Reviews For A new beginning
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Reviewer: It Was Me Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: September 29 2023 6:27 AM Title: Chapter 5

I really enjoyed this chapter! While I'm loving the Emily-Jane stuff, the old saying that "a story is only as good as it's villain" has a lot of merit, so it was nice to see Suki get the narrative spotlight for a bit. We got a hint of a backstory, some more insight into her personality, and a lot of inappropriate touching in public. That's all we can ask for, really!

We only saw her briefly, but I feel like you found Maya's voice! I think her using shorter sentences but several in a row was the right way to go with her. It gave her a youthful tone, maybe because it made her seem "quick" or hyper. In any case, between that and the generous use of exclamation points there at the end of her segment, her dialogue came off as unique, and, at least to me, it seemed to fit the character well.

I loved that Suki took the time to laugh so long after pulling one over on Maya. I think for a lot of characters, even evil ones, it would have felt out of place or weird for her to take the time to focus on that after the fact. But Suki's extreme arrogance and sense of entitlement make that work for her. She feels superior to Maya (and everyone else), and this is just one way that she expresses it, even if it's only to herself.

The interaction between Shana and Suki was pretty intriguing. Shana's even mean to her friends. She comes off as less like a villain and more like an uncaring grump, which gives her a very different feel from Suki. I'm really interested to see where you go with Shana over the course of the story. With her backstory, there's certainly some potential for redemption for her, but she could just as easily not go that way, too. Even if she stays as that uncaring grump until the end, she's still a fun character to read.

And, again, excellent work on cranking up the vulgarity for our tomboy bully. It makes her come off as more menacing, even to her best friend.

Overall, this was a great setup for what's coming. Let's hope Suki can at least keep her hand out of her pants before she fills up. No need to taunt the Little Folk too much!

Reviewer: It Was Me Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: September 21 2023 6:44 PM Title: Chapter 4

This was a nice feel-good chapter. It came off as very sweet and wholesome, and it sounds like that will contrast quite nicely with the next chapter, where we're likely to get into the darker, more fetishy stuff.

I really like the unique dynamic between Emily and Jane. In particular, Jane makes this relationship feel different, as her acknowledgement that even most of the humans trying to help the Little Folk don't view them as people displays her appreciation of Emily viewing her as an equal. In most of these stories, the tinies are either terrified of giants or feel that they deserve to be treated like people, so it's refreshing to see a little person who has simply adapted to the way the world views her kind, only to find someone to fill her with hope and maybe even a renewed sense of self-worth.

Emily's wholesomeness also shines through brilliantly throughout the chapter. Even the threat to Suki (which I meant to mention last chapter), while seemingly out of character at first glance, actually fits her really well when you realize that she's stepping out of her comfort zone for Jane's sake. This love-motivated threat gave her some depth as a character, and it made an impact with the reader (and Suki, apparently) as well.

And her immediate reaction when getting into her room makes a lot of sense. She clearly has a strong sense of personal accountability and feels like she put Jane in danger, despite not having any way to know what Suki was going to do beforehand. But this also contrasts really, really well with Jane's worldview that I mentioned above. While Emily feels like she put Jane in harm's way, Jane is used to the world trying to kill her. Emily has no idea what that's like, so she ends up being more psychologically affected by the whole thing than Jane, the one who was almost eaten. Jane ends up being the one that has to comfort Emily. You would think it would be the other way around, but with the way things have been set up, this actually makes a lot of sense.

Jane's pep talk was inspirational and fun to read, but I do feel like there was something that could have been done to build to that moment in order to give it even more of an impact. I've mentioned in previous reviews that those earlier chapters could have benefited from showing just a bit more attention to Jane. After reading this chapter, I feel that way even more so. In particular, a quick reference or two to Jane during Emily and Shana's "philosophical debate" on Little Folk, namely, Jane's reaction to Emily arguing that tinies are actually people, could have hinted at Jane's view of giant-Little Folk relations. Relaying a sense of shock from Jane at Emily's words then would have provided the reader something to draw from during Jane's speech now, and I think that would have made a touching scene even more poignant.

