody who doesn't care about you and critiquing others. And the reason why I'm so specific on the getting critiqued my people don't care about you is because every time I'm used to say getting critiqued, somebody, you know, everybody goes, I've got somebody who critiques me.

It's my best friend, it's my wife, it's my husband, it's my mom, and they're brutal on me. Trust me. And I just like to say, no, they're exactly as brutal as they know you can take. That's not being brutal on you. That's taking you to what they know your limit is. That's not good enough because we all have different limits.

I mean, I'm I'm a masochist, so I love the pain and agony and like, I get off on it. So and I'm really not a masochist in the real world, but in writing, I'm a masochist. I abhor pain and everything else. I don't even like discomfort. It's why there's an air conditioning unit sitting right next to me. The house has central air, but in writing, I definitely am a masochist.

I want I want it all as much as much bad as you can pile on me. I read there wasn't a full group, so I read this week that my group and I left depressed because no one really said anything. There was no I mean, there was a, you know, thing here, thing there, but it was I was looking for some meat and no one hit me with anything.

And I was just like, sad when everyone else would be walking out there going, Hello, Everyone loved my stuff. And it was so good that no one really had any critiques and they'd be all happy now. I was sad. I felt bad. So yeah, so that's the two things now. Unfortunately, we can't give them one side of that.

We can't let them critique us because we're prerecorded and we live in different countries and we're all over the globe with all of our fanbase, but we can do the other side, we can critique others.

Yes, and that is indeed what we are doing today. We are critiquing another offering from a very brave soul who has sent it to us to be publicly critiqued. We very much appreciate it on the airport and as per usual work and a read, we have not done anything to the text or whatever. We've just made sure there's no nothing to reveal the identity of the author.

Okay. So I will.

She shared her screen just too, because we always say this. If you're listening to on on audio, we're going to try to make sure we describe everything so that you can kind of follow along. However, this might be a great time to head on over to YouTube because remember, we are live, our video is on YouTube, not live, but video.

And you can actually see the text as we're reading it and kind of watch us as we're doing the critiques. And if you're going to spend all that effort and time going over YouTube, please go ahead and like and subscribe. I think we are like four subscribers away from being monetized at that, this recording, something insanely close like that.

So give us a like, give us a subscribe. Give us a follow. Share it to your friends. I know you've got someone out there in your life who also writes,

And then if you would like to pony up some of your writing for sacrifice, our email address is.

Release your Inner Dragon at gmail dot com. Also link in the description below.

Just make sure you say you want this for critique because we are also actively asking people to send us their first page of their manuscript for we want to do another episode of First page reads where we read the first page and kind of tell you where we feel if we were an agent or if we were a publisher, which we are not.

But if we were where we would stop and kind of explain why this would turn off an industry person and why they would bail on your writing at that moment. So do differentiate between first page read and critiquing. Otherwise, we may take your first page read and just critique it. Yeah.

Okay. So I'm going to start by reading the first paragraph, but first few paragraphs and then we will see where we start. To discuss. Well, we found your grandma today at home. She had passed M We called the sheriff and the hospital took care of everything. She had already made plans and arrangements. She was good at that sort of thing.

I'm sorry to call so late, but I thought you should know since your next of kin. Finally, Mrs. Peterson paused, and Emily had a moment for the words to sink in. I'm actually going to stop right there because I do want to talk about this paragraph. I personally am not crazy about starting with dialog. I'm not crazy about starting any chapter with dialog, but definitely not the first.

And I'll tell you why. You wanting to attach the reader to the character as fast as you can so that they keep reading. But now you're starting the story with someone else's actions who's saying words that should matter to the character. But we have no idea why.

Right? We and even though death is a great I mean, everyone can relate to getting a call about your grandma being, you know, being found dead. Yeah. Like, that's great. So I say this all the time.

You don't know how m feels about her grandma. She could hate her grandma.

For all we know.

She it's. It's too.

Blind. Yes.

So and it's a very easy fix because you just back up like 5 minutes to where Em is anticipating the call.

Right. That's one. But I actually want to look at this and look at it from this is what the author wants to do. So let's see if there's a different way to do this. So one of the things that I preach all the time to my students and my trainings and everything like that is nothing you write is real.

So this grandma, all this dead grandma ain't real. Em Not real, Miss Peterson Not real. None of this is real. Everything. The only thing that's real is the reader. So everything should be there to impact the reader. So one way to think about this is, okay, I want to open up with my character listening to someone tell them about their dead grandma.

But none of this is real, only the reader. So is there a way I can do it that would better impact the reader? Having someone call up and just basically vomit? Your grandma is dead. Sorry that it happened, but she took everything, so just letting you know Goodbye. That's not going to ingratiate me at all. Yes. So, you know, if and I'm not going to say it, this is the way to do it.

I'm just saying, is there a way to do this that might be a little bit better to connect to the reader? And one thing that came to my mind was starting off with Miss Peterson being way more sympathetic and way more like I am. I am so sorry to say this. I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but your grandma died today.

Yeah, like anything like that would would help the emotional impact because there's a there is an emotional impact to that. Versus Grandma died today. We found her at home. Her cats were eating her, but she took everything. So don't worry about it. Just let you know by.

So the thing is, it depends on what the author was trying to do is if if, if Mrs. Peterson is supposed to be an unsympathetic character, then this paragraph does a great job of painting her unsympathetic.


But then you need m you need a little bit more M Emotion.


To pull the reader in. So that's I think I think the key here is try for the, try for the emotion, right? Either from Ems side or Mrs. Peterson's side. But yeah.

Yeah, because that's what both of our suggestions give. Either connect me to M and that emotion. Emily and that emotion, or allow me to feel the gravitas of the situation, the sadness, the the you know, she was such a good woman. I knew her for the last 15 years. You know, anything that makes me actually care that this woman is now dead, that this fake woman in a fake story is now dead.

Yeah. Is that's what we're trying to do. It's it's drama. It's. It's about that. So I think and I told you about this all the time because I get every class somebody it. So you're saying could. Could I. Right. It could could can I write like like of the answers always. Yes. And you do something. That's not the question.

The question is, is will I be successful if I write.

X, will you draw in readers and there will be readers who will be drawn in by this? Just find like that, but don't make a mistake here. We're not dealing in absolutes.

Everything we talk about on this show is subjective.

It's only sith deals in absolutes.

So it's true. But yeah, unless we get into like grammar and stuff like that, pretty much everything you hear us talk about, we understand is 100% subjective. It's the reason why you'll always, no matter how bad the writer is, no matter how God awful they are, you're going to find fans of that author because it's subjective. It's just that some things are more subjective than others.

Some things.

Some things. Some things are materially more successful. Like Brandon Sanderson is a more successful writer than Adrian Czajkowski who I'm who I am currently enjoying. Like you cannot argue with that fact.

It's simply true. Right? Right.

