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M.Puddles

07/24/17 Paladar Chapter 4: Kitchen Duty Part 2 5482 words

7 posts in this topic

This chapter is the follow up to last week's submission.  I hope it reveals what the purpose of last week's chapter.  The feedback I received for chapter three suggested they didn't like the type of conflict and that it was not pronounced enough to keep the reader's interest.  I hope this section shows where the first part led.  I hope to receive feedback about how I might change the first part, based on what you read in this part, and would appreciate anything that comes to mind for this second part as well.  

Thanks, 

Matt. 

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It’s only fair that I start with your submission after taking so long last week!

  • ‘shopfronts’ all one word. Also, the ‘shop district’ seems really redundant after you’ve just talked about shopfronts. You could say retail (although that sounds modern) or commercial district, as an alternative.
  • I’m not keen on capitalising ‘town centre’. No, no capitals for ‘uncle’ or ‘dad’.
  • Among them, a few newer buildings loomed above them.” – typo.
  • ‘lord-hood’ – I would say hyphenate this, as speller doesn’t like it as one word, but consider knighthood, which is one word, as is kinghood.
  • Pet seems full of doubts and lacking in confidence. Viz:

·       "Why would they send us to do this?"         “No.  At least I don’t think so,”         "Ah," Petro said thoughtlessly.

  • This is not very interesting or appealing. Jai is the one who appears positive and interested.
  • “A beautiful girl started at the sight of them” – This is not good, imho. You don’t get to just say she’s beautiful, it’s meaningless. Everyone’s concept of beauty is different. You need to convince the reader why she’s beautiful to Pet, and it can’t be what she’s wearing, surely.
  • “if his friend could speak, Pet's face flushed with heat” – I feel there are commas missing on a fairly regular basis.
  • This conversation is strange. We’re not getting the conversation at all, we’re getting a second-hand impression of a commentary that is taking place in the room where the POV is. It’s quite peculiar.
  • “who looks a bit like a God-Child himself” – where did this come from?
  • “Pet still didn’t grasp what she implied” - here he is being kind of dense again. He's not very compelling as a protagonist.
  • I’m skipping ahead now, looking for something more interesting than Pet washing dishes.

Okay, I’m sorry, but I gave up on this chapter. You say your story is 1,300 pages long? Well, I think you’ve only got about 200+ words a page, so they’re a bit short for pages, but still, I imagine it’s 1,000 pages otb. I think the most important thing to concentrate on is what to leave out. It feels like you're writing every single event that happens to Pet, in every moment of every day. I think you have to be way more ruthless in thinking about what the reader is going to find interesting.

Consider how many books there are out there in the years since Tolkien wrote The Hobbit that are about the hero’s journey, there must be thousands, published and unpublished. It’s been done soooo many times before that you really have to find a way to make yours stand out, to make the reader turn the page. I think you’ve got some work to do on that, quite a lot of work.

What is it that excites you about this story? If you’re not writing about that, but wading through pages of set-up, what makes you think the reader is going to go to the effort of reading all this stuff to get to the exciting bit? You can convey all the drudgery very simply, I think, by writing a couple of boring paragraphs, like:

‘Day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, Pet grafted away in the kitchens. It never changed, the pots arrived in a different order with different stains and sludge and debris, but they always arrived, and Pet always had to wash them.’ Etc., whatever.

You can intersperse these with the odd interesting event, but still convey the drudgery of his life in short sections.

I’m sorry to be down on this, but there’s no point in me blowing smoke, of course. What would I do to add a spark to this? Honestly, I’m really struggling to imagine how to do that. Set it on a ship, a floating city in the sky. Give Pet some kind of unusual or challenging condition. Make him deaf so he has to read lips. I don’t know. I’m not sure what the USP of the story is, so I'm not sure what kind of ideas to throw out.

Sorry not to be more positive. The one thing I can say with complete confidence is, don’t give up, even if it means taking what you're hearing from all the feedback and writing a different story, a short say, just for practice. Change up something significant, take a radical, unusual idea and write a 2,500-word short about it, just to stretch the creative muscles into some other area than hero’s journey, which is really overdone, I think.

I hope there is something in here that is some kind of use.