That's not to say that the scene was hurt by not doing this. I just think that including stuff like that when you know how a character is feeling and what's coming ahead can give your story a bit more punch, if that makes sense.

I think you did a solid job of this with Maya's crush on Emily. the narrative revealed little bits of the relationship between the two, such as Maya noting that Emily was the only one that was nice to her when she visited the dorm, Emily wanting to comfort Maya when Shana called her a cockroach, and Maya looking to Emily for protection when Shana abused her, so it kind of made sense that Maya would have feelings for Emily. That being said, there were a couple more direct ways this could have been conveyed as well, such as having Maya be nervous, maybe even stutter a bit, when greeting Emily (that might be a bit too obvious, but I'm just throwing examples out there) or having Maya suddenly get a bit more aggressive when Shana grabbed Emily (this would have especially stood out with how meek Maya had been up to that point).

Again, I think what you did works pretty well, but I just wanted to suggest some additional things you could have done to help set this development up.

Speaking of Maya, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to see an underage character in this story (this is a fetish site, after all), but I decided to see how things played out before rushing to judgment. I'm glad I did, as she has brought an innocent, wholesome tone to the story and hasn't been "fetish-ized" at all. I feel like you may have addressed this directly when she talked about giving Emily and Jane privacy because she wasn't old enough to think about that stuff yet. I appreciated that!

But yeah, this story seems more narrative-driven than fetish-driven, so I'm okay with Maya's role within it so far. Like I said, I was on the fence on this, and this chapter pushed me over it, so I figured I'd say something.

As for criticism, I did think that the dialogue came off as a bit clunky at times here, particularly from Maya. At times, she doesn't really come off as a 13-year-old girl. Jane also spoke pretty formally (for lack of a better term), but admittedly, we don't know much about Little Folk culture yet, so that might be normal for them. I guess based on the way she was dressed and how little she's said so far, this surprised me a bit. I would also say that these two seem to speak in a very similar manner.

It's tricky, but distinguishing different speaking styles for your characters can really help them stand out. Take Emily, for example. So far, she has spoken primarily in shorter sentences and avoided longer lines of dialogue. She also has been portrayed as quiet, kind, and maybe just a bit shy, so that fits her well. It also makes her different from all of the other characters we've met so far.

Maybe for a younger character like Maya, throw in a bit more slang terms and have her be more talkative. These are traits that can convey a youthful friendliness. For Jane, you might be on the right track. She has been mostly quiet until she's comfortable around someone, but now we're starting to see her open up to Emily and even Maya a bit. That seems like a reasonable approach for someone living in a world that's mostly cruel to her kind. Maybe put a bit more of her background into her word choices, though. Does she live in the walls of some academic or does she spend all her time on the streets foraging for food? How familiar with human culture is she (calling Shana Black Titan instead of Brown Titan seems to imply at least some sense of familiarity)? Things like that would certainly affect her vocabulary.

Dialogue is really hard to write, so don't take this criticism as harsh. This chapter definitely works as written. But nailing these difficult things can bring your writing to the next level.

Great work so far overall! The gentle aspects of this chapter really hit home. It will be interesting to see how well you handle the decidedly less than gentle aspects of the next one.

Author's Response:

Thanks for another detailed review and sorry it took me so long to respond.

I am extremely satisfied that you feel that the chapter has ultimately been successful.

Although unfortunately the way the characters speak show little of their personality, I was afraid that the chapter as a whole would be too awkward to read, but fortunately I was wrong.

As for Maya, I imagined that some people might feel disturbed by her inclusion in this kind of story, but it was never my plan to include her in the 'fetishized' part of it.

