kais

TWD - Chapter 15 - kais 06/05/17 4016 words (S)

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S for foreplay. 

Specifically in this chapter I am interested in knowing if S’s explanations make sense to you, and if you understand where the frustration is stemming from.

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My interpretation of the gist of S's explanation is to adore the whole person, and not the part that's familiar or preferred. Perfectly understandable if that's truly the case.

---

About halfway through, I grew tired of being told how the architecture everywhere was skillfully made, or how it was done in certain ways by certain organizations. I got the point, but didn't feel it. I haven't read the previous chapters, so I'm not sure if it makes sense for S to be so familiar with all these things, but all the mentions so far were highly specific and noticeable.

When the girl at the inn justified the high price, it was a bit of a surprise how easily everyone accepted it. The description of the town up to this point was festive, but not crowded. How crowded it'd be was explained a few paragraphs later.

I saw a mention of how it was someone's turn to "...tend a wound." However, that didn't come up again. The wound was just wrapped in the same cloth as before. I wondered if anyone tried to ask for spare cloth or bandages from the inn.

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- "waist-high blackberries" sounds like they are actually standing in literal berries. Maybe describe the plants themselves?

- I like the interaction surrounding Magda and Sorin and the girl. 

- And I also like the gut punch of the ending. It makes me really interesting to see what happens with these characters going into the climax - and what was become of them. 

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3 hours ago, Vreeah said:

adore the whole person, and not the part that's familiar or preferred.

I can work with that! Excellent. 

3 hours ago, Vreeah said:

or how it was done in certain ways by certain organizations.

Hrm. I wonder how much of this is description fatigue and how much is lack of story familiarity. Guilds and their work are a sizable portion of the story, and it is very in character for S to notice these things. I'll have another read through and see if I can tighten it up.

3 hours ago, Vreeah said:

was a bit of a surprise how easily everyone accepted it.

This is a very good point. Going in to fix it now. 

3 hours ago, Vreeah said:

I wondered if anyone tried to ask for spare cloth or bandages from the inn.

This was partially dealt with in an earlier chapter but you're right, it would have made sense to ask for fresh ones. Editing. 

Thank you so much for reading! Welcome back!

3 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

Maybe describe the plants themselves?

Good call!

3 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

And I also like the gut punch of the ending.

Yay! The chapter right after this keeps up with the gut punching, so I'll be curious to see how you feel about that chapter as well. Thank you!!

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*grammery stuff I usually ping you for but that i'm not on this read-through, doo dee doo dee-doo... *

 
Spirit house!! :D (I still have mine, you know. I give it my cosplay participation ribbons in lieu of flowers)
 
Um. if they're coming in at night, why are there so many people around? I mean, it seems like they're trying to sneak in by climbing the wall, and S even says not many people will be around during the psych up for it, so why do that in the busy time of the evening when it's apparently safe and populated enough that there's a random little girl around? I mean, they can't do much about it being festival time, but one'd think they'd at least try to control for crowd size if they're going to all the trouble of sneaking in over a wall as opposed to walking in the front door as Royal Daughter and entourage 

Sameer's awfully quiet on this walk into town...
 
*not talking about grammar in this pass la la.... *
 
"a two story adobe " -- two story ABODE? i mean, unless it really is a 2-story pile of reddish clay.... 
 
I'm pretty sure I know what you mean, but "woven grasses and husk" table runners don't sound particularly sophisticated or skilled or note-worthy on their own, and the mention of the hammered tables in line with the other fabric stuff makes it seem like silversmithing is part of the textile guild
 
awfully busy for illegally-sneaking-into-town-at-night o'clock.... did they just, like, luck into the only all-night diner and open hotel in the city? This seems awfully easy for a full-swing festival hotel booking... 
 