And the difference between them is certainly not in in their worldbuilding. They're both extremely innovative. The difference between them is largely in writing style.


You know, because Sanderson sticks closer to the limited P.O.V., he takes you deeper into the character, even if his character work isn't, you know, always the best. Like I can critique a lot of, especially his female characters tend to be a little shallow, but, you know, he's he's much better at at that kind of close Limited, keeping you in the moment.

And he has found greater success in part because of that. Yeah. So what we're giving is subjective advice about what we think would draw in readers. More people, actually.

Yeah, I think that's the whole goal. The whole when I'm writing an opening page, when I'm writing an opening paragraph, the goal is not to introduce the story. The goal is not to I mean, it is it's inner stories, energy to character. It's it's to all that. But those are secondary goals. The only goal I have on page one is make you care enough to read page two.

That's it. That's all I care about. It's all focused on the reader solely 100%. What do I got to put on this page that's going to make you give a crap enough to keep reading? Yeah. Then. Then I can go, look at how big the story is becoming. And look at how, you know, deep and three dimensional my characters are in all of that.

But that first paragraph, that first page is I. You have to think of readers as hostile. Yeah, they have unlimited choices and what they can use for Entertainment Unlimited 700,000 books a year hit Amazon. There's like 40 million books on Amazon right now. You can't read that in ten lifetimes. So like, you can just put the book down like most books are decided on nowadays, are deciding on whether they're going to be purchased by the look inside, which is the first two pages.

Yeah, that's where most people, they just go, I want to buy a new book. I've heard some things about this one. let me read the look inside him that I mean, read the look inside and let me read. I'm already hooked. Yeah, I like. That's the world we live in. And so I press this so much.

And that's what you have to write for.

Yeah. Okay.

So that was the, the first paragraph, just in terms of the dialog, the, the, on a purely technical level, the there is the, the three sentences that started with she had and then she was kind of stood out to me. I get that it's kind of it's supposed to be giving you that's the author running her mouth kind of style.

Yeah yeah. Because we're not doing what the author tried to do here yet. We definitely get what the author's doing. It's it's Ms.. Peterson is either a cold, heartless tad or it's just so uncomfortable that she's the one that has to make this call. And that's very apparent either either side of that, we don't know enough about Ms..

Peterson yet to know which way she actually is leaning. But but if the story went on and we found out that she was just completely mortified to make that call, we would get that even if we find out she's a loving, caring, great individual, we could also go and find out that she's just literally a hack and know neither one of those would be out of place for this for this opening.

Karen Well, it's opening, yeah.

All right. So to continue, do you mind if I bother you when you when I arrive tomorrow, I'll take the first train. Emily's mechanical mind took over. I'm just going to stop briefly. You do want to be a little cautious in fantasy and sci fi? Because I have a question. Does that mean an actual mechanical mind? Is Emily a robot?

If it is fantastic, If Emily's not actually a robot, I would not describe a mind as mechanical, because in fantasy and sci fi you have way too big a potential to be misunderstood on that one.

There's something else that I want to go with here. Yeah. When you are writing and your character reacts in a way that is odd, that's fine. But you need to lay the railroad tracks down for your reader so that they don't. So I describe it as a roller coaster. And you're riding this roller coaster and all of a sudden you notice in front of you there's no tracks and you feel scared.

Now the car doesn't lurch or anything. It just goes to the next set of tracks that you can see. But because that those tracks were missing, you're floating, you're adrift, you're not connected anything. So it doesn't mean that everything has to be a logical, everything. But like this, instead of just stating Emily's mechanical mind took over because that's just a tell.

If we get the reaction to this, even if it's so, we could give a reaction of, you know, Emily's heart sank or her heart broke or or, you know, tears welled up in her eyes and she tried to keep it together, Whatever. So let's say we don't go there because that isn't here. So we get the exact opposite.

Great. Then let us feel that numbness fell over. Emily and her mouth just started working without her. You know, whatever. Let us know that she is having no cause. That's what's happening here. There's no emotional reaction, and that's fine. Emily doesn't has to have an emotional reaction. It would be nice if she had emotional reaction. But if the moment there's like, No, Emily doesn't have an emotion, great.

Make sure the reader understands that that is odd. That is opposite of what probably should happen, because then they can see the tracks and they go, yeah, she's so numb. She's just starting to go, okay, so do I need to call a lawyer? Have you know, has the mortuary been contact or did what do I need to do with the body?

Like because that happens all the time to people too. They get in that stunned. But you have to then make sure that the reader knows that the character is in a state of shock. And you can there's an argument for saying, well, that's what the saying the mechanical mind took over. Sure, there's an argument for that, but it's very telling as opposed to showing me her numbness and making me feel the numbness.

And it's also exactly what you said, which is, you know, this is a sci fi book. I'm like, okay, Emily's an android. Yeah, maybe. I don't know. So you do. Actually, it's confusing. Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. So do you mind if I bother you when I arrive tomorrow? I'll take the first train. Emily's mechanical mind took over. Sure, dear. Anything you need. And again, so sorry for your loss. We just adored Fiona. They both clicked off. Emily sank to her knees on her already disheveled bed, the full weight of her body dropping forward, prone, unmoving.

She made no adjustments, no micro movements to find physical comfort, thinking only of nanna feet. She felt tears overflowing the well that had gathered in the corner of her right eye that carved a path down her nose across her other under eye, and finally soaked the knot of auburn hair beneath her left cheek. Okay, so we get good emotion here, but this sentence up at the top, the full weight of her body drooping, forward dropping.


It feels like this is a lot of repeat, like the full weight of her body dropping forward. It's prone. It's like it just I don't know. It doesn't. It doesn't. I think what the author's trying to do is emphasize that she's kind of just collapsing to the bed. But I don't think that the repeated words are actually doing that for people.

I mean, it didn't hurt me. I there's also an argument for going fragments, sentences. I mean, I don't disagree with you that prone and unmoving don't add a ton. They're not separated. They're not different enough to add something extra because prone means unmoving. So I, I definitely wouldn't do that word choice. But but, you know, but there's also an argument for dropping forward period prone period unmoving period.

Again, I don't think either of those add anything. So I agree with that. Yeah, but I got to there's several things that I have a problem with in this paragraph, but the first one is the opening of that. Actually. Emily thanked her knees on her already disheveled bed. I don't know how you sink to your knees on the bed unless you're standing on the bed.

Yeah, you don't sink. Like if you're standing next to a bed.

You kneel.

Now, if she's a college kid, like I when you know, when I was that age, I was never a college kid. But I was the age of a college kid. Obviously, I didn't have a bed. I had a mattress on the floor. I slept in blankets nailed above the window that, you know, I use as curtains because that's what, 20 year old I think I was about 21, 22, whatever.

