Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#21
Welcome! You've certainly been inundated with things to read.
NovelNinja Wrote: I have a longstanding bias against NaNoWriMo, for multiple reasons including timing of the year (November is probably the second-worst month to set it in) and how it encourages wordcount over entertainment.

🤣 November is a terrible month to do it in, but I assume they picked it because the Nov & Novel link. I think NaNo can be a good motivator to actually get words down, but for the vast majority of participants the result isn't going to be anything more than a first draft.

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#22

NovelNinja Wrote:
Suzumiya Wrote: May I point you to something not my own? Not for anyone's edification, but because you--a physics and history buff--would likely enjoy a HFY about the anthropology of alien entanglement.

Very amusing! I do enjoy a good HFY story. I liked the Jenkinsverse for a while until it started to bog down. Most of what I've seen since then has been very short, but as I said, I haven't been hanging out in webnovel territory. I liked the first chapter and will have to read more later. Thank you very much for the suggestion, and for promoting someone else's story.

It's no problem!

Although... . You'd mentioned being on the cusp of some underpinnings to the LITRPG genre. I'll show you my favorites if you show me yours. :^)



Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#23
I’ll throw my hat in the ring and appeal to your predilection for history with my own fiction, a historically-based fantasy title: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/36157/selenas-reign-the-golden-gryphon

Though it’s my first attempt at writing a story, I’ll admit the temerity of having thoughts of eventual self-publication swirling in the back of my mind. For that reason, any feedback I receive at this early stage of the process will be most appreciated.

Otherwise, though I don’t believe it’ll ever be particularly physics heavy, I must recommend the sci-fi title The Bloodlet Sun, the finest work I’ve encountered on RR thus far. With less than 1,000 views but professional level prose, it’s impossible to consider it as anything other than the proverbial hidden gem that everyone hopes to stumble across at some point. It can be found here: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/38096/the-bloodlet-sun

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#25

NovelNinja Wrote: I can't promise I'll be able to help everyone, but I'm genuinely looking forward to exploring around and seeing what you have to offer. I may write a guide or two as well, if time permits.



As someone who is an English major, but hasn't had my work looked at by a true pro, I'm definitely interested to see what you think of it. That being said, from what I have seen in this thread already, you are getting swarmed with such requests. ^^; So if, and when, you find the time, please stop by and give it a look. It's a modernized version of Paradise Lost. It's still a little bit in the beta reader stage and I'll probably have to polish it up a bit in some ways. But I'm looking forward to seeing if there are some things I need to fix that aren't what I have already noticed. The story is linked in my Sig.

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#26
NovelNinja Wrote: Sorry, I missed your previous comment. I'll take a look at your story, but I should really get some sleep right now so I'll leave it for tomorrow.

Of course!

NovelNinja Wrote: I do indeed take recommendations, and it's always good to see authors recommending another author.

Beautiful. I could be here all day with recommendations, so will focus on a few favourite underrated fictions deserving of more readers:

The Ogre's Pendant
Dark high fantasy adventure, beautifully written and strongly emotive. Exceptional prose and characterisation. Completed.

The Glyph Queen
Near-future science fantasy focused on sweeping social changes in the aftermath of a nuclear war. High intrigue, high impact and very clever. Completed.

Crimson Crow
Part fantasy LitRPG, part sci-fi police procedural, a thief steals all the luck in the multiverse! Highly original. Not complete, but I'm loving where it's going.

Graven
Superheroes in a dystopian world investigate why supervillains are on the rise. Fast-paced action mystery with an amazing plot, characters and attention to detail. Completed.

QQQQ
Ludicrously underrated surrealist mystery reminiscent of Haruki Murakami. Features mind games, metaphysics and unexpected instances of four-letter words. Not completed, but I'm adoring this.

Trickster's Luck
Asviloka already mentioned a story (which I haven't read yet), but I love this one: A devious VR LitRPG with original and clever game mechanics overlaying a fascinating sci-fi setting. Completed, although I need to catch up.

NovelNinja Wrote: As for agents, I would recommend against that route, mostly because it's a waste of your time. Right now it is very hard to break into big-press SF&F, and with all my contacts I was unable to get anyone to take a glance at my own wife's book. Agents also take a percentage in perpetuity, but very few of them will even touch SF&F because it won't make them money. I tell every single one of my students looking at writing SF&F (which is never less than half of the class) to just expect to self-publish. The SF&F self-pub market is pretty lively, though getting noticed by paying customers is a very different beast than it is on Royal Road.

