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Mandamon

20170423 - The Seeds of Dissolution - Ch9 - Mandamon - 5528

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Hello all,
Slightly longer this week as well. Ch 9 is Politics and Lunch pt 2.

Previously:
Ch1: Sam gets very cold, loses his aunt, and gets sucked through a hole.
Ch2: Sam has a big freakout at the new world he's in, meets a strange alien.
Ch3: Origon learns more about Sam.
Ch4: Sam, on magic meds, sees the Imperium with Origon and Rilan. They dodge a  protest against the maji and ride a tram to the Spire of the Maji.
Ch5: Sam discovers how big the universe is and how far he is from home.
Ch6: Origon argues with the Council about the Drains, and gets Sam as an apprentice.
Ch7: Rilan also gets an apprentice, Sam learns about magic and girls, and politics loom.
Ch8: Rilan is in a session of the Assembly where a faction of one species is attempting to withdraw. Sam has his first lunch in the Nether with friends

Looking for:
-This is a continuation of the threads in the last chapter. Is it too much?
-Is the political stuff understandable/interesting?
-How do the Sam/group dynamics work?
-Anything else you see

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I think I might have used up everyone's critiquing word count - apologies!

Comments.

  • Tab Tad said”
  • “The System that served the Assembly” – have we heard about this before? I don’t remember; it seems to appear out of nowhere.
  • “. The amplification System took it and echoed it around the Assembly, making it into a vast rolling drumbeat” – but it was insufficient for the task of amplifying Hum’s voice?
  • “Speaker Hum, you have the floor,” he said quietly” – and then he speaks quietly; this bit revolving around volume seems disjointed.
  • “tugging on one lace-encrusted sleeve” – to me, this sounds like an actual growth. Word choice feels off, imho. Anything like ‘lace-trimmed’, ‘lace-edged’, ‘lace-enhanced’ would sound more natural, to me.
  • He must have been waiting to stand” – why is the identity held back? Feels like cheating, and is slightly confusing at the same time.
  • you arrogant cockatoo” – lol
  • more panic as than that chull
  • Like As with Vethis, any reaction from her” – imho.
  • “She wasn’t going to see dinner before eighth darkening, and by that time she was usually in bed.” – I don’t think a line about when Ril is going to get her dinner is punchy enough to end a section which has become quite dramatic.
  • He’s pretending. He’s still upset” – it’s not entirely clear here whether the Neth is providing Sam with a translation of In’s emotions or Sam is deducing by himself.
  • “Sam leaned into the contact.” – Huh? I don’t understand.
  • “Sam had never been as close to Phillip” – This section is unclear. Who’s Phillip all of a sudden and what does this closeness have to do with anything? Are we to imply homoerotic undertones here? I’m confused.
  • Thinking they would…and me…there’s no way” – I'm mystified; no clue what he’s thinking.
  • “He could feel the cold numbing his fingers” – what cold?
  • There’s no roof overhead. I’m back in the unknown. Lost. Everything’s new.” – This transition – for me – was a hard kick in the suspension of misbelief. I feel like the last page is really jumbled in terms of emotion and signs, and I'm being bounced around like a pinball without a clear narrative line.
  • “claws of ice reached up his spine” – was this ever a symptom of his condition? I don’t remember it.
  • “I thought you were having a reaction to the food” – lol
  • “clasped the man’s hand” – I've been assuming In was around Sam’s age, this makes him sound significantly older.
  • “Inas didn’t pull back. He’s really not pulling back” – not sure of the point of the repetition; it sounds awkward.
  • “He kept In’ warm touch” – note aware of Sam dropping his hand, so I think this means he’s still holding it?
  • “filled with expensive shops” – How does he know they’re expensive? Also, I commented on this somewhere else, another submission. This phrase, imo, goes to the value of the buildings, and not the merchandise. I think there are more apposite words and phrases to convey the impression, like ‘luxurious retailers’, ‘exclusive outlets’ and even ‘pricey shops’.
  • “from the movement of the crowds” – I got a good sense of people passing them on the street, but no sense at all that there were crowds. How can there be, they’re in a narrow alley, right? Also, I wasn’t aware that they had stopped moving.
  • “They are called Ne glass,” In said, “used in the Ne and as official trade in the ten home worlds” – we know this already, don’t we? Ah, you’ve lost me here. We’re on our way somewhere to do something interesting then we stop and talk for a page about coins. I started skipping ahead.
  • “With a sigh, he stopped halfway down a narrow alley” – sounded to me like he’s on his own, or he’s the only one who stopped walking.
  • “feeling a smile grow on his face, and calm filling him” – This is something I notice sometimes in your writing and it always snags with me. I feel like ‘feeling’ and ‘fill’ are out of alignment, for the first thing, we are in the moment, but the second thing is much less so. Personally, ‘filling’, is much more in the character’s moment, I think.
  • “often in the little shops that inundated the Imperium” – to me, this mean flooded, like an active thing that is in the process of happening, compared say to ‘peppered’ which, I feel, is something that is fixed, a matter of fact and not change. Then you get to say ‘peppered the imperium’ – which is tonnes of fun!! :D
  • “Many of them act as are merchants in the Nether” – Surely, they’re merchants or they’re not.
  • “He almost expected his aunt to walk in from the next room” – Ooh, poignant moment. I would not have minded lingering in it a moment longer. Nicely done.
  • commented on the fabric. “But fearfully underutilized” – I’m a bit puzzled that the dresser doesn’t comment on the unpleasant condition of Sam’s clothing. Also, I don’t understand how it’s underutilised.
  • “a special pocket just for his watch” – I'm trying to figure now whether he’s more like Toad of Toad Hall, the White Rabbit or Bilbo Baggins ;)
  • “he was sure he would get used to them soon” – I think it’s more like the other way around. It’s more likely Sam would wear the boots in, and the boots themselves would ‘get used to’ him.
  • Sorry, I do not mean to poke fun, but I have a smile on my face in a dragged-out-of-the-story sort of way. There is something…, different about the tone of this page. Like here… “He grabbed In’ left arm, En’ right, pulled them close” – I’m expecting a musical number, maybe Oliver Twist or Mary Poppins. In fact, yes, I can hear it now… ‘Consider yourself, one of us… consider yourself part of the family…’
  • “Reminds me o’ me second father’s mam. Couldn’t pry her” – If you’re going full Scottish, I would suggest ‘Couldnae’ here.
  • I’m on Maximum Pedant setting today, sorry – you're getting the full force of it! I apologise. Comedy is something I'm very interested in at a mechanical level, mostly I think because of the absolute necessity for precision and attention to (obsession with) detail to make zingers land with the highest impact. Good comedy is like poetry in that respect. I’m getting my excuses in first before commenting on this line; “Couldn’t pry her loose from her wardrobe with a bar o’ iron.” In my opinion (always free and worth about that much or slightly less), this line is a bit wordy, compared to something like “Couldnae* pry her oot her wardrobe wi’ an iron bar.” (* I would say that this, and wouldnae, are one word, in the same way that couldn’t and wouldn’t are.)
  • “His clothes were like the others they passed, with fine detailing,” – does this mean ‘only his had fine detailing in addition’, or do the others also have fine detailing? I wasn’t clear on that.
  • “Sam swiped at an eye” – I presume he’s wiping away a tear, but it sounds like he’s taking a swing at someone else’s eye. The phrasing really distances me from the emotion of the moment.

