Nov 19, 2023
Welp, it was nice knowing you, girls.
Quite a dark chapter, though I'm not really one to talk. The villains have always been violent and misogynistic, almost comically so at points, but I don't know, it hits harder when it's just some high schooler.
I'm gonna continue to hold out hope for the girls, but I'm prepared for anything, be it darkness, tragedy, or even just more playful yuri flirting.
Nov 19, 2023
Congrats on making finals. I really enjoyed reading this.
This is somewhat a repeat of what I said on Discord, but I was really impressed by the way you approached isekai here. You created a story that was genuinely entertaining in a fantasy world, one which would have still been entertaining without isekai, but then used the isekai aspects to make it even better.
At the start, it did feel a bit like the isekai was getting in the way of the story. I wanted to learn all about the political machinations and investigations that Vivian and her family were caught up in. In a way, it felt like I was watching the story unfold behind frosted glass but it worked because I felt the story was interesting enough to keep me going.
But as the story got going, I realized that Kyle's realization that people can't be reduced to collections of numbers was adding a lot to the story, and it made all the early chapters worth it.
Once again, congrats on making finals, and for writing such an entertaining story.
Nov 16, 2023
Some days, some nights…
Man, but the Boondocks though. It may not be anime, but what a thing. A thing with its own sad production history. At least McGruder didn't work himself to death, and I hope nothing like that ever happens.
And on that note, I hope you're taking care of yourself. It's a rough world out there.
I don't feel like there's quite as much to comment on in this chapter, not that it makes it worse or anything. Having a slower chapter like this. It's still got a weighty theme, and it's got some important character development, but maybe it felt a bit lighter than usual.
I do dig scenes where characters discuss anime. Obviously I do, and Whisper of the Heart is a perfect fit for this story.
I wish we could have more of that kind of thing in published light novels. Literature has such a rich history of intertextuality, but Japan's got different laws about that kind of thing, and even in the West, the rise of making everything into an IP franchise can make it tough. Published stories have to be oblique in their references to anime. Light novel contests have rules against it.
(There's a small typo in this chapter. "Kicking and scream.")
What I can say is that the quote that opened the chapter made me tense up, but the way the chapter ended was nice and uplifting. As always, I really enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to the next one, whenever you post it. Really, take care of yourself first and foremost.
Nov 13, 2023
No need to apologize! I am also slow when it comes to commenting and replying.
I think you managed to portray desire and loneliness as well.
Also, I admire that you both wrote the story and drew the cover.
Nov 12, 2023
Thanks for the advice! To be honest though, this isn't even me at my lore-dumpiest. Compared to my entry last year, it's nothing. I was saved this year by trying to adhere strictly to the chapter length guidelines. I was really trying to get closer to 1,000 than 1.500. It caused some problems, but it also helped in this way, I guess.
I can't blame it on a lack of Thelian's voice coming through. That one's entirely on me. I tend to write in the first person, and character voice is something I very much need to work on.
Nov 12, 2023
Very funny so far, but I'm just happy there's a story with politics in the finals.
Nov 12, 2023
A lot of great observations! I'm also a fan of curry with rice, but in this case, I wanted to combine the culture clash with the isekai trope of the MC yearning for/going to great lengths to acquire dishes from Earth.
They don't only eat vitafelars, but they eat them often enough that it changes their palette. They eat dishes that pair well with vitafelars, and curry does not. It tastes to them the same way very bitter food does to us. Conversely, having not grown up with them, Chika doesn't like the taste of vitafelars. It's very unpleasant to someone used to Earth food.
It's an actual physical manifestation of the cultural barriers they'll have to overcome.
And good point on it being tough to live an ordinary life in those circumstances. Initially, I just wanted to paint a contrast between how isekai portray characters coming to new worlds and finding friends and shooting their way up the social/power ladder. I figured it was more realistic for them to be treated as an other, even if they did good things for their community. But I found a way to make it more meaningful to the story later on.
Nov 11, 2023
That's some serious stakes. Shouldn't have messed around with forces that large, Kidney.
Nov 10, 2023
What a heartfelt and relatable chapter. Really starting to see the appeal of this story. It’s true that so many people get into relationships hiding their true power level, as it were, but the relationships where you can be honest are so much stronger IMO. It’s just a shame they’re so difficult to find.
Nov 08, 2023
Ah, the end kind of snuck up on me there. Time limits make fools of us all. I'm no better.
I really feel I should be giving constructive criticism for every book I read, but also, it seems presumptuous to try to offer advice to a finalist, especially when you still can't edit your entry for another 3 weeks.
I did really enjoy the twist here at the end that Orion ended up being the one to win over the other love interests. Though, unlike with Gideon, it's not because they can bond over Eilah being their fav. I'm guessing it's one part Halie's disinterest in them, one part her brusqueness preventing them from seeing her as anything other than an outsider, and one part Actaeus's help.
Honestly, aside from the abrupt ending, I'm not sure I noticed much for improving. The prose and the dialogue alike were smooth enough that I hardly noticed them. No real problems stuck out.
Congrats again on making finals, and best of luck with the judging phase.
Nov 08, 2023
Such a touching, wholesome gesture between friends. Who doesn't like a nice massage now and then? OK, I can't even pretend anymore.
What did I say about staying at that location? Not only does CSS want to take it back, they seem to have realized the girls have special powers and want them too.
The battles were fairly one-sided up until the last few chapters. I suspect they're about to get tougher.
Nov 08, 2023
Congrats on 200k words! In less than a year! That's super impressive.
Nov 07, 2023
OK, I got to the end. Time for some nice, positive, constructive criticism. Right?
I don't feel I'm qualified, and from reading the comments, I don't think I'd have much to offer that hasn't already been discussed, or which you yourself have already pointed out.
But I want to repeat that I think your writing has really improved, and I mean that in the best possible way. I don't mean to say you were bad before. That's obviously not true. Just that I felt that the WIP you posted before the contest showed some improvement over your writing from last year, and this showed more improvement over that.
And I thought you nailed this last chapter. It's touching and heavy. I sort of expected this chapter to continue from Mitsu's perspective, and we'd hear the words he receives from beyond the beyond the grave. But I think this works a lot better. It's private, and like he realizes, it doesn't change the situation. No matter how times he tells the bees, or how many times the bees tell him.
Perhaps, as Bubbles suggested, the romance came together a bit quickly, but it *is* a romance novel. That seems kinda par for the course for me.
Anyway, congratulations again on making the finals. Best of luck with the voting phase!
Nov 07, 2023
Normie tells hopeless otaku to stop fixating so much on a 2D woman that he can't relate to the real people around him
… is a slightly uncharitable way to put it, but I mean it in the best way. Not only does the chapter send a good message in general, but it's a great illustration to how far Orion has come since the beginning of the story.