Based on what I've seen so far, that sounds about right. 

NovelNinja Wrote: I mentioned in a comment above that publishing has had three big changes in my adult lifetime. They were: Internet sales of print books (boosting small presses); ebook sales (convenience, as well as reducing overhead for all publishers); and self-publication (removing the middleman). All three, but especially the last, have weakened the hold that agents have had over the field, and this is a good thing. They used to be helpful, but in the last twenty years have wound up being little more than gatekeepers. They no longer support an author's cause so much as promise publishers that they're keeping the riff-raff out. With the way the big-presses are mismanaging the market, this means that agents are becoming an active detriment to the field. 

Yes, I'm opinionated on the subject. :)

I learnt something today! :D I'm not locked into any action by any means, so considering broader options makes sense.

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#27
I think you'd like the looks of this! I've written and rewritten it over the past 6 years, hoping for it to become the best version it could be:

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/37108/death-in-siberia-the-last-woman-on-earth

Here's the blurb:

In an alternate timeline, a military officer and the self-proclaimed ‘last woman on Earth’ embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind a world without women.
 
Alexei Vronsky is having a hard time coping with reality after his comrade was killed in battle and his army stuck in a prolonged siege, but that’s the least of his problems. He finds an intruder in his room, who claims to be ‘the last woman on Earth’. She doesn’t seem to have the slightest clue about the world, the ongoing war, and keeps referring to Russia as ‘the land above the snow’. As they get to know each other, Alexei Vronsky has to face a difficult choice: either abandon his secret mission to join the woman on an adventure to face the unknown, or turn her in to fulfill his loyalty towards the State.


Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#30
Reader here recc’ing books.

Second Ogre’s Pendant 
- More traditional fantasy 
Knight & Smith
- More traditional fantasy in an interesting world
Second Graven
- Dark superhero with complex characters and exploring interesting themes. The perk is that it’s completed.
Putting forth personal favorite Six Chances
- Psychological science fantasy with complex characters, mystery, parallel plot lines that intertwine. 
Wandering Inn
- Webserial classic. Lots to read. A lot of emotional depth
Hands Held in the Snow
- Well-rounded romance if you’re into romance

Anything form the first ten pages of ongoing fictions of top 20 pages of best-rated is fair game. 

Also big welcome!! It’s nice to see people from all walks of life join RR :D

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#32
Hi Novelninja and welcome!

I just started on RR, translating from french and improving one of my sci-fi novels. 
The one I'm working on right now is called KITTY KITTY.  Maybe you can give it a look. A first version has been self-published in french and doing pretty well but since the story (and universe) is very anchored in american culture, it just didn't feel right. I translated 3 of the 24 chapters in english so far, buffing up the worldbuilding and adding original content. 

Quote:
"KITTY KITTY - The future that never was" is an action-driven science-fiction book series for adults borrowing from different sub-genres such as space opera, space western, cassette futurism and cyberpunk.

KITTY KITTY has a unique and deeply retro universe. Because, in this uchronia, the Soviets planted the Red Flag on the Moon in 1949. Since then, mankind has relentlessly pushed its colonies to the ends of the solar system. It devotes all its scientific and industrial resources to it. This means that, during the events of "KITTY KITTY", its cultural codes seem frozen in some alternative 1980s. Floppy disks are kings and David Hasselhoff is the ultimate galactic superstar; Robots do all the work and the packs of cigarettes are cheaper than ever! Yet, life is hard. As humanity is expanding trough the Kuiper Belt and the New Worlds, the overly consumerist society is slowly collapsing because of the never-ending corpo-wars and the blatant technocratic corruption.

In this merciless cosmos survives Lee, the space Maine Coon, despite his ready tongue and his sassy feline comments giving him nothing but troubles. Fortunately, he goes along with "his" sapiens and partner : Ali, a violent and cheeky young woman who only swears by her Desert Eagle .50 and her oversized soda cups. Aboard their mythical ship, the Kitty, this duo of bounty hunters travels trough the faithless and lawless void, staging a succession of disasters and Betamax binge watching.


Thank your for your time!