My intent with her was, from the beginning, just to offer an innocent point of view of the story, free of the preconceptions that the other characters may have.

On that note, thank you for waiting to see how I developed her before judging, I truly appreciate that!

In the next couple of chapters both Jane and Maya are absent, so I'll try to find a better way to write their speech, but for now I have no real ideas yet. We'll see!

Reviewer: It Was Me Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: September 16 2023 1:35 AM Title: Chapter 3

This was a pretty rewarding chapter. After Jane was looking pretty well screwed last chapter, it was nice to see Emily and Maya come through in the clutch.

In particular, Emily finding that inner strength that she didn't know she had to break away from Shana and headbutt Suki was satisfying to read. Up until this point, she's come off as a nonviolent type of person, so for her to step that far out of her comfort zone to save Jane comes off as a really big deal.

One minor thing, though. I personally would have had Emily throw her head back and headbutt Shana's face or step on her toes or something instead of screaming to get free. I guess it's possible that she could scream high pitch enough to hurt the bully's ears, but I think it would have been easier to buy Emily doing something a bit more physical and catching Shana by surprise. Other than that, I thought that scene was really good.

I enjoyed getting some backstory on Shana, and I think using Maya as a catalyst for that was a good call. The tension between Maya's mom and Shana makes her mean streak make sense, and it allows the reader to feel just a tad bit of sympathy for her. I like complicated characters, and Shana now has a couple more layers to her than she did a chapter ago.

I also think Shana's dialogue came off a lot better than it did last chapter. She came off a lot more crude than she did before, which fits her character so much better. Personally, I might have shortened up a couple of her lines of dialogue and further embraced contractions for her ("You don't even know where it has been" to "You don't even know where it's been," for example), but this was a huge improvement! I also noticed we checked in on Jane once before she got shoved in Suki's mouth, which was welcomed as well. Just keep working at these things as you move forward and I think your work will pop that much more.

Speaking of dialogue, I do want to say that the way you write Suki fits the characteristics you've been presenting her with perfectly. She sounds like an entitled snob every time she speaks. Keep up the good work on that front!

So it looks like we'll get to see Maya and Emily console Jane after her near-death experience and/or Suki go tiny hunting in the next chapter or two. Either way, I'm looking forward to it!

Author's Response:

I'm really thrilled with your review!

I spent a lot of time trying to find the right way to write my characters, and I'm really happy that you think I succeeded! Especially Shana, who sounds better to me too now that she's more crude and vulgar.

Still speaking about Shana, the fact is that I don't like evil giantesses, or at least the one dimensional ones, who are evil just because, so the fact that you appreciate me giving her some character motivation is something that hypes me up!

Suki, on the other hand, is almost easy for me, and I don't know how to take the fact that I manage to write an entitled snob so well, so I'll take it as a compliment! Just kidding, I'm glad you like her too! Or at least that you think she turned out well.

And yes, you got the next 2 chapters right, the first of which I'll post as soon as I finish writing here, and I hope you'll find it good!

Reviewer: It Was Me Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: September 06 2023 4:06 AM Title: Chapter 2

“Tomayto, tomahto.” Shana replied, shrugging with a smirk.

I know the misspellings are for emphasis, and that was definitely the way to get the point across here, but part of me still wishes that you just spelled "tomato" twice. I don't know why, but I find that thought pretty funny for some reason.

But on a more serious note, I think you did a great job of using dialogue to give us important details on this world, particularly the status of tinies within it. Emily and Shana's little back and forth was both entertaining and informative.

That technique also made the portion of the chapter in which you used the narrative to explain some details not come off as exposition-y. The explanation about those fighting for little folks' rights was written in a way that followed the flow of the conversation, and those three brief one-sentence paragraphs came off more as a deeper look at Emily's perspective and less as an infodump.

And I like the small additions to the first chapter. Seeing that Jane was wearing torn pieces of cloth tells us a lot about how tinies live day-to-day. And did the original version of the chapter note that Maya was 13, or did I just miss that the first time around?

