Chapter 20CHAPTER 20:
Yes, a new chapter! I was waiting for this, so I tried to write a critique as soon as possible. I hope you don't mind, but for your story chapters, I'll give everything 4 stars from now on to avoid having to bother with the ratings.
Storyline and plot
Although I'm not surprised at the appearance of Pandora, it was still pleasant to actually read it. It's a bit hard having to keep re-reading the chapters because I can't remember what happened exactly in the one before this if I read it a few weeks ago. Therefore I can't talk about the story as a whole a lot until I read it all in one go. I had to go back to chapter 19 to refresh my memory of why there was so much dust settling on them! A rock fell down from the ceiling, correct?
But for now, it seems to fit the previous parts reasonably well. Good job! I do have a few small things, but I'll mention those later. For now I'm mainly interested in knowing if Juilliard & co get caught, and how exactly they will manage to get out of this quite literal mess. Minus the explanation about Pandora's powers (I'll give arguments below) this chapter definitely kept my attention.
To be honest, while I was curious and genuinely interested in Pandora's teleportation power, it felt like you were (not so) subtly trying to feed information to the reader. Something is trying to catch Juilliard & co. - I would skip the explanation and ask her straight away if she could teleport me out. She could explain herself at a more appropriate time, when they're not in danger of dying or worse.
I thought this was one of your best chapter endings so far, because there's no way of knowing whether they will end up injured or not!
I like the ease with which Pandora has tracked them down. It gives the impression that she's capable of more than she shows, and it also shows how painfully easy it would be for the Soldiers to find them.
I also like the added aspect of humanity Pandora received here, even if she might not truly be human. The fact that she tires and isn't in full control of her power made me feel a bit more sympathy for her. As if she's not only a mighty creature with strong powers, but someone who struggles. So great job on that! I did think that she seemed different from when they first met her. Somehow she seemed kinder before? More compassionate? She even took Juilliard into her arms and tried to comfort him, but here she has kind of lost her reassuring attitude. I also think a little mention of her strange voice due to her flaw would help remind the reader who she is, in case anyone forgot.
I thought the way even Pip lost his usual cheery attitude was very fitting here as well.
So I liked Pandora and Pip, but I'm a little bit less sure about Juilliard. He seemed to play a weak role in this part, by mostly asking questions instead of actually doing something. I'm wondering why Juilliard has no further questions to Pandora when she mentions the Superiors realized who he is and how wanted he is. I would ask her why they wanted me and why I was so important. He must be curious, right? It feels as if he's somewhat turned into a puppet to dispense plot information here, rather than a person with feeling (wow, for once,I have actually captured exactly what I wanted to say).
Spelling, grammar and style
As usual, I could not catch any grammar or spelling mistakes! And I don't think I should need to pay attention to those since you've proven yourself more than capable of writing in clean, neat English. Therefore my only complaints are about the style and use of certain words.
In the beginning there is a repetance of the dust - first clearing, then settling. This made the sentence seem a little bit awkward to me. Also, first they notice the figure, which is apparently easier to see than their surroundings. That just felt a bit off to me.
Moving on to the second paragraph. It starts with Juilliard wondering about Pandora, then immediately switches to descriptions of the room. I have 2 problems with this part:
1. The way it's written makes it unclear if It's a strange thing to watch refers to Pandora materializing or the walls coming down (although I would guess it was about Pandora).
2. There has already been a mention of the rocks around them and how it seems that they might fall down and crush the party. No need to do so twice.
That part read a bit difficult for me.
But between you and the Soldiers you have following you, doesn't flow very well in my opinion. I would recommend changing it into 'But between you and the soldiers following you,' but that's just an idea.
The last line is suddenly in present tense, while the rest of the piece isn't. Just thought I'd point that out.
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall there ever being a mention of a forest before? I thought they went straight from the Underground into the mountain cabin. I checked previous chapters but couldn't find a mention. This is what they say:
It took us about twenty minutes to find the hidden entrance to the outside and as soon as we crawled our way through we blocked it off with logs and whatever else we could find, just to be sure no one else would be able to track us down as quickly as they wished.
I think just a simple mention of them actually entering a forest in the earlier chapters would do. Describe the trees, the fresh air, just to give us an idea of their surroundings. Looking back, I realize there is actually barely any description on where they end up after leaving the Underground, unless I missed it (in that case, please refresh my memory!).
I don't know if this was described anywhere, but how dark is the part of the cave that they're trapped in, exactly? Pandora would have to see their mouths move to understand the words, and in the current circumstances, it seems like it'd be very dark in the cave.
