Paracosmic_nomenclator

2017717 - Paracosmic Nomenclator - Blossom of the Soul pt. 1/2 - G

16 posts in this topic

I wasn't sure whether to include the gore warning or not; there's a description of a guy experiencing pretty intense pain, but he turns out fine. Ultimately, I decided to err on the side of caution.

I'm open to any and all criticism; don't worry about hurting my feelings, I just want to make this story as good as I can.

Hope you guys like it!

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Welcome to RE! Always nice to see new faces.

Overall

Interesting. As most people on here could tell you, I'm a tree nerd, so any story with trees will catch my attention. With that said, I think the emotion needs to be upped in this piece, because everyone seems pretty cardboard-y and lacking solid reactions. The descriptions otherwise are pretty good, and the narrative flowed well. Nice work!

As I go

- page one: “Where’s the fire?” He asked dryly, should be "Where's the fire?" he asked dryly. Lowercase h.

- page two: I'm a little surprised the sawdust hasn't already caught, honestly, unless his cell is damp?

- page three: wouldn't a man completely on fire just be screaming? I wouldn't think he could talk, unless he's not burning burning? That might need explained a bit more. Is his skin blistering at all?

- page five: if they were all severely burned, after the break, no one really mentions that. It takes a long time for skin to heal from that. How are they not all just walking pustules of cracked flesh, about to burst? I think more description might be needed

“This is because the blossoms themselves act as mediums for their own effects. The breed of tree that causes heat, the germinignus, blooms earlier than all others because its blossoms make it slightly warmer.

I don't know how rigorous you want to get here, but heat has zero effect on tree leaf out in terms of which species leaf out first. Trees that leaf out first, like maple, are diffuse porous (they have little vessels), versus trees that leaf out late, like ash, which are ring porous. When they leave out in relation to one another is a function of their anatomy. #woodscience

- page six: the capitalization after quotation thing that I mentioned above has recurred several times now. Just something to keep an eye out for. Examples below for dialogue tag etiquette. 

"I don't like dialogue tags," she said.

"Why don't you like dialogue tags?" he asked in response.

"Don't ask stupid questions." The nonbinary person stomped their foot and left in a huff.

- page seven: Trebor is handling the burning and being a human sacrifice very well. Very very well. So well that I don't have much empathy for him, because I'm not connecting to him

- page nine: everyone reacts very calmly to the tree turning to some disembodied spirit. More emotion, please. More reaction.

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Overall:

Really appreciate the feedback. I'd like to clarify whether several things  don't make sense, or were just communicated poorly. About the lack of emotion: I agree, but I don't know what to do about it. These characters don't know each other, and either in shock or pretty clinical. I suppose I can try and add more to the internal monologues.

 

Specifically:

1 hour ago, kais said:

page two: I'm a little surprised the sawdust hasn't already caught, honestly, unless his cell is damp?

Yup. Cell is damp.

1 hour ago, kais said:

wouldn't a man completely on fire just be screaming? I wouldn't think he could talk, unless he's not burning burning? That might need explained a bit more. Is his skin blistering at all?

- page five: if they were all severely burned, after the break, no one really mentions that. It takes a long time for skin to heal from that. How are they not all just walking pustules of cracked flesh, about to burst? I think more description might be needed

Yeah. He should probably be screaming in pain. I wanted to give him dialogue, though. Maybe I can relegate the later lines to the guard. As to burn injuries, I think it's mentioned in pt. 2, but this breed of germininus has 2 effects: it increases the heat of the medium, and it heals them. The healing effects lasts slightly longer, so they end up being fine by the end.

1 hour ago, kais said:

“This is because the blossoms themselves act as mediums for their own effects. The breed of tree that causes heat, the germinignus, blooms earlier than all others because its blossoms make it slightly warmer.

I don't know how rigorous you want to get here, but heat has zero effect on tree leaf out in terms of which species leaf out first. Trees that leaf out first, like maple, are diffuse porous (they have little vessels), versus trees that leaf out late, like ash, which are ring porous. When they leave out in relation to one another is a function of their anatomy. #woodscience

Could be totally wrong here, but the idea is that they're the same species of tree, but different breeds. Think several types of apples, but one naturally warms the tree its on. This still might have no effect on the time the tree blooms, I'm not an expert by any means.

1 hour ago, kais said:

page six: the capitalization after quotation thing that I mentioned above has recurred several times now.

I wrote large portions of this on my phone, and it automatically capitalizes. I caught several on my editing pass, and I appreciate you finding the rest.