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#34


Csuite Wrote: [snip] Doing God’s Work [snip]



I enjoyed Lucifer's description, but the main character isn't interesting; I don't find myself caring what happens to that person. I will put it on the to-read because it's a strong beginning and well-written, but I don't know how well it will capture my attention at this point. 

SJ Wrote: I've read a number of your posts and been impressed with them. You're articulate, smart as a whip, and seem enthusiastic about being part of the community.

Thank you!

ArDeeBurger Wrote: Oh my!  That was fast! I very much appreciate it. And the Prologue is meant to be confusing, because the world of DOTS is not like the one we live in, as the Bus Scene shows. [snip]

And yes -- I really should redo the Synopsis. It actually, of course, is a Blurb, as a Synopsis tells the whole story, including all main characters, all twists and the climax. 


You're welcome. 

On confusion, it's never a good idea for the first part to be confusing without being sufficiently intriguing. Someone who does that very well is Brandon Sanderson, and if you look at The Way of Kings he actually has three prologues in one novel (a prelude to the series, a prologue to the book, and a first chapter that's really a second prologue as he admits himself). Each one has vital information while posing more questions than answers; but it's done in a way that doesn't make the reader stop and try to puzzle things out. In your case, the the major weakness is the addition of Japanese terms that have to be looked up by an audience already familiar with it.

Even when your core audience will understand it, if there's a reasonable expectation that a majority of your audience would be confused, it's better to avoid the confusion. For example, many of my friends understand sufficient Latin that we make jokes and even technical references in Latin. A favorite is the word qua. A phrase that you can reasonably hear in a conversation (or read if you happened to spot it on social media) might be "I liked the movie qua story, but not qua movie." We usually try to avoid overusing it in public, but it's a useful term; so we've seen reactions in others run from figuring it out immediately to being completely frustrated. (The word means in the manner of and we frequently use it to make distinctions.) 

As for a synopsis versus the blurb, they can be synonyms, but blurb works just as well so I won't quibble. 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#35

NovelNinja Wrote: In your case, the major weakness is the addition of Japanese terms that have to be looked up

That is an interesting dilemma, as I often use Japanese terms in my story. Several of the characters in DOTS are Japanese, and Hank can muddle his way through a sentence, to reply to what one of them might say in their native tongue. Besides the sopurando and mizu shobai girls, there are terms like mochigashi, kogyaru, chabudai and zabuton. Also, people say things in full Japanese, like 'Amai yume o.' 

Do you think it would be made clearer if I added a footnote at the bottom, explaining what these terms and sentences are? In my own personal copy of the story, I do this:

"Sayōnara," she said with a smile, pushing him away while closing the door. "Amai yume o." GOODBYE. HAVE SWEET DREAMS. 

Should I do that in the story too?

🙂

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#36
NovelNinja Wrote: I enjoyed Lucifer's description, but the main character isn't interesting; I don't find myself caring what happens to that person. I will put it on the to-read because it's a strong beginning and well-written, but I don't know how well it will capture my attention at this point.

Noted. I'll have a think about what I can do to fix that in the opening chapter. Thank you!


Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#39
Sigh. I had written out replies for almost everything on this list, but then my computer hiccuped (totally not user error, no, of course not) and I lost it. So here we go, take two, this time typing everything up in OpenOffice. Fortunately, I don't seem to have forgotten the forum codes from my days haunting Candlekeep back in days of yore.

Suzumiya Wrote: Although... . You'd mentioned being on the cusp of some underpinnings to the LITRPG genre. I'll show you my favorites if you show me yours. :^)

Well, on the whole, I find the genre pretty weak in offerings, but with lots of potential. I enjoy a good magic system, and litRPG stories by definition have to have a fairly hard magic system because the whole concept revolves around an RPG-style ruleset as a magic system in the first place. Hard magic means that the magic system is used as a primary means of solving problems, and the more you use it the more detail there needs to be. 

LitRPGs depends so much on their magic system that it quickly becomes its biggest weakness. Some authors don't realize how much this matters, and mainly focus on copying things that have worked in actual games or other litRPG stories. Others know how much it matters, but spend too much time developing the magic system without spending nearly as much time developing the world itself or the character we're supposed to follow. 