Overall while I didn't think it was your best chapter up to now, I still liked it. There are some minor logic/consistency flaws, at least in my opinion, but nothing drastic. Keep going - you're doing an excellent job!
I think I've managed to squeeze all my thoughts onto the paper about this chapter. I'm sorry about the length, I just can't seem to help it! Hopefully this critique helped you out. Time for the usual stuff - feel free to disagree with me on anything.
I swear, if this book doesn't come out perfect with all the editing due to these lovely critiques you've given me, there must be something wrong with this world. Thank you so much once again! A second set of eyes is always so helpful. I read and re-read this chapter more than a couple times and I didn't notice any of the things you pointed out.
Storyline and plot
I know... It is difficult to keep up with my slowness. I'm trying to change that!
About the dust, the mountain was kind of starting to cave in on itself. Also (unbeknownst to Juilliard and Pip), there are explosions happening throughout the mountain, both from Pandora and the Soldiers. So the settling dust is from more than one rock as the mountain crumbles.
Hmm. I agree with you about the teleportation discussion. You're right, it's probably not the best situation to be in while having the discussion.
Oh, you like the ending?
I'm glad you liked Pip's change of attitude and Pandora's humanness! I originally was intending to make Pandora (from Juillard's POV) seem almost fake because of how super kind she is. In this chapter she's lost her fake sweetness because she's not exactly concentrating on it. Does that make sense?
About Juilliard. I agree with you. Again, I'm in my own head, not Juilliard's. I know the reasoning behind what's happening, but Juilliard doesn't so of course the reader's become confused by that.
I'll go back through and work on that! I see what you mean. And you're right, the strange thing to watch is Pandora's materialization. And the last sentence... Oh, I didn't even realize it was a different tense! I think it's a typo actually.
I can't remember the exact details, but I think I mentioned at least a patch of trees in the chapter where Pip and Juilliard are fighting those Soldiers. However, you are right, I do need to add more details about their surroundings. For future references and future edits! I know it seems like it, but they didn't actually go straight from the Underground to Deff. Well, in specifics, yes. But they did spend more than just a few days between the two.
Ahh, another lack of description! I didn't mention that anywhere... I have a way of changing that, but since it hasn't been described yet and I won't edit anything until I'm done, I'll tell you now! I think I'm going to make Pandora's race emanate some kind of light, which of course in daylight and places that are already lit, isn't really noticeable. It's kind of like that eerie alien-like glow I suppose. I think it's fitting since her race is so light to begin with. What do you think?
I'm glad you liked it! I see all your points and I agree with them, so no arguments this time The length is never a problem! It just means a longer wait for a reply, but I don't think that's too much of a problem.
Thanks again! I always appreciate your comments
Aw, stop it... I'm just trying my best to help you! That said, I'm glad that you found it helpful! And I wanted to tell you something else, too. Most of these things that I 'caught' are things you would've noticed during editing, I'm sure of that. So they're not mistakes, they're just things that needed to be read a few more times. I just thought I'd tell you that if I were to post my chapters straight after writing them without letting it rest for a while, you would be surprised at my slip-ups.
Yes, I liked the ending! But why is Pandora causing explosions?
It doesn't make a lot of sense to me... why would she pretend to be sweet, and lose it just because she's not focusing on it? If it doesn't matter then why did she pretend to be sweet in the first place?
What I (kind of) meant was that they leave Underground, fight some Soldiers and end up in Deff, but to be honest I had no ideas of their whereabouts inbetween. A patch of trees could mean many places... but hey, that's what editing is for.
Hmm. While I like the idea of her race emitting light, she'd have to be like a torch for the light to fall onto others, right? Then wouldn't it prevent other people from seeing her?
Ohh... The explosions were kind of brought up in this chapter, but I didn't really think about them much... I'll have to get back to you on the why for that.
It's kind of lost it's importance, I guess. In a kind of urgency.. I think in a way everyone would lose their sweetness when they're in a hurry. Annnddd she was pretending, but you'll have to wait for the reason.
I get it, I'll have to go back and add more detail in!
Not necessarily. It's like a supernatural kind of light... More thought will have to go into this.
I'll be waiting right here for those answers!
You know, I think I'm being overly critic here... I think most people would let you get away with Pandora's light and not question it at all.
I like all the little points you bring up, though. I do that sometimes when I read other people's work so I always appreciate the same in return. I think it's better than leaving it as it is anyway. I'd rather have everything pointed out to me so I know what may need to be changed when I do the final draft.
And also, I'm only one person- as well as the author. I don't know what readers would think if I didn't have that inside information