That's what we do. So then, you know, if I if it said Emily sank to her knees on her already disheveled mattress, then I could kind of picture that. But I can't picture unless you're standing on the bed. Yeah. So that threw me out. But no getting back to yours. I do agree that they don't add enough to be their own stressing verbs.

Yeah, there's so many other.

But that to me is the thing. Like. Like it feels like the author knows that what she's putting on the page isn't strong enough, or what they're putting on the page isn't strong enough, but they're, they're trying to add more verbs until it becomes strong.

Maybe my big thing would be, if I'm going to do that, I'm going to go with verbs that are emotional verbs. The full weight of her body dropping forward, period, broken period, shocked, whatever, shocked, broken. There's just so many different words that we could use that are like those are all motion verbs and we already have her dropping to her knees and then falling onto her face.

So we already have to motions. So I would want to get internally, you know, shocked, broke and crushed, whatever, disheartened.

Like give us give us new information with the emphasizing verbs not the same information.


These words dropping forward, prone, unmoving. They're all related to the same thing.

Well, so this is actually I think a lot of writers do this because they'll go because the argument against this because I like just you know Steelman my own arguments so the steel man argument with this would be well but that's if I say their pronoun on moving they should get the broken heart broken tragic you know meaning out of it.

Okay, great. There's an argument for that. But that doesn't show me that. And so if we're going to spin those words, then instead of doing subtext on an emotion, using weaker verbs, just give me the emotions. Yes.

And that's what I was going to say. Like, I, I understand like the the the painting they're trying to paint and they're leaning on these verbs to add emotion. But these verbs don't add as much emotion as something like broken or shattered inside or her world fell apart. You know, any of those like add more of the emotion that you're looking to push in here rather than just giving us more motion verbs, especially when that's followed with she made no adjustments, no macro movements to find physical comfort like this repeats.

Exactly what unmoving is.

Yeah. And also adjustments and micro movements just seems overkill for she didn't even try to find a comfortable, you know spot or a comfortable. Yeah.

Now if you if you want this to to hit right right then maybe something like the the corner of her of a book dug into her shoulder but.

She ignored it.

Yeah that because then one you're adding an item that exists in the room so we get a fuller picture of the room and you're showing that she makes no adjustments rather than telling the reader that she makes no adjustments.

Right. But even her body had gone numb or whatever. Yeah. Second, the next like every sentence in this, I think I have so thinking only of Nanna Fey. Like, what else would she be thinking of? She was just old. Her grandmother died. So you don't want to accept that that formatting so we can get rid of that? Yep.

That's a problem with track changes. It starts to add a bunch of extra stuff. But anyway, so this is just to tell. It's I feel like it's the author going. I need to give Nana Faye the name Nana Faye to that, but to kind of take a break from going line by line in this, if this stuff had been worked into that opening paragraph.

So scroll just a little bit so we can see the opening paragraph too. And without even without even change anything. Well, we found your grandmother today at home, close quote, new paragraph, Emily saying to her niece on our already disheveled bed she had passed me am the new paragraph the she and Emily dropped forward you know pronoun me blah blah blah.

But don't worry. We called the sheriff and all of that. Okay, I am adding stuff. I can't help it. So if we if we actually broke up that opening dialog with Ems reactions as it happened, that's also and that's toward what you were saying. The beginning is let's connect to Em while this is going on. So I was just a third way to do it.

We could just back up in time a little bit to connect us to Em. We could improve the dialog so it brings that emotion in or we can thread it through and kind of make it all happening at the same time so that we still feel all of that. And then the last thing I just want to say is I'll forget it if I don't.

Miss Peterson's next line completely contradicts the type of character that we get up above. She sounds like a nice lady, and in the first one, she doesn't. Yeah, in the first paragraph she sounds cold and heartless. And in the second one she sounds like, So sorry for your loss. Look, anything that we need to help you. We just adored your grandmother.

She was awesome. Like, so different from so right there. I have a really big disconnect between this character and just two lines of their dialog. All right. Anyway, back to this line. So that's the problem that I have thinking only with Nana Faye and you already highlighted felt so yeah.

You don't need felt in this case. It's it's just to tell. It's completely unnecessary.

Like the torso filter.

The tears overflowed from the well that it gathered in the corner of her right eyes that you know, you've got it right there you don't need she felt most filtering.

So filtering is when you are forcing the reader to look at the character instead of looking at what is the character's feeling, doing, seeing whatever. And it comes down to diagraming a sentence. So if we diagram the sentence thinking only of Nana Faye is a dependent clause. So that goes out so that the subject is she and the action is felt.

But that's nothing cool. There's nothing cool about that. So instead, if we just cut the filter and we don't do anything else, we have to change the verb, the tense of the verb. But that's it. Thinking only of Nana Faye, comma, tears overflowed the well that had gathered in the corner of her right eye, like it's so much stronger just removing the the the filter.

But then also I always say you should never write the word, feel and felt in narration unless you're using those words as what they are, not as a verb. Yeah. So, you know, the cloth felt smooth and slick. That's great. But I felt sad. Now you're using felt as a verb. The cloth felt smooth. This is not the verb.

It's still the verb.

You're using it to.


I guess I should say I should have that. But yeah.

Yeah, but yeah, so so felt I would definitely get that filter filter to those of you don't know is words that are between the, the narration and the action. It's when basically you cover the cool thing. The tears overflowing from her eyes is the cool thing. You cover the cool thing with the wrapper of trying to make sure that the reader knows that it's the character who's feeling this, but the reader knows that because they're in the character's head.

This is a limited POV.

Everything that is feel felt scene like.

Tears could not be running over somebody else's cheeks here. Yeah.

Like, yep, yep. Yeah.

The carved path down her nose across her other under eye and finally soak the knot of auburn hair beneath her left cheek. That is actually like, I like the description I do. I'm not sure about her other under I, but that might be a fantasy element.

It has to be and that's it's buried in this sentence. And I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing it's that wait what and I like that but there's I have to problem with this paragraph. The first is I'm a I'm a stout zealot of the Oxford comma so across her other under I ama because just go in search means on the bad part of not using an Oxford comma.

It's the difference between you know, let's eat Timmy versus let's eat Timmy. So let's eat comma Timmy versus let's eat Timmy. And that's not necessarily an Oxford comma, but that's just that was the one that popped into my head. And then the wishy washy ness of the finally the crappy l y adverb, because it if we just remove that and just change it to an eng so and, and R and get rid of the and even or we can leave the N and leave it ed that's fine.

So they carved a path down her nose across her cheek and soak the knot of her auburn hair. We can definitely do that. Yeah. We can also turn it into a dependent clause. They carved a path down her cheek across eyelid, comma, soaking the knot of auburn hair beneath her left cheek either. Either way works if you want to and great.

If you don't want it, you can turn it into a dependent clause and and then ing the verb turns it into a.

The said yeah makes it an independent clause so either one of the two it's just you don't need to the finally.