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Page 1:

-Capitalizing "Guard" is a little odd, but it's too early for me to tell if this is in error or if it is intended to be a proper noun.

-"slicked with sweat" should probably be "slick with sweat".


Page 2:

-"and little difference in the results" should probably be "with little difference in the results"

-"silent" is an odd descriptor for tears since tears on their own don't really have a sound to them. Something like "streaming" might make more sense?

-"unanswered mysteries" is another weird bit of phrasing since a mystery on its own is something that isn't necessarily answered. Maybe shortening it to the priest's voice being "full of mystery?"

-I honestly thought at this point that the flames were still localized to just a couple of rings around him. Perhaps add some more hints as to its spread in these scenes?


Page 3:

-The usage of Centigrade in this fantasy setting threw me off a bit, but I don't know how you'd get around it and make it understandable to the reader.

-Why is Esirta inquiring as to their crimes? It seems unlikely that there are other guardsmen escorting trios of prisoners that he could be mistaken with.


Page 4:

-"and I am in the higher ranks of the Themian church" seems a bit on-the-nose, especially considering the passages preceding it. Perhaps have him make a more oblique reference, "and you know the sort that I consort with," or something less explanatory.


Page 5:

-"wetted his tongue" should just be "wet his tongue"


Page 6:

-"create a breed" sounds odd to my ear, maybe "cultivate" would work better in this context?

-"lightless fires of the eternal night" makes for some great imagery.


Page 7:

-The section concerning the "soulblossom" feels a bit too infodump-y and would probably flow better if, again, the characters were more oblique. The priests all know what they are referring to and they have no real reason to explain it so that Trebor (and the reader) can understand.


Page 8:

-The description of the tree and its blossoms was very striking and drew me into the narrative quite a bit.


OVERALL: 

I'm very intrigued by the setting and the lore surrounding the trees and their magic than I am by the plot or the characters thus far. Trebor has a few flashes of character here and there but for the most part, he seems only to react, and rather sluggishly, to what is happening to him. I'd like to see more of his internal thoughts, I want to know how he feels about all of this more than I'm getting. I'd like the same from Esirta as well, but he has more character to show even just in this small portion of the story. There's also a small problem with some minor infodumping at a few points, but for the most part, things flowed very well. 

I definitely like what you've presented here and I look forward to reading more of it from you!

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11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

Yup. Cell is damp.

Definitely make a bigger deal of this then, because it seems very unbelievable that it takes so long for the wood dust to catch.

11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

He should probably be screaming in pain. I wanted to give him dialogue, though

His dialogue tags could be the screaming and writhing part, if you want. But we need to feel his feels.

11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

The healing effects lasts slightly longer, so they end up being fine by the end.

This should probably be mentioned at least twice so it sticks with the reader

11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

This still might have no effect on the time the tree blooms, I'm not an expert by any means.

It would not, unless you're moving into subspecies, and even then their ring porosity likely wouldn't change (unless you want to seriously magic then, and have one move from ring porous to semi ring porous, which would be cool).

11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

About the lack of emotion: I agree, but I don't know what to do about it. These characters don't know each other, and either in shock or pretty clinical. I suppose I can try and add more to the internal monologues.

Internal monologues can bog down a story. Just give us more reaction, more emotion, more feeling, even in the words. You still have emotion even when you meet someone knew. Shock can be portrayed through action. You can do it!

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Hello and welcome! :) 

 
This is a very well done submission and doubly impressive for being your first fantasy! Overall, it's an interesting premise, and a good beginning for something longer.  Most of the stuff I snagged on is pretty small. 
 
Just a small formatting niggle to start with, though: please double space your submissions here. 1) it's in the guidelines, and 2) for people like me who have trouble reading on the screen double spacing (or even 1.5 spacing!) is massively helpful.
 
"empire with less casualties" Fewer. Casualties are countable, and plural.   
 
". It had no trunk, but rather several main branches" Sorry to quibble, but being trunkless is one of the main features that distinguish woody shrubs from trees.  Not that I've, uh, vociferously participated in debates on that very subject or anything... :ph34r: It's like a magical azalea... 
 
I am slightly worried by the dead daughter being the sole motivator for the protagonist. Yes, it's backstory, but the way it's framed in the story makes his Batman-like obsession feel perilously close to fridging. Real people, even ones that have experienced a terrible loss, or who are deeply depressed, have more than one single motivation, and think about other things than their obsession. It's early yet in the story though, so I don't want to call it truly a bad thing without knowing more of the shape of it, but it's definitely sending up warning signs.
 
