To be fair, I don't know what story you want to tell. But I think you have run rough shod over the story thus with out taking time to properly develop plot points or characters. I specifically referring to Botari's story thus far. There is a very interesting story there which you wrote but oddly did not respect. You have this girl suffer a traumatic injury that strips her of memories and perhaps her identity. She then has to struggle to regain a sense of who she is and upon gaining that sense of self she decides to run away. This particular journey of the character is interesting because it filled with risk. We have reason to doubt the other members of her tribe, both because of her amnesia and because of the actions of other characters. We have reason to doubt the soundness of her decision making because of mental handicap. But you spend maybe 1000 words on that total. You keep the character into new scenes and situations that are almost completed divorced from the conflicts and relationships of the previous scene.
We start in chapter one with her walking up slowly in her tent and not knowing anybody. We meet a bunch of characters, but they are largely mysterious because of her amnesia.
Then you jump ahead several months and she healed reconnecting with the steppe. We don't deal with or see any resolution to relationships that were strained in the fist chapter. She is already coy and pouty with her Aunt who she seems to trust and have this very comfortable relationship. This does not build on the isolation and disorientation that you built up in the first chapter
Next her two best friends (pretty much new characters) walk straight of a Nick Sparks novel and have a regressive conversation about marriage. Again the relationships are comfortable and we introduced to a new conflict: marriage. How does her memory loss affect her understanding of marriage and specifically her betrothal? You see you are not connecting the events of the chapters smoothly or even logically. Though admittedly the next chapter, in which she runs aways does follow.
But you then have her chase with kiddnappers. Nicely written but a whole new conflict. Then after that chase she literally runs into another scene, the chase is forgotten and she has another choice to make regarding which tribe to join in the war. Then in the next chapter she has to deal with some guy obsessing over her ears. Nothing has had any real consequence yet, at least not emotionally for the character. It is hard to get invested in a character who herself seems very uninvested in any situation.
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I think you should go back to the first 5 of these chapters and write up the story of her recovery from the injury and decision to runaway (take her destiny in her hands) as a complete story. Because that is a complete story, chapter in the character's life if you will and don't feel it is fully resolved before she starts falling in love here.
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Okay I will bite; the mammalian heart has four chambers. So if a dwarf has a four chambered heart, that fact alone would not distinguish it from a normal mammalian heart. So when you mentioned four-chambered heart and a double stomach I assumed you made an error with regard to the number of chambers in the heart. Thus I thought it would be funny to mock you by lamely suggesting that perhaps what ever planet you called home had two or three chambered hearts. Got it. I was wrong. It was not funny.
Indeed, I imagine beard veins with selective filters that could store CO2 saturated hemoglobin or recycle CO bonded RBCs. I also thought a exterior lung tissue surrounded by protective beard hair would be better for breathing in areas with lots of particulates that could damage lung tissue but would be filtered by the beard hair. Of course the chin gills would be less efficient than the lungs but it might make the difference in pinch.
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I have a whole rant on this is my unfinished sequel to "A Dwarf on the Water". The new piece was to follow my nascent dwarven philosopher/teamster Gorn as he got on the wrong side of the God of fear. It was titled "Dwen and the Art of Wagon Maintenance", but as it turns out I just don't know enough about wagons.
The story backbone you have presented is interesting. The main character has suffered an accident. This accident, we are told, has caused her to loose her memory. Other characters suspect that the main character's accident was the result of foul play and they also believe that a crisis is looming. This sets up an interesting dynamic were by virtue of her amnesia and the assertions of foul play neither the main character or the reader truly knows who to trust. The amnesia also works as a story telling tool because the main character will need to be re-introduced to a number things in the world and the reader will as well. Thus, you have an easy way to unpack a lot of information. I thought we might be privy to some of the characters re-education with regard to the telepathic abilities these people seem to employ. But that part, that re-education by her Aunt, was just glossed over. That is a choice that moves the story along, but perhaps at the cost of world building.
I think if there is a problem than it is with your prose.
Your style of writing is difficult to read because it is nonlinear (at every level) and not very demonstrative. Example: In paragraph one of section two in chapter three the action goes as following, 1) Temujin doubles over in pain on his way to exit the tent, 2) his friend runs to his side, 3) his friend reaches out to grab his arm 4) Temujin straightens up, and 5) Temujin waves off his friend. You present the above as 1, 4, 5, 2,3
" However, before the three had even set foot out of Temujin’s ger, Temujin suddenly doubled over. Just as inexplicably, he straightened up again and waved off Nergei, who had dashed to his side like a gust of wind and was about to take his arm into possession."
This leaves the reader to reconstruct the sequence of events is his mind. Used occassionally, this method of providing the reader with information out of order can put emphasis on certain events or help to connect events that may not occur continuously. However, I think you over use this style and use it on a much larger scale.
Example: Paragraph 2, Section 2, chapter 3
In this paragragh the boys walk out of a tent, a girl named Temulin calls to them and they are struck by her beauty. In that paragraph you first describe: a face, then assign that face a gender and then towards the end we get her name. We have not heard this name before in the story and we have no idea who she is or what relationship she might have to these boys or if they have ever seen her before. I assume we will find this out later and then we can retrofit that information to the scene. That is okay sometimes, in that it adds some suspense, but it also makes it hard to figure out what is going on with the characters at this moment. We also must assume there is some interaction between the boys and the girl, but we don't get any bits of their conversation other than she hails them and then she bids them farewell. Perhaps that is all that happens, but what is she doing while she passes?
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I don't think everything you want to communicate is making it to the page.
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By the end of Temulen paragraph you don't make the love triangle explicit. We have two young men trying to act tough in front of a pretty girl that does not in itself make it a love triangle. We also no indication that this is causing tension between the guys. But again, we don't know what actually happens, does she just walk by them or what? How would they act differently if it was another pretty girl? We don't know the guys well enough to gauge the meaning of this exchange other than what you tell us. You don't tell us a lot.
One thing I thought worked very well in this chapter was how the tone communicated the memory loss prior to when we literally find out about it. As the ger is described, the word choice and the phrasing communicates clearly that things are not familiar to the main character.
Who is this guys she looked at with desire? Is it sexual desire?
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Which one is her father?
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At times the sky will lay down her clouds on the steppe and in that fog it is as if all the parts of Manzasiri have been rejoined. When alone on those blanketed fields you can not tell sun from sky or sky from ground. With out the sight of a familiar shape to check one's intuition getting lost becomes certainty. The oppressive ignorance that is forced upon men and women by those fogs has drowned intellects and driven the poor wanders mad. Botari was like that now in her yurt. All the faces before might her as well have been the same face, because she knew none of them. She felt no association with any item around her, not the emblems on the post nor the blankets around her body. But then her eyes fell upon a hawk nosed man in that group, and it was if the brume parted just enough to make out a land mark. Many caught on the steppe during those murky grey days have been lead home by even the smallest piece of familiarity; a hoof print, a wagon track, the shadow of a distant peak or even the cries of a unseen herd. Ask any one who has found their way out of those obfuscating directionless fogs, and they will tell you that they studied every grain or hair of their salvational land mark. A pile of familiar goat dung can be beautiful, and thus it was now with Botari. She felt compelled to soak in every detail about this man. Her eyes roamed hungrily over his bushy eyebrows, his odd-coloured eyes- the left one was brown while the other a lighter amber colour, his straight nose that was like the spine of a mountain, his smiling lips that naturally curl upwards.