You hit your stride after the meal. I always like S when they're grumpy and awkward and being a handicrafts snob. ;)
 
"not just the parts" Might want to hammer home a bit more that it's specifically the female parts at issue, since, from what I understand (and please correct me) S wouldn't have a problem if M was into a less gendered body part like biceps or knees or whatever, yeah?  or if M appreciated moobs the same way as boobs? (or is that something else?) otherwise, a good monologue. As I understand it, appreciating S's women's features *as women's features* is the same uncomfortable-making compliment as guys sometimes feel when people compliment the care they spend on their hair. You can compliment a guy's hair, yeah-sure-fine, but ask him what products he uses or what his regimen is or who his stylist is and yeowch! the awkward. the uncomfortable. the no-i-don't-really-do-anything-can-we-please-change-the-topic-to-anything-oh-god-anything-isn't-this-great-grass-this-grass-is-the-bomb. because gender stereotypes say having a decent haircare regimen is "feminine." So if a Sorin has nice breasts, it's different than if a woman, who happens to be named Sorin, has nice breasts. 
 
I like @Vreeah 's wording. it's very nice without resorting to jargon.  (and i'm not hitting you with the jargon bat this time around because at ch15 i'm assuming you've defined most of this stuff already. ;)  (but be ready for it on the whole beta! :P )) 
 
As always, I'm going to say there could be more emoting, but you've come leaps and bounds from the last parts of this I read. 
 
I feel like some of the word S uses are a little modern gender-theory-ish and they stand out to me and knock me out of the story a bit (they keep reminding me of tumblr fiction, which isn't necessarily bad, but it's definitely not even easy driving distance from decently mainstream high fantasy). otoh, I'm not entirely sure it's something you want to change, since it would probably entail an in-depth rework of, like, the entire thing and might not even end up as unawkward as it is now  (and it's still a bit awkward around the modern gender theory bits). *shrug* ymmv, and all that. 
 
this ch works for me, but otoh, i am well immersed in the jargon and so am not a great sample subject. 
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2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

S wouldn't have a problem if M was into a less gendered body part like biceps or knees or whatever, yeah?  or if M appreciated moobs the same way as boobs? (or is that something else?) otherwise, a good monologue.

@industrialistDragon puts this a lot better than I can. I wrote some similar things in the LBLs I sent, but I was aimlessly flailing at this same concern. I really like the male hair-care product description as well. I was having trouble with S rationalizing that because M liked the chest region she was seeing S as female. I think it was true in context, but that's going to lead to all sort of conflict between them in trying to prove the negative that no, M isn't just attracted to S's body parts.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry this is so late. No excuses, just comments.

(I touch on a sensitive subject because it plays a big part in the resolution of the scene. I do so with some trepidation, but from the perspective of commenting as I see it. Please forgive me / swear at me / both, as appropriate, if I’ve stumbled across some line that I didn’t see as I rushed towards it a breakneck speed.)