Good luck, <R>

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I think @Robinski's got the same perspective as I do. Not a lot going on here, and no real purpose to the story yet. Honestly, I skimmed through most of it, as there's a lot of text that doesn't do anything. Both this section and last weeks could probably be condensed to a couple of pages, if that, leaving time to focus on more important things, like why and what P is training for with his uncle. Currently, it's being overshadowed by descriptions of pastries and cleaning dishes.


pg 3: "“Seems like a waste to me…” J said as they stared at the shop door until it opened unexpectedly."
--Sounds like they know the door will open before it does.
--Right after this the immediate pretty girl objectification throws me out of the story.

pg 4: "P repeated the girl's name, so he wouldn't forget it."
--starting to get creepy.

pg 5: "made J the appear kind."
--extra word

pg 7: "who looks a bit like a God-Child himself"
--what does this mean?

pg 16: Have we met P's dad before?

pg 17: "The tea soothed his goose-fleshed skin"
--Is he having tea naked? They told him to strip down

pg 18: "P watched his father stand up and walk across the kitchen to his bedroom and shut the door."
--Probably need some more intro to the father.

pg 21: "making that sucking sound again"
--huh?

pg 26: Why does P want to work in a kitchen when he's obviously got a cool uncle and some sort of calling to train for? I'm not sure where this story is heading.

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Initial thoughts before reading: wait, we're still in the kitchen chapter? Why? It was too long already in the first half. Although maybe if you condensed the first half into something like and then he got a job washing dishes, which helped develop his muscles over the next four years, then this would work? Unsure. Going in to read now.

Overall

I am in agreement with @Robinski and @Mandamon that this chapter needs a great deal of condensing. Three pages, four at the most, could tell us the same these two half chapters. I see the story there, for sure, but cutting is needed. Don't fret too much though, we all have to do cutting, sometimes even to our favorite parts. Such is writing!

As I go

- uncle is not a proper noun, and neither is dad

- 'beautiful' isn't properly descriptive, for a person. You'll want to be more specific than that. Also, the word 'wore' is redundant in that paragraph

- I'm a few pages in (I'd appreciate it if you could page numbers on this, since you're subbing in rtf and not word), and there are numerous typos. It does make this hard to read. Proofing the sub a few more times before submitting would be wonderful. 

- the dialogue around the 'god child' area is stilted and doesn't feel natural. You might try reading it outloud. That would help with typos, and help you to hear what sounds like natural dialogue and what doesn't 

- My mind is wandering with all this dish stuff again. It's making it really hard not to skim, and the typos toss me from the narrative when I do manage to get engaged.

- the narrative is a bit more interesting once P is out of the kitchens, and it looks like the chapter actually does arc there a bit near the end. Typos though, still abound

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I agree with @Robinski and  @Mandamon here. Unfortunately this chapter does very little for either justifying the previous one, or for tying what happened in chapters 1 & 2 to what's going on now. 

As was most everyone else, I am also confused by the god-child reference and perplexed by the lingering over an apparently random pretty pastry girl. I'm also confused by the mid-chapter ditching of J. I liked him! I thought he was going to be a regularly-occurring sidekick or friend and I was looking forward to that. I still don't understand anything about servicers or service days or why they are so important as to warrant a full two chapters out of a whole story, especially when the main character already has an apprenticeship that sounds much more interesting and appears to have much more importance to the story and in his life.  Like @kais, the level of grammar and spelling errors in this submission made it hard for me to get engaged in the piece, or even figure out what was happening in some places. 

I did like where things were headed by the end, so I'm looking forward to the next part!

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- I like the description, but the pacing seem to be too relaxed in the first couple pages.

- I like the easygoing conversation between Jaimar and Petro.

- I also like that Petro makes a sucking sound - it's an interesting quirk, and the advice he got from his uncle sets some potential character development.

- Some interesting tidbits with the Essence. I liked this character and this story, but I feel the story is moving too slowly and I'm not sure where it's going. 

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Thank you @rdpulfer for your encouraging words. I needed a few this week.  Thank you as well to @industrialistDragon, @kais, @Mandamon, and @Robinski for taking the time to plough through a rough chapter and offer me honest criticism and some good suggestions. I had to drive my family across part of the country this week and road delays due to fire reduced my writing time and the time I have for feedback but now that I'm home I will be able to catch up a little.  

Matt

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