Makes it either a preposition or a not a preposition. Yeah. Participle or a gerund. I can never remember the two. There is one way and the other is the other. But they both are dependent clause with an NG. So yeah.

Exhaustion and grief weighed on her and for the first time in weeks Emily slipped, tears still sliding down her face took.

The order.

I'm not.

Yeah I would. I like to paint a picture as it happens so that my reader never has to struggle. So, you know, I might write something like without taking too many liberties of of the writer. Exhaustion and grief weighed on her. And even though tears still slid down her face, she found sleep for the first time in weeks.

Like, yeah, I like my readers to paint everything as they're happening. Once she falls asleep, she really doesn't know that there's still that's a that's.

Sliding down her cheeks because she's asleep.

Right. It's almost it's not really we're getting very nitpicky here, but order to me is very important as I'm writing. Yep.

All right. Then we come to a paragraph that I think we're going to talk a bit about the following morning was a complete blur. Getting prepared, the train even greeting the Petersons. It was all colors and flashes, nothing more. What stark contrast between the sun, bright house and the mood of the mourners whispering their control and condolences. Grief hung heavy in the air for everyone.

But for Emily, it was stifling. Her only solace was the sun. The sun flooding. The whole house made her feel as if none of you were holding her In that familiar hug. She clutched the wall photograph of her grandmother. It just fraying with age. She couldn't help the realization. A mixture of sorrow, sorrow and nostalgia. Okay, the summary is fine, but I do not know where we are.

After the summary. Which house? The Petersons house. Emily's house. And there are people who say, it's not important. It's just. But I got stuck with that.


I was like, But. But where is she now? Like, she got onto the train. She met the Petersons, and then where are we?

Yeah, I mean, I kind of feel most people are going to follow, especially with the line sled finding the whole house made her feel as if Nana Faye were holding her in that familiar hug that we kind of feel that it's probably Nana Faye's house, but it could absolutely 100% be clearer. The problem that I had with the section and there's no problem with nothing happens here.

I don't want to spend time here. I want to skip past this. But but I can't move to the next scene without at least giving them where we were at in this moment. So that's fine. But more emotions, more connection to the character and their grief would be nice. And then, you know, was this are always your red flags?

Yep. I just noticed you don't have line numbers on here if you want to turn them on or not.


So was is always your red flags. And so any time you can see a was, it's it's something that a lot of times they need to be take care of. So like the line that starts in the middle of 20 to refund heavy in the air for everyone but for Emily it was stifling just to make it a little bit more active.

Reese hung heavily in the air for everyone, but it stifled Emily just to make it a little bit more active. Voice is actually a lot of was is in this entire piece, so there's a lot of things that I would work differently. So I mean, just in this one paragraph we have

there was there was stifling was sun,

or was the sun.

We have

we're holding

as opposed to held

as if Nana held her in that familiar hug.

anytime you have a were or was an annoying verb following it. A lot of times you can get rid of the were or was and end the verb. So like on that last one on 24

and again there we have our feel and felt. But I was going to talk about that in a minute, but anyway made her feel as if Nana Faye held her in that familiar hug just so much more active as opposed to were holding her.

And then we'd have to rewrite to get rid of the feel. But there is a much more active way to write that. If we were to rewrite that and get rid of that feel.

Then that the line 25 to 26, this is where I really got like I was I was okay with the house, I was okay with the house. But then she's clutching a one photograph and I'm like, okay, but now I'm really now I need to know more. Like, I need to understand where we are in the scene because now it's no longer just like a vague impressionist painting of what's going on around me.

Now there's a piece of detail like, where is this piece of detail?

Like, Yeah, yeah. The biggest problem I had with that was couldn't help the realization. Well, yeah, what realization? What she realized. Yeah. I don't see her realizing anything.

I mean, we are we call him back to the sun.

Yeah. Because it's just really removed to me if that's what we are, if we're trying to call back to.

And then line 28, she managed the grateful smile before her gaze drifted back to the photograph. Why is she at who?

Why is she smiling like.

Yeah. Did somebody come up to her and offer condolences?

Is she just smiling off into the distance like a lunatic?

yeah. So that's why I said it. It threw me out a bit because it's like it's vague. It's like an impressionist painting, which is fine, but then it's suddenly detailed and. And with stuff that I felt should have been more clear.

We also smile twice in that paragraph and we, you know, the on 28, it could be a grateful nod or whatever. There's just other ways so that we don't have that double double word in the same paragraph.

Okay. Then without a word, she slipped away from the crowd, making her way upstairs to her grandmother's study. Dining room was a museum of memories lined with the shelves of old books and trinkets collected over a lifetime tables laden with half empty coffee mugs and photos, a cup even set on the floor next to a tea table. This room, the sanctuary of her grandmother, reminded her of just how similar they had been.

So this.

This first side that I love this turn of phrase, this was.


The room was a museum of memories. That is gorgeous.

Yes. 100% agree with that. So but this goes to emphasize your point. We started off so vague. So my point that I had said, okay, we don't want to we don't want to deal with this. We want to just get into something else after this. But we have to let them know we just said they're coming, so we have to let her arrive.

But you went from this vague, I am arriving and I'm doing the wake. It sounds like two now. I'm physically at the wake and I'm leaving this crowd that was never set up for me. And now I'm detail, detail details. Like if we're going to do that, then starting off in this, this vagueness now, what could happen that I think might be a better way to approach it is whirlwind the arrive the train right there and the arrival you know the next the next morning was a blur of colors and flashes.

She didn't remember getting you know, Emily didn't remember getting to the train station, nor even to barking, nor even meeting the Petersons. Her brain didn't really catch up to her until she was standing in the doorway of her grandmother's house. Yeah. And then walk in the door, meet the crowd, see the paint, the picture that she picks up the old worn painting and holds it like, bring me through so you can whirlwind all of that.

But where we switched from whirlwind to in the moment, I feel like was a jarring transition as opposed because we were went too long and then we're now walking away from this crowd. Well, if I was in this crowd, I need to feel it. But also notice what I did there. Her brain didn't engage until that. Again, it goes back to what I was saying earlier about making sure the railroad tracks are constantly there for your reader.

I don't care if they can't see the stuff. I mean, everything I did the beginning of that, you know, she did remember going to the train station. She remember getting off. She didn't walk at the Petersons, like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The track is there because I'm telling you, she doesn't see anything. You can't see anything. But I'm telling you, it's fine.

You can't see anything. And so the reader is like, okay, yeah, no, I can't see anything. But but that's the track. The track is I can't see anything. And then when I shift that transition, you know, where I just did it again, I'm just doing this verbally, but you know, it wasn't until she was standing in the doorway to her grandmother's house that her mind actually engaged and still tracks tracks the whole way.

Can't see any details, still see the tracks. Now I'm going to see details because I can still see the tracks.