(Standard TV Tropes warning: TVTropes.org is a sucking black hole of the internet and WILL consume your entire day if you aren't careful. Click with caution)
 
Less concretely, something about the religion and the religiosity of the entire piece is rubbing me the wrong way. I wish I could be more specific, but I can't figure out what's making me put the little mental warning pin in it. It's there, though. Something feels... off. Like I need to be watching out for something horrible writing-wise (not story-wise. it's a good story!) and I just can't settle in and lose myself in the reading of it. :/ Sorry.  (Note from future me: maybe what i was picking up on here was the lack of emoting @kais was talking about. For me, the only really defining characteristic of most of these people is how they are used to build this religion. Maybe?)
 
But to reiterate: these are not major issues. It's a good story and I'm interested in reading more!  
 
16 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

About the lack of emotion: I agree, but I don't know what to do about it.

My advice is: Overdo it! Emote for the cheap seats! Turn it into the most lurid, soapy soap opera you can. Think you've done too much? KEEP GOING! If having characters show emotion is problematic for you, it'll almost always be easier to dial them back later on if you choose to, and also, what seems like "wayy too ott" for you has a good likelihood to be "just right" for the rest of us. I swam competitively for years, and had coaches all the time tell me to exaggerate movements when they were trying to fix my awkward stroke. What felt way too overblown and weird for me was in fact just about right when viewed from the outside. The same theory applies here, except you don't have to swim 2000 yards with plastic paddles attached to your hands to fix awkward characters. ;) 

Also seconding the actions over internal monologues. Think about how you know someone else is angry. It's not by blunt statements of what they're thinking, but usually by clues in body language, tone of voice, and actions (someone who slams the door and yells at the cat is likely not as "fine!" as they shout at you when you ask how they're doing)

 

 

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1 hour ago, industrialistDragon said:

Not that I've, uh, vociferously participated in debates on that very subject or anything..

Cause @industrialistDragon and I don't know each other at all. AT ALL.

1 hour ago, industrialistDragon said:

feel perilously close to fridging

Agree, although borderline enough that we do not have to reset our counter. Whew.

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- Good description. I like that you are really setting up this character's situation and building sympathy for him in the first page. I'm very intrigued.

- Interesting detail about the sawdust, and the burning. Again, I'm very interested where this is going.

- I'm also interested in this religious you are building, and the idea of elixirs as some kind of "miracles".

- "Any medium, no matter how weak, dies mere seconds after consumption," Should it be no matter how STRONG?

- Overall, I'm very curious to see where this is going. I like the idea of these experiments being offered as a means of salvation. I definitely want to see where this is heading. 

- Trebor's crimes are the only thing that hasn't been covered much .He apparently killed his own daughter, but he really don't know the circumstance or if this is a character we should be sympathetic for or not. 

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Welcome to Reading Excuses!

This was a very strong first submission, and it pulled me in as I read it. I think @kais and @industrialistDragon covered my main concern as well, so I won't belabor the point. Suffice to say, reading did feel dry without the emotion from the POV characters. I can actually get behind E's lack of emotion to some extent, as he's obviously a very scientific and introspective person. Makes me think this is someone who would have been a pure research scientist rather than a monk, if that was an option in this world. T, however, should definitely have more emotion. I have the same problem not putting enough in, and Dragon's suggestion is a good one, to go so overboard it sounds like a soap opera to you. It's easy to cut out a few emotes here and there to tone it down.

If there is going to be a lot of people getting burned alive in this, then you need to have some system worked out to show the pain and injury from the burns, even if you want to get dialogue across at the same time. I don't think there's any description of burns at all in this--either it's  magical fire that doesn't leave a trace, or these folks are going to be crispy pretty fast.

Looking forward to the next submission! 

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Welcome, welcome, welcome to Reading Excuses. It’s always great to have new contributors to the forum, and exciting to open up a file from a writer you’ve never read before, I think. I enjoyed your comments on Kais’ submission. I love having that ‘I thought the same!’ feeling. This is a principle that to refer to as the ‘I agree with Mandamon’ principle – which has served me well for 4 years now :)

Anyway, enough of my blathering – I do apologise. Summary / overall thoughts at the end.