The two most influential stories in the genre are, obviously, Sword Art Online and Ready Player One, both of which I enjoyed long before I heard the term "litRPG." Ready Player One, despite taking place almost entirely in a VRMMO, actually uses a more soft magic system than SAO. This is because the main focus of the story is on the treasure hunt, which means that very little of the problem-solving (and almost none of the truly crucial moments) depend on the game rules. Instead, you could fairly say the "real" magic system of the book is the 80s trivia that has to be used to solve the puzzles. By the time that any of the plot points turn on game mechanics, mainly the action sequences against IOI players, the audience has absorbed plenty of information about the Oasis to understand how it works. 

SAO, on the other hand, depends heavily on its VRMMO rules. (I'll just focus on the actual Sword Art Online storyline, not the sequels.) We get a bit of information frontloaded, but it's just the basics of how to activate skills and farm mobs before we get into the dire part of being trapped in the game. More importantly, the lesson in sword skills gives us a strong character moment where we really begin to care about both our main character and a side character who comes back later. (It also provides excellent visual setup that gets paid off in the final few shots of the first episode, ending it on a perfect note for that story.) As we go farther in the anime, we see more information come up about the game rules, which is rarely not set up at narratively-appropriate moments. I might have to do a guide post on how to do setups and payoffs, come to think of it. It's one of those "easy to learn, difficult to master" writing skills that really winds up showing a weakness in the typical litRPG format. 

What I prefer is a reason for the magic system, whatever the story. Most litRPGs seem to treat the magic system as the reason for everything else. In the process of coming up with examples in previous years, I actually have two litRPG concepts that I came up with. One involves the premise that all RPGs are actually based on a "Great Game" that's resulted in all the various real-world myths (and so the story is about an ancient and never-ending mythological war, with the RPG elements being a vehicle rather than an end); the other is set around a former ballerina who can no longer dance due to a car accident, and starts playing a VRMMO solely so she can dance again (and so the story is actually about her learning to live again after losing what she based her whole life around, with the game being a backdrop and a way to find new friends and relationships).

I rarely have as much time to write as I'd like, so I don't know if I'll ever do those stories. The main problem is that editing uses the same language-manipulating part of the brain, so at the end of the day I rarely have energy for my own.

Elliot_Flanders Wrote: I’ll throw my hat in the ring and appeal to your predilection for history with my own fiction, a historically-based fantasy title: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/36157/selenas-reign-the-golden-gryphon


Your prologue could use some clean-up, but this is excellent. I'd say it's the best I've read on this site so far.

I assume from the cover art and names that this is using influences from modern French history.

Quote:Otherwise, though I don’t believe it’ll ever be particularly physics heavy, I must recommend the sci-fi title The Bloodlet Sun, the finest work I’ve encountered on RR thus far. With less than 1,000 views but professional level prose, it’s impossible to consider it as anything other than the proverbial hidden gem that everyone hopes to stumble across at some point.


Thank you for the recommendation. I've read the first chapter and it looks good, though I don't really have a sense of the story yet.

Ariana Wrote: A warm welcome from me too! peoeating
If I am not too late to join the fun, I would be more than happy to have your guidance and advice for my story (fingers crossed that it is at a level of a pleasure-read and not just tedious work!).


This looks like a good start. I'll have to read more than the first chapter to really know.

The blurb made me think of the ballet The Firebird; was that deliberate or just a coincidence?

DarthKirby Wrote: As someone who is an English major, but hasn't had my work looked at by a true pro, I'm definitely interested to see what you think of it. That being said, from what I have seen in this thread already, you are getting swarmed with such requests. ^^; So if, and when, you find the time, please stop by and give it a look. It's a modernized version of Paradise Lost.


Milton was one of my least favorite assignments back in college. The man never met a punctuation mark that he didn't instantly dislike.

Fortunately, you didn't copy his style. You definitely did your research, though. I'm very knowledgable about angelology and Catholic theology, so angel-as-protagonist stories usually fall very short for me. I appreciate not only the level of detail you put into it, but that apparently you know which rules to break and which to keep in order to tell a story from the perspective of an angel.


Csuite Wrote: Beautiful. I could be here all day with recommendations, so will focus on a few favourite underrated fictions deserving of more readers: [snip]



I'll definitely have to look at the sci-fi police procedural; that's a rare combination, which is precisely why my wife wrote one. She likes sci-fi and cop shows, so she combined the two.

The surrealist mystery is less compelling, but I haven't looked at it yet; I just tend not to like that genre.