Yeah, And that's it. Exactly. I felt like I got disconnected from the tracks and then was suddenly, you know, back attached to them so well.

So I found using that analogy sometimes. And the reason why I try to stress it the way I do, some people think, the tracks means need to see everything. I need to feel everything. No, it means that I need to know what I'm supposed to be feeling and what I'm supposed to be saying. If I'm supposed to be not seeing anything that I need to know.

I'm not supposed to be seeing anything. If I am. If I'm supposed to not be feeling emotions, then I need to know I'm not supposed to be feeling emotions. That's all. The tracks are there. Just the tracks are there to make sure the reader is always grounded. Now, that doesn't mean grounded in emotions, doesn't mean grounding what they see.

Everything can be esoteric. Everything. Would you say some type of painting you said a.

An impressionist painting.

Painting. Yeah, that's a great analogy for that. But you let me know the tracks are what you're going to see is an impressionist painting of this. You're not going to see the actual thing, but the tracks let me know. That's what I'm supposed to see. So therefore I always feel grounded, even though I'm not grounded in the story.

I've no idea on that. But you've told me you don't know where you're at. And I'm going to be like, okay, cool. I don't know where I'm at, but I know I'm not supposed to know where I'm at, so I'm good with it and that's what I'm doing with the tracks.

So I definitely think we need some smoother transitions here.


Museum of Memories. Correct? Right.

Well, that Right. Long.

Beautiful line was lined with shelves of old books and trinkets collected over a lifetime. That was good. I'm not sure why the coffee mugs a half empty.

Just to show the suddenness of the death. Probably.

I guess.

I don't think you need even online 35. Yeah. I think with even just and it with the worst but I wouldn't put photos in between there because then that gives us this weird so table's laden with a half empty coffee mug half empty coffee mugs. mugs. No, that's not going to say the sadness. That's going to say the unkept, unclean grandma who.

Yeah, I didn't mean it. Right. Sorry. Yeah, it's just like that.

That feels a little. Okay.

Yeah. Then that is going to paint to me a picture of somebody who doesn't clean up after themselves. No, it was a a table laden with a half empty tea pot with a, you know, cup sitting next to the table or whatever. Okay, great. That shows suddenness. But when you say I didn't read it right, when you say with half empty coffee mugs, that means that granny is a dirty person and she just drinks her coffee and leaves her half drunk coffee on the table in her room?

Yeah, I don't know. I'm not sure what that sentence is supposed to be. Communicate. Did she have guests? And she dropped dead with guests, but she was fell, right? So, yeah, I don't know that that didn't quite work for me. And then the last line of this paragraph, this room, the sanctuary grandmother, reminded her of just how similar they had been.

I, I get what the reader or the author's trying to do here, but the problem is that I don't know what Em's grandmother was like now. So this sentence means nothing to me, right?

It's a great line. If the things up there. So if it was table was laden with half empty coffee mugs with mold growing out of them and, you know, all this other stuff and then it said the room reminded us how similar we are. Okay, great. You're also a slob, but there's nothing up there that actually has personality.

Yeah, it's a room filled with memories. So does that mean that she's also a room filled with memories? Like, I don't. Yeah, there's no specificity to the detail. So therefore, telling me that she's just like that does it?

It doesn't tell me anything.


Because at this point the only thing I've got about the grandmother is that she leaves half empty corporate coffee mugs sitting everywhere in her house. Like, that's a bit weird.

Or at least in this room.

Or at least in this room. That's a bit weird, but, you know.

And a coffee cup on the floor. Yeah. Also denotes messiness.

Yeah. So. So that's the only personality trait that's here.

That’s the only personality trait. So are you trying to tell me that that Emily is messy? Yeah, but again, it's not strong enough to really paint the. I mean, like, if you had thrown in some stuff, like, like I said, if we if grandma was a slob and we're just trying to say that we're trying to say Emily is a slob too, then it means a little bit more like tables laden with half empty coffee mugs with mold growing out of them, or whatever it might be.

What you maybe what you're trying to paint here is, you know, you both have esoteric interests, but in that case, like whoever read the spines of the books as to like what kind of books they are, the guy was an astronaut Alchemists, Astro lab, you know. Yeah, something something like that. That shows the personality trait of Grandma.

The last line is saying all the personality things that I just painted about Grandma, this character is just like, But there are no personality traits in that paragraph. So the character is a blank slate. Yes, that's what we're trying to point out here.

Yeah. So, so the line by line, but only if you add more personality.

Yep. Yeah.

Yeah. Emily's fingers trailed over the spines, the books pausing at a weather journal tucked away in a corner as she flipped through its pages, Emily stumbled. This does not need to be she. Sorry I did. That annoys me a little bit, so I'm just going to write it right. You should be pronoun.


Emily's fingers trailed over the spines of the books, pausing at a weather journal tucked away in a corner as she flipped through its pages, Emily stumbled upon a passage detailing her grandmother's encounter with a pendant, an heirloom passed down through generations, always from grandmother to granddaughter, skipping a generation of woman.

Okay, that seems like a world building info dump with no meaning. This. This seems like Let me tell you about the magic sword that's going to come in play in chapter four. I'm going to tell you.

It's going to come. It's going to come and play immediately. Because the next chapter is Emily took the journal under her arm. As she did, the pendant slipped out of an envelope attached attached to the back cover. But. But it's still a meaningless info, though.


Because there's nothing in here about what she actually sees. Yeah, there's nothing about what she feels about this. This. It's just. It's a it's a thing. And it's passed from grandmother to like, it's literally just an input if like the inheritance of this.

And here's and again all this is subjective and we're taking liberties with this author's story but like here again, for me, it's order. It's order of information dissemination. So if I was going to do something like this and I didn't notice that the pendant was coming next, if I was going to do something like this, I might write something like after I actually went around the room and touch some things and looked at some things and got some personality, then I would have the line of it was amazing how much you know, they were like, You know, that line that connect them.

Once I have literally let the reader know what Grandma was and then just said, by the way, the P.O.V. that you're in the head of, she's just like that. And so yeah, great. Awesome. And then something like a glint of light caught her eye and turning. She saw a strange looking pendant sitting on an old worn journal.

Curious. She went over and then she picks up the thing and she looks at it and she's like, Well, this is really weird. What is this pendant? I've never seen this pendant before. Maybe she has. Again, I'm taking liberties. I haven't read any further. So. And then it's like a Post-it note was stuck to the to the side of the book.

She pulls it out and it says for Emily. she opens it, and then it starts reading the, you know, I wish I would have been there to give this to you personally, just like my grandmother was. Now it all is personal now it all matters. Now it all it's there. It's this is the transition from grandma to granddaughter that I'm going to live in this moment.

So the pendant has to come first, in my opinion. But again, subjective. Not saying I'm right, saying my opinion.