  • Any first line including the words ‘bowl of slop’ has my attention!
  • Ha-ha – in the UK, we have Trebor Extra Strong Mints.
  • Eventually, they went out, and he threw them the trousers to floor” – ‘they’ was the flames, of course.
  • But he’s a murderer! He killed his own daughter!” Personally, I would like to know this sooner. My default setting is to assume that, because he’s the protagonist, T is unjustly imprisoned. I’m almost two pages in (in fact more pages, because the text isn’t double spaced), before I find out he’s a bad man. I feel that my assumption has been turned on its head, and not necessarily in a good way.
  • Was that true? Could he be forgiven?’ – I would say that only he can forgive himself. Also, if he thinks that he can find forgiveness for murdering his own daughter, then I don’t think I want anything to do with him. You’ve not shown anything to suggest that he did not do this most heinous of crimes, so I'm still thinking that I despise him. If you're going to turn this around later as a reveal, I think I'm going to feel betrayed. Bottom line here is that I don’t know what to do with my sympathies. I think that’s a problem this early in a story.
  • constant hushed roar of the M falls…” – This is the name of the falls, and therefore should be capitalised, as should the name of the river; it’s part of the name.
  • I'm thrown off a little in relation to the setting. I had assumed a certain level of technology – a sort of fantasy standard default – so to hear the term ‘Centigrade’ was a bit disorienting.
  • prepare for the prisoners’ arrival” – the letter indicates he will receive one prisoner, but this indicates more than one.
  • What mattered was the contents of the letter. It had given Es enough information to prepare for the prisoners’ arrival, while hopefully” – conflict here. I would say ‘was the content’, rather than ‘were the contents’, personally.
  • “…vague enough that, if intercepted, it would yield…” – sorry, I'm in super picky mode. I only do that when the prose reads nicely apart from one of two odd bits!
  • I was thrown by Es’s title. Is he a bishop? If so, it’s strange that he would be addressed as ‘father’, which more usually would be used for a bog-standard priest, I think. To quote the internet “a bishop is "the Right Reverend", and is formally addressed as "My Lord" (in UK terms at least). If bishops are called ‘father’ in this world, what do they call priests?
  • Bit confused by the replacement guards. Where are they going? I thought they would come to guard the prisoners, but are they going to the city, and the newly arrived guardsmen are going to stay with the prisoners?
  • before one of the prisoners, Nald, spoke. “The priest…” – full stop.
  • Esirta saw the young girl, hesitate, unsure whether or not to speak” – That first comma is awkward. I don’t like the idea of forcing the reader to hesitate. The second comma does enough, for me. Adding another feels like overkill.
  • unsure whether or not to speak. “Go ahead, Iriam.” – The dialogue is definitely a new sentence. This seems to be a regular occurrence. I’ll stop flagging them now :)
  • you are removed from those you could hurt. That being the case, I see no reason not to try and better your lives.” – Hmm, so the bishop does not believe in the concept of punishment, paying a debt to society? I think he and I are going to have some philosophical problems.
  • empire with less casualties” – fewer casualties.
  • I’m sorry,” he said, knowing that the words…” – Ah, whereas this is part of the same sentence.
  • The only people exempt from this rule were the guards that watched over him and the other prisoners” – Confused. The guards I get, but is Tre no exempt? Or did he pray out of choice? It sounds like the other prisoners have an exemption, but he doesn’t. Then, in the next paragraph, it sounds like all the prisoners were praying (in the monastery).
  • the priest who had led them to the monastery yesterday” – I though Es was a bishop?
  • I really need to know much earlier in the story whether I can reasonably feel sympathy for Tre or not. He thinks about whether he should feel guilty about killing the guardsman, but what about his daughter? He never thinks about her and her death. I'm really struggling with this when in his POV. I don’t know what to think.
  • Yes, Father.”
  • The description of the soulblossom is very effective. I notice that you used ‘seemed’ twice. This is a word that I'm trying to stamp out of my writing. It’s a very imprecise word, and leaves vagueness in its wake. I suggest trying out another word in its place, and see if the description doesn’t sound more effective and direct.
  • This type of breed was created” – this feels awkward to me. Surely, there must be a more scientific term for ‘type of breed’. Is it the next level up the phylum for plants? Would it be ‘species’ or ‘genus’, I wonder. Wiki suggests that, for lilies (for example) the genus Lilium is divided into species (which I would equate with breeds). In turn, Lilium is a member of the tribe Lilieae, and there are families and orders sitting above those levels (interesting stuff, I’ve become distracted!!).
  • Another oddity is that those near this tree” – you were talking about the blooms facing people before this, so I took ‘those’ to still be referring to the blooms.