I do have a couple of knits to pick, if that's alright. These are just me being picky since you seem to be looking to continue working on your craft. These are some things that I think can make the difference between a good story and a great one, as opposed to a good story or a bad one, if that makes sense.

The first piece of constructive criticism is that I didn't feel as though Shana's dialogue matched up with the character you set up in the first chapter. She was giving off major tomboy bully vibes when you first described her, but she came off as a bit stuffy when she spoke, and her word choices seemed a bit uncommon.

Here's an example:

 “So riddle me this, Barbie. If they are people, then why hasn't anyone ever been jailed or even just tried for killing them?”

I feel like the words "jailed" and "tried," while used correctly here, aren't being used in a way that people commonly speak, making Shana come off as sounding odd. The "riddle me this" isn't odd in general, but I'm not sure that it fits the character that you've set up.

She's your character, so maybe it isn't my place to say, but I think something like this sounds more appropriate for a tomboy bully:

Okay then, Barbie. If they're people, then how come nobody's ever gone to court or even been arrested for killing them?"

(I did think the Barbie insult was a nice touch, by the way. That's just the type of thing a tomboy would make fun of somebody like Emily for, I think: assuming that she's a stuck-up airhead just because she's blonde.)

I think you could even lose the "gone to court" and have arrested stand on its own, but I left it in to replace tried.

Not to beat a dead horse, but there was one more example that stuck out for me:

“This farce has been going on for too long. Show me what you have in hand of your own choosing before I decide to do it myself.”

To me, this sounds like something an old-fashioned noble (or at least a rich, "went to the best schools" kind of kid) would say. The word farce, again, doesn't sound like it belongs in the mouth of a tomboy. I also think that for a bully like Shana, the threat would have played better had the violence been a bit more directly implied.

Here's another way this could have been stated:

"This shit's gone on for too long. Show me what's in your hand before I make you."

"Shit" (or "crap" if you don't want the character to swear) sounds more crude then farce, and therefore, to me, sound more like something a bully or tomboy might say. I also think "make you" sounds more like a threat than "decide to do it myself," which requires more context to realize what that means (the context isn't lacking here, but my point is that "make you" is simpler).

In both of my examples, I also tried to shorten the sentences a bit, make them a bit crisper. I feel like bullies tend to keep their sentences short and to the point. It makes what they say appear more threatening, I think. Notice I used "nobody's" and "shit's" instead of "nobody has" and "shit has." I also cut off the extra verbiage "of your own choosing" entirely in the second example.

Your pretty good at writing dialogue in general, but the next step is to really hone in on the way in which each character speaks. Someone like Shana, at least based on my interpretation, should sound a bit more rough around the edges, for example. Things like that are tricky, but they really help your characters come alive and distinguish themselves from each other.

The other "knit" is that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Jane in this chapter. I think Emily and Shana driving the conversation was the right call, but maybe Jane could have tried to chime in only to be shut down harshly by Shana, which would fit into the effort to establish tinies place in this world. Or perhaps taking a quick sentence between lines of dialogue once in a while to describe Jane's reactions to what's being said.

Maybe Jane tries to hide between Emily's fingers as Shana talks about tinies being killed. Or she could tremble with either fear or anger as Shana tells Emily that little folk aren't people. She could even look up in admiration at Emily for standing up for her kind. Or it could have been a neat bit of foreshadowing to have her shiver a bit as she catches Suki stealing a weird glance at her.

Now, you did do this once in the chapter, when Maya tried to comfort Jane only to have the little folk shiver and Maya stop as a result.  But as Emily and Shana got into it, I found myself really curious how Jane was taking all this. So I guess my advice is that you can show reactions, both directly or indirectly, for characters that aren't playing a role in a conversation if what's being talked about is of interest to them, if that makes sense.