  • Emerging ‘to’ the wall sounds wrong, and the blocking is weird (I think). Is there no path up to a city?
  • Then Cel is described as a town.
  • Maybe it’s WRS, but I don’t remember why they have to climb the wall instead of walking into the town. And Sor is envisaging walking through the streets to the town, so it’s not like they are expecting to remain hidden. And is this where Mag is negotiating, so her presence will be known soon enough.
  • Is the wall made of stones or blocks/bricks? Big difference. The description conveys to me blocks that are regular in shape and colour, but you describe stones.
  • “Still, the wall came only to my waist” – LOL, this was not my impression!! I would hardly call it a climb. So, there is no security here at all! I’m confused. This wall is next to useless. Presumably, just for keeping grazing animals in or out.
  • I’m also puzzled about the statement (implication) that this demarks the border of the country? That seems weird to build your capital right at the edge with no defence. But I'm probably just reading it wrong.
  • You wouldn’t make ‘framing’ from stone; walls, sure, but stonework doesn’t work in tension (an arch or copulated / vaulted ceiling is in compression. This is why windows/doors have lintels (certainly in brick houses). If it’s a simple stone house, with stone walls, there is no frame, it just works in compression (of the blocks – i.e. gravity), and there will be wooden lintels over the openings. What I’m saying, clumsily, is that the word ‘frame’ is structurally significant.
  • ‘city square’ – I don’t know whether it’s a town or a city – which impacts my ability to judge size, although we are passing a lot of buildings.
  • “even passably interested” – passingly, I think. ‘passably’ is a judgement on the quality of their interest.
  • “and I turned to a sideways shuffle” – this sounds comical, in a place where it should not, I think.
  • “And your amulet” – what about it? Mag’s comment doesn’t convey that, and I can’t remember.
  • “tablecloths of woven grasses and husks” – this does not sound remotely sophisticated to me, quite rudimentary compared to the metal tables.
  • “Tomorrow?” – what about it? There’s no context or content in the question.
  • “so it seemed when I looked up to the second floor, where the room doors were open” – but Sor can’t see the room from below, just a patch of ceiling, surely.
  • “flipped her another three stone” – this seems disproportionate to the cost of the room, which must be 12 stones if the cost is proportional. Might not be, of course.
  • “the more the muscle underneath pulled” – Ugh, pretty effective description.
  • Sor’s dilemma over the clothing is intriguing at first, but when it goes into considerations of style the tension is lost in irrelevance (imho). Frustrating.
  • were my breasts bound” – with?
  • “you might prefer the woman’s dress” – redundant.
  • “as I tried to reign in my eyes” – rein.
  • “Yes. I have forever” – seems convenient for Mag to be this way inclined.
  • “entire textile district” – this is a massive stereotype. Really? I must be reading this wrong. Beyond negative stereotype to caricature, I think.
  • “People don’t just, just stop in the middle” – And she’s massively missing the point, in that Sor is physically different, whereas Mag’s impression of the entire textile district is that they are all gay? Bi?
  • “I wanted to touch every mark, hear the story of every encounter” – This is by no means a new idea, feels a bit done already, I can’t help feeling.
  • “her skin rough with experience” – great line, but it was smooth before, when it was covering muscle.
  • “hard enough that I saw a bead of blood form” – meh, melodramatic for me.
  • “as if she thought her body gave insult” – nope, this is not Mag, not my image of her.
  • “I’m not a woman” – I very much like how you used this same phrase almost as enticement first of all, then as an admonishment later. Nicely done.
  • “If I had a penis” – to be blunt, this is a question I’ve had since the first submission (to a lesser degree), and it’s the bit that (I wager) most of your mainstream/binary audience don’t understand, but want to. It’s taken such a long time to get to this question and (partial) answer. I feel that it’s been hampering my investment in the intimate scenes between Mag and Sor. It feels like it’s such an obviously apparent thing in some of the situations the two have been in, and for the ‘reveal’ to be kept so long feels, wrong. Surely this is not the mystery that the story of their relationship should be about (maybe it’s not for some people). I’m so sorry if this causes any kind of offence, and it’s not the only thing I’ve been considering by any means, but it is a thing that the uninitiated would ask, I think.
  • I know you’ve put in the groundwork for Mag to have this leering aspect in her attitude towards women, but to see how she has been with Sor, how caring, understanding, patient and sensitive (I think, to significant degree), this breakdown seems out of character for Mag, I think. Maybe it’s Sor who is the obstacle here (in Sor's mind?), maybe not, but I can’t help feeling like it’s for the purpose of prolonging the (romantic) tension for the length of the story.

In summary, great chapter with bucket loads of emotion, a big emotional pay-off with a frustrating twist at the end, which a reader might reasonably expect given where we are in the book. I enjoyed this a good deal, but feel that some tuning is in order.

Thanks for sharing.

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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On 08/06/2017 at 1:22 AM, Mandamon said:

I was having trouble with S rationalizing that because M liked the chest region she was seeing S as female. I think it was true in context, but that's going to lead to all sort of conflict between them in trying to prove the negative that no, M isn't just attracted to S's body parts.

Me too, but conversely I think it's entirely clear the regard that M has for S, demonstrated numerous times, and that S is being somewhat perverse and selectively blind towards the clear and regular signs of caring for the whole person.

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On 6/14/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

S is being somewhat perverse and selectively blind towards the clear and regular signs of caring for the whole person.

Yes and no?  THere's a difference between being okay with something intellectually and with your clothes on, when there's room for the thinking brain to go "S is enby, and enby is a thing and it's all cool," and put a check on any hormone-driven habitual reactions; and naked sexy funtimes when it's hormones driving the bus, reactions are primal and habituated, and thinking reactions are packed away in a corner somewhere. Sorin's making a fine distinction and expecting a lot of thinking from a red-blooded lusty lady, but by the same token M really should know better than 1) to think sexytimes with S will be normal, and 2) to treat S the way she's treated previous lovers. It's M's reaction to S's boobs *AS WOMEN'S BOOBS* that causes the initial problem. When S's parts engender the same look as the flirty female barmaid's parts, that's M -- however unconsciously and inadvertently! -- showing that she hasn't really absorbed the "S is enby, enby is different" idea beyond a surface understanding *despite howevermuch she might care in other circumstances.* S being awkward and inarticulate doesn't help matters, either.