I enjoyed reading your writing. A bit sparse on description perhaps, but I thought the narrative was very smooth and flowed really well. This made certain details stand out, as per the comments above, but in terms of style, I could quite happily read a novel that you had written.

What I struggled with the most, I think, was the moral position of some of the characters, and the sympathies engendered. There’s no indication, I think, the Treb is bad, so I assume he’s good, only to find out he’s a child killer. Ouch. That was a slap in the face. Then the priest seems to want to make the lives of these criminals better, but he’s actually not, he’s going to kill them (eventually). There were one or two of these shifts in sympathy that left me a bit confused.

There are some very interesting ideas here, and I'm looking forward to reading more, most definitely. My major problem remains with the moral position of Tre. He feels like a good character, because he’s not clearly marked as bad, but this thing about his daughter’s death is being dangled in front of me, and I feel like information is being unreasonably withheld. How can I be in his POV and him not thinking about what happened with his daughter? I strongly suspect that it’s some kind of ‘Fugitive’ situation, and he’s been wrongly accused, but he’s completely devoid of anger or frustration at that – so I can’t bring myself to believe it. That leaves the option that he’s guilt of his daughter’s death, in which case I'm being encouraged (I feel) to sympathise with a child killer! Either way, I’m fairly certain I'm going to find up being angry with the writer.

Such things, of course, can be ‘fixed’ – if you agree they’re a problem – as can anything I’ve mentioned. I don’t see anything truly broken here, and I'm now keen to read more. Good job.

<R>

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On 18/07/2017 at 3:30 AM, kais said:

I don't know how rigorous you want to get here, but heat has zero effect on tree leaf out in terms of which species leaf out first. Trees that leaf out first, like maple, are diffuse porous (they have little vessels), versus trees that leaf out late, like ash, which are ring porous. When they leave out in relation to one another is a function of their anatomy. #woodscience

#canyourepeatthatinEnglishplease? :P 

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12 minutes ago, Robinski said:

#canyourepeatthatinEnglishplease? :P 

Hah! This is how I feel every time you talk to me about spaceship physics!

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On 18/07/2017 at 3:30 AM, kais said:

So well that I don't have much empathy for him, because I'm not connecting to him

I'm not connecting with him because he killed his daughter :angry:

On 18/07/2017 at 5:25 AM, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

About the lack of emotion: I agree, but I don't know what to do about it.

You don't need to be in their POV. You show people shuddering or wincing, crying (bit extreme), going pale. Think how people around you react, how your react. We shout, we growl in frustration. The signs are all around us, you just have to 'harvest' them for later use with your characters. Also, analyse how authors that you read show emotion.

On 18/07/2017 at 5:25 AM, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

I wrote large portions of this on my phone, and it automatically capitalizes.

Lol - forgive me if I went too heavy on you with the sentence thing then. Give your phone a slap from me :D 

On 18/07/2017 at 6:02 AM, Yuoaman said:

The usage of Centigrade in this fantasy setting threw me off a bit, but I don't know how you'd get around it and make it understandable to the reader.

I would say that the reader doesn't need to understand the units, just their relative intensity. So, you could say something like thief had 40 thermos; murderer 80 thermos and rapist 120 thermos. I agree that Centigrade is strange and implies a certain level of science and technology, deriving from Earth.

On 18/07/2017 at 6:02 AM, Yuoaman said:

I want to know how he feels about all of this more than I'm getting.

Yup, like how does he feel about killing his daughter? Does he believe he did it? I call unreasonably withheld!!

On 18/07/2017 at 10:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I am slightly worried by the dead daughter being the sole motivator for the protagonist.

I've got to disagree here; I feel like it is no sort of motivation for him at all. He seems pretty much unaffected by it. Although he does talk about having that nightmare for the rest of his life, but DOES HE ACCEPT THE GUILT? DOES HE BELIEVE HE KILLED HER?

On 18/07/2017 at 10:41 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Turn it into the most lurid, soapy soap opera you can.

Hmm - personally, I don't think you need to go that far. You've got a story with great potential for subtlety and leading the reader to question their own beliefs and values. When I'm trying to adjust something, I tend to make a small change, then test it again, then another change (if required), test it again.

On 19/07/2017 at 0:01 AM, kais said:

Cause @industrialistDragon and I don't know each other at all. AT ALL.

:lol: and you've never had an argument, right? :P 

On 19/07/2017 at 1:17 AM, rdpulfer said:

I like that you are really setting up this character's situation and building sympathy for him in the first page.

But building sympathy for a child killer... as far as the reader knows.