But despite my long-winded, overdetailed ramblings above, I thought this was a really good chapter. I'm pretty invested in what happens to Jane, and getting your audience to care about your characters is really the hardest part of writing, so well done! I'm eager to see where you take this story next!

Author's Response:

Thank you for the detailed analysis of the chapter. I'm really grateful that my request for advice is taken so seriously. I started posting stories in the vague hope that someone would give me some pointers, but I keep hitting the jackpot every chapter, thanks to people like you!

I'm also happy that you think it's a good chapter and want to keep reading, this is very rewarding for me!

I am very pleased that you think my idea of providing information through dialogue between characters or their reasoning and thoughts was successful in making it feel natural, as it was my main goal for this chapter.

Unfortunately, my focus was totally on that and I actually forgot about Jane herself until the end of the talků

And I find that you're right about Shana. I should have made her speak more coarsely and vulgarly, to make her more Tomboy-like.

I'll finish the new chapter first before making any changes or additions, like last time.

Oh, and speaking of additions, thanks also for reviewing the previous chapter for the two additions, namely Jane clothes and Maya age and motivation to be there. While I purposely left the three protagonists to an unspecified 20-year-old, Maya was much younger being only 13, but not having specified it, she looked totally out of place, appearing as a 20-year-old playing with dolls on the floor.

Thanks again and I hope you will continue to follow me!

Reviewer: It Was Me Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: August 28 2023 6:37 PM Title: Chapter 1

I'm liking this story so far, and I'm interested to see where you go with it.

But honestly, I'm writing this review because of MicroThaumaturge's review and your response to it. I, too, hate blatant exposition, or infodumps, and I thought I might be able to offer some advice on how to introduce some of the information you want to incorporate into your stories.

First and foremost, and it sounds like you've got a pretty good grasp on this one already, is to have said information figured out before you start writing. It's really hard to decide where and how to reveal information about a setting if you're figuring it out on the fly. Knowing the answers to questions like the ones MT asked before you start writing gives you a huge advantage in strategizing the best way to draw your audience into the world of your story.

Now, as for how to do that, here are a few techniques that come to mind.

Spread things out. The problem with infodumps isn't just that it overloads the reader with too much information too soon (although that certainly is a problem) but that presenting this information upfront takes the fun out of learning about your story's world. Giving your audience a little information at a time, spread out over multiple chapters (unless you're writing a one-shot) can actually serve as a draw for them, with the crumbs you're leaving making them eager to learn more. Piecing things together about a story's setting can be very rewarding for the reader, sometimes almost as much as following the plot itself.

An old boss once gave me the following advice: Never tell the reader everything you know. That was really more news-oriented, but I think it can apply to fictional writing as well. Much like it is with the plot itself, revealing something about a setting now may not be as impactful or relevant as it would be to reveal it later.

The temptation to give the reader all of the information you have is strong (almost like the urge to let someone in on a secret), but the payoff of keeping that secret and making the audience work for it can be huge if done right.

Use your characters to convey details of your setting. While the ins and outs of your setting aren't immediately known by your audience, they likely would be pretty familiar with the characters living within it. Whether through narrative, dialogue, or simple reactions, how your characters interact with the world can tell us a lot about it.

For example, Emily not acting surprised to see a tiny kind of implies that the existence of tinies is known to the bigs. Of course, the chapter would have benefited by another detail to confirm this, as sometimes writers are so into their story that details like this can easily be overlooked, making it hard to tell if we were being subtly told that tinies and bigs are aware of each other or if that was just something that wasn't thought about by the writer.

Seeing a character act disgusted, angry, sad, or empathetic to seeing a tiny tells us not only that bigs know they exist, but it also gives us an idea of how the bigs view them as a society. Likewise, acting shocked to see a two-inch-tall girl shows us that bigs aren't aware of them, which gives us as readers the potential to learn more about the world with that character.