But a up like this really is just an infodump. I stumbled on a passage detailing grandmother's encounter with. Bennett We don't want to get told what we just get told. Like it's challenging. For all I know, the pendant could have descended from like a bald cushion from the heavens. But at the, you know, like it's it's just information.

Actually, I think I think she she was looking for something in a cabinet and it bit her and she was like, what the crap was that? And it was this, this pendant. The better. We don't know because it's just an encounter pendant. What does that even mean? How do I use walking down the street? And a pendant comes up and he goes, Excuse me, sir, may I have a moment of your time?

Like, what does that even mean? We have a.

Moment to talk about our Lord and pendant.

But our Lord and savior. And he's, of course, talking about Kronos because he's a pendant clock, I guess. I don't know. He's. He's a pocket watch. Yeah. We're making up an entire story here.

So. So, yeah. So that this doesn't work for me.

Like, Well, so what this is, is this is the perfect example, in my opinion, of what I'm constantly harping on called head book versus paper book. In the author's head book. They know they know what the encounter was. They know the importance of the encounter. They know what the pendant is. They know the importance of the pendant. And so this paragraph, when the author rereads it, it is impactful to the author.

But you can't read when you're editing your own work as the author. It's very hard. But one of the things that I'm very happy that I've been able to train myself to have the ability is when I'm in editing mode. I have never read what I'm about to read. I did read it, I wrote it and read it probably 20 times before.

I'm about to edit it again. But I've never read it. I have no idea what's going to happen. I am literally now. It may also just be because I have a horrible memory and I don't remember what I had for breakfast this morning. That probably helps me out a lot, but try and push yourself into going this. Why can we look at this and go, Where does that come from?

What is it? What does it mean? An encounter with a pendant. We can look at it because we don't have the head book. It's. We don't know. The author has trouble seeing this, and this is the reason why we say at the very beginning of this, you must be critiqued and you must get critiqued, must critique others is because when you hand it to somebody to critique, you cannot hand them the head book.

So I think this is that that perfect example of the author didn't mean I don't think to do it this way because when the authors reading this, they include their head book, they know them.

The head book comes through perfectly in this line. But for us, obviously, we're like an encounter with a.

pendant? and then we start making up stories about pendants pushing the religion of Kronos on people on the streets.

And then my other problem is a line 43 to 46. So Emily tucked the journal under her arm, and as she did, the pendant slipped out of an envelope. But that's the back scooping it up from the floor. She Harry downstairs. She's just felt.

Pain. Yeah.

She just found a pendant from her grandmother that is handed down through the generations that she apparently didn't know about. And she could give two tosses. Like, there's no emotion here. Nothing. There's not sadness that her grandmother's gone. There's not surprised. There's nothing.

So this goes back to another one of my Drake isms. And the reason why I have a problem with this. Remember, it's not the how and the what, it's the why and the effect. We have to write the how and the what we have to write that they opened the door and they walked into the room as to the reader can't see it if we don't do that, but the reader doesn't care that they open the door and they walked into the room.

They want to know why. Why did they open the door? What effect did walking in the room have on them? So that's one thing and the emotions and all that. But the other thing is character. Motivation is vital. You should know your character's motivation at all times. So why did she picked this book? Why did she talk this book under her arm again?

The reader or the writer, I guarantee you, is going to go well because she read the encounter and that was that motivated her to want to take this book. Great. I don't get that motivation. Yeah.

Also, why she running down stairs? Why she not staying up here and reading the rest of the like I don't.

Get it right because the next line is she was finally alone. But wait a minute. She just left the crowd downstairs. She already is finally alone. She's in a room with herself. So little bit of disconnected. This discontinuity from that. Although reading the whole line, the author saying everyone from the wake is finally gone. Yes, but that's not it's it's a it's a weird transition to do all of that.

I think that the one of the things that this author particularly has struggled with for me in this is a transitions. Yeah, the transitions are very choppy, very hard.

And that's where you lose that track. Yeah, it just disappears. It's not that the train comes off the track, we just can't see it. The train is still running through, but we feel very disconnected when it's not there. And then again it comes down to motivations. It says she hurried downstairs. Why? Why would she hurry down? Did somebody call her?

Did did did the pendant bite her? And she needs to know now go get a Band-Aid. I mean, I again, motivation, motivation, motivation, motivation, motivation. Every step of the way. The character needs to be motivated by something. She needs to be motivated to be attracted. Me noticed what I did just naturally where I said a glint of something caught her eye, like she's motivated to change.

She's motivated to now seek this out. Motivation, not just the motivation of the scene, but motivation of every moment, every action in that scene. Why does the character do what they want? Again, it's not the how and the what. You have to write, the how and the what. It's the why and the effect.

Now, it could be a bigger motivation, you know, like the character could be seeking through a library in order to open. And that's fine. Right? But and they're opening each book as they go. Yeah but you can you can do that. You can do like a big motivation for the character as opposed to the little motivation of like this cool trial that will trial, whatever the case may be.

Yeah, but.

You have to have reasons for why the character is acting. Why the character? Why? Why did Emily leave this room? I don't understand why. Yeah. Yeah. So I do like this line, though. Mourners and guests had all chatted, sorted and eaten their way through the grief of losing one of their own and hit it out like I do, actually like the line.

So I don't know because spelling I never correct them on spelling because I am dyslexic. But shouldn't that be so our idea?

I know because I think what she's I might I might suggest doing this because I think what she's saying is like said sorry, not sorry as in there sorry like sorry like she's saying okay people saying sorry has become a verb.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, I see what you're saying. And that's perfectly legitimate to do in an English again. That's why you'll never hear me correct people's spelling. I mean, I just. I turned in a story to Horn World, and I had spelled minor, as in the supposedly dwarven miners, but I spelled it as and dwarven children and consistently because that's the way again especially words that are spelled different but sound the exact same.

Yeah, I cannot I have to memorize them like you would memorize a phone number. So, you know, one time it's like, it's a typo. But, you know, again, that's the way I'm going to spell it. And so until I'm corrected, I'm gonna spell and word word's a jerk to me because it's like, Yep, that's spelled right go ahead now, spell right.

It's understand, Spell right, laughing at me the whole away.

miners. Dwarven miners everywhere.

Dwarven miners just everywhere. It's a bunch of just miners. that's great. I'm dyslexic and it is great.

Like in my head. It's a very funny.

It's just very. Well, once I got the notes back from the guy from genre, it's like, Yeah, he probably thinks I'm an idiot. Is is consistent. And there's only like three times I think the word is used in the chapter, but still consistently it was the the youth minor and not the digging miner.

But yeah, I do I do like the line mourners and guest roles like it's a it's a very nice line.

Yeah it is but again transition transition transition here's the other thing that you have to think about and maybe this is because I have, you know, a theater background and a, you know, script writing background and and everything like that. But why do I go from the wake to upstairs, back to the wake to get alone? Why? Why am I changing these scenes?