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9 minutes ago, industrialistDragon said:

It's M's reaction to S's boobs *AS WOMEN'S BOOBS* that causes the initial problem.

I certainly get that, and do appreciate the commentary, thanks iD. Reading between the lines, I think what you're saying is that, with the right approach to S's enbiness, M would be able to enjoy S's boobs once the appropriate level of trust had been established, and provided that M worked with S to find the 'correct' approach that did not trigger S's hackles. I presume that it is not the mechanics of the approach (which are not inexhaustible) that is the issue, but the emotional cues that caused the problem.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, that's much closer to it, I think.  

22 minutes ago, Robinski said:

 I presume that it is not the mechanics of the approach (which are not inexhaustible) that is the issue, but the emotional cues that caused the problem.

Well, knowing M, I'm sure she could learn to leer slightly less. ;) 

 

Now I'm thinking of M and Quirk in a bar together just commenting on EVERYONE's EVERYTHING, and it would be horrible and snarky and amazing. XD

Edited by industrialistDragon
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1 hour ago, industrialistDragon said:

Now I'm thinking of M and Quirk in a bar together just commenting on EVERYONE's EVERYTHING, and it would be horrible and snarky and amazing. XD

Strangely, I wrote half a page of notes on just such a scenario about 2 hours ago!! :o 

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2 hours ago, Robinski said:

e of notes on just such a scenario about 2 hours ago

More on the above later, but I would SO love to write a crossover fic between Quirk and Magda!

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Posted (edited)

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

I do so with some trepidation

You're good, @Robinski! I know the subject matter is new and a little weird. To it, then!

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

This wall is next to useless. Presumably, just for keeping grazing animals in or out.

Yes, this. I've cleaned up the wall section to be much more upfront about it just being an old city wall remnant

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

is that the word ‘frame’ is structurally significant.

Check. Edited.

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

I don’t know whether it’s a town or a city

Have cleared up. It's the capital city of the country

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

but Sor can’t see the room from below, just a patch of ceiling, surely.

I was thinking of a loft type set up. Will edit

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

but when it goes into considerations of style the tension is lost in irrelevance (imho). Frustrating.

:( I was pretty pleased with that section, since I thought it offered a nice metaphor for S's gender (in not wanting clothes with male or female buttons, and also not wanting something with no buttons (agender), but wanting something inbetween (non binary). I thought I was being clever.

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

seems convenient for Mag to be this way inclined.

I've put more into the story since you read the early chapters, dealing with M's preferences

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

I must be reading this wrong. Beyond negative stereotype to caricature, I think.

I don't generally think of textiles being stereotypically in the realm of transgender people. Gay men, maybe, but not transgender people. I'll try to make the distinction more clear.

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

And she’s massively missing the point, in that Sor is physically different, whereas Mag’s impression of the entire textile district is that they are all gay? Bi?

I'm actually dealing almost entirely with transgender issues in this book. Here, M is laying out the queer spectrum for the reader (maybe needs to be done more blatantly??) in that gay men, lesbians, and MTF and FTM are common place and not an issue. However, nonbinary is confusing and not the norm. I need some direction on what it would take to get this better across to the average reader, because to me it seems really obvious, but clearly it isn't.

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

This is by no means a new idea

I'm open to suggestions. I was trying to draw a distinction between how S is attracted to people, versus how M is attracted to women, and how that could lead to misunderstandings (like the one that occurs later on this chapter).

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

nope, this is not Mag

edited

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

but it is a thing that the uninitiated would ask, I think.

And that's what I need--to know what the general population needs to know. Thank you! I've changed the intro a fair amount to (hopefully) make it clear that S was gendered definitively female at birth. I wasn't meaning for this chapter to be an anatomy reveal, so hopefully the new intro chapters will change the focus of this one to just sexy time.