Sure, you could just write a paragraph or two explaining the status of the two people's, and those paragraphs would likely convey more information than using your characters to imply things, but those paragraphs would also be boring, and they tend to feel more tedious to read, at least to me.

Dialogue between characters can tell us a lot. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the last point, but I feel like it's important enough to get its own category. Revealing details about your setting through dialogue between two or more characters allows the reader to learn more about both the characters and the setting in which they live at the same time. It's also the most engaging way to convey information to the audience.

Let's say that Emily doesn't know anything about tinies. She's obviously going to be pretty curious once she saves Jane, and therefore is likely to ask her a bunch of questions. This presents a great opportunity for us to learn more about tinies in this world without it feeling clunky or unnatural. However, it's important that the characters remain consistent and that their actions fit their personality rather than the situation.

In the above example, it might be weird for Jane to spill all the details about tinies to a giant she doesn't really know. It might make more sense for her to be a bit elusive with her answers. If so, it might be natural for her to revisit those questions in her head once she trusts Emily more and give her more details then, thus allowing the information to be spread out in a natural progression.

Or perhaps Jane decides to lie to Emily in order to protect her fellow tinies, with little details giving us hints that this is the case. That, in and of itself, tells us something. Not only that, but once she trusts Emily enough to confess, it would seem plausible for someone feeling guilty to not hold anything back, providing an opportunity to put in an "infodump" that doesn't feel like an infodump at all.

Just try to avoid having one character tell another all the details you want the reader to know at once, unless that information all fits nicely into one conversation. Or you could make one of the characters a chatterbox, but you would have to make sure they remained chatty throughout the story, as opposed to having them by chatty for that one part out of convenience.

The details noted within a setting can telegraph information as well. Just noting the presence of certain items or what types of clothing characters are wearing can clue your audience in to the fine details of your setting as well.

For example, if a character walks into a house and notices an abundance of glue traps, that can imply a lot to the readers of a size-fetish story. The positioning of said glue traps can also let us know things. Are they expertly hidden? Are they out in the open? Are they placed in unusual areas?

The answers to those questions can hint at whether the person who set the traps is aware of tinies or if they view said tinies as pests or something to sell or keep for themselves. These little details can get the reader's mind moving in the direction you want it to without having to explicitly explain anything.

So there are a few techniques you can use to convey setting details without lengthy exposition. Using these in tandem can be very effective, and there are surely a bunch of other methods that I'm just not thinking of or don't know. But I hope these might help you out a bit, whether it be in this story or any future one you may decide to write.

I should also note that I wouldn't have posted this if I didn't think you could make use of it. I read your other story and (obviously) the first chapter of this one, and I think you're pretty good at this, so I thought maybe my ramblings might be of some use in terms of your development as a writer. Keep up the good work!

Author's Response:

Let me begin by thanking you for reading and reviewing this first chapter. I am very grateful for your help!

Reading your suggestions, I see that you have understood perfectly what my main gripe is, and the solution you have proposed is exactly what I'm trying to do. I don't know if it can be considered as a spoiler, but the second chapter will be mainly centered on the characters who will have an argument with each other, and I want to use it to give some depth about themselves and the world they live in. The problem now is how to make it all seem natural, because as you said, they, and I of course, already know the world they live in, while the reader doesn't. So I have to figure out what information to give, and how to insert that information into the story so that it doesn't feel out of place or forced.

As far as your last point is concerned, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall a second time. While I had recognized the importance of Jane's clothes from the very beginning, and simply forgot to write about it, I hadn't thought about the others at all. In retrospect, even how the other characters are dressed are important details that can help to understand them better, and the description of the environment is something I haven't taken into consideration at all except the position of the couch and the television, which I had only put because they were important details for that particular scene.

You've given me a lot of things to improve on, but for now I'd rather have the second chapter ready to post before venturing out to make edits, or I'll never finish.

Thanks again for your invaluable help!