On 19/07/2017 at 1:17 AM, rdpulfer said:

Trebor's crimes are the only thing that hasn't been covered much .He apparently killed his own daughter, but he really don't know the circumstance or if this is a character we should be sympathetic for or not.

Yup, 100% agree.

...and I agree with @Mandamon

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General Update:

I've seen a few main concerns pop up for several people, and am addressing them thusly.

 

Lack of Emotion:

I've added some more audio/visual cues of how the 2 POV characters are feeling. I probably need more, but this sort of thing takes me several passes.

Lack of burning flesh:

Have edited it so that his flesh is now burning, blistering, bubbling, etc. but heals just as fast as it is damaged.

Quotation and Capitalization:

Fixed them all.

Use of Centigrade:

I did this because it was the least earth-centric heat measurement I could think of. Just a scale of 0-100 where 0 is water freezing and 100 is water boiling. Its why I specifically went for the word Centigrade instead of Celsius.

Confusion about guards:

There's one group of guards which was at the monastery, and is going back homr to the city. There's another group that came with the prisoners, to guard the prisoners. The former group leaves on the carraige the latter group came in 

Trebor's Daughter:

Information is supposed to be sparse at this point, but not as sparse as people are finding it. The reader is supposed to know the following: Trebor was found by the city guard, next to the dead body of a guard, and the severely beaten and comatose body of his daughter. Though she is still in a coma, most think that the daughter won't wake, and that Trebor killed her and the guard. Trebor feels incredibly guilty about his daughter's state, and believes it to be his doing. Trebor feels no guilt about the guard's death.

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9 hours ago, Robinski said:

in the UK, we have Trebor Extra Strong Mints.

Lol, was going for a generic fantasy name.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

I was thrown by Es’s title. Is he a bishop? If so, it’s strange that he would be addressed as ‘father’, which more usually would be used for a bog-standard priest, I think. To quote the internet “a bishop is "the Right Reverend", and is formally addressed as "My Lord" (in UK terms at least). If bishops are called ‘father’ in this world, what do they call priests?

I called him a bishop because he controls the monastery. Though bishops usually control Cathedrals, it was the closest title I could find. That said, in retrospect, I think I shouldn't give him a title at all. Also, we know that E. Hates titles, and probably wouldn't tell people his true rank if it came with an ostentatious honorific.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

It sounds like the other prisoners have an exemption

Nope. All the prisoners are required to pray.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

I though Es was a bishop?

Indeed, but this section is from Treb'd POV, and he doesn't know that.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

I really need to know much earlier in the story whether I can reasonably feel sympathy for Tre or not. He thinks about whether he should feel guilty about killing the guardsman, but what about his daughter? He never thinks about her and her death. I'm really struggling with this when in his POV. I don’t know what to think.

Tried to show him feeling really guilty about it. Will say it about more clearly in draft 2.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

What I struggled with the most, I think, was the moral position of some of the characters, and the sympathies engendered. There’s no indication, I think, the Treb is bad, so I assume he’s good, only to find out he’s a child killer. Ouch. That was a slap in the face. Then the priest seems to want to make the lives of these criminals better, but he’s actually not, he’s going to kill them (eventually). There were one or two of these shifts in sympathy that left me a bit confused.

He technically didn't kill any children. His daughter is in a coma. Still, though... These sympathy slaps are intentional. I wanted the reader to start sympathizing with both POV characters before revealing their biggest guilts. I'm trying to put the reader in the same boat as the characters, where until the characters are forgiven, the reader feels slightly uncomfortable about supporting them.

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8 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

The reader is supposed to know the following: Trebor was found by the city guard, next to the dead body of a guard, and the severely beaten and comatose body of his daughter.

Ok, but the first reference to murder is the guard saying he killed his own daughter. There's no rejection of that statement from Treb, so I must assume it's true. Also, there's no indication that the guards are automatically bad, so Treb killing one without regret seems inherently bad. 

My issue is that we are in Treb's head, but he doesn't think 'Who could have done that to my daughter?' If it was the guard, and that's the reason for Treb feeling no guilt at killing him, then why wouldn't Treb have thoughts about that? Why would he not, previously if not now, have sought to defend himself?

3 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:

Nope. All the prisoners are required to pray.

This, "The only people exempt from this rule were the guards that watched over him and the other prisoners." would seem to contradict that.... AH, NO - I see it, you mean the guards watching the prisoners, I suggest cutting the underlined, to stopping the sentence after 'guards'. I read a comma where there isn't one, but I still think it's less than clear.

 

Edited by Robinski
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