Why can't I stay with the wake finished the wake, send everybody home and then have the house to myself and then go exploring and find the room and find book and find the pendant and everything like that. Because nothing happens. It's not like I need to find the pendant when people are here because I need to interact with the people that are here because of no, they leave.

We go upstairs, we get the pendant, we come back to house and we take them all out. So why this herky jerky? I'm going to go upstairs. Downstairs here, you know. Yeah, Yeah. And let it flow. If there's no reason to have the people there while I'm upstairs and there doesn't seem to because they immediately then finish it, finish it, and then move on because there's no there's no impact for them being here.

There's no, there's no bonus. Yeah. So it just you know, it's going to flow better when you just allow the scene to be fluid and like, we're at the wake, We're done with the wake. Everybody get out. We're home alone. We find the book, we find the pendant. You know, we and then we deal with that, and it just flows so much better.

And you are in charge. You are the director. So you get to decide. I don't like this scene. This scene doesn't do anything for my story. Let's cut it. Let's just close up the shop of the wake and then move on to the next scene. And yeah, you know, in a movie, it costs money. Like literally, that's and that's maybe one sensitive, too, because I'd be like, wait a minute.

So I got to set the crew up and I've got to get the cast there and I've got to do that, and then I'm going to go do this other scene which costs money. And then I come back. Not I'll be sad, but you both at the same time if I was directing it. But but that's still I now have to shoot this.

Like what? Yeah. So anyway, throwing that in there. Alright.

The photograph and pendant lie on the table before Emily's sepia tones illuminated by the soft glow of the lamp with a deep breath, she reached out, picked up the pendant, and touched the surface with her index finger. She struck to grandmother's image.

So that's a long running sentences with a bunch of words.

Yeah. In an instant, the world around her dissolved into darkness, and Emily found herself enveloped in something akin to vertigo it's run on sentences. And she reached out and picked up the pendant and touched the surface. All of it can just be that.


Like with the only important part. With a deep breath, she reached out and with her index finger stroked her grandmother's image, says exactly the same thing.

Or even just with a deep breath. She stroke the pendant with an index finger like. So it always irks me when people write stuff like reached out and picked up like, you can't pick up something without the previous action. So unless there is a story base reason for no no, they need to see the reaching out and. They need to see the picking up.

But in this case, there's no there there's no impact from reaching out. So therefore we can just do its that I reached out because I just wrote I, you know, with a deep breath she picked up the pendant. Yeah. Same thing with touch the surface with her index finger. She stroked like, Yeah, you can't stroke something without touching the surface of it.

Yeah, it's all implied. So there's so much redundancy in this massive run on sentence.

Yes. And then we suddenly having magic. And Emily has no emotion.


So Emily found enveloped in something akin to vertigo when the kaleidoscope of colors finally subsided, Emily blinked, finding herself standing in the quaint living room, vastly different from the somber atmosphere of her grandmother's house. The furnishings were unfamiliar, but there was a sense of warmth and familiarity that washed over her. She glanced down at her attire, realizing should inadvertently transported herself back to the late 1950s.

Like what? Okay, so really.

Is she really is a worshiper of Kronos. She selected.

Kronos. Spot on.

That's a part of when you're when you're an acolyte of Kronos, you know the care instantly by just knowing it's it's one of the things priests of Kronos get.

Do you have a moment to hear about our Lord and Savior Kronos?

So like, I guess so many questions like, wait a minute, So I touch it now and I teleport back in time. But when I touched it before, nothing happens.

So look, I'm assuming that'll be explored and explained later and it has something to do with touching her grandmother's face. Whatever. Like, that's fine. I can, I can move past all of that stuff without any issues, right? Because that, like, that's a hard and soft magic system stuff. Like as there are plenty of readers who who like soft magic systems.

So no, no worries. Right. I get that. I don't have a problem with that. My my problem is with the fact that Emily has no emotional reaction to vertigo, to lines, to looking down at herself in different clothing to anything percent.

There's one other thing that I want to add to that, because you're on a ship under percent, right? Also, no buildup, several hundred with literally no time in between. We don't we don't see how art is. We don't see the picture of it. We don't we don't think about the passage that was written, the encounter. Like we don't get to read the encounter and the weird mystery of that.

Like, what do you what does she mean? It bit her on the finger and tried to tell her about his and savior, Kronos. Like, we don't get any of that. We just. We just go, finally the week is over.

Bam, We're done traveling now.

So yeah, there's no mystery. There's no build up, there's no, there's nothing is.

This thing is also, you know, this is fantasy. People read it to be transported to a fantasy world this this time traveling moment with a pendant. This is the.

Core of your.

Fantasy, right? This is not a one or two sentence thing. Let the reader feel.

Think back, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and how drawn out it was for them. Stepping through the wardrobe, coming back, thinking about it, looking more, exploring, you know, all of this stuff, as opposed to just, you know, the kids got in the house, they ran straight to the wardrobe and knew that, you know, for whatever reason that it would take them to another land.

So they ran in and went and said, Hide. Aslan Yeah, looking for Aslan to say. So they could ride on his back. I guess literally kind of how this feels. It's just this just yeah, it's, it's.

It's too abrupt. And they start like, like ladies. I mean, this is a time traveling, vertigo, kaleidoscope of colors. Like, take us into the vortex. You know, the first time doctor who's like, TARDIS spins through the vortex. They didn't just rush past the lecture about the 20th time. 100%. But the first thought, let the reader experience the wonder of the moment.

I'm going to force my reader to feel what it feels like to travel in time in this magic system. Yeah, it's. You're going to feel it because Emily is going to feel it and. And she's going to react to it is going to be emotional and and all of this other stuff. And then also it's just such a missed opportunity to do something like she had transporter so back in the late forties like there could have been this huge mystery that we just had to solve like, yeah, what just happened, Where am I mean, obviously I'm still in my grandmother's house and I must be just a, you know, this must be an allusion or

whatever. And then I have to go out and figure it out and then boom. What do you mean I'm back in time? Like what? Unless, again, if this is the 800th time Emily has time travel, then this is different. But then that means that this probably isn't the opening chapter of this book.

Yes. So given the first one, like, I would definitely, you know, given that this is the first time the reader's seeing it, I would linger here. I would let the reader feel it and I would let the reader try and figure out like what's happened, you know, and have Emily try and figure out what's happened. I'll just tell the reader, you're back in the 1940s because I'm wearing, you know, 1950s clothes, which I mean, sure, sure.

But what's the difference between the clothes that war in 1949 and 1950.

Right. You know, yeah. In my lit RPG, which I don't know if I'll ever get time to write, but when the main character wakes up and he's in a fantasy tavern, his first thought is, Did I get drunk at a rent fair? Right? Yeah. It's first thought. Is it. Am I back in a fantasy world? Yeah. That is not his first thought.