Reviewer: MicroThaumaturge Signed [Report This]
Date: August 27 2023 6:03 AM Title: Chapter 1

A brief addendum to my first review, because I'm tired and forgot to say this initially: don't overthink it.  If you ever get bogged down with indecision, just leave what you have and press forward.  You can always edit and trim and smooth and polish later, but you can't edit paragraphs you don't have.  If everything you get down on the page ends up being trash, then at least you were writing.  It helps form the habit, it  helps you get in the mindset, and it helps you show yourself examples of what you do NOT want to do going forward.

Keep up the good work!

Author's Response:

I wanted to apologize, I hadn't noticed that that other reviewer I mentioned was also you...

In any case, I want to thank you again for your continued help.

As I mentioned, you helped me notice a huge flaw that I hadn't considered in my first published story. Up until then I was writing only for myself, and many details were implied because they were already in my mind, being the writer. But it's not the same for someone who isn't me, and while it's obvious in retrospect, it would never have occurred to me without your advice.

Thanks again, MicroThaumaturge!

Reviewer: MicroThaumaturge Signed [Report This]
Date: August 27 2023 5:56 AM Title: Chapter 1

I can say you've overcome the first hurdle any author faces - you've kept me (your reader) interested.  This is a good start, and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Seeing as your note at the end is asking for ideas and suggestions, I'm going to offer some criticism on the content above.  Please take it with a grain of salt - every author writes in their own way, and different approaches appeal to different audiences, or set different tones for their story, or suggest different levels of investment.

This first chapter leaves a lot of questions in the air.  This is a good thing; you want your audience asking questions.  It keeps them engaged, and anticipating what comes next.  There are two important qualifiers for this, however: 1) You want to prompt the audience to ask the right questions, and 2) you should have at least a basic grasp on answers to the important questions.  Questions like, "How did Jane and her friends end up in that horrible situation" are exactly the kind of question you want to leave your audience with to keep them interested, and something like, "They were pets who were stolen but managed to escape and were just trying to get home," is an answer you should have already answered for yourself when writing this chapter.  I write this so I can frame the big questions I have at the end of this first chapter.

1.  Why is Emily not surprised that Jane is tiny?  This is a very simple question, but the answer, and when you reveal it, have complex connotations, and could very well be a significant element of the story.  If tiny people are the norm, then the lack of surprise makes sense, and the answer to WHY they're the norm becomes important.  Are they a different species?  Are they victims of a virus/government testing/technology used illegally?  Or more intriguing, are they not common knowledge, but Emily is unsurprised because she is one of the few people who has met a tiny before?  For example (since I'm in the dark as to the true nature of tinies), Jane could be a borrower, in the theme of the classic folk tales.  Most people don't believe they're real, but Emily met one when she was a child.  Maybe something happened to this friend that inspired her to do good works, like working in a homeless shelter.  Maybe Emily did something to hurt this friend, and is now trying to make the best use of the rest of her life to atone.  The more clandestine answers are all things that could and should be revealed later, but if tinies are commonplace, that is something you should reveal to your readers early, so they are not surprised or disappointed later.

I know there's a ton of fabrication, conjecture, and smoke & mirrors here, but the point I am trying to make is that, when a character acts in a distinguishing manner (when they do something out of the norm), it needs to be informed by their past.  One of the most important things you can do is to be true to your characters - and whatever half-thought-up or 20 page detailed backstory you have for them - and to understand that if that character acts in a way that would be unique to them, or would break from common expectations, the reader will assume that the character is acting differently because there's something different about them.  To be clear, I'm not trying to make you second guess every action a character takes.  If Emily got a coffee with extra cream and two sugars, all that would tell us is that she doesn't like bitter tastes, she isn't averse to caffeine, and that she probably has a sweet tooth, but it's not story relevant.  The reason this reaction is important, is that the answer informs your setting, it potentially informs Emily's history, and it is an obvious departure from the norm because any of your readers would be surprised to find a tiny girl in the real world.  NOT being surprised highlights a difference from the readers, 'normal.'