Daniel Wrote: I think you'd like the looks of this! I've written and rewritten it over the past 6 years, hoping for it to become the best version it could be:
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/37108/death-in-siberia-the-last-woman-on-earth


This is a good beginning. The dialog is realistic, the setting feels like the WWI trenches, and the worldbuilding details are subtle and enjoyable.

Seerica Wrote: I spent quite a sizeable part of 2020 editing my story, I'd be glad to hear critique.
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/23547/a-super-robot-story


Formatting and flow issues, combined with not really finding the genre interesting, really turned me off. I'm sorry; I think I'm just not the audience for this one.

utsuro Wrote: Ah! Looks like NovelNinja's made an introduction forum. I know there's already been tons of requests, but have a go at Tamashī Tensei if you ever do come around to it.


I know you warned in your author's notes that the story starts slow, but while that by itself is not a turn-off for me, being slow and overly wordy meant it lost my attention.

Here's a story for you, one I frequently tell my students. There's a famous coauthored sci-fi novel, The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell. For its time, it was abnormally long; today, it's just a big book. The original manuscript was almost exactly one thousand pages, and the publisher refused unless they cut 50,000 words. That was a full novel's worth. Conventional wisdom would say that they should have split the story, but instead they poured over the manuscript to remove those 50,000 words. Since it was a thousand pages, they knew they had to remove an average of 50 words per page. They kept a running tally on each manuscript sheet of what they had removed. Eventually, they got to the magic number, and it was published.

The result is one of the best examples of what's called tight writing, where not a single word is wasted, and what remains has layers upon layers of subtext. The book has basically never been out of print as a result, because it's such an enjoyable read.

Take a look at your story and ask yourself, “Can I make this sentence shorter and still tell the exact same story?” Repeat that often enough and you'll wind up with a much tighter beginning and probably retain a lot more readers.

Jon Wrote: My story is a trilogy with book 3 currently being posted. It's a bit on the pulpy side but I am quite pleased with how it turned out and the world building has been consistently praised.


I'm really not sure what to think of this one. The writing is good and the worldbuilding looks like it can grow, but there's nothing emotional to latch on to. The Stranger has no personality here in the first chapter, and there's no way for me to know whether to root for him or not, other than that it's supposedly his story. I'll put it on the list to come back to later.

Quentin Wrote: Hi Novelninja and welcome!

I just started on RR, translating from french and improving one of my sci-fi novels.


Bonjour. Je ne parle Français pas beaucoup, mais ma mère et mon frère parlent couramment. (Pardon any grammar mistakes, non-English grammar always throws me for a loop.)

Quote:The one I'm working on right now is called KITTY KITTY.


It's a really good premise, and I think my wife might actually like this one. I'll have to read more and see. Your dialog needs a little polishing, but that's hard in translation; the flow just isn't the same in English. It really works for the cat, though.


Ramingo Wrote: I've never seen so many comments in an introduction thread.


I ran out of rep points to hand out!

ArDeeBurger Wrote:
NovelNinja Wrote: In your case, the major weakness is the addition of Japanese terms that have to be looked up

That is an interesting dilemma, as I often use Japanese terms in my story. Several of the characters in DOTS are Japanese, and Hank can muddle his way through a sentence, to reply to what one of them might say in their native tongue. Besides the sopurando and mizu shobai girls, there are terms like mochigashi, kogyaru, chabudai and zabuton. Also, people say things in full Japanese, like 'Amai yume o.' 

Do you think it would be made clearer if I added a footnote at the bottom, explaining what these terms and sentences are? In my own personal copy of the story, I do this:

"Sayōnara," she said with a smile, pushing him away while closing the door. "Amai yume o." GOODBYE. HAVE SWEET DREAMS. 

Should I do that in the story too?


More like (assuming the other is not Japanese):

“Sayōnara,” she said with a smile, pushing him away while closing the door. “Amai yume o. Sweet dreams.”

If the other person is Japanese, then the better thing is actually to write it in English, but make it clear that the two characters are speaking Japanese.

Csuite Wrote: Noted. I'll have a think about what I can do to fix that in the opening chapter. Thank you!


You're welcome.

YAK Wrote: Might as well throw in my hat in the ring. I can't of course guarantee if you will like my story, but if nothing else, I can say that the world building is solid.


It's a possibility. I like the gravity aspect; have you read Larry Correia's Grimnoir trilogy? One of the main characters has the power to manipulate gravity and it's the best depiction I've read so far.