The politics of the assembly was great. I can picture the setting (even though there isn’t an awful lot of description further into the section), and there is some good manoeuvring, turns of events, etc. Nicely done. The section with the friends is less engaging, but still effective when it’s centred on getting Sam new clothes and how he fits in, less so when meandering off to talk about currency. I think the second half of the chapter would benefit greatly from some pruning. I found myself often distracted by phrasing things (as noted above). A good edit will make it much smoother, I'm sure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see the friendship blossoming in this section, but it really can be tightened up.

Looking forward to next time.

<R>

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- It seems like Rilian thinks Tad may be lying really too quickly.  It's a revelation that probably should be further down.

- That said, I do like the interrogation scene.

- I also like Sam's small panic attack.

- I like the last line, but I think it may need a little more work. Sam is fitting into an alien culture, which seems contradictory to his previously agoraphobic life. You might want to hang a lampshade of this :)

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Thanks @Robinski and @rdpulfer for the feedback!

 

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

“The System that served the Assembly” – have we heard about this before? I don’t remember; it seems to appear out of nowhere.

I've mentioned them before, but I've had other readers confused. Might be some WRS, and I probably need to explain the idea of Systems more.

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

I don’t think a line about when Ril is going to get her dinner is punchy enough to end a section which has become quite dramatic.

I'll work on this.

19 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

 

- It seems like Rilian thinks Tad may be lying really too quickly.  It's a revelation that probably should be further down

 

I'll look into this. Juggling info from previous books into this novel is hard!

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

This section is unclear. Who’s Phillip all of a sudden and what does this closeness have to do with anything? Are we to imply homoerotic undertones here? I’m confused.

Yeah, Phillip was a late add, and I'm not totally satisfied with him as filling out Sam's earlier relationships. Might need to move this earlier in the book to make it clearer. Seems like you bounced off most of this section. Was his inclination to both twins clear, or did it read as only same-sex attraction?

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

I got a good sense of people passing them on the street, but no sense at all that there were crowds.

I continually have a problem with not painting enough beings milling around while the characters move through the Imperium. I'll address that next draft.

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

We’re on our way somewhere to do something interesting then we stop and talk for a page about coins.

...I'll have to hide this infodump better... 

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

I’m a bit puzzled that the dresser doesn’t comment on the unpleasant condition of Sam’s clothing. Also, I don’t understand how it’s underutilised.

Those are meant to mean the same thing--the dresser is politely saying his clothes are crap, but the cloth is nice. I'l adjust

On 4/25/2017 at 10:40 AM, Robinski said:

I’m expecting a musical number, maybe Oliver Twist or Mary Poppins.

Yeah, this got a bit twee as I wrote it. May have to dial it back.

 

Well, this is surely due another round of edits! Thank you, Lieutenant Pedant, for all the catches, and the Scottish lesson--I'll work on incorporating them.

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13 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Was his inclination to both twins clear, or did it read as only same-sex attraction?

Both, yes, but I would say more to brother than sister, or maybe brother stood out more after my previous read of the story.

15 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

his clothes are crap, but the cloth is nice

The thing that stuck in my head was that S's clothes were still grimy and ucky, from the earlier observation from In.

17 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Thank you, Lieutenant Pedant, for all the catches, and the Scottish lesson

Auch, ye'er welcome, laddie ;) 

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