2. Is Jane wearing any clothes?  No, this is not the horny talking - ok, not entirely - but the answer to this question actually informs many of the worldbuilding details that would similarly be informed by the answer to my first question.  If Jane is naked, that implies that tinies are feral / lower class / pets, or that something truly awful happened to her between leaving safety and being rescued, and I don't just mean the cat attack, unless it clawed her clothes off without hitting skin.  If Jane is wearing clothes, the kind of clothes inform further details of the world.  If the clothing is cobbled together, then Jane is either poor, or forced to make due in an unusual situation, or is better cared for than the average tiny.  If she is wearing scaled down clothing with factory or loom quality, then this implies further things about her lot in life, the status of tinies, suggests she was shrunk by technology, etc.  I suppose the point I'm trying to make here is that details matter.  You don't have to provide a ton of detail, but consider adding a few more considered details that can combine to more naturally convey information about your world to your audience.  

I'll list a couple more questions here without the long-fingered explanations, just to help you get thinking in case you haven't already answered these questions for yourself.

3. How did Suki end up as Shana's minion?  Usually socio-economic factors have a heavy weight in social interactions, so this development is definitely tied to something in Suki's character.  Did Shana's physical strength initially intimidate Suki, and learning more about Shana later eventually brought Suki around?  Is Suki a sub?  Does she have a foot or B.O. fetish?

4. How old are these college-age characters?  Dorms usually suggest underclassmen in an undergrad program.  Are Suki and Shana Sophmores (second year students)?  Is Maya a Freshman who plays with dolls?  Is Shana's whole family visiting?

I think that's plenty to be getting on with for now.  I want to again say to take the above with the understanding that I am not a professional author.  I'm just trying to help you think about your setting and characters when you write, and how to incorporate those elements into the story.  What you have here is a great start, but if your goal is improvement, then I would be honored to offer what context I can to help you improve.

Please retain the courage and confidence you had when you posted this first chapter to continue writing, and most especially, thank you for sharing your story with us!  I look forward to reading what comes next!

Author's Response:

First of all, thank you for reading my story and answering my request! And I'm really glad you found the beginning interesting enough to want to read more. That's really motivating for me!

I'm also really happy with all the advice you've given me. You have not only read my story, but also thoroughly analyzed it, giving me a lot of ideas to work with.

After I published my first story, a comment from a reviewer made me realize how I took for granted things that I, as the author, knew, while they made no sense to the reader, lacking the context.

Sadly this landed me in another problem. How to place it in the story? Frankly, I've always hated info dumps, which take away realism and immersion, as well as being a bore to read in most cases.

90% of the time writing this has been about figuring out how to stuff information into it without disrupting the flow of the story too much. For now I'm trying to give background to the story through comments or responses from the characters, this way I hope I can explain the world behind the characters, or the characters themselves, without too much hassle.

Some of the things you mentioned are already things I wanted to explain this way in the second chapter, but some things, especially point 2 and 4, almost made me want to bang my head against the wall.

For point 2, it was something I had already thought of too, for exactly the reasons you explained. But apparently, it remained just a thought and I didn't write anything about it.

Point 4 I had left it at about twenty years of age on purpose, but regarding Maya, her age is different from the rest of the cast, being a child. I created a reason why she was there, but I didn't know how to put it right so I decided to leave it for later, but really, she doesn't fit in with the rest of the cast if you don't have that information.

For now I want to focus on the second chapter, after which I will make changes to the first to make it better. I don't do it right away because otherwise I'll always be there rearranging things and I'll never move forward with the story.

Once again, thank you for your kind help! I hope you will continue to enjoy the story in the future!

Reviewer: AdamX Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: August 27 2023 5:26 AM Title: Chapter 1

Quite the beginning.

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