On 6/13/2017 at 2:33 PM, Robinski said:

Maybe it’s Sor who is the obstacle here (in Sor's mind?), maybe not, but I can’t help feeling like it’s for the purpose of prolonging the (romantic) tension for the length of the story.

Hmmm. Some of the issue is S, certainly, but I'll defer to @industrialistDragon's response, as it is pretty near perfect. It wasn't meant to prolong the tension, rather, this was meant to be a defining relationship moment that these two had been driving to for the whole book. It was also meant to shake the reader up as M is shaken up, in that 'you thought you understood what nonbinary was, but here, you didn't, just like M." I'll hold off changing anything until the next chapter gets read on RE, because I tried really hard in the first few paragraphs there to explain what happened in S's mind in this chapter. I look forward to your thoughts on it!

13 hours ago, Robinski said:

with the right approach to S's enbiness, M would be able to enjoy S's boobs once the appropriate level of trust had been established

Yes, this! It was the emotional reaction of M that was the issue, not the desire to enjoy S's breasts. And once they clear the air about it, it wouldn't be an ongoing issue, in theory. But it's meant to be the sort of final slam of 'this is what it means to be nonbinary' in the book before we move into the final sequence.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

Strangely, I wrote half a page of notes on just such a scenario about 2 hours ago!!

I've been thinking about this all day. We need to do this, @Robinski! Thank you so much for the very detailed comments!

Edited by kais
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Posted (edited)

17 hours ago, kais said:

but I would SO love to write a crossover fic between Quirk and Magda!

You have my blessing. Maybe we should each do it and post it up here!

8 hours ago, kais said:

I thought I was being clever.

You were!! Dunno, it just kind of left me behind in the detail, and I lost the message. 

8 hours ago, kais said:

to me it seems really obvious, but clearly it isn't

"entire textile district is run by those who were born one way… I guess, or born presenting one way, but changed later" - it was very specifically this bit here. The thing that my brain snagged on was the notion (as I read it) that any male working in textiles must be GBT, or any female textile worker/designer must be LBT. Maybe I picked up the premise wrongly, but that's the alley my thoughts went down. It's just such a sweeping generalisation, when there must be binary people working in textiles, surely, even if a minority. It seemed to me that it was either (a) very statistically unlikely, or (b) Sor was just plain wrong. 

8 hours ago, kais said:
On 13/06/2017 at 10:33 PM, Robinski said:

This is by no means a new idea

I'm open to suggestions.

I think I was a bit harsh there, but I instantly thought of the (fabulous) scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Marion is making moves in Indy in the ship, and she's going over his scars/wounds and kissing them - "Does it hurt here..." Then there's Roy Schieder, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus in Jaws comparing scars and telling the stories. It's a great trope. I think it stalled for me with Sor and Mag because it was it was so direct. Saying 'know the stories of the scars' straight out feels like it's very on the nose. Maybe tease it out more, try an come to it from left field in some way?

8 hours ago, kais said:

'you thought you understood what nonbinary was, but here, you didn't, just like M.

I respect that. Me having a certain reaction doesn't mean I'm right!! :o Sometimes I feel frustration and I know that's what's intended, but here's me still frustrated :D I too will defer to I.D.'s response.

 

 

Edited by Robinski
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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Maybe we should each do it and post it up here!

YES. I will start brainstorming. Something short, eh? Under 1000 words perhaps? Just one bar scene?

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Hee-hee. I'm on Page 7 of my bar scene - 2,300 words, so far (I started about 5 hours ago). I do feel rather clumsy trying to write Magda, but gosh darn, it's such fun. I'm near the end, but, as we know, size doesn't matter, so don't feel obliged to write more than 1,000. Are we posting tomorrow? I'm happy to. I appreciate that you have proper work to do. Obviously it's super first draft (and last draft?!) so please forgive horrible roughness :D 

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19 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Are we posting tomorrow?

Urp! I need the week, I think, as I'm neck deep in ATD edits. Post yours when its ready, and I'll catch up!

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2 minutes ago, kais said:

Urp!

Ha-ha. Yes, of course. I wasn't sure how you were going to manage that!! No worries. I'm in two minds whether to sub separately. The weekend's over. On second thoughts, I think maybe I'll hold onto mind until you're ready.

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