His first thought is.

That I end up in a nice.

High world. Yeah. Could possibly explain what I am seeing here.

Yeah, but, so she sets off into the unknown, her heart pounding with excitement as she explored the unfamiliar surroundings. Emily's eyes follow on a bright silver pendant resting on a nearby table. It was the same piece that was in her, but kind of lost track of the pendant. I feel like we're now really rushing all of these transitions.

Feel super rushed at this point, like the author is rushing to get to what they feel is the cool part of the scene and the impactful part of, the scene. And by doing it, they're not giving the buildup room to breathe.


And that comes back to one of my main with a lot of current storytelling, especially in the TV medium. There is nothing is given room to breathe. Everything is crammed together, and because of that, nothing hits.

Right? Yeah.

Because. Because like this, it's literally like instead of this being the school moment of like, what just happened, it just told us, like, Emily feels or she feels trepidation. She sets off into the unknown, and now she's excited. Like it's a roller coaster of emotions. And we've just time travel.

And she's not freaked out by that at all.

Yeah, not. Not even a little time traveling. No problem.

Like what? And again, I guarantee you, this is all because of this is all in the author's head book. In the author's head books. She's adding so much or he. I don't even know if it's a guy or a girl. I just feels like a girl writer adding so much details. Yeah, that that is not in the writing.

But to them, all these details that we're talking about are probably they're.

Kind of.

Like, You must read it for the reader, not for yourself.

100%. Yeah, so. So yeah, I really feel like this section is very, very rushed and it's clearly rushed to reach the point of Who are you in order to, in order to reach the. Yeah, that's what I thought in order to reach the cool part which is not a fee is the space.

Yeah. She gets to meet nanna fe, but when nanna fe is 20 years younger than yes. Yeah.

And that was why I scroll down I just scroll down to to check whether that what I was in fact correct in thinking.

That that is and that is awesome like the story is fantastic. I'm digging it. I love this idea, but you got to let it breathe. It's all about drama. It's all about building tension. It's all about taking the reader on a journey. It's not about, let me tell you about the story. So this girl named Emily, her grandma dies, so she goes there and she finds a magic.

And then all of a sudden she's back in 1949 and she meets your grandma when she's 20 years younger than her. That's literally what you just did. Yeah. I'm not reading that novel. That is not the novel I'm reading like that. There's just that. It's not.

That. That I think is my biggest critique of this piece. The transitions are too hard because the author is rushing the story in order to get to the cool part. It is perfectly okay to spend a chapter just on Emily and her grief.

Yeah, and it's not a chapter, a page or two or page.

You know, And then do the magic.


And take your time. Don't just tell us we're back in the 1940s. Like, let us experience it.

Take your time. No, wait a minute. I do recognize that chair. It looks like a newer of Nana's old chair. Why me?

What you. What you could do is you could do chapter one is all the grief, forget, etc., and then do a chapter break when she stroked across the pendant and a kaleidoscope of colors shocks around her or something like that. And Then you could do the time travel and the exploration of the room as a chapter to write.

And meeting Nana Faye is then, at the end of chapter two.

It's like cause there's as long as there's sufficient conflict and every one on which there could be, there's plenty of room for it. But that's the thing you want to make sure is that every chapter still has. I mean, I don't call them chapters, I call them scenes. And pretty much a scene is, is that. But you need five things in every 4 to 6 things in every scene.

It changes when I give this speech every time. But you need a setup, which the setup includes who's head am I in, where am I at and what is the conflict? Yeah, you then need a rise through that conflict to and overcome and then you need a hook that makes me want to read that next chapter. So who's headman?

Where am I at? What is the conflict? Work through the conflict, overcome the conflict and hook to the next chapter. And when I say overcome the conflict in a scene, I'm not saying that you actually overcome the conflict. It just means that there we now have finished this section and we're moving on. So, like, we're going to go into this cave and get the magic sword.

Okay, that's the scene. It doesn't mean we have to get the magic sword. We could go in there and there's a note that said, Sorry, borrow the magic sword if you want it. It's in Paris, France. Okay, great. Scenes over. We have resolved that. That scene, we don't have the magic sword, but we have the resolution of the scene.

So that's what I mean by resolution of the scene. And a hook, which in that case would be come to Paris, France. If you want the magic short, that's the hook. Okay. Well, let's go see what happens in Paris, France, now. So you have to you have to accompany you can't just have her grieve. There has to be, you know, that still thing.

But there's plenty of room for that stuff in there because be laying in as she is, as she's there at her Nana's house, she's going to see things she's never seen before as a child. Well, that's really weird. I've never thought about it like that. Well, that's odd, you know, because Nana is obviously something different than what she thinks.

And so I start I'd start foreshadowing that and, let that mystery build as we go through here. And that is going to add motivation for her to dig further into this house when the wait is over again. Why and affect why and affect the how and the what is. I'm sad my grandma died like that's it. That's the how and the what.

Yeah but the effect is but this is strange. I didn't know that about my nana. Well, you're a weird person. Why was she friends with you? Yeah, that's interesting. I didn't know this stuff. And so now we have some whys and effects, and that gives us our motivations. And. And we start doing all this stuff. Yeah. So, yeah, it's very bereft of that.

It's very bereft of emotions. It's very telling. It's got a huge info dump sections. The writing is not bad. You know, there's they have good pass.

There's some sterling moments, some really, really good prose lines. Like if you polish that a bit and like trimmed out the full two words so that the lines could shine, you know, a little more I think that that it would be some good solid prose and then plot wise just slow it down. Take your time, build to these things.

And that depends on if this is a novel. You know, I always feel sorry I do not write. I mean, I have probably 50 short stories published, but I don't consider myself a short story writer. I don't like writing short. I like my short stories. I don't really like writing less than 25,000 words. And I can do a lot and 25,000 words.

But, you know, I don't know the reason I'm going there's I don't know. The the shorter the piece, the more tele it has to be. Of course. So I don't know what this is. This could be like, you guys don't understand. I only got five though. I had a 5000 word quota for this book. Yeah. You're going have to speed through some things.

You got to do some stuff. But we're assuming, you know, we're novelists, so you send some.

Lewis Yeah, we're assuming this is going into a 90000 word novel, right?

You know, so we're not going to critique it as a short story. So neither one of you sent us a short.

Story tell us it's a short story so we can adjust our expectations.

Also. I mean, it's weird that you're sending a short story for critiquing to two people that are novelists.

And not just novelists like epic fantasy novels.


To like 200,000.

Words, right? Not that this author did that. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying, yeah, yeah. There was an agreement like, I'm going to send my short story in there. We're probably not the people to send that to.

We're probably not your best critic for that one. We are. We're what you call long authors.

Yeah, there's a reason why we don't do ten minute podcasts. Yeah. So I think that.

That is a great note on which to end this episode, and we will see